I had posted this to the trad mailing list ( linagourry@yahoogroups.com ) a while ago, but I decided to post it here, too, just to add some more Gourrina to what's available. Lina + Gourry forever!

Contemplation
by Sharlene

Lina was in a funk. She'd cleared out every bandit within 50 miles of Saillune. The kitchens of the royal palace were under orders to provide copious amounts of food at any given time, so eating had lost a lot of its fun. Besides, she'd just finished her mid-morning snack and she really should give the staff time to clear away the wreckage. She'd been through every magic book in the library and couldn't bother to work up an interest in any of the others. She'd torment Gourry, but he'd disappeared hours ago. She would hit the road, but she'd promised Amelia to stay in town until after the ceremony celebrating the completion of the rebuilding of Saillune. She vaguely toyed with the idea of finding someone to pick a fight with and decided it was too much effort. She sank further into the wing chair she was in and settled further into her funk.

"Miss Lina?" Amelia's voice came from the door of the cavernous room. There was a note in her voice that made Lina sit up. Maybe there was going to be something interesting to the day after all. "Miss Lina, there's something important I want to talk to you about."

"So talk already." Lina sat up the rest of the way, her mind racing with possibilities. Maybe there were bandits threatening the city? No, she couldn't possibly be that lucky.

"Actually, Miss Lina, I was hoping we could go to the Contemplation Chamber to talk." Amelia's cheeks colored and she bit her lip. Lina's every sense went on the alert as she nodded and followed Amelia through the maze of palace hallways.

"I thought the Contemplation Chamber was just for the women of the royal family. One of the maids said no one's even allowed to go in there to dust." Lina could have sworn that Amelia's cheeks turned even brighter. Much more blushing and Amelia was going to match Lina's clothes.

"Well, yes, but we've traveled together so much, and my sister's been gone so long..." Amelia paused in front of the door, an engraved silver key in her hand. "Besides, you're more like a sister to me, and Daddy's going to-- Well, never mind that, but anyway, here we are." Amelia gave a nervous little grin as she carefully opened the door and ushered her friend in.

Lina sneezed as Amelia started to flit around the room with a feather duster. It wasn't that remarkable a room, really. There were a few low couches scattered around the room, a few small tables, and a tapestry that covered one wall. Oddly, there were cushions piled on the floor in front of the tapestry and a selection chocolates was set out on a small table next to them. "So, what did you want to talk about, Amelia?"

Amelia smiled her nervous little smile again, a sweat drop forming as she clutched the feather duster in a death grip. "Miss Lina, we have to do something." Warming to her subject, Amelia started twirling and posing. "It is not JUST that we continue in limbo. Something has to be done! And we will have to be the ones to do it!" Amelia stood on a table, pointing the somewhat mangled feather duster into the air in heroic fashion.

"Limbo? What is it you want us to do, Amelia?" Lina plopped on the cushions and popped a chocolate in her mouth.

"We must make Mister Gourry and Mister Zelgadis open their eyes and confess their love!" Amelia had hopped down from the table, but she struck another pose as she spoke, standing with her hands on her hips and chest thrust outward. The effect was somewhat spoiled by having to immediately rush to the aid of a choking Lina.

"Wha-ha-aaat!! For each other?!?!?" Lina sputtered as soon as she was done coughing.

"Miss Lina! For US!" Amelia was back up on the table, a whirling dervish of heroic poses. "We love them and they love us, and it is not fair or just that we must wait until those idiots decide to realize that and take action. It is time for us to take STEPS!"

Lina blushed to the roots of her hair, but tried for nonchalance. "What makes you think we should do anything? And besides, I'm a young innocent girl, I've got lots of time before I have to think about falling in love or anything like that."

"I thought you'd say that. That's why we had to have this talk in here." Amelia's face was serious as she pulled at the tapestry. There was a clanging noise as it moved on rings that were hidden behind the molding. Lina sucked in her breath as she looked at what should have been a blank wall.

"This wall was enchanted a long time ago by one of my ancestors. She said she wanted her daughters to be able to know all about the men they were considering marrying, but I think she was just--"

"A dirty old woman." Both girls blushed furiously, looking out at the men's bath. Which was currently occupied by Gourry and Zelgadis. The blushes were threatening to cut off blood flow to outlying regions, but neither girl looked away for one moment. "So... This is what "contemplation" means, huh?"

Amelia nodded vaguely, popping a piece of chocolate in her mouth as her eyes remained glued to a certain rock hard chest. She heard Lina's breathing getting labored and looked up to see Gourry leaving the bath.
"Oh, my." The look on Lina's face was normally only seen when she was staring at food. After not having eaten in days. When there was dragon cuisine on the menu. Amelia took one last look at Zelgadis, as she jumped up and pulled the curtain closed before Lina attempted to dive through and feast.

Blinking rapidly, Lina sat back and took a deep breath. "Okay Amelia, I'm rethinking this innocent maiden business. What did you have in mind?"


Gourry padded through the hall, heading purposefully for the dining room. He might need someone to give him directions to get from his room to anywhere else, but when it came to food his sense of direction was razor sharp. He hoped Lina was feeling better. The storm warnings this morning had made him check his calendar, but it was still two weeks until "That Time of the Month". He'd made it his business to keep tabs ever since he had come to fully understand the horror of the words "Pre-Menstrual Syndrome".

Scenting his prey, Gourry picked up speed, rounding the corner in time to run full tilt into Amelia. Gentlemanly training had him helping her up even as his stomach sang a hymn to the smell of roast beef in the air. "Are you okay, Amelia?"

Amelia stood up slowly, letting him catch the hint of a tear in her eye. "Y-yes, Mister Gourry, I'm fine... But Miss Lina isn't." She heaved a deep sigh, peeking from under her lashes to see if he was buying it.

"What's wrong with Lina? She's not sick or anything, is she?" Gourry frowned, thoughts of food temporarily forgotten. Amelia was hard pressed not to smile as an internal voice shouted "YES!" and did a little dance.

Making sure her face reflected a suitably tragic air, Amelia went for the gold. "Physically she's fine. It's just--" She broke off on a deep sigh, turning away and slumping her shoulders. "I'm sorry, Mr. Gourry, you were about to go eat lunch. I'll just see if I can find someone to help Lina."

Gourry hesitated a moment, torn between lunch and finding out what was wrong. "Uh... Amelia, wait, what's wrong with Lina?"

Amelia allowed herself a small smirk before resuming her air of tragedy and turning to face him. "Well, she got a letter from home, and she's upset. Her big sister started asking her when she was going to get married and settle down. Luna even offered to find her a husband and to get her a job as a waitress." Seeing Gourry's perplexed expression, Amelia decided to press on. "Lina doesn't want to disobey her sister, but she doesn't want to go home and settle down. She wants to keep traveling with you, Mister Gourry, and not stay in one town, taking care of some strange man."

Gourry stood completely still and motionless, except for one twitching eyelid. "But Lina's just a kid, she's too young to get married."

Amelia turned away slightly, allowing a small blush to surface. "Mister Gourry, Miss Lina is twenty years old. Most girls from her village marry by the time they turn eighteen." Amelia went in for the kill. "Miss Luna is afraid Miss Lina will remain an old maid, so she is becoming more insistent that Miss Lina find a mate. I'm afraid that soon Miss Luna will simply arrange the marriage and Miss Lina will have to take a stranger to her bridal bed."

Heaving a tremendous sigh, Amelia slunk down the hallway, her piteous and dejected posture not preventing a fair rate of speed. Gourry remained rooted to the spot, everything Amelia had said percolating through the layers of his brain. The words "bridal bed" kept jumping up for attention and derailing his train of thought.


Zelgadis's gaze flicked upwards as Lina flounced into the library. He returned to his book, his attention not wavering until a stack of books hit the table in front of him. He rescued his coffee and was turning his attention back to his reading when he noted the title on the closest book.

"Saillune bridal customs, Lina? Are you planning your wedding?" He sipped his coffee, waiting for the tantrum Lina would undoubtedly throw.

"Actually, I thought I'd read up since Amelia asked me to be her maid of honor." Lina twirled a strand of hair around her finger as she treated Zel to her most innocent look, pretending not to notice that he was choking on the coffee he was swallowing. "Hey, careful where you put that cup! There's some sketches here that shouldn't get dirty."

Zelgadis leaned back, nonchalance oozing from his pores. "Oh? Sketches of what, her wedding dress?"

Lina grinned, giving Zel an abbreviated head bop. "No, silly, of her future husband. She's got to choose one soon. Wanna see?" Innocence dripped from her words like syrup, even if there was a hint of a sharper-than-normal tooth in her smile. Not giving him a chance to object, she unrolled one scroll after another, enumerating the many titles and qualities of each candidate.

Zelgadis pushed the scrolls away in disgust. "Are there any candidates that aren't buck toothed, weak chinned or hunchbacked?"

"Well, Zel, you gotta understand that royalty marries royalty. Weak chins kinda get bred in." She propped her chin in one hand and waved the other one around vaguely. "Of course, Prince Phil married for love, so if there was someone Amelia wanted, who wanted her, he'd give his permission."

Zelgadis snorted. "It's not like Prince Phileonel would ever deny his little princess anything. Why are these guys being shoved at her?"

Lina kept her expression neutral as she internally rubbed her hands together and gloated. "Well, she IS the Crown Princess. A lot of Phil's advisors are pushing to see the line of succession assured. And Phil has been getting kinda misty eyed over the concept of grandchildren lately." Lina sighed theatrically, getting further into her role. "Amelia's a very responsible person. If there was any hope her love for you would be returned, she'd wait forever, but since you keep pushing her away, she's been feeling like she should sacrifice herself to a loveless marriage for the good of the kingdom."

Zelgadis pushed himself away from the table and started to pace. "Maybe it's better that way. I can't see that her subjects would approve of a stone skinned prince consort, and I don't even know if I can father children like this, let alone if they'd be normal. If only I could find a cure--"

Lina gave him a full bop on the head, knocking him into a chair. "Now you listen to me, you mule headed jellyfish! That girl loves you, stone skin and all. And her father, and subjects, want her to be HAPPY. The only way that's going to happen is if YOU stop with your never ending pity party and let her know how much you love her. So you want a cure? Keep looking for it, but realize that in the meantime, you don't have to play the tragic hero."

"She deserves better." Zelgadis spoke softly, his head bowed.

Lina's eyes flamed as she shook a finger under his nose. "Yeah, she probably does, but she wants YOU. Think about it, Zel. Would your cure make you happy if your obsession with it meant you lost Amelia forever? Is your self pity really so important that you want to break her heart and make her settle down with one of these so-called princes?"

Zelgadis stared at the table as Lina's footsteps faded away, her words echoing in his mind.


The two girls giggled as they decimated the chocolate supply of the Contemplation Chamber. Gourry and Zelgadis were both in the bath, each staring into space. Their faces combined bewilderment, anguish, and shock. Neither had spoken beyond perfunctory greetings, much to the disappointment of listening ears.

"Why don't guys talk about their problems, huh?" Lina shoved another handful of chocolate into her mouth.

"I don't know. Maybe it's because they're trying to be macho." Amelia delicately picked out a particularly luscious truffle and let it melt on her tongue.

"So do you think any of it got through their thick skulls?" Lina sighed as Gourry swiped a lock of hair away from his eyes and leaned back.

"Maybe. They're certainly acting like something shook them up." Amelia leaned against the wall and traced the outline of Zelgadis's face with her fingertips.

Both girls jumped away as the solid figure of Prince Phileonel appeared in the background. They averted their eyes as his hand reached for his towel and he stepped towards the bath. They heard Gourry and Zelgadis murmur greetings and some splashing, followed by a satisfied sigh from Prince Phil. Judging it to be safe, Lina peeked between her fingers and let Amelia know it was safe to look.

"So, boys." Phileonel surveyed the two glum warriors. "I'm glad I finally get the chance to talk to the two of you alone. I wouldn't want the girls to overhear, after all."

Two clueless masculine expressions focused on him and two pairs of female ears perked up and strained to hear every word. "First I'd like to say that I like you boys very much." Vaguely thankful murmurs were cut off abruptly. "Amelia, as you know, is my little princess, a delicate flower I have raised to be a strong ruler and fighter for justice. She's a beautiful and brave girl. And Miss Lina, well, she's been so good to my daughter and has helped Saillune, and even saved the world several times. I consider her as a daughter as well, and I'll be making her a duchess at the celebration ceremony."

Lina blushed hotly, looking pleased, while Amelia simply smiled at her Daddy's words. Gourry and Zelgadis were cut off mid-nod by a suddenly fierce Phil spearing them with a baleful look. "And you two chowder heads are breaking their hearts. And that makes me, staunch pacifist that I am, angry. Do you want to make me angry?"

The two boys were attempting to convey a negative answer as Phil's hands stabbed the air in front of them. Somehow facing an angry Phil managed to be at least as scary as facing down any number of monsters and demons. At least with them nastiness was always on the menu; facing Phil's anger was like being viciously mauled by a rabbit.

Phil's finger pointed at Zelgadis and the chimera's eyes widened as a sweat drop formed on his forehead. "You! My little Amelia loves you with all her heart. If you don't plan to make her your wife, you should leave Saillune and never return, so she can get over you and find someone else. If you're not a complete idiot, I expect you to be married and producing grandbabies within the year. And if you ever hurt her again, not even the gods will be able to provide you a deep enough hole to hide from me." Zelgadis's shoulder blades were attempting to dig a tunnel towards freedom through the back of the wall.

Gourry had relaxed slightly as the tirade against Zelgadis had continued, but snapped to complete attention as Phil's accusatory eye landed on him. "And you! I don't know whether you're actually dumb or not, but you'd better get on with begging Lina to be yours before she gives up on you. And may Ceipheed help you if you break her heart, because I don't believe that all of my subjects working together could find all of the pieces she would blast you into."

"Now that we understand each other, I expect I'll be hearing some good news soon. Maybe even by dinnertime tonight, eh?" Phil laughed jovially, only a trace of menace remaining in the glint of his eye. "Enjoy your bath, boys."

The shocked audience tore their gazes away, looking at each other in amazement. And then back to their shell shocked beloveds. And then back to each other. Neither could quite think of what to say. Then they scrambled to go to their rooms to lay in wait.


Gourry hesitated in front of Lina's door, trying to get his thoughts in order. His mind whirling, he ended up beating his head against the nearest surface in frustration. He realized he had knocked when he heard Lina's voice telling him to come in. No putting it off, it was time. Carefully, he opened the door and pulled it close behind him.

"Lina, I don't want you to be an old maid but I don't think you should stop traveling if you don't want to and you shouldn't have to put up with a stranger in--" Gourry stopped and stared. He didn't know what he'd expected, but he certainly hadn't expected to find Lina lounging in her bed, wearing what appeared to be a blue silk robe with nothing underneath it. As his gaze traveled up her bent leg, past the loose knot of her belt and up to the slight gap at the top of the robe, his train of thought not only derailed, it melted the track and burnt down the station.

Lina waited expectantly for Gourry to declare his undying love. And waited. She'd worked hard on the pose, practicing in front of the mirror the exact smile she'd give him. And now all he could do was babble about her age and then stand there like a statue? She was considering a fireball when she had a vision of when he'd stepped out of the bath, his skin looking so soft and warm, his muscles glistening with water... She decided other tactics were called for.

Sliding her legs off the bed, she walked towards him, his glazed eyes riveted on her legs as they were hidden and exposed by the robe. He managed to shift focus to her face as his mind screamed "Danger! DANGER! Prepare for fireball!" And then his entire nervous system fused as she reached up and grabbed his collar. "Gourry, you're going to get whomped," he thought resignedly. As her lips touched his, he began to believe she had caused enough head trauma to induce hallucinations. "Hey, might as well enjoy the dream while it lasts."

Lina's hands crept up around Gourry's neck, one hand drifting up to entwine with his hair while the other one moved along his shoulders. She might have started the kiss but he was sure making the most of it. She gasped as he kissed along her cheekbone, behind her ear and down her neck. She started falling backwards, her knees bumping the edge of the bed as her hands roamed over his chest, slipping underneath his tunic as she felt the muscles she'd stared at so avidly. Gourry continued kissing his way down, parting the robe as he blazed a trail. When he reached her breasts, she gasped his name.

Gourry stopped, shaking his head as if to clear it. He stepped away, shivered and gave himself a very hard pinch on the arm. "This isn't a dream."

"Of course this isn't a dream, jellyfish! In your dreams I have bigger breasts!" Lina turned her back on him with a flounce, pulling the sheet up to her shoulders. "Go away." Lina sighed. Why couldn't she have the kind of figure Gourry wanted? It was enough to make a perfectly proportioned petite sorcery genius cry. Just as soon as the dolt was gone.

Except instead of hearing the door open and close, she heard the lock click shut. She looked up to see Gourry walking purposefully towards the bed, shedding clothing as he walked. "Let's get some things straight, Lina. Your breasts might not be huge, but they're the perfect size as far as I'm concerned because they're yours and I'm finally seeing them. And for that matter, your legs alone are enough to drive me completely insane. And you're going to keep traveling with me because the idea of being married to someone who wants to stay home and cook scares the daylights out of me. You're what I want, you, as you are." He'd reached the bed and was punctuating his statements by kissing each of her fingers in turn. He paused long enough to give hear a searing kiss, then slid the robe off her shoulders. "You are magnificent, and no one is going near your bridal bed but me. And you, of course."


Amelia looked up as a note slid under her door. She ran to open the door, but saw only one of the many footmen standing up. "Pardon me, Your Highness, Mister Zelgadis asked me to deliver this to you."

Amelia nodded and waved a hand in dismissal as she picked up the note and broke the seal.

"My dearest Amelia:

There is a story about a young woman named Beauty and a Beast who loved her. In the story, the love of the maiden cured the Beast, and they lived together happily thereafter. Unfortunately your Beast cannot be cured so easily, and you, my Beauty, deserve more than this poor creature can provide. I am continuing my search for a cure. Hopefully I can be worthy of the honor of your love someday when you are still free to grant it, but that must be a vain hope, since duty compels you not to wait in vain for a day that may never come. I set you free, Amelia. Marry someone you can love and who loves you, and be happy.

Yours,
Zelgadis"

Zelgadis sat on a rock and stared back at the city of Saillune. He was leaving his heart behind, and couldn't shake the feeling he was making the most colossal mistake of his life. Still, Amelia deserved the best, not someone only part man. He buried his face in his hands as he thought about where he should go. Maybe if he could find a cure fast enough, there was still hope...

He had traveled about ten feet backwards before he realized he'd been hit by a spell. Shrieks rang in the air as a flurry of blows landed around his head and shoulders, punctuated by sharp kicks to his legs. He was trying to prepare a defensive spell when the attack stopped and an all-too-familiar voice shouted "FREEZE ARROW!" Zelgadis found himself encased in ice from the neck down, staring at a seriously pissed off Amelia.

"YOU! You are going to stand there and listen and if you say one word, ONE WORD, I am going to have you locked in the deepest, darkest dungeon known to man or monster. DO you understand me?" Zelgadis could only nod in the face of her incandescent rage.

"First off- How dare you? How dare you presume that your self pity is the end all and be all of existence? You are the ONLY one who cares that you're a chimera. Sure, the rest of us would like you to be cured but only to make you happy and stop the god damn endless cycle of angst." Zelgadis opened his mouth to speak and then shut it as her glare made a wisp of steam rise from the ice on his neck.

"Secondly, where do you get off making my decisions for me? I love you, but I have no interest in playing a tragedy game with you. Beauty and the Beast indeed! Who said Beauty wanted the Beast transformed, eh? And she loved him and agreed to marry him BEFORE he transformed, something your skull is too damn thick to have penetrated." Amelia paused, closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

She spoke again, her voice low and controlled. "You love me. You said so, I have a written statement to that effect, and you're not getting out of it. We are going back to Saillune, where we will have the biggest and most lavish wedding that can be arranged in a week or less. Show any signs of running and I will have you at the altar in chains, but you are going to marry me and be happy, damn it. If you want to search for a cure, we do it together after the wedding. Maybe we can make it a honeymoon trip."

Zelgadis stared at her in wonder, then flinched as she brought her face up close to his. "And let me tell you one thing, MISTER Zelgadis. If you ever, EVER decide to try to run away from me for my own good ever again, you had better pray that Daddy or Lina find you first. They might show mercy, but I will not."

Negligently, she struck the ice encasing Zelgadis, shattering it. She took a step back and folded her arms over her breasts. "Well? What do you have to say for yourself?"

Zelgadis thought for a minute, then pulled her into his arms. "A week, huh? Maybe the chains won't be absolutely necessary..."