"The Magic Lesson"
DISCLAIMER: "Slayers" does not belong to me, but belongs to Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi. I'm just borrowing them for a little while.
It had been a quiet morning for Lina and Gourry. They left the latest town they were staying at with no fanfare. Nothing got stolen, destroyed or Dragon Slaved. They were both in a good mood, swapping small talk about the latest letter from Filia that had managed to work its way to them. They stopped for lunch near a stream and Lina used her original fishing spell to catch them a good-sized meal.
It was during said meal that Lina suggested an activity for the afternoon.
"Say, why don't I teach you how to levitate," she said, dumping her cloakful of fish next to the fire that Gourry had built.
His head snapped up and he gaped at her, not quite sure he heard her right. "Lev...levitate? You mean, you want me to learn how to use magic?"
"This has got to be the most idiotic, half-assed idea that you have ever come up with...and you've come up with a lot!"
Lina sighed. She could already feel the headache coming on and she hadn't even talked him into it yet. Why on earth did she decide to do this, she still couldn't figure out. Maybe it was because she and Gourry had a tendency to attract dangerous Mazoku to them on a regular basis. Maybe it was because she loved him and didn't want to see him get hurt if something happened to her and he had no more spells stored in the Blast Sword.
She slanted a glance at the man sitting next to her - her best friend, confidant, protector and lover.
Maybe she'd finally gone insane.
Yeah, that was probably it.
She had gotten the idea when they were reminiscing about fighting Darkstar and Gourry had commented about how she used magic to prevent him from falling once a levitation spell ended. Used to, she simply let him drop, but now provided a sort of magical cushion to fall on whenever she used the spell for both of them. He'd kept talking, but she started thinking. One thing led to another and she decided it was time to try an experiment.
"Look, it's not as crazy as you think it is," she explained. "Theoretically, anyone has the capability to learn magic. Some learn basic spells such as Lighting to use as parlor tricks."
She nodded. "I taught my father some magic when I was younger." Lina reached for one of the cooked fish and bit into the middle, nearly grinning at Gourry's wince. "He used to be a mercenary, just like you. Remember what I told you about my sister and how she's the Knight of Ceiphied? Because of her status, Mazoku began targetting my family at times. So she and I decided that Papa needed to learn how to defend himself when he was out traveling. Mama agreed with us, so I taught Papa some basic spells, like Elmekia Lance. Luna taught him how to channel his will into objects." She grinned. "One of his letters even told a story about how he did that to turn a fishing pole into a weapon."
Something about Lina's description of her father and the skills he was taught tugged at the back of Gourry's mind. He frowned and rubbed his chin. He could had sworn that story of her fathersounded familiar, but he couldn't quite place the memory. He shrugged. She'd probably mentioned it before and he forgot.
"In any case, I figure that if my father could learn magic, then surely I can teach you one or two simple spells that could get you out of a bind if you need them. I think you've got the capability to learn magic if you applied yourself to it. You can handle the Blast Sword extremely well and before that, the Sword of Light," she finished explaining. "And it would make my life a lot easier at times."
"How so?" Gourry reached for the last fish.
"Well, you know how some times I uh...drop you when we're flying?"
He scowled at her. "Yeah, don't remind me. Weren't we just talking about that?"
She tossed a saucy grin at him. "That's because you're heavy, jellyfish. Levitation requires you to manipulate the wind, and even though it's an easy spell, it's harder when you suddenly have a couple hundred pounds of man and metal clinging to one hand. There are ways to make the spell easier though."
She felt her cheeks warm as she imagined exactly what type of hold it would take to make her carry the bulk of his weight easier. "Well...the closer the person is to the spellcaster, the more weight the spellcaster can take on. Say I'm umm...hugging you. Naturally, my body can support more of your weight because it's distributed evenly."
"Hmm...you didn't have any problems with me holding you close like that last night. In fact, you begged me to...oof!" Gourry grunted as Lina's elbow managed to find its way into his stomach.
"In any case," she continued, somewhat mortified and very glad that they were in the middle of a forest with no one else around, "if you knew the basic mechanics of the Levitation spell, you could manipulate the winds somewhat to make my hauling you easier. If you happen to master it, I can teach you Elmekia Lance. It'll at least get you out of a sticky situation involving Mazoku if you need it."
"Why can't I just leave the magic to you?"
Lina fought the urge to throttle him. "Because, idiot, if something happens to me, I don't want anything to happen to you," she snapped at him. "Got it?"
Gourry thought it over for a moment, allowing her words to sink in. He smiled a bit once he understood what she was trying to tell him. "I got it. So, when do we begin?"
"We can start right now." Lina stood and brushed off her cloak. "Have you had any formal magic training?"
He looked up at her, the stick he'd been eating from dangling from his fingers. "Not really. A sorcerer visited us when I was little to test my brother and I for magical ability. He taught us the Lighting spell."
"Really?" Lina cocked an eyebrow, impressed. "How did you do?"
He grinned cheerfully at her. "Didn't remember a thing!"
She sighed and dragged a hand through her hair. "Why am I not surprised? Now, come on, stand up."
Gourry got to his feet and Lina reached for his hands. They were too big for her to get a firm grip on, and she didn't want to grab his wrists either. "Hold my hands," she instructed.
He wrapped his hands around hers and she fought the surge of emotion that welled up from his touch. This is no time for this, she scolded herself. She avoided looking him in the eye. "Okay, let's go. Levitation!"
She felt his body seize as they lifted into the air. She suspected that Gourry did not like flying at all, but he didn't make a habit of complaining about it either. Now she lifted her gaze to meet his. They hovered just a few feet off the ground, high enough to where the spell worked effectively but low enough to where if this didn't work, he wouldn't be severely injured.
"Okay, for the Levitation spell, you have to manipulate the winds," Lina instructed. A blank look crossed Gourry's face and his eyes started to glaze over, so she quickly amended her statement. "Imagine as if you're pushing the air away from you - like you're shoving someone off of you in a fight."
He closed his eyes and felt the breeze swirling around him. Push...push...push...his grip on Lina's hands tightened as he pretended he was pushing that breeze off of him.
Suddenly, the air grew still. It almost felt like he was standing on something solid, but it wasn't really - sort of like swimming through the air, he reasoned.
The burden on Lina's end lifted and she nearly yelled in triumph. Gourry was actually doing it! She didn't know which was better - the fact that he was managing to semi-conduct a Levitation spell or that he'd actually listened to her for a change.
She glanced at their joined hands and noticed that his hold on her had relaxed somewhat. Now it was time for the next step.
"Gourry, do you trust me?" she asked softly.
His eyes opened and he gave her a serious look. "Of course I do, Lina."
She nodded. "Good. Keep doing what you were doing."
"What was that?" Gourry frowned, immediately forgetting what he was suppose to be doing - just as Lina pulled her hands from his grip. With a yell, he tumbled to the ground.
She dropped gracefully beside him and placed her hands on her hips. "I told you, jellyfish, not to stop what you were doing!"
He sprawled on the ground and struggled to catch his breath. "I forgot what I was doing," he admitted sheepishly.
Lina sighed and grabbed his shirt. "You were pushing the wind, remember? Pushing! Oh, what am I going to do with you?" She let Gourry go and sank to the ground by his side. "Maybe this was a bad idea after all," she muttered, hanging her head between her knees.
He pushed himself up on his elbows and noticed her dejected expression. They'd been together for more thanfive years, but she hadn't been this concerned about his safety before. Gourry would had figured that moment would had come after they both nearly died in the battle with Hellmaster Fibrizo, but even then Lina hadn't been too extraordinarily worried. She always seemed so confident about his ability to take care of himself that they never discussed it.
But, he reasoned, it must be important to her. And if it was that important that his failing made her sad, then he couldn't fail her.
Gourry got to his feet and stepped in front of Lina. He closed his eyes and tried to recall what she told him. Something about pushing wind...no, pushing at the wind. Shove it away. Treat it like a battlefield, he ordered himself. Use it to your advantage. Get higher, get over the enemy. Catch him off guard while he's surprised.
He felt the bubble of air start to form beneath his feet and grow bigger. After a moment, he lifted off the ground. He caught his lip between his teeth and bit down hard, struggling not to forget or to panic.
He lifted higher and higher and... "Look, Lina!"
Lina slowly raised her head and gasped when she saw Gourry floating about 10 feet above her. She scrambled to her feet and pointed at him like a fool. "You're...you're levitating! You remembered!"
"I can't stop, Lina!" Gourry cried out, going even higher.
"Now visually push your way through the air, like you're walking forward," she ordered. "Push the air behind you!"
It took him a minute or so to figure out what she saying, but eventually Gourry found himself going forward instead of up. He ventured glancing back down at her and was happy to seeher gazing at him withsense of wonder and awe. It wasn't that often someone managed to surprise Lina Inverse.
"Hey, Lina!" he waved at her.
"Hey, Gourry!" she waved back at him with a happy smile. Then it disappeared when she noticed he wasn't paying attention to where he was going. "No! Wait! Gourry! Watch out for that," Lina winced as he crashed into the branches of a nearby maple and tumbled to the ground. "tree..."
She raced to his side and knelt down, casting Recovery as she did so. She pushed back his bangs and inspected the knot on his forehead. She was grateful that he had the energy reserves he did - it made healing him for the wound much easier.
He blinked open his eyes and she turned his face in her direction so she could study the pupils of his eyes. "Hey, Gourry, you okay?"
He gave her a sloppy grin. "Oooh...look at all the pretty sparklies," he slurred. "They go round and round and round...See that flat-chested Dramata over there? She's mine. She's pretty. Love the pretty flat-chested Dramata. So cute. I want apple pie." Then he passed out.
Lina sighed. The magic lesson was over for the day.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: As I mentioned in "It's a Secret to Everybody," I came across a series of interviews and rumors about Slayers when I was doing some research for a longer fic. One of the interviews (at http/tokitoki1. with Hajime Kanzaka, the original creator of Slayers, discusses Gourry's character in depth. One of the questions asked Kanzaka how much capacity for magic learning that Gourry has. Kanzaka replied, "Just one step short of Dragon Slave class," which means that Gourry has the capabilities to be an extremely powerful sorcerer. However, when asked why Gourry can't use magic, Kanzaka replied, "Because he can't remember spell."
The concept intrigued me, because it was at the same time that I read a translation of "The Things He Sees Beyond The Point of His Sword," in which Gourry turns out to meet a merchant, who readers discover is actually Lina's father. I figure that if Lina could teach magic to her father, she would probably teach it to Gourry if pushed to do so. The growing needs of an intimate relationship and the fear of losing him could very well be that nudge she needs.
Plus, couldn't you see Gourry pulling a "George of the Jungle" like that?