Just a Fairytale
DISCLAIMER: Nope, I don't own the Slayers crew, and if owned any of the boys (which, sadly enough, I don't) their respective others would blast me with a Dragon Slave, deafen me with proclamations of Justice, or giddily point and laugh while reaching for her spiked mace-sama.
PLACEMENT: As you'll see, Xellos and Filia are with the group, so put this little vignette sometime in Try during a miscellaneous journey period.
WARNING: Slight spoiler (if you can call it slight) okay, more like MAJOR spoiler for the first Slayers movie. Read at your own volition, but I think I utilized the information offered there (coughgourry'sgranddadcough) to a suitable and fluffy extent. Please enjoy!
Chapter One: Candy-kissed Love
Sharp red eyes followed the high flight-path of a seagull before drifting back down to the rolling hills of the island. Sinking low under the horizon, the sun started to tinge the world with overtones of succulent grapefruit. The juices were running down the chins of cliffs and valleys, splashing against the ocean waves, finally dribbling through the streams lazily plodding their way through the countryside.
Yes, just like a fresh grapefruit or a sweet strawberry that tasted of sunshine and summer kisses. Or maybe a hot slab of venison right off the spit, dripping with grease.
It was then that Lina Inverse realized she was hungry.
Even after three dinners.
And five deserts.
It was puzzling to her fiery little mind. She was a glutton freely admitted, (a thin, flat-chested one at that, as she was forever reminded by Gourry) but in the company of her friends, she could control her voracity to some degree.
Of course a lot of her eating habits followed the frenzy of the environment she was constantly surrounded in. Like that dinner she had just escaped from. Of course it really didn't differ from how mealtime was acted out by the Slayers.
Zelgadis would hold his coffee mug in his hands and growl in a protective manner if anyone with the exception of Amelia came near him or the liquid itself. Not that she made a move for the dark, bitter tasting drink. No, that was Zel. Xellos would be teasing Filia mercilessly with taunts about lemon pie, (her imagination could only go so far in delving into that demon's mind). Meanwhile Filia would be simultaneously making a move for her mace all the while allowing the "Namagomi" a glimpse of her garter and the firm thigh it rounded while gnoshing on the pie she had ordered. When the flirting would stop between them all, Lina would never know. Then Gourry would tug on the chicken-leg that she had been eyeing since it came to the table, and it would start all over again.
That's when she would stand up and without excuse, leave the brawl over the dinner table and step out into the chill night air.
Only this time, her patience had worn thin well before the sun had time to set and leave her in the dark.
But even with the sunset she could think, could breathe. She gulped down the air in swills like beer and it was nearly as intoxicating. It allowed her to collect her thoughts and fuse the scattered memories of traveling with her companions into cohesive glue that held her emotions together as well. There was something to be said for peace. Peace of mind on the other hand . . . well that was another matter entirely when it came to how she felt about her big lummox of a protector.
She was starting to discover that heat crept across her cheeks whenever his big blue eyes met her red ones. Whether she had always done that and was just recognizing it for the first time in her life, she didn't know. She did know that reasoning it happened only because they were in the strain of battle left her cold, and meeting truth head on, she frankly didn't want it to be a manifestation of warrior-trust, or a brotherhood band choking them both tight around the neck. No, there was a certain flutter in the pit of her stomach, a disagreeable drowning within herself that kept her filled with just the thought of him. At first she wasn't sure if it was what she feared, but of course, all the darkness reveals light just by comparison, and in the emptiness of hate, she could feel the love growing there like a delicate star-kissed flower.
Taking more steps into the purple forest, Lina drew her arms around herself and hugged the thoughts away . . . or closer to her heart as she envisioned Gourry holding her just like this, pressed against his chest until she was warmed both inside and out. She could almost feel his breath against her neck, but realized that it was only a breeze she had turned her neck into just to imagine a fairytale into reality.
Lina stopped her lazy trail between the tree trunks and looked up into the open patch of sky above her. And wouldn't you know it, the clouds that had been wisps of horsetails had somehow metamorphosed into cotton candy hearts. Was it this way for everyone? Did Amelia and Filia see the world in pretty chalk-pastel rainbows and melted suns when thoughts of Zelgadis or Xellos filtered into their heads? Or was it all only for her? She knew love was different for everyone, she only had to look at how each one carried on to know that empirical fact. However, did they also have this feeling of vertigo every time the object of their affections happened to shyly glance their way?
As if mentioning the word as an incantation, Lina felt the world slip out from beneath her and slid down the trunk of tree in a helpless pile of jelly. But it wasn't just the idea of vertigo that left her dizzy and light-headed. She had heard the twig crack before her blonde haired knight in literal shining armor stepped out from the shadows, his hair reflecting the rich coppers that were woven into the oranges of the lingering sunset. And yet, she still asked him, "Is this how it's supposed to be?"
And he answered, true to Gourry fashion, "Is what how it's supposed to be Lina?"
Pressing herself deeper into trunk of the tree, the sorceress felt her eyes drift and lock on his. She almost whispered, "The sunset," but caught herself and forced a giggle into her throat to make the situation light in buoyancy. Hopefully the thrum of her heart would float away on that giggle and he would take it as delirious rambling from a stomach that was too full and a mind that was too lazy.
Gourry nodded and raised a hand to scratch the back of his head in serious thought. After a long pause, he took a few steps forward and Lina's stomach twisted in on itself. Those extra helpings and sweets had completely disappeared. Now she had an empty hole that crunched dryly as she brought her knees up to her chest.
Stopping in front of her, the knight knelt on bended knee and looked up into the bleeding sky through his blonde bangs. "Blue, purple, orange, and," his feather-soft blue eyes traveled down to graze hers. "Red. They're all there, the sunset is just how it's supposed to be."
Swallowing that last lump in her throat that had formed when he had looked deep into her crimson eyes, Lina shook her head and started to get up. "I guess, so," but found that her cape was twisted around her legs and the moment she stretched to get up, she tripped head first into Gourry's stomach with a yelp of surprise.
The world froze around them into a cave, the echoes of nervous breaths coming from both her mouth and his ricocheting around the empty air and bouncing back into her ears as a painful reminder of how close they were.
She could feel his stomach muscles contract as he whispered her name, "Lina,"
The sorceress in question went stiff at that tone, that telling inflection in her knight's sweet tenor screamed to her how much he didn't want this moment to end and how appreciative he was of her clumsiness. For so long she had wondered why that voice had scraped at the edges of her soul . . . until now. Could he possibly feel the same lightheaded dizziness that she experienced when she looked at him as he looked at her?
Judging from the arm coming around her back to press her flat against his chest, she could only guess that he did. And the finger sliding under her chin to raise her eyes to meet his only conferred her hypothesis.
Repeating her name in another uncertain question, Gourry moved the hand that supported her chin to palm her jaw line, his rich blue eyes searching hers for help in handling this situation.
"Iie, Iie!" She practically screeched in her embarrassment, jumping back and out of his embrace. As he held out his hands to her, she waved him off with, "I'm fine, Gourry, really I am."
"All right Lina," he responded in that, I'll-do-whatever-you-say-and-obey- your-every-command-like-a-good-boy tone that she was sure he called up unconsciously to end their arguments. However, this wasn't an argument . . . at least she hoped not. What was there to argue about? Did her rambling thoughts of: Don't-argue-with-me-Gourry-because-I'm-ignoring-the-feelings-I- have-for-you-at-the-moment-and-I-can't-answer-any-questions-you-may-have- about-the-butterflies-flitting-about-in-your-endless-pit-of-a-stomach- because-they're-in-mine-too-and-I-don't-know-if-I-can-handle-love-because- it's-something-you-can't-steal-or-blow-up-or-eat-and-I-don't-want-it-to-be- because-I-love-this-feeling-I-get-whenever-I'm-near-you-and-I-love-thinking- that-the-sky-is-cotton-candy-and-life-is-sweet-instead-of-sour-so-sweet- that-it's-a-ripe-strawberry-picked-in-the-heat-of-summer count?
She didn't suppose it did.
Glancing over at Gourry as she tried to hide her anxious jittering, Lina breathed a sigh of relief. He was leaning against a tree trunk, one hand rubbing his head as if he was confused. It was a familiar sight that almost forced the memory of being held by those arms out of her fiery little mind. But then she realized she had been staring at him all this time and the blush spread to cover her entire body, while her gaze shifted from his tall form to the crushed grass before her.
"I said I'm fine Gourry,"
"But I'm just not positive that you are," he pressed, sinking along the trunk until his knees were crushed to his chest. Pondering, he finally broke the silence that had accompanied his tight lipped-thought, "Yosh! How 'bout a walk Lina?"
Lina could feel herself shrink under his inquisitive eye. As well as feel the spark of irritation flare up deep within her. Even if he did love her, he could always be annoying. Hell, this sudden attention he was devoting to tracking down the source of her surprise was annoying enough. What if he demanded to be told what was bothering her?
With a sad smile, the sorceress answered her own question. That wasn't Gourry to demand . . . that's what made him so sweet, so desirable, so . . .
Meanwhile her knight was waiting for her answer to his real-world question. "How 'bout it Lina?"
He nodded happily. "Um hum. Just you and me."
The feeling of her stomach dropping down to her leather-hide shoes shook her to the core with that last comment. What could he possibly mean by that?
Finally she looked up to his hopeful expression and acquiesced with a smile, "Of course I would Gourry." Helping herself to her own feet, Lina allowed herself to let her eyes appreciate the chiseled fineness of Gourry's chest that his tight blue shirt afforded the eye to see. But she wasn't the only one stealing glances. The moment she fell into step beside him, she could feel his bright blue orbs following the way the shadows danced over her face. However, she could not sense how the male mind admired her cuteness. That skill was relegated to seeking out magic only. Unfortunately for her, love wasn't the type of magic she required to have the upper hand.
Meanwhile the world seemed to melt and transform in front of her eyes with the crazy magic it possessed. If she weren't a trained, upper-level sorceress, Lina wouldn't have suspected that the natural forces themselves were working against her and for him. There was something methodical about the way he walked and the pace of his step that bespoke of a premeditated power. Was it just her imagination, or did that cloud stretch into cotton with his glance to the sky? And that breeze that pushed her closer to his side, did it blow right when he whistled?
"Gourry," she started softly as they rounded a bend of trees. He immediately stopped and devoted his attention to her, forcing her head to sink between her shoulders. "Why is it that in all our travels together, you've really never talked about your past?"
Pursing his lips, the thought sunk into his mind and then the question was answered with a wide smile, "You never asked!"
Lina's brow began to twitch. Well, she was asking now.
"Besides, I never thought my past was more important than protecting your future,"
Before she could say anything to defer the course this conversation was taking, Gourry's eyes locked onto the distant horizon and refused to move while he continued. "But if you want to know, I guess I should start with my Grandmother,"
His fingers found his chin and rubbed deep in thought – or memory as it were. "Grandmother took care of me after mom died." Eyes lowering, Gourry crouched to the ground and fingered a blade of grass. "She taught me about our connection to nature, how it's the little things that matter," a firefly landed on his finger and lit the smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
The familiar rage hadn't flared over the touching blaze of his sincerity. Instead, Lina's heart flipped like a pancake. So she was short, that little fact wasn't important. What WAS important was that she mattered. "What else?"
Gourry looked at her and snapping his head back to the front, hid a hereditary grin of mischief. "Well, she also told me wonderful bedtime stories," suddenly his hands were gripped at either side of her waist, and as he leaned back to sit down, she came along for the ride landing on his right thigh.
Surprise could not describe the state Lina was in. Three different Linas were enveloped in his embrace, the reticent shy one struggled slightly while the other two (temper and woman) both were quelled with his nearness and strength. She still called out a reprimanding, "Gourry!" before settling into the soft muscular cocoon he had created with his shoulder and forearm.
"Nani?" he countered all too innocently, crossing both arms around her waist and cocking his head to the side to read her reaction more clearly. Continuing on as if no boundaries had been crossed in the most explicit way, the blonde guardian tightened his hold and whispered in deep, soothing tones, "She would hold me just like this and ask, 'Gourry-chan, do you want to hear a story?'"
Lina cocked a disbelieving brow, "She asked that exact question?"
Faking a hurt frown he pressed on, "And I would nod my head and she would sit me on her lap like you are on mine now,"
She really wished he didn't have to remind her of the situation that was so soft and breathing beneath her, but let him talk anyway. It was nice to hear him speak so freely, and for once, he hadn't offended her in a flippant manner . . .
Well he had, but that one didn't count. He was complimenting her at the time, and reminiscing over the sparkle magic of his childhood. How endearing – Lina shook her head and tried to focus on her friend's story.
"And start with 'Once upon a time'. Then she would ask me what story I wanted to hear and I would tell her, 'the one about the dragon!'."
"Dragon?" Lina shifted to look directly into his eyes.
He stared at her legs sheepishly. "This was before I had met one in person. All I had to go on were Grandmother's fairytales. My favorite was about this little boy who fell in love with his best friend,"
A timid little butterfly beat its wings in the pit of her stomach. Was the 'dumb as a sack of bricks' act just that, could he really be that devious on the inside? This story struck a familiar chord within her and judging on how determined he was to keep her captive to the plot, both figuratively and literally, Gourry had planned this all along.
"But the day the boy was to tell her how he felt, a great demon appeared and destroyed any chance of their happiness by taking the life of his young girlfriend. Decades passed and the boy grew old and bitter over his loss until he called upon the help of a strong sorceress."
Lina's heart dropped as the blueness of his eyes shimmered at the corner, threatening a tear. She tried to speak, but found her throat to be rusted shut. Stilled once again, she coughed, his voice smoothing her ability to speak like butter, until the need was too quieted and calmed. Instead, she leaned back into his shoulder, her right hand coming to cover his left.
"Together they went back to that moment that the evil demon had taken the boy's beloved and saved the entire village, including Meru, the elf-girl the boy had fallen in love with."
Lina mouthed the name, sure of its significance. It sounded familiar, spoken from the lips of a dimming memory. A boy with long blue hair and a – light – sword –
Lina was spellbound with wide-eyed anticipation while a hand worked its way up the side of his face. Twisting a strand of his hair between her fingers thoughtfully, she whispered, "Rowdy?"
"Granddad," Gourry answered with a nod of affirmation, blushing slightly as he felt the nimble fingers of his little companion fingering his tresses. "And Grandmother Meru,"
He nodded stiffly, avoiding any eye contact with Lina while nervously licking his lips. "Everything you told her," his head suddenly turned to the side to face her and added, "Dragon Inverse."
Lina swallowed hard on her reticent self and bit her lip to ensure that aspect's imprisonment. From around this placement, she questioned, "And you remembered it?"
"Every word," each syllable followed the searching her eyes were doing, digging under the depths of his for hidden meaning. His right arm relaxed as he raised his hand to lightly sketch circles into her shoulder with his fingers. "It's still my favorite bed-time story." Clamping his palm over her shoulder, Gourry pressed her against his chest. "When I first met you, learned your name was Inverse, I was hopeful,"
Lina was liquid putty in his hands, the hand that had covered his now hovering over every circle traced over her skin in a dreamy, haze like state. She was sure she'd collapse dizzy and intoxicated, but then a muscle would flex in his thigh and the sorceress found herself probing his gaze for any actions he'd make or was thinking of making in the future.
"Then when you tried to take Hikario, I was sure of it."
Moment should've been ruined, but the tender way he spoke in that velvet molasses voice glued her to him. "Gramps remembered that too?"
"His memory is a steel-trap, even with making up bedtime stories that could scare a kid to sleep. But he remembered your red hair," his gaze scored the aforementioned tresses, then gratefully returned to her eyes. "And your size," he squeezed her tighter into his embrace, assuring her that he was perfectly happy with that trait. "And even your eyes,"
"I remember Meru's eyes," With some trepidation, Lina trailed a finger along his jawline, "And Rowdy's face. You look so much like them,"
The searching stopped, Gourry's eyes cemented into thick determination. "I thought it was all just a fairytale," tilting her head with a shrug of his shoulder, the knight edged his temper-mental charge nearer to his face, breathing the words 'fairytale' directly over her mouth.
Lina repeated them in a state neither conscious nor unconscious. She was deliriously drunk on the heady mixture of his voice and the feel of his words settling over her lips.
"But . . . you," Lina felt the weight of his mouth descend onto hers and instinctively closed her eyes to better amplify the electrifying effect of the kiss he pressed so delicately to her lips. The deliciously chaste moment continued as her arms snaked up around his neck and pulled herself closer to this other rapidly beating heart and warm body. She hadn't realized that the dying sunset had left mourning winds in its wake that chilled her in the places her knight wasn't holding.
Gourry pulled his head away, and swallowed, "But . . . you are real," he pulled her up against him and kissed her again, this time nibbling on her bottom lip before allowing himself to lean back. His right hand caught her chin, "This is real,"
No sunsets, no fluffy pink clouds, not even the cold vacuum of open air. "Nothing's real but this moment," Lina whispered softly, leaning her head into the support of his hand.
"I know what I feel right here is real," The left hand at her hip rose and laid itself over his heart.
Having slid her right hand down his neck, the sorceress braided her fingers through those splayed over his chest. "I can feel it too Gourry,"
"Lina," never had she heard her name with such tenderness, yet it was also touched with an underlying growl of possessive loyalty that was punctuated by the sudden fist he made with their linked hands over his heart. "I – I've never felt this way before,"
Lina flashed a somewhat relieved expression. "It was my first kiss too," tucking the piece of hair she'd been fiddling with before behind his ear, she brushed her lips against his and attempting to lean away found Gourry holding her firmly against his chest, his lips desperately teasing hers open to taste of those passions she'd been hiding for months.
Release, pure release accompanied this breakdown as Lina returned every advance he made without a typical fight but appreciation. If the first kisses had been electric, this new one was positively explosive. Everything outside fell away, leaving just the two of them reveling in the passionate current of emotions weaving between their bodies. Her imagination could not have been more fuzzy on the details of this moment, hearing his heart-beat mirror hers in intensity, the fresh woodland scent of his hair permeating her senses, the feel of his muscles flexing in his arm along her back as he leaned her over to kiss her neck. There were too many sensations to memorize that Lina finally gave up and surrendered to the moment with a shy moan of his name into the wind. It was all too much, and at last her system shut down to process it all under the cover of sleep.
Luckily for her, her blonde companion had nodded off as well.
Leaning his head against hers, Gourry slumped back into the grassy knoll behind him asleep with Lina in his strong embrace. A/N: Next chapter is in the works.
Thanx for reading and I really wouldn't mind if you leave a REVIEW before you head off into that big world (or site) out there.