I was originally writing a songfic to the song 'Just Say Yes' by Snow Patrol. I couldn't get the idea to flow in the way I wanted it to, so I found this song by chance, and I actually cried when I heard it, and I thought, "I know exactly how to play this out"
There are some mild spoilers in this story, but only up to TRY. So you've been warned. The words in italic are the lyrics to the song, but they are also Zel's thoughts to himself. I would suggest listening to the song "You Could Be Happy' by Snow Patrol in order to get the full effect. But you don't have to. I hope you enjoy it.
I do not own this song "You Could Be Happy" By Snow Patrol; I don't claim to, I am simply inspired by this song. I do not own Slayers, if I did, Amelia and Zel would have been together by now.
Zelgadis slumped forward, resting his hands in his face, hoping they would cover the sadness that he could no longer hide behind his false apathy. The patrons in the tavern didn't pay much mind to the chimera, who was sitting in the darkest corner he could find; in fact, they thought it best not to even acknowledge his existence. Zelgadis preferred it that way.
The day had been a particularly bad one even by his standards. The latest lead to his cure had turned out to be nothing; in fact, he couldn't recall the last time a lead had turned out to be anything other than a waste of time. On top of that, it had started to rain heavily midway through his journey to this town, what was it? Fenlar? Some town that was so small and insignificant you couldn't even find it on a map, he should know, he had yanked the waterlogged parchment from his tunic in attempt to identify what dilapidated building he had been staring at.
He breathed heavily; in the history of bad days, there was only one other that topped his list. He winced slightly as the painful memory slowly began to seep like venom into the edges of his mind, tempting him, teasing him, taunting him.
'You could be happy, and I won't know. But you weren't happy the day I watched you go...'
The sadness crept upon him, like a snake twirling and twisting its victim into even more despair as they realized there was no escape. His face fell further into his hands, the memory of that day started to flood his mind, he could no longer hold it back, could no longer restrain the demon that let loose in his thoughts.
The look on her face haunted him, even during the day. The sadness in her voice as she wished him good fortune...and he, he just stood there, his arms across his chest defiantly, his skin ablaze with anger, annoyance and resentment at her carefree attitude, the same carefree attitude he had wished he could share with her; his face turned away from her so he wouldn't have to see her reaction. He was disgusted with how he had treated that situation and cursed himself silently for lacking the ability of self-control when it came to his emotions.
'And all the things that I wished I had not said, are played in loops 'till it's madness in my head'
The memory overwhelmed him, sending his stomach reeling in a way it hadn't since the day she had died in his arms, assuring him bravely that she was okay. He felt sick, off center. His head started to spin and he clenched a few strands of his wired hair between his fists, pulling on them painfully, he barely noticed it.
All he could see was the confused expression on her face when he snapped at her in the middle of one of her little speeches.
"Well aren't we optimistic for someone's that been doing nothing but walking in the rain all day."
She took his remark as a challenge. He remembered her huffing and slightly puffing her chest out as she marched ahead of him into the inn; she gave a triumphant pose, pointing her finger in the air.
"When you have justice on your side like we do, there's no reason to not be optimistic! The sun will shine its rays on us yet because justice shines on those that do its work!"
His eyes narrowed as her cheerfulness towards the situation annoyed him and he felt his anger rushing upwards. Needing someone to release it on, he went for the one person he was closest too and snorted. He said something about justice being a naïve notion for those who were out of touch and coldly stated that there would never be anyone that was inherently good, just only when it served their own purpose. The look of pain that crossed her face should have signaled him to stop, to apologize and walk away before he said something he would regret, but the pent up emotion he had been carrying with him for the past week could no longer be contained once it was let out.
He continued on unable to stop himself, even when Lina had tried to interject, to prevent him from truly going too far, but he couldn't calm himself down, couldn't hear the reason over his incredible soaring anger and he drove the finishing strike deep into her heart, telling her that if she wanted to keep believing in fairy tales that she needed to go back home and be the princess that pranced around as if everything was okay while she waited for her handsome prince to whisk her away to a happily ever after while the rest of the world went on with reality. He knew that remark would hit an especially tender spot with her, considering their feelings between one another and her knowing how he felt about himself regarding it.
There was nothing after that, just silence. For once Lina was so taken aback and sickened by a remark she had nothing to counter. It was then he crossed his arms across his chest, an attempt to shield the complete betrayal he could feel emanating from her body. Her legs gave way from underneath her then, her knees making a soft thunk as they collided with the floor. She stared painfully at his legs, unable to move, to speak, still in complete shock over the outburst. That was when he turned away, so he wouldn't have to see her face. He could hear Lina whispering to her, coaxing her into standing, and offering her arm to hold onto.
"May you find good fortune in your future endeavors Zelgadis-san." She spoke drawing his attention from the corner of his eye. She was forcing a smile onto her face, her beautiful blue eyes shining from the light bouncing off the tears that she bravely tried to fight back.
She gave a small bow then quickly turned forcefully throwing the door to the inn open and running headlong into the rain that had been falling from the sky since early afternoon. The rain that had served as the catalyst for his bad mood. Lina shot him an icy glare, before chasing after Amelia. It was not until Gourry spoke that he realized the full extent of his words and the repercussions they would have.
"Are you happy now that you've become the heartless swordsman you always thought you were?" With that Gourry then too ran headlong into the storm leaving Zelgadis wishing with all his heart that he could take back all he had said.
'Is it too late to remind you how we were, but not our last days of silent screaming, blur'
His voice came out in a silent pained moan, trying desperately to steer his thoughts elsewhere before the madness of her memory consumed him entirely. He occasionally thought of writing her, praying that if maybe he wrote, that perhaps they could move on but then he would remember what it was like the following days. Silent. Uncomfortable. Unwelcome.
Lina refused to speak to him, instead delegating Gourry whenever it was necessary that Zelgadis should know anything. Amelia walked as far from him as possible, mostly sticking towards the front with Lina while Gourry served as the wall in between. He thought about it even then, grabbing Amelia by the arm and pulling her somewhere private to speak. Lina wouldn't have allowed it, in fact anytime he had attempted to get remotely near the princess, Lina would see to it his efforts ended in vain. Eventually he lost himself to his thoughts, and self-brooding, the days soon merged and he could no longer distinguish them from each other.
He thought it better to leave. He knew Lina would see to it that Amelia returned to Seyruun safely, they were all capable fighters they wouldn't miss him. He hadn't been much of a help since the incident anyhow, he could no longer sense what Amelia was thinking and so his attacks became uncoordinated and potentially dangerous to his friends. If, he had thought bitterly, that's what they even considered themselves still to be.
'Most of what I remember makes me sure I should have stopped you from walking out the door'
His fist slammed hard on the table, the wood splintering slightly from the force. He could feel the stares; hear the hushed whispers. He could no longer stay in the stifling building, he had to get out before his own emotions suffocated him. He pushed himself away from the table forcefully knocking the chair on its feet and briskly headed for the tavern door. The rain was still falling, in the distance a flash of light illuminated his face, enough to let the patrons know not to come after him.
Why? Why hadn't he stopped her from walking out that door? Had he been so blind and set in his ways that he truly could not see what he had in front of him? Had his pride meant more to him then she had? Or was he truly just a heartless swordsman? He leaned against the outside of the tavern wall staring down into the puddles of water that steadily rose. His pride meant nothing without her. He knew he should have stopped her, at least chased after her once he realized his mistake, instead, his stubbornness and pride forced him to stay and tell himself that she only needed to get away from him for the time. If he had known...if he had only known.
'You could be happy, I hope you are. You made me happier than I'd been by far'
He imagined she may be married by now, to someone more deserving of her affections then he had ever been, that he made her happy, that she never wanted for anything. She deserved it. She truly was an inherently good soul who deserved nothing less than complete happiness in everything that she did.
He smiled faintly as some happier times managed to dig their way through the poisonous thoughts. He remembered when Amelia had entered the brass rackets tournament hoping to win the Clair Bible manuscript for him. He also felt slightly jealous that she had entered with Xelloss, he would have gladly been on her team, and not just for the Clair Bible, but because he enjoyed being around her. She had a way with infusing hope into people that it was almost impossible not to be happy when she was around. No one had managed to make him smile like she had, her little niche's were adorable, sometimes annoying, often times funny but they made her unique, and that's what he had fallen for.
Amelia was unlike anyone he had ever met before, nor since. She wasn't afraid to say what she thought, that much had been perfectly clear upon their first meeting. At the time he had considered her to be a misguided child who had no idea what was going on, or the true danger they were facing but she had surprised him with their tandem Ra Tilt and he couldn't help but to have admiration for her knowledge of sorcery. From then on they shared a connection he didn't think was possible and he had slowly become to rely on her. He had put his trust in her, and in return he had stomped all over hers, like it meant nothing at all. Like she meant nothing at all.
'Somehow everything I own smells of you, and for the tiniest moment it's all not true'
Zelgadis pulled the hood of his cape down over his hair and paused. Her scent, after all this time it still clung to him. The sweet smell of flowers and sunshine flooded his senses, it was so strong he could have sworn that she had been holding onto him only moments before. He pulled the cape around him then, wanting to breathe her in. This was his escape. Here he could be near her and it seemed as everything was back to normal. He closed his eyes, if he concentrated hard enough he could see her running towards him, a smile on her face, pointing to the tavern in excitement. He could almost hear her, calling after him to hurry up before Lina and Gourry ate everything before they got a chance to even have a bite.
The crash of thunder tore him from his happy dream and he frowned, watching her disappear before his eyes once more. He stared out at the rain with extreme hate. Twice the rain had taken her from him.
'Do the things that you always wanted to. Without me there to hold you back, don't think, just do'
Perhaps it was better that it had ended before it truly began. Now she could live her life. If she had stayed with him, it would have been nothing but constant travel. Nothing but constantly looking for leads to a cure that may not even exist. She would have wasted her life on a chance for him. That was hardly a life at all. She had so much more going for her, so much potential. It didn't deserve to be wasted on him.
He couldn't hold her back now. Without him, she would have done what she said she would always do. He would no longer be the reason she didn't bring justice to those that needed it most. His obsession with his cure would no longer be the driving force of her decisions, now she would be the one in control of them. In control of what she wanted. After all, if he had taken what she wanted into more consideration they both wouldn't have been where they were now. Perhaps he would have realized sooner that his cure meant nothing without someone to share it with. Or more specifically without her to share it with.
'More than anything I want to see you, girl, take a glorious bite out of the whole world'
His cure no longer meant more to him than anything else. He could search for a lifetime and not care if he ever found it. The only reason he kept searching, was to keep his mind focused on something other than Amelia. Something to help keep the madness at bay. Now what he wanted more than anything was to see her prove him wrong.
He wanted to see that mark she left on the world, to see firsthand the good she brought people, the peace that followed her rule. He wanted to see her prove to him that justice was not a naïve notion for those that were out of touch, but a truly tangible one that brought prosperity to all. He would live to see it, he owed her that much.
He wanted to see her, he wanted to touch her, smell her, and hear her. He wanted to be the one she ran to. He wanted to be the one that caught her when she fell, that gave her the strength to stand when she was weak.
He slumped forward, that last thought had caused his heart to shatter. He could no longer stand, could no longer fight them back, the rain had done its damage once more. He stared at the ground hoping the rain would hide his face, hide his pain, and hide the tears that were now falling.
"You could be happy, and I won't know. But you weren't happy the day I watched you go…"