Author's Note: This story is actually a collection of 52 short stories done for the LiveJournal community, 52flavours. The idea behind the Lina/Gourry pairing in this fic claimage is to produce a fanfic that is very similiar to "Shikon no Go," one of my Inuyasha fanfics and also the "Sketchbook" collection of drabbles for Slayers. But, a challenge to myself - something I should had done for "Shikon no Go" - is that each story must have at least 1,000 words. So, they're not just random drabbles. They have some thoughts put into each piece. And it'll jump over the specturm from the beginning of the series (like this first story) to years beyond the end of the series. The title of each story is the corresponding theme for 52flavours.
Additional note: This story takes place between episodes 10 and 11 of the anime or between novels 1 and 2.
Story #1 - "Five Shades of White"
Ever since she was a child, Lina Inverse hated the snow.
When the harvests were brought to the great, twisting roads of Zefiel City, she knew it was close to that time of year when most people would be sequestered into their homes to spend their days by a warm fire. The few excursions that were made were to school, work, and to worship at the Temple of Ceiphied at the highest point of the city. But even that proved to be hazardous in some weather.
For someone who had always wanted to explore since she figured out how to crawl, winter was a death sentence to Lina. She hated being restricted in any manner. Great, big gobs of fluffy white snow were as binding to her as a good bit of rope or a casting of the Lafas Seed spell.
The worst part of snowfall was having to deal with the aftermath. She admitted that it was gorgeous when it first fell, and everything was blanketed in pristine whiteness. After the snowfall ended, it would dull slightly, but was still white. After a few hours, some streaks of black mixed in with the grey and took the snow down another of white. Then, it would become half-white, half-grey as more people started to venture outdoors. Finally, it would be nearly black as the snow mixed with mud and turned into slush.
She hated traveling through the stuff, and she had been doing so for a few years now. The wetness would seep through her clothing, even her underclothes, to penetrate her skin - leaving her cold, clammy and not in a good humor at all.
Not long after the defeat of Shabranigdu, Lina pushed aside the curtain in her inn room and visibly winced at the snow falling outside. She sighed and let it drop. No traveling for her today. It was a shame too. There was a decent-sized bandit camp about an hour's walk away that had recently hauled in a new cache of stuff. Lina knew this because she and Gourry had staked them out the day before. The only reason they hadn't moved in at that time was their dual rumbling stomachs and the lack of available food.
Her eye caught a flash of blue and yellow out in the snow and she pushed the curtain aside again. She blinked, rubbed at the window to clear it of her own condensation and watched her protector move about in the snow with the same ease he did on the battlefield.
He was wearing some sort of cloak over his clothing, but didn't have his armor on. His head was bare and the only thing covering his hands was his fingerless gloves that were mainly suppose to protect him from his own weapon, not freezing cold weather.
"What a jellyfish," Lina muttered under her breath and muttered a spell under her breath. She had managed to perfect a spell a few years earlier that allowed her to store her things on the Astral Plane when not in use - something she sorely needed after Naga had torched all of her belongings in their first meeting. She located fur-lined gloves, a large cloak, thick socks and two hats.
Dressing as warmly as she could, Lina ventured out into the snow as Gourry was rolling a large ball of snow around the inn courtyard. Already shivering, she hugged herself as she made her way over to Gourry's side.
His head snapped up, almost as if he sensed her. He grinned happily at her. "Lina! Isn't this great? Look at this!" He spread his arms wide at the falling snow.
"Are you crazy?" Lina hugged herself tighter, her teeth chattering. "It's freezing out here? Where did you get that cloak?"
"This?" Gourry tugged at the ice-encrusted garment. "The inn owner lent it to me. He said we won't be traveling anywhere today."
"Well, if we're not going anywhere, neither are those bandits. Gourry, have you never been in snow before? Bend down!" She tugged at him until he obliged and she pulled the extra hat on his head. It was a snug fit, but it would suffice for now. "You're going to catch your death and we'll waste precious time waiting for you to get over pneumonia while the bandits squander my...er the loot."
Lina grabbed Gourry's hands and frowned when she noticed his fingertips were blue. She opened her mouth to scold him again when he cut her off.
"No, I haven't," he said softly.
Lina raised an eyebrow. "You've never been around snow?"
"Well, no. Not very much." Gourry gave her a sheepish smile. "I'm from Elmekia. It's mostly desert down there."
That made sense. Gourry was right, Elmekia was mostly desert. It did fit, Lina thought, the way that Gourry was unusually resilient and his blond hair. The Swordsman of Light had originally defeated Zanaffar in Sairaag, so she wondered how the Gabriev family got from there all the way to the other end of the Mazoku barrier. The corners of her mouth twitched. It was a good bet Gourry probably didn't even know, or remembered, much of his own family history.
But for now...Lina moved her hands so both of Gourry's were sandwiched between them. She chanted under her breath and her hands glowed with magic - just enough to warm his hands.
She was so caught up in what she was doing that she didn't notice him giving her a befuddled look or his eyes softening. After a minute or so, she took her hands away, pleased to see them looking healthy and normal again. It was in her best interest to keep Gourry in good shape after all.
"Well, come on," she ordered him. "You're not dressed to handle this type of weather."
Gourry gazed at his half-built snowman somewhat wistfully. "I wish we could finish this first."
Lina pivoted and headed back to the inn. "Don't be such a jellyfish. We've got to find you a pair of gloves. Then you can come back and finish."
His eyes lit up. "Lina!"
She shrugged. "Who knows. Maybe I'll even join you."