Actions

Work Header

Unforgivable

Chapter Text

The static buzz, menial beeping, and repetitive clacking on the keyboards used to be calming to him. It was sad to say that the mind numbing task of transferring data onto a spread sheet and checking over Joja’s inventory logs was calming to him. Check one page, type it in and yawn. Rinse and repeat. As long as he didn’t fall asleep at his desk or fuck up the Joja corporation’s higher ups didn’t care how many hours he worked, and well, he had racked up a lot of overtime.

Suddenly a mess of blond hair popped over the top of his cubical. “Yo, Polly. We’re going to go and hit the pub after work. You in or out?” This plucky ball of excitement was one of the newer members of the Joja family. Their will hadn’t been broken yet. In a month or two that would change.

“My name isn’t Polly. It’s Apollyon.” He muttered as he punched in a few more numbers. “If you can’t remember it just call me Al. Everyone else does. Steve.”

The blond pouted a little. “My name isn’t Steve. It’s June.”

Apollyon shrugged and quickly finished off his final spread sheet for the day. “Whatever.” He wasn’t one to be friendly with his co-workers, hell he hardly ever spoke to them at lunch, preferring to just eat his lunch at his desk. The only people he really talked to was his manager, the mail lady, and the random slew of interns that Joja employed. Legal slave labour.

“So are you coming out to drink with us or not?” June asked. “You hardly ever show up to any of the other company functions, so just come out and hang with us. Make work friends or something.”

“… Nah, I’d rather finish some stuff I’ve gotten behind on. Management will do my head in if I mess up this deadline.” He might have finished today’s workload, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t go through everything and check it again.

Almost as if the world was against him, his manager happened to walk by. June grinned at him and waved. “Hey, so is it okay if Polly comes out drinking with us tonight? He says he’s behind on work.”

“I wasn’t aware you were behind on anything.” Said his manager. He glanced over at Apollyon’s computer and shook his head. “You’ve finished your work for today. Just come out drinking with the rest of us.”

Apollyon could just feel a heavy weight slowly pushing down on his shoulder. Each word rolling out of everyone’s mouths making that weight heavier and heavier. “Oh, so I have… Who else is coming?”

June just grinned and started listing off people. “There’s Greg and Barry from accounting, Diana from admin, Rose and Tina from sector B’s IT crew, our manager, me and you. Small group.”

Suddenly the Joja corp jingle started to play as the bright green work light at the front of the room went out and the bright res rest button started flashing instead. Joja really seemed to treat its employees like animals. No, robots would be more accurate. That’s just how things were. The bigger the company the more expendable the workers.

“Let’s go.” Said June with a grin. “I wanna get there before Greg gets smashed. He’s such a light weight.”

So with much reluctance Apollyon ended up getting dragged to a bar to drink with his co-workers personally he’d rather be run over by the Zuzu city 9:15 bus than be here of all places. The pub looked welcoming enough. It seemed to have an Irish theme if the shamrocks and grotesque wooden leprechaun staked to the wall meant anything.

Everyone ordered a few rounds of drinks and happily downed themselves in alcohol. It disturbed Apollyon how easily everyone lost their damn minds, but he could understand it to an extent. Joja corp sucked the life out of everyone and everything it touched till they were nothing but an empty husk.

He looked around at all the people around him, sighing internally when he could easily distinguish who had been working for Joja for longer. The more reserved the individual and stronger the drink the longer they had been there. Maybe some of them were alcoholics and used it to numb themselves like the way he used work to do the same thing?

He quickly pushed that thought out of his mind as he continued to listen to these random people talk about their random weekend activities. Two of the girls were going to have a spa day. Someone was going to go fishing. Someone else was going to catch up one some TV show they had fallen behind on.

Apollyon wondered for a moment what he was going to do, but quickly squashed any idea that he was going to do something fantastical. He was going to do what he did every weekend; eat, sleep, and watch TV. None of those activities were really going to be much fun. He slept on a broken mattress in a rundown apartment, ate crappy instant ramen, and his TV’s volume had a mind of its own. If he made any deviation from what he usually did it would be to call his mum to see how she was going. But knowing her she was unlikely to pick up. Same with his dad.

As he begrudgingly accepted his mundane existence he hardly noticed one of the women slipping into the empty seat next to him. She was a brunet with long elegant hair. She was slightly flushed from the alcohol but still seemed somewhat capable of functioning on her own. “So is it real?”

“…Is what real miss?”

“Oh, Diana. I’m from admin.”

“Apollyon from sector D. So what’s real?”

Diana pointed to his face and grinned. “Your hair. Isn’t like natural black hair meant to have a blue or black shine? Why do you have a red shine?”

“I just do. Some people are like that.” It was true too, not once in his life had he dyed his hair. It just looked weird and that was that.

Before she could ask what he was talking about a woman started rattling off about something in a foreign language. This just caused the native English speakers to laugh and tell her they didn’t know what she was saying. “Come on Tina,” slurred June. “No one knows what you’re saying when you speak that gibberish.”

Apollyon shook his head. “She’s speaking Portuguese. Duh.”

“You know Portuguese?” Asked Diana. She seemed pretty impressed. “What else can you speak?”

“Eh, I can speak pretty much any language if I’m around someone who’s speaking it for long enough. But I can’t read it. Written words have never been my strong suit. That’s why I’m a numbers man.” He looked down at his drink; he had been nursing his cup of scotch for at least two hours now. All the ice had melted. He drained the glass and considered leaving.

“That’s cool, so if you are good with languages and stuff, why not get work as a translator or something?” She asked. “Would be good with war efforts on the front line with the Gotoro Empire and stuff… But then again you probably don’t like the feeling of getting shot at?”

Apollyon shrugged. He had considered going doing that, but the truth was he didn’t like the idea of fighting. Hell, he didn’t even really know why they were fighting the Gotoro Empire these days. As far as he knew it was an unfortunate mix of circumstances. It all made him feel uneasy and kind of dirty to be put in those kinds of circumstances.

Diana sighed. “Still, seems like a damn shame to waste your talent away punching numbers for Joja corp.”

True, punching numbers hand never been the truly ideal thing Apollyon wanted to do with his life, but it paid the bills. Kept him going day to day. Stopped him from thinking too much about anything. It was almost like working at Joja had beaten him mentally into submission. He really was a slave to the system at this point.

That realisation hit Apollyon hard. Was this what it was like to be human? Was this what it meant to be human? To just become a cog in the machine that was Joja corp? Was it an inevitable cycle? Would he eventually just leave Joja only to instantly be forced into working for Joja again? Sure the name and corporate structure would be different but in the end it would be the exact same wouldn’t it?

Realising having an existential crisis in public was probably frowned upon in polite human society, Apollyon excused himself. “Yeah, I need to go home now.”

“Aw, why?” Whined June. “You’ve only had like one drink.”

“… I have a doctor’s appointment early tomorrow and don’t want to stay up all night.”

His flimsy excuse seemed to be enough for the group and Apollyon was able to leave and catch a bus back to his neighbourhood. It was very depressing watching the glamorous night lights of the city with its fancy eye catching neon fade into the mundane yellow streetlights of the more residential areas.

He lived in a lower middle class area, the housing here was affordable for the time being. Lately there had been word going around that the government was going to try and gentrify the area. If that happened Apollyon would have to consider moving back in with his parents. He didn’t like that idea at all. They burnt all kinds of incense sticks and candles that made his eyes water and skin itch.

He got off at his stop and wandered back to his shoebox apartment. Glancing up at the sky he wondered if there was anything for him besides Joja. The stars said neither yes nor no. They just showed the Junimos trio constellation. Stupid spindly apple bastards. Apollon had a strong dislike for fables about those guys. They were meant to be forest spirits. Some versions of the stories his mum told him when he was younger stated that the Junimos were helpers of Yoba. He didn’t want to think about Yoba today.

Apollyon walked into his apartment and tossed his keys on the table as he walked straight into his bedroom. It was nothing impressive. Just a mattress on the floor, a closet, and a nightstand with an old wooden box on it. It was a little time capsule of his childhood. It was filled with all kinds of things he though were important when he was younger. Small toys, drawings, sea shells, some photos, and maybe a cool rock.

He licked off his shoes and collapsed onto the mattress. His jeans were the only pants he had with fabric strong enough not to get ripped to shreds on the broken bed springs. Apollyon rolled onto his back and looked up at the cracks on the ceiling. There were more today. A lot more. Soon those cracks would end up making a hole. A dark, black, empty void that would suck him in. He’d be sucked in and trapped in the dark with all the other fleshy things that lived in the dark.

That thought made his chest tighten and his anxiety to rise even higher than when he realised he was a slave to the Joja system.

The cracks were getting bigger.

In the end it was just going to be him alone in the dark. No one was ever going to care about him enough to be worried if he just vanished someday. He’d just go back to the dark and no one would care.

The cracks were getting bigger.

The relationship he had with his parents was strained at best. His mum was nice enough to him. She still loved him and made the effort when he made the effort so she’d probably be a little sad. His step dad on the other hand, that was a whole other story. He was nice enough, but always looked at him with disgust when he thoughts that he wasn’t paying attention.

The cracks were getting bigger.

The only one that would care about him going missing was his mum, but even then she would eventually feel relief if he was gone. It would be like ripping off a band aid. It would hurt for a while but then it would go away and be just like the band aid was never there.

The cracks were too big.

Panic finally set in and Apollyon quickly sat up and tried to pull himself off his mattress, knocking over the nightstand and the box in the process. He stared down at the carpet as he tried to ground himself back into reality. The cracks weren’t getting bigger. They were the same as they had always been. People would be sad if he was gone. He was here and he was okay.

He didn’t know how long he sat there calming himself, but when he finally did, he noticed the damage he had caused. He knocked over his nightstand which meant he knocked over his box, and everything in it has spilt out.

Apollyon groaned in frustration as he quickly put everything back; a few small plastic dinosaurs, some rhinestones he thought looked cool, a rock shaped like a monkey’s head, some wood that looked like a dagger, sea shells, some photos of him and his family and an unopened letter?

Frowning a little Apollyon looked at the strange letter with his name shakily written on it. He strained to remember where on earth he had gotten the letter from and why he hadn’t opened it. Cautiously he peeled open the envelope and took out two pieces of paper. One piece of paper contained the deed to his grandfather’s old farm, Hellfire Farm.

Dramatic name aside, Hellfire farm was a place Apollyon didn’t think he would ever see again. His earliest memories were of that place with him mum and grandpa. The old man died too soon. Way too soon. Apollyon had only been seven at the time and didn’t understand why his grandpa wouldn’t wake up or why he was put in a box in the ground.

He quickly read over the letter that informed him that he indeed was being given Hellfire Farm. His grandpa’s pride and joy. Apollyon could feel his chest tightening again as ugly fat tears rolled down his face and hit the letter, smearing a little of the ink, and he didn’t know why. It wasn’t panic he knew that for sure. Maybe it was relief? Maybe his body was getting flooded was adrenaline and dopamine or something? He had no idea.

He wipes his eyes dry and turned the letter over, there was a phone number for someone called Lewis. His grandpa also scribbled down that he would need to call them to set up moving into the farm. All his happy childhood memories came flooding back; picking wild flowers with his mum, learning how to fish with grandpa, running around on autumn leaves, making snow monsters in the winder, and spending all day in the sun.

Screw Joja. Screw them and their fucked up system of mentally destroying and subjugating everyone they employed. Apollyon was going to escape that poison well. He hardly had anything to his name, his job was deliberately soul sucking, and the place he was living in was falling apart. He had nothing in Zuzu city. He could start over. He had a decent amount of gold stored away, kind of. Not really. No. Five hundred gold was pretty awful, but he could make it. He was going to make it.

Goodbye Zuzu city. Hello Stardew Valley.

Chapter Text

Things had gone surprisingly smooth for Apollyon’s transition to Stardew Valley. He had emailed his resignation letter, spicing it up a little with a little lie about a terminally ill relative he needed to care for asap so he wouldn’t be in on Monday. He had also called this Lewis person and explained his situation about finding the deed to Hellfire Farm and how he was planning to move in the next few days.

Lewis was ecstatic to hear that someone was going to make use of the farm once again, and a relative no less. He had informed Apollyon which bus to get and that a woman named Robin would meet him at the bus stop.

So there he was, backpack clutched to his chest as he sat anxiously on the 7:20 bus to Stardew Valley. He couldn’t remember the last time he had seen so much green and blue. Everything in Zuzu was very grey and muted colours. He nearly jumped out of his skin when the bus pulled up at his stop and announced their arrival in Pelican Town.

Apollyon quickly scrambled off the bus, almost tripping over himself as he did so. The ground was hard an uneven beneath his feet, but he didn’t care. Everything felt so fresh and alive. So different from the city. He loved it.

As he quickly became overwhelmed once by the greenery around him he noticed the redheaded woman standing in front of him. “Hey there. You must be Apollyon, right?”

“Yeah, and you’re Robin?”

Robin smiled brightly at him, a genuine smile that wasn’t forced. It unsettled him a little. He was still too used to the fake corporate grins on the Joja zombies. “That’s right. I’m the local carpenter. Mayor Lewis asked me to show you to your new home.”

Apollyon smiled at her, hoping it wasn’t as forced as it felt, and followed her down the dirt path to Hellfire farm. Along the way Robin happily talked about how excited everyone was to meet the new farmer and how the farm had fallen into disrepair. Once he actually saw the farm he couldn’t say she was lying; the whole place was covered with rocks and branches and trees and weeds. Sadly, not the fun kind of weed. It would take a while but he was going to fix this place up.

Suddenly an old man walked out of the farm house to greet them. As it turns out this was Mayor Lewis. He definitely looked old enough for him to be a man that his grandpa would have known back in the day. He quickly explained a few things to Apollyon, where to put his crops, that he should fix things up, and that Robin was going to try and sell him house upgrades. Whatever that meant.

“-And that’s everything.” Said Lewis with a smile. “You think you got a handle on everything?”

Apollyon smiled and nodded. “Yeah, I think so. Thanks for everything Mayor and Miss Robin.”

The two adults looked mildly amused by the way he had addressed them. “It’s okay Apollyon.” Said Lewis. “You can just call us by our names.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Feel free to explore around town and get to know everyone.” Said Lewis. “I’m sure you’ll be settling down and making friends in no time.”

Robin nodded in agreement. “Yeah, stop by my shop sometime too, it’s a little way off from the village up in the mountains. There’s a shortcut through the back of your farm. People have used it quite a lot over the years since this place hasn’t really been used… But I’m sure no one’s going to cut through here anymore since everyone knows about the new farmer.”

Apollyon nodded a little, very thankful for the help. Once the two people had left he took some time exploring the interior of the house, more like a cabin really. But it was just how he remembered it from his childhood somewhat. There was a table and chair, bed, TV, little round carpet, a fireplace and some spooky looking wall hangings on the wall. It made him smile a little to see the place still looked relatively the same.

However there was still no indoor plumbing, so it meant it was back to boiling water and digging out an outdoor toilet for himself. Not the worst thing in the world but he would need to fix this soon. He then realized he didn’t have a shovel, just a hoe. Not very good for digging a hole.

Despite his lack of proper digging equipment, Apollyon was happy. He sat down on the bed, surprised to find it seemed to be a new mattress. This was already a million times better than his old place. He couldn’t stop the giddy feeling that was swirling around deep within his chest every second he existed within that cabin. It felt good, it felt right. He was at home.

He spent the rest of the day cleaning and planting some parsnip crops that Lewis had left for him. He hardly noticed when the sun started to go down, but when it did he quickly made his way back inside and went to bed. Today had been amazing. He’d started the life of a farmer. He could already list all the animals he was going to get off in his mind; chickens, ducks, pigs, cows, goats rabbits, and whatever else he could get his hands on. But this was going to take lots of gold. He was going to need to plant a lot more crops.

***

The next day, bright and early Apollyon got up and watered his seeds. Despite his own personal reservations he decided he was going to be different. He wasn’t going to be closed off from the rest of the world this time. Today he was going to go out and meet the town. Being the outsider he had to try and intergrade himself into this community. If he was an asshole no one would want to buy his vegetables and he would be royally screwed.

He took a few moments to psych himself up. He needed to be pleasant and smile and make an effort not to have resting bitch face all the time. Apollyon didn’t trust himself to not make an enemy for life on his first human interaction of the day, so he decided to use the shortcut and see if he could find Robin’s home.

Thankfully the shortcut wasn’t a lie and he easily found her house. He was very impressed with the building and wondered if Robin went and built it herself. She was the town carpenter after all. Cautiously, Apollyon knocked on the front door and went inside. To his relief Robin was in fact there and standing behind a counter no less. It looked like she had converted the front room of her house into a store front.

“Hey there Apollyon. Good to see you. Need anything built?” She was still positively beaming with the same genuine smile that rattled him earlier.

He smiled sheepishly at her in a vain attempt to compose himself. “I just came by to say hello. Lewis said I should go around and meet everyone.”

“Met anyone yet?”

“Um, no… You’re my first stop.”

She grinned and clapped her hands together. “Aw thank you. It’s so nice that you thought of me and my family. Want some coffee?”

“Oh um, that would be nice. Thank you.” He followed Robin to the kitchen, surprised to see a man there washing and putting away his own coffee mug.

“Demetrius,” said Robin. “This is the new farmer, Apollyon. Apollyon, his is my husband, Demetrius.”

The man smiled at Apollyon and shook his hand. He had a very firm grip, and Apollyon couldn’t tell if he was just naturally strong or just one of those guys that had to out masculine every other guy they met. “Well it’s good to meet you. Robin was very excited to tell us all about you. Have you met our daughter yet? You probably passed her on your way up here.”

“Um, no sir, I took the shortcut and came straight here.”

“Oh, well I’m sure you’ll meet her soon. I need to get to work. I’ll see you later love.” He kissed Robin’s cheek and sidestepped past Apollyon. “Hopefully we’ll see you around more.”

Apollyon nodded a little and sat at the kitchen table while Robin got him his coffee. He knew that he’d technically only just met one new person today but he felt socially drained already. Which sucked since it wasn’t even midday yet.

Robin seemed to tune into his discomfort as she gave him his drink. “Not a very social person?”

“No, I like to keep to myself… Didn’t really hang out with anyone much in Zuzu city.” He sipped his coffee, enjoying the strong bitter taste. “Never really hung out with anyone in general really…”

“You remind me of my son.”

“Oh, you two have a son too?”

She nodded. “Oh yes. Sebastian, he was from my first marriage. Things didn’t pan out to well between us and well… I’d like to think things are better now for our family as a whole.”

Apollyon nodded. “So does this mean your daughter is your step daughter?”

“No, Maru is mine and Demetrius’s child. Demetrius is Sebastian’s stepfather.” She pursed her lips together for a moment. The men in her life seemed to cause her some form of trouble. “Anyway, I know moving to a new place can be overwhelming at times but you’ll pull through it. Okay?”

“… Okay.” It was nice to know that someone as bright as Robin seemed to be supporting him. He finished his coffee and set about meeting as many people as he possibly could around Pelican Town. Also he needed to find a shop that sold seeds.

Once he made his way down the mountain he managed to find the general store and said hello to the few people there. He met the store’s owner, Pierre and his wife Caroline. They too seemed to be all smiles and cheer like the Robin and Demetrius so he had to smile along with them. It just seemed so weird to him He didn’t understand how people could be so happy. It was probably something in the air.

After he’d picked up some seeds he managed to meet a few more villagers; Penny and her class of two at the library, Clint in his blacksmith shop, Alex and his grandparents, and finally Gus, Emily, and Pam at the Stardrop Saloon in the mid afternoon. That wasn’t all of them but that was more than enough social interaction for him for one day. Willingly talking and exploring the town was not fun for him. It was also so damn stressful smiling and being all cheerful with everyone he came across. He’d kill to just talk shit and get drunk with someone miserable. Something he never thought possible.

He sat on a stool at the bar and rested his head against the freshly polished wood of said bar, sighing heavily. Emily laughed a little as she cleaned a few glasses, holding them up to the light to check for imperfections. “You doing alright Polly?”

Apollyon groaned a little. “That’s not my name…” Emily reminded him of June. He wanted to be all snarky because he couldn’t be bothered to be nice, but he couldn’t. Not if he cared about being part of the community. Everyone seemed to like her well enough.

“Ah, sorry. But are you doing okay? Coming here is probably a big transition for you. You came from Zuzu city, right? What did you do there?”

Apollyon lifted his head off the table and sighed again. “I did… I used to work for Joja corporation… Spread sheet stuff mostly so yeah. Not used to working on a farm or with people…”

Emily nodded knowingly, as if just mentioning that dreaded blue company. “Ah, well I’m sure you’ll be growing lots of things in no time. The soil there is good. How about a drink on the house? Beer or ale?”

“Beer’s good.” Apollyon wasn’t the kind of guy to go drinking a lot, but a free beer was a free beer. He was halfway through drinking when the door of the saloon swung open and a rather tired looking man walked in.

Emily looked ecstatic and waved at him. “Shane! Have you met the new farmer yet?”

Shane glanced over at Apollyon and nodded a little. “Hey. Beer me Emily.” The second Shane got his beer he moved to over near the fireplace to drink in peace. For the first time since Apollyon got here he felt a connection with someone. Even if it was because he seemed completely dismissive of his entire existence. This guy wasn’t smiling or faking interest in him. He had found the grumpy old man he could drink and talk shit with.

“…” He moved over to Shane. “Hey, so I’m Apollyon. Nice to meet you Shane.” Moving closer he noticed Shame was wearing a Joja corporation jacket. Another poor unfortunate soul sucked into the Joja machine. They would get along well.

“What do you want?”

Maybe it was because he was just too used to people acting like assholes up in Zuzu but Apollyon rather liked Shane already. “Want to bitch and complain about the fucked up nonsense that is Joja? I have enough gold to buy us both a beer, or you two if you feel like it.”

Shane gave Apollyon a critical look, seeming to size him up a little. “… Alright.”

***

The next few days went by rather smoothly for Apollyon. He checked his parsnips every day, bought some more crop seeds and planted those too, explored more of the town and spent most of his evenings in the Stardrop Saloon. He was quickly becoming friends with Emily and Shane. He originally thought that Emily was going to be a pain in his ass, but no, she was just genuinely a nice woman. Shane was still just as grumpy as ever, but he was slowly warming up to Apollyon.

Everyone in town seemed to be relatively nice and cheerful. Some of his more noticeable encounters happened when Sam almost ran him over with his skateboard, Haley said his clothes were all dirty and kind of gross, and Linus scaring the heck out of him when he saw the strange mountain man foraging for leeks and horseradish near his tent. He felt like he had met just about everyone in town by now.

On Friday Apollyon got up and happily stepped outside, assuming that he was going to see another bright sunny day, and was immediately met with a Spring storm. Almost as quickly as he had opened the door he closed it. There didn’t seem to be much point in going out today if it was just going to rain.

He sat down on his bed and started to go through his phone. He should probably call his mum and see if she was going to pick up this time. He hadn’t told her he had moved back to the farm. He quickly hit the call button and waited to see he was going to get a voice mail again.

Much to his surprise he didn’t. “Hey baby bean,” she almost cooed. “It’s been a while since we’ve talked.”

He smiled a little. “Yeah mum, and I’m not a baby anymore. I’m almost twenty five… So I quit my job at Joja…”

“Oh, finally got your head screwed on right and gonna join the family business?”

“Mum, we both know that I am dangerously under qualified for that, and I’m pretty sure no one I’d work with would respect me enough to make sure I didn’t accidently kill myself.” She meant well, but Apollyon knew she couldn’t make his problems go away.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself dear. You’ll do fine. How long until they kick your jobless ass out of that apartment?”

“Um… I actually already have a new place.”

“Really? Where?”

“… Grandpa left me the farm.”

“Oh…” She didn’t sound too pleased.

“I’m doing alright I swear. Everyone here is really nice. I’ve practically met everyone and I’m not just working to get by… It’s almost been a while and things have been going really well…”

“Oh honey I’m glad things are working out for you,” she said in an almost overly concerned tone. “But like you just said, it’s only been what? A day? Two days? A week? … And you and nature… You two don’t really get along. Please be careful baby bean. We moved to the city for a reason.”

“I know you’ve said that whatever energy or aura I have attracts bad things towards me, but I’m okay… Really.” His mother had always been deep into magic and spiritualist things. She had told him that Stardew Valley was formed on a crack where both the Yoba plane and the Void converge. He had never been sure if he really believed her or not.

“And you know what will happen if one of these spirits senses your spiritual energy and feels threatened? You might be able to fool them in the city surrounded by people but out in the country… Remember baby bean, claws out and slash at the fleshy bits, but there is no shame in running away to fight another day. Survival is reason enough to keep on living.”

“… I know mum. I love you.”

“I love you too baby bean. I’ll send you a house warming gift soon.” She hung up. Presumably to start some crystal protection charm for him or something.

He knew that she loved him and didn’t mean to sound condescending or rude, but when she talked about his energy or aura it was always in a negative light. His energy was always negative and is aura was always black. He didn’t understand any of it but that apparently meant he was living a doomed existence or something. He didn’t want to dwell on it too much.

To take his mind off of the unfortunate accident that was his life he decided to go for a walk in the rain. Knowing himself he was going to dwell on this weather he wanted to or not. His feet ended up taking him down to the beach. He walked along the rickety doc and stood with the tips of his shoes just over the edge.

He looked up at the sky into a sea of grey and black. Even here it could be just as depressing as the city. Was he getting along with people now? Was he enjoying himself a lot more than he was in the city? Yes. But no matter where he went there was always going to be one thing that was the same. Him. He was never going to change. Not really.

The longer he stared up at the clouds the more they parts where the clouds overlapped started to look like cracks to him. Just like the ones in the ceiling of his old apartment. Before he could stop himself a sob managed to claw its way out of his throat. He knew he was stupid for acting like this. Everything was going good for him.

Everything was fine. He should be happy, but he wasn’t. He was still miserable. He was cold and soaked and miserable and couldn’t stop the ugly, fat tears from rolling down his face as he cried out into the sea.

Chapter Text

Today was Friday, which meant one thing for Sebastian; heading down to the saloon to beat Sam at pool that night. It also happened to be raining which meant he was going to head down to the beach to stare out at the sea. An enjoyable past time for him since it meant pretty much no one would be outside.

It was about nine when Sebastian pulled himself out of bed and into the kitchen. He needed his caffeine if he was going to function. He wasn’t bogged down with work at the moment so he could afford to take the whole day off.

He sat in the kitchen and drank his coffee, wondering if he should let Sam win a game of pool for once. But his own thoughts were interrupted when Maru walked in and poured herself an extra-large glass of orange juice and sat across from him, letting out an exasperated sigh.

“Oh man… I think I fried my third motherboard… I’m gonna be broke at this rate.” Said Maru. Sebastian grunted in response. He didn’t care too much for his half-sister’s attempts at small talk. Either she didn’t get the hint or just decided to ignore him. “Anyway… Have you met the new farmer yet?”

He had recalled that his mum had mentioned showing someone the old Hellfire Farm earlier, but didn’t really make much of it. Apparently they stopped over a few times too. Every time he had been in his room and didn’t bother to go out to see who was visiting. He’s just assumed it was Marnie asking for help with her chicken coops or something. It wouldn’t have been the first time.

“No. Too busy with my own work to meet any new people. I’ll see them around sometime anyway. This isn’t a huge place.”

“Well that’s true.” She drank some of her juice and hummed thoughtfully. “He’s really nice. He came into the clinic the other day and introduced himself to me and Harvey. He was so shy but you could tell he was putting in the effort to get to know everyone.”

“You talking about Apollyon?” Asked Robin as she walked into the kitchen. “Morning Sebby. Heading down to the docks again?”

“Yeah. I’ll be at the saloon later tonight too.”

Maru smiled a little at that, probably assuming that Sebastian was going to beat Sam at pool again. “Anyway, Sebastian hasn’t met Apollyon yet.”

Their mother looked shocked for a second but ended up shaking her head. “Well you do spend pretty much all of your time inside… Hopefully he’ll be at the saloon tonight. Marnie’s mentioned that he’s dropped by her ranch a few times to see Shane, so if Shane’s at the saloon so will Apollyon.”

As the two women continued to talk Sebastian managed to slip away and exit the house without being noticed. He didn’t care about the new farmer. Just a new person that would probably go right ahead and ignore him. No point getting to know him. He pushed the thoughts of the farmer out of his mind as he walked down the cobblestone pavement of the town. It was nice and quiet when it rained heavily like this.

He was about to walk across the bridge leading down to the beach when he spotted a rather large frog right in the middle of said bridge. After quickly glancing around to make sure there was no one around at all, Sebastian slowly crouched down and approached the green and brown spotted amphibian. By the time it realized Sebastian was behind them it was too late, Sebastian grabbed hold of the slimy boy and held it firmly in his hands.

“Got you.” He muttered happily as it wriggled and went ribbit in his hands at the indignity of being manhandled. Sebastian smiled and gave the frog a few pats before putting it back on the town side of the bridge. But the second he let the frog go the wind picked up from the South, carrying with it the sound of a hideous wail. The sound was so strange and unnatural it even made the frog misjudge its jump and land on its back before falling into the river.

Curious as to what on earth that sound was, Sebastian made his way down to the beach. He saw some black humanoid figure wailing at the end of the docks. For a fleeting moment he wondered if it was a Shadow Brute out from hiding. But then again those were just stories. He slowly approached the person coming within about a few feet of them before they noticed Sebastian was there and turned around.

They looked like a drowned rat, completely drenched from head to toe in dark clothes that just appeared black after getting soaked so badly. How long had he been standing out here for? His hair clung around his eyes, red and kind of puffy from crying. Was this guy the new farmer?

The man quickly rubbed his eyes and put on a small smile, even if it looked kind of forced. Not surprised since he was caught crying. “Um… hey?” He muttered. “Um, I don’t think we’ve met yet. I’m Apollyon. I guess you’re Sebastian?”

“Um yeah…” Wow this was very awkward. There was nothing Sebastian wanted more than for this to be over with. Luckily for him Apollyon seemed to be thinking the same thing.

“Well, I’m sure you didn’t want to come down here and talk to some random stranger. I’ll let you get on with what you’re doing.” He walked past Sebastian, lightly brushing his knuckles against his own. Apollyon’s skin was ice cold and left his own skin tingling a little in the process. The new farmer was weird.

***

Later that night at the saloon Sebastian was retelling his weird encounter with Abigail and Sam. Sebastian thought everything was kind of weird about their encounter his friends however…

“Whale songs,” said Sam. “He was practicing whale songs.”

Abigail rolled her eyes. “Get real Sam. He was practicing some Blue whaleanese. Wait, did it sound more like wooooOOOOoooOOOooorrrrr, or more like rrrrrrrrriiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIiiiimmmooooRRRR?”

Sam nodded in agreement. “Ah yeas, very important. The pitch is a dead giveaway. One octave can mean the difference between a blue whale saying hello and an orca telling you your mum has been harpooned.”

Abigail snickered at that comment and Sebastian’s sour expression. “Come on, all that can be easily explained. Firstly it’s cold as fuck when it rains and you have no idea how long he was out there. Secondly he was probably just freaking out about moving out here and needed to have a cry and scream about it. I heard him talking to my dad the other day and he said he used to work for Joja and just hates them.”

At the mention of Joja Sam cringed. “Okay yeah, if he worked for Joja he probably needed to let out a scream. I just work there part time and I feel like I need to go home and cry at least once a month. That place sucks the life out of you.”

Sebastian relented a little at his friends words. Things were weird, but they weren’t insanely weird. He was just overthinking things. “Whatever. Whose turn is it to get a round of drinks?”

“That would be I.” Said Abigail as she jumped off the couch and made her way to the bar. Once she was out of earshot Sam couldn’t help but grin at Sebastian.

Sebastian knew that look. He did not like that look. “… What are you thinking Samson?”

“Dude, do you have a crush on the new guy?”

“… Yeah so I am going to hit that ball with the cue and I’ll make it hit the rim, jump, and smash you in the face.” Just for a little added threat he leaned over the pool table and pretended to line up the shot.

“Not my face!” Whined Sam as he tried to cover his face and anything else Sebastian might try and hit. “All I have it my looks!”

“Pretty much.”

“Okay rude. But I was just teasing you. Though you do tend to imprint on things you find weird like a duckling… I think I heard your mum say that once. Which is how we became such good friends.”

“Do I have to shove this pool cue up your nose?”

***

After a rather embarrassing meeting with Sebastian, marking off the last person he had to meet. He just really wished he hadn’t been caught crying out in the middle of the rain like that. He was going to have to refrain from doing that out in public and just do it in the safety of his room like he would usually do in his old apartment. When he got home he peeled off his wet clothes and dried himself by the fire as best he could before putting on a fresh clean set and heading to the saloon.

Getting there he grabbed two beers and headed over to Shane. When the man tried to take one from Apollyon, he scolded him and quickly gulped down the first one before starting on his second one. Shane seemed to find this very amusing.

“What’s got you so worked up?” He asked with a slight smirk.

“The forced realization of my complete and utter insignificance in the world at large and reminding myself that no matter where I go or what I do I am just a complete piece of trash that should be buried in the Zuzu city dump.”

“… Shit, way to get real there all of a sudden. I’m too sober to talk about this.”

“Same.” As Apollyon quickly started on his second beer he noticed Abigail walked out from the arcade to grab a few drinks from Emily. He glanced over that way to see Sebastian and Sam near the pool table. It kind of looked like Sebastian was threatening the blond.

“Forget it.” Muttered Shane. “Those three hog the pool table every Friday night.”

“Huh, alright… Be back in a bit, don’t stumble home without me.”

“Yes mum.”

Apollyon chuckled and made his way over to Abigail. They’d met when he had gone to get some more seeds only to realize that the general store was closed on Wednesdays. Which sucked but everyone needed a day off at some point. Abigail was mildly disappointed that she couldn’t explore around the farm anymore, but she seemed to warm up to him a little when he gave her a dandelion.

Even though he was tired he still put on a smile and hoped it didn’t look too fake “Hey there Abby.”

She looked over at him and smiled. “Hey there yourself. What’s up?”

“Just seeing if you need any help with your drinks.”

She thought about it for a moment and handed him a tall glass of something. He hadn’t ordered this before. “You got Seb’s drink.” She walked back to her friends with Apollyon following. “Yo, one rum and Joja cola, more like Joja cola with a shot of rum, and a house cider for Seb.”

Apollyon handed Sebastian his drink. He seemed to hesitate for a little but took it anyway. He lightly touched Apollyon’s hand and frowned a little. “Your hand’s freezing.”

“I have very bad circulation in my hands and feet.” Said Apollyon as he looked down at the pool table. “So who’s winning?”

Sam groaned. “Sebastian, again…”

Apollyon chuckled a little and sat on the couch with Abigail and let the boys continue their game. After watching the two boys for a while he noticed that he was being watched himself by the purple haired girl next to him. “… Want a parsnip? They’ll be ready to harvest tomorrow.”

Abigail immediately pulled a disgusted face. “Ew, no. Never give me vegetables or I’ll shove it up your ass.”

“Fair enough.”

“Just wondering why you were practicing whale songs on the beach today.”

Now he just wanted to get up and leave. This was all just too embarrassing for him to have to explain. He was now really missing the city. He’d have to bend the truth just a little bit. “Ah, well you see I called my mum this morning and she wasn’t too happy with me moving back to Hellfire Farm. We have a bit of strained relationship.”

“Is she a bitch?”

He couldn’t help but laugh at that notion. “Quite the opposite, my mum is one of the nicest people around. She just… She’s into crystals and aura readings and spirit energy. Depending on who you ask she could be considered a medium, witch, or druid… I think I heard someone call her sorceress once. Anyway, the point is she’s always been able to read my aura and spirit energy. You know what she always sees? Black and negative energy.”

Abigail didn’t seem to know how to respond to that. “Um… That’s interesting?”

Apollyon shrugged. “I know it’s weird. But it can’t be helped really. Things just turned out the way they did… It’s kind of depressing that my mum’s only been able to see nothing but pain for me when she does my aura readings but it’s okay. I have a feeling she’s doing a little bit of projecting onto me or something like that. But I still love her. She pulled me into this world.”

“That’s one way of putting it.” She stirred her drink around with the straw and hummed a little to herself. “So, do you have a better relationship with your dad?”

“I only have a step-dad and to be honest… When it came to looking after me it was only just so I wouldn’t get taken away by child services.”

“… Rough.”

Apollyon chuckled nervously and rubbed the back of his head. “Yeah, I tend to overshare when I have a fair bit to drink. I’m used to either drinking a whole bottle by myself and passing out or nursing a glass for a few hours… I should go home before I do something stupid, like revel my sex life.”

“… Boys or girls?”

He chuckled and lightly nudged her arm. “I don’t kiss and tell. I’m gonna see if Shane’s ready to head off.” He walked over to Sebastian and lightly tapped him on the shoulder. “Hey, about earlier today…”

“Forget about it.” Muttered the raven haired man.

Apollyon shook his head and reached into his pocket, taking out a sizable chunk of quartz. “Nah, I embarrassed myself like a dumbass. I mean really, you thought I was doing whale impersonations? Clearly I was speaking narwhal.” He turned the rock around in his hand a little, momentarily second guessing himself. “Anyway, I found this while I was breaking rocks on my farm the other day. Thought you might like it. I cleaned and shined it soooo later.” He put the stone on the pool table and wandered over to Shane.

Emily looked mildly relieved that Apollyon was walking back. “Hey there you are. I was wondering where you wandered off to.” She reached over the bar and gently shook Shane. “Come on big boy time for you to head home.”

Shane hardly complained as he pulled himself to his feet and followed Apollyon out. It wasn’t that big a deal to walk back to his place via Marine’s ranch once in a while. He recently found another path that lead from his farm right by Marine’s place, and it was kind of nice to walk by Cindersap forest at night.

“What were you talking to those guys about anyway?” Asked Shane.

Apollyon chuckled a little and shrugged. “Whale songs mostly. You getting jealous of me hanging around other people?”

“Piss off.” He shoved Apollyon and walked back into his own home.

Apollyon couldn’t help but laugh at that. He felt all over the place today with his emotions. One second he was happy and then he was sad. One of the drawbacks of not working in a soul sucking establishment like Joja. He was learning how to be human and have feelings again. It was scary in a good way.

He sighed a little and made his way back onto his farm. He was about halfway there when he heard a tiny screech followed by a furious flapping of wings. Apollyon looked up just in time to get his face side swiped by a very small angry bat. He quickly bolted back inside when the bat swooped him again and slammed the door right on its face. Now he had to worry about tiny flying bastards.

Chapter Text

All Apollyon did was go over to Emily’s place to give her an apricot as a thanks for being so cool towards him over the past few days, he had heard friends give each other random gifts from time to time. But somehow he ended up being used as a model while Emily draped fabric over his body and pinned it in place.

“Um… So what are you making?” He asked.

“Just seeing how this new pattern looks on a person,” she said as she grabbed a few more pins. “To be fair I would normally ask Haley to help me but this is meant to be for a man and well… I needed someone with a flat chest.”

“Fair enough.” Apollyon continued to stand still, not wanting to get stabbed by mistake.

“Yeah… do you have any sheep on your farm? I’d love to get some wool.”

“Unfortunately I don’t have any sheep at the moment. But I’ll keep you in mind once I get one.”

“Thanks Apollyon. You are the best.” She stood back and smiled at him, taking in the clothing design and deeming it to be suitable. “Nice.” Emily took a photo with Haley’s borrowed camera and started to remove the pattern. “So what are you up to today?”

“Um, I was thinking of checking out the mines…” Truth be told the thought of going to the mines terrified him. They were cold and dark and enclosed. He had nightmares about being in those kinds of places. That was when he could remember his nightmares.

He’d only gone up there to see if he could find any copper but instead found Marlon, leader of the Adventure’s guild. He gave him a sword and basically tasked him with slaying monsters in the caves. So now he had even more reason to fear the caves. Luckily he’d only come across slimes and monster bugs. But it was still horrifying to have a flying bug the size of a small dog dive bombing him with its pincers snapping like crazy.

Emily didn’t seem too happy that Apollyon was going into the mines. “That place is really dangerous. You shouldn’t go in there unless you really have to… But be safe. Okay? Pack lots of food and be smart about it all. Okay?”

“Yes mum.”

She grinned and poked his face. “I’m too young to be your mum silly. Drop by the saloon tonight so I know you haven’t died, if you’re heading up there now.”

“Don’t worry. I’m just going up there to get some copper then I am gone.” He reassured her. Once he was free of Emily’s shirt pattern, Apollyon made his way up the mountain to the mines.

He could feel his blood starting to run ice cold, if that was even possible. He was pretty sure his blood was made of ice water at this point. His skin was constantly cold after all. Cold. Cold. Always cold. Cold blooded? Yeah, he was cold blooded. He was a cold blooded killer. With all the murder and stabby stabby stab and what not. Okay he was pretty pathetic but he needed to hype himself up somehow.

He stood in front of the elevator and quickly made sure that he had enough torches to light his way in case things got too dark. Taking a deep breath he stepped into the elevator and went down into the depths. Truthfully he hadn’t even passed the first forty floors but he was doing his best darn it.

He got off on the thirtieth floor and descended the ladder. He was immediately plunged into darkness. Apollyon could feel his chest tighten with anxiety as he started throwing down torches like flares. This was the darkest part of the mines yet. It was so dark and scary. He needed to save up for a glow ring. The only thing that would keep him calm at this rate.

Apollyon frantically started smashing rocks in a desperate effort to try and find a new ladder to get down. He hoped that a lower level would be brighter and he wouldn’t have to rely on his torches so much. Eventually he found a ladder and quickly escaped down it. Unfortunately this ladder seemed to be covered in a thick layer of slime and he slipped, crashing down onto the thick, slimy ground.

He groaned and rubbed his forehead. The whole place was covered in thick green slime and the disturbing squelching sound of slimes echoed all around him. Somehow he had found some kind of slime breeding ground. Realising the danger he was in, Apollyon quickly got up and attempted to climb up the ladder, but a slime smashed him hard in the back of the head, sending his face through a rung on the slime rotted ladder.

“Fuck.” He groaned as he turned to face the smile, just in time for the sentient snot ball to leap forward and slam into his guts. He dropped his sword and fell to his knees. He was completely winded at this point. A second slime managed to gloop its way over and join the first slime in beating the hell out of Apollyon. Each hit was getting stronger. Each fall was getting harder to get up from. His vision was getting darker as he became closer and closer to losing consciousness.

The cracks were crumbling away.

***

It was about eight thirty according to Sebastian’s phone. Today had been another stressful day trying to fix some code for a client that just refused to get fixed. It didn’t help that his mum had come down and berated him for not going outside for a few days. It wasn’t his fault he was busy. He had things he needed to do if he was going to get enough gold to leave Pelican town for good.

As he finished his third cigarette of the day he checked to see how many he had left and if he needed to pick up a few more from Pierre’s shop later in the week. He might make it to Monday. By then he should have fixed the damn code. If not he’d have to get some more.

Nights out in the mountains were rather peaceful. The only sounds were that of nature and occasionally Linus moving around his tent. It was good for when he needed to clear his head. Suddenly his peaceful evening was interrupted by the sound of something heavy and metallic crashing against something else heavy and metallic in the mines.

It made him jump and stare at the entrance way from the other side of the river. He watched in morbid curiosity was a dark shambling shape trudged out. They slowly walked over the bridge and towards them. As they got closer Sebastian was surprised and very disturbed to see it was Apollyon. He looked awfuly; clothes torn, skin cut deeply in some places, blood was dripping from his hands, he was covered in thick slime and the whites of one of his eyes had turned red. He watched in fascination as the farmer shuffled forward a few more steps before dropping his pickaxe and almost falling over.

Sebastian approached the farmer, he didn’t want them to suddenly keel over and die right in front of him. That would be a mental scar he didn’t need. “Hey, are you okay?” He asked, but Apollyon didn’t seem to hear him. So Sebastian stood in front of him and begrudgingly put his hands on Apollyon’s slime covered shoulders. “Hey, listen to me. Are you okay?”

Apollyon looked at Sebastian with a dazed look in his eyes. There wasn’t any life in those eyes. It looked like he had some kind of brain injury by the way he was swaying. He opened his mouth a little and a tidal wave of blood gushed out onto Sebastian’s hoodie and pants before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he passed out.

“Oh fuck!” Sebastian managed to grab hold of him and stopped Apollyon from hitting his head against the ground, but now he had a very, very injured and possibly dying man on his hands. “Oh fuck… What the fuck do I…? Shit I don’t need this today!” He held on tightly to him and dragged him back to his house, practically kicking in the front door as he did so. “MARU! MEDICAL EMERGENCY!”

Within seconds the whole family was in the front room gawking at the sight of a bloody and unconscious farmer in their front room. They probably would have been even more freaked out if they could actually see how much blood was on Sebastian’s clothes.

Maru quickly jumped in and started to perform first aid with the help of Robin while Demetrius went and called Doctor Harvey. All Sebastian could really do was stand back and watch. It wasn’t like he could really do anything anyway. His body wasn’t allowing him to do anything. His feet had planted themselves into the ground and refused to move. This whole situation was fucked up.

“Sebastian!” Snapped Maru.

“Huh? What?”

“What happened?”

“Oh um, they walked out of the mines and looked like that… They were really out of it and didn’t answer me when I called out to them and when I did manage to get in front of them they like spat up a mouthful of blood and passed out.”

She nodded a little. “Okay, probably a concussion… Maybe some internal bleeding… Mum, where’s the stretcher?”

“I’ll go get it.” Robin quickly got up and rushed out of the room.

Maru sighed a little and picked up Apollyon’s hand. “What on earth happened to you?” In the light Sebastian could easily see where most of the blood had come from; Apollyon’s nails had been ripped off. Some of them were still practically attached to his fingers, but only just. It almost looked like he’d been trying to claw himself out of something. It was horrific.

***

Apollyon blinked a few times, very surprised to see that he was looking up at the pristine white ceiling of the clinic and not the slime covered cavern he had passed out in. He felt kind of sluggish and drained. The door opened and good old doctor Harvey walked in. He looked rather shocked to see Apollyon awake, but surprise quickly replaced shock and he quickly moved to Apollyon’s side.

“Hey doc.” Muttered Apollyon. “How long was I out for?”

“Since last night. You’re lucky the worst you had was a minor concussion. Though you did lose a tooth and all of your fingernails. You also ruptured a blood vessel in your eye so your sclera is no longer white.”

“That explains why my fingers are all bandaged up then…” Apollyon sighed a little and pulled himself into a sitting position. “Anyway, I should get going. No point in hanging around here for much longer.”

Harvey put his hand on Apollyon’s shoulder and gave him a very concerned look. “Well be that as it may I um, I have a few questions to ask you concerning your medical history. It’s interesting to say the least and I was hoping you could correct me if this information is wrong.”

An exasperated sigh left him when he heard that. “Yeah… Well what do you want to know?”

“You had pica when you were younger?”

“I was five and ate anything that people put in front of me doc. I ate so many crayons and so much paper. I ate one of my mum’s candles and an incense stick once. Don’t do that anymore.” He remembered going to the hospital specifically because he ate an incense stick.

“You’ve also had multiple concussions over your teenage years.”

“I was an angry child that got into a lot of fights. In my defence they were assholes that needed to be taught a lesson.”

“You also got hit by a bus in your senior year in high school. But you only had a sprained wrist and road rash.”

Apollyon shrugged. “Yeah well, I guess I’m just lucky. So thanks for dragging my dumb ass down here Harvey. I appreciate it.”

“Oh, I didn’t bring you down here. Maru’s parents did.”

“Really?” Now he felt bad. They probably thought he was dying.

“Yeah, when Demetrius called he said that Sebastian saw you walk out of the mines and collapse right in front of him.”

“Oh…” Once again he had made an ass of himself right in front of Sebastian. “Well I should thank them for helping me out…”

“Maru’s working today, so she’s at the front desk… Are you sure you want to leave right now?” Asked Harvey. He still seemed very concerned. “I mean you can but maybe you should stay longer?”

“Nah, I’m good.” Apollyon got up and walked to the front desk.

Maru looked just as shocked as Harvey did to see that he was up and about. “Apollyon, are you okay?”

“Just a few scrapes and stuff, but I’m okay. Thanks for helping me.”

“Don’t thank me, you should be thanking Sebastian. If he wasn’t out smoking last night no one would have found you till morning. Things could have been really bad for you if he didn’t run into you… But you did puke a lot of blood and slime onto him.”

Apollyon laughed nervously. “So that’s why Harvey brought up the pica thing… What stuff does Sebastian like?” There was no way he was going to give Sebastian another lump of quartz. He probably thought he was a complete weirdo for doing that.

Maru thought for a moment. “Well, you should avoid the mines but he likes obsidian and this stone called a frozen tear… Maybe you should stick to something like pumpkin soup or sashimi? He also likes this thing called a void egg.”

“A void egg?” He didn’t realise people normal people liked those things. Void eggs held a level foreboding about them. In the old days it was thought that they were the eggs of void creatures like the shadow brutes or Squid kids. But people now knew they were just special black chicken eggs. They were still thought of as bad luck or inedible to most people.

“Yeah I know. Kind of weird… Just don’t go into the mines again, okay?”

Apollyon nodded a little and trudged back to his farm. He wanted to do something nice for the family that had helped him so much, and he wanted to do something extra special for Sebastian. He needed to be redeemed in his eyes. It was all because of small town politeness of course. Once he got to the farm and noticed had had a dozen or so parsnips and potatoes ready for harvest he developed an idea. He might not have a kitchen yet but he sure as hell could build a fire.

Around lunchtime Apollyon found himself walking towards Robin’s house carrying a pot of parsnip and potato soup. He swore the poor red head almost had a heart attack. She probably wasn’t expecting to see him so soon.

He ignored her shock and placed the pot on the countertop. “Parsnip and potato soup. Just a little something to say thank you for what you did for me last night.”

“Oh thank you… Would you mind if we take this to the kitchen?”

“Sure.” He picked up the pot and followed Robin to the kitchen, placing the pot on the table. “I’m really sorry about what happened last night. I just had a few cuts and stuff, and yeah, one of my eyes is going to be red for a while… and it’ll take a while for my nails to grow back, but I’m fine. Really.”

“If you’re sure…” She seemed a little wary. “So what happened exactly?”

“Um, I went into the mines and accidentally ended up in some kind of slime breeding ground and they belted the heck out of me.” He nervously shoved his hands into his pockets and looked down at the floor. “Um, anyway, is Sebastian home? I heard he’s the one that dragged my dumb ass here in the first place.”

“He’s in his room, down in the basement.”

“Okay thanks. Enjoy the soup.” He quickly made his way down to the basement, politely knocking on Sebastian’s door before opening it. “Hello?”

Sebastian looked over the top of his computer, surprised to see Apollyon up and about so soon. “You’re not dead. Good.”

“Yeah…” He walked over to Sebastian, unable to look him in the face. He felt so embarrassed. “Look, thanks for what you did. I just got the hell beaten out of me by some slimes and passed out… So here.” He took a pouch of gold from his pocket and placed it on the desk. “I asked Maru what stuff you like and since I don’t have a kitchen and can’t go back into the mines I thought maybe two thousand gold would be fine.” Sebastian stared blankly at the gold pouch so Apollyon continued to ramble. “And well, I thought since I apparently barfed a bunch of blood and slime onto you, you could like get some new clothes with it or something. I really owe you one. If you ever need anything just drop by the farm and ask.”

“… Thanks.”

Once again Apollyon felt like he had screwed up. It seemed as though he was fated to make terrible first, second, and third impressions with Sebastian. “Well… I guess I’ll see you around… Thanks again… Sorry for bothering you.” On his way out he couldn’t help but notice the quartz he’d given Sebastian the previous Friday being used as a paper weight. It made him smile a little to know that it hadn’t just been thrown out.

“… You’re not bothering me.”

Apollyon glanced over at the man who was still at his computer. “Hmm?”

“Look, when we first met you were weird, really freaking weird, but Abby and Sam seem to think you’re okay so whatever… And I thought the Quartz was a nice gift… And it wasn’t your fault a bunch of slimes beat the crap out of you.”

That alleviated some of the anxiety that was dwelling deep inside Apollyon’s chest. “Okay, I’ll let you get back to work.”

Sebastian nodded a little and went back to typing away on his computer. Feeling as though he had somewhat redeemed himself in Sebastian’s eyes, Apollyon left the house and trudged back down into the town. When he was about halfway down the mountain he realised that he didn’t go to the Saloon last night. Emily was going to kill him.

Chapter Text

Once again Apollyon found himself at Emily’s place. She was scolding him for being an idiot and getting completely wrecked down in the mines. All he could do was hang his head in shame and agree with her. He sat on her couch as she walked around him going off about the dangers of the caves.

“It’s so dangerous down there.” She scolded. “Do you have any idea how lucky you that you just… All of this-” Emily gestured to all of him. “-was the worst thing that happened to you. Don’t go into the mines again.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t…” That was a lie. He still needed copper and he heard Clint mentioning that there were more precious ores like iron, gold, and iridium deeper in these mines and a mine out in a place called Calico Desert. He just needed a better pickaxe and a stronger sword before he tried again.

Hearing him say that Emily calmed down somewhat and happily changed the subject. “Alright. Are you all ready for the flower dance?”

“The what?” Maybe the concussion and knocked that information out of his head, but he had no idea what that was.

Emily’s eyes seemed to sparkle as she spun around in a circle. “The flower dance is one of the best festivals in Pelican Town! Every year we go down to this large open field over the other side of the Cindersap Forest and we all get together and have this big dance! All the young people in town get all dressed up and dance to bring prosperity and fertility for the year!”

“… Um, prosperity and fertility? Kind of sounds like some pagan ritual.”

“That’s how it started off as.”

“… Oh.”

Emily chuckled and continued to move and sway, like she was dancing to some unheard tune. “It’s so much fun wearing long flowing dresses and dancing with a handsome man in a bow tie. Flower crowns are always fun to make too! You might get a chance to dance with someone too!”

“Doubt it. I can’t dance and I look like I kissed a shovel at the moment.” Apollyon ran his fingers through his hair and sighed a little. “Besides if suits have to pair up with dresses I don’t think I have one that fits me.”

Her eyes seemed to light up again. “Oh so you’re gay? Transgender?”

Apollyon shrugged. “I’d say I’m pansexual. But I personally prefer my partners with smaller chests and nice butts. Apart from that I don’t really mind what my partner identifies as. As long as we like each other I never really saw what the problem was.”

Emily nodded in agreement. “Too true. So do you like anyone in town?”

“Huh? Oh I haven’t really looked. Been a little too busy with farm stuff to be interested in that kind of stuff…” He’d just gotten enough money and materials together to build a silo and needed to figure out where he was going to put his coop and barn. Robin also told him he should get a windmill so he needed to think about that too. Then there was that orchid he wanted to put in. Pierre had so many different saplings he wanted to get his hands on so badly. Farming was hard.

Emily grinned and gave him a playful nudge. “Well there are a lot of young eligible bachelors and bachelorettes in Pelican Town.”

“Like who?”

“Let’s see…” Emily began to list people off on her fingers. “Penny, Maru, Leah, Abigail, Haley and of course me.”

“Really? You included yourself when you listed off all the girls that aren’t married? Why not include Marnie too?”

“You into older women?”

“Eh, she seems nice but I don’t think she’s my type.”

“Thought as much. Anyway so with guys that; Alex, Sam, Harvey, Shane, Elliot, and Sebastian.”

Apollyon felt dead inside at the mention of Sebastian. Every interaction he had so far with the raven haired individual had resulted in some kind of personal embarrassment. “Okay…”

Suddenly Haley stepped out of her room wearing her swimsuit and carrying a towel. “I’m heading down to the beach to tan for a while.”

Emily grinned. “Awesome. Your aura looks especially good today.”

Apollyon felt like someone had poured ice water over him. “You can see people’s auras?”

Haley groaned and rolled her eyes. “She’s into all that new age junk. Call me if you really need me back here.” She happily strolled out the door leaving Apollyon and Emily alone.

He was nervous now. In retrospect he felt dumb for not realising that all those crystals and weird music she listened to was not just because she felt like it, but had some kind of spiritual meaning behind it. Emily seemed to sense his unease and smiled softly at him.

“You’ve had your aura read before then?” She asked. “Heard someone say something nasty about it because it’s as black as night?”

“… Maybe.” He fidgeted nervously with the hem of his shirt. “I just… I don’t know how to change my aura or if it’s possible… People who tend to be more magically inclined tend to look upon me with disgust and avoid me. Why didn’t you?”

“Because you’re a good person.” She said in such a matter of fact tone it threw Apollyon for a loop. “Look, many people tend to radiate different kinds of auras and they all fluctuate all the time. Most people tend to stick to one main colour though.” Emily thought hard for a moment. “Hmm, take Haley for example. She usually has a gold aura. People with those kinds of auras tend to be the more artistic and beautiful people of the world, but sometimes it will get all kind of murky pink because she’s kind of immature. Today her aura is very golden.”

“… And what about black auras? What do people say about that?”

Emily thought for a moment. “Well black auras don’t actually exist.” She tilted her head to the side and tapped her fingers against her chin. “… You know, the more I look at you the more I think it’s actually just dark purple. Like really dark purple. Almost black but not.”

Apollyon fidgeted nervously. “So what does that mean?”

She leaned over to him and put her hand on his shoulder. “It means you’re a good person. Your aura might have just been dark because you closed yourself off from people. I am assuming.” Emily patted his back and walked off to the kitchen. “Well I should probably get back to getting that shirt all fixed up, and you should get back to farming. I’ll be at the saloon tonight if you want to talk.”

Apollyon thanked her and left her home. He was going to go and see Robin to check how much it was going to cost for him to have a silo built. As he passed the old run down community centre he couldn’t help but notice Lewis standing outside it looking rather dejected.

“… Something wrong Mr Mayor?”

Lewis sighed a little. “What an eyesore… This is the Pelican Town Community Centre, or what’s left of it. Once bustling with activity it’s now been left to rot… It’s shameful.” He walked up to the door and unlocked it. “You know, Joja has been hounding me to sell this to them so they can turn it into a warehouse.”

Apollyon thought he was going to have a heart attack. “What? Joja? Here? In Pelican Town?”

The older man gave him a very confused look and pointed to a large square building just off in the distance. “Did you not see the Jojamart? It’s been here for a few months now. Shane and Sam work there you know.”

“… My mind seems to have blocked out anything and everything Joja related unless it involved bad mouthing them.”

Lewis chuckled at that. “You’re a good kid Apollyon. I just… there’s just something stopping me from selling this old place… I guess old timers like me get attached to relics of the past… Ah well. If anyone else buys a Joja Co. Membership I’m just going to go ahead and sell it.”

“What? No way!” Apollyon was mortified. “I came here to be rid of all things Joja! That place sucks out your damn soul! I will never ever in a million years get a Joja Co. Membership!” Apollyon’s mind was set, he was going to rebuild the town centre with his own two hands if it meant Joja would have to crawl back to the vile pit it came from. He would need a lot of wood, untold amounts of hard wood, about a thousand stone, several bars of copper, iron, and gold, and a metric fuck-ton of gold.

While he was figuring out how to do this he almost didn’t notice Lewis walk into said Community Centre. Apollyon quickly followed him inside and looked around. The place was completely trashed; boarded up windows, holes in the walls, missing floorboards, water damage, and broken glass. He was going to need two metric fuck-tons of gold.

He notice off on the far left, next to the fireplace, there was a weird little hut just standing there. The Mayor noticed it too and frowned a little. “Huh, I guess Vincent and Jas must’ve been playing in here… This place is even more dilapidated than I remember…”

“Yeah, this place is in pretty bad sh- AH!” Just next to the hut a small green apple looking creature suddenly popped into existence. It waved its little stick arm enthusiastically at Apollyon before popping back out of existence.

Lewis frowned a little and quickly looked back over to the hut finding nothing there. “What’s the matter? Are you still a little out of it? Harvey did say you weren’t looking your best when you left the other day.”

“No I…” Apollyon walked over to the hut and looked behind it. The apple creature was gone. “I thought I saw something…”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this place was full of rats.” Suddenly the apple thing popped back into existence, seemingly to taunt Apollyon by doing a little dance before vanishing again seconds before Lewis could see it. He had a very concerned look on his face, probably because he saw Apollyon looking at something over his shoulder. “You’re worrying me, Apollyon.”

“… I think I should go and lie down for a bit.”

“That might be for the best… I think I’ll head home now. I need to get some lunch.” He took a few steps towards the door before turning around. “Hey, how about I keep this place unlocked from now on? Maybe you can catch that rat if you have some spare time?”

“Um… sure…” When the Mayor was gone Apollyon couldn’t help but feel a very strange and eerie presence looming over him. There was something not right and downright disturbing in the place. A small gust of wind through one of the building’s many holes blew some paper across the floor. An odd piece of golden parchment got caught on his foot and he picked it up. It seemed to be written in code or was just scribbles. He would have investigated the matter further but a feeling of impending dread was quickly taking him over. All he could see were cracks.

He raced outside as fast as he could, tripping and face planting on the grass. He was okay. The cracks weren’t real. He was okay. They weren’t real, those little apple bastards. He had just hit his head really hard and was in the middle of having an aneurism or a seizure. There was no way he just saw a Junimo, and there was no way the little fucker taunted him with a little dance. Apollyon quickly decided that today was over and promptly went home to sleep and forget about everything that just happened, but he was still going to rebuild the community centre.

The next day Apollyon started his morning by watching TV. The Queen of Sauce cooking show was playing so he spent a little time learning how to cook himself some tasty stir-fry. If only he had a kitchen to do so. Robin had told him that she could upgrade his house so he could have a proper kitchen and more living space, but it cost so much gold.

He lamented over the fact he was poorer than dirt as he tended to his farming duties of watering his parsnips, potatoes and beans. Some day he would have a kitchen and cook the best vegetable soup and make the best mashed potatoes. As he put his watering can away in his farming supply chest he noticed a bit of paper sticking out of his letter box.

Apollyon grabbed the letter, assuming it was from Harvey asking him to come in for a check-up or something but no. It was from a M. Rasmodius, Wizard. Somehow he knew that he had been poking around the community centre and wanted him to come to his tower in Cindersap Forest to talk about the rat problem. That wasn’t suspicious at all.

Mildly concerned for his safety, Apollyon decided to take his axe with him as he ventured down to the Wizard’s tower. He had spotted it before on his many trips down to the forest to search for wild flowers and vegetables to sell but never bothered to go up to it.

Entering the tower, Apollyon was greeted by a bearded man with wild purple hair wearing a black robe and hat. He seemed to be standing over some kind of summoning circle in front of his fire place chanting something quietly to himself.

Once Apollyon closed the door the Wizard stopped chanting and looked up at him. “Ah… Come in.” He walked over to Apollyon and bowed with a flourish. “I am Rasmodius… Seeker of the arcane truths. Mediary between physical and ethereal. Master of the seven elementals. Keeper of the sacred cha- … you get the point.”

“Um yeah. I’m Apollyon. Farmer of vegetables.”

“Ah yes Apollyon. The one whose arrival I have long foreseen… Though I must ask you to forgive me for what I am about to do, but I must protect the valley.”

Before Apollyon could react the Wizard waved his arm in front of him and muttered an incantation. The moment the last sound left his lips it felt like stakes were being driven through his body as he was forcibly pinned to the ground. Through the shock Apollyon let out a pained whimper. It felt like sharpened stakes had been driven through most of the joints in his arms and legs.

“W-why?”

The Wizard sighed a little, looking almost annoyed at this point. “I was really hoping for a different outcome. I was hoping you weren’t… But I guess that really doesn’t matter. You being this… This thing explains the sudden behaviour displayed by the Junimos. I will make this quick.”

“W-why? What did I do?” Apollyon was panicking. Was the Wizard going to kill him? He didn’t understand what was happening to him.

He raised his hand and started to utter another incantation when suddenly the same green Junimo popped into existence between Apollyon and the Wizard. It raised its little stick arms up and started to dance around making a series of high pitched sounds that sounded rather panicked in nature.

The little creatures supposed pleas seemed to quell the Wizard’s need to end Apollyon. “Are you sure Green?” He asked.

The Junimo known as Green bounced up and down a few times and hopped around on one leg. It shimmied and shook around making a few more frantic sounds.

“… Well if you must. The ramifications if things end up poorly due to your decisions falls completely on you and the rest of your kind.” He waved his hand and Apollyon was able to move again.

With his newly acquired freedom Apollyon crawled backwards as fast as he could till his back hit the wall. “What the hell?! Keep that apple bastard away from me!”

Green didn’t seem very happy to be called an apple bastard and made several gestures that looked like they were scolding him. The Wizard seemed mildly amused by this.

“I am sorry about that but please try to understand, I know who and what you are. I know the destruction you can potentially bring to the valley and I simply cannot allow it.” He looked down at Green and frowned. “However, this Junimo has informed me that you are under their protection, somewhat. You have no reason to fear them.”

Apollyon felt like he was going to die right then and there. “Um if you know that stuff about me you should know damn well I should be fearing these apple bastards. We are not going to get along. Also, you just tried to kill me.” He attempted to shoo Green away but Green appeared to just place its stick arms where its hips might be and started to berate him again.

“Green said that you found the golden scroll they left for you.”

“I couldn’t read it… I left it in the community centre.”

“… I will be back.” Within the blink of an eye the Wizard vanished, and within a second blink he was walking through the front door, startling both Apollyon and Green. “The language was obscure but I deciphered it; We, the Junimo, are happy to aid you. In return, we ask for gifts of the valley. If you are one with the forest then you will see the true nature of this scroll.”

“… Alright then.” Apollyon slowly got to his feet and tried to edge himself towards the door. “Well I couldn’t read it so I guess I’m not one with the forest. I’ll be seeing you guys later.”

Green squealed and ran to stand between Apollyon and the door. They didn’t seem to want to let Apollyon leave.

The Wizard sighed a little and shook his head. “Apollyon, despite your… you. The Junimo seem to think that you are their chosen hero. They are not ones to change their minds once they have made a decision… Please come here.” He almost forcibly lead Apollyon over towards a bubbling cauldron in the corner of his home. He put some of the liquid into a cup and held it to Apollyon. “My cauldron is bubbling with ingredients from the forest. Baby fern, moss grub, caramel-top toadstool… Drink up and let the essence of the forest permeate your body.”

“Hey, I haven’t agreed to anything here Wizard and apple bastard.” Snapped Apollyon. “You just tried to kill me and that apple… I’m not a hero. I never have been and I never will be. I’m just some messed up guy. Look at me! Even before I got beaten up by slimes I was still messed up.”

Green danced around Apollyon’s legs and made frustrated sounds. The Wizard also seemed annoyed. “Look, I do not like this anymore than you do but the spirits have chosen you so drink up. Don’t make me force you.”

Apollyon sighed a little and shook his head. He didn’t want to do this but if it meant he could get the hell out of there the better. He quickly downed the putrid potion, gaging in the process. Seconds later his vision went all green and he started to see leaves and trees dancing before his eyes. This was the weirdest drug tip he had been on in a while.

When his drug trip worse off Apollyon found he was lying on the ground outside the Wizard’s tower with his axe embedded into the ground next to him. This was not how he expected today to turn out. He was apparently the chosen hero of the Junimo and almost got murdered. He decided the only sensible thing to do in this situation was obvious. He was going to ignore it. He grabbed his axe and headed back to his farm.

When he got there he was surprised to see Marnie holding something that looked a lot like a plucked chicken. “What the heck?”

***

The gold pouch had not moved from its place on Sebastian’s desk since Apollyon had placed it there. He wasn’t really sure how he felt about it. Sure it was technically a repayment for ruining his clothes, but it felt weird somehow. It wasn’t his fault he’d coughed so much blood onto him. He hoped the farmer was doing okay now and not getting into trouble.

Sebastian sighed a little and finished up his work. He had a relatively easy job today and nothing else really lined up for the rest of the week. Checking the time Sebastian decided it was about time to venture out and find some food for himself.

His mum happened to see him walk into the hallway from her desk. “Sebby! Can I ask you a favour?”

This never turned out well for him, but he put on a smile, no matter how fake, for her. “Yeah mum?”

“Can you take the pot in the kitchen back to the farmer?”

Ah yes, the farmer had brought over some soup to thank them all for taking him to the doctors. They had it for dinner that night. It was kind of watery but good. However Sebastian didn’t feel like going that far outside today, or any day for that matter. “Um…”

“Just take the shortcut love.” Said Robin. “You’ll be there and back before you know it.”

“… Okay.” He didn’t really want to go all the way down to the farm but it was hard to say no to his mum. Sebastian grabbed the pot from the kitchen and used the shortcut to get to the farm. It was around midday so he’d just stop by the saloon and grab something from Gus to eat. He wasn’t overly hungry at the moment. He could wait.

As he passed the threshold of the farm Sebastian was surprised to see it didn’t look nearly as over grown as he remembered. Though to be fair the last time he had ventured out here was when Abby had declared that she was going monster hunting and taking him and Sam with her. That night ended with a lot of scrapes and bug bites.

“Meow.”

Sebastian jumped a little and almost dropped the pot when a thing pretending to be a cat marched in front of him. It was some ugly, hairless, wrinkly blue eyed thing. It continued to glare at him as Sebastian tried to figure out if it was going to murder him or not.

Suddenly Apollyon walked out from around his house shaking a container of cat food. “Goblin! Goblin! Din din’s Goblin!”

The cat known as Goblin quickly raced over to Apollyon and climbed up his leg. “Meow!”

“Claws! Ow! Ow! Ow! Hi Sebastian. Ow! I see you met Goblin.” He pried the hairless beast off his leg and walked back into his house. “Come on in.”

Sebastian very reluctantly followed Apollyon into his home, kind of surprised to see it was just one room with a table, chair, TV, and bed. He watched as Apollyon poured some food into Goblin’s food bowl by the fire place.

“Goblin is a good girl, she just has a tendency to climb everything. I ordered some cat shirts online so she doesn’t get sunburnt or cold in winter.” He gave the cat a few more pats before giving Sebastian his full attention. “So what can I do for you?”

Sebastian held the pot out. “Just returning this…”

“Ah, thanks.” Apollyon took it back and smiled brightly. “I only had like a day’s worth left of drinkable water left.”

“Huh?”

“I don’t have running water yet so I take water from ponds on my property and boil it before drinking it.” He put the pot on the table. “… Do you want something to eat or drink?”

“Nah, I’m good… Where did you get Goblin anyway?”

Apollyon looked down at his cat, smiling fondly. “Oh, Marnie came by after I went for a foraging trip by the Wizard tower… Anyway, I came back home and Marine said that this poor girl was all lost and wandering around my place so I adopted her. Good old Goblin cat.”

“Meow.”

“Yes, you are a goblin.”

Goblin jumped up onto the bed and curled up on his pillow. She flicked her tail as she watched the two men from her vantage point. “Meow.”

“You’re also a loud goblin.”

Sebastian felt like he had filled his social interaction quota for the day and took a step towards the door. “Yeah well, I’ll see you later then.”

“Oh, okay then… Oh! Are you going to the flower dance?”

Sebastian groaned. “I had forgotten that was coming up. I don’t want to be outside and do some stupid dance…”

Apollyon laughed a little. “Ah, well I’m sure it’ll still be a good time. See you there.”

“Yeah…” Sebastian quickly left Hellfire farm. The farmer sure was a strange guy.

Chapter Text

Ever since Apollyon had gone to the Wizard’s tower he had been seeing more and more Junimo’s popping up around his farm trying to get his attention. This mainly seemed to be because Goblin had decided to try and chase and eat the apple bastards whenever they showed up. Apparently animals could clearly see spirits.

Apollyon was still damn sure one of them was going to suddenly jump up and knife him in the back if he wasn’t careful, but he was slowly getting used to them being around him. Every time he had a plant to harvest one or two of them would dance around it and try to herd him towards the community center once he had harvested it.

Out of curiosity he had once gone up with a bunch of wild crops he had foraged. Holding them out to the golden scroll they vanished from his hand and once he filled in the Spring foraging bundle a pack of thirty Spring seeds appeared in his hands like magic. He did the same with a Spring crops bundle and got twenty packets of Speed-Gro fertilizer.

After that the Junimo’s appeared less around his crops. If Apollyon had to hazard a guess he could only assume that the apple bastards were just trying to show him what to do. Give them stuff and they would return the favour.

“MEOW!” Apollyon sat up in his bed to see Goblin chasing after a Junimo he had dubbed Blue, because well it was blue. He hoped that Goblin would continue to watch over him and chase the Junimo’s away.

He stretched and scratched his head as he watched Blue escape out the door with Goblin in hot pursuit. Apollyon really needed to lock his doors. He pulled on his clothes and walked outside. Today was the day of the flower dance. After he quickly watered his plants and chased away a few Jumino with his scythe he made is way down to the field near Cindersap Forest.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying their time talking with each other and getting all kind of food and drink from the table, which he could only assume Gus had provided. He immediately spotted Emily showing off her dress to Caroline. A white dress with several dozen embroidered flowers placed here and there.

“So I guess it’s tradition for you to wear this kind of stuff?” Asked Apollyon.

Emily grinned and did a little twirl for him. “Yep. All the girls wear these kinds of dresses, see?” She gestured over towards several other of the girls wearing white dresses and several of the guys wearing blue suits. Apollyon couldn’t help but let a very undignified snort escape his mouth when he saw Sam and Sebastian wearing suits. They looked so strange it was laughable.

Caroline smiled happily at him. “Are you going to dance this year Apollyon?”

Apollyon shrugged and looked over at Emily. “Shall we dance my lady?” He didn’t expect her to say yes, but he wouldn’t object to it either.

“Ah, sorry but I already promised to dance with Shane. Maybe next year?”

“That’s cool. I’m gonna go and see if Pam spiked the punch yet. Enjoy the dance.”

“You too. Oh by the way, your aura’s especially bright today. Very purple.”

That made Apollyon smile a little. “Thanks Emily.” He made his way to the far side of the snack table, grabbing himself a little cupcake thing with a flower on it and sat near a patch of wildflowers. Everyone seemed like they were having a good time. To busy himself, Apollyon picked a few flowers and started to make a flower crown.

Suddenly Jas and Vincent ran over to him. “Hey! What happened to your eye?” Asked Vincent. “It’s all red and bloody.”

“Don’t be rude.” Said Jas. “You can’t just ask someone questions like that.”

Apollyon chuckled a little. “It’s okay. I got into a really bad fight with some slimes. They hurt me a lot but Doc Harvey helped to patch me up, and I helped protect the town from evil slimes, so that’s worth it.”

“You shouldn’t hurt yourself.” Said Jas sternly. “If you hurt yourself then you can’t help anyone. Aunt Marnie gave you a cat the other day, right?”

“You know about Goblin?”

Jas looked shocked. “You named her Goblin?”

“I was going to call her Goblin Trash Cat the third, but that was a mouthful.”

“I wanna see the goblin trash cat!” Said Vincent enthusiastically.

Apollyon chuckled and put a flower crown on his head. “Maybe some other time. Goblin’s still getting used to her new home. You want a flower crown too Jas?” She nodded a little and Apollyon started on her crown.

***

Sebastian hated his suit. It was hot and itchy and freaking blue. It just felt weird and wrong not to wear black, but it was tradition for some reason so he had to. At least Sam and Abby were both just as uncomfortable as he was in their respected forced attire.

Abigail groaned in annoyance as she adjusted her dress for the fourth or fifth time in as little as ten minutes. “I should have ditched this stupid thing. Should have but I didn’t. This freaking blows.”

Sam nodded in agreement. “Yeah, but hey at least I don’t have to wear a dress.”

She glared at him. “Samson there is very little stopping me from pulling this dress off and shoving you in it.”

“Well that would make this whole thing more exciting wouldn’t it?”

Abby rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. “Screw this. You guys want to come over to my place and play video games after this or are you two going to go over to Seb’s place and jerk each other off?”

The boys blushed and looked anywhere but Abby. Smoking too much weed for the first time in their younger teenage years had led to some very interesting results that opened new doors for them. They also made a pact to never ever speak of that again or face the consequences. Consequences that no one really knew about but didn’t want to potentially invoke.

Suddenly Vincent ran over to Sam with Jas quickly following him. “Hey! Look at my crown!”

Sam smiled a little, seemingly forgetting what happened moments ago. “That’s pretty cool. Did Penny make that for you?”

The young boy shook his head. “The farmer made it for me. He made one for Jas too!” He pointed over to Apollyon. He was still sitting by the wildflowers and making more flower crowns and eating a cupcake. “Hey Sam? Now that I have a crown does that mean I can be the flower queen?”

The blond chuckled a little. “Sure. Why not? How about you go and show mum and Penny?”

The two children giggled and ran off. Sebastian wondered if he ever had that much energy when he was younger. He didn’t think so. He was still kind of a shut in even when he was younger. As he reminisced about the past he hardly noticed when Abby waved over Apollyon.

“Hey, farmer boy.” She said with a grin. “You enjoying yourself there, making flower crowns?”

Apollyon nodded. “Yep. I think I missed my true calling as a flower crown maker. I think I’ll give up being a farmer and do that.”

“You gonna dance with anyone this year?” Asked Sam.

The farmer shook his head and sighed sadly. “Nah. Just gonna pretend like I’m back in high school and sit on the sidelines. Be a wallflower.”

Abby nodded in agreement. “Yeah, dances suck. Everyone always running around trying to find dates and stuff. Being labeled a loser if you didn’t get a date.”

Apollyon chuckled a little at that. “Ah well, I never stuck around in a school long enough for that to happen. I think the longest I stayed in one school was like three months.”

Sam raised an eyebrow. “Get kicked out a lot?”

“Nah, my mum and I used to move around a lot because her and my step dad…” He frowned at the mention of the man. “But it was whatever. I missed out on most of the bullying crap one might usually have to deal with. Did make getting a girlfriend kind of difficult but that was neither here nor there really.”

Abby sighed a little. “Yoba I wish that was me… Taking the bus to Stardew Valley high two towns away was nightmare… I just wanted to step in front of the bus each day just to avoid all that mess. You know what? Screw it. You’ve never been to a dance thing, right Apollyon?”

“Um well I have I just never dance with som-”

“Then it’s settled. You can take my place.” She lightly shoved Apollyon towards Sebastian. “Meet your new dance partner.”

Sebastian stumbled back a little, not expecting to have to catch the farmer. He blushed at the thought of dancing with another guy in front of the whole town. In such a small town like Pelican town if he, the town basement dweller, danced with another man at the flower dance festival it would be just as good as yelling through a megaphone that he was gay, and while he was comfortable with his own sexuality the only ones that he had admitted it to were Abby and Sam.

Before he could say anything Apollyon piped up. “Ah, sorry but I don’t actually intend to dance today… Looks like it’s a formal suit event and I kind of just came in my day to day clothes. Maybe next year?”

Abby pouted. “No way. If you need formal clothes just follow me into the forest back there and we’ll change clothes.”

Sam snickered. “Do you just want to get out of that dress?”

“I demand pants!”

Apollyon laughed a little and for a brief moment Sebastian had a chance to look at him, like actually look at him without him being drenched or all bloodied up. In the sun Apollyon’s complexion was slightly grey and he had slight bags under his eyes. He probably wasn’t sleeping well, but then again he couldn’t talk. His sleep schedule was completely broken at best. His eyes seemed to be a little glazed over as he talked to Abby and Sam. It was kind of like he was tuning out and not really paying attention to what was being said to him.

“Alright folks!” Called Lewis. “The dance is about to start! If you have a partner go find them and get ready to dance!”

Sam sighed a little. “Well, I better go find Penny. See you two on the dance floor.”

Abby pouted and looked at Apollyon with pleading eyes. “Take my place?”

He shook his head and stepped aside. “Sorry Abs, but like I said, I’m not gonna dance. Wouldn’t want to cause a fuss being the only guy dancing with another guy. People might think Sebastian’s gay.”

Abby rolled her eyes. “And wouldn’t that be a tragedy.” She linked arms with Sebastian and sighed dramatically. “Come on. Time to keep up appearances. Step on my feet and I’m going to punch you in the dick.”

“Um yeah.” He walked to where everyone else had gathered for the flower dance. The music started and he and the rest of the attendees engaged in what could only be called white people dancing. It was just some bobbing and swaying. Nothing really spectacular. Internally, Sebastian felt like he was dying of both embarrassment and the heat, and even more so when he realized that Apollyon was watching them. Now reasonably he knew that the farmer wasn’t actually looking at him, he was just looking around at everyone dancing.

Before he knew it the song was over and everyone could leave. There was nothing he wanted more to do than get out of this stupid suit and go back to his basement. He glanced over to where Apollyon had been standing moments before only to see that he was gone. He didn’t know how he felt about that development.

Robin went over to him and Abby, clapping her hands. “You two looked good out there today.”

Abby strained a smile and curtsied. “Why thank you. I was sure Sebastian was going to stand on my foot again.”

“Zip it Abby.” Sebastian quickly scanned the crowd, very surprised to see that the Farmer was gone. Perhaps they had decided that the festival wasn’t them and left? Unlikely, but maybe.

His wandering eyes were easily noticed by Abby. “Who you looking for? Sam? He’s still hanging out with Penny.”

“Oh um yeah…” He muttered.

Abby frowned a little and quickly looked around. “Farmer’s missing… Were you looking for the Farmer?”

“Was not.”

Robin chuckled and gave Sebastian a knowing look. “Apollyon took off about halfway through the dance. He headed off in that direction.” She gestured to the forest area behind the snack table. “I’m sure he’ll be back soon.”

Abby shrugged. “Probably drank too much punch and needed to take a leak.”

“Probably…”

***

Apollyon had been rather amused by the silly dance that the villagers had put on. It made him laugh to think he had always felt like he was missing out on something in high school. At least while they were all dancing it left the snack table wide open for the taking. He had reached to grab the last cupcake when a damn yellow Junimo suddenly raced across the table, grabbed it and ran away.

Without really thinking Apollyon grabbed a tree branch and ran after the little yellow bastard. That was his damn cupcake and he sure as hell wasn’t going to let one of those tiny bastards take it from him.

He followed the small creature to a tiny clearing in the forest where several Jumimos were dancing around in a circle and singing in their own language. Apollyon was starting to think that was all these things could do; dance and sing. He felt uneasy watching them do their thing, but he didn’t have an overwhelming sense of dread like he probably should have. He didn’t really feel much of anything.

“Enjoying the festival?”

Apollyon jumped and almost hit the Wizard in the face with his tree branch. “Don’t do that! The hell are you doing here?”

The Wizard gestured to the Junimos who were still dancing without a care. “It’s the flower dance festival. Did you think it was just something that the people of Pelican Town did?”

“… Yes?”

“Of course you did.” The Wizard chuckled in amusement at a private joke. “You know, in ancient times only the Junimos danced and that was to bring fertility and good luck to the land. If you observe their motions you’d realize that it’s very similar to the way the residence danced today.”

Apollyon stared at the Junimos and sighed sadly. “I can’t believe it… Junimos are white people dancing… They dancing for anything specific this year?”

The Wizard raised an eyebrow. “You can’t guess? The Junimos are dancing for you. They want their hero to succeed and rebuild the community center. They also want Hellfire farm to flourish and for you to build good relationships with everyone in town… also something about finding a partner I believe? Some of their words are very similar to each other.”

Apollyon could feel heat rising on his face at the mention of finding a partner. “Considering what I am I doubt that anyone in this town would want anything to do with me in that way…” He started to feel depressed again. “They would be better off asking for my swift and sudden death after I finish the community bundles. Someone like me I just… The Junimo know what I am right? They aren’t stupid, right?”

“Um… the jury is still out on their intelligence.” The Wizard stroked his beard, attempting to look more important than he actually was. “Regardless, I um… I wished to apologies for my actions when we first met. I must say you handled yourself rather well. Most people would run away screaming after being released from that kind of spell.”

“Yeah well, considering the shit I’ve been through you didn’t actually come close to killing me.” He didn’t even need to look at the Wizard to know he was watching him closely, just waiting for him to elaborate. “… Being who I am and considering there are a fair few people more magically attuned than most would believe my mere existence is as unforgivable…” A nervous laugh escaped his lips. “Can you imagine that? Brought into this world without your consent and immediately labeled as an unforgivable monster?”

The Junimos continued to dance as the Junimo that stole the cupcake, Yellow, started walking around the dancing Junimos. They grabbed bits of icing and cake as it passed and stuck it into themselves. They didn’t seem to have mouths that Apollyon could actually see, but he really hopped they had mouths and were shoving said cupcake into their mouth holes.

“… One people’s monster is another’s hero.” The Wizard stroked his beard again. “Perhaps you’re just too used to hearing about all the bad things and none of the good things?”

“… Says the guy that would have smashed my skull in if an apple bastard didn’t tell you to step the fuck down?”

The purple haired man became flustered. “Yes well that was an honest mistake. You can’t blame me for jumping to those conclusions… Anyway, your farm has a very interesting energy around it. Have you encountered any monsters?”

“I nearly shat myself with a stone golem decided to jump up while walking home from the saloon the other day… and bats. So many bats…”

The Wizard nodded knowingly. “I see… Well it’s only natural with your reappearance. Do what you can and stay safe. Don’t make the Junimos regret choosing you as their hero. You should run along back to the dance, it should be wrapping up soon.” And with that the wizard vanished with a twirl of his wrist.

Apollyon jumped a little at the sudden movement and then back to the Junimos. Some of them were smiling up at him and waving as they danced around. They were happy to see him. They were happy he was here and it hurt.

“… You’re all wrong.” He muttered to them. “I’m going to fuck this up for you and you’re going to hate me. Next year you’ll be dancing for my death.” He stormed back to the Dance, hoping that he didn’t miss the end of it and would just be able blend back in with everyone else.

However that wasn’t going to happen as the dance seemed to be over and everyone seemed to be packing up. Sam looked like he had been forced by Jodi to help Gus clean up the snack table.

“Hey man, wondered where you ran off to.” Said Sam with a grin, but that quickly worse off when he saw the state he was in. “You okay man?”

Apollyon chewed his bottom lip as he tried to come up with a reasonable explanation as to why he looked the way he did. “… A squirrel took the last cupcake when I already claimed it!”

Gus chuckled a little and shook his head. “Well those are squirrels for you. Ah, well can’t really be helped can it?”

Apollyon pouted. “Squirrels are evil… So where did Abby and Sebastian run off to? Gone to make out or something?”

Sam snorted at that notion. “No way. Abby bolted out of here the second the dance was over to get out of that dress, and I think Sebastian was melting in his suit. He’s probably gone home, if he hasn’t passed out on the way up.”

“Huh, alright… I should probably head home too… I have to go and feed Goblin.”

“Goblin?”

“Yeah, she’s my hairless cat. She’s an angry little Goblin.”

“Cool… Hey, how about you bring her over to my house around the afternoon sometime?” Vincent would love to see a freaky looking cat.”

Apollyon thought for a moment. “Sure, why not? How’s Saturday for you?”

“Perfect.”

Apollyon grinned and grabbed a mini quiche for the road, but his smile quickly faltered when he was alone. The Junimo’s were crazy. He wasn’t a hero. If those apple bastards were trying to get favours from Yoba he wasn’t going to answer them. He’d be more likely to take their request and find some way to turn it into a curse. Yoba wasn’t dumb like the Junimos. Yoba knew he deserved nothing and would get nothing.

Chapter Text

Dizzy and disorientated, that’s how Apollyon felt. He was being taken somewhere by two adults holding his hands. They were taking him down some long, dark corridor to a secret place. Looking up at their faces he realized they were wearing white masks and blue robes. He too was wearing a robe, but had no idea how or why he was wearing it.

The two people took him into a room with similarly dressed people in robes and masks. They all stared at him and parted ways to revel a table and a bucket. Apollyon didn’t know why he didn’t protest when the two people holding his hands lifted him and tied him to the table. His head hung over one edge over the bucket.

The masked people started chanting something in some strange language. Apollyon didn’t really know what to make of it till he saw someone tale out a sharp knife Something like in this situation, there was no mistake.

Someone grabbed his hair and pulled his head back making sure his neck was completely exposed. The chanting was becoming more and more erratic as it was building up to some kind of crescendo. The knife slashed through the air. It felt like fine hail running across his skin.

***

Apollyon woke up the next day, his face slightly damp with tears and Goblin was staring down at him with one paw raised. It looked like she was back to slap him and wake him up. But when she saw he was awake she put her paw down and walked over to bowl. Apollyon went about his daily chores tending to his farm which took all morning. The thoughts of his dream still strong in his mind.

It wasn’t unusual for Apollyon to have dreams about his childhood. That particular memory he was pretty sure he had combined with a scary movie he shouldn’t have been watching when he was so young. Sometimes the dream would continue if he was in a really deep sleep and couldn’t wake up, but mostly it ended with his throat getting slit. That dream was the worst.

Around midday he picked up Goblin and wrapped her up in a blanket before making his was to Sam’s house. Goblin didn’t seem too happy to be made into a purrito but she took in her stride and only meowed at him three or four times on the way there. When he eventually got there Jodi seemed very surprised to see him.

“Oh Apollyon. What do I owe the pleasure?”

“Sam said I should come by and bring Goblin.” He gently patted Goblin’s head. “She’s a good girl and loves fish. Sam said Vincent might like to see her.”

She nodded a little and let him in. “Well Vincent is out playing with Jas at the moment, but he’ll probably be home soon. Sam’s in his room. Just go on in.”

Apollyon thanked her and walked into Sam’s room. He was sitting on his bed tuning his guitar. “Hey Sam. I brought Goblin.”

“Cool.” He looked up and actually saw Goblin. “… You sure that’s a cat?”

“Honestly? No.” He let Goblin go and she explored the room, sniffing things and jumping onto chairs.

When she got close to Sam he strummed his guitar a few times making Goblin jump. “Think she likes music?”

“Don’t know. Never really tried.”

He watched Goblin cautiously sit by Sam, watching the blond strum the guitar. She attempted to strum a string every now and then but she backed out every time. Just that little bit too afraid to actually do it. This amused both men quite a lot.

Sam patted her, chuckling a little at the way his hand moved her loose skin into a mash of wrinkles before snapping back. “You play anything?”

“I used to have a mbira, but I think it got smashed.” Seeing the confusion on his face Apollyon clarified. “Thumb piano. It’s an African instrument. You flick these metal teeth on it with your thumb.”

“Cool.” He strummed his guitar a few more times, watching Goblin follow his hand curiously. “So what do you think of Pelican Town?”

“I really like it. Everyone is nice and apart from a few annoyances, I’ve had a good time.” He looked around Sam’s room noticing the synth and the drum set. “A man of many musical talents I see.”

“Yeah. Sebastian plays the synth. He’s pretty good at it too.” Sam gave Goblin a few more pats. “Wanna stay for practice? We do some cover songs to warm up. Name something and we’ll give it a go.”

“Um… Nah. My taste in music is pretty awful. Wouldn’t want you to judge me mister music.” Apollyon’s musical tastes involved an extremely large variety of music with very explicit lyrics. Something he was pretty sure he was going to get judged for.

“Your taste can’t be that bad.”

Goblin looked up at Sam. “Meow.”

“She is warning you of my horrible music.” Said Apollyon. “She knows how awful I am and doesn’t want your ear drums to bleed. Trust her.” He picked up Goblin and put on a silly voice as he waved her arms around. “His taste in music is hecking bad. My screams for food are better than his music. He is a terrible bean.”

Sam laughed and gave Goblin a few pats. She didn’t seem very amused but accepted it anyway. “Alright Goblin. I won’t ask.” He looked over at the door, frowning a little. “Sebastian should be here soon. Bet he’d just love to meet you Goblin.”

Apollyon waved Goblin’s arms around some more. “Oh I met him already. He was holding the water pot and stared at me. He didn’t try to take my food so he’s alright.”

The door to Sam’s room opened up and Vincent quickly ran in followed by Sebastian. “Where’s the cat? Mum said you brought your cat.”

Apollyon chuckled and held her out for Vincent to pat. “Here she is. Goblin Trash Cat the Third. Careful, I don’t know how she’ll act around small children.”

Vincent stared at Goblin for a bit and gave her a few pats. “She’s all wrinkly and weird. I like her.”

Goblin made a noise and slinked over to Sam’s bookshelf, quickly climbing up and perching on the top. “Ah, I think Goblin is done meeting people now…”

“Awwww, I wanted to pat her some more.”

Sam chuckled a little. “Don’t you have homework to do?”

Vincent made an exasperated sound and marched out of the room, presumably to go and do his homework. Sam grinned and closed the door. “Siblings, am I right?” Sebastian made a grunt that sounded like he was agreeing with him, but Apollyon just had to shrug at the comment. He was an only child after all.

“So why are you here?” Asked Sebastian, obviously directing his comment to Apollyon.

“Cat.”

Sebastian glanced up at Goblin and frowned. It almost looked like she was frowning right back at him. “I see… So that’s it?”

“I was also promised sick beats.” Said Apollyon.

Sebastian sighed a little as he walked over to the synth. “We aren’t that good… We need to practice more before we play in front of anyone. We’ll just embarrass ourselves.”

Sam brushed off his concerns. “Rubbish. We need the practice. Besides, Apollyon’s cool and Goblin likes music… Maybe we should call our band the Trash Goblins?”

“Were not naming the band after that testical.” Said Sebastian sternly. “I refuse.”

Sam laughed a little. “Okay fine. We’ll think of a better name later. Let’s start playing something.”

Contrary to what Sebastian said about them, Apollyon thought they actually sounded pretty good. They needed a drum beat in there eventually, but they were good. Even Goblin thought so. She jumped down from her observation point to enjoy the music. That and try to attack Sebastian’s shoe laces. It was all rather amusing, even if Sebastian attempted to push her away a few times.

After a while the boys called it quits, but that was just because Sam’s stomach started to rumble. “… So anyone want food? I have microwave pizzas and Joja cola.”

Sebastian cringed. “Make that a water and I’ll take it.”

“Same here.” Said Apollyon. “I’m not a fan of Joja cola, but it is a fantastic drain cleaner.”

Sam rolled his eyes and left Sebastian and Apollyon. This was kind of awkward. The only times the two of them had been alone so far was when Apollyon was either embarrassing himself or when he was apologizing for being embarrassing. He really hoped that Sam would be back with the Pizza soon.

***

Sebastian really hated Sam at this moment. He had said several times to him via text that he thought he was weird, but Sam insisted that there was something there. Even Abby had gotten in on the action and started to speculate about the farmer’s sexuality. Abby’s biggest piece of evidence had been the farmer caring about what people would think of Sebastian if the two of them danced together because that means he obviously doesn’t care about people seeing him as gay.

Plus he felt like they had no chemistry at all. Things between them were too awkward as it was. Even now Apollyon seemed to prefer playing with Goblin than talk with him anyway. He watched Apollyon amuse the cat with a bit of string for a bit before Goblin decided she was done with him and attacked his hand, biting his fingers.

“Ow. The hell Goblin?” He muttered in annoyance.

“That’s cats for you.” Said Sebastian. “Next time get a dog.”

Apollyon shrugged and patted Goblin. “Nah. I like my Goblin… But if Marine happens to find a dog that needs a home I’ll take them. Animals seem to like me.” He smiled a little as he thought about something in his past. “I used to attract animals a lot when I lived in Zuzu. Though it was mainly birds and rats. They were pretty cute. I’m just an animal magnet. For a while this one crow followed me everywhere.”

“Huh, alright. Are there many birds and rats in Zuzu?” Someday Sebastian hoped to move there. He wanted to get as far away from Pelican Town as possible. It was always interesting to hear someone else’s experiences.

“Yeah, fair few depending on where you are.” He smiled sadly. “You know, animals made living there bearable… Have you ever been somewhere that was so loud it became quiet? So many people but your existence doesn’t matter one bit… If you just vanished one day no one would care. Nothing would be affected. Not really…”

“… So you’d rather live in a place like this?” He couldn’t imagine someone wanting to live in Pelican Town of their own free will. He was sure almost sure all the younger folks were going to leave soon. This town didn’t offer them too much.

To his surprise Apollyon started laughing. “Mate, living here is a million times better than the city. Trust me, people only move to the city to work in cubicles or to die. There is nothing more depressing than living in that black and white concrete place… I only have bad memories of that place.”

“Oh… Okay.”

“But don’t let my experiences put you off. My perspective is just one of many.” Apollyon gave Goblin a few more pats to which she purred softly at the attention. “I’m sure you could find good things about city life, but I like it here better… I kind of like the idea of knowing people and them knowing me, and not just knowing me as the emo looking guy that always orders a triple shot espresso every Monday. Sorry if I’m being weird.”

Sebastian sighed. “You’re not being weird. If anything you sound depressed.”

“Nah man, I’m so deep in depression I’ve done a one eighty and I’m back to being normal.” He picked up Goblin and gave her a little smooch on her forehead. “But that’s okay. Working at Joja really killed me. I’m getting better now… At least I think so.”

“Meow.”

“You’re a loud girl today.”

Sebastian had to admit there seemed to be a very subtle shift when Apollyon was interacting with his weird hairless cat compared to other people. It wasn’t just that he didn’t talk about depressing stuff around people, but he just seemed more sincere and grounded. He didn’t get this distant look in his eyes like he did when talking about other people and his smile seemed more genuine. It confused him a little and left an uncomfortable feeling in his chest.

Suddenly Sam walked in carrying some microwaved pizzas and a few drinks. “Hey there party people. Got the snacks.”

Goblin’s ears perked up as she watched Sam walk around with the food. Apollyon chuckled and lightly booped her nose. “You are a greedy little fat cat. You get one ham. Those pizzas have ham on them right?”

“Yep.” Sam picked a square bit of ham off the pizza and offered it to Goblin. She sniffed it for a moment before biting it, along with Sam’s finger. “Ow.”

Apollyon sighed and lightly scolded her. “You are not being nice today. Meeting too many people has got you all excited. Sorry about that Sam.”

“No big deal.”

Everyone relaxed a little after that and sat around eating terrible cardboard pizza and drinking tap water. Once or twice Sam dared Sebastian to drink some Joja cola. He obviously he would never drink that poison. However Sam somehow convinced Apollyon to have a little taste. He almost felt sorry for him when he choked and spluttered, scaring the heck out of Goblin. A light blush quickly covered Apollyon’s face which ran all the way down past his shirt. It was kind of cute.

Clenching his jaw a little he shoved his hands in his pockets. Yes, he was gay but no he didn’t really think that the farmer was that cute. He just looked cute when he was blushing, but he was still weird with clearly a few issues. Now he was kind of mad at himself for thinking that the farmer was cute.

“MEOW!” Sebastian quickly snapped out of his thoughts when he saw a particularly pissed off cat getting wrapped up a blanket. After wriggling and attempting to free herself for a minute or two she resigned herself to her fate. “… Meow.”

Apollyon shook his head as he cradled the animal like a baby in his arms. “Angry baby… Anyway, thanks for inviting me to your jam session.”

“No problem.” Said Sam with a grin. “Drop by anytime. You gonna be at the saloon on Friday?”

“Eh, maybe. All depends on if I decide to go fishing or not.” Apollyon pulled a face at that thought. “Why is fishing so difficult? Maybe I need a better rod or something… Anyway, I’ll see you guys around. Later haters.”

Sebastian waved a little and watched him go. He was still a little mad That he found the farmer kind of cute. He attempted to reason he found Apollyon’s blush cute the same way he found Sam cute when he got really sleepy; cute in that instance and nothing more. Plus if he actually liked the farmer that would ruin his plans of escaping Pelican Town and running away to Zuzu city when he had saved up enough.

He noticed Sam’s eyes on him. “… What do you want?”

“Dude, you hardly said anything while Apollyon was here… This is the Ben thing all over again.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “It’s not. I had a crush on him back then and we both knew that band geek was as straight as a ramp. I just still don’t know what to make of him. He kind of weirds me out.”

“You said that about Ben.”

Sebastian was going to punch Sam right in the nose. “It’s totally different… Besides, think rationally for a moment, what the hell is the chance that a gay farmer would move here and actually like a gay basement dwelling troll. Plus it’s not like if you put two gay guys in a room they are immediately going to get together. That would be like saying you and Abby are going get together if I locked you two in a room.”

“Someone say my name?” Asked Abigail as she climbed through Sam’s window and scooped up a cold slice of untouched microwave pizza. “Hmmm ham and cheese.”

The boys didn’t even flinch. They were used to her entering via the window when she was escaping whatever punishment her parents were trying to enforce on her. “So, what did you do this time?” Asked Sam. “You missed practice.”

“Cut me some slack.” She whined. “All I did was call Morris a fucked faced old goat that should get run over by Lewis’s car and thrown in the river, and my mum heard me… Anyway, what are you two yammering about?”

“Sebastian and the farmer.” Informed Sam.

“Ooooo, so Sebastian has feelings other than fuck off and leave me alone?”

“Apparently.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. His friends were idiots. “Shut up. Don’t try and meddle in my nonexistent love life. You idiots don’t even know if he’s into guys. He hangs around Emily a lot. He’s probably into her.”

Abby frowned a little and nodded slowly. She seemed to be formulating a plan. “I see… Well it was nice meeting up with you boys but I must go. I have things to plan.”

“Whatever you are planning stop it.” Snapped Sebastian. “You stop it right now.”

She smirked and climbed out the window. “I’ll text you the details later Sam. Sebastian, you don’t worry your pretty little head. By the time my plan is over we’ll know if you can get a piece of that farmer.”

Sebastian let out an exasperated sigh. “Even if he is into men he might not even like me because I am not into him… and she’s gone… I blame you for this Sam. You are encouraging her.”

Sam shrugged and strummed his guitar.

Chapter Text

To almost all residence the community center was nothing more than a decrepit old building with nothing going on inside it. However those in the loop knew it was anything but. The Junimo’s were running around the abandoned building almost overly excited that someone was giving them offerings once again.

Blue was bouncing happily in front of the fish tank scroll, delighted to see that several fish had already been offered up. “Maybe in a year or two the farmer will have finished this bundle! We’ll be strong enough to move that big rock in front of the mines!”

Yellow made a happy sound as they attempted to jump over a cracked floorboard. “Yeah! They already finished the Spring lists for the Foraging and pantry bundles! Good pick. Good farmer.”

“We shall see about that young Junimos.” An old white Junimo with a tiny twig cane waddled over to the fire place and sat in front of it. “This could still all be for naught if the farmer turns to the dark side and joins the evil one… The human known as… Morris…”

Yellow shuddered at that name and several Junimo’s made distressed sounds. That man was evil. He wanted to do all kinds of horrible, no good, very bad things to the valley. If Joja was able to take over the community center their entire existence within Pelican Town might vanish completely. None of them really knew that that meant, if they would die, be forced out of Pelican Town, or be knocked back to the Yoba plane.

“The evil one will not win!” Declared Green. He stood on the shelf above the fireplace, waving their little arms around. “The evil one will fail! The current farmer is a descendant of the old farmer! The only other human besides the Wizard to see us in hundreds of years! I knew it when I first saw him! He is our hero!” Their little speech seemed to quickly rile up the other Junimo into a small frenzy of happy squealing and cheering.

White sighed a little and shook their head. Young Junimos changed emotions in the blink of an eye. “Just because he is related to the old farmer the new farmer isn’t the same person. They have their own hope and dreams and ambitions… And there is that little matter about how they actually came to be.”

A cautious whispering spread through the Junimos. They once again had gone from happy to sad. Green was having none of this. “Who cares about that? The new farmer is good! He’s just reluctant! He hasn’t gone and killed or hurt anyone in the valley! He’s planted crops and caught fish and started to fill our bundles to give us power!”

Red hummed a little from their spot up in the rafters. “What if the new farmer overworks themselves? The old farmer worked themselves to death.”

“Well he was all alone right?” Asked Orange. “We just need to find the new farmer someone to help them! Like the carpenter and the scientist! The old lady and the old wheelchair guy! The shop man and the house wife! The other house wife and… what did her partner used to do before he left and everyone was sad?”

Blue shrugged. “I heard he was known as a garbage man. No idea what that is, but it sounds super important.”

Orange flailed their arms. “Anyway, maybe we should find someone to help the farmer? Someone that will make sure they don’t overwork themselves and keep Hellfire farm alive for many, many years.”

A purple Junimo jumped up and down excitedly. “Oooooooo!I know! I know! I’ve been watching the farmer for a while! Mainly because I was scared for their safety. They live with a mean pink monster! It tried to eat Blue!”

“You said you wouldn’t talk about that!” Whined Blue.

Purple snickered. “Anyway, the farmer spends lots of time with the groovy blue one, the grumpy drunk one, the spiky guitar guy, the sword girl, and the smoking guy.” The Junimo’s quickly started chatting amongst themselves, all quickly taking sides as to whom the farmer should end up with. Some of them even started mentioning others in the village.

“What about the science girl?”

“Moustache man! Moustache man!”

“Sweet, quiet book lady!"

“Artsy wood lady!"

“Mister writer man!"

“Pretty photographer!”

“Grid ball! Grid ball! Grid Ball!”

White sighed a little, overwhelmed by their enthusiasm. “We really should learn their names…” They could only see bad things happening if the Junimos tried to help the farmer choose a partner. They contemplated telling everyone this was a bad idea, but they knew it wasn’t going to work. Hopefully the farmer wasn’t going to take too much offence and feed them to their pink monster animal.

***

Summer quickly rolled around and Apollyon had decided to do his best to get good at fishing. Since around seven in the morning he had parked his ass a few meters away from Leah’s home. He hoped that she wouldn’t mind him fishing so close to her place. He was trying to keep quiet, but it was pretty frustrating when the damn fish kept getting away. He was one escape away from snapping his fishing rod and jumping in himself to catch the fish that way. Like a bear.

With small screech he managed to pull up his third sunfish. While he had caught the fish he couldn’t help but feel like some part of his brain was about to explode. On one hand the apple bastards wanted a sunfish for some weird reason, but now he had three. Three and he had been struggling for hours. Hours damn it. After that struggle he would have felt so much more accomplished if he had caught something else.

“You catching any good fish lad?”

Apollyon jumped a little and looked over at Willy. It was a little unusual for the sailor to be spotted anywhere but the beach or the saloon. “Eh, mainly sunfish… I caught a carp in Spring.”

Willy nodded and cast his own line out into the water. “If you have the passion for it you can catch all kind of things. I’m thinking about ordering in some more fishing rods.”

“Really?”

“Yep. They’re advertised to be lighter, more flexible, and the parts they used for the reel are meant to make fishing smoother and less jarring.”

“That sounds amazing. I might actually be able to catch something other than a sunfish…”

Willy chuckled a little and quickly reeled in a fish. Much to Apollyon’s dismay he managed to catch a sturgeon. He needed one of those for the apple bastard’s bundles too. “Well what do you know? Looks like I got a nice fat one for dinner tonight.”

“Yeah, good job.”

Willy smiled a little and patted Apollyon on the back. “Keep at it lad. You’ll be catching all kinds of fish in no time.”

“Thanks… I’ll keep trying… Can I trade you one of my sunfish for that sturgeon?”

“Hmm, thanks but no thanks boy. I had sunfish for dinner last night.”

“Fair enough.” He cast out his line again and hoped for something else. It felt like he was sitting there for hours before something tugged on the line. With excitement and determination in his chest, Apollyon quickly reeled it in. Unfortunately for him he ended up reeling in a lump of driftwood. That wouldn’t have been so disappointing if it wasn’t for the fact god damn Blue the Junimo was hanging off it and waving at him. Without even blinking, Apollyon cut the line and headed on home via the community center. He was just going to throw the sunfish in there and let those apple bastards deal with that.

On his way there he happened to run into Abigail. She waved enthusiastically at him and ran towards him. “Apollyon! I was just about to look for you! Do you wanna- You stink of fish…”

“Yeah, I have like three sunfish. Want one? Please take one.”

She pulled a face at that thought. “… No… Anyway, tonight we’re hanging out in Seb’s room. Swing by around seven and don’t smell like fish. That crappy shack you live in has a bathroom, right?”

“… I technically have a bath.” He had two ponds on his farm. That was pretty much it. If he ever got enough gold together he’d have to as Robin to put in a kitchen and a bathroom.

“Alright, Seb’s bedroom. Seven o’clock. Tonight. Bring snacks if you wanna be cool.” She winked and happily ran off towards the library.

Apollyon was very confused but continued with throwing his plan of throwing a fish into the community center. He managed to hit Yellow square in the face. Well, he assumed it was its face. They were kind of just a whole face on a round mass. Point was, Yellow fell over when he got hit with a fish and that made Apollyon happy.

He eventually got home and had a bath on one of the ponds on his property. He kept an eye out for any angry Junimo’s that might come by for revenge for the fish thing. He saw one or two running about but Goblin easily chased them off. She was a good girl.

Later that evening he stopped by the saloon and picked up some pizza for the night. He didn’t really know what to expect going up there, but if it was anything like when he sat in on Sam and Sebastian when they had their jam session it was going to be fun. He hadn’t seen Sebastian’s room yet, but he had two clear ideas of what it looked like in his mind; dark and spooky, or bright and colourful in such a way as to make his eyes bleed. Either option was hilarious to him.

When he entered the house he saw Robin scribbling in a book at the counter. “Oh, hey there Apollyon. What can I do for you?”

“Um, where’s Sebastian’s room?”

“Basement. You can’t miss it.”

“Thanks.” He paused for a moment. “Um, when I eventually get a house upgrade can I get a bathroom and a kitchen?”

“Sure. Now you head off and enjoy your evening.”

Apollyon nodded a little and headed down to the basement, politely knocking on the door before entering. “Hello?” Sebastian’s room was just spooky and dark. It wasn’t unexpected but he was kind of hoping it was going to be so colourful it would make his eyes bleed from all the clashing colours. Thankfully he wasn’t the only one there, Abby and Sam happened to be there too.

Abigail grinned. “Hell yeah! You bought pizza!”

“What kind?” Asked Sam.

Sebastian frowned a little and looked over at his friends. “Okay, which one of you invited him?”

Apollyon felt like a heavy weight was suddenly forced down on his chest. “Oh… I was under the impression I was welcome here… I’ll um, I’ll just go…”

Abby sighed dramatically and lightly smacked Sebastian’s arm. “Be nice you basement troll. I invited him over. “Apollyon is cool. Look, he brought pizza. Delicious, delicious pizza.” She walked over to Apollyon and pulled him over to the couch. “What kind did you get?”

“Um, just pepperoni with extra cheese…” Apollyon still felt he shouldn’t be there. Sam and Abby were happy enough to have him there but Sebastian didn’t seem so happy. “Because you know, some places put cheese on it but it’s like they are trying to ration it out or they only use some crumbly cheese like goat and it isn’t evenly spread around or there isn’t a good dough to toppings ratio and you just get a mouth full of bread with a hint of toppings. It’s not good.”

Abby took the pizza from him and happily started eating with Sam. “Mmmmm, extra cheese. Come play Solarion Chronicles with the rest of us nerds. You ever played it before?”

“I was interested but never had the money to get the cards and books and stuff… I grew up pretty damn poor.”

“Living in a shitty apartment poor or my parents had to have three jobs each kind of poor?” She asked.

“My mum and I used to live in our car kind of poor.”

“… Rough.”

Sam nodded a little. “Sucks man. I used to live in Zuzu city in a really cramped apartment with my parents before we came to Pelican Town.”

“Boo, boring whiny stuff.” Complained Abigail. She picked up a can of beer and pushed it into Apollyon’s hand. “Drink and be merry. One should not play Solarion Chronicles sober. It’s way more interesting when a little tipsy.” She pulled Apollyon over to a table and pushed him onto a chair. “Let’s play.”

The other two boys sat around the table and Sebastian started to shuffle scenario cards. “Alright, I added the new expansion pack I ordered the other day so we’ll have a few different scenarios and also three different character classes, so go ahead and choose what you like.”

Abigail quickly grabbed the character cards and chose her character. “Sweet, the finally added the rogue! I am so gonna be her.”

Sam grabbed the warrior card. “Mine.”

“Brawn over brain? Sounds like you.” Teased Abby as she passed the character cards to Apollyon.

He looked over the characters. The ones left were wizard, healer, bard, and beast master. With little hesitation Apollyon chose the healer. “We’re going to need a well-balanced party so Healer probably suits me best this time… I’d end up getting myself killed if I tried anything else.”

“Alright,” said Sebastian as he finished shuffling the scenario cards. “I’ll be the wizard. Okay, so now it’s time to start our journey into the world of Solarion…”

***

Purple and Red managed to follow Apollyon from the farm to Sebastian’s house. They managed to avoid the fleshy pink monster that patrolled the farm and decided to set out on a mission that they had given themselves. Their mission; to get the farmer a partner. Red was smart enough to point out that they should try and steer him towards the humans that he was getting along well with.

So both of them were really excited when Apollyon happened to go to Sebastian’s room where Abigail and Sam also happened to be. They hid under the couch and watched as the young adults play some card game.

Purple sighed a little as they watched the young adults talking and eating pizza. “So… What are we meant to do? Just watch?”

“Yeah,” said Red. “You see, humans have this thing called love that makes them want to be together. It’s different from us Junimos. We just you know, get to a certain age and then split into two. Humans don’t do that.”

“Well what do they do?”

Red shrugged. “I think it usually has something to do with a lock and key mechanic? It’s very weird stuff.”

“… Have you seen humans mating?”

“Well not humans but I saw some mice going at it once last Spring in the community center. I can only assume human mating is the same thing… But more emotional than chemical driven I think… I am no expert on the subject.” Red picked up a bottle cap and gave it a little sniff. It smelt like stale beer and rust. They decided to keep it.

Purple sighed again watched the action unfold in front of them. “… The purple haired one. She seems very happy to be around the farmer. Good pick?”

“The spiky blond one seems to be having a good time too. Also a good pick… But the smoking one? He didn’t seem happy for the farmer to be here.”

“Humans are weird. Maybe this is a sign of affection or something?” Purple pushed some dust into a pile near its spindly legs. “How are we meant to make any of these humans like the farmer anyway?”

“… I didn’t think that far ahead. We shall think of something! Maybe we should get closer?” Red peeked out from under the sofa and made a mad dash over to the book shelf. Thankfully no one seemed to notice of care that they were there, so they quickly zipped under Sebastian’s bed. Moments later Purple joined them.

“… Is this better?”

“I think so. I don’t think they are still playing their card game though.”

The two Juminos watched as the humans seemed for forgo whatever card game they were playing and started to talk amongst themselves. Everyone seemed to be laughing and drinking from bottles and cans.

Suddenly the purple haired one pointed at the farmer. “Truth or dare!”

The farmer laughed a little. “What? We doing this now?”

“Yep. Truth or dare.”

“Until I know what kind of dares you people do, I’m choosing truth.”

“Tell us about your first time having sex.”

“Abby!” Gasped the spiky haired blond one. “That’s like a round three truth or dare truth question thing.”

“Too bad, Apollyon is bound by the laws of truth or dare! Answer the question!”

The farmer chuckled a little and let out a wistful sigh. “Let’s see… It was a few months after I turned eighteen. My step dad kicked me out of the house for like the third time that week and I ended up going to the red light district in Zuzu city.” He drank heavily from his can. “I met this nice older woman. Mid to late twenties I think, very obvious boob job. Turns out she was a professional working girl and I lost my virginity to her.”

The purple haired one looked very deflated. “Oh, well that was boring. I was expecting something more… I don’t know dramatic? Heart breaking? Possibly homoerotic?”

The farmer laughed and shook his head. “None of my relationships have ever been dramatic or had any heart break on my end. It was my second time that was homoerotic.”

“So you’re gay?” Asked the spiky blond one.

“Nah, I don’t have a preference. I like both. Did you get this piss water beer from Joja mart or something?”

The smoking one shrugged. “It’s the only place that sells canned beer.”

Purple frowned and looked over at Red. “What in Yoba’s name is gay?”

Red thought for a moment. “Um… you see, there are two different kinds of humans. Humans with lumps on their chests and those that do not have lumps on their chest. Usually people with lumps go with people without lumps but I think when two lumpy people or two non-lumpy people get together that’s what humans call gay.”

“Huh… So the farmer is this gay thing then? Does this mean we can cross the purple haired one and all of these other chest lump people out?”

“I have no idea. Humans are weird.”

Purple sighed heavily and lied down, kicking their legs up in the air. “This is dumb! Let’s just choose someone and get them to be with the farmer!”

“… We can’t be lazy. If the farmer chooses the wrong partner they will both be upset and mad at each other and we might as well beg the evil one to flatten the community center.”

Purple sighed dramatically and flailed. “But this is sooooooo boring!”

Red pouted as them. “Well next time I’ll ask someone else to come with me! Maybe Blue or Green. Heck, even old White.”

Purple frowned and shoved them. Red shoved back. Within second the two Jumino where deeply engaged in a slap fight. However this didn’t really do much for either of them since they only had stick arms and no actual hands to slap each other with.

***

None of the humans knew of nor cared for the Jumino slap fight that was happening under Sebastian’s bed. They were much too busy drinking and playing truth or dare. Though truthfully Apollyon wasn’t one to get affected by alcohol as much as other people would. He was tipsy but Abby, Sam, and Sebastian looked like they were quickly starting to get drunk. He had no idea how much they had drunk before he got there or even during the game.

Sam seemed to be the lightest of light weights. He’d only seen him drink two beers before starting to chug Joja cola, and he was still tipsy as all hell. Abigail had at minimum three cans under her belt and was all flushed and giggly. Apollyon had no idea how much Sebastian had drunk but his face was slightly pink and he was smiling and more talkative than usual.

“So there I was-” said Abby as she made wild hand gestures “-Summer time, and for some stupid reason I decided to wear one of those shitty string bikini swimsuits, the kind you need to tie up or they will fall off, and a huge wave crashed over me. I went under, and when I came back up I saw my bikini top floating away out to sea.”

Apollyon snorted. “Oh my god. Really? Did you flash anyone?”

“Yep. My parents, Haley, Alex, and Emily. Flashed them all my sixteen year old titties.”

Sam sighed a little. “I wish I was there to see that. Sixteen year old me would have been very happy to see those two… But sadly I was grounded.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “Sam, you’re an idiot. There is a thing called the internet for all your boob needs.”

He shrugged and sipped some more of his Joja cola. “Yeah well, sixteen year old me was more annoyed that Alex got to see tits before I did.”

Abby laughed and pulled herself to her feet. “Well, everything is making me giggle like an idiot. It’s time for me to split. Sam, walk a drunk girl home?” She grabbed his arm and pulled him up, not giving him much of a choice.

“Huh? Alright. Later you two. My mum probably wants me back home soon anyway.” He waved goodbye as Abby dragged him away.

Apollyon smiled a little at Sebastian. “Hey, sorry I kind of crashed your get together. Next time I’ll just decline.”

He shrugged and started to put away his cards. “Nah, it’s cool. It was actually kind of nice to have someone else join in. We actually made it through the Den of Shambalaran scenario without anyone dying. It was pretty cool.”

“Thanks. I didn’t think spell of healing was actually going to reattach Sam’s arm.”

“His fault for sticking his arm into that obvious arm trap.”

“I guess so.” He got up and started to tidy up all the cans and pizza boxes.

“Just leave it. Sober me can deal with that tomorrow.”

“Sober you can always use a bit of help. I’m used to cleaning up after people have had one too many anyway.”

There was a bit of silence between them for a few minutes as Apollyon busied himself tidying up. “Was it your step dad?” He asked. “Step dads are the fucking worst. Demetrius thinks he can run his mouth off to me just because he married my mum it’s fucking stupid.”

Apollyon laughed a little. “Yeah, I can see how that can be annoying… It was my mum. After my grandfather died things were really rough for us. Her more so than me.”

“Oh…”

Apollyon smiled at him. “Hey, step parents aren’t bad. Some are just more awkward than others. I’m sure Demetrius tries his best for you, even if he screws up a lot.”

“… Whatever. Demetrius is such a-”

“Hush you.” Said Apollyon quickly. “You’re drunk and I’m not going to get into some competition as to whose step dad is worse.”

“You’re drunk too. You had like four cans.”

“I have a very high tolerance. As far as I know the only thing that really gets me smashed is vodka. A few cans of Joja brand piss water isn’t going to ruin my day.” Apollyon started to subtly direct Sebastian towards his bed. Hopefully the young man would fall asleep once he was laying down.

Sebastian seemed surprised by their sudden closeness. He was more out of it than Apollyon thought if he was that easily surprised. He had to admit, Sebastian held himself together pretty well, and he did look rather cute with a light dusting of pink on his cheeks. He also had this slightly dazed look on his face which Apollyon found rather adorable.

“… You’re weird.”

Apollyon did his best to not laugh at that statement. The alcohol was starting to hit Sebastian hard. “Sebastian, you don’t even know the half of it. Go to bed. We’ll talk later in the afternoon when you’re back to normal.”

“Okay… Night Apollyon. Same time next week?”

He was surprised to hear that and was pretty damn sure that Sebastian wouldn’t remember the invitation he extended to him in the morning. But the gesture still made his heart race a little in excitement. “Sure. I’d like that. Night.”

He left the basement feeling a faint sense of happiness swelling deep within his chest. Apollyon felt good, really good. It was kind of a scary feeling for him. He had tried to not let himself expect too much or get too happy about much. His own self-doubt and anxieties wouldn’t allow for that. However after all the bullshit he had put up with working for Joja and the Junimo’s deciding he was going to be their lackey, he was starting to allow himself to be happy again.

***

Eventually the slap fight ended and the Junimo’s lay in piles of dust and food wrappers under Sebastian’s bed, their little chests heaving as they breathed heavily. If Junimos could bruise they certainly would be by now.

Purple sighed a little and looked out to see that there was no longer anyone besides Sebastian walking around the basement. “… Hey Red? I think the farmer is gone.”

“… Huh, so he is. Guess we better go too.”

“But the door needs people hands to open it. Are we stuck here till someone opens it and we can sneak out?”

Red stared up at the mattress for a few moment before letting out a frustrated sound and started flailing their limbs about. This was obviously not part of their plan.

Chapter Text

To no one’s surprise Sam, Abigail and Sebastian all had hangovers the next day. Though each one was slightly different in intensity. Sam, though he had drunk the least looked like he had been run over by a truck, and Abigail just looked miserable, opting to wear a giant pair of novelty sunglasses inside. Sebastian just had a terrible headache but otherwise looked like his usual self.

The trio were hanging out in Sebastian’s room as it was the darkest and quietest place in the whole valley. Sebastian was laying on his bed, Sam was on the couch, and Abby cleared off the table and decided to sprawl out over it. None of them really said anything. They just walked in and lied down.

After what seemed like an eternity Abby finally spoke up in a hushed whisper. “So, what happened when we left? Did you and Apollyon kiss or something?”

“He helped me clean stuff up and left.”

“Seriously?” Abby groaned in annoyance. “You mean we got plastered for nothing? You know Sam is a baby drunk. Look at him. He’s fucking dead.”

Sebastian glanced over to the rather dead looking man that was attempting to melt into his couch. “… Your fault for making us drink so much.”

“Shut up… I thought we’d just drink till we found out if he liked dicks or not… And when we found out he did I thought your dumb drunk asses would maybe smooch or something. It was a fool proof plan.”

“You’re an idiot.” Muttered Sebastian. Despite drinking a little more than he usually would he could very clearly remember a few details about last night when they were alone. Things like how kind Apollyon had been to help tidy up, and how close they had gotten to each other physically. It might have just been the alcohol clouding his mind or the lighting in his room but damn Apollyon looked good; a light blush dusted his face, eyes so warm and caring, and lips so soft. He wondered what it would be like to kiss them, but he wasn’t going to admit that. He was drunk. That was just the desperate drunk gay in him wanting to do stuff with another guy.

Abby experimentally took off her sunglasses before quickly putting them back on. “For fuck’s sake. You should have at least tried smooching him. You could have blamed it on the alcohol if you two didn’t like it.”

“Shut up Abby. You’re too loud.”

Sam groaned a little as he rolled onto his side on the couch. “Think Apollyon’s dead to the world too?”

“Probably,” said Abby. “You should have let him crash on your couch. He had like seven cans. Boy was draining them like Sam draining Joja cola.”

“He seemed fine when he left last night…” Now Sebastian felt a little guilty. He should have asked Apollyon to stay He wondered what he was up to right now.

***

“STOP STEALING MY FUCKING BLUEBERRIES!” Screeched Apollyon as he swung his scythe around, causing several Junimos to drop the berries and scatter. Did they think they could just steal and get away with it because blueberry bushes made several berries? Not on his watch damn it. Maybe they thought they could steal some because he had gone drinking last night? Not fucking likely. They were his crops and he was going to defend them as best he could.

“Hello! Anyone home?” Called Emily.

Apollyon waved her over. “Hey, what are you doing here?”

“Just came by to see how you were going and, is that your cat?!” She pointed over to the lazy naked chicken cat grooming herself on the porch.

“Yeah, that’s Goblin. She’s going to be less naked in a day or two. I ordered a cat shirt for her so she doesn’t get sunburnt.” He looked over at Goblin. “Hey! Stop locking your bits in front of guests!” Goblin ignored his yelling and continued to groom herself. “… She’s not very well behaved.”

Emily grinned. “Well I think she is gorgeous. I’m going to make her a jacket for winter… Anyway, I was wondering if you could do me a huge favour, if it’s not too much trouble.”

“Sure, what’s up?”

It took a moment for Emily to answer him. It looked like she was trying to find the right words. “It’s Shane… He seemed to be in a really, really bad way last night. I mean, he’s usually pretty grumpy, but last night it was more of a hopelessness kind of thing… Could you come by the Saloon tonight and talk to him? Walk him home again? I worry…”

“Say no more. I’ll help you out. Shane’s my friend too.” He felt a little guilty. He hadn’t had much time to go to the saloon over the past few days. He’d finally worked up the courage to go back into the mines and had finally made it down to level forty. Ever since then he’d been swinging his sword and screeching at every dust sprite and skeleton that came his way. It was brighter in the ice caves but it was still scary.

Emily smiled brightly and hugged him tightly. “Thank you so much. This means a lot to me, and I’m sure it will mean a lot to Shane if he shows up tonight.”

Apollyon smiled a little and offered Emily some blue berry juice which she readily accepted. The pair spent the remainder of the day together talking about this and that till Emily had to go off to work. He made his way down to the Saloon around five and waited for Shane to show up.

***

Once the trio of idiots had gotten over the worst of their hangover they decided to go down to the saloon for dinner, or whatever meal they were up to that day. Plus pizza sounded really, really good right now.

The moment the trio made it into the saloon Abby made a beeline for Apollyon and hugged him. “I thought you were dead! How are you still alive?”

Apollyon flailed a little but managed to stop himself from falling over. “Hey Abby. I have a very high alcohol tolerance. It’ll take more than that to get me drunk.”

Sam looked shocked. “So you drank all that and still managed to get home by yourself? When did you get up?”

“Six o’clock sharp.” Said Apollyon with a devilish grin. “I got up, watered my crops, chopped down a few trees, skinny dipped and came here.”

“You skinny dip?” Asked Abby.

“I don’t have running water in my house yet. I skinny dip in my pond every other day. More often now since the weather has warmed up.”

Sebastian frowned a little. That must have sucked. He couldn’t imagine how annoying it would have been to have to strip down and swim in a pond every time he had to have a bath, but for some reason he could clearly imagine the farmer doing it. Was he very slim? Muscular? He had to at least be toned something fierce from all that farm work. He shook his head a little and tried to fight the blush that was starting to creep onto his face. He couldn’t blame alcohol on it this time.

Abby grabbed hold of Apollyon’s arm and started to pull him towards the arcade. “Come on, let’s go sit on the couch and talk about this more in depth.”

He smiled a little and gently shrugged her off. “Can’t. I’m meeting Shane tonight.”

Sebastian felt kind of uncomfortable hearing that. Those two hanging out together just seemed strange to him now. Was this a spark of jealousy? He sure hoped not. He shouldn’t feel jealous about a man he was claiming he didn’t like. Although, he was starting to look at Apollyon’s lips more and more when he was talking. Now he was getting mad at himself again. Why should he care if Apollyon was talking to the town drunk?

“Boo… Well you come over when you’re done talking to him.” Abby went to Gus’s attention to order their group some pizza and water. Lots of water.

He followed Sam over to the arcade, but continued to glance over at Apollyon. He was talking to Emily now. They looked good together. Maybe those two were going out or something? He’d feel stupid if they were. Of course a guy that was interested in men and women would end up with a woman. Especially in a small place like Pelican Town.

***

Apollyon was getting increasingly worried. Shane hadn’t shown up at all and that was giving him so much anxiety. Emily didn’t seem to be taking it too well either. She was constantly glancing towards the saloon doors and giving Apollyon worried looks.

By eight o’clock Apollyon decided he needed to go out and actually find Shane. He bid Emily goodnight and headed out towards Marine’s ranch. Along the way there he happened to notice an empty can of beer, and another one, and another one. They seemed to be heading south towards the sea and locked sewer drain.

Guessing that the cans might belong to Shane, Apollyon followed them till he came across the poor man lying on the ground by the cliff side and surrounded by beer cans. He looked like he’d been like this for a while now. Not too sure of what to do, Apollyon crouched next to him and tried to wake him up.

“Hey buddy. Time to go home.”

“A-Apollyon?” He slurred. “My life’s a pathetic joke… Why do I even try?” He let out a small sob that really hit Apollyon hard. Shane was going through a lot more than he was letting on. “I’m too small and stupid to… to take control of my life. I’m just a p-piece of solid garbage flittering in the wind…”

“Shane…” Apollyon really had no idea what he could say to make Shane feel better. Heck he had no idea if he could say anything to make the situation better.

“I’ve been coming here often lately,” Shane admitted. “Looking down… Here’s a chance to finally take control of my life. These cliffs… But I’m too scared, too anxious. Just like always… All I do is work, sleep and drink to dull the feelings of self-hatred. Why should I even go on? Tell me… T-tell me why I shouldn’t roll off this cliff right now?”

Yoba, Apollyon wasn’t qualified to answer this kind of question. He didn’t want to make it worse. He could always say it was a sin or something, but he had no idea if Shane was religious. He wasn’t even religious. He could say stuff about there being so much to live for, but a depressed and suicidal person wasn’t going to see that. He could bring up his goddaughter, Jas, but that might just make him feel worse.

He took a deep breath and gently squeezed Shane’s hand. “Shane, this decision is your own… Just know I’m here for you no matter what you choose. Okay?” He wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to tell him, but he felt like that was better than saying the other options that came to mind.

Shane looked up at him for a moment, looking utterly confused as he processed what he had just been told. “Thanks… I appreciate that… I really do.” He rested his head against the ground and let out a long, slow sigh. “Apollyon, I think you should take me to the hospital now…”

Apollyon was a little surprised to hear that but never the less he grabbed hold of Shane and dragged him to the clinic, practically kicking the door down to get Harvey to open up. One look at Shane and Harvey quickly carted him off into a back room to treat him for alcohol poisoning and Apollyon stayed out in the waiting room.

Maybe an hour later Harvey came out to talk to Apollyon. “I’ve pumped his stomach and re-hydrated his body. He’s going to be okay. It’s a good thing you brought him in though.”

“Emily asked me to look out for him, but I think I failed them both.” Muttered Apollyon. “I shouldn’t have waited for him at the saloon.”

“You couldn’t have known he was going to do this.” Reassured Harvey. He glanced back at the doors leading further into the clinic with a worried look on his face. “Too much alcohol is terrible for the body… but right now I’m most worried about his mental health… When he comes to, I’ll have a chat with him about his treatment options. I know an excellent counselor in Zuzu city.”

Apollyon hummed in agreement as an almost comfortable silence settled between them. Apollyon was happy to know that Shane was going to be okay in the long run. Hopefully he would take Harvey’s advice to heart.

“Life can be painful sometimes.” Said Harvey. “But there’s always hope for a better future. You’ve got to believe in that.”

“… I’ve tried to believe in that.” Said Apollyon quietly. “But in all honesty? Life is pain. Existing is pain… But giving up and offing yourself isn’t the answer. You have to keep living just to spite everyone that’s told you otherwise.”

“… I guess that’s one way of putting it. Would you like me to give you information about the counselor?”

Apollyon politely declined and headed off home. He’d let Emily know that Shane was alright tomorrow. He wouldn’t tell her everything just that he drank a bit too much and needed to go see Harvey.

When he got to his farm he was immediately greeted by several Junimos grabbing the blueberries that he had neglected to pick earlier. They stared at him and he stared back, not braking eye contact as he slowly walked over to a tree and broke off a branch. “How many times do I have to tell you to stay the fuck away from my crops?” He ran towards the Junimos and the Junimos screamed and scattered.

Chapter Text

Much to Apollyon’s surprise Shane had knocked on his door and woke him up to apologise for being completely smashed the night before. Apollyon was just surprised that Harvey let Shane go so soon. He probably wasn’t as destroyed as he first thought.

“Don’t sweat it Shane. I’m just glad you’re still here… Is that coffee?”

Shane shrugged and offered a cup to him. “If you want it.” Apollyon took it and sat down on the porch, patting the spot next to him to offer Shane a seat. Reluctantly he sat next to Apollyon and the two looked out over the farm. “… Looks like you’ve got your life together.”

“Looks can be deceiving.” He took a long, slow sip from his coffee. “I think if I stayed in Zuzu for another week I would have jumped off my apartment roof. Would have been a perfect Olympic dive too. Judges would have given me a perfect score too. Eight story building.”

“But you have it all together now.”

“I don’t think anyone ever really has it all together.” He put his coffee cup down and pulled one leg up to his chest, balancing his heel on the edge. “… When I was a teen, I was really fucked in the head. I got into fights all the time with kids at school and around where I lived. It was always over the dumbest things too.”

Shane chuckled a little. “A skinny little shit like you? No offence but you don’t even look like you can throw a punch.”

“Who the fuck needs to know how to throw a punch when you can bash a skull in with a stick or curb stomp a fucker?”

“… Fuck, you’re serious?”

“I was a very angry child.” He picked up his coffee cup again when Goblin came over to investigate what he was drinking. The last thing she needed was caffeine. “I think it was a lot of self-loathing. Like, if I hated myself and if I acted like a complete train wreck people would hate me too. I just wanted to be punished and in some ways I still think I do now.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, but I have been better over the past few years. The last fight I got into was in the mines. My nails have finally grown back after all that shit.” For a little emphasis he held up one of his hands and wriggled his fingers. “I’m trying to do more stuff for other people now. Kind of helps a little when you’re a farmer, your job depends on what other people want.” The two fell into silence for a while after that with the two of them concentrating on their coffees.

“Um… I’m going to see a therapist in Zuzu city.” Said Shane quietly.

“Oh?” Apollyon was happy for him.

“Yeah, Harvey recommended them… I want to be a better father figure to Jas. I want to be around for her as much as possible and not just as some drunk old guy that she legally has to live with…”

Apollyon smiled a little and put his hand on Shane’s shoulder. “Good. You have a long term goal and going to see a therapist is the first step. I’m proud of you man.”

“… Thanks. I should be going now.”

“Sure, oh and um, if you feel like talking to someone or just need to get out of the house you can always swing by and hang out here, even if I’m out. I’ll put on a pot of tea or coffee or whatever and we can hang out.”

“You’re a weird one Apollyon.”

“I have been told that many times.” Apollyon waved goodbye to Shane as he ventured down to the path that lead back to his house. He frowned a little when he saw a grey Jumino following him while brandishing a poppy. “… Wait a second…” He glanced over and saw several more Junimo’s pulling up his poppies and running off with them. “You little fuckers!”

***

By about midday Apollyon had chased the last Junimo off his property and managed to get a bit of landscaping underway. He’d cleared some rocks and trees around the dilapidated ruins of what looked like a greenhouse. He was going to have to ask Robin about fixing it up at some point.

With the sun blasting overhead and the heat getting to him, Apollyon stripped down to his underwear and flopped into the pond with a splash. He dived down to the bottom and looked up at the sky. It was interesting to see the world from this blurred perspective. Kind of peaceful really. If he had a choice he wouldn’t mind being reborn with a fish body. If he could avoid getting eaten by humans or bigger fish that would be fun.

The blurry shape of someone standing over the side of the pond. Apollyon swam to the surface and casually shook his head, getting water all over Sam. “Hey! Watch it dude!.”

“You’re the guy that decided to stand over my pond. What’s up?”

Sam sighed a little and dried his hands off on his pants. “Well I was gonna see if you wanted to come down to the saloon with us tonight. You any good at pool?”

“… Why?”

“Just come down to the Saloon. I promise it’ll be a good time.”

***

Much to Apollyon’s delight, Shane was not in the saloon that night. Hopefully he wouldn’t be coming around as often as he used to anymore. He made his way over towards Emily and was about to order a drink when Sam grabbed him by the arm and pulled him over towards the arcade.

“Glad you could make it. Sebastian is absolutely killing me.” He whined. “You gotta help me.” He practically shoved a pool cue into his hand and pushed him into the pool table.

“Oof!” grunted Apollyon. He looked over at Abigail and Sebastian, giving them a slight wave. “Hey.”

Abby grinned and finger gunned at him. “Hey you. Sam was telling us he saw you skinny dipping today. I should have gone over to invite you over tonight.”

“I was wearing underwear…”

“Still, ninety precent naked.”

Sebastian muttered something under his breath and went to set the balls. “Looks like Sam got tired of getting beaten and roped you in.”

Apollyon shrugged. “He didn’t really rope me in. I actually like playing pool. What are we playing? Eight-ball, nine-ball, three-ball, one-pocket, bank pool or loop pool? Well I guess we can’t play loop pool, the table isn’t elliptical.”

Sam and Abby looked shocked that Apollyon knew so much, or they were surprised that there were so many variations of pool to begin with. Sebastian didn’t seem as surprised but he did raise an eyebrow. “Eight-ball. How do you know about the other ones?”

“I did some shitty things when I was growing up to make a quick buck. One of the easiest things was hustle people over games of pool. Mind if I break them?”

Sebastian stood aside and let Apollyon break them. He wasn’t the best at pool, but he was better than average. He hoped that he didn’t make a fool out of himself. He managed to sink the five ball, setting him up for solids while Sebastian had stripes. Through some trickery he managed to sink the three ball too.

Sam let out a low whistle. “Wow you’re good.”

Apollyon shrugged. “I know how to handle multiple balls at once.” For a solid thirty seconds after he said that were filled with Abby choking on her drink. “You okay there Abs?”

From the blue couch Abby gave a shaky thumbs up. “Yep. Just didn’t expect to hear that.”

“So you’ve been with a lot of guys?” Asked Sam.

Apollyon chuckled a little and lined up his shot. “Why Sam are you bi curious by any chance? Just yanking your chain. I’ve had more experience with guys then girls, though that’s only because of the drug and alcohol fuelled orgy.” He messed up his shot. Upon hearing that there were very loud gasps of shock from Sam and Abby. Sebastian, while he didn’t say anything, but he did look rather taken aback by that. Suddenly Apollyon felt very, very dirty.

“We need context!” Said Sam. “Context!”

Abby nodded in agreement. “Yeah, you can’t just say that and leave it at that.”

“… Like I said I did some shitty things growing up.” Said Apollyon as he refused to meet any of their gazes. “Living in the city was boring. I felt numb almost all the time and just wanted to do something different. So I saved up some money and went to some anime con and became friends with some cos-players. Next thing I know I’m invited up to their hotel room and well… Things quickly escalated to where-”

“No one needs to hear that.” Muttered Sebastian rather bitterly.

Apollyon could feel his chest tightening as he kept looking at the ground. Were the fine grains in the wooden floor always so cracked? He wasn’t sure. “Yeah right… Sorry. No one wants to hear about that gay shit. Disgusting right?” He rested the pool cue on the table. “Look, I’m just going to head home… I didn’t feed Goblin and she gets mad if I stay out too late. Bye.”

He quickly left before anyone could stop him. He heard someone call out to him, but he didn’t care. He just wanted to go home. He shared way too much too quickly and as always people thought he was fucked up. Well, he was fucked up, but not in the way most people would have thought.

By the time he got back to the farm his legs were shaking and he felt sick, in fact he was. Right next to the box where he put all his crops for collection in the morning. Lewis was not going to appreciate that tomorrow.

He stood crouched over for a few moments when the sound of something rushing through the air caught his attention. Looking up he was shocked to see a green skinned woman riding on a flying broom. He was pretty sure she was a witch. She quickly spied him and wooshed down to meet him, staying on her broom.

“Well, well, well, who might you be?” She asked.

Apollyon blinked a little in surprise, not really expecting this. “Um… Well who might you be?”

“I asked you first.”

“I asked you second.”

The witch rolled her eyes. “I’m Morgana, witch of the valley. Mixer of dark arcane elixirs. Dealer of the dark arts, and so on. So who are you?”

“… Apollyon.”

A wicked smirk graced Morgana’s face. “Apollyon? Really? Did your parents name you after what you are or what you would become?”

“… I don’t know.” Oh Yoba, Apollyon didn’t want to be dealing with another magic user. He thought the wizard and the Junimos were bad enough. Now he had to deal with a witch. “Um, look I don’t have anything to offer you so um…”

“Did you happen to inherit this place from your grandfather?”

“… Yes? Why?”

Morgana gave a knowing look and nodded slowly. “I see… Your grandfather was friends with me and my ex-husband… Rasmodius…” She had a ridiculous amount of contempt for the man it seemed.

Apollyon could understand her feelings towards him. He wasn’t a fan of the wizard either. “Your ex sucks.”

“So you’ve met the cheating son of a bitch? How is he? Still fucking useless?” She snapped.

“Um yeah… He tried to kill me when we first met so yeah… Look, it’s getting late so I should just you know, head off to bed and stuff…”

She crossed her arms and shook her head, making tut tut sounds at him. “Don’t be rude boy. I kind of like you… In fact I think I’ll give you a little gift.”

Before Apollyon could say anything, Morgana quickly waved her hands and blasted some strange green energy right into his chest, making him stumble back a little. Satisfied that her work was complete, Morgana swiftly flew off into the night, cackling like a maniac.

Apollyon quickly lifted his shirt, trying to see if he ended up with a burn mark but found nothing. He was very confused as to what she did and would go and see the wizard tomorrow just in case. But for now he needed to lie down and sleep.

***

Seeing Apollyon quickly rush out of the saloon, Sebastian had a mix of feelings running through him. For one he was kind of shocked to hear about Apollyon’s sex life, and he was pissed at his friends for bringing all this up in the first place. He knew they were cooking up something.

Abby walked over to Sebastian and lightly hit his arm. “This is all your damn fault.”

Sebastian was stunned. “Me? What did I do?”

“You cut Apollyon off and shut him down.” She hissed. “He probably thinks your straight as an arrow too since you cut him off during a gay sex story and he even called it disgusting.”

“So just because I don’t want to hear about a guy that I kind of like fucking someone else I’m the bad guy now?”

Sam perked up when he heard that. “You like him now?”

“… As a friend.” He could feel the heat starting to rise in his cheeks. Apollyon was a strange guy for sure and he had a strange history, but he was alright looking. He still didn’t think he’d end up settling for a guy in a small town. He’d end up with a girl for sure. No point entertaining ideas that won’t come to be.

“Sure. Whatever you say.” Muttered Abby. “Still, he totally thinks you’re one of those straight assholes that act all progressive and shit but would get all disgusted if you had to undress in a locker room with a known gay.”

“Shut up Abby.” Muttered Sebastian. “You two shouldn’t have brought this shit up in the first place. You should have just left it instead of asking for context, Sam.”

“Dude, he was a participant in an orgy. I had to know the story behind that one.”

Abby sighed and shook her head. “Well this plan was a bust. Nice try Sam.”

Sebastian groaned. “Seriously? You just… You two set this up to try and get us together or something? What the hell?”

“Hey, it was a good idea.” Said Sam. “No one got drunk and you guys got to play pool. He’s a pretty good player. You should ask him over to play some more.”

“… Whatever.” He was itching for a cigarette now. With a frustrated groan he slammed the pool cue on the table and headed to the door. “From now on pool on Fridays only… And no more of your bullshit schemes.” He knew his friends meant well, but Yoba they needed to stop messing with his life.

Chapter Text

Five seconds after stepping into the Wizard’s tower and explaining his situation, Apollyon had been thrown into some kind of magic circle while the Wizard looked through different books and bottles. He ran back over and threw some gold dust over him and muttered a few words that sounded like gibberish.

“… Well whatever she did to you it won’t kill you.”

Apollyon shrugged. “Okay. As long as I don’t die I don’t mind… So I’ll just be moving along then?”

“Wait, you should talk to your mother. Let her have a proper look at you.”

“… Why?” Apollyon had no idea how the Wizard knew of his mother or her unique abilities. Plus the thought of heading back home made him feel kind of queasy.

The Wizard just scoffed at his reluctance. “Because your mother and Morgana studied the same field of arcane magic before… Anyway, I did visit you a few days after your birth and well… The less said about how that went down the better.”

“… Did you try and kill me?”

The Wizard became flustered and crossed his arms. “Child you are missing the point. You should go and see your mother… If you can get the bus working.”

“… What happened to the bus?”

“The day after you arrived when Pam came home from her shift the bus seized up and died.”

“Fantastic…” Apollyon sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Fine. Do you have a tool box?”

The Wizard shook his head. “Unfortunately I do not. Perhaps you could ask Robin? I’m sure she has a tool box or two in her place.”

Truth be told Apollyon had finally saved up enough money and material to build a chicken coop so he was going to see Robin anyway. “Um, okay. Fine. See you later I guess…” He quickly left the tower and made his way to Robin’s house via his own farm. However when he got onto his property he couldn’t help but notice a stranger in a black suit and red bowtie had wandered onto his property.

Seeing Apollyon the man adjusted his glasses and smiled almost smugly at him. “Ah, good to finally meet you. I’m sorry it took so long, but I had some managerial issues that I needed to look into. But you don’t need to know that. I am Morris. The manager of your friendly, local JojaMart.”

Upon hearing that this man was a representative of Joja, Apollyon wondered if it would be considered rude to threaten him with his hoe or axe. “Good for you.” He kicked open the wooden chest he used to store all the wood, clay, and stone he’d managed to pick up during his weeks.

Morris frowned a little, but to his credit he took it all in his stride. “Well, I came to welcome you to Pelican Town, and to offer you a JojaMart membership.”

“Sorry pal, but I don’t shop at JojaMart. I either grow what I need, trade what I need, or shop local. A mega conglomerate like Joja doesn’t need my money.” He quickly counted the number of wood and stone he had. If he was lucky he should have enough left over to make a preserves jar, or another mayonnaise machine.

The JojaMart manager seemed to be rather flustered by his blunt answer. “Well, I am sure you’ll change your tune soon enough. We are offering a discount to all new members.” He seemed to go onto full blown sales pitched mode. “Your first five purchases will be slashed to half price. And through our rewards system we can guarantee that each customer will get a twenty five percent discount at least once per season on all purchases over two thousand gold. We also give out free rewards on your birthday. Just a little bit of gratitude to show our loyal customers. So what do you say?”

Apollyon rolled his eyes. “No thanks. I don’t feel like selling my soul to Joja. Please leave me alone.”

“But it’s a fantastic offer.” Said Morris. He seemed to be taking on a more aggressive sales pitch now. “Please do consider it. I’ll slash the joining fee. Drop it from five thousand, to two thousand five hundred gold instead. What do you say? It’s a very good deal.”

Now Apollyon was starting to get annoyed. “Look, I am a farmer and I have things to do. Okay?”

“… Well if you change your mind, which I am sure you will, I will be at your local JojaMart, north of the blacksmith’s place. As a gesture of goodwill, let me leave you a flyer.”

Apollyon snatched it out of his hand and shredded it in front of his face. Noticing the horrified expression on the Joja rep’s face made his lips twist into a sinister sneer. “Get the fuck off my property before I slice up and threw you off piece by bloody fucking piece.”

Pretty much all the colour drained from Morris’s face and he bolted off the farm. Watching the fearful man run as fast as he could, which looked more like a fast waddle, it made Apollyon laugh. He looked pathetic. It was a spiteful and malicious laugh. Something he hadn’t done in a long time, but he didn’t care. He just grabbed what he needed and walked off to Robin’s house.

He happily pushed open the door and grinned at the red head behind the counter. “Morning Robin.”

She smiled back at him. “Morning Apollyon. Come for some materials? Need me to make a building?”

“Yep. I’m after a chicken coop, and a favour.”

“A favour?” Robin quickly ducked under her desk and pulled up plans for the chicken coop. “What kind?”

“I need a tool box. I’m going to try and fix the bus.”

Robin’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Really? That’s wonderful. Let’s get your coop sorted out first. Now, we’ll start with a standard one. Big enough for four little chooks. I think it’ll be good for a first time farmer. You can upgrade it later on if you like.”

“Sounds fantastic to me.”

“I’ll get started on it tomorrow. Now, follow me.” She happily led Apollyon out to the garage. As she looked around for it, Apollyon looked around too.

It was a typical garage, nothing crazy was in there, which surprised him. He expected some crazy machinery here and there because Demetrius and Maru seemed to make all kinds of science things. The major thing of note to him was what looked like what could possibly be a bike covered in black and blue bike cover. He wondered whose it was and if it was fully functioning or just a hobby piece.

“That’s Sebby’s.” Said Robin.

“Huh?”

“The bike. It’s Sebastian’s.” She found a tool box and quickly looked through it to make sure all the tools were in it. “He takes it out at least once a week. I’d rather he bought a car, but he’s his own man.” She handed over the tool box and smiled happily. “Here you go. Good luck with the bus. Bring it back when you’re done. Okay?”

Apollyon nodded and happily took the tool box from her. “Thanks. I’ll see you at my place tomorrow.”

***

The Juminos had once again congregated in the community center to talk about the farmer and the witch. Things were never good when the witch passed through and cursed things. While the Junimos were practically immune to her magic they still didn’t like what her magic did to everyone else.

“She’s so spooky!” Whimpered Yellow. “What if she hurt the farmer? That would be bad! Bad! Bad! No good at all!”

The Junimos flailed at the thought. Blue stood up and flailed around a stick. “This is bad! But the witch didn’t make the farmer’s skin change colour.”

“But he threatened to cut up the evil one! That doesn’t sound very heroic.” Said Orange. “… Also, has anyone seen Red or Purple? I haven’t seen them for a while…”

The Junimos looked at each other, all confused. Several of them shrugged and a few other Junimo just giggled. Suddenly the door burst open and the two Junimo walked in. Red and Purple looked exhausted and had long beards on their faces.

“What day is it?!” Cried Red. “We’ve been stuck under the smoking ones bed for years I tell you! Years!”

Purple nodded and lied down on the floor. “We have seen things… Things no Junimo was meant to see and hear and see and hear…”

Green pouted and crossed their arms. “You guys were gone for like a week. Calm down you dummies, and get rid of those dust beards. You two look silly.”

Purple flailed. “But we saw things! Things on that magic screen box! Mostly lines and circles, but sometimes people putting things in other people! I do not understand! I don’t! I don’t! And were the people in pain? Humans are scary! I choose to abort this damn mission to get the farmer a partner!”

Green shook their head. “Anyway, your mission was to see if you could find anyone that could be the farmer’s partner. Did you find anything out before you chickened out?”

Red sighed a little and whiled the dust beard off their chin. “Well, as far as I know it seems the like the spiky blond and the purple haired ones think that the smoking one is a good partner for the farmer… But he doesn’t really seem to have the skills to help on a farm… I don’t know. I was too busy trying to make sure that Purple wasn’t too traumatized.”

“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…”

“We know you are traumatized Purple. Calm down.”

Green tapped their foot on the ground for a few moments as they were making up their mind. They quickly grabbed their bow and quiver they had crafted out of some little bits and bobs they found, along with a bunch of toothpick arrows, and quickly headed to a hole in the wall.

“And where do you think you are going?” Asked White. They leaned heavily on their walking stick as they hobbled after Green.

“I’m going to find the farmer and see if I can talk to them. Failing that I will talk to the Wizard and get his help. The farmer needs a partner to help him and if the smoking one is the right one we might need a little something to speed things up.”

White sighed heavily. “Oh young Junimo… While your intentions are good I don’t know if this is such a good idea. With the farmer being what he is and all it might be for the best that he doesn’t find a partner… No human should end up with that. The end result could end in disaster…”

Green pouted. “I don’t think that the farmer is a bad person. They can’t help it that they were randomly dragged here anymore than we could have helped being born. The farmer deserves someone to help them look after the farm. It’s too much for just one person to bear. I want the farm to stay around longer than it did with their grandfather, so I am gonna do my best to help them. That what we Junimo do, right?” Before White could say anymore, Green quickly scurried off and made their way over to Hellfire farm.

***

Apollyon had been staring at the bus engine for about twenty minutes and still had no idea what he needed to do. Sure he had changed the oil and checked the spark plugs but that was the extent of his car knowledge. He considered just giving up and asking his mum to come over, but if she did happen to agree to do that she would bring along his step dad. Something he wanted to avoid.

Not really knowing what to do, Apollyon grabbed the wrench and lightly tapped around the engine. He couldn’t hear anything rattling and if sounded hollow. So that was good. Right? He had no idea. “… Is there a fucking manual for this thing lying around? For fuck’s sake…”

Suddenly Green popped up waving a toothpick around. “Pip! Pip! Briiiiiii!” It squealed.

Apollyon picked up the screwdriver and tried to push it away with the handle. “Get lost you apple fuck. I’m busy.”

Green grabbed hold of the handle and shook their body. “Nuuuuuuuu!”

“... Oh fuck, I’m starting to understand you…” He attempted to get Green off the handle as soon as possible. “Let go and fuck off. Go on. Piss off.”

“Nuuuuuuuu!” Squealed Green. “Hewp fwend! Hewp!”

Apollyon groaned a little and shook his head. He didn’t want to understand these things. Curse his ability to understand languages quickly. He didn’t want to understand the Junimos. He just wanted them to leave him alone.

Suddenly a rather despicable thought entered his mind; he could get a JojaMart membership. If he did that then Lewis would have to sell the community center. That way he’d be rid of the Junimo’s annoying presence forever. Even if it meant selling what little shreds of humanity he had left to Joja it might be worth it to be free of them.

“Mi ick! Mi ick!” Cried the Junimo in despair, snapping Apollyon out of his disgraceful fantasy. The Junimo had dropped the stick it was waving about into the engine and was reaching down trying to grab it. It was kind of amazing how helpless a supposedly powerful being could be in the blink of an eye.

Sighing a little, Apollyon reached onto the engine and easily grabbed the stick and gave it back to Green. “Here… Don’t drop it again.” Those things were stupid but they didn’t deserve to get kicked out of the community center.

Green happily took it and put the stick back into the quiver. “Fwank ooo!” Suddenly Green looked over to the path and ran away. This left Apollyon confused for a moment until he heard the distinct sounds of someone running along the path. Much to his surprise he saw Sebastian running by towards his farm. His body was not built for running.

“Um, Sebastian?”

He quickly stopped and walked over towards Apollyon, he looked a little flustered and kind of exhausted. “Wrench.” He puffed. “Now… Please.”

Apollyon stared at Sebastian for a moment as the feelings of shame and disgust started to swell up deep within his guts. Normally he would have just given Sebastian the tool box and left it at that, but today he didn’t seem to have much of a filter between his brain and his mouth.

He smirked a little and leaned against the bus. “Well, well, well, didn’t think you’d be talking to me anytime soon.”

“… What? Look can I just have my tool box back? It’s mine. It wasn’t my mums to give away.”

“Bet you and your friends had a good fucking laugh behind my back, huh? New guy in town, not straight as a fucking ramp like everyone else around here. You three fuckers were probably laughing behind my back huh? Just digging up whatever stupid and dumb stories for more things to laugh about? Fuck off. I’ll give you back the fucking tool box when I’m good and ready.” He didn’t really know where this hate was coming from, but he had to admit it was kind of cathartic to be hatful to someone, and it wasn’t like he didn’t deserve it. Sebastian made him feel like shit.

Sebastian looked kind of ashamed. “… We weren’t making fun of you behind your back… I just don’t like hearing sex stories from people. Okay? And none of us care who you fucked in the past. Sam and Abigail were just…”

“Just?”

“… They were asking those kinds of questions because they are idiots and um… They wanted to see if you were gay…”

“Why the fuck would they do that?”

Sebastian blushed a little and sighed. “Okay, look, I’m gay. As far as we know the only gay guy in town. Those two wanted to know if you were gay and then try to get us together. They are stupid like that… I didn’t mean to make you feel like shit.”

“… Oh. So they kept asking about my sex life after I said I was pan because?”

“Eh, I think Sam’s bi curious and Abigail knows that if she asks you that kind of stuff around me it’ll piss me off… Or they were trying to convince me that you really would go for dick or something… Do you know what’s wrong with the bus?”

“Nope. Not a clue. If I had a manual I might be able to but… You wanted a wrench right?”

“Yeah…” He walked over to the tool box and quickly looked through it, quickly finding the tool he was after. “So why are you trying to fix the bus anyway?”

“… I want to go and see my mum soon. Can’t do that if I can’t even catch a bus… I don’t even have a driver’s license so I can’t even ask Lewis if I can borrow his truck for a day.”

“… Seriously?”

Apollyon shrugged. “I lived right next to public transport and my mum and step dad didn’t have much time to teach me how to drive… So it’s either fix the bus or walk… or hitchhike… and I am really against hitchhiking…” Too many horror stories about people getting murdered, kidnapped, raped, or all three to make him consider it.

Sebastian nodded a little as he looked down at the wrench in his hands, slowly turning it around in his hands. “… If you really need to get to your mum’s I’m going into the city in a few days. I have a bike part I need to pick up. You good with motorbikes?”

“Never ridden on one but I think they’re cool.”

“Cool. I’ll double check when the part’s meant to come in and let you know. Good luck with the bus.” He quickly left, still turning the wrench in his hands.

Once Sebastain was gone Green quickly climbed back into view and waved happily at Apollyon. “Fwend?”

“Yes?”

Green gestured to where Sebastian was standing moments before. “Nu! He famer fwend?”

“Oh Sebastian? I guess… I don’t know… Maybe.” He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. He liked hanging out with those three, but couldn’t help but feel upset at them for making him feel like shit. But he was sure he was going to forgive them after a few days. Probably. “Anyway, you have any idea how to fix a bus?”

“Owld!”

“Old?”

“Nu! Owld!” Green jumped onto the ground and drew a coin in the dirt. “Owld!”

“… I can’t pay a mechanic to fix this. There isn’t one in Pelican Town.”

Green pouted and stamped their foot. “Nu! Gimme owld! Gimmie owld an bws wiwl go!”

“… Are you saying I need to give you little apple bastards my gold to complete one of your damn bundles?” Green bounced up and down as if it was nodding. Apollyon grabbed the screwdriver and did his best not to throw it at the Junimo. “Are you fucking kidding me? You little shits are making me pay to fix the fucking bus?” The Junimos were a stupid and evil race of forest spirits.

Chapter Text

Apollyon had tried several times to call his mum to let her know that he was heading over soon, but she wasn’t picking up. He texted her and hoped that would be enough. It probably wouldn’t be, but he could always live in hope. A day after Robin had finished his chicken coop was the day that he and Sebastian were going to head into the city.

He waited by the broken bus and watched in mild annoyance as the Junimos danced around on top of the bus. He had to wonder if these things were hanging around just to see if he could fix the bus. Green was there and waving at him while others like Blue and Orange were marching around, like they were on patrol waiting for something to attack. Probably Goblin.

The sudden rev of a motor made the Junimos jump. Apollyon just watched as Sebastian pulled up on his motorbike and tossed a helmet at him. “Get on.”

“Yeah, yeah. Give me a second. Don’t you need to know where my folks live?”

“Bike part first, parents second.”

“Whatever.” Apollyon threw his leg over the bike and adjusted himself accordingly. “… Where do I put my hands?”

“If you have good balance on your lap. If you don’t then I guess my hips or something…”

“…” A small smirk made its way onto Apollyon’s lips as he shimmied forward, making sure his hips were pressed firmly up against his backside as he let his hands firmly grip his sides. He couldn’t help but chuckle a little when he felt Sebastian tense up under his touches. “What? Too close for you?”

“It’s fine…” He revved the engine and quickly took off.

Apollyon held onto him a little tighter at this point. There was something to be said about hurtling down the highway at what felt like a million miles an hour on the back of a vehicle that had no doors or windows. It would either fill your mind with worry or clear it all together.

For Apollyon it seemed to clear his mind and for a brief moments he questioned his bitter attitude over the past few days. It wasn’t like him, but it somehow felt kind of fun. It sent a chill up his spine. When he was younger he had intense feelings of sadism. It was fun to play with people and leave them feeling broken and wondering why it happened to them, but that was years ago. He didn’t want to go back to that way of thinking.

Suddenly Sebastian pulled into some place and jolted Apollyon back into reality. It seened at though not only did Apollyon’s head clear but he lost all sense of time. He let Sebastian go and watched him slip off the bike and remove his helmet. Some of his hair stuck to the sweat on his forehead that he quickly tried to fix by running his fingers through his hair.

“I’ll be out in a second. Just wait here.” He quickly disappeared inside.

Apollyon watched him go, his eyes immediately drawn down his back and to his ass. Those skinny jeans were doing wonders for him. He’d probably look even better if he didn’t wear that baggy hoodie. He’d look sexy in a tight shirt.

“… What the hell am I thinking?” He shook his head and frowned. Now he was thinking perverted thoughts along with being abnormally aggressive? If there wasn’t some weird magic thing going on he was going to need to get his hormones tested. His testosterone levels were probably going through the roof.

It kind of made sense now that he was thinking about it. The last time he felt this way was when he his puberty. Those years were really rough on everyone. Especially any inanimate object that happened to be within his grasp. His rage always won out when he was younger.

As he pondered this Sebastian came back out with some weird metal part. Obviously whatever he ordered. He dumped it into one of the side bags on the bike. “So where do your parents live?”

“…” He thought about telling him, but the need to be needlessly cruel and to make Sebastian uncomfortable. “What’s the rush? We could always do something else first.” He stepped a little closer to him, but Sebastian quickly put his hand up against Apollyon’s chest.

“Just tell me where your parents live or I’ll leave your dumb ass here. Have fun hitchhiking back.”

Apollyon was a little surprised by that, but he appreciated it. He liked it when people fought back a bit. He had a feeling it was his sadistic side starting to show through again, but he didn’t mind. “No need to get pissy with me. They live on twenty three Greenway drive. It’s a street just off Hazel road.”

“Alright.” Sebastian put his helmet back on and the two started their drive. It wasn’t too hard to find Hazel road. It was a main road after all, but Sebastian did accidentally miss the turn off onto Greenway drive. It was easy to miss. One of those tiny streets seemingly tucked away from the rest of the road.

Eventually though they did make their way there and pulled up infront of house twenty three. It was just some none descript two story house with a white picket fence and a flowerbed. Out the front by the door was a man smoking a cigarette. He had a five o’clock shadow painted across his face and a scar that cut through his bottom lip. He seemed annoyed to see the two of them or at least Apollyon. “Apollyon.” He grunted.

Apollyon was used to this kind of attitude from him. “Colt. How’s mum?”

“Liz’s fine.” He looked over at Sebastian. “Who’s that?”

“A friend.”

Colt looked at the two of them suspiciously. “Just a friend? Nothing going on between you two?”

Ah yes, his step dad was just as annoying as he remembered. “No. Am I not allowed to have friends now?”

“It’s never just friends with you.” Said Colt in an accusatory manner. “You find people, play with them for a few days and then leave them for dead. Last time quite literally if I remember correctly, you fucked his face up real good.”

Apollyon clenched his jaw. He knew Colt was just trying to bait him. He always did this. But he wasn’t going to play along with this. Not today. “Hey, didn’t the police say the same guy I almost killed was wanted for like three counts of sexual assault and one count of rape? Pretty sure I did the world a favour with that one.”

Colt pursed his lips and blew some smoke out his nose. “I’ll give you that one. However, still doesn’t change the fact you obviously have an ulterior motive.” He glanced at Sebastian. “Keep your wits about you kid. This monster is the kind of freak that’ll take everything you give him and then some. He loves hurting people.”

He could feel his blood boiling now. Colt had always been a bastard. He never had a kind word to say to him and would happily tell anyone and everyone about how he was such a horrible and disturbed individual. Trying to fight back and defend himself would just add fuel to his argument that he was a bad seed.

“Is mum home?”

Almost as if she heard him, a woman in a long green dress opened the door and practically threw herself at Apollyon, embracing him in a hug. “Baby bean! You’re home! How are you? Have you been well? Is farm life too hard?”

He felt his anger quell slightly as he embraced his mother. “I’m doing pretty well. Farming’s been fun.”

She looked over his shoulder and spotted Sebastian. The man had kind of just stood back and let the scene unfold in front of him. “Oh, who is this? If you’re a customer I’ll be with you in a moment.”

Apollyon stepped aside and gestured to the raven haired man. “He isn’t a customer. Mum this is my friend Sebastian. Sebastian this is my mum, Elizabeth. She is reads fortunes for a living.”

Sebastian nodded a little, giving her a slight wave. “Hey.” He looked nervous and uncomfortable to be here. It wasn’t like Apollyon could blame him. His family was messed up. He was starting to think that maybe he should have just paid a ridiculously high taxi fare instead of roping Sebastian into this.

Elizabeth smiled brightly and went over to him, happily shaking his hands. “It’s wonderful to meet you. It’s always a pleasure to meet someone with a green aura.” She looked over at Apollyon and grinned. “You don’t tend to be around such hard workers baby bean. I can see good things in the future for him.”

Seeing Sebastian’s bemused expression, Apollyon decided he’d be nice and save him. “Mum. He’s not like you. Sebastian doesn’t see auras. I don’t think he’s even into magic stuff.”

She seemed confused. “Oh, but why did you bring him over?”

“He’s my ride.”

Elizabeth nodded knowingly. “I see. You two are welcome inside. Apollyon, back room dear. We’ll talk there.”

“Sure.” He gestured for Sebastian to follow and they walked into the house, leaving Colt outside. Good. He was glad that Colt didn’t bother following them in. He always rubbed him the wrong way. He had no idea what his mother saw in him, but he tolerated the man for her. The house hadn’t changed at all. It was still covered in crystals and all kinds of occult stuff. Some of it made his skin crawl but those items were very few and far between.

She smiled at the two of them and gestured to the couch. “Sebastian, if you like you may sit here. If you want to smoke please go outside. Apollyon and I have a few things to talk about so we’ll be in the room over there.” She gestured to a door with a star chart hanging off it. “But please make yourself at home. Come on Apollyon.” She walked into the room.

Apollyon sighed a little and ran his fingers through his hair. “Look, sorry about my mum. She’s a little weird, and Colt… He hates me. Don’t take anything he says seriously. Okay?”

“Um, sure…” Sebastian sat on the couch and awkwardly looked around. He seemed so out of place and unsure what to do.

For a moment he wondered what Sebastian would look like spread out and blushing underneath him on that old threadbare couch. Would he even allow it? Maybe he’d push him off and hit him? It would be interesting to see his reaction, but now was not the time for that.

He walked into the room his mother was in and sat down on a comfortable chair across from his mother’s extravagant peacock style chair. This room was where she did most of her fortune telling’s and tarot card readings. It was a very nice set her mother had inherited from a woman called Welwick. He’d seen her several times on TV telling the general fortune for the day.

But there was no time to think about that. His mother had dropped her happy demeanor and took on a more serious tone. “Apollyon, what’s happened to you? I can sense a growing wickedness in you that I find rather disturbing.”

“I got cursed by Morgana.” He said calmly. “The Wizard that lives in Pelican Town said that you two studied the same kind of magic and you might be able to help me… Mum, it feels like I’m going through puberty again… Minus the new hair growth, getting taller, and all that other hormonal stuff.”

She pursed her lips together as she thought. “That is odd… Apollyon, baby bean, have you been thinking about doing immoral things? You know, those kinds of things?”

Apollyon couldn’t help but let out a slightly embarrassed chuckle. “Really mum? I’m an adult with needs.”

“… You can say sex or fucking.” Said Elizabeth. “And I wasn’t talking about that stuff. I’ve never cared who you have sex with as long as it’s consensual, above the age of consent, not an animal, and you use protection. I’m talking more about the whole murder thing.”

“Oh…” Technically he had thought about hurting people, like Morris, but he didn’t feel like he would have actually acted upon them. He also wondered if threatening the Junimos would count. “Kind of?”

She looked disappointed to hear that, and that made Apollyon’s heart sink. She was the one person alive that he didn’t want to disappoint. Everyone else could rot for all he cared but this was his mother. He had to try and explain himself. She had to understand when he was going through.

“Junimos have decided I’m some hero of Pelican Town and are making me give them offerings to fix up a building. They annoy me.”

It took a moment for Elizabeth to process what her son just said, but once she did, she broke into a huge smile. “That’s wonderful news! The Junimos tend to have an either chaotic good or neutral good alignment according to human interpretation. I guess that explains why your aura’s started to become a little brighter these days too.”

“I guess… Anyway, getting back on topic, Morgana did something to me.”

“Right, right… Give me a few moments…” She quickly went over to her bookshelf and started to pull out a few books, quickly flipping through them. “So how is Pelican Town? Still milling along?”

“Yeah, it’s just doing its own thing. It’s peaceful.” Apollyon kind of appreciated that his mum was making light conversation as she worked. It would have worried him otherwise.

Elizabeth nodded a little and put the books down and started to look through her crystals and gathering her chicken bones. “I see… so are there many single people? What about that Sebastian fellow you brought over? Are you two a thing?”

“Mum…” He groaned. “Just stay out of it okay? He’s just a friend. I’ll admit he’s cute but I really couldn’t care less.” Though he said that he knew it was kind of a lie. He had an interest in Sebastian’s body, but that was no real surprise. He looked good to him as did most of the young single men and women of Pelican Town. If the opportunity came around and any of them were interested in screwing with him he wasn’t going to say no.

“Sorry, sorry.” She came back over with her crystals and started to place them around the table. “You know me, I just want to make sure you are in a happy and healthy relationship… No matter how brief it may be…”

Apollyon appreciated the gesture, but he knew this was an empty gesture. He was not made for long term relationships. One night stands or fuck buddies suited him better than that. The possibility of him finding someone who could love him enough to want to marry him instead of running in the opposite direction was practically impossible.

As he mulled over his own nonexistent romantic situation his mum made a knowing sound, like she had just figured something out. Hopefully it was what was wrong with him. She didn’t look too pleased. She was glaring at her crystals, almost frustrated with everything that was happening.

He was almost afraid to ask, but he had to. “… What did Morgana do to me?”

“You should work a lot harder on the farm. Maybe spend most of your days building things like fences and-”

“Mum!” He snarled. “Do you know what is happening to me or don’t you? If not I’ll just leave.”

The older woman looked hurt for a moment before she shifted in her seat, her body sagging in defeat. “From what you have told me and from what I know of Morgana whatever spell she cast on you it seems like it’s drawing out your negative emotions. The things you’ve tried so hard to keep in check… There isn’t much I can do for you now. You have to let this kind of magic run its course… Is there anything you can do to let your frustrations out?”

Apollyon sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Well there are these mines with monsters in them… I’ve been trying very hard not to get my ass kicked by the monsters in them… I guess I could kill some of those… And I guess I could pay a prostitute for the sexual frustrations?”

She pursed her lips upon hearing her son talk about prostitutes. “Apollyon, I know you’re going to do what you wish with your body and money so I won’t argue with you about that, but I highly doubt Pelican Town has prostitutes.”

“… Point taken.” That settled it. Apollyon was going to spend all his money getting a good internet connection, tissues and lube. His next few days were going to be spent either killing things or locked up in his home.

“… So is your relationship with Sebastian just as friends? He has a good aura so I wouldn’t object to him liking you, however with your given history. You liking him…” She was always poking around when he told her to drop it. Especially when she could sense a strong aura coming from them.

He chuckled slightly and shook his head. “I know mum. Sebastian’s a good guy, but we’re just friends. Besides, I wouldn’t let him get close to me like that. I won’t let anyone get close to me…”

“Baby bean…” She walked over and hugged him tightly. “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry…”

He smiled sadly and hugged her back. “It’s okay mum… It’s not your fault.”

***

It was taking a while for Apollyon to finish his talk with his mum and Sebastian was starting to get a little antsy. Things had been very strange today with Apollyon. He still seemed pissed off at him for the other day and who could blame him? He’d probably feel like complete shit if he thought the people he trusted thought he was disgusting.

Maybe Apollyon was getting back at him a little by being just that little more hands on with him than he probably normally would have on the bike? It seemed to make sense, kind of. He was probably just teasing the fuck out of him because he was gay. It was petty and childish, but things could have been worse. It could have just been he was nervous and slightly anxious about this trip.

He also needed to figure out why he had come out to the other in the first place. Sure Apollyon was surprised but didn’t act like it was a big deal, which he was thankful for, but still, to just come out and say it. It was strange for the usually introverted man. Maybe it was his hurt and bitter expression when they had their misunderstanding? Or maybe it was Abby and Sam guilt tripping him into being nicer to the farmer? Either way here was here now, and in Apollyon’s family home no less.

He was stressed. He needed a cigarette. He took the packet out of his pocket and stepped outside. Colt was still out there smoking away. Sebastian didn’t want anything to do with him. From the icy interaction he had with Apollyon he did not seem like someone to be trusted.

The older man paid Sebastian hardly any notice as he stood near him and fumbled with his own cigarette. He quickly patted himself down, searching for his lighter, only to groan in annoyance when he realized that he left it at home.

Colt chuckled and held his lighter out to Sebastian without even looking at him. “Here.”

“… Thanks.” He took it from the man and quickly lit up and passed it back.

The two men stood in silence for a bit before Colt spoke up. “You know, whatever your relationship is with Apollyon you’d better cut ties with him and distance yourself from him. Something like that… No one deserves to be tied to that in any form.”

The way he spoke about Apollyon made Sebastian feel uneasy. “Why do you have to be so hard on him? He’s just a guy doing his best.”

Colt let out a bitter chuckle. “Just a guy huh? Kid, if you think Apollyon is just a normal human being you’re going to be disappointed.” He took a quick puff from his cigarette and slowly blew a stream of smoke out of his mouth. “You’re not like us. I could tell from the second I saw you. You don’t have the sight. You ain’t no magic user. You’re one of those assholes that only believe in what you’ve defined fact.”

He couldn’t help but roll his eyes. Apollyon’s mum was a fortune teller and then this man obviously believed in all that junk too. “So? What does it matter?”

“It matters quite a fair bit. You’re not going to believe me when I tell you the truth, but I think it would be piss poor of me to not warn you about the sick bastard you’re all buddied up to.” He pursed his lips together as he thought of what to say next. “You know what demons are, right?”

“Who doesn’t?”

Colt grinned. “Well there are all kinds of demons and spirits that reside in this existence as well as the Yoba plane and the Void. Now what most people don’t realize is that not all spirits are demons and not all demons are spirits. There’s some overlay, but that all depends on your perspective. A very important thing for a lot of magic folk is our names. Names are power and that power can be used to do all kinds of horrible things to a body.”

“Right…” Sebastian was very quickly starting to think that this man was a little crazy, or at the very least this conversation was going to quickly spiral into insanity. He could see another reason why Apollyon wasn’t very fond of him.

Colt didn’t seem to notice Sebastian’s distain and continued talking. “So most magic folk either give their kid an obscure name that’s hard to spell, a name with power, a name with meaning, or a name given by the voices beyond our reality.” He took another puff from his cigarette and looked over at Sebastian. “You know how Apollyon got his name?”

Sebastian shook his head. “I don’t really care too much about names…”

The older man laughed and scratched his chin. “Well you’re in for a treat. It all starts a few months before the little shit is born. You see, the story behind the conception’s no mystery. Elizabeth wasn’t the most pure and innocent woman in her youth and got knocked up. Nothing supernatural about that. The real kicker comes when nature decided to be a cruel bitch and kill her baby in the womb.”

Sebastian gave him a confused look. He didn’t really know what Colt was talking about. So Elizabeth had a miscarriage? A still birth? Those things happened sometimes. He failed to see what that had to do with Apollyon.

Noticing his confusion Colt continued. “She was living with her grandfather at the time on that farm when she miscarried. Now that was bad enough. If she was any normal woman living with any normal parents that would have been the end of it. She’d burry the baby, grieve and move on… But like I said she ain’t no normal woman. A laps in sanity caused by a mother’s grief and the love of a father for his daughter… Those two brought something into the world that not even Yoba could love.”

Sebastian was really hoping for the sake of his own sanity that this wasn’t going to turn into an incest story. “What happened?”

Colt shrugged. “Elizabeth was sketchy on the details, but her and her old man used very dark arcane magic to bring that dead baby back to life. From what I understand they somehow managed to reach into the Void and forcibly graft an entity from a world of darkness into a corpse. After the process was complete Elizabeth and her old man apparently heard a name rumbling through the Void, loud enough to slip into our reality; Apollyon.”

“… You really had me going there for a moment. Thought you were going to say something interesting, but I guess you just like telling weird stories.” Colt was kind of creeping him out at this point. All he wanted to do was quickly finish his cigarette and get back inside.”

“Too fanciful for you or something?” Asked Colt. He didn’t seem surprised. Just kind of bored. “Apollyon is another name for Abaddon. The ruler of the abyss and the king of demonic locusts. The destroyer.” He chuckled a little. “Believe me or not but Apollyon is a demon. If you get involved with him anymore than you already are you’ll die or worse.”

Chapter Text

Elizabeth had insisted the pair stay for dinner, but thankfully Apollyon quickly declined the offer. He said they needed to get back to Pelican Town but Sebastian was pretty sure he just didn’t want to stay around his parents any longer. Especially since he asked Sebastian if he wanted to go to any pubs or bars before they left.

Sebastian drove them to the pool hall he and Sam usually went to when they went to into Zuzu together. It wasn’t a dive, but it wasn’t exactly pristine either. Apollyon didn’t seem to mind and made his way over to the bar and got himself a beer. He quickly downed it and got another, repeating the same action.

“… Are you trying to get drunk?” He asked Apollyon as he got his own drink.

Apollyon just chuckled and shook his head. “Look, I didn’t exactly have a fun talk with my mum. Let me have this. Plus I don’t get drunk easily remember? You and your friends got pissed and I was able to walk home and get up at six in the morning.”

“Right…” He didn’t know what to say at this point. He kind of wanted to talk about what Colt had said to him. Try and get some clarification, maybe joke about the absurdity of it all. But it didn’t seem like the right time. “Want to play some pool while we’re here?”

“… Sure. Get a table.”

Sebastian went and got a table near the back of the room. He watched Apollyon get another beer and slowly make his way over to the table. Although Apollyon didn’t seem to get drunk very easily he still didn’t want to worry about him being unable to hold onto him on the way back.

“Maybe you should make that your last one for the moment.”

Apollyon shrugged and set up the pool balls. “I’m not going to get drunk if that’s what you’re worried about. But if you’re that much of a whiny bitch about it I’ll fork out the gold to get a cab back to Pelican Town.”

Sebastian scowled a little as he went to break. “Did your talk with you mum really go that badly?”

“… Yeah. I got some annoying news. It just boils down to things are going to get worse before they get better.” He grabbed a cue and waited for his turn to play.

Being slightly concerned for Apollyon made Sebastian falter a little in his game, but he managed to sink two balls before he messed up and Apollyon took his turn. He would have thought his hand eye coordination would have been slightly off, but he seemed fine. It was kind of strange to say the least. Maybe in a few minutes the alcohol would finally affect him. Just as Apollyon was about to take his shot a hand reached down and swiped the white ball off the table.

“The fuck?” Growled Apollyon as he glared at the man that did it.

The man in question looked rather normal. Just some average guy with some non-descript hair cut wearing nothing that would make him stand out. Sebastian would have just told him to give back the ball and piss off, however Apollyon seemed to know this person and they seemed to know him.

“Gadreel.”

“Apollyon. Fancy seeing you out here. Been a few years.”

Apollyon rolled his eyes and pushed Gadreel away. “What the fuck do you want? I’ve had a shit day today and I don’t want to deal with your shit too, okay?”

Gadreel laughed, easily turning his attention to Sebastian. “Hey there. I’m Gadreel. Apollyon and I were in school together for a while. Nice to meet you.” He reached out to shake his hand, and Sebastian would have obliged if Apollyon didn’t swat Gadreel’s hand away with his pool cue. He didn’t seem amused in the slightest. Gadreel just smiled. “I see he still has a bad temper. Some things never change.”

“Gadreel, fuck off.” He growled, baring his teeth in an animalistic way. “I fucking mean it.”

The man just ignored Apollyon’s threats and went back to talking with Sebastian. “You better keep that one on a leash. He’s got a pretty nasty bite.” He looked over at Apollyon and smiled sweetly. “Didn’t you fight the gym teacher back in high school and get expelled?”

“I was changing schools anyway and I was tired of his bullshit.” Growled Apollyon. “Now piss off. You’re annoying us.”

The man sighed a little, but finally relented. “Okay fine, you win Apollyon. Hopefully you’ll be in higher spirits next time.” He took the long way around the table and said something in hushed tones to Apollyon before he left. Whatever he said it seemed to annoy him.

Once he was out of ear shot Apollyon sighed. “Sorry about that. Gadreel was a cocky little fuck in high school and it looks like he still is. He has a way of getting under my skin and pissing me off… If he’s like a regular around here just try and ignore him. He’s an asshole.”

“Huh… Okay.” There seemed to be more to the story but Sebastian didn’t want to probe just at the moment. They continued with the game for a few more minutes before Apollyon put the cue down and quickly finished off his drink. Tonight he’d be giving Shane a run for his money.

“Gonna go take a piss. I’ll be back in a bit.”

“Okay…” Sebastian watched closely as Apollyon slipped towards the bathroom, but then quickly ducked out the back door. He had no idea what he was up to.

***

Gadreel. Of all the people in the world it had to be Gadreel. While it was true that the man had been a little shit in high school, he was also a real pain in the ass for Apollyon since he was actually quite an adept magic user. That had made his life a special kind of hell growing up. They had met a few times after school was over for the two of them and it was never pleasant and either of them.

Gadreel had been waiting for Apollyon out in the alley between the pool hall and some pawn broker’s shop. He smiled happily at him with that horribly fake smile that everyone in Zuzu city seemed to have.

“I must admit I didn’t expect to see a demon like you around.” He said. “You kind of just vanished for a while. Were you laying low?”

“Kind of. I went into hiding for a while to get you magic fuckers off my back.” Growled Apollyon. “I had better things to do than to worry about one of you guys jumping down and trying to murder me or kidnap me for some fucked up ritual.”

“Fair enough. And the guy you’re with?”

“He doesn’t know anything. He’s just a guy I know. Leave him alone.”

Gadreel chuckled at that. “Really? He seems like he would be your type, some emo kid drawn to the dark arts. Oh well, doesn’t matter. I’ll just see what he knows after I’ve dealt with you. One more demon off the streets.”

Apollyon growled and pulled the first thing out of his pocket and threw it at him. It happened to be a toothpick, but it still managed to leave a small cut on the other man’s cheek. “Fuck off. I might be a demon but I really don’t give a fuck about what you humans do. I just want to live my life. Now beat it. I have shit to do.” He turned and went to go back into the hall and almost immediately felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. Reaching around he pulled out the toothpick he threw at Gadreel.

“You should know better than to turn your back on a magic user, Apollyon.”

“I know. That’s why I didn’t. I’m right behind you.” Apollyon looked over his shoulder just in time to see Gadreel turn around. This gave Apollyon just enough time to spin around and kick him in the head, sending him crashing into the trash. “Psych bitch. I can’t do that shadow trick stuff.”

Gadreel groaned and rubbed his face. “Steel capped boots? Really?”

“Yep.” He pressed his foot into Gadreel’s chest and relished in the realization of how easy it would be for him to just press down with a little bit of force and push his foot all the way through his sternum to crush his spine. It would be easy, but he wasn’t that kind of creature. At least for now. “Now leave me alone Gadreel. I’m not in the mood.”

Gadreel was quiet for a moment, weighing up his options. Thankfully he seemed to know when to back down. “Okay Apollyon. You obviously aren’t as weak as I assumed you were. Guess I’ll have to try harder next time.”

His cocky attitude really pissed Apollyon off. He slowly started to press down harder on Gadreel’s chest, stopping only when he could start to feel the bones bow. “There isn’t going to be a next time. I’m not coming back here after tonight. If I ever see you or any of your other magic hit men I’m not going to hold back. I’ll make you regret trying to kill me.”

“I doubt it. But you do you Polly.”

Apollyon glared at him for a moment and kicked Gadreel in the face, knocking him the fuck out. Satisfied with this, he dusted himself off and went back inside. Sebastian was still inside and by the pool table. He walked over and grabbed his cue. “My turn yet?”

“Sure…” He looked worried. “So you just went to the bathroom when you clearly went out the backdoor? What did you do? Go out the back and beat that Gadreel guy to a pulp or something?”

“Something like that.” He bent over the table and lined up his next shot. It was going to be a little hard but he was going to do it.

“… Seriously? You beat him up?”

“Relax Seb. I just roughed him up a little. I told you his was a shit head, right?” He tried and failed to make the shot. “I wasn’t exactly quiet about my sexual preferences in high school and well, I’m surprised he called me by my name and not fag lord or something along those lines.” Hopefully this lie would be enough to keep Sebastian satisfied for the moment. “We should probably head off soon.”

“Yeah, no shit. He might call the cops or something.” Sebastian quickly grabbed Apollyon by the arm and dragged him out. Not that Apollyon minded too much. It was kind of funny being man handled by a smaller man like this but he couldn’t be bothered to protest. As they left, Apollyon took one last look down the alley to see if Gadreel was going to suddenly come after them. At the moment they seemed good.

On the drive home he wondered if he should continue the way he had been. Not just with Sebastian but with the rest of the town. With his unfortunate magical condition and his increasing violent thoughts he’d probably have to try and distance himself for a while. At least until the magic had run its course like his mum had told him. That wouldn’t be too hard. He kind of memorised everyone’s movements around the town so he could easily avoid them.

After what seemed like a very short amount of time they were back in Pelican Town and Sebastian was pulling up beside the bus. “Well, we’re back.”

“So we are…” He got off and handed his helmet back to Sebastian. “Hey, so in case anyone asks I’m just going to be working on my farm for a while, so you won’t be seeing me in town for a bit.”

“Okay… It wouldn’t have anything to do with what your mum said to you, right?” Sebastian had this strange look on his face that Apollyon couldn’t really tell if he was trying to express concern, distress, or whatever that feeling was after you get food poisoning.

He just smiled and shrugged. “I have some trees I need to clear out and some I need to put tappers on. I’m also planning of building a fruit orchid and getting a barn. I need to plan that stuff out and gather materials… I also want to get a house extension so I actually have a kitchen. That would be nice.”

“Huh, alright…”

“Later Seb. Thanks for the ride.” He turned to walk back to his farm when Sebastian called out to him.

“Hey, I know your family is kind of weird and stuff, but whatever she said about you to make you feel like shit, it isn’t true you know… Same with Colt. He’s a dick bag. That weirdo said you were an actual demon.”

Apollyon couldn’t help it when a small smile made its way across his face. “I guess even a bastard like him speaks the truth every now and then.” He continued to walk home, not even bothering to see what kind of expression Sebastian has on his face. More than likely he’d be confused.

***

True to his word Apollyon had isolated himself from the rest of the town. Sebastian hadn’t seen him in days and as far as he knew no one else had either. Then again it was kind of difficult since Sebastian didn’t really leave the house until dark, so he could have been out and talking to people.

On one of his many cigarette brakes by the lake, Sebastian couldn’t help but keep glancing back over at the mines. He was hoping to catch sight of the farmer. He had a habit of coming out late at night with a bag of rocks and geods.

On this particular night Sam happened to venture up to the mountains to visit the secluded man. “Yo Seb.” He called as he walked over to him. “You doing okay? Haven’t seen you around lately since you got back from Zuzu.”

Sebastian shrugged and looked back out onto the lake. “I had work to do. Client needed some stuff done in two days at the most. It was good money.”

“Huh, alright.” He stood by Sebastian for a while in silence and let Sebastian enjoy most of his cigarette before talking again. “You took Apollyon with you when you went to the city the other day, right? How did that go?”

“… His parents are weird. They put him on edge.” He would have mentioned the slight sexual tension the two of them shared and the fact Apollyon might have beaten a man to a pulp, but knowing Sam he’d probably blow it all out of proportion.

Luckily for him Sam seemed to just nod in understanding. “Yeah, he wasn’t a big fan of his folks was he? So how bad were they?”

“It looked like his mum was a psychic that works from home and his step dad is a bag of dicks that out right called him a demon.” He took a long, slow drag. “… It was so bad, we ended up going to that pool hall to drink for a bit and we ran into someone he knew that pissed him off even more… Have you seen him around?”

Sam shrugged. “Seen him a bit. He just runs around not really talking to people that much. Seen him go into the clinic a few times. Not sure what for though.”

He was worried for a few moments, wondering what could possibly be wrong with the farmer. But that worry was quickly killed because Maru would have mentioned something. It was a small town and someone going repeatedly to a place where they normally wouldn’t was always going to raise suspicion and he was sure he would have heard someone say something.

“You going to come to the luau tomorrow?” Asked Sam.

Truth be told Sebastian had forgotten about that. He had more important things to do with his jobs. The luau was boring anyway and he’d have to go out in the sun and interact with people. The weird soup never tasted good to him and the governor was a hack with no tastebuds.

“Bet Apollyon will be there.” Said Sam.

“Probably.” Maybe he would be. He had no real idea if Apollyon would show since he said he was going to stay on his farm for a few days. He wondered if the farm looked good these days. He hadn’t been in a while and he could only imagine what he had been up to. Maybe he had some kegs or some beehives now?

Sam nudged him a little. “So are you going to go?”

“My mum is gonna make me go anyway. So yeah. I’m gonna end up going.”

“Sweet… Want to hang out at my house after?”

“Yeah.”

“Cool.”

Chapter Text

For the past few days Apollyon had been working hard on his farm. He had been clearing out trees, rocks, and weeds, he marked out places to plant crops, a fence so his chickens could run around safely, and a few preservative jars and beehives. He had to go into the mines several times to try and find all the materials he needed for these things.

While he was there he found a lot of gemstones and just cool things in general. With the money he had made from that he was able to afford Robin’s house extension. Now he’d be able to have a damn kitchen, but he’d be talking to her about it after the luau.

He sat out on his porch and bandaged up his hands, sighing a little when the bandages around his knuckles started to darken anyway. He’d gotten several supplies from the clinic before he went to the mines in his search for ore and to relieve his stress. Killing those monsters had been fun for him and he’d been a lot calmer than he had been last time he went in there.

He wanted to go back again and kill something else, but not today. It actually was the luau and Apollyon had been tasked with bringing something, so he had decided to bring in some really good looking grapes he had found on his way home the previous night. He wasn’t entirely sure what it was for since Goblin decided to eat the damn note before he could finish reading it.

Apollyon took the grapes down to the beach. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and having a good time. It made him feel like crap really. He wasn’t sure way though. Everyone being happy was a good thing. This was what he wanted. He wanted to be a part of this. He didn’t want to isolate himself like in the city.

He sighed a little and tossed the grapes into the giant soup pot Marine was stirring. She seemed okay with him doing that so he could only assume he did the right thing. He poured a little punch into a cup and made his way to the pier. Since everyone was having fun on the beach he could afford to just sit away from everyone and enjoy the quiet.

The bench beside Willy’s shop was far enough away from everyone and gave Apollyon a moment to collect his thoughts. The salt from the sea stung the small nicks and cuts on his hands that he didn’t bother to bandage earlier. He exhaled sharply through his nose as he started to flick at his nails. Despite them growing back they still felt thin and flimsy.

“Thought I saw you!” Called Emily as she happily skipped over to him. She sat down on the bench and smiled at him. “Been a while since I’ve seen you around. What have you been up to?”

“Nothing much. Just farming stuff mostly. I can’t really say much else.” He flicked at his nail a little more, flinching slightly when a small part of it chipped and peeled. “Ow…”

She sighed a little and gently placed her hand on his arm. “Hey, you shouldn’t over work yourself. Why don’t you come and dance with me? It’ll take your mind of things for a while.”

He thought for a moment and reluctantly let Emily drag him over to the dance floor where Robin and Demetrius were already dancing with each other. Robin smiled at Apollyon and gave him a small nod of acknowledgement and he nodded back.

Emily held Apollyon’s hands and playfully swung them in time with the music. “Come on. Just let your body move to the music. Let the rhythm take control and dance like no one’s watching you.”

Apollyon smiled a little at her enthusiasm and attempted to dance along with her. He envied how easy her movements were and hoe fluid her motions were. Her positivity and energy was stunning. He could see why people could be drawn in and captivated by her. At the same time it hurt to be around such positivity. Regardless he stayed and danced with her as best he could. He felt stupid though.

***

Sebastian couldn’t stop the scowl on his face from forming. Apollon had walked right past him, didn’t even acknowledge him, and walked right past him again with Emily to dance. Yoba he felt jealous, but damn it he wasn’t entirely sure why.

Suddenly Abby was at his side, smirking like a smug bastard. “My oh my. Why are you so mad? Wanna dance with the farmer or something?”

“Shut up Abby.” He mumbled. He quickly took out a cigarette and lit it. A hit of nicotine was just what he needed. “I just don’t want to be here.”

“Which is why you’ve been watching the farmer since they came onto the beach?”

“… Have you been watching me or something?” Attempting to deflect was hard.

She sighed a little and shook her head. “Seb, it’s obvious you like him and I think it’s obvious Emily probably has a thing for him too. Let’s face it, Emily is way more outgoing then you are. If she feels a connection she’s going to ask him out before you do. Then what are you going to do?”

“… I don’t know.” He frowned and took another drag. “Look, he hasn’t shown much interest in me and I know I haven’t been trying to get with him so I probably don’t have a chance.” Abby groaned a little and marched away. Sebastian hoped that she was just going to go and eat something, but he felt his blood run cold when he saw her making her way onto the dance floor, towards Apollyon and Emily.

“Yo Apollyon! Got a favour to ask you.”

“Yes?”

Sebastian quickly raced over to Abby and grabbed her by the arm. “Just leave it Abby. Seriously.”

A sly smile made its way onto Apollyon’s lips. “You asking for something on Bastian’s behalf Abs?”

“Yeah, Seb’s been interested in the secret forest. But there’s like slimes and stuff in there. Want to take him?”

“…” Sebastian wanted to strangle Abby right then and there. He did not appreciate her doing this. Especially infront of Emily. She’d probably think it was a date or something stupid like that, which was what Abby was trying to turn this into.

Apollyon looked surprised for a moment, but ended up smiling anyway. “Sure, it’s a date.”

Much to Sebastian’s distain, both the girls gasped at that statement. “It’s not a date… Please don’t say stupid things.” He felt like Apollyon was going to just tease the fuck out of him now or some bullshit for the rest of their natural lives. If that was the case he was going to lock himself in his basement.

He laughed. “Nah, my whole M.O is saying stupid bullshit.” He gave Sebastian a rather cheeky look. “But babe we can call it whatever you want if you don’t want to call it a date.”

Emily practically squealed. “I can’t believe you two are going to go on a date.”

“My parents are right there Emily.” Hissed Sebastian. He felt like he was going to die at this point. He was not going to come out to his parents via this bullshit. Hell he wasn’t going to come out to Emily like this either.

Surprisingly it was Apollyon that quickly came to his rescue. “We’re not going to go on a date Emily. That’s just a little too gay for Sebastian.”

Emily looked confused for a moment before laughing to herself. “Right, I keep forgetting people aren’t just automatically bisexual by default. But I’m sure you’ll have lots of fun. The Secret woods is really nice. Just watch out for bears.”

“Will do Emily.” Apollyon then, being the slick and ever so confusing bastard that he was, ever so kindly offered his hands to both Abby and Emily. “Now which of you lovely ladies would like to dance with me?”

Abby grinned and took his hand. “Why the hell not?”

Emily giggled and too his other hand. “We were already in the middle of dancing together weren’t we?”

“Wow, two fine young ladies at once?” Asked Apollyon in fake shock. “It’s been a few months so I might be a little rusty. Be gentle with me ladies.”

Sebastian felt a heat start to rise in his face and he quickly got off the dance floor. Every time he didn’t think his crush was as strong as it was towards Apollyon he would do something that would make him squirm and feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. Yoba he hated feeling like this.

***

Apollyon had no idea what he was doing. Yoba he just started running his damn mouth when Abby was talking about taking Sebastian to the secret woods. He was damn sure Abby was trying to play match maker at this point. He was just running his mouth to try and get out of that situation, but had just made it worse.

He was at home now, the luau was apparently a success according to the governor and the mayor. He thought it was kind of dumb to see how well a town was going by how tasty a soup was, but whatever. Government was weird.

He flicked at his nail some more and watched some of it chip off. He was going to have to see Harvey about this. He felt like he was doing to start to fall apart, or was falling apart at this point. He didn’t like how he acting now. Apollyon liked being more reserved and shy. Just talking without thinking and making snide, suggestive comments weren’t something he wanted to do anymore. That was him when he was a dumb teen.

Most troubling of all to him was his more rampant perverted thought process these days. Yoba it wasn’t just towards Sebastian anymore with small lingering thoughts of how nice his ass looked in those jeans. He caught himself sneaking glances at Abigail and Emily’s breasts as they were dancing with him and wondering how soft they would feel if he squeezed them. He felt disgusted with himself thinking those kind of things. He assumed it was normal to think someone had nice tits or a nice ass, but it was kind of creepy to think too much about it.

While he stressed himself about these thoughts Morgana happily swooped down on her broom and grinned down at him. “Hey there demon boy. Kill anyone yet? Besides cave monsters?”

Apollyon jumped a little and glared up at her. “Take back whatever the fuck you did to me. I don’t want to wait it out. I want it gone.”

She shrugged, safe in the knowledge that she was out of his reach on her broom. “Come on, you have to admit humanity’s social norms are stupid and stifling. You aren’t really human. You’re just wearing human skin. Why don’t you just shed it and be you?”

“I like being human you green bitch!” He snapped. His snarky and venomous side was quickly coming out again. “I was raised as a human and I am going to live as one. I don’t give a fuck what I was supposed to be. You think your magic is going to break me? Fuck you!”

Morgana looked offended for a moment, but quickly grinned. This was obviously the reaction she was after. “Well don’t you sound all mean and grumpy?”

“Why the hell do you even care?! I hardly know you! What could you possibly get out of this?”

She rolled her eyes. “Well there is a lot I can actually get out of this thank you very much. But you wouldn’t understand much of it since your mind is too small since you were raised human. To put it in the simplest terms; the valley is really good. Full of really good things. Nothing can be this good for so long. People that study the dark arcane arts like myself balance things out.”

“… What?”

Morgana pulled a face that showed her complete distain for his intelligence. “Okay, simpler terms… Light magic, good. Good things happen. Stardew valley, too much light magic. Too many good things. People get suspicious. People find out magic. People think it solves all problems. People get mad when it does. World implodes. Dark magic, evil. Dark magic makes bad things happen. Bad things happen to balance out the good things. People keep on living their simple lives.”

“… Light and dark magic are things?”

“No you idiot. Magic is just magic but depending on how you use it can affect the outcome. Mainly through ritualistic chanting and what not. Morons like you that don’t understand this concept so the simplistic idea of good and bad have to exist.” She crossed her arms and huffed dramatically. “I feel like I’m talking to some Yoba extremist nut job…”

Apollyon felt like he was talking to a complete wack job. Then again she was a witch so she probably was a little off her rocker. “And cursing me does what for you and your weird ulterior motive?”

She sighed and shook her head before she cracked her knuckles. “Alright… Long and short of it, Pelican Town is way too damn wholesome and nice and good things keep happening. It’s time to shake things up with you. Time for you to cause some bad shit.”

“… No.”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“… Yeah, I’m going inside now. Don’t curse my melons.”

“Hey! Don’t you walk away you snippy little demon kid!”

Apollyon rolled his eyes. “Suck my taint you old bitch. I got better things to do then listen to you talking about all your mystical bullshit. Go fuck yourself with a rusty AIDS infected di-” His rant was quickly cut short when something heavy and large struck him in the back of the head, easily knocking him to the ground and knocking him out. Last thing he heard before he completely passed out was Morgana cackling as she flew away.

Chapter Text

Apollyon had woken up with a raging headache the next day after the witch belted him in the back of the head. But regardless, today was going to be a mining day. He had a good feeling that he was going to complete the mining bundle today once he grabbed a fire quartz.

He had made it to floor eight five and was hoping to get to floor ninety by the end of the day. The second he stepped out of the elevator he encountered a red slime. With a few frantic slashes of his sword the slime was unstable enough to turn to mush. Much to his surprise this one seemed to have swallowed a diamond. Now it was his. He quickly stuffed it into his bag and continued on.

Apart from finding the ever elusive fire quartz, the Adventurer’s Guild, AKA Marlon and Gil, had tasked him with slaying some monsters. He was going to try and go about slaying a few shadow brutes. He was doing an alright job at it too. He’d slayed about ten so far.

He rounded a corner and almost immediately got shot in the face with a fireball. These things were horrible. Huge, round, flying fleshy masses that hovered over rock clusters and spat fireballs. When he had asked Marlon what on earth they were he had called the Squid Kids. They neither looked like kids nor looked anything like squids in his own opinion.

It spat another fireball at him, but Apollyon managed to dodge it and puncture the hovering beast, popping it in midair. Though the Squid kid didn’t leave anything interesting behind he still felt satisfied whenever one of those bloated pimples popped. The lava caves smelt enough like burning without them spitting fire. Smells of burning, sulfur and something like… pork?

He hadn’t smelt that in the caves before. Confused, Apollyon tried to follow the smell and ended up walking around in circles for a good five minutes before he realized where the smell was coming from. It was him. More specifically his leg. The damn Squid Kid’s fireball must have bounced off the wall and hit him and burnt a sizable hole in the side of his pants, painting a fair amount of his leg in third degree burns.

Now while it was alarming that he had such a huge burn on his leg, the bigger issue for Apollyon was that he couldn’t feel it. No pain, no nothing. He cautiously poked it, expecting to feel a sting or something but all he felt was the pressure of his finger touching against the charred muscle.

“What the fuck?” Apollyon could feel his chest tightening and could just see the cracks starting to appear out of the corner of his eyes. “This… this has to be some kind of sick joke. Right? How the hell? What the hell?”

He was shaking a little and knew he had to go to the clinic, but he needed to test this out. He quickly found another mine shaft and climbed down it. On the next level he quickly found a Shadow Brute wandering around minding its own business. At least it would be until it saw him. These things just seemed to love to charge at him as soon as they saw him.

This one was no different. The second it saw him it charged as him and landed a punch right to his guts. While it winded him, it didn’t actually hurt. Apollyon put up no resistance as the monster continued to attack him. He would feel each blow but it didn’t actually hurt. There was no pain to the impact.

He could see the cracks getting bigger once again as a pained laugh made its way out his throat. The sudden laughter made the Shadow Brute pause in its attack and looked at him, very confused. Hell, even Apollyon wasn’t too sure why he was laughing. The situation he was in was kind of horrific and he knew it.

“I can’t feel pain… I can’t feel pain!” He lunged at the Shadow Brute and started to pummel the thing as best he could with his hands. Screw the sword. He didn’t need it if he couldn’t feel it. He heard his knuckled crack and saw his skin get bloodied despite how squishy Shadow Brutes actually were. With one strong blow to its face it evaporated with a mournful whine and his fist came into contact with a heavy copper bar.

With a small laugh, Apollyon picked up the copper bar and slowly walked back to the elevator. He really needed to go to the clinic. Harvey and Maru were going to fuss over him when he got there.

***

Sure enough the second he walked into the clinic looking like a bloody mess Maru and Harvey took him into the back room and started to treat his most obvious injury, his burn. They laid him on his stomach on one of the clinic beds and stripped him of his pants to make sure they could get to all of the burnt skin. At least he got to keep his underwear.

“How on earth did you get burnt that badly?” Asked Maru. “Did you stand too close to a furnace or something?”

“Something like that…” Muttered Apollyon. Whatever ointment they were putting on his burn felt cold. “… Hey, you two, is it normal for burns to not hurt?”

Harvey sighed a little as he started to gather clean bandages. “It’s not uncommon for third degree burns to not hurt at all because of nerve damage. Do you believe you suffered nerve damage?”

“Maybe… Can I talk to you privately for a bit doc? Once you two are done fixing me up.”

“Of course.” Once the two of them were done tending to the burn and the wounds on his hands Maru left and Harvey took a seat by him. He looked rather concerned. “You know I’ll need you to come in to get that redressed every day. Technically you should be staying here for a few days to make sure it doesn’t get infected… I’ll put you on a broad spectrum antibiotic just in case.”

Apollyon nodded a little and readjusted himself slightly. “Cool… So about the thing I wanted to talk to you about…”

“Ah yes. What can I help you with?”

“… I can’t feel pain, at all.”

Harvey looked confused for a moment. “I see, so how long has this been going on? Can you feel temperatures? Have you been sweating less or not at all?”

“No to the last two and since this morning… If it helps I got hit in the back of the head last night.”

“… I see. Mind if I do a quick examination?”

“Feel free.” He relaxed a little as Harvey checked his hands and looked at his feet. He then got a comb and started to brush through his hair which felt weird to him. “What are you doing?”

“Just making sure you don’t have CIPA. Of course it’s a genetic disease that you can’t just randomly catch, but I just want to make sure and rule it out as soon as possible. There are a few obvious physical factors besides not being able to feel pain like not being able to feel the temperature and not being able to sweat.”

“… Find anything?”

“Just a small nick on the back of your head. It doesn’t look too severe… Would you be alright with possibly getting an MRI? We obviously don’t have one here, but I can get you referred to one at Zuzu Central, or even Westfern private if your health fund can cover that.”

Apollyon weighed up his options for a bit before shaking his head. “Nah, I’ll just wait a bit. If I’m still not feeling any pain tomorrow I’ll come back and get booked in for one of those.” Despite Harvey’s protests Apollyon made his exit as quickly as physically possible, pulling on his tattered pants and almost falling over twice as he did so.

He hoped he had a pair of loose shorts he could wear for a few days while his leg properly scabbed over. He’d had worse burns when he was growing up. Some of them self-inflicted, also located on his leg. He could still vaguely remember the circumstances behind some of it too.

***

It was a crisp Spring evening when Colt kicked Apollyon out of the house again after school. “Come back before six.” He muttered. “Your mum’s gonna be home late but she wants you home for dinner. Till then I don’t want to see your ugly mug.”

Apollyon was more than happy to leave and hang out in the park two blocks away. It was quiet and no one gave a shit about him. He was just some miserable and pissed off looking sixteen year old, so it automatically meant all adults were terrified of his existence.

He found some quiet corner of the park away from prying eyes and took a few slightly bent cigarettes out of his pocket. He had stolen them from Colt. The day after he got a new pack he would swipe one or two. He never really seemed to notice. One time he almost did, but he got very lucky. He didn’t have a lighter but he did have a small flint fire starter. Lighting the cigarette had been a challenge but he still managed to do it.

He wasn’t a big smoker, but he liked to take things from Colt and fuck them up somehow. He only put up with him because he made his mum happy. Sure she knew some of the shit the older man gave him and she rightly reprimanded him for it when he did but she was still madly in love with him. He couldn’t fault her for that.

Apollyon took a rather long drag and lightly flicked the end, flinching ever so slightly when the hot ash singed his knee. He flicked the ash away and watched the red marks fade away almost as quickly as it appeared.

“…”

A morbid curiosity quickly took hold within his mind and he pressed the burning cigarette against his knee. It didn’t hurt nearly as much as he had expected it to. Sure there was some pain but not enough to make him flinch or cry out. It was strange to him. So he lit it and did it again, and again, and again. He ended up making a smiley face on his leg and watched with amusement as the burns healed unnaturally quickly into nothingness.

Suddenly a hand gripped his shoulder with a vice like grip and a man growled at him. “There you are you little fuck.” Growled Colt. “What the fuck are you doing? Burning yourself? With fags you stole from me? You fucking shit!”

“Piss off Colt.” Growled Apollyon. “Why are you acting like you give a fuck anyway? You fucking hate me and wouldn’t give a shit if I walked out the door and never fucking came back! Piss off!”

Colt pulled Apollyon to his feet and grabbed him by the throat, slamming him against the nearest tree. “Now you listen here you disrespectful fuck, you’re right. I don’t give a flying fuck if you took two steps outside and got shot in the head, but you and me, we have one thing in common.”

“Bull fucking shit.”

“Elizabeth.” He snarled. “We both love her and want her to be happy. Unfortunately she’s not happy unless she knows you’re alive and well, and she’s easily upset when I’m not around. Suck it up and stop being a little bitch.” He let Apollyon go and swiped the cigarettes out of his hand, stuffing them back into his own pocket. “She’ll be pissed if she finds out you’ve been smoking these.”

“Whatever…”

Colt rolled his eyes and shoved Apollyon in the direction of home. “Come on. Move your dumb ass. Elizabeth’s making spaghetti and wants to eat as a family.”

Apollyon rolled his eyes and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Fuck off. I’m just doing this for mum. Not for you.”

***

He chuckled a bit at the memory. Although Colt had roughed him around a little he was nowhere near as bad as he could have been. Then again he couldn’t help but recall that he didn’t feel much pain back then either. Was this part of Morgana’s spell or was there actually something medically wrong with him? He wasn’t sure.

He wandered onto his farm and checked his corn. Tomorrow it would be ready to harvest. Still, he broke off one and bit into it. It tasted alright. But he never really cared too much for corn anyway. Hopefully someone was going to like it.

“What’s tried to eat your ass?”

Apollyon glanced over his shoulder, happy to see Shane was approaching him. “A bear.”

“Seriously?”

“Nah, I got burnt. What’s up?” He hadn’t seen Shane in ages, but Apollyon had to admit he was looking better. He was slouching less and didn’t look nearly as tired as before. Maybe he was doing really well with that councilor Harvey had got him to see in Zuzu? He was really proud of him.

“Marnie asked me to drop off some hay.” He gestured to the hay he was carrying.

Apollon felt weird for not noticing that before. “Dump it in the silo over there.”

Shane nodded and did ad he was told. “So, you have a chicken coop now. Got any chickens?”

“Ah, not yet. I want to make one more mayonnaise machine before I get a chicken… Gonna name it Butter.”

“Butter?”

“Yeah. You know, butter chicken.”

Shane chuckled a little and rolled his eyes. “You planning on eating them?”

“Maybe when they can’t lay eggs anymore.” Noticing the slightly horrified look of Shane’s face Apollyon quickly back peddled. “I’m joking. When I have enough gold I’ll get a chicken. Don’t you worry.”

“Okay… You gonna change pants or something?”

Apollyon looked down at his bandaged leg and shrugged. “Probably should. I’m pretty sure I have shorts somewhere. If not, I am gonna go and kilt it up. I’m pretty sure I have a tartan table cloth somewhere I can use…” He walked into his house and started to look through his clothes.

Shane followed him in and let out a low whistle. “Nice. Your shit shack now has a kitchen.”

“Yeah, Robin was good to me and fixed it all up.” He pulled out a pair of board shorts. They were bright blue and had a huge pink flamingo printed down one side. Good enough. He shimmied out of his pants and pulled on his shorts. “Feel free to get a drink out of the fridge. I don’t have beer, but I have some soda water and lemonade.”

“Thanks.”

Apollyon smiled a little and sat on the couch. Although he couldn’t feel pain he managed to sit in a way that wouldn’t put pressure on his wound. “So what’s up? How’s everything going for you?”

“Pretty good.” Shane sat on the couch by him and cracked open a can of lemonade. “Jas has been really excited about the dance of the Moonlight Jellies happening at the end of the month.”

“… The what now?”

Shane shrugged. “This thing where a bunch of jellyfish drift along the South coast at the end of each Summer. They glow and stuff. The kids really like that.”

Apollyon smiled a little. “I love bioluminescent stuff… Did you know there’s a species of jellyfish that never developed stingers and live in this huge landlocked lagoon? It’s the only place in the world you can go swimming with jellyfish. It’s neat.”

“Sounds like it.”

“Yeah… So this is a huge town event thing?”

“Yeah, pretty much everyone goes to see it. Jas thinks it’s magical.”

Apollyon smiled a little at how much Shane was talking about Jas. He was glad he was taking more of an interest in her life now. Not being hung over on weekends would help when it came to paying attention to her. She deserved someone to look up to that didn’t drink all the time. Sure she did have Marnie, but Shane was meant to be her guardian.

“Guess I’ll check it out this year.” Said Apollyon quietly. “After that it’s just gonna be me preparing for the fall and then winter… Fuck there’s nothing to do in winter but mining and fishing…”

Shane chuckled at that. “You do that.”

Chapter Text

The twenty eighth quickly rolled around quickly and Apollyon started to notice a few things he felt were rather important; the Junimos were running around and acting more excited, Sebastian hadn’t approached him to go to the secret woods which was leading him to think that Abby was pulling his leg before, he still couldn’t feel any pain at all, and he astonished Harvey and Maru with how quickly his burn was healing. It was just a scar now. Even then that would eventually vanish.

The night air had a slight chilling bite to it, which Apollyon did enjoy. He liked the cooler months but that meant he probably wouldn’t be wearing shorts anymore. Which sucked because he was really starting to get used to wearing his board shorts everywhere he went.

By the time he got to the beach everyone was already there enjoying the night. He felt weird seeing so many happy people just enjoying their time, though it really shouldn’t have been. Every time the town had a festival everyone came together to celebrate it.

Deciding it was best to stay away from them for the time being, Apollyon stayed near the tree line. Much to his surprise he managed to find the Wizard. He too seemed surprised that Apollyon could see him.

“Ah, you there… hello.”

Apollyon nodded a little. “Hey… So you come down to this thing too?”

“Of course.” Said the Wizard. “I am here to observe the Lunaloos… or ‘Moonlight Jellies’, as you call them. They possess an unusually potent magical aura for an aquatic life form.”

“… Right. I’ll leave it to you then.”

“… Before you go I must ask you a question.” Called the Wizard. “Has Morgana paid you anymore visits lately? I suspect your injury is part of her doing.”

Apollyon sigh a little and shrugged. “Look, she did but getting burned was my fault… I just have to let whatever magic she cast on me work its way out. I’ll be fine.”

“And your condition makes it hard for you to feel pain or something?” He asked. He seemed interested in Apollyon’s condition. Apollyon was just glad he wasn’t trying to kill him again. He was going to be holding that against the Wizard for the rest of the year.

“I can’t feel pain anymore.” Said Apollyon calmly. “Guess with all the bullshit that’s happened to me it’s just normal… Yoba I don’t even really know what’s happening to me anymore.”

The Wizard nodded a little. He didn’t look very pleased with that explanation. “I see… Enjoy the rest of your night.”

“Thanks.” He wandered around the beach a little longer, watching all the happy people enjoying their time together. It made him smile, but for some reason it still brought about a sense of unease to him. He didn’t like it. Maybe he should have taken up Harvey’s offer and gone to see someone? At least for whatever emotional issues he obviously had.

He walked over to the pier, instantly seeing Sam standing right at the end with his bright blond hair. Sebastian and Abby were there too. He smiled a little to himself, he hadn’t seen them all together in a little while. Tonight was as good a time as any.

***

Sebastian rather liked the Dance of the Moonlight Jellies. It was late at night, so he was fully awake, kind of eerie, and a little strange. It was one of the few events no one needed to remind him of beforehand. He actually ended up walking down a little early today to hang out with Sam and his little brother Vincent who were enjoying the last warm day of the year.

As soon as dusk started to settle in Abby had wandered down and so did Jodie with some snacks for Vincent. It gave the trio the opportunity to find a good spot to watch the jellies. Once they were isolated from the rest of the people wandering around on the beach Abby quickly started probing Sebastian with questions.

“Did you go to the secret woods with Apollyon yet?” She asked.

Sam raised an eyebrow. “You two went to the secret woods?”

“We didn’t.” Muttered Sebastian. He quickly lit a cigarette and took a few quick puffs. “Abby tried and failed to set us up on a date. I am far too busy to think about that kind of stuff right now.”

Abby scoffed at the notion. “So if I went onto your computer and looked up your history I wouldn’t see gay farm related porn?”

“Nope, because I set my computer up to automatically delete certain sites for just that reason.” He didn’t, but he didn’t need Abby or anyone else snooping around his computer to try and find out his weird fetishes and kinks.

“So you have been looking at farm related porn and not of the lesbian variety?” Asked Abby before pulling a dismissive face. “Actually, never mind. I don’t want to know. Point is, I set up a perfectly good date for those two and Sebby hasn’t taken the bait.”

“And Apollyon hasn’t asked me out either.” Reminded Sebastian. “I’m not the one at fault here.

Sam shrugged. “Probably because his leg’s all fucked up.” The other two looked confused so Sam elaborated. “Didn’t you guys know? He has like third degree burns on his leg. The other day I went to the clinic to pick up some hay fever meds since we had like one left, and Apollyon walked out of the back room with his leg all bandaged up. I asked him what was wrong and he said a monster burnt his ass while he was mining… Think he said he had like third degree burns or something.”

Sebastian was shocked to hear that. No one had told him that Apollyon had gotten hurt again. But why would they? He hadn’t really talked to anyone much over the past few days. He practically buried himself in his work after the luau.

Surprisingly Abby didn’t seem surprised, but annoyed. “So I guess that means he probably isn’t going to turn up for this huh? Probably at home resting… And here I was going to put another Abby plan into action…”

“Sebastian could always go over and see if he needs any help.” Suggested Sam.

Abby’s eyes began to shine with excitement. “Yes! Perfect scenario! Our young, poor, helpless farmer needs the help of a young man to tend to his farm, tend to his injuries, and tend to his every physical need…”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “Now that sounds like the start of a porno. A terrible porno.”

“Well it’s either that or the whole ‘pizza guy delivering a meat lover pizza with a thick crust and extra sausage’ scenario, but even I don’t think you’d lower yourself to that.” Said Abby.

Sam chuckled a little at that. “Have you seen that gif of the guy in that one porno that does that? Like he opens the pizza box and there’s his dick and the porn actress looks so disappointed that he ruined the pizza?”

“You sent that to us in the group chat.” Said Abby. “We memed it for a while.”

As his friends talked about memes and reaction gifs only they would understand his thoughts were drawn to the farmer. Despite his best efforts as of late he was starting to think more and more about the other man. He mostly blamed Abby and Sam for this since they kept talking about him.

But he couldn’t help but vividly imagine Apollyon being stuck in bed being all vulnerable. And since his ass was burnt he’d probably have to be lying around in his underwear or no underwear at all. “…” He could feel a blush quickly racing across his face. He felt dumb that just the thought of Apollyon naked could make him blush, yet his actual internet history was full of things that would make his friends look at him with disappointment.

Either way he still couldn’t stop the mildly erotic thoughts about Apollyon. He had a feeling that the farmer might have entered his dreams more than once, but he never really remembered his dreams too well. Something he was kind of grateful for. If he did remember them he would probably never be able to look Apollyon in the face again.

Speaking of Apollyon, the man was happily walking down to see them. Despite Sam saying they were injured they didn’t seem to have any problem walking on their leg, which Sebastian found off if he had third degree burns on his leg. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as he had made it out to be?

“Hey guys.” He called. “It’s been a while huh?”

Abby perked right up when she saw him. “Apollyon! Thought you weren’t gonna show up. Sam said you fucked up your leg.”

He looked down at his bandaged leg and shrugged. “Can’t help it if monsters want to eat my ass.”

“Thought you said it was burnt?” Questioned Sam.

“These monsters aren’t animals Sammy.” Scolded Apollyon in a playful manner. “They like to cook their meat before they eat it. Those monsters were going to eat my ass, they just needed to cook it first.”

Abby chuckled and nudged Sam. “Yeah Sam. Some monsters like their human butts well done before eating them. So does it still hurt?”

Apollyon shook his head, still looking down at his leg. “Well, I have a high pain tolerance so this is fine. In hindsight it’s probably the least messed up thing that’s happened to me.”

“What’s the most messed up thing?” Asked Sam.

The farmer thought for a moment. “Possibly the time I got hit by a bus and my eye popped out of its socket. Sure I popped that sucker back in but it fucked up my balance for a while.”

Sebastian had no idea if Apollyon was being serious or not. Deciding he didn’t really have much to contribute to the conversation he walked to the edge of the pier and let Abby and Sam talk to Apollyon. After the mildly erotic thoughts he had about the other he felt like he needed a little time to himself to calm down slightly.

He wasn’t too sure how long he stood there alone but all too soon Apollyon was standing next to him with his hands in his jacket pockets. “Hey.”

“Hey.”

“So I’m guessing you didn’t want to go to the secret woods with me?”

“Not really.”

“Shame. I was looking forward to it.”

He glanced over at Apollyon. He didn’t look like he was trying to make fun of him. He looked genuinely sincere, but Sebastian wasn’t going to suddenly swoon for this guy. No sir. Not now. “Oh.”

Apollyon chuckled a little. “Oh? That’s all you got to say about it?”

“Yep.” He was doing his best to keep his eyes focused on the water. “… So did your eye really pop out?”

“Yep. High school senior year.” Apollyon let out a long, slow sigh. “I got hit by a bus and fractured my frontal and zygomatic bones around my left eye socket. It gave my eye just enough wriggle room to fly free. Scary shit but it wasn’t like my optical nerve was damaged so no harm no foul.”

“Huh…”

“Yeah…” He shifted his balance a little. “I heard Vincent saying he was going to see the rare green jelly tonight. Think we’ll see it too?”

Sebastian shrugged. “Maybe. Anything is possible in this world.”

Apollyon chuckled a little. “Yeah well, almost anything.”

Sebastian was about to ask him what he meant when Lewis called out to everyone. “Alright everyone! I’m going to launch the boat!” Sebastian watched as he placed the wooden boat his mum had made onto the water. He sent a small paper lantern on top of it and carefully pushed it out into the sea.

Once the boat drifted out far enough that it was just a tiny speck of light in the darkness, the jellies started to slowly drift in. It was slow at first, one or two small glowing objects drifting close and illuminating the ocean. Within a minute the whole place was teaming with a bloom of them. Bloom being the ‘scientifically accurate name for a group of jellyfish’ as Demetrius would say.

“Wow… It’s beautiful…”

Sebastian took a chance and looked over at Apollyon. The young man was completely taken in by the natural bioluminescent glow of the jellies. The way the light danced across his face gave Apollyon an otherworldly look. It made his heart flutter a little. He immediately scolded himself for doing that.

“Is that a green jelly?” Asked Abby.

“I wanna see it!” Called Vincent.

“Hey be careful Vincent! Watch where you’re running!” Called Jodie.

The next few seconds happened so fast it was almost a blur. Sebastian felt something heavy bumping against his back legs. Since he was standing right by the edge he started falling face first into the water, but instead of getting a face full of stinging tentacles he felt someone grab his wrist and swing him around back onto the pier. He landed on some rope, groaning a little as he heard a huge splash.

“Holy shit!” Screamed Abby. “Apollyon fell in! He fell in!”

“Willy! We need the life saver!” Yelled Sam.

Sebastian watched in stunned shock as Willy ran over and chucked the life saver into the water. Apollyon grabbed it and Willy with the help of Sam managed to drag Apollyon out and onto the beach. He watched as Harvey went over to him and started providing some basic first aid while talking to Maru. From what he knew of the jellies that migrated along the south coast they weren’t deadly and their stings weren’t going to kill him, but they really, really hurt.

He looked down at his arm, the one Apollyon must have grabbed to swing him out of harm’s way. He felt his heart flutter again at this grand gesture. It was getting harder and harder for Sebastian to deny he had feelings for him now.

Abby grabbed his arm. “Hey, you okay?”

“Um, yeah.”

“Good, let’s go.” She pulled him towards the beach where Apollyon was laying.

He wasn’t screaming or writhing in pain. He just seemed like he was in shock as Maru and Harvey were carefully removing any lingering tentacles with tweezers while Willy was pouring vinegar on his stings.

“You’re alright lad.” Said Willy. “Keeping a brave face like that, you’re a brave lad. You’re doing amazing… We need more vinegar.”

“I’ll be back in a moment!” Called Emily as she quickly ran back to town, quickly running past Gus and grabbing the keys to the saloon along the way.

Vincent was crying into Jodie’s shirt, very distressed about the whole thing. He was blubbering and saying sorry over and over again. It seemed as though Vincent accidently pushed into him and started off the whole chain of events in the first place.

Sebastian shuffled forward a little and looked down at Apollyon. Dark, angry red and purple lightning marks covered his arms, hands, legs and part of his face and neck. He had no idea how Apollyon wasn’t crying or at least flinching. He just seemed board now. Unamused by all of this. Sebastian’s felt his stomach twist in uncomfortable knots.

Harvey looked over at Lewis. “It’s important that we get him into warm water as soon as possible. Can we please take him to your home?”

“Of course. Let’s get going.”

***

Apollyon didn’t really registered too much about what had and was happening to him. He just acted on instinct when he saw Sebastian falling. He just felt that swinging him around was a safer bet than just trying to pull him back for some stupid reason. Getting stung by the jellies didn’t hurt, it just felt strange, like getting tangled in long thin hair.

The second he got pulled out he didn’t really know how to react while people fussed over him, pulling off tentacles still stuck to his skin and pouring vinegar all over his body. Now he was carted off to mayor Lewis’s house and dumped into his bathtub. He hardly even realized he was halfway through getting undressed while in the tub until his board shorts were halfway down his legs.

“… What was I doing?”

He heard a knock at the bathroom door. “Apollyon? Are you in the bath yet?” Called Harvey. “Lewis wants to put your clothes in the dryer and I want to check your stings.”

“… Right.” Apollyon quickly took off the rest of his clothes and sat in the tub. “Come in.”

Harvey quickly came in to get Apollyon’s clothes before giving them to Lewis and coming back. He brought a chair in with him and sat by the bathtub. “I’m just going to quickly examine you and leave you to soak for about forty minutes. Can you let me see your arm?”

Apollyon sighed a little and let Harvey looked at his sting covered arm. He hated it. The marks were ugly and gross and looked like his body was covered in cracks. He hated it. Now he looked like he was falling apart. He’d have to wear long sleeves or something similar until the marks were gone. He was going to eventually end up having a break down if he kept having to see those ugly lines.

“Can you still not feel pain?”

“I didn’t feel a thing.” He said quietly. “Not a damn thing.”

“… This really isn’t good.” Muttered Harvey. “You really need to see a neurologist. Even if it isn’t something specifically wrong with your brain there could be something wrong with your nervous system.”

“Whatever you say doc.” That sounded more sarcastic than he meant it to.

“This is serious Apollyon.” Harvey didn’t sound mad, he actually sounded concerned. That was something he wasn’t used to doctors being towards him. Small town clinics were very different to doctors in the city. “If you can’t feel pain you’re going to end up really damaging yourself. You’ve already been burnt and you have lots of small injuries just from doing maintenance on your farm.”

Apollyon shrugged. “I don’t think it really matters that much doc…”

“You could get an infected cut, or potentially strain something that will lead to worse injuries in the future.” Warned Harvey. “Please try and take it easy for a little while. You need to let your body heal, even if you don’t feel like you need to.”

“… Okay.”

“Okay. Now you’re going to be in here for a while. Would you like me to get you something to drink? Some tea maybe?”

“Yeah, that would be nice.” He watched Harvey leave. Once he was gone he felt like shit. He knew his body was going to eventually fall apart if he couldn’t feel pain. He needed to feel pain. If he didn’t feel pain physical pain then what was the point of his human experience? He didn’t know. He leaned over the side of the bath tub and started to follow the cracks in the old tiles. It made him feel sick. Every day he was getting closer and closer to shattering.

Chapter Text

Fall hit the valley rather quickly and with that Apollyon was quick to discover the spa up in the mountains by the train station. Every other day he had been spending a few hours relaxing in the baths. To his surprise he hadn’t ever seen another soul actually use the baths, but he had heard Alex using the gym way off in the back.

He spent most of his time staring up at the ceiling or just off in the distance while he was soaking. Apollyon didn’t like looking at himself anymore. His jellyfish stings looked like cracks. Ugly cracks all over his body. He wanted to vomit every time he saw them. Sure his body healed quickly, but he still had to live with it until then. Even then the blue light in the spa seemed to highlight his scars like a winter star tree. It was disgusting. He was disgusting.

The first day of fall when he went to get seeds he had run into Jodie and Vincent. The poor child was so distressed about the whole situation. It was easy for Apollyon to forgive him. He was just a little over excited and didn’t take in his surroundings. As long as he learned from his mistake and didn’t do it again Apollyon didn’t mind.

Harvey and Maru were starting to badger him about coming by the clinic more often for check up’s and what not. It was kind of annoying, but he understood where they were coming from. He needed to be more careful with his body.

With a mournful sigh, Apollyon pulled himself out of the baths and wrapped around a towel around himself before trudging out to the change rooms. He sat on one of the benches and closed his eyes, thinking about what else he needed to do in fall. He had already planted heaps of pumpkins and cranberries so he was doing well in that regard. He’d also finally bought two chickens, Butter and Crispy. Robin had mentioned he could get ducks and rabbits if he upgraded his coop some more, so he was going to focus on gathering those things for a while.

He heard the clank of metal hitting metal as Alex was off doing something in the gym for a bit. It was kind of rhythmical. That sound went on for a while, or it could have been for a few minutes, he wasn’t sure. He was kind of staring off into space as Alex walked past him, startling him slightly.

“… You okay?” Asked Alex.

“Yeah.” Apollyon hadn’t really talked much to Alex since he moved to Pelican Town. He’d said hello a few times and bought an ice cream off him once during the Summer but that was about it. He had this distinct jock vibe that just didn’t gel too well with him. But to Alex’s credit he didn’t seem like a complete asshole. “Everything’s just… It’s hard sometimes you know? I’m spacing out a lot more than I used to.”

“You’re also coming up here a lot more than you usually do.” Added Alex. “Do you just come here for the baths? Never seen the weights getting adjusted or anything when I come up here. Don’t tell me you can lift more farmer?”

Apollyon appreciated the small talk. “I get enough exercise on my farm. I’ll probably end up super buff by the end of the year. Maybe I’ll be able to bench press you?”

Alex scoffed at that notion and started to change out of his gym clothes. “Doubt it. Well, see you around. Don’t stick around too long it’s starting to get dark.”

He smiled a little and waved at Alex as he left. A few minutes after he was gone Apollyon peeled himself off the bench, dried, dressed, and headed out. It was only just starting to become dusk right now. He needed to spend more time looking after the farm rather than spending all day in the spa.

Deciding to take the long way home past the community centre, Apollyon walked past Robin’s home. Much to his surprise as he did so, Sebastian stepped outside, cigarette already hanging from his lips.

He looked surprised to see Apollyon, but nodded slightly at him anyway. “Hey.”

“Hey. Smoke break?”

“Pretty much… How are you?”

Apollyon shrugged. “I’m okay. Just heading home now.”

Sebastian nodded a little. “Cool… So you don’t really have anything planned for tonight?”

The farmer stopped for a moment and gave Sebastian a quizzical look. Was Sebastian going to suggest they do something? Together? Maybe he was going to invite him somewhere and they were going to meet up with Abby and Sam? That seemed more likely. “Oh? You wanna do something?”

He shrugged a little and lit his cigarette. He looked like he was blushing a little, but Apollyon couldn’t really tell. “Well, I was thinking of walking over to the secret woods…”

“Thought you didn’t want to go?”

“Yeah well… I’ve just been thinking about going down there for a bit since Abby suggested it. Just never got around to it.”

Apollyon hummed a little and shrugged. “Okay. Come with me. We’ll take the shortcut through my farm. I need to get my sword if we’re heading that way.”

Sebastian nodded and closely followed Apollyon back to Hellfire farm.

***

His smoke break was more than just an excuse to stand out and breathe in that nicotine. Sebastian was frustrated. He didn’t know how to approach Apollyon and thank him for what he did during the jellyfish festival. He hadn’t see Apollyon for a few days and he was getting worried. He’d asked Maru if he was alright, since he kept going to the clinic, but she never really gave him too much information because of that whole doctor patient confidentiality crap.

It was frustrating. He wanted to see him again and see if he was okay, but he had so much work to do. He wondered if Apollyon was stuck in bed or if he was staying at the clinic. He didn’t know much about jellyfish stings and how long it took to heal.

His mind was so preoccupied with these particular thoughts that it was starting to impact his work. Instead of typing ‘Objective right;’ he ended up typing ‘Apollyon right;’. Which really annoyed him because those letters weren’t anywhere near each other. He needed to do something to get his mind off everything.

So when he went outside and saw the farmer just outside his door, Sebastian’s brain started to short circuit and he started blurting out stupid things. Now he was going to the secret woods with Apollyon, just like Abby wanted them to in the first place.

He felt stupid and dumb as he tried to get his mind into order while Apollyon went through his tools and searched for his sword. His pants hugged his butt nicely as he squatted in front of his chest. Yoba have mercy. Sebastian hated how his damned mind was working.

Suddenly Apollyon stood up and stuck his sword through his belt loop. “Come on Seb. Those slime’s aren’t gonna slay themselves.”

“Right…” Sebastian followed Apollyon down to the Cindersap forest entrance of the farm. He noted that most of the trees had been cleared out, and a few of them had tree tappers on them. He also had a small area fenced off and ready for something. There seemed to be a few trees growing in that area, but he couldn’t be sure what kind of trees they actually was.

He didn’t mention it and continued to follow Apollyon down to Cindersap forest. He felt kind of dumb asking to go to the secret woods they could have just stayed at his farm or something. Maybe he was just over thinking things? That was probably it. He took a long drag of his cigarette to try and ease his nerves with a strong hit of nicotine.

Once they got to the entrance of the secret woods, Apollyon stopped him. “I’ll be back in a second. I’m gonna clear out the slimes.”

“…Okay.” He watched Apollyon happily walk off into the secret woods while he started to smoke a second cigarette. He couldn’t tell if this was his anxiety talking but he felt like this was a dumb idea. There wasn’t going to be anything interesting in there. Nothing he’d care about anyway.

“Okay, all clear.” Apollyon had a bit of slime on his shirt but apart from that he didn’t look any different. He gestured for Sebastian to follow him and the pair walked into the secret forest. The majority of the secret woods were covered in a thick canopy of trees yet it wasn’t dark in the slightest. There were fire flies or some kind of bioluminescent insect that bathed the whole place in an almost otherworldly glow.

“Whoa…”

Apollyon chuckled a little and walked a little deeper into the woods. “What? You never been in here before?”

“When I was younger, sure… Just not in the past few years.” There were several times when he was younger that he, Abby, and Sam would venture in here. However they always ran for it when the smiles appeared. They got in pretty deep a few times but they couldn’t stay for very long.

“Fair enough.” Apollyon walked to the ruins way in the back. He stabbed his sword into the ground and sat by the foot of the statue of Old Master Cannoli. Not too sure what to do, Sebastian also sat at the foot of the statue.

Although he didn’t really think it was a smart idea to ask Apollyon to bring him here, he had to admit it was peaceful. If he could get rid of the slimes coming here he would probably come here and smoke. It would make a nice change from just standing by the river near his house.

He could hear crickets chirping quietly in the underbrush and the occasional hoot of an owl as they went about their nocturnal business. It was peaceful. He stole a glance over at Apollyon and was a little surprised to see that the light from the insects gave his skin the same iridescent glow that the jellies had done previously. He looked amazing. This place, the secret woods, had to be other worldly in nature somehow.

Apollyon seemed to be distracted by looking at some kind of insect fluttering by, so Sebastian dared to look at him just that little bit longer. Looking past the almost ethereal glow that he had at the moment, Sebastian saw he had scrapes and cuts on his hands, and just peeking out of his collar were a few stray jellyfish stings. They looked like aggressively red lightning. A small reminder that he saved Sebastian from a world of pain.

Unfortunately for him, his staring didn’t go unnoticed. “You gonna keep looking at me or what?”

Sebastian blushed and looked away. “Sorry. I just… It must have really hurt.”

“It didn’t.”

“No seriously, you must have really been hurting.”

Apollyon smiled softly at him. “Well I’m being serious too. I got knocked the hell out a while ago and it fucked me up. I can’t feel pain anymore.”

That surprised him, but Sebastian wasn’t too sure he believed him fully. “Really?”

“Yep. Get something sharp and stab me.” Said Apollyon calmly. “Heck, punch me in the dick and well… I guess I’ll just feel you punching me in the dick, but without the pain. Harvey wants me to get my brain scan, but it’s not going to help.”

“Why?”

He sighed a little, running his hand through his hair. “… There’s something seriously fucked up with me.”

“Who isn’t fucked up?”

Apollyon chuckled a little and looked up at the canopy. The fire fly lights danced like stars in his eyes. “I’m being serious here Seb… Remember how my step dad told you I was a demon? He wasn’t pulling your leg. I really am one.”

Sebastian sighed when he heard that. Maybe Apollyon just felt like one because his step dad was an asshole to him for so long? Either way he wasn’t a real demon, unless he had some mental issues he didn’t know about. He’d just play along a little for now. “Really?”

“Yep. Ask me anything you want to know. I can answer most things.”

“Alright, where did you come from?” If he was going to play this weird game from out of nowhere he was going to play too.

“The Void obviously.” Said Apollyon calmly. “The cold place that’s said to be the physical barrier between this world at the Yoba plane… It’s very cold there… There’s no light there. The only warmth that exists is from the other creatures that live in there, but getting close to that warmth is a huge gamble. Back then I could have gotten eaten by anything.”

“You remember the Void and almost getting eaten?”

“Yep, and I didn’t say almost. I did get eaten.” Corrected Apollyon. “But due to the nature of demonic entities unless we’re completely eviscerated to the point where the majority of our cells are gone we keep coming back.” He shuddered a little. “It was really weird. Like I knew I wasn’t going to die, but whatever… I was some weird shapeless slug that slithered around just living my life in the darkness.”

Sebastian frowned a little. This just seemed like some stupid bad joke. A joke that wasn’t even ironically not funny. “So then how did you get here anyway?”

“I’m sure that Colt mentioned to you how I was born. He loves to harp on about that grotesque story…”

He had to agree that. It was a grotesque story. “Yeah.”

Apollyon chuckled a little and looked up at the canopy. It didn’t seem like there was much humour behind it, more like it was just a reaction he was having to this situation. “Well, I saw a light suddenly rip into the Void. Light is scary and everything went to run away. I was going to too, but the light touched me and it felt warm. I wanted that warmth. I followed it and I wasn’t shapeless anymore. I had a body with constraints. I couldn’t change and move the way I wanted to… And my mum, Elizabeth, she was the first thing I saw with these eyes and she was so warm.”

“Right… So you possessed some still born baby. How the hell does that work?” He still wasn’t buying this crap.

Either Apollyon didn’t notice Sebastian’s growing disinterest or he didn’t care and continued to talk. “Yeah, but possession is easier when you can inhabit a body that has no soul. I haven’t just inhabited this body anymore I am this body. It is a part of me and I am a part of it. Without a soul there is nothing forcing me back so I can’t fully take control of it. I’ve taken over every cell and mimicked it so that medically I look human, that is unless I took some extreme physical trauma.”

“Oh really? How interesting.” Sebastian took out his phone, wondering if there was any reception out here in the secret woods. He also wondered if this was the part where Apollyon went crazy and killed him.

Apollyon sighed a little. “Look, it’s fine with me if you think I’m crazy or want to avoid me. I’m fine with being left alone. It’s better that way.”

Suddenly it all seemed to click for Sebastian. Despite the absurdity of it all he couldn’t help but conclude that this elaborate story was just some rouse. Why though? Well, if all that shit he said about his step father was true, Apollyon probably had crushing self-esteem issues. Couple that with the fact he seemed fine to spend weeks alone on his farm. He probably had social anxiety issues too and wanted to be left alone because he was more comfortable that way.

He knew that feeling well. He himself had anxiety when he was around people and when he forced himself to go to all those damned social events he’d be drained for days on end. This weird tactic of saying he was some demon was just a defence mechanism Apollyon must have created to push people away when they started to get too close. That conclusion made his heart beat a little faster because that meant Apollyon considered Sebastian someone he was getting close to. Right?

Sebastian couldn’t help but let a small laugh escape his lips when he figured that out. If Apollyon felt that he was close to him in that way he decided to accept this nonsense, at least for now. “I’m not going to avoid you.”

Apollyon seemed surprised by this. “Really? You’re not?”

“Yeah. So you’re a demon. Who gives a fuck? Seriously in this day and age a demon from the actual Void is better than the government that’s actively trying to fuck everyone over.”

“… Thank you.” Apollyon looked relieved and kind of relaxed a little. As far as Sebastian was concerned he had proved, at least for the moment that he was willing to stick around him despite whatever unfortunate mental issues Apollyon might have.

***

Apollyon couldn’t believe his ears. Sebastian didn’t care about his weird existence. He actually accepted him. Yoba have mercy he was just telling Sebastian all this because he felt like he deserved a better explanation after Colt acted like an asshole and just blurted out his unnatural creation.

He thought that Sebastian would think he was a freak and just go home, avoiding him for the rest of their lives. Hell it worked on other people before he just learned to be an antisocial bastard that just worked well at keeping people away.

Sebastian accepted him. He accepted the strange and darker parts of his existence that most people just down right reject. He couldn’t stop his heart thumping loudly in his chest or the blush quickly dusting his face. Sebastian was different. Sebastian was… just was… he was amazing.

Yoba have mercy this man was causing to have so many different emotions all at once. He felt like he was caving in, no he had been caved in. He didn’t know what to think about this. Without really thinking about it, Apollyon reached over and lightly touched Sebastian’s hand, just for a moment.

Much to his surprise, Sebastian didn’t pull away and instead hooked one of his fingers around Apollyon’s finger. It made him smile a little. He felt a little anxious but at the same time he felt good. He liked being close to someone like this even if it was for a little while. Yoba, he felt like he was becoming bi polar at this point. One minute he was anxious, then angry, then exhausted. Actually he probably had depression more than anything else.

But he’d deal with that later. He was just happy that Sebastian was there with him in that moment and he didn’t think he was crazy.

“So,” said Sebastian. “Do you have a demon form or are you just good at mimicking humans?”

Apollyon smiled a little. “I look human until I take extreme physical trauma. So like unless I get decapitated or take on an injury that would kill a normal human I pretty much stay the same. Apart from that I have rapid healing for most things. Serious things heal fast while stuff like cuts and bruises take less of a priority. So I’ll have these jellyfish scars for a while.” It felt so good to talk to someone else about this. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

“Huh, so the only way to get you to change is if I stab you in the neck or something?” Asked Sebastian as he finished off his cigarette.

That made Apollyon laugh a little. “Well that’s not the only way. There are so many other ways that it could happen. Slitting my throat for example…” His mouth went dry at that thought and he unintentionally touched along his neck. “It was like fine hail across my skin…”

“Enough talk about this demon crap.” Said Sebastian calmly. “You don’t have to spill your guts out to me tonight… But have you gone and told anyone else this? This demon stuff?”

“Nope. No one else has met Colt so there’s no need for me to.”

“Okay… We should probably keep this between us for now. Other people might find it weird.”

The thought of telling anyone else this secret was enough to make Apollyon snort with laughter. “Trust me, I’m keeping this mouth of mine shut on this issue. Guess you could say it’s out little secret.”

Sebastian laughed a little. “Yep. Making secrets in the secret woods.” He looked up at the canopy and the two sat quietly for a while.

It was nice just to be close together. However in the back of his mind he felt like there was something there, whispering self-doubt and other kinds of nasty little things. Things that told him this was a bad idea, that he needed to back away slowly and go back to isolating himself from the rest of the town. For now this was good. He was kind of happy.

Chapter Text

The Junimos were in a panic and it was all because of Yellow and Orange. The two Junimo’s had been tasked with following the farmer around for the week and saw him confess his secret to Sebastian in the secret woods. It sent everyone into a panic because most of them had other ideas for who the farmer should take as a partner. Many Junimos were ripping up bits of paper and throwing them into the air while squealing about their upcoming plans being laid to ruin.

“But my plans for the library! Pretty book lady was going to be there! They were going to talk about the word squiggles!”

“I had plans for the farmer and Mr writer man to eat delicious foods on the beach!”

“I was gonna make the farmer and the drunk one go and look after chickens together! Did you know the farmer has chickens now?”

“The groovy lady and the farmer were the perfect pair!”

“But the spa house thing and grid ball… Grid ball and farmer…”

Green was watching the chaos unfold from the safety of the community center rafters. They themselves didn’t have too much to say on who the farmer’s partner was they just wanted them to have someone, anyone to help them take care of the farm. As long as this Sebastian fellow that Yellow and Orange spoke about made the farmer happy then it didn’t matter.

Blue waddled over and sat next to Green. “They are really going crazy huh?”

“Yeah. Weren’t you planning to get the famer together with the artsy wood lady?”

They shrugged. “Hey, plans change all the time. Adapt or die as the humans say.”

Green nodded in agreement and watched Junimos argue with each other for a while before standing up and stretching. “Well, I’m gonna go see Hat mouse.”

“Me too!” Said Blue. “I want to get an acorn while we’re out.”

Green gave Blue a weird look as they started to climb up and out a small hole in the roof of the community center. “Why?”

“Because it would make a cool looking hat.” Said Blue as they followed. “I want to pull the top half of it off, the little cap thing, and have a hat like that.”

“You’re too fat to be an acorn. And the wrong colour.” Reminded Green. They shimmied down the guttering and started to make their way over to Cindersap forest. They considered slipping into the sewers to get there, but that was where Krobus lived. The strange shadow brute seemed to prefer selling interesting and arcane goods, but that still didn’t mean he wouldn’t squash a Junimo if they crossed him on a bad day. They grabbed a bunch of fall leaves, intending to use them as camouflage as they slowly made their way along the edges of the town.

Blue did the same. “I’m not fat…” They muttered. “I am the perfect roundness for a Junimo.”

***

Deep in the lowest parts of the Cindersap forest there was an abandoned house. No one had been there for years and the building had fallen into disrepair. The roof had a hole in it and the walls had rotted away in some places. The original purpose of the house had long been forgotten and many speculated what it was for. The most logical explanation for it was that it was an abandoned cabin that might have belonged to a hunter in days gone by.

In the most recent years a new resident had taken over the abandoned building. A being known as Hat mouse. Hat mouse once used to live in the walls of 2 Willow Lane where they learnt how to make hats from the resident seamstress Emily.

They enjoyed the art of hat making so much they decided to open up a shop and happily sold their hats to whomever wished to purchase one. They once created a hat for the wizard and the wizard gave them the ability to change their size so they could make hats easier. It was very useful.

At the moment Hat mouse was busy making a new hat. A nice pair of earmuffs for the coming winter. Hopefully the farmer would come by soon. They sent a letter to them weeks ago. Maybe it got lost in the mail? They would send the farmer a new letter soon.

The sound of someone ringing the bell at the front desk made Hat mouse quickly scurry over. They poked their head out. “Yes? Me sell hats. You buy hats, yes? EEK!”

Standing before them was Morgan, the witch of the valley. In one hand she held her broom and in the other some kind of hand bag made of some kind of pulsing black leather. She didn’t seem too amused that Hat mouse squeaked at her like that. The witch looked about the same if it wasn’t for the fact she had no hat on her head.

“Excuse me, but I believe you have my hat fixed by now.” She said calmly.

“Yes! Fixed hat! Me fix!” Hat mouse quickly scurried away and came back with a sparkly black and blue hat box with a big shiny white ribbon. “Me fix hat good?”

Morgana took the hat out of the box and inspected it. She turned it over and looked at it this way and that way. She ran her thumb over the shiny golden lock a few times before putting it on her head. Hat mouse waited with baited breath. If Morgana wasn’t happy then they could expect a world of pain.

“Yes, you did fix hat good.” Morgana held up her bag and it spat 1,000g onto the front counter. “I’ll be sure to visit again the next time it gets a hole burnt into it.”

Hat mouse quickly scooped the gold up in their paws. “Many thanks. Me make good hats. Good hats for all people.”

“Hat mouse!” Called the voice of the wizard. “I require your assistance with- Oh, Morgana…”

Hat mouse squeaked in fear. It was well known among the magical residents of Pelican town that the wizard and the witch were angry with each other and therefor needed to be kept away from each other. Unless all hell breaking out was something you wanted to happen on your doorstep.

Morgana glared at the Wizard with venom. “Hello Ras, or should I call you the fucking cheater that can’t keep it in his damn pants!”

“I made a terrible mistake. It was a lapse in judgment and I regret it every day.” Said the Wizard. “You look good today…”

“Flattery will get you nowhere you loveless bastard!” Morgana’s fingers crackled with purple lightening as she started to draw some kind of magic circle in the air in front of her.

Hat mouse squeaked in terror and quickly closed up shop, scurrying down to the basement of the house where they kept most of their hat supplies. As they dashed down the stairs they couldn’t help but notice Green and Blue the Junimos sitting by their sewing supplies.

Green waved at them. “Can we have hats please?”

Blue held up the cap of an acorn. “I want one like this! One like this!”

Hat mouse chuckled a little and quickly got to work finding patterns and the right fabric. They often made little hats for the Junimos. Mainly because they thought hats were neat and they kept losing the damn things every other day.

The sound of a tree shattering made all three occupants look up at the ceiling. Hat mouse sighed dramatically. “Witch and Wizard being all men. Going to destroy me hat shop. Where me sell hats if no hat shop?”

“Community center?” Suggested Blue as they picked up a button. “So what are they yelling about now anyway?”

Hat mouse shrugged. “Usual. Witch say Wizard is scum. Wizard apologizes. Witch blows up wizard. Repeat.”

Green sighed dramatically. “Those two need to talk it out properly. Maybe then things wouldn’t blow up so much around here. They can only cast that cone of silence spell thing so many times before someone notices some kind of bluish purple translucent dome.”

Hat mouse agreed. “Me house needs protection charm. Get wizard to make one. Me sell hats. Me need hat shop. Community center is Junimos home. Not hat shop.” A loud thump rocked the ground and shook the empty hat boxes off in the corner. “Hope they stop fighting soon…”

***

After an intense five minutes of flinging spells at each other both Morgana and the wizard were tired. They weren’t as young as they used to be and casting magic around like it was nothing took a lot out of the both of them.

“Can we talk now my dear lily pad?” Asked the Wizard cautiously.

“Suck a dick Rasmodius!” Snapped Morgana. “You don’t get to call me those things anymore! Kill yourself and I might be able to forgive your reincarnation!”

The Wizard sighed a little and massaged his temples. He felt like he was developing a headache. “Morgana please… I actually need to speak to you about a serious matter concerning the farmer.”

That seemed to pique her interest a little. “The farmer? What about him?” She sat on her broom and happily crossed her legs as it hovered in the air. “Did he do something bad?”

“Not yet, but you’ve done something to him.” He crossed his arms and glared at her in an attempt to stare her down, but it wasn’t working.

Morgana laughed at him and feigned innocence. “Me? What could I have possibly done to that little demon? If he wants to play cabbage farmer then who am I to stop him?”

“Morgana! He has come to me and gone to see his mother Elizabeth! Whatever you’ve done to him has disturbed him! What did you do?”

The witch sighed dramatically. Mentioning Elizabeth seemed to soften her mood a little, either that or she was too confident in her own abilities. “Okay look, he’s kind of half and half right? But he’s been living like a human for all of it. Time for him to live like a demon for a bit, don’t you think?”

The implications for this were catastrophic. “Morgana, you can’t be serious… He’s partially human… If the farmer were to be consumed by that emotional rage machine there’s no telling what it could do! It could rampage out there and k-”

“Kill someone?” Asked Morgana sweetly. “That’s the plan. Pelican town’s been blessed by Yoba’s light for far too long. A little murder will balance everything out once again don’t you think?”

The Wizard was horrified. “Are you out of your mind? Murder? You’re planning a murder? What is wrong with you?!”

“Hey this is your fault too!” She snapped. “You’ve been soooooooo adamant about making this town a place for good and neutral spirits. Did you think if the mines had a few monsters running around in them that would be enough? Fat fucking chance! The only way things will balance out now is if something super tragic happens! I can’t just fly around and randomly curse shit!” A wicked smile graced her face. “No Apollyon will help me out with this. I already explained it to him as best as his stupid mind could understand.”

This wasn’t right. Sure he had done what he could to make Pelican Town a safe place for spirits, but he didn’t realize he had disrupted the balance to such a degree. How could he? He was just doing what he thought was right. Had he tipped the scales so much that he was no longer able to fix it himself? He had to try something, anything to fix this mess.

“Then kill me.” He said. “Let my death balance out the scales and allow the valley to reset as it were.”

Morgana scoffed at the notion. “You? As much as I want you dead as road kill, you are important for balancing Yoba’s light. If you die some little shit head mage might try and take control of the tower and fuck that. The youth these days are reckless and dumb. Thinking that Yoba’s light is all important and you don’t need the Void’s darkness to balance it out. No, it will be someone from the village… Someone people will mourn. Someone close to the farmer…” She smirked. “And considering the cute little randevu those two had last night I have a pretty good idea who’s getting their guts eaten while Apollyon pins them to the dirt.”

The Wizard’s stomach turned. He could get a Junimo to tell him who Apollyon was getting close to later. Now he had a few other things on his mind. He had to try and reason with her. “Morgana, just because Apollyon’s demon side is starting to come through doesn’t mean anything. He is a very strong willed man.”

“The strong will of man means nothing with faced with a ravenous, starving beast.” She countered. With a small kick of her heels she slowly started to circle Rasmodious. “First I cast a spell on him to force his suppressed emotions from years of menial office work to the surface. Oh the murderous depravity. I can only imagine what demons dream of. Then I cast a second spell, one that slowly returns his body it its natural state of being. Demon’s don’t feel pain Ras. Now neither does he.”

“… Are you trying to drive him mad?” Asked the Wizard in disgust. “This is much too far for even you Morgana. Undo your cursed magic and let Apollyon live his life as he sees fit! I’m sure you can come up with something else that’s just as devastating as murder!”

She shook her head. “Nope. It’s already set in motion. I already started phase three of my plan. One and two were all about getting emotionally disturbed and used to his demon senses again, or lack thereof.” She giggled gleefully at the thought. “This is going to be fun!” Before The Wizard could say anything else, Morgana quickly flew off back to her hut with a cackle.

He sighed a little and massaged his temples again. He really needed to stop this potential murder, but at the same time if Morgana was right then stopping this murder was going to be more trouble than it was worth. No, he had to stop this, or at least try and prevent this. He had to. He was many things but he wasn’t going to let Morgana try and fix the balance this way.

“… Hats?”

The Wizard jumped a little and looked back over at Hat mouse. They looked a little worried as they tried to inspect the potential damage done to the house. “Ah yes. Sorry about that. We avoided causing needless damage to your humble abode.”

Hat mouse nodded a little. “Fix hat? Buy hat? Me sell hats.”

“Yes, yes…” He took off his hat and passed it to Hat mouse. “There is a rather large moth living somewhere in my tower and it started to eat through my hat.”

Hat mouse nodded and inspected the hat. “Three days fix. Bring me charm?”

“Charm? What charm?”

“Protection charm. Save hat shop.” Said Hat mouse. As they spoke Green and Blue climbed up onto the counter top. Blue was wearing a beanie that looked like the top of an acorn and Green had a tiny bowlers hat. They waved up at the Wizard.

“Yes of course. One protection charm.” He said as his attention was quickly drawn to the Junimos. “Now you two I need to ask you a very important question, who has the farmer gotten close to?”

Chapter Text

Sweet Yoba how did things end up this way? The farmer had just turned up out of nowhere while Sebastian was just typing out some simple code to fix a catastrophic problem for a client, and now they were smoking pot. But smoking lead to talking, and talking lead to longing looks, longing looks lead to touching, and touching lead to well what they were doing now.

Sebastian was splayed out on his back, watching the smoke swirl around his head while Apollyon’s fingers started tracing his sides in an almost feather like manner. He was slowly pushing the thick material of Sebastian’s hoodie up and devouring each new piece of skin with lazy licks and kisses. His actions sent small shockwaves through Sebastian’s body that went straight to his groin.

He felt like a virgin again, which was far from the truth. Sebastian had a few sexual partners in the past. His first time had been with a girl in his history class. She looked pretty and said that she liked him. They had done it in the back of car during some drive in movie. It was awkward, and kind of clunky, and felt wrong to him. They broke up soon after that.

His second time had been a one night stand with a man in Zuzu. They were both a little tipsy and the sex was rougher than he would have liked, but it was a thousand times better than with a woman. It felt right and drove him wild in a way nothing else had. Like any new experience that flooded his mind with endorphins Sebastian wanted more, and he got more. For a few months he had gone to Zuzu to have a few more one night stands. That didn’t last. He didn’t like the idea of one night stands. He wanted more.

“Hey.” Whispered Apollyon, his voice snapping Sebastian out of his daze. He was face to face with him now. “Don’t think about them. I’m the only one with you now.”

His heart felt like it was going to leap out of his chest. He didn’t realize how desperate he was for this to happen. Sebastian reached out and tangled his fingers in Apollyon’s hair as he pulled into a feverish kiss that left them both panting. But neither had time to catch their breath as Apollyon pulled him back in for another.

Sebastian let out moan as Apollyon’s skillful hands made their way back down to his hips and grab his ass. He raised his hips, trying to get Apollyon to touch him somewhere else. Somewhere he desperately needed.

“A-Apollyon, please…” He whispered.

“Please what Sebby?” Purred Apollyon. “You want me to touch this?” He groped Sebastian through his pants. He bit his bottom lip, trying hard to hold back a moan. “Or would you rather touch this instead?” Apollyon took Sebastian’s hand and shoved it down his pants, beneath his underwear. He didn’t break eye contact the whole time he let Sebastian touch and grope his semi-erect cock.

Yoba have mercy he was huge already and getting larger with every squeeze. Just feeling how large he was just excited Sebastian even more. “Fuck, I want it all Apollyon. Give it to me, please.”

Apollyon moaned softly, rolling his hips into Sebastian’s hand. “Hmm, by the time I’m done with you you’re not gonna be able to tell the difference between Java script and C#.”

Sebastian shivered in anticipation. If Apollyon did indeed keep that promise he wasn’t going to be able to sit properly for a week either. As Apollyon undid his pants and pull them off along with his underwear, Sebastian couldn’t help but gasp as the cool air of his room hit his cock.

Apollyon hummed in approval at this. No wait, he was humming a tune? No not a tune. A rhythmic beat? Why? What on earth was Apollyon doing?

***

Sebastian’s eyes snapped open. Without moving out of bed he grabbed his phone to see who was messaging him at the ungodly hour of eight in the morning. Mother fucking Sam. He was going to murder him for cock blocking him. Was it even technically a cock block if it was a wet dream? Maybe? Screw it, Sam was dead.

Apparently he was asking where he was. As it turned out today was the day of the Stardew Valley Fair. If that was the case his mum was going to come down any second to make sure he was ready to head down by eight thirty.

Moments later Robin knocked on his bedroom door. “Come on Sebby. Time to get up. The fair will be starting soon.”

“… I’ll be up soon mum.” Called Sebastian. Once he heard Robin ascending the staircase he lifted his bed sheets to see if he needed to beat one out or change his bed sheets. Thankfully for him he wasn’t going to have to do a suspiciously large load of laundry today. He quickly took care of himself, got dressed and begrudgingly went to start his day.

He walked down to the town with the rest of his family and quickly went off to meet Sam and Abigail. Abigail was busy trying to bet Sam’s high score at the Slingshot booth, but she wasn’t doing too well by the way she was turning red in the face and Sam was laughing.

“Come on Abby.” He said. “It’s not that hard.”

“Sam, I swear to Yoba if you don’t shut the fuck up right now I am going to shoot you in the dick and shove the handle of this slingshot down your dick hole.”

Sam cringed a little at that thought and glanced over at Sebastian, grinning. “He Seb, you made it before midday.”

Sebastian shrugged. “Well, my mum woke me up for this.” He had a quick look around at the other stalls set up around the place. He noticed Apollyon placing produce in his grange display. Just seeing the farmer made him blush as the lewd images of his dream quickly invaded his mind. Yoba, he liked Apollyon. There he admitted it. He liked the weird farmer.

Suddenly Abby was hanging off him, grinning. “Hey Seb, you looking at the farmer’s ass?”

He blushed. “Shut up Abby.”

“You so totally are.” She playfully poked his side as he gestured over to Apollyon. “Oh yeah babe, you bend over and shake that booty.”

He lightly shoved her. “Piss off Abby. I’m not staring at his ass.”

“Whose ass are you staring at?” Asked Apollyon.

Sebastian was sure his face was bright red now. “No one. I’m going to smoke somewhere quiet. Too many tourists.” He quickly scurried off to a quiet part of the fair, leaving his friends mildly confused.

***

Apollyon didn’t really know what was wrong with Sebastian. He’d just come over to see what was going on with the trio. Maybe Sebastian had just realized that Apollyon was someone he needed to avoid at all costs or something? He wouldn’t blame him if that was the case.

Thankfully Abby pulled him out of his negative spiral by playfully bumping her hip into his. “So what did you put in your grange display? My dad’s been stressing about it for weeks.”

“Oh um, a large brown egg, mayonnaise, a crab, some flowers, and some corn.” He listed off each item on his fingers. “Pretty sure I won’t win, but it’s still fun to participate. Your dad really seems into it. He told me he hasn’t lost a single year.”

Abby shrugged. “Yeah well, he’s competitive when it comes to produce… Soooooooo, you do something to our boy Sebby?”

“… What?”

Sam grinned. “Yeah. He got all flustered when he saw you.”

Apollyon really hoped that Sebastian wasn’t weirded out by his demon thing. He seemed cool about it before. “Um, I guess that’s kind of weird…”

Abby grinned. “Hey, crazy idea, ask Sebastian out on a date.”

Apollyon sighed a little. “Look, he isn’t interested in me and I don’t do long term relationships.” It wasn’t like he didn’t try when he was interested in someone, but his long term relationships either ended because they thought he was crazy and left, or if they were a magic user they usually tended to try and murder him. He liked Sebastian too much for something like that to happen.

Abby scowled at him for that. “Seriously? Come on Apollyon. He’s kind of crazy about you in his own Sebastian way. Trust me, Sam and I have known him way longer than you. He likes you.”

Sam nodded in agreement. “Yep. By now he’s probably reached stage five.” He started counting off each stage on his fingers. “First, there’s annoyed denial, raging denial, quiet contemplation, denial, and embarrassed denial. Final stage is reluctant acceptance, which is usually followed by crushing depression since he’s a dumb gay boy and keeps falling for those damn straights.”

“… You speaking from experience Sammy?” Asked Apollyon.

“Ben.” Said Abby and Sam in unison. Noticing his quizzical look, Abby quickly filled him in. “Guy at our high school. He was pretty cool but you could use him as an accurate ruler he was so straight. It really crushed him when he started going out with Sarah-Ann.”

Sam nodded in agreement. “Yeah, but you know what? I think it was an even bigger blow to him because he was dating Sarah-Ann a week before they broke up just so she could get with Ben… Ah, I miss the days of high school drama.”

“I thought Sebastian wasn’t into women?”

“Well not anymore.” Said Abby. “For a while he thought he was bisexual, that’s why he dated Sarah-Ann. He had this idea in his head that it was better to like both then to just like dick. Teenage logic is weird.”

After that brief bit of relationship history the trio talked for a little more before they all went their separate ways. While Apollyon waited for Lewis to judge the grange displays he went around and looked at all the other things the fair had to offer. A few game stands, a sad clown doing some clown tricks, Marlon, Robin, and Clint were showing off their skills when it came to weapons, carpentry, and smelting respectively, There was an animal petting zoo, someone was telling fortunes, and Gus was giving away free burgers.

Be still his beating heart the second he learned that the burgers were free started piling burgers onto his plate and stuffing his face. Yoba have mercy he hadn’t been able to cook for himself because he was running himself ragged these days. Most days he just ate whatever his grubby little hands could snatch up while foraging. These burgers were so good. The meat was cooked to perfection with such wonderful and crisp vegetables, and that BBQ sauce? It had to be homemade.

Gus seemed pleased that Apollyon was stuffing his face. “Ha, maybe I should consider charging these burgers if you’re gonna pack them away like that.”

Apollyon shrugged as he downed his sixth burger. “Hey, I’d pay for it. These are really good… And I kind of didn’t eat before I came here.”

He let out a bellowing laugh before dropping off some more napkins and heading back to the BBQ. Apollyon loved hearing the sizzle of perfectly seasoned food cooking on any kind of hot surface; BBQ, pan, spit, heck he loved the sound of bacon sizzling on a hot tin roof. However, after eating around ten of Gus’s amazing survival burgers the sound and smell of delicious foods was starting to make him feel nauseous.

He quickly left that place and wandered down to the animals. Jas and Vincent were happily running around attempting to reach into every pen to touch every animal. Luckily for the children, Shane looked relatively sober and was watching them closely, along with the chickens. Harvey was also there so the kids wouldn’t be in any danger at all.

Apollyon hummed a little to himself and leaned over one of the pens, looking at the pigs. “Hello pre bacon. Don’t you look nice and juicy today?” The pig gave Apollyon a disgusted look before trotting away to lean against its water trough. “… Oops. Sorry?”

“Never thought I’d see you here Apollyon.” Cooed Gadreel as he slipped next to him.

Apollyon jumped a little, but quickly regained his composure. “The fuck are you doing here?”

Gadreel chuckled a little. “You’re always so eloquent when it comes to your greetings.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a flyer, handing it over. It was one for the Stardew Valley fair. On the back someone scribbled a message simply saying ‘A familiar demon lives here’. Apollyon passed it back without much of second thought. “This was left in my mailbox a few days ago. I couldn’t help but jump at the chance to see who I was going to meet again.”

“… Well it’s a good thing I’m just visiting.” He lied. “I’d have to kill you if you found out where I was really hiding out.”

He smirked. “Oh really now? I asked that nice women, the one with the green hair, about where the majority of the fresh produce comes from around here. Said most of it came from a place called Hellfire Farm run by a farmer named Apollyon. Your name is not a very common one.”

“… Fuck.” Damn that Caroline and her need to make small talk with the damn tourists. “So what? I live here. Now that you know that I have to kill you.”

Gadreel just laughed at the thought. “Oh Apollyon, we don’t have to go through that happy little song and dance again. At least not today. I’m just doing a little recon today.”

“Oh? I’m flattered you’d do all that for me.” Well Apollyon was going to abandon his farm and start his life as a hermit. He could be the other hermit and learn all the hermit things from Linus. He seemed to have the hermit shtick down to a fine art. “Guess I should be expecting a visit from you soon?”

He shrugged. “Perhaps. It all depends on how I feel.” He hummed happily as he watched some piglets snuffle around in the dirt. “I saw that Sebastian fellow again, but I don’t think he saw me through that haze of smoke.”

A small growl attempted to claw its way out his throat, but he somehow managed to hold it back. “You stay away from him.”

Gadreel grinned. He seemed to relish Apollyon’s discomfort and growing anger. “Why? You laid some weird, disgusting demonic claim on him or something?”

“Go back to Zuzu and get hit by a train.” Snarled Apollyon. Truth be told he didn’t really know what a demonic entity like himself was meant to do if he found someone he wanted to be with. He had no idea if their relationship models were more based on human or animal relationships. Even then if it was animal there was a huge variation in relationship types in the animal kingdom. He really had no idea but he doubted that he would try and physically mark someone. Humans seemed to be the ones that were obsessed with marking what they think is their property.

No matter what he seemed to say or how he said it Gareel seemed to find it all amusing in some way or another. “Come on Apollyon, show some humanity and be nice to me… Well I guess you can’t really do that now can you? Show humanity. Can’t show something you never had.”

Apollyon growled at Gadreel, baring his teeth and digging his nails into the wooden fence of the pig pen. More than anything he wanted to grab Gadreel and rip out his fucking throat. However he’d have to just settle for angry glaring instead.

“Nice acting demon, but you’re not fooling anyone.” He hummed a little and turned to leave. “I’ll be back soon Apollyo, and when I do I’ll bring some friends. You better hope that when we come for you that we’re far away from the people that live here. I might be one to try and minimize collateral damage, but most of my friends believe that the ends justify the means.”

Purely on reflex Apollyon reached back and grabbed his arm, pulling him back. “If you’re gonna fucking fight me it’s gonna be on my farm. Nowhere else, got it?”

Gadreel shrugged off Apollyon’s grip. “Well, I guess if a monster like you is bothering to fake concern for humans I guess I can grant you that wish. It’s the least I can do for an old classmate.” He smiled ever so sweetly at Apollyon. “I’ll come by before the feast of the winter star. That should be enough time for you to get your affairs in order.”

Every instinct was telling Apollyon to pounce on Gadreel and rip into him. He hadn’t just threatened his life, he’d gone and threatened leveling the town. He didn’t care if Gadreel thought he was putting on an act or not. He wasn’t the most righteous of men but he wasn’t going to let innocent people get hurt because of him. He was going to find a way to fix this.

***

Sebastian felt dumb. He’d immediately run away from Apollyon after talking with him for two seconds and had gone through almost half a pack of cigarettes. He really needed to start cutting back. Maybe start chewing nicotine gum, or the nicotine patches maybe? Something to think about later.

Abby popped up next to him and shoved a plate of food into his hands. “Eat up bitch. You can’t live off coffee and nicotine.”

He sighed and reluctantly ate what she’d given him without really looking. “So, is the fair over yet?”

Sam rolled his eyes. “Come on Seb, it’s only just midday.”

Abby nodded in agreement. “Yeah, we still gotta at least get our fortunes read by Welwick. Sammy’s already gone and done his.”

“Yep.” Sam was practically beaming. “She saw me playing guitar on stage in front of people. So I’m guessing we might get a gig soon. Either that or we’re going on one of those talent shows.”

“I refuse to be part of any reality TV show.” Said Sebastian bluntly. “They are bullshit and create fake drama for the sake of ratings. I would rather give myself a battery acid enema.”

Abby pulled a face. “Ew. I’m gonna go and see what Welwick has to say about me. Get over to the graveyard when you’re done.” She quickly ran off. The boys followed her at a much slower pace. By the time they got there Abby was just finishing up her fortune reading. She seemed very pleased.

“What did she see Abs?” Asked Sam.

“I’m gonna pass my online course.” Said Abby happily. “There’s also a chance I’m gonna find and or get given something amazing soon. I hope it’s a large deposit in my bank account.”

Sebastian didn’t believe in the fortune telling business. He thought it was pretty stupid, but it was fun stupid. Kind of like how people would watch a terribly acted and directed movie to make fun of it.

While Abby and Sam were talking about their perceived good luck, Sebastian walked into the tent. Welwick was sitting on her chair behind a table with intricate celestial patterns carved into it with a large crystal ball dead center. Welwick herself was a little old woman wearing a heavy blue woolen robe and red lipstick that was just a bit too bright and kind of looked painted on.

She smiled sweetly at him and gestured to the chair. “Ah, I suspected you would be coming here today.”

“Did you see that in your crystal ball?” He asked as he took a seat.

“Nope. You three come in here every year.” She waved her hand over the crystal ball, making the insides swirl with smoke. “But let’s forget about the past. We’re here to see into the future.”

Sebastian sat back and watched her put on her little show with her hand waving and visual effects she used in the crystal ball. He had a theory that she had some kind of peddle under the table, or button that she would press to make these things happen. It was pretty neat and he had to give her points for trying to create an atmosphere.

“I see… a field. You’re standing with someone. A young man. You two are close. Very close. You’re anxious but happy. Now I see… snow. Lots of snow. But there is something else mixed in with it. It’s hard to tell if it’s red or black. Perhaps burnt embers? There’s an animal, wounded, hunted. It’s furious… You’re standing over someone. They are very sick. However, you’re both happy… That is all the crystal shows me.”

“… Right.”

“Now remember, the future isn’t set in stone. You have the power to change your fate.”

“Okay. See you next year.” He always hated when fortune tellers said that kind of line. It was just a way to cover their own asses in case they got their prediction wrong. It was a lazy copout. The moment he stepped out of the tent Abby and Sam looked at him expectantly. “… I think I’m gonna see someone either shoot a bear or set a bear on fire and shoot it.”

Sam nodded in approval. “Metal.”

Chapter Text

Apollyon still couldn’t feel pain and it sucked. Now normally people would think this would be manageable as long as you looked after yourself. However, Apollyon wasn’t a careful person. He somehow managed to fuck up his hand with a meat tenderizer while he was attempting to prepare a stew for dinner that night.

He got distracted by Goblin and ended up crushing the back of his hand with a sickening crunch. It kind of sounded like someone crushed a bag of potato chips in their fist. Apollyon spent a few minutes trying to find a bandage or something to wrap it in. He ended up using a tea towel. With any luck he’s be fine by evening.

When he eventually went outside he was surprised to see Gunther. He was the strange man in the big blue cowboy hat that ran the library/museum. Every now and then Apollyon would bring cool looking artifacts and interesting rocks down for him to put on display.

“Morning Mr Apollyon.” He said with a slight twang to his voice. “I hope it’s not too early.”

“Not at all. I was just coming out to do some farming, as a farmer does. What’s up?”

“Well, I just wanted to stop by and thank you in person for all the wonderful artifacts and minerals you’ve discovered… you’ve done so much for just one person.” He reached into his pocket and took out a rusty looking key. “I have a gift for you. It’s an old key that’s been sealed in the museum vault for at least a hundred years. It’s rusty but still beautiful.”

Apollyon took the key off him and nodded. It really was beautiful. The handle of the key had a few interesting patterns carved into it and the rusty colour made it look a little like it was made of bronze. “Cool. Thanks Gunther.”

The man nodded a little and tipped his hat. “I’ll be seeing you around soon.” Gunther left and now Apollyon had to wonder what the mysterious key could open. He’d be spending most of the day figuring this mystery out.

Luckily for him there were very few locked doors around Pelican Town. Strangely enough though it happened to be the key to the sewers. It seemed strange that the sewer key was in a safe somewhere for a hundred years, but who was he to complain? To satisfy his curiosity he ventured into the sewers to see what was in there, besides rivers of piss and shit.

It didn’t seem like there was much in there and he was going to head back, but he heard something weird in a far off corner. He quickly found the source of the sound, it seemed to be a Shadow Brute. It was gently nudging a few pots around with its body. It didn’t seem to have hands. It quickly spotted Apollyon and its strange eyes grew wide for a moment.

“H-hello?” It said quietly. Normally these creatures wouldn’t say anything besides a strangled moan. It was probably some strange Shadow Brute trick. Now Apollyon didn’t have his sword with him, but he did have his fishing rod. He was pretty damn sure he could skewer this one and run like hell if he had to. “Oh, don’t be alarmed.” It said. “My name is Krobus. I’m not like other Shadow Brutes. I simply wish to trade.”

“… Trade? You’re a shop keeper?” Apollyon was still very cautious.

Krobus nodded. “Yes… Um, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but you yourself seem to be… You give off a strange energy for a human.”

“… Yeah, I’m not fully human. According to most magic users I am a demon in human skin.” This Shadow Brute didn’t seem to be hostile but he wasn’t letting his guard down just yet. “So… Who knows you’re here anyway?”

“The Wizard, witch, Junimos and more magically inclined individuals like yourself.” Krobus made a humming sound as it looked at Apollyon’s bandaged hand. “Did you hurt yourself?”

“Pain isn’t something I have much of a concept of these days.” Apollyon flexed his hand, noting that it felt like someone was popping bubble wrap under his skin as his bones slowly reconfigured into what was universally known as a human hand. It would be healed by the end of the day at this rate.

“If you’re trying to blend in and be human you should take better care of yourself.” Said Krobus calmly. “Humans tend to attack and fear the things they do not understand. I’d hate to see you harmed for simply existing.”

“… So I’m guessing you know how it feels?”

“To be hunted and killed on sight? Yeah. You were planning to hurt me too. It’s okay. I understand.”

Now Apollyon felt guilty. “Yeah… Sorry. Most Shadow Brutes see me and attack… You aren’t mad I killed some, are you?”

“Not at all. Death as you see it is quite different for Shadow Brutes. We simply dissipate for a few hours before we pull ourselves together.” Said Krobus calmly. “It’s an evolutionary trait we developed from our ancestors… Though it gets harder to pull ourselves together the older we get and the more times we get killed.” The Shadow Brute’s eyes grew large and glowed for a few moments as a menu made of smoke appeared in front of it.

Taking the hint, Apollyon looked through it, seeing what Krobus had on offer. He kind of liked the look of the Void egg, stardrop, and return scepter. Unfortunately he only had enough money for the egg. “Evolved? So where did you Shadow Brutes come from anyway?”

“We were creatures that were born from the Void but were given Yoba’s light.” Said Krobus. That was something new that Apollyon hadn’t heard of before. As far as he knew everything that was born of the Void was forever devoid of Yoba’s light. Just their existence alone in a world created by Yoba was an unforgivable act of perversion. “Through Yoba’s light we were able to live and coexist in this world.”

“Is that even possible? For a Void creature to be given Yoba’s light?”

“We Shadow Brutes believe that Yoba themselves was once a Void creature. They just possess the ability to create light and life.” Said Krobus. “But I know many humans believe Yoba was created separate from the Void. They want to believe in a completely divine being but the truth is if there was such a creature in existence then there would be no need for this world. Everything would be perfect and all would be lovingly worshiping Yoba. Only a flawed being could create a world of perfect and flawed creations to exist in this perfect and flawed world.”

Apollyon stared at Krobus completely dumbfounded for a few minutes. Truly they were wise beyond their years. “You know, I didn’t expect to have this kind of religiously philosophical discussion with someone today.”

Krobus shrugged. “I guess, but you must admit it does give monsters and those who manage to escape the Void some small semblance of hope.” The monster seemed very content in his own beliefs. “So don’t be sad. Even if you can’t love yourself, Yoba loves you. Don’t be sad, even if the people of this world turn against you, Yoba is on your side. Don’t be sad. Even if the world won’t forgive you, Yoba will forgive you.”

“That some kind of prayer?” Asked Apollyon. “Can I have a void egg?”

Krobus blinked and a void egg appeared in Apollyon’s hands. His wallet also felt a little lighter. “I guess you could say it is a mix between prayer and reassurance that we have lives worth living. I can only assume someone such as yourself needs words like that once in a while.”

“Alright.” He turned the egg over in his hand a few times and decided to make his way out of the sewer.

“Please come back soon.” Said Krobus. “I’d be happy to sell you more things or talk some more. I haven’t met someone fresh from the Void before. It is, interesting.”

Apollyon nodded a little and headed out. He went out the way he came and ended up back in Cindersap forest. He sat under a tree and looked out to sea. Krobus had given him a lot to think about. It seemed weird for a thing that originally came from the Void to worship Yoba. If something like that could believe Yoba cared about them did he even stand a chance and some kind of redemption? He didn’t know.

His whole life he had been told he was some abominable monster by practically everyone that knew his true nature but his mother. She would hold him and tell him he was special. That Yoba didn’t care where he came from as long as he was a good person. The rest of humanity didn’t share the same views.

Maybe if what Krobus said was true, then maybe he had been wrong about himself. Maybe there were some things he had been putting off because of his own preconceived prejudice? But what exactly? The answer was pretty obvious when he gave himself a few seconds to actually think about it, relationships. What kind of relationship could he feasibly have with a human anyway, and what human would want him?

Well he already had half the answer to that. Sebastian allegedly liked him, according to Abigail and Sam anyway, and Seb already knew he was a demon. So there wasn’t really any huge and nasty surprises there. He also did think Sebastian was a pretty cute looking guy and was more than happy to learn more about him. He really could go for it and actually ask Sebastian out.

He blushed at all the couple thoughts that came to his mind. Mostly innocent things like watching TV together, cooking together, waking up next to each other, hell even holding hands made his stomach flutter in ways it hadn’t in a while. It was pleasant in so many ways. Though before he actually asks Sebastian if he’s interested in dating though, he would need to hang out with him a little more to make sure they worked well together. Then again, after hammering in that he could never have that kind of a relationship with a human his whole life, could he even be anyone’s boyfriend at this point?

He also technically had some kind of a hit out on him and could technically be murdered any day now, but that was kind of neither here nor there for him at this point. Life was not that that good for a demon like him.

***

Much to Sebastian’s surprise, he had gotten a letter. It was left on the kitchen table when he went up to get his coffee late in the morning. It was in some weird looking envelope that kind of looked like it was made from recycled paper, and the ink that was used to write his name on it seemed rather fancy with their handwriting.

He sat at the table and opened the letter. It was some fancy paper. The only real way he could describe it was that it looked like the shades of blue that accompanied the setting sun and the ink was golden. He hadn’t ever gotten a letter like this before.

Dear Sebastian
My sources tell me you’ve caught the eye of someone ‘special’ in our community. I hope that you will find the enclosed protection charm useful as your relationship moves forward. If you have any questions please feel free to visit me. -M. Rasmodius, Wizard.

Confused, Sebastian tipped the envelope upside down and out tumbled a small pendant. He picked it up and inspected it. For what it was it was pretty small and seemed to be made from animal bone. On one side there was some kind of pentagram carved into it and on the back was a circle of tiny runic symbols around the symbol of Yoba.

“… The fuck?” He took out his phone and took a photo of the pendant, both front and back, and set it to his occult expert, Abigail. Seconds later she messaged him and let him know that she was going to be there ASAP.

He walked back to his room with all important things in hand and waited for her to show up. About half an hour later he could hear the muffled sounds of Abby quickly exchanging pleasantries with Robin before she barreled down the stairs and almost tripped over her own two feet.

“Ack!” She squawked as she adjusted her backpack. “Okay, I made it. Where did you get the thingy?”

Sebastian shrugged and tossed it to her. “Wizard gave it to me.”

Abby gasped and dived for the charm, easily catching it. “The Wizard? The weird loner guy that lives in the tower that may or may not be an actual wizard?” She held the charm up to the dim light of the basement and hummed a little. “… What did he say to you?”

“Nothing. He sent it to me in a letter.” He passed her the letter and let her read it. While she read it he finished off the last of his coffee. Nothing was better than a strong bitter brew when you first got up.

“Huh… Interesting…” Abby sat on the couch and took her book on occult rituals and spells out of her bag and started to look through it. “This is probably going to take a while… But what did the Wizard mean by you catching the eye of a special someone? He’s gotta mean Apollyon, right? Who else could it be?”

Sebastian rolled his eyes and started checking his emails. He had no work today. No clients. But if he pretended he was working Abby might shut it for a few minutes and let him be. “He’s a weirdo. I just called you here so you could figure out what that charm thing is before I toss it. I don’t need any dumb magic charm.”

Abby pouted at that. “Sebastian, the spirits are not folks you should piss off and annoy. Magic is real and if the Wizard really is a wizard he’s given you a real genuine magical artifact… And apparently this specific pentagram either repels or traps demons… and or bad spirits.”

“Thought you were an expert on this stuff? That’s why I called you for.”

Abby rolled her eyes. “Seb, not all magic is the same. You have so many different branches with so many different religions both pagan and universally recognized by modern times as actual religion. I’m just someone with a basic knowledge on this stuff…” She rolled the pendant in her hand, looking frustrated. “At least I know the difference between at least five different Western pagan magic’s and stuff… Can tell the difference between a death curse and a good luck charm…”

Sebastian sighed a little, running his fingers through his hair. “Look, this kind of stuff is all gibberish to me. Try not to take much offence, okay?”

“Fine. Want to know what the back part of the pendant is? I know what is.”

“Sure.”

“It’s a good luck charm. The first three runes at the top mean light, the ones at the bottom mean purity, and the ones on the sides mean balance. The symbol of Yoba means this is meant to give off similar affects to a holy relic, though it’s probably not as good as a real one because real ones are blessed and stuff.”

“So I got a semi holy relic that gives me luck and wards off demons? That wizard guy is weird.”

Abby shrugged and continued to look through her book. “I guess, but you don’t just give semi holy demon dispelling charms to just anyone for no reason. Semi holy relics are actually very hard to make. Can take several days meditation and fasting to get it up to snuff.”

“Fasting? Really?”

“There is always a proper way to do things and you can’t just back out when you do.” Informed Abby. “Most times if you back out halfway through it can be a million times as deadly as when you start. Though that’s mainly for rituals and stuff…” She hummed a little and turned the charm in her hand. “You should probably keep this. Keep it in your pocket or something. You can never have too many good luck charms… Now I feel like making paper charms.”

Sebastian sighed a little. The last time Abby went on a charm making binge she ended up randomly sticking paper charms to doors and walls around town. Lewis was not pleased about it and considered it mild vandalism. Then again so did a lot of the older residents of the town, mainly George.

“If I promise to keep the weird charm will you not go crazy and make a million of those charms again?” He asked. He really didn’t want to wake up one morning to find his door plastered with them and Demetrius asking if he’d found some new religion.

Abby thought for a moment. “Hmm, okay. Keep it on you and I’ll not plaster your door with charms… So…”

“So?”

“What’s new with you besides the charm thing? You gonna ask the farmer out?” She tossed the pendant back at him.

He caught it and slipped it into his pocket. “… Look, hypothetically even if I did like him I don’t think he’s shown much interest in me anyway.”

She rolled her eyes. “Well maybe he hasn’t shown any interest in you because you don’t show any interest in him?”

“Not true we-” Sebastian quickly shut his mouth. He didn’t really want to go talking about their little bonding moment in the secret woods. Unfortunately he had captured Abby’s interest and she now eagerly awaited him to continue. He’d just give her the bear minimum so she’d at least stop looking at him with those excited, pleading eyes. “We went to the secret woods a few nights ago. We talked. It was nice.”

Abby was positively beaming at this point. “Oh really? Do you think that you two could be something more if you like got together and actually talked some more? Hypothetically?”

“Hypothetically? … Yes.” Yoba have mercy Apollyon was weird as fuck and his family life was kind of fucked, but he was a nice guy and made him feel all kinds of strange and obscure emotions he could associate with feelings of possible love. It was a nice feeling.

“Seriously, can I help you guys out in anyway? Hypothetically? Asked Abby. “You two look really cute together and you’d probably make a good pair. Hypothetically speaking of course.”

Sebastian shrugged as an email suddenly popped up. Looked like he did have a job today after all. “I’ll think about it. Now go, I have work to do.” He watched as she sighed dramatically and left. He really hoped that whatever else her plans were for helping weren’t going to be something crazy.

Chapter Text

It was just another typical day at Apollyon’s farm. He cleared the weeds and rocks away. He was planning on planting some wheat and planned on making lots of beer in the winter. But as his hoe pierced the dirt it made a strange squelching noise, like he’d hit wet mud. Pulling it back to till the soil didn’t seem to make the matter better either. It sounded like he was ripping up something fibrous with a lot of roots.

Much to his surprise a small puddle of water bubbled up to the surface. It was kind of rusty coloured and Apollyon didn’t think too much about it. He was tilling near his pond to there was a chance it was just some excess ground water or something. He’d have to try and invest in some rice seeds as this rate.

He thrust the hoe into the ground and pulled back, struggling a little when it got caught on a rock. With some effort he ripped a large white rock out of the ground. Surprised by its colour, Apollyon picked it up. He instantly regretted it. It wasn’t some weird white stone, it was a vertebra. Not just any old vertebra, this one felt damp and warm, like it had just been removed from a body. He could clearly see fresh marrow oozing slightly through the centrum.

Apollyon gasped in shock and stumbled, falling flat on his ass. He watched the bone sail through the air and land in the pond with a dense thunk. When did the pond water turn black? He tried to stand but he couldn’t. Looking down all he could do was gasp in horror as the redish water that had been welling up from the soil was very steadily climbing up his limbs and pulling him down. Down into the black, inky void.

He struggled to try and get away. Eventually he managed to pull an arm free, but much to his dismay he had ripped off much of his skin like it was tissue paper. Beneath his pale skin was the unmistakable black hue of a Shadow Brute’s skin, but this was shinier and mimicking muscles.

However he didn’t have much time to dwell on this as the redish water was starting to drag him towards the pond. Apollyon struggled and tried to dig his nails into earth, but it was too soft. He got pulled into the pond. He didn’t want to be back here. He didn’t want to get dragged back there. It was dark and scary. But it didn’t matter. He got pulled under and he felt his skin peel away. His last remnants of his humanity were gone. He had nothing left.

***

Apollyon woke up with a gasp. He flailed and fell out of the bed while simultaneously flinging Goblin across the room with his leg. She screeched and hissed at him for waking her up and dashed off to the kitchen.

“… Sorry Goblin.” He sighed a little and got up. He could hear the sound of soft rain on the roof. It sounded kind of nice.

He fed Goblin and fed the chickens. They little fluff balls were growing up so quickly and were starting to give him eggs. Which was good. He was able to make mayonnaise and fry an egg up every other day. He wondered what he was going to do today, mining or fishing? He was already very good with mining so today was probably going to be a fishing day.

He put on a thick coat and grabbed his fishing rod. He didn’t want to dwell too much on his dream. It almost felt like a premonition. Since talking with Gadreel he’d started to feel slightly apprehensive whenever he went out onto his farm. It made him feel a little sick. He didn’t want to go back. He wanted to stay here. It was warm and bright here and full of so many weird and interesting things. The Void was stagnate. It didn’t change. It scared him. He liked seeing things change and he couldn’t do that if he was back there.

He trudged onto the wet sand and walked across the wooden bridge near Elliot’s house. He’d collect some coral or shells too. They sold for an okay amount. As he collected things someone caught his attention. For a moment he thought it might have been Elliot, but no. It was some weird looking old looking man wearing thin blue clothes, a wide brim brown hat and boots.

“… Hello?”

The man nodded a little at Apollyon. “Hello there. I’ve got this old amulet to sell… but something tells me yer not ready for it lad.”

That both confused and annoyed Apollyon. “Right… What amulet?”

“A mermaid pendant lad.” He hummed happily and rocked slightly on the balls of his feet. “Give your lover one of them and you’re asking them to marry you.”

“Oh, so it’s like an engagement ring back in Zuzu city?”

“A what?”

“… Must be a regional thing…” Apollyon sighed a little and rubbed his hands together to keep them warm. “So, I’m Apollyon. I haven’t seen you around before.”

A lopsided grin made its way onto the man’s face. “Folks around here call me the Old Mariner.”

“And you just stand out here in the rain telling people you’re not going to give them a mermaid pendant?”

He shrugged. “I only talk to the folks I feel have love brimming in their hearts. It just so happens that I feel a young strapping lad like yourself has a small spark of love within yer chest.”

“… Alright. So why a mermaid pendant anyway? Why not something more practical? Like a ring? Like a normal person?” Sure Apollyon should have just bid the Old Mariner fair well and walked away, but he seemed nice enough, and old people usually had interesting stories.

“It’s an old tale lad… You see, years and Years ago Pelican Town was just a fishing village and a small port that a few ships would dock in to trade.” Said the Old Mariner. “A young lad used to work the docks here making sure that the visiting sailors had their food and drink supplies all ready to go to the next major port. This young lad found a merperson.”

Not that Apollyon didn’t believe in merpeople, but at the same time he was pretty sure merpeople didn’t like humans that much. “Really? A merperson?”

The Old Mariner nodded. “Ay lad. Over the course of a year they two fell deeply in love. The young lad couldn’t put a wedding ring on the merperson’s webbed finger so they made a necklace using a bright blue shell. It was the same shade of blue as the sky in midday and shone like bright like the ocean on a calm sunny day.” He looked wistfully out to sea at that remark, as if remembering something from long ago. “So the merperson accepted it and dragged the lad down into the sea.”

“They killed him?” Asked Apollyon in shock. Okay fine, some versions of merpeople stories ended with someone getting dragged into the ocean to get eaten. It baffled him that the town would let such a story dictate how they propose to each other.

The man just laughed at Apollyon’s conclusion. “Perhaps. Perhaps not. Do you really think the merperson would go and drown someone they supposedly loved just because it was a human?”

Apollyon shrugged. “It’s just in their nature I guess. You shouldn’t apply human emotions to something that isn’t human… They were probably playing the long game anyway.”

“Are you?”

“What?”

“Nothing lad. Nothing at all…” He sighed a little and tipped his hat forward slightly. “Now if you’re going to be fishing today, I might suggest fishing by Willy’s shop. Specifically that large rock. The fish are biting a lot more over there than over this way.”

“Oh, thanks Old Mariner. See you around.” Apollyon waved to him and happily headed over to Willy’s shop. Hopefully today he could catch an eel or something. He could just imagine what would happen when he threw one of those at a Junimo. They would probably freak out and flail and squeal if they got hit with one of those things.

Walking out onto dock Apollyon was almost surprised to see Sebastian standing at the edge and looking out to sea. It had been a little while since Apollyon had seen him. He still had doubts if he could move forward with asking Sebastian if he wanted to go out with him. There were still risks with being with someone like him, and that wasn’t even counting the fact that Sebastian might not even want to go out with him because of how heavy handed Abigail and Sam had allegedly been.

Romance was hard. Apollyon cast out his line and watched the bobber bob in the water. Maybe after he caught a few fish he’d have enough courage to ask if he wanted to come over to his place to watch a movie or something.

***

Sebastian was just going to enjoy a nice quiet day to himself at the beach. Who else was going to do it? It was raining and everyone else seemed to hate the rain. It had rained a few dozen times since Apollyon had moved to Stardew Valley and to be perfectly honest Sebastian had wondered if the farmer would come out here and cry to the sea again.

If he’d had known then what he knew now about the farmer he probably would have offered him a drink or something similar at the Saloon that night, or just some human company in general. He sighed a little. That was the past. He had to look towards the future.

Speaking of the future, Sebastian was going to head up to the spa after this and warm up. Sure, it was all well and good to stand in the rain in Spring or Summer, but it was cold in the Fall. He needed to warm up a little after standing out in the cold all day. Plus it meant he could have more time alone to himself.

He turned to leave and was surprised to see that Apollyon was right there fishing quietly. Did he remember when he told Apollyon that rainy days were meant to be enjoyed alone or something? That was… it was actually kind of nice that he remembered.

He walked over just as Apollyon managed to pull up a can of joja cola. “… Rough day fishing?”

Apollyon looked over at Sebastian and smiled a little. “Yeah. Hope I didn’t mess up your alone time. I was trying to catch an eel… It hasn’t been working out too well.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah…” Apollyon stretched and cast out his line again. “I’m gonna try at least one more time to catch an eel today… Um, when I’m done do you want to come back to my place and watch a movie?”

“I was actually going to go up to the spa.”

“Oh, sorry… I’ll let you get on with your day then.”

Sebastian frowned a little. Had he been too subtle? He didn’t think so. “Um, you can come with me if you like…”

Apollyon looked a little surprised, but he smiled at him anyway. “Sure. Sounds nice.” Suddenly something tugged on his line and Apollyon fished up a piece of drift wood. “… Son of a… Okay fuck it. Let’s go to the spa.”

The two walked up to the spa in relative silence. When they got up to Sebastian’s house he ducked in to garb his swimmers. Apollyon went ahead of him. Possibly to go back home and grab his own stuff. It had been a while since he’d gone to the spa with anyone and he was feeling a little anxious about it, as stupid as that sounded. It wasn’t as though he wasn’t okay with people seeing most of his body, high school locker rooms kind of had that effect on him, but he knew if they changed together he might look at weird out Apollyon.

Luckily for him when he got there Apollyon was still not there, and from the sound of it Alex wasn’t in the gym area either. There always seemed to be a fifty fifty chance that Alex was going to be in there during the Fall. He changed into his green board shorts and quickly headed to the spa.

Much to his surprise Apollyon was already in there. He was off near a far edge of the spa bath. He’d sunk down into the water deep enough so that only everything above his mouth was above the water. He nodded a little when he saw Sebastian enter.

Sebastian got in and moved closer to the other, stopping when he was a reasonable distance away. They stayed silent for a while, both just enjoying the silence together. It was strange, but it felt good to sit in silence with him. He didn’t feel like he needed to feel the air with any noise. It was nice.

After some indeterminate amount of time, Apollyon moved so his head was just above the water. “Thanks for asking me here. I would have just gone home.”

“Don’t mention it. A bath is always nice after getting rained on.”

“Yeah…” Apollyon glanced over at Sebastian for a moment. “Hey, um do you want to come over to my place after and watch a movie after this? My TV is a piece of shit, but I have a DVD player and like, seven DVDs… You can take your pick of them if you like.”

Sebastian smiled a little at his slight ramblings. “Yeah, sure. What movies do you have?”

“The original The Thing, Life or Brian, GATTACA, Blade Runner, Soylent Green, Logan’s Run and Westworld.” Listed Apollyon.

He was impressed with the small collection of sci-fi movies he had. Minus the Life of Brian. “You have GATTACA? Neat. Haven’t seen that one in years.”

Apollyon gave Sebastian a strange look. “You like sci-fi?”

“Who doesn’t?”

Apollyon smiled a little and actually sat up properly in the water so his chest was now above the water. “I really liked Uma Thurman’s character. Sure she was a victim of bad female stereotypes but I still liked her a lot.”

“Yeah, me too. Hell, I think I’d go straight for Uma.”

“I’d pay her to execute me a la Kill Bill volume 1 black and white yakuza army style.” Said Apollyon. “Hell, I would even settle for Kill Bill volume 2 black mamba in the briefcase full of money. What a way to go.”

Sebastian laughed a little. “She could stab me with a knife and I’d say thank you. Fuck it, her or Sigourney Weaver.”

“Sigourney Weaver could snap my neck and if I came back as a ghost I wouldn’t even be mad.”

“Me either.” He looked over at Apollyon, surprised to see the amount of pale scars that were visible on his shoulders and chest. There were a lot more than what he should have had from a jellyfish sting. It reminded Sebastian a little of that DIY resin jewelry where the resin has some glow in the dark properties. It was beautiful.

“…” Apollyon noticed his staring and quickly slipped back down into the water. He looked embarrassed and kind of nervous. “I um… Emily knitted Goblin a sweater. She hates it but wears it because it keeps her warm. First time I put it on her she fell over, screeched and refused to move.”

Sebastian nodded a little. “Sounds like something that hairless testical would do.”

He laughed at that. “You don’t need to be so mean to her. She might look like a hairless old man testical, but she’s like a hot water bottle when it’s really cold at night.”

“Alright.” After that the pair fell into a silence once again. This time it was slightly more awkward. He wanted to say something to remedy the situation a little. “I’m not going to ask how you got all those scars but they don’t look as horrible as you think they do.”

“Thank you… Hey Sebastian? I um… I kind of like you…” As soon as those words left his lips Apollyon slipped further into the water so he was back to only have his nose above water. He looked embarrassed and kind of… guilty?

But he didn’t have time to think about that, Apollyon said he liked him. He actually liked him. “I like you too… And um, it’s not because you’re the only guy I know who isn’t straight here…”

“Same… I think you’re cute and handsome…” Said Apollyon quietly. “And you’re obviously really smart. People mentioned you’re a programmer. I could never do something like that, and you’re good with machines too… I couldn’t even get the bus running again…”

He felt flattered that Apollyon thought he was smart. “Well you’re smart too. You might not be good at programming, but I know I’d never be good at farming. I know jack shit about what to plant and how best to take care of animals.” Sebastian moved a little closer to Apollyon, pleased when he saw that Apollyon didn’t move away. “… Look at me for a second?”

“…” Apollyon glanced at Sebastian and he took the opportunity to quickly kiss his cheek. A slightly bold move on Sebastian’s part, but he liked Apollyon too and thought a kiss on the cheek would have been better than a kiss on the lips. Apollyon made a strange strangled noise as they sank deeper into the water until they were completely submerged.

“Hey!” Sebastian quickly pulled him back up. “… You okay?”

“Y-yeah.” Squeaked Apollyon. “… Do you still want to come over and watch a movie?”

“Yeah.”

Apollyon smiled a little. “Cool.”

Chapter Text

Once they were done at the spa, the two of them walked back to Hellfire farm and settled down to watch GATTACA and marvel at the both the good acting and very terrible acting of the main cast while arguing about the ethics of having genetically perfect babies. It was kind of nice to sit so close to the other on the couch.

“All genetic diseases would be gone that way.” Said Sebastian. “No more of that harlequin skin disease thing. Can’t say not having that wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

“True, getting rid of major genetic diseases would be good… However what’s to stop people trying to change lesser not life threatening genetic disorders like any that say… something that changes the proportions of your face or something?” Countered Apollyon. “Where would it end? Besides don’t we need mutations to evolve the species or something?”

“Fair enough, but it would be good to end really bad genetic diseases.”

“Are we really going to get super into human morals over an old sci-fi movie?”

“Nah. Want to discuss the symbolism of the drowning scenes?”

“Fuck no.” The two of them continued to watch the movie all the way to the end. Somehow by the middle of the climactic chase scene Sebastian was leaning against his arm with his head on Apollyon’s shoulder.

It made the heat rise in his cheeks ever so slightly. He wasn’t used to this kind of affection from someone else. He also had this horrible feeling in his guts just twisting around. He knew what this feeling was. Selfish. That’s how Apollyon felt. He felt selfish and cruel. Was it because he actually wanted this kind of romantic relationship with someone and just happened to choose Sebastian because he had similar feelings for him? Maybe it was because he wasn’t sure if Gadreel would be good on his threat and actually murder him and he just wanted to have some kind of romantic relationship now just in case this was his last chance?

Either option was bad. He was just playing with Sebastian’s emotions if that was the case he was worse than he thought. Sure he had manipulated people before but manipulating using romantic interest? That was just something he didn’t do. Were they even officially boyfriends now anyway? He had no idea.

“Hey, you okay?” Asked Sebastian.

“… I’m just thinking… I haven’t really been in a serious relationship before. I don’t really know how I’m meant to act… or what we’re meant to do…”

“It’s fine. I haven’t really been in any serious relationships either.”

“Not even Sarah-Ann?”

Sebastian shot up and looked completely shook. “Who told you about-? Abigail and Sam?”

“Abigail and Sam.”

Sebastian sighed dramatically and sank back into the couch. “Look, it was high school and being anything but straight wasn’t smiled upon. If you were a guy and wanted anything other than pussy you were going to get your ass beat by some shit head that thought you were staring at his ass in the locker room.”

“Fair enough.” Apollyon hadn’t been in one school long enough for something like that to happen to him.

The raven haired man nodded a little. “Sarah-Ann… I liked her kind of… I just assumed that all guys felt the same way I felt about girls and I kind of hoped that maybe I was bisexual, because I knew I liked guys and if I was bi I could at least pass for straight and have all those normal things… But no. I kind of forced myself to have sex with her and it was pretty awful. Not just because it was my first time, but just… everything felt wrong… She was too… soft…”

Apollyon snorted. “Soft? Really?”

“Well I don’t really know how else to describe it…” Muttered Sebastian. “She looked fine and everything and it wasn’t like she was wrong in anyway, but I just… She felt wrong to me. It felt wrong… And then she broke up with me and started dating my guy crush and that fucking sucked…”

“Hey, it’s fine.” He gently squeezed Sebastian’s hand, smiling a little. “These things happen. No need to beat yourself up over exes. I was just wondering if you had dating experience. That’s all.”

“… We went on a few dates. Movies and junk like that.”

A small smile made its way onto Apollyon’s lips. “So would this count as a date? We’re watching movies and junk.”

“Yeah, I guess it would… So we’re officially dating now?”

“I guess…”

“So I guess that means we’re boyfriends now?”

Apollyon blushed a little at that word, and the feeling of guilt twisted deep within his guts once again. “I guess so… Do you want to stay the night?” He didn’t know why he asked. Would Sebastian think he wanted to have sex or something if he asked? Yoba have mercy on his soul.

Sebastian looked surprised for a moment before he smiled a little and nodded. “Sure.”

***

The whole evening had gone kind of strange for Sebastian. He hadn’t expected to actually tell Apollyon that he liked him, same with finding out the feeling was mutual. Now they were in his house, watching a movie, Apollyon asked if he wanted to stay over, and he said yes. He honestly didn’t know what to expect. Apollyon had said he didn’t have serious relationships before. Did he want to have sex?

They stayed seated on the couch watching the rest of the movie in silence. There was now a strange sense of tension in the air that hadn’t been there before. Maybe he had suggested that they were boyfriends too quickly? Yoba, when did he become so damn ballsy?

Once the move was over Apollyon got up and walked into his room. He came back out with a pair of blue sweat pants and a pale green shirt. “Here, I think these will fit you. You can change in the bedroom.”

“Thanks.” Sebastian took the clothes and got changed in Apollyon’s room. Something he noticed immediately upon entering was that it looked really bland. There was nothing personal. He would have assumed that it was unlived in if it wasn’t for the fact that the bed was messy, calendar, and there was a handmade chest in the corner. Seeing as how there was part of a sleeve sticking out of it he assumed that was where Apollyon kept his clothes.

Sebastian got changed and sat on the bed. The clothes were a little big on him, but they fitted comfortably enough. They smelled a little like Apollyon too; earthy with a hint of whatever detergent he used to wash his clothes. It was nice and made his stomach flutter a little. There was something kind of nice about it.

He fished his phone out of his pants pocket and quickly sent him mum a text, letter her know where he was, when something caught his eye on the calendar. For some reason Apollyon had stuck a little pumpkin sticker next to Spirit’s Eve. Seemed like something Apollyon would like.

He walked out of the bedroom and watched Apollyon walk around the kitchen putting things away. “You excited for Spirit’s Eve?” He asked.

“Hmm?”

“Spirit’s Eve.” Said Sebastian. “You have it marked on your calendar.”

Apollyon shrugged and continued to do what he was doing. “It’s the day before holy magic replenishes. It’s at its weakest then and darker energy is theoretically at its highest. In theory that night is when dark spirits from the Void creep into this world to either torment humans or drag them back into the Void for nefarious means.”

Sebastian raised an eyebrow at that statement. “Nefarious means?”

“Nefarious by human standards.” Clarified Apollyon. “Most demons regard humans the same way humans regard insects; insignificant and kind of gross looking. Smaller, more insidious creatures are like small children with magnified glasses that want to poke and prod and pull the legs off insects for fun. If a human is dragged into the void they won’t die immediately but they will beg for it till whatever has them decides to kill them.” He sighed sadly. “Demons that pull people in are skilled at keeping them alive far beyond what is physically possible… But luckily for everyone those kind of things hardly happen anymore.”

“… Right.” Was Apollyon still harping on about this demon stuff? “So um…”

“Right, you’re probably tired… You can take the bed, I’ll take the couch.”

That was, unexpectedly gentlemanly of him. “You sure? It’s your house.”

He smiled kindly at Sebastian. “I’m sure. I trust you not to mess with my stuff.”

“Thanks, but don’t you need to get changed too?”

“Nah, I usually either sleep in whatever I’m wearing or in my underwear.”

“Ah…”

“Yeah…” He finished up in the kitchen and went over to the couch, rearranging the cushions a little. “Just be a little careful. Goblin might try and hit you a few times if she wants food or something.”

“Alright. Night I guess?”

“Night.”

“…” Sebastian watched Apollyon move to lie down on the couch. He sighed a little and walked back into the bedroom, making himself comfortable in Apollyon’s bed. It felt strange being here. He had assumed that they would at least be sharing a bed together tonight. They didn’t have to do anything. It wasn’t mandatory that they had to do something just because they decided that they were going to start dating.

He felt something jump onto the bed and glanced down to see the hairless testicle that Apollyon called Goblin. She was wearing some woolen jumper made from several eye bleeding colours. The cat didn’t look too impressed that Sebastian was there, but ignored him in favour of curling up near his legs. Sebastian didn’t know how to feel about this. He decided to try and ignore it and get some sleep. Now that he had settled in he was starting to feel that this bed was way too big for just one person to use.

He got in a few hours of sleep before he got woken up to Goblin squishing her paws into his face and making mildly alarmed noises. “Mrrrrow…” She said. “Mrrrrow…”

Groaning in annoyance, Sebastian pushed her away. “Let me sleep you weird testicle thing.”

Not surprisingly, Goblin didn’t seem to like being called a testical and quickly hit Sebastian’s nose several times before bolting towards the bedroom door. She looked over her shoulder, like she wanted him to follow her. “Meow!”

Sebastian was about to throw a pillow at the offending feline when he heard something. It was quiet, but it sounded like wheezing and gnawing. Curious, Sebastian slowly got up and crept towards the sound. The TV was on in the lounge room but the sound was off. Goblin darted past Sebastian’s legs and walked by the couch, flattening her ears against her head and arching her back slightly. If she had fur Sebastian was sure that she would be puffing up right now.

Curious as to what she could possibly be freaking out about, Sebastian looked over at Apollyon on the couch. The man was sleeping but he was sweating profusely and all tensed up as one hand clutched his forearm with white knuckles while the other gripped the arm rest. He was grinding his teeth together, letting out a small raspy wheeze whenever his jaw would unclench. Suddenly Apollyon convulsed and threw himself off the couch and onto the floor. The sudden movement made Goblin bolt out of the room, startled Sebastian, and woke up Apollyon.

He quickly sat up and looked at Sebastian. His face went bright red when he realized that the other was there. “Oh um… Hey there… Did I wake you up?”

“Goblin did…” He sat down on the couch and waited for Apollyon to sit up next to him. It took a few moments but Apollyon eventually sat next to Sebastian. “Are you okay?”

“… Yeah. I just…” Apollyon sighed. He looked really damn tired. “Lately I’ve been having pretty awful dreams… I always wake up like someone’s electrocuted me.”

Sebastian nodded a little. “So is that why you didn’t want to share a bed? In case you have some dream and kick me out or something?”

Apollyon smiled sheepishly. “Wouldn’t you feel bad about sharing a bed with someone if you didn’t know if you would lash out at them because of a bad dream?”

“…” Sebastian hesitantly put his hand onto Apollyon’s. He sounded like he needed to talk, and being friends with people like Sam and Abigail he was good at listening. “Want to talk about it?”

The other man hesitated for a moment. “Do you know what it feels like to cut yourself? Not like a paper cut or a cut with a kitchen knife when you’re cooking. I mean like a long, quick, deliberate slash. Something you don’t even realize has happened until you see the blood and feel the sting?”

“… Can’t say I can.”

“Yeah… why would you?” He laughed a little and brought his hands up to his face. “Anyway, to cut a long story short I’m running down some endless alleyway and some invisible creep slices me up and pulls me into the darkness… But I manage to pull myself out of the darkness. Just long enough to realize that everything below my ribcage has been ripped away.”

“… I see.” That just kind of seemed like a standard nightmare to Sebastian but it really seemed to affect Apollyon in a very negative way. The poor guy was trembling slightly. He sighed heavily and stood up, pulling Apollyon to his feet. “Come on. We’re both going to bed.”

Apollyon stared at Sebastian with concern clearly painted on his face. “I don’t think that’s a good idea…”

Sebastian rolled his eyes and practically dragged the other male into the bedroom, pushing him onto the bed before getting in next to him. “If you’re so worried about kicking my ass out of the bed maybe that will be enough to stop you from actually doing it.”

“… Okay.” Apollyon got into the bed but stayed right on the edge, trying to take up as little room as possible. He reminded Sebastian of that damn walking testicle.

“You can move a little closer you know.” Said Sebastian. “I’m not going to bite you for getting closer.”

Apollyon pouted a little. “Look, the last time I shared a bed with someone it was to fuck and by the time I woke up they were gone and so was all the cash in my wallet. So excuse me if I don’t really know if you expect to do something now that we’re in the same bed.”

“… Apollyon. It’s late and I’m kind of tired. I don’t want to do anything sexual. Just get your ass over here. Your bed is too big and it’s kind of cold.”

“Do you need another blanket?”

“Not if you get over here.” Reluctantly Apollyon moved closer and Sebastian wrapped an arm around him, holding him in a protective way. Sebastian could practically feel the heat rising in Apollyon’s face. Did this really embarrass him so much? It was kind of cute. Hopefully they could both sleep a little easier now. “Good night Apollyon.”

“Good night Sebastian.”

Chapter Text

Apollyon had left early the next day. He left a note for Sebastian and left to go to feed the chickens and catch some fish. He felt a little bad about leaving before Sebastian got up, but he had things to do and Sebastian seemed to like sleeping in.

He sat by the river in Cindersap forest and started to fish. He was attempting to get a catfish. Instead he seemed to be only able to catch tiger trout’s. It annoyed him a lot, but he just had to keep fishing. By about nine or ten in the morning he had a small pile of trout’s and no catfish. Why did the damn Junimos want a catfish anyway? Stupid apple fuckers.

He sat down, leaning against a tree. He was a little tired and hadn’t actually eaten anything today. He didn’t want to wake Sebastian up by accident. The young man just looked so peaceful just lying there in his bed. In his clothes. That thought made him blush a lot. He looked so adorable. When he got up he looked so peaceful wrapped up in his blanket with his mouth opened ever so slightly. It made him want to just lean over and kiss him, but there was no way he was doing that.

Suddenly Green the Junimo popped back into existence and waved up at him. “Hewwo!”

Apollyon could feel a migraine coming on. He opened his mouth to speak and a chunk of trout fell out of his mouth. He looked down at his hands, surprised to see that he had ripped into the belly of a tiger trout without even realizing it. “Huh… Hey there Green. What are you doing here?”

“See fwend!” Green sat next to him and looked up with a very pleased look on its face. “Fwend good?”

“Yeah, I’m alright… Just thinking about stuff. People stuff. You wouldn’t understand.” He contemplated eating the rest of the trout in his hands, but decided against it. He threw the carcass into the water and watched it drift away.

Green watched Apollyon intently. “… Fwend sad?”

“I’m not sad. I’m conflicted.” He looked down at the little apple bastard for a few seconds before deciding to just spill his guts. This thing wasn’t going to tell anyone important anything. “I like Sebastian. In fact I think we are dating now.”

Green clapped his little stick arms together enthusiastically. “Good fwend! Vewy good!”

“Shut up I’m not done yet. I like him and stuff but I am very conflicted. I feel like I’m selfish because Gadreel’s gone and given me up until the feast of the winter star to live.”

That sent Green into a panic. “Gadweel? Who dat? Why hawm you? You good! Hewo! Hewo of vawee! Gadweel bad! Me get poker and poke him!”

While that image was amusing to him, Apollyon didn’t think it was a good idea. “Calm down. Gadreel is… How to explain… He’s part of an eccentric branch of magic users that draw their energy from the Yoba plane. They believe that anything magical that isn’t all good and pure is evil and needs to die and go back to the Void.”

“… But you good! Good fwend!”

“I’m a demon you stupid chew toy.” Muttered Apollyon. “And don’t you see how fucking bad this is? I’m dating Sebastian and there’s a high chance I’m going to get killed… I’m a selfish fuck. I make myself sick.” He cast his line back out into the river and waited for another fish.

“… But fwend good…” Green didn’t seem to understand why someone would want to hurt Apollyon. “How can Junimos help fwend?”

Apollyon shrugged. “Unless you can suddenly turn me from a demon from the Void to a being from the Yoba plane there’s nothing much you can do.”

“… Okay! Junimos help fwend!” Green got up and quickly ran away.

An annoyed groan made its way out his mouth. This was a bad idea. He didn’t know how or why he just knew it was a bad idea. They were going to say or do something that was going to fuck up his world. Not that it wasn’t already fucked up.

He started to pick at his teeth, flicking out a few random scales, bones, and bits of fish flesh. He felt something sharp press into his thumb. He ran his tongue over the point, unsurprised to feel a second tooth starting to force its way out of his gums. It was at the back near his molars so no one was going to freak out any time soon if he smiled and sported a full set of shark teeth. It was strange he was having this kind of physical change, but he chalked that up to what that witch had done to him.

Apollyon wondered what other changes he was eventually going to undergo and how long he could keep it a secret from everyone. He was already pushing it with how quickly his skin could heal from cuts and scrapes. He also doubted that everyone here was going to be as nice and as understanding as Sebastian when he told them he really was a demon. Everyone would probably freak out if his demonic form decided to split his head open and grown an extra set of fangs.

That was one of the things he didn’t like about his demonic form. He didn’t have much control over it. It always looked vaguely human but since his true demon form was that of some shapeless slug he never really had a consistent form. The during the transformation process back to his human shape it always looked wrong. It was like his body was trying to look human but didn’t have it quite right.

Apart from how he looked he was starting to develop rather strange eating habits now. This wasn’t the first time he had just started eating a raw fish or uncooked meat in general. A couple of times he had bought food from Pierre’s shop when he was hungry only to realize he’d eaten a whole raw stake by the time he’d reached the bus stop. One time when he was hungry in the mines he had even bitten into one of those giant grubs. Kind of tasted a little like peanut butter.

Suddenly his line started to tug and Apollyon quickly reeled in a… catfish. Joy could not even begin to describe the positive feelings welling up inside Apollyon’s chest at the moment. Finally something that wasn’t a tiger trout.

He quickly gathered his fish and started to make his way back to the community center. He was pretty sure this catfish would finish off at least one bundle. He happened to walk by Leah’s cabin and spotted her and Elliott talking. He hadn’t talked to the two of them very much over the past year, but they seemed like nice enough people. Leah did a lot of art stuff and Elliott was apparently a writer.

As he got closer it sounded like Elliott was having trouble with something. “I just… It’s very perplexing and frustrating. I have an idea of where I want my novel to go, but I have no idea how to get there. Outlining it, no matter which route I take ends up reading as forced and contrived.”

“Maybe you just need a different perspective on things?” Suggested Leah. “Or maybe take up a new hobby of some sort?” She looked over at Apollyon and waved at him. “Hey there farmer. Mind helping us out?”

“… Only if you take a trout each.” Said Apollyon. “I have way too many.”

“Deal. So Elliott is having trouble with his book. If you ask me it sounds like he needs to relax for a bit.”

Elliott sighed, tucking his flowing hair behind his ear. “I find it hard to relax when my manuscript is still stuck within its draft stages.”

Apollyon shrugged. “I’m not really sure what you expect me to do. I kind of just farm and stuff… I don’t really have any hobbies and the only thing I really do to relax is occasionally go up to the spa and sit in the baths… That and sleep. Sleep is good.” Noticing the slightly disappointed look on their faces, Apollyon just started spewing word vomit. “Well since I farm and stuff I find planning where my crops are going to go and stuff. Leah, I’m sure you have smaller personal art projects you work on just for fun. Since you like writing so much why don’t you write a short story or poem when you get stuck? That way even if your novel doesn’t get done you have a collection of works you could possibly publish instead?”

Elliott seemed to like that idea. “Yes, poetry… This could be a good way to vent my frustrations… Perhaps I could think about having a small poetry club at the Library? I’m sure Gunther would be more than happy to allow that.” He shook Apollyon’s hand. “Thank you for this marvelous idea.”

“Um, don’t mention it?” He really didn’t expect Elliott to start some poetry club from his simple suggestion that he just write his own poetry. But he was glad to help. He gave Elliott and Leah a tiger trout before heading up to the community center. He quickly opened the door and threw the catfish in. He smirked a little when he heard several Junimos screech and freak out when they got hit by it.

***

Sebastian woke up at about ten in the morning. He wasn’t surprised to see that Apollyon had gone. As a farmer he probably had a million things he needed to do. He got up, changed back into his clothes from the previous night and headed out to the kitchen to see if Apollyon at least had some coffee.

He noticed the note Apollyon left for him next to a can of instant coffee. It pretty much told him he was going out to do farming stuff and to help himself to anything he had in the fridge. Sebastian wasn’t really that hungry but he decided to at least see what was in the fridge while he was waiting for the water to boil for his coffee.

He had a lot of eggs and mayonnaise in there, along with an axe for some reason. That was really weird. He took that out and put it on the table for Apollyon to find later. Behind the axe was a note stuck to a some meat wrapped in butcher’s paper. It said cook before eating. That was also odd. The farmer was odd. His boyfriend was odd.

“… Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck…” The heat started to rise in his cheeks as he thought about it. They were dating now. He was dating the weird farmer boy. Okay, maybe it was more like the farmer was dating the weird basement troll but still. It made him very happy to think that they were going out now, but there in came one thing he wasn’t really thinking about… He hadn’t come out to anyone besides Abby, Sam and Apollyon. He was pretty sure that Apollyon wouldn’t go around saying they were dating, but he didn’t really know for sure. He needed to find Apollyon now.

He quickly left the house and went to find Apollyon. Yoba he needed to find him soon. There was no way he’d be able to live with himself if Apollyon just told everyone before he had the chance to figure out how he was going to tell people about it. In general people in Pelican Town seemed to be pretty open and welcoming, but he didn’t want to risk it.

He checked around town, up by the caves in the mountains and by the beach. The only place he had left was Cindersap forest. He really needed to get Apollyon’s phone number at some point. That would make this a whole lot easier. As he entered Cindersap forest he happened to see Apollyon. He was with Penny who seemed to be in the middle of teaching Jas and Vincent.

Curious as to what was going on, he got closer. Not enough to make them notice him, but just enough to hear what was going on. It sounded like he was… teaching?

“Country life is about farming and learning to use the things nature has provided for you. I have to get up early every day,” said Apollyon. “I need to water my crops and feed my animals since that’s my main income. Anyone want to take a guess at what I have on my farm? Vincent?”

“Dinosaurs!” Said they boy enthusiastically.

Penny gave Vincent a sympathetic smile. “Vincent, I really doubt Mr Apollyon has dinosaurs on his farm.”

“Mr Apollyon has chickens on his farm.” Said Jas. “He bought some off Aunt Marine.”

Apollyon chuckled a little. “Yep. I got two chickens. One brown hen and one white hen. I have named them Butter and Crispy. Anyway, the valley’s soil is ideal for growing delicious vegetables. Since I sell a lot of my crops to Pierre I can bet that your mum and your aunt have bought something I’ve grown for your dinner.”

Vincent put his hand up. Penny smiled at him. “Yes Vincent?”

“Um, farmer Apollyon? If I eat your veggies will I grow up strong like my big brother Sam?”

Apollyon pulled a face like he was thinking. “Hmm, I think if you eat my veggies along with a good balance of other yummy foods like meats and cheeses you’ll grow up to be just as strong as Sam… In fact you two look like you’re bigger and stronger since I first saw you when I moved into the valley at the start of the year.”

The children giggled at this and flexed their tiny biceps. Penny chuckled a little and dismissed the children so they could go and play for a bit. The children had run off to the river to play and look at fish. Sebastian was about to make his move and walk over when Penny started talking again. “It’s a lot of work to take care of these kids… But I don’t really mind. I enjoy seeing them learn and hopefully I can help them grow up to be good people. Would you ever want to be a parent, Apollyon?”

For some reason that question made Sebastian’s chest tighten a little. But the thing that really made him feel ill was the possibility of his answer, whatever it may be. He felt sick.

Apollyon just chuckled a little. “Ah well, I guess so. It’s a natural urge… But I don’t think I’d be able to care for something so pure and innocent. That’s just how I am.”

She smiled a little at him. “I’m sure you’re going to be a good parent someday. You’re a really nice and sweet person.”

Apollyon laughed a little at that. “Aw, thanks Penny. I’m sure you’ll be an amazing mother.” It was about then he noticed Sebastian and waved to him. “Hey there Seb. Fancy seeing you out here.”

Penny seemed surprised to see him but smiled politely and waved at him. “Hello Sebastian. Enjoying a walk?”

“… Yes.”

Apollyon smiled a little and politely excused himself. “Well it’s time for me to go Penny. Sebastian’s helping me hook up my internet connection.”

“Ah, okay. Thank you for giving the children a talk. They really appreciated it.”

“No problem.” He gestured for Sebastian to follow him back to his farm. “… So what were you looking for me for?”

“… I wanted to talk to you about us going out.” Sebastian reached into his pocket and got a cigarette. “You haven’t told anyone about us have you?”

“Figured you’d want to do that.” He smiled a little at Sebastian and lightly touched his hand. “It’s a small town. If you think people knowing you’re gay is going to mess up your life here I’m more than happy to keep it secret. We could also just be gay as fuck and live on my farm… You at least gonna tell Sam and Abigail?”

“Well, yeah… At some point…” He was going to die when he told them they were going out. Knowing those two they would probably try and come up with situations to get them alone together. Maybe he could just text them. “So what did you get up to today?”

“I fished, gave a talk to a class of two, and inspired Elliott to start a poetry club by mistake.”

“… You did what?”

“I’ll tell you more about it when we get back to my place… If you want to stay over for lunch. I can make pumpkin soup or sashimi.”

“Both are good.”

Chapter Text

Sam practically squealed when Sebastian told him the news. Abigail was just as enthused, but managed to restrain her squeals. He had told them he and Apollyon were dating during their latest band practice session and he had instant regrets.

“So it’s official, official?” Asked Sam. “No take backs?”

“Have you kissed yet?” Asked Abby. “Or maybe… Screwed?”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “We’ve only been going out for a few days. He still has a bunch of stuff to do so we haven’t hung out much. He said he doesn’t have much stuff to do in winter so we’ll probably hang out more then.”

“Want us to help you two get some alone time during Spirit’s Eve?” Asked Abby. She seemed a little excited about this. “You two could get lost in the maze and make out like high school lovers, or even sneak away to bump uglies… Stock up on condoms and lube.”

Sam nodded in agreement. “One can never use too much lube.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes and started messing around on his synth. “Whatever… I haven’t told my mum about us yet… You two are the only ones that know. Okay?”

“You should tell her soon.” Said Sam as he tuned his guitar. “Your mum’s really cool so she should be alright with you not being straight. If not you can move in here if you like.”

Sebastian sighed and rolled his eyes. “Ah, shut up. I’m sure I’ll be fine. As long as I have an internet connection I’ll be just fine… That and with a few more commissions I’ll be able to rent a place in Zuzu city.”

Abby looked confused. “Um, so if you move to Zuzu what do you think Apollyon’s going to do? You think he’s going to drop everything to go back there? What would he do in Zuzu city anyway? Go back to working at Joja?”

That was something he hadn’t really thought about. He still wanted to go to Zuzu city. It was his dream to escape this town and go to the city. He didn’t want to stay here but he hadn’t considered what Apollyon would want in that situation. He probably wouldn’t want to leave Pelican town. However they were very early on in their relationship so things could always change. He didn’t need this added stress right now.

“I didn’t think about that…”

Sam sighed a little. “Of course you didn’t.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You’re kind of self-centered.”

“Rude.”

Sam shrugged. “Hey man, for better or worse you always seem to put yourself first unless push comes to shove.”

Abby nodded in agreement. “Yeah… That just leads to many questions about how you two got together in the first place anyway.”

Sebastian shrugged. “Who cares about the semantics? We’re together now and that’ all that really matters… You guys are stressing me out. I’mma light up in here at this rate.”

“Not in my room man.” Whined Sam. “My mum will get so pissed at me if my room smells like smoke. Also, ash. Ash everywhere.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes and picked up an empty Joja cola can. “Happy now? Joja ash tray.”

A defeated sigh made its way past Sam’s lips. “Fine… Did you see on the notice board that Elliott is starting a poetry club? First meeting’s the day after Spirit’s Eve. Either of you want to come with me?”

His friends gave him weird looks. “Why?” Asked Abigail. “Since when have you been a poet?”

“I figured it would help writing song lyrics.” Sam tapped his lyric book for emphasis. “Song lyrics are just poems with music. So you two want to come with me? Penny already said she was interested in it so I’m going with her too, but yeah… thought you guys might be interested.”

Abigail shrugged. “Chores. Can’t do it… Since when did Elliott have a poem club?”

“Ask Apollyon next time you see him.” Said Sebastian as he searched for a cigarette. “He apparently gave him the idea.

After that the rest of their practice session was a mix of actually playing music and talking about Spirit’s Eve. Abby was excited for the maze. Sam also liked the maze, but he was looking forward to the food too. Sebastian wanted to see if Marlon was going to bring more skeleton’s down to spook everyone.

***

Apollyon didn’t check his mail the day of Spirit’s Eve. All he really wanted to do was beat the ever loving shit out of some monsters in hand to combat. Any day now Gadreel might come back and he wanted to be able to throw a punch hard enough to knock him out. His monster of choice to practice on was the metal head’s. Round little monsters that’s whole body was incased in what looked like a metal shell only exposing little glowing eyes and little yellow feet. They charged at his knees so they were good for kicking practice.

With one powerful kick he managed to launch the creature into a rock, killing it and cracking the rock in half. While the monster had nothing in it, the rock did. It seemed to have an omni geode, which surprisingly got smashed when the monster hit it. Now Apollyon didn’t have to bother about asking Clint to break it. He happily dusted it off the purple mineral inside the geode and was delighted to find that it was a huge chunk of obsidian.

He remembered that Maru once told him Sebastian loved this stuff and his birthday was coming up. If he could get it all shiny and clean he was sure it would look even better. He put it in his backpack and headed out of the mines.

Standing at the mines entrance he could see some unusual lights down in the town. Curious, Apollyon dusted off his hands and walked into town. From the decorations and such that were all around town it looked like it was Spirit’s Eve. In retrospect he felt like he should have noticed this since there were so many monsters running around the mines today, more than usual.

He made his way down to the tables all set up with food and sat by Emily and Shane. As soon as he was close enough Emily have him a big hug and Shane gave a nod of acknowledgement. “So good to see you Apollyon!” Said the blue haired woman. “I didn’t think you were going to turn up tonight.”

“Why?”

“I came by to go and get you but you weren’t there. By the way your wheat field is amazing.”

Apollyon laughed a little. “Yeah, I’m going to harvest it tomorrow. Should be a good haul. I’ll be able to brew some good beer during winter.”

Shane perked up a little at that. “Give me a little taste of that when it’s ready.”

“Of course.” Said Apollyon. “I plan to see what you and Pam think of my beer. If it’s any good I’ll see if Gus approves of it and start brewing some stuff for the saloon.” He hoped he’d be alive long enough to start doing that. Now he felt guilt starting to well up in the pit of his stomach.

Shane and Emily continued to talk about whatever it was they were talking about before he showed up, so Apollyon just let his eyes wander around the festival for a bit. There were lots of tables around with lots of food. More than likely provided by Gus. There was a huge cage set up by Marlon that had several skeletons walking around in it. Apollyon hated those things. Further up by the community center was a giant maze. That looked a little interesting.

He managed to spot Sebastian by the skeleton cage and his heart fluttered a little. He knew that Sebastian wasn’t going to want to do anything couply like holding hands or kissing, but he could still hang out with him right? Apollyon didn’t want things to be awkward between them. Hell, things were more awkward between them then the rare occasions he happened to see one of his one night stands on the street.

“Hey, you listening?” Asked Shane.

Apollyon looked at him. “What?”

“I said; I’ll be over at your place around midday to pick up your chickens.” Repeated Shane.

Emily looked confused. “Why are you taking his chickens?”

“I don’t have a heater.” Said Apollyon calmly. “This winter I plan on making lots of money and when I do I’ll be able to get a heater and get my chickens back. I didn’t want them to freeze over winter and I couldn’t just bring them into my house. Goblin would probably eat them.”

“You’re so considerate of your animals.” Emily smiled and put her hand on Apollyon’s. “Your aura is also especially bright today. Take advantage of it.”

Apollyon smiled a little and got up. “I will Emily. Don’t you worry. See you guys later.” He headed over to Sebastian, gently tapping him on the shoulder. “Hey.”

Sebastian jumped a little but quickly composed himself. “Hey… You’re covered in dirt.”

“I decided to roll in the dirt by the railroad track. Just normal kid’s stuff.”

Sebastian quirked an eyebrow and looked at the pickaxe Apollyon had on him. “… So you weren’t mining?”

Apollyon shrugged. “Maybe just a little mining. I’m hoping to find a prismatic shard to donate to the library. Once I’ve done that then I’ve donated almost ever mineral on my list.”

“That’s cool.”

Apollyon smiled a little and stood by Sebastian. Just close enough for their fingers to brush against each other. Sebastian put his hands in his pockets. “… So, these skeletons huh? How do you think they walk around without ligaments and stuff?”

“Magic?”

“Probably… Hey, sorry we haven’t had much time to hang out with each other. I’ve been trying to get everything ready for winter. I’ll probably have much more time to spend with you then.”

“I’ve had work, so we’re both to blame for the time stuff…” He glanced over at the food tables. Apollyon followed his gaze, noticing that he was looking at his parents. “… How did you come out to your parents?”

Apollyon shrugged. “Getting my ass fucked by a guy in the living room seemed to get the point across.”

Sebastian choked on air. “Are you serious?!”

“Nah, my mum’s always been free spirited when it comes to sex or sexuality. She has some weird idea that souls kind of just float around for a while before getting sucked into a baby when they take their first breath.” Said Apollyon. “I think she thinks that souls kind of absorb their surroundings and ideas and stuff so when they get put in a baby it’s already preset as to what they will end up being or something weird like that.”

“Huh, no demon explanation this time?” Asked Sebastian in an almost teasing manner.

“Well, technically lesser demons are hermaphrodites with no real distinguishing features. Demon reproduction is weird and a lot more animalistic than human sex.” Informed Apollyon. “Though more powerful demons have more of a physical structure with distinct arms and legs…”

Sebastian sighed. “Well that’s not really helping me much…”

“… Sorry.” He looked around a little and nudged Sebastian softly. “Hey, you don’t have to think about that stuff tonight. Want to come with me back to my farm? I have this huge pumpkin at home that I don’t know what to do with. I can make you some pumpkin soup if you like.”

“… Alright.” The two of them left the festival and once they were well out of sight Sebastian reached out and held Apollyon’s hand. “… Sorry. I’m kind of a coward at heart…”

Apollyon gently squeezes his hand. “It’s okay. Look, I get it. Really I do. If things go badly for you things go really bad. I’m fine with keeping things secret. I just want you to be happy.”

“… I feel like a selfish fuck for doing that.”

If Sebastian was selfish then what on earth did that make Apollyon? “Look, just don’t think about that kind of stuff right now. We can hang out now, right?”

“Yeah.” When they got to the farm, Sebastian seemed surprised to see how much wheat was growing on Apollyon’s property. “… That’s a lot of wheat.”

Apollyon grinned, dumping his backpack by his front door. “Yeah. I’m going to make so much beer. Gus is gonna be stocked till at least the end of Spring.” He walked into the field. “Come, I want to show you the cool new scarecrow I got.”

Sebastian smiled a little and followed Apollyon into the wheat field. Apollyon made sure to warn him about any sprinkler he had around. The last thing he needed was for someone to trip over one and either break it or break their ankle.

“And here’s my scarecrow. Cool isn’t it?”

“… Is that a giant raccoon?” Asked Sebastian in disbelief.

Apollyon poked out his tongue. “Don’t be mean. This raccoon is cute. I like it a lot. They have stopped birds from getting at my wheat.”

“Whatever.”

“No, it’s cute.”

“Whatever.”

“…” Apollyon pouted and pulled Sebastian close, making him squeak a little in surprise at the sudden closeness. “Admit that the raccoon is cute or I’ll make you pay.” He kind of hoped that Sebastian wouldn’t take that in a sexual way.

A dark blush quickly made its way across Sebastian’s face. “You gonna punish me now demon boy?” He purred. Damn it, he did take it sexually.

Apollyon was willing to roll with it. He smirked at Sebastian, placing his hands on his hips, rubbing his thumbs against the hem of his hoodie slowly making it creep higher and higher. “Tonight on Spirit’s Eve? I don’t think you’ll be able to handle me at my full power.”

“Well I’m not like most people.”

“I can tell. You better be ready for my punishment. I’m not going to hold back.”

Sebastian looked a little nervous but he nodded anyway. This conformation was good enough for Apollyon as he quickly pushed his hands under Sebastian’s hoodie and started to tickle his sides. This quickly sent Sebastian into fits of laugher as he squirmed and tried to get away from Apollyon.

“F-fuck you!” He called out between fits of laughter.

“Accept your punishment.” Cooed Apollyon as he continued to tickle him. “Call the raccoon cute or I will continue!”

Sebastian flailed and fell over, pulling Apollyon down with him. As he gaped for breath Apollyon sat next to him, holding his hand. “F-fine.” He wheezed. “It’s cute.”

“Good.” He looked up at the stars and sighed contently. Tonight was nice. Soon it would start to snow. He might try and make a snowman.

“… You’re an ass.”

“Hmm? Why?”

Sebastian poked his side. “I thought we were going to do something else…”

“… Seb, I’m covered in dirt and sweat and some other stuff. I’m all for getting down and dirty, but I feel pretty gross at the moment. You probably don’t want to screw around with a guy that reeks of B.O.”

The other man wrinkled his nose at that. “Yeah, okay. Fair enough.” He sat up and dusted himself off. “… I think I crushed a wheat plant…”

Apollyon moved so he was leaning over him to check the plant. “… Yep. It’s dead, but it’s okay. I still have plenty of wheat and you’re not hurt.” He moved back, stopping only to look into Sebastian’s eyes. “You’re not hurt are you?”

He was blushing again. “I’m good…”

“That’s good.” He quickly leaned forward and lightly kissed Sebastian’s lips. It might have just been a moment but Apollyon could still taste the nicotine. He could get addicted to his kisses if he wasn’t careful. That’s how smoking worked, right? Apollyon stood up and helped Sebastian to his feet. “How about some pumpkin soup?”

Sebastian smiled, not able to keep eye contact. Was he embarrassed by the kiss? “Yeah, sure. I love pumpkin soup.”

“Thank Yoba you do. I hate pumpkins I didn’t want it to go to waste.” The two of them walked back to the farm through the wheat field. For the time being, Apollyon was happy.

Chapter Text

Apollyon dumped the huge obsidian chunk on the Wizard’s table. “Can you make something out of this?”

“… What? Um, hello? Why are you here?” The Wizard was very confused. Then again who wouldn’t be if a random person marched into your home and dumped a rock on your table?

“Well it’s early in the morning and Sebastian’s still asleep so I thought I’d get his birthday present organized.” Though the two of them didn’t end up having sex last night they did have a rather long make out session, but that ended rather quickly because Sebastian tasted like pumpkin soup. He held out for as long as he could but he couldn’t do it. That particular thing made him want to puke. Surprisingly he was okay with eating pumpkin seeds.

Either way he had left early to get the Wizard’s help. He figured that the man would have some kind of magic to carve stuff. He wanted to turn the obsidian lump into a figurine of some sort but he had no idea what.

“Can you help me carve this into something?”

The Wizard sighed a little and walked over, lightly touching the mineral. “I guess I could… Maybe a frog or a sleeping animal?”

“Frog is good.” Apollyon was excited about this. He really hoped Sebastian would like it.

“You said this was for Sebastian, correct?” Asked the Wizard. “The Junimos have told me that you two are in an intimate, romantic relationship?”

Apollyon sighed a little. “Well yeah, kind of… I mean we are, but Sebastian isn’t out as liking men yet so it’s all secret and stuff.” This seemed to bother the Wizard. “What? You homophobic?”

“What? No. My unease has nothing to do with that… It’s just with your current condition I’m more worried you’ll end up eating him rather than bedding him.”

That offended Apollyon quite a bit. “I don’t eat people. Beat the crap out of? Yes. Murder? Possibly. But I don’t cannibalize people.”

“Considering you aren’t human it wouldn’t be cannibalism.” Reminded the Wizard. “Either way my point still stands about you and your condition. You might feel fine right now but give it a few days and you could spiral into a rage and kill him… If I do recall correctly your mother once told me a story of such an event, just to get my opinion on the matter.”

Apollyon frowned a little and adjusted his backpack. This was going to be interesting. “Go on…”

“When you were little you were apparently kidnapped by some cult. Some doomsday cult I believe is what the papers said…” He shrugged it off. “Anyway I’ve never cared that much for cults and their manipulation tactics. So they kidnapped you, drugged you and were going to kill you for some undisclosed reason. But when they slit your tiny throat they got more than they bargained for and they unintentionally released your demon side.”

Apollyon swallowed thickly at that. “Okay, so it was a repressed memory after all… Fun…”

“Yes, your mother had to stop Colt from shooting you in the face with a blessed bullet. I can’t say I could blame him. You were allegedly playing around in the guts of someone you decided kill… I don’t know what you looked like, but your mother said that you didn’t look human. Just a thing that knew what parts made up a human but no idea how those parts went together… I suggested a few things that could help reduce the possibility of you going murder happy again.”

“Like not get murdered by crazy cult people?”

“Well that, and I also suggested ways to lower your testosterone levels for when puberty hits, since people tend to do stupid things like start fights when they have high testosterone.”

“… So you’re the reason mum went crazy with shit like kale, celery, and soy yogurt?”

The Wizard shrugged. “I simply suggested that you consume food rich in estrogen to see if that would help you. Your body is basically human and does most of the same functions so I was just guessing that might help.” He picked up the obsidian and looked it over. “… I’ll have this done in about three days or so. You can come by and pick it up then.”

“… Um, would you mind just sending it to Sebastian on his birthday?” Apollyon didn’t want to admit it, but he was really starting to worry about Gadreel just showing up and sticking a knife in his neck. “I um… You see, I might not be alive by then…”

That declaration seemed to surprise the Wizard a lot. “Can I ask why?”

“… I got threatened by a guy I used to know. Some asshole called Gadreel. He’s a magic user that’s all about banishing all things Void related. If they had their way I would have died a long time ago…” He put on a forced smile. “But hey that’s neither here nor there.”

Now the Wizard seemed worried. “I see… So you’re giving up? You’re going to face this head on?”

“Never said I was giving up.” Said Apollyon. “I have every intention to keep on living. I just want to make sure things won’t go completely to shit if something fucks up… Oh speaking of which I have one more thing for you…” He took a bag of gold out of his bag and placed it on the table. “Here, 30,000 gold… I heard a rumor that there are three dark shrines hidden somewhere in the valley and if you make them an offering they can do some magical things. I read that the dark shrine of memory will erase someone’s memory of you so if I really fuck up… Can you make the offering and ask the shrine to make everyone forget about me?”

Apollyon had been thinking about this for a while. He didn’t want to upset anyone if he suddenly passed away or disappeared without a trace. Pelican town was a nice place and he hoped it could stay that way. Hopefully the Junimos could find someone else to help with their bundles, he had done his best so far by himself.

The Wizard took the money bag in his hand with a somber expression on his face. “… You have my word. If things turn out as badly as that I will make it so the valley’s human residents don’t mourn you departure… Will you be spending most of your time with Sebastian?”

“Yep. Winter is coming up and I want to spend as much time I can with him. I just have a few things I have to do first.” When Apollyon got to the door he paused. “Oh, I have a cat at home. Goblin. Do you think you could look after her for me if something happens?”

“You have my word.”

“Thanks…” Apollyon left the tower and headed down to the sewers to see how Krobus was doing. He had visited the strange Shadow Brute a few times to buy goods from him and to talk philosophy some more. He still didn’t believe that Yoba was once a thing from the Void.

But Krobus was very strong in his beliefs and was happy to share their opinions with anyone with an open mind. Apollyon bought another void egg from them and the two ended up sitting down and talking. Today’s topic of discussion was the afterlife. A topic he was thinking more and more about lately.

“- then we return to Yoba to either be taken to his garden in the afterlife or we are given the chance to be born again to right any wrongs we have done in our lives. Either that or we get sent to the Void to be punished. Does that make sense to you?”

Apollyon blinked a little, kind of confused by Kroubs’s explanation but was willing to roll with it. “So you think everyone will get reincarnated?”

“Only the ones that need to and deserve to come back.” Said Krobus. “If you’re too evil you go to the Void and if you are very good you can be with Yoba… What do human’s believe?”

“You either go to the Yoba plane or the Void. There’s no in between.”

Krobus nodded as he stared out into the glowing green sewerage. “Seems pretty bleak if you ask me… Regardless, I hope we can meet again in the next life when our time comes. Be that as new living beings on this earth or on the Yoba plane.”

Apollyon smiled a little at that. “Yeah… You know, I don’t think that if I die I’ll get to go to the Yoba plane. I’m pretty sure I’m going back to the Void…” He shivered a little at that thought. “I don’t want to go back there. This place, this world… I don’t want to leave it. There are so many places with people and things that I love and I…” His mind started to fill with thoughts of Sebastian and his heart started to ache. “I don’t want to leave him. I just started living my life with him.”

“You have someone to live for? Good. Live for them, but remember it’s your life so there is nothing wrong with living for yourself first.”

“I know. I am.” Apollyon looked up at the ceiling. He wondered if Sebastian was awake right now or if he had raided his fridge yet? Once he was done here he had to find something nice for dinner and invite Sebastian over.

***

Sebastian had woken up late in the morning and headed back home. He realized that he and Apollyon couldn’t really go too much further in their relationship unless they were open and people knew. Sure they could do stuff in private, but it wasn’t like they could hold hands in public or kiss out in the open. Heck he shied away from holding Apollyon’s hand the night before because they were out in the open. He needed to fix this.

He walked into his home not surprised to see his mum behind the counter going over some new blueprints. “Oh Sebby, what are you doing out so early? Did you stay at Sam’s last night?”

“… No. I was with Apollyon.” He nervously started to fiddle with his hair. “Hey um… I actually have something kind of serious I want to talk to you about…”

“Oh?” Robin immediately folded up her blueprints and gave Sebastian her full attention. She looked a little worried but Sebastian couldn’t blame her. He never really had serious talks with her about anything. “What’s wrong Sebby?”

“… Um, nothing is wrong exactly but um… What do you think of Apollyon?”

“He’s a nice young man. Cheerful, polite, lets me ramble on about carpentry. Why?”

Sebastian felt a little sick, but he had come too far to go back now. “Well, I’m gay and I’m dating Apollyon.”

Robin looked shocked and it made Sebastian’s anxiety rise. Suddenly she broke into a smile, looking absolutely thrilled. “That’s wonderful news! How long have you two been going out? Did you just start dating last night? He’s such a nice young man. I know he’ll treat you right.” She walked out from behind the counter and gave Sebastian a huge hug. “Let’s invite Apollyon over for dinner, oh, as long as you don’t think that’s moving too fast. He’s such a nice young man.”

Okay, this went over a lot better than he expected. “So um… You don’t care that I’m gay?”

Robin smiled warmly and lovingly cupped his face in her hands. “Sebby, I love you no matter who you fall in love with. I’m just so happy you found someone who loves you for you. You’re a wonderful young man and everyone in this family loves you.”

Sebastian was blushing now. “Thanks mum… This turned out better than I expected.”

She chuckled a little and lightly squeezed his cheeks. “Sebby, I’ve never really cared much about who people love as long as they are two consenting adults, and Demetrius studies biology. Biology. If you ask him how many genders or sexes there are in any given species he will talk your ear off about it… I’m sorry you felt you had to keep this part of you a secret from us…”

“No it’s fine mum I just… You hear stories about how badly things go for some people and… It’s just easier to keep quiet about it, you know? Just in case.”

Robin smiled and kissed his forehead. “I understand. You know you can tell me anything, right?”

“Yeah.”

“… So you stayed the night with Apollyon? Like you slept over or was there very little sleeping involved?”

“… I am going to my room and pretending that this conversation never happened.” He quickly backed away from her and headed down to his room.

She laughed a little and called after him. “I was just teasing you Sebby! Invite Apollyon over for dinner! It’ll be fun!”

Sebastian blushed and slammed the door behind himself. He was happy that he had come out to Robin and she still loved him, but having a family dinner with Apollyon? He felt as though things weren’t going to end well. They would ask all kinds of questions. More than likely embarrassing ones for the both of them. At least he knew Robin liked Apollyon. He wasn’t too sure about Demetrius though.

As he went over every situation in his head the door to his room was suddenly flung open and Sam walked in. “Hey Sebastian! You coming with me or what?”

“What?”

“Elliot’s poetry club thing. We could at least see what it’s about. Think of the lyrics we could write. We’re good at music but not too much with the writing words. You don’t have to join in, you can just grab a book and pretend to read it if you just want to check it out.”

“… Wasn’t Penny going with you?”

“Well yeah, but she isn’t in the band. Come on. Please?”

“… Eh, fine. I need to get out of the house anyway.” He quickly walked past Sam and headed out.

Sam seemed surprised by his enthusiasm but he wasn’t complaining. “So why do you need to rush out all of a sudden?”

“… I came out to my mum and now she wants Apollyon over for a family dinner.”

Sam grinned and slapped him on the back. “Alright. So you’re now out? As in out, out? No more hiding who you are away? … Can I start getting you random rainbow stuff now?”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “You know I’m going to punch you if you start telling everyone I’m gay, right?”

“Hey, I’m just excited for you and not sure how you want me to show my support.”

“Just be you and don’t make a big deal about it.” Sebastian fished a cigarette out of his pocket and quickly lit it up. He’d be finished by the time they got to library.

The last day of fall. Overnight the whole Valley would get covered in a blanket of snow. He liked winter since it was so cold people tended to stay inside. It was good. He could head out a lot more, but he’d probably end up visiting Apollyon a lot. That would be nice. He could just imagine sitting with Apollyon on his couch watching the rest of his DVD collection over and over again. It made him feel happy and inwardly cringe at himself for being so sappy.

As they walked past Penny’s trailer the young occupant happened to walk out with some books clutched to her chest. Sam grinned at her. “Hey Penny.”

The meek girl jumped a little and smiled shyly at them. “H-hello Sam, Sebastian. You startled me.”

“Ah, sorry about that. Heading down to the library now?”

“Yep. Elliott was so excited when I asked him about it. I think having a poetry club in town would be really nice.” She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and smiled a little at Sebastian. “Are you going to join in Sebastian?”

He shrugged. “I’m just going because Sam asked me to. I’ll probably just find something to read while you do your thing.”

With that the three of them headed to the library. Much to Sebastian’s surprise there were a few more people that seemed to be interested in poetry than he expected. Though then again his expectations were extremely low to begin with. It seemed as though Leah, Caroline, Emily, Clint and Gil were here for this. Now as far as he knew Leah was really good friends with Elliott so of course she was there. Caroline, well she had to have some kind of hobby. Of course Emily was here. She loved all kind of art stuff and the more expressive the better. Clint was obviously here because of Emily. Then there was Gil… The man never left the Adventure’s Guild by the mines. He just sat in his rocking chair and looked dead.

Elliott beamed when he saw the three of them walk in. “Welcome. We’re just about to get started. I assume you three are joining us for our first meeting?”

Sam beamed back just as brightly. “Me and Penny are. Seb’s looking for a book.”

Elliott nodded in understanding. “Fair enough. This is a library after all. But feel free to join us if you wish to do so.” He checked his watch and hummed a little. “Well, let us get started. I want to have a feedback session once we are done so we can make improvements in the near future.”

Sebastian quickly took this as his cue to leave. He quickly ducked into the sci-fi section and lazily looked over the titles. Every once in a while he would tune back into the poetry conversation. Elliott was briefly going over different styles and types of poetry and the reason as to why people write poetry in general.

There would be brief discussions about what different types of poems. The major one came from Sam talking about ballads. Sebastian didn’t really know what the point was Sam was trying to make but it somehow ended with everyone deciding that Bohemian Rhapsody is an amazing power ballad.

Sebastian tuned out for a little while after that when he found possibly the oldest book in the sci-fi section; The Adventures of Mars man Buckaroo. It looked like something straight out of the eighties. It was amazing. It was cringy. It was full of racial slurs and sexist stereotypes. It used tropes so new than that they had become tired and cliché now. Needless to say he was going to read as much of it as possible then borrow it before he left.

He had read a fair bit into the book, just getting to the end of chapter three when he heard the library door swing open and someone quickly run in to talk to Gunther. He couldn’t hear what those people were talking about over the sound of Elliott suggesting everyone share a bit of poetry so they could give feedback and improve on their craft.

Sebastian peeked out from behind the bookshelf just in time to see what looked like Apollyon run past Elliott and into the museum section of the library. He wondered what he was doing, but didn’t want to seem like he was sneaking up on him or something. Then again he needed to talk to him about coming over for dinner. He’d feel awkward if his mum ended up asking him over the next time he came over to his house.

As he walked by it sounded like the poetry group had dived straight into the sharing poetry part of the evening as Elliott dived right into a poem about the sea or something with lots and lots of purple prose and flowery words. It made Sebastian roll his eyes so hard he swore he could see the back of his eye sockets.

He slipped into the museum and was surprised to see that it was actually pretty full of minerals and artifacts. The last time he was in here it was empty. Off in a random corner he could see Apollyon carefully placing a spiky pink rock down. “… Perfect.”

“What’s that?”

Apollyon glanced over at Sebastian and smiled. “Hey Seb. I did a bit of mining and I found this. It’s a star shard. These are my favourite crystals. I wanted to keep it but well, I think the collection’s a little more important.”

Sebastian nodded a little. “… So um… I came out to my mum. Told her we were dating.”

“Oh, how did that go? Did she take it well?” Apollyon’s question was full of subtle anxiety.

He smiled a little at his boyfriend. “Almost too well. Mum wants you over for dinner soon.”

Apollyon grinned at that. “Really? Awesome.” He hugged Sebastian tightly. “I’m so happy for you. Honestly I had no idea you were going to do this… Does this mean we can hold hands in public now?”

“… We’ll see.”

Apollyon chuckled. “Ah, well there was no harm in trying. Think the poetry club is over yet?”

“Maybe? I think they are wrapping up right now.”

“… Shame. I was interested to see what Elliott was going to do.”

“It wasn’t anything too special. Besides you’d have to share a poem or something if you went there. Can’t imagine you could make much poetry about growing pumpkins.”

Apollyon pouted. “You doubt I have angsty teen poetry about the stupid adults?”

“… Okay, fair enough, but-”

“Wait, why aren’t you sharing your angsty teen poetry?”

“… Hush you.”

“Tell me about your terrible poetry.”

“No.”

“Please?”

“I said no.”

“Come on. Please? I’m your boyfr-” Apollyon was quickly cut off when Sebastian crashed their lips together.

For a moment both of them were frozen in place. But then without much warning Apollyon lifted Sebastian and placed him on an empty display table all while their lips were still locked. Sebastian blushed as he pulled away, noting the sudden predatory and lustful gaze in Apollyon’s eyes. It sent a shiver down his spine and left a strange warm swirling feeling in his guts.

Apollyon leaned in again, stopping just before their lips touched. “So I’ll be at your place at seven?”

“… What?”

“Dinner tomorrow. I’ll be there at seven.” Apollyon moved back and straightened out his shirt. “Right now though, I gotta get home.”

Sebastian was dumbfounded. “… You’re a tease, you know that right?”

Apollyon shrugged. “Maybe next time. We haven’t even been dating for a whole season yet. Play your cards right and it’ll be much sooner than that.”

“… How do I play my cards right?”

“Well, your birthday’s coming up. Be nice to me till then and I’ll spend the whole day making you feel good.” He quickly kissed Sebastian on the cheek. “And if you play your cards really well we can extend it to all night too.”

Sebastian’s brain short circuited at that promise and gave Apollyon enough time to slip away. He only realized that Apollyon was gone when Sam came by to get him. He was all excited about some of the ideas for new lyrics he had come up with already and some ideas that Emily had given him. Sebastian just nodded along. He was still trying to process what the hell just happened with Apollyon.

Chapter Text

Seven. It was seven. Seven in the evening. Seven in the evening and Apollyon hadn’t shown up yet. Maybe he forgot? Maybe he was getting attacked by something in the mines? Maybe he was fishing? Maybe he realized that this was a stupid idea and decided he would ditch coming over to Sebastian’s place after all? That sounded like something he would do, right?

There were the things that were flooding Sebastian’s mind as he impatiently paced around the carpentry shop. He had been there for maybe ten minutes now just walking around thinking of all the ways tonight could go wrong or how Apollyon would cancel at the last second.

Robin looked in on him and sighed a little. “You’re going to wear out the floor if you keep that up Sebby.”

“Sorry…” He was itching for a cigarette but he didn’t want to smell like smoke if Apollyon did eventually make it.

Robin walked over and gently squeezed his shoulder. “It’s okay Sebby. It hasn’t even been five minutes yet. He’ll be here soon. Just relax a little.”

Just as she said that there was a knock at the door. It made Sebastian’s heart flutter a little. He walked over to the door but paused before he opened it. He glanced over at Robin. She just giggled and quickly walked out of the room, but he could only assume she was in the hallway.

He took a deep breath and opened the door. Immediately Sebastian was met with a bouquet of flowers. Specifically red, white, orange, and dark purple roses. “… Um Apollyon?”

Apollyon slowly lowered the flowers, his face was covered in dirt and had some scratches here and there. “… I um… You’re not allergic to flowers are you? I know I should have asked but I got a letter in the mail from Pierre about bouquets and how it’s like a tradition to give them to people you want to get romantic with and stuff, I think Abby might have mentioned I’m interested in someone or something, and you’re out to your family now and I um… I thought I might try and make it a little more official?”

That was kind of sweet of him. Sebastian took the flowers. “Thanks. Um, do you want to use the bathroom? You’re kind of covered in dirt.”

“Oh um, right…” Apollyon nervously wiped his hands on his shirt. “I went and did some mining but when I saw what the time was I had to rush to the shops to get the flowers and I didn’t have time to clean up… Can I come in? It’s kind of freezing out here…”

“Ah, right.” Sebastian quickly stepped aside and let Apollyon in. “Bathroom is down the hall, room with the toilet in it. I’m gonna find a vase for this.” Apollyon nodded and quickly headed off to the bathroom.

Sebastian took a moment to look at the flowers for a moment and admired them. They were beautiful and it made him blush a little to think that Apollyon went to the trouble of getting them for him. He checked under his mum’s counter and found a vase. Usually in the Spring she would have a vase out with some flowers. He filled it up with some water from the sink in Demetrius’s laboratory. For the moment he’d put the flowers out on his mum’s front desk. He’d take them to his room after dinner.

***

Apollyon felt so embarrassed. He had tried to get out of the caves early, but he had failed so horribly at that when he decided to beat the crap out of a bunch of Shadow Brutes to see if they would drop a diamond or something so he could give it as a present for the family. He didn’t find that, but he did find a prismatic shard. He’d been conflicted about giving it to the museum or Sebastian’s family, but the family had one out.

He washed his hands with some lavender scented hand soap and checked to see if he had anything stuck in his teeth. On one hand he didn’t have anything in his teeth, but on the other hand he could see the start of more serrated shark-like teeth starting at the back of his gums near his molars. That was not good.

Sighing he quickly finished cleaning and making himself look presentable. Sure he was still a little dirty, but they would understand, right? He was a farmer after all. They might expect him to be a little grubby, but this was a preschedule event. He should look cleaner than this. Yoba have mercy he needed to stop worrying about this so much. He was just a normal, regular, human male that was dating another normal human male. He could do this.

***

Sebastian smiled a little when Apollyon finally got out of the bathroom. He cleaned up pretty well. “Ready for this dumpster fire?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” He reached out his hand, gesturing that he wanted to hold hands. Apollyon looked nervous, but it was hard to tell if it was because of dinner or because of possible rejection.

“… You’ll be fine.” He held Apollyon’s hand and walked to the kitchen. Robin was just setting the casserole on the table while Demetrius was rummaging through the fridge looking for drinks. Maru wasn’t here yet, but was probably on her way any second.

Suddenly Robin looked up and saw them. She beamed at them and quickly went over hugging Apollyon. “So good to see you. Are you okay? Your face is a little scratched up?”

“I got attacked by a falling rock in the mines today.”

“You could as Maru to look over any injury you have.” Said Demetrius as he found a bottle of wine. “She’s very close to finishing her medical degree.”

Apollyon laughed nervously. “Yeah, I know. I’ve gotten beaten up in the mines and just doing day to day stuff enough to know how good she and doctor Harvey are.”

Robin clapped her hands together. “Okay boys, sit down and make yourselves comfy. I’m going to go and get Maru. She probably got caught up with something.” She quickly left the room while everyone else sat down at the table.

Things became oddly quiet once she was gone. Apollyon just sat nervously at the table, unsure what to do with his hands and Sebastian just had this horrible feeling that Demetrius was going to say something and make everything even more awkward.

“So,” said Demetrius. “How long has this been a thing?”

And there it was. He was going to ask all kinds of fucked up questions that would make him inwardly cringe. Why was he always like this? He was so tactless. Apollyon was going to end up feeling awkward and make some excuse to leave.

Surprisingly Apollyon just laughed a little. “Well I can’t speak for Sebastian but I’ve never really fallen into a typical human binary category when it came to who I fell in love with. I discovered this at a young age when I was watching some random cartoon and realised I thought that the main male hero was cute.” Both Demetrius and Sebastian were confused by his statement. Apollyon just smiled at them. “But maybe you were referring to when we started dating. I would have thought someone like yourself would know how to word things so that there is little to no misunderstandings.”

Demetrius looked confused and slightly embarrassed. “I didn’t mean to offend.”

Apollyon shrugged. “I’d just rather very straight forward and direct questions rather than people skirting around the real questions… Plus I’m kind of used to parents claiming I corrupted their kids and turned them into the dreaded gays.”

Demetrius nodded a little. “Ah, I see. Please excuse me then. Robin’s been saying I should speak more casually when I’m not in the lab. Allow me to start again. So how long have you and Sebastian been dating?”

After that Apollyon dropped his passive aggressive attitude and happily told Demetrius that they started seeing each other a few days ago, and retold the story when Robin and Maru came back in. From there on the night seemed to go pretty well in Sebastian’s opinion.

Most of the questions were directed at Apollyon, which Sebastian was very relieved about. He didn’t want to answer any of his family’s weird questions about them and their relationship. It was all the usual stuff of how they got together and dates and stuff. To Apollyon’s credit he took it all in his stride.

“Ah, unfortunately we haven’t been able to do too much but now since it’s winter we can hopefully spend some time together.” Said Apollyon as he helped himself to some wine. “So nobody get upset if I happen to steal Sebastian away for a day or two.”

Robin chuckled a little. “By all means steal away. I just… I’m so happy for you two. I really didn’t think this kind of thing would happen for Sebastian.”

Sebastian tried not to let out an annoyed groan. “Really mum?”

“Well you spend all day in your room dear.” Reminded Robin. “You don’t go out much and meet new people so I couldn’t help but worry about your wellbeing and well, your prospects of finding love.”

He wanted to crawl into a hole at that point. Of course his mum would bring up how anti-social he was. Of course Apollyon already knew that, but it was still embarrassing. At least it wasn’t as bad as his mum breaking out the baby photos. That would just end him.

Apollyon chuckled a little at that. “Ah, well my parents used to say the same things about me, but that was kind of more due to my hyper aggressive anti-social behaviour… and my extremely poor taste in partners.”

“How bad was it?” Asked Maru.

“Um… for simplicities sake let’s just say pretty much all the people I’ve dated are probably in jail for one reason or another. So unless Sebastian has gone and spent time in jail that I don’t know about this is the best relationship I’ve been in.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes and lightly tapped Apollyon’s foot with his own. “And I think you have had enough wine for now.”

Soon dinner wrapped up and Sebastian quickly retreated to his room with Apollyon following quickly behind him. Once they were in the safety of his room Sebastian promptly fell down face first onto his bed. He was drained. He felt the mattress dip when Apollyon sat next to him. The farmer hummed softly and ran his fingers through Sebastian’s hair.

“That went well. I think your family likes me.”

Sebastian grunted a little. “Yeah.”

“… What’s wrong?” Apollyon lied down next to him. “Did I do something wrong?”

Sebastian turned his head to face him and smiled slightly. “It’s fine. I’m just… I find eating dinner with my family kind of draining. But did you have a good time? You looked like you were going to really rip into Demetrius at the beginning there.”

Apollyon chuckled. “Yeah, I’m just tired of people implying that I’m always the bad guy. I know I can do some messed up shit but I don’t think I have the power to make someone gay… And I wasn’t joking about parents that have accused me of making their already gay sons gay. All I really did was give them acceptance and showed that I wanted to be with them… But alas this kind of stuff never lasts for me.”

“This kind of stuff?”

“Romance usually… But I have a feeling that maybe this time things might be different?”

Sebastian smiled a little, Apollyon was talking with such sincerity and affection it was hard not to feel his heart melting slightly from this. “Hey, I won’t say this is gonna be a sure thing forever, we only just started dating, but I’m willing to work through anything and everything that comes our way.”

“Good to know I’m not the only one with that mindset.” Apollyon leaned forward and kissed him.

It was good to feel his lips against his own, but he wanted a little more. He moved a little closer to Apollyon and lightly wrapped an arm around him, getting him just that little bit closer. Apollyon reciprocated the action, but he was just that little bit bolder, choosing to place his hand on Sebastian’s hip. His thumb brushed just under Sebastian’s hoodie touching his skin. He shivered a little at this small touch and moved as close as he physically could to his boyfriend.

Suddenly Apollyon rolled on top of him, pinning Sebastian to the mattress. Sebastian was in a daze as he stared up at his lover. Apollyon had that same predatory look in his eyes he had the other day in the library that partially scrambled his brain. He could only imagine he had the same stunned look on his face now as he did then.

They started kissing again, but this time with more passion. They let each other’s hands explore their bodies. Apollyon’s body had toned out nicely over the past year. He might have looked like a twig and still did now, but no one would be able to deny he was starting to develop abs. More often than Sebastian would have liked his fingers brushed past thin, flat scars. Sure he had told Apollyon that they were beautiful at the time, and he meant it, but they still worried him.

Sebastian moved his hips ever so slightly, gasping a little when he felt himself accidentally grinding himself against Apollyon’s leg. Apollyon himself let out a small groan and pressed a little harder against him. Sebastian let out a small whimper as his hips involuntarily bucked up against his lover. Each second that passed just made wearing his stupid skinny jeans more and more uncomfortable.

Then, very unexpectedly Apollyon pulled back, frowning a little. “Um… I don’t mean to be an asshole here but um… I er…”

“… What is it?” Did he do something wrong? Should he have not bucked his hips or something? Sebastian couldn’t think of a reason why Apollyon would suddenly pull away like that.

“I um… This is going to sound dumb… But I um… I’m kind of nervous.”

“We don’t have to go all the way tonight. So you don’t need to worry. I’m kind of nervous too…” He sat up, smiling slightly. He was relieved to see that Apollyon was also hard. “… If you want to we could do something else… You trust me right?”

“Of course I do.”

Sebastian nodded a little and quickly retrieved a bottle of lube from under the bed. “Sit back and take it out.”

Apollyon blushed a little and did as he was told. It was kind of cute how Apollyon went from being so dominant to being submissive in the blink of an eye, but those thoughts were gone when he saw the cock Apollyon was sporting. He wasn’t ridiculously long but damn he was thick. How the hell had he not seen at least the outline through his pants? He had seen Apollyon drenched at least twice and hadn’t seen the fat monster he was packing down there. Maybe Apollyon was a grower not a shower?

Either way, Sebastian quickly moved over to him and unzipped his own pants. He groaned a little when the cool air of his bedroom hit his cock. He wasn’t as thick as Apollyon, but he was roughly hand an inch longer. Either way Apollyon looked suitably impressed with him.

Apollyon blushed a little. “Damn. You’re pretty big…”

“Speak for yourself.” He moved so he was sitting on Apollyon’s lap and pressed their cocks together. “You’re fucking thick.” He poured some lube onto their cock’s, shuddering a little at how cold it was before he took them both in one hand and started to stroke.

“Fuck.” Moaned Apollyon. “Didn’t think you’d to something so lewd like this.” There was that predatory glint in his eyes again.

Sebastian rolled his eyes a little and just responded by stroking faster. Fuck, it felt good doing this. Better than any wet dream. It was amazing feeling Apollyon’s cock pulsing in his hand, and even more amazing when Apollyon started to jerk his hips in time with his strokes.

Apollyon moaned, quickly covering his mouth with his hand. From his heavy breathing and quivering legs it was obvious he wasn’t going to last long. Truthfully, neither was Sebastian. It felt good, too damn good. Sebastian gasped and came after a particularly rough stroke. Apollyon squeezed his eyes shut and but his bottom lip as he came hard.

As the two came down from their high, Sebastian grabbed some tissues to clean themselves up. Once cleaned they lied next to each other again. It felt good to just lie with him while basking in their own afterglow’s.

Suddenly Apollyon sat up. “Shit! I completely forgot!”

Startled, Sebastian sat up with him. “What? What’s the matter?”

“I’m meeting up with the Wizard at like seven tomorrow morning.” He groaned in frustration. “I have um… a little problem that he’s said he’d help me with… He is surprisingly good with dealing with pests and stuff. I kind of have a vermin problem…”

“Ah, okay… Does that mean you need to go now?”

“Yeah… Sorry…”

“… I guess it can’t be helped.” Sebastian would be lying if he was to say he wasn’t disappointed. He was kind of hoping that he’d stay and maybe they’d both be comfortable enough to go further tonight. “Can I come over tomorrow?”

“Of course.” Apollyon stood up and quickly kissed Sebastian. “I love you. See you soon.” He quickly left the basement and left Sebastian disappointed. This night wasn’t ending exactly as he hoped, but it was close enough.

***

Apollyon felt giddy. To think that they would be doing something like that tonight it was just… wow. He wanted to do more, so much more, but he had his own reservations about it. He was still under the influence of whatever spell Morgana had put on him, at least he assumed so. He really was seeing the Wizard tomorrow to see if whatever she had put on him had passed. He didn’t want to accidentally hurt him due to anything.

He could just imagine the damage his teeth could have done if he tried to give Sebastian a blow job. He would seriously have to consider filing his teeth down if that were the case. Perhaps he could get some kind of horse tooth filing thing from Marine? Then again it would be kind of hard to explain to her that he needed to file down his demon teeth so that he could give Sebastian blow jobs without slashing his dick to shreds.

He sighed some more and kicked the snow. Hopefully things would be fixed soon. They were going to be spending more time together now that it was winter. He could just imagine all the cliché porno situations that could arise from snuggling up to each other in front of a fire place.

Thinking those thoughts he made it back to his home. He quickly patted himself down and quickly realised something rather unfortunate. He was missing his keys. They must have fallen out at some point. Possibly when he was making out with Sebastian. He now had two choices; either go back to Sebastian’s and ask for his keys back, or sleep in the chicken coop and worry about it tomorrow.

Apollyon started to make his way to the chicken coop, when he noticed something kind of strange about the night sky. It wasn’t its usual black to dark blue tint. It kind of had a strange purple hue to it. Was this some kind of natural phenomenon that happened in the Valley? He had no idea. It was kind of pretty.

“Hello Apollyon.” Cooed the all too familiar voice of Gadreel.

Apollyon whipped his head around so quickly he almost gave himself whiplash. There was Gadreel with two other members of whatever bullshit Yoba cult he was from. One was a woman carrying a large tome and the other was some grizzled looking older man with salt and pepper hair.

This was not good. Apollyon couldn’t help but growl at them. “So, tonight’s the night I get to fucking kill you? Good.”

Gadreel chuckled a little. “Nice to see you’re still delusional.” He gestured to the woman who quickly opened her tome and waved her arm. Her spell caused hundreds of ice crystals to form and hover in the air above Apollyon. “Make it rain.” The ice crystals rained down upon Apollyon like a machine gun fire.

Chapter Text

Despite his actions leading up to this day, Apollyon wasn’t resined to his fate. He just needed to take care of things just in case the worst were to happen. He wasn’t going to have anyone suffer because of his absence. He had animals that needed care when he was gone. They would suffer the most if he suddenly vanished.

He often thought about some of the things his mother told him when he was younger. The one that had most often come to mind over the past few weeks; that living for the sake of living was reason enough to keep living. He believed that. He wanted to live for himself. He didn’t ask to be brought into this existence because he wanted to, but he had a life and he didn’t want to lose it. Did that make him evil?

This is what it truly meant to be forsaken. Cast away and deemed as nothing but an evil monster in the eyes of all that knew him. He had done everything he could to hold himself back his whole life. He had slipped up a few times growing up and brought this attention on himself, but he had hoped that if he lived as a human then maybe he could be human. It was a childish dream, but it was his dream.

He wanted to live his life among humans as a human. He wanted to live and love and die as a human, but he doubted he would be allowed to have that now. Fighting like a human against magic users would get him killed, and if he died here in this way all the things he dreamed of for his future would be gone. He wanted to keep farming with his cat and other farm animals. He wanted to keep interacting with the town’s people. He wanted to fall deeper in love with Sebastian. Hell, he even wanted to help the Junimos.

Unfortunately Apollyon quickly realised that he wasn’t going to reach his dreams if he continued to act the way he did. He would have to let go of his human limitations and just let his demon side be in control. That kind of thing wouldn’t be too difficult. Without being able to feel pain his body had no way of telling him that he had reached his limits. He didn’t know if he could really win this but he would try. That’s all he could do.

As the ice shards pelted the earth the snow seemed to explode from the ground creating something like a smoke screen. It gave Apollyon a brief chance to run away and hide in a small cluster of trees he hadn’t cleared yet.

He had to think. There were three of them, Gadreel was easy enough to beat down if he could get close enough. The woman with the tome he could probably over power if he destroyed her book. The other man, he had no idea. He looked strong. Maybe he could throw a rock at him or something.

Almost as if some the older man had heard him, he was there, right by Apollyon, wielding some ridiculously huge sword with a blade made of light. He took a swipe at Apollyon who just managed to dive out of the way and back into the open. He was instantly bombarded with another barrage of ice crystals.

This time Apollyon wasn’t able to doge them and got struck. Most of them were superficial scratches, but one managed to strike him in the left eye. Apollyon’s eye offered little resistance as the large, sharp object plunged deep within his socket. It was like popping open a water balloon. The strike was so powerful it knocked him flat onto his back. He could hear the sharp point of the crystal grinding through his skull as the muscles around his socket involuntarily twitched. Surely if his body could still feel pain he would have been screaming in torturous agony.

Looking up at the night sky he could see the stars but through the strange purple hue of the sky everything appeared slightly cracked with the stars acting as the starting points. Everything was falling apart. The cracks were getting larger. Coupling the visual hallucination along with the inescapable grinding sound reverberating through his skull it felt as though this moment in time was falling apart at the seams.

As he laid stunned on the ground he could hear Gadreel and the others talking calmly about the bloody execution. “Do you think he’s dead yet Ester?” Asked Gadreel.

“I’m pretty sure my icicle penetrated its skull.” Said the woman calmly. “A thing like that, unless it’s a higher class of demon or has certain enchantments on it, sufficient brain damage will be enough to kill it.”

“Well that was disappointing.” Muttered the older man. “I thought there was going to be a proper fight. So much for being named the destroyer.”

Gadreel sighed a little. “I’m sorry Michael. I really thought that he would have, you know, put up more of a fight. He always talked a big game. Guess he was just all talk.”

“Was he even a real demon?” Asked Ester. “It was just… so pathetic. Did we even need to conceal our presence with this dome?”

“Trust me, he is a demon.” Gadreel walked over to him humming happily to himself. “Let’s just take his head and head on back.” He knelt down next to Apollyon and took out a rather large hunting knife. “To think, a monster like you thought they could be anything but a monster. You were nothing more than a stain on this world. No one will miss you.”

Moving fast wasn’t enough. He was taking too long over thinking things. Apollyon couldn’t survive like this. He didn’t want to die. He was scared because of the cracks forming in his mind’s eye. He wanted to survive. No, he didn’t want to just survive, he wanted to live. He wanted to live in this world, in Pelican Town, with Sebastian. These fanatics weren’t going to take that away from him. They were not sending him back to the Void.

With a blood curdling roar Apollyon sprung up and knocked Gadreel to the ground. Time seemed to slow down as Apollyon felt the last of his razor sharp teeth burst through his gums seconds before he sank them deep into Gadreel’s shoulder. He wanted to rip him open right then and there, but he didn’t have enough time. There were two others there. He released Gadreel and quickly put some distance between himself and the magic users.

He heard Michael laugh as Ester started to quickly form more ice crystals. “This is more like it. A real fight.”

***

Blue and Green were out enjoying the nice winter weather. Now was the time to make tiny snowmen and snow goons. Mainly because most of the humans would spend more time inside rather than outside in the cold. Junimos didn’t experience the cold the same way people did.

Tonight they had decided to head down to Hellfire farm and make a couple of snow goons to brighten up Apollyon’s day. They wanted to encourage him and make him feel wanted here in Pelican Town.

“I’m gonna make the biggest snow goon!” Squealed Blue. “It’s gonna be so big! Bigger than the evil pink monster that tries to nom on us!”

“Yeah, sure. You do that.” Said Green as they picked up another twig for their snow goons. When they looked up again they couldn’t help but frown. “Purple dome magic…”

Blue frowned and looked up at the purple dome. As far as they knew it was practically invisible to human folks, but to magic folks like themselves it was pretty obvious. Normally this type of thing was only put up when the Wizard and the Witch were fighting about something so as not to alert the towns people to their bitter feuding. Why were they fighting on Apollyon’s farm?

“… Should we come back later?” Asked Blue.

Green shrugged. “Might as well see what stage of fighting they are up to. If they are almost done we might as well stick around and make our snow goons. If not we’ll come back tomorrow.”

The two Junimos happily marched up to the dome and easily breached the barrier. To their horror they didn’t see the Witch and the Wizard battling it out but instead three strangers beating the shit out of Apollyon. One second the farmer would be dodging ice shards, the next he was getting thrown up into the air, and then he got slammed down only to have to try and avoid some crazy man with a giant light sword.

Blue was freaking out. “Why are they attacking him?! He’s our hero! He’s good! Are these people bad? But their magic is channelling Yoba’s energy? I don’t understand! What’s going on Green?”

Green was shaken to their core. They didn’t expect something like this to ever happen. In all their years they had never seen such a brutal act of savagery being committed against someone in the name of Yoba. They watched in horror as the man with the giant sword took a swing at Apollyon and managed to cut deep into his cheek, ripping out a large chunk of flesh and exposing his teeth.

“… The Wizard. We need to get the Wizard. Now.” Green grabbed Blue’s little stick arm and raced as fast as they could along the edge of Apollyon’s property. They needed the Wizard to speak to these evil people, try to make them understand that Apollyon was a good person. They had to.

***

After Apollyon had left, Sebastian made himself some hot chocolate and sat at his desk to watch a movie. He was going to have to insist on Apollyon getting a laptop or something so he could play some newer movies, or at least movies he didn’t have. After he was about halfway done with the movie he picked up his laptop and moved to the bed to get more comfortable.

Almost immediately he flinched when he sat on something sharp. He was surprised to see it was Apollyon’s house keys. They must have fallen out of his pocket while they were, well, the thought of what they were doing earlier made him blush with mild embarrassment. He wondered why Apollyon hadn’t come back for the keys yet, but knowing him he was probably too embarrassed or something like that.

With a sigh, Sebastian shoved the keys into his pocket and started to walk to Apollyon’s farm. Snow was starting to fall. Maybe tomorrow Apollyon would be spending most of the day shovelling snow? He could try and help with that. Key word being try. He didn’t have much upper body strength.

As he grew closer and closer to the farm he couldn’t help but feel that something was a little off. The night was still. Too still. He couldn’t even hear the sound of animals scurrying around or any night life in general. It made him a little uneasy, but he’d feel better once he was with Apollyon again.

But once he crossed the thresh hold into the farm he could see why it was called Hellfire. The land was completely trashed, trees were ripped up and the side of the chicken coop had been smashed in. Blood streaked the snow in erratic patterns. Worst of all though was the fight he had seen in front of him; Apollyon was bloodied and bruised as he attempted to fend off magical attacks from some crazy woman and a guy with a huge sword.

“What the fuck?”

Suddenly the cold steal of a knife pressed against his throat and a familiar voice spoke into his ear. “Good to see you again Sebastian.” Purred Gadreel. “Glad you showed up. Hopefully with you here we can finally put this demon to rest.”

***

With every strike Apollyon’s rage grew. He needed a plan. It took time for that woman Ester to conjure up more ice shards to shoot at him but during that time Michael would swing his sword at him to make sure he couldn’t go for her. It was a good plan, but he also had one. Although it was very dangerous and would probably end with him getting a sword in the face, but at this point he didn’t have much of a choice.

Once Ester fired the last ice shard at him, Apollyon stood his ground and watched Michael swing his sword down at his face. He hardly had any time to think, but he still managed to do it. He snapped his hands tightly on either side of the sword mere inches from his face. Whatever magical material this thing was made from seared his flesh like he had put it straight on white hot metal.

Michael seemed impressed by this. “Ha, you’re tougher than I thought you punk ass little shit. But you don’t stand a chance. This is holy light straight from the Yoba plane itself. Your hands are gonna melt off before you wrangle this out of my hands.”

“You think I want a weapon from that fucked up place?” Snarled Apollyon. “I don’t give a shit about some fucked up bastard of a deity that hates me for existing.”

The man grinned and pushed harder against Apollyon’s hands. He seemed to relish in the perceived pain he was causing him. “Just give up already. Give up and we will make it quick. Better to die quick then draw it out.”

“Fuck you.” With as much strength as he could muster he shoved the blade to the side and leapt out of the way just as another barrage of ice shards struck, several of which hit and affectively incapacitated Michael. The shock that Ester had over hitting her comrade was just enough time for Apollyon to get close to her. He knocked her tome out of her hands and knocked her to the ground. “All I fucking wanted to do was live in peace. Why the fuck did you bastards have to do this to me?”

He opened his mouth with every intention to bite her face off when Gadreel called out to him. “Um, I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You kill Ester I kill Sebastian.”

Apollyon whipped his head around and stared in shock. Gadreel had a knife pressed against a terrified Sebastian’s throat. Why was Sebastian here? There was no reason for him to be here. He should have been home. He should have been.

“…” He swallowed thickly and got off Ester. A new rage was starting to build up inside him. Before he was just mad that they were trying to kill him, but now, now he was so furious he was finding it almost difficult to keep calm when he spoke. “How dare you. How fucking dare you… You’re a bastard and a coward…” He took a few steps towards Gadreel. He was going to murder him. “You coming after me is one thing. That’s the path you chose to follow, but using an innocent life against me? That’s a new low even for you.”

Gadreel shrugged. “Honestly I doubt you actually care about any human life, but you seem to like to play the empathy card so why not see how far you will go?”

“A-Apollyon…” Said Sebastian quietly. “What’s going on? Who are these people?”

Gadreel laughed. “Oh you poor unfortunate soul. No surprise Apollyon hasn’t told you. We three magic users work for Yoba and cleans the world as best we can by eradicating Void entities at all costs. Apollyon himself is a rather annoying Void entity which we plan to eliminate tonight... well, hopefully only he will die, if we have to kill you too it’s no skin off my nose. Yoba will forgive us for one innocent life in exchange for countless others that will be saved by your death.”

Apollyon could see the fear in Sebastian’s eyes as he tried to comprehend the danger he was in. There was no way Apollyon could let Sebastian die, but there was no way he was going to be able to get over to them before Gadreel slit his throat. The coward had him. Everything was crumbling away faster and faster by the second.

“… What will you do to him if I give up?” Asked Apollyon. “Will you kill him anyway?”

“No.” Said Ester calmly. “Any innocent life that hasn’t been eliminated in the act of destroying a Void creature has their memory wiped of the event and creature in general. Once you have died we plan on erasing you from the memory of everyone in town. It will be like you never came here.”

“…” Everyone would forget him, something he was planning to get the Wizard to do if he died. He didn’t expect to die like this though. But then again considering all the ways someone could die, dying to save someone else’s life seemed like a decent way to go. “Fine. You win.” He sank to his knees. “I surrender.”

Gadreel laughed. “Wow, how cute. You still want to pretend to be human up till the least second? You were born a demon and you’ll die a demon. Michael, eviscerate him. We’ll take back whatever we can scrape up.”

Apollyon smiled slightly and let out a small shaky laugh. This was it. He was going to die. He didn’t want to. He didn’t want to go back. If this body was destroyed then he wouldn’t be able to stay here, but being here without Sebastian wouldn’t be worth it and him dying over something as meaningless as this would be tragic. He was terrified, but his need to protect Sebastian was stronger than his need to live.

“It’s okay Sebastian.” He said calmly. Apollyon needed to try and put Sebastian at ease even if it was just for a moment. “Everything is going to be alright. I wouldn’t ever let them hurt you… Sebastian, I lo-”

Before he could finish his sentence Michael came up behind him and stabbed him right through the chest. He felt the heat of the blade racing through his body and across his skin. He felt like he was shattering from within. But then it happened, the cracks that kept creeping into his life when times were the most desperateness and hopelessness of his situations had consumed him. Now they were part of him. His body was cracking up. His body fell apart like a giant meat puzzle.

Chapter Text

Sebastian felt like his whole body had shut down. Apollyon had just been murdered right in front of him by these magic using bastards, and they were going to do what now? Erase his memory of him? What the fuck? What the fuck was going on? Why didn’t he move or do anything to try and stop this? He felt like he was going to be sick.

Gadreel hummed happily and let Sebastian go. It seemed that his usefulness was now over and therefore he was no longer of any use to them. The other two people didn’t seem to give a damn about him but truthfully neither did he. Apollyon was dead and he was still cursing himself for it. He just stood there. He stood there and let it happen. What the hell was wrong with him? He could have done something, right? His stomach lurched and he vomited.

The sound of him vomiting seemed to draw the attention of Ester. She sighed a little and walked over to him while the men were talking about how to best deal with the situation now. She crouched next to him and tried to muster up a comforting smile, but her eyes were cold.

“Look, I’m sure you thought Apollyon liked you or something but he didn’t he’s what we in the business call a level four demon. He takes possession of a human vessel and extinguishes the human soul within over time. They integrate themselves into society but their true nature always seeps through and when it does… Well it isn’t uncommon to find them doing awful things to humans. It was only a matter of time before he-”

“Shut up.” Hissed Sebastian. He could feel tears starting to well in his eyes as he stared down at the snow. “Apollyon isn’t... He wasn’t like that. You didn’t know him. He was a good person.”

Ester sighed a little. “You only say that because you know nothing about him. Not the real him. Not his true nature. You saw his teeth didn’t you? Humans don’t have teeth like a shark. Didn’t you see the cuts on his body? My ice crystals were aimed at the main arteries and veins. A normal human would have bled out long before you showed up. The palms of his hands were burnt to the bone from Michael’s holy sword. If he were human the light would have passed through him without harm. Even the spell Michael used to eviscerate him was a holy spell used for centuries to dispel demons from our world.”

“He wasn’t a demon…” Sebastian’s vision became blurred as tears finally started to fall. “H-he was the kindest person I’ve ever met… And you’ve murdered him.”

“I know you feel that way now, but you have just been fooled. Demons like Apollyon don’t live for anyone but themselves and their own agenda. They live to cause misery for everyone. Especially those foolish enough to get close to them.” She tilted Sebastian’s head up, still wearing that fake smile. “But don’t be sad. As a human you’re a child of Yoba and we as extensions of Yoba’s divine will can give your soul peace by purging the blight of Apollyon from your memory.”

“Extensions of Yoba’s divine will my hairy purple ass!” Roared the Wizard as he marched across the farm. His clothes were wrinkled and he looked extremely tired. Following behind him were a few Junimos, all squeaking and making weird arm gestures.

The magic users seemed to be surprised to see the Wizard and the Junimos. Ester quickly moved away from Sebastian and quickly re-joined her comrades. Gadreel took the lead and put on his most charming smile. “Ah, good evening sir. I see by your association with the Junimos you are aligned with Yoba?”

The Wizard glared at them with pure malice. “Sir? How dare you address me as Sir. I am Rasmodius! I hold jurisdiction over Stardew Valley! The slaying of demons and any magical creature both malevolent and benevolent has to be approved by me! That includes Pelican Town! And you went and killed Apollyon? What the hell is wrong with you?”

Gadreel scowled. It seemed as though all pleasantries were over with. “Really? If you really were such a being as you claim, you would have executed that spawn the second it came here. Instead you let it thrive. We did you a favour.”

“A favour?!” The Wizard’s face was red with rage. “You murdered someone who was under the protection and care of the local Junimos! You know, Yoba’s divine helpers on this plane of existence? You might as well have killed a Junimo yourself! And you bastards have the audacity to call your selves extensions of Yoba’s divine will?”

As they continue to yell at each other Sebastian watched on in stunned silence. So apparently the Wizard really was a wizard and all the stuff Apollyon had been talking about was actually real and not some way to keep people at arm’s length, oh, and Junimos were real too. Speaking of the Junimos they were freaking out and making very sad mournful sounds. Some had gathered up small bundles of crocus and holly, and laid them down around the dismembered corps of Apollyon.

A green Junimo waddled up to Sebastian and climbed onto his leg. It squeaked and squealed, trying to communicate something to him, and although Sebastian couldn’t understand its language, the message was clear. It was sorry for his loss. Fresh tears were starting to fall and he couldn’t help but sob again.

Suddenly the Junimos started squealing and ran to hide behind Sebastian. Green looked down at them and made some wild gestures. In turn the Junimos started squealing and pointing to the bloody meat chunks… that were starting to pulsate… and leak a thick, black viscous fluid.

Sebastian gulped. “… Um, guys? Magic users? Wizard?”

A yellow Junimo ran over to the Wizard and started pulling on his robe to get his attention. The Wizard looked down at it and frowned. “What? What do you want?” He looked over at the flesh pile and made an annoyed sound. “Oh, of course. Of course this would happen. Lucky me.” He walked over to Sebastian and started drawing a protection circle around him. “You know what? All I wanted was to have a nice long sleep but no. You three idiots had to come here and do this bullshit. I’m over it. I’m done. You did this, you deal with it. Fuck you.” He sat next to Sebastian and angrily glared at Gadreel and his companions as the Junimos started to pile on top of Sebastian and the Wizard within the magic circle.

Gadreel, whom had not noticed the dead flesh’s new properties as of yet just rolled his eyes. “What are you talking about you stupid old man? And what’s with that magic circle? Expending that much energy to make something that shields you from a chaos demon from the very depths of the Void itself?”

The Wizard was so done with this. “Well you three are the assholes that pissed it the fuck off in the first place. You take care of it.”

Suddenly a cacophony of tormented animal cries filled the air, mixing with the visceral sound of bones grinding and muscle fibre ripping. A gnarled misshapen arm clawed its way out of the flesh. The arm in question appears to be constructed of bones far too large and alien to belong to a human and the flesh that did cover it seemed to be made from some red and blackish substance that writhed and squirmed like worms under the moon light. That arm was quickly followed by another as the creature slowly pulled itself out of and absorbed the fleshy chunks into its own being.

It was a Lovecraftian horror that Sebastian couldn’t pull his eyes away from. “Oh fuck… Is that… is that what he really looks like?” He whispered out to the world.

The Wizard sighed a little and shook his head. “Technically no. He doesn’t really have a true demon form. In the Void he was just a shapeless blob of goo that slithered along, but he has had a human form for so long his own demon essence if you will has evolved to try and maintain his human physique. Seeing as how he completely lost his human shape his demon cells are trying and kind of failing to put him back together into a human shape.”

A misshapen blob full of covered vestigial eyes formed on its neck as the thing finally pulled its chest out to revel a gaping maw made of dozens of ribs, repurposed as teeth. Each one moved independently as cartilage that seemed to hold them in place bent, cracked, and repaired. A translucent membrane on the lower half of its body almost proudly displayed its intestines swirling around and around in a sickening manner. Its legs were bent and broken, covered in more of that disturbing worm like muscle tissue. It stood hunched over, not even at its full height, but it was clearly towering over everyone by several feet.

Sebastian’s heart was racing and his fight or flight response was kicking in. He needed to run. Everything about this situation was telling him to get the hell out of there, but when he tried to leave the Wizard held him back.

“Look, I know this is scary and everything, but trust me. Staying inside the magic circle is way safer then running around out there.” He sighed a little and brushed some hair out of his face. “Look, I have no real idea how Apollyon is going to react now that he is like this. His brain is probably still forming after getting diced up so badly.”

“Fucking damn it!” Yelled Gadreel. “Fuck it, next time we kill this thing we burn it! Attack!”

***

No one really knows what happens at the moment of death. Some believe there’s a bright light that you have to go towards. Some think that they will see their life flash before their eyes. Sometimes it’s their life in reverse. For Apollyon there was nothing. He felt like he was floating in an empty space devoid of gravity, colour and atmosphere in general.

He reached with whatever appendages he had and lets his claws sweep the sky in an attempt to tear at the darkness. He could feel limbs moving but not really in any extremities he recognised. He was instinctively reaching out to all corners. Each part of him reaching out tried to find something. What exactly he wasn’t sure. He just felt as though he needed to reach out.

Why was he here again? Oh that’s right, he was dead. This wasn’t the Void. There was too much nothing. This had to be some in between state of being. If he was in between did that mean he could choose where to go or was he stuck waiting here until he was forced here or there?

Why did he die in the first place? What was the reason? Because he wasn’t human. No, wait, yes there was that, but there was something else. Someone he cared for was in trouble. They were hurt? Going to get hurt. But by who? The people that killed him? Yes. That had to be it. Were they strong enough to protect themselves? Probably not if Apollyon was here. He needed to protect them.

He wanted out. He wanted out. He wanted out. He wanted out. He wanted out. He wanted out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Out. Now. Now. Now. Now. Now. He needed to get out. He had to help them. He had to save them. He had to get rid of them. The threats.

One of his appendages reached out into the darkness and sunk into something. He had found a way out. It might not have been the way back but it was a start. He needed to pull himself out of this place. Where he was in this new place he couldn’t see and could hardly feel a thing.

He couldn’t see a damn thing but there was something else he could see. Their heat signatures maybe? His senses could see three of them and they gave off a strange smell. He couldn’t explain it but he didn’t like it. There was also another lingering smell that he couldn’t quite place but it was faint and made him happy. Where was it? Where was that familiar smell coming from? He wanted to find it.

Suddenly something heavy started raining down on him. Where was it coming from? Was it from these people that smelt bad? It had to. They were the only ones around he could clearly sense. They were the ones that killed him. They were the ones that were threatening to hurt their special person. The one they died to protect. The smell these things were giving off was the smell of an enemy. A new found rage bubbled up inside Apollyon. He let out a primal shriek and engaged his enemy.

***

So, Apollyon really was a demon, magic was real, Junimos were actually a thing, and Sebastian was essentially stuck inside a magic circle while his boyfriend rampaged around looking like a rejected Bloodborne boss. He couldn’t stop himself from shaking. One of the Junimos, a blue one, noticed his trembling and attempted to squeeze his hand. It didn’t really do much for him, but it made him feel slightly better than watching the other Junimos cheering on the fight.

The Wizard sighed and nudged a few Junimos. “Will you all shut up already? It’s bad enough you woke me up in the middle of the night because of these bastards. I don’t need you to give me a headache too.” Blue made a squeaking noise as it jumped from Sebastian to the Wizard. It squeaked and tugged on his arm. He sighed and looked over at Sebastian. “Um… Are you okay? This is kind of a lot to take in.”

“… Is this a normal day for you or something?” Sebastian found it hard to hide the quiver in his voice.

“Eh, today’s been kind of sketchy.” He yawned a little. “So you knew that Apollyon was a demon this whole time right? The Junimos have been referring to you as the farmer’s partner or the smoking one… So I can only assume you two are together?”

“Well yeah we are and he did but I… Normal people don’t usually call themselves demons! I thought he just had some emotional issues not… That!” He gestured at Apollyon just in time to see him grab hold of Ester and pull her close as his rib jaws cracked open and snapped shut. Ester shrieked. Sebastian felt his stomach drop as he expected to see an explosion of blood paint the snow. Instead Apollyon threw her into Gadreel as it chewed up her spell book.

The Wizard hummed a little in amusement. “Interesting… Though I wouldn’t have held it against him if he ate her… Then again I don’t think that mouth is connected to a stomach, so I guess chewing her up?”

The thought of Apollyon going ahead and eating someone, or even killing someone, it disturbed him. He watched as Michael swung his blade into Apollyon’s arm and sides, but although each slash landed and sent a splatter or red and black flying it didn’t seem to bother Apollyon in the slightest. He just batted him away like it was nothing.

Through sheer strength and determination Michael managed to stab Apollyon through the chest again. It seemed like he was attempting to perform whatever spell he had done before to turn him into chunks. However, despite glowing cracks starting to appear on Apollyon’s body he didn’t give a fuck. He grabbed hold of Michael and threw him across the farm. Apollyon then pulled the sword out of himself and crushed it between his hands.

Gadreel attempted to cast some kind of magic at him, but Apollyon grabbed him in his giant claw and slammed him repeatedly into the ground. Apollyon let out a triumphant roar and tossed Gadreel’s limp body over at Ester.

The Wizard sighed a little and called out to them. “Hey! If you morons are done getting you asses kicked, clear off! If you stay any longer you’re all going to die… Is that guy dead?”

Ester shook her head and quickly started drawing symbols in the snow. “Unconscious. We’ll be leaving you to deal with this one Rasmodius. Michael, we’re leaving!” Michael seemed reluctant to leave the fight, but he quickly went over to his partners and the three of them vanished in the blink of an eye.

With the three of them gone Apollyon seemed to calm down quite a bit. He sat down in the snow, his jawed ribcage snapped shut, and whatever tension he seemed to have in his muscles seemed to relax. He made a few strange guttural sounds as he aimlessly clawed at the snow.

“… Do you think it’s safe to leave the circle now?” Asked Sebastian quietly.

The Wizard shrugged. “Honestly? I’m not too sure… While we’re in the circle he can’t see or hear us.
We’re invisible for the moment…” He sighed a little. “I could try trapping him in some kind of object, like a lamp or a puzzle box?”

As the Wizard was thinking out loud Sebastian watched as some of the Junimos ventured out of the circle and over to Apollyon. He held his breath when Green caught Apollyon’s attention. He grabbed the apple shaped spirit in his claws and made a strange wheezing noise. He then put it down and promptly went about ignoring it again. Green seemed pleased with this and started to squeak and dance around Apollyon, and was quickly joined by the other Junimos. All of which seemed to feel happy and safe around him in this demonic form.

Sebastian was still wary about all this. Hell, his mind was still trying to wrap his head around everything. He was so confused. His whole world and understanding of reality in general had been turned upside down. He’d have to apologise to Abigail for saying that all her magic and occult stuff was bullshit. It obviously wasn’t.

The Wizard sighed and raked his fingers through his hair in frustration. “Screw it. Containment spell it is. I can’t be bothered to try and stuff him into a pickle jar or something. Hey Junimos! Quit annoying the giant bloodthirsty demon for five seconds! I need ten of you to come with me and set up some crystals.” Some of the Junimos made reluctant sounds and quickly scuttled over to the Wizard.

Sebastian looked over at the Wizard. “What are you going to do?”

“Make a containment field that boarders the farm.” He waved his hands and made a large bag appear. He started to hand out large green crystals to the Junimos that came to him. They seemed to be very excited to be given the crystals and happily bounced around while holding them above their heads. “When activated the magic they will emit will make it impossible for Apollyon to leave and will cause any humans coming this way to forget why they came here and go home. I can’t allow anyone to come across Apollyon like this. He could murder someone…. Stay in the circle until I come back.”

The Wizard cautiously took a step outside the circle, keeping his eyes on Apollyon. Once he felt Apollyon had no interest in him the Wizard set off with the Junimos to create the barrier. Sebastian felt very uneasy about being left alone, but he didn’t really have a choice. He stayed in the circle and watched Apollyon.

He continued to shuffle around a little and dig at the snow with his claws. Occasionally Apollyon would pause and make a few strange wheezing noises, like he was sniffing the air. It looked strange to say the least. Kind of like an animal exploring a new environment. But that just made Sebastian wonder; was this the real Apollyon? Some huge animalistic beast? Did he even remember him or know who he was anymore? He had no idea.

Green waddled up to Sebastian and started to pull on his pants. It squeaked at him as it tried to get him to move. It tried so hard it actually slipped in the snow and fell onto its back not once, but twice. This Junimo was very determined.

“… You want me to follow you?” Sebastian was very hesitant. Apollyon beat the crap out of those three and he had no idea what kind of fucked up magic abilities they probably had to prevent them from instantly dying. If he stepped out and Apollyon decided he didn’t like him he’d probably just have to slam him into the ground once to kill him. However the Junimo was persistent and Sebastian reluctantly took a small step outside the magic circle.

***

Apollyon was sad. He had gotten rid on the things that had hurt him and killed him, but he couldn’t smell that familiar scent that made him happy anymore. It wasn’t fair. Some small spirit things had wandered up to him, but they didn’t smell like enemies so he let them go. But the smell of the familiar person was gone.

Maybe he should go looking for them? Where did they live? He wanted to see them again. They lived… somewhere dark and underground, but in the mountains? Did they live in the caves? Were there caves in the mountains? He was going to go find them.

Suddenly a strange smoky scent filled his nose. It was that familiar scent again. Stronger than ever. It made him extremely happy. He happily and swiftly moved to the source of the scent. He was pleased to see that the source of the smell had a rather large heat signature. When he got close enough he reached out, delicately wrapping his claws around it and pulled it close to his chest. This thing, whatever it was made him happy. He wanted it. He loved it. He was going to keep it safe. A pleased and satisfied rumbling bubbled up from deep inside his body.

***

Sebastian was silently freaking out now. Seconds after he stepped outside the magic circle with Green, Apollyon grabbed hold on him and decided to hold him flush against the teeth that made up his ribcage. Being this close was damn horrifying. At any second Apollyon could decide to open his jaws and shove him inside. However he seemed to be content with just holding him off the ground.

It was kind of scary how easily Apollyon could lift him up now. Did he always possess this strength or was this just some impossible demon ability that he now possessed? Could Apollyon even hear him now?

“… H-hey. Can you hear me, Apollyon?” He asked. “Can you understand me?” Apollyon made no movement or sound that would indicate he could hear him. Sebastian sighed a little, unsure what he was meant to do now. He looked down at Green who seemed to be slightly alarmed. “… Um, help me maybe?”

Green nodded and got a pointy stick. They started poking Apollyon’s foot, but it had little to no effect on him. Still the Junimo squeaked and bounced around. Trying to communicate and get Apollyon’s attention. Seeing as how this wasn’t getting him anywhere, Sebastian risked it and attempted to try and wriggle out of Apollyon’s claw.

This move would prove to be disastrous because as soon as he did, Apollyon’s thick toothed ribcage cracked and grinded as they started to part and a dark growl echoed through the empty cavity. Yoba, Sebastian was starting to fear for his life, again. He stopped moving and quickly screwed his eyes shut.

Suddenly Apollyon dropped Sebastian and screeched. He writhed on the ground, kicking up snow. A strange, thin white light weaved its way around his form. Sebastian had no idea what was happening until several Junimos jumped on him and started to go through his pockets. Blue pulled out a pendant and held it above their head in triumph before throwing it into the pond. Was that the pendant the Wizard had sent him in the mail? He had completely forgotten about that.

As the Junimos cheered and clapped for Blue who was shamelessly bowing down at the praise, Sebastian turned his attention back to Apollyon. He wasn’t screaming anymore but he was still on the ground, wheezing. He looked like he was in shock or something.

Against his better judgement Sebastian moved to Apollyon’s side and hesitantly touched his arm. “Hey there Apollyon…” When he touched him Apollyon quickly moved his arm away and made a tiny rumbling sound. Was he scared of him now? Sebastian found that hard to believe but still, he tried to talk in a calming voice to ease him. “It’s okay. No need to be scared of me… I didn’t know that was going to hurt you. I’m sorry, just… Please believe me…”

He slowly put his hand on Apollyon’s arm again. This time Apollyon didn’t pull away. He just stayed where he was on the ground making a series of guttural grunts and huffs. It kind of reminded Sebastian a little of rescue animal videos that would sometimes pop up on his social media feed. It seemed like despite how dangerous he was Apollyon was still just a strange, shy, nice guy.

Sebastian smiled a little. “That’s right. Just stay calm. I’m here for you. I’ll make sure you’re safe. Okay? It’s my fault you got hurt so badly in the first place… So just leave it to me, okay?” He still had no idea if Apollyon could hear him or understand him, but he made a noise that kind of sounded like a purr and relaxed his muscles. Sebastian sighed, this was not how he expected tonight to turn out.

Chapter Text

Things went surprisingly smoothly after Apollyon’s unfortunate transformation into his demonic form. The Wizard was able to take care of most of the magic things without much trouble, the Junimos chewed out the Wizard for giving Sebastian something that could hurt Apollyon, Sebastian sat by Apollyon’s front door doing his best to try and come to terms with everything, and Apollyon himself looking like he was exploring the farm. It was much like an animal exploring a new environment.

Apollyon’s mind was still underdeveloped to the point where he didn’t seem to understand what was happening around him, but he seemed happy enough. He picked up random things in his claws and would either sniff it, crush it, or eat it. Sometimes all three.

The Wizard had sent Sebastian home while Apollyon was distracted and told him not to come back for a few weeks. Unfortunately for the Wizard one of Junimos, Purple, lead Sebastian back to the farm the next day. It seemed like the Junimos had decided that Sebastian needed to be here with Apollyon, as strange as that was.

Apollyon quite enjoyed Sebastian turning up and would follow him around the farm. But he kept a fair distance between them. It seemed like after the first time he grabbed Sebastian and got shocked for it he wasn’t going to take any chances and would let Sebastian approach him instead. It was kind of cute.

Sebastian sat on the porch and fiddled a little on his phone as he watched Apollyon wander around his silo. Every now and then he would peek around to see if Sebastian was still there, then he would quickly hide away again. When he did things like that it was hard for Sebastian to tell if the many eyes on his bloated head could actually see or if they were vestigial and held no actual function. He managed to get a few photos of him.

It made Sebastian chuckle a little. He walked over to Apollyon, making sure he knew he was approaching. Apollyon tilted his head to the side and lowered himself so his chest was pressed against the ground. Sebastian smiled a little and happily patted his head. “You doing okay today?”

Apollyon made a few small happy sounds.

“… You know, when most people talk about having a monster boyfriend they usually refer to things like vampires and werewolves. Something that’s a monster for like a few hours and then they are back to being human.”

Apollyon continued to make small happy sounds that rumbled deep within his chest cavity.

Suddenly a few Jinumos came running by. They waved up at Sebastian and started to make happy squeaking sounds. They jumped and spun around and made gleeful noises. They seemed to be excited about something.

“-important to me.” Said a strangely familiar female voice as it drew closer. “I need to make sure that my baby bean is okay. Rasmodius sounded very upset. You didn’t have to come with me Colt.”

“Of course I did. One of us needs to be a little objective.”

Sebastian was a little surprised that they were here, but considering they knew all about Apollyon’s condition it was pretty obvious Rasmodius could get into contact with them. He wondered how they would react to him accepting this side of him. Heck, he was pretty sure they didn’t know they were dating at this point either.

When they crossed the threshold into the farm, Apollyon sat up and immediately went over to investigate. Elizabeth made a sound that sounded like a startled scream and Apollyon made a pleased rumble that resinated deep within his chest.

“Baby bean!” She gasped. “You got messed up!”

Sebastian looked over at them just in time to see Apollyon pick up Elizabeth and hold her close to his toothed ribcage, like he had previously done to him. Colt glared at him and took a dagger out of his pocket. “Put her down right now or you’re getting a knife in the eye.”

“No need to be so violent with him Colt.” Scolded Elizabeth. “Baby bean, put me down now. Please. You don’t want to upset me now, do you?” Apollyon made a displeased sound but put her down and sat down. It was about then when Elizabeth noticed Sebastian. She was surprised but smiled and waved at him. “Hello. You’re Sebastian, right? What are you doing here?”

Sebastian shrugged and walked over to them. “The Junimos wanted me to come here. Guess they wanted me to hang out with my boyfriend or something…”

Elizabeth almost did a double take as she looked between Sebastian and Apollyon. “Really? Well, congratulations I guess are in order, but um… Are you sure? No offence but inter species relationships don’t tend to work out very well. I’m afraid many romance novels have lied about that notion.”

“Yeah, I’m sure. Apollyon hasn’t tried to murder me or anything.” He walked over to Apollyon and carefully put his hand on his shoulder. “So… Are you two staying here or something?”

Elizabeth nodded. “Yes. You see, Rasmodius contacted me about the awful incident the other day and I had to drop everything and come straight here. My poor baby bean is very vulnerable while he is in this state. Any incident where his brain is damaged in any way makes him a little… stupid. And since he was apparently diced up into little bits it’s a miracle he doesn’t have the brain capacity of a sea sponge right now.”

“Could have fooled me.” Muttered Colt. “Let’s get inside. It’s bloody freezing out here.” He walked into the house and then immediately walked back out. “There’s no food in there. I’m going to the store.”

“Okay, be careful dear.” Said Elizabeth as he marched away. When he was out of ear shot she sighed a little. “I’m sorry that Colt is acting so rude today. He’s never been much of a fan of demons and what not.”

“Yeah, I kind of guessed.” Muttered Sebastian.

Goblin slipped out of the house and looked up Apollyon. She glared at him and meowed loudly. Demanding food and attention. She didn’t seem to give a damn about his appearance. Apollyon made a small grunting noise and picked her up, balancing her in the palm of his hand.

Elizabeth beamed. “Oh, you have such a cute kitty! How adorable! What’s this cutie’s name, Sebastian?”

“Her name is Goblin.”

“Goblin… What a fitting name.” She mused. She walked over to the front door and held it open. “Alright, everyone inside. I’ll put a pot of tea on. Maybe coffee. Apollyon dear, put down the cat.” She ushered Sebastian inside and Goblin quickly zipped back in to sit by the fire in the kitchen. Apollyon made a disgruntled noise as he lowered himself and tried to squeeze through the door. His body creaked and groaned as flesh and bone scraped across the wooden frame until he managed to pop through. His chest rumbled a little and Apollyon sat on the floor in front of the bedroom door.

Sebastian sat on the couch and watched Apollyon. He had to hunch over as he was seated to fit comfortably in the room. “… How long is he going to be like this?”

Elizabeth shrugged as she looked through the cupboards. “I’m not too sure dear. The last time Apollyon showed off his demon form, that I know of, he was just a child. It took him about three days to go back to normal… Then again he only suffered a slit throat back then and not full blown dismemberment… So anywhere between three days and maybe a month? His body needs time to remember what a human is.” Soon she sat down by Sebastian and handed him a cup of coffee.

He gratefully took it and took a few sips. “So…”

“So the Junimos have revealed themselves to you? That’s very impressive. They don’t normally do that for non-magic folk.”

Sebastian shrugged. “They showed up just before Apollyon came back as that… They’ve been bringing me down here to see him every day since. Still don’t know why.”

She nodded knowingly. “Sounds like they are playing match maker again… Junimos are very strange creatures. Their motives are very obscure but you can rest assured everything they do is to help shape the world for Yoba.”

“I see… What’s going to happen now, like with the people that tried to kill him?”

“That’s up for the ICGMAC to decide.” Elizabeth hummed a little and took a sip of her drink. “That would be the International Court Governing Magic’s Arcane and Commonplace. ICGMAC. Rasmodius has very high standing within groups that choose to follow Yoba’s path to magic and he has the respect of many users that channel the Void. There is a whole world you don’t know of run by magic.”

“Yeah, I guess so…” Sebastian never really gave much thought to magic or anything within that realm. All the really knew was stuff he had gotten from movies and things he had half heard from Abigail when she was going on and on. He would need to learn more about the Void and Void demons of he was going to relate more to Apollyon.

Elizabeth put her cup on the table and smiled at him. “Well, since you have seen the Junimos and you know of Apollyon’s true self, do you want learn more?”

Sebastian frowned a little. “What do you mean?”

A small smile made its way across Elizabeth’s lips. “I’m asking if you would like me and Colt to teach you about magic. I use Void magic all the time and Colt is a freelance demon exorcist.”

“… He’s a what?”

She chuckled. “It’s best to let him explain it. I’m not that good at it. But Bastian dear, I would very much like to teach you about magic. I don’t expect you to want to start casting spells or contacting spirits. I’d just like to educate you about Apollyon.”

“… Okay.”

***

Apollyon was happy. He got to explore this place every waking moment and sniff all kinds of interesting new things. And the person with the familiar scent that he liked kept coming back. That made him really happy. However he didn’t pick them up again in case he got hurt again. That wasn’t fun. It was better for him to let them come over when they felt comfortable.

Then two new people showed up. One of them had a strong maternal scent which put him at ease and made him feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The other one kind of put him on edge a little. But with the other two were putting him at ease so he didn’t mind it so much. There was also another small thing wandering around the farm. It felt kind of leather and made little rumbling sounds from its chest, like him. So he liked it a lot too.

They had taken him into a strange place, but it was nice and warm, completely different from outside. So once again he was happy. Apollyon stretched and laid down on the ground. He was happy. The people here made him happy. All was well. Another content rumbling made its way through his body. However he wanted to be closer to the people he was interested in.

He got up and slowly slinked over towards the one with the maternal smell and lied down by her. She gently touched him and when she spoke she could hear her words resinating through his skull. It was similar to when he had picked her up earlier. Was this the bond between parent and child? Maybe it was just her magic? The other person he liked didn’t do that when they picked them up.

“He’s very much like a cat or dog now, isn’t he?” Said the woman calmly. “But most demons are not as docile as he is in this state. I think it’s because he’s had a human upbringing.” There was a pause for a moment and then she laughed. “Oh Sebastian, you’re just too much.” It was at that point she moved her hand off him.

Sebastian. Yes, that sounded familiar. Was that the name of the other person in the room? He liked that name. It was a name right? Had to be. It made him feel happy to know their name. He wondered if he could say it. He had a go at it but just ended up making an odd hissing and rumbling sound. Not what he wanted to say, but a good start.

“…” Apollyon wanted to touch Sebastian. He very slowly reached over towards him, but the woman quickly grabbed his arm.

“No. Bad Apollyon. You don’t try and grab people. Grabbing people like that is bad. No grabbing people.” She said calmly. “Now you better not try and grab at Sebastian or anyone else like that again. Okay? Grabbing is very naughty. You are not a naughty boy are you?”

Apollyon grumbled a little and retracted his arm. He wasn’t naughty. He was a good boy. He just wanted to touch Sebastian a little. Maybe cuddle him. Give him a smooch. Well, once he figured out what a smooch was, how to do it, and why he wanted to perform a smooch with Sebastian in the first place.

Suddenly the smell of the person that put him on edge entered this place. He didn’t like this and made a small defensive rumbling sound, but his warning seemed to be largely ignored by everyone else. That annoyed him, but he couldn’t really do much about it. The woman he liked had already told him that grabbing people was bad so he couldn’t just go ahead and grab hold of this person and get rid of them. Unhappy rumbles was the best he could do to show his displeasure.

While Apollyon was feeling upset about this he felt another hand reach out and touch him. It was this Sebastian. It made him so happy. He wanted to hold him and smooch him even if he had no idea what smooching was. Instead he opted to lean into his hand instead. It made him feel… warm. He liked the warmth that came from being around him. He was happy. He wanted Sebastian to keep patting him.

***

Sebastian continued to keep patting Apollyon while Elizabeth helped Colt put things away. He was thankful that she had offered to teach him about magic and the Void, but he wondered if that was alright? Could she just teach magic to anyone or would she get in trouble? Maybe she would be okay if he didn’t try and cast magic? He’d need to clarify that later.

Apollyon made a small sound that was kind of similar to a purr. It made him smile a little. “Don’t worry Apollyon. We’ll look after you, okay? Just try and concentrate on getting better… I’d really like it if you could talk to me soon, or show me that you can understand what I’m saying…”

He wondered how much longer he could stay over at Apollyon’s farm while he was like this? It was true he had intended to stay over at his farm a fair bit during the winter, but he was going to do some work for clients every other day. Maybe he could bring his laptop over? He wasn’t too sure if having his laptop around all this magic stuff was safe. Would magic overload his battery? Fry his motherboard? Would Apollyon sit on it at some point? It would probably be best if he worked from home every other day. Apollyon’s parents were here now. They could look after him better than he could.

Chapter Text

It had been a few days since Apollyon’s parents had moved into his farm and things had been going well, at least that’s what Sebastian had assumed. He hadn’t really had time to go back to the farm. After the family had moved in Sebastian ended up getting buried under a mountain of work. He didn’t understand why people left it to the end of the year to fix their problems.

He’d managed to slip away from work at around three and walked to the saloon. He needed a drink. Gus seemed a little surprised to see him so early in the day and not on a Friday. Never the less Gus gave him whatever the house cider was and Sebastian slid into the booth by the bear statue. He started to look through his phone just to see if Sam or Abigail were up to anything. He had turned off notifications for group chat while he was working so he wouldn’t get distracted.

Nothing much seemed to be happening. Abigail got grounded again and Sam was asking about song lyrics. There was also a discussion going on about what to do for Sebastian’s birthday. They had given him a bunch of things to choose from like going to the movies. He assumed they wanted him to get back to them with what he’d decide soon before the festival of ice in a few days.

He hadn’t really put much thought into it, what with work and Apollyon all happening. He really wanted to spend some time with Apollyon like he suggested that they do before everything happened. Almost immediately he remembered the not so subtle hint that Apollyon was planning on having sex with him on his birthday. His face went red at the thought. There was no way that was happening now though. He had the mind of a stupid animal and as far as he could tell no actual reproductive parts. Unless he was more like a lizard or fish at this point.

“…” He quickly downed his drink. He didn’t feel he was drunk enough to entertain the idea of fucking a demon. “I need something stronger…”

Suddenly Colt slipped into the booth and pushed a shot of something at him. “Honey whisky.” He muttered. “Smells sweet, tastes like nail polish, but it keeps you warm.” He downed his own shot and shuddered a little. “Never gotten used to the taste.”

Sebastian ignored the shot for the moment. “Why are you doing here? How the heck did you even sneak in here and get a drink? The doors are so old the creak whenever they are opened.”

“I’m used to getting around unnoticed.” He took a book out of his jacket pocket and started flicking through it. “Well, today’s as good as any to start your crash course in demonology. You ready?”

“… Um, shouldn’t we be at the farm for this?”

Colt rolled his eyes. “I’d prefer that too kid, but Elizabeth wants to have some mother son bonding time. Bloody stupid if you ask me. Demons should just be killed… But I’m guessing you’re the kind of idiot that is all for having that filth around since you’re fucking him.”

Sebastian could feel his face burning with embarrassment. “If you hate Apollyon so much why do you stay with Elizabeth?”

“She’s a very compassionate and empathetic woman. She needs someone that thinks with their brain and not with their heart when it comes to people. There’s also the fact that I love her and don’t want that demon hurting her.” He picked up his empty shot glass and tilted it, trying to see if anymore alcohol would accumulate in the corner. “Anyway, if Elizabeth is stupid for caring for that thing you’re down right retarded. I fucking warned you to stay away from him but no, no one ever listens to me.”

“… Maybe because you call people retarded?” Suggested Sebastian coldly. Colt was officially the worst person ever. Maybe slightly better than the people that actually killed Apollyon, but still, terrible human.

“I’m blunt. Fuck everyone else. I don’t care if people think I’m an asshole. You tend to become cynical when you deal with idiots your whole life.”

Sebastian was about to snap at him with some witty comeback, but before he could Sam and Abigail happened to walk in. Somehow it took all of three seconds for Abigail to notice him and made a beeline for him. “Hey Seb! Long time no see. We were wondering when you were gonna… Who’s this?”

Colt quickly cut in before Sebastian could say a word. “I’m Colt. Apollyon’s step-father. Kid’s sick at the moment so me and the misses came down to nurse him back to health.”

Abigail nodded a little. “I see… Soooooo, I’m Abigail and the blond ordering lunch is Sam. So Apollyon…”

Colt chuckled a little. “If you’re wondering if I know Sebastian’s been screwing around with Apollyon, yeah, I know. I think Sebastian can do better than him.”

Abigail gave Sebastian a strange look. He couldn’t tell if she thought Colt was a douche bag or if she was giving him a sympathetic look. “Well… Um, hope Apollyon gets better soon. When you two are done come over and have lunch with us Seb.” She quickly headed over to Sam and dragged him to a table before he could come over and say hi to him. More than likely she was going to fill him in on who the heck Colt was.

Said man sighed a little and put his book back into his jacket pocket. “Fuck it. We’ll do demonology later. Come by the farm.” He got up and left the saloon. The second he was gone Abigail and Sam quickly moved over to him.

“What’s his deal anyway?” Asked Abby. “He’s a bit of an asshole.”

“Pretty much.”

Sam frowned a little. “So like, didn’t you say he’s really shit to Apollyon or something?”

“… Yeah.” He picked up the shot Colt had gotten for him and gave it a scrutinizing look. He had no idea if he should actually drink this or not. He wasn’t a very big whisky drinker.

Abby pouted. “So this means you and Apollyon haven’t had much alone time?”

“Unfortunately no. But it can’t be helped. He’s sick and his folks are here. What am I mean to do? Kick them out so I can spend time with a person who’s sick and just wants to sleep?” There was no way he could just tell them that Apollyon was currently a huge fuck off demon. The Wizard would probably not be very pleased about that, and he had no idea what Elizabeth and Colt’s opinion on the matter was. It would be best for everyone if as few people knew about Apollyon’s condition.

“That sucks.” Whined Abby. “If I had a boyfriend that lived alone like Apollyon I’d be super annoyed his parents came over just because he got the sniffles. He can’t be that sick, right? If he was Harvey would have gone to see him.”

Sebastian shrugged. “Whatever. It’s not like they are going to be here forever.”

They paused their conversation for a bit when Gus came by with their pizza so they could eat. Despite this fact Sam still insisted with talking with a mouth half full of food. “So what do you wanna do for your birthday? We could spend the night in Zuzu city?”

“Yeah, we could bring Apollyon along.” Suggested Abby. “As long as we don’t do anything too crazy he should be up for it, right? We can rent you and him a nice hotel room for the night while Sam and I bum it in a motel six.”

“Why do we have to bum it?” Whined Sam.

“Because that can be our present for Seb. He and Apollyon can either sleep in a nice fancy place together, or fuck in a nice fancy place together and then sleep.” Explained Abby rather bluntly. “Either way I think you can sacrifice a night sleeping on a bed for a crappy couch for one night.”

“Fine… Wait, why am I sleeping on the couch and not you?”

“Because I have back problems and sleeping on a couch hurts… and we are relatively poor so we probably can’t swing for that and a hotel room for Seb and Apollyon.” Explained Abby. She let out an annoyed sigh. “It’s at times like this I wish we lived in a country with dedicated love hotels. That would be pretty sweet.”

Sebastian could feel himself blushing again. “Apollyon’s pretty fucked up and his mum is kind of doting on him a lot. Even though he’s an adult I doubt that she’ll let him out of bed. I had a hard enough time getting in to see him and she knows we’re dating.”

Abby pouted. “Bummer. Movie and pizza night at my place then?”

“Yeah.”

***

From the bushes that surrounded the farm, Purple and Red watched one of the strangest damn things they had ever seen. A pretty witch lady was throwing a stick and the farmer, in his monstrously deformed state, chased after it only to give it back to her, only for her to throw it again and the cycle repeated. It was odd to them.

“I do not understand this.” Whined Purple. “So the farmer got all chopped up and then he came back as that? How?”

Red rolled their eyes and climbed up onto one of the green glowing rocks that the Wizard made them plant around the boarder of the farm. “Because he’s a demon straight from the Void. Void demons and ethereal creatures are kind of weird shaped and spooky looking. The farmer just happens to be all super spooky looking.”

“… His head doesn’t have as many eyeballs as it did yesterday.”

“Yeah. That’s good. He’s also getting back to his normal height too. He’ll look less like a demon and more like a human in no time.”

Purple hummed a little and also attempted to climb the glowing rock. “So, is the smoking one still with Mr Hero demon farmer?”

Red stuck their leg out and tried to push them away. “From what I can tell, yes. Turns out that the smoking one is pretty cool with magic… I mean, he hasn’t gone crazy and killed himself.”

“We need a better bench mark for people that can or cannot handle magic things. Madness is not good… Quit kicking me!”

“I’m not kicking I am pushing!”

“Same thing!” Purple grabbed Red’s leg and pulled.

Red fell off the stone and shoved them. Purple shoved back. Seconds later they were engaged in yet another slap fight that felt more epic than it actual was. To them it was the most amazing and epic thing ever. Something that would look like something from an action movie or an anime. However in reality it just looked like two big apples bopping each other and making squeaky noises whenever they got bopped. Then, through no fault of their own at all, one got shoved a little too hard into the stone, knocking it out of place. Instantly the glow was gone and whatever magic is seemed to hold faded.

They freaked out and quickly put it back in place, very distressed to see that it wasn’t glowing anymore. “… We didn’t do this.” Said Red. “If anyone asks us, we don’t know anything about it.”

Purple nodded in agreement. “Yep. But what are you talking about? What stone? What thing? We didn’t come to the farm to see what was going on with the farmer. No. We went to Cindersap forest to look for holly.”

“Exactly.” Red and Purple quickly ran back to the community center. They picked a bunch of wild holly on the way back to cover their trail and make sure that no one suspected them. Besides, whatever they did surely didn’t mess things up that badly right? Right?

Chapter Text

Seeing was a strange thing, especially when you essentially blind for several days and had no proper memory of actually being able to see. But Apollyon was slowly adapting. One of his eyes was slowly starting to focus on the world around him and he could kind of hear things again. Everything sounded muffled and the world looked clouded, but thing were getting better.

His mind was slowly starting to become more developed and he was remembering things beyond the boundaries of the farm, like the woods, the mines, and the beach. The beach… He remembered it raining and seeing Sebastian there. It made him feel happy, but it wasn’t raining now. Sebastian wouldn’t be there. That made him sad.

He sat by the silo and watched the woman and the man stand by the house. The woman, she was his… his mother. Yes. That sounded right. The man with her was her husband. Not his father. Step-father. He and him did not get along. He did not approve of him. Apollyon didn’t approve of him either. But his mother liked him so he wasn’t going to say anything about it.

Apollyon let out a small sigh. It whistled through the teeth on his chest. The jaws on his chest hardly opened up anymore. The smaller teeth at the top and bottom had already fused together making it impossible to actually open it fully anymore. It was strange and kind of worrying, but Apollyon didn’t feel the need to eat anything anyway.

He dug his nails into the frozen ground and started to scratch around while glancing over at his parents. He didn’t fully understand his condition at the moment but he was sure that at least his mother was here to take care of him. He picked up a handful of snow and dirt, smooshing it up in his hand.

He wanted Sebastian. Where was he? Why wasn’t he here? Did he not want to see him anymore? What did he do? He hadn’t tried to grab him since his mother told him that was a bad thing to do. He must have really offended him somehow. That made him sad. He needed to do something, but what? What did Sebastian like? He liked… Fish… And big orange things… And purple rocks. He could catch some fish. He could find purple rocks. He could do that.

He wandered over to one of the chests out the front of the house and opened it. He had a feeling he had purple rocks in here. Clay, rocks, wood, hard wood, drift wood, quartz, copper ore, iron ore, gold ore, iridium ore, and geodes. Apollyon huffed in annoyance and started picking the geodes, crushing them in his hands. There had to be a purple one in here somewhere.

Smooth green stone. Damn it. Rock. Damn it. Spiky yellow crystal. Damn it. Blobby yellow thing. Damn it. Rock that looks like poop. Damn it. Orange thing. Damn it. Smooth grey rock. Damn it.

 

“… What are you doing love?” Asked Elizabeth. “Why are you crushing geodes?”

Apollyon grunted and continued crushing geodes. He wasn’t too sure what the purple rock was called but damn it he knew he would know it when he saw it. He would find it and make Sebastian happy again. He would come over and talk to him and they would go to the beach and Apollyon would catch him lots of fish and make him smile some more. He wanted to make him smile. Suddenly he felt something bump the side of his head and then some part of his head fell off. It was strange but at least he felt a little lighter.

“Colt!” Snapped Elizabeth. “Really? Don’t do that. His body will shed his unnecessary body parts in its own time. Put that stick down.”

“Relax, that eye was gonna fall off anyway. I was just giving it a little nudge. Besides, his demon flesh rots away to nothing in a matter of seconds so it’s no big deal.”

“It’s still not nice to poke out Apollyon’s vestigial eyes.” She moved next to Apollyon and gently hugged him. “Hmm, I think his jaw is starting to grow back. I can kind of see one under the skin here…” She touched an area of skin stretched taught and smooth, just where his neck met his head. “Hopefully you’ll have a mouth soon. And you can talk again. Grunting and groaning can only get you so far baby bean.”

Apollyon felt the same way. Talking was nice. He wanted to talk with Sebastian again. He wanted to make him happy and smile and just… He still wanted to smooch him and still had no idea what smooching was.

Colt sighed. “Well, it’s starting to get dark. Come inside Liz, time for dinner.”

“Okay, should we leave some food out for Apollyon?”

Colt scoffed. “Liz, he still doesn’t have a mouth and his intestines are still only in the lower half of his body. He doesn’t even have a proper ribcage yet. He’ll be fine.”

She sighed a little and gently patted Apollyon’s head. “Okay… When you have a mouth we’ll see if you can start eating. Have a good evening. Be good.”

The two of them went inside and Apollyon continued to crush geodes. It took another ten but Apollyon managed to find one. Bright purple and shiny. Amethyst. That’s what it was called. He grabbed hold of it and rubbed some snow into it to get the dirt off it and to make it shiny. Sebastian would appreciate this. Now to actually take it to him.

He thought about this for a while. Apollyon didn’t really remember where he lived. It was in the mountains? Yes. Yes it was. It was in a house up in the mountains. Close to that place where all that lovely warm water was. A pleased sound rumbled in his chest. He wandered over to the stone wall near the back of his property. This path seemed familiar. Yes. Sebastian was this way. He remembered that much.

***

Sebastian felt guilty for not seeing how Apollyon was going. He just really needed to finish his work. He had a deadline and tonight he finished it. Tomorrow he’d find a Junimo and get them to take him to the farm. Those things seemed to try and coax him into following them to the farm whenever he left his house anyway.

He checked the time, not surprised to see it was about nine at night. He grabbed his cigarettes and headed out. He deserved this, though his lungs might disagree. Maybe he’d take Robin’s advice and try to quit? Maybe he could talk to Harvey and talk about his options? Now he had a new year’s resolution.

He stood by the garage and lit up, sucking in that sweet nicotine. There was a light snow fall happening that made the night all the more interesting. Winter was Sebastian’s favourite time of the year after all.

The large hooting of an owl made him jump a little. Those things were disturbingly loud, especially in the dead of winter. And as he looked up he almost got a face full of snow. He managed to jump back in time to watch a huge sheet of snow fall down.

“The fuck?” He took a few steps away from the house and almost had a heart attack when he saw Apollyon perched up on top of the roof. “Fucking Yoba! The fuck are you doing here?! Get down here!”

Apollyon made a happy sound and gracefully jumped off the roof and landed in the snow near him. He made a pleased sound and handed Sebastian a lump of amethyst.

“… How the hell did you get here? Didn’t the Wizard say you couldn’t leave the farm because magic or something?” He turned the amethyst in his hands and sighed. “You really can’t be here. What if someone sees you? I’m not freaking out because I know who you are, but no one is going to recognise you like this…”

Apollyon tilted his head slowly and then sat down. He made a small sad sound and started scratching at the snow. He looked like a kicked demon puppy. He made several more sad sounds, and Sebastian could swear that one of Apollyon’s eyes was actually looking at him.

“… You need to go home Apollyon. Okay?” He hoped that Apollyon would understand him and get home safely. Apollyon made another sad sound. He slowly got up and started walking, right into town. “Fuck! Not that way! Not that way!”

Either Apollyon didn’t hear him or he was just straight up ignoring him because he just kept going. It was at times like this where Sebastian wished he wasn’t a smoker. Trying to keep up with something that had such long legs was killing him. He hated this so much. What would happen if someone saw him? Lots of screaming and depending on who saw him, possible heart attacks.

By the time Sebastian caught up with Apollyon he was down by Alex’s house. Apollyon was poking around the empty flowerbeds and eyeing the trashcan. Sebastian leaned against the house and started to hack up a lung. He needed to quit smoking, like yesterday.

“H-hey…” He wheezed. “You… you need to go home… Mr Mullner is gonna have a heart attack if he sees you.”

Apollyon ignored him and started to rummage through the trashcan. He quickly found that there was nothing in there that he wanted and wandered off again. This time he seemed extremely interested in Dusty’s fenced off area. If anything was going to alert everyone to Apollyon it was going to be Alex’s old, loud mutt.

Sebastian grabbed a large stick and quickly ran over to him. “Don’t wake Dusty. Don’t wake Dusty. Please for the love of Yoba don’t wake Dusty.”

Unfortunately for him Dusty did indeed wake up. He took one look at Apollyon and let out a startled yelp. He was old, probably half blind too but there was no way that he was going to mistake Apollyon for a human in his state. Undeterred by Dusty’s rejection, Apollyon reached into the pen and let the old dog sniff his hand. It took Dusty a few moments, but he seemed to relax and somehow accept that Apollyon wasn’t a threat. Maybe he smelt like a human? Sebastian doubted that. He was just glad that Dusty wasn’t freaking out.

“Come on Apollyon, we need to get going, okay? Let’s get you back to the farm.” He lightly tugged on Apollyon’s arm. “Leave the dog alone. We need to get out of here before someone sees you.” He kept glancing over at the saloon and hoped that no one was going to walk out. “Come on Apollyon. Let’s go. Leave Dusty alone.”

Dusty looked up at them and started barking. This caused Sebastian to panic but Apollyon just looked on with fascination. Suddenly the sound of cracking bones and ripping skin filled the air and Apollyon barked back at Dusty. Sebastian almost fell over in shock. Some weird little flappy lower jaw popped into existence where Apollyon’s mouth would be.

“Shut up!” He saw the light flick on at Alex’s house. Depending on who Apollyon and Dusty had woken up with their barking they could have anywhere between a few seconds to about five minutes. “Shit… Seriously Apollyon, you need to hide now. Please. I need you to do this for me. Please? I’m begging here.”

Apollyon looked down at Sebastian with what he could only assume was his good eye and begrudgingly headed off to hide behind Alex’s house. Once he had slipped out of view George wheeled himself out, looking as grouchy as ever.

“What are you doing out here? Messing around with Dusty and making him bark at this time of night?” He asked. “People are trying to sleep you young hooligan.”

Hooligan? He hadn’t heard that one in a long time. “Sorry Mr Mullner. There um… I was just…”

“Drunk too I see.” Scoffed George. “It isn’t bad enough that you and your friends are always causing trouble around town, and now you’re getting drunk and waking up old people for no good reason? Mayor Lewis is going to hear about this, and so will your mother!”

That’s just what Sebastian needed. More community service and his mum getting mad at him. “I’m not drunk…”

Apollyon peeked out around the side of the house. He didn’t seem to be too happy that George was yelling at Sebastian. Sebastian was trying to subtly gesture to him that he needed to stay where he was, but had no idea if Apollyon knew what he was trying to convey. Apollyon took a few steps closer and bumped into the trashcan, making it clatter.

“Damn raccoons.” Muttered George. “Always getting into the trash.”

“Yes. Exactly that.” Said Sebastian. He could work with this. “I was walking out of the saloon and saw a raccoon trying to get into Dusty’s pen. I scared him off but Dusty woke up and barked at it. I was just chasing off the raccoon when you came out. Hence why I have a stick in my hands.”

“Oh… Well get to it. Scare it off and I’ll forget all about this.”

“Thanks Mr Mullner.” Sebastian watched George go back inside and he let out a sigh of relief. That was too close. Way too close. He walked over to Apollyon and held his hand. “Come on. Stop messing around. Time to go home.” It was more like he had a pet monster than a monster boyfriend at this rate.

Apollyon stared down at him, made a strange wheezing sound, and swiftly picked him up, holding him bridal style in his claws. While this was very undignified it was slightly better than getting held up to a chest made of teeth. He started walking, but not back to the farm, Apollyon was walking towards the community centre.

“Hey, wrong way. Are you listening to me?” Sebastian lightly hit Apollyon’s arm with the stick, but he seemed to just ignore it. Considering how strong Apollyon was and how sharp his claws were, Sebastian had no choice but to just let Apollyon do what he was doing until he put him down.

He took Sebastian into the community centre and put him down next to a hut. A few Junimos looked out and up at the two of them in surprise. They obviously didn’t expect to have visitors at this time of night. A rather withered looking white Junimo with a twig walking stick waddled over to Sebastian and started squeaking at him.

“… I don’t speak Junimo.” Said Sebastian.

White made a deflating sound and waddled over to Apollyon and started poking him with their twig while squeaking. Apollyon huffed and ignored it. As that was going on Sebastian got up and looked around the old building. It was still a piece of shit as it had been for a few years, but it didn’t look as bad as it could have.

He wandered down the hallways and looked into different rooms. Every now and then he would see a Junimo running across the floor or hiding up in the rafters. They really had taken over the whole building. It was kind of unsettling really.

***

Blue peeked out from the rafters in the crafts room. They were a little spooked that Sebastian was walking around in this building. This was there building. Not his. Well, it technically was his because he was a human and it was a human building, but it was still rundown so it was there building for now. Not his.

“Why is he here?” Whined Blue.

Orange shrugged. “Hero brought them here for some reason. White is talking to the Hero farmer now. He’s not listening.” They walked over to Blue and looked down at Sebastian. “… So this is them. The Hero’s helper? What did Red say they were?”

“I think he said he’s their mate? Partner? Something along those lines.” Blue looked down at Sebastian again before quickly looking away. “I don’t really think I like him being here…”

“Well neither do I but what can you do?” Orange looked down at him. “… He um… Yeah, he looks weird. Not a magic user. No magic in that one at all… Red said opposites attract, so I guess this is a thing?” Orange pulled a bit of wood off the beam they were standing on and held it over the edge. “Bet you one cool rock I can drop it on his head.”

“… You’re on.”

Orange dropped the bit of wood, pouting when the wood landed on his shoulder instead of his head. “Poopy. Well it still landed on him…”

Blue giggled. “Yeah well, you failed. I want a cool rock.”

“What are you two doing?” The two Junimos jumped as Green marched over to them. “You have to leave the Hero’s mate alone! They have suffered enough. They saw the Hero get all chopped up and then come back. Everyone was screaming when that happened! Now be good and leave him alone. The Hero might get mad at us if you mess with him!”

The two Junimos muttered amongst themselves and pouted. “So why is the Hero anyway? Why is his mate here?” Asked Orange.

“White is trying to figure that out now.” Said Green calmly. “He’s out by our hut… I guess they are here because it’s late and cold outside or something? Hey, which room is the best room in here do you think?”

“Possibly this one.” Suggested Orange. “Why?”

“We should get this room looking all nice and stuff for them.” Said Green. “They might be spending the night here. If that’s the case we need to make this place look all nice and stuff. We need cushions and blankets and soft stuff. That’s the stuff humans sleep on, right?”

“I can do that!” Said Orange. They quickly got up and ran past Green. “I’ll get Red to help me too! We’ll fix the place up! Make it all good!”

Blue pouted and crossed their arms. “This is dumb… I don’t like non magic people being in our place…”

Green shrugged. “Hey, what can you do? Things just happen… By the way, how did the Hero farmer get here in the first place? I thought that the Wizard put up a magic fence to stop him leaving the farm?”

Blue shrugged. “Do I look like I know this stuff?”

***

Sebastian quickly finished looking around the community center. It all looked pretty much the same no matter what room he went into; dilapidated. The only really interesting thing in each room was a strange golden scroll. Unfortunately they were all written in a strange language that he couldn’t decipher.

He made his way back to Apollyon, amused to see that the old white Junimo was still waving around their twig trying to get his attention. Apollyon was still ignoring them in favour of scratching the worn wooden ground. However when he saw Sebastian his interests immediately started to center around him.

Sebastian smiled a little at him. “You ready to go home yet Apollyon?”

“S-Sebastian…” Crooned Apollyon softly.

The tone of their voice made Sebastian’s skin crawl a little, but he was glad they could kind of talk now. Still didn’t mean they were smart enough to make intelligent sentences. “Yep that’s me. Home now?”

Green walked up to Apollyon and started waving around, making all kinds of squeaks and arm gestures. Surprisingly Apollyon seemed to take notice of Green and listened to what they said. When it was done squeaking Sebastian once again found himself getting picked up by Apollyon and carried down to some room. Surprisingly, despite being a room he had been in previously it was suddenly filled with pillows and blankets. He had very mixed feelings about this.

Green just looked extremely proud of themselves and even did some grand sweeping bow out of the way. That only lasted for a few seconds before the started trying to push Apollyon towards the set up. They started squeaking impatiently at him.

Apollyon grunted and put Sebastian down, lying next to him. “… Sebastian?”

Sebastian sat next to him. “Yeah?”

He reached out and quickly wrapped his arms around Sebastian’s middle, pulling him close. Apollyon made a soft purring noise as he lightly ran his claws over the relatively thick fabric of Sebastian’s hoodie.

It seemed like Apollyon wanted to keep him with him like this for some reason. Was he some toy to Apollyon now? No. He doubted that. He seemed to have some kind of obsession to protect him. Sebastian had no way of really knowing for sure, but he kind of guessed that since his last act as a human seemed to be to protect him, maybe it carried over when he came back like this? It was a nice thought, but he wasn’t too sure.

He had no idea how he was going to get Apollyon back to the farm, but he was getting pretty tired himself. Smoking and running after a demon boyfriend in the middle of the night would wear anyone out. Sebastian would figure this out in the morning.

Chapter Text

The next day Sebastian woke up first. This wasn’t that surprising considering that a purple Junimo was poking his face with a stick. He batted it away and slowly sat up. Purple did not seem to appreciate this and gave Sebastian one last poke before running away.

He sighed and rubbed his eyes a little before glancing down at Apollyon. Surprisingly he no longer looked like some kind of Lovecraft nightmare fuel, but he still wasn’t all the way back to normal yet. He’d shrunk down again to what could be considered his normal human height, greyish skin completely covered his body hiding away any and all visible bones and organs, his face now looked a lot more human but still had more eyes than necessary and didn’t actually seem to have a nose. He did however have a lot of thick black hair on his head.

Sebastian smiled and brushed some of the hair out of his face. Apollyon looked so peaceful right now. Maybe his mind will finally be healed enough for him to understand what he was saying fully and wouldn’t randomly run off? That would be nice. Now the big question was how on earth was Sebastian get Apollyon back to the farm without people seeing him?

As he wondered this Apollyon woke up and wrapped his arms around him. He still had gnarly looking claws that were more akin to talons protruding from each finger. “Sebastian?”

He hummed a little, gently placing his hand on Apollyon’s arm. “Yeah, I’m here. Just trying to figure out how to get you home.”

Apollyon sighed a little and slowly tightened his grip on him. “… Sorry… Scared you.”

Sebastian was impressed that he had the ability to make a cohesive sentence. “It’s okay. We just need to get you home before anyone sees you and… You’re completely naked…” In all due respect, Sebastian should have noticed this sooner. However when he initially looked over his body Sebastian didn’t really think that checking to see if Apollyon’s reproductive anatomy was back to normal was a top priority.

Apollyon didn’t seem to have too much shame at the realization of his nakedness and instead just nuzzled Sebastian while making soft animal sounds. “Safe now… Safe.”

“Yeah, we’re safe in here I guess…” He looked around and saw that weird green Junimo that seemed to appear all the time. “Hey, you. Come over here.”

Green paused and pointed to themselves. “Squee?”

“Yes you. Come here.” He felt ridiculous talking to this thing, but it wasn’t like he had much of a choice.

Green waddled over to Sebastian and looked up at him, placing their hands on their hips. “Brrrrrrrrrriiii?”

“I have no idea what you are saying. Look, just go get Apollyon’s parents at the farm. You know his parents? The ones on his farm?”

Green stared at him. “Squee?”

“… Yoba, you have no idea what I’m saying do you?” He sighed. “Alright, Go to the farm. Faaaaaaarm. The place where Apollyon grows things. Get his family. Fa-ma-leee. Make sure they bring clothes. Cl-oh-ths.” He tugged at his hoodie for emphasis. “Do you understand me? Cl-oh-ths.”

Green looked offended and started to jump around and wave their arms at him. “Squee! Squee! Squee! Brrrrrrrrriiii! Pip! Pip! Squee! Brrriiii!” They stamped their foot a few times and glared at him.

“… Sorry?”

Green huffed and stormed off making more grumpy squeaking sounds. It was impossible for Sebastian to know if Green was actually going to do what he asked it or if he just pissed it off. He probably just pissed it off knowing his luck.

“Sebastian?”

“Yeah?”

“… I love you.”

“I love you too.” Apollyon made a pleased sound and pressed his lips against Sebastian’s cheek. Sebastian chuckled a little and kissed Apollyon. “Did you forget how to kiss or something?”

“… Smooch. I want to smooch.”

“That’s what kissing is you big dummy.” Sebastian smiled and ran his fingers through Apollyon’s hair. It looked a little greasy, but it was actually very soft and silky. It made him happy to see Apollyon so content and calm.

Suddenly the door to the community center swung open with an almighty clatter. “Apollyong? Baby bean? Where are you?”

“We’re in here!” Called Sebastian.

Within seconds Elizabeth was in the crafts room and giving Apollyon a big hug. “Why did you run off? That was very, very bad! Someone could have seen you! Colt and I had no idea you were gone until Green came by and told us about you!”

Apollyon made a sad sound. “Sorry mum…”

She looked surprised to hear him talk, but that just made her smile even more. “That’s okay love. Now let’s put some clothes on you.” It was kind of amusing watching Elizabeth try and get Apollyon to wear pants. It was easier for her to a jacket on him, though he seemed to be confused by the zipper. “Thank you for looking after him Sebastian. I don’t know what I would have done if he just up and vanished. Poor baby is still just getting his mind together.”

Sebastian shrugged. “It’s no big deal… I was more worried that someone was going to see him. How are you going to get him back now?”

“Well, it’s the festival of ice today, so we just need to wait until about ten to get him home.” She smiled lovingly at Apollyon. “Are you hungry baby bean? We’ll go home and I’ll get you something nice to eat. We’ll bring something for the Junimos later to thank them for letting you stay here last night.”

Apollyon grunted a little and scratched at the ground a little. “Okay…”

Elizabeth smiled. “Good. Sebastian, you can go now if you like. I’d assume you need to make an appearance at the festival?”

Sebastian nodded. He didn’t really want to go. He just felt tired and kind of just wanted to hand around Apollyon and watch him become more human. Then again he could just imagine Demetrius or Robin chewing his ear out about skipping out. Heck, Sam and Abigail would do the same thing but probably just assume that he and Apollyon were fucking or something. “Yeah… I should go.”

Saying that made Apollyon look distressed. “Sebastian?”

“I’ll come by today after the festival. Promise.” Said Sebastian. He held Apollyon’s hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze. “You don’t have to worry. Okay?”

“… Okay.” He still seemed upset, but not nearly as distressed as he was moments ago.

Sebastian said his goodbyes to Elizabeth and Apollyon and headed out. It was close to the time when the festival would start so he just headed down to Cindersap forest. By the time he got there the festivities were well underway with people checking out ice sculptures and making snowmen. He hadn’t made one of those since he was in middle school.

As he reminisced about this Abigail almost knocked him over when she hugged him. “Sebby!”

“Ack!”

She giggled and poked his cheek. “Hey there mister grumpy gills. How are you today?”

“Tired, and now my back hurts.” Said Sebastian calmly. “What about you?”

“I’m good. I made a snow goon.” She gestured to her snow goon. “So is Apollyon going to turn up at some point?”

“… Don’t think so. He’s still sick.”

Sam sighed dramatically. “That sucks man. So seriously, how sick is he? It like, sounds like he’s at deaths door at this rate.”

Sebastian shrugged. “It’s whatever. He’s getting better so he should be good in a few days.”

“Hopefully he’ll be healthy enough to hang out with you on your birthday.” Said Abigail. “You two gotta have that birthday sex. The gift you give when you fuck up and forget to get your lover a present. Wear something skimpy and slap a bow on your head.”

Sam chuckled. “You can also turn that in to Winter star sex if the bow is candy cane striped and or you wear a Santa hat.”

“Fucking genius right there.” She slapped Sam on the back.

Sebastian rolled his eyes. His friends were idiots at the best of times. “When and if we do screw around it has nothing to do with you guys so zip it. If you two are so interested in sex why don’t you two do it?”

Abby cringed at the thought. “No way. Sorry Sam, but not interested.”

“Same.” Said Sam. “Nothing personal Abs, but you’re not my type.”

The two of them continued to bicker up to the time when fishing competition started. Willy won again hands down. It really wasn’t that much of a competition considering how good he was at it. Pam and Elliot put up a good fight, but they just didn’t have what it took. They tried, so that’s all that counted right? Either way Sebastian would never end up doing something like that. Way too much pressure.

When the competition was over everyone started to head home so they could get warm inside. However, Abby seemed to have other plans. She started to head straight up towards Hellfire farm with Sam following behind her. This wasn’t going to end well.

“Where are you two going?”

“We’re going to see Apollyon, dah.” Said Abby like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “Sick or not he’ll be happy to see friends, right?”

Sebastian really couldn’t think of a good reason as to why they shouldn’t head to Apollyon’s farm. He could only hope that Apollyon wasn’t outside doing weird demon things. He didn’t know how he could explain to them how or why Apollyon was a demon. Granted he looked less like a demon than he did yesterday, but still. Maybe he would hide if anyone came onto the farm? That would be good, but since he seemed to like coming out to say hi to him he was probably going to come over and hug him again. Yoba have mercy.

They made it onto the farm no problem and easily made it halfway across the property without any incident. That was good. That was very good. Maybe Apollyon was smart enough to stay hidden around other people now? Maybe? Please Yoba let that be the case.

When they got to the farm house, Abby happily knocked on the front door. Moments later Elizabeth opened the door. She was smiling brightly at them. “Hello there. Is there something I can do for you three?”

Abby smiled back at her. “Hi. I’m Abigail, that’s Sam and that’s Sebastian. We came over to see Apollyon since he’s all sick and junk.”

Elizabeth’s smile wavered a little as she glanced over at Sebastian, but she still had a warm and welcoming atmosphere about here. “Well it’s very lovely to meet you two. I’ve already met Sebastian on a number of occasions. Always a pleasure. You three look positively freezing. Come on inside.” She ushered the trio inside and started to boil some water. “I’m sorry but Apollyon is sleeping at the moment and I don’t think it would be polite to wake him. Would you like some tea? I only have orange and cinnamon or lemon and ginger.”

Sam flopped onto the couch. “Your choice Mrs Apollyon’s mum. We’re not too fussed.”

She giggled a little at that. “Right, I didn’t introduce myself. I’m Elizabeth. Please either call me Elizabeth or Liz.”

“How about Lizzy?” Asked Abby.

Elizabeth paused for a moment, almost as if perplexed by the question. “No one has ever called me that before… Yes. That is acceptable.” She got some mugs out of the cupboard. “So Sam, Abigail, have you met my husband yet? His name is Colt. He might come off as a bit of an asshole, but he’s just a big kitten under all that grumpiness.” The trio shared a look that made her sigh. “So you have met him then?”

Sam nervously scratched the back of his head. “Yeah, he um… He’s an interesting guy… So why weren’t you two at the ice festival today?”

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly have gone.” Said Elizabeth. “I had to take care of my poor baby bean. He hasn’t been himself lately and needs someone around until he’s back in the right state of mind… Though I would have loved to go. I haven’t been to the festival of ice in years. It would have been so nostalgic.”

“So you grew up here?” Asked Abby.

Elizabeth laughed a little and brought over her tea tray, placing it on the coffee table. “Why yes I did. Same with Apollyon. First few years of his life were on this farm… And while I had my reservations about him coming back here in the beginning, I’m glad he did. He seems to have really settled in and made place for himself here. I can’t imagine him living back in the city anymore.” She poured them some tea and took her own mug. “… I do wish he had a few more choices when it came to cups… I had to get Colt to buy a set of mugs just to enjoy some tea.”

Abby nodded a little and took one of the mugs. “… The tea’s nice.”

“Thank you. I brought it with me when I came over.” She glanced over at Sebastian. “By the way, Apollyon should be fine in a day or two. Once he’s back to normal Colt and I will head back home.”

Sebastian nodded a little. He hoped that was going to be the case. He needed to actually sit down with Apollyon and talk about what the hell happened. He could only get so far with trying to talk to someone with the mind of a small dog.

***

The Wizard was pissed. He hadn’t even set the barrier up for half a season and someone had gone and fucked it up. He suspected the Junimos. He stormed into the community center and glared at them. “Alright! Which one of you went and broke the barrier?!”

The Junimos looked at each other before quickly scattering. If one was in trouble they were damn well sure they were all going to get in trouble.

“Hey!” He yelled. “Get back here! You can’t run away from this! One of you did this and I plan to find out who it was!”

The Junimos escaped into the holes in the walls and the rafters, doing their best to stay hidden and out of sights. However they wouldn’t stop squeaking. Which kind of negated the whole hiding thing.

“I can still hear you! I am going to find out who it was damn it!”

Chapter Text

Colt clicked his tongue in annoyance. He and Sebastian had been going over demon classes for about an hour but they weren’t really making much progress. Sure Sebastian understood that there was this class system thing going on but it was still difficult to understand.

“Look, it’s not that hard to understand.” Said Colt. “The demon hierarchy is in constant battle for power and therefore the title of Belcifer is a title like king or queen. Any demon can be Belcifer, but not all demons are Belcifer. All demons under Belcifer are like a normal monarchy. The only way it changes is if another demon comes in and kills the current Belcifer. Basically regicide is the only way to change the ruler of the Void.”

“I know who Belcifer is.” Muttered Sebastian. “I just didn’t realize that regicide was a thing… Belcifer is just like, meant to be Yoba’s opposite.”

“Well yeah, all demons are the opposite to Yoba.” Said Colt coldly, like Sebastian was just wasting his time. “Now, there are three circles of influence under Belcifer. The first circle would be like nobility and they are the ones most likely to become Belcifer. The second circle would be the ones that can worm their way into the first circle but are generally the ones that kick up the most shit for humans and are the ones usually summoned here. The third circle are practically cattle. A legion of faceless, shapeless cannon fodder.”

“… And Apollyon is?”

“He’s cannon fodder. Nothing more.”

Elizabeth sighed and brought them both some tea. “Now Colt, don’t be mean. Apollyon might have been a lower class of demon, but that doesn’t matter. He could have been Belcifer if he put his mind to it.”

Colt rolled his eyes and drank some tea. “Yeah, well I highly doubt that love. Remember, he was pretty much a slug in the Void.”

“Yeah, but how was he able to look like how he did?” Asked Sebastian. “I know people have explained it as like his body is trying to be human again but like, he wasn’t really human to begin with and I just… I’m confused…”

Elizabeth was sympathetic to Sebastian’s confusion. “It’s okay dear. It’s kind of like um… Oh it’s hard to explain… Apollyon has just been the way he is for so long I’ve just accepted that this is who he is. I’m just glad he is alright.”

“Third circle demons are weak but extremely malleable. Like a polymorph.” Said Colt. “He just ended up bonding to the human body easier than others. Most demons don’t possess someone for that long. As far as we know he’s the only one of his kind.” He took a cigarette out of his pocket and went to light it.

“Colt, outside.” Said Elizabeth in a warning tone.

He grunted but relented and walked outside. With him gone Sebastian relaxed a little and leaned back on the couch. He wanted to learn more about Apollyon’s demon side. He didn’t expect to get a full lesson in demonology. And on his birthday too. Then again this was probably the most free time he had at the moment at least in the morning.

Elizabeth smiled a little and sat next to him. “I know it’s a little hard, but thank you for trying to learn. I know Apollyon will appreciate it. Anyone would appreciate it… So have you gotten anything for your birthday yet?”

“… How did you know it was my birthday?” Asked Sebastian. He hadn’t told her, he hadn’t told anyone. He just showed up on their doorstep around midmorning. He was tired as fuck but he needed to sneak out of the house early if he was to avoid any and all of the family social interactions he was going to have to go through if he ran into his family.

“Oh, your aura is especially bright and kind of white today. Giving off an ethereal glow of renewal. It’s either your birthday of the month of because the planets Mars and Venus are now parallel to each other and centering on your rebirth cycle.”

“… What?”

“Just joking. It’s on the calendar.” He pointed to the calendar on the wall. “When I was younger my father had one just like it. I always thought it was kind of odd to have everyone’s birthday written on it, but hey, that’s small towns for you.”

“… Right.” He sipped his tea.

She giggled a little. “Ah, I’m sorry dear, you probably wanted to spend it with Apollyon doing the kinds of things couples do… Though frankly dear if you were hoping to have sex with him you would have needed to bring your own lube and condoms. I accidentally knocked over his bedside table and he was just keeping his socks in there.”

Sebastian nearly choked on his tea and went bright red. Apart from the occasional crude joke or innuendo from Sam or Abigail, Sebastian was not used to people being so open about sex stuff. Especially when it was the parent of the person he was currently dating.

Elizabeth patted his back and laughed. “Oh, I’m sorry Sebastian I just couldn’t help it. I remember what it was like to be young and enamored with my first love. The first time with them is always just… It’s a special kind of magic”

“… He isn’t my first love though?” He was silently preying that Yoba would strike him down with a bolt of lightning to end his suffering. He didn’t want to hear about Elizabeth’s first time.

“Honey, as far as I’m concerned any time you have sex with a new person you’re practically a virgin. Besides, Yoba doesn’t care if you screw around. Don’t be fooled by mistranslations. The passage about not laying your seed in soil used till nothing is left is referring to how it’s pointless to try and have a baby with an infertile woman. If anything it’s encouraging polygamy or surrogates more than anything.”

Why was Yoba not striking him down? What did Sebastian do to deserve this? Could a storm just sweep through and pleat him with hail? Right in the forehead would do nicely. Death could come nice and swiftly or slowly. He wasn’t fussed. Just as long as he no longer had to listen to this.

The lightning strike came in the form of the Wizard suddenly walking in. “Hello Elizabeth. Sebastian.”

She smiled at him. “Ras, so good to see you again. What can I do for you?”

The Wizard sighed a little and pulled up a chair. “Okay, so I just came from having a talk with the ICGMAC. Long story short those idiots that came here in the first place got a slap on the wrist and are no longer allowed in Pelican Town. Also, since the Junimos are willingly interacting with Apollyon the council has ruled that Apollyon is a necessary embodiment of natural chaos and his destruction would do more harm than good. He’s practically been elevated to the status of pagan god.”

Elizabeth gasped in shock. “Really? That’s amazing! Well now he won’t have to worry about people trying to kill him now. Right?”

“Right.”

Sebastian stayed quiet through this whole exchange. He didn’t really understand what the hell was going on. He was still trying to wrap his head around the fact the Belcifer was a title and not the name of the actual demon king of the Void. He didn’t really want to understand the reason why a bunch of magic people would go from calling Apollyon a demon to then call him a pagan god. He wondered how Apollyon would take his new status?

The Wizard tapped Sebastian’s shoulder. “Hey, I have something for you.” He handed Sebastian something heavy wrapped in tissue paper. “Happy birthday. Apollyon wanted you to have this.”

“…” Sebastian unwrapped the gift and was surprised to see that staring back at him was an obsidian frog. He loved frogs and he loved obsidian. He had to have gotten this ready for him before Winter started. “When did he?”

“Last day of fall.” Said the Wizard. He wanted you to have it and asked me to give it to you in case something terrible happened to him. Like this.”

Sebastian nodded a little and kept looking at the obsidian frog. He couldn’t believe that Apollyon would organize something like this so far in advanced. But if that was the case why didn’t Apollyon tell him he was going to get attacked? He didn’t understand that. Didn’t he trust him or something?

A deep groan could be heard coming from the bedroom. Moment later the door opened up and Apollyon walked out. His skin was pale and grey and he his nails were more like talons rather than actual nails, but apart from that he looked human. “… What day is it?”

Elizabeth grinned and hugged him. “Welcome back baby bean. You feeling okay?”

“I have a headache.” He muttered. “What day is it?”

“The tenth of winter baby bean.”

“… Sebastian’s birthday. I need to go see him.”

“I’m right here.” Said Sebastian calmly.

Apollyon quickly moved over to him and hugged him, resting his head against Sebastian’s shoulder. He sighed contently. “Happy birthday Seb.”

Sebastian hugged back. “Thanks… Are you okay?”

“I have a headache.” Mumbled Apollyon. “You didn’t get hurt did you?”

“No I’m fine… Thank you.”

Apollyon smiled a little. “Don’t thank me. I’m just glad you’re still alive and safe.”

Elizabeth giggled a little and started to push the Wizard outside. “Well baby bean, we’ll leave you two alone for tonight. Hopefully you’ll get a bit more pink in your skin over the next few days.” Apollyon gave her a thumb’s up as they left, leaving him and Sebastian alone.

They were quiet for a few moments before Apollyon spoke up. “So what do you want to do for your birthday?”

“… Seriously? Apollyon you’ve got a headache, look like you just died, and yesterday you looked like a monster from a horror movie.” Said Sebastian. “We can just hang out here for a while.”

“… Okay.” Apollyon laid down on the couch with his head resting against Sebastian’s lap. His hair had grown out a lot and he no longer sported his usual half buzz cut. Now it was longer and looked a little more like Elliot’s hair. Maybe now he would have to tie it back? He’d look good with a high pony tail.

Sebastian ran his fingers through Apollyon’s hair. It was soft and silky. It reminded him a little of animal fur. He liked it. “… If you’re up for it Sam and Abigail are gonna come over to my place and we’re going to watch movies… Do you want to come over? You don’t have to, you’re still kind of out of it.”

“I’ll go. I’m not that out of it.” He yawned a little. “I’m just tired… Did you get my present?”

“Yep.” He held the frog in front of Apollyon’s face. “I love it. Thanks.”

“I’m glad. I didn’t know if you were going to get it, but I’m glad you did.” He reached over and held Sebastian’s hand. “… I’m sorry. I didn’t intend for you to ever see me like that. I just… Life has a way of getting the best of you sometimes.”

“Yeah…” Sebastian wanted to talk to him about what the hell happened more, but he didn’t feel like now was the right time. He’d wait a little bit. Just until Apollyon didn’t have a headache. It would give him time to think about what he wanted to say to him and how to say it without sounding too upset or accusatory.

***

Apollyon was happy, tired but happy. He was relatively back to normal now and well, he knew and remembered all the stupid things he did when he was in his more demonic form. He couldn’t believe how tolerant Sebastian was during the whole ordeal.

He was going to make it up to him and be the best boyfriend he could possibly be. Especially because it was his birthday. So when night fell he made his way over to Sebastian’s house, much to the chagrin of Elizabeth. She wanted him to stay home for just a little longer, but Apollyon had insisted so she let him go. But only after he filed his talons down to something more human looking.

So he found himself sitting on the floor in Sebastian’s room by his bed while Abigail brushed his hair, pulling it back into a pony tail. “Seriously, how quickly does your hair grow? Damn stuff grows faster than like, a guy’s beard… or pit hair. That shit’s annoying.”

Apollyon chuckled a little and rubbed his eyes. He still had a bit of a headache but he was making the best of it. “That’s true. But it’s kind of whatever. I think I might leave my hair like this. Let it grow out and junk.”

“Sexy.”

“Damn right it is.”

She looked over at Sebastian and grinned, “Hey do you think Apollyon’s sexier with his hair long or like how it was before?”

Sebastian looked up from his laptop. “He looks good no matter how he has his hair Abby.”

She rolled her eyes and finished fixing up his hair. “You’d think he look sexy no matter what he did with his hair or what he looked like, wouldn’t you? Sam, what do you think?”

Sam shrugged. “Each to their own. I don’t like Apollyon that way so I don’t care what his hair looks like. But either way he looks fine.”

Apollyon smiled and finger gunned at him. “Thanks dude. Glad you have my back. You picked a movie yet Sebastian?”

“Still looking for one.” Said Sebastian. “Can’t decide if I feel like comedy sci-fi or action sci-fi.”

“British comedy sci-fi or American comedy sci-fi?” Asked Sam.

“British.”

Abby groaned. “If I have to hear fucking dolphins singing so long and thanks for all the fish again I will shove the nearest sharp object up your ass.”

As Sam and Apollyon laughed Sebastian fake pouted at her. “But it’s my birthday. I get to decide what we watch today.”

“Don’t care.” Said Abby. “No singing dolphins, or people waving around towels, or sighing doors, or manic depressed robots… Or 42!”

“But that’s the answer to the question!” Said Apollyon in shock. “The answer to life, the universe and everything!”

She looked down at him in disgust. “Gross, you two are made for each other.”

Apollyon laughed a little and looked over at Sebastian. He was back to looking at his laptop, but Apollyon could see him smiling ever so slightly. Sure, he didn’t look like he was smiling but you could tell if you knew him. His lips curled up ever so slightly at the corners. Sure Sebastian wasn’t overly expressive which made many people think he was a cold person, but he was very expressive if you actually took the time to get to know him. Every little facial expression no matter how minute made Apollyon’s heart melt.

“If it means I get to be with Sebastian I don’t mind being gross.”

Sebastian blushed a little when Apollyon aid that, Sam laughed at the cheesiness of it all, and Abby gagged. “Ergh, the sickeningly sweet cheesiness of your affection is making me wanna puke. I’d expect this kind of puppy love from like Sam, or Elliot, or Penny. Not you.”

“What can I say? I am a man of many talents. And once I learn how to play the guitar and read music I will compose the cheesiest, most sickeningly sweet love song and play it to Sebastian during the next Dance of the Moonlight Jellies.”

Sebastian looked over at Apollyon with a deadpan expression. “Do that and I will break up with you.”

Apollyon gasped a little and clutched his chest. “My boyfriend is so mean to me. Can you believe it?” Sam and Abby looked at Apollyon like he was an idiot. “… Okay fuck you guys. You’re mean too.”

After that the group settled down to watch; The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, much to Abby’s dismay. Apollyon just laughed and enjoyed the movie. He had somehow managed to get Sebastian on his lap around halfway through the movie. It felt good to hold him in his arms like this. Not like before when he was just able to grab him in one hand. While that was kind of fun it was also kind of creepy in a way. Later on they would need to have a bit of a talk about what had happened.

He quickly lost interest in the movie in favour of pressing his forehead against Sebastian’s back while thinking about what to say or what to do. Sebastian would probably have a lot of questions for him. Stuff like, what happened to him when he died? Did he know that would happen? Why didn’t he tell him about Gadreel? He didn’t really know what he was going to say. Well he had a little bit of an idea, but didn’t really know if he could come up with anything satisfying. He wanted Sebastian to have answers. Good answers.

“Aw, I think Apollyon’s all sleepy.” Cooed Abigail.

Apollyon opened an eye and looked at her. “Hmm?”

Sam chuckled. “And you woke him. You tired man?”

“A little.” Mumbled Apollyon. “Still sick. Sebastian comfy to use as a pillow.” To emphasize this he cuddled him more. He could hear Sebastian’s heart speed up a little when he did that. It made him smile a little.

Abigail chuckled a little. “Well, I guess we should head off then. Happy birthday Sebby.”

“Yeah, happy birthday Sebastian.” Said Sam. “We’ll see you tomorrow for band practice. Okay?”

“See you guys later.” Said Sebastian. Apollyon could hear the two leave the basement. Suddenly Sebastian grabbed hold of Apollyon’s arms and threw his weight to the side, making them both fall sideways onto the bed. Apollyon squeaked in surprise but quickly snuggled into him again. “… Are you doing okay back there?”

“Yeah.” Muttered Apollyon. “Just thinking about stuff and things… Did you have a good birthday?”

Sebastian wriggled around in his arms until he had turned around so he was facing him. “It was good. I got to spend most of it with you.”

“Yeah, and I wasn’t some stupid monster thing.”

“You weren’t stupid.”

“Bastian…”

“… Okay, you were pretty fucking stupid.” Admitted Sebastian. “But to be fair your brain was still trying to form properly… Why did you come to my house the other day anyway?”

Apollyon smiled sheepishly. “Well, you hadn’t come by in a few days and I got sad. For some reason I thought you were mad at me and I wanted to find you and give you something. It was only by chance it happened to be late at night.”

“And the reason you tried to pat Dusty?”

“I was going to go down to the beach to get you a fish because you were still upset at me… Then Dusty distracted me and I wanted to play with him, but I realized he was probably a bit too old…” He nervously bit his bottom lip. “And I took you to the community center because I realized it was late and people were sleeping. Therefore you needed to sleep… It made sense to me at the time.”

Sebastian nodded a little, contemplating what he said carefully. “Well, then I guess it wasn’t such a stupid thing after all… Were you trying to get me a fish because I like sashimi?”

“… Maybe.”

He chuckled a little and kissed Apollyon’s cheek. “You’re an idiot. You know that right?”

Apollyon pouted a little and poked his face. “I thought you said I was being logical and smart and stuff.”

“That was before I realized you were going to give me a live fish and expect me to eat it.”

“It would have air-drowned by the time I brought it to you.” Argued Apollyon. He brushed Sebastian’s fringe out of his face, pleased to see he was smiling at him. When Sebastian smiled at him like that, even for a moment, all his worries and all his pains and regrets that were running through his mind seemed so insignificant. With Sebastian here with him he couldn’t help but just forget.

Apollyon leaned forward and kissed him. Much to his delight Sebastian enthusiastically reciprocated. It felt good to touch and to be touched by someone he loved so much. Sebastian moved to deepen the kiss, but he accidentally kneed Apollyon hard in the dick.

“Ack!”

“Shit! Sorry!”

Apollyon curled up in the fetal position on the bed and gave a shaky thumb’s up. “It’s okay. At least I know my pain nerves have decided to connect again… Ow…”

“… Want some ice?”

“Yes please…”

Chapter Text

“… I’m a what now?” Asked Apollyon his shock.

“You’re a pagan god now.” Said the Wizard. “Don’t get a big head now, it’s just a title.”

And here Apollyon was going to see the Wizard so he could drop off some glazed yams his mum had made to thank him for looking out for him while he was running around like a demon. He didn’t expect to be elevated to the status of a god. He was pretty content with just being him, whatever that was. He still didn’t understand what it was exactly.

Apollyon put the glazed yams down on a table and scratched his head. “So um… Since I’m a god now what the heck does that mean?”

“Pagan god.” Corrected the Wizard. “The ICGMAC has ruled your existence as tolerable and has dubbed you a pagan god because while you have power you don’t go out of your way to cause harm to the wider world, unless provoked. Long story short, you can live however you like in Stardew Valley and no one will harm you, but we are going to keep an eye on you.”

“…Huh, alright. Are there many of these pagan gods around?”

“There’s a few.” He looked over at the glazed yams and nodded a little. “Your mother’s recipe?”

“Yep. She’s a good cook.”

“She is. So, do you have any further questions about your new title, Apollyon?”

“Do I have to do anything?”

“Just keep doing what you were doing before you died and came back as some demon amalgamation. By the way how is that going? All back to normal or are you still not all there?”

Apollyon shrugged. He hadn’t had many physiological changed that he noticed since he had regained his mental and physical functions. The only major thing was that his skin was still grayish and didn’t have proper pigmentation, apart from that he thought he was good. He didn’t have claws anymore or any random limbs poking out of his body.

The Wizard just frowned a little at his nonchalant attitude. “Well, just be careful. You probably still have Morgana’s magic flowing through you. I am not sure what her end goal is going to be now that you have this status. Just be careful, okay?”

“Yeah, okay. Later Wizard.” Apollyon left the tower and headed over to Marnie’s ranch. Today he was going to get a heater and get his chickens back. He opened the door and grinned when he felt the warmth radiating from the fireplace in the next room.

The women grinned as soon as she saw him. “Apollyon, so good to see you again. Where have you been? People were starting to talk.”

Apollyon laughed nervously and rubbed the back of his head. “Ah yes, you see my parents came over and I got sick, so I haven’t been able to leave the farm for a while. Hope I didn’t worry anyone too much.”

“Oh, you were getting there. So what can I do you for?”

“I finally have enough money to get a heater and get my chickens back.” Said Apollyon proudly.

Marnie beamed at him and happily helped him take his heater back to the coop and placed the chickens back. Butter and Crispy seemed very pleased to be back in their home and happily pecked at the ground. Once the chickens were happy Marnie headed back to the ranch.

Apollyon double checked that they had enough feed and headed back home. Elizabeth and Colt were in the middle of packing away their things. Now that Apollyon was all better they didn’t have any reason to stay any longer.

“Do you have everything?” Asked Colt.

“Yes dear.” She said. She looked over at Apollyon and sighed sadly. “Baby bean… I’m going to miss you.” She hugged him tightly. “Now, call us over soon, and not just because something bad happened.”

“I will mum. Don’t you worry. Want me to walk you two back to the bus stop?”

Colt huffed a little. “We’re fine. Come on Elizabeth.”

She sighed a little obviously not happy with how abrasive Colt was being towards Apollyon. “We’ll see you really soon baby bean. I’ll send you your winter star present in the mail.” She kissed his cheek and left with Colt.

While Apollyon was happy to have his home back he was kind of sad that his mum was gone. Then again her leaving meant Colt was gone too so that was the only good thing really. He sighed a little and sat on the couch. Immediately Goblin jumped up and sat on his lap. She looked up at him and licked her lips.

“Meow.”

He chuckled and gave her a few pats. She seemed to appreciate the jumper she was given now that the weather was freezing cold. Today she was sporting a jumper with a jack o’lantern on it. It was one of the ones he had ordered off the internet. Sometimes when she curled up she actually looked just like a pumpkin. He loved it.

“Yes Goblin, they are gone and I’m back to normal. You’re just going to have to get used to Sebastian coming by so no big deal.” A stupid grin made its way onto his face as he thought about Sebastian coming over and maybe finally being able to do it without something dumb happening, like someone accidentally kneeing the other in the dick.

***

Sebastian didn’t like going down to the clinic at the best of times. Maru worked there and depending on what he went there for she might say something to Demetrius or Robin by accident and get him into trouble. Well, not really in trouble per say, but it could lead him into some kind of awkward situations.

Luckily for him as he sat in the waiting room Maru didn’t seem to want to make small talk. Either that or she realized that he wasn’t going to say anything so she didn’t bother. After waiting what seemed like forever Harvey came out and got Sebastian to follow him into the back room.

“Now,” said Harvey. “What can I do for you Sebastian? Your annual checkup isn’t until next Summer.”

He shrugged. “I’m thinking of quitting smoking.” He hoped that Harvey wouldn’t be too nosey and ask why he wants to quit. Sebastian highly doubt Harvey would believe him when he said that he wanted to quit smoking because it was a bitch chasing after his demon boyfriend and trying to make sure that no one would see said demon boyfriend and freak out.

Harvey didn’t ask, but he did look very pleased. “That’s really good. So how long have you been smoking?”

“About five years I guess?” Sebastian wasn’t completely sure when he started, but he was pretty sure it was during his senior years in high school. It was a stressful time for him.

Harvey nodded and scribbled down a few things on his clipboard. “I see… Mind of I ask if there’s any reason why you smoke? Do you just do it because or is it a way to unwind and relax?”

“I mainly smoke when I’m stressed.”

“How many do you go through a week?”

“Maybe a pack? A pack and a half?”

Harvey nodded and scribbled down a few more things. “Alright… Now I don’t think you should quit cold turkey. That probably wouldn’t end too well for you. I think nicotine replacement therapy would work well for you. A combination of patches and gum should work out well for you.” He wrote a few things on a notepad and handed it over to Sebastian. “I’m pretty sure that Jojamart will have these brands. Use as directed on the box. If Jojamart doesn’t have this you can come back and I’ll order it in for you.”

Sebastian took the note and read it over. He was pretty sure he had seen this the few times he had been in there. “Thanks.”

“No problem. Is that all? No colds or fevers?”

“Nah, I’m healthy.”

“Well that’s good. Hope you have a good day. Feel free to come back at any time, and remember if you relapse at any point it’s okay. You can just try again, and hopefully you’ll be able to quit a little longer then last time. Each time you quit it gets a little easier.”

Sebastian nodded a little and quickly left the clinic without looking at Maru. He doubted that she would have said anything anyway. He walked to the Jojamart and looked through the pharmaceutical section. He quickly found one of the brands Harvey had written on the note and quickly got some gum and patch combo pack.

He nodded to Sam who was mopping up at the back of the store while listening to his music. He grinned when he saw Sebastian and gestured to what he was holding. Sebastian held up the box and Sam looked surprised. He dragged his mop bucket a little closer to Sebastian and took out of his ear buds.

“Congrats man. Finally trying to kick the habit?”

“Yeah, figured I should try and stop sending myself to an early grave. Harvey said this brand was pretty good.”

Sam nodded and kept mopping up, quickly glancing around to make sure Morris wasn’t around. “Well since I don’t smoke I wouldn’t really know. But if Harvey recommended it I guess it’s good.”

“Yeah.” He looked down at the packaging again. He was going to have to throw his cigarettes out. He couldn’t keep that temptation away if he was going to take this attempt seriously.

“What are you doing Sam?” Snapped Morris as he stormed over to him. “You’re not paid to talk to your friends.”

“Yes sir. Sorry sir.” Sam quickly walked away to mop near the frozen foods.

Sebastian cast him an apologetic look and quickly went to pay for his items. When he got outside he tossed his cigarettes in the closest bin and started chewing on some nicotine gum. It was alright for the most part. He wasn’t a big gum chewer. He hoped he wouldn’t have too many withdrawal symptoms.

He walked to Apollyon’s farm wondering if his boyfriend was going to be there or if he was going to be running around. Sure enough Apollyon was there, but he was hacking away at the trees with his axe. He was taking a few particularly hard swings at a tree stump, muttering something almost incoherent to himself as he did so.

“… Hey?”

Apollyon glanced over at Sebastian and grinned. “Hey there love. What’s up?”

Sebastian smiled a little and walked over. “Nothing much. I just wanted to see you. What are you up to today?”

“I saw the Wizard and now I’m chopping wood. You?”

“Nothing much. Just existing. Your parents inside?”

“Nah, Mum and Colt headed off this morning. Farm’s all mine again.” He picked up his axe again and started chopping again.

“… What do you need all that wood for?”

“Barns, coop upgrades, house extensions, farm things like kegs, and fences. I’m going to make a fence for my fruit orchid.”

He smiled a little. “You still going on about that?”

“Well a lot of my fences and trees got leveled when those assholes came by and tried to kill me. I have to plan everything out now again.” He pouted a little and ran his fingers through his hair. “Sucks, but whatever. I gotta do what I gotta do. Feel free to go inside and make yourself some coffee or something It’s pretty cold out here and I’m gonna be out here for a little while.”

“Thanks. Don’t stay out here too long. Okay?”

“Don’t worry. I don’t plan to.”

Sebastian smiled a little and walked inside. Goblin looked up at him from her position on the couch for a moment before laying back down and stretching out and ignoring him. He also ignored her and went about making his coffee. He also made one for Apollyon. By the time he had made both cups Apollyon was done chopping wood and made his way back inside.

“Thanks love.”

“No problem.” Sebastian gave Apollyon a cup and sat down on the couch next to Goblin.

Apollyon moved Goblin off the couch and sat next to him. He took a sip of his coffee and cringed a little. “Bitter…”

“Oh, right. Should have asked if you take yours with sugar and milk…”

“Don’t worry about it. I just forgot you take your coffee black.”

Sebastian hummed a little and drank more of his coffee. He needed to start asking questions. Right now was as good as any. “So… How long have those people been trying to kill you?”

Apollyon shrugged. “Years and years. It got more frequent after high school. But I think that was because I was a very angry person and liked getting into fights with people. It was easier for them to keep track of a thing that would attack other people…” He chuckled a little. “That’s why I started working for Joja. It was the most soul crushing and boring job possible so I’d be dead tired and unable to have the energy to fight.”

“… Did that work?”

“Kind of, but it just left me depressed and anxious. I’m glad I came to the valley. Sure the work is hard, but it’s so much better than sitting behind a desk all day.” He smiled a little and looked over at Sebastian. “Plus coming here I got to meet you. I never really thought I’d be able to meet someone that was cool with me being a demon. I don’t like hiding who I am from the people I’m close to but I’m glad you understood and accepted me.”

Sebastian felt a little guilty hearing that. “I didn’t believe you… Like until you actually died and stuff I didn’t believe you were actually a demon.”

“… Oh.”

“Sorry…”

“It’s okay. It’s kind of unbelievable…” He put his cup on the coffee table and nervously played with his jacket. “Normal people shouldn’t have any reason to believe it so why would you?”

“… Look, your normal isn’t most people’s normal.” Explained Sebastian. “When someone says they are a demon people don’t usually take that at face value. But I’m glad I stuck around and you know, I’m happy we’re together now.” He reached over and gently squeezed Apollyon’s hand. “I didn’t run away when I found out the truth did I? I stayed with you and well, now I feel like I’m closer to you.”

Apollyon squeezed back. “Really?”

“Really.” He leaned over and kissed him. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Chapter Text

Sebastian had started coming over more and more over the next few days. He said it was because work had finally started to let up now that the feast of the winter star was coming up and businesses were closing for the holidays. Apollyon wasn’t complaining. It meant they got to spend more time together. Most of it was spent curled up on his couch watching movies.

At the end of one of their latest movie, Apollyon ended up resting his head on Sebastian’s shoulder and hummed a little. “So um… I got a letter the other day from Lewis.”

“Hmm?”

“So you guys do a secret Santa kind of thing for the feast?” Asked Apollyon. “He sent me a letter and said my secret friend this year is Robin. I have no idea what to get your mum. Help me.”

Sebastian shrugged a little. “She really loves goat cheese, peaches and spaghetti. She also goes nuts for hardwood… Don’t laugh at that you pervert.”

“Sorry. Can’t help it.” Truly, Apollyon was a very immature individual. “Okay, I’ll make her some spaghetti… Is there anything you want?”

Sebastian sounded surprised. “Oh, you don’t have to get me anything.”

“Nah, I wanna get you something nice.” He looked up and kissed his cheek. “Got a book or something you really want?”

“Not that I can think of off the top of my head… What was the winter star like for you growing up?”

Apollyon thought for a moment. Most of his childhood was spent in the backseat of a car. He didn’t have an extravagant feast or a million presents like other kids. He didn’t even have a winter star tree. Best he had was a tree air freshener that he stuck some stickers on. His feast was whatever dinner they would have at the local homeless shelter with his mum giving him her dessert while she ate his carrots. His presents were more like a collection cheap knick-knacks. One year he got a knockoff truckmorpher. Flawless Elite. The colour scheme was all wrong and it never completely clicked into place when it transmorphed into tank truck, but he loved it.

He was sure Sebastian didn’t really want to hear that. “It was… It was just my mum and me mostly. It was quiet but we had each other and I was happy. I think mum was sad because she didn’t give me all the things other kids had growing up. I didn’t mind though. I was happy just to be with my mum.”

“… Is this gonna be the first time celebrating it without your mum?”

Apollyon chuckled. “Ah no. Last year I spent it sitting home while eating winter star themed chicken nuggets and terrible holiday themed movies. Depressing but that’s life. You?”

“Well, the town has a huge feast thing down in the town and we exchange gifts. Of course we also exchange gifts and stuff among family and stuff like that.” Said Sebastian. He sighed a little and ran his fingers through Apollyon’s hair. “So um… you can like come over and eat with us during the festival… I think mum would like that.”

“Just your mum?”

“Well of course I’d like it too. That’s just a given.”

Apollyon chuckled and cuddled him. “Good. I’ll look forward to it. It’ll be nice.”

“Yeah.”

Apollyon hummed happily and continued to let Sebastian play with his hair. It made him want to purr and do that thing cats do with their paws. That weird kneading thing they do when they get all comfy. Maybe he wasn’t all back to being completely human yet. Either way he liked Sebastian playing with his hair.

“… So um…”

“So?”

Sebastian coughed a little, blushing slightly. “Well, we haven’t really been able to you know… do it…”

“To be fair I think most people won’t want to fuck after getting kneed in the dick.” He cringed a little at that thought. Sebastian had really bony knees. “I only had all my human bits back in place for like a few hours and there you go trying to crush it.”

“It was an accident.”

Apollyon poked his tongue out. “Still mean. You should have warned me you were into that sadistic shit.”

“Oh my Yoba…”

“Hey, I like getting dominated once in a while but I’d rather not have my junk crushed.”

Sebastian blushed and lightly pushed Apollyon away. “You’re such an ass.”

Apollyon grinned and playfully nudged him. “Aw, don’t be like that. Just because I’m a demon doesn’t mean I’m a totally sexually depraved sociopath. If that was the case I’d be living it up in the red light districts of Zuzu city. Every working girl and boy would know me by my name and would show up at my funeral when I would inevitably fake my own death to start a new life somewhere else. The red light district would shut down for a week at my loss.”

The look on Sebastian’s face was priceless. Well, not really. He just looked at Apollyon like he was full of shit. “You just think you’re that good huh? If I remember last time it was my hand that made you cum.”

“And it would have been my mouth making you cum if I didn’t have a bunch of demon shark teeth in the back of my mouth at the time.”

That made Sebastian blush more. “Oh really now?”

It was a case of Apollyon not having a filter between his brain and his mouth and just spewed out words without thinking. “I’m willing to put my money where mouth is or mouth where your dick is as the case may be.”

There was a moment of silence between the two of them as they just stared at each other. Sebastian cleared his throat a little and averted his eyes. “I um… Well if you want to I wouldn’t say no…”

Apollyon smiled a little. “I want to, but before we do I kind of want to make sure all my teeth are back to normal. Have a look please?” He opened his mouth and let Sebastian look at his teeth. He thought it was kind of cute the way Sebastian tilted his head back ever so slightly to check his top set of teeth. Then again if he was going to stick his dick in something that essentially had razorblades in it a few days ago he would probably be doing the same thing.

“… Yeah, your teeth look normal enough.”

“If you want you can touch them. It’s not like I’m going to bite your fingers off or anything.”

Sebastian hesitated a little. “Nah, I trust you.”

Apollyon grinned at him. “What? You’ll stick your dick in my mouth but not your finger? You’re weird.”

“Says the guy that got minced and came back as some sexless demon thing.”

“Pretty sure there would have been someone out there that would have been dtf with me.”

“Possibly. The world is a weird place.”

Apollyon nodded in agreement and stood up, holding his hand out to Sebastian. “Bedroom?” The other didn’t say anything, but he smiled and took Apollyon’s hand and the two of them walked into the bedroom.

The moment they stepped into the bedroom most of the coy and hesitant behaviour Sebastian was displaying ended as the two of them kissed. The kiss quickly heated up as hot breath mingled and hands almost desperately pulled the other closer to each other. One of them stumbled over one of Apollyon’s boots and the two of them tumbled onto the bed.

The sudden fall shocked the two of them and they both froze. After a moment Apollyon chuckled and smiled up at Sebastian. “Hey, I didn’t get kneed in the dick this time.”

Sebastian pouted a little. “Don’t ruin the mood.”

“Not trying to.” He said in a playful manner as he glided his hands over Sebastian’s thighs, resting them on his hips just long enough to give his ass a firm squeeze. “You have a nice butt.”

That just made the raven haired man blush and avert his eyes. “I can just go home you know.”

“I know, and you can whenever you feel like it.” He reached up and ran his fingers through Sebastian’s hair. “I’ll never force you to stay if you want to leave.”

He smiled down at him and kissed him. Sebastian still wasn’t looking directly into Apollyon’s eyes. “I know.”

“So you gonna leave?”

“No.”

“Good.” He lightly grabbed Sebastian by his elbows and rolled him back onto the mattress with himself seated on his knees between his legs. He loved watching the way Sebastian’s hair fan out across the pillows. Sebastian looked perfect the way his milky white skin contrasted with his dark hair and even darker clothes. He felt like he could wax poetically like a certain local poet about how Sebastian’s skin was like marble, his colours in eyes continuous shimmered and changed like the untameable beauty of a sea storm, or how no matter what he did he always looked breathtaking.

Apollyon lightly pushed up Sebastian’s hoodie, delighted to feel the slightest quiver of his abdominal muscles under his touch. “Are my hands too cold?” He asked in a playful manner.

Sebastian rolled his eyes a little and moved up onto his elbows. He reached over to his lover and yanked his shirt so it was stuck around his head. “Keep asking like that and I’ll go home to jerk off.” He might have sounded harsh, but there was a hint of amusement in his voice that made Apollyon grin.

He pulled off his shirt and tossed it onto the floor. “I’ll try and stop asking if you’re comfortable.”

“Quit trying to be so thoughtful.”

“Nope. Love you too much to stop.” Cooed Apollyon.

Sebastian blushed a little and looked away, clearly embarrassed by this. He was absolutely adorable. “Shut up.”

“Wanna keep going?”

“… Yeah.”

Apollyon leaned forward and kissed him. A small moan escaped his lips as Sebastian’s hands ran over his back and chest. It felt good to have his lover’s hands all over him. It made him giddy and hungry for more skin contact. With skilful ease he managed to undo the buttons on Sebastian’s jeans and started to tug them down. Sebastian eagerly lifted his hips and allowed Apollyon to swiftly remove them with ease.

He hummed a little and lightly ran his thumb over the soft cotton of Sebastian’s heavily tented boxer briefs. “Yellow?”

“What? You expecting black?”

Apollyon shrugged and sat back as he undid his own pants. “Kind of. Also picked you for a boxers kind of guy. Maybe something with a spooky spirits eve inspired pattern? Not sure why though.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes a little and watched Apollyon undress down to his underwear. “Pretty sure it’s only girl’s underwear that has patterns and junk like that on it.” He seemed to like what he was seeing. Next time Apollyon would have to consider putting on a show for him.

“Ah, well I guess one of us is gonna have to go and start searching the web for sexy underwear. Think I’d look sexy in a thong?”

His lover blushed horribly and let out a groan as he collapsed back onto the bed, covering his face. “Stupid sexy demon…”

Apollyon couldn’t help the stupid grin that spread his across his face as he kicked off his pants. “Yay, you think I’m a sexy demon.”

“You forgot the stupid part.”

“I choose to ignore that part.” He leaned over Sebastian and rifled through his bedside drawer, taking out a bottle of lube and condom. “You actually gonna take off your hoodie or do I need to completely undress your stupid sexy human body?”

Sebastian spluttered a little and tossed his hoodie and shirt aside. “Shut up.”

Apollyon smiled a little and kissed Sebastian’s cheek. “I mean it. You are stupidly sexy. I wouldn’t want to have a sexual relationship with someone I didn’t find sexy in some way. You, I find sexy in every way.”

“You’re just saying words now.”

“Words that are true. True. True. True. True. True.” He punctuated each true with a firm kiss to his face, neck, or shoulder. Whatever his mouth was closest to at the time. He loved the way Sebastian’s heart started racing when he pressed his lips against his neck. He let his hand run across Sebastian’s inner thigh and lightly cupped his crotch, excited when he heard Sebastian gasp a little. “Sexy human.”

“Stupid demon.” He muttered as his cheeks began to burn red, not with embarrassment but his own arousal.

“Aw, I’m no longer a stupid sexy demon?”

“Took you long enough to remember the stupid part. There’s some hope for you yet.” He reached over and pulled down Apollyon’s underwear.

Apollyon moaned as his erection hit the cool air of the bedroom. He also happened to notice the slight relief the briefly flashed across Sebastian’s face. “… Did you think my dick wasn’t going to be normal?”

He shrugged a little. “Hey, I don’t know demon anatomy. You could have had some weird demon cat dick or dog dick as far as I knew.”

Apollyon snickered a little. “Babe, if having barbs on a dick or a knot is the weirdest thing you can think of, you have not been watching enough nature documentaries. Never look at documentaries with slugs doing the nasty.”

He cringed. “Fuck, you’re gonna make me go soft if you keep talking about slugs fucking. That’s gross.”

“It might be gross, but it’s one of those gross things you can’t turn away from, no matter how freaking disturbing it is.”

Apollyon was about to go off on a tangent when Sebastian grabbed hold of his dick and started stroking. “I have no idea if taking about weird animals doing each other is dirty talk to you, but if it is you really need to work on it.”

“Hmm, yes sir.” He moaned as he weakly thrusted up into his hand, trying to get him to move his hand faster. Before he could enjoy himself too much Sebastian moved his hand away. Apollyon let out a pathetic whine. “Bastian…”

Sebastian hummed a little and lovingly cupped his cheek, rubbing his thumb over Apollyon’s bottom lip. “I believe one of us was gonna give a blow job?”

“… Yes sir.” Apollyon had no idea where this suddenly dominant side came from, but he liked it. He shuffled back and let Sebastian sit up. He moved to the edge of the bed and gestured for Apollyon to sit on the floor, which he happily did. He hummed happily and tugged down Sebastian’s underwear exposing him. He took his length into his hand and ran his tongue along the underside of his shaft to the head. He relished the pleased moan that that escaped his lover’s lips. Encouraged by this Apollyon swirled his tongue around the head before letting his lips envelop him and he gave a gentle suck.

He placed his hands on Sebastian’s thighs and felt his lover’s pulse starting to race. It felt good to be able to make his lover heart race so quickly. Then again he might still be a little worried about his potentially sharp teeth. He ignored that thought and started to bob his head, taking just a little bit more of his lover each time.

Sebastian slowly became more vocal, gripping the bed sheets. He let out a deep groan when Apollyon’s tongue rubbed against the more sensitive area on the underside of his head. Glancing up, he only just managed to see Sebastian roll his head back as he let out a rather loud moan. In that moment nothing sounded sexier to Apollyon. Then again they were just starting and he could guarantee Sebastian would be making more sexy sounds.

“Fuck,” he moaned. “Fuck I’m so close.”

Hearing that Apollyon pulled back, giving the tip one last quick lick. “Nope.”

“… You’re an asshole.”

“Thought I was the stupid sexy demon?”

“Still doesn’t change the fact you’re an asshole.”

“I’d be an asshole if I just left you hanging like that.” He stood up and picked the bottle of lube he had previously gotten. “But I’m not. Lie back however you want and let me take care of you.”

It took a moment but eventually Sebastian got onto his knees and hugged a pillow. Though Apollyon would have preferred Sebastian on his back so he could see his lovers facial expression he wasn’t going to question it. He squirted some lube onto his fingers and started to rub against Sebastian’s hole. Sebastian squirmed a little under him as a blush quickly started to run down his neck, clearly visible against his skin. It was gorgeous.

It didn’t take too long before Apollyon was able to slip in a finger. He carefully watched Sebastian’s body language. He watched for any discomfort or laboured breathing coming for his love. He leaned forward and gently planted kisses along Sebastian’s shoulder and neck.

“Hey, if it gets too much for you just tell me to stop and I will. No shame in telling me to stop.”

Sebastian mumbled something incoherent into the pillow.

“… What?”

His boyfriend turned his head just enough so he could speak without being muffled. “Just been a while…”

“Want me to slow down a little?”

“… No.” He mumbled.

Sebastian’s voice was just too cute. He continued to finger his lover while kissing his shoulder blades and neck. As he added another finger Sebastian started moaning more as his eyelids started to slip shut. With his free hand Apollyon brushed some of Sebastian’s hair away so he could have a better look at his face.

If he was a weaker man, Apollyon would have just jumped him now. “You doing okay Sebastian?”

“Y-yeah. I’m fine.” He panted, but the second Apollyon twisted his wrist Sebastian’s legs buckled a little as he let out a particularly large moan. “Fuck!”

Apollyon smirked a little and continued to move his wrist in the same way to draw out more and more of those amazing sounds. Sebastian didn’t disappoint, though after a while it turned into him repeating the word fuck over and over again like a mantra. It was sexy.

Eventually he couldn’t wait any longer and started to look for the condom he took out before as he removed his fingers. He watched Sebastian whine as he rolled onto his side. He looked a little disappointed and a little frustrated but otherwise okay.

“You okay Sebastian?”

“… I was so close again…” He muttered.

Apollyon chuckled a little and put on the condom. “Sorry, sorry. I promise I’ll make you feel good in a moment.” He carefully moved Sebastian onto his back, smiling a little when he averted his eyes. His mild embarrassment was really cute. “You think you’re prepped enough?”

“… Yeah. Just put it in already.”

Apollyon smiled a little and settled himself between Sebastian’s legs. “You doing okay?”

“Yeah, I just…” He looked away. “It’s been a while…”

“Hey, it’s normal to be embarrassed having sex with someone for the first time. I was embarrassed and nervous as fuck when I pulled my dick out for the first time in front of you.” He gently cupped Sebastian’s cheek and tilted his face so that they were looking at each other. “Are you sure you want to keep going?”

Sebastian sighed a little and pulled Apollyon down into a kiss. “Why do you have to be so nice all of a sudden?”

“Because I love you.”

“Stupid demon.”

“Stupid sexy human.”

“Stop talking so much and fuck me already.”

Apollyon chuckled a little at Sebastian’s bluntness as he reached in between the two of them, gripping his shaft and lining up at his entrance. With little resistance he eased into him. Fully sheathed inside of his lover, Apollyon let out a shaky breath. The heat radiating from his lover made it feel like he was melting and it was quickly driving him crazy. Slowly, he started to move.

Sebastian released a heavy sigh as he dug his nails into Apollyon’s shoulders as Apollyon rocked into him. Apollyon groaned a little in response and buried his face into Sebastian’s neck. He pressed hot, open mouthed kisses into his lover’s neck while Sebastian laced his fingers in Apollyon’s hair while moaning into his ear. Okay, that was the sexiest sound Sebastian had made that night.

As Apollyon quickly picked up the pace of his thrusts he found one of Sebastian’s legs quickly wrapped around his hips, allowing him to push even deeper. A lustful growl bubbled up in his throat as he lightly started to bite the ever so soft and inviting flesh of Sebastian’s neck and shoulders. His bites made his lover gasp and dig his nails harshly into his back. More than likely it was going to leave angry red lines across his skin, but it felt too good for him to care right now.

“F-fuck!” Moaned Sebastian. “So close… Harder.”

With that Apollyon almost came completely undone. He held Sebastian’s hips tightly and started thrusting harder into him. Sebastian threw his head back and tightly gripped the headboard, but it still didn’t stop it from banging against the wall. His eyes were screwed shut and his lips slightly parted as he panted and started muttering all kinds of incoherent things again.

Now it was Apollyon’s time to curse as he felt a tight coil quickly building up inside him at an almost insane pace. He didn’t have long now, though he wanted to keep it going for as long as possible. He just had to keep it going for one more minute, just one more minute.

Suddenly Sebastian’s stomach muscles spasmed and he cursed as he came between them. That was enough to send Apollyon over the edge as he reached orgasm and thrust deep inside him as he came.

As Apollyon slowly came down from his high he pulled out of his lover and tossed the condom into a nearby bin. He collapsed on his side next to Sebastian and the two stayed like that for several minutes, panting and breathless.

“… I need a cigarette.” Muttered Sebastian.

Apollyon chuckled a little and brushed some of the hair off of Sebastian’s sweat stained face. “Really? I am going to kick you outside without your clothes if you wanna do that.”

“Rude.”

Apollyon shrugged and picked up his shirt, using that to wipe him and Sebastian clean. “Yep. That’s me. Big o’l rude demon. Want to have a bath now or later?”

Sebastian thought for a moment and shrugged. “Fuck it. Tomorrow is fine. I’m too tired to move.”

“But not tired enough to not want to smoke?”

“Hush you.”

Apollyon laughed a little and cuddled Sebastian. “Hey, let’s get some sleep. Tomorrow I’ll pamper you and look after you.”

Sebastian yawned a little and pulled the bed sheets up over them. “You better. Stupid sexy demon.”

“Stupid sexy human.”

Chapter Text

Sebastian felt like he was going to die of embarrassment. Somehow he had managed to wake up before Apollyon and shuffled into the bathroom. Looking in the mirror his shoulders and neck were covered in bite marks. Most of them were bruises but a few on the ones that had pierced his skin just a little down near where his neck met his shoulder. They weren’t deep just enough to knick his skin like a scratch.

He blushed as he thought about it. Apollyon had been amazing last night, but he was going to kick his ass is he was going to edge him on like that again. It wasn’t like it didn’t feel good at the time but holy hell it was frustrating. Hopefully Apollyon wouldn’t make it a habit.

He shuffled over to the bath and started to run it. He was glad that his mum managed to install a bathroom when Apollyon got a house extension. Sebastian knew for a fact that he was never going to go out and bathe in a pond during the middle of winter. The warm water was nice but it quickly fogged up the room. Sebastian didn’t really care as he got in and leaned back. He loved it. It was so relaxing.

A knock at the door made him jump a little. “Hey, Sebastian? You in there?” Called Apollyon.

“Yeah. You need to pee or something?”

“One of the many problems of having the bath and toilet in the same room. So can I come in and pee or what?”

“… Sure.”

Apollyon opened the door and walked past Sebastian, completely naked and relieved himself. “You know, if you woke me up I would have gotten the bath ready for you. You sure do like your bath’s hot huh?”

Sebastian shrugged as he watched the muscles in Apollyon’s back relax a little. He had faded red lines running all down his shoulders and back. At least Sebastian wasn’t the only one to get superficially injured. “Eh, didn’t want to bother you. It wasn’t like I couldn’t walk or anything.”

“I guess…” He flushed and washed his hands. “I’m gonna go get dressed and feed the chooks. I’ll make breakfast when I get back. How do you like your eggs?”

“Not on my plate.” Muttered Sebastian. “I hate eggs with a passion.”

Apollyon looked shocked. “Seriously? But I was planning on making my famous cheese and bacon omelet.”

“No eggs.”

“… Fine.” He walked over and kissed Sebastian. “If you’re not out by the time I come back I’m coming in to look for you.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes a little as he kissed back. “I’ll be fine love. It’s not like I’m gonna drown or something.” Apollyon chuckled and left the bathroom and Sebastian tilted his head back, letting out a small sigh. Yoba, Apollyon was being way too nice to him. At least that’s what he thought.

When the water started to get cold Sebastian got out, dried off and went to get dressed. Much to his surprise it seemed like Goblin had decided to relax on his hoodie. He didn’t like how smug the testical looked but still tried to carefully nudge her off his clothes. When she didn’t budge he just decided it wasn’t worth the effort and yanked it out from under her.

Goblin did a little flip and landed on her side. She looked up at him in disgust. “MEOW!”

“Next time don’t go parking your gross wrinkly ass on other people’s things and this wouldn’t happen.” She hissed at him and bolted out of the bedroom.

Sebastian rolled his eyes and pulled on his hoodie. He was glad that Goblin was hairless right now. He would have been mad if he had to brush cat hair off his clothes. He walked out sat on the couch, turning on the TV. The weather report said that today was clear and sunny but to expect snow storms tomorrow. He flipped over to the Queen of Sauce and listened to the blond haired woman talk about making a thing called a lucky lunch.

Suddenly the door opened up and Apollyon walked in straight into the kitchen. He was carrying something wrapped in his hands. “Oh, hey love. Good to see you managed to pull yourself out of the bath.”

“Nice to see you didn’t freeze outside.”

Apollyon laughed and unwrapped the thing he had in his hands. Turns out it was a salmon. “How do you feel about having fish and hashbrowns for breakfast?”

“… I am indifferent, but where did you get that fish?”

“Willy sent it to me.” Apollyon quickly started to prepare the fish and potatoes. “Lots of people have sent me stuff in the mail. More than once Shane’s sent me a frozen pizza in the mail. Though when I asked him about it he said he must have gotten really drunk… Either way I got free pizza.”

“Free mail pizza is best pizza.”

“Yep.” Apollyon hummed as he cooked. “You like your fish with our without the skin on?”

“Skin on.” Sebastian smiled a little as he watched him go. He looked happy to be working over a hot stove. Maybe he just liked cooking? Maybe he liked cooking for him? That would actually be really nice. He wasn’t too good at cooking himself and didn’t really do anything too fancy when he did. So this was nice.

Suddenly Goblin jumped up onto the kitchen table and hissed at Apollyon. He jumped in surprise and looked down at her. “Why are you so mad this morning? I put food and milk in your bowl.”

“Aren’t cat’s actually like, lactose intolerant or something?”

“Well yeah, but this is special cat milk, made for cats. It’s a treat for her.” He cut off a thin, fatty piece of salmon and gave it to her. “Stop being so mad.”

“… Meow.” She grabbed the fish and quickly dashed off.

Apollyon laughed and continued to cook. “Do you have anything planned for today?”

“Not really. Well, it’s Friday so like I’m going to the Saloon later tonight but that’s about it. You?”

“Planning farm stuff for next year.” He gestured over to some pencils and a note book on the table. “I’m going to try and maximize my crop output and I’m investigating if my chickens are just good for their eggs or if I can use them for something else… Also thinking of getting a duck… Maybe a cow…” He grinned at that thought. “I shall name her mignon.”

“Minion?”

“No, mignon. Like as in filet mignon.”

“… Why?”

“Because I named my chickens Butter and Cripsy. I’m kind of going on a food theme here.” He quickly plated up the food and gave Sebastian his plate. “Here, don’t feed Goblin any more. She’s already had enough treats for one day.”

Sebastian accepted the plate and happily ate. “Well I think she hates me so she’s not gonna want to come near me.”

“Wish you two could get along.”

“Eh, me and cat’s don’t get along too well. But I won’t bother her if she doesn’t bother me.”

The two continued to eat their breakfast and talk about random things. Eventually when Apollyon went to go and sketch up a few designs Sebastian made a few suggestions and asked a few questions. Apollyon was happy to share his own thoughts about why or why not he might implement Sebastian’s ideas until it started to get late.

“You heading out to the Saloon now Seb?”

“Yeah, I’m gonna go home tonight too. So don’t stay up for me, okay?”

“Okay love. Have fun.”

***

When Sebastian was gone Apollyon let out a depressed sigh. He ran his tongue over his gums, unable to feel the perfectly smooth, slimy membrane he felt small, rough pitted parts just above his teeth. And when he clenched his jaw he felt something trying to force their way through. It was like a second set of teeth were trying to break through. No, it was a second set of teeth.

He didn’t really understand why that was. He had thought he was back to normal now but apparently he still had some demon traits left over. Thankfully none of his more physical traits came through. He could only imagine what Sebastian would have said if that had happened during sex. Apollyon could only hope that Sebastian was a real kinky guy and would be down with some monster sex. Apparently the internet was full of people that that.

But he highly doubted that Sebastian would be cool with that. He just didn’t seem like the kind of guy that would be okay with getting subdued by a huge, clawed, fanged creature that could easily crush him by accident. Though he had to admit the thought of Sebastian being completely subdued under him was shamefully erotic to him.

Apollyon blushed and shook his head in an attempt to rid himself of those weird thoughts. “Ah, why did he have to be so damn cute and sexy? Stupid sexy human.”

He picked up his note book and started to write down what crops he needed to get for Spring. According to his calculations he needed to buy and plant more cauliflower and lots of parsnips. For some stupid reason the Junimos wanted five very perfect parsnips. Said they wanted it for some weird reason. Did they eat those things? It was impossible for him to really know. Those creatures were weird.

***

The second Sebastian stepped into the arcade Abigail made a beeline for him. “Oh Yoba Seb, is that a bite mark on your neck?”

Sebastian blushed and pulled the collar of his hoodie up tightly around his neck. He didn’t think it was that visible. “No…”

“It so totally is.” She grinned and poked his cheek. “You two had a lot of fun last night, or earlier today.”

“Shut up Abby.” He mumbled.

She chuckled and shook her head. “Hey, I’m not asking for details. But is like, Apollyon gonna show up anytime soon?”

“Don’t think so. He’s too busy making plans for his farm next year.” He looked around and frowned. “Where’s Sam?”

“Bathroom, but he was super excited about something and he said he wouldn’t tell me what it was until you showed up. Lame right?”

Sebastian shrugged and started to set up the pool table. Moments later Sam walked back in and went over to them. He had a huge grin on his face. “Hey guys so, big news. This morning my mum got a letter and- Are those bite marks on your neck?”

Sebastian pulled his hood up and yanked hard on the drawstrings so only his nose and mouth were visible. “Moving on.”

“… Right, well my mum got a letter and my dad’s finished his tour. He’s coming home next year.”

Abby gaped and hugged Sam tightly. “That’s so good! He’s been away for like what? Three years? I can’t believe it that’s so good!”

Sebastian smiled a little. “That’s cool. You might wanna look up stuff about PTSD and stuff though.”

“Why?”

“Dude, your dad’s been in a warzone. He’s probably seen some really fucked up shit he’ll never tell you guys. He could get triggered by like smelling something burning or hearing bubble wrap pop. You never know.” Sebastian himself was in no way an expert on these things but just watching the occasional war documentary he found interesting PTSD was always a huge thing when soldiers came home. He wanted things to go well for Sam and his family.

Sam frowned a little at Sebastian’s words. “… Huh, okay. I’ll have read up on that. I don’t think any of us would really know what to do if dad came home and a psychotic break… That’s what it’s called right? Or is it called something else?”

Abby shrugged. “I think it’s called an episode or something. Not sure… Oh well, more things for you to research Sammy.” She grabbed her wallet and sauntered off to the bar. “First round is on me ladies.”

Once she was out of earshot Sam went and grabbed a pool cue. “So… Apollyon’s a biter?”

Sebastian felt his face start to burn with embarrassment. “Yes, yes he is… Is it really that obvious?”

“Kind of. Just tell him not to bite so high on your neck next time, or maybe consider wearing scarfs for a while? It is winter after all.”

“I guess…”

“So um… Who topped?”

“… Why do you want to know?”

Sam blushed a little. “Well… I’m Bi curious and was wondering if it hurts…”

“… Well if you prep enough and don’t try to shove a watermelon up your ass first go, I’m pretty sure you’re not gonna hurt yourself too badly. Just go slow, lots of prep and lots of lube. You guys were the ones that said we need to use a lot of lube in the first place.” He hoped that what he said was enough for Sam. He really didn’t want to go into details about his and Apollyon’s sex life. Him and Abby knowing about the biting was bad enough in his opinion.

Sam seemed satisfied with this answer, and it was a good thing too. Abigail had just come back with their drinks. She passed them out and happily raised her glass. “I want to propose a toast. A toast to old man Kent finally coming home.”

The three clinked their glasses together and continued with their night. It mainly consisted of Abby playing the arcade machines while Sebastian destroyed Sam in pool.

Chapter Text

Today Apollyon was clearing out some more trees around the far side of his property. Specifically the Northwest corner. There the trees were really over grown and just kind of clumped together, making it ridiculously difficult to go through. To be honest he didn’t really understand how or why he was getting so tired so quickly. He could swing a sword for hours on end and not get tired but ten swings with an axe he felt like dying.

As he chopped away at the trees, he ended up stubbing his foot against some stones. On closer inspection it was a large stone tile, not a rock. Curious as to what this was Apollyon cleared all the foliage around it only to discover a shrine. There was an inscription on it that was worn away and almost illegible.

It annoyed him a little and continued to clear it away until he could clearly see some of the more well defined details of said shrine. It kind of looked like a tomb stone with an open book in front of it and four candle holders surrounded it. The whole thing was set into the side of the natural wall that bordered his farm. It looked interesting to say the least.

He crouched down and brushed off some dirt near a diamond shaped hole in the shrine when he noticed something sticking out between the shrine and the wall. He took it out, noting that it was a letter coated in a fine film of was. He had no idea how long it had been there or what it was doing there, but he took it out and had a quick read.

Apparently his grandfather’s ghost was going to come back on the third year of him living on the far. At least he hoped it was his ghost. If he was coming back as a zombie he would have a throw down with the old man.

“You are a complete and utter disappointment.” Called Morgana. Once again she was hovering around out of reach on her broom.

Apollyon was not in the mood for her antics and flipped her the bird. “Fuck off. I don’t have time for a psycho bitch like you. Because of you everything almost went tits up for me.”

She scoffed at him. “Oh don’t be such a baby. You messed up my plans big time. I put so much careful planning into it too. I even sent that flyer to that Yoba fanatic. Fat lot of good that did.”

“… You were the one that told Gadreel I was here?!”

“Yep. I thought for sure you were going to kill one of them. Hell, I was planning for it.” She sighed dramatically. “I watched the whole thing happen. When you turned into your perfect demon form you just… You didn’t kill the people that came here to kill you and you were so close to eating that stupid human.”

“… What?” His memories were pretty vague from when he came back. Did he really try and eat Sebastian? Wouldn’t he have said something to him if that had happened?

Seeing the worry coming over his face Morgana couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh yes. If it wasn’t for the pendant my ex gave the boy he would have gotten all chewed up.” She seemed way too disappointed that that didn’t happen. “If that wasn’t there and just two more seconds… But no! Everything had to be ruined! Damn Junimo’s threw it into the pond too… You didn’t even attack anyone when you went to find the stupid bastard a few days later!”

“Why do you want me to kill Sebastian so badly?!”

“Well he just seems like the most likely to die since you two are an item!” Snapped the witch. “Now you’re all like this. You kind of look dead!”

Apollyon growled and bared his teeth at her. “Shut up. This is all your fault. I wouldn’t look like this if it wasn’t for you. Your weird magic is making me look more like a demon!”

“… Um, well no. My magic kind of finished doing its thing when you became a full demon. Whatever all this is, this is just your body doing its natural thing without any kind of suppression going on. This is what you’re meant to look like.” She sighed a little and circled him on her broom. “Ah, I just wanted to cause some chaos to properly balance things out, but no. You had to go and screw things up. Now you’re a freaking pagan god!”

“… Yeah, so the Wizard said that means magic people have to leave me alone. So piss off.” Apollyon was quickly becoming uneasy with everything she was saying.

She just rolled her eyes and made an insulting hand gesture. “Hey, I’m not going to bother you for a long time. In a roundabout way my plan kind of worked. Granted I didn’t get the chaos I wanted but there is always a chance for that. Young magic users are idiots and if any of them think you can give them power or if you’re dangerous they might come to you from all over.”

“… Just leave me alone already”

Morgana laughed and started to float higher into the air. “Fine, I’ll be off now. Enjoy your new demonic body. Try not to munch on any stupid humans.” With one final cackle she zipped off somewhere.

Apollyon was uneasy about the thought that he was now back to his normal form, and that maybe people would try and find him. What was he meant to do if that happened? He didn’t have the ability to give people power or anything like that, and he didn’t want to fight anyone else that had it out for him. He needed to do something. He looked over at the pond and frowned a little. Apparently the demon repelling pendent was down there somewhere. He had an idea.

As he walked over to the pond he grabbed hold of a Junimo that happened to be trying to pull a yam out of the ground. This one was bright blue and seemed shocked they were getting man handled. “Wa? Wa up? Wa up?”

“I need your help for something. You guys can breathe underwater, right?”

“Owld bweth goo!”

“Excellent.” Apollyon got his fishing rod and tied the fishing line around Blue’s middle. “Now, I’m going to put you on the pond and you look for the pendant that the Wizard gave to Sebastian. I need to back for a thing. An important thing.”

Blue nodded and gave a tiny salute. “Okay! Hewp famer!”

“Glad we’re on the same page.” He picked up Blue and threw him into the pond. Much to his surprise the Junimo skipped across the water a few times and ended up floating like a bobber. Apollyon reeled them back in and gave the Junimo a rock. “Let’s try that again…”

This time when he threw Blue into the water they actually sank. From there Apollyon just had to sit and wait and contemplate what he was going to do now. Should he talk to Sebastian about this? Was this a couples thing they needed to do or was this a thing he could do himself? He was pretty sure this was just a him thing but he didn’t want to make some big mistake and upset Sebastian. That would be the worst.

Suddenly Blue bobbed back up to the surface clutching the pendant in their little stick arms. “Goh it! Goh it!”

“Thanks.” He reeled Blue back in, but when he attempted to grab hold of the pendant it felt like someone shot his finger. He cursed and shook his hand. Glancing down he was both surprised and not so surprised to see that his finger nail was almost completely blown off his ring finger. Almost. It was still hanging on by just a little bit if skin. Curing even more Apollyon bit it and yanked it off. “Mother fucking fuck… Okay. You keep holding that and we’ll go inside…”

He still had Blue on the end of his fishing rod so he held that out as far away from himself as he could while he walked into the house. He put Blue on the kitchen table and put Goblin in his bedroom for the time being. Normally he wouldn’t care but he needed Blue around for some help.

He then gathered some matches, candles, baking paper and a hand fan. “Okay Blue, put the pendant on the paper.” Once Blue did as they were told Apollyon lit a candle and started dripping wax onto it. Blue watched him for a moment before getting distracted by the burnt match. They started scribbling all over the table with it. “… You having fun there?”

“Ya!” Blue bobbed up and down and started scribbling some more. “Dis ooo!” They pointed to a stick figure with pointy teeth. “Dis ooo mate!” They pointed to a rather melancholy looking stick figure that looked like it might be smoking a cigarette.

Apollyon chuckled a little. He was kind of amused to see the Junimo draw him and Sebastian. “Not bad. Anyone else?”

“… Dis me!” They scribbled down a little round ball with stick arms and legs. “Gonna draw ewey one!”

Apollyon let them continue to scribble as he let the wax drip. Once one side was covered he used the hand fan to completely dry it out. Once it was dry he got Blue to flip it so he could coat the other side. Once it had set he picked it up and turned it in his hand. Getting covered in this he didn’t expect it get hurt. Instead he felt kind of lethargic and the palm of his hand was quickly getting his proper pinkish hue back.

“… Okay. This will work.” He went back to the pons and dug up a handful of clay and rummaged around inside one of his drawers until he found one of those screw eyes and quickly encased the pendant in the clay. Once it looked like a small hockey puck he stick the screw eye in one side and handed Blue a fresh matchstick. “Can you draw something on this?”

Blue bobbed a little and drew a Junimo into it. “Dat me!”

“It sure is.” He put the pendant in the oven and let the clay bake for a bit. “Thanks for the help Blue.”

“No pwobwem. Hewp fwend!” Blue happily hopped off the table and waddled back outside to enjoy the rest of their day.

Once the pendant had hardened and cooled down Apollyon put a chian through it and put it on. That horrible fatigued feeling quickly coursed through his body and made his skin go back to its normal pinkish hue and the rough pitted feeling on his gums was gone.

Apollyon smiled a little. He was human. He was still human. Whatever demon parts of him were back to being squashed into some dark and twisted corner of himself where it belonged. It made him feel safe again. If anyone asked him about it he could just say he found it or that the Junimos gave it to him. Now that he had that sorted out, he was going to head down to the beach to collect some shells.

***

On the way he ended up passing Emily’s house just in time to see her walk out to put out the garbage. She grinned at him. “Hey Apollyon. Haven’t seen you out and about in ages. What are you up to today?”

“Going down to the beach to pick some shells. Wanna come with me?”

“Sure. I have some time before work starts.”

The two of them walked down to the beach, happily chatting away as they caught up with everything they had been up to. Emily was really excited about getting some thick woollen fabric to make some nice looking vests, one of which she was making for someone for the feast of the winter star. Apollyon in turn told her about his family visiting for a few weeks.

They both laughed and made jokes about awkward family things as they started to collect shells. Apollyon found a few nautilus shells. One of them was a little cracked but the other looked pretty much perfect. He could sell this one for sure. Emily found a sea urchin and was more than happy to give it to him.

“Thanks Emily. You’re the best.”

Emily grinned. “Aw, thanks Apollyon. So you know about the gift giving thing we do in town each year, right?”

“Yeah?”

“Well, since you don’t really have much of a family here you’re more than welcome to come sit at my table and eat us.”

“Ah, thanks for the offer but I think I’m going to eat with-” He quickly stopped himself. Sebastian didn’t want people to know about them, right? But they came out to his family. Would Sebastian be mad at him if he told Emily they were dating? He didn’t want Sebastian to be mad at him, but he didn’t want to lie to Emily either. Hopefully he wouldn’t be too mad at him. “I’m gonna me eating with Sebastian’s family this year.”

“Oh, did Robin invite you?”

Apollyon looked down at the shell in his hand and nervously turned it over a few times. “… Actually Sebastian offered. He’s my boyfriend.”

Emily was quiet for a few moments before she made a very excited noise. “Congratulations! I knew your auras were looking brighter than usual. Classic signs that a mutual romance has blossomed between you two.” She gave him a quick one armed hug. “I hope you two have a long and happy relationship together. When did it start?”

“A-around the end of Fall.” He didn’t know why he was starting to get a little flustered talking about Sebastian. All he could think about was his laugh, his smile, and how kind and understanding he had been with him for the past few weeks. “We spend as much time together as we can. It’s easier during the winter since it’s so cold and I don’t have to do a lot of farming stuff. It’s nice.”

“That’s so sweet. I hope you two have lots of fun falling deeper in love with each other.”

A small smile made its way across his face. “Every second I get to spend with him is another second I fall more for him… And now I sound all cliché and cheesy.”

“Hey, cheesy is good. Who doesn’t like cheese? Well… apart from lactose intolerant people… but there is lactose free cheese!” She dusted the sand off her hands and sighed a little. “Well, I should head off now. Hope things turn out well for you and Sebastian. You two look so cute together!”

Apollyon blushed some more and waved at Emily as she left. He wondered if he and Sebastian really did look cute together? In his opinion they were more of an odd couple rather than a cute couple, but it still made him happy. He imagined what they would look like walking down to the feast of the winter star together, hand in hand. It would be the first time they would be out in front of the town as a couple.

Would Sebastian even want to hold hands? If he didn’t feel comfortable holding hands then they probably wouldn’t kiss. That was kind of a sad thought, but he wanted to have a good time with him and join in with the towns traditions. After the feast they could either go back to his place or Sebastian’s bedroom and well…

“Ach! No time to think those things.” He muttered to himself. It was true too. He had no time to think about how sexy Sebastian’s moans were, or how unfocused his eyes became close to the climax, or how cute he might look if he wore some sexy lingerie. “… Brain, why do you do this to me?”

Chapter Text

The 25th of Winter quickly rolled around and Apollyon was still hard at work putting the finishing touches on his gift for Robin. He had made a bowl, platter, and a couple of coasters out of some hardwood he had found around his property. He didn’t have time to varnish the coasters but he did varnish the other things so that wasn’t too bad. He put them in a box and wrapped it up in a bright red bow. He was proud to say that it looked somewhat decent. Hopefully Robin would like it.

After that Apollyon fed Goblin and checked on his chickens before throwing on his jacket and heading down to the Town. Inside his pocket he also had a small gift for Sebastian. He was excited, really excited. He hadn’t gone to events or festivals for Feast of the Winter Star before. It was even more special for him because he’d be spending it with Sebastian.

By the time he got there it looked like the whole town was already there. He smiled and waved to the few people that greeted him. Looking at the center of town there was a huge winter star tree with lots of presents placed underneath surrounded by several tabled with lots of food placed on them. Now he was a little worried. Apollyon had no idea if he was meant to put his gift there or what.

As he thought this over Lewis approached him. “Ah, Apollyon my boy. Good to see you lad. How are you on this fine day?”

“Pretty good. Just wondering what I’m meant to do with this…”

Lewis glanced down at the gift in his hands and smiled a little. “Ah, well you can go and give your gift to whomever it is now. Most people just put the gifts under the tree so we can keep track of everything while we set up. Also it’s the only way to make sure that the kids don’t sneak off with any of the gifts early.”

“Got it. Thanks.” Apollyon quickly scanned the area, smiling a little when he saw Robin’s bright red hair. “Well, I’m gonna go and give this to Robin.” He walked over to Robin with a smile on his face. “Hey Robin.”

She grinned at him. “Hi Apollyon. Happy winter star. He pulled up an extra chair for you if you feel like eating with us.”

“Of course I’m going to eat with you guys. By the way, this is for you.” He passed Robin the box and her eyes lit up with excitement.

“So you were me gift giver this year? Thank you so much. Would you mind if I open it now?” She was already pulling on the bow.

Apollyon laughed a little and nodded. “Sure, go ahead. Where’s Sebastian?”

“Sebby went off with Sam somewhere. I’m sure he’ll be back soon. Just take a seat and he’ll be back in no time.” She opened the box and gasped. “Oh Apollyon, this is so nice. Thank you.”

“No problem.” Apollyon sat down at the table and poured himself a drink. He was already super excited about the festivities that were already underway.

***

Sebastian would have liked to have been at the festival right now, but instead he had been roped into helping Sam and Vincent. Vincent had misplaced his secret gift and couldn’t find it. He was really, really upset about it and it wasn’t like Sebastian was going to say no to helping a kid out if they asked for help.

“It’s in a box!” Said Vincent. “It’s a blue box with yellow spots. You can’t open it!”

“You got it little man.” Said Sam calmly. “You keep searching your room. Sebastian and I will check the rest of the house. We’ll find it no problem.”

Vincent was distressed, but quickly set about pulling his room apart while Sam and Sebastian went to looking around the living room. They checked under and around the sofas.

“How did your brother lose a gift anyway?” Asked Sebastian as he tried to use his phone light to look down the back of the couch.

“I don’t know man. Mum told him to get things ready before he went to bed… Thanks for helping out though. I appreciate it. So does Vincent.”

“It’s fine… Who was your person this year?”

“Pam. I got her a small bottle of a very fancy liquor… Penny wasn’t too happy about it, but it’s small, only about half a glass… But it was pretty expencive…”

“The best booze Jojamart can buy?”

“Yep.” Sam looked under the small table that Vincent usually did his homework. “Who did you get this year?”

“Caroline. Got her some resin flower figurine from an online craft store. She seemed to like it.”

“Nice. You got anything for Apollyon?”

“… Never you mind about that Sam. Let me do my thing.”

Sam grinned at his friend and gave him a knowing look. “Oh, so you’re gonna be doing that kind of stuff tonight huh?”

Sebastian blushed. “Shut up Sam.”

Suddenly Vincent ran out holding the box above his head. “I found it! I hid it in my toy box!”

His older brother grinned and ruffled his brother’s hair. “Good job little dude. Let’s go and give your gift to your person.”

“Yeah!” The trio left the house and walked to the festival. Sebastian kept an eye out for Apollyon. The second he saw his boyfriend he couldn’t help but smile. He was already sitting at the table and talking with Robin and Maru. He was glad his boyfriend was already fitting in really well with his family. “Mr Farmer!” Yelled Vincent as he quickly made his way over to him and thrust the present into his arms. “Happy Winter Star!”

Apollyon smiled at him and happily took the present. “Happy Winter Star to you too Vincent. Guess you were my secret gift giver this year?”

“Yeah! Open it! Open it! I’ve been saving this for ages!”

Apollyon opened the box and took out a large rainbow shell. “Wow! I love it. Thank you Vincent.”

Vincent grinned and went back over to Jodi.

Sebastian smiled a little and walked over to Apollyon, lightly tapping his shoulder. “Hey.”

His boyfriend looked up at him and grinned. “Hey. Look what Vincent got me. Isn’t it neat?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool.” He sat next to Apollyon and held his hand udner the table. He was fine with people knowing that they were together, but he still wasn’t one to advertise it to everyone just because they were together. “Wanna come back to my room after this?”

Apollyon grinned. “Sure. If you want you can come over and spend the night over at my place too. If you like.”

“I’d like that.”

The rest of the festival went rather well in his opinion. Lots of eating and talking about stuff. Apollyon looked really happy and was more than willing to talk to everyone about anything they asked him. That was kind of how he and Demetrius got into a huge talk about soil and plant growth. It was amusing to say the least, but at the same time kind of annoying. Once Demetrius got going he wouldn’t stop talking unless someone cut him off. He hoped Robin would soon.

Thankfully she did and Sebastian was able to try and monopolies his time again. It wasn’t like he was jealous or anything. He just wanted to spend just a little bit more time with Apollyon. It was the first time they were a couple during a festival and he just wanted things to go well. He totally wasn’t jealous or anything. That would just be childish and he wasn’t childish.

Okay he was a little childish. But he couldn’t help it. He really liked Apollyon and would have personally liked to have just spent the day with him instead of coming out here. But Apollyon seemed so happy to be doing this sort of thing so he wasn’t going to suddenly ask him to escape this dumb festival. If nothing else his mum would be pissed at him if he did.

Somewhere between eating some pumpkin pie and brooding, Apollyon managed to slip off without him noticing. Which annoyed him a little, but he quickly spotted him over by Emily and Haley. Now, normally he would have just let things be but today… Well he pushed back his anxiety as best he could and left the table to stand by Apollyon.

Apollyon seemed to be sharing some antic dote about Goblin being an asshole. “So long story short, all my jars are either screw tops or have latched on them.”

Emily laughed and shook her head. “Ah, cats are curious things. Maybe you should get her some more toys so she isn’t board?”

“I ordered one of those fancy cat trees on line.” Said Apollyon. “I think it has a couple of dangly things on it that she’ll like. Also have a little catnip ball coming too. Hopefully she won’t lose her shit too badly, but maybe she’ll mellow out a fair bit more.”

“Sounds like a good idea.” Emily smiled brightly at Sebastian. “Hey Sebastian. Happy winter star. You and Apollyon got anything special planned?”

Sebastian felt the heat rising in his cheeks. “Why do you think we would have anything planned?”

She shrugged. “Apollyon said you two were boyfriends so I guess I just assumed you two were gonna do things together today. But I guess you two are doing separate family things after this?”

He quickly looked over at Apollyon. He seemed kind of nervous, like he got caught doing something wrong. Okay, sure Sebastian was a little surprised that Apollyon was telling people that they were dating, but he had already come out to his family and they were cool with him. So he didn’t really care too much about what other people thought about them.

“Oh…”

Haley looked a little surprised. “You two are gay then? Huh, alright. How come I didn’t know about this?”

Apollyon smiled sheepishly and held Sebastian’s hand. “Well, I don’t think either of us are very flashy or showy people. We’ve been together for a while but we don’t go around town making out with each other where anyone could just walk by and see us.”

A small smirk made its way onto Haley’s lips. “Oh? So you two have been making out in secret places around town?”

Sebastian just knew his face was burning right now. “Shut up Haley.”

“It was just a question Sebastian.” Said Haley. “Don’t get your panties in a twist.”

Apollyon gently squeezed Sebastian’s hand. “Hey, no need for any of us to get all upset about stuff today. It’s winter star after all.”

Emily nodded in agreement and gave Haley a disapproving look. “He’s right. No need for confrontation today. When he get home we should do some meditation to try and cleans that aura of yours.” At the mention of auras Haley legged it with Emily closely following her as she went on about the benefits of mediation.

Apollyon gently tugged on Sebastian’s hand and smiled a little. “Come on.” He lead Sebastian away from the festival and up to the stone bench by the community center. He dusted the snow off it and sat down. When Sebastian sat next to him he let out a small sigh. “I’m sorry I told Emily we were dating… I didn’t think it would embarrass you.”

“Who said I was embarrassed?”

“Well you looked all uncomfortable and stuff… I didn’t mean to do that…” Apollyon’s happy demeanor quickly slipped away and he had such a distressed look on his face that really surprised Sebastian. “I told you before I haven’t had any serious long term relationships before so I really don’t know when I cross some unspoken boundary.”

“Hey, I’m not mad at you or anything.” He held Apollyon’s hand tightly with both hands. “I was just surprised and I… I’m not used to people other than the people that are really close to me knowing stuff about me. So like, relationships and stuff… I was just surprised Emily knew. You didn’t mess anything up. I swear.”

“… You promise?”

“I promise.”

Apollyon looked a little skeptical at first but readily accepted Sebastian’s answer. “Okay… I’m sorry I got worked up about that. I just don’t want to ever be the cause of your sadness. I want to be one of the many reasons you can smile.”

Now Sebastian was blushing because of how damn sweet and cheesy Apollyon was being. Of course Apollyon made him smile. Why would he think otherwise? “Don’t be dumb. Why wouldn’t you make me happy?”

“… Demons don’t exactly bring happiness to humans.”

Ah, that made sense. If everyone around him was tearing him apart for being a demon and making his own life hell, how could he bring happiness to someone else? Of course that wasn’t true in the slightest and Sebastian had no idea how he could make Apollyon like himself but he could somewhat try.

“I don’t care if you’re a demon. Everything is about perspective. As far as I’m concerned those magic users that killed you were the evil ones in that fight. I don’t care if they say follow Yoba. From what I know about Yoba, Yoba doesn’t approve of the killing of innocent life. That includes self-proclaimed demons.”

“… Not really self-proclaiming here Seb.” Said Apollyon calmly. “I literally came from the Void.”

“Not the point.” Said Sebastian. He poked Apollyon’s cheek. “It doesn’t matter where you came from or what you did before you came to Pelican Town. You’re a good person to me and you make me happy. You just need to relax a little and not worry so much about trying to make me happy all the time. There are gonna be times where you’re gonna upset me and I’m gonna upset you. That shit is normal… Like as long as neither of us deliberately try to hurt the other and apologies when we do that’s okay. Right?”

Apollyon’s expression softened a little and he smiled at Sebastian. “Ah, okay. I see. I’ll try and worry less about that kind of stuff.” He leaned over and gently kissed Sebastian on his cold, slightly chapped lips. “Should we head back now? I think things were just starting to wrap up when we came up here.”

“… Let’s wait up here a little longer. I just like being here with you.”

“Okay. But not too long.” He wrapped his arm Sebastian’s shoulders and pulled him close, so that he could rest his head on his shoulder. “We should at least help your family pack up their table.”

“Eh, fine. If we have to.”

“Yeah… Oh, I have something for you.” He took a small red box out of his pocket and handed it to Sebastian. “Happy winter star Sebastian.”

Sebastian was a little surprised but was happy nonetheless. He opened the box and gasped a little at the perfect frozen tear in it. He took it out and held it up to the sky and marveled at the way it refracted the light. It was beautiful. “Wow… This is… Where did you get it?”

“I was down in the mines and some dust sprites were surrounding it. I managed to get it and thought you’d really like it.”

“I do. Thanks.” He reached into his pockets and took out his own box, giving it to Apollyon. “Well, I was going to give this to you when we got to my place, but since you gave me this… Happy winter star Apollyon.”

Apollyon’s eyes lit up and he quickly opened the box. An ecstatic grin spread across his face as he looked down at the small pink crystal in the box. “Is this a star shard?”

“Yep. I had no idea how expensive those things were.”

“Yeah, they cost an arm and a leg… You didn’t have to spend so much on me.”

“I know, but I wanted to.” He leaned over and kissed Apollyon’s cheek. “You’re worth it.”

Apollyon blushed bright red and weakly tried to hide himself behind the collar of his jacket. “… Thank you… But don’t spend so much money on me next time. You’re gonna make me feel guilty.”

“… You do know how expensive frozen tears are, right?”

“… Not really.”

“Depending on the size and how clear the crystal is it can be with thousands, and you just gave this to me.” Poor Apollyon looked like he was going to pass out in shock. He obviously had no idea how much frozen tears were worth. “Just let me spend money on you.”

“Fine… Just don’t do it all the time.”

“Don’t worry about that. I won’t be. I don’t have that much money you know.”

“… Fair enough.”

Chapter Text

The last day of winter was an exciting day for the Junimos, and it was made even more exciting because of how much stuff the farmer had already given them. They were celebrating by drinking crystal fruit juice out of cups made from caps of acorns. Downing them like shots. They also feasted on snow yams and winter roots.

Many of them were happily bouncing around and talking about all the cool things that happened during the year. Most of it had to do with the farm and what they planned to do to help the farmer when he got around to giving them more gifts.

Yellow happily bounced around as they talked to Red. “I’m gonna fix the mine carts with Brown!” They said proudly. “The farmer just needs to give us a fire quartz and it’s all good.”

“Well once the famer’s gathered all the things I’ll be able to raise his charm and everyone in the town will like him more.” Said Red. They slurped up their crystal fruit juice and slammed the acorn cap onto the ground. “Charm all the people!”

While they were squealing about all the Blue and Purple were engaged in a very intense game of shots as other Junimo’s cheered them on and encouraged their drinking. Some of them were placing bets using cool looking rocks. So far Purple was two or three shots ahead of Blue, but they were quickly closing the gap.

“Drink! Drink! Drink!” Cheered some Junimo.

“Faster! Faster! Faster!” Cheered the others.

After about the tenth shot Blue jumped up and ran screeching towards the door. “Gotta peeeeee!!!”

Though the Junimo’s didn’t really have much in the way of a digestive system seeing as how they were magical spirits they still needed to expel excess materials if they consumed too much in a short amount of time. Still, with Blue running away to pee the winner was unanimous. “Purple wins!”

While there were Junimos doing that there were still more Junimos having their own little rock concert on the desk in the room with the huge vault. Several Junimos had made instruments from random bits and pieces around the town and made little wigs from feathers, grass, and other soft materials. Their look seemed to be inspired by the glam rock genera even if their music just seemed to be more like very upbeat folk music. Either way they had a mosh bit going and White was crowd surfing.

With all this excitement going on the only place to escape the noise was up in the rafters which was where Green was with their slice of snow yam. It tasted earthy and very damp, even though the yam itself was kind of dry. It was weird, but they liked it.

As they hummed happily to themselves Blue climbed up to them and sighed loudly. “Too much crystal fruit juice… Now I have so much energy! What are you doing up here?”

“Resting a little. There’s only so much partying a Junimo can do.” Green offered Blue some yam, but they quickly declined.

“So, what do you think the farmer is gonna do tomorrow?”

“First day of Spring? Probably gonna plants things and get his farm all prepared for stuff.”

“I see… How long do you think it’ll be till the farmer and partner do the thing and get married? Why do humans need to get married anyway? Can’t they just like live together and that’s that? Humans are so weird. I don’t understand that.” The crystal fruit juice was hitting Blue hard. It was chock full of sugar and made Junimo’s super hyper if they drank too much of it.

Green shrugged. “I don’t know. Humans have weird rules and stuff. I think a marriage for humans means that they let everyone know they are going to be mates for a really, really long time and that means they are responsible for each other or something. Weird human rules.”

“Weird. So how long till they get married and junk?”

“Not sure. Maybe a year or two? They already do a lot of stuff together already.”

Blue was practically vibrating right now. “Yeah. Remember when we saw those mice jumping on top of each other that one time and Red said that is what mating is and stuff? Well I went over to the famer’s place a few times and sometimes when I looked in the windows to check where the evil pink monster thing is I saw the farmer and his partner doing the same things but they were really, really loud. That’s normal for humans to do that kind of stuff, right? Right? That’s normal? When humans get together that’s what they do right? Right?”

Green put their hands on Blue and made them sit down. “Calm down Blue. Deep breaths. You need to stop drinking all that crystal fruit juice… And stop spying on the famer when he and his partner are mating. That’s rude.”

“Not my fault they are doing that kind of stuff every time I try to make sure that the pink monster isn’t around!” Blue jumped up and started running along the beam. “Too much energy! Too much energy! Gotta run! Gotta run! Run! Run! Run!” They jumped off the beam and bounced along the ground a few times before they got up and ran off screaming.

Green blinked a few times in surprise, but quickly settled back into what they were doing before. This year had gone pretty well for the Junimos in general. The farmer was getting things done, the scrolls were getting filled in, Pelican Town was slowly coming more alive again and everything was just good in general. They wondered how the Farmer was spending the last day of the year.

***

Apollyon hummed happily as he kissed all along the back of Sebastian’s neck and shoulders. The two of them had been making out a lot more which eventually lead to the two of them having sex Apollyon was both surprised and happy to see Sebastian was more than willing to initiate it. He was a lot more confident after doing it a few times it seemed.

Still, he got tired pretty easily and Apollyon liked to kiss any of the marks he dotted Sebastian’s body with after it was all over. He kind of liked how easy it was to mark him. He kissed across his neck and smiled when Sebastian shuddered.

“Tickles?” He asked.

“A little. Pass me my pants will ya?”

Apollyon relunctantly reached over Sebastian and grabbed his pants off the floor and passed them over. “Looking for your phone?”

“Nah. Gum.” He took out a box and popped a small piece of gum into his mouth.

“… Don’t fall asleep with that in your mouth. You might choke.”

“Noted.”

“Didn’t think you were a big gum chewer.”

“I’m not. It’s nicotine gum. I’m trying to quit smoking.”

Apollyon grinned and held his lover closer, if that was even possible. “That’s so good. I’m proud of you love. How long have you need off them?”

“Almost a week now. It isn’t as bad as I thought, but it’s still early days.”

“Still, a week’s very good and I am proud of you. Any reason you decided to quit?”

Sebastian shrugged and rolled over to face Apollyon. “Well, it’s expensive. I’ll save more money if I don’t spend it on those… Also it was really hard for me to run after you when you became a demon and wouldn’t listen to me. I know I’m not in the best shape but still…”

Apollyon smiled a little and kissed him. “Sorry for making you run after me. But I’m glad you’re not smoking anymore. I get worried about open flames and stuff. Plus you know, it’s kind of poisonous and stuff.”

Sebastian sighed. “I know. I know… So what are you going to do tomorrow?”

“Lots of farming. I already put some sprinklers down and I just have to start tilling the spoil and buying seeds. It’s gonna take all day… Maybe two days…” It was gonna be his second year of farming and he didn’t want to mess this up. He had enough money to buy so many parsnips. He had no idea why the Junimo’s wanted what they called gold star quality parsnips but he was gonna give them that.

“Don’t overwork yourself.” He hummed a little and ran his hands over Apollyon’s chest. “I don’t wanna have to drag your dumb ass to the clinic when you pass out from heat stroke or something.”

Apollyon laughed at that comment. “Really? You would drag me to the clinic?”

“Probably not.”

“Ah, you’re mean.”

“Yep.” He kissed him. “So mean. Meanest boyfriend.”

Apollyon chuckled and lightly ran his fingers over Sebastian’s stomach, earning a strange sound from the man. “… Oh yeah, forgot you’re ticklish.”

“… I will kick you out of the bed if you try.”

“That is a risk I am willing to take.” Apollyon attempted to tickle Sebastian, but he managed to grab his hands and tried to shove him out of bed. Even though it looked like Sebastian was trying, Apollyon didn’t budge one bit. Either Sebastian was way weaker than he thought, or he was using some kind of demon strength. “Okay, I give up. Not gonna tickle you…”

“Good.” Sebastian released his grip on Apollyon.”

“Much.” He quickly started to tickle Sebastian. Unsurprisingly Sebastian started flailing and managed to elbow Apollyon right in the sternum. “Okay. I quit. You win.”

“Asshole.” He panted. “I almost inhaled my gum.”

“I know CPR.”

“…” With a hard shove he pushed Apollyon out of bed. “Stay out in the cold and perish.”

Apollyon pouted and pulled on Sebastian’s hoodie. “Fine, but I am keeping the hoodie. It is comfy and smells like you.”

“… Get back in bed. And take my hoodie off.”

“I don’t wanna.”

“I’ll stay over tonight if you do.”

“… You are a cunning manipulator.” Apollyon quickly took off the hoodie and climbed back into bed with Sebastian. He didn’t mind if Sebastian just wanted to stay in bed for the rest of the day. He just wanted him to stay with him for a little while longer. Maybe he was getting a little clingy. He’d have to work on that. But then again considering the next day was Spring and he’d be working himself to the bone he felt like he could monopolies Sebastian’s time for a few more hours.

“Yep. Worst manipulator in the world.” Sebastian ran his fingers through Apollyon’s hair and smiled happily at him. “How is it that a human is a worse manipulator than a demon?”

Apollyon hummed softly, greatly enjoying any and all physical affection Sebastian was showering on him. “No idea Bastian. Maybe I just want to trust the people I love?”

“You’re way too cheesy for your own good.”

Apollyon grinned. “Yep. Good thing I like cheese.”

“Dork.”

“Nerd.”

Chapter Text

One thing that really surprised Apollyon was how quickly the seasons seemed to change in the valley. The snow that once coated their land seemed to have melted away in the blink of an eye and replaced with dirt, grass, rocks, and sticks. He tilled the hell out of the ground and bought so many seeds, mainly parsnips and was in the middle of planting and watering them.

For some reason Abigail decided to follow him back home. Probably to avoid some chores her parents had set out for her. Either way she had made herself comfortable on his porch with Sebastian as they talked and watched Apollyon work.

Apollyon didn’t mind too much, but they could have asked if they could help him or something. It was going to take forever to do all this by himself. Sure Sebastian was probably a little sore from last night and everything, but damn it Abby could have helped him a little. He still had a few fences to put up, junk to clear out, and some hay to collect for his chickens.

Eventually though, once he was done planting his seeds he walked over to the two on the porch and collapsed near them. “Water…” He groaned. “Need refreshments of a H2O nature…” Sebastian sighed a little and went inside to get him something to drink. “Thank you Seb!”

Abigail chuckled a little as she dangled her legs over the edge. “Man, you’re really working yourself to the bone here. Think you’ll make a profit with all those parsnips?”

“I blood better damn it.” Muttered Apollyon as he sat up slowly. “Spend a good chunk of my gold on it.” He pulled off his shirt and wiped the sweat off his face. After this he might jump in the pond to cool off.

Sebastian came back out and gave Apollyon a cup of water that he quickly downed. “Thanks love.”

“No problem. You done yet?”

“Sorry. I still have stuff to do. I’m just taking a breather.”

“… Lame.”

Apollyon shrugged but his attention was quickly drawn to Vincent who ran onto the farm. “Hey Mr Apollyon! Hi Sebastian! Hi Abigail!”

Abigail grinned and waved at him. “Hey Vincent. What are you doing here?”

“Dad came back today!” Said Vincent as he looked over his shoulder. “Mum told him that there was a new farmer in town and he should come introduce himself to you. So mum and dad and Sam and I are coming over. I ran ahead!”

Apollyon really wasn’t expecting guests over so soon. “Alright. Give me second…” He quickly went inside and found an old fold out table along with an assortment of cups and mugs. Hopefully this would be okay. He set it up outside and got Sebastian and Abigail to go inside and actually make some lemonade while he entertained Vincent for a few minutes.

Soon Jodi and Sam showed up with a stranger that he could only assume was Sam and Vincent’s father. He smiled and waved at them. “Hey guys. Nice to see you here. Vincent told me you were coming over.”

Jodi smiled at him. “Ah, sorry about dropping in so suddenly. I know you must be very busy but I mentioned you were here and Vincent really wanted to come over…”

“Think nothing of it Jodi. You and your family’s always welcome to Hellfire farm.” Apollyon looked at the strange man with them. He had a very stern face and his blond hair was short, spiked, and messy. He looked like he had seen some shit. “Hello sir. I’m Apollyon. It’s very nice to meet you.” He held out his hand to the man.

He quickly gave Apollyon a once over with his eyes, meticulously scrutinizing him before firmly shaking his hand. “Kent. The name’s Kent. So you been here for about a year? How has that shaped up for you?”

“Ah, winter was kind of rough on me, but things should be better this year. Would you guys like something to drink? I have my helpers getting something sorted in the kitchen.”

Abby scoffed as she walked out of the house carrying a jug of lemonade. “Who are you calling helpers? Hey Sam, Jodi, Kent. Good to see you back in one piece.”

Kent nodded at her. “Good to see you too Abigail. You’ve grown up a bit since I last saw you. Your hair’s longer.”

Abby laughed a little and poured Vincent a cup of lemonade. “Here you go squirt.”

“Thank you Abigail.” Chirped the young boy.

Apollyon grinned. “Is Sebastian done yet?”

“Almost, he’s throwing away some of the trash.”

Sam perked up at that. “Sebastian’s here too?”

“Yeah, he stayed the night.”

Sam grinned and winked at him. “Nice.”

Apollyon rolled his eyes and offered Jodi and Kent a drink just as Sebastian came out with the second jug. Sebastian was a little quieter than usual around Jodi and Kent, but Apollyon just chalked that up to Sebastian not being open around people he wasn’t close to. The group talked for a while and Apollyon happily showed Vincent his chickens. He fell in love with Butter and Crispy.

After an hour or two Vincent was getting tired and Kent seemed to be getting a little agitated. Jodi thanked Apollyon for his hospitality. “Thank you so much for doing this on such short notice, especially when you already had people over.”

“No problem Jodi. Really. It’s always a pleasure to have someone come over.” Without really thinking too much about it, he put his arm around Sebastian and smiled. “It can get a bit lonely here on the farm. Well, not really but you get the point.”

Jodi chuckled a little. “I can see that. You two do make a cute couple.”

For the first time that day Kent seemed to have a genuine emotion. That emotion was shock and surprise. “Huh, didn’t know that there were your kind of people in town.”

Apollyon didn’t know if he should take that as offensive or not. So he just decided to bite back as he usually did. “Well I don’t expect to find queer bashers out in such a nice town, and I’m honestly hoping I’m not gonna get proved wrong anytime soon, but well…let’s just see how the year goes huh?”

Once again Kent looked surprised. “Excuse me?”

“Mum, what does queer mean?” Asked Vincent.

“Oh um…” Jodi looked a little flustered at the sudden questioning. “Well dear, queer used to mean strange and different, like back when Mr Lewis was a young man. But now days the word queer is more associated with people that um… I er…” She seemed to struggle with the right words.

Apollyon felt sorry for the woman. “Vincent, queer is a nonspecific term used people that love other people the same way your mum and dad love each other, but they don’t necessarily like girls and boys. It can be a girl liking another girl or a boy liking another boy, like how I like Sebastian. Most people like me and Sebastian don’t use the word queer though because mean people used it to dehumanise and humiliate us.”

Vincent scrunched his nose a little as he absorbed and processed this information. “Oh, okay… I think I get it… So does that mean you and Sebastian are going to get married?”

Sebastian went bright red at that while Sam and Abby tried to contain their laughter. Apollyon just shrugged. “Maybe someday. We’ve only been dating for like a season.”

Satisfied with that answer Vincent held Jodi’s hand. “Can we go home now mum?”

“Yes sweetie. Let’s head home Kent. Will you be coming home with us Sam?”

“I’ll be home later mum.”

Jodie smiled and apologetically at Apollyon and Sebastian before quickly leaving with Vincent and Kent. That was an interesting experience for Apollyon. Now with most of the day gone he was going to have to think about how he was going get everything else done. He could get started on the fences now, but he wouldn’t get it done till tomorrow. It was annoying.

“Hey Sam,” asked Apollyon. “Is your dad a homophobe or was I just an asshole to him for no reason?”

Sam shrugged. “Honestly? Not sure. Dad never said anything about them and well, gay people isn’t really a topic we bring up much in our house.”

“How did your mum know we were a couple anyway?” Asked Sebastian, still embarrassed about Vincent asking about marriage and stuff.

Once again Sam shrugged. “Probably your mum. They both have that fitness class thing they do every Tuesday. Maybe your mum said something?”

Abby laughed. “If that’s the case then the whole town probably knows you two are a thing by now. Those women love to gossip.”

Sebastian let out an exasperated sigh. “Kill me now…”

Apollyon smiled a little and kissed Sebastian’s cheek. “No dying till you’ve taken all this stuff inside.”

“What are you gonna be doing?”

“I have a fence I need to start putting up. I’m a bit behind now.” He picked up a few bits of wood and headed off to set up the fence. Hopefully Sebastian and his friends would help him out while he was away, and not wreck his house.

***

Sebastian and his friends did put everything away like Apollyon had asked which was nice. They also decided to hang out inside since it was cooler and they could sit on the couch. Goblin didn’t seem to like this idea and she death glared the three intruders from the doorway.

However with a little encouragement from Sam, Goblin walked over and sat on his lap. She however continued to glare at Sebastian. Sam chuckled as he patted her. “She really doesn’t like you. Does she?”

“Nope. Good thing I don’t like her either.”

Abby rolled her eyes and took a book out of her bag. “Well don’t be too mean to her Sebastian. You are in her territory after all.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “Whatever.”

Sam hummed happily to himself as he gave Goblin many pats and scratches, which she seemed to like. “So what are you reading there Abby?”

“Book on supernatural stuff.” She hummed a little as she thumbed through the pages. “I’m on the chapter about ethereal beings from the Yoba plane. I really like the look for the gar-dinner.”

“Gardener?” Asked Sam.

“No, gar-dinner.” She held up her book showing the boys the image of a faceless, naked woman with long flowing hair. “They are meant to be like these things that weed out the bad people on earth for Yoba and eat the darkness out of their hearts. Unfortunately they see everything in black and white and even the smallest bad thing will make them attack you… Most encounters are said to be lethal, but good people have nothing to fear from them.”

Sebastian wondered if these were actually a thing. It stood to reason that if demons existed then ethereal beings should also exist. Apollyon would probably be in trouble if he ever came across one of those. A Gar-dinner probably doesn’t care much for a demon, even if humans have dealt with it. He had enough trouble understanding the demon world, how the heck was he going to understand how things work in the Yoba plane.

“Why are so many demons and angels naked?” Asked Sam. “Like, most of them have their junk out and all that and people wear clothes for warmth and protection but those things? Why?”

Abby shrugged. “Maybe to tempt and shock people or something? Demons and angels don’t have the same sense of shame as us. They probably think wearing human clothes is weird and would much rather just be walking around with their junk swinging everywhere. Tits out, pussy out, dick and balls swishing all over the place.”

Sam snorted. “So are you saying nudists are otherworldly things?”

“… Yes. But if they are sexually promiscuous they are probably a demon and if they are more aloof then they might be an angel. Anything else it’s just a naked human doing naked human things.”

Sam laughed at that again while Sebastian thought of Apollyon. In retrospect maybe those slight sexual advances Apollyon had towards him could have been a warning sign that he wasn’t all human. Then again he kind of just came off as a horny guy. Also he didn’t seem to be the kind of person that would strip off to show as much skin as he possibly could anyway. The most naked Apollyon had been in public was today when he took his shirt off, and that was just because he was trying to cool off while working.

He sighed a little and closed his eyes. Sebastian was still sceptical on most supernatural things but he was willing to change his views when presented with actual evidence. Abby’s ways of identifying a demon or angel were vague at best. He could see how people in the old days could easily persecute anyone and label them a demon.

Suddenly the door opened up and Apollyon walked in. He looked tired as he sat on the ground between Sebastian’s legs, and leaned his head against his thigh. “… So many fences… Still so many to put up…”

Sebastian sighed a little and patted his head. “… Your hair is all damp and sweaty. Have a shower or bath or something.”

“Only if you take it with me.”

Sebastian blushed a little as he heard Sam and Abigail snickering at that comment. “Your bathtub isn’t big enough for two people.”

“I was thinking of jumping in the pond outside.”

“I don’t have board shorts here Apollyon.”

“That’s fine. I was going to skinny dip. We can both do it.”

Sebastian’s blush darkened. “Sam and Abigail are here you idiot. Shut it.”

Apollyon shrugged and looked over at Sam and Abigail. “You two can join us if you want.”

Abby chuckled and shook her head. “No thanks. I’m not interested in seeing anyone’s junk or having anyone seeing my boobs. You guys can have fun though. I won’t stop you boys from doing your thing.”

“You just wanna see us naked or something.” Whined Sam. “Sorry, but I ain’t doing that you secret pervert.”

Abby poked her tongue out. “Rude. I was just saying that because I need to head off soon. Mum and dad will want me back home before sundown.”

“Yeah, I better get home too.” Said Sam. “Mum will want to have us all together for a family dinner and stuff.” So the two of them left while Apollyon and Sebastian waved at them from the porch.

When they were gone Apollyon wrapped an arm around him and sighed happily. “So, do you want to stay tonight? I’d like it if you would.”

“… As much as I’d like to I should go home tonight.” He kissed Apollyon’s cheek. “I probably have a few new projects to complete. Gotta make that money.”

“Fair enough. You go home and make that money. Say hi to your family for me.”

“I will.”

Chapter Text

It took Apollyon three days to get his farm all up in order, but he was glad he did. He fixed up all the fences and had even started to lay down a few cobble stone paths. He laid down a main one that went all the way from cindersap forest to his house, to the secret path up the back to the main entrance of the farm. He loved it. It felt good to have his home like this.

It was around midday when he was done and so he decided to head down to the beach to relax and collect some sea shells. Along the way he happened to see Kent just standing by the river near his house. He seemed a little out of it.

“…” Cautiously he approached him. “Hey.”

Kent glanced over at him. “Hey.” He turned his attention back to the water.

“…” Apollyon stood quietly next to him for a bit to see if he was going to say anything. It was kind of peaceful just to stand there in the quiet with just the sounds of nature.

“Didn’t mean to upset you the other day.” Said Kent. “I got nothing against you people. I was just surprised at it came out worse than it meant to.”

Apollyon was happy that Kent wasn’t an asshole, but now it was his turn. “Thanks. I didn’t mean to bite your head off there either. I’m just used to being aggressive when I feel like someone’s threatening me. When it comes to a fight or flight response I seem to only have the fight part… I’m more used to strong guys like you wanting to beat me up.”

Kent nodded a little in understanding. “I see. Well I can respect someone who’ll pick a fight with someone who they deem a threat. Even if it is a little dumb.”

He grinned at Kent. “Yeah, I grew up on the streets of Zuzu and got into all manner of dumb fights with people bigger than me. Most of it was either over dumb stuff or people calling me a faggot. That sort of thing.”

“Hmm…” Kent was unreadable at this point. His eyes seemed distant as he continued to stare out into nothingness. “… Did you ever hurt someone so badly that they needed medical attention?”

Apollyon wasn’t too sure where Kent was going with this, but he took a stab in the dark. “Look, we’ve all done things we aren’t too proud of. Me, it was beating up and getting beaten up at a young age. You, it was going to war. I don’t expect you to tell me what happened over there, but I appreciate what you did for everyone here… If you find you can’t sleep you can come to my farm and walk around for a bit. Just stick to the paths okay?” He put his hand on Kent’s shoulder and gently squeezed.

Kent looked at him and the corners of his mouth gave a slight twitch. Almost looked like was attempting a smile. It was hard for Apollyon to believe that this stoic man really was the father for two overly happy, energetic boys. Then again war changes people. Kent probably saw some horrible shit.

“Thanks for the offer. But I wouldn’t want to bother you.”

“Hey, it wouldn’t be a bother at all. I like people coming over. If you need to walk around during the day or just want to talk to someone or sit next to someone quietly come on over.” Apollyon smiled at him and scratched the back of his head. “I extended the same offer to Shane. When he’s down and needs a change of scenery he comes by and hangs out with my chickens… You’re okay with cats right? I have this hairless cat called Goblin that walks around my property. She’s not as mean as she looks.”

Kent nodded a little. “I might take you up on that offer. You’re a good man Apollyon… So you and Sebastian, how is that working out for you?”

Apollyon shrugged. “It’s going pretty well I think. We’re just like any other loving couple. We’re just both men. If it makes you feel more comfortable I can start walking around in a dress so it looks more normal to you?”

“…”

“Sorry, that’s the fight in me poking through again.”

“It’s okay. I guess I just didn’t word things right.”

Apollyon waved goodbye to Kent and continued down to the beach. It was nice today. Very warm, lots of shells, lots of seagulls. He grinned and got to work collecting clams, cockle’s oysters, and coral. As he went about his foraging he happened to see Sam and Vincent by the water. Sam seemed to just be watching Vincent building a sandcastle.

“… Hey guys.”

Sam looked over at Apollyon and grinned. “Hey there yourself. How’s the farm life?”

“Pretty good. Found some cool stuff on the beach.” He handed Vincent a piece of coral. “Think you could use this to decorate your castle?”

The young boy happily took it. “Thanks Apollyon!” He quickly went about trying to figure out where he was going to put the coral.

While he was preoccupied Apollyon lightly nudged Sam. “How’s things going with your dad?”

Sam’s usually happy demeanor faltered a little. “Ah… It’s been interesting. He’s a lot quieter than he used to be and well… He doesn’t really sleep that much. He walks around a lot. I think he’s going to see Harvey about that… I hope he does…”

“PTSD?”

“Yeah…” He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Look, he’s not as bad as I thought he might be, but he needs time to settle back into how things are now. Mum and I are doing our best, but it’s early days yet. Dad will be fine in a few seasons I hope…”

Apollyon nodded. “Well he’s gonna have good days and bad days. You just gotta let him know he’s not alone and you’re always there for him. Encourage him to get help and all that good stuff.”

“Okay… Oh, good news about the band. We have a gig in a few weeks.”

“That’s awesome.”

Sam grinned. “Yeah. You want to come with is when we play? It’s this small indie venue.”

“Nice. So you guys finally got some lyrics? What are you guys called?” He was excited by all this. Sam was really struggling with lyrics for a while and now he had enough to have a few songs. Apollyon was really happy for them and hoped they would succeed.

“Yeah, we kind of defaulted to calling ourselves the Pelicans. Kind of lame, but we like it.”

“Nice. My boyfriend’s in a band now.”

Sam laughed. “Yeah, I guess so. Next time we practice you should come in and listen to us. It’ll be good… So what do you have planned for the rest of Spring?”

“I’m thinking of going to the city to get a suit. Sebastian might want to dance with me at the flower dance this year.” He loved the idea of actually doing something like that as a couple, but he didn’t know if Sebastian would want to. The flower dance was his most hated festival so he probably going to try and get out of it… But he was still going to get a fancy suit damn it.

Sam seemed to like that idea a lot. “That’ll be fun. Abby will finally get her wish and be able to stand to the side and let everyone else dance.”

Apollyon chuckled at that. “That’ll be nice for her… I hope he doesn’t feel weird about dancing with me in front of everyone… That would like, make us officially a couple, right?”

“… Yeah, I guess it would.”

A small blush made its way onto Apollyon’s face. Of course they were already officially a couple, but the whole town would know they were serious if they did that. Sebastian wasn’t the kind of guy that liked stepping out into the spotlight. This was probably going to be the biggest thing the two of them were going to do all year together. It gave him butterflies in his stomach just thinking about it.

“Ah, I should probably head off now. Make me a band shirt for the Pelican’s when you get the chance.”

Sam grinned at that thought. “We’re a little bit away from shirts yet Apollyon. We just got CD’s at the moment.”

Apollyon promised to buy one as he left the beach and headed towards the saloon. There was one person he had to talk to about getting new clothes, and that of course was Emily. If she couldn’t make it she could at least point him in the right directions to get a nice suit.

He walked into the Saloon, happy to see Gus and Emily getting things all ready for the evening. Any minute now Pam would walk in and start on her tab and in a few hours Shane would turn up for something to drink. The last time he was here Gus had informed him that he was not serving a nonalcoholic option. He mainly brought it in for Shane’s benefit, but apparently some of the other patrons liked it too. So that was always nice.

Apollyon took a seat at the bar and waved at Emily. “Hey Emily, can I talk to you for a second?”

She grinned and walked over to him. “What’s up?”

“Do you know where I can get a blue suit? I’ll need one for the flower dance this year.”

Her eyes lit up and she looked overjoyed. “Sure. I know just where to go. There’s this nice place in Zuzu city, we can go there on the weekend. When we get the right one we can bring it back and I can fix it up to make it all unique. Suits are nice but it’s the personal touch that matters.”

Apollyon chuckled a little at that. “What are you gonna do?”

“Oh, I have a few ideas, but I need to see what suit you’re gonna get before I make any major choices… Speaking of choices, anything to eat or drink?”

“Umm, give me a pizza and a pale ale please Em.”

“You got it.”

***

Sebastian had finished his module for today and decided to do some work looking up some things about the Yoba plane. Most religious works about the Yoba plane were vague at best and kind of just talked about an endless garden overseen by Yoba and their angels. It did paint a nice picture, but Sebastian never really liked that idea. The whole idea of dying and working on a farm for the rest of eternity seemed kind of like slavery to him.

However the thing that unsettled him the most was the fact that if the Void was real then the Yoba plane was real by default. That meant Yoba was real, and if that was the case there was a whole lot of ethical and moral questions that needed answering. This also meant he should probably be trying to worship Yoba? He really didn’t know. He’d worry about all that messy stuff later.

He found a few more contemporary works about angels from the Yoba plane. Surprisingly some of them classified Junimo’s as angels. Even going so far as to say they were the spirits of children. It was all kind of strange to him but he kept looking into everything.

From what he saw it was kind of similar to what Colt had told him about demon hierarchy. It was interesting to say the least. Every angel had a purpose and reason for their existence. That would make sense if Yoba really was the one who created them. The Junimos in this context were foragers that would gather materials for building things for farm constructions, there were specific angels that kind of looked like they were on fire that were in charge of planting and watering crops. That seemed like an oxymoron. There were many other weird looking angels with other mundane jobs, like thing that looked like three rings spinning inside each other to achieve flight that were meant to be in charge of orchids. Why?

Eventually he found the Gar-dinner’s that Abigail had shown him in her book earlier that week. These angels were meant to pull out weeds and unwanted plants in the Yoba Plane. That just made Sebastian question why Yoba would allow weeds to grow in the Yoba plane to begin with. He was giving himself a headache.

However, from the small paragraph he read about Gar-dinner’s he happened to find out another thing he didn’t know about them. Apparently, when on earth, their main function and reason for existing was to eat demons.

He didn’t really know what to do with this information. Sure he was more well informed, but he didn’t really think he could do much with this information. Maybe Apollyon would find it interesting? He’d talk to him about it later. Sebastian wondered if Apollyon had any knowledge of the Yoba plane in general. He wasn’t sure. He’d have to ask him about it next time he saw him.

Chapter Text

Much to Apollyon’s surprise he found himself in some suit store with both Emily and Haley. They younger blond had wanted to come with them to Zuzu city even if it meant things were a little cramped in the front seat of Lewis’s truck. Something Emily borrowed from the older man since it seemed like no one in the town actually had their own car.

So the three of them were jammed in there with Apollyon awkwardly sitting in the middle as Haley took selfies and Emily somehow sang along to purely instrumental music. It was awkward for him, but still kind of enjoyable. Now the sisters were piling him up with suits.

“This one looks good.” Said Haley.

“Ah, but it’s not blue. This one is better.” Emily gave him another one.

Haley rolled her eyes. “I’m just trying to find a style that suits him. We can worry about the colour later.”

Apollyon quickly escaped to the change rooms and started to try on suits. This was the first time he had gotten anything like this for himself. Even going to prom when he was younger he had worn dress pants with a blazer that didn’t quite match, but still looked nice enough. He hadn’t really cared too much about looking good back then but for Sebastian he wanted to look halfway decent with him.

Even though Sebastian hated wearing his suit for the flower dance he had thought Sebastian had looked rather handsome. He wondered what would have happened if he had taken Abigail up on her offer and changed into her dress so that he could take his place at the dance? He had the legs for it. He could rock it. Though Sebastian probably would have flat out refused to stick around and just left if that was the case.

He laughed a little at that thought as he tried on a nice looking suit jacket. He just wished that the damn thing didn’t have the penguin like coat tails. A few others had weird collars or cuffs that made him look and feel weird. He knew that Emily said that she’d go ahead and take care of tailoring to make it unique and perfectly suited to him, but he didn’t want her to change too much.

“You decent in there Apollyon?” Called Emily.

“Yeah.”

Emily pulled back the curtain and grinned. “That one looks pretty good on you.”

Haley didn’t look as enthused. “Eh, it’s okay… But the shoulders make him look like a linebacker for some gridball team. Not a fan. Maybe something that… Hmmm…” She looked through the suits they had chosen for him and took out a sleek dark purple one. “Here. Try this one.”

He quickly put it on and the girls seemed to share an approving look. “… Do I look better in this?”

“I’m going to go and see if it comes in blue.” Emily quickly walked off to find a sales person to help.

Apollyon looked at himself in the mirror. He didn’t really know how he felt about this. He could only guess he looked good enough. He hoped that Sebastian would like how he looked when standing next to him. Maybe he was over thinking this dance now? He wasn’t too sure. He needed to stop overthinking things so much.

“What’s that look for?” Asked Haley.

“Hmm?”

“That sad kind of upset look you got going on. Not a fan of the clothes?”

“Um, well… I just hope I look good. I don’t really wear nice things…”

“You want to look good with Sebastian, huh?”

“… Am I that obvious?”

“Painfully so.” She walked over to him and helped straighten up the jacket. “Look, you have a nice face. Just don’t get it smashed in and that will be fine. Run a comb through your hair, wear a nice black button up shirt under the jacket, shine your dancing shoes, and wear some cologne. Do that and you’ll look fine.”

“… That’s too many instructions, and I forgot I need to get shoes too.”

Haley sighed a little and lightly patted his shoulder. “It’s okay. It’s a good thing that I decided to come along with you two huh? Emily would have completely blanked out and forgotten all about the shoes, huh?”

“Heh, yeah, I guess so.” If he had a choice he probably would have gone ahead and worn the boots he was wearing now. They were comfy, but wouldn’t go with a suit at all.

Emily came back with a blue variant of the suit and beamed at him. “Try this one on.”

Once Apollyon had changed into the suit the two girls shared an approving look. And before he knew it they were out on the streets again but with a new suit in hand. Haley happily lead the two of them to a shoe store so that Apollyon could get his shoes and so that she could look for her own shoes of course.

Thankfully finding shoes for himself was a lot easier than finding the suit. Which basically meant that he sat around while Haley and Emily looked at shoes for themselves. He’d found a nice pair of black shoes that he thought went well with the suit.

He sat on one of the seats as the girls happily went about their business. He took out his phone to see if anyone had texted him during the day. Not surprisingly he had nothing from Sebastian. It was still too early for him to be up and about doing stuff. He hoped that Sebastian had gotten enough sleep last night and didn’t go crazy with his work and pulled an all nighter. That would have been bad.

As he looked through his apps he felt a slight chill run up his spine It was, unsettling to say the least. He felt like someone was watching him. Someone’s eyes were definitely on him. Maybe it was the security cameras or just someone working there? He wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. He probably didn’t look like much of a respectable customer. Then again he did have very sticky fingers when he was younger. At least the things took were things like cheap candy. Sometimes school supplies when he was running low. It just left him with this feeling of paranoia when he went into certain places. It was strange.

He glanced over at the store window and almost froze in place. Standing there looking at the store display was possibly the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She had amazingly, long thick red hair that cascaded down her back and over her shoulders. She was wearing a thin singlet that showed off the light dusting of freckles on her arms. For a moment she looked up at him and smiled.

The second their eyes met Apollyon had lost. For better or worse this woman had completely captivated him with those hypnotizing blue eyes. Disregarding any previous thoughts or feelings he got up and walked towards the door. He wanted to talk to this woman. Find out what her name is, who she was, where she lived. He wanted to be with her.

Before he could get to the door however, Emily grabbed his arm and jerked him back to reality. “Where are you going? We need to pay up now.”

“Right I just saw…” He looked out the window and the beautiful woman was gone. “… I thought I saw someone I knew…” He knew that was a lie, he’d never seen her before but there was just something about her.

Emily also looked out the window and shrugged. “Well, let’s pay for our stuff anyway. Then we can get lunch.”

“Actually I don’t feel so good… If you don’t mind I think I’ll just wait in the truck.”

“You sure?” Emily put her hand on his forehead. “Feeling lightheaded or something? Have you had anything to eat or drink since you got up today? If that’s the case you need to eat and drink something.”

Apollyon smiled apologetically and went to pay for his shoes. “I just… I don’t feel too well Emily. You two take your time I’m just going to wait in the truck.”

Without too much protest from the sisters Apollyon was able to make it safely back to the truck and waited for them to get food. Now that he was alone he felt incredibly stupid and guilty. It was just some random woman. He didn’t even know anything about her and here he was just suddenly dropping everything to pursue her. What the hell was wrong with him? He had a boyfriend. A boyfriend he was very much in love with.

The only thing he could think of to as the cause of this was his demon side. He hadn’t been in any serious relationship before and just happily pursued whoever he pleased with no repercussions before. Maybe this was just his natural demon side fighting with his human upbringing? It was all really confusing and distressing to him.

He didn’t like how easily he could be swayed by the look of one random woman that he would never see again. What the hell was wrong with him? He was in a loving relationship with man who loved every part of him and yet here he was looking at other women and for what purpose? He wasn’t even really sure. She was pretty and he wanted her. He could only assume it was for something like sex.

His stress over this was giving him a headache. Maybe he was just overthinking this? It wasn’t like he had actually gone and talked to her. Heck, even if he did talk to her it wasn’t like he had sex with her. If that had happened he couldn’t imagine how distressed Sebastian would have been. If that happened he would sell his farm, track down Gadreel and let him set his stupid body on fire. Was he dramatic? Yes. Did he care? Nope. That’s how he felt right at that moment.

***

Finally, after so many hours and the seemingly endless hoard of bugs popping up all over the place, Sebastian was done. Finished. He was finally done with some weird, crazy, broken webpage and could take a break. It was three in the afternoon.

Normally he would take a smoke break, but not anymore. He was going to chew some gum and head down to Apollyon’s farm. If he wasn’t there he’d just walk around a little and wait for him to come back. No big deal. He’d done it before. Hopefully Apollyon wouldn’t be back covered in cuts and bruises from the mines. While those things didn’t really bother Apollyon that much, Sebastian still worried about him.

When he emerged from the basement Robert perked up a little and smiled at him. “Afternoon Sebby. Heading down to the farm?”

“Yep.”

“That’s good… Um, remind Apollyon that I can upgrade his coop or build him a new barn if he feels like it. He has had the coop for a few seasons now so… just let him know. Okay?”

“… Sure.” Sebastian loved his mum, but did she really need to use him to try and subtly push her wears?

Maru walked out carrying a few seemingly random bits and pieces of scientific equipment. Sebastian had no idea what it was. “Oh, you’re going down to the farm? Mind of I come with you? I want to collect some soil samples from his farm to compare it to the rest of the valley’s soil. Apollyon’s grown such an interesting variety of things there.”

As much as it annoyed Sebastian to be around Maru, he couldn’t really think of a reason to deny her. “… Let’s get going then.”

He didn’t wait for her to reply before he left and started to walk towards the farm. If Maru stayed outside for the most of it and just left him and Apollyon alone to do what they wanted it would be fine. However he just knew that Maru would ask Apollyon so many questions and then he would follow her around and help her out with whatever soil sample collecting things she wanted to do while he would glare at them from the house.

Maru quickly caught up with him. “I’m really excited to see his farm. How is it going? Mum said he keeps coming in every other day to check how much wood he needs for building a barn. Apparently he’s always a few gold short or a few materials short of something.”

“Yeah. He’s like that.” Sebastian remembered the few times Apollyon had whined to him about not having the things he needed. It was cute how much he pouted as laid on the couch and stared at him with all the grumpiness he could muster. “He really should just write it down.”

Maru nodded in agreement. “Yeah. I tell Harvey the same thing… So um… Are you gonna go ahead and dance with Apollyon at the flower dance this year?”

He frowned a little at that thought. On one hand he hated the flower dance, on the other hand it was Apollyon. “… Maybe. I guess I will if he wants to. I hadn’t really thought about it.”

“You should. You two would look really good together.”

Sebastian shrugged and reached up to pull his cigarette out of his mouth, but quickly realized that he didn’t have one in his mouth. Damn muscle memory. The rest of the walk to the farm was relatively quiet. As soon as he got to the farm he knocked on the door and waited for Apollyon to show up.

When he didn’t, Sebastian just shrugged and let Maru go about her business collecting soil samples while he sat on the steps and waited for Apollyon to show up. Thankfully it didn’t take more than a few minutes before Apollyon turned up with a box of shoes in hand.

“… Hey everyone?”

Sebastian smiled a little at him. “Hey. So where did you go?”

Apollyon shrugged a little and scratched the back of his head. “Ah, well I went to Zuzu city with Emily and Haley.”

“… You went to the city without me?” He felt a little hurt by that. Apollyon knew how much he loved the city and getting out of town.

“Yeah well… I wanted to get a little fashion advice and um… surprise you a little.” He said sheepishly. “I wanted to look nice when the flower dance comes around. It’s a big couple’s thing, right? I haven’t bought any anything fancy like this ever and um, Emily and Haley came with me so I wouldn’t get something awful and look dumb… So I have the shoes and Emily is tailoring my suit to make it look better and stuff.”

“You’re rambling again.”

Apollyon blushed a little. “Sorry… What’s Maru doing?”

Sebastian looked over at her. She was taking samples by the pond. “She’s taking soil samples to see how fertile your farm is or something. You okay with that?”

“Yeah. I don’t mind.” He put the shoe box next to the front door. “I’ll go and help her out a little…”

Before he could walk off Sebastian grabbed hold of his wrist. “Hey… I came over to see you. Don’t you want to see me?”

“Of course I want to see you… I um, I just want to see how Maru is going and help her out a little.” Said Apollyon quietly. “If I help her out then she’ll leave quicker and we can spend more time alone, right?”

“… I guess…”

“Cool. I’ll be back in a moment.” He shrugged himself out of Sebastian’s grip and quickly went over to join Maru. He couldn’t hear what they were talking about but they talked about something and laughed at a joke one of them made. He knew this was going to happen, but he didn’t expect Apollyon to be so enthusiastic about ditching him to help his sister.

Did something happen to him, or was he just being paranoid? No, Apollyon was just the kind of person that helped out whenever he could. If anything he was just being a little jealous for no reason again. He needed to get that under control. He knew jealousy wasn’t good for any relationship and he had no reason to be.

Chapter Text

The guilt Apollyon had felt over that random women was quickly faded away after a few days. It was good. He didn’t like how guilty he felt at the time. Sebastian was the most important person in the world to him right now. It made him feel sick to his stomach, but throwng himself into sever back breaking labor had helped him a lot. Though his back did suffer a fair bit and he had to go to the clinic.

Harvey wasn’t very impressed with his actions and scolded him a lot. He even made him wear a back brace for his lower back. Which sucked and meant he couldn’t really do much work around the farm anymore. Also, he couldn’t participate in the egg festival this year. He forgot all about it last year since he was still getting his shit together.

So instead he ended up sitting on a chair while Everyone who wanted to got ready for the egg hunt. Apollyon couldn’t help but pout. He wanted to do that too.

Sebastian seemed to pick up on Apollyon’s distress and gave him some punch. “You okay?”

“I wanted to do the egg hunt thing… But instead all I could do was buy some strawberry seeds… Why does Pierre only sell them now?”

“So he can make the most money I’m guessing?” Suggested Sebastian. He sighed a little and took out his phone. “Do you want to hang out a bit after the festival? We could technically ditch now if you like. No one would really notice us gone.”

“I guess… What did you have in mind?”

Sebastian shrugged. “You’ve been over working yourself lately. Maybe the spa? Should help you relax your muscles. We haven’t been there since like Fall.”

“Sounds good to me.” Apollyon quickly finished his drink and followed Sebastian up to Spa. He still had a locker with his swimsuit and a towel in it so he got changed there while Sebastian went to get his stuff from home.

The water felt nice and warm against his skin and soothed his back a lot. It was nice. Apollyon ended up floating on his back while Sebastian sat to the side near the steps. It was peaceful and relaxing just being there together with him. The only way he’d be even more relaxed was if some of Emily’s mediation music was playing. He closed his eyes and slowly drifted off into an almost peaceful state.

“… So what’s Yoba like?” Asked Sebastian.

Apollyon frowned a little. “Yoba? Where did that come from?”

“Just been thinking about it a lot lately. Like, since the Void is real then the Yoba plane is real and if the Yoba plane is real the Yoba and the book of Yoba has to be real, right?”

Apollyon contemplated this for a moment. Logically that was all sound. “I guess… But to be perfectly honest I don’t know anything about Yoba or the Yoba plane. I’m just a low level demon and well, Yoba was way before my time. I know nothing about the apart from he being a huge dick to demons.”

“You really don’t know anything about them?”

“Not a thing… You worried about your immortal soul or something?”

“Kind of I guess? I just… I don’t know anymore.”

Apollyon sighed a little and swam over to Sebastian. “Hey, if you’re worried about what is going to happen to your soul when you die, I promise I’ll follow you wherever you go. Granted it’s going to be difficult if you go to the Yoba plane, but I’ll do everything I can to get in there… And if you go to the Void I’ll go back there and protect you.”

Sebastian blushed a little. “Really?”

“Well yeah, that’s just assuming that souls are a real thing. I still have no idea if that’s a thing.”

“Fair enough… Still a nice gesture.” He leaned over and quickly kissed Apollyon on the cheek. “Am I overthinking it?”

Apollyon shrugged. “Maybe. You know, you should talk with Krobus. He’s all into that philosophical stuff.”

“Who’s Krobus?”

“He’s a shadow brute that lives in the sewers.”

“… What?”

“Yeah.” Apollyon smiled a little at the thought of his monster friend. “He lives in the sewers and sells stuff. He’s pretty cool. Next time I go down to see him I’ll take you. You two would probably get along really well.”

“Okay.” Sebastian still seemed to be troubled by his thoughts.

Apollyon didn’t know how he could make him feel better. “… Would you feel better if we stopped dating? Like dating a demon is probably a big no in the book of Yoba.”

“So is eating uncooked fish. I’m still going to eat sashimi.” Said Sebastian calmly. “I’m not going to break up with you because I’m having this weird crisis of faith and stuff… It’s just a lot for me to think about, okay?”

“… Okay.”

***

The next day Apollyon took Sebastian down to the sewers to meet Krobus. Surprisingly the little shadow brute wasn’t there. Maybe he was nervous since there were two people coming to see him? Maybe he wasn’t there anymore or something? He wasn’t too sure though, the weird pot/vase things were still there.

Sebastian seemed interested, but probably wasn’t a huge fan of the smell of raw sewerage. Actually, Apollyon was surprised he hadn’t keeled over and died from the smell before now. It was a strange thing. It was either his sense of smell was dulled or as a demon the stink of decay and purification didn’t faze him.

“… It smells awful down here.” Muttered Sebastian. “And why did you give me a void egg?”

“Yeah, I know. But shadow brutes don’t have noses… He should be around here somewhere…” Apollyon looked around a little, completely ignoring his question for the time being. “Hey Krobus? Are you here? I have someone I want you to meet. His name is Sebastian and he’s my boyfriend. You can trust him. I swear.”

Everything was quiet for a moment but then a shadow drifted down the slimy wall before manifesting as a solid form in between the weird lamp/vases. Krobus looked skeptically at the two of them. Still he bowed at them. “H-hello.” He said sheepishly.

Apollyon nudged Sebastian and gestured to the egg in his hands. Taking the hint Sebastian offered the egg to the shadow brute. As soon Krobus saw the egg his eyes let up with delight.

“Um…” Muttered Sebastian. “This is for you…” In a flash a quick swirl of black mist consumed the egg and made it vanish from Sebastian’s hands. He jumped a little in shock. “Whoa!”

Krobus smiled. “Thank you so much for the gift. If Apollyon says you are a friend then you are a friend. I am Krobus. I sell magical artifacts to those willing to pay. I also talk philosophy with those that wish to do so. It’s something that Apollyon and I do from time to time.”

Sebastian looked surprised that Krobus was speaking so eloquently with them. That just made Apollyon laugh. While his lover was surprised he leaned over and quickly whispered to Krobus. “He’s come to the realization the since the Void is a thing then so is the Yoba plane and Yoba themselves. You know I’m not that good at that theology stuff, so would you mind?”

Krobus nodded and walked over to Sebastian. “If you wish to talk about the Yoba plane or the Void I’m more than happy to do so. We shadow brutes do enjoy discussing ideas and sharing stories… We are also well versed in hand to hand combat.”

“Huh, alright.”

Apollyon smiled to himself as he watched the two of them talk. Sebastian would talk about something from the book of Yoba and then Krobus would build on that something from the shadow brute’s religious perspective. They really seemed to get into it too. Much more than Apollyon did. Then again he was coming from a place where he thought Yoba was a piece of shit for letting him live like a human but still condemning him to eternity in the Void.

“And so,” said Krobus. “by definition, Yoba isn’t omniscient as Yoba is only shown to have the power to create. Therefore all things made within the world that Yoba has cultivated and grown go to the Yoba plane.”

“Yeah, but what about you know, murderers and rapists that don’t deserve that kind of stuff?”

“A very good question. We believe that if you commit violent acts that do not serve to save yourself and or other people from a violent act equal to or greater than the act that is going to be committed against you, you’re to be absolved of your sins and welcomed into the Yoba plane.” Said Krobus with a small smile on his face. “All those that commit violence in the act of self-gratification are sent to the Void. Apollyon has told me that humans believe in additional rules that bar entry into the Yoba plane?”

“Well, yeah… After the death of the seventh profit there’s like some letters a follower wrote that made it into the book of Yoba. Stuff about sexuality and people’s rolls in society and stuff like that….”

Krobus shrugged. “If it didn’t come straight from a prophet’s mouth or from Yoba themselves we shadow brutes discount those words as manipulations made to push an agenda to gain control over a populous of easily swayed people.”

“… You’re very blunt about that stuff aren’t you?”

“We shadow brutes as a species are technically hermaphrodites. Any and all things that are taught in your book of Yoba about sexuality, sex, gender roles, and who you are allowed to love we find extremely insulting and narrow minded. All things the prophets said for the most part, when they weren’t specifically addressing the importance of keeping pregnant women safe, was pretty much all gender neutral.”

“… Don’t you use male pronouns?”

“Yes, but to be completely honest most humans call us he and him by default because we have no visible breast tissue like your females. Because of this those pronouns are considered gender neutral in our language.”

“Huh… The more you know.”

Apollyon loved how intense the conversation between them was getting. He and Sebastian never really went ahead and had a full on proper discussion about religion, and to be fair, Apollyon didn’t think he could. He just didn’t have the knowledge that others did. He just knew about the complete and utter shit show that was the Void. Even then he only knew about his own small world within the Void.

“Hey Apollyon, you okay?” Asked Sebastian.

Apollyon jumped a little. “Huh what?”

He smiled a little. “We’re done talking now. You want to come or are you gonna stay in here all day?”

“Oh um, yeah. Let’s get going.”

Krobus smiled happily at them. “Please come again whenever you please. I’ll be happy to sell and or talk more about anything to either of you. I quite enjoyed myself during our discussion Sebastian. It made me happy.”

The two of them said goodbye to Krobus and headed out the exit into Cindersap forest. Once they were safely outside Apollyon lightly nudged his side. “So, what do you think of Krobus?”

“I like him. He’s really cool.” Sebastian smiled and held Apollyon’s hand. “Thanks for letting me see him. He’s an interesting guy and he made some things a little clearer.”

“Well that’s good. Go ahead and see him whenever you like, but like don’t go on Friday. He’s not allowed to speak on Friday.”

“Huh, alright.” He checked his phone and frowned a little. “Hey, I need to head over to Sam’s place. We’re having practice today.”

Apollyon smiled and kissed his cheek. “Knock them dead love.”

“You know I will.” Sebastian quickly said goodbye to Apollyon and went on his way.

Apollyon waved goodbye to him and smiled at him, but he still felt kind of strange for some reason. Maybe it was just because he still felt guilty, or maybe because some of the stuff Krobus was talking about. Stuff about only people from this place could go to the Yoba plane. If that was true then when Sebastian eventually passed away then that meant Apollyon… No, he didn’t want to think about it. Not now. He was happy enough right now. He was. Really.

Chapter Text

Apollyon flinched as Emily once again accidently stuck a pin into him as she fitted and hemmed his suit. She had been working on it for several days now and was just putting the finishing touches on it. “Hold still. The more you squirm the more you’re likely to get pricked.”

“Ah, well I just can’t help it. I am a squirmy boy.”

Emily chuckled a little and lightly poked him with another pin. “Sorry.”

“Ow!”

“Sorry.” There was a knock at Emily’s door and she happily called out. “Come on in.”

Her bedroom door opened up and Shane walked in. He seemed a little surprised to see them. “Huh. Didn’t expect to see you here.”

“Emily’s just fixing it up. I want to look good for the flower dance.” Apollyon smiled brightly at him. “Do you think I look good?”

Emily giggled a little and she finished hemming up his sleeve. “You look amazing.”

“Sebastian’s a lucky guy.” Commented Shane.

The mention of his boyfriend made Apollyon beam with pride. “Yeah. I’m gonna look so good next to him. Maybe I can make the flower dance an alright festival for him, instead of his most hated festival. Think we’ll look good dancing together?”

Shane shrugged. “Who knows? Never seen a guy dancing the girl part at the dance before. Maybe you can convince Evelyn to put something else on the record player? Anyone have any interesting records? Actually, can you even dance Apollyon?”

Apollyon grinned. “Naturally. I can do a mean hokey pokey.”

Emily snorted a little as she took Apollyon’s jacket off and took it to her sewing machine. “You’re going to have to learn a few more dance moves then that.”

“I’ll just have to improvise. No big deal.” Apollyon was confident that as long as he didn’t step on Sebastian’s toes he’d be doing just fine. He just wanted to hold Sebastian’s hands and dance with him in front of everyone. Declaring their love in front of the whole town was such a big thing for him. “You know, I’m glad everyone in town is so open.”

“We’re pretty laid back here.” Said Emily as she started to use her sewing machine. “I think the only people I’ve heard use… let’s say colourful language, are Evelyn and Geroge. Most of it is kind of that; oh you old people with your offensive words that meant something normal in your time. Occasionally though there is a bit of flat out racism. Like I think George dropped the N word once or twice… The Evelyn got mad at him and George got grumpy because he forgot you don’t call people of colour those things.”

Shane nodded in agreement. “Old people are wild. You finished Jas’s dress yet?”

“Oh yeah. It’s on my bed. Tulip pink princess dress with red quartz crystal hem, right?”

“That’s the one.” He walked over and picked up the dress, giving it a good look. “Jas is gonna love this. Thanks Em. I owe you one.”

“No problem. I love jazzing up old clothes.”

Apollyon looked at the dress, tilting his head slightly to see the lights catch the crystals. “New dress for Jas?”

“Kind of,” said Shane. “Jas likes to wear nice dresses for these festivals. Thought I’d try and surprise her by making her flower dance dress just a little more special this year. Trying to make up for not really being a good father figure to her… Also teaching her how to raise chickens.”

Emily grinned. “That’s amazing Shane. Hey, how about this weekend you take Jas somewhere nice? Like… Take her down to the beach? Or borrow Lewis’s truck and take her to the movies out in Zuzu? Or even out to lunch somewhere nice? New year new you, am I right?”

Shane seemed to like that idea. “Yeah. I think I might… I need to give her some more attention and take her to places that she likes.” He couldn’t help but frown at the thought. “I don’t really know anything about her apart from the fact she likes the usual girly stuff and chickens… That’s pretty fucking awful.”

Apollyon couldn’t help but agree with him. “Yeah, that’s kind of shit. But you’re trying really hard to make up for it now, right? Don’t just shower her with gifts, show her you care by spending time with her and listening to her.” He couldn’t help but feel a small sense of nostalgia as he thought of his mum. “When I was younger and my mum couldn’t afford to give me things I didn’t mind at all because she was always there to listen to me when I had problem. It made me so happy to know she cared enough to do that.”

Shane nodded a little as he looked down at the dress. “I’ll do what I can for her. It’ll take a while but I’ll get there.”

“We’re cheering you on Shane.” Said Emily happily. “If you ever need any help just ask.”

“Thanks.” He put the dress in the bag and saw himself out.

When he was gone Apollyon turned his attention back to Emily. “So, is it done yet?”

“I’ll have it done soon. Tell you what, I’ll swing by your place on the day and it’ll be all good and ready. Sound good to you.”

“Sounds perfect.” Apollyon made his leave and headed back to his farm. He was so excited about the dance. Like he had told Sebastian and his friends last year he had gone to plenty of school dances growing up but he had never actually danced with anyone before. It made him feel happy and excited.

***

True to Emily’s word she was over at Apollyon’s place and helping him with his suit after he went about his farm chores. She made him get into his suit and then she started to fix up his hair to make him look good. Apollyon appreciated the subtle hints of punk and gothic fashion that inspired her alterations.

“You did really well.” Said Apollyon. “Are you almost done with my hair? I don’t want to be late.”

She hummed a little and ran her fingers through Apollyon’s hair one more time. “Just give me two seconds and… done. You look perfect.”

Apollyon quickly looked himself over in the mirror and grinned. “Okay, let’s get going.”

The two walked down to the field and Apollyon could hardly contain his excitement. He had been looking forward to this all year. He couldn’t wait and Emily could tell. “You’re really excited about this aren’t you?”

“Well yeah, is it that obvious?”

“If you were any more excited you might start jumping around like a rabbit.”

“Ah, oh well. I can’t help it. I couldn’t dance last year because everyone had a partner or didn’t want to dance with me… Hopefully Sebastian doesn’t have second thoughts about this…”

Emily frowned, looking very confused. “Why would he have second thoughts? Are you two going through a rough patch?”

“What? No. He just doesn’t like the flower dance… And now that we’re going out he might not want to dance…”

“I see…” Suddenly Emily’s eyes lit up. “Well, if that happens you can dance with me and Shane. Sure it might not be a traditional looking dance, but who cares? This is the first time an open gay couple is going to be at this dance. Time to shake things up! Change the traditions! Topple gender roles!”

“Won’t Haley be mad if there’s like no flower queen if you topple the system so easily?”

“… She’ll get over it.”

The two of them continued to talk and laugh until they got to the field. From there Emily walked off to talk to other people and Apollyon scanned the area looking for his boyfriend. Thankfully he was easy to spot. He was standing by the buffet table with Abigail and Sam. Thankfully Sebastian was wearing that suit he hated so much. That had to mean we was at least okay with dancing, right?

He walked over to the group and waved happily. “Hey guys. Get here early?” He casually wrapped his arm around Sebastian’s waist and subtly pulled him closer so their hips were touching. Thankfully, much to Apollyon’s relief Sebastian returned the gesture and even one upped him by kissing his cheek.

“We helped set up.” Said Sebastian. “I had to wake up early for this.”

“Sorry love.” Said Apollyon. “You should have let me know and I would have helped out.”

Sam shrugged. “Nah man. It’s cool. You have a farm to get all sorted out before you come here. No big deal.”

“Yeah.” Said Abby. “But at least I just had to help Gus bring over the food. Also, nice suit Apollyon. You clean up nice.”

He smiled brightly at her. “Thanks. So you’re not wearing a dress today?”

“Don’t have to. Sebastian grew some balls and now you two are dating, therefore I do not have to dance, and so I do not have to wear a stupid dress.” She seemed way too pleased with herself. I am going to stuff my face and eat all those parsnip chips and chilli dipping sauce.”

“I thought you hated vegetables?” Questioned Apollyon.

“Well yeah, but have you tried Gus’s parsnip chips? They are like crinkle cut, oven baked and dusted with this amazing five spice seasoning. Plus the chilli dip gives it this amazing sweet and spicy kick that’ll blow your mind. Super drippy though, so eat it after you dance. Me on the other hand I’ll eat as much as I like. I don’t give a fuck if it drips all over my shirt.”

***

Sebastian had to admit that Apollyon looked damn fine. He had no idea if Emily deliberately tailored Apollyon’s suit to make it hug him in all the right spots but damn it did so well. Too well in fact. Abby commenting on his looks only confirmed that for him.

At least Apollyon was happy, super happy. It reminded him a lot more of Sam when they were younger and still in school. The blond always got super hyped up and excited when the holidays were coming up. Just like how his boyfriend was super excited now. Was dancing with him in front of the whole town really that exciting for him?

He didn’t understand that. The dance was dumb. If he didn’t live with his parents he wouldn’t come down here for this stupid thing ever. He’d just stay in bed and sleep. Staying in bed was way more interesting than this. It would be even better if Apollyon was in that bed with him. He’d have to discuss that with him later if he wanted to make that a reality in the near future.

He watched Vincent and Jas run by to the buffet table as they looked for something delicious and possibly full of sugar to eat. “Where are the cupcakes?” Muttered Vincent.

“They have to be around here somewhere…” Said Jas.

Apollyon seemed to take notice of the kids and went over to the table, grabbing two butterfly cupcakes for the kids. “Are these what you two are after?”

The kids grinned and quickly took the confectionary from him. “Thanks Mr Apollyon!” Said Vincent.

“Thank you.” Said Jas.

Apollyon grinned at the two of them. “No problem. Hey, that dress is very nice Jas. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.”

The little girl giggled and did a little spin. “Thank you. Uncle Shane got it for me. It’s really pretty isn’t it?”

“It sure is. It looks like a real princess dress.”

Jas blushed a little. “Thank you. Uncle Shane said the same thing.”

“Ah, well you two go and enjoy yourselves.”

“We will.” The two children quickly ran off to eat their food and play their games.

Abby sighed a little. “That dress is so cute…”

Sam chuckled. “Thought you didn’t like dresses?”

Abby looked at him like he was an idiot. “If you can look at a bikini clad pinup girl and appreciate how they look without wanting to wear a bikini or be a woman I think I can appreciate how nice a dress looks on Jas.”

“… Point taken.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes a little at his friend’s antics and waited for the dance to finally start. Thankfully for him it didn’t take too long before Lewis called everyone who was going to dance to find their partners for the dance. He almost reluctantly tugged at Apollyon’s sleeve. “Come on. You want to dance with me, right?”

Apollyon’s eyes lit up with delight. “Of course I do… Do you not want to dance this year? We don’t have to if you don’t want to. I just kind of assumed that you’d want to since we haven’t done it before and um…” He quickly seemed to lose his confidence, which was a huge shock to Sebastian. Apollyon was so happy a few seconds ago. “I really should have asked if you wanted to dance this year…”

“… You’re over thinking things again.” Said Sebastian calmly. He held Apollyon’s hand and took him over to the dance floor where people were already gathering. “I’m not that complicated. Just because I don’t like the flower dance doesn’t mean I’m not going to dance with you. It’s important to you and it’s not gonna kill us to do it together.”

Despite saying that he still felt like he’d die of embarrassment. Dancing with Abigail was bad enough. The two of them were destined to be together for the damn thing and under the watchful eyes of the grownups, and it sucked. He felt like the grownups were just forcing the younger, unmarried people together. Did they really think that the two of them were made to be just because they dressed similarly and were friends? He hated it. It was embarrassing.

So now that he was dancing with someone he liked the embarrassment was tripled. He felt like the eyes of everyone else were on the both of them. No, not Apollyon. Just him. Their eyes were on him. Everyone liked Apollyon well enough. He went around and delivered gifts for people and completed things on the notice board. Hell, he even gave him an eggplant once because he wanted to throw something into the side of the mountain. If anyone was going to think something was wrong with their relationship it wasn’t going to be because of the bright and sunny Apollyon. It would be because of him. He’d be the problem.

Apollyon noticed his nervousness and gently squeezed Sebastian’s hands. “Hey, just dance with me like you were dancing with Abigail. I’m more than happy to dance the girl part. Let’s have fun. Okay?”

He was thankful for Apollyon’s compassion. “Okay.” The two of them danced the usual dance that everyone always danced each year and that went well enough in his opinion. But once that was over Emily quickly raced over to the gramophone and put on a new record. Evelyn chuckled a little at the younger girl’s enthusiasm and happily played something that sounded like… Swing music?

It seemed to surprise the other bachelors and bachelorettes at the sudden change in music, but everyone quickly seemed to adapt. Elliot and Leah were surprisingly really good at it and were a stand out among the group. Harvey was also pretty good at it along with Maru. Sam and Penny did a lot of spins and twirls. Alex and Haley were into doing more outlandish movements in time with the beat which suited them just fine. Emily tried to do big energy movements with Shane but it kind of looked like he was trying hard to keep up with her.

It was way different then what Sebastian was used to and he froze up a little, unsure what to do. Luckily for him Apollyon seemed to know what he was doing. “Don’t think too much about it Seb. Just move to the beat and try not to step on my feet.”

***

As it was the flower dance many of the Junimos were off doing their own celebrations. But a few of them were hanging around the human’s festival and once the dance started some of them started throwing handfuls of petals into the air when the music started. They thought it looked pretty as the petals fluttered through the air and over the dancers.

Red tried pegging a handful of tulip petals at a few people, but it didn’t work. Still they had fun. “Eat some petals you happy people.”

Purple sat by them and tossed some more petals into the air. “Good to see that the farmer is dancing with their partner. What’s next on the human mating ritual thing?”

“Get married and have babies. That’s the next part.” Said Red. They attempted to peg more flower petals at people. “Take that old people!”

“… Do you really think you should be pegging petals at people?”

“Yes. It is fun.”

“… Red, you are weird.”

Chapter Text

Almost too soon Sam and his band was ready to play their first gig. According to Sam it was at this local music festival just an hour or two outside of Zuzu city in some big field. Abby was just as excited as Sam was and was more than enthusiastic when it came to moving the drum set to the truck. They had managed to get Lewis’s permission to use his truck and only because Apollyon was going with them. It was nice to be the responsible one for once.

Sam was giddy with excitement. “I can’t believe it. We actually have a gig. Someone pinch me!” Abigail punched his arm. “Ow! I said pinch.”

“I thought you said punch. Did that sound like punch to you two?”

Apollyon and Sebastian agreed with her and continued to load things onto the truck. Sam was salty about that but he quickly got over it when the four of them crammed themselves in. For some out of the four of them only Abigail could drive a manual truck, so she got stuck with driving duties.

On the road Sam was allowed to choose the music while Sebastian was in charge of snacks. In other words Sam was blasting some old rock and roll music from the 80s and Sebastian horded all the food. Which in retrospect Apollyon was happy about because that meant he could have snacks too. Too bad that was a lie. As it turned out, Sebastian was a huge snack hoarder and slapped Apollyon’s hand away whenever he tried to grab some snacks.

“Come on Sebby.” Whined Apollyon. “I want some chippies…”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “You sir do not deserve these chicken chips if you call them chippies.”

“Why do you do these things to me babe? Why?” Whined Apollyon.

Sam laughed at their antics. “Dude, any time we go on a road trip Sebastian never lets anyone take his food. You need to pack your own.”

“Why is he in charge of food if he doesn’t share?”

Abigail rolled her eyes. “His hoodie pocket might look small but he once lost his watch, a pen and a notebook for three seasons and found it in his hoodie. Just let him stuff his face and then take the snacks. That’s what we do.”

Apollyon pouted and rested his chin on Sebastian’s shoulder. “… If you give me that pack of gummie worms I know you have I’ll do that thing that makes you see stars.”

Sebastian went bright red and quickly handed him the gummies. “Shut up and just eat them.”

“Success!”

Sam frowned a little and nudged Apollyon. “Hey, if you promise to do more crazy shit with him in bed do you think you can score me some chips?”

“Get me some red liquorish.” Pipped up Abigail.

Apollyon frowned a little. “Wait, isn’t this kind of prostitution? Am I whoring myself out for candy and chips?”

Sebastian patted his boyfriend’s head. “Yes Apollyon. Yes you are.”

“… Well considering some of the crazy shit I’ve done, not a bad deal.” Apollyon happily ate his gummies and the rest of the trip went smoothly. By the time they got to the festival things had only just started to get underway with people coming in and food vendors getting their stalls. The group set up on the stage and checked their equipment to see if it was working.

Sam grinned as he plated a few chords. “This is so exciting. I can’t believe this is actually happening guys. A real gig in front of real people.”

Abby chuckled at his excitement as she set up her symbols and adjusted her snare. “Yeah, it is pretty awesome. We might be able to get some fans. Did you remember to bring CDs?”

“Of course.” Said Sam. Is the synth all good Seb?”

Sebastian played a few notes. “Yep.”

Apollyon stood back as he watched them set up. A few people were gathering around the stage, clearly interested in what they were going to play. “When are you guys going to start playing?”

“In about twenty.” Said Sam. “You gonna head down to watch us?”

“Of course.” Said Apollyon with a grin. “I’m your number one fan. I especially like the wizard on the synth. I’d totally blow him in some grungy bathroom stall when he’s done with his set like some groupie slut. Boy has some magic fingers.”

Sebastian blushed and rolled his eyes. Thankfully he had a slight smile on his face. “Shut up and get off the stage you dork.”

He winked and shot his boyfriend some finger guns. “You got it sexy. See you after the show.” He headed off the stage and waited around off to the side while more people filed into the festival. He was thrilled to see how many people were showing up to this. He wasn’t sure how excited Sebastian was about being in this event, but Sam seemed to be super enthusiastic about it.

He wondered what would happen if their band did get big and like went on tour. If that happened then that meant Sebastian would leave the valley for months. That thought made him sad. No more going over to his house to see him. No more waking up to him. No more sex either. That sucked. It wasn’t like he could go and tour with them either. He had a farm to look after. But as long as Sebastian was happy he couldn’t be sad, right?

He shouldn’t be thinking those kinds of depressing thoughts right now. In reality it was highly unlikely they would get picked up by a producer today. They would probably have to go and do a few more shows and get a dedicated fanbase. Apollyon just remembered fanbases were a thing. And where there were fans that would enjoy their music there would be the extreme crazies that wanted to fuck the band mamebers. Sure Apillyon realised Sebastian was sexy as hell, but he didn’t like the idea of other people thinking about him that way.

Thankfully before he could stress out too much about those kinds of he heard Sam on the microphone. He sounded a little nervous as he introduced them to everyone as The Pelicans. Seconds later music started to play and damn, they had gotten good since the last time Apollyon had heard them. They were playing some kind of alternative rock pop sort of thing. It sounded like something you would hear in some dance club but it was very distinctly theirs.

Lots of people were dancing and grooving to their sound. Sam had strung together some vague lyrics about an underwater city by a coral reef or something. It didn’t make much sense but it sounded cool. He liked it. It made him bob around a little like a person in a mosh pit in a concert.

Out of the corner of his eye he spotted something that looked vaguely like red hair. In fact, it was red hair, a huge swirly mess of brilliant red hair that looked way too familiar. That woman he saw in Zuzu city that one time. It was her there was no mistaking it. He recognised her hair, her smile, and the freckles that dusted her shoulders. Today she was wearing a green tank top and denim shorts so short they almost looked like underwear painted to her milky white skin. The way she smiled and danced made his heart hammer in his chest.

She noticed him staring at her and winked at him and gestured for him to come closer. Captivated by her gorgeous blue eyes any and all doubts he had in his mind melted away and he approached her. She smiled at him and danced with him. No words needed to be said between them as their movements and bodies did all the talking.

Apollyon hardly noticed as the songs changed, all his attention was on her. Nothing else seemed to matter anymore. He liked her. He wanted her, and she was giving him all these signals that she wanted him too. He was okay with this. She could have him however she wanted.

Suddenly she reached out and held his hand, giving him lustful eyes. Without hesitation Apollyon linked his fingers with her and let her lead him away to some part of the festival. It was in some corner close to the stage but completely out of sight of everyone else.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled Apollyon close for a kiss. As if his body was working on autopilot Apollyon kissed back and pressed her up against the nearest wall. She moaned happily as the kiss quickly became more heated and passionate. She raised one of her legs slightly to wrap around Apollyon’s hip and he in turn lifted her up by her thighs so she could wrap both her legs around him properly.

She giggled a little when he did so and quickly readjusted herself. By doing so Apollyon got a good look at her cleavage threw the collar of her tank top. She wasn’t wearing a bra, and he thought he saw the glimpse of a rose tattoo on one of her breasts. That was hot.

She ran her fingers through Apollyon’s hair, tilting his head back before leaning down and kissing him again. Her beautiful hair completely enveloped them like a veil. This was perfect. All that he wanted at this moment was her, whoever this mystery woman was he wanted her. He wanted every part of her and wanted to give her every part of him that she wanted. At this moment she could ask him to do anything and he would willingly do it. She had him completely wrapped around her little finger and they both knew it. And to be honest, Apollyon didn’t give a damn.

“What the fuck?!”

Apollyon pulled back from her and stared at Sebastian. Suddenly he was drawn out of his romanticised thoughts and was slapped with the cold, harsh reality of his actions. It felt like someone had doused him in ice water and ripped his guts out at the same time. The guilt he felt was instant, but that feeling was compounded tenfold when he saw how distressed Sebastian was.

The girl looked confused. “Hmm? What’s going on?”

“I’m his boyfriend.” Snapped Sebastian.

At the mention of their relationship the girl pushed Apollyon away from her. “Ew gross! Get away from me you cheating fuckboi.” She shot Sebastian an apologetic look. “I am so sorry. If he had said he was with someone I wouldn’t have done that… Sorry.” She quickly ran off, obviously not interested in dealing with this kind of drama.

“…” Apollyon wanted to crawl into a hole and die. He didn’t understand how he could just suddenly flip a switch in his mind and so willingly cheat on him. “Sebastian, I’m so sorry.”

Sebastian looked pissed. He didn’t move from where he was standing but he looked like he would snap and hit him at any moment. “Just shut up. What the fuck is wrong with you? Why the fuck would you do something like that?”

His throat went dry and his mouth felt like it was filled with cotton. No answer would satisfy Sebastian or make him feel better about what he had just seen. He didn’t even understand what the hell was wrong with himself. “I-I don’t know. I just… My mind went blank and I kind of just went on instinct and everything just-”

“Instinct?” Snapped Sebastian in disgust. “Fucking instinct? What the fuck is wrong with you? Is this some bullshit demon instinct thing?”

“I don’t know. Maybe?” If it really was some demon instinct of his to want to fuck whoever he finds physically attractive then that was going to be a serious problem. And that terrified him. Was he really so animalistic?

Sebastian clenched his fists. If at all possible, he looked angrier than before. “That’s fucking bullshit. Fucking bullshit. How could you just…” He stopped himself and took a long, slow, deep breath. Sebastian turned away from him. “I can’t look at you right now… Just go away. We’ll meet back at the truck when this music festival thing is over.”

Apollyon reached out for him but stopped himself. He felt sick. Riddled with guilt. “… I’m sorry.” Without really thinking Apollyon ran off as far away as he could. He fucked up so badly.

By the time he had stopped running he was near the entrance of the festival. He felt like shit. Everything was just too natural for him from his thoughts to his own movements. He sat down by the side of the road with his head in his hands. Was this how he had always acted since he became sexually active but just didn’t notice? Why would he notice before? He never cared about long term relationships and just bedded whoever he was attracted to in the moment.

If this was what he really was deep down inside then he shouldn’t be with Sebastian. He was going to end up hurting him badly one day. Even worse than he had right now. He wouldn’t be able to bare it if he was going to be the reason behind Sebastian’s misery.

“I hate this.” He muttered. “I fucking hate this. I’m a fucking bastard. I hate being a demon. All I do is make everyone I care about miserable. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this…”

***

Sebastian felt sick. He couldn’t believe that Apollyon was cheating on him and with a girl. Fuck he knew Apollyon was attracted to women too but that just made it hurt more when he caught him with her. Was he getting tired with him already? He thought they had a good relationship. Was he not feminine enough? Did Apollyon want someone with breasts or a vagina? That wasn’t fair. How could he do that to him?

Was it really some demon thing to want to fuck anyone they mildly fancied? If that was so then what did that say about their relationship? Did Apollyon only care about having sex and used normal human emotions to get to it when people resisted hook-ups? Did Apollyon consider him just a hook-up? That thought made him feel sick and used.

“Hey, you okay Seb?” Asked Sam. “Where’s Apollyon?”

Sebastian clenched his jaw at the mention of his name. “I don’t want to talk about that fucker.” He wanted to kick something. Unfortunately the closest thing he could kick was an amp.

“Whoa, what did he do?” Asked Abigail.

“… After our set I went somewhere quiet because yeah, I was a little overwhelmed and I found Apollyon making out with some woman. Their hands were all over each other and he just… I’m fucking pissed at him.”

Sam and Abigail looked shocked. They didn’t look like they could believe what Sebastian was saying. But seeing the distress on Sebastian’s face any reluctance to believe him was gone. “That son of a bitch!” Snapped Abigail. “How the fuck could he do that to you? I’m going to cut off his dick and run him over!”

“He seemed like such a decent guy too…” Said Sam. “Well fuck. This is going to make the ride home awkward…”

“Fuck him. I’m not driving him back to town.” Stated Abigail harshly. “He can walk back for all I care. I’m not going to be nice to some cheating fuck.”

While Abigail ranted on about Apollyon being a jerk Sam went to comfort Sebastian. “Hey, if you want you can just hang out by the truck while we pack things up… We’ll figure out what to do about Apollyon later.”

“… Thanks.” He trudged back to the truck with his head hanging low. He still didn’t understand why or how Apollyon could do something like that to him. He could still vividly see those two in his mind just all over each other. At least she had the common decency to push him away the second she found out he had a boyfriend.

When he got to the parking lot he happened to run into the red headed woman again. She looked extremely embarrassed and sheepish. “… Hi.”

“Hey…”

“I’m still really sorry about… I’m not some home wrecking skank. Honest. He never said that he was seeing someone.” She seemed really upset about the whole thing.

Now Sebastian could have and probably should have been mad at her too, but he was too upset at Apollyon right now. Sure she was stupid for making out with some random guy, but that was it. “Whatever… I don’t really care. He’s a piece of shit.”

She smiled sympathetically at him. “I see, so he’s that kind of a guy… This isn’t the first time he’s done this to you?”

“What? No I just… Look, I don’t think badly of you. I’m mad at my boyfriend.”

She nodded a little, looking rather sad. “I understand how you feel… I was with someone for a while and they were… Well they didn’t disclose that they wanted an open relationship. It was quite terrible finding out the hard way. Guess that’s why I prefer hook-ups now. The decent ones always say they are with someone so I back off… I’m sorry I’m rambling. Tell me about yourself. What do you do besides play the synth?”

Sebastian shrugged a little as he continued to walk to the truck. “I do freelance programming work. Mostly simple website stuff. Sometimes huge companies. I read a lot of sci-fi too.”

As he talked she nodded along, taking in every word he said carefully. “I see… So how did you and your current boyfriend meet?”

“He’s a farmer in our town… He was nice to me…” He wasn’t sure why he was spilling all this out to her. He normally wasn’t so open to strangers. If anything he was more closed off from strangers, but there was just something about her voice that calmed him a little and made him talk. It was kind of strange really, but he wasn’t questioning it.

“I see… people like Apollyon tend to manipulate people however they see fit.”

“I guess, but… I didn’t tell you his name…”

She just ignored him. “Such a sad and strange thing though isn’t it? People always seem to get easily tricked by things like that… Then you know, sometimes someone will come in and try to remove such an annoying problem but then they get caught in the act and their prey runs off without so much as leaving a proper trail to follow.”

“… What?” He felt like he had missed a whole conversation to get to this point. Looking at her now, her whole demeanour and way that she carried herself seemed to have instantly changed. She was walking confidently and had an almost annoyed look on her face.

“It’s so annoying. I am so hungry too and tired of devouring the measly crumbs of corrupted desire in the hearts of man.” She said calmly. “The Void essence I can absorb from humans is pathetic. I might as well be licking the cheese off of an empty pizza box. Just seeing him I knew that this chaos demon was just pulsing with Void essence. It’s practically running through his veins…” She glared at him, clearly annoyed. “Do you have any idea how evil you are? I practically had him in my mouth and you ripped him away from me. Two more seconds and I could have started feeding.”

Okay, it was clear to Sebastian at this moment that this person clearly knew who Apollyon was and what he was, but he also knew what the Wizard had been saying. “Yeah, okay. I don’t know who you are or why you want to eat Apollyon or whatever it is you want to do, but Apollyon’s not technically a demon. Some fancy wizards gave him the title of pagan god. That means you’re not allowed to hurt him, so go away.”

At that the woman started laughing. She looked extremely amused now. “I see even the children of Yoba whom know of the darkness are still fools. Child of Yoba, the rules those magic users, as they have been called, only make rules for others of their kind. Truly, their kind has no power over one such as I.” As she spoke her skin started to develop a darker, more greenish hue and her hair started to coil tightly and turn dark green, resembling something akin to vines or roots.

“Fuck… What are you?”

She smiled sweetly at him and spoke, though her mouth wasn’t moving anymore. “Child of Yoba, there is no need for such foul language. I am an angel. I have lived here for eons and cared for humanity as per Yoba’s instructions. I am a Gar-dinner.”

She was no longer standing on the ground but hovering above it with her toes several inches off the ground. Her red hair was no longer red but a thick mass of vines and roots that undulated as though she was underwater. She slowly blinked at him as her face slowly shifted and morphed until the only thing taking up her face was a giant eyeball.

If Sebastian could he would have started running but he couldn’t. Staring into this being’s eye was hypnotising and gave him an indescribable sense of calm. His mind went blank and he just stood there feeling slightly dizzy and unfocused.

“Now, sleep.” She poked his forehead and Sebastian fell backwards, passing out long before he hit the ground.

Chapter Text

It was starting to get dark and Apollyon wandered back to the truck. He hoped that he could possibly get a ride back to Pelican Town with the group because he didn’t know the bus route. Unsurprisingly to him the truck and everyone else was gone. He’d fucked up way too badly, didn’t he? None of them were going to want anything to do with him eventually got back to town.

Maybe he could just go home, finish the offerings to the Junimos, sell the farm and live a life as a transient drifter? Maybe Linus could give him a few points on that. He’d just go from town to town, live on the outskirts, enjoy his quiet life, and then just lie down and let some Yoba fanatic kill him when he was done with everything. Living as a human was difficult.

He sighed a little as he looked at the empty parking spot. They hated him. Soon everyone in town would know too. He was a horrible person. A disgrace. Cheating on your spouse as easily as breathing was a grotesque act.

He crouched down a little and groaned in frustration. He needed to ask the Wizard if he could do something to permanently purge his demon existence from his body. That was possible right? It wasn’t some weird thing he was hoping could happen but of course, would not happen at all because the world hated him and his very existence? He didn’t know.

As Apollyon wallowed in self-pity and hatred a strange scent subtly drifted into his nose. It was kind of sweet and kind of metallic in a way, but it had a hint of something else too, something that made his skin crawl a little.

Curious as to what on earth it was Apollyon lightly scratched around in the dirt until he came across a strange looking little flower. Its stem was weird and ropy looking more like little fibers twisted together and the petals were a very sick looking purple. He reached out to touch it, recoiling when the pollen, or maybe it was the nectar, touched and burned his skin. There was only one thing he could think of that could hurt him like that.

“Why is there some Yoba plane flower thing here?” He took a tissue out of his pocket and pulled the flower out of the ground. Its roots flailed and twisted around for a few moments before stopping dead. It was strange.

He continued to scratch around in the soft dirt near where the flower was found and discovered something disturbing. He found three cards wrapped in a piece of paper. The paper was written in a dark green ink and had only two words on it; Find Them. The cars inside were Abigail’s driver’s license, Sam’s photo ID for work, and Sebastian’s motorcycle license.

Putting two and two together Apollyon could only guess that some crazy fanatic or fanatics had decided to kidnap them to lure him out. This was more than a little annoying. How the hell was he meant to find them? They had the damn truck. How the hell was he supposed to find them?

Confused and frustrated Apollyon dropped the Yoba plane flower and grinded it under his foot. He had to find them soon. Who knew what some Yoba nut job would do to them? Sam and Abby didn’t even know anything about him being a demon. What would happen to them if they couldn’t get any useful information from them? As he wondered what the heck he was going to do he couldn’t help but notice that the crushed up flower flittered away from under his foot and drifted away in a direction that was opposed to the breeze.

“… Fucking magic flower Yoba bullshit.” As annoyed as he was, Apollyon seemed to have very little choice but to follow this strange flower into whatever trap this was going to turn out to be.

***

Sebastian felt groggy and kind of sick. He didn’t feel good at all and didn’t really remember too much about what had just happened to him. All he really remembered was Apollyon making out with some red haired woman and she… She wasn’t human was she?

He looked around trying to get his eyes to focus on where on earth he was right now. He was, outside. He could see the stars in the sky and feel the dirt under his body. Looking around he could see cars. Lots of crushed and abandoned cars. Was he in a junk yard? He had to be. Where else would he be.

He tried to sit up but has arms and legs were tied together with something. It sure as hell wasn’t a rope or anything like that. It was a weird substance that kind of looked like flesh but more fibrous. Maybe it was kind of fungus? He wasn’t sure, but whatever it was it was strong. He couldn’t struggle free.

Something heavy fell next to him and he jumped a little. It was Sam’s body. He was unconscious and had streaks of blood running down his cheeks like tears, but otherwise seemed fine. He too had that weird growth wrapped around his arms and legs. “Shit. Sam, come on man, wake up.”

Sebastian looked around trying to see if Abby was around anywhere and he froze when he saw her. That supposed angel that had taken him was crouched over unmoving body. Her face was completely covered by the creatures strange vine hair. From what he could see Abby’s body was twitching and convulsing under the angel, like she was having a seizure or something. Whatever it was doing to her it was probably the same thing that it had done to Sam.

“Fuck.” Sebastian looked around and tried to see if he could find something he could use to free himself, like some broken glass or some sharp metal. How was it that there was nothing like that around him? He was in a junk yard for crying out loud.

Suddenly Abigail was dropped next to him and she looked just as dull and lifeless as Sam with blood running down her pale cheeks. Swallowing thickly he looked up to see the angel looking down at him with that impossibly large eye that took up her entire face. Her hair seemed to move independently on its own and her skin looked like it was covered in some green plant material and patches of bark.

“You’re awake now. Good.” It had no mouth to speak with so it appeared that this thing was using some kind of psychic magic to speak directly into his mind. It was unnerving.

“What did you do to them?” He asked, doing his best to keep the fear out of his voice.

They looked over at Sam and Abby before shrugging half-heartedly. “As a Gar-dinner I feed off of Void essence. These two happened to stumble upon us as I searched for the keys to your vehicle. Turns out the girl had it and I thought I might as well get as much Void essence out of this feeding as possible. But alas, all together there was hardly enough essence to fill a thimble.”

“… Did you kill them?” He could see them breathing so he knew that wasn’t the case but he nodded confirmation.

“The Void essence I could extracted from them wouldn’t be nearly enough to kill them. It was just crumbs to me and I am still mad at you.” She sat on Sebastian’s chest and glared at him. “That demon was brimming with Void essence… I’m so tired of sucking up what crumbs I can get. Even when I get lucky and come across the worse dregs of humanity all I can get is a small mouthful at best…”

Sebastian gulped a little and tried to wriggle out from under her, but it was no use. Despite her feeling light enough for him to push her away but she wasn’t budging. She just stayed staring down at him while her hair swirled independently around her head.

“But you, I can smell it on you. You’ve been corrupted by that demon. You have a lot more than just the average amount of Void essence flowing in you just because of constant contact.” She grabbed hold of his face and harshly turned him so she could get a good look at him. “You look scared… Sorry, but this is nothing personal. I’m just hungry and your void essence is what I need to live. Now try not to squirm too much. This is going to hurt.”

The Gar-dinner leaned over him, enveloping them in a curtain of her own hair. Sebastian watched in horror as this thing’s eyelashes elongated and started to squirm as they slowly drifted down towards his face. The tips of these unnatural tendrils were barbed and he could only tell because they were so close to his eyes. Did the Gar-dinner plan to force the tendrils into his eyes?

“No! G-Get off me!” He screamed. “Get away from me! No! No! No!”

Suddenly the Gar-dinner was launched off him and landed with a crash into a nearby car. Sebastian watched in shock as he saw Apollyon rush over to the angel and started to beat the shit out of it with a heavy pipe sending green blood flying everywhere. “Mother fucking Yoba fuck!” He snapped. “Stay the fuck away from them! You fucking fuck! Mother fucker! Fucking die! Die! Die! Die! You fucking piece of shit! Fuck Yoba!” He paused for a moment to catch his breath before slamming the pipe into it a few more times. “Fuck you.”

Once he was done beating it he went over to Sebastian who shook his head and gestured to Sam and Abby. “Check them first.”

Apollyon nodded and quickly checked the vital signs of the passed out people, also going as far as opening their eyelids to see if there was any eye damage. “… They look okay. Their eyes are a little blood shot but they should be fine.” He found a sharp piece of metal and started to cut them free from their strange bindings. He managed to free Sam and Abigail before starting on Sebastian. “What the heck happened when I was gone?”

“You know that red head you were sucking face with?”

Apollyon flinched a little at that comment. “Yeah?”

“Well turns out she’s actually an angel from the Yoba plane and wants to suck the Void essence from us and since you’re a demon she pretty much wants to kill you.”

Apollyon was about halfway through cutting the bindings from Sebastian’s hands when he stopped dead in his tracks and stared at him in disbelief. “I’m sorry, but did you just say that the red head I kissed was an angel and not some crazy Yoba fanatic that wants to kill me?”

“Yeah? Why?”

“… I haven’t gotten into a fight with an angel before.”

The sound of movement from the car the angel landed on made both men look over in shock. The Gar-dinner peeled themselves off the metal and violently flailed their arms and legs around, snapping them back into place. Though it seemed to have limited success.

Apollyon gulped a little and gave Sebastian the sharp bit of metal. “Um here. Try not to cuts yourself too badly with this… I’m gonna try and do something. Shit.” He quickly scrambled to his feet and called over to the creature. “Hey! Fuck you ya Yoba angel piece of shit! You made me walk two and a half hours to get to this shitty place! You better put up a decent fight!” The Gar-dinner stared at Apollyon for a moment before it collapsed to the ground and started to scuttle along the ground towards him like some kind of demented insect. “OH FUCK!” Apollyon turned and ran as fast as he could and disappeared into the maze of cars.

All alone Sebastian fumbled to get a good grip on the metal as he tried to cut himself free. It took a fair bit of effort and he did cut his fingers a few times but he did manage to get free after a while. Now the question was what could he do? Abigail and Sam were uncontious. He didn’t even know where the truck was so he couldn’t drag them somewhere safe and get the hell out of there. Then again he had no idea how to work a damn manual and would probably end up ripping the gear box out if he tried.

Maybe he should try and find a phone? He still had his phone on himself, right? He quickly patted himself down and found nothing. He quickly did the same with both Sam and Abigail but found nothing. No keys. No phones. They were fucked. He hopped Apollyon was having better luck.

***

Apollyon was not having better luck. He had never gone and faced off against an actual angel of Yoba before. He hadn’t even heard of actual celestial beings from the Yoba plane actually living on earth in the present day like he was. Heck, it was just his luck that he happened to run into an angel and try to beat it to death with a pipe. He didn’t fight angels. He didn’t even fight other demons when he was in the Void. Not for lack of wanting to, but because he was too small and insignificant to make any meaningful impact. It would be like one ant trying to fight an anteater.

“Can’t we just talk about this?!” Called Apollyon. The only response that he got was the Gar-dinner throwing a side view mirror clipping his ear as it whizzed past his head. “I’m sure we can come to some kind of agreement!”

As he passed by a barrel of scraps Apollyon reached out and grabbed something. It looked like half of a rusty bumper. Better than nothing but it would have been nice to have a spear or something like that. Why were those things never around? It wasn’t fair.

Suddenly the angel’s hair wrapped around his ankle and yanked him to the ground and dragged him over where she pounced on him and wrestled him to the ground. Her voice echoed loudly in his head. It was like someone was belting a church bell over and over in his head. “Finally. Nothing personal but I am hungry. I need to eat. Void essence from humans is nothing compared to the Void essence from a demon.”

Apollyon was quickly developing a raging migraine just from her projecting her voice directly into his skull. “Fucking fuck… So none of this shit was coincidence huh?”

She giggled a little. “Well meeting you at that shoe store was coincidence. If that woman you were with hadn’t have drawn you away I would have taken you to some alleyway and drained you completely. I would have done it at the concert earlier too if we hadn’t been interrupted. I don’t like feeding around people. I get a little skittish.”

Apollyon struggled against the vines that grabbed hold of his arms and held him down. “Ah, so you were using some fucked up magic against me to make me cheat on my boyfriend? You fucking piece of shit.” He just needed to wiggle his arm free just enough so he could stab her with the bumper.

“I use every weapon I have to catch my food.” She leaned in close to his face and her eyelashes slowly started to extend and elongate towards his eyeballs. “Now hold still I’m hungry.”

Staring into her eye for just a moment he instantly felt a great sense of calm and his body relaxed. That was his mistake because the second he did the barbed tendrils that were her eyelashes penetrated the whites of his eyes like thousands of tiny needles.

In that split second that moment of indescribable torturous pain was enough to break him free of his relaxed state and he managed to stab the angel in the side with the rusty bumper. Unfortunately for him, by doing this the Gar-dinner jerked their head back and ended unintentionally partially blinding him.

He stumbled to his feet and lunged at her, stabbing the bumper further through her and pinning her to the ground. For good measure he grabbed hold of some random car part and pulled it down on top of her. Hopefully he could come up with some kind of plan to deal with thing soon. As he stumbled around he ended up bumping into some equipment. It took a little time for him to focus but he eventually figured out what it was. A scrap yard magnet.

“… That’ll work.” His idea was crazy and really stupid, but it should work. He just needed Sebastian to pull it off. He was going to get Sebastian to crush him with a car.

Chapter Text

Sebastian managed to drag his friend’s bodies over to a slightly more sheltered area away from being in the middle of some damn junk yard. Unsure of what to do he slapped Sam, trying to wake him up but he got nothing. “Fucking fuck. Come on Sam, wake up. Please wake up…” Getting no response he tried the same thing with Abby but he got nothing out of her.

At this point he had no idea what to do. Suddenly an earsplitting shriek rang out through the junk yard. He really hoped that Apollyon wasn’t as injured as he sounded, if that was him. Yoba, he had no idea what he needed to do or could do at this point in time. Maybe there was some sort of security building near the main gate of this place? That sounded logical right? From there he could probably find a phone and get help that way, maybe. He just needed to do something.

He got up and cautiously got up and took one last look at his friends before picking up the pipe Apollyon was previously wielding for some kind of protection. Sebastian then attempted to navigate the maze of cars, quietly preying and hoping that no one would suddenly appear near him, especially the Gar-dinner. As he walked around he could hear the sound of some machine starting up and gears grinding for a few minutes before it suddenly stopped.

Suddenly something stumbled out in front of him and out of panic Sebastian swung out and struck Apollyon in the shoulder. “Shit! Sorry!”

Apollyon winced and swore under his breath, clutching and the gash in his shoulder. “It’s fine. I kind of deserve that… Didn’t think you were that close… Mother fucker… What are you doing?”

“I was going to see if I can find a phone and… What happened to your eyes?” They were all bloodshot and horrible looking. Much worse than when he almost died in the mines the previous year.

He shrugged a little. “Can’t be helped. That bitch tried to suck the Void essence out of my eyes. Now I’m kind of blind.”

“Shit. What are we going to do?”

Apollyon smiled a little and held Sebastian’s hand. “I just need you to come with me and press a button.” He gently tugged Sebastian along and started speaking in hushed tones. “I figured that this shitty human body wouldn’t hold up too well in a one on one fight with an angel, but if I get my demon form back that would help…”

Sebastian gulped a little and nervously squeezed Apollyon’s hand. “What is it you want me to do exactly?” He wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer to it.

“You’re still mad at me right? Well now you can get all that aggression out by dropping a car on me.”

“What?!”

“Shush, not so loud.” Whispered Apollyon. He led him towards an electric magnet that had a car perfectly placed in its magnetic pull. “Just head on up there and push the button when I’m under it.”

Sebastian looked up at the magnet then back at Apollyon. “… Look, I’m pissed at you but I really don’t think I can do that…”

Apollyon smiled a little and hugged him. “I know Bastian… Just, please do this for me. I’m just doing this to help you and your friends. I don’t know how long it’ll be till that angel gets up and comes after me again.” Sebastian still didn’t want to hurt him like that. Despite being partially blind Apollyon would tell Sebastian was reluctant, but he didn’t seem like he really knew why. “Hey, take this…”

He too off this weird looking necklace he had around his neck and gave it to him. Sebastian noticed that Apollyon had been wearing it a lot lately and just assumed it was some weird thing the Junimos gave him. Since it was made of clay and had a Junimo drawn on it.

“Remember the pendant the Wizard gave you?” Asked Apollyon. “I got a Junimo to fish it out and I covered it in wax and clay so I could keep it on me. If you think I’m becoming too dangerous or something crack open the clay and force that pendent on me. It’ll hurt like a bitch, but your safety is more important.”

“Apollyon…”

The sudden and violent sound of metal thrashing and crashing made both men jump. Apollyon gulped and shoved Sebastian towards the magnet. “Hurry up and hit the button. We don’t have time to argue.”

Sebastian gulped a little and quickly climbed into the driver’s seat and looked down at the buttons. Much to his surprise it looked like a panel or two had been ripped up with someone’s hands just to get to the wires underneath. This was probably Apollyon’s doing. He had to hotwire this thing to start it without the keys anyway. He looked down at his boyfriend struggle around a little as he looked up at the sky to find the car.

Once he was in place he gave Sebastian a thumb’s up, actually smiling at him. Sebastian couldn’t understand how Apollyon could look at him like that when he was about to kill him. Taking a deep breath Sebastian closed his eyes and pushed the button, releasing the car, crushing Apollyon.

It’s quiet for a moment and Sebastian looked up. From where he was sitting he could see a small pool of blood starting to form under it. It made him feel sick and kind of twisted. Who on earth would willingly kill their boyfriend? Then again this situation was very twisted.

The Gar-dinner crawled over the top of a pile of cars and made a beeline for Apollyon’s body. It made several animalistic sounds as it desperately pushed against the car, trying to get to the body underneath. Failing to do that it started scooping up handfuls of bloody dirt, shoving their vines into it to absorb the Void essence inside it. Feeding off the blood slowly started to calm it down a little. She was finally getting the food that she craved so much.

Sebastian gulped a little and tried to quietly get away from the magnet and escape back into the maze of cars, but his foot kicked the loose panel. Instantly the angel looked over at him and her voice echoed in his head.

“Food.” The angel leapt at him and landed on the front window. “Come here! I’m still hungry!” She tried to reach in and grab him and Sebastian tried to kick her away in a panic while screaming at her to fuck off. Not that it mattered much. She had a predatory look in her eye that looked at him like he was pizza or something. “I need to eat! Let me eat you already! You’re just cattle! Stop trying to fight back you pathetic cow!”

The sounds of metal getting ripped apart made both pause for a moment and look over at the car. Claws had ripped it open down the center and a humanoid shape pulled itself out, gasping for air as it hunched forward. It took a few deep breaths and two large wings burst from his back. No, they weren’t wings they looked like some kind of organs, possibly lungs from the way seemed to move when he breathed. He looked completely different from the last time he became a demon.

While Sebastian was stunned by the transformation the Gar-dinner seemed delighted. She lunged at him, going back to ignoring Sebastian completely. As she had put it, a human was a crumb compared to a demon. But the second she landed on the car Apollyon was gone. He was above her, hovering. She continued to try and attack him but he always seemed just one step ahead of her. He was faster, smarter, more in control of his actions. Was this what he could do in his demon form when he wasn’t completely eviscerated?

***

Things were vastly different for Apollyon now. He had never been in a demonic form that had wings before, but like a butterfly or moth he instinctively knew how to move in the air. It was almost a blessing that a car seat went through his back at the point of impact. He effortlessly glided around as the Gar-dinner desperately swiped at him and tried to bring him down. She was desperate and hungry. She was a wild animal.

He felt strange about her current condition. She was just hungry and needed Void essence to live. For once someone wasn’t killing him just because of who he was. She needed him a he was for who he was. It made a strange feeling well up inside him. He hadn’t felt this way before. Sure Sebastian needed him, but he only really needed his human self. Had he approached Sebastian in a form like this he would never have accepted him, but ethereal beings and other demons could accept all of him and would probably prefer him looking like a demon.

Maybe if this angel wasn’t mad with hunger they could have been friends or at least have some kind of respect for one another? He wasn’t sure. But he certinally had respect for her at the moment. Her movements, though increasingly animalistic at this point had an otherworldly grace about them. He noticed that whenever she would touch the ground it was only ever with the tips of her fingers or the tips of her toes. Never a flat palm or foot.

Apollyon spread his wings and took flight making sure he was out of reach of the angel and smiled a little at her. “I don’t want to fight you. Is there some way we can work this out?”

She crouched on the ground and stared up at him, her voice echoing painfully in his head. “No matter what you do or say I will eat you.” Her vine hair suddenly plunged into the ground before the burst under him. The sudden movement surprised Apollyon and as such he didn’t move out of the way in time and got skewered with several vines. He felt several of them wrap around his spine and yanked it out.

He flailed in shock and crashed back to the ground. “Fuck! Fucking fuck! You bitch!” He screeched out in pain and writhed. He did not expect her to do that. Now what on earth was he meant to do without a spine? He watched in mild surprise as the angel wrap their vines around the spine and seemed to consume it. Apollyon growled at her and used whatever strength he had left to reach other and grab hold of his bones. “GIVE THAT BACK!”

Without much warning the spine in his hand suddenly curled and slashed the vines away. She reeled back in shock as her decapitated vines. Pleased with her shock he swung his arm around and slammed the bones back into place. To be honest he was surprised that this was a thing he could do, but then again he did rebuild himself from a pile of meat and gristle.

She continued to look shocked and confused at the sudden attack as the vine cutoffs wriggled around like worms on the ground. “… I keep forgetting how strong demons are… It has been so long since I’ve fought one of your kind. I almost forgot what if feels like. Yoba has truly blessed me on this night.”

Talk about Yoba disgusted him. He got up and shamelessly kicked her in the face. “Shut up about Yoba. Why the fuck are you even here? If Yoba cared you wouldn’t be here, would you? You’d be in the Yoba plane.”

The angel flailed a little as she was knocked onto her back but quickly got up. “Yoba placed us Gar-dinners where to eat demons… Many of us have fulfilled their duties and have gone back to the Yoba plane.”

Apollyon growled and lunged at her. “Then go and be with them.” Without thinking he unhinged his jaw wide enough to wrap around her skull and he bit down with a sickening crunch. Her body went limp and she decapitated corpse fell to the ground with a soft thud. It took a few moments but her body quickly lost colour and turned to a pile of dust that easily flittered away in the wind.

***

Throughout this whole ordeal Sebastian had been glued to his seat. Apollyon had emerged from a car wreck like some kind of demonic butterfly and turned the Gar-dinner into dust with one bite after they ripped out his spine.

“…” Clutching the clay pendant Sebastian slowly got out of his seat and walked over to Apollyon. “Hey…”

Apollyon looked over at him and nodded a little. “Hey.”

“Oh, you can speak? That’s a little different from last time.”

“Yeah, well last time I had my brain turned into mashed potatoes. Worst I got this time was probably a fractured skull or something.” He sighed a little and stretched his wings. “So… what now?”

Sebastian shrugged. “I think they mentioned that they used Lewis’s truck to get us here. It’s probably around somewhere. We should probably look for that and get Abby and Sam inside… Do you think they’ve gone blind too?”

“No clue. I can only assume they’ll be okay.”

“Okay… By the way are those your lungs?”

Apollyon looked at his wing and shrugged. “I think so. They kind of move a little when I breathe right?” He stretched a little and slowly the two fleshy wing organs folded up and retreated back into his body. From the way he flinched it looked painful. “… So, now we need to find the truck, right? Can you drive stick?”

“Nope. You?”

“I don’t have a driver’s licence.”

“… Ah, right.”

“Yeah…” Sebastian sighed a little. “We need to get back to Abby and Sam… How long do you think it’ll be until you get back to normal?”

“No idea. Maybe a day or two?”

Sebastian nodded a little and started to walk back to where he left his friends. As they walked he glanced over at Apollyon, he still looked demonic with his inhuman claws, crocodile teeth poking past his lips, and completely yellow eyes. That wasn’t even counting the fact his clothes were all torn up and he was all bloodied. It then dawned on him. He was probably going to have to tell them about Apollyon. How the heck would they react to knowing that he was a demon? They were going to freak out about this.

“… Hey, what’s wrong Seb?” Asked Apollyon.

“I just… I don’t know how Sam and Abigail are going to react to all of th-”

His sentence was cut short when a hubcap whizzed through the air and struck Apollyon in the face, making a rather loud dong sound. Apollyon staggered back in surprise. Sebastian was surprised to, even more so when Sam and Abigail appeared and started to pull him away.

“Holy shit!” Said Abby in a panic. “Holy fucking shit! What the fuck is that thing?!”

“Who cares?” Asked Sam. “We need to get the fuck out of here!”

Sebastian struggled against them and tried to pull himself free. “Hey! Calm down you guys! Would you just let me go for a second damn it!” He pulled himself away from them. “Calm down for just two seconds. Right now, we’re safe. Nothing’s going to hurt us.”

“For fucks sake Sebastian shut the fuck up and run!” Snapped Abby.

“No you shut up!” He yelled at her. “That’s Apollyon!” Sam and Abigail stopped dead in their tracks and looked between the two of them with stunned looks on their faces. Sebastian sighed a little. “Look, Here’s the short version; Apollyon is a demon. His name literally translates to destroyer. But he’s just a demon that happens to like farming and wants supernatural shit to leave him alone. People who follow Yoba tend to try and kill him because he’s a demon. Now you’re all caught up.”

There was a moment of silence before Sam spoke up. “So… does this mean Apollyon has a normal human dick of like some weird barbed, knotted, corkscrew looking demon dick?”

“… What?”

Abby suddenly broke into a grin and started laughing. “Oh Yoba, you’re a demon fucker!”

Sebastian blushed. “Shut up Abby.”

Apollyon snickered a little at that. “Well she isn’t wrong you know.”

Abby glared and pointed accusingly at him. “Hey! I’m still mad at you! Don’t think just because you’re a demon you can get away with making out with some random bitch and breaking Sebastian’s little emo heart!”

“We’re gonna talk about it when we get back to town.” Whined Apollyon. “… But are you two okay?”

“Fuck no.” Said Sam. “Okay, so we go to find Sebastian and get attacked by some freaking looking Cyclops thing, then we wake up in a junk yard with dried blood from our eyes on our faces, then we see you looking like you’re gonna attack Sebastian, and then we find out you’re a demon. An actual demon! What the fuck?”

Apollyon shrugged. “Yeah, sorry about the demon thing…”

“I have so many questions for you about the whole demon thing.” Said Abby. So the group walked through the junk yard as Abby shot Apollyon a bunch of questions about being a demon as they looked for a way out. After about ten minutes or so Sam found the truck by the front gate. It still had the keys in the ignition and their phones had been tossed onto the front seat. The group got in and started the long drive back to Pelican Town.

Abby continued to ask him questions and Apollyon answered back as best he could. Eventually Sam chimed in with his own questions. To Sebastian it just seemed like the basic things that he had asked him before when he first found about the whole demon thing.

They got back to Pelican town a bit before eleven and Apollyon quickly got out first so no one would see him. “Hey, like before you guys drive off can I talk to Sebastian alone for a second?”

Before Sam or Abigail could protest Sebastian quickly slipped out of the truck and followed Apollyon to boarder of his farm. “… What do you want?”

Apollyon smiled nervously at him. “Hey um… I know I really messed up earlier when I kissed that person and I know you have no reason to believe me, but she pretty much said she was using some mind powers on me to make me want her like that… Honestly I don’t even know if I believe that… and like, with all the supernatural shit that happens around me it might actually be best if we didn’t see each other for a while… You and your friends were all in danger because of me.”

Sebastian shrugged a little and kicked at the dirt. “Well yeah I guess, but if you weren’t there then we could have all been fucked. Like, what would she have done with us if you didn’t show up and kill her?”

“… I don’t know.”

“Me either…” He reached out and took Apollyon’s hand. “Look, we’ll talk about this tomorrow or something, yeah? I… I’m still upset about what you did and you’re right. I don’t think I believe that it was all because of whatever psychic powers she used on you… So I just… I don’t know.”

“The last thing I want is to hurt.” Said Apollyon quietly. He looked ashamed of himself. “I… I love you Sebastian and I want you to be happy no matter what. I broke me to know I was the reason you were so upset, and just after you played an awesome set too… I’m sorry, and I know no matter what I say I can’t even begin to express how I really feel.”

“You’re rambling again.”

“… I’m sorry.” He rubbed his eyes a little and made an upset sound. “It seems as though I don’t have tear ducts at the moment…”

“…” Sebastian quickly leaned over and kissed his cheek. “It’s okay. Just go and sleep. You deserve it. We’ll talk more tomorrow. Promise.”

“… Okay. Hope your friends aren’t too freaked out about me.”

“They’re your friends too you know.”

“…” Apollyon smiled a little at that. “Yeah. Night Sebastian. Get home safe, okay?”

“I will.” He walked back to the truck and got in. He glanced over at his friends and frowned. “What?”

“I can’t believe you’re fucking a demon.” Said Abigail.

“Shut up about that.”

“You fucked a demon Seb.” Said Abigail calmly. “Is there any chance you got some kind of demon STI? Got some burning fire crotch down there? Some little demon crabs maybe?”

Sebastian blushed and lightly shoved Sam into her. “Shut up Abby. Neither of us have those kinds of things. So calm the fuck down… So what do you guys think of Apollyon now?”

Abby shrugged. “He’s interesting. Still a piece of shit, but interesting. What do you think Sam?”

The blond shrugged. He hadn’t really have much to say about anything apart for the few questions he had asked Apollyon. “I don’t know. I just… I have no idea. Apart from making out with that girl he seems to be a decent enough guy. I think. I just don’t know anymore. Today has been awesome, but also very fucked up… Are you still going to go out with him?”

Sebastian shrugged. “Honestly? I have no idea anymore. I still like him and everything but I just… If angels and Yoba fanatics go crazy and try to kill him things always seem to go a little nuts. I don’t know if I want to be a part of that…”

Chapter Text

Apollyon worked extremely hard the next day just on his farm. Even though he hadn’t any weeds or debris or anything to clear out, or even enough gold or raw materials to make anything else. So for most of the day he ended up hoeing the same small patch of earth over and over again. He was nervous about Sebastian coming over and talking to him.

Hell he was more than nervous. Apollyon was scared. He knew being around him was dangerous and Sebastian’s life had been threatened a few times. Heck his friends had been attacked too. He wouldn’t blame him if he no longer wanted anything to do with him. He wouldn’t want anything to do with himself.

He stood by his grandfather’s shrine and cleared out some leaves and bits of twigs that blew in there. Apollyon made a small whimpering noise and put his hand on the shrine. “Oh grandpa… I have no idea what to do anymore. I’m a terrible human being and cause Sebastian nothing but trouble and as a demon I’m worse… I wish you were here. Mum always said you were much better at summoning magic than her…”

He still remembered when he was little and his grandpa would summon small demons to help him plant and harvest large crops. Then again it could have just been shadow brutes that he traded void eggs with. He wasn’t sure. It was a long time ago. Sometimes when Apollyon woke up from a nightmare his grandpa would summon a little elemental fire sprite to dance in the fireplace. He was good at things like that. Maybe if he was here he’d be able to help him. He didn’t know how but he knew he would have something.

“Should I just abandon this place and find somewhere new to live? The forests are nice and quiet these days I guess… I could just live off things like berries and hazelnuts. It works for Linus, right?” He laughed nervously and sat down in front of the shrine. He felt miserable. He knew he was blowing things out of proportion again. Things weren’t going to be that bad, but if Sebastian and him broke up then things would be too awkward for him to stay here. He wanted to pull his teeth out.

He heard footsteps approaching him, two sets of footsteps to be exact. He turned his head to see none other than Abigail and Sam. He was surprised and very confused, but glad it was them. He still looked extremely demonic and probably wouldn’t have been approached by anyone else.

Apollyon gave them a small nod of acknowledgement and went back to tending to the shrine. He knew that they were going to come over to talk to him if they really wanted to. They stopped a fair bit away from him and hesitated to get any closer.

“… So um, what are you doing?” Asked Sam.

“I’m cleaning up my grandpa’s shrine.” Said Apollyon calmly. “So why are you two here? Surely it wasn’t just to talk about this, right? And I already told you all about the stuff you asked me about. So why are you here? Are you going to tell me to leave Sebastian alone or something?”

Abby shrugged. “Can you really blame us if that’s our motivations? Sebastian’s our friend. We’ve known him for years and years. We don’t want anything to happen to him and well you… You’re actually a demon.”

Sam nodded in agreement. “Yeah, like come on man. You’re a cool guy and all but you’re a demon. What are we meant to do? What can we do? You’re a freaking demon. You look like that. You could probably kill everyone in town without a second thought. You’re a monster. You’ve probably been gifted with like, a billion other demon powers that we have no idea about.”

Though that was true it still hurt. “Gifted? You two don’t know the meaning of the word…” He pulled his knees up to his chest and rested his chin on his knees. “You guys don’t notice that you are gifted just by being humans. You’re allowed to be anything you want to be and your words are law on this plane of existence. You are absolute predators. You have no natural enemies that hunt you down and even supernatural beings like me are instantly your prey just by existing.”

He was filled with self-loathing. What else could he be filled with now? No matter what actions he took they would never be seen as selfless or innocent or out of an act of love. To everyone he would just be acting for a selfish reason. In the end he was a disgusting creature that deserved the worst of humanity. How or why should humanity show him kindness when all his actions were a self-serving act?

“You are allowed to be good or evil. I’m not. I’m only allowed to be evil with only the most abhorrent and deprived intentions at heart… I didn’t become a demon any more than the two of you chose to be born human. But that never mattered did it? Demons are always inherently evil. And in the end no matter what I say or do I’ll end up hurting Sebastian because I’m not human. I never will be… So I just need to cut off all ties with him so he can be happy, right? I’m going to be the cause of all his misery so I need to get away from him?”

The pair were shocked by what he said. “Um… You’ve really thought about this haven’t you?” Asked Abby.

Apollyon laughed a little. “Of course I have. Why wouldn’t I? If I had never been brought into this world my mum would have been much better off… Eventually I’ll probably end up cursing this farm and maybe even Pelican Town just by being here…”

He suddenly found Abigail throwing her arms around him, almost tackling him down to the ground. “Shut up you idiot. We don’t think you’re some pure evil thing. You’re obviously a nice guy we just… How did we describe it Sam?”

“Like a tiger raised in the circus.” He said. “Sure you can hug and cuddle said tiger but if they get hungry or angry, or even a little too playful they will go ahead and kill you. Not their fault because that’s their thing, but you know… we’d rather not have that happen.”

“In other words-” said Abby. “-we are going to kick your ass if you hurt Sebastian. No mercy.”

Apollyon was happy that Sebastian had such good friends. “That’s fair… But he might not even want to be with me after today… No sane person would be.”

“… What are you two doing here?” Asked Sebastian. It looked like he had just walked down the mountain path. Well, it was midday after all so it made sense that Sebastian would have turned up here by now.

“We were just talking to Apollyon.” Said Sam calmly. “No big deal right?”

Sebastian sighed a little, pitting his hands into his pockets. “Yeah well, you two can get lost for a bit, okay? I want to talk to Apollyon alone.” With slight reluctance the duo left and Sebastian sat next to Apollyon. “… So what’s with the shrine?”

“It’s grandpa’s shrine… I’m sorry about everything. I really messed up your life huh?”

Sebastian shrugged. “It’s whatever. Life in the valley would be pretty boring without you.” Apollyon made no sound so Sebastian kept talking. “I’m not mad at you or anything for like attacking and killing that angel. I don’t think I’ll ever be mad at you trying to help someone… and um… I’ve been doing some thinking about us…”

“… And you want to break up with me?” Asked Apollyon. “I agree.”

“What? No I, wait… Do you want to break up with me?”

He sounded hurt and Apollyon winced a little at that reaction. “If it means you and your friends won’t get hurt then yes…” Yoba, it hurt to say that. “You getting a knife held to your throat was more danger than I ever wanted to put you in and it just escalated with the angel and your friends.”

“But you easily killed them.”

“Only because it was starving. It was weak and more feeble than a proper angel from the Yoba plane… I don’t doubt if an angel came straight out of the Yoba plane to fight me I’d be dead as fuck.” He sighed and looked down at his hands. “I’m tainted. I’m vile. I’m disgusting. I don’t want to hurt you.”

Sebastian sighed a little as held Apollyon’s hand and rested his head on his shoulder. “Well according to that angel I’m just as tainted as you are… I just, this isn’t an issue about you being a demon to me. It’s about monogamy. I don’t want to worry about you going off to Zuzu city or the next town over and fucking some woman or some other man behind my back.”

That surprised Apollyon greatly. “Seriously? Monogamy? Not life or death? Really?”

Sebastian looked at Apollyon like he was an idiot. “Yeah. If I was worried about the whole demon thing I would have left you last year. I made my choice about that ages ago. For me monogamy is the only issue I have.”

“Oh… Okay.” Apollyon was not expecting that to be the issue. He just thought that Sebastian would hate him and curse him forever for slowly turning his life into a living hell because he was a demon. Who wouldn’t at this point?”

“Because I love you and I… As crazy as it sounds I thought it over and I want to give you a second chance.” Said Sebastian.

“… You know, for a guy that’s smart enough to do freelance programming for a living you are really, really stupid.”

“We all do stupid things for the people we love, but if you cheat on me again I am kicking your demon ass to the curb.”

Happiness swelled deep within Apollyon’s chest at those words. It made him so happy and excited to hear that. Okay he wasn’t completely off the hook, but it was a lot better than it could have been. He just needed to work on getting Sebastian’s trust back. He could probably do that. Maybe. He was going to try his best.

“Okay. I’ll do everything I can to make you feel like you can trust me properly again and stuff… We’re gonna go slow again now?”

“Yeah. Give me reasons to trust you fully again.”

“I can do that.”

***

Sebastian had thought long and hard about what to say to Apollyon. He had broken his heart so badly, but he had selflessly come to his rescue again. So he was conflicted. It took him most of the previous night and the majority of his morning to try and pinpoint what exactly were his major concerns.

Surprisingly he hadn’t cared too much about the whole life or death situations he had been thrown into lately because of Apollyon being a demon. Thinking about everything that happened he could only really determine that the thing he was most upset about was just the cheating. Even if it was like he had said and it was all the angel’s doing to lure him into a trap he didn’t want Apollyon to think he had an excuse that absolved him of everything wrong he had done to him.

The pair of them sat in silence for a bit and Sebastian found himself just staring at the shrine. Apollyon looked like he was keeping it in pristine condition. He obviously cared about it a lot. Just in general Apollyon cared too much about things.

“… You know, you’re a really shitty demon.”

“Thanks, I think?”

“No I mean it.” Said Sebastian. “You’re too nice and kind to be evil, and if demons are meant to be evil I don’t think you’ll ever be one no matter what people say.”

“… You really think so?” He sounded unsure about that.

“Yeah. If you didn’t really care and just wanted to like, have sex with me or something there’s no doubt in my mind you could have raped me.”

Apollyon looked at Sebastian in a mix of shock and disgust. “What the fuck Sebastian?”

“Dude, you’re unbelievably strong. You could overpower anyone you want and do whatever you feel like to them. If you were evil you’d be doing whatever you want and not give a damn.”

“… I guess…” Apollyon lightly drummed his claws against his leg. “So um, what can I do to make you trust me fully again? There has to be something I can do.”

“Not sure. Take me on a date when you look like you again.”

That made Apollyon smile a little. “Okay. I can do that… Want to come inside? I can cook something for you. Anything you like.”

Sebastian smiled and little and stood up. “Yeah, I think I’d like that.”

Chapter Text

It took about three days before Apollyon looked human again. It was a significant improvement from the last time he took on a demonic form. Abigail and Sam had come around a couple of times to talk to him, and they seemed to be warming up to him again. That was nice. He wanted people to like him. Maybe Sebastian was right about him? He was a shitty demon. Not that he cared much. He’d rather be a shitty demon than a shitty human being.

When he finally looked human again he slipped into the community center and dumped a ridiculous amount of gold onto the golden scroll in the vault room. The second the last coin got sucked into the scroll the Junimos started to flood the room making joyful squeals as they flailed and danced around. There was a flash of blinding light and the room was completely restored.

Apollyon smiled a little and looked at a yellow Junimo that was dancing by his foot. “So, you guys are done shaking me down for cash, right?” Yellow squealed and ran out of the room towards the hut in the main part of the building. “Hey! Get back here you yellow bastard!”

He chased the Junimo out to the hat and watched it pull a star out from the hut and stick it in frame above the fireplace. The looked very pleased with themselves as they admired their work. “Ooo id it! We ix bus oonight!”

“… You’re fixing the bus tonight?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” Apollyon moved to exit the community center only noticing when he reached the door that Yellow had decided to follow him. “… Shoo. Go away.”

“Nuuuuuu!”

Apollyon frowned a little and pushed the Junimo away with his foot. They looked offended but he didn’t really care. “Just fix the damn bus okay? I need that damn thing fixed.”

Yellow nodded and saluted him before waddling off and yelling at some of the other Junimos. Possibly about helping them get the bus fixed. Apollyon still thought it was weird that the Junimos wanted gold to fix the bus. He highly doubted that they needed gold, but he wouldn’t underestimate the little bastards dressing up like a human and hiring an actual mechanic to fix it. They seemed like the kind of bastards that would do that.

While he was here Apollyon decided to have a little look around and admire his work. He had managed to get the crafts room fixed after his accident last winter and the Junimos lost their shit and fixed the bridge to the quarry. He’d also fixed the boiler room but didn’t trust the Junimos enough in their engineering skills to ride around in the mine carts they fixed. He still had three more bundles to go but he was pretty confident that he could do it by the end of the year if he really tried.

He walked out of the community center and sighed a little. He wanted to go and see Sebastian now, but he still felt ashamed and guilty about what he had done. Her influence or not he felt like he should have been able to control himself. It shouldn’t have felt so easy to just go along with her.

Apollyon nervously chewed on his bottom lip and headed to the Wizard tower. If there was someone who could help him it had to be him. The Wizard had to have some kind of magical solution he had to. There was no way Harvey could have something for him. Until he was told otherwise this was a magic problem.

He opened the door to the Wizard’s tower only to find him stirring something in his cauldron. He seemed surprised to see him. “Hello Apollyon. To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”

“I um… I need help. I really need help.”

The Wizard didn’t move from his cauldron but nodded anyway. “I see, so what is the problem?”

“… Well the other day when I went with Sam, Seb, and Abby to their gig they got attacked by an angel after it failed at seducing me. Turns out it was a thing called a Gar-dinner and I kind of ate its face. Also, Sam and Abby now know I am a demon.”

The Wizard almost dropped his spoon into the cauldron. “Are you serious? You revealed yourself to them? And you killed an angel? Wow you just… You never cease to amaze me with your stupidity.”

“Hey.”

“Look, the Sam and Abby thing is annoying, but is manageable. I just can’t believe you killed a Gar-dinner…” He hung his spoon back up on a hook on the wall and walked over to his bookshelf and started searching. “Many of us just assumed that they had gone extinct on earth after the great metaphysical wars. I’m guessing the Gar-dinner wasn’t at full power since it probably didn’t have many demons to feed on.”

“… I guess? She was very animalistic. She just kept going on about wanting to eat the Void essence inside me.”

The Wizard nodded and took out a book, quickly flicking through the pages. “Sounds about right. If she was at her full power she could have summoned an entire forest to consume your body if she saw fit…” He paused for a moment to quickly read something. “… Yes, well you should be careful now Apollyon. Angels can smell when the blood of their own stains another. Do be careful if you run into another one anytime soon. They might not be as weak and sickly as that one.”

“… Got it. Anyway I need help.”

“Right, yes-” he quickly shut his book and put it back. “-what do you need?”

“… For years I’ve just been trying to suppress my demon self but that hasn’t really worked.” Apollyon was quickly becoming anxious. The gravity of the question he was asking was weighing down on him. “Is there any way that I can separate my demon side from my human side?”

“… But you’re all demon?”

“I know that, but I just…” He sighed. “After living like this for so long and experiencing the way normal humans live, I don’t just want to act and pass as a human, I want to be human. Every part of me. I want it all. Pleasure, pain and all that comes with being human I want it… Can you understand that?”

The Wizard looked surprised but seemed to take his question seriously. “Well, I can look into it I guess… But if I can be honest this isn’t something you should ask lightly. Just off the top of my head this sounds like it would be similar to exorcising a demonic spirit from a body.”

“Brilliant. Let’s do that.”

The Wizard sighed a little. “Apollyon, it’s not that simple. Demons are essentially made from pure Void essence. That’s what you are. Even shadow brutes drop it occasionally when their physical forms disapate.” He stroked his heard in contemplation. “You know how in movies and novels a possessed person vomits up ectoplasm? That’s essentially void essence forcibly leaving the body through magical means… and you’re pretty much all Void essence in human skin. Performing such a magical ritual on you would make you violently vomit up your insides since there isn’t enough human in you to let you survive.”

Apollyon’s heart sank at that. “But… but I… There has to be something you can do? I can’t suppress it anymore. Sure it hides some of my more obvious features but I need… I need to be free of this part of me. I have to know if it was my demon self or my human self that hurt Sebastian so badly…”

“You hurt Sebastian? Well as long as he doesn’t have claw or bite marks on him it was probably your human side.”

That just caused more distress for Apollyon. “I cheated on him you idiot! As soon as I saw that Gar-dinner in her human form all that mattered was her. I forgot everything and just decided I wanted to do anything and everything I would to please her and get into her pants! Sure she said she used some psychic power on me to make it easier, but I just need to know.”

The Wizard was taken aback by this but his expression quickly changed into one of sympathy. “I see… I’ll do what I can to help you but I can’t promise anything. My magic destroys magical beings from the Void by its very nature. You’d need to talk to someone who knows about Void magic if you want to explore every one of your options here.

“… Thank you… I’ll let you get back to what I was doing. I’m sorry I bothered you.” Apollyon left the tower feeling disheartened. He couldn’t ask his mother about this because he knew she would never agree to it. She thought he was perfect just the way he was, demon parts and all. He doubted that Colt would help him. Since he didn’t like demons his cure might be a blessed blade straight to his heart and he wasn’t prepared to die just yet. The only other person he knew who used Void magic was the witch.

It made him feel sick but he decided to go and see if he could find her. The times he had seen her she had flown up into the mountains so he had to start looking around there. She might have lived by the train tracks. He hadn’t really explored that area very much. He was just interested in the spa.

After a bit of searching he happened to find a rock with chicken feet blocking a hole in the side of the cliff. Amused by this he gave it a little poke and watched as the chicken feet shuffled around a little to get their balance again. Clearly this was magic, but not very good magic. He gave it a particularly hard shove and it flew off in what he could only assume was surprise.

Apollyon walked into the cave surprised to see it looked a lot like a swamp with a hut right in the middle of it. Cautiously he walked down the only path to the hut when suddenly a green skinned monster jumped out at him. With its eyes glowing red it put its hands up and made a sound that seemed to be laughing.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t let you pass… I’d lose my job.” It croaked.

Apollyon looked at him in surprised. “You’re a Goblin, right?”

“Yep. Sorry, but you have to go now. Okay?”

“… But the witch is expecting me. If I don’t show up she’ll get mad at me, come and fine me and then when I tell her it was you who stopped me from seeing her, guess who is going to get fired. Not me that’s for sure.”

The Goblin looked very troubled by this. “… Okay fine. If she asks how you got in here just tell her I was going to the bathroom or something.” The quickly scampered off into the swamp. It was probably watching him closely from a distance.

Apollyon took a deep breath and headed into the cabin. Inside he found three disturbing and twisted looking shrines. One shrine he noticed right away. The Dark Shrine of Memory. That was the one he wanted the Wizard to use last winter if he died to wipe out the town’s memory of him. There was also the Dark Shrine of Selfishness that turns children to doves and the Dark Shrine of Night Terrors that would draw monsters to your home. Why someone would want that he had no idea.

He continued to look around the hut seeing most of the usual things he would expect. Things like a cauldron, animal bones, and other magical paraphernalia. Suddenly the hut door swung open and Morgana flew in. She looked surprised to see him there but quickly went back to resting bitch face.

“What are you doing here?”

“I need help.”

“Ask Ras. I’m sure the cheating fuck can help you as long as his dick isn’t in some stupid slutty bitch.” She snapped. “Now shoo!” She grabbed her broom and whacked him several times. “Out. Out of my hut.”

Apollyon flinched and did his best to block the bristles. “He can’t help me. I need someone that knows Void magic, and I can’t ask my mum. Please… You might find it useful in some way.”

“Well if it benefits me in some way-” Morgan sat on her broom and happily hovered in the air in front of him. “-what is it?

“I need to you split my human and demon halves.”

“… Kid, you do realize your demon part is what’s keeping that body alive, right? Take the flour out of bread and you don’t have bread anymore. You just got yeast, water, salt, and oil. What the hell can you make out of that? Your human half is a dead, fleshy corpse. You’re just not human enough to be anything other than a demon wearing a human skin suit.” A wicked grin spread across her face. “Feel disgusting yet? You should. You’re worse than a normal demon that pushed a humans conscious to the background.”

Apollyon was crushed to hear that. He had to be somewhat human. He did everything he could to be human and tried to only do demon things when his life or the life of people he cared about was threatened. Was that too much for any spark of humanity in him to develop?

“… What do I have to do to become more human?”

“What?”

“I want to be human.” Said Apollyon. “I-I can’t be this anymore. I don’t want this. I want to be human. I’ll do anything… How human do I have to be before you can do something to make me fully human?”

She shrugged. “Like fifty or seventy percent? Something like that… So you seriously want to be human? You want to be weak and get sick and die horribly? How dull.”

Apollyon felt more and more hopeless by the second. “Please… I just… I’ve done horrible things to the people I care about. I don’t know if it was because I’m a demon but I want to be human… If I’m human I can change my behavior... I’ll do whatever you want me to do. Just please… I don’t want to hurt anyone…”

Morgana thought for a bit and weighed up her options in her mind. “Hmm, okay. I’ll have to do a bit of research on this, but I’ll give you something.” She grabbed a jar of bright yellow crystals and handed it to him. “Here you go. Solar essence. The opposite to Void essence. Munch on a few of these things a day. Probably will make you vomit a bunch, but it’s the opposite to Void essence and humans have lots of this stuff in them so… Munch on these things like a dumbass eating apricot cornels.”

Apollyon looked down at the jar and visibly cringed. He didn’t like it. The Solar essence gave him a bad feeling and he always dropped it if he found any in the mines. “Okay… Thanks I think…” He quickly left and went home. He really hoped that this could work to some degree, even if it didn’t fully do it he wanted to be as human as he possibly could.

***

Sebastian just typed his last line of code in for his client’s web page when his mum walked in. Robin smiled and offered him a cup of coffee. “Can I come in?”

He nodded a little and took the cup from her. “Sure. What’s up? Do you need me to do something?”

“Oh it’s nothing like that. I was just wondering how things are going with Apollyon.” She said. “You two were joined at the hip for the better half of two season. Work getting in the way or am I just not observant enough these days?”

Sebastian sighed a little. His mum meant well. She wanted to just check up on him and see how things were going. She didn’t mean to be nosey. At least he hoped so. Truthfully he had been avoiding Apollyon and accepting a little more work than usual. He was worried that Apolllyon’s behavior wasn’t the result of some demonic urge and he was just a manipulative dick. He had been warned several times that Apollyon wasn’t human. Just a demon wearing human skin.

“Just some harsh deadlines. That’s all.”

Robin nodded a little, but she didn’t seem too convinced by what he said. Maybe it was her mother instincts kicking in or something? “I see… Nothing going on between you two then? Still haven’t had your first big fight?”

“… No…”

“… Are you sure Sebastian?”

“…”

“Well, whatever happened between you two I’m sure you can work things out.” She said. “Talking things out together usually solves most things. Is this something you two can talk about?”

Sebastian stayed quiet. They had talked about it and he had done some mental gymnastics to decide he still wanted to be with Apollyon. He was kind, caring, self-sacrificing and did everything he could to make him happy. Heck, he was pretty sure that Apollyon would jump in front of a train if he asked him to if he thought it would make him happy. Now that he thought about it their relationship might actually be really unhealthy and they probably should talk to each other about it, or even a counselor or something. Then again there wasn’t really someone they could talk to about demon issues without getting prescribed some antipsychotic medication.

Noticing her son’s tightlipped nature she just smiled sympathetically. “Sebby, if something is happening and you need help I’m here for you. Okay?”

“Mum, if you’re worried that I’m going through something like what you and dad went through-”

“Oh goodness no.” Robin looked absolutely shocked to hear those words coming out of her son’s mouth. “No, it isn’t anything like that… I just mean if you feel uncomfortable about relationship things you can come and talk to me, since I’ve done and had a rather disastrous one… The only good thing to come out of that relationship was you.”

Sebastian blushed a little and looked into his coffee cup. “Thanks mum… I know. We’ve had a bit of a fight about something stupid he did but we have talked about it an um, I think we have it under control now. Maybe… I’m conflicted but I’m not stupid. If I think he’d bad for me I’ll do what’s best for me.”

She nodded a little and quickly kissed his forehead. “Okay Sebby. Dinner will be ready in about an hour. I’d like it if you could come up and eat with the rest of the family tonight. Dinner tastes better when we can call eat together.”

“Okay mum.”

“Thank you Sebby.” She headed towards the door but quickly paused in the doorway. “Tonight we’re having pumpkin soup and there’s chocolate cake for afterwards.”

“Cool. Thanks I’ll be up once I double checked this code. Shouldn’t take too long.”

Chapter Text

It felt like forever since Sebastian had gone to see Apollyon. He went down to the farm, surprised to see that it had started to become overgrown again. It was practically a small forest now, but there was a small path so this had to be planned out. This sudden forest seemed to be too thick to walk through normally so Sebastian had to just follow the path and hope that it would eventually lead him to Apollyon’s house.

He walked down the path, quickly noticing the strange trees that were sprouting up around him. They weren’t the normal pine, maple or oak trees that grew in the area. They were darker and looked a little twisted. It was weird to say the least.

After a while he saw a tree tapper on one of these twisted trees and had a little look inside to see what on earth was inside one of these things. It was a weird, thick, dark liquid. Kind of like molasses. It was kind of gross.

He continued down the path but became surprised when it went from cobblestone to a dirt path. From there things went from going in relatively straight lines to twisted paths that curved however they pleased. How was it possible that there was so much land of Apollyon’s farm? In fact, how long had he been walking? He was pretty sure that he had gotten here around midday. Now it looked like it was starting to become dusk.

Pressing on he came across a smashed tapper on the ground. It looked like it had just been ripped off one of the twisted trees and smashed all over the ground. There was a puddle of the ink-like liquid at the point of impact and the surrounding plant life. It made Sebastian uneasy, but pushing past it he continued along the path. Much to his surprise there were more smashed tappers around the twisted trees.

“… Apollyon?” He called. “Apollyon are you around?” He called. Unfortunately for him he didn’t get so much as a verbal response and instead got an animalistic verbal grunting. It sent a shiver down his spine but he continued to walk along the path finding more and more broken tappers.

Eventually he found what looked like Apollyon, kind of. He was pulling the tappers off the twisted trees, gulping down the inky sap, and smashing them. He was making small growling sounds and paid very little attention to Sebastian’s presence.

“… Apollyon?” He called out again. “Are you okay?

His boyfriend slowed down his movements a little, but he still ripped off another tapper and drank the grotesque looking sap before he even bothered to look at him. Apollyon looked relatively human but his teeth seemed to be gnarled and twisted in ways that were neither human nor animal. But still he smiled calmly at Sebastian even if it didn’t look genuine at all.

“Sorry Sebastian.” He said calmly. “I’ve done some soul searching and I’ve realised a few important things… I’m not a human. I’m a demon. I always will be a demon. I don’t love you.”

His words felt like a punch to the guts. “What?”

“I don’t love you I’ve just been passing the time. You could love me if I knew how to lie. But let’s face it I’m shit at that.” He stretched and twitched a little, making terrible popping and cracking noises. Apollyon made an annoyed sound and ripped off another tapper, drinking the sap again.

“… Wait, what the hell Apollyon.” He took a few steps towards his boyfriend, but he just laughed at him.

He looked at Sebastian with a deranged look in his eyes. It was hard to tell if it was hunger, or murder, or some other savage bloodlust. “You know, I was thinking about giving people three seconds but because we fucked I think I’ll give you five.”

Sebastian felt a chill. “Wait, why? What?”

“Five… Four…” As he counted Apollyon peeled off his skin, removing all that was left of his humanity leaving only the demon within. “Three…”

Sebastian quickly ran away back down the dirt path. He desperately tried to find anything that would lead him out of there. The cobble stone path, less twisted trees, anything. But despite his backtracking he ended up getting hopelessly lost as the trees became more twisted and overgrown to the point where his clothes were getting snagged by branches. His escape was slowed down to less than a crawl.

“Two… One!” Maniacal laughter filled the air as trees were mowed down as Apollyon raced through the trees to try and find him. With little to no effort he found Sebastian tangled on in the trees. “Found you.” Before Sebastian could say anything he felt Apollyon’s claws dig into his neck and rip.

***

Sebastian woke up in a cold sweat. He hadn’t had a nightmare in forever. He took a few shaky breaths and got out of bed to start his day. He didn’t want to think about it, but his mind kept going back to it. Especially when he looked into the murky black liquid of his coffee. He felt way too uneasy now.

He also felt a little guilty. Sure Apollyon could be murderous but that was when people attacked him first. There was nothing in his nature that would make him think he was just a murderous psychopath. He was kinder than most humans he knew and he still stood by his opinion that Apollyon was a shit demon.

He shouldn’t be having any dreams about Apollyon going out of his way to hurt him. Maybe cheating on him but he was willing to forgive him, mainly because who he kissed happened to be a thing that wanted to try and eat him. Then again he would probably feel more traumatised if he ended up having a dream where he walked in on Apollyon having sex with some woman or man he wouldn’t be able to face his lover for a while.

“You okay there?” Asked Maru as she walked into the kitchen.

Sebastian looked up at her from the kitchen table. “What?”

“Well, either you are having a coffee binge or you’ve been drinking the same cup of coffee for about an hour and a half.”

“… Oh.” He sipped his coffee and was surprised to find it had gone cold. “Didn’t realise I spaced out for so long.”

She nodded a little and started to make herself a coffee. “Sounds like you’re spacing out a little. Having trouble programming or something? Programming always gives me a hard time but it’s always super rewarding… Guess it would be hard for you to have difficulty with programming being a programmer and all.”

He shrugged and kept drinking his cold coffee. “I guess… Just haven’t been sleeping too well.”

“Your sleep schedule is already messed up as it is. No offence.”

“None taken.” He was in fact, offended. He really wished that Maru would butt out of his business and just leave him alone.

“If you schedule an appointment with Harvey he’ll be able to prescribe you with something that’ll help you.”

“… Thanks.”

“Oh, but if you don’t care for meds he can suggest other things if you’re interested.”

“I’m fine Maru.” He said rather forcefully. He got up with his cold coffee and walked back to his room. “Don’t bother me, I have work to do.”

He didn’t really, but that wasn’t the point. He had issues he needed to deal with and talking to his sister about his sleeping habits. There was no way he was going to talk to Harvey about his problems either. He had a strong feeling Harvey would strongly suggest that he take some kind of antipsychotic drug and a therapist. He didn’t want to deal with that.

With his cold coffee in hand Sebastian sat at his computer and typed away at his computer to try and find a video or something to take his mind off of everything. That basically meant cat and dog videos till either his stomach reminded him that he needed food or his bladder told him he needed to pee.

***

Once Apollyon had done his typical farm chores he had sat down on his couch with his phone in hand and started searching good date ideas. He wanted to come up with something that Sebastian would like that was also obviously romantic and all that mushy stuff. He had considered going to the movies or maybe going to Calico desert now that the bus was running again, but he didn’t know what they could do there.

While he did that he ate a few of the Solar essences that Morgana had given him. They were crunchy like caramel popcorn but tasted like copper. It wasn’t pleasant as all, and gave him stomach cramps like he had swallowed a handful of needles. He just figured that it was just the Solar essence working to expel some of the Void essence in him. It stuck to his teeth a little.

“… What do you think Goblin?” He asked the cat.

Goblin paused from licking her butt to give him a confused look. “Meow?”

Apollyon rolled his eyes and chuckled. “I want to do a romantic date with Sebastian. We’ve already done some of the things like have dinner together, watched movies and some other um intimate activities… Anyway a picnic date sounds nice, right? We can go to the secret woods and-” A sudden wave of nausea struck him and he dashed to the bathroom, promptly vomiting into the toilet.

Within seconds it was covered in a thick black liquid that reminded him of tar. He attempted to flush it and was relieved to see that it wasn’t as sticky as tar. Now hopefully that was just his body expelling Void essence and not something horrible like he just vomited up coagulated blood or something. If it was the blood thing he was pretty fucked.

He quickly gargled some mouthwash and went back to talk to talk with Goblin, who had gone back to licking her butt again. “So I’m thinking I’ll make some sashimi, some of that gross pumpkin soup he like so much and um… A salad, some chicken, maybe just chicken sandwiches? Is there some really romantic food I don’t know about?”

Goblin glared at him for interrupting her grooming session again and slinked off to another room. She obviously hated everything he was doing and wouldn’t care unless it involved getting her food or something along those lines. He couldn’t really blame her. He would probably be the same if he was in her shoes, paws?

He continued to research what he could need for a romantic picnic. Most of it said he needed candles but those were for an indoors romantic evening. Eventually though he got what he assumed was a relatively good list of things to pack and make.

With a general idea of what he wanted to do, he called Sebastian. “Hey Sebastian. Are you free tomorrow night?”

“Depends.”

“… I was wondering if you’d like to have dinner with me. If you’re busy you don’t have to I just… I thought it would be nice if we could do this together.” He knew his anxiety was quickly getting the better of him because he was rambling. “Like a date and stuff. I want to do something nice for you, but if you’re uncomfortable with being alone with me at the moment we can go and eat out at the Saloon instead. I just want us to have nice evening together.”

“It’s fine Apollyon. I’ll come over around eight.”

Aoollyon beamed. “Awesome. I’ll see you then.” He hung up and quickly went to his kitchen to take note of what he needed to get.

Chapter Text

“You are an idiot. A straight up double choc, triple fudge idiot with a side of dumb ass.” Said Abigail as she hoed into her nachos. Sebastian had walked down to the Saloon to have lunch with Sam and Abigail. He had told them about Apollyon asking him out on a date and Abby just decided to tear him a new one about it.

Sam gave Sebastian a sympathetic look. “She’s kind of right you know… I mean I could probably overlook the demon thing but you know… He still kissed someone else.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes in annoyance. “Wow and to think you two were trying to hook me up with him to begin with. Nice one eighty you assholes.”

Abby waved him off. “Dude, it’s like Sam said. Demons are fine but he was cheating on you. Cheating is fucking disgusting and an ultimate deal breaker for everyone no matter the reason.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say that.” Said Sam. “He claims that the Gar-dinner angel thing had done some mind control thing on him.”

To that Abby grumbled and ate some more of that cheesy nacho goodness. “I guess… But it wasn’t like he was brainwashed ah-la torture style, or like possession… Can you even possess a demon?” That was a pretty good question and one Sebastian hadn’t really thought of before. Maybe a stronger more powerful demon could possess a weaker one but that didn’t seem like it was likely.

Sam shrugged. “Hypnosis? Or maybe like in sci-fi it could have been like a virus or something?”

Abby rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Still whatever the case I wouldn’t take him back. Like I’ll still be his friend, but if I was in your shoes Sebastian I wouldn’t take him back. But you know, you do you… Is his dick game that amazing?”

Sebastian blushed and ate some nachos. “Shut up Abby I just… He pretty much died for me last winter. He didn’t know if he would come back either when he did that… I just don’t know. I want to give him another chance but I don’t know. If I let him off for this and he wasn’t under some kind of mind control at the time I’m just letting him know I’ll let him get away with it again.”

“Yeah, kill the fucker if he even thinks he can get away with that shit again.” Said Abby sternly. “Throw a fistful of salt in his fucking face. Salt hurts demons, right?”

Sam just shrugged. “Look man you love him and he loves you right? He’s willing to change himself too right? And you’re generally a good judge of character so if you think he’s worth it I guess you should go for it?”

Abby frowned and punched his arm. “Shut up Sam. You know where this is gonna end up right? Seb and Apollyon are gonna end up getting married and move away to some secret cave in the mountains far away from everyone. Apollyon’s gonna go full demon and start eating people and being in such a remote location Seb’s gonna end up being a cannibal and then they are gonna end up being some kind of fucked up urban legend. The demon cannibals of the Ferngill Republic.”

Sebastian looked at her like she was an idiot. “No.”

“Sounds like a B grade horror movie.” Mused Sam. “… Speaking of B grade horror movies you said that Yoba fanatics have tried to kill him before, right?”

“Yeah?”

“Well what about the other side?” Asked Sam. “Any fruit loops trying to worship him?”

Abby looked worried when she heard that. “Oh yeah, that’s possibly worse than someone trying to kill him…”

Sebastian frowned a little. “Why?”

She shook her head and sighed. “Well through my study of the occult it’s sad to say that just like there are branches that kill demons for Yoba there are Void worshiping people that think and do some really weird shit. Remember when I was really into looking up true occult crimes and stuff?”

Sam shuddered a little. “Why couldn’t you have had normal teenage hobbies, like going crazy over celebrities and junk like that.”

“Because I refuse to be a walking cliché.” Abby picked up a corn chip and pointed it at Sebastian. “The Sundown cult. Group of crazy fucks that lived on a commune that the government raided because they thought they were stockpiling weapons. They knock down those doors and find a bunch of so called virgin girls having sex with dogs and goats to both appease and try to birth their so called god into the world. While the girls were doing that the men were doing really bloody animal sacrifices. Many of the cult members talked about being able to see visions of the demon they worshiped while doing those things and claimed it gave them magical powers. But they were all on some really strong hallucinogenic.”

Sebastian cringed at that. “Gross.”

“Point is there are some really fucked up people out there. What if a fucked up group finds out about Apollyon and decided the best way to appease him is to kill things for him or to offer their bodies up to him?” Asked Abby.

“… Alright I’ll keep cultists away from him.” Said Sebastian.

“Didn’t like most of that cult burn to death?” Asked Sam.

Abby nodded. “Yep… You know, now that we know Apollyon’s really a demon it makes you wonder doesn’t it?”

“What?”

“Were those people completely crazy drug addicts or did they actually summon some kind of demon?” Asked Abby. “If so do you think anyone could summon a demon and get magical powers by doing that stuff?”

Sam gave Abby a weird look. “You want to get fucked by a dog or a goat?”

“Ew no. Fuck off Sam.” She shoved him a little. “But side note, do you think Apollyon can give you magic powers since you’ve had sex with him? I am assuming it was good sex and neither party was left unsatisfied by the others performance.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “Go fuck a cactus Abby.” That was an interesting thing for him to think about. As far as he knew Apollyon couldn’t do that kind of magic stuff. As far as he knew all his magic was kind of self-contained and not really able to be shot out of him or anything like that. He’d probably ask him about that stuff a little later. For now he’d just enjoy eating nachos with his friends.

***

With the quick swish of his sword Apollyon sliced through the last slime in the secret woods. He had been spending the whole day planning out what to cook and bring to the picnic. He had decided on pumpkin soup, salad, crispy bass, sashimi, blueberry tart, and mead. All homemade of course. After that he just had to go ahead and clear out the slimes.

He even brought out a broom to sweep away the dirt in front of the Old Master Cannoli statue before he laid down the blanket. He pulled a few battery powered lamps and placed them around the blanket to keep it in place. He hoped that it looked nice enough and Sebastian would enjoy it too.

“… Yes, right… Yoba I hope he likes this.” With everything set up Apollyon headed back to the farm to meet up with Sebastian and to quickly neaten himself up to make himself look presentable for his boyfriend. He had a quick shower and ran a comb through his hair. He was going to look good for Sebastian.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door and Apollyon dashed over, quickly opening it to see a rather surprised looking Sebastian. He looked a little disheveled and kind of tired. Apollyon really hoped that Sebastian was up for walking out to the secret woods.

The tired looking programmer gave Apollyon a kind of skeptical look as he saw what he was wearing. “… Um, I thought we were eating at your place? Did you change your mind and call a taxi or something?”

“Huh? Why?”

“You look like you’re all dressed up to go somewhere nice.”

Now Apollyon felt a small hint of panic welling up inside him. He hadn’t thought about that. “Oh um… I’ll go change.”

He went to go back inside but Sebastian quickly grabbed his wrist. “It’s fine… You look nice. You gonna invite me in now?”

“Actually no.” He picked up a picnic basket and held it out for Sebastian to see. “Picnic in the secret woods… That is if you’re okay with walking that far. If not we can just eat here. But it’s more likely Goblin will claim food by standing on it.” He felt like he was just making one mistake after another and at this rate he’d do something really stupid and Sebastian would just leave.

“Picnic sounds good. Let’s get going.”

Apollyon smiled a little and happily lead Sebastian to the secret woods. He was glad to see that Sebastian looked surprised that everything was already set up and ready for them. He was also thankful that Sebastian looked impressed by the food he had prepared too.

“I hope you like this.”

“I do.” Said Sebastian as he looked around. He picked up the pumpkin soup and poured some out for himself. “I thought you hated pumpkin soup?”

“I do, but you like it so I made it.” Apollyon ate a little bit of sashimi and salad. “I um… I like making people happy.”

“… Yeah.”

“…” Did he say something wrong? Did he make another mistake? He didn’t want Sebastian to feel like well, he didn’t really know what Sebastian could possibly pull out of that and make it a bad thing. “Do you like it?”

“Hmm? Oh yeah.” He quickly ate some of the soup. “Everything you make is nice.”

Apollyon smiled a little and ate some food. He cringed a little when he swallowed. The Solar essence he had been eating did make it a little painful to eat normal food, but he was just going to smile and let it happen. He was becoming more human this way, right? Right?

“You okay?”

He looked over at Sebastian and smiled a little. “I’m okay. Just strained my muscles a little when I was working today. Nothing a good night’s sleep can’t fix.” He didn’t want to tell Sebastian about what he was trying to do. He had a feeling Sebastian would try and talk him out of it if he tried. Maybe he’d say something about him being perfect just the way he was. That was just a lie. He knew that.

Thankfully Sebastian didn’t press any further and the two of them continued to eat in relative silence. Once in a while the two of them would talk about something trivial but that was okay. Apollyon liked that about Sebastian. They didn’t have to fill the air with needless noise when they were together. They could just be together and be satisfied.

“So, I have a demon related question for you.” Said Sebastian as he helped himself to a blueberry tart.

“Oh?”

“Yeah, I was talking to Abby and Sam about stuff and I was wondering if it is possible for like normal people to summon demons… They were talking about cults and stuff and cults that have demons as their gods and junk…”

Apollyon chuckled nervously. He wasn’t proud of the things many demons did, but he wasn’t ignorant of the things they did. “Well yeah… If you have proper instructions and have some magic items it’s possible to summon something, but you can just pull anything out of the Void if you’re not careful… And most demons are assholes. They don’t see humans as sentient beings that have complex emotions. You’re just dolls and many of us find it amusing to watch you do what we say.”

“… So you’ll ask us to do really fucked up shit for no reason?”

“Most of the time, yes. I remember once hearing some more powerful demons laughing and bragging about some of the twisted and fucked up shit they have made humans do. Everything from bestiality to self-mutilation.”

“… That’s pretty fucked up.”

“Yeah… But I think it’s even worse when they go and give humans a small taste of magic and just reinforce the idea that the messed up things they are doing are working…” He sighed a little and drank some mead. “And just for the record I can’t give people magic powers. I’m not the kind of demon that can cast magic.”

“Ever come across occultists that tried to worship you as the bringer of the end times or something?”

“Nope. Only came across people that wanted to sacrifice me because I was a child… I hate dealing with people on either side of the magic spectrum. They either want to kill me for breathing or do horrific things to make me happy… I just want to be left alone.”

Sebastian nodded a little and went back to eating. The rest of the evening went quietly and eventually the two of them packed everything up and wandered back to Hellfire farm. Much to Apollyon’s delight Sebastian held his hand the whole way there. It made him want to kiss him, but he felt like he couldn’t do that. It just seemed more appropriate to let him initiate that after what had happened.

When they got to his front door Apollyon paused for a moment. “… Do you want to come in?”

“… I still have a lot of work to do.”

“Oh right… Sorry…” He sighed sadly, feeling guilty. “I probably put you in a difficult position asking you out tonight huh? You should have said something if you were busy.”

Sebastian looked a little confused. “Apollyon, I wanted to come out here tonight. You haven’t put me behind at all. You don’t need to apologies.”

“… You sure?”

“Yeah… Night Apollyon.” He quickly kissed him on the cheek and left.

Apollyon stood by his front door in stunned silence. Sebastian had kissed his cheek. He had kissed him. He must have really liked the date he’d set up. It made Apollyon feel giddy and excited. He wasn’t a total failure. There was still some hope for him and Sebastian and it made his stomach flip and flutter in excitement. Actually, that wasn’t excitement. It was the Solar essence rushing back up. Apollyon quickly ran around the side of the house and promptly threw up.

Chapter Text

Morgana hummed a little to herself as she looked through her spell books. She was intrigued by the idea of attempting to extract the Void essence from a demon without killing them. She didn’t think it was possible considering Apollyon’s unique anatomy Maybe he would split into two personalities? Maybe his human side would just shrivel into a husk and die? It was all very interesting.

As she poured over her books her henchman knocked on her door and peeked inside. “Boss?”

“Yes?”

“Can I take my lunch break now?”

“Hmm? Oh, is it lunch time?” She really needed to install a clock in her hut. “I should probably stop and eat too…”

Her henchman nodded a little. “… May I ask what you are working on?”

“Trying to figure out how to rip a demon out from a human body that has no human soul in it. It’s not going too well.”

Her henchman nodded along with a slightly glazed over look in his eyes. They didn’t seem to understand what she was saying at all. “I see… Have you made any headway?” As he asked he pulled a jar of void mayonnaise out from their coat and started eating it.

She cringed a little at her henchman’s eating habits but did her best to ignore it. He was good at keeping people away most of the time. “Well I have some ideas, but they aren’t very practical… So far I have three possible scenarios in my head. He’s either I can separate the demon from the human and we’ll have two separate entities, I’ll get all the Void essence out of him and the human body will be a shrivelled husk, or I’m just weeding out the impure Void essence and I’m turning him into a ticking time bomb.”

“I see… Best case scenario?”

Morgana shrugged. “Best case? I can do what he wants and just have a jar full of Void essence. Apollyon can go on and live a boring normal farming life.”

“… Worse case?”

“…” A sick and twisted grin made its way across her face. “Worst case? Ah, the destruction will be glorious. I thought he was a ticking time bomb before but if this fails his demon side could go ballistic. Demons don’t take kindly to being mistreated. The whole Valley could run red with blood. It would be a sight to see… The whole Valley completely gone.”

The henchman seemed troubled by this. “You think so?”

“Perhaps. I’m not sure.” She flipped through her book some more and hummed happily to herself.

Morgana wasn’t necessarily someone who wanted all living things to die in a horrible, disastrous way. She was just a bitter and scorned woman that wanted to destroy everything her cheating ex cared about. Unfortunately he seemed to really care about the valley so that had to get messed up somehow. That was the only way she could be happy, if Ras was miserable. If people tend to get in the way it didn’t matter that much to her.

Suddenly she stood up and snapped her book shut. “I’m going for a flight. I’ll see you in a few hours. Finish your lunch break and get back to work.”

“Yes boss.” Her henchman quickly scurried away and Morgana grabbed her broom.

With a swift kick she hovered off the ground and flew away off across the mountains. From her height she had a good view of the valley and most of the people going about their day. She hummed happily to herself and flew down to Apollyon’s farm. She had always felt like there was a strong pull coming from that place. Possibly because there had always been someone who used the power from the Void to their advantage living on that farm?

Either way she happily headed down and walked around the property. It was calm and peaceful to her. Obviously Apollyon wasn’t here at the moment. As she walked the resident cat wandered out and glared at her. She just smiled at the grumpy flesh sack and gave her a few pats.

“Hello Goblin. How are you my dear?”

“Meow.”

“I see. Has anything happened to Apollyon since he’s been eating that Solar essence that I gave him?”

“Meow.” Goblin wandered off around the side of the house and stared at a dead patch of earth covered in what looked like some kind of tar. The edges were dried and crystalized looking like normal Void essence.

“… Is this Apollyon’s vomit?”

“Meow!”

In all honesty Morgana had no clue what on earth the cat was saying, but she just assumed she had some clue as to what she was saying. “Thanks…” She took a bottle out of her pocket and quickly waved her hand over the gunk, watching in satisfaction as it quickly jumped from the ground to the bottle. Once it was all in there she held it up to the light and analysed it for a moment. “…”

She then snapped her fingers and her henchman suddenly appeared in front of her. They were sitting cross legged on the ground while reading a magazine. He seemed really surprised to be there. “Boss?”

She held the bottle up to his face. “See this? This is a mix of bile and Void essence. It completely destroys organic matter by the looks of it. So guess where you’re going to be hanging out for the next few days?”

“… The farm?”

Morgana sighed a little and rubbed her forehead. “It’s mixed with bile… Which means that he was vomiting. Where do you vomit when you can?”

“… A bucket?”

“And where do you pour out the vomit when the bucket is full?”

“A toilet? Oh, am I going to be collecting that stuff in the sewers?!” They looked completely shocked and slightly disgusted.

Morgana just handed him a few empty bottle. “Yep. Expect your pay this week to be doubled and once it’s done I’ll give you three jars of Void mayonnaise too.” Before he could respond she snapped her fingers and sent her henchman off to the sewers. Hopefully she would soon have more of this stuff to look at. It should provide some insight as to how Apollyon’s body was dealing with the Solar essence.

“Morgana? What are you doing here?”

She looked over at Rasmodius and frowned. “What? Not allowed to see the farmer? What are you doing here? Gonna see if you can make him commit an act of infidelity and drag him down to your level?”

The Wizard became flustered at this. “What? I. No. Never. I’d never do something like that to someone. I… Look, I just came here to see if Apollyon was here. I can clearly see he is not so I shall be taking my leave.”

“… Wait, why were you here?” She quickly zipped in front of him and hovered just above him on her broom. “What were you going to talk to him about? Tell me.”

“Nothing that concerns you.”

She frowned and zapped at his feet with purple lightning. “Talk asshole. What are you here for? You two aren’t super buddy-buddy at the moment.”

He sighed a little and shook his head. “Well, as you might know Apollyon does not like being a demon and I was coming here to discuss options.”

That was interesting. She should have guessed that Apollyon would have asked her cheating ex for his help in this matter too. When dealing with the unknown it was always best to get as much help as possible. Getting help from opposite ends of the spectrum was about as wide a nest as anyone could cast. Now she was curious about what he had come up with.

“I see…” She pretended to act all aloof and board. “So what? You coming here to try and tell him you can separate his demon and human self? Fat chance. Your magic will probably kill him rather than help him.”

The Wizard glared at her. “My magic won’t kill him. Magic from the Yoba plane is not made to do that.”

“… Your magic is made specifically to kill demons you wet noodle.”

“Yes well, it’s also made to help people. Which is what I intend to do!” He seemed quite flustered now. “I intend to separate his demon and human selves… Hopefully his consciousness will stay within the human vessel… But still, I’ll do everything that I can!”

Morgana nodded a little at his words. “I see… so you’ve been roped into this too huh?”

“… You’re helping him?”

“Why do you sound so shocked? I can help people out when I feel like it.”

He looked very sceptical and just shook his head. “Whatever… I hope you haven’t gone and tried to give him anything that’ll kill him.”

“I gave him some Solar essence to eat.” She said calmly. “Seems to be working for him.”

“Solar essence?!” Cried the Wizard in shock. “You can’t give him something like that! You might as well be asking someone to eat a spoonful of arsenic!”

“Oh shut up. He isn’t dead.” Snapped Morgana. “And neither of us have ever seen something like him before! Solar essence seems to be working for him so you can just shut up and fuck off. At least I am doing something for him. What are you doing? Coming over for a tea party? You’re a dick!” She pointed a finger at him and zapped him with some more purple lightning.

The Wizard jumped as he was shocked and fell over, slightly singed. In retaliation he pointed at her broom and flung a spell at it that sent Morgana into a tailspin. She screeched as she lost control and crashed into a bush. Almost instantly her rage set the bush on fire. The fight was on.

***

Green and Blue had been hanging out in the small cave on Apollyon’s property. They were intrigued by the mushroom boxes that had been set up in there and were looking inside to see what was growing in there. Green spotted common, chanterelle, and red mushrooms. Blue spotted morel and purple mushrooms.

Just for fun Blue drew a happily little smiley face in the dirt. “So how is the farmer? When he came back a while ago he looked like a demon and stuff. It was all spooky, and now he’s all sick and stuff.”

Green shrugged. “Humans are weird things that get sick all the time. The farmer might be a demon but he still has a human body. Human bodies get sick all the time. He’s got a human sickness… Should go to the human doctor. Mr smarty glasses doctor man. He’ll know what to do. If not, then wizard.”

Blue nodded in agreement. “Okay. Sounds good.”

Suddenly the sound lightning rattled the cave and made both the Junimos jump in surprise. They looked outside and weren’t surprised to see that the witch and the wizard were having a fight again. Hopefully they wouldn’t destroy the farmers property too much.

“… Should we stop them?” Asked Blue.

“Nah, too dangerous.” Said Green.

“But they are fighting.”

“So?”

“There is a bush on fire!”

“… No. Let’s just go back to looking at the mushrooms.” Green walked back into the cave.

“But the fire…”

Green took hold of Blue’s hand and dragged them back in cave. “Ignore it.”

“But it’s fire…”

“Ignore it! Count the mushies with me instead. They won’t let the whole place catch on fire.”

***

Later that night Apollyon returned home from a long day in the mines. He pulled open the lid of the shipping bin and dumped in a few dozen rocks, a diamond, several pieces of slate and limestone, emerald, jamborite, and kyanite. He also threw in a few dozen lumps of slime for good measure.

He was just about to head inside when he smelt something burning. Fearing the worst he grabbed his watering can and ran across his property only to discover a burnt bush. Apollyon was confused, but poured water on it anyway before heading back inside to sleep.

Chapter Text

Much to Sebastian’s surprise when he woke up one morning there were several Junimos sitting around his room doing stuff. Purple was flicking through one of his graphic novels and squealing with surprise whenever something shocked them, Red was pushing his mini figures around the board on his table, Yellow was rapidly pressing the space bar on his keyboard to hear the clicking noise, and Orange seemed to be very interested in putting everything that wasn’t nailed down to the floor in his bin.

“Hey!”

Immediately the Junimos stopped what they were doing and then pounced on him. They squealed in delight and started jumping around on his bed and on him. They seemed to be extremely happy that he was now awake. However Sebastian had no idea why they were so happy.

“… Please stop bouncing on me…”

“Squee!” Orange toppled over and fell off the bed, but Sebastian managed to reach out and grab it before it hit the ground. This seems to have been a mistake because as soon as he did Orange stared up at him with aw and started to hug his wrist while squealing. The other Junimos pounced on him again and hugged him.

“… Why?” Groaned Sebastian as he rubbed his eyes, trying to wake himself up. “It’s too early for this magic bullshit. What do you want?”

This just set them off and they started making all kinds of weird squeals and bleeps as they flailed their arms around in an attempt to communicate what they wanted from him. Unfortunately Sebastian didn’t understand a word of it.

“Right… Well I’m getting up now…” He put Orange down and slowly moved so the Junimos wouldn’t fly off his bed and hit the floor. From there he just went about his day, though he did end up getting changed in the bathroom because there was no way he was going to take off his underwear while they were in his room. Thankfully they didn’t destroy his room while he was doing that.

When he came back to his room from getting his coffee the Junimos were all sitting up on his desk messing around with his pens and whatever random things he had on his desk. He sighed a little and turned on his computer to try and do some work done. Unfortunately it was kind of difficult with the Junimos trying to see what he was doing and probably asking what he was doing.

“Squee!”

“Blip, blip, breeeeeeee!”

“Eeeeeeeeeee!”

“Breeeeeeeee, squee! Squee!”

“Shut up I’m working. Why are you here? Go away.”

Red walked over and dropped a pen on his keyboard. “Pip!” The other Junimos clapped for them when they did that.

“… I don’t get it.”

“Pip!” Said Red again but more sternly. “Pip! Pip!”

“… I still don’t understand you. Please get out of my room.”

Unsurprisingly the Junimos didn’t leave. They continued to look up at him and make noises. It was very irritating. It was making him itch for a cigarette. Though since he went and threw them away he had to settle with his gum. As soon as he popped out one piece the Junimos went quiet and watched him put it into his mouth. Immediately the group held out their little stick arms out and made little noises like they were expecting something.

“…” Deciding it probably wasn’t a good idea to give Junimos nicotine, he looked through his drawer and found an old packet of gum and gave the Junimos a piece each. While they were occupied Sebastian quickly texted Apollyon to try and get him to come over and take control of this situation.

***

“Minty!” Said Yellow. “It’s minty!”

Purple hummed a little and started to take the wrapper off the gum. “Waxy paper.” They immediately ignored the gum and started to fold up the paper.

Orange started poking at the gum with a pen lid. “… Why are we here again?”

“Because-” Said Red. “-he is the farmers partner and we should get to know him better and stuff… Though I am surprised to find out this human sleeps half the day away. So strange.” They gave their gum to Orange to poke. “Now, we have more important things to talk about. Like um… What do we now know about the farmer’s partner besides the fact he is a sleepy person!”

“He likes picture books!” Said Purple. “Picture books with laser guns that go pew, pew!”

“His room is a mess!” Said Orange. They poked the gum some more. “Needs a good cleaning. So much stuff everywhere.”

Yellow waved their arms wildly. “That board with the buttons on it is all clicky! It goes clickety clack! Clickety clack!”

Red nodded a little and marched over to the computer screen to have a look at what Sebastian was doing. It just looked like a bunch of weird human squiggles that meant nothing to them. Humans were such weird creatures.

Suddenly the door opened up and Apollyon walked in. “Are you okay?”

Sebastian sighed a little and nodded. “Yeah, these guys just kind of just came into my room. I have no idea why. I kind of need them to go away now though. I’m trying to do my work.”

“Of course.” Apollyon picked up the Junimos and put them into his backpack. “Sorry. Sorry.”

Orange and Yellow squealed and squirmed as they were picked up, but they quickly changed their tune when they saw what was in the backpack. “Ooooooo! Weeds! I found weeds!” The two of them promptly threw the weeds out of the bag and onto the floor.

Purple ran around Apollyon’s legs trying to avoid getting grabbed. “No grab! No grab! No grab! Hands off! No touch! Bad touch! Bad touch!”

Red rolled their eyes. “Purple, I don’t think we have the right body parts for anything to actually bad touch us.”

“Don’t care! I don’t want to get picked up and manhandled!”

Their constant avoidance seemed to annoy Apollyon a lot and he constantly apologized to Sebastian. As he talked to Sebastian, Red couldn’t help but notice that Apollyon looked a little sick. It wasn’t super noticeable, but they could tell that there was something wrong. They had bags under their eyes and they looked a little pale. It made them feel a little uneasy, but it made them more receptive to Apollyon picking them up and putting them in their bag.

Once Purple was secured they were taken outside and unceremoniously dumped outside by a tree near Sebastian’s house. He didn’t look over impressed. “Look, go away and don’t bother Sebastian anymore. He doesn’t need to deal with you lot annoying him.”

Yellow shrugged and waddled off back to the community center with Orange close behind. Purple took a little time to grab a pine cone before running after their friends. However Red stayed behind to look up at Apollyon and give him a stern talking to.

“Hey hero, are you sick?”

Apollyon just looked down at them and frowned. “Ick? Oh sick. No, I’m not sick.”

“Are too Mr hero. You need to learn to rest and take better care of yourself.”

“… Shoo. Go home already.”

Red huffed a little and waddled on back after the other Junimos. They were a little concerned about Apollyon being ill, but they trusted that he would take care of himself and make themselves better. He wasn’t the kind of person to let themselves get sick, right? Yeah, he was smart enough to go ahead and get help when he needed it. He wasn’t stupid.

***

Apollyon felt stupid. He didn’t expect the Junimos to just go and annoy Sebastian out of the blue like that. Why on earth did they want to go ahead and do that anyway? It was annoying. They could have done some real damage to Sebastian’s computer if they decided to try and pull it apart.

With a heavy sigh Apollyon started the short walk back to his farm via Pierre’s shop to look at the bulletin board. No one had posted anything, so Apollyon went back home. Along the way he popped a Solar essence into his mouth, cringing a little at the violently bitter after taste. It had gotten to the point where these things were starting to develop an aftertaste not unlike petrol. It burnt all the way down from his tongue to his stomach where the pain just intensified.

Still, he went ahead and endured it. Of course he did. He needed to try and distract himself somehow. He briefly thought of Sebastian and how happy they could be when the witch made good on her promise and they could be together. Properly. No hindrances or unforeseeable hang ups

Suddenly his stomach felt like it was getting stabbed repeatedly, over and over again and he doubled over in pain. His head became dizzy and his legs felt weak. Apollyon collapsed just inches away from his property on the dirt path and he started to vomit. It didn’t matter how much of the black liquid his body would expel. His whole body felt worse with each involuntary heave, if that was even possible. His skull felt like it was getting split in two and his vision quickly began to tunnel until he completely lost all sight and he completely lost all sense of himself.

The only thing that seemed to function was his hearing as he could hear his heart thumping rapidly in his ears and his own labored breathing. His ability to comprehend what was happening to him at the moment was practically impossible as everything just seemed to happen either too quickly or too slowly. He couldn’t tell anymore. Was he dying? Is this what death felt like? He didn’t know for sure.

As everything faded to oblivion he could vaguely hear the sound of a car pulling up and something that sounded like people walking towards him. Maybe? He had no idea. He felt like he was done for. This was the end for him.

***

Today had been a rather fortunate day for these two individuals whom had happened upon Pelican Town. These two had heard rumors of a powerful demon living within Stardew Valley and had hoped to find them. Their source was good on this information. Their father was a prominent member of the magic council after all.

They were intending to walk down to the town and talk to a few of the townspeople, but then they saw him. A man collapsed in a pool of what looked like his own vomit having a stroke. It only took a moment for the two of them to realize that this person had violently expelled Void essence from their mouth and perhaps their nose and eyes. It was a little hard to tell.

Either way the two of them knew straight away that they had found the demon living with Stardew Valley. And he was sick. They were ecstatic. Seeing as how they were heading towards some place called Hellfire farm the two of them assumed that this demon either lived there or knew someone who lived there.

So with smiles on their faces the two of them pulled the unconscious man to their feet and dragged them onto the property. They took them into the farm house and laid them on their bed. The two of them then went about the demon’s home and started looking through everything.

One of them was aghast with horror when they saw the jar of Solar essence sitting on their kitchen table, one third empty. “What’s this? Why would they have this?” Asked one to the other.

“I have no idea…” They looked visibly disgusted just being in the presence of the jar. “Maybe they got tricked into taking it or something? How horrible… They must be very sick right now. We need to make them better. You have some Void essence on you, right?”

They nodded and took out a small bottle of ground up Void essence from their pocket. “Do you think this will be enough to heal them?”

“Perhaps… Hopefully we can discuss what we came here for with them once they are better and wake up.”

“Yes, indeed…” They smiled a little. “I’m sure they will say yes to our request. No one in their right mind would say no. Let’s hurry up and purge the poison of Solar essence from their body.”

Chapter Text

Apollyon’s mind felt like it was full of fog and his body felt like it was weighed down by a ton of bricks. He had no idea how he managed to drag his body back to his home, but he was thankful. He was getting better at blacking out. Not something he should have been proud of but he was.

He slowly sat up, groaning. He rubbed his eyes and slowly blinked only to find that there were two strangers in his room. One of them was a young woman with long raven hair and the other was a man with short dark brown hair. It was difficult for Apollyon to tell if they had a look of concern on their faces or if they were surprised he was in the house.

“... Um, if this is a robbery I literally have fuck all to steal. You’re welcome to the TV is that’s what you really want.”

The woman shook her head. “Oh no, we’re not here to rob you. We never would. We just happened to find you passed out in front of this property and assumed that it belonged to you. We only wanted to help you.”

“You’re really ill.” Said the man. He offered Apollyon a cup of something full of a thick black liquid that kind of smelt like coffee. “Here, this will make you feel better.”

“... Yeah no thanks.” He didn’t want to drink something a random stranger would give him. It could be poison for all he knew. “So if you two aren’t here to rob me why are you here?”

The woman smiled a little at him and walked towards him, brushing some of her hair behind her ear. “Well, we know you are a demon.”

“And you’re here to kill me?” Asked Apollyon. If these were more Yoba fanatics he was going to rip out his hair. He didn’t want to deal with this bullshit today.

The two looked slightly offended at his words. “We don’t follow Yoba.” Said the man. “My sister and I strictly adhere to the magic that governs the Void. We came here because we heard that a powerful demon from the Void now resided in Stardew Valley and we wished to see it for ourselves… We didn’t expect to find you so sickly.”

The woman smiled softly at Apollyon. “We honestly want to help you. We have some medicine that will help you feel better. Please take it. We want to talk with you… And let’s face it a demon like you can easily put an end to us. We heard what you did to those stupid Yoba lovers when they tried to harm you.” She gently pushed the cup into his hands. “I’m Lucy and this is my brother Anton.”

“... Apollyon.” Hesitantly Apollyon took a small sip of the weird drink and instantly felt a million times better. These people knew what they were doing. Before he knew it he had completely drained the whole cup and felt completely invigorated. “Huh, okay that was pretty good.” He got up and stretched. He felt like he could run a marathon or two with all the energy suddenly bubbling up inside him. “So you two are siblings? Is this a blood thing or the creepy cult kind of brother sister relationship?”

“We have the same father, but different mothers.” Clarified Anton. “Anyway, we would like to talk to you. A proposition if you would.”

Apollyon frowned a little and walked to the kitchen to clean out his cup. “Okay, you two talk and I’ll listen.”

“We’re part of a small collective.” Began Anton. “A group of similarly minded individuals who see this world as a rotting mess under the current social, political, and religious regine that dominates the Ferngill Republic… Mostly because we have been villainized by the wider Yoba loving public.”

Lucy nodded in agreement. “So we as group have decided to live together away from the victimization of the rest of the world on a property in the Calico desert. Specifically in the region known as the green belt, so we have water and the ability to grow our own food. We are pretty much self sustaining.”

Apollyon nodded a little. “So you guys are part of a cult?”

“No, a collective.” Corrected Lucy.

Apollyon sighed a little and busied himself finding a tea towel to dry his mug. “Do you have a leader that has ultimate authority? Are you only allowed to learn things approved by your groups leaders? Not allowed to talk to or about former members? Paranoid of the outside world? Rely on shame to keep people in line? Your leader is above the law? Use brainwash methods? Elitist? Don’t know what the group does with your money? Secret rituals? If you answered yes to two or more of these you’re in a cult.”

“Well… What is religion but a legalised cult?” Asked Anton. “Anyway, as a Void demon you must see the benefits of having followers and worshipers to aid you while you do whatever it is you came to this plane for.”

This kind of thinking was kind of annoying to Apollyon. He didn’t care for any of this crazy cult bullshit. Growing up his mum was a firm believer in people making up their own mind and strongly warned him against joining any group with cultish elements. So there was no way he was going to join whatever weird cult this was.

“Yeah, I’m good thanks. I like being alone on my farm, farming things. I’m gonna get a cow soon. Make some cheese. All that good stuff.” He put his cup back in the cupboard. “You may leave now.”

Lucy seemed distressed by this. “But if you come with us you can go ahead and keep farming… You just have more people helping you and we will get you whatever you like. Farming equipment, plants, animals, workers… women…”

“...” Apollyon didn’t like the way she said women. “What kind of cult-”

“Collective.”

“Don’t care. What is your main goal or purpose?” Asked Apollyon. “You guys seem to be very anti-world in general.”

Lucy smiled happily at him. “Ah, well we simply just want to live in our own little paradise away from the rest of the world. We already know that summoning a demon is a little too difficult to do since you always get a random demon. It’s always a much easier to talk to a demon that already lives here... Either that or give birth to a demon, if you’re willing to help out?”

“... Okay, time for you two to go.” Taking a page out of Morgana’s book, Apollyon grabbed a broom and started to push them out of his house. “Out you go. Get off my property. Goodbye. Don’t let the door hit your butts on the way out. Okay?”

The siblings looked very shocked. “Wait!” Cried Lucy. “I’m a virgin! If you come with us you can have many more women like me whenever you want! Like them younger? Older? We can provide!”

Apollyon cringed at the thought. “Ew, no. I’m not into that bullshit. Find another demon. Out.” He lightly hit Lucy in the face. “Out of my house.”

Lucy flailed and spat out some broom bristles. “Gross, bristles. If you want men we can get you men too. You’re good with that, right Anton?”

“What?” Anton looked slightly worried at her sister’s sudden offering up of his body. “Lucy, please I-”

“I don’t want him either!” Snapped Apollyon. “I’m already seeing someone. They would not be pleased if I started sticking my dick in other people. We already had a fight when that fucking Gar-dinner kissed me.”

Lucy’s eyes lit up. “You were attacked by an angel? Did you kill it?”

“Bit the bitch’s head clean off. Get out.” With a rather powerful hit he smacked her in the side. “Out!”

Lucy stumbled towards the door but looked at her brother with an excited gleam in her eyes. “He killed a sacred angel of Yoba. I knew he was powerful just by being granted the status of pagan god but still… He killed an angel!” She stared at Apollyon with an almost insane amount of intensity. “Please, your lover doesn’t have to know. Please impregnate me with your child. I will gladly birth them into this world.”

“... OUT!” Apollyon shoved the siblings out of his house and locked the door behind them. He was starting to wonder what was worse; Yoba fanatics that wanted to kill him or the crazy cultists that wanted to have his babies. Either way neither of them seemed to understand that he wanted to be left alone. Sighing heavily he walked over to his coffee table and was surprised to see that his jar of Solar essence was gone. “... Wait… Did they steal my fucking Solar essence? The fuck cultists?”

***

For the rest of the week Apollyon was very careful as he went about his business in Pelican Town. He knew those cultists were still around. Probably hanging around on some undeveloped corner of his property just watching him. He had woken up several times to see all his crops had been watered or picked and placed by his front door.

It was pretty scary to be honest. His only solace was that they seemed to believe that he was strong enough to murder them without much of of a second thought. Hell, he probably just made the cultists want to worship him more because he didn’t murder them outright. That might have been a bad idea on his part, letting them live. Then again he never considered himself a killer.

As he hacked down one of the many trees on his farm he could just feel their eyes on him, just burning into the back of his skull. It was creepy. He was going to have to hunt them down and kick them off his farm altogether.

“Hey.”

Apollyon jumped and quickly whirled around to see Sebastian. He relaxed a little and smiled at him. “Hey love. Did you finish your work?”

“Yeah. You okay? You look a little tense.”

“... Come inside and I’ll explain.” He quickly led Sebastian inside and explained his unfortunate situation to him. He told him all about the cultists, what they proposed, what they wanted from him, and how he chased them off with a broom. It wasn’t really the most fun thing to talk about over a cup of coffee.

Sebastian just nodded along to what he was saying and stayed quiet for a solid minute before he bothered to say anything. “Wow… That is… And to think I came over to watch a movie with you.”

“Yeah, sorry about that…” He held Sebastian’s hand and smiled sadly at him. He didn’t want to make his life difficult or put him in danger or anything like that. “We should probably just meet up at your place till I get this under control. It shouldn’t take too long.”

“... Okay.” Sebastian leaned over and kissed him. “You don’t think they are going to do something crazy to you? Like drug you or something?”

“Probably not… But if they do you can be damn sure I’ll be beating the hell out of them and coming back here.” Apollyon hugged him tightly. “I love you… and I’m working on a way to get out of this messed up life of mine. I’m trying to figure out a way for all those stupid magical users to leave me alone.”

Sebastian hugged back but looked a little skeptical at his words. “Really? How?”

“Magic mostly.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “You know explaining everything away with magic is just a lazy excuse, right? I hate that kind of shit.”

“I know love.” He hummed a little and kissed along Sebastian’s jaw and neck. “I’ll make it all up to you soon. I promise. I just need a little more time to get all my magical shit together. I swear.”

His lover hummed a little and tilted his head back a little. “Hmm, fine. But you can start making it up to me sooner rather than later.”

Apollyon’s eyes lit up at that thought. He knew he was quickly developing some unhealthy obsession with wanting to please Sebastian and he’d work on that soon. Once everything between them was patched up properly he would. He promised.

“Really? How?”

Sebastian blushed a little. “Well, it’s been a while since we’ve had sex…”

“... Oh! Okay.” He smiled and happily lead Sebastian to his room by his hand. It was true that they hadn’t done it since they had a fight. He hadn’t pushed it for obvious reasons after they started to mend their relationship. That would have been a one way ticket to getting dumped straight away. So he was happy when Sebastian brought it up first. Apollyon would do what he could to make his lover happy.

Chapter Text

The two lovers stumbled slightly as they fell into the bed but both of them just seemed to laugh it off. Apollyon didn’t realise how much he missed this kind of intimate interaction with Sebastian. His skin was so soft and surprisingly smooth for a man. Apollyon could only assume that it was because of his life as a basement dweller.

He didn’t mind though. He liked it. Apollyon liked the way that it contrasted against his rougher calloused skin. He knew that it wasn’t healthy to say he felt complete by being with another person, but that was how he felt. He felt complete being with Sebastian.

Suddenly Sebastian rolled Apollyon over onto his back. “I’m topping today.”

Apollyon was a little surprised by his sudden boldness but wasn’t going to complain. “Condoms and lube are in the top drawer.”

“I know that.”

“Just reminding you love.” Apollyon pulled Sebastian down into a kiss. Apollyon was no stranger to being on the receiving end of things. It had just been a while and for the most part when the two of them had had sex Apollyon took the lead. Sure Sebastian would have bouts of confidence and touch him without hesitation at some points, but inevitably Apollyon was the one that ended up wearing the condom.

Not that he cared much about who topped whom in the first place. Who topped or bottomed had very little effect on his overall pleasure. He was more than happy to accommodate his partners preference. It felt good to try something a little different with his lover.

He loved how Sebastian’s fingers glided over his skin and how passionately he would kiss him. It was no surprise that their clothes quickly hit the floor. Apollyon didn’t realise it until now but he really missed seeing Sebastian’s body. Growing up he had had always heard people saying weird things about the people they found attractive having the bodies of gods or goddesses. He just never saw that. That was until he saw Sebastian. Sure he didn’t have the same muscle mass as a typical depiction of what one would consider a god, but he didn’t mind. Sebastian was perfect.

“... Why are you staring at me like that?” Asked Sebastian. He looked a little concerned. “It’s kind of creepy.”

“Huh? Oh, sorry. I was just thinking.”

“About what?”

“About how lucky I am to be here with you.” He leaned over and kissed him. “I know it sounds stupid and cheesy, but you’re my whole world Bastian. I love you so much.”

Sebastian blushed a little. “I love you too you dork. There’s no need t keep looking at me like that.”

“Like what? Like you mean the world to me?”

“... I will fuck you without lube if you don’t shut it.”

“... Okay you know just because I am a demon doesn’t mean I don’t feel pain and stuff right? There’s also a fifty-fifty chance my messed up body will grow teeth down there if you cause enough damage.”

“I wasn’t being serious. I’m not an idiot.” He kissed him again. “I’m not a sadist.”

Apollyon smiled up at him. “I know love.”

“... But seriously, you were joking about the teeth, right?”

He shrugged. “My lungs turned into wings a few weeks ago. Pretty sure I could grow teeth in my butthole.”

Sebastian frowned a little but started to prep Apollyon anyway. He seemed a little hesitant about somehow getting his fingers bitten off, which just made Apollyon laugh a little. It came out more as a breathy moan which made his lover roll his eyes. “And what’s so funny? Is your butt ticklish or something?”

“Nah, I just can’t decide if you’re worried I have butt teeth or if you just haven’t topped before.”

“...” Sebastian curled his fingers and made Apollyon yelp a little in surprise.

From there no words needed to be spoken. No more witty banter or silly little jabs at one another and the two quickly fell into a rhythm. Soon the house was filled with lustful gasps and moans as Sebastian thrusted into his lover. If Apollyon had the vocal capacity at that moment he would have taken back what he had said Sebastian hadn’t topped before. He was good. Before he knew it he had reached his limit. Apollyon came with a cry and Sebastian quickly followed after him.

The two lovers laid panting next to one another for what felt like hours before Sebastian spoke up. “Huh, and I didn’t get my dick bitten off by you butt teeth. I’d call that a win.”

Apollyon rolled his eyes and lightly poked him. “Shut up. I don’t have butt teeth you dumb ass. I was just warning you… To be honest I have no idea what my insides would do if I did experience internal trauma. I guess it would be all demon like and stuff.... Damn I probably had a weird demon tentacle swirling around my guts at some point and didn’t even know… Weird.”

“... Huh.”

Apollyon shrugged and snuggled into Sebastian’s side. “My body is one huge fucked up mess… Do you think it would be better off if I was like, human?”

“Maybe. You wouldn’t get hounded by freaks and weirdos as much, right?”

“Yeah… So how are you going to get those cultists to leave you alone?”

“Talk it out diplomatically and then stab them with a sword if that doesn’t work.” There was also the third option of stabbing himself so he could get some weird demon power and throw them out of Pelican Town. Maybe he could go with them to Calico Desert and kick their crazy asses out and get Pam to gun it back to town? That would work too.

Sebastian nodded a little and started chewing on some nicotine gum. “Just get them out of here. Pelican town is weird enough without them messing around with things… Does salt repel cultists or is that just demons?”

“If you throw it hard enough I’m pretty sure it’ll repel anyone.” Apollyon frowned a little at that thought. “Rock salt to the eyes it a bitch.”

“... So salt doesn’t work against demons?”

“It’s more of a spirit repeller rather than a demon one. It’s more of an annoyance to us then something dangerous. Kind of like how you shouldn’t get petrol on your skin and should wash it off quickly. It’s an annoyance but nothing deadly.” He started to lightly kiss along Sebastian’s neck and shoulder. “You trying to figure out how to kill me or something?”

Sebastian rolled his eyes. “No. I’m just curious about you guys. You don’t really talk about what the Void is like. You just say it sucks and that’s it. Nothing much to go on.”

“...” Apollyon sighed and rested his head against Sebastian’s chest. “Sebastian, this isn’t something you can just start talking about… It isn’t a pleasant place to live and I… Do you really want to know about it?”

“Well, yeah. Of course I do. I’m curious.”

Apollyon couldn’t hold that against his lover. Anyone would be rightfully curious about that place. Even those who drew power from the Void never really knew what it was like. They only got glimpses at best. He didn’t want to scare Sebastian off with the truth of his home world. Then again he probably wouldn’t understand just how horribly messed up and disturbing it truly was.

“... Like Earth there are lots of different places with different types of natural and unnatural land.” Started Apollyon as he randomly traced his finger over Sebastian’s chest. “I didn’t go to many places but I heard of places that were made of green ice that dripped poison and twisted cities made of twisted and bloody metal. The place I lived… I guess it could be best described as a poison swamp.”

“You really lived in a swamp?”

“Well yeah, My natural demon form before this body was something that looked like a big sea slug.” He sighed a little as he reminisced about his old life. “The water we lived in was really muddy and none of us ever tried to get close to the edge unless we had to. We’re on the bottom of the food chain there you see so we get eaten a lot… We kind of just fall out of one of the many holes on this really freaking huge demon which I guess would be my birth mother and we just swim off… After this huge drought many of us quickly slithered off to find new swamplands to live in and that’s kind of how I know about most of the Void.”

Sebastian nodded a little as he slowly tried to understand what he was saying to him. “I see…”

“Yeah, it wasn’t a fun thing. From there I quickly learnt that I have very good regenerative abilities considering how many other demons would pick me up, take a bite out of me and then throw me away… It was really scary. Some smarter ones would keep a bunch of us in a jar and take a bite out of a few of us before putting us back…” He shuddered at the thought. “Can we not talk about this now? Please?”

“Of course… Sorry.” Sebastian wrapped his arms around Apollyon and gently squeezed him. “Didn’t mean to bring up those kinds of things.”

“Thanks…” He rested his head against Sebastian’s chest and sighed contently. “Can we just stay like this for a while? I’m tired.”

Sebastian nodded and yawned. “Yeah, okay. I’m tired too…”

***

Apollyon was right about the cultists. They had made a small makeshift home for themselves in a small patch of trees that Apollyon was yet to clear. They were trying to figure out how to seduce him into coming with them to their home for worship by the rest of their collective. And to be honest they were both really surprised that Apollyon hadn’t jumped at the chance to nail Lucy and other young women.

“... Maybe his partner is another demon?” Suggested Anton as he started crafting up a few field snacks for them to eat. “Some demons can be very protective of their lovers.”

“But most demons don’t even see us as compatible to other demons in terms of lovers.” Reminded Lucy. “That’s like someone claiming their boyfriend is cheating on them if they wack one out with their hand… What if their lover is a human?”

“What self respecting demon would be that fucking whipped by a human?” Asked Anton. “Like seriously, unless his lover was like top tier Void magic user or even Yoba magic user, no human could have him under their thumb. He’s an angel slayer demon. None of us have even come close to summoning one of those.”

“... Think he would be more receptive if we said we were open to orgies? Like, not all participants have to be humans. Just saying.”

Anton gave her a weird look and threw a field snack at her. “What the hell is wrong with you? If you’re so obsessed with sex I’m pretty sure no one is going to object to you getting a vibrator or like getting your hormone levels tested.”

She pouted at him and ate her field snack. “Like almost all female related Void magic is sex related because you know, opposite to Yoba magic being all about being pure and chaste and stuff. Also it freaks out and disgusts the normies.” She glanced over at Apollyon’s home and frowned. “... That person is still in there with them… What do you think they are doing?”

“Considering demons don’t go and flaunt their existence to regular people those two are probably watching a movie or something.” Anton didn’t have time for his sister’s paranoid attitude. “But you know, since you've started to become so crazy obsessed with the prospect of having a demon baby, why don’t you go over there and take a peek through the window?”

“... Fine. I will.” She quickly turned on her heels and ran over to the house.

Anton enjoyed his moment of silence. He did love his sister but sometimes she was worse that a sexually frustrated teenage boy. He just wanted to get this done and go home. He preferred the quiet life on the commune. Okay, fine, sure it was a cult and they did cult things like try to summon demons to impregnate women to birth a god to end the world, but it wasn’t like the women were unwilling. Lucy for example seemed to be down with the idea of getting knocked up by a demon.

Suddenly Lucy was back beside him looking thoroughly shocked. She sat down beside him and stared at the ground in an almost defeated manner. “... His lover is some weak pathetic human…”

“... What?”

“And he’s gay, so no demon babies…”

“... Okay?”

“And worst of all, he was letting the human top.”

“WHAT?!”

Lucy nodded, still looking utterly dumbfounded. “I know… this is just… You do realise this means you’re gonna have to be the one to try and seduce him now and not me, right?”

Anton visibly paled at the thought. “I don’t wanna get fucked by a demon or fuck a demon in the butt! I’m straight! I don’t do butt stuff!”

“Suck it up and try to take one for the team.”

“Let’s please try and come up with a different plan… I really don’t want to do that…”

“... Bitch.”

“Shut up.”

Chapter Text

When Apollyon got up the next day he was happy to see that Sebastian was still there sleeping beside him. He gently kissed his cheek and wandered out to the kitchen to make breakfast for them. Sebastian liked pancakes, right? Pancakes were a safe food to make. And by make he mean he had some instant pancake mix he needed to use soon.

As he watched the batter bubble in the skillet he went over in his mind what he needed to do. After feeding his chickens he was going to get those damn cultists off his farm. If he let them stay any longer he was worried they would start building cabins somewhere or maybe go on ahead and start to sacrifice his chickens. He didn’t want Butter or Crispy to go to the big chicken coop in the sky.

He hated how they seemed to be obsessed with worshiping him because they thought he could give them something he could not. He wasn’t a god. What on earth was a god anyway? The only real god he knew was Yoba and even then Yoba was an elitist prick.

If he was a god he would make it so he wouldn’t be. Too much of a burdon. Create a utopia but give it no free will than what’s the point? Create an imperfect world but give it free will and you get blamed for letting evil happen. It was a no win scenario..

If he could create a universe he would probably make a place for himself that existed outside of space and time where he could just exist. He didn’t really have any other kind want or need. The only thing he could think of that he wanted was Sebastian, but he knew his lover wouldn’t be happy going off with them off to some other plane of existence that existed for just the two of them.

He sighed a little and flipped the last pancake out onto the plate. He shouldn’t be bothering with those kinds of weird thoughts. He was trying to become human. The complete opposite of a god.

“Something smells good.”

Apollyon looked over at Sebastian, whom was standing in the bedroom doorway looking rather groggy. “Morning love. I’ll get you a cup of coffee in a bit. I made you pancakes.”

Sebastian nodded and slumped into a chair at the table. “... Shouldn’t I be cooking? You’re the one that took it up the ass last night.”

Apollyon laughed a little at how unfiltered Sebastian was in the morning without his coffee. “Babe, you gave me enough prep last night. Besides, this is my house and I know where everything is.” He gave Sebastian his coffee and pancakes and sat by him with his own food. “Maybe if we ever do it over at your place I’ll let you cook breakfast for me.”

It took a moment for Sebastian to understand the implications of what he just said and blushed a little. “What are you going to do today?”

Seeing an opportunity for mischief Apollyon had no choice but to take it. “Let’s see, tend to the chickens, water the crops, do a bit of foraging, you, kick the cultists off my farm-”

His lover almost choked on his coffee. “Wait, what did you say?”

“Get rid of the cultists?”

“No the thing before that.”

“Foraging? Summer’s almost over and I want to get me some spice berries. I love spice berry jam.”

Sebastian frowned at him for a bit before going back to his coffee. “Well go and hop to it. I want those weirdos off our farm by lunchtime.”

Apollyon’s heart fluttered in his chest. “... Our farm?”

“What?”

“You said our farm.”

“Did not.”

“Did so.”

Sebastian was quickly turning red. “Don’t you have cultists to get rid of?”

“Yes sir.” Apollyon happily kisses Sebastian’s lips and headed outside to get his axe out of his tool box. Sebastian had called it their farm. Not his farm. Their farm. Maybe he should consider finding that weird guy on the beach and getting one of those mermaid pendants? Of course he wouldn’t give it to Sebastian right away, but he would keep it close on hand for just the right moment

With a small sigh he had to put those thoughts out of his head as he headed to the last patch of trees he hadn’t gone ahead and cleared yet. After a few harsh swings trees fell down and Apollyon found the cultists. They seemed pretty shocked that he had found them, but the two of them quickly fell at his feet with their faces staring directly at the ground.

“Please forgive us!” Cried Anton. “We meant you no harm!”

“We just want to worship you!” Whined Lucy. “Please let us do so.”

Apollyon muttered several expletives under his breath. “I am not going to your bloody commune, collective,cult land thing. And that is not an invitation for you and your mates to come here and set up shop. Get out of here.”

Lucy dared to glance up at him. “Will you please let us make our case once more my lord and master?”

“... I am not your god, dumbass.”

Anton muttered something and quickly jabbed his sister in the side. “Look, I know we got off on the wrong foot and have not sold you on our little bit of paradise, but we would like to at least give you some more accurate information. Please? We do not wish to anger you.”

As much as Apollyon just wanted to kick these crazies to the curb he figured that hearing them out one more time might convince them he wasn’t sold on their idea and they would fuck off. “Okay fine.Why should I go with you two to your little cult thing?”

With slight hesitation the siblings say up and Lucy looked up at him with an almost innocent look her eyes. “Well for starters you will obviously get your pick of whomever you wish to bed; age, gender, relationship status, species. It doesn’t matter it’s all your to have.”

“... I am not even going to dignify that was a response.” He looked at Anton. “You got anything better?”

“We’re a self sustaining group.” He said quickly. “Farming is what we do. You enjoy farming, you can do whatever you like. You can be in control of everyone who farms there. You can keep the best produce for yourself.”

“Kind of do that already buddy and I don’t have to worry about people fucking around on my property.” He really didn’t like anything they were telling him.

Lucy nervously squirmed under his gaze. “... We want to change the world by birthing your children into this world. If we do this than we can erase this world and start clean. Just imagine it, a world made just for you away from the blatant monsters that dared to try and stroke you down. The skulls of these oppressors would make fitting material for the foundations of the new world. We could open the floodgates and allow the rest of your kind into this world. This place could become an extension of the Void. Your home.”

The thought of ruling the world and bringing about the end times sickened Apollyon. And that wasn’t even mentioning the disgust he held for living in the Void in general. He wanted nothing more than for the two planes of existence to never merge. “You two disgust me so much. Get off my property now.”

“W-wait!” Pleaded Anton. “You can bring your lover with you if that will make you happy.”

“... What?”

“Y-yeah.” Anton looked very nervous. “Lucy saw you and your lover the other day… You can bring him with you. He would be treated very well. Just like a god too.”

This sort of idiocy deserved an award. He pulled the two of them to their feet and shoved them towards the bus stop. “Get the fuck off my land before I decide to chop you both up and use your bones to fertilize my crops.”

“If that is what you wish then I accept that fate.” Said Lucy with an almost lustful tone that made both men look at her with confused shock.

“... Get your sister some professional help!”

Anton nodded in agreement. “Yeah, planning to…”

Lucy huffed and quickly ignored that statement. “Anyway, we will worship you as a god. How can you not want that?”

“... Because there is no such thing as god. Not in the way you think it is. What is a god anyway? The one who made you? Then your mother is your god. Maybe it’s whomever took care of you? Your guardian then becomes your god. Maybe it’s a more material thing like money. For me a god is someone you love completely, fully and want to make happy everyday through whatever means possible. Your god will then see you and reciprocate those feelings. Those you think our gods that don’t love you the same way you love them don’t deserve to be your gods and you should discard them.”

It felt good to get that off his chest. Apollyon had come to his own realization through his own ramblings. If he really thought about he he could have been describing Sebastian. It wasn’t healthy to put him on such a high pedestal like that. But it wasn’t like he thought Sebastian was completely perfect or anything. He had faults like anyone did. But still, in his mind if he had to choose a god he would choose Sebastian.

“And since you want me to be your god I would have to love you and I can’t because I’ve given my love to someone else. I already have a god. So get the fuck off my property.”

That revelation seemed to enrage Lucy. “What? Are you talking about that pathetic human you’ve shacked up with? How can you love them and call them your god?”

Apollyon was glad his home was so far away from everyone. He could only imagine the weird looks people would give him if he lived in town while this was going down. “You don’t get to call him that you vindictive bitch.” He pointed his axe at her in a threatening manner. “I’ve fucking murdered an angel to protect him. I fucking died for him. Don’t think I won’t gut you right here where you stand for calling him pathetic.”

Lucy looked worried but to her credit she stood her ground and called his bluff. “You wouldn’t.”

“Lucy…” Muttered Anton. “Let’s just go. This demon doesn’t want to come with us. It’s not worth risking your life over.”

“Why? He’s bluffing. There’s no way he would ever actually hurt me. He’s just as pathetic as the human he let fuck him.” Snarled Lucy. “He’s weak and pathetic. Did you even kill an angel? You just like to brag and make up all kinds of lie-”

Before she could finish speaking Apollyon raked his nails across her face. There was a terrible throbbing in the tips of his fingers from where a set of razor sharp claws had slipped out from under his natural nails. He could have cut way deeper, completely stripping flesh from bone. However he felt leaving a few thin lined across her face would be good enough.

A dangerous growl ripped through his throat as he bared his teeth at her. He could feel his gums splitting painfully as his more demonic ones forced themselves into view, filling his own mouth with blood. “You want me to be a god? Fine. I’ll be a god. I’m the god of this valley and everything in it. I decide what can and can’t exist here in my valley and I have decided you two and other members of your cult are not welcome here. You two are diseases. Pests. Parasites. If I ever see you two or anyone from your cult in my valley again I will slaughter you. I don’t care who sees me I will end you.”

Lucy looked shaken but ready to mouth off again. Luckily for her Anton seemed to be the brains of this operation and quickly pulled her away. “We understand. Sorry for disturbing you. Hope you have a good day. We’ll make sure everyone stays the heck away from Stardew Valley.”

“Whatever.” Growled Apollyon. “Just fuck off… and what did you do with my Solar essence? I know you fuckers took it.”

“It’s over where we were staying!” Called Anton as he dragged his sister to the bus stop. Hopefully to never come back.

With a disgruntled sigh Apollyon headed back to where they were squatting and quickly looked through what they had left behind. He found his jar of Solar essence and about half a dozen field snacks. Hopefully this would be the last of the crazies for a while and he could concentrate on more important things. Like building a new barn, planning for fall, or getting hold of that damn mermaid pendant.

Without much of a second thought he tipped a few Solar essence into his mouth and bit down. The taste of petrol quickly mixed with the metallic taste of blood. It was disgusting and made him want to vomit. But at least now he could concentrate on trying to be human again.

Chapter Text

Sebastian had always liked the train. When he had first moved to Stardew Valley it was by the train that ran through the mountains just next to the spa right by his house. About a year or two later the line was close to the public and redesignated for commercial use only. Still he would go up to the mountains and watch the train when he could. Usually he would smoke but since he quit he would stand around and chew his gum. He was considering getting a vape.It would give his hands something to do.

But he’d have to think about that a little later. Right now he was thinking more about something else. Apollyon was acting weird again. Maybe it was nothing, but he had been a little weird since he kicked the cultists off his farm. Sure he was still happy and friendly but he just seemed a little off. Maybe it was a demon thing?

He didn’t understand why Apollyon didn’t feel like he could talk to him about demon stuff. Sure he didn’t understand a lot of it but he would be happy to listen to him. That’s what friends and lovers did. It was kind of annoying that he felt this way, but to be fair Apollyon probably wasn’t used to talking about his demon problems with other people.

He sighed a little and walked along the track, kicking along a few stones as he did so. Maybe a train would come by and hit him? He used to think about those types of things when he was younger. In fact he did use to run up to the train when he heard it go by to try and jump in front of it. Maybe. It was an impulsive thought and he never really thought about what he would actually do if he did manage to get there before the train did.

As he thought this over he heard a bat screech and fly out into the afternoon light. That was unusual. Especially since he thought that bats just lived in the cave next to the adventurers guild. Curious, Sebastian walked behind the disused train station and to his surprise he found a small hole in the wall. Big enough for a person to walk in.

Wondering why he had never seen this place before Sebastian stepped inside. He stumbled a little on a loose rock and fell forward, landing on a loose gravel path in the middle of a swamp? This was different. He did not expect to find something like this in a cave. At the end of the path was a hut that Sebastian assumed belonged to the Wizard. Who else would have such a weird thing in Stardew Valley?

With an annoyed sigh he walked to the hut. He’d talk to the Wizard, tell him he happened to get a little lost and have the Wizard teleport them back to the train tracks.He couldn’t see him refusing such a simple request. Much to his surprise when he opened the door to the hut there was a green skinned woman carefully cutting the meat off of chicken bones. She looked equally surprised to see him there.

The woman frowned a little. “Bloody henchman’s on a bathroom break again… I don’t pay him to take a piss every half hour… So hello, my name is Morgana. I’m a witch.”

“... Wait, so there really is a witch in Stardew Valley?” Sebastian had always thought that was a local legend or fairytale. Apparently not.

Morgana frowned and crossed her arms. “Hey, I told you my name so tell me yours. Don’t be rude.”

“Right, um… Sebastian. Kind of didn’t mean to end up here. I live kind of close by and-”

“I know who you are.” Snapped Morgana. “You’re Sebastian son of Robin and some other guy. Your step dad’s Demetrius and your half-sister is Maru. You live in the basement of 24 mountain road and are friends with Sam and Abigail. You’re the dumbass that has the balls to date that demon farmer. I don’t need your life story jackass.”

“... If you knew all that about me why did you ask?”

“Because it is polite to tell someone your name when you tell them there’s.” She pushed the bones into a jar and wiped her bloody hands off on her apron. “So what are you here for? Dumbass demon out of Solar essence already? Need a refill or something?”

“... What?” Was this some other weird magic thing? Probably. Sebastian had no idea what on earth Solar essence was.

Morgana sighed dramatically. “This is why I don’t like dealing with non magic folks. You guys are dumber than a sack of shit.” She waved her hand and a small yellow orb with four point bits hovered off her shelf. “This. A Solar essence is the distilled positive energy that creatures aligned with Yoba tend to drop when slayed. Creatures with negative energy drop the opposite thing when slayed, Void essence.”

“... Huh, right…” Void essence was what that Gar-dinner was trying to extract from them before. If they had Void essence inside them how come the general public didn’t know about it?

The curious expression on his face made Morgana grin. “Ah, so you’ve heard about Void essence then? I can tell by that look on your face.”

“Yeah… It’s been mentioned once or twice. Heard it said that normal people have Void essence in them…”

Morgana chuckled a little and waved her hand. A blackish, purple ord covered in curled spikes floated over to them. “Yes, all living things carry both Solar and Void essence within them. Non sentient beings have an equal balance of both because something like a tree is neither good nor evil. It simply exists. Sentient creatures like humans, apes, dolphins, and some species of sloth have different levels because they have the brain capacity to make up their own minds and their natural Yoba given will to do good or evil influences how much of each essence is inside them.”

“I see… Wait, did you say sloth?”

“Yep. Little known fact that sloths are some of the most evil creatures on the planet. They act all slow and cute to lull you into a false sense of security then get slit your fucking throat. Anyway,” she removed her apron and draped is across her table. “I’m sure you know that there is nothing inside a demon other than Void essence right? You know, I’m actually surprised that Apollyon doesn’t bleed this stuff. Guess he’s better at pretending to be human than I thought…”

“He isn’t pretending to be human.” Said Sebastian calmly. “As far as I’m concerned he is human.”

“Oh no, trust me. Something with that much Void essence in them is pretending to be human. No matter how much they deny it.”

“And how would you know that?”

Morgana rolled her eyes and casually leaned back. In an instant her broom zipped over and swerved so she was able to sit on it. “Look here you punk ass emo wannabe. I’m a witch that knows her Void magic shit. Do you even know what the twelfth sacrament is in the Twelve Void Sacraments is? What it involves?”

“... I don’t even know what a sacrament is.”

“It’s a thing you need to do to be considered a proper Void magic user. The Yoba bastards have the Twelve Sacraments of Yoba which is similar but stupid. Point is doing each sacrament is hard as nails to do and most people dip out before they get to the tenth sacrament. Too much of a physical and mental strain for most. Anyway, the twelfth sacrament is basically filling yourself with as much Void essence as the human body can physically handle and waiting out the effects. Could take days, months or even years for it to wear off. But when you’re done you have full access to the powers of the Void and know the insanity and danger you’re in when confronted with demons. I know how a demon feels and thinks because I was one for three months.”

Morgana looked over at her shelf and her broom casually glided over while she looked through several jars. She had a determined look on her face as she searched for something that she obviously thought was important.

It gave Sebastian a little time to think. Mainly he was curious about this whole twelve sacraments thing. It seemed kind of bizarre to him, but then again all magic was weird and bizarre to him. And to think all he did was follow where a bat came from.

“Ah! Got it!” Morgans took a jar off her shelf filled with a dark purple liquid. “Delicious pure Void essence. For the twelfth sacrament we would drink a whole jar of this stuff. Many people describe it as drinking super LSD. You see and hear some crazy messed up shit. Several people that have been possessed by a demon have claimed the twelfth sacrament are indistinguishable from one another” She smiled happily at the jar the glanced over at Sebastian. “Want to know how Apollyon feels every second of every day?”

He didn’t like the way she was smiling at him. “Um, no thanks. I’m good.”

The witch seemed almost disappointed to hear that, yet she still poured no more than a few drops into the world’s tiniest bottle. “Really? That’s a shame… Must be so hard for you two to connect. More power to you two for giving this interspecies thing a go, but if you two can only bond over human experiences I doubt it will last too long. Relationships are built on trust and understanding. How can you trust him if you do not fully understand him?”

Everything she was saying was making him feel uncomfortable. “Look, I should probably head home now…”

Morgana rolled her eyes and put the bottle in his hand. “Keep this. If you want to understand the way your lover thinks and feels, what he’s hiding from you, drink this. It’s only a few drops compared to the jar you’d need to drink for the twelfth sacrament so it’ll last only an hour or two… I suggest if you take it you drink it in the mines away from humans. If you don’t well… Wouldn’t be the first time someone murdered a bunch of people because of this stuff.”

“... Right.”

“Good. Now begon I have work to do.” She waved her hand and Sebastian felt something violently yank him backwards and he landed with a loud thud on his bed,

Sebastian groaned a little and rubbed his head. That hurt. A lot. He looked at the little bottle Morgana had given him and frowned slightly. So this thing was meant to make him a demon or feel like a demon? He wasn’t sure how he felt about that. Sure he knew that Apollyon was hiding things from him, but he didn’t know if he was willing to drink some mystery liquid to fully understand his boyfriend. He wasn’t sure if that was the best way to understand him. It kind of felt like a breach of privacy.

“... Not today.” He put the bottle into his desk drawer by his computer. He didn’t want to think about this now, but he was mildly interested to see if there was any information on the interest about the whole sacrament deal. If he couldn’t find anything he’d hit Abby up and see if she had a clue what Morgana was talking about.

***

After about two hours of searching the web he gave up and called Abby. Within what seemed like seconds Abby was over with Sam close behind. Though it seemed like Sam was being used like her personal mule since he was carrying everything.

She quickly spread out all her books onto Sebastian’s table and opened up several of them. “Alright so you want to know about Void magic? This got to do with Apollyon I take it?”

“Yep.” With a swift kick Sebastian rolled over to Abby while he was seated in his computer chair. Sam just ended up flopping onto Sebastian’s bed.

Abby cracked her knuckles. “Alrighty, so the sacraments are like these religious rights you have to go through if you want to be a proper Void magic user. Honestly, I’ve done the first five of them.”

Sam looked surprised. “You can use magic?”

“Not really, the first five are pretty easy to do.” She hummed a little in thought. “Let’s see, first five are; memorise the infernal alphabet, create a charm of protection, three hours of unbroken meditation, sleep in a graveyard, and um… something I’m sure you two don’t want to hear…”

Sam quirked an eyebrow. “Come on, tell us.”

Abby sighed. “Okay but don’t say I didn’t warn you… A burnt menstrual sacrifice. Which was really annoying because it’s meant to be a full cycles worth! I had to hide my used tampons in an ice cream container!” The boys looked disgusted. “You asked for it! Plus the guys equivalent is a week’s worth of jacking off.”

Sam and Sebastian still looked grossed out. “Imagine keeping a week’s worth of used tissues under your bed for that…” Muttered Sam. “So fucking gross…”

“Yeah…” Muttered Sebastian. He still couldn’t believe that Abby had done that. That was really gross and fucked up in his opinion. Heck all magic was weird and fucked up in his opinion.

Abby just took it all in her stride and waved it off. “Anyway the next seven are; astral projection, levitation, communicating with spirits through an ouija board, animal sacrifice, opening a rift between this world and the Void, contacting a demon, and becoming possessed by a demon. Do all that and you are able to truly channel the magic within the Void for your own uses.”

Sam frowned a little. “So, why haven’t you don’t the other things? Don’t you already have an ouija board?”

“Well yeah but you need to the sacraments in order and I have no idea how to astral project and I need stuff to levitate…” She sighed a little at that. “Plus I’m not a huge fan of like killing animals and that other demonic stuff. You interested in doing the sacraments Sebby?”

“What? No. I don’t want to learn magic… I just… I heard a little bit about the whole becoming a demon thing and it occured to me I could understand him more if I was like a demon for a little while…” He wasn’t too sure if he should tell his friends about Morgana being a thing. She seemed a little unhinged.

Sam nodded a little at this. “I see… So you’re doing that whole walk a mile in their shoes kind of thing?”

“Yeah.”

“Um… Probably should reconsider that one.” Said Sam in a concerned tone. “Look, when I hear someone being a demon and stuff, I think serial killers, murderers, rapists and all that messed up shit. Like I know that Apollyon isn’t like that at all, but let’s be honest he isn’t a demon. He’s just some dumb goofy guy that happens to have demon powers and junk.”

“Still a cheating prick.” Pipped in Abby. “I’m not gonna forgive him for this until like, maybe the end of Fall as long as he doesn’t fuck up again.”

Sebastian rolled his eyes at his friend’s comments. They were kind of dumb in his opinion sometimes. Especially when it came to Apollyon. They didn’t know him like he did. “He’s a shit demon that I have forgiven for the stupid shitty things he’s done. He isn’t malicious he’s just an idiot. That’s all.”

Abby shrugged. “Your funeral… You should make a charm or something to kill him if he gets too violent. Just for like your own protection and stuff.” Both boys looked slightly horrified she suggested that, “What? He’s a demon. I’m not taking any chances he goes nuts and decides to kill us all.”

“The Wizard probably has something in mind.” Suggested Sebastian. “He seems like the kind of guy that would do that… If he hasn’t already...” He didn’t like the thought of the Wizard knowing how to kill his boyfriend. It just didn’t sit well with him. He didn’t really know why though. Maybe it was just because he seemed so invincible? The motherfucker died several times already and came back like it was nothing after all. It would have to be something pretty powerful to keep him down for good.

Abby shrugged. “I see. Anyway, let’s sacrifice Sam.”

The usual ball of sunshine looked shocked. “What? Why?!”

“Because only I know how to do it and Sebastian’s boyfriend will be sad if we sacrifice him.” Clarified Abby. “Plus demons won’t want a grumpy asshole like Sebastian.”

“... Okay that’s fair.” Sam lied back on Sebastian’s bed with his arms splayed out. “Fuck me up for the dark lord.”

Abby nodded and grabbed hold of one of her books. “For the dark lord. Sebastian, go get me some rope and a knife.”

“Okay.” Sebastian wandered back upstairs and went to the kitchen. He wasn’t going to get her a knife or rope. She was going to have to make do with a few cans of Orange Fizz brand soft drink and a party bag of Salt and Vinegar chips.

Chapter Text

Apollyon was still a little worried about those damn cultists coming back and messing with his life. Then again they seemed pretty freaked out by him when he snarled at them. Hopefully that was enough to make them leave for good. He didn’t need some spooky cult