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Title: It's A Service
Fandom: Tales of Zestiria
Characters/pairing: Rose/Lailah
Sappho: prompt #13
Rating: all audiences
Word Count: 538

Lailah brushed away the thin veil of grime with the end of her sleeve. The wooden figurine was still there at the base, though wind and rain had weathered it, Lailah recognized it by the way the water retreated. The rain fell in perfect parallel sheets. Inside the little god statue twenty years ago, she’d placed an origami flower. Even further into her past, the tiniest iris gem had once flickered and swirled at her touch.

“Is this another one of those roadside shrines? They’re pretty rampant in these parts, aren’t they.” Rose’s feet squelched through the mud until she stood at Lailah’s elbow, peering around her shoulder with curious eyes.

“Not quite. A mini shrine, but not for travelers. There used to exist a seraphim that carried letters to other seraphim. A business, you might say.”

“Really? Cool!”

“And these shrines were stops that that particular seraphim made. If you put your hand through here...” A soft lock popped between her thumb and forefinger. “You can sort through them.”

“I take it there’s a trust system in place here.” Rose leaned against the stone wall, grasses slipping under her feet. “Or seraphim are too pure and sweet to steal.”

Lailah smiled, perfectly unfazed. She reached inside, fingers scraping against dirt and cold dust. It was damp -- the artes wouldn’t protect anything here anymore. It was a good thing she checked. “There is. It’s called karma and respect.”

Rose blinked, then looked away. Maybe that hit home harder than she meant. “Rose, is there anything you’d like to leave here? Anything you don’t want to lose?”

“...Nah. Best not to leave anything behind.”

“Alright. Well -- we’d best catch up with the others now. I just wanted to see if this one was still in use.” Lailah slipped the lock closed, not that it mattered. Humans could pry it open if they wished, excavate the wishes and worries of seraphim past and present. That was what she liked about paper -- it left remains, even if she never did. Proof of an existence.

Rose bumped her elbow with her own, rain soaking her sleeve from walking too close to the trees and soggy clumps of brush. “What did you remove? Is there someone you write to?”

Lailah summoned her deck of cards and hid her guilty smile behind them, even as Rose protested. “I write to myself about... things. Some of the things I shouldn’t take with me as a seraph,” she confessed.

“Oh. Those kinds of thoughts. I get it.” Rose squinted through the canopy of trees, expression thoughtful. “If it makes you feel better, you can voice them to me, you know. If you want to share them with someone. Or not.”

Her hands strayed back to her side, brushing off drops of water from her dress. They fizzled and evaporated at her touch. “Maybe when this is all over, you can read about all the change you’ve brought. But no sooner. There should be something to look forward to.”

Rose smiled at the trail, hand reaching back to catch hers. “Lailah, for being such an optimist you can get really dark sometimes. There’s always something on the horizon. You’ll figure it out eventually.”

(--she did).


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