Disclaimer: The author doesn't own Slayers. She never did and she never will. This story was written solely for the purposes of entertainment.

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Déjà Vu

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"Hey! That's mine! Give it here!"

"No way, yogurt-brain! I'm starving!"

"You're always starving!"

"Look who's talking, you big glutton!"

The squabble engrosses much of the restaurant - 'grosses' being the operative term, of course. The girl and her erstwhile protector are rapidly emptying the entire larder, while their companions are either giving them a run for their money or looking vaguely sickened. One just rolls his eyes and sips his coffee.

Now why does this look familiar, hm?

"Um, Sara-san?" The dragon - the young, blond dragon, no less - clears her throat tentatively. "Are you going to be finished any time soon?"

The girl looks up from her food long enough to smile reassuringly. She is perhaps fifteen years old, with a sweet face and long red-gold hair. "Relax, Lillian. We travel fast. We'll get to Saillune in no time. Right, Jase?"

"Wfft." Her would-be protector nods, his unruly brown curls bobbing in all directions. His answer might be more coherent if he hadn't just stuffed an entire orange in his mouth.

Lillian the dragon looks from one to the other in desperation. "But..."

"There's no use arguing," the coffee-drinker says.

"Trust us," adds the girl with the dark green braid. "We know."

"But...but Phil-san...Maren-san..."

Don't argue, dragon. It won't help anyone.

"They're peasants," the silver-haired swordsman says flatly. "What else would you exp - "

WHAP WHAP WHAP

Ow. That had to hurt.

Not that I'm complaining, of course.

"You were saying?" Sara says after she, Jase, and a girl with dark blue hair have casually beaten the offending nobleman into submission.

"...itai..."

Lillian sweatdrops. "I'm sorry I brought it up."

"Don't worry about it," Maren says as she hauls the swordsman back to his feet and watches him fix his rearranged face. "This baka deserves it anyway."

"None of you like him?"

Even the three 'peasants' stop eating and give this careful thought.

"Nope."

"Ne."

"Not really."

"Now that you mention it..."

"We put up with each other." That would be Phil, ever the tactful one.

Poor dragon. So much for all those stories about the close-knit band of loyal friends righting wrongs. I wonder if she's figured out that such things rarely exist in the real world.

Whoops. Now she's got that twitch. Any minute now she's going to bring out a mace and things aren't going to be pretty.

Twitch twitch. Twitch twitch.

"Calm down, Lillian. Pork chop?"

Not your smartest move, Sara.

"ARGH! That's IT! I'm not paying for any more food!"

That's right, dragon. Hit them where it hurts.

"Calm down, Lillian. We're almost done." When the dragon doesn't yield, Sara throws up her hands in disgust. "All right all right all right. We're leaving. See?" She glowers at her companions. "Everyone up!"

Well. That's interesting. Strange, that the youngest and least powerful would be their leader.

Or maybe it makes too much sense. What are you up to, L-sama?

Oops. There they go. I suppose I'd better see what they're up to now. No point in letting them get killed any sooner than necessary.

The girl with dark blue hair stops suddenly. She turns her head and looks right at me. There's no recognition there - why should there be? - but it's still a bit disconcerting. I think she may be suspicious.

How intriguing.

"Esme-san?" Phil stops and frowns at her. Then he follows her gaze back to me. His eyes narrow to slits. "Who's the fruitcake?"

Like father, like son.

By now the others have noticed. Maren and that tactless wonder of a nobleman keep their hands near their swords. Perhaps the Howling Blade might damage me a little, but otherwise this is really quite laughable. Who among you could possibly be a threat to me?

Lillian's eyes fall on me. She goes very pale, as if she might faint. Weak, foolish little dragon. The day you become even a shadow of Filia-san is the day I willingly bend knee to Cepheed.

"Lillian-san?" That would be Jase the humanitarian. "Lillian-san, are you sick?"

No, boy. She's just seeing the murderer of her race, that's all.

Sara forces her way through her clustered companions so that she can stand protectively between them. Her hand rests on her belt knife, as if a sliver of metal could possibly harm me. I can feel the wards around her - white magic wards. Youth and ignorance aside, she's actually quite strong. It would take me a few moments to defeat her.

And there is something about the way she stands, something about the light in her eyes...

Ah. I see now.

Sara glowers at me, blade at ready. The restaurant is empty. Its other patrons have wisely found other places to be. "What do you want, weirdo?"

What do I want? That's an interesting question, isn't it? I want a lot of things.

I want to serve my master.

I want to aid in the spread of chaos across the world.

I want to be anywhere else, not trapped in this warped past-present. I want to be far away from you, little girl, and the fate destiny has branded on you.

But what I want has no relevance here. So I smile and answer as I always do. "Sore wa himitsu desu."

That is a secret, daughter of Lina Inverse.

Déjà vu, anyone?