Half Innocent Half Evil
Part Nineteen, Separation Anxiety
It had become a common sight to walk by Filia's vase and mace shop to see either one of her two helpers, Gravos or Jilas manning the register and helping customers. Though it was Filia's shop she hadn't been in there in months. This was because Filia had been at home looking after her two young children. In fact because of little baby Owen few expected the golden dragon to be back in her shop for a long time. That wasn't the case this lovely sunny day.
Filia puttered around her store polishing random vases and dusting shelves. The shop wasn't terribly busy and it was very clean and organized making for a very slow and boring day. This is exactly what Filia had wanted, had fought for. There had been much negations between Filia and her two helpers about letting her go back to her shop while the other two looked after the children.
Obviously being the 'boss' and all Gravos and Jilas would do whatever Filia decided. However given that Filia had been spending so much time at home with the kids it did seem like it was a bit early to be going back to work. Mind you Filia was going to do a half day's work and have either Jilas or Gravos come to relieve her so she could go home. She wasn't about to go back to work full time she just wanted a little time away from her house.
After the remodel was done Val and Owen went back to being the rambunctious duo they were known to be. Owen being the more terrible of the two causing all kinds of mayhem. Though Owen was opting to stay in his human form it didn't mean that anyone could get any rest around him. The little dragon/monster hybrid was more active and mobile than ever showing just how fast he and easily he could move. It was extremely tiring for Filia.
So Filia fought for this break from her motherhood filled life. Val had happily waved goodbye as Filia left that morning. He knew he would be getting to see his mother later as he was going to go with Jilas to pick up Filia. Jilas would be taking over at the shop for Filia and Filia would be taking Val home with him. This thrilled Val as it made him feel like a big boy to be able to go and pick up his mother.
Owen on the other hand wasn't happy. He wasn't used to be being away from Filia for long periods of time. Though he had spent almost as much time with Jilas and Gravos as he did with Filia but in Owen's eyes there was no one more important than his mother. So seeing the most important person in his life leave the house and walk away from him really made Owen upset. He wailed and screamed with tears streaming down his face. And even after Filia had been gone for a while Owen was still upset. He wanted his mommy and he wanted her now. It made Gravos and Jilas tempted to take Owen to the shop just to get him to calm down. This would be a very bad idea and they knew it so instead just stayed at home dealing with the screaming toddler.
Yes for Filia it would be a good day. She would finally get a break from dirty diapers, messy meal times, wailing screams, discarded toys and temper tantrums. There would be no overturned plants, running after runaway children and no dirty dishes. She would get to relax and do what she loved, running her shop.
Or at least that's what it was supposed to be like. But as Filia polished yet another vase she found that contentment wasn't what was gnawing at her gut.
Once at her shop Filia found that she was bored. Being on the go since Owen hatched Filia had become accustomed to being busy. So much so that she couldn't just sit back and relax. Combined with a slow start at the shop made Filia uneasy.
So Filia was fighting boredom but it wasn't a fair fight. Boredom had a partner, and that was guilt.
Val made things easy for Filia. He was fine with her leaving as he knew he was going to get to see her later. But it was Owen that made things difficult for Filia. Her heartstrings were really being tugged as she left behind her youngest. Owen had no understanding of why his mother was leaving and it just hurt Filia to hear his cries. When it came to crying Filia was used to Owen's different wails. Each one sounding very different telling Filia's trained ears exactly what her son needed. But these cries were new. She had never heard them come out of her little baby. Filia could almost feel the emotions Owen was feeling. Or maybe she was as Owen was half monster after all. Perhaps he was projecting his emotions upon to Filia. No matter what the case Filia could feel the pain Owen was feeling. He was upset, confused and feeling abandoned. He didn't understand that mommy was coming back he only saw mommy leaving.
All Filia could think about was what her two boys were doing. She wanted so desperately to close shop and go home. But she couldn't do that. Filia needed the money her business generated so she couldn't leave until Jilas came with Val. And that wouldn't be till 1 o'clock. Spying a look at the clock on the wall told Filia she still had several hours to go.
If telephones existed in the Slayers world no doubt Filia would have been calling home every five minutes. With no such luxuries all Filia could do was wait.
There was only one thing to that could help Filia pass the time while she waited for Jilas and Val to get to the shop. And that would be customers. Filia stared out the windows of her shop beckoningly hoping that someone would go through the doors. There wasn't even a soul nearby soul Filia could see, the streets seemed empty from her vantage point. It was still pretty early on in the morning so there was still hope of a stream of customers to come rushing in. But that couldn't come fast enough for Filia.
Filia spied another look at the clock. Not even five minutes had passed. It was going to be a long day...
Xellos had a conundrum on his hands. It was his time to observe the Ul Copt household. But at that moment his favourite spying subject wasn't home. It didn't take much of Xellos abilities to realize that Filia was currently at her shop. That itself gave Xellos reason to grin. Filia clearly was in turmoil feeling very agitated and upset while the Ul Copt household was also in an uproar. The littlest member of the Ul Copt family was most likely upset of the absence of his mother causing great stress for Jilas and Gravos. It made for two very delicious meals for Xellos. But he couldn't feed on both of them. Thus the conundrum.
His assignment was to watch the progress of the reborn ancient dragon Val Ul Copt. And as Xellos' master had reminded him several times his assignment was not to bother Val's mother Filia. Usually this didn't matter too much as Filia was often nearby of her adoptive son. More so since the addition of the strange black dragon baby in the household. This was probably the first time since Xellos learned of Owen's existence that Filia has spent time away from her children.
For such a righteous person as Filia was this just made for a delicious opportunity to mock the golden dragon. How can the mother abandon her children? Of course Xellos understood while Filia had gone to her shop. Any person could understand why she did it. She just wanted a break. And Filia was a business owner so she did need to at least make the occasional appearance at her shop. Xellos didn't doubt that Filia wasn't planning on spending the whole day at her store. But Xellos could tell that Filia wanted to go home now. Oh how he wanted to phase off into Filia's store just to harass her. He knew he could get her going enough to turn into her dragon form in the middle of her store.
But Filia wasn't his assignment. Val was. So even though the temptation was great Xellos couldn't go off to taunt Filia. In this situation he had to stay away from the golden dragon and focus on the ancient dragon.
Though as Xellos mentally searched the household he was a little concerned with the fact that he couldn't properly sense the baby dragon. He was aware that Owen was in the house but he couldn't pin point exactly where. Xellos assumed this was because of those stupid charms of Filia's. Though he didn't care for those silly pieces of paper he did have to admit they were effective in masking Owen's presence. If one were to of course be right in front of the house they would be aware of the little dragon being in the structure but from far away it wouldn't be so obvious. This really peaked Xellos' curiosity. What was it that Owen was that made Filia so paranoid in keeping the little baby secret?
Xellos didn't ponder it too much as he was tired of the subject. Owen's heritage had been nagging at his mind constantly for the last few weeks and he wanted to stop pondering it. He couldn't come to a clear conclusion anyway so it was frustrating. (Even though the answer was glaringly clear.)
Since Val was his assignment and Jilas and Gravos appeared to be near the ancient dragon anyway Xellos opted to phase in the household close to where he sensed them. As it turned out Xellos ended up in the kitchen while Filia's helpers were in the living room. Right away from the kitchen Xellos could hear an ungodly wail. It was hard to tell what sort of creature the awful noise was coming from, it surely didn't sound human. But from the sound of Gravos and Jilas' unsuccessful comforting words Xellos guessed the crying was coming from Owen.
Usually hearing such screams would be source of great amusement for Xellos. He was a monster after all and what monster didn't love to hear the sounds of screaming and crying? Not many. (Well just one but that wasn't Xellos normally anyway.) However in this instance the sound was bothering him greatly. The crying could be considered annoying but that wasn't the reason why it was bothering Xellos.
Xellos actually didn't know why it was bothering him but he just couldn't stand the noise. His gut was pulling in one of two directions. One of those was out of the house. The other was into the living room. The latter being the stronger pull and Xellos walked out of the kitchen and right into the living room.
"Please Owen stop crying!" Jilas pleaded. "Your Mommy will be home in a few hours."
"Don't you want to play with your teddy bear?" Gravos held up the stuffed animal making it dance in front of Owen's face.
Owen paused his crying for one moment. It seemed that maybe the dancing bear might have done the trick. But the hope was fleeting as Owen angrily punched the offending bear from Gravos' hand and started crying once more.
Val found this outburst of anger from his little brother amusing and just went on playing with his blocks.
"Why won't he stop crying?!" Jilas and Gravos both wailed in unison.
"Perhaps it's a lack of brains between the two of you." Xellos commented with his face scrunched up in irritation.
Upon hearing the new voice in the room Gravos, Jilas, Owen and Val looked to the source. None of them were expecting to see the monster priest especially since Filia wasn't even present in the house.
Before Gravos or Jilas could say or do anything it was Owen that reacted first. On wobbly legs the little dragon/monster hybrid stormed over to the monster priest still wailing. As soon as he was in arms reach Owen latched onto Xellos' leg burring his face into Xellos' knee.
This action was appalling to Xellos. Why was the baby grabbing onto him for? He sure as hell wasn't Filia. But for reasons that Xellos couldn't explain the monster priest found himself unconsciously reaching down to scope the little boy up into his arms. Once standing and holding the tyke did Xellos realize what he just did.
Owen who was still crying started to calm down as he held onto Xellos for dear life. Slowly the tears stopped falling the screams turned into muted whimpers. For whatever reason Xellos holding Owen was calming the baby. It completely mystified Xellos as well as Gravos and Jilas.
"How'd you do dat?" Gravos asked while pointing.
This was normally a situation for Xellos to say his trademark line but he couldn't muster the concentration to speak. Truthfully he had no idea how he had managed to calm the crying baby.
In that exact moment where Xellos calmed Owen down Filia felt a reaction on her end in the store. She had no idea what was going on in her home but suddenly it felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. The tremendous guilt she had been feeling started to ebb away and finally she was able to enjoy her break from motherhood. And it was good timing too as that's when the customers started coming in.
The last time Filia had looked at the clock it had only been 9:16 am. The next time she looked at the clock it was 12:54pm. It boggled her mind. How could that much time pass so quickly? She wondered if there was something wrong with the clock (a prank perhaps by a certain priest?). It wasn't until she saw Jilas and Val walking into the store. Val was practically bouncing as he ran towards his mother.
"MOMMY!" Val squealed with happiness as he jumped into a huge bear hug.
Filia grinned from ear to ear as she held onto her older son tightly while showering him with kisses. "How's my big boy?"
"Yeah I big!" Val held his arms out in triumph. "Owen small! He cry baby." He announced.
This made Filia inwardly cringe. "Your brother cried for awhile?"
Val nodded his head enthusiastically. "He stopped. But he cried loooooooooong time!"
"But your Uncle Jilas and Uncle Gravos managed to get him to stop right?"
Val shook his head. "Nope!"
Filia looked up at her helper Jilas with a questioning look. "Well they must have if Owen stopped crying."
"Nope! Dey didn't." Val said again.
Jilas laughed nervously. "Say Boss you're probably in a hurry to go home. Why don't the two of you head off and I'll take over here."
"Jilas... what exactly made Owen stop crying?" Filia glared at her helper.
"Well as it turns out he's actually real good with da little one..."
"Who Jilas? WHO?!"
Well so much for a quiet peaceful day for Filia. Her screams could be heard all throughout the town.
"Looks like Mommy is going to be coming home soon!" Xellos announced with delight as he threw Owen up in the air.
Owen giggled in merriment. It seemed that he enjoyed the impending doom as much as his father.