NOTE: This story could actually be considered a follow-up to "Something More" and "Law of the Land" and takes place about four years after the end of "Something More." In my outline of current and future fics, I have Lina and Gourry eventually having a little girl. But, being a true child of Lina Inverse, Emilie Gabriev decided that she wanted her own story right off the bat instead of waiting patiently for her turn to appear - so this short story is for her. This story is based off of a similar occurrence which just happened to me (RIP Miroku the fish) and it was fun to explore it just a bit more.
DISCLAIMER: "Slayers" does not belong to me, but belongs to Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi. I'm just borrowing them for a little while.
"The Baby and the Fish"
For a wandering sorceress and swordsman, keeping something such as ordinary as a pet never occurred to them. Then they married and a couple of years later, gave birth to a beautiful little girl - her hair a mixture of chestnut and gold, her eyes as blue as her father's framed by the heart-shaped face she inherited from her mother.
They named her Emilie, after their close friend Amelia wil Tesla Saillune, who promptly became the child's godmother, and settled in a small town just outside of Saillune City where they ran a magic shop and taught magic and swordsmanship classes on the side.
As Emilie grew into a happy, active two-year-old with her mother's energy and her father's personality, their friends decided that it was time for Lina and Gourry to add to their family.
That led to Amelia showing up at their store one morning with a gift.
"It's called a Betta fish," Amelia explained as Emilie cooed at the bright blue fish whirling around in the bowl. "It'll be good for Emilie-chan to have a pet! There's not much maintenance required - just change the water every so often and give it some food pellets every day. She can even feed it herself."
Gourry eyed the fish speculatively. "It seems weird to me to keep a pet that you can eat."
Lina rolled her eyes and elbowed him in the ribs. "Don't be such a jellyfish."
He scratched the back of his head. "Well, it is!"
"We have a two-year-old to take care of and now a fish," Lina grumbled, silently agreeing with her husband's view of the situation. The fish did seem more like part of a meal than a pet. It would be more useful in any case. "I suppose you could had brought her something worse. Sis suggested a dog during her last visit. Her version of a dog is Dilgear."
Both Gourry and Amelia shuddered in remembrance of seeing Luna's "Spot" while in Zefielia several years earlier.
"Well, I suppose a fish isn't that bad," Gourry conceded, right as Emilie stuck her hand into the water and tried to grab at the fish. He lunged and grabbed Emilie before her hand closed over the fish.
So they added a fish to the family.
They kept the fish in the small front room where they spent the evenings after dinner, on a low table so Emilie could watch it whenever she pleased. They called it "Boo," Emilie's word for "blue." Once she got over the novelty of the pretty blue thing swimming around, Emilie ignored it. Lina didn't care one way or the other, but did assign Emilie the task of feeding it some food pellets every day with her help. Gourry seemed to like the fish the most, and would spend hours watching it swim lazily around the bowl. Lina figured it was due to Gourry's jellyfish nature and dragged him away on more than one occassion.
A few months later, on her way out to teach a class, Lina noticed the fish hanging in the bowl at an odd angle. She thought it strange, but then pushed it out her mind, as she was focused more on spells and profit margins.
A few hours later, she walked back into the room and saw the fish bobbing on top of the water.
It took a moment before Lina realized that it was dead. She approached the bowl, ready to pick it up and hurl the water and remains into the grass outside. But when she got a good look at the bloated being that was once the family pet, nasty chills ran up her spine. "Damn," she muttered and headed back into the store. She looked around, noticed Emilie playing in one part of the room and immediately headed in the opposite direction to her husband.
"The fish is dead," she told Gourry in a low tone.
Gourry gave her a confused look. "What fish?"
"Our fish, you jellyfish brain!" Lina hissed. "The one that's our daughter's pet, remember?"
"Um...oh, yeah! That fish!" Gourry slapped the fist of one hand in the palm of the other. "Now I remember!" Suddenly, a look of horror crossed his face. "Wait a minute. It's dead?"
"Yeah." Lina glanced over her shoulder and saw that Emilie was still occupied.
"What do we do?"
Lina rolled her eyes. "Get rid of it, of course! You're the man in the family, go on and do it!" She pushed at him slightly.
Gourry cocked an eyebrow. "You, the great sorcery genius Lina Inverse, the woman who's faced down countless Mazoku and killed several pieces of the Shabra-whatever and Hellmaster Phibrizzo, is afraid to get rid of a dead fish?"
"Shut up, jellyfish, the baby will hear you!" Lina growled, then scowled at him. She hated it when he was right. "Yes, the thought of going in there, picking up a bowl with the dead family pet and dumping it creeps me out - not to mention we're going to have to explain to our daughter that the fish is dead and why."
Figuring he would get blasted out of the room if he grinned at Lina's little phobia, Gourry bit his lip and managed a serious expression. "Fine, fine. I'll get rid of the fish. You keep the baby distracted."
"Right." Satisfied with that role, Lina headed to where their daughter was playing and noticed she was no longer there. Annoyance rather than panic filled her. Ever since she could figure out how to utilize her arms and legs to get from one place to the next, Emilie never stayed still for very long. "Oh, great, she wandered out of the room. I'll go grab her before she notices the fish is dead while you put up the Out to Lunch sign," she ordered Gourry.
Lina hunted for Emilie in the kitchen, then walked back into the front room and caught sight of the fish bowl.
The empty fish bowl.
"That was fast, Gourry," she muttered.
"Fast about what?" He walked up behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders.
"Getting rid of the fish," she said, indicating the bowl.
Gourry shook his head. "But, I haven't done anything yet, Lina."
"Fish good," a cheerful little voice spoke up.
With a growing sense of absolute horror, Lina and Gourry noticed their daughter sitting in the doorway between the front room and the stairs, absently playing with her toes.
Lina approached her, then crouched to her level. "Emilie-chan, you've seen your fish, right?"
The little girl nodded, her blue eyes wide and serious.
"Where is your fish?"
"In here!" Emilie patted her stomach.
Greasy knots of dread began to form in Lina's stomach, but she managed to keep her voice even and patient. "Sweetie, you ate your fish?"
"It dead! Eat dead fish!"
"Emilie: Quick as lightning, Lina snatched up the child and faced her husband, eyes wide with terror. "Gourry, she ate the fish! We've got to get her to Sylphiel!"
"Let's go!" Gourry grabbed Lina's arm and all but dragged the two of them out of the house and into Saillune City.
Sylphiel couldn't decide whether or not to laugh at the terrified parents pacing before her. It was wrong to feel amused at such a situation, but considering that the two before her were known as the Demon Slayers and had saved the world on several occasions, it was hilarious to see them reduced to such a state of hand-wringing and fretting while their daughter babbled and played with a doll.
At first, she had worried when Lina and Gourry rushed into her house, screaming something was wrong with the baby. But once the story came out, Sylphiel simply gave them a warm smile and made a small mental note to enjoy a good laugh later on.
"Emilie-chan will be fine," she said, absently running her hand through the child's hair. "I've cast a minor recovery spell on her just in case and have a packet of herbs you can make into a tea to give her if she experiences any abdominal pains. But, other than that, the fish will pass through her system and she'll get rid of it via natural means in about a day or so.
Lina and Gourry both turned green.
"Well, at least she's no longer in diapers." Syphiel said, hoping it would comfort them.
"Knowing our luck, she'll have an accident." Lina muttered, pushing her hand through her hair. I am so making Gourry clean up that mess if ...no, when that happens.
Gourry scopped Emilie back into his arms and she turned her attention to playing with the long strands of his hair. "Emilie-chan, why did you eat your pet?" he asked.
"It dead, Papa!" Emilie informed him. "It on top of water, like at market!"
Lina nearly buried her head in her hands. A couple days earlier, Gourry and Emilie had gone out to pick up some fish for dinner at a nearby market. "I don't think we'll be having fish for dinner for a very, very long time," Lina replied.