Disclaimer: "Slayers" does not belong to me, but belongs to Hajime Kanzaka and Rui Araizumi. I'm just borrowing them for a little while.

Note: This one-shot was written for the LiveJournal community "52 flavours." This fic is set following the end of "Knight of Aqualord," and contains some spoilers to this manga series. It's also why you see the characters of Shizuri and Lyos, but not Zelgadiss. This story came about as a result of reading too much doujinshi in one sitting and is partly inspired by Kellychan85's "A Fortuitous Blunder" for Inuyasha.

oOoOo

"That's mine!"

"I saw it first!"

"I don't care if you saw it 10 minutes ago. It's still mine!"

Shizuri sighed and looked over at Amelia, who had managed to swipe a portion of the meal for herself. "I take it that Lina and Gourry squabble over food like this in your country as well, princess?"

"All the time!" Amelia replied cheerfully. She gave the two a fond smile as they literally tore a loaf of bread in half, each hoarding the pieces. "It's their way of showing affection for each other."

Shizuri grumbled. "Can't they do that in a normal sense? Like hugging, kissing, that sort of thing?"

Amelia mulled over it while she worked on her salad. "I suppose so. But, this is just so...this defines Lina-san and Gourry-san."

Lyos eyed the two warily and sulked over his own food. "Can't they go be definite about their relationship somewhere else? This is getting on my last nerve."

Amelia laughed nervously as she sipped at her tea. That comment sounds like something Zelgadiss-san would say...

Lina snagged the last helping of turkey off of the platter and promptly stuffed it in her mouth. She swallowed, gave the three dirty looks. "You know, I can hear you still. As soon as we get to where I can use my black magic without help again, I'm going to be demonstrating my favorite spells on all of you."

"Remind me again why I'm traveling with you back to your world?" Lyos asked Amelia.

"Because the cause of justice has grabbed your heart and has steered you toward Saillune to see what the Mazoku are up to and prevent the coming of the second Kouma Sensou!" Amelia cried, thrusting a finger into the air. "It is a just and noble cause, one that is befitting of the true Knight of Aqualord!"

"In other words, you have nothing better to do than stick with Lina, Gourry and the princess," Shizuri poured herself a cup of coffee. "Zasu-sama has released me to perform this task, to make sure that our country doesn't fall into war again. That and he's curious about the princess' homelands."

"SInce our ship leaves in three days, I want to do some exploring," Amelia said. She glanced over at Lina and Gourry. "Are you two done?"

Lina smiled and leaned back in her chair, patting her stomach. "I'm finally sated. That bandit camp we came across on the way back gave us a bit of a cash boost. I want to find some stuff to send back to my folks. My mother would be thrilled."

Gourry propped his arms on the table. "Wow, Lina, you don't talk about your family much."

She rolled her eyes. "Just because I don't talk about them doesn't mean I've forgotten them. You're such a jellyfish at times, you know?"

The waitress arrived with a cherry pie and placed it on the table in front of them, scurring out of the way before she could be caught in the ensuing melee. Lina and Gourry grabbed their forks and advanced on the pie, confiscating pieces before anyone else could have a share.

Lina speared up a large forkful just as a pink light surrounded her. She pulled her fork back and noticed the light surrounding Gourry as well, but not Amelia, Lyos or Shizuri.

"What the heck?" She whirled around and noticed a young woman sitting at a table nearby, her black hair pulled back into a braid that dangled down her back. She hunched over a book, stopping to make gestures every so often as she did so.

Abandoning the pie, much to Gourry's delight, Lina marched over to the girl and snatched the book away from her. "Just what do you think you're doing?" she demanded, waving the book in the air.

The girl glanced up, a hint of fear in her eyes. She pressed her fist to her mouth. "Umm...I don't know what you're talking about, ma'am."

"You know damn well what I'm talking about! You're sitting over here making strange gestures and one of them happened to get me and the resident jellyfish over there bathed in some sort of pink light!"

"Lina-san, aren't you being presumptuous?" Amelia frowned at her. "Give her the book back!"

"No!"

The girl gasped and leaped to her feet. "You mean, it worked? It actually worked?" She started to bounce around the table as Lina gaped at her, somewhat stunned. The girl whirled around and grabbed Lina's hands, causing her to drop the book. It skidded across the floor, stopping when it hit Shizuri's boot. She bent over to pick it up.

"It worked! I'm so happy, it actually worked!" The girl spun Lina in a circle. "I can now be certified! This is a most glorious day!"

"I think you've gone insane," Lina muttered to herself. "What's with you?" she asked more loudly.

Shizuri flipped through the book, her eyes widening as she took in the passages. "You...this book is..."

The girl dropped Lina's hands and bowed to the group. "I apologize for being so rude! My name is Saza. I am a professional matchmaker in training. I am studying to pass my certification exams so I can be fully licensed and open my own business."

"Professional matchmaker?" Lina knew she sounded as confused as she felt. "What the heck is that?"

"In this world, there are people who are employed in the business of helping others to fall in love," Shizuri explained. "They have knowledge of certain spells to help aid their customer in falling for the person of their dreams."

Lina had a sinking sensation that she wasn't going to like the answer to her next question. "So...then, Saza-san, you just casted a spell on me and Gourry to make us fall in love?"

"Oh! Oh, no, no!" Saza quickly waved her hands, a little frightened at the anger flashing in the sorceress' eyes. "It's unethical for me to use a spell that actually makes you fall in love. That way, the feelings aren't genuine ones. Professional matchmakers have a very strict honor code, you know. We help compatible people realize their growing feelings for each other and give them a boost when they are hesitant to do so for themselves."

Feeling a little better about the situation, Lina relaxed a bit. "Well, that's not so bad then. Just what spell did you cast on me and Gourry?"

"Obviously, it wasn't a spell to give you two table manners," Lyos muttered.

Saza tapped a finger to her chin. "To be honest, I'm not quite sure. I was practicing several spells, and I sort of lost track of time."

Gourry pushed his chair back from the table. "Hey, Lina, I'll be right back." He started to head toward the hallway leading to the necessary. He took about five steps, then suddenly flew across the room and into Lina's back. She screamed as he knocked both of them to the floor.

"What the hell do you think you're doing, you stupid jellyfish?" Lina yelled and punched Gourry, sending him flying across the room. Right before he hit the wall on the other side, he suddenly boomeranged back and slammed into Lina once more, the two of them skidding until they hit the wall behind Lyos.

"Owww...," Gourry muttered and held his head. "What's going on, Lina?"

"Get off of me, you're too heavy!" Lina shoved Gourry aside and jumped to her feet. "What's the big idea, you?" she yelled at Zasa.

Zasa cupped her chin in her hand, then snapped her fingers. "I know what spell's on you! Umm...miss..."

"Lina. Lina Inverse," Lina advanced toward the girl. "And this is Gourry," she added, pointing at the still-dazed swordsman.

Intrigued, Zasa backed away a few more feet. Lina was about two steps away from her when she suddenly flew backwards. Instinctively, Gourry reached out and bore the brunt of Lina slamming into him, sending both of them into the wall again.

Zasa clapped her hands with joy. "Yes, that confirms it! I've finally perfected the Snapback spell!"

"Snapback?" Amelia asked.

Shizuri flipped through the book until she found it. "Snapback. This spell is to help promote physical closeness with your couple," she read as Amelia and Lyos peered over her shoulder. "Every time your couple gets more than five feet away from each other, the bond between them strengthens and they are physically brought back to each other's side. This spell is mainly used to help the couple see if they are compatible on a physical basis. It may also be used to help promote those who are too shy to confront their own feelings."

"That...accurately describes those two," Amelia whispered, knowing she would face certain death if Lina heard her.

"Um, if we're allowed to be five feet away, could we go down to the bathroom?" Gourry slurred, his brain still jarred from hitting the wall so many times. "I'd really appreciate it."

"Yes, yes, come on." Lina grabbed his arm, dragged him down the hall and shoved him into the bathroom. She faced Saza, who had followed her along with Amelia, Lyos and Shizuri. "Okay, look, Gourry and I are friends. That's it. We don't need a strange love spell cast on us. I want you to break it, now."

Saza gulped. "Break the spell?"

"Surely you have some customers who find out they're not compatible with the person they have a crush on, Saza-san," Amelia said gently.

Saza stared at the floor and twisted her foot slightly. "Well, you see, there's a little problem. I don't know how to undo the spell."

"You what?" Lina screeched.

Saza nervously tugged on her braid. "I didn't think I needed to learn them. It's not mandatory. You give your customers a throughout screening before the spell is cast and..."

"But I never chose to be one of your customers! You picked us at random!"

"Not really," Saza admitted, her cheeks pink. "You two were fighting over your food and the girl in pink and white said that was you expressing your affection for each other." She hung her head. "I'm sorry, Lina-san."

Amelia and Shizuri immediately stepped in, making sure Lina couldn't immediately retaliate. "We'll have another three days before we set sail," Amelia said hastily. "Could you possibly find a cure before then, please, Zasa-san?"

"For our peace of mind, I beg of you!" Shizuri begged just as Gourry stepped out of the bathroom. Lina growled at all of them and stomped inside. "Believe me, you do not want to get on that girl's bad side."

"I'll do my best to find a cure then," Zasa bowed to them.

oOoOo

The inn they were staying in only had a few rooms available when Lina and her group had checked in, leaving them in a precarious situation. Lina, Amelia and Shizuri had planned to share one room, Lyos and Gourry the other. But when Lina and Gourry tried to enter their respective rooms, they found themselves snapped back together once more.

"This is getting old, fast," Lina mumbled, her face buried in Gourry's chest for what had to be the 69th time that night. Her forehead seemed to have a permanent dent in it from smacking into his armor so much. "When's that girl coming back with the counter spell?" she yelled at Shizuri, shoving Gourry into the floorboards.

"She said she'd find a cure before we left. She didn't say how long it would take." Shizuri shrugged. "I suppose she needs to go find another matchmaker and learn it from him. Do you have her stuff, hime-san?"

"Sure do! Here!" Amelia piled Lina's pajamas and other personal items in her arms. "Lyos-san is going to stay with us tonight. I think it's better if you and Gourry-san share the same room."

"What?" Lina and Lyos screeched at the same time.

Lyos plastered himself against the far wall. "There's no way in hell I'm going to share a room with the two of you! You're completely insane!"

Shizuri gave him a wicked smile. "Are you afraid you'll be overcome by my womanly charms? Don't worry, Lyos. The princess will be there to make sure nothing gets out of hand."

Lyos balled his hands into fists. "That's not what I mean! I'd rather room with the idiot swordsman than room with you two women!"

"Afraid we're going to torture you by experimenting on you with makeup?" Shizuri advanced on Lyos and snagged him by the collar. "On second thoughts...come on, princess! We're going to do a little dress-up!"

"Works for me! I've got plenty of experience." Amelia opened the door.

"No! No! Stop then, Lina!" Lyos howled as Shizuri dragged him into the bedroom with Amelia following them.

"Good night, Lyos!" Lina responded cheerfully, closed the door after Amelia and snickered.

Gourry sat up and winced. "Poor guy."

"Maybe it'll take him down a peg or two." Resigned to the current situation, Lina opened the door to the smaller room she and Gourry were now going to share. "You get the floor," she informed him and walked in.

"Only if you actually sleep in the bed this time," he mumbled.

"Oh, I'm in a bad mood. So I plan to." Lina flopped on the bed.

Gourry unbuckled his armor and removed it, inspecting it as he did so. Making a note to himself to properly oil it later, he walked over and stacked it near the door. He pulled off his gloves, draped them over the metal, then accidentally knocked one onto the ground. He bent over to pick up, then found himself flying back toward Lina. She shrieked and started to scramble off the bed. Gourry whirled around, threw out his arms to bear the impact and his face was promptly buried in Lina's chest.

Lina sucked in a deep breath and waited for the insult. Her body braced to send him flying through the wall.

Seeing his life flash before his eyes, Gourry warily lifted his head. He looked down, saw his hand resting on her breast. Her eyes followed and locked on his hand.

He gave it an experimental squeeze, mulled it over. "You know, you've either gotten a little bit bigger or you've got extra padding under there."

Shizuri and Amelia looked up from where they had tied down Lyos to get the makeup on him when Gourry came crashing through the wall. With a yell, he was yanked back and landed with a crash on top of Lina once more. This time, Lina began to strangle him.

"I. Do. Not. Pad. My. Brea...," she cut off when she noticed the gaping hole in the wall and Shizuri and Amelia peeking through it, Lyos tied up behind them. Her cheeks turned scarlet and her fists balled up.

"No, wait! Lina-san!" Amelia shrieked, trying to wave her off. "We know you don't pad your chest! There's no way you could have done so!"

"Wrong thing to say, princess," Shizuri gulped, backing away.

Lyos managed to get himself untied and peered through the hole. "Don't you actually need breasts to be able to pad them?"

Lina's eyes flashed with anger.

"MEGA BRAND!"

oOoOo

"And so, Zelgadiss-san, another inn was blown to dust by the might wrath of Lina-san. Though, I do feel that Gourry-san and Lyos-san were both to blame for things as well. Shizuri-san said I didn't help matters, but I was only speaking the truth. Lying is unjust, you know, Zelgadiss-san..."

Amelia looked up from her letter to see Lina healing Gourry beneath a nearby tree and Shizuri needling Lyos next to them.

"Even though I tried to use Saillune's crest for passage, we are not allowed to stay in any inn thanks to Lina-san. They said she was a menace to society. Lina-san threatened to turn the mayor into a toad for that one, but Gourry-san had accidentally wandered a bit too far gawking at the displays of armor and found himself flung back into Lina-san once more. Therefore, Lina-san hurt Gourry-san just a little bit and she's healing him now."

"We haven't heard from Saza-san since we originally saw her in the tavern, and our ship leaves tomorrow. I really hope she finds a solution, because I don't want to put up with Lina-san in a bad mood all the way home..."

Lina finished healing Gourry's bruises. "Now, will you watch where you're going?" she scolded him.

"Right, right." Gourry stretched beneath the tree and stared up at the sky. "I'm going to miss this place, sort of. It's been pretty nice here."

Lina stretched out next to him, took a minute to study him. It amazed her, how unruffled he seemed even after one of her worst bouts of temper. Clobbered and kicked around? It didn't faze him. Blowing up an inn? That was all in a day's work. They truly were opposites, yet they worked well together.

He glanced over, smiled at her and she felt her heart do a slow roll inside her chest. Her cheeks grew hot and she shifted a bit before turning her focus back to the clouds. "Yeah, it's been an interesting trip."

Amelia's eyes met Shizuri's and they nodded in unison. Amelia dipped her pen in the inkwell one more time.

"But you know, Zelgadiss-san, I think that things between Lina-san and Gourry-san are going to be just fine. I believe this is the push they need to finally realize what's been there all along. Hopefully, I will be home before this letter finds you and perhaps you will be able to stop in Saillune City long enough for me to fill you in more on our travels here. We missed having you with us.

Your friend,

Amelia wil Tesla Saillune"

"Lina-san! Lina Inverse-san!"

Lina sat up as Saza ran down the path toward their impromptu campsite. She stumbled to a stop a few feet away from them, hunched over and gasped in air. Her braid flopped down over her shoulder. "I finally found you," she gasped. "I went to your inn, but they said there was an unexpected explosion."

"It was unexpected all right,' Lyos grumbled. Shizuri nudged him.

"Are you okay?" Concerned, Lina knelt in front of the girl. "Recovery!"

Saza blinked in surprise as the white magic washed over her, but after a few seconds, she found it much easier to breathe. She smiled and gave a little bow. "Thank you, Lina-san!" She waved a book she'd been holding just out of view at them. "I found the counter spell!"

"Fantastic!" Lina snatched the book and flipped through it.

"It's on page 98," Saza said.

"Here!" Lina ran her finger down the page. "Snapback Spell. The way to lift the Snapback Spell is...," her voice trailed off as she scanned the words. Then her face turned sheet white as she read them again. She tossed the book aside, grabbed Saza's shoulders. "Tell me there's another book! Tell me! Please! There's got to be another way to break the spell!"

Saza shook her head. "No, the head matchmaker for the village told me that there's just one way to break the spell. It's that way. There's no other way around it."

Shizuri picked up the book and turned back to the page. "Snapback Spell," she read. "The way to lift the Snapback Spell is for the couple in question to admit their true feelings for each other. These feelings can either be of love, hatred or mutual indifference. Once the true feelings have been admitted, the spell dissipates, allowing the couple to either continue their future as one or go on their separate ways. These feelings must be true, for the spell won't be broken with a lie."

Lina sank to her knees and buried her head in her hands. Admit her true feelings for Gourry? If only she knew what they were! She stared up at the swordsman in question, who simply looked on all of the chaos with a bemused expression. She jumped to her feet and fisted his shirt.

"Aren't you listening, jellyfish? We have to tell each other our true feelings in order to break the spell!" Her cheeks were pink now.

"I heard Shizuri," he replied and smiled at her. "I know what my feelings are."

Shock rippled through her and her fist went lax. "You...you do?"

His smile grew a bit warmer. "I have for a long time, Lina."

Her knees began to tremble and Lina drew back from him. Her throat clogged and she tried to force breath past the sudden, very large lump. She fixed her eyes on her hand, still clinging loosely to his shirt. Was she ready to find out how he truly felt? Would she be able to handle it? She pushed away from him, stalked off, then immediately slammed back into him, sending them both into the tree behind them.

"Oh, one more thing," Shizuri spoke up. "Should the feelings be of love, they must be sealed with a kiss. Should they be of indifference, you part by shaking hands. Should it be that of hatred, no further physical contact is needed to break the spell, for the dark words are harsh enough to do it on their own."

"Can this be done in private or in public?" Amelia asked.

"Private, though I bet we can sell tickets if it's public," Shizuri mused. "It would go a long way toward paying off that settlement for blowing up the inn..."

"Aaaah!" Lina screamed and flailed around. "Burst Rondo!"

Shizuri found herself slammed into the tree next to Lyos, the latter clinging to the trunk for dear life. Amelia and Saza clung to each other a few feet away. "Now, that's just going overboard, Lina-san," Shizuri muttered right before she passed out.

She needed to get away from them. She had to think about this. Grabbing Gourry's arm, Lina sped into the woods, running as fast as she could. She hauled him until she could no longer see the road and let him drop, sinking onto her knees to catch her breath.

What was she going to do?

"Are you okay, Lina?" Gourry pulled himself into a sitting position, his gaze tinged with worry. "You look like you're going to be sick. Was it something you ate?"

"No," she snapped at him and buried her head in her hands.

She thought back over their years together. Three years. No, more than that. She was almost 19 now. Three and a half years. She remembered when he saved her from the bandits who had the Orihalcon statue. The discovery that he had the Sword of Light. Their fight against Rezo/Shabranigdu and Copy Rezo. The fights against Kanzeil, Mazenda, Seigram, Gaav and...she gulped. Hellmaster Fibrizo.

Pain washed through her as she relived how Fibrizo had snatched Gourry away from her, used him against her to cast the Giga Slave. But she also recalled the joy of finding they had both lived and being with each other again. Then the trip to the land beyond the Mazoku barrier and how they were separated, then brought back together again. She remembered how her feelings for Gourry were turned against her to empower a Mazoku and how before she left for the Tower of Wind, he'd hugged her and told her he'd be waiting for her.

She was tired. She was so tired of trying to deny what was there. She wasn't a stupid person. It was there. Tears rolled down her cheeks. If he didn't return her feelings, she'd deal with it, she just didn't want to go on like this any more.

"I...I...," she swallowed and forced herself to meet his concerned gaze. "I love you. I've loved you for a long time. You're the most important person to me."

She caught a flicker of surprise in his eyes, then he reached for her. She returned the hug, feeling somewhat lighter.

"I love you too," he mummered against her hair, smiled when he felt the shock ripple through her. "I've also loved you for a long time. I forget when it began. It just feels like I've always had those feelings for you."

He lifted her chin and touched his lips to hers. She wrapped her arms around his neck and returned the kiss. Experimentally, he deepened it and she clung to him tighter as she quickly learned how to respond.

She felt the moment the spell shattered, but she didn't care. The stupid spell didn't matter any longer - just what she felt now. She suddenly felt a bit too warm and strange feelings began to churn low in her abdomen. Before she could fully sort them out, he broke the kiss. They gasped in breath, stared at each other, not quite sure what happened.

"Umm...wow," she whispered. "Could we do that again?"

He threw back his head and laughed. Then he obliged her.

oOoOo

Amelia sighed with happiness as she observed Lina and Gourry sitting together at the bow of the ship, looking over the water. She clasped her hands together. "Love always wins out in the end," she gushed.

"You would think that they would get better table manners though," Lyos grumbled, picking through the remainders of the meal that the couple had decimated minutes earlier. "All they do now is eat and just sit together."

"Lyos-san, you will understand the day you fall in love," Amelia lectured. "Besides, Lina-san and Gourry-san always do that."

Shizuri grabbed Lyos in a headlock. "Did you hear that, Lyos-chan? Take lessons from our princess, she knows what she's talking about."

"Oi, let go of me!" he yelped.

I have a feeling that things are bound to be interesting once we get home. Amelia leaned against the railing. I just hope that things are okay with Daddy and everyone else. Where ever he is, I hope that Zelgadiss-san is one step closer to his cure.

Lina relaxed and munched on an apple. She thought her life would drastically change with her admission of love, but it really hadn't. There was some kissing now, but that wasn't so bad. Saza, on the other hand, had been demoted back to matchmaker-in-training, bottom class. It would take her another two years to get licensed now.

She glanced over at Lyos and Shizuri and wondered how Zelgadiss and the rest of their ragtag crew would take to having them around. For laughs, she could always take them to Zefielia and introduce them to her sister. The Knight of Ceiphied versus the Knight of Aqualord. Lina knew where to place her money - if she valued her life.

Still, things weren't over yet. If her suspicions were right, they were just beginning. Her gaze shifted, met Gourry's. She looked over her shoulder and saw Lyos and Shizuri still arguing and Amelia daydreaming. So she reached for Gourry, placed her hand atop his. He smiled and squeezed it.

No matter what happened, they would be able to face it together.

------------------------