STANDARD DISCLAIMER:

Slayers does not belong to me… that much should be obvious.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

Ohayo, minna-san. Honestly, I'm surprised to find myself sitting here calmly before my computer writing a Slayers fic. There was a time when I thought that I really wasn't meant to write fanfics for this particular series, even if I absolutely adore it. Anyway, a word of warning – all my Slayers fics shall be Filia-Xellos centric and, sadly, there's nothing you can do about THAT.

BONDS

By: Ryuuen

Chapter One

            The cool crisp early morning breeze blew through the open window, stirring a few wayward strands of hair of its only occupant. She stirred, sapphire eyes fluttering open, crimson cheeks accentuating her beauty. Yawning, she sat up and stretched, her tail stiffening as a reflex, as she reached out for her hairbrush. Padding over to her dresser, she splashed her face with crystal clear water and surveyed her appearance in the mirror as she began to brush her silky tresses. Long blond tresses cascading down her shoulders, though rather ruffled after her sleep, cerulean eyes bewitching as of yore… who would have thought she was a couple of centuries old? She was not vain or anything, for shrine maidens, even if thy were no longer shrine maidens, weren't allowed to be vain and superficial… She just knew how to appreciate beauty, be it her own. Not that she had no reason to, of course…Filia Ul Copt, Priestess of the Fire Dragon King, allowed herself a smile… everything seemed to be perfect that morning… though, as we must be reminded, everything is not always what it seems…

            "Ohayo, Fi-chan. How was your sleep?" an annoyingly familiar, overly cheerful voice said.

 Too familiar… she thought.

            "NAMAGOMI!!!" Filia exclaimed, and, also on reflex, whipped out her mace and aimed it at the intruder. "What in Cepheid's name are YOU doing in MY house, in MY room, on MY bed?"

            Truly, sitting calmly on the bed she had previously occupied was Xellos Metallium, Priest-General to the Lord Beastmaster, Zelas Metallium, his ever-present nonchalant grin irking her even more. Shoulder-length purple hair, pale eyelids shut against feline amethyst orbs, he looked as innocent and as harmless as a lamb… a wolf in lamb's clothing to amend the awkward simile…

            "Nani? Can't I pay my favorite dragon a visit once in a while without the threat of violence (literally) hanging over my head?" he asked, getting off the bed in time to dodge Mace-sama.

            "No, YOU may NOT, XELLOSS! And for your information, I'm no one's dragon let alone YOURS!" she yelled, twitching uncontrollably over his words and taking another swing.

            "And here I was thinking that you actually missed me," Xellos replied, avoiding her attack and purposefully ignoring her remark.

            "Don't flatter your self, Xellos," she spoke his name with venom. "Who in Ceipheid's name would miss a filthy piece of Mazoku gutter trash such as YOURSELF?!" Filia said irritably, swinging Mace-sama and, once again, failing utterly to reach her target.

            "Well, I dunno. Maybe a certain selfish and violent dragon priestess would, ne, Fi-chan?"

            "Namagomi!!!"

            And so the usual morning skirmish went on. Filia sighed in mid-swipe. The day wasn't turning as pleasant as she thought.

* * *

            "Baka namagomi mazoku…" Filia muttered under her breath as she stomped into her kitchen to make breakfast. Half an hour had passed after the usual morning scuffle and, finding the mazoku nowhere in sight, she set off to work on the tasks of the day. Jillas and Gravos went off to Sairaag for a while, saying it was an emergency and since they rarely ever asked her for day-offs, she readily agreed without even bothering to ask what exactly the "emergency" was. After all, it was not a market day today so she was expecting fewer customers than usual. She had planned on working on her pottery today and she was determined not to waste her time. Baby Val was still asleep in his crib though she was sure he was going to wake up any second now.  Having done his breakfast as well as her own, she ascended into her foster-child's room to check on him.

            Entering the room with nimble feet and masking her footsteps so as not to wake the child up, she crept up to his crib and smiled at Val's sleeping form. She felt something in her that could be well akin to the sublime bliss only a mother could experience as she watched him turn over in his sleep. It has been two years now since the battle against Dark Star and she had finally settled down in a little house, which also served as her pottery shop with Baby Val, Jillas and Gravos. Lina and Gourry, who continued traveling, dropped in once in a while to check on things. They haven't changed much over the years though exactly why they still stayed with one another (i.e. Gourry still came with Lina in spite of the maltreatment –Fireballs, Dragon Slaves, etc.-) is still a matter of question. Amelia and Zelgadis are engaged and they are scheduled to get married this fall. They seem too busy with the arrangements and such judging from their letters so their visits are infrequent. Yes, everything was back to normal. However, though she should have been thankful that things were back to normal, there were times when she wished that they weren't TOO normal for a normal life for her included daily visits from a certain purple-haired trickster who seemed to have made it his mission in his VERY long life to forever torment the former Ryuuzoku priestess. 

            "I'm back, lizard lips!"

            Speaking of the devil…(literally!)

She needn't turn around to determine who the speaker was.

            "Namagomi, what are you doing here? Didn't I just tell you to leave me alone?" she said, trying to control the tone of her voice.

            Xellos ignored her and, instead, walked towards the other side of the crib and greeted the sleeping child, "Good morning, Val!"

            Filia quirked a brow. She hated being ignored, especially if it were done deliberately…

            "Namagomi, what do you want?"

            "…"

            "XELLOSSS!!!"

            "Aww… isn't he a promising one…"

This was too much for Filia to take. Brandishing Mace-sama, she hissed menacingly at the mazoku, "Xellos, if you do so much as lay a hand on the child, I'll…"

            The sound of crying filled the room as the Baby Val announced that he was awake. Filia switched quickly from pound-the-crap-out-of-namagomi mode to oh-no-my-baby's-crying-and-it's-all-namagomi's-fault mode. Gathering the child into her arms, she tried to control his sobbing and whispered into his ear, "Don't cry, Val-chan. Mommy's here. Mommy's sorry if that bad, nasty namagomi mazoku woke you up."

             Wiping the tears off her 'son's' face, she descended the stairs towards the dining room leaving an indignant mazoku behind.

* * *

            Xellos stood unmoving as Filia sweet talked Baby Val as she brought him downstairs, mouth agape in indignation.

            I woke the baby up? She was the one who was screaming at the top of her voice! I didn't even do anything, for L-sama's sake.  He shook his head.  Filia seemed to be an expert with the "Blame Anything that Goes Wrong on the Mazoku" Game.

            Damn it! How am I supposed to "hone that boy's Mazoku potentials" if that violent dragon wouldn't even let me near him? He thought angrily. Of all the things Zelas-sama had to go and assign him to do!

            I know, I know… it's not much but at least it's a START!!! Write me some reviews, guys, and you'd get the second chap faster than you can say "Sore wa himitsu desu…" ^ ~;