Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ After NEXT ❯ I Know You Haven't Made Your Mind Up Yet, But I Would Never Do You Wrong ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
“I know you haven’t made your mind up yet, but I would never do you wrong…” To Make You Feel My Love

Lina was so exhausted by the time they got to the inn that she was dead on her feet. Not even the promise of a good meal could keep her from heading straight to her room and crashing. Zel, Amelia, Sylphiel and Gourry enjoyed a nice dinner without her, after which Sylphiel left to go to the bathroom. No sooner had she left did Amelia wonder aloud, “I wonder if Miss Lina will be okay.”

“She’ll be fine,” Gourry said, “She does this from time to time when she casts a very powerful spell.”

“It’s not just that,” Amelia said, and a coy look flashed upon her face so quickly that a less observant man would not have even noticed it, “She’s had such a rough time lately.”

“Huh?” Gourry asked.

Amelia took a sip of tea before explaining, “Well, she was just devastated after you were kidnapped. I’ve never seen her like that before.”

“Like what?” Gourry asked, his curiosity piqued. He had hoped for a long time that he was as important to her as she was to him. Yet with the way she vehemently denied any romantic feelings for him, it was hard to be so optimistic.

“She cried herself to sleep every night.” Zel said, “I could hear it clearly in my room what with my sensitive hearing and all. And she would wake up crying, screaming sometimes.”

Amelia nodded solemnly, “And she beat the living daylights out of any bandit camps we happened to fall upon.”

Gourry listened carefully as Zel and Amelia related Lina’s behavior during his absence, sad to hear that she had been in so much pain even as hope grew within him that may be she did feel something more than friendship towards him. It was no exaggeration to say that it was being with Lina that brought a sense of purpose back into his life. After leaving home to protect his family, he’d wandered around aimlessly until he found her. And it didn’t take long for him to realize that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.

He wanted to tell her. And he was also terrified of losing her if he did. She was never shy about shooting down any suggestions of romance. It was a tremendous blow for him to be cut off from his family. He valued family greatly, and for a time he never thought he would have recovered from that loss. When he met Lina and started to do amazing things with her, such as save the world, that started to change. If he lost her things would be even worse than they were before he met her. He would have lost the thing that meant the most to him twice, for he now considered Lina to be his family. So if it meant he would have to pretend to harbor nothing more than friendly feelings towards her for the rest of his life just to be near her, he would.

And while he was content, it didn’t mean that he wouldn’t leap at the opportunity to be something more if she gave him any indication that it was welcome.

He still had a lot of questions about what happened with Phibrizzo. He’d asked Lina a few times, but she was unusually vague when answering them. While she would rail against his denseness, Gourry suspected that she really didn’t mind too much. It gave her a chance to show off her knowledge, and Lina loved to show off. So the fact that she didn’t want to talk about something with him troubled him greatly. “So, I’m still confused. Why did that little kid abduct me anyway?”

Zel and Amelia exchanged a look, “Well, I think that Lina or Sylphiel could explain it better.” Zel said, “But from what I understand it seems as though Phibrizzo captured you to force Lina to cast the Giga Slave.”

Zel sighed at Gourry’s blank look. “Okay, let’s see. Do you remember Shabranigdo? The Dark Lord who nearly destroyed the world about a year ago?”

Gourry thought for a moment, “I guess.”

Zel didn’t look convinced but continued anyway, “Do you remember the spell Lina used, the Giga Slave?”

“The one that turned her hair white?”

Zel relaxed, “Exactly. Well, I guess she got lucky that time because if she had miscast it, it could have destroyed the world. And that seems to be what Phibrizzo was after. He captured you, and from what I can deduce, he gave Lina a choice: cast the Giga Slave or watch him murder you.”

Gourry’s jaw dropped, “And you mean to tell me she cast it?”

“Apparently,” Zel said.

“And for you. Phibrizzo killed us off one by one and she didn’t so much as throw a fireball.” Amelia said.

“She didn’t fight back? That’s not like Lina.” Gourry said.

“Well, we had tried a double Dragon Slave earlier and it didn’t work.” Sylphiel explained as she returned from the bathroom and took a seat, “I think she knew it was either cast the Giga Slave or else…and she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Yet.”

Gourry was about to ask another question when Amelia blurted out, “A double Dragon Slave?”

“From the girl who shoots Flare Carrots?” Zel added.

Sylphiel blushed and waved her hand dismissively, “I just wanted to see if I could do it.”

Gourry couldn’t make any sense out of that, so he decided to ask the question that was on his mind, “So if that Philito guy killed you all, how are you still here?”

Zel took a sip of his coffee, “If I answer that, we will be here all night. But I’m guessing that Phibrizzo could capture our life force and put it into some sort of crystallized form that Lina mentioned. Luckily for all of us, it appears he gave Lina a second chance to save us.”

Gourry was starting to feel sick to his stomach as he started to grasp the horror of what had happened since his absence. At first he was so mortified to learn that Lina could have destroyed the world to save him that he wanted to go upstairs, wake her, and shake some sense into her. Yet after learning about the sheer amount of manipulation and blackmail she had endured…

His head filled to the brim with thoughts, he stood up and announced that he was going to go take a bath. He was relieved when Zel made no move to join him. He wanted some time alone with his thoughts.

Mechanically he walked up the stairs to where the rooms were so he could pick up his soap and a change of clothing. The inn was unusually crowded. Some festival was going on in a neighboring village and a lot of people were travelling to see it. They were lucky to get two rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. The room Lina shared with Sylphiel and Amelia was on the ways to his, and he stopped outside the door and stared at it. Sleeping inside was a woman so mighty that she slew a powerful monster to save his life. Him.

And while Gourry would criticize her for being so reckless with her life, he knew he would have done the same if he had been in her shoes. He cared for her life more than he cared for his. Did Lina feel the same way?

He took a deep breath and made his way back down the stairs. It had been a long time since someone cared if he lived or died. He knew good and well that his own family would dance a jig on his grave if it meant getting the damned sword back. Just the possibility that she loved him so much was enough to make joy travel through and warm him. There was a lot he didn’t understand, but one thing he did know. Something in their relationship had changed, he just wasn’t sure how yet.

* * * *

Sylphiel took a sip of her freshly refilled cup of tea and stared at the princess sitting across the table from her. Zel had left to go to bed, leaving the two of them to enjoy some time together. “He was devastated when you died.”

Amelia nearly dropped her cup, “Huh?”

“Mr. Zelgadis. When Phibrizzo killed you…I’ve seen that look before when men lose their lovers. He had it.”

Amelia sat the tea cup down so that she would not have the chance to accidently break it. “That may be, but he loves his search for the cure more. My offer to have him visit me in Seyruun still stands…and stands.”

“May be that will change now that he’s been faced with a life with you gone forever.”

Amelia shuddered, “It nearly was forever, wasn’t it? I hate to think about it now. When I do I start to think that I should head straight home, hug my Daddy, and never leave Seyruun again.” Amelia smiled wryly before continuing, “I can’t tell him about this. He’d never let me out of his sight again if he knew I had been killed, even if it was for only a few minutes. There’s been so much loss in our lives already. Sometimes I think I should just grow up and settle into my royal duties.”

Amelia was quiet for a moment before adding, “But I love traveling with Miss Lina and everyone else. And we do such wonderful things together in the name of Justice. I can’t imagine giving all of that up either.”

Sylphiel took another sip of tea before saying, “Now that you mention it, I should head off to Seyruun as well. I’m…I’m in the way here.”

“Miss Sylphiel?”

“When I first met Miss Lina, I knew Master Gourry liked her, and I couldn’t understand why. She’s rude and boastful and can be downright mean at times. I couldn’t understand what she had that I didn’t. But now I see why. And I see that I’m in the way. And it’s not good for them, or for me.” She smiled wryly before continuing, “I lost everything in Sairaag. And I’ve not done much with my life in Seyruun since then aside from learning the...well, I’ve been staying with my uncle and recovering. And now I need to move on, keep myself busy. Surely there’s something in Seyruun that I could do that would be useful.”

Amelia smiled, “Of course, you’re good with White Magic, and we are the White Magic capital.”

“We should leave tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?” Amelia asked, a little stunned. She wasn’t quite ready to leave her carefree life for the confining one of a royal just yet. At the same time, she knew she couldn’t avoid it forever. “Well, okay.”
* * * *
Lina bolted upright in bed, choking a sob back as she did. It took a moment to register that she was safe in an inn with Sylphiel and Amelia sleeping in neighboring beds. She glanced in their direction, studying their faces carefully. Bathed in the glow of the rising sun, it did not appear that they had woken. Lina relaxed a little, but not completely. She felt an overwhelming urge to see Gourry and make sure that he was okay.

Yes, she remembered the events of the past few days, but there was this crazy part of her that insisted that it was a dream. She had to see him, but was stopped by the fact that she could not think of a good reason for barging into his room. Glancing once more at Sylphiel and Amelia she leaned against the wall so her ear was against it and listened for any sounds emanating from the neighboring room.

She relaxed completely when she discerned Gourry’s voice. He was talking to Zel about something. What, though, was beyond her. Feeling silly she tossed off the covers and got out of bed.

As she grabbed her comb and started to brush her hair, she realized that shaking away the remnants of the dream was more difficult than it should have been. An unusual feeling of guilt and loss had grabbed a hold of her as images of the world being destroyed flashed through her mind.

And while she had reasoned matter-of-factly with Sylphiel about why she had to cast the spell, she knew good and well that at the time the only thing she could think about was that Phibrizzo was going to kill Gourry. Worse still was the realization that when he was killing her other friends, she was kept frozen by the memory of the alternate past that Auntie Aqua had shown her. That she could hold on to her perspective when her other friends’ lives were in jeopardy but not Gourry’s meant one thing: her feelings for him were different than the ones she had for the others. How they were different still confused her greatly.

As she grabbed some fresh clothing, she wondered what sort of a hold he had over her that would cause even her to act so recklessly. She made no qualms about the fact that she was like a bull in a china shop, but bulls didn’t destroy whole city blocks. Even she had her limits, and destroying the world was not something she wanted on her resume.

And it scared her that she could feel something so strongly for someone that she would damn the world to save him.

Amelia started to stir, and Lina rushed to get changed, pushing all that was troubling her as far from her mind as possible. Since when did she dwell upon her past actions anyway? The past is history, and she couldn’t very well do anything to change it now. She won, and she should be happy about it and not think on it anymore.
* * * *
“This just seems so sudden,” Lina explained between bites of sausage, “I mean, I thought you two were planning on hanging around for a while.”

“We were,” Amelia said, “But then I started thinking about the state Seyruun was in when we left and I really think that now that the danger is over I should go home and help Seyruun rebuild and heal.”

Sylphiel nodded in agreement. For some reason that Lina could not explain, she felt relieved. “Well, okay. I guess we’ll see you the next time we’re around!”

“Well, if you two are going, I guess I should follow up on some leads myself.” Zel added.

“Really? Where will you be going Mr. Zelgadis?” Amelia asked.

They chatted aimlessly through the remainder of breakfast and then went back up to their rooms to grab their belongings and check out. As usual Lina and Gourry really did not have a particular destination in mind, only a vague idea of seeing the festival that was nearby.

They all left together on a perfectly bright and sunny day. Eventually they came upon a fork in the road and decided to say their goodbyes. Sylphiel surprised Lina was she suddenly embraced her tightly and whispered, “Take care of him,” in her ear.

Then in a flash she was far down the road with Amelia. Lina was still reeling when Gourry asked, “You okay?”

Lina smiled at him, “Yeah, Sylphiel is just being weird, that’s all. So, just you and me now, eh?”

He ruffled her hair, “You bet.”

AN: The song title I used for this chapter is from "To Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan, though as is becoming a theme here I was listening to the cover version by Adele when I thought of it for this fic.