Slayers Fan Fiction ❯ Who Do You Love? ❯ Who's That Girl? ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Title: Who Do You Love? (A Slayers Romance) 1/?
Author: Tsutsuji
Date written: 5/05
Fandom: Slayers (the anime, not the Buffy)
Rating: T (okay for young adults)
Pairings: Gourry/Zelgadis
Original characters: no
Type: romance, yaoi/slash, adventure, humor (I hope).
Warnings: gender-bending slash. yaoi, yuri, and het content (all in one pairing!)
Status: in progress
Spoilers: Some spoilers for Slayers First, Next, and Try series, but nothing major.
Disclaimer: I do not own the copyright to these characters and I'm making no profit from this fic and intend no copyright infringement.

Summary: On the way to Sairaag and hounded by bounty hunters, Zelgadis tries a spell to return himself to human, but forgets to read the fine print first. Meanwhile, Gourry gets caught in one of Lina's spells gone wild.

Part One: Who's That Girl?

It wasn't the Clare Bible, of course, but it was a rare enough find nevertheless, and Zelgadis was not above stealing it when the chance arose. It would have been difficult to walk in and buy it from the shopkeeper even if he'd had the money, with his distinctive face on the "Wanted!" hanging right there in the shop window. But sneaking in and lifting it from its display case while the shopkeeper was busy with another trader, that had not been so difficult at all. Zelgadis slipped quickly through narrow streets toward the harbor with the heavy book hidden under his cloak, looking for a secluded spot where he could take a good look at his latest acquisition.

There were plenty of places to hide in the twisted streets around the harbor town of Sanboa, and he soon found an empty shed off a quiet alley. The dirt-floored shack smelled of fish and tar, but at least he could sit and read out of the sight of curious eyes. A familiar hope fluttered in his heart as he gazed at the ornate cover of the book resting on his knees. It was a genuine, original copy of the semi-legendary "Book of Wilde Magik," a collection of spells and rituals made by an eccentric but brilliant sorcerer nearly 200 years ago. Stone-flecked fingertips traced the swirling designs on the thick leather cover. "Spells of Transformation and Transfiguration for All Occasions," it said in flowery script under the main title.

If anyone knew of a spell to return a Chimera who was one-third human, one-third rock golem and one-third demon to plain human form, the famous Sorcerer Wilde would be the one. The sorcerer Wilde had been well known for his shape-shifting ability (as well as for throwing exotic parties and a few scandalous relationships). Even if the stories of his powers were exaggerated, as often happened over time, his abilities must have been impressive.

With his heart pounding in anticipation, Zelgadis began to flip through the pages. The handwriting was as flowery as the script on the cover, filled with loops and frilly forms, and it took some effort to decipher it. He began to grow even more hopeful as he realized how powerful some of the spells were. They ranged from frivolous ones such as how to turn a turnip into a teakettle, to impressive spells of transfiguration, such as methods for shape-shifting one's self into a cat or a stag.

Most of the shape-shifting spells Zelgadis had seen or heard of were temporary, and as he read more, he realized that this was true for Wilde's magic as well. The spells for transforming a human that were written down in this book each had a time constraint or some other limitation. If the sorcerer became a cat, he had to be careful not to eat any food that a cat might eat, or he would remain as a cat forever and loose all memory of ever having been a human. Were-creatures of various sorts could only transform during certain phases of the moon, or for a certain number of hours. Coaches would revert to being pumpkins at the chime of midnight, and a suit of fancy clothes would return to rags when the sun rose.

And if these limitations weren't discouraging enough, as Zelgadis read through the spells, he realized that none of them were designed to transform something into human form from another state. The only mention of anything like a Chimera was a warning not to mix spells and end up with something that was part cat and part teakettle.

As his hope began to fade, he told himself that at the very least, his theft was a good investment if he could sell the book in another town. But finally, after an hour or more of quick reading, his hope paid off after all. Near the back of the book, in a section of general information on the Art of Transfiguration, he found something that made his heart start to race. He stared at it for several seconds, hoping it said what it seemed to say.

"A General Ritual Most Useful for All-Purpose Transfiguration of the Human Form," said the introductory writing at the top of the page. The Title, written in the most flowery script he'd ever tried to read, was "Change the Skin and What's Within."

"That's it!" Zelgadis said to himself in a whisper of awe. "That's what I've been looking for. It must be!"

He read on, scanning the page quickly, having finally grown accustomed to the quirky writing. The chant was simple yet powerful, and the ritual that accompanied it called for a very few common implements of magic, some of which he already had. The rest he could quickly acquire in this port city, even without returning to the magic shop from which he'd stolen this book to begin with. The main ingredient was a simple magic circle, and that he could make right here in the dirt floor of this shed. There was no mention of any limitation by time or other conditions, only a statement that the spell could be broken, if desired, by any of the standard methods - whatever that meant. Otherwise, as far as Zel could tell, the change would be permanent.

"Thank you, Mr. Wilde," he said, touching the page with reverent fingers.

After memorizing the short list of items he would need, Zelgadis placed the book safely in his traveling bag and rose to leave. At the door of the shed, he covered his wide smile with his scarf, and darted out into the throng of people gathering at the port for the arrival of a ship. He glanced at the posters lining the walls of buildings by the harbor, and his smile grew even wider. If all went well, which he felt confident it would, he'd be fully human again by nightfall. He would never have to look at that stone-flecked, wire-haired face on the poster again.


As Lina, Gourry, and Amelia prepared to leave the ship, Lina was confident that they would have no trouble avoiding bounty hunters here in the crowded port city of Sanboa, far from their usual territory. Gourry and Amelia, tired of hiding and disguises, allowed themselves to believe her. Unfortunately, Lina was wrong. Being closer to Sairaag, the apparent source of the bounty placed on their heads, they soon found out the bounty hunters were thicker than gulls after a fishing boat. A flock of them was waiting at the dock when the ship arrived.

Fortunately, there was a packed crowd of merchants, travelers and sightseers around the dock as well, which gave them some cover as they disembarked. With no time to recreate their elaborate disguises, they grabbed what they could to help them blend in to the crowd. Scarves, hats and parasols hid their faces and hair. Lina spotted a full-length cloak, embroidered with feathers, jewels and gold thread, which had been set aside by its owner who stood nearby with her back to them, fanning herself in the midday heat. Lina grabbed the cloak and tossed it over Gourry's shoulders to hide his swordsman's armor, and tucked his long, golden hair up under a wide-brimmed hat.

"Lina!" he whined, catching a glimpse of his reflection in a window. "Who am I supposed to be now?"

"I don't know," she said with a giggle, "but you look dashing and mysterious. Most importantly, you don't look like that!" she added, pointing at yet another wall plastered with their scowling faces.

Gourry scowled back at the poster, but he got the point. They slunk past the wall in their thin disguises. A guard standing nearby looked right over their heads, scanning the crowd for any sign of the wanted criminals.

"Whew!" Amelia breathed as they climbed the steep street from the harbor into quieter streets. "Now where do we go?"

"Well, our disguises seem to be working, so we could get some food before we leave town," Lina said. "What we got on the ship won't keep us for long," she added when Amelia and Gourry both dropped their jaws at her. "We don't know if we'll be able to get anymore between here and Sairaag, so we'd better stock up while we can!"

Reluctantly, they followed her in search of a shop or an inn that served takeout.


Zelgadis found the extra items he needed within an hour. He climbed the short hill back to the abandoned shed just as the awaited ship dropped anchor in the harbor. From the shop's grimy window he could see the quay where throngs of people gathered to greet the vessel. There was extra excitement because it was the first one to sail from the south in months. He'd heard excited talk of how the dragon that had plagued the shipping lane had finally been vanquished, but he paid no attention to the rumors. He could only think of the spell he was about to try, and he was just thankful that all the attention was on the ship so that the area around the shed was deserted.

Zelgadis made his magic circle with practiced care, and then sat cross-legged on the ground in the center of it. Already he could feel magical energies rising around him from the earth. He placed the required items as the spell instructed, then spread the book out on his knees again to read the chant through one more time.

It was actually quite a standard type of chant, calling on powers of Earth and Sky and an ancient goddess of sea and moon to bless the transformation. He felt the power start to vibrate within him and in the air around him as he spoke the words. His rich voice drew the energy from the simple words and drove it into his stone-sheathed flesh. His body tingled. The lines on the page in front of his eyes seemed to come to life, bending like gold wire as he tried to read the words again.

Concentrating, he felt the magic start to move inside him. Hope gave his words even more power as he felt the change begin. It was working! Raising his voice, he began to recite the chant for the required third and final time, his eyes darting over the words to be sure he didn't make a mistake.

His body felt like it was melting, turning from stone to wax, reshaping itself. He gasped, the words caught in his throat. Power sang through his limbs; the room was lit with it, shining out through his skin. It felt so strange, he couldn't help but wonder if it was right, and if what was happening was really the change from stone golem and demon to full human form. He spared a glance at himself, but all he could see was shifting silver light.

He looked at the fiery writing on the page again and drew breath for the final lines. Only then did he see the words embedded in the margins. The last words of the thrice-repeated chant died into a wail of dismay. In his eagerness, he'd forgotten to read the fine print, as usual. He'd also ignored all he knew of the sorcerer Wilde and his eccentric ways. The spell was not meant to turn a chimera into a human. It was meant to turn a man into a woman.

It was too late to stop the magic from doing its work. In fact, he realized with horror, if he didn't complete the ritual now, he might end up worse off than he was already. It would be just his fate to be part human, part rock golem, part demon, part male, and part female!

In a hurried, frustrated growl Zelgadis finished the chant. The power rose into a cone of white light, flared like a beacon, and then abruptly blinked out. He sat there in the sudden silence and darkness, huddled over the book in his lap, shaking with frustration and horror. He didn't dare open his eyes, and he didn't dare move. As soon as he did, he'd find out if the spell had worked. He could hope that it had failed completely, but that would probably be as pointless as his earlier hope that it would make him human again.

As he sat there shuddering in the dark, cursing his luck for having gotten even worse than it already was, the ground suddenly rocked under him. A blast as if from a sudden fierce gust of wind shook the walls of the shed, and he felt more than heard a booming explosion. A magical explosion, he realized at once. Someone outside, nearby, was setting off fireballs, or worse. He raised his head, distracted by the sound of voices yelling. Not too near, but not far enough. And as he listened, he realized that the sound of a fight was coming closer.

Zelgadis smiled grimly. What else could go wrong? He would have to move from this place, and that meant he would have to face the consequences of his rash attempt to cure himself. He looked down at last.

It was odd. He actually didn't feel any different. His body felt like the same familiar body, with the supernatural strength Rezzo's "gift" had given him. His skin was still slate blue and rock-like, bumpy with the same stone protrusions he'd had for so long. His build was not much different than it had been, slim-hipped and thin-shouldered. But there were curves under his grey tunic that had not been there before. His hair felt a little bit lighter even though it was still tough strands like silver wire. Of course, the most distinctive change was between his legs. It felt strange, but not as strange as he would have expected. Perhaps the spell itself contained some element that made the user feel comfortable with his - or her - new body. Even so, he dreaded the moment when he could take a good look at himself, or rather, herself.

That moment would have to wait, however. The sounds of shouting voices, clanging weapons, and more explosions were sweeping closer. He imagined a wave of people rising like a flood as it squeezed through the narrow streets, flowing downhill from the town toward the harbor.
Zelgadis quickly gathered his belongings into his bag and swept the magic circle away with his foot. His balance was strangely different, even more light and agile than it had been. He wondered if he could run even faster than before. At least that would be useful.

He opened the door of the shed and peered around quickly. To his alarm, the sounds of the fight seemed to have spread into two waves, with echoes of it coming from either end of the narrow street. He was just considering making the leap to the roof of the building across the way when someone came pelting around the corner nearby.

He stood rooted to the spot as Lina Inverse dashed into sight, stopped suddenly, and spun around to face her pursuers. A tangled group of city guards crowded through the narrow street behind her, only to be pushed aside by a half dozen other men, mercenaries and bounty hunters all leering and drooling at the sight of their prey.

Behind him, Zelgadis was vaguely aware of another similar commotion. A female voice shouted a warning at the other group of men, and then made good on the warning with a magical blast that rivaled any of Lina's.

His own panic at the sight of the bounty hunters was less than his dread that Lina and her friends would see him in his current condition. But it flashed into his mind a second later that if anyone could figure out how to break a spell like this, Lina Inverse could.

In the seconds that he stood there watching, a dangerous smile had spread across Lina's face. Beside her and all along the wall hemming the hunters, her face, along with Gourry's and Zel's own, fluttered on the white posters. She glanced at them and then glared at the men.

"I'm sick of this!" she shouted. Even at this distance, Zel flinched at the anger blazing from her eyes. Her hands made signs in the air, and the men in the lead hesitated as they realized she was getting ready to throw another magical missile at them. But even though light and power flared between her hands, Zelgadis could see that she wasn't drawing up another Fireball to toss at them. She had something else in mind this time, some subtler magic.

Something came hurtling through the air to crash onto the roof of the shed and bounce off, landing in the street a few yards away. A ball of embroidered frills and feathers burst into a familiar figure. Zel's startled eyes were dazzled by the gleam of Gourry's golden hair flying free as he sat up and shook himself, just as Lina set loose her spell in a blaze of power. Instinctively Zel threw up a shield against whatever it was she was about to unleash.

"Forget it!" she yelled. Then she elaborated. "Forget you ever saw those faces on those posters! Forget!!!"

The impact of the invisible spell hit his shield like a puff of wind, but he felt it go past and spread out all around him. Another more explosive spell hit him from the other side, and his shield bowed under its power. For one second he saw the hunters who had been pursuing Lina, now standing there looking at each other blankly, wondering what they were doing all crowded into this narrow street together. Then he saw Lina throw up her own shield as the other girl's spell exploded from that end of the street. Everything around him went up in a whirl of dust and debris as the two spells collided.

Without thinking, he dove toward Gourry, who was still groaning in a heap on the ground. He covered both of them with his shield. The shed exploded into flaming shards of fishy-smelling wood. The impact of the conflicting spells reverberated, battering his shield and somehow numbing his senses.

When he opened his eyes a few minutes later, everything was quiet. He found himself huddled over Gourry, both of them buried under a light pile of debris. He stared into the wondering blue eyes of the swordsman while he listened for voices, or any other sound.

Gourry blinked at him. "What just happened?" he asked.

"I'm not sure," Zelgadis answered.

Carefully, they pushed the debris aside and raised their heads to look around. His shed was demolished, and the wall on which the posters had fluttered was singed black and splintered. There was no one else in sight.

"I guess...." Zelgadis began. But he couldn't really guess what had happened. Had Lina and the other girl fled, without realizing that Gourry had been left behind? Or had they been captured after all in the confusion?

Gourry climbed out of the rubble and stood up. The feathered and frilled cloak still clung in tatters from his shoulders, but he didn't seem to notice as he looked around. He glanced down at Zel with a concerned expression, and then smiled.

"Here, let me help you up, ma'am," he said, offering his hand.

Zel gaped, blushed, and ground his teeth in frustration all at once. But before he could do anything, Gourry had lifted him to his feet and was brushing the dust off his tunic.

"All right!" he said, batting the swordsman's hands away. "I'm fine... stop that!"

"Sorry," Gourry said, looking apologetic. "But, are you hurt, ma'am?"

"Just leave it," Zel said impatiently. "We have to figure out what happened to Lina."

Gourry smiled at him. "What?"

"We have to..." Zel stopped scanning the street for clues and took a good, hard look at Gourry.

"Lina Inverse? We have to find her, right?"

"I don't know, do we?" Gourry said, looking puzzled. "Who is she? Is this Lina a friend of yours, ma'am?"

Zelgadis sat down heavily on the pile of debris behind him. Just when he thought his luck couldn't get any worse, or his day any weirder....

Gourry knelt down in front of him, his face filled with concern.

"Ma'am, are you sure you're alright?"

He stared at Gourry in disbelief. Caught in Lina's rampant spell of forgetting, it made sense that he didn't remember Zelgadis from their earlier encounter. What was strange was that he seemed not to notice anything unusual at all about his appearance.

"Excuse me, but don't I seem at all strange to you?"

Gourry cocked his head at him. "Well, I don't know why you're dressed like a boy, but I'm sure you have your reasons."

Zel gaped at him in amazement. Was it the spell on Gourry making him blind, or did the spell on himself hide his true appearance? "Aside from the clothes," he said through clenched teeth, "isn't there anything else?"

Gourry considered this question carefully, his eyes traveling up and down Zel's body from silver-wire hair to the glimpse of bare ankles. The gaze lingered longest on Zel's chest. Zel face flushed red.

"Well, you do look a little unusual, I guess," Gourry said nonchalantly. He stared with childlike curiosity at Zel's face. Then he grinned.

"I bet you don't have to worry about getting sunburned with that skin, ma'am! And, you have pretty eyes," he added with typical bluntness. "And a nice figure. You seem thin, though, ma'am. Are you getting enough to eat?"

Zel stared, open mouthed, unable to speak. Yet at the same time, he realized that it was just like Gourry to respond to him like this. The guileless swordsman seemed to take people as he found them, only concerned about whether they were an enemy or a friend. And of course, he'd look at Zel's chest, now that he had a chest to notice. He could barely bring himself to look at it himself. Seeing that Gourry's gaze had returned there again, he finally glanced down quickly. With mixed feelings, he realized that it was actually larger than Lina's. That wasn't saying much, of course, but... it was a nice chest. For a woman. Which is what he had become, he reminded himself with a sinking feeling.

Shaking his head to get that thought out of it, he returned his attention to Gourry.

"Gourry, don't you think...." he began, but he broke off in mid-thought. There was no reaction from the swordsman. Gourry continued to gaze with friendly curiosity at Zel's hair, face, and body.


"Hum? Oh, were you speaking to me?"

The situation finally became clear to Zelgadis. Of course, when Gourry had been caught by the spell of forgetting, he'd forgotten the identity of all the people on the posters, and that included Gourry Gabriev himself.

"Look, what's your name?" he asked, just to make sure.

Gourry looked at him blankly for a moment, put his finger to his chin, and thought hard about it.

"What is my name?" he asked wonderingly. "I don't know! Hmmm..." he thought about it some more. Finally he shrugged, and smiled at Zel. "Oh well, I guess I never was very good at remembering names!" he said.

"True," Zel sighed. "I guess you never were."

to be continued.

Notes: My very first bit of Slayers fic. Inspired by Vash the Stampede on the OddSlayersCouples group. Thanks for the inspiration! I take a simple idea and turn it into a long, wordy epic, as usual. Let me know if you'd rather read a short version - I can always try!
The story calls for Gourry not realizing who girl-Zel is at first. I don't see Gourry as being quite as dense as he's often made out to be, though, and amnesia makes a nice plot complication, dontcha think?