Author's Note: This story was written for a 31_days prompt two years ago on LiveJournal. I was going through my online community and had forgotten that I had written it. I changed a sentence or two and integrated it into this collection. I've always liked the outcome of this piece.

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Story #32: "Will You Get Your Wish?"

Lina Inverse never thought about her first kiss. She wasn't like the other girls, and quite frankly didn't care to be like them, thank you very much. Oh sure, she had dreamed of a prince upon a white steed coming along to bestow mountains of jewels, gold, and a castle upon her. But, the prince could keep his kisses. She just wanted the cash.

She overheard Sylphiel and Amelia talking by the fire one night shortly after Copy Rezo was defeated. The two shrine maidens chatted about what they expected their first kiss to be like.

"I've been kissed on the cheek before," Sylphiel told her younger comrade with a blush. "Plenty of times. Even Gourry-sama kissed me on the cheek when he left Sairaag a couple years ago."

Snap. Lina stared at the broken halves of the stick she'd been clutching. Bile rolled in her gut and she quickly dismissed it.

"I've been kissed on the cheek as well," Amelia replied. "But, I wouldn't mind a real kiss either."

"Me neither," Sylphiel said dreamily in a way that told Lina exactly whom Sylphiel wanted to kiss. Lina's hands bunched into fists and a thought resembling the words "over my dead body" came to mind.

Fortunately, Gourry and Zelgadiss returned from collecting firewood shortly thereafter and the discussion dropped. Lina blamed Sylphiel and Amelia every time she stared at Gourry for the next few days and wondered what it would be like to have him kiss her. Then, she quickly decided to target a bandit group for looting. She didn't want to think about kissing, touching, and everything that came with it. I just don't care, she insistently told herself.

After the group went their separate ways a few weeks later, Lina and Gourry encountered Black Fox and spent a hectic 24 hours trying to keep Lina from being kissed by the bandit. Lina thought Gourry was acting unusually strange, almost jealous. At one point, she expected her protector to march up to her and plant his lips on hers just to spite Black Fox. She was greatly relieved when he didn't, though part of her wished that he had. But, she told herself, that was entirely too silly. It was out of character for her to think about anything like that.

After reuniting with Amelia and Zelgadiss, and a certain incident with a trickster priest, Lina wondered if she had something precious stolen from her.

His lips had felt cold, Lina remembered as she touched the corner of her mouth – the place where Xelloss had placed his lips in a deliberate gesture to throw her off balance. It was on the mouth, wasn't it? Did Xelloss steal her first kiss?

Months later, after Xelloss pulled the move a second time and she eventually discovered the truth behind who he was, she was even more furious. A Mazoku of all things had taken her first kiss! She wanted to scrub that corner of her lips out repeatedly, disinfect it, then scrub it again.

"It doesn't count!" Amelia insisted heatedly after she witnessed the second time Xelloss kissed Lina. "You didn't want Xelloss-san to kiss you, right?"

"It's always been my dream to lock lips with a Mazoku priest. Of course not, Amelia!" Lina shot back at her.

The princess nodded, satisfied. "Then it wasn't your first kiss."

The question floated in and out of Lina's mind over the next few weeks as things got worse with Gaav and Phibrizzo. After Gourry was kidnapped, Lina spent her nights lying awake in bed. She stared at the ceiling and replayed Xelloss's kisses, overlaying Gourry over the Mazoku. She flushed and her toes curled as she though of the way he would feel as he kissed her. His long hair would brush against her cheek, chin, and shoulders as his warm, dry lips touched the corner of her mouth. Tears streamed down her cheeks, pooled onto the pillow, and Lina realized that she had never missed anyone the way she missed Gourry.

After Gourry was rescued, Lina decided she lost her mind in the process. She started having the same dream every night. She was being drawn away from the world, folded into the very fabric of the universe. She heard her name being screamed, a cry of agony that seemed to be ripped from the depths of the soul. Then Gourry was there, stripped down to nothing but his gloves, tunic, trousers and boots. He was grabbing her arms, pleading with her, telling her how much he needed her. Then their arms were around each other and they kissed as if the world was ending.

In the morning, Lina would stare at the ceiling and marvel at the dream. That is what a first kiss should be, she realized, then dismissed the thought. She was Lina Inverse! She had no business dwelling on kisses and boys the way other silly women did. That's what the motto she lived by for years and she had no intentions of changing it now.

But things had changed after Phibrizzo, and Lina found her thoughts drifting to places they had not gone before. She found herself staring at her long-time partner as if she'd never seen him before – and she discovered that he snuck the same sort of glances at her. A tension that had been building for months seemed to escalate and it felt that the very air surrounding the two of them was electrically charged as they waited for the other to make the first move.

It happened in a manner that Lina thought appropriate for them. In an effort to get rid of some of the sexual tension, she had snuck out of the inn and made for the nearest bandit camp. One hour and six fireballs later, Lina felt much better and her purse was much heavier. The bandits had fled and she was cheerfully sorting through the loot to pick out valuables when she heard the crunch of grass.

She whirled, shooting off Flare Arrows and swore when they nearly grazed Gourry. "What the hell were you doing?"

"Chasing you," Gourry panted, hunching over to catch his breath. He scowled and she nervously ran her hand through her hair.

"You didn't have to get up," she said and turned back to the loot. "I'm almost done."

"You shouldn't run off in the first place!"

"I'm a big girl! I don't need you to hold my hand everywhere I go."

"I'm not holding your hand! I'm preventing the complete destruction of everything that you touch!"

Lina chucked a worthless piece of green crystal over her shoulder and crowed when she felt the smack of stone against flesh and Gourry's howl. "I destroy everything I touch, do I?" she yelled, whirling around.

"That hurt, Lina!" Gourry rubbed his forehead, looking hurt. "I'm just trying to protect you!"

"I don't need protecting!" Lina stomped over to him, jabbing a finger into his breastplate. "You've been more overprotective than usual and it's driving me insane."

"You're the one driving me insane," Gourry replied calmly. "I never know if you're out doing this or someone's captured you. I worry about you."

"Don't worry about me! I can handle myself." She scooped up her bag of loot and winced at the wounded look in his eyes and noticed, for the first time, the dark circles beneath them. Strange how she'd never noticed those before. She clasped his arm. "I'm okay. It's not like I'm going to disappear on you. I haven't ditched you yet, have I?"

"No," Gourry conceded with a small smile.

"Well, good. You piss me off when you act like this." Lina tried to let go of his arm, but couldn't move away. He was so close and the look in his eyes was just like when he was desperately pleading with her in her dream. Instinct took over. She fisted his tunic, yanked him to her eye level and crushed her lips to his, then levitated herself up so they were at the same height.

He kissed her back just as forcefully, his tongue pushing past her lips. She gasped, then returned the favor. His hands fisted in her hair and she pressed herself against him. Their shoulderguards clanked against each other and she felt the hard muscles that lined his chest, abdomen, and the ridge of flesh that pressed against her thigh.

It was complete and utter desperation; much like a dam after it's held back an enormous amount of water for far too long. His lips trailed hungrily over her chin, down the side of her neck and he suckled at her pulse point while she held his head close to her, begging him to continue.

When they broke away, she saw that his eyes were shining with something deep, dark, and foreign. It terrified and excited her at the same time. Her toes curled in her boots and she wanted more.

He took several deep breaths and gently ran his thumb across her cheek. "Was that your first kiss?" he asked quietly.

She thought of all the other kisses – chaste pecks in the corner of her mouth and the heated ones in her dreams. "Yes," she replied. "Yes, it was."