Disclaimer: I do not own Slayers. If I did, I would be vastly rich and filled with a boundless, insurmountable joy. But I don't. Don't bother sueing me; I spend all my money on anime anyway.

Notes: This story is set during the time between the War of the Monsters' Fall and the events in Next.

Passing Time

Gaav, the Demon Dragon King, carefully watched his opponent. The slightest movement, the smallest change in expression, could offer the key he needed. The difference between victory and defeat.

This particular battle was once of the most ferocious he had faced since the one with the Water Dragon King during the War of the Monsters' Fall. When he had been imprisoned in this pathetic human body, made an outcast from all others of his race. There was no way he was going to allow himself to lose _this_ battle, though.

As quick as lightning, one possibility after another sprang into his mind, only to be rejected. *What should I do?* he asked himself silently, grinding his teeth together. *He knows my moves better than I do. He'll have prepared for every contingency. But there has to be something he missed . . .*

The Dark Lord's hands clenched and unclenched as he pondered his remaining options. He had to choose.

He sucked in a breath, then let it out slowly, lifting his eyes to meet the icy amber gaze of his opponent. This was it. All or nothing. Gaav made his decision.

"Got any threes?"

"Go Fish," Valgaav replied. Gaav threw his cards down angrily.

"Damnit, Val! This is the sixth thousand and fifty-eighth time in a row you've beaten me!" Gaav sighed. "This just isn't my century."

The End

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