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Thread: Summer Nights (Slayers - Xellos/Filia - Oneshot Collection)

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  1. #1
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    Default Summer Nights (Slayers - Xellos/Filia - Oneshot Collection)


    Rating: G-R
    Fandom: Slayers
    Genre: Romance/Comedy/Drama
    Status: On-going
    Pairing: Xellos/Filia

    My entries for Beloved Enemy's 100 Nights of Summer Challenge. Also posted up on my fanfiction.net account.

    Index
        Spoiler:- Index:


    PM List
    -AbsolXWolf


    First up, Theme #57: Exorcism.

    Exorcism. Rated PG.

    It was the first house call of young Reverend Verily Rinderpest’s career and he was terrified of screwing it up. He’d initially joined the clergy because he wanted a career in which he could avoid hard work and danger and stay indoors. His dull manner of speaking and social ineptitude made him useless on the pulpit and more trouble than he was worth in missionary work. So they’d transferred him to one of the temple’s darker divisions. The dark division, in fact. The one where holy water was your tea and you cut your teeth on silver bullets.

    And now he was standing in the threshold of the home of Miss Filia Ul Copt. Everyone in Achaea knew her. She was the dragon girl who ran that lovely shop on the main street. As far as Verily understood it, dragons were the servants of the gods. But selling instruments meant for bashing other people’s heads open hardly seemed holy to him. Although the vases were quite nice.

    Verily clutched his scriptures to his chest as he looked around the shop-room anxiously. “Where umm…” he began, “Where does it… haunt?”

    Filia gave him a questioning and somewhat sharp look. “He’s in the den,” she said, and began to lead him down a hallway.

    I’m not cut out for this, Verily thought as he followed her down the hall. I’m scared of the dark and still sleep with a square of the blanket I had when I was a baby. I’m the last person that should be standing against the forces of darkness. He consoled himself with the elder Reverend Masis’s admittance that most cases they’d be called for would end up as the product of overactive imagination. “Just go through the routine as writ, whatever the case. It’s there for a reason,” the old man had advised.

    But this case seemed… odd. Even though he had no prior experience to really compare it to. It certainly hadn’t been what he expected when he’d done the pre-interview with Miss Ul Copt. She’d gone into the temple one morning and, bold as brass, announced that she needed to see someone about getting an exorcism. So they’d carted her off to him.

    As has already been indicated, socializing was not his forte, but he made an attempt. He’d been told that many people seeking intervention from the temple were likely to be in delicate emotional states. And with the reasons they generally had for getting the church involved: who wouldn’t be? So he’d been very kind to her. He’d offered her a seat and given her a cup of tea in case her nerves needed to be calmed, and only then did he open his ledger and begin asking questions.

    They were all pre-written out in standard forms. Clearly an exorcism form was needed… either 1A or 1B…

    “Now, as I understand it, there’s a demon you need us to get rid of?” Verily had asked in what he hoped was a commanding, in-charge voice that would convince his client that he was totally in control of the situation.

    “Yes,” Filia had said, taking a drink of her tea.

    Right. Verily looked at the forms again. One was for expulsion from living beings and the other was for expulsion from physical locations. Of the two, the second tended to be difficult to permanently expel a spirit from, but the first tended to be the most dangerous for client and attending. He prayed it was the second.

    “Now, is this demon inside of you?” Verily asked in what he hoped was a very sensitive way.

    To his surprise, Filia spat out the gulp of tea she’d been drinking in one long spray, coughed and choked incessantly, and glared. After this display was over she finally turned to him and, in what he considered an oddly dark tone of voice, said: “He wishes.”

    “O-kay…” Verily said, not quite sure how to respond to this. “Then is the demon inside—”

    “He’s in my house!” Filia said impatiently, not wanting to hear the end of that question.

    Form 1B it is! Verily thought, feeling the relief wash over him as he tossed the other form aside.

    “Now… there’s just one demon, is there?” Verily asked, realizing as he read the first question that he’d gotten a little ahead of himself by assuming that.

    “One is enough,” Filia said firmly.

    Verily put a check in the appropriate box. “Have you noticed any poltergeist activity?”

    Filia gave him a bewildered look.

    “You know, things moving by themselves… things breaking,” Verily prompted.

    “I don’t really think it’s anything like that,” Filia had said. “Although, a lot of my vases have been breaking,” she added sourly.

    Verily didn’t see how that didn’t qualify as poltergeist activity, but didn’t argue. “Has the demon ever spoken in tongues?”

    “Not around me,” Filia had said.

    “Is your house by any chance built on the burial ground of some indigenous people?” Verily asked. Sometimes it’s the simple things that can make your life a living hell.

    She gave him a long, slow look. “I think,” she finally said, “that you’d better just come down and see for yourself.”

    So Verily had. As he walked through the hall of Filia’s house/shop he tried to steel himself by imagining all the possible horrors that could lurk in the shadows so that nothing would surprise him. He’d tried to think of clowns with claws; he’d tried to think of gurgling masses of flesh and teeth; he’d tried to think tentacled monstrosities; and for some reason he’d tried to think of a little girl turning her head around three-hundred-and-sixty degrees.

    In any case, when he walked into the den and all he saw was a purple haired young man playing with a green haired toddler he was a little shaken by the unexpected normalcy.

    “Oh,” the man said, standing up as he noticed the arrivals into the room. “Do we have guests?”

    “You shut up, Xellos!” Filia shouted, pointing a shaky finger at him. “Stop acting like you live here or something!”

    He that was designated Xellos raised a sardonic eyebrow and looked from Filia to the Reverend and back to Filia again. “Filia, you’re making a scene in front of company,” he informed her.

    “I’m not the one—” she began to explode, only to be cut off by Reverend Verily tugging at her sleeve. “What?” she snapped.

    “Umm… Miss Filia,” Verily began, looking around the room. “Where is the uh… the demon?”

    Filia gave Verily the same look that his teacher’s had given him when he confused scripture enough to think that the wages of sin was, in fact, eternal life. “He’s right there!” Filia said, waving her hand at the purple haired man.

    Verily turned his head and looked at the man, who simply smiled in an open and friendly manner. Then he turned back to Filia.

    Him?

    “Yes ‘him’!” Filia thundered. “What? Do you really think I’d make this all up? Now just get going with the exorcism,” she ordered.

    “Exorcism?” Xellos repeated, furrowing his brow in confusion.

    None of this seemed at all right to Verily. “You let a demon play with your child?” he asked incredulously.

    “Xelly!” the child gurgled happily.

    “I don’t let him!” Filia said, offended, as she picked up her son. “He’s a monster! What am I supposed to do about him?”

    “Exorcism?” Xellos repeated again, in case no one had heard him the first time.

    “Yes, exorcism!” Filia said, rounding on him. “What? Did you think I wouldn’t do anything when you just decide to camp out in my house? What are you planning, you monster?!

    Xellos shrugged. “Can’t an old friend drop by for a visit without you calling in the holy water brigade?”

    “Two weeks isn’t just a visit,” Filia countered.

    “It’s a long visit,” Xellos said simply.

    “You’d think you’d have better things to do with your time,” Filia retorted.

    “Better? Than seeing my favorite dragon?” Xellos asked, opening one eye in her direction in a kind of reverse wink. “Perish the thought.”

    Filia blushed, which Reverend Verily considered a little weird if the man in front of them was really a demon. “I-I’m not going to let you trick me,” she said, averting her eyes.

    Xellos laughed, and put a finger to his lips. “Yes you are,” he said.

    “Umm…” Verily said, feeling like he’d been forgotten. “Are we going to do the exorcism or not?” he asked.

    “Yes,” Filia said, at the same time Xellos said, “No”.

    They exchanged a look and then Xellos said, “Oh fine,” as he collapsed into one of the chairs. “If it gives you any pleasure, Filia, then go ahead.”

    Filia looked back at Reverend Verily and gave an impatient gesture of her head that was the universal sign for: ‘Get on with it!’

    Verily coughed and checked his notes. Ah, yes, first would be…

    …Umm… this could be awkward.


    Verily unrolled a scroll that had verses from scripture written all over it. He looked hesitantly at the man on the chair watching him like a cat. He shuffled forward and, all the while fearing that the man would suddenly sprout claws and disembowel him, he stuck the scroll to the man’s forehead and immediately backed away.

    The scrolls were infused with divine energy. They were supposed to purify everything they touched. But Xellos just looked up at the bit of paper in a cross-eyed sort of way. An optimist might say that maybe, possibly there was a thin wisp of smoke issuing from where the paper touched him, but that was the extent of the damage. He picked it off himself as though it was a minor nuisance.

    Umm… alright… he went back to his the written routine. When scrolls failed that meant it was time to go on to the litany. He turned to the appropriate page in his prayer book.

    He looked up awkwardly for a bit of sunshine coming through a window for whatever hope it might bring him. This wasn’t how he expected his first exorcism to go.

    He coughed and said in his clearest, most holy voice: “Deliver us, oh Ceifeed from all sin, from all your wrath, from sudden and unprovided death.”

    “It sounds more like Ceifeed is the problem than me,” Xellos commented idly.

    Verily swallowed and tried to ignore this obvious bit of blasphemy. “From all snares of the demons; from anger, hatred and all ill will; from all lewdness—”

    “Was that what you had in mind, Filia?” Xellos said, giving her a wicked look.

    “You—!” she began, too full of rage to take that sentence one step further.

    “I command you, unclean spirit, whoever you are,” Verily went on, talking over them as loud as he could.

    “Oh, it’s Xellos,” the man said brightly. “I don’t think we were properly introduced.” He extended a hand.

    “Stop interrupting!” Filia snapped at him, slapping his hand away.

    “By the mystery of the sacrifice of the great Ceifeed you shall leave this domicile and not return to harm any who dwell here. By all that is righteous I command you!” Verily asserted, his voice only breaking slightly in the process.

    “…No,” was all Xellos said. It wasn’t a harsh ‘no’, it was more like a ‘no thanks, I won’t have a second slice of pie’ type of ‘no’.

    Verily looked nervously from Xellos to Filia, who was tapping her foot impatiently, and then back down to his notes. Alright… one thing left and that’s holy water. Reverend Masis says it never fails.
    He flipped open the cap on the clear, crystal bottle and began swishing it back and forth in deeply religious patterns in Xellos’s direction. The demon blinked as the water hit him.

    “The power of Ceifeed compels you!” Reverend Verily declared. “The power of Ceifeed compels you! The power of Ceifeed compels you! The power of Ceifeed compels you!”

    Xellos yawned to show that it didn’t.

    Reverend Verily looked at his now very empty bottle of holy water. It seemed like all he had done was possibly damage one of Filia’s overstuffed chairs with the impromptu shower. What do I do now? he asked himself, fear gripping him.

    And then, he remembered Reverend Masis’s words: ‘Just go through the routine as writ, whatever the case. It’s there for a reason.’

    He took a deep breath and peered down at the end of the routine. “The, uh,” he began awkwardly. “The house is now free of demons,” he read.

    Filia and Verily looked at each other, and then slowly revolved to look at Xellos, who smiled at them; then dragon and reverend looked back at each other.

    “I’m not paying,” Filia said flatly.
    Last edited by Skiyomi; 30th January 2014 at 4:36 AM.

  2. #2
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    Theme #70: Tea Leaves.

    Tea Leaves. Rated G.

    Filia had known that life wouldn’t always be easy for a dragon living among humans. Hadn’t she encountered places in her journeys where dragons were feared or completely forbidden? And even most otherwise kind and fair humans could have a tendency to be a little nervous around a creature that could breathe lasers and level buildings.

    Thankfully, the thriving family community of Achaea had welcomed her with open arms. She had been treated with only the greatest courtesy since she arrived there with Jillas, Gravos, and Val in his little egg to set up shop. She had plenty of business and was surprised to find herself becoming a pillar of the community.

    And that was the thing really. Because even though no one in Achaea thought ill of her for being a dragon, it did mean that she was… well, someone ‘not quite like us’. The people of Achaea didn’t consider this a bad thing, in fact… there were times when hard up villagers needed people ‘not quite like us’.

    Most of the time this involved matters that humans really had no control over. Dragons had a stronger connection with the gods, and were known for their powers of prophecy. When the people of Achaea got uncertain, they knew that there was a dragon in town who might have the answers.

    Filia accepted this with patience. Almost always what her inquiring visitors needed was not a prophecy, but an understanding ear to share their problems with and a little friendly advice. It was worth it to earn their esteem and sooth some of their worries. Plus it ensured that her status as someone ‘not quite like us’ didn’t dip to the negative.

    But Mrs. Babbage was another story entirely.

    Mrs. Babbage was Achaea’s florist; a heavy-set, sunny sort of woman who would blush to admit that she had left middle-age in the dust. She was a sweet lady, and wouldn’t have normally been any trouble to anyone. But Mrs. Babbage had a hobby.

    Filia should’ve heeded the signs, but she didn’t. When she’d met Mrs. Babbage and the woman had gleefully informed her: “I’m a bit psychic, you know” Filia had just smiled to herself. An interest in divination was not at all uncommon and there were plenty of people like Mrs. Babbage that were under the impression that an overactive imagination was the same as a psychic gift. It was harmless.

    So she’d taken Mrs. Babbage up on her invitation to tea and sat patiently through her long story about how the inner eye ran in her family. About how her great grandmother had predicted the Rautfian Solar Eclipse. It hadn’t been her fault that she predicted it three days after it actually happened. The woman didn’t get out much and hadn’t been looking at the sky in any case. It was still uncanny.

    But what Filia really had objected to was after the tea had been drunk and Mrs. Babbage insisted on a tea leaf reading. Filia didn’t particularly care for those. The future she liked to see in a cup of tea was one that guaranteed a delicious, warm beverage. But she wasn’t really in a position to refuse so she ventured her best guesses which Mrs. Babbage lapped up.

    And then it had been Mrs. Babbage’s turn to read Filia’s. Mrs. Babbage had apparently just heard of tea leaf reading and was much worse than a novice. She’d mostly predicted brown blobs in Filia’s future.

    And ever since that day it had been impossible to shake Mrs. Babbage’s attention. The woman had thrown herself into what she now referred to as tasseomancy. She’d researched and practiced in the cups of family, friends, and people who had just left their drink out in cafes. And she was raring to show Filia how much she’d improved.

    Which was why Filia wasn’t exactly thrilled when she opened the door to see the florist’s eager looking face. “Mrs. Babbage?” she said helplessly.

    “Afternoon, Miss Filia,” Mrs. Babbage chirped brightly. “I said I’d be by for tea.”

    “Oh, right,” Filia said wearily, setting down the large vase she’d been hefting. “It’s Tuesday.”

    If Mrs. Babbage noted the not-so-thrilled tone in Filia’s voice then she did a good job of hiding it. Filia sighed to herself. She felt obliged to indulge Mrs. Babbage. The woman clearly just needed a friend. And anyway, spending a half-an-hour pretending she was a fortune teller was probably a nice vacation from her day job.

    “Come in, Mrs. Babbage,” she said.

    *****

    The conversation over tea was largely focused on one subject: Mrs. Babbage’s ever growing collection. Apparently the woman had bought a beaded curtain for her tea room and a golden star chart that her husband had given her some trouble about buying. She’d also picked up another deck of tarot cards. That must make twenty by now.

    She despaired at where to find an affordable crystal ball. There were pretty ones you could mail-order from magic shops all over the country, but they tended to be on the ridiculously expensive side. Abner wouldn’t let her get one.

    Filia wasn’t a complete stranger to scrying. It was something that she had learned in the temple although dragons do not use it much, the reason being it’s too easy for the monsters to tap into something like that to spy.

    But she knew enough to say: “You know, you can actually get the same effect as a crystal ball in a basin of water with ink in it. That’s much cheaper.”

    Mrs. Babbage had looked at her blankly. “Yes, but,” she said, “without the crystal ball, then what’s the point?”

    Well, Filia couldn’t argue with that logic. Mrs. Babbage hadn’t started dabbling in fortune telling to do things without flair.

    They finished their tea and the part of the meeting Filia had been dreading had arrived. She tried to minimize some of the trouble as the woman traded their cups by saying: “If you’re trying to practice then why don’t you just read both our fortunes?”

    “Oh, but I can’t,” Mrs. Babbage said, looking aghast. “It’s very dangerous to read your own fortune. It says so in Elder Rafu’s Beginner’s Guide to Tasseomancy,” she said, holding up the book that she proudly told Filia that she’d sent away for from New Sairaag. Her brow furrowed. “Don’t you know that?”

    “Of course,” Filia said quickly, deciding it was probably better not to challenge the woman’s perception and keep her status as the inner eye of Achaea. “I was just testing you,” she said, hoping the woman would buy this.

    Mrs. Babbage beamed proudly, so it clearly worked.

    Filia sighed and looked down at Mrs. Babbage’s cup. Why tea leaves? she wondered. It might as well be clouds. She tilted the cup and adjusted her features into a look of concentration.

    “Good news,” she said, with a smile. “It looks like within the next year heaven will be blessing you with a new addition to your family.”
    Mrs. Babbage’s face glowed. “Really?” she said happily. “What symbol tells you that?”

    Filia didn’t need tea leaves to make that prediction. There were advantages to having the entire town lay their troubles before you. And that was that you tended to know everything that was going on without messing around with any inner eye. And she was well aware that Mrs. Babbage’s daughter Melinda was stepping out with the barber’s son. It was really only a matter of time. The girl couldn’t count.

    “It’s sort of looking at all the signs together,” Filia hedged. “You know, like the big picture.”

    “Wow!” Mrs. Babbage said, impressed. “I can see I’ve got a lot of practice to do.”

    “Oh, no,” Filia said. The last thing she needed was more tea dates with Mrs. Babbage. “There are a lot of different ways to do this. I’m sure you’ll do fine.”

    Mrs. Babbage nodded and uncertainly took up Filia’s cup. Then she remembered her role and said, in what she thought was a mysterious and ethereal kind of voice: “Now we will part back the mists of time and seek out your destiny.”

    Filia resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Instead she gave the woman an encouraging nod.

    “The first thing I see,” Mrs. Babbage said, peering in the cup, “Kind of looks like an animal… I think a wolf?” she turned a few pages in her book. “That stands for jealousy.”

    “What about jealousy?” Filia asked politely.

    “What?” Mrs. Babbage said, turning uncomprehending eyes up to Filia.

    “Well… will I be jealous of someone or will someone be jealous of me?”

    Mrs. Babbage looked down at the book and then back at Filia. “It doesn’t say. I suppose it just stands for… you know, general jealousy.”

    “Oh.”

    Mrs. Babbage looked back at the cup. “And… you’ve got an umbrella here,” she looked down again, “that represents annoyance.”

    I wonder, Filia thought dully, what it would be like to have an annoying life.

    “But wait,” Mrs. Babbage said, frowning. She flipped a few pages and then looked up. “What’s the difference between an umbrella and a parasol?”

    Filia hadn’t been expecting an impromptu vocabulary quiz. “Uh… is there a difference?” she asked.

    Mrs. Babbage bit her lip. “It’s just that… well, an umbrella does stand for annoyances, but a parasol represents a new lover. I’m just not sure which is which. So you’re either going to have annoyances in your future or a new lover.”

    “Or an annoying new lover,” Mrs. Babbage added as the thought struck her.

    This was looking to be a dismal cup. Filia might have worried if she thought Mrs. Babbage had even a shred of psychic power.

    “Does a triangle shape mean anything?” Mrs. Babbage asked, half to herself as she flipped pages. “Ah yes,” she said, pointing at the relevant passage. “It means something unexpected is going to happen.”

    Perhaps her annoying new lover would show up and be jealous of something. Considering Mrs. Babbage’s dearth of clairvoyance that would be what Filia would expect least.

    “And there’s a wiggly line,” Mrs. Babbage said, adjusting her new shawl. On the basis that ‘wiggly line’ probably wasn’t an omen in any book she browsed through looking for a suitable substitute. “That’s probably the snake,” she said finally. “That means an enemy… but also wisdom?” She looked questioningly at the book.

    “Well,” Filia said with a fixed smile. “Forewarned is forearmed. Thanks for the reading, it’s been lovely to see you but—”

    “Wait,” Mrs. Babbage said. “There’s one more sign in the bottom of the cup.” She flipped to the end of her book and frowned again.

    “Well, it’s not in the book,” she said uncertainly. “But there’s definitely like… an X at the bottom of the cup.”

    “I’m sure that’s just—” Filia began, and then snapped her neck to look at the other woman, suddenly completely alert. “What?!”

    “Yes,” Mrs. Babbage said. “It’s very clearly an X.” She looked a little uncomfortable. “Usually I have to squint and close one eye to see anything much,” she admitted reluctantly, “but this is a very clear cup.”

    Filia snatched her cup back from Mrs. Babbage, ignoring the woman’s protests of disturbing the fabric of space-time. She stared into it disbelievingly. Then set it down with some force away from her.

    She looked up at the now slightly disconcerted Mrs. Babbage with determined anger in her eyes. “I’m making another pot.

    *****

    Five pots of tea later – all of different kinds as if that would somehow help – and Mrs. Babbage was getting very edgy. She wanted to leave. The normally sweet and patient Miss Filia was starting to worry her. Plus she’d drunk much more tea than she ever wanted to.

    Filia stared into yet another one of her own cups, ignoring the advice of Mrs. Babbage and Elder Rafu altogether. No matter what she did, it was always the same signs in the same arrangements, dangerously clear. Drawing together to create more specific meanings. Mocking her.

    “Umm… Miss Filia are you alright?” Mrs. Babbage tried.

    But Filia didn’t seem to be occupying the same realm as her guest anymore. And it was at that point that Rosemarie Babbage saw Miss Filia scowl darkly at her cup; hurl it against the wall in a shower of porcelain; and scream to the universe, Mrs. Babbage, and destiny in general:

    “The tea leaves are WRONG!

  3. #3
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    Theme #72.

    First Kiss. Rated PG.

    It was shaping up to be another interesting journey for Lina Inverse and her band of friends, acquaintances, and sometimes-enemies. With Zelgadis tagging along to search for his cure, Amelia following to punish villains, Gourry following because he was epoxied to Lina at the hip, Filia joining in for a chance to find a lost tome about ancient dragons, and Xellos stalking them for his own unspecified purposes… well… there had already been a lot going on. And then they’d picked up Sylphiel along the way just to make things more complicated.

    As it was, they were way over their shrine-maiden quota. Not only that, they were over their budget quota. Stretching a food budget to eight people (some of which had very large appetites) on misappropriated bandit booty was tough. Lina said that Xellos should help them out by not eating since, being a creature of darkness, he didn’t need to eat human food. Xellos responded by saying that he liked eating human food, so there. Then someone had called someone selfish and the result of the ensuing fight was that Filia was left to try to yank her mace out of the trunk of a tree it had somehow gotten lodged in.

    But they were making the food thing work, mostly by cutting down to six courses per meal. It was a sad state of affairs. Near starving, practically. But they were getting by. The real problem had been rooms. Rooms in most inns were very expensive. Xellos always got his own room, but then again, he paid for it. So with him out of the equation they needed at least two for propriety’s sake. Gourry and Zelgadis didn’t have such a raw deal in sharing a room. But for the girls… well, four people in one small room is pushing it a little.

    It had been Amelia who had suggested in her optimistic sort of way that they treat it like a slumber party. It was a nice way to completely turn around the situation. After all, they were girls and half of them would be sleeping on the floor. They might as well pretend it was a party instead of a giant inconvenience.

    So they’d busted out the nail polish and the hair things and made ready to have the best darn shot at a sleepover that they could manage. Lina had even scrounged up a cheap local snack. It was called… ‘snapped corn’ or something. It didn’t really taste like anything so they’d melted butter over it reasoning that this couldn’t possibly hurt. Lina was currently hogging the bowl while Sylphiel painted her toenails and Amelia begged the others to let her braid their hair.

    There are certain… male ideas of what a gaggle of girls such as this might discuss. The subject matter largely includes boys and bra sizes. This is a negative stereotype. Groups of young women are just as likely to talk about sharecropping, corporate finance, and art history as they are to talk about romance and comparative physical development.

    Nevertheless, they were talking about boys in this case. But this is just a coincidence and shouldn’t be taken for the norm.

    “First kiss?” Filia repeated when the subject came up. “I haven’t had one,” she answered haughtily.

    “What?” Amelia said in surprise.

    “Why is that so hard to believe?” Filia sniffed.

    “I don’t think it’s hard to believe at all,” Lina said through a mouthful of puffy corn kernels. Filia ignored her.

    “It’s just that,” Amelia began uncertainly. “Well, haven’t you been alive for like… hundreds of years?”

    “Yes. And?” Filia asked, starting to feel a little under attack.

    “And in all that time you never—”

    “The dragon race,” Filia cut her off, “is chaste and virtuous. I’m not about to kiss the first person I see!”

    “I don’t think she’s saying that,” Sylphiel said in her calm, dreamy sort of way. “Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with kissing.” She looked off into the distance and accidentally painted Lina’s pinky-toe blue while she was distracted. “I remember my first kiss. I was eight and my friends and I were playing tag. Out of nowhere Murdo Vieben ran up and kissed me.”

    “What happened then?” Amelia asked.

    “He ran away again,” Sylphiel said simply.

    After a pause, Filia asked: “Isn’t that sexual harassment?” because she just had to take all the magic out of moments.

    Sylphiel just shrugged. “How about you, Miss Amelia?”

    “Oh,” Amelia looked down. “Well I… that is… I never actually—”

    “Waiting for a certain someone?” Lina asked archly.

    Amelia blushed and didn’t answer.

    You were giving me trouble for not kissing someone when you haven’t kissed anyone either?” Filia exclaimed. It stank of hypocrisy.

    “Well, you’re a lot older than me, Miss Filia,” Amelia said. “And you’re… well, I was just a little surprised is all. I didn’t mean anything by it.”

    “There’s no need to get defensive about it,” Lina said.

    “I’m not being defensive—” Filia began to shout back.

    “What about you, Miss Lina?” Sylphiel asked with what Filia thought was altogether too much eagerness.

    “What about what?” Lina said warily. You could tell she knew exactly what, but wasn’t exactly keen on answering.

    “You know. Your first kiss,” Sylphiel prompted.

    Lina looked away with an embarrassed and irritated expression. This wasn’t surprising considering this wasn’t a subject she was at all at home with talking about. But Filia thought something in her expression went beyond miffed and uncomfortable and into the territory of teeth-grindingly pissed off.

    “Oh fine,” she said, slamming down the metal snack bowl on the floor with a giiiooong sound. “If you must know, it was Xellos.”

    *****

    Miles away, on the other side of town, the local craft union was having its semi-annual midnight house of cards contest. Prestige and a solid gold-painted trophy were on the line. These were serious men who prided themselves on their meticulousness, proficiency in their craft, and above all: steady hands. This was about more than building houses out of cards. This was about building destinies.

    The sound came from out of nowhere. Its waves decimated the neighborhood of cards with such ease that it buried an apprentice up to his knees in paper. It sounded like…

    “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!?”

    *****

    The room was in disarray. The windows had cracked and pictures had fallen off the wall. But no one was really paying attention to that. A towering dragon, shaking with rage is the focal point of any room.

    “Calm down!” Lina said, waving her hands at her. “Geez, do you want to wake up the whole town?”

    Filia’s nostrils flared as she took in hulking gulps of air. She had so many enraged questions she wanted to ask that she didn’t even know where to start, especially since most of them were just variations on her earlier ‘What’ outburst with different numbers of a’s, exclamation points, and question marks. So she settled for a shrill, and still too loud demand of: “When was this?!”

    “A couple years ago when we were going after the Claire Bible,” Lina answered.

    “Oh, that’s right. When he first traveled with us. I remember,” Amelia said lightly, as if this wasn’t some big, earth-shattering deal.

    Filia wasn’t sure at this point whether the best way to cope with this would be to punch a hole in the wall or just weep for the awfulness of the world.

    “Oh, Miss Lina!” Filia cried mournfully, on the edge of bursting into angry sobs. “How could you have let yourself be seduced by that—”

    “Whoa! Whoa! Hold up!” Lina said, sounding thoroughly insulted. “I didn’t let myself get seduced by anyone. You think I like that that creep kissed me? Are you kidding me?” She ran her hand irritably through her hair. “Trust me: no one is more upset about this than I am.”

    Looking at Filia’s expression… this was very hard to believe.

    “But to let that… that monster of all things—” Filia began in a horrified manner.

    “We didn’t know he was a monster at the time,” Lina said. “That’s why he did it. When I was getting close to figuring him out, he did it distract me.” It worked too. Slimy prick.

    “It was on the cheek if that makes you feel any better,” Amelia said in a comforting, I-sincerely-think-I’m-helping kind of way.

    “It doesn’t!” Filia shot back, although it did dampen down the images circulating through her head without permission.

    “Look,” Lina said, “can’t we just drop the subject?” She thought desperately for something to derail the current topic. “Hey Amelia, why don’t you braid my hair now?”

    “Umm… sure,” Amelia said, still looking at Filia like she might explode any minute.

    For her part, Filia was staring at the wall as though contemplating especially bloody murder. Then suddenly she slammed her fist down on the floor, stood up, and declared to the room at large: “He’s not going to get away with this!” before storming out of the room.

    The door crashed shut, its hinges moaning and nearly parting company with the wall.

    “Oh brother,” Lina said, letting her head fall into one of her hands.

    “So… umm… is Mister Xellos Miss Filia’s boyfriend?” Sylphiel asked as she’d just joined up with the group and was a little behind on developments.

    “Not… really,” Amelia answered.

    “What does she think she’s doing?” Lina asked, throwing up her hands.

    “I don’t think Miss Filia’s thinking at all,” Amelia said slowly.

    “Well, if she doesn’t come back then I get her pillow,” Lina said sullenly. It wasn’t that she didn’t care what happened to her friend. It was just that they’d only been able to get four pillows per room and she needed at least two to herself to be comfortable. She was being practical, not selfish.

    *****

    That evil, evil, EVIL piece of garbage! Filia thought wildly as she stomped through the halls of the inn, pumping her arms furiously. Stupid Xellos and his stupid haircut and his stupid staff and his stupid cloak and his stupid yellow turtleneck and his stupid gloves and his stupid smile and his stupid finger-wagging and his stupid STUPID… purpleness!

    Filia was a bit too far gone to realize she was getting incoherent at this point. All she knew was that there would be retribution. If Xellos thought he could just casually whisk Miss Lina over to the dark side then he had another thing coming!

    She reached his door and was barely able to keep herself in check enough to not knock with her mace. She didn’t want to have to pay the innkeeper for property damage, so she contented herself to a very sharp, very angry sounding, she thought: Knock! Knock!

    After awhile, a voice from within said: “Who’s there?”

    Filia grit her teeth. This wasn’t the start of a joke because she would so like to kill him. “It’s me, now get out here!”

    The door opened to reveal Xellos. Or, in Filia’s mind, opened up to reveal the stupid, evil bastard who called himself Xellos. He looked her up and down curiously. “Rude,” was all he said.

    “Oh, don’t even give me that!” Filia snapped. “I know what happened. I know you kissed Miss Lina and you’re not going to get away with it!”

    Xellos had the nerve to look upwards and to the side as though he was trying to remember something. “I did?”

    “Don’t play innocent!” Filia yelled. “You know that trick doesn’t work on me.”

    “Oooh, I think I remember now,” Xellos said, memory returning as if by magic. “A few years ago. Twice. On the cheek.” He gave her a questioning look. “Does that even really count?”

    Filia wasn’t in any position to have a debate about when a kiss counted as a kiss. Her world was entirely filled up with one word. TWICE?! Miss Lina hadn’t thought to mention that for some reason! And now Filia really needed to hit something. Unfortunately, Xellos would definitely dodge. So she settled for stamping her foot. It was childish, but necessary.

    “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing,” Filia said accusingly.

    Xellos raised an eyebrow. “What am I doing?”

    “You’re—” Filia struggled to put her suspicions into words. She rallied on a surge of anger. “You just think you can go around with your Mister Nice Guy routine and then act all evil like you really are all of the sudden and confuse everyone so that they think you’re… you’re… interesting or something!”

    Xellos was quiet for a moment. Then he said: “I think that, do I?”

    “Well, it won’t work!” Filia declared, ignoring his question. “You won’t seduce Miss Lina to the Monster race’s side as long as I’m around!”

    Xellos reached a gloved finger up to scratch at his hair, seemingly embarrassed to be in the presence of such misplaced exuberance. “If you ask me, it sounds like you’re jealous.”

    Filia made a sound that wasn’t a known word in either human or dragon. “You’ve got a lot of nerve,” Filia finally said dangerously, “to suggest I’d join the monster race’s side. I would sooner die.”

    Xellos’s eyes were still squinted shut, but Filia had been around him long enough to be able to tell when he was rolling his eyes under their lids. “Not that. You’re jealous of the kiss.”

    “I am not!” Filia shot back immediately. In some ways that suggestion was even worse.

    Xellos’s eyes opened and his grin broadened. “If you wanted me to kiss you, Filia, you just had to ask.”

    “I don’t! I’d rather—” but exactly what Filia would rather do was cut off as, to her horror, she realized he was moving closer toward her. “What are you—? Don’t you dare!” But she was already in his arms.

    The sentence ‘she was already in his arms’ should encompass a sultrier scene than this. He was holding her, dipped slightly so that her long blonde hair flowed away from her. All in all, that pose could grace the theatre poster of any epic romantic play (preferably one involving plantations and war), but it was somewhat marred by Filia stretching her arms out as far as they could go and pushing his face away from hers.

    “Filia, you’re really ruining the mood,” Xellos commented, sounding slightly muffled since her hand was pressed in an extremely unfriendly way against his cheek.

    “Let me go!” Filia demanded, perhaps unaware that if he complied then she would fall crashing to the floor. “It didn’t work on Miss Lina and it’s not going to work on me so just… leave me alone!”

    Xellos stared at her, looking for a moment slightly frustrated. “You’re really angry about me kissing Miss Lina, aren’t you?”

    Well, duh! “Of course I am!” Filia shouted. “How could I not be?”

    “But don’t you think you’re a little… disproportionately angry?” he asked.

    “What?”

    “I mean, I’ve done much worse things and you haven’t been as mad,” he pointed out.

    “Name one!” Filia retorted.

    “I can name at least twenty off the top of my head,” Xellos said. “Really, kissing a human girl on the cheek barely counts as a misdemeanor.”

    “You’re trying to charm one of the greatest sorceresses in the world into working for you! That’s not just a misdemeanor!” Filia declared. Not by a long shot!

    “Look,” Xellos said, frustration now definitely seeping into his voice. “I don’t know what sort of nonsense you have floating around in your overheated little dragon brain, but I’m going to say this as clear as I can: I have absolutely no designs on ‘charming’ Lina Inverse into the service of the monster race. It would be troublesome for me and most likely would not actually succeed. I kissed her because I didn’t want her to find out that I was a monster at the time. That was the best way to accomplish that because Miss Lina is easy to distract like that.”

    “Though,” he added ominously, “not nearly as easy as you.”

    “W-what are you talking about?” Filia asked, unable to break eye-contact.

    “Not where we started, are we?” Xellos pointed out laughingly.

    Filia whipped her head around. That sneak! They’d started out right in front of his door, but now they were nearly at the opposite wall on the other side of the hallway. He must have been creeping them forward slightly while she was focusing on the conversation.

    He pushed her against the wall, breaking down the distance between them that she’d tried so hard to maintain. Now he was much too near her. She’d complained about him invading her personal space in the past, but this was more than just an invasion. This was an… an… extended occupation or something! Her breath was only coming in short gasps because he was pressed in so close to her. If you wanted to find a space where there was an inch between them, it would be very hard to find a place to insert the measuring tape.

    “Why would you do this?” she breathed.

    His lips slightly grazed her forehead. “Because you’re practically begging me to.”

    “No,” Filia managed to get out. Even in the current… admittedly dizzying situation, she found his penchant for twisting reality to suit his own purposes aggravating. “I’m telling you not to. That’s the opposite.”

    “Your grand delusions speak for themselves,” Xellos said, lowering himself down to her eye level. “You’ll spin any lie to yourself to avoid your jealousy,” he said, lips moving in closer to hers.

    “You have no right,” Filia hissed.

    And for some reason, that stopped him in his tracks. Filia certainly hadn’t expected it to, but it did. “What?” he said.

    “A kiss is supposed to be an expression of affection and… love,” Filia said, unsure why she was suddenly whispering. “And you’re not capable of something like that. You have no right,” she said again.

    He hesitated for a minute, brows furrowing ‘til they met in the middle, then brushed his lips almost gently against hers. She shivered visibly and… audibly. He seemed to take that as a cue to continue and… kissed her.

    She was kissing Xellos. The monster. The bad guy. The one that had killed thousands of her people. The even-if-you-take-all-that-away-he’s-still-unpleasant guy. And she was kissing him.

    No. No, no, no, no, no. He was kissing her. That’s an important distinction to draw! She hadn’t wanted this! This hadn’t been on her agenda when she’s stormed down to his room in a rage… late at night… in her nightgown…

    Well, it hadn’t been a jealous rage, no matter what he said.

    …It just might have looked that way. Coincidentally.

    As for the kiss itself, how it felt and what it meant to her… that was a matter between Filia and her diary. All that’s clear was that, after the seconds had stretched to infinity, Xellos broke away, pulled back from her and said: “Well… now you don’t have to be jealous anymore.”

    And then Filia slid down the wall and crumpled gracelessly to the floor.

    *****

    Stupid Xellos, Filia thought not for the first time that night as she trudged down the hallway and back to her room. She’d fallen down because she hadn’t gotten her balance when he pinned her against the wall and when he suddenly pulled back and she’d had to stand on her own, she hadn’t been able to keep her footing. It was a perfectly reasonable explanation and should’ve been damn well good enough for Xellos.

    It didn’t have anything to do with her… swooning over him or anything so ridiculous.

    But try telling Xellos that. Try telling him anything.

    And now he seemed to have gotten this… crazy idea into his head about her. It was madness, it was anarchy, worst yet: it was blasphemy. Things were so bad that they’d gone on the far side of bad and all the way back around and out into…

    She paused to slap a little sense into her face. Don’t you dare start taking this seriously, she warned. You know he’s just messing around with you because he can. Don’t be the suggestion-prone, overemotional creature he thinks you are.

    And that means absolutely to dwelling on it, she decided. No replaying the events in your mind over and over again. No blushing and looking away when he looks at you. No dreaming. No imagining. And definitely no touching your lips and looking dramatically into the distance. If these rules are followed, then there’s nothing to worry about.

    She took a deep breath. I can do this! She opened the door to the room she was sharing with the others content that all could be well in the world again.

    Amelia had long since braided both Lina and Sylphiel’s hair. Sylphiel had curled up in her blanket and fallen asleep and Amelia and Lina had just been discussing whether to indulge in another sleepover favorite (such as Interrogation or Peer Pressure, the freezing of an unwary companion’s underwear, or raising the dead) or just give up and get some sleep. They looked up when she appeared in the doorway.

    Filia tried to look nonchalant and utterly failed. She coughed and kept her expression neutral as she made her way toward her makeshift sleeping bag on the floor and picked up her pillow which had somehow ended up on Lina’s bed. Please just let me get to sleep without anyone saying anything.

    “So,” Lina said slowly. “Your first kiss would be… with Xellos?”

    “Oh, shut up!” Filia said, hurling her recently relocated pillow at Lina.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Theme #78: Guilty.

    Guilty. Rated PG-13.

    It’s a bit hard to juggle the responsibilities of being a princess with life on the road. But Amelia was managing. The only way she’d been able to talk her father into letting her join in with Miss Lina, Mister Gourry, Mister Zelgadis, Miss Filia and Mister Xellos during the busy legislative session was to keep in contact. She’d send a carrier pigeon out with the addresses of every place they intended to stay at and for how long, updating with new information as she went along. This allowed her to still send and receive mail. In this way she was allowed to keep adventuring while signing treaties, corresponding with law-makers, and casting votes. Every night she’d dread the mail that would be plopped at her place at the table with piles of tedious paperwork. Then again, it also brought…

    A rectangular package was placed before her place that night at dinner with a familiar return stamp across it. She smiled. Not only was there no paperwork tonight, but this was an added bonus. Her smile faded as she looked around tentatively at her dining companions. She tried to slip the package furtively under her chair.

    “What’s that, Amelia?” Lina asked, looking up from her spaghetti.

    Amelia lamented her fate. Why couldn’t Miss Lina have just been totally focused on her food like usual? “It’s… nothing,” she said.

    But it was too late. Lina snatched the package out of her hand. “What’s the Jester Publishing Club?” she asked curiously, reading the label. “Some kind of book-club?”

    “Yes,” Amelia said quickly, deciding that this was both true and non-incriminating. “It’s just a book of the month club,” she said hurriedly, as she tried to take the parcel back.

    “What? Like a funny book club?” Lina asked, wondering at the publishing house’s name.

    Amelia hesitated here. She really didn’t want to tell a direct lie. On the other hand… on the other hand it’s none of Miss Lina’s business! “Yes,” she said.

    “It’s not,” Zelgadis said, and to Amelia’s horror he was rolling his eyes. “That’s a romance novel company.”

    “What, you mean like those… I don’t know,” Lina trailed off. “Those books where the top part of the lady’s dress is always torn?”

    “Bodice-rippers,” Zelgadis said gravely.

    Lina made an ugh face. Then she looked suspicious. “How would you know about that?”

    “I spend a lot of time in book shops,” Zelgadis said sharply. “You notice these things.”

    “So is it true?” Lina said, turning to Amelia. “You’re part of this bodice-ripper book of the month club?”

    Amelia had an agonized look as though she’d like to disappear and muttered noncommittally.

    “Huh,” Lina said. She really wouldn’t have expected it from Amelia. I mean, she thought, these are… girl books. Well, I guess that works out since Amelia is a girl. And so am I. Not that I’d actually read those things.

    “They’re awful books,” Filia said vehemently, taking a self-righteous swig of her tea. “We never allowed them in the temple because their full of lewd material, negative gender stereotypes, and malicious misuse of thesauruses.”

    “Malicious what?” Gourry repeated.

    “Oh, I don’t know,” Xellos stepped in, because he liked to take the point of view opposite Filia. “They might not be especially intelligent, but everyone has their guilty pleasures.”

    “I don’t,” Filia said automatically.

    “Really? Let’s take a vote.” Xellos looked around the table. “Whoever believes Filia: raise your hand.”

    Everyone was suddenly too engrossed in their meals to vote for anything. Filia seethed.

    “Well, I don’t,” she said sulkily.

    “Who cares?” Lina said. “Books are about escapism. People can read what they want,” she said.

    She looked down at the package speculatively. “You know, I used to make fun of these books a lot when I was younger,” she said wistfully. “They’re really funny if you just look at them right.”

    “Miss Lina, please!” Amelia said. She had already been embarrassed enough for one day. She didn’t need things rubbed in further.

    “Oh, come on. It’s harmless. Anyway,” Lina said, throwing in a wink, “you’re not part of any romance book of the month club, right? This came to you by accident.”

    “Umm… yeah,” Amelia said, thankful for this rather cheap lifeline.

    “I refuse to support smut,” Filia said, crossing her arms in a very definite manner.

    “Oh, come on,” Xellos nudged. “You don’t know it’s that bad until you open it.”

    “I’m with Filia on this. Some of these books can be pretty tasteless,” Zelgadis said, but he didn’t make eye-contact with Amelia as he said it.

    “I wanna at least look at it,” whined Lina. “Anyway, like Xellos said: you don’t know it’s bad.”

    “Oh, like we should take a monster’s advice on morality,” Filia commented acerbically. I believe that’s my area, she thought.

    “They just send random books so there’s no telling what it’ll be about,” Amelia said. Then she remembered her role and added: “I mean: I bet that’s what they do.”

    “Well, I don’t care what you guys say. I wanna see it,” Lina said. “These are always worth a laugh.”

    She unwrapped the packing and opened the box within. Amelia looked over her shoulder as Zelgadis made a great show of looking the other way, while keeping one eye nonchalantly on the box. Filia had actually turned her chair to face in the opposite direction from the sinful material. Unfortunately this meant she was facing Xellos. And he was even more sinful material. He smiled at her. So she looked off to the side with a “Hmmph!” And Gourry, perhaps making the wisest decision of all: concentrated on eating as many meatballs as he could.

    “What the—” Lina began in shocked surprise, looking at the cover.

    “Do they—” Amelia began disbelievingly.

    They exchanged a look and nodded. Then, as one, Lina, Amelia, and Zelgadis turned to look at Xellos.

    “What?” he asked.

    “Umm… it’s just that… well, the people on the cover look a little…” Amelia began, hemming and hawing.

    “They look just like you and Filia,” Lina blurted out in a completely non-diplomatic manner.

    “What?!” Filia shrieked, accompanied by the sound of her chair crashing to the floor as she stood up, elbowed Amelia aside and glared at the cover.

    It was… true. It was remarkably, horrifyingly, and infuriatingly true. A girl with long blonde hair in a style very similar to Filia’s was silhouetted against the illustrated moonlight. A revealing white dress clung to the woman’s body and, yes, was ripped in several highly convenient places. She was being suspended in the arms of a man that…

    She nearly choked in rage.

    Yes. A man in a black cloak with a smug looking smile and very familiar bone-structure. He was even wearing gloves.

    Of course, it wasn’t by any means perfect. There were certain… clear differences. The man’s hair was black and messier. And Filia’s breasts were not quite as big as the ones the woman on the cover was sporting. Plus she’d never wear a dress like that.

    And of course it couldn’t be them because they’d never in a millions years do anything like that. It was a book. A fiction. A cheap knock-off of real life with added moonlight and balcony scenes!

    “You look good in white,” Xellos commented, suddenly over her shoulder.

    Filia gritted her teeth. “That’s not me,” she said.

    “Well, obviously,” Zelgadis said. “It’s a book.”

    “But it’s a pretty weird coincidence,” Lina said, rubbing her chin in thought.

    Filia took another look at the dramatically-posed cover. She narrowed her eyes at it as if she could intimidate it. “It doesn’t even look that much like us,” she announced. Absolutely, she thought. My initial thought that it looked like us was all wrong. It doesn’t even… the faces are all… well, it’s wrong. That’s all.

    “What’s it called?” Gourry asked, abandoning his spaghetti just long enough to ask a pertinent question.

    Amelia looked up at the top of the book. “Forbidden Desires,” she said.

    “How very appropriate,” Xellos said cheerfully.

    Filia glowered. The only forbidden desire she felt was the one to connect her elbow in a painful manner with his jaw. “What kind of hack piece of garbage goes around calling itself Forbidden Desires?” she asked harshly.

    “Well, let’s see,” Lina said, flipping to the inside cover. “‘Forbidden Desires’,” she read. “‘The scorching love story of a young shrine-maiden-in-training named Millia whose world is forever changed when she meets the dark sorcerer Serros. The sorcerer promises to teach Millia the dark craft in order to raise her younger brother from the dead. But by the time she learns enough will she have already fallen too deeply into darkness to ever escape? Will she see the light in time, or will her heart, soul, and body be irredeemably corrupted?’.”

    Amelia was actually started to feel a little relieved that her book had been snatched away. The romance genre was always a crap-shoot. And this time it seemed that the shoot had turned out, well… crappy. And luckily it seemed that all the embarrassment was off her and squarely on Filia.

    “That’s,” Filia paused to take a deep breath. If she thought this would calm her down then she was mistaken. “That’s the worst piece of drivel I’ve ever heard!”

    “I’ve heard worse,” Xellos commented.

    “You want me to read some of it?” Lina asked Filia with an evil glint in her eye. Filia had prevented Lina from ordering a sixth pie last night. It was payback time.

    “No!” Filia shouted.

    “What do you think, Xellos?” Lina asked, knowing where her bread was buttered when it came to mischief.

    Xellos shrugged. “I don’t see why not,” he said.

    “I can give you about a million reasons why not!” Filia responded furiously.

    But Filia never got a chance to share any of those reasons. “‘She could feel Serros’s hot breath against her neck as she tried to focus on the ancient inscription in front of her’,” Lina read from somewhere near the middle of the book as Filia froze. “‘Don’t,’ she said. ‘Leave me alone you evil enchanter! I’m only going to use this magic to save my brother. I won’t fall prey to your dark ways!’ but it was a hollow threat. Already her body shivered and twitched against her will as he ran a hand down her side, resting it possessively against her waist’.”

    Filia was twitching. Well, her eye was at least. She was trying to get it together for long enough to avenge this act of evil, but she was almost too angry to do anything.

    “‘He turned her around and she peered helplessly into his amethyst eyes, lost in the eternal darkness of galaxies within’,” Lina went on theatrically. “‘Her body practically begged her mind to give in just this once. If not now, then when? To surrender everything she had to him in one never-ending, passionate—’”

    “Alright, that’s it!” Filia yelled, finally having had enough. She seized the book from Lina’s grip with all the formidable strength of a dragon. “We’re not going to indulge in any more of this putrid poison for the mind!” she announced. “It’s disgusting, totally unrealistic, and—”

    “I thought it sounded a bit like you,” Xellos commented mildly.

    “IT DID NOT!” Filia screeched back. She was barely able to restrain herself from literally throwing the book at him. But she didn’t particularly want him to have it. In fact no one should have it.

    She stomped over to the refuse bin and threw the book with more force than necessary at the pile of potato peelings and rancid lettuce. “There!” she declared. “Now it’s in the trash where it belongs. No pleasures should be that guilty!”

    Amelia frowned. She hadn’t paid membership to that book club to have her books thrown into the garbage by irate dragons.

    “Nobody is to mention that book ever again,” Filia said warningly.

    “What book?” Gourry asked, who hadn’t been totally following this.

    Forbidden Desires,” Xellos answered promptly.

    “Oh, yeah. I heard you guys talking about that,” Gourry said as Filia stewed in her anger. “What’s it about?”

    “Well, there’s this—” Xellos began.

    “Shut UP!” Filia snapped. “It’s about nothing! Now please everyone just finish your food and go to bed!” she ordered, her voice getting strained and on the edge of a tantrum. She exited for her room in a well-executed huff.

    “Killjoy,” Lina said succinctly.

    *****

    Later that night when all was dark and still in the dining room of the inn, a shape crept through the darkness. It was doing its best to be quiet and unobtrusive. As a result of the general malignancy of the universe, every floorboard in its path made a loud squeaking noise under its feet.

    It snuck over to the garbage can and carefully opened the lid as though the contents within might explode at any second. It reached inside and rummaged for something within in a raccoon-like manner. It seemed to have retrieved its prize as it tucked it under its arm. Then it made a mad, quiet dash for the stairs barely daring to breath.

    Only when the figure had completely vanished up the flight of stairs did a voice from the darkness say: “Well. Isn’t this an interesting development?”

    *****

    Filia had laid the rescued book out on her bed and was running her eyes rapidly across the text-laden pages. She’d delivered it from the squalor of the trashcan and squirreled it away. And that might seem… wrong. But it wasn’t.

    See, she had absolutely no desire (forbidden or otherwise) to read the thing. She wasn’t the least bit curious about what it contained. In fact, she was only a chapter or two in and it was terrible going. It was a real struggle to keep reading the flowery tripe that stank up the pages. But she had to, you see?

    Because the book was clearly utterly malignant and totally inane. Yet books like that had a strange power over some people. Guilty Pleasures, Xellos had said. Something like that couldn’t be allowed to just rot in the trash can. It was an important teaching tool! If she read it then she’d be so overcome with disgust over it, that she’d never even have the slightest interest in reading anything of its kind again. Plus, she could better understand the sway these things held over other weaker individuals and persuade them otherwise.

    But the others clearly wouldn’t see the sense in that. They’d get all sorts of ideas. Which was why she had to read it in secret.

    Millia had caught a glimpse of him that day; the man the elders had warned her to stay away from. He was tall with hair cropped just above his shoulders in a look that was both attractive and timeless. His cold eyes flashed into her very heart. She was afraid, and even angry that he would dare to step foot on the holy ground of temple. But yet… she couldn’t help but feel something else when she looked at him… something new…

    As Filia had found herself doing many times throughout the story, she flipped back to the cover where the man with the smoldering eyes held the woman in his arms. In the flickering candlelight it seemed his smile broadened.

    “Tch,” Filia said, and went back to the text.

    *****

    His lips pressed silkily against hers as she couldn’t help but feel her own lips part, ready to succumb in every way to his touch. She moaned shamelessly into his kiss as he reached down to fondle her breasts. She knew that it no longer mattered if the temple closed, or if she lost her status as a shrine maiden, or even if her brother remained in that cold, lifeless casket forever. Everything that really mattered was happening in the present. Not the past and not the future. His questing hand left her breasts, sliding down her stomach, past her bellybutton and…

    “Serros,” she breathed, desire thronging through every vocalization. “At least take the gloves off first.”


    “Disgusting,” was all Filia said. Then she licked her thumb and turned the page.

    *****

    The whole thing. She’d read the whole thing from start to finish. She’d stayed up for hours and she’d be exhausted in the morning, but she’d read it all.

    And it had been lewd. There had been negative gender stereotypes. And it certainly used words like ‘Heaving’, ‘Pulsating’, and ‘Tumescent’ significantly more often than Filia was comfortable with.

    And the characters had just been… ugh. By all accounts Millia was a selfish, childish, hypocrite who thought about sex way more than she should and way more than she’d admit. As for Serros, well, he was just a vessel for sardonic one-liners who spent most of his time sexually-harassing the main character. Filia wasn’t sure which one of them she hated more.

    And now Filia was sure of it: she couldn’t throw this book away.

    She’d planned to just put it back in the trash can after properly appreciating its revoltingness. But now she knew she couldn’t. It was… well, she needed to keep it. It was just the right thing to do. It would be a… a reminder that she could keep with her always of how easy it is to let oneself fall to guilty pleasures.

    But the others wouldn’t understand her completely morally sound reasoning for keeping the book. They’d totally misinterpret it. So she’d have to make some sort of cover to go over it, since removing its current cover was out of the question.

    She looked back down at the cover for about the hundredth time that night. It was beginning to be etched in her head.

    “Doesn’t even look like us,” she said out loud and somewhat doubtfully.

    And then, in a louder more confident voice she rhetorically asked: “What kind of hack even writes crap like this?”

    Hey, that’s a good question actually, she thought, and looked down at the cover again. She’d mostly focused on the picture and hadn’t really looked at…

    Forbidden Desires: A Novel By Lex Sol

    Lex Sol? What an appropriately ridiculously made-up sounding pen-name for such a stupid piece of….

    …What a minute…

    Lex Sol. Lex Sol. Xel…


    Filia took a deep breath, her face red and furious. She threw her head back angrily into the night and screamed: “XELLOS!!”

  5. #5
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    Theme #93: Dwelling on it.

    Dwelling On It. (Or: Filia’s Really Gone Crackers This Time). Rated PG.

    Oh gods, I want to touch his hair.

    The thought burst through Filia’s mind like an illegal firework. She glowered at the back of Xellos’s head as they walked along. Now the pretty lights of the thought were done and the crackle of guilt was sounding as the sparks of compulsion descended and went out.

    As an extended metaphor it wasn’t all Filia had hoped it would be. But the fact was, she wasn’t entirely sure how it had come to this point. Really, how do you go from ‘Filthy monster; I hate him!’ to ‘Oh gods, I want to touch his hair’?

    By the way, she didn’t take back any of that first impression. He was a filthy monster. And she did hate him. She just really wanted to touch that filthy, hateable monster’s hair. That made sense, right?

    No. Not even a little.

    It wasn’t even that she liked his hair! She didn’t! Really! Actually, the fact that she loathed it so much was probably to blame for this whole thing. Indeed it had been one of her first impressions of him. She couldn’t help wondering at the time, in a sort of muted, horrified way, if the creature that embarked on a solo-genocide of her people could really go around with a haircut that stupid.

    I mean, she thought, can’t he decide how he looks? He’s got some pretty weird tastes if that’s the case.

    And purple? Don’t even get Filia started on purple. She used to like purple. Now purple was the enemy.

    And do you know, this was probably where the problem started. Yes, she had disliked his hairstyle (along with every other aspect of him thank-you-very-much), but she’d… she’d dwelt on it. She shouldn’t have done that. She’d just kept thinking about how ridiculous it was and how he couldn’t possibly think it looked good or inspired any sort of respect at all and…

    …And somewhere along the line she’d started thinking how she’d like to touch it. Just once.

    Filia would’ve pointed out at this time, though she’d think this so obvious as to be a bit unnecessary, that there was absolutely nothing, in any way, shape, or form, sexual about this desire. Because just… ugh. It was Xellos. That’s all the evidence she really needed against that claim.

    Anyway, a person could have completely non-sexual reasons to want to touch someone’s hair. Filia was sure it happened all the time. …Like… hairdressers.

    Or, and Filia was much happier with this example, little boys! Yes! It was very much like that. Little boys often got the urge to pull of pigtails of little girls that they certainly didn’t like at all. And every knew there was nothing at all sexual about—

    …Filia didn’t like this example so much anymore.

    Anyway, it didn’t matter that she couldn’t come up with an equivalent example for her situation. She knew that there was nothing untoward at all about it and that was all that really counted.

    She’d felt this way back in the Dark Star days, but then she’d split off from the group to carve out a living in the mace and vase making business and all was well. Now she was back with Lina Inverse’s traveling side-kick brigade again at least for a short time and she was having to face him again. And she clearly wasn’t dealing well.

    She glared again at the figure walking in front of her. Stupid monster… leading innocent women to their doom with his ridiculous, yet strangely attractive hairstyle…

    The sun shone through the trees and his hair seemed to shimmer slightly in a way that you wouldn’t notice unless you were maniacally focused on it. Which Filia was.

    She grit her teeth. Her palms itched. She knew that if she really lost her marbles and reached for his hair there would be no way to explain her actions to the others. She couldn’t even explain it to herself that well.

    She took a deep breath. When all else fails: bluster. She reached out a hand and…

    …Navigated past him and to the line walking in front containing Lina and Gourry. “Out of my way, you monster!” Ha. This plan is foolproof.

    “Well excuse me,” Xellos answered dryly from behind her. “What’s your rush?”

    Filia cursed the fact that her foolproof ‘out of sight, out of mind’ plan rather depended on Xellos not talking back. “I’m just,” she began. “I’m just tired of looking at the back of your stupid head, that’s all.”

    “Oh? Is that so?” Xellos shot back in an eye-twitching sort of tone. She didn’t need to see him to know his eye was twitching.

    “Will you two cut it out?” Zelgadis asked from where he and Amelia were taking up the rear of the procession. “You’re acting like children.”

    “Just leave ‘em alone, Zel,” Lina said in a resigned sort of way. “You know they’re not going to stop anyway.”

    “So I guess now I’m stuck looking at the back of your stupid head, then?” Xellos asked as if this interruption hadn’t occurred.

    This was too much for Filia to take. She looked back and glared sharply at him. “No one’s ‘stuck looking at the back of my stupid head’ because it’s no stupid.”

    “Oh really?”

    “Really,” Filia affirmed. “I won best hair four years in a row in temple training school.”

    Of course, she might not have won that last year if Adelfa Vios hadn’t had that unfortunate accident. But that’s why long hair and rotary blades don’t mix.

    “So I suppose that makes you an expert then,” Xellos said in his mocking sort of way.

    “More than you at least,” Filia shot back.

    “Oh?” Xellos began with an edge in his voice that probably didn’t belong in a discussion about hair. “So you don’t think I’m quite your equal in the coiffure department, then?”

    “I know you’re not,” Filia answered. It wasn’t much. He was stronger than her, smarter than her, and knew more synonyms for ‘hairstyle’ then her, but damn it: she had better hair.

    “You don’t like my hair,” Xellos said. “Is that what you’re saying?”

    “No,” Filia said.

    “Oh?”

    “I can’t stand your hair,” Filia specified with feeling.

    “Don’t you think that’s a little over the top?” Xellos asked in a ‘you’re being ridiculous again’ kind of tone he excelled at.

    “It’s not,” Filia snapped. She knew there was a rant waiting to leak out so she just let the pressure off. “It’s like you started out with a dorky bowl-cut and let it get overgrown. I don’t know why you’d possibly want to wear it like that. Unless you wanted to put everyone off their guard enough to think that no one who wears their hair in such a silly way could possibly be dangerous. And knowing you, that’s probably why. Because if you honestly think it looks good then you’re more deluded than you accuse me of being. Everyone thinks it’s stupid looking!” She threw up her hands dramatically and looked around for help. “Right, guys?”

    There was a long silence. Then Amelia piped up with: “Umm… to be honest, Miss Filia, we really don’t think about Mister Xellos’s hair that much.”

    “I don’t either,” Filia responded a little too quickly. “It’s just stupid, that’s all,” she muttered quietly to herself, making eye-contact only with the ground.

    For awhile there was no sound aside from the clomping of turf under six sets of feet. Then Xellos made a very ominous sound. It went like this: “Hmmm.”

    *****

    Early that evening after the all-you-can-eat massacre known simply as ‘dinner’, Filia was enjoying some quiet time with a cup of tea at her own table by the window while Lina and the others negotiated for free dessert. The waiter wasn’t buying that it was all their birthdays. More the sorrow for him.

    “So, is there some sort of prize for getting the ‘best hair’ award?” Xellos asked, sitting down at her table uninvited, unwelcomed, and unwanted.

    “You get your portrait in the end of the year student flier,” Filia said through gritted teeth. “Now go away if you’re just here to make fun of me.”

    “On the contrary, I was wondering if you might consider lending me your talents,” he said.

    Filia nearly choked on her tea. There was no way he was asking what it sounded like he was asking. “What?”

    “You know,” he prompted. “Change my hair.”

    She stared at him, mouth agape.

    “I’d expect you to jump at the chance,” he said in the face of her stunned silence. “Especially since it bothers you so much.”

    This didn’t make sense, she thought wildly. Why would Xellos want to change his hair? As far as she was aware he’d had that dumb hairstyle as long as he’d been taking human form. That had to be thousands and thousands of years. In fact, the last things said at the War of the Monsters Fall before he massacred her people were probably: “Who’s that guy with the stupid haircut?” “I don’t know, but he looks like a momma’s boy”. And now he was going to change it just because it bothered her? Since when did he care what bothered her? Generally things bothering her was a point in their favor as far as he was concerned!

    “If you want to change it, can’t you change it yourself?” she asked, stalling while her brain reeled.

    “I could,” he allowed. “But I’d be changing it to my tastes, which you clearly disapprove of.”

    He had a point, but that only increased the feeling that she was being backed into a corner. “Why should I help you?” she asked sullenly.

    “Wouldn’t you be helping yourself?” he asked, exercising his tendency to answer questions with questions. “Considering that you hate it so much that it drives you to distraction.”

    “I’m not distracted,” she grumbled in what was an outright lie.

    “If you say so, Filia,” Xellos said with a ‘yeah, right’ kind of smile. “But will you do it?”

    Inside Filia’s mind a schizophrenic battle was being waged over her next course of action. Voice A said: Do it. If you change his hair to a different style then it won’t be as distracting to you, and boom presto: we get our sanity back.

    Voice B said: Don’t listen to Voice A, it just wants to touch his hair. This is clearly a trap.

    Both good points. Perhaps she should tread lightly here. Perhaps she should think about this before she made a decision. Perhaps she should—

    “Alright,” she said.

    *****

    Filia had left the door to her room wide open, which probably betrayed more of her feelings about having Xellos in her room than she would’ve been comfortable with. Xellos was sitting at the desk with the mirror, tapping his fingers unconcernedly against the tabletop while Filia tried to get herself together as quickly and inconspicuously as possible.

    She was going to get to touch his hair.

    …I mean, she was going to get to change his hair to some less ridiculous style and therefore break whatever obsessive hold he had on her.

    Right.

    She wanted to take a deep breath to prepare herself, but there was no way that she could let him know what a big frickin’ deal this was. So she just… reached out a hand (which was not shaking at all, no matter what it might have seemed like) and touched it.

    FINALLY.

    She ran her fingers through it and then raked her other hand down it. It was silky and smooth and slightly cool feeling just like she’d imagined it would be.

    “Filia,” he said after waiting several beats. “What are you doing?”

    Don’t panic. You’re not doing anything wrong. There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything.

    “What does it look like I’m doing?” she snapped. “I’m styling your hair.”

    “…I just thought you might use a brush,” he commented.

    It— uh…

    Huh.


    “I don’t have a brush on hand,” she deflected.

    “Yes, but you must have one somewhere in here,” he pointed out. “It might have things easier.”

    She glared at him as though he was being difficult just for the sake of being difficult. Then she turned away to find her bag.

    “Just a minute,” she said grouchily.

    Stupid Xellos and his completely reasonable expectations.

    *****

    She was brushing his hair with one hand and smoothing it down with her other hand. Not that she really needed to do this. Xellos’s hair seemed to be magically tangle-free; which is very irritating to anyone with long hair who’s ever been sick for a week and had to practically rip out their own hair to remove the knots. But she needed to buy some time. Even if this meant causing a freak-out some time in the future when she found his purple hairs amongst her blonde ones on her brush.

    She’d gathered her various hair care items and laid them out on the table since Xellos didn’t seem to think that her running her fingers longingly through his hair qualified as ‘styling’. Pfft. What did he know! Wasn’t she the expert here?

    It felt like the scissors were staring at her. She really didn’t want to have to use them yet.

    But the scissors were the whole point, right? She was going to give him a new hairstyle. A less attention-grabbing one. Then she wouldn’t have to dwell on his hair anymore. That was the reason she’d agreed to this. It wasn’t just some cheap excuse to paw his hair.

    But now she was having second thoughts… did she really want to do this?

    Yes. Yes. She had to. Look, she’d cut it shorter and maybe angle the bangs or something. It’d look less weird. Maybe he’d even let her bleach it or something so it wouldn’t be that eye-catching shade of purple color. Then everything would be okay. He’d look… normal. He wouldn’t attract her attention. He…

    He wouldn’t be Xellos.

    What a ridiculous thing to think, she chided herself. Of course he’d still be Xellos. Hairstyles don’t make a person who they are. And anyway, that’s not even his real form. His real form is as impersonal as things get. This is just… a costume he wears. His hair might as well be a hat that he can wear and discard at his leisure. He just looks how he wants to look.

    …But maybe that makes it even more important. Because… because it’s how he chooses to look so it reflects something about him. Because it’s what he wants people to see. It’s all part of a carefully crafted persona that might be completely fake but… well, it’s someone he actually likes to be.

    Maybe I don’t want to take that away.

    Stop it, she ordered herself. Look, even if cutting his hair somehow makes him… ‘less Xellos’, that’s not a bad thing. Xellos is bad. Xellos could stand to be less… Xellosy.

    She picked up her scissors with trembling fingers, which is always a bad sign from anyone cutting your hair. Xellos, however, seemed unconcerned. This was because he’d never learned one of the better, yet somehow less widely taught lessons from the Old Testament: Beware of women with scissors.

    She opened the scissors with a scrape of metal on metal and brought them up to his hair about the level she planned to cut. Then she stopped; frozen; trying to level the expression on her face so he wouldn’t see it in the mirror.

    “What’s the hold up?” he asked.

    She grit her teeth so hard it hurt and tried to will herself to make the first cut. Once she’d started then she’d be able to finish. She tried to squeeze the handle on the scissors, but she couldn’t seem to get her hand to move.

    “I can’t do it!” she shouted suddenly.

    She threw the scissors point first with considerable force into the wall, where they lodged about two-and-a-half-inches into the plaster.

    He turned around in his chair and raised an eyebrow at her in an expression that clearly said: ‘Oh boy, Filia’s really gone crackers this time’ which she really didn’t need at the moment. She was about to burst into frustrated, angry tears as it was.

    “You want me to say it?” she demanded. “FINE! I like your stupid hair! I don’t know why, and along with the schizophrenic conversations with myself it’s probably just a sign that I need counseling. There’s no sense in it, but there you go! I don’t want you to change it! So just,” she hesitated here, having reached the point where she still wanted to yell at him but was running out of things to yell, “Just take your stupid, distracting hair and GET LOST!”

    Xellos surveyed her post-tantrum stance with the eye of a connoisseur. Then he slowly arranged his expression into a smug little smile that made Filia want to claw his face off.

    “I knew I looked good,” he said.

  6. #6
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    Theme #65: Unoriginal Sin.

    Unoriginal Sin. Rated PG.

    Edie’s Garden and Orchard was a beautiful place to visit at any time of year, but Filia especially liked it in the fall. Every year she’d close up shop and fly herself, Val, Gravos, and Jillas down to Millspring County to visit. And it was a lot of fun. It wasn’t exactly flower season, though a few late lasting species hung around in the autumn, but it was the prime time to watch the trees change color.

    Val picked out his pumpkin there every year. They’d always try to get big ones so they’d have more seeds to cook. And there were plenty of activities geared at kids his age including face painting, story-telling circles, and hayrides. Not to mention all the apple pie. Filia’s mouth watered when she thought about the apple pie. You couldn’t get apple pie like that anywhere else in the world but Edie’s.

    The autumn weather was at its absolute best that day. Of course, Filia would’ve taken them down to Edie’s no matter what the weather. They’d braved wind storms and surprise blizzards to get there in the past and it was always worth it. But today it was as though the gods had given Filia the gift of the perfect fall weather for her family outing.

    She was getting a little time to herself after helping Val roll a pumpkin almost as big as him over to the cart that held the other purchases from the to-die-for farmer’s market. Val had decided to try out the corn maze and Jillas and Gravos had gone with him. Knowing their sense of direction, it was likely Filia wouldn’t be seeing them again for awhile. But they’d promised to meet up later for apple pie and cider.

    And while she loved being with Val, and Gravos, and Jillas she was glad to get a little alone time. It was peaceful to just walk through the trees after all the hecticness of the shop and of traveling. The leaves were red, almost the color of blood. It was odd though; in that context it was soothing.

    Her path was suddenly cut off as an arm descended from the foliage above her, an apple held out in its gloved hand.

    “Hungry?” it asked.

    Filia glared sharply at the familiar figure of Xellos, lounging comfortably in the trees as only someone with no fear of gravity can. “Why do you have to ruin everything nice?” she demanded.

    “Ruin? I thought I was helping,” he said with faux-innocence, as he offered the produce once more.

    “You’re not supposed to pick those,” Filia said brushing away his hand as she went around it and continued walking down the path.

    There was the sound of someone hitting the ground behind her. She willed herself not to turn around, decided she was going to turn around anyway, and did so. “Is that so?” Xellos asked.

    “Oh, don’t pretend you don’t know!” Filia said, frustrated as always with how he pretended he wasn’t the most malignant thing to ever walk the earth. “There are signs everywhere!”

    Indeed there were. ‘No Picking’ signs dotted the entire landscape, with language variations underneath. They were the cause of paranoia in a lot of six-year-olds that weren’t very well-versed in how to behave in public.

    Xellos threw the apple up in the air and idly caught it. “Would an apple orchard really forbid people from picking apples? That doesn’t make any sense.”

    “It does since they’re selling them,” Filia pointed out. “They don’t want people just walking off with them without paying.”

    “I wouldn’t expect capitalism to be so alive and well in a humble farmer’s market,” Xellos commented.

    Filia hated when Xellos did this. She’d make a completely reasonable comment and somehow he’d suck her into a pointless argument. She could see a looming fight about economics around the corner and she wasn’t going to have any of that. So instead she just sat down on a stone bench and asked point-blank: “What are you doing here anyway?”

    Xellos shrugged. “Oh, just taking in the color and spectacle of the season; offering you fresh fruit. I know these probably seem like dastardly actions to you, but what can I say? I’m a monster.”

    Ha!” Filia said, crossing her arms. She didn’t believe any of it for a minute.

    “You sure you don’t want it?” Xellos asked, holding out the apple once again.

    Admittedly, Filia was hungry. It was getting late and she was longing for that apple pie she’d promised to wait to eat with Val. And Edie’s apples were the most delicious in the world. They clearly grew, not on water, but on some kind of nectar of the gods. But she wasn’t about to accept one from Xellos. She had principles after all.

    “Knowing you, there’s probably a worm in it,” she said sourly.

    “Not unless one’s teleported in there,” Xellos said, examining the skin of the fruit through his closed eyes. “But you can check yourself if you want,” he said, tossing the apple her way.

    She caught it, mostly on impulse and glared down at the red an
    d noticeably shiny thing in her hand. It didn’t appear to have any worm holes in it. “I’m not going to eat it anyway,” she sniped. “It’s against the rules.”

    “No it’s not,” Xellos said, in clear defiance of reality.

    “Of course it is!” Filia snarled, irritated by both Xellos and the fact that her hunger pangs were getting worse now that the apple was actually in her hands. “Can’t you read the signs?”

    “I can,” Xellos said calmly. “But maybe you can’t. They say you’re not allowed to pick the apples. There’s nothing against eating them.”

    Filia scowled at him. “Xellos, have you ever heard that saying ‘you’re following the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law’?”

    “No. Why?” Xellos asked, taking the seat on the bench next to her completely uninvited.

    Filia scooched slightly away from him. “I’m not going to eat it,” she said bluntly. “It’s stealing.”

    “I didn’t know dragons were so wasteful,” Xellos commented craftily. “It’s already been picked so you might as well eat it.”

    Filia was a small-business owner supporting four people. She was the queen of leftovers. She didn’t need Xellos lecturing her about frugality. “I’m not going to be a party to your immoral activity,” she said haughtily.

    “Immoral activity?” Xellos repeated. “So do you think the fruit will turn to ash in your mouth just because it’s an ill-gotten gain?”

    “It might,” Filia said, slightly sulkily.

    “Actually, I’ve found that the opposite is true,” Xellos said. “Practically anything will become better if you break the rules to get it. You’ve risked more for it, so you add extra value in your mind. The harder something is to get, the more someone will naturally want it. Plus there’s an added thrill of danger.”

    “Why,” Filia asked leadenly, “would I want danger in the produce department?”

    Xellos tapped his cheek with his gloved index finger. “Because danger is exciting.”

    Filia looked doubtfully at the apple and then back at Xellos. “Exciting’s not really what I look for in fruit,” she said.

    “You might be missing out,” Xellos said hintingly.

    “Oh come on,” Filia said. “You really think this apple will taste better than one I could buy with my hard earned money just because it’s stolen?”

    Xellos raised an eyebrow. “Do you really think one you buy would taste better just because it was acquired honestly?”

    “I do,” Filia said firmly. “And we don’t have to just talk about this. I can prove it. I’ll eat your nasty, rotten stolen apple and then I’ll buy one in the shop and we’ll see which one is better.”

    “That’ll really show me,” Xellos agreed emphatically.

    Filia held the apple up and couldn’t help but look around. She knew Xellos was probably laughing at her on the inside for being paranoid. But what could she say? She’d grown up in the temple! Doing bad things was supposed to automatically earn punishment and she was half-expecting an irate gardener to pop up any second waving a rake in a violent manner.

    Filia got herself together and took a bite. Her teeth sank in past the skin and into the flesh of the fruit. Xellos was watching her closely as she did so, which was a very weird feeling. But despite her expectations, the forbidden fruit did not turn to ash in her mouth.

    Well, she couldn’t have really expected that, could she? It was still an Edie’s apple even if it was tainted with sin. It was delicious: as it was made to be. It was light and its fleshed cleaved easily as though it had no other desire than to be eaten. It was perfectly ripe: neither too hard nor too soft. It had a mouthwatering, slightly honeyed flavor that made not taking a second bite out of the question. And it was juicy; very juicy.

    “So…” Xellos began. “It would seem its status as stolen property has diminished none of its flavor.”

    Filia looked up from her half-skeletonized apple and narrowed her eyes at him. “You just wait,” she said. “This won’t even compare to an apple bought as the result of rewarding hard work instead of petty thievery.”

    But Xellos didn’t appear to be paying much attention to her rather dubious claim. He wasn’t even polite enough to look her in the eyes while she was talking, which irritated Filia when she noticed it. When she realized where he was looking, her irritation turned to panic.

    He was staring at her lips.

    He reached out his hand toward her, leaning forward as she leaned slightly back. He rested a fingertip gently against her chin and dragged it slowly upwards to the corner of her mouth where the juice from the apple had dripped. He brought his hand back and thoughtfully licked the finger.

    “Honey crisp, am I right?” he asked.

    “Y-yes,” Filia said, a little too shocked to appreciate the fact that she sounded like an awkward middle-schooler.

    He smiled and moved closer to her as she gripped the apple like a chastity belt. His lips closed around hers almost lazily as his hand snaked around her and pressed steadily against her lower back. This was probably a good thing in retrospect or she would’ve fallen off the bench. Her head was already beginning to tilt to one side before she woke up enough to push him off of her.

    “What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded breathlessly. And angrily. In fact, the anger was the cause of the breathlessness!

    Xellos smirked. “I just thought you might have acquired a taste for forbidden fruit,” he said. He waved a finger at her. “I don’t think I was wrong.”

    She stared at him. Then she looked down at the apple. Then she glared up at him. She wanted to think of something to say back to him. Maybe some witty insult punning on fruit. Unfortunately she couldn’t think of one.

    So she threw the apple at his head, screamed: “Well you are wrong!” and stalked away.

    Xellos rubbed his head where the cider-projectile had hit him as he watched her stomp off in a haze of randomized guilt and sexual frustration. Perhaps, he thought to himself, I need to work a little on my tempting skills.

    …Oh well. Practice makes perfect.

  7. #7
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    Alright, I've admittedly never read or watched Slayers. But I decided to read "Guilty" since it was in your sig. And it was so cute! I liked that Filia read the whole book in one night and that Xellos ended up being the one who wrote it. Haha, he must really want to do all that stuff with her! xD *shot*
    Ahem, anyway, it was really good and I liked it. (:
    //*☆*Jesus loved the outcasts,
    He loves the ones the world just loves to hate*☆*//

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    I almost dropped my potato chip I was so surprised that someone commented XD. Thanks so much for reading!

    XP Yup, Xellos is in truh-ble. Although for Filia to confront him she has to admit to him that she rescued the book

  9. #9
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    Here's theme #42. Continue from Totally Smashed.

    Just Because You Can Do It, Doesn’t Mean You Should. Rated PG.

    Xellos’s eyes blinked open slowly, as though the body he used to get things done in the physical realm wasn’t quite as responsive as it usually was. Waking up and not knowing where he was was an unusual experience for him… so was waking up.

    He concentrated on his surroundings. He was on a light-brown sofa in well-decorated (if a little froufrou) living room. It was an extremely clean space. In fact, the contrast between the unnecessarily clean living room and the somewhat messy kitchen with dirty dishes piled on the counter was very odd. He tilted his head to see that he’d been covered with a quilt. Several patches of the quilt featured kittens.

    Oh dear… he thought as recollections began to emerge.

    “It’s about time you woke up,” a voice complained.

    Xellos turned his head to see Filia glowering at him from over by the mantle. She was holding a feather duster and ostensibly dusting the dust-free trinkets over the fireplace. Her body was tense, like she’d been waiting for something for a long time and now worried that it might have been better to go on waiting.

    He sat up on the couch and touched his forehead gingerly. The fine chemical processing structures that he’d created the day before to properly enjoy alcohol seemed to be sloshing around as though preserved in death throes. It was a good thing that he didn’t really need those structures, because he knew that they’d been severely damaged by last night’s little… indiscretions. In short, alcohol was no longer fun.

    “Well,” he said with some effort as he fingered the quilt over him with his other hand, “this is extremely unpleasant.”

    Filia held her hands to her hips, one hand still clasping the feather duster. “A hangover is fate punishing you for drinking,” she told him self-righteously.

    “I was talking about your quilting skills,” Xellos answered calmly.

    She threw the feather duster at his head, which is, for the record, not a nice thing to do to someone who is hung-over. It was a mark of how bad Xellos was feeling that he didn’t dodge.

    “I think,” Xellos said slowly, almost laboriously, as the feather duster fell on the floor in front of him, “that I’ve had enough of this.” He made adjustments. The air shimmered oddly around him for a moment, like super-heated air on a desert horizon. He straightened up and looked more alert.

    “What did you just do?” Filia asked suspiciously.

    “Got rid of the alcohol,” Xellos said simply.

    Filia growled. “You can’t just opt out of the consequences of your vile actions!”

    “Yes,” Xellos said, “I can. I just did.”

    That much was evident. “Well, it’s not right,” Filia insisted. “You think you can just get drunk and then waltz in here and mess everything up without so much as paying the penalty of a headache in the morning?! There is a child in this house for your information. You should be ashamed of yourself!”

    Xellos made a determined study of his fingernails, which was difficult because he was wearing gloves. “I don’t think I should have to change my behavior just because you can’t grow up.”

    Filia took a minute on that one, then set her teeth into a grimace. Too bad she didn’t have anything else to throw at him. “I was talking about Val.”

    “He at least has more of an excuse then you,” Xellos said, visiting a smile on her.

    Filia gave him a disapproving look. No one had the right to be that chipper the morning after bursting into their enemy’s house in a drunken stupor and then collapsing. She approached him, and he watched her as though wondering what she’d do next. Then she reached down and pointedly snatched up her feather duster. She sat down on the recliner perpendicular to the couch.

    She sat there for a moment, plucking idly at the duster, before finally saying: “I didn’t think that you monsters could even get drunk.”

    “We can,” Xellos said, swinging around his legs so he was facing her. He still had the quilt over him, which made him look very out of place. “We just don’t have to.”

    Filia’s brow creased. “Why would you want to get drunk if you don’t have to?”

    Xellos shrugged, not looking at her as he shook out the quilt and began folding it on his lap. “I suppose because I can.”

    That explanation cut absolutely no ice with Filia. She gripped the feather duster in her hand, but held on in case he did something else to make her want to hurl it at him that was worse. “That’s no reason to do something!”

    “Isn’t it?” Xellos said, using patented deflection technique number one (respond to questions with questions); “Then why do you get drunk?”he asked, pressing on to patented deflection technique number two (pretend the other person is the one with the problem).

    Filia scowled. His patented deflection techniques weren’t anything new to her. “I don’t get drunk.”

    “Oh really?” Xellos asked disbelievingly. “I’ve seen a few tell-tale bottles on high shelves where children’s hands can’t find them.”

    Filia made an indignant squawking sound. Xellos had no right to go through her pantry and pass judgment on her. “Those are just for cooking!” she explained.

    Xellos gave her a sly look.

    “Alright,” she said harshly, “maybe occasionally when I’ve had a very bad day I’ll… put it to non-culinary use. But it’s not like I get wasted and come to your door lurching around and slurring nonsense!”

    “That would be funny,” Xellos commented, giving the drunken-Filia scenario an almost criminal amount of thought.

    You didn’t seem like you were having fun,” Filia pointed out. “You sounded upset.”

    One of those quick twitches crossed Xellos’s face. It was the kind that always left Filia unsure as to whether she imagined it or not. “By you?” He let out a little ‘as if!’ snort.

    Filia narrowed her eyes and leaned forward. “I never said by me.” She gave him a puzzled look. “What could I possibly have done to upset you so much?”

    “I suppose you just do it naturally,” he said sourly.

    “I was being serious,” Filia said severely. “What did I say that hurt so much that you needed to get smashed to forget it?”

    “You can’t hurt me, Filia,” he said, falsely as it happened.

    “My ‘pitying’ you seems to hurt you,” Filia struck back. She’d had all evening lying awake in bed and all morning waiting for him to wake up to mull over his strange performance. “But apparently that’s okay because ‘we’re the same’.”

    “We’re not the same,” Xellos almost whispered.

    “That’s what I said; you seemed to have other ideas.”

    Xellos was quiet for a moment. It had all made more sense when he was slightly-or-more-than-slightly-as-the-case-may-be unhinged from reality. This idea that no matter how different they seemed that there was something about her that called out a fellow feeling… that they could understand each other in ways that no one else could.

    “I was a little out of sorts as you might have noticed,” he answered.

    “Maybe,” Filia said, “but that doesn’t mean it came out of nowhere.” She gave him a searching look. “What were you thinking?”

    He got up abruptly, picking up his staff from where Filia had leaned it against the couch. “Clearly I wasn’t,” his back said.

    “You were!” Filia shot back indignantly, standing and moving toward him. “Maybe you didn’t like what you were thinking but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!” She reached out and touched his shoulder. “Xellos?”

    He turned around snatched her hand, but when he spoke next he sounded more tired than angry. “You’re doing it again, Filia.”

    “What?” Filia asked, unsure as to whether she should take back her hand or let things lie. It felt very much like that brief moment when he’d touched her face the night before.

    “Pitying me,” he said, definitely sounding resigned.

    “I’m not,” Filia said, caught off-guard by this accusation.

    “You are,” he said heavily, “and you were. I can feel it.”

    “Well, maybe I am,” she shouted, “but if I am it’s just because you can’t even manage to tell me what’s going on without resorting to changing the subject or your stupid catchphrase or pretending this is all about me!”

    “It is all about you,” he said gravely, though he understood Filia’s meaning.

    I’m not the one that’s upset about something!” she yelled back. He raised an eyebrow and she added: “Fine. I am upset. But only because you started it.”

    “We are rather in tune to each other, aren’t we?” Xellos observed with a small smile.

    She very nearly stamped her foot. “You’re changing the subject again.”

    “I’m not,” he said. “Not really.” He looked into her had-it-up-to-here-with-this-bullsh*it expression and sighed. He sank back onto the couch, still holding her hand so that she was obliged to sit next to him.

    “Could you say that you’d be happy about being called a slave?” he asked her.

    “That?” she asked incredulously. “Come on, you’ve said way worse things about me!” That was what her words said, but there was a prickle of guilt just beyond them. Xellos could taste it. It tasted better than the pity, but he still didn’t like being on the receiving end of it.

    He scratched his cheek in thought. “I suppose I have,” he said.

    “Don’t just admit it so calmly like that!” Filia exploded.

    “I thought you’d appreciate my honesty,” he answered smoothly.

    She scowled. “You’re not honest. You tell the truth—most of the time—but that’s not the same thing.”

    Xellos couldn’t help but smile. Filia was more perceptive than most people would give her credit. That’s why exchanges with her, while often leading to triumph for him, could easily end in such scenarios as him getting the bright idea to marinade his troubles in whiskey. What a troublesome girl she was…

    She was looking down now, at his hand still holding hers—lightly, almost inviting her to let go. “And that’s what was bothering you?” she asked quietly, as she let his words sink in.

    “Don’t feel too sorry for me,” he warned: “it’s not species-appropriate. Anyway,” he added, with a shrug of his shoulders, “we’re all governed by limitations… you as much as I, perhaps even more so. And don’t fool yourself. There are very few things that I would change even if I had the power to.”

    She leaned toward him, eyes wide, surprised and watching. “…But there are things you would change?”

    He increased the pressure on her hand for just a moment, perhaps more as a reminder that he was holding it than anything. “I suppose there’s always a line,” he said speculatively, “but it’s rather sketchy as to where exactly it is. So I’m afraid I won’t know until I’ve crossed it.”

    “And you’re worried that you’re going to cross it?” she asked. It must be true, she thought, or the idea of his freedom being restricted wouldn’t have driven him to… to try out drunk.

    He looked at her very seriously. “I’m going to cross it,” he said. “That’s the problem.”

    “But what will happen to you if you do that?” she asked. Surely Xellos’s creator and master would do more than give him a time-out if he stepped out of line.

    He rolled his shoulders back. “Hope that the line gets redrawn,” he said simply.

    She gripped the feather duster with the hand not being cradled in Xellos’s gloved one, sliding the feathers idly against the base of the couch as she thought. That hardly seemed like a satisfying or secure way of looking at things. But maybe Xellos was valuable enough that he could get away with whatever small indiscretion was so important to him.

    He let go of her hand and tapped the side of her nose playfully with his index finger. “But look at it this way,” he said brightly, “for someone in my station to be able to hang around in some dragon hovel after a night’s hard drinking without stirring up trouble seems to imply a more than comfortable amount of liberty.”

    She scowled at his finger, still in the air in one of Xellos’s stock gestures. His serious to silly attitude was starting to annoy her. Not only that—her house was not a hovel!

    “You don’t know that,” she shot back. “You haven’t even reported in—after spending the night at the very nice house of a golden dragon no less!”

    He withdrew his hand and looked thoughtful. “I hadn’t thought of that,” he admitted. He leaned against his staff and propelled himself off the couch. “I suppose I’d better go face the music then,” he said in a voice that had a bit of a sigh in it.

    He looked at her, looking at him, and perhaps her pity wasn’t as terrible an experience as the first time.

    “Oh, might as well,” he said, “I’m in trouble anyway,” and kissed her briefly on the lips before disappearing from the physical plane.

    She brought the feather duster around in a heavy, inevitable arc, slicing the air where he’d been just a second ago with a more terrible force than a mere feather duster ought to carry.

    “JUST WHAT KIND OF ‘LINE’ WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT CROSSING?!” she demanded of the still shimmering space where he’d disappeared.

  10. #10
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    Here's theme #18.

    If Looks Could Kill… Rated PG.

    “I’ll kill him,” Filia vowed in high, scandalized voice. She stared across the dining hall at the purple-haired fiend sitting just two tables away and cheerily giving his order to the waitress.

    “I don’t really think that’s going to work, Miss Filia,” Amelia said nervously, with a discouraging wave of her hand.

    Filia, with a great deal of effort, managed to shift her gaze from her least favorite traveling companion over to Amelia, her seat-mate. Even though they all traveled in one party, they often took up several tables at restaurants. This was because Lina and Gourry required so much… space when they ate. First off, they tended to order more food than could possibly fit on the table at one time, so there wasn’t room for anyone else’s meal. That wasn’t such a big deal because any meal at the same table as Lina and Gourry became their meal. What really worried anyone forced to sit next to them was the flying arms that flapped in unpredictable and sometimes impossible directions as the two of them shoveled food in their mouths as quickly as they could. A bruised jaw had taught Filia early on that sitting next to Lina when there’s anything deep-fried on the table was a bad idea. That elbow was bony. And this wasn’t even mentioning the silverware fights that occasionally broke out…

    Bottom line was, she and Amelia had retreated to a table close by as soon as Lina started cracking her knuckles and Gourry’s stomach had started growling. Zelgadis had left them too, for a table at the far end of the dining hall with his back to them. He’d been in a bit of a bad mood lately.

    But none of them were the problem. The problem was…

    “Well, I didn’t mean it literally,” Filia snapped, “but someone’s got to do something about that monster!” Filia turned her gaze back to ‘that monster’ and glowered. “Xellos! He thinks he can just waltz back into the group after what he did last week? Well, he’s wrong! It was all his fault that that town got destroyed anyway. If he’d only told us that dragons weren’t allowed then we never would’ve gone there in the first place. Him and his stupid guide book… I bet he would’ve just let Miss Lina and Mister Gourry eat that Dradora’s Surprise too!” Her complexion greened slightly, but she mastered the urge to throw up. “I should give him a piece of my mind!” she declared, reaching almost absentmindedly for the mace holstered to her thigh.

    “Right, I just don’t think that’s going to work,” Amelia said weakly, deciding not to mention that the whole ‘town destroying’ thing only happened because Filia lost her temper.

    Fila turned a betrayed look on Amelia. “How can you of all people say that? Aren’t you always going on about fighting evil?” She gestured broadly at Xellos’s table-for-one. “There’s evil!”

    “I know that,” Amelia said, adding some pepper to her soup. “But do you really think going over there and shouting at him is going to do any good? This is Mister Xellos we’re talking about. He’d probably just think it’s funny.”

    Filia relaxed the hand on her mace, feeling slightly dismayed. “But…”

    “After all, Mister Xellos is a monster,” Amelia went on. “They really thrive off that kind of negativity.”

    Filia looked angry, then she looked crestfallen, then she looked angry again. “Are you trying to say that there’s nothing I can do to punish him for his bad behavior because he’d just enjoy it?” she demanded.

    Some of what Amelia said, Filia was forced to admit, made a lot of sense. Xellos seemed to get an unnatural kick out of upsetting people. Then again, when she’d fought with him before… well, he’d smiled and he’d laughed at her, of course, just like the jerk he was. But sometimes there had been a… strained quality to it. Like some of her rage and a few of her insults had actually hit the mark in a way that made him a little uncomfortable. By what Amelia was saying, he should’ve been having the time of his life… but for some reason her words had stung him…

    “I’m not saying that,” Amelia explained. “It’s just that there are other ways.”

    Filia’s ears pricked up from behind the globular ornaments attached to her headdress. “What kind of ways?”

    “Well, if he likes negativity, then you just have to be positive,” Amelia said brightly.

    Filia’s brow crinkled. “Positive?” Treating Xellos with any kind of positivity aside from positive revulsion had never occurred to her.

    “You know,” Amelia prodded. “Think happy thoughts! Praise life and all its wonders! True Love! Friendship! Justice! Charity!” She smiled. “Be nice to him and he won’t be able to stand it.”

    “I can’t be nice to Xellos,” Filia half-shrieked, half-whispered. “The very idea is just… no! I can’t do it!”

    “But just think about it,” Amelia encouraged her. “There’s probably nothing that would bother him more than you being nice to him.”

    Filia gave it some thought. Of course it was impossible, but… “Would that really work?”

    “Oh yes,” Amelia said with a fervent nod. “We’ve threatened it before when we needed him to tell us more than he wanted to.” She did a celebratory fist-clench. “Even monsters quake in fear against the power of JUSTICE!”

    Now that Amelia mentioned it… she did remember Xellos looking a little uncomfortable when Amelia had climbed the tree in the village square and started proclaiming the virtues of the heavens. Though, then again, Lina had buried her face in her hands, Zelgadis had started muttering what was either a prayer or a curse, and even Gourry had looked a little embarrassed in the face of this impromptu Justice-harangue.

    “That’s always been our emergency plan for dealing with Mister Xellos,” Amelia went on. “You know, if we ever had to fight him or something.”

    “Really?” Filia asked.

    “Yeah,” Amelia said, now sounding a little unsure. “Although… Miss Lina says we don’t need to worry about that anymore, because if Mister Xellos does get out of control, we can just throw you at him, shout ‘Look, a distraction!’ and run off.”

    Filia slammed her hands down on the table. “She said what?

    “I’m sure she didn’t mean anything by it,” Amelia said, holding up her hands and looking like she wished she hadn’t mentioned it at all. “It’s just that… you know… you two get distracted by each other, that’s all.”

    “We do not get distracted by each other!”

    “Of course you don’t!” Amelia went with, because Filia was eyeing her silverware in a not-too-friendly manner. In the last silverware battle, Filia had actually beaten Lina. The only one who’d ever managed that before was Gourry. Best not to tempt fate. After all, armed only with a soup spoon, she’d be at a natural disadvantage.

    Filia appeared to calm down at this retraction. She breathed deep for a moment and then turned to glance at Xellos. “So… how would I go about this… positive thing around him?”

    “Just sort of… radiate happiness,” Amelia said thoughtfully, not commenting on Filia’s Xellos-distractibility factor.

    Filia looked and Amelia with a severe expression. “How am I supposed to radiate happiness around that?

    “Well…” Amelia said, sitting back. “Try not to think about it being Mister Xellos. Just think about things that make you happy… flowers… kittens…” She tried to put herself in Filia’s shoes. “…antiquing?”

    Filia stared at the wood grain for a minute. Would this actually work? On the one hand, yes, negativity was a monster’s sustenance so positivity should at least annoy, if not hurt, him. On the other hand, a bit of her soul might die if she actually went through with it. Was this really the only way of effectively fighting Xellos?

    She made a fist and slammed it down on the table. “I can do this. I am strong!” she declared.

    “Go get him, Miss Filia!” Amelia chirped.

    Filia got up, and made that slow, painful walk to Xellos’s table. Halfway there she stopped and looked back at Amelia who gave her a thumbs up. She gulped and kept moving.

    He looked up at her as he saw her approach and she knew from that moment that this would be no picnic. Just seeing him look at her with that curious expression made her fingers itch for her mace. She noticed that he’d already gotten his dinner order. It was a slice of cherry supreme pie. For dinner. Sure, monsters think that the rules don’t apply to them—that they can just go around eating dessert for dinner and not face any of the consequences. Bastards.

    She stopped herself and tried to focus. If she was going to get that upset over a slice of pie then this whole operation was doomed. She forced her face into a smile and sat down across from him.

    “…Hi,” she said.

    And it sounded so wrong! Xellos should never be greeted with a simple ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ or even a slightly frivolous ‘Hey there, hi there, ho there.’ Not when ‘Xellos!’, ‘What are you doing here?’ or ‘You’ve got a lot of nerve to show your face around here after what you did!’ were infinitely more appropriate.

    He stared into her smiling face. He definitely seemed put-off by the friendly greeting, so Filia hoped her plan was working. But just a second later he turned his attention back to his pie.

    “Nice effort, Filia,” he said, “but you need to scrunch up your eyes more if you want to get it just right.”

    That threw Filia’s smile completely off. “What?”

    “Of course,” Xellos said, tapping his cheek thoughtfully with his knife, “yours is way better than Mister Zelgadis’s try, so I guess I have to give you credit for that.”

    She looked at him like he was crazy, which she was beginning to think that he was. “What are you talking about?” she demanded.

    “Your impression of me,” he explained, taking a bite of pie and chewing it in contemplation. “They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” he added.

    She stood up violently. “It wasn’t an impression! Why would I ever want to be like a filthy mon—” She remembered her role just in time and calmed down. She lowered herself back into her seat. “I mean, I was just smiling. I’m allowed to, you know,” she added with slight petulance.

    “I suppose so,” Xellos mused, as though this was a debatable issue that he wasn’t currently in the mood to argue. “And what exactly are you smiling about?”

    Filia was encouraged by Xellos’s reaction of mild distaste. Although, to be honest, it seemed like her smiling was bothering him less because it was positive and more because he had the sneaking feeling that she was making fun of him.

    “Oh… you know… it’s just… a beautiful day, that’s all,” Filia said, struggling to play her part. “So full of life,” she added vindictively.

    “Life?” he repeated, taking a bite of his pie.

    “Yes, life,” she answered through gritted teeth, her eyes following the movement of his hand.

    He noticed this and gestured at his slice of pie with a fork. “Did you want some?” he asked in that awful ingratiating tone.

    “No,” she said stiffly. “I don’t eat pie for dinner.” After all, if you don’t eat your meat then you just can’t have any pudding. How can you have pudding if you don’t eat your meat?

    “And aren’t you the dietary paragon of virtue,” he commented nastily, taking another bite.

    “Anyway, as I was saying about life,” Filia pushed forward.

    “What about life?” Xellos asked, as though hoping that Filia might get to the point soon.

    “Well… uh…” Filia wasn’t quite sure where to go from there. She hoped that she’d just praise life a bit and Xellos would shriek and steam would hiss off of him or something… or at least he’d just get annoyed by it. She strove for something to say… Amelia was so much better at this kind of thing. “It’s good, that’s all.” She paused. “And… I’m happy about it.”

    “Wonderful,” Xellos commented dully. “And you were moved to report this happiness to me… why?”

    Filia bit her lip. This line wasn’t really working. What else besides praising life had Amelia mentioned? Something about true love…

    She stared at Xellos for a moment.

    Moving on…

    Well, she’d been trying to think of adorable kittens since she sat down, so the psychic warfare really wasn’t working on that side. The problem might have been that she was praising life, smiling, and thinking of happy things without actually being very happy. Since it was all directed at Xellos, there was probably a little too much malice behind it for it to count as positive.

    …What else do you do when you’re being nice to someone? Well, you compliment them, but she couldn’t really do that with Xellos, could she? Certainly not sincerely. And if none of the other ploys had worked without sincerity, then neither would this one.

    Then again… there had been a few times since they’d met that Xellos had… well, for want of a better word, he’d complimented her. He probably didn’t mean it most of the time, and there was usually some sort of nasty barb attached to whatever he said but… whenever he did it, it was always… strange. Considering that they hated each other, maybe he’d feel the same disequilibrium if she complimented him… even if it was forced.

    She ran her eyes over him, searching for something to comment on, whilst he chewed his pie and looked at her like she was losing her mind.

    “Your umm…” she decided to go for something she thought was fairly neutral, “your staff is… nice.”

    He narrowed one eye and gave her a ‘Yep. The dragon’s definitely losing her marbles’ look. “My staff.”

    “Yes,” she went on, now that she was already too deep in to get out. “It’s um… well, is that a ruby or something?”

    He looked over at the staff leaning against his chair and then gave her a mildly befuddled look. “You’re saying you like my staff?”

    “Oh yes,” she said triumphantly, quite clearly seeing how her comments were confusing him. He was already trying to figure out her game. This was working! “And… your hair is so… shiny and… purple.” Thinking up compliments was hard. Not, she was shocked to realize, because she couldn’t think of features worth complimenting, but because she couldn’t quite explain why they were worth complimenting.

    He surveyed her with the same mystified look as she tried to think up a good follow-up to ‘purple’, but suddenly, the clouds seem to clear. “Ah,” he said understandingly, setting down his silverware and sitting back. “I think I know what’s going on here.”

    She strove not to panic or turn around and exchange a look with Amelia. “W-what?” she tried. “Going on? Nothing’s going on. We’re just talking.”

    “No,” he said, shaking his head. “Your technique is understandably awkward, but I think I see what you’re going for.”

    Filia was not entirely sure what he was talking about, but bristled with indignation in any case. How dare he call her technique awkward? Whatever technique he meant.

    “I must admit, I’m surprised,” Xellos said, looking at her as though in a whole new light. “But then again, maybe I shouldn’t be.”

    “Surprised about what?” she demanded.

    “You’ve been sheltered in that temple your whole life, and now that you’re out… well, things are different,” he said with a helpless shrug. “You’re not used to dealing with this kind of thing.”

    “What are you talking about?” she snapped. She thought she was fulfilling her role as guide quite well despite the fact that she’d spent most of her life in the temple, and she didn’t take kindly to garbage questioning her navigating abilities.

    “Of course, it’s understandable that you’d have needs. Perhaps I should just be surprised at your gall to actually pursue something like this, though,” he looked at her almost fondly, “you’ve never had a shortage of that. Still, it must’ve taken a lot of nerve to try this—more than I honestly would’ve expected from you.”

    He scratched his cheek. “As bizarre as the situation is, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little intrigued by the idea.”

    He looked up, as though deep in contemplation, while she took her turn to look at him like he’d gone mad. Finally he withdrew from his thought process and shook his head, “I’m afraid the answer is no,” he summed up. “Even though we’d both obviously enjoy it, we’d really just be asking for trouble.”

    She slammed her fists on the table and stood up. “Enjoy what?” she shouted. “Tell me what you’re talking about, you stupid monster!”

    He wagged his finger in front of her and treated her to an obnoxious smile. “Dragons are such abysmal flirts.”

    Three rage-filled seconds later, the table split in half. Xellos stared down at his pie, which now had a mace embedded in it.

    “I wasn’t finished with that,” he said.

    A scream shattered every glass in the room, as Filia brought her hands up to the gem on her robes and began glowing gold.

    Amelia, having watched the whole thing from a distance, scuttled over to the table Lina and Gourry were still eating savagely at, as though nothing out of the ordinary was going on.

    “Miss Lina,” Amelia tugged urgently at her sleeve. “Miss Lina, we have to get out of here!”

    “Huh?” Lina looked over at the table Xellos was still sitting calmly at, watching the glowing dragon girl in front of him. “Oh geez! What’s going on with those two now?”

    “I kinda told Miss Filia about our emergency plan for dealing with Xellos, and she thought she’d try it,” Amelia explained anxiously.

    “You told her about Plan X?” Lina asked sharply. “Well, it doesn’t look like it’s working!”

    “I think she’s doing it wrong,” Amelia insisted.

    “Oh man,” Lina said, letting her head fall into her hand. “And I wasn’t even done yet. Do you think there’s time to get a to-go bag?”

    “No!” Amelia shouted.

    “XELLOS!!” a voice screamed, getting louder and louder until it was punctuated with a laser ray.

    “Now, now, there’s no reason to be shy about it,” was the only thing that they heard before the thunderous splitting of timber left a dragon-shaped hole in the wall.

    Lina chewed on a chicken wing idly as she watched a tiny purple dot and a larger golden dot disappear noisily over the horizon. The Innkeeper gawped at the hole in the wall. He appeared to be crying.

    “Do you think it’s time to retire Plan X?” Lina asked.

    “Plan X can work,” Amelia maintained.

    She turned to look at the buckled wood hanging sadly over the fissure. “It just… obviously doesn’t work for all people.”

  11. #11
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    Here's theme #26.

    Blended. Rated PG.

    Her parents had passed away long ago; even her adoptive home at the temple of the Fire Dragon King was gone, along with those she’d lived alongside for years. So Filia could be nothing but thankful from the bottom of her heart to even have a family now. It was a family that… admittedly must’ve looked strange from the outside. None of them had a drop of blood in common. Heck, they didn’t even have race in common. But here they were a… blended family.

    And it was all because of Val. He was what had drawn them together and he was what they all orbited around now. The tottering child with the unfortunate haircut passing his mornings at the local preschool had no idea what he had brought her; what he had brought them all. Hopefully, someday he would.

    There had been many moments in their time together in which that fact had been brought home to her: when she first took Val’s egg home; when Jillas, standing on Gravos’s shoulders, had hung the shop sign up for their opening day; when Val’s egg had hatched. But for some reason she always came back to, of all things, the paperwork.

    Filia had been determined to enroll Val in the local preschool. Just because he was a creature of staggering power didn’t mean that he shouldn’t be allowed playmates. She wanted him to get acclimated to the community of humans, to be accepted, to learn, and to make friends. He deserved that. She desperately needed to give him the happy childhood he’d been denied in his past life.

    But that didn’t mean she wasn’t worried. There were a thousand things that could go wrong. What if he had trouble leaving her? What if he thought she was abandoning him? What if he transformed and burned down the school house? What if the other kids didn’t see how special he was?

    Well, now that he ran ahead of her to join his buddies on the playground, and she practically had to drag him out of the sandbox at the end of the class, her worries seemed pointless. But they’d been so real when she was filling out the forms to enroll him.

    After reading over safety procedures, some legal mumbo jumbo, and filling out his medical history, she’d come to the pick-up authorization. It was a list of people besides herself who she’d allow to pick up her son from school. She put Jillas and Gravos down in a heartbeat. They loved Val and would protect him to their deaths. She knew that it was the delight of their lives that they’d somehow made the transition from his devoted servants to his adoptive uncles.

    Her pen stopped hesitantly along the next line, poised to make a familiar stroke. Why? Why did she almost automatically have the urge to write that name? The name of her household’s other sometimes-resident. This list was for people she entrusted with the treasure of all treasures in her life. It was not the place for someone who could never prove himself trustworthy.

    And yet… she struggled.

    She didn’t know why she thought of this now, as she added a smattering of spices to the soup that would be that day’s lunch. Maybe it was because he was there—humming at her. He’d taken to humming tunelessly whenever he was idly hanging around her house and couldn’t think of anything to say to start a sparring session. He knew it drove her completely up the wall. Just lately, though, he’d found a new, even more obnoxious trick: he’d stop humming. Now that set her teeth on edge.

    Xellos. No matter how much she wished otherwise, he was also a part of this blended family. And she was almost sure that he hadn’t meant to be. Almost.

    The fact was, he was just… there. Oh sure, he’d disappear occasionally, but it seemed like he spent all his spare time in her home. She wasn’t even sure if he went away at night, which worried her slightly.

    So in some ways, it wasn’t surprising that she’d thought of him while filling out the form. If she was Val’s adoptive mother and Jillas and Gravos were his adoptive uncles then Xellos was… well…

    It had been an accident. The look on his face told the whole story, really. Xellos had visited her many times before Val hatched. At first she’d been horrified beyond belief, thinking that he might be there to steal Val away; to deliver him to the monster race and raise her boy into something dark and tainted, or to kill him before he could even take a breath to threaten them. But he’d seemed indifferent to any such scheme. In fact, the unhatched Val had been an afterthought to Xellos, who only brought him up as a means to insult her. “Haven’t dropped him yet, have you, Filia?” he’d ask sneeringly. To her dawning surprise, amidst sustained irritation and the desire to smack him upside the head, she realized that he was there for one person and one person alone: her.

    That had changed after Val hatched. Oh, he still showered her with attention—mostly negative, but Val had innocently and unthinkingly propelled him into a new role. “Dudduh,” Val had gurgled unmistakably. If Xellos wasn’t shocked by this, then he was an even better actor than Filia gave him credit for. It was as though the wind had been knocked completely out of him, and he could do nothing more than stare keenly, curiously, perplexedly, at the little bundle in his arms. Before, Val had just been another tool with which to mock Filia. In fact, he’d only picked up the child in order to better insult her for having to repeat “Say Mommy!” to the baby for an hour before he followed suit. But suddenly he was assigned a new fate in the child’s life. Just like that, he was ‘Dudduh.’

    Filia had tried to fix it. “No, no, no, no, no!” she’d whimpered, snatching her Val away from the still gobsmacked Xellos. “Not ‘Dudduh!’ Absolutely, certainly, 100% not ‘Dudduh!’” But Val had been resolute. “Dudduh,” he’d said, stretching out his fat little arms toward his newly christened father-figure.

    So by relation, Xellos might have earned the right for consideration on that list. He was ‘daddy’ nowadays to Val, and there wasn’t a damn thing Filia could do about it. No more than she could stop the gossiping villagers from assuming that she and Xellos were married or at least ‘shacking up’ (their phrase, not hers).

    The funny thing was, Xellos had sort of… adapted to his fatherly role. Now he hung around not just to dish out verbal abuse to her, but to play Candyland, tag, and destroy-the-resale-value-of-Filia’s-house with the son who had adopted him instead of it being the other way around. He was even talking about building a tree house. It was like he’d caught some kind of madness.

    But… but on the other hand, she’d thought wildly as she’d stared down at the legal form, he had no right to be trusted with her child. He was a monster! She couldn’t trust him just because he acted nice. He always acted nice! That didn’t mean there wasn’t some kind of sinister scheme under all the niceness. Maybe this was just fun and games for him; a way to pass the time and nothing more. But she couldn’t know. She could never know for sure whether or not he was just playing the waiting game to devastate her and take away what was most precious to her.

    She didn’t know how long she’d stared at that form without moving. Her pen had been frozen on the paper, and she couldn’t bring herself to move it away or to press forward. She knew she’d have to make a choice, and she wasn’t sure if it was the right one.

    But that horrible moment of indecision was past now. Val had settled himself pleasantly among his new classmates this last month and, aside from accidentally causing the water table to boil over that one time, he’d been doing just fine. Having Jillas or Gravos occasionally charged to pick him up from class whenever Filia was too busy to go down to the schoolhouse herself to walk him home earned him much respect amongst his peers. Gravos’s stature alone was impressive and Jillas managed to dazzle the children with a fireworks display. So Val had no shortage of friends and was a happy, healthy, and surprisingly normal boy.

    Xellos stopped humming from his perch on the recliner. Filia scowled and turned away from her cooking.

    “Stop that,” she ordered him sternly.

    Xellos looked up at her with a would-be befuddled expression. “I’m not doing anything,” he’d said innocently.

    She crossed her arms in a movement that she hoped indicated that she wasn’t going to take any crap from him that day. “Don’t play dumb with me,” she said. “You know what you’re doing.”

    “Why don’t you tell me what I’m supposedly doing,” he said calmly.

    “You’re not humming!” she snapped.

    He tilted his head and raised an eyebrow at her.

    “Don’t look at me like that,” she glared. “You are! I can hear you not-humming at me!”

    “Truly that must be deafening,” he said with a smirk.

    “It is!” she insisted.

    “Would you like me to start humming again?” he offered.

    “No!” she shouted, turning back to her lunch preparation. “No,” she said more calmly, having caught sight of the clock. It was nearly twelve.

    “Well, those really seem to be my only options,” he answered. “What else am I supposed to do?”

    “Why don’t—” she began softly. She stopped herself. “Why don’t you do something useful for once and take Val home from school,” she ordered in a put-on harsh tone that in no way matched her expression.

    He couldn’t see her face, but he seemed to feel the tension in the air. He stared at her back for a few minutes as she tried to go about the casual business of preparing lunch. Then she heard him rise from his seat.

    “I’ll be right back,” he said, and was gone.

  12. #12
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    Where have you been all my life?
    I take it there aren’t many Slayers fans in a Pokémon community. By the way, how the heck do you do the cross out thing? I know how to do it in Word but it doesn’t carry over.

    Yay! Two midterms down, two more to go. But the next one isn’t until Monday so I’m going to procrastinate—I mean, take a break hooray!
    Uh…I hope you don’t mind extra long reviews. Because you write so well, I didn’t find much to criticize, so I ended up commenting my thoughts while reading. Er…but I might have gotten…carried away? Lol
    He’d initially joined the clergy because he wanted a career in which he could avoid hard work and danger and stay indoors
    Lamest excuse ever to join the clergy, Reverend Rinderpest. (Mmmm…alliteration) You could easily be an author: it’s a non-dangerous job, isn’t hard, and you can stay indoors. You get more excitement out of it too.
    I’m scared of the dark and still sleep with a square of the blanket I had when I was a baby. I’m the last person that should be standing against the forces of darkness.
    The irony here, dear Reverand, is that you joined the clergy because of its lack of danger/hard work.
    Masis’s
    When you have a name that ends in an “s”, you just put an apostrophe. So it would look like Masis'.
    Of the two, the second tended to be difficult to permanently expel a spirit from, but the first tended to be the most dangerous for client and attending.
    Might I direct your attention back to the original reason for joining the clergy yet again, dear Reverend? See, if you were an author you wouldn’t be having this problem, would you?
    He’d tried to think of clowns with claws; he’d tried to think of gurgling masses of flesh and teeth; he’d tried to think tentacled monstrosities; and for some reason he’d tried to think of a little girl turning her head around three-hundred-and-sixty degrees.
    My, these occurrences all seem oddly familiar. I wonder where I could possibly have seen these from.
    Filia gave Verily the same look that his teacher’s had given him when he confused scripture enough to think that the wages of sin was, in fact, eternal life
    But most people commit all sorts of sin just to reach eternal life, so in essence…
    He looked hesitantly at the man on the chair watching him like a cat.
    It’s a little hard to tell if the Reverend, being a skittish scaredy-cat, is the one watching Xellos or if Xellos is watching the Reverend like the sneaky little kitty he is. It’s probably the latter, only because when I think of cats I usually think of them popping out of nowhere just to annoy the heck out of you. Ha, I just got this image of Xellos as a cat.
    Babbage
    It’s like….cabbage…but with a “b”. Lol.
    But what Filia really had objected to was after the tea had been drunk and Mrs. Babbage insisted on a tea leaf reading.
    This sentence sounds a little weird to me. The “and” throws me off.
    She’d also picked up another deck of tarot cards. That must make twenty by now.
    She needs twenty decks of tarot cards? Does she want to simultaneously predict the future of a small army?
    The girl couldn’t count.
    It’s probably because I’m tired, but I don’t really understand what you mean by this. Hooray for lack of sleep!
    But Filia didn’t seem to be occupying the same realm as her guest anymore. And it was at that point that Rosemarie Babbage saw Miss Filia scowl darkly at her cup; hurl it against the wall in a shower of porcelain; and scream to the universe, Mrs. Babbage, and destiny in general:

    “The tea leaves are WRONG!”
    Remember that time you and the party were assigned to couples through the drawing of gems, Filia? I think the universe kind of had it out for you. Sure, it had all been nothing but a hoax arrangement and sure the other two couples were paired up wrong but that’s beside the point.
    Gourry following because he was epoxied to Lina at the hip
    So that’s why their stomachs and appetites are so similar.
    And then they’d picked up Sylphiel along the way just to make things more complicated.
    Is she still infatuated with Gourry? I can’t remember whether or not she ever got over him.
    But they were making the food thing work, mostly by cutting down to six courses per meal.
    Would that be six courses between both Lina and Gourry or six courses each? Lol
    It was called… ‘snapped corn’ or something.
    Me: Lina, you do realize that’s for the feeding of farm animals, right?
    Lina: Ba! Should I care?
    Me: Ba, huh? Spoken like a true sheep
    EDIT: So that's why she dressed up as a horse for that one episode where they went into the tower of dolls...
    “Oh fine,” she said, slamming down the metal snack bowl on the floor with a giiiooong sound. “If you must know, it was Xellos.”
    I remember that episode! Gourry was way too taken with that squid costume. And dare I say Amelia was the star of that episode? *gets run over for bad joke*
    It worked too. Slimy prick.
    Whose thoughts are these?
    “A few years ago. Twice. On the cheek.”
    When was the second time? I remember he kissed his finger and before pressing it to her lips in the episode he debuted on. Is that what you’re referring to? By the way, how many years after the end of the show does this fic take place?
    “If you ask me, it sounds like you’re jealous.”
    And for some reason I can hear Valgaav in the background singing:
    Mommy is jelly!
    She wants to be with Xelly!
    “Filia, you’re really ruining the mood,” Xellos commented
    Yes, Filia. You’re really ruining the mood. And to think I actually got up to go get some popcorn so that I could better enjoy this scene. Popcorn waster.
    “I mean, I’ve done much worse things and you haven’t been as mad,” he pointed out.

    “Name one!” Filia retorted.
    Um…Filia? You don’t remember the time you overheard Xellos offering to kill Lina for Valgaav? Or does Lina no longer matter ‘cause she got a kiss and you didn’t?
    He hesitated for a minute, brows furrowing ‘til they met in the middle, then brushed his lips almost gently against hers. She shivered visibly and… audibly. He seemed to take that as a cue to continue and… kissed her.
    This is more like it. *munches on popcorn*
    (such as Interrogation or Peer Pressure, the freezing of an unwary companion’s underwear, or raising the dead)
    ….Say what now?
    She was afraid, and even angry that he would dare to step foot on the holy ground of temple.
    I think you might be missing a “the” in between “of” and “temple”. Or should I mention this to the author of the book within your story? Lol
    Filia took a deep breath, her face red and furious. She threw her head back angrily into the night and screamed: “XELLOS!!”
    Oh so that’s what you do in your spare time, Xellos. Didn’t know you wrote saucy novels. By the way, Skiyomi. I LOVE THE SNIPPETS OF BOOK YOU PUT IN THERE. I only wish that I could read the whole “Forbidden Desires” novel; it has the potential for unlimited amusement.
    On another note I must apologize to the Reverend Rinderpest. It seems that authoring books can be dangerous, especially if you end up angering a golden dragon. Looks like there’s only one path left to you, Reverend: marry rich.
    Or, and Filia was much happier with this example, little boys! Yes! It was very much like that. Little boys often got the urge to pull of pigtails of little girls that they certainly didn’t like at all. And every knew there was nothing at all sexual about—
    Try telling that to Sigmund Freud.
    “You know,” he prompted. “Change my hair.”
    Xellos with a mullet! Xellos with an afro! Xellos with a Mohawk! Xellos with a…ok I’ll stop.
    And anyway, that’s not even his real form. His real form is as impersonal as things get. This is just… a costume he wears.
    Wasn’t his real form something like a gust of wind or something? I can’t quite remember.
    This was because he’d never learned one of the better, yet somehow less widely taught lessons from the Old Testament: Beware of women with scissors.
    They have an Old Testament in the Slayers’ world?
    Edie’s Garden
    =Garden of Eden. I see what you did there.
    She caught it, mostly on impulse and glared down at the red an
    d noticeably shiny thing in her hand. It didn’t appear to have any worm holes in it. “I’m not going to eat it anyway,” she sniped. “It’s against the rules.”
    Freaky spacing alert! Freaky spacing alert!
    “I didn’t know dragons were so wasteful,” Xellos commented craftily.
    THEY ARE. Filia almost made me waste a perfectly good bag of popcorn earlier today.
    He reached out his hand toward her, leaning forward as she leaned slightly back. He rested a fingertip gently against her chin and dragged it slowly upwards to the corner of her mouth where the juice from the apple had dripped. He brought his hand back and thoughtfully licked the finger.
    Did he do this while he still had his gloves on?
    Xellos smirked. “I just thought you might have acquired a taste for forbidden fruit,” he said. He waved a finger at her. “I don’t think I was wrong.”
    …Huh, I’m suddenly reminded of a movie title. Now what was it again? Oh yeah! “How to Train your Dragon.” But considering the earlier passage:
    He smiled and moved closer to her as she gripped the apple like a chastity belt. His lips closed around hers almost lazily as his hand snaked around her and pressed steadily against her lower back. This was probably a good thing in retrospect or she would’ve fallen off the bench. Her head was already beginning to tilt to one side before she woke up enough to push him off of her.
    And considering Filia’s short fuse, I think it should be a little more like “How to Tame your Dragon."
    I WILL review the rest of them. It’s just that my ADHD only allows me to do stuff in chunks (plus I really should get started on my next midterm). And I’ve been suddenly stricken with a strange desire to watch Slayers again (I wonder why lol).

    I think it’s only fair to tell you that these are wickedly good. I can’t seem stop reading. I literally have to tear my eyes away to type up more review (only to have my eyes demand more reading). By the end of today, I’m going to probably reach the end of the stories here even if I haven’t reviewed them yet.

    Again, I’m sorry for the extra long review (um…please don’t be mad at me?). I actually ended up writing more pages in word on this review than I did a chapter of my current fanfiction project (though admittedly most of this review is filled with quotes).

    Talk to you soon again!
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

    Official from Oscars Thread ^

    png image hosting
    I made this ^

  13. #13
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    Don't be silly; I LOVE long reviews! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and leave comments!

    I take it there aren’t many Slayers fans in a Pokémon community. By the way, how the heck do you do the cross out thing? I know how to do it in Word but it doesn’t carry over.
    I'm afraid there don't seem to be. *sigh*

    Oh, strike-out is the same coding as italics or bold, it just uses an s instead of an i or a b.

    When you have a name that ends in an “s”, you just put an apostrophe. So it would look like Masis'.
    That's actually an issue with people on both sides who feel... well, very strongly about it (and they keep dragging poor Keats in as an example too!) I happen to be of the opinion that the extra s looks better and is clearer and since the issue is so divided, I choose to use my preferance.

    She needs twenty decks of tarot cards? Does she want to simultaneously predict the future of a small army?
    Actually, tarot card collecting is a thing.

    It’s probably because I’m tired, but I don’t really understand what you mean by this. Hooray for lack of sleep!
    A teenaged girl sleeping around in a world without or with limited contraceptives (it's hard to say in the Slayers world what they have because, for some reason I can't fathom, they've never mentioned any in the show. If they don't have magical methods then what they have is probably quite primitive/ineffective) would be wise to keep track of when she's ovulating and be able to count out when it would be safe to have sex. A girl who's bad at math however...

    Is she still infatuated with Gourry? I can’t remember whether or not she ever got over him.
    She was kinda blushy around him in Revolution... but I don't think she made any overt moves. If she's still hung up on him I think she's pretty much accepted that he's hung up on Lina.

    Whose thoughts are these?
    Lina's. I thought it was clear enough since it's right after she speaks, but maybe not.

    When was the second time? I remember he kissed his finger and before pressing it to her lips in the episode he debuted on. Is that what you’re referring to? By the way, how many years after the end of the show does this fic take place?
    Hmm? I'm pretty sure he kissed her on the cheek the first time around too--when he nabbed the Claire Bible manuscript and set the place on fire.

    A few years. I'm not really too concerned about that.

    And for some reason I can hear Valgaav in the background singing:
    Mommy is jelly!
    She wants to be with Xelly!
    XD

    Um…Filia? You don’t remember the time you overheard Xellos offering to kill Lina for Valgaav? Or does Lina no longer matter ‘cause she got a kiss and you didn’t?
    Filia's... not completely rational at this point.

    ….Say what now?
    Oh, you know, Ouiji boards, seances... harmless sleepover stuff!

    I think you might be missing a “the” in between “of” and “temple”. Or should I mention this to the author of the book within your story? Lol
    Ah, I should probably go around and fix some of these errors (I'm aware of a lot of them already) but if I fix them here I have to fix them everywhere else I've posted (which is especially annoying on fanfiction.net). Someday I'll do a massive overhaul of all my stuff.

    Oh so that’s what you do in your spare time, Xellos. Didn’t know you wrote saucy novels. By the way, Skiyomi. I LOVE THE SNIPPETS OF BOOK YOU PUT IN THERE. I only wish that I could read the whole “Forbidden Desires” novel; it has the potential for unlimited amusement.
    On another note I must apologize to the Reverend Rinderpest. It seems that authoring books can be dangerous, especially if you end up angering a golden dragon. Looks like there’s only one path left to you, Reverend: marry rich.
    Someday I want to revisit Xellos as the secret trashy romance author... it just makes a weird amount of sense to me.

    XD I probably couldn't write it. Those snippets were supposed to be fun for me because I could just let myself go and write something trashy, but it ended up being harder than I thought.

    Xellos with a mullet! Xellos with an afro! Xellos with a Mohawk! Xellos with a…ok I’ll stop.
    I vote for Xellos with a silly goatee and moustache.

    Wasn’t his real form something like a gust of wind or something? I can’t quite remember.
    It's a black cone.

    They have an Old Testament in the Slayers’ world?
    Fun part of not making the narrator an actual character from the show is making these kinds of references.

    Did he do this while he still had his gloves on?
    Why not? His clothes are part of his body.

    Again, thanks so much for your wonderful comments! I really enjoyed reading them and it's nice to see another Slayers fan here :3

  14. #14
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    That's actually an issue with people on both sides who feel... well, very strongly about it (and they keep dragging poor Keats in as an example too!) I happen to be of the opinion that the extra s looks better and is clearer and since the issue is so divided, I choose to use my preferance.
    Ah, I wasn't aware of that. Sorry.

    I was just poking fun at Babbage's expense.

    A teenaged girl sleeping around in a world without or with limited contraceptives (it's hard to say in the Slayers world what they have because, for some reason I can't fathom, they've never mentioned any in the show. If they don't have magical methods then what they have is probably quite primitive/ineffective) would be wise to keep track of when she's ovulating and be able to count out when it would be safe to have sex. A girl who's bad at math however...
    Now I feel rather stupid that I didn't realize that before.

    Lina's. I thought it was clear enough since it's right after she speaks, but maybe not.
    It's a little fuzzy, mainly because before you only ever put Filia's thoughts in italics. But I realize now that you're writing in third person omniscient so it really isn't a big deal.


    Hmm? I'm pretty sure he kissed her on the cheek the first time around too--when he nabbed the Claire Bible manuscript and set the place on fire.
    To this day I am STILL looking for this in that episode.

    Ah, I should probably go around and fix some of these errors (I'm aware of a lot of them already) but if I fix them here I have to fix them everywhere else I've posted (which is especially annoying on fanfiction.net). Someday I'll do a massive overhaul of all my stuff.
    Understandable. I can't help but point them out...

    Someday I want to revisit Xellos as the secret trashy romance author... it just makes a weird amount of sense to me.
    You're not the only one who feels it makes sense.

    XD I probably couldn't write it. Those snippets were supposed to be fun for me because I could just let myself go and write something trashy, but it ended up being harder than I thought.
    To be candid, I find them a little fun to write.

    I vote for Xellos with a silly goatee and moustache.
    How is that so easy for me to imagine?

    It's a black cone.
    His form is one of the reasons he likes ice cream.


    Fun part of not making the narrator an actual character from the show is making these kinds of references.
    Ah! I guess I'm just so used to delving the narrator into the world when I write. Sorry.

    BTW, What is a PM list and what is it used for?

    “Oh please,” Filia said scornfully. “What would a monster know about interior decorating?”

    Xellos raised an eyebrow and wondered what a dragon would know about it.
    *AbsolXWolf snorts*

    Xellos leaned forward. “Filia,” he said, “every time I come here the furniture is in a different configuration.”
    Considering that he probably bothers her at least once a week…You have a lot of time on your hands, Filia.

    “You clearly have way too much physical energy to expound,” he said. “You need a hobby.”
    But she has a hobby: monster berating.

    “How impressive,” Xellos commented in a tone that was snickering behind the bleachers. “What an interesting image that brings to mind,” he added thoughtfully. “You, drunk in a bar at midnight, swindling ham-fisted sailors out of their hard earned money.”
    Is it wrong that I can imagine a drunk Filia at a bar arm wrestling and drinking her troubles off while every so often yelling about “That stupid monster”?

    “There were ham-fisted sailors, though.”
    What is a ham-fisted sailor anyways? All I can think about is a guy with big muscles and fat fingers.

    “All-you-can-eat steaks from Tiberius’s T-bone House in the village square,” Filia said.
    Tiberius: step-son of Octavian (the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar). Ever since I took a Roman Civ class, I can’t help but look at names like this.

    Xellos looked around her openly to her gluteus maximus. “I imagine that was quite a lot,” he said.
    LOL

    “A game is always more fun with a wager,” Xellos said, looking into his tea as he swished it from side to side as if he wasn’t paying much mind to the conversation.
    Reminds me of something that my classmates would say when I was younger: “A game is only fun until someone gets hurt. Then it’s hilarious.” Xellos would probably agree with this notion.

    Xellos grinned. “Because if I didn’t show up, you’d have no healthy way to relieve all that frustration you’re so good at accumulating and eventually rearranging furniture wouldn’t be enough for you to deal with it so you’d snap and end up as a performer in some sort of underground mud wrestling competition.”
    LOLSAYWUT?

    She hesitated and then swallowed her pride and added her other hand. But even pushing with both hands she still couldn’t beat him.
    I suppose he really is that physically strong, he just prefers to use words or magic.

    She didn’t even notice as he leaned forward, tilted his head, and put his lips against hers.
    :-D

    “I…” she began, barely able to get the words out. “I win.”
    Go Filia!

    “She beat you,” Beastmaster Zelas summed up after her singular servant finished relating the unfortunate results of his arm-wrestling match with the ex-dragon priestess he insisted on spending so much time with.
    I know he reports everything to Beastmaster, but it’s still funny reading about him reporting an arm-wrestling match. Don’t get me wrong, I find it extremely realistic that he would report even the slightest interaction between himself and Filia. It’s just that I find it amusing to witness it firsthand.

    “That appears to be the case,” Xellos admitted in a tone with a chipper candy-coating and a nervous chocolate-center. “It seems I underestimated her focus.”
    This sentence makes me hungry.

    leaning over to take a sip from a martini glass containing a highly toxic, sweet blue liquid with a chemical make-up very similar to antifreeze.
    Oh hey, I’m no longer hungry.

    Zelas was not above letting her subordinate run into brick walls of his own making. At least when it was of no harm to her. She liked to think it taught valuable lessons.

    She blew a smoke tesseract because smoke rings are for chumps. “Knock yourself out,” she said.
    This is definitely how I’ve always imagined Zelas to be like. Great characterization!

    Besides, it might be impossible; Xellos always seemed to know where he was.
    You know, that’s quite possible. I never thought of it before now.

    “I could,” Filia said through gritted teeth, starting to get really frustrated at this point. “But I! Don’t! Want to!”
    The exclamation points don’t particularly look good to me. Um…it’s just my opinion (please don’t be mad!).

    “So,” she heard him say, “when I was kissing you and you were nuzzling your face into my hand, did that mean you didn’t like it?”
    That isn’t all that far from the truth, Xellos. She didn’t like it. She loved it. But don’t worry; people confuse the distinction all the time.

    “Well, it was a pleasurable experience,” he said simply, causing something to go twang under Filia’s ribcage. “If I denied something so clearly true then that could only mean that I was hiding something important from myself,” he added in a holier-than-thou tone that was rather ironic on a demon.
    Haha. At least someone in the relationship isn’t afraid of telling the truth occasionally.

    “I don’t want you to kiss me!” she finally exploded out. “I don’t know how you can even say something so awful like it’s no big deal!”
    Like I said before, at least Xellos isn’t afraid of telling the truth occasionally.

    “And anyway,” she snapped, “why is it always on me? You just keep going on with your ‘Oh, Filia, you want this. It’s all you.’ when you’re the one that admitted to liking the kiss in the first place. Why don’t you just try honesty for once in your life, if only for the novelty of it, and say ‘Can I kiss you because I want to?’ It’s at least a less obnoxious strategy!”
    Note to Filia: look at the above comments I made.

    “I don’t even know why you’re bothering with this,” Filia said, mostly to herself. “I mean, it’s not like you felt the need to debate me about it last time. You just went ahead anyway and I was too shocked to…” She looked up into Xellos’s open eyes.
    She might as well scream “Kiss me, dangit!”, because she all but gave him permission here.

    “The,” she began – she couldn’t believe she was saying this, “the bedroom is upstairs.” Thank the gods she hadn’t moved the bed. Only because she couldn’t fit it out the door (which raised questions about how it got in there in the first place).
    I hope you won’t hate me for being honest, but I would like a little more leading up to this comment. I know Filia doesn’t need too much persuasion to get it on with Xellos, but it still feels a little rushed.

    Like she’d actually sacrifice a possible get-out-of-death-free card to satisfy her own obviously insane and morally reprehensible desires!
    You only live once, Filia.

    It wasn’t in a pretty container because it was only an inch thick layer of an alloy of orihalcon and magnetized iron that was keeping the radioactive sludge inside from eating through its container and dissolving through the world until it came out the other side.
    This sentence sounds a little weird to me. If it were me, I would try to change it. (Please don't hate me)

    “Really?” Xellos said. “Don’t you want him to live up to his potential?”
    Sounds like someone is grooming someone for mischief making.

    Perhaps he’s just in it for the mayhem, Filia thought sourly. Honestly, between the two of them she wasn’t sure which was more trouble.
    I could be wrong, but I think you need a “who” instead of a “which”. Unless you're not referring to Val and Xellos.

    “Of course,” Xellos said comfortingly. “I assured her that we’re just sleeping together.”

    Filia’s mortification deepened. “You did what—”
    Hey, he’s trying to prove to you that he can be honest.

    Val’s face told a story, and it was an easy to read story with cardboard pages and big letters. Filia gave Xellos a fleeting look of amazement. Val’s first crush. And she hadn’t been the first one to notice it! Damn that observant bastard!
    Wow. When I was 5 years old, crushes were the last thing on my mind. In fact, only one of my classmates was actually ever interested in crushing on someone. The rest of us were too busy making sandcastles.

    Sure, it probably made some sense to Val. Xellos might have pretty purple hair, but he was still the male role model in Val’s life (unfortunately) so that probably made him the go-to person for advice on girls. But still! You do not ask a monster for dating advice! Someone ought to write that down
    You do not ask a monster for dating advice. There, I wrote it down lol. On a more serious note, I wouldn’t ask Xellos for dating advice. He has a tendency to attract the crazy girls. Like Filia. Joking, joking. *ducks as a mace comes flying my way*

    “If you really want to impress her then do not be nice to her and definitely don’t compliment her,” Xellos said. Then he paused, gave the matter some thought, and added: “Unless you insult her before or after you compliment her. That actually works twice as well.”
    Somehow, I don’t think too many girls would really be impressed by constant insults and bad behavior.

    “Pull her hair,” Xellos suggested. “Make faces at her, chase her, call her names—”
    That would definitely get him noticed, but do some girls really like that sort of attention? I get that it pretty much sums up the relationship between Xellos and Filia, but I don’t think it works on that young of a child. Plus, even Xellos is polite (or tries to be) to Filia sometimes.

    “My advice won’t fail because it is excellent,” Xellos said assuredly. “Perhaps you should start picking up parenting tips from me, Filia,” he said, turning to her. “After all, I am the World’s Best Dad.”
    Filia sucked in an exasperated breath. “Just because you buy a mug doesn’t make you—”
    Do I detect Xellos admitting that Val is their love child?

    “Well, she certainly doesn’t like him for this,” Filia said angrily. “Negative attention is not as good as positive attention, you know,” she reminded him.
    As much as I like Xellos' personality, I prefer positive attention to negative when it comes to relationships. Of course, I would want them to be spiced with plenty of sarcasm, but that does not necessarily entail insults directed at each other. Am I just weird like that?

    As usual, I found little wrong with your grammar and spelling. Your characterizations are perfect as always as well. So, like with last time, I took to making comments at the situations. Still trying to get caught up with my own work, and still trying to deal with an issue I’m having…
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

    Official from Oscars Thread ^

    png image hosting
    I made this ^

  15. #15
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    I like it Ski D: You can read mine once I am done btw I thought it was only the 1st page then i thought rest were comments then saw it wasn't jesus you can write xD
    I swear, it’s been two years since somebody ask me who I was. I’m the greatest, man, I said that before I knew I was.


  16. #16
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    XD Thanks. It's my lofty goal to do all one hundred themes someday.

  17. #17
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    Here's #86.

    My Fancy Way of Saying Hello. Rated G.

    Filia opened the door to the kiln and took a deep breath. It was cool now, but she could still smell the smoky mixture of earth and flame. She reached in and felt the ceramic surface of the piece within. She looked it over careful, spinning it gently. So often a promising vase could be ruined in its trial by fire. Here, though, all seemed to be well. There was certainly no warping, and she breathed a sigh of relief when she had confirmed that the new paint she’d bought had held up under the heat. She smiled. All that was left was to put this on the shelf, where it would surely find a home when her shop doors opened the next morning.

    She lifted the vase from its warm and cozy mortar womb, hugged it to her chest, and carefully shut the oven door. She turned around and walked two steps—maybe three.

    “Salutations, Filia.”

    Crash.

    “Oh dear,” commented Filia’s saluter. “How very clumsy of you.”

    Filia was already crouched down on the floor grasping pottery shards in a kind of desperate rage. “Xellos!” she shrieked at the figure who could’ve only materialized by magic or by hiding in the back of her kiln. “This is all your fault!”

    Xellos arched an eyebrow. “Is it my fault that you scare easily?”

    Filia was still gripping a pottery shard like a dagger when she rose. She came back with a red-faced and sullen: “You don’t scare me. You just startled me, that’s all.”

    “Forgive me,” Xellos said, tucking a strand of hair behind his ear. “Is it my fault that you startle easily?”

    “Anyone would be startled if someone just randomly appeared behind them,” Filia countered. She tossed down the shard on the floor with the rest. “But you always do that. It’s downright rude.”

    “I thought I greeted you quite politely,” Xellos replied. “I believe you’re the one between the two of us that can’t seem to master basic etiquette.”

    Filia crossed her arms. “It’s not polite to wait around until people are carrying something heavy or fragile before you materialize right behind them. It doesn’t matter if you say your phony ‘salutations’; you might as well say ‘boo!’ It’s mean-spirited and don’t pretend it’s anything else, you trash!”

    “Well, then it was poorly received,” Xellos commented sourly. If he’d lied to her he’d have blamed her for hearing it wrong. “So why don’t you tell me how someone mannerly enough to resort to name-calling two-minutes into a conversation thinks she should properly be greeted?”

    Polite people use the door,” Filia spat.

    Xellos hesitated. “…But doors are so unnecessary,” he replied with the slightest hint of fretfulness in his voice.

    “They are not!” Filia shot back. She scowled at him. “I can teleport some too, y’know,” she reminded him, “but I don’t just randomly appear in people’s living rooms. There have to be certain boundaries.”

    Xellos shook his head, making little clucking noises with his tongue as he did so. “But we don’t operate under those boundaries, Filia. That’s not our procedure.” He placed a hand on his chest. “I greet you by rising from your shadow and talking in your ear, and you greet me by dropping something on the floor, screeching my name and then accusing me of something ridiculous. I see no compelling reason to change any of this.”

    “You wouldn’t,” Filia answered darkly. “And I’m not greeting you when I do that.”

    “Really?” Xellos asked thoughtfully. “Then I suppose you’re rather rude as well, by your own standard,” he concluded.

    Filia couldn’t really argue against that, but that was alright because she knew very well that Xellos was no good and that bad people deserve bad manners. “Maybe I’d greet you politely if you greeted me politely,” she said with a self-righteous sniff.

    Xellos mulled over this in his mimed sort of way, cupping his chin in his gloved hand. He grinned at her. “I suppose it’s never too late to start again,” he said, and then disappeared.

    She stared at the place he’d just been standing for a moment, then groaned and resolved not to entrench herself in his nonsense. She walked over to one of the shelves where the broom and dustpan were leaning.

    There was a knock at the door. Filia froze for a minute, her gaze fixed on the side-door. She unfroze, muttered a word she wasn’t particularly proud of knowing, and continued toward her cleaning implements as if she hadn’t heard anything out of the ordinary.

    By the time the second knock struck she was already making her way back to the pile of rubbish that had once been a promising new vase. By the third knock she’d begun clearing up the mess. By the fourth knock Jillas had raced into the room.

    “Oi’ll get it,” he declared running for the door.

    “No!” Filia whisper-shouted at him, holding an arm up and signaling wildly.

    Jillas gave her a puzzled look as the fifth knock struck. “But, Boss,” he began, “what about…?”

    “Trust me,” Filia said heavily, “it’s no one we want to talk to.”

    Jillas gave her a knowing nod. “A salesman, right?”

    The sixth knock sounded and Filia glared at the door. “Much worse than a salesman.”

    A fresh look of horror suffused Jillas’s vulpine features. His hand strayed to his belt where he’d once kept grenades before Filia had requested that he not go so heavily armed. “You don’t mean…” he began.

    Filia nodded darkly.

    “Tax-collectors?” Jillas finished ominously.

    Filia ceased her nodding. “No, it’s just—”

    “You ignored me,” Xellos accused, popping into existence predictably inside Filia’s personal space bubble.

    Filia sprung away from him; not to a conversational distance, but certainly to an argumentative distance. “So what?” she retorted.

    “I wouldn’t say that ignoring someone counts as a polite greeting,” he pointed out with damnable reasonableness, though not without a certain irked increase in grip on his staff. “And I was so very courteous to you this time around.”

    “I only said I might be polite to you,” Filia countered, exploiting her loop-hole. “I didn’t say I actually would. And it’s not courteous if you only play at manners and then just barge in and do whatever you want when it doesn’t work out the way you want it.”

    “Well, it’s obvious to me that rudeness is the only thing you respond to, Filia,” he said, raising his index finger.

    Filia’s fingers twitched; they felt magnetically drawn to Xellos’s neck. “My only response is to tell you to leave my house this instant or I’ll start testing the maces on you!” she snarled.

    Xellos shrugged carelessly. “But it’s a response nonetheless, Filia,” he reasoned. “I’m not picky as long as I get one.”

    “You—!” Filia began, incensed.

    “Umm... ‘ey, Boss,” Jillas cut in.

    The corners of Xellos’s lips turned downward in displeasure. Because of that interruption he’d be left in permanent suspense as to what Filia had been about to call him. It could’ve easily been the generic ‘monster’ or ‘demon’; likely her usual ‘raw garbage’ or a variant thereof; but it also could’ve been cockroach… snake… beast… devilishly handsome gadabout… Yes, he decided, let’s go with that last one.

    “What?” Filia demanded, her anger still at high-levels when she turned to Jillas.

    “It’s just…” Jillas began, “is this guy bothering you, Boss?”


    Filia sunk her head into her hand in frustration. “Always and every day,” she said harshly.

    “I’m not here every day,” Xellos pointed out.

    “Always and every day,” Filia reaffirmed.

    “If that’s ‘ow it is…” Jillas began resolutely, turning to face Xellos with a steely one-eyed look. This was the same person who’d threatened Lord Val for such a long time and had now turned his negative attention toward his new boss. He gulped. He knew he didn’t stand much of a chance against someone who’d given even Lord Val a run for his money, but… some things just have to be done. He wasn’t about to let anyone antagonize his boss. He lowered his voice. “…Oi’m going to ‘ave to ask you to leave,” he finished.

    Xellos rested his head against his hand and chuckled. “Oh, please, do,” he urged. “Go on and ask.”

    “Don’t bother asking him,” Filia counseled her loyal fox, throwing Xellos a disgusted look. “Talking to Xellos is impossible.”

    “Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” Xellos returned slowly, as if he felt Filia’s assessment rather unfair. “I’m sure I wouldn’t insist on staying here if I felt myself prompted to leave.”

    Filia snorted.

    Xellos leaned in closer to her and gave her the kind of look an ingratiating teacher might give to encourage a dull-witted student. “You just have to ask the right way.”

    “What’s the ‘right’ way?” Filia asked skeptically.

    “Well,” Xellos said, grinning, “we’ve already discovered how you and I say hello to each other; now we just need to find a way to say good-bye to each other in our own, special way.”

    “And what way would that be?” Filia asked again, grinding her teeth together.

    “You’re actually following the procedure I want us to adopt pretty well so far,” Xellos observed cheerfully. “First off, you stop ordering me out of your house and grudgingly accept my presence, which you’ve done already.”

    “‘Grudgingly’ is right,” Filia muttered. How very like Xellos to only take it as his cue to leave when people stop asking him.

    “Then I give you my good-bye,” Xellos continued as if this interruption hadn’t occurred. “And then,” his eyes flicked open and he surveyed her conceitedly, “you beg me to come back to you.”

    “What?” Filia demanded incredulously. “There’s not even the slightest chance that I’d actually ask you to—”

    He leaned in closer and kissed her on the cheek.

    “Bye, Filia,” he half-sang at the still stunned dragon before he disappeared from view.

    Filia’s mouth hung open in shocked stillness for a few seconds, blood rising in her face and making it almost glow red. Then finally she clamped her mouth shut and clenched both her fists.

    “Xellos!” she yelled into the empty space he’d occupied. “Come back here, you creep! What makes you think you can do something like that and then just run away?! You won’t get away with this!”

    Jillas, for his part, stared from his boss—raging and stamping her feet, on the verge of a tantrum and still yelling, red-faced at her departed guest—to the smugly vacant space in front of her.

    “What the ‘ell was all that about?” he wondered to no one in particular.

  18. #18
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    Theme #91.

    Hatred and Loathing. Rated PG.

    Filia sat on the very edge of the stone perimeter around a bubbling fountain. She didn’t want to get her cloak wet, but the cool spray in the air felt nice as it hit her face. The fountain was tucked away from the crowded center of the town she and the others had stopped in and was surrounded mostly by cafes and restaurants thin on customers in the middle of the afternoon. She couldn’t have possibly staked out a better space to relax between the soothing wash of the water, the sunshine, and the far-enough-removed hum of shoppers beyond the square. Nevertheless as she looked into the coin flecked bottom of the fountain, she couldn’t help feeling dissatisfied.

    “Maybe,” she said sourly to herself, “it’s because Miss Lina took the last of my money and ran off to that all-you-can-eat buffet, so I don’t even have a single coin left to make a wish with.”

    Her hand strayed to the satchel that had once contained the meager salary the temple had provided her with and now only contained lint and a bit of quartz she’d found on the ground and absentmindedly picked up. But what would I wish for, she wondered, if I had a coin?

    Well, she couldn’t help but realize, there were a lot of things she could wish for. First and foremost she could wish that Miss Lina, Mister Gourry, and Miss Amelia would look up from their culinary tour and realize that they couldn’t afford to sample every item in every restaurant in every town they stopped in, mend their ways, become fiscally responsible, and perhaps take up some sort of ascetic philosophy that meant eating only very tiny amounts.

    …But that was downright unlikely.

    She could wish that Mister Zelgadis would quit threatening librarians at sword point until they showed him their rarest books so that she could browse the serials at her leisure without having to worry about being kicked out of places. She could wish that the temple in its theoretically infinite wisdom would give her more money to fund this high-priority mission. She could wish for strength to avert the threatened destruction of the world. She could wish for a clue to the next Dark Star weapon. She could wish to find out whether or not what Valgaav had said about her people was true.

    She could wish to find out what Xellos was up to in all of this. She could wish to find out where exactly he was right now and what he was doing. She could wish that he’d stop being so obnoxious all the time. She could wish that if he was going to go away then he’d at least give them fair warning about it and tell when he’d be back. She could wish that he’d quit with that high and mighty attitude all the time and stop making it seem like everything was always her fault. She could wish that he wouldn’t always have that insufferable grin on his face. She could wish that something terrible would happen to his hair. She could—

    She paused and unclenched her teeth. That was… probably too much wishing about Xellos anyway. But still! It irked her! Wasn’t everything else they had to deal with bad enough without having him popping unexpectedly in and as unexpectedly out without even doing them the courtesy of letting them know anything? She didn’t know how he did it, but sometimes she thought Xellos managed to be more annoying when he was gone than when he was actually around.

    Not that she wanted him back or anything. It was just… was a little consistency and communication really too much to ask?

    “Miss, might I have an extra lemon wedge and a glass of ice?” an ingratiating voice from nearby asked.

    Filia whipped her head around with the same whoosh as a pipe being swung through the air.

    There he was! He must’ve known they were in this town but he was taking his sweet time before he let them know he was back—just kicking back on a café patio drinking an iced tea without telling them a single thing!

    She stormed over. “Xellos!” she shrieked.

    “Oh, hello there, Filia,” he said mildly as she approached his table. “Could I treat you to a drink? I’m sure the dragon race hasn’t parted with anything more than the absolute minimum amount to cover your expenses, and I can afford to be a little less miserly even for the likes of you.”

    “Shut up,” she ordered him, but because she was thirsty she turned toward the (somewhat frustrated looking) waitress and said: “I’ll have a cup of cinnamon tea,” before sitting down across from the hated monster and directing her attention back toward him. “Don’t pretend you know anything about the financial policies of my people—and that’s beside the point anyway. Where have you been?

    Xellos smiled and took a drink from the thin black straw rising from his beverage. “That’s…” he began.

    “Forget I asked,” Filia cut across him, denying him the pleasure of getting to say his trademarked phrase.

    “Well, what did you expect, Filia?” he asked as the waitress came back with Xellos’s iced tea accoutrements. “Am I supposed to confess all my secrets to you? I didn’t know we’d gotten that close.”

    “We’re not close,” Filia snapped. “We’ve never been close and we’ll never be close.”

    “I suppose I shouldn’t doubt the mighty divination powers of a golden dragon,” Xellos said, leaving the extra items he’d asked for untouched—they’d only been requested because annoying the wait-staff was a little hobby of his, “but given your level of incompetence, I think I will anyway.”

    Filia sputtered and fumed. She hated the mild-mannered way he answered her. She was ready to jump out of her skin, but he was replying to her comments like he was just taking his turn in a pleasant game that he had a clear advantage in. She lived for the moments when he was lost for a response, when a twitch fidgeted from under his temples, and when his hands unconsciously became fists. Those were too few and too far between though. Most of the time she’d have to hold herself back from tackling him and he’d just laugh at her.

    What she wanted now was a comeback—something like the kind he threw at her without apparent effort. There’d be a pretence at manners with an undercurrent of hostility and a finely crafted barb that would not just sting and provoke anger, but do so insistently. Perhaps there’d even be a confusing spin—an insinuation only half-expressed to turn over in her mind again and again long after she wanted to stop thinking about it.

    She couldn’t think of any such comment, so she forwent the bells and whistles and delivered her point undisguised. “I loathe you,” she informed him, packing as much buzzing animosity as she could into those three little words.

    He didn’t smile at her—his expression was more thoughtful. “You don’t really, you know,” he finally answered her after a moment.

    “I most certainly do!” Filia answered forcefully.

    “No,” Xellos said, idly tapping his glass as Filia’s hot tea was placed in front of her. “You may hate me, but you don’t loathe me.”

    Filia scowled. Xellos was just splitting hairs now—stupid purple hairs. “Those mean the same thing!”

    Xellos tutted and waved his finger in her face. “Silly Filia,” he said, “don’t you know that there’s no such thing as a true synonym?”

    Filia crossed her legs and took a too-hasty swig of her tea. She tried to pretend she hadn’t scalded herself as she demanded mockingly: “Fine, Professor Xellos, then what’s supposed to be the difference between hatred and loathing?”

    “Well,” Xellos said thoughtfully, perhaps wishing he had a chalkboard on which to make his point, “they’re obviously rather similar concepts, as you’ve noted. Both are characterized by intense dislike.”

    “And I do dislike you,” Filia cut in because she could, “intensely.”

    “I’ve noticed,” he said, annoyed at the interruption. “The difference here is how that disapproval is manifest. Loathing is a sort of dry, cold attitude, whereas hatred is characterized by passionate dislike.”

    “So…” Filia began, trying to get to the meat of his implication, “you’re saying I don’t loathe you because I dislike you passionately?”

    “You’re passionate in general,” Xellos commented as though sharing a cherished observation, “but particularly toward me.”

    Filia glared at him. She certainly didn’t like the sound of that. “In the most negative way possible,” she added as a qualifier.

    “Of course, Filia,” Xellos said in his most obvious ‘I’m humoring you’ tone, “but that does point to the most important difference between loathing and hatred. Loathing is a repelling force while hatred is an attracting one. That’s the real tell that you don’t loathe me. You’re certainly not repulsed by me.”

    Filia didn’t know where he got ‘certainly.’ Probably from the same place of ego-centric madness that convinced him pageboys and cheap staffs were at the height of fashion. “I am so repulsed by you,” she answered venomously, “because you’re repulsive!

    “No, you’re attracted to me,” Xellos corrected with a patient smile, “because I’m attractive.”

    Filia nearly knocked over her tea when she collapsed face first onto the table in a fit of exasperated fury. The silverware rattled dangerously as she pounded her fist over and over into the tabletop. Ego-centric madness was right!

    “What could possibly make you think something so ridiculous and obviously untrue?!” she demanded.

    “It’s not the least bit ridiculous,” Xellos chided. He gave her a would-be sympathetic look. “You don’t need to feel ashamed of it. It’s perfectly understandable.”

    She was getting a tension headache from gritting her teeth. She stood up in a huff and let out an exasperated groan. “I’m not ashamed of anything because that’s not true!” She put her hands on her hips and looked him squarely in the eye. “I don’t know where you get your illusions, but for your information I find every single, solitary, tiny aspect of you completely and utterly repulsive, you worthless pile of trash!”

    Xellos responded to her tirade with an unaffected shrug. “If that’s true, then why are you here?” he asked.

    Filia froze. “What?”

    “If you’ll recall, I didn’t initiate this little conversation,” Xellos pointed out placidly. “If you really loathed me then you could’ve kept your sad perch on the edge of the fountain or left the area altogether. I’m entirely avoidable at the moment, so if I was truly so revolting to you then you could’ve easily opted out of dealing with me and feeling my presence. Instead, you couldn’t help but choose to join me—as near as possible. You are attracted to me.”

    Filia opened her mouth to let out a disbelieving sound. A reply to such a feeble line of reasoning had to be easy enough to come up with, right? So… why couldn’t she manage one?

    “I just wanted to be angry at you up close,” she responded in what she knew was a poor excuse.

    Xellos smiled. “Up close is the point,” he answered.

    “Well, I don’t need to be up close,” Filia snapped, snatching up her cup of tea. “You’re right about one thing—you are avoidable right now. So I’m just going to go off and finish my tea in better company: my own!”

    “You do that, Filia,” he replied blithely.

    She clomped over to a table on the patio that was as far away from him as it was possible to be without leaving the eating area entirely. She slammed down her cup of tea, much of which sloshed on the table as a result, swept her cloak out dramatically, and sat down.

    Across the patio, Xellos muttered quietly to himself: “Five, four, three, two…”

    Filia’s chair creaked as she got up and strode back over to him purposefully, her tea forgotten at the table. “Well, I don’t see what difference it makes if I’m here or there! I despise you as much up close as I do from a distance. So leaving you alone would just be letting you get away with everything!”

    Xellos snickered unkindly and leaned back in his chair which provoked a new eruption of fury from Filia. “Stop laughing!” she commanded.

    “Oh, it’s alright, Filia,” Xellos said, leaning forward once more and ceasing his laughter. “There’s no need to be so tense. After all, it’s not as though your feelings are unrequited.”

    Filia took a startled step backwards. “What are you—”

    “That’s right, Filia,” Xellos said, getting up and subjecting her to the full intensity of his stare. The reached out and clasped the still stunned dragon’s hands and held them in his. Then, in a voice overflowing with tender, heartfelt passion he confessed: “I hate you too.

    A shiver rattled around Filia’s spine for a few. She drew back and hugged her arms around her body, her stance and expression radiating deepest horror.

    “Is there a problem?” Xellos asked with innocent interest.

    “Of course there’s a problem!” Filia snapped, but her voice was rather panicky. “Your words are saying one thing but your tone is saying something entirely and terrifyingly different!

    “Oh?” Xellos pressed. “So… are you saying you don’t think that you and I were meant to hate each other—truly, madly, and deeply—for all eternity?”

    Filia struggled for a moment, unsure how to respond to what was being said, or, more accurately, the way it was being said.

    “…Or at least one night?” Xellos hinted.

    Something flat-lined in Filia’s expression. The fists hanging from her side seemed to vibrate slightly. This wasn’t a volcanic eruption, but it would’ve been a good reason to start evacuating villages.

    “Filia?” Xellos tried.

    Filia drew in a breath as though preparing to go underwater for an unforeseeably long period of time. When she finished, she let out a ringing shout of: “GET AWAY FROM ME YOU DISGUSTING WEIRDO!” before running blindly off.

    “Ah,” Xellos said at her retreating back, his tone somewhat deflated, “now you’re repulsed.”

    Xellos watched her race off to the fountain she’d been camped out at before. She reached into the shallows and scooped out a handful of coins before flinging them back into the depths and adopting a prayerful gesture. Moves like that are generally frowned upon by whatever deities rule wishing fountains—but no doubt she felt her emergency wish justified the breach. He wondered if he should do something. He realized that he may have fumbled what had started out as promising by taking it too far.

    He quickly decided not to worry about it. A little polarity shift wouldn’t change anything in the long run. He consoled himself that it was only temporary.

    And sure enough, she was already turning around, pumping her arms furiously at her sides as she stamped back over to no doubt give him a piece of her mind.

    She’d given him so many pieces of her mind that he was confident he’d have the whole thing before too long.

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    Looks like I found a gold mine. Trust me, if I didn't have midterms these next two days, I would be eating these up and spitting out reviews for you. Ah, but I remember Slayers. Not very well, but I remember enough about the characters Filia and Xellos to know their personalities and the...er...way they treated each other. Expect to hear from me again when my school decides I've had enough torture.
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    Where have you been all my life? I mean, thanks for reading :P I'm in about the same boat for writing--that's why there hasn't been a chapter update in a month. Once I get a breather from school there will be more.

    Good luck with your midterms!

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    I hope you accept prodigal children if they come bearing reviews ;.; I even tried to keep my sarcasm down for this one in favor of perhaps more substantial and perhaps helpful critique.

    Flower Garden. Rated G.
    Ok, so I’ve been wondering: Where the heck are they? I mean, are they at a place that we know? A place that was in the anime, perhaps?

    Xellos ignored her question, seemingly too absorbed in the process of taking in his surroundings. “We can’t be on holy ground,” he said, nodding at the structure in the distance. “So is this an evil garden?”
    I can’t seem to imagine an evil garden that lacks man eating Venus flytraps. Or trees that throw apples at you. Or at least Deku Babas.

    Filia wilted visibly. The freshly picked stems looked livelier than she did.
    What’s up with her? Or is she just glum at the fact Xellos is there? Is does it have to do with Xellos and the whole “You aren’t a member of a temple or anything anymore so why are you here?”

    “I thought you’d abandoned cloistered temple life,” he said. “I thought you’d made a decision. And now I find you’ve come crawling back to the saintly lifestyle of lighting incense and singing songs about dead gods.” He sounded disappointed in her.
    Oh I’ll bet he was disappointed.

    “You left with such conviction,” he went on, “that I can’t believe you’d come back here just on a whim.” He looked at her critically. “Are you hiding from me?”
    Is this part of the reason?

    That was too much for Filia. She wanted to throw something at him, but all she had was flowers.
    But if you threw flowers at a monster and followed up with a “Life is Wonderful” song, I’m sure you’d do quite a number.

    “Maybe to you,” Filia responded bitterly.

    “Maybe,” Xellos allowed. “But that still doesn’t explain why your house is empty and your shop is closed. It doesn’t explain why you’re here, Filia.”
    One thing I don’t understand is her closing her shop. Can’t Jillas and Gravos take care of it while she’s gone? But then again, they’d probably just drop vases like Xellos (only in their case unintentionally).

    Filia averted her eyes. It wasn’t fair that someone like him could make her feel guilty. It was probably just his penchant for picking apart anything she said or did. She could never be right in his books.
    XD Oh I see what you did here. Xellos was whining about not being right in Filia’s books, so now it’s only fair that Filia feels the same way. NEITHER ONE OF YOU CAN DO ANYTHING RIGHT FOR EACH OTHER!! That means they’re more or less perfect, yes?

    Filia glared at him. “You don’t understand,” she said. “It may not seem right, but this is the only chance Val has to be raised amongst his own kind. The people in my to— in my old town were kind, but they didn’t know how different he was from them.”
    It’s funny, but the first time I read this I overlooked this part a bit. Now that I’ve re-read it, I realized she’s talking about how she moved to a new town, correct?

    “Kind, but not his kind?” Xellos taunted.
    Ha! I love this sentence.

    Filia ignored this. “Can you imagine him going to a human school? He’ll never learn all the things I learned growing up, he’ll never fly on Saint’s Day, he’ll never have his first consecration ceremony… he’ll never be surrounded by an entire group of people with the same problems he’s facing. People he can talk to who will understand him. He’ll only have me, and I’m not enough…” she trailed off sadly. “He deserves to be among his people.”
    I don’t really have anything witty to say here, but I do like the fact that you mention ceremonies and religious occasions that dragons might participate in. Gives us a little glance into what dragon culture might be like.

    “Do you just think I’m stupid or something? Do you think I don’t know what you’ve been doing? Did you expect me to believe that you were just playing house for the fun of it? Ha!” she said again, and again: nothing was funny.
    Oh I’m sure part of the reason has to do with fancying himself your better half, Filia. ...Or I guess in this case your worse half.

    “But I can see you need time to think things over,” he said, putting his customary smile back into place. “I’ll be calling on you again, though not in there,” he said, gesturing to the temple once again with his staff as he turned to leave. “So I suppose if you’re really set on avoiding me you’ll just have to cut out these botanical excursions.” He looked back at her once again with a serious expression. “Lock yourself away in the temple if you think it’ll help,” he intoned, eyes boring into her.
    ...Can he go into the temple?

    She watched him in stunned silence as he exited the garden. He stepped over the rows of mums, and daisies, and primrose until he reached the path. He walked around the flowers so as not to crush them.
    He walked around the flowers so as not to crush them. Now what kind of monster does that?

    Another great one shot! Yet again, no spelling or grammar mistakes that I can find, a rather intriguing plot twist in the fact that Filia is now in a place filled with dragons and not humans, and I truly liked the ending. Not only was the end a good point to contemplate on, it raises some questions: would the past Xellos have cared enough to avoid stepping on flowers or has Filia slowly poisoned changed him with goodness?

    More reviews to come! I’m going to (make an attempt to) catch up.

    XD It would make sense. In fact, he can probably eat completely undigestible things without any ill effects, so that would make him an even worse cook.
    That, and I’m sure a part of him appreciates the negative emotions flying off someone who’s just eaten something gut-wrenching.

    That list = win--particularly number 3.
    Priority-wise, number 3 would most likely make it to the top of his list, followed quickly by Angering Filia, and then tea. Because Xellos is one to never get his priorities mixed up.

    Apparently. I was in particular referencing the bachelorette auction from Oklahoma.
    -.-; O...ok then...well...Seems a little awkward to me, but that might be in part because I’ve never really heard of one before but...

    And he made a lot off of Lina when she bought the talismans from him.
    You mean when she threatened him into giving her a price for them. It probably also helps that he doesn’t really need to eat or sleep...or buy clothes.

    Ah, but goats will eating anything. Food? Not food? They don't care.
    Still, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a goat trying to eat something bigger than a Chihuahua that was...actually alive.
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    I hope you accept prodigal children if they come bearing reviews ;.; I even tried to keep my sarcasm down for this one in favor of perhaps more substantial and perhaps helpful critique.
    But of course! I always love your reviews!

    Ok, so I’ve been wondering: Where the heck are they? I mean, are they at a place that we know? A place that was in the anime, perhaps?
    They're not at anywhere that was in the anime, but I'd place them at one of the other Dragon Lord's temples--it doesn't really matter which to me. See, the idea of Filia going back to a Golden Dragon temple for awhile (in fact, a friend of mine is writing a full scale fic based on that concept). This is just a brief oneshot dealing mostly with Xellos's feelings about her doing something like that, and her feelings at being confronted. It's a snapshot, but I did my best to hint at how they might've gotten there. The set-up would've gone something like this...

    Filia tries to carve a life out amongst the humans at the end of Try with her Vase & Mace shop and all. Everything goes pretty well until Val hatches, and then she starts to worry--worry about what his life will be like being raised with humans and how he might become an outcast and not have the kind of community that can really understand him. Her suspicions will probably be confirmed by difficulties that she has with the humans... misunderstandings and such. Meanwhile, Xellos has taken to hanging around with them getting uncomfortably close to their little family unit as Val's father-figure and well... close to Filia in other ways. Fearful of her own feelings and fear for her son both living among humans and with Xellos making concerted efforts to influence him, Filia retreats to an insulated community of dragons. Xellos is pissed off. He feels that Filia has gone back on her principled little rebellion from the dragon race (something he admired in her), that she's trying to avoid her feelings for him, and that she's putting Val in danger by going back among the 'untrustworthy' dragons.

    I can’t seem to imagine an evil garden that lacks man eating Venus flytraps. Or trees that throw apples at you. Or at least Deku Babas.
    This is the garden of my dreams and nightmares.

    But if you threw flowers at a monster and followed up with a “Life is Wonderful” song, I’m sure you’d do quite a number.
    XD True. I'm not sure she's up for singing and dancing though.

    One thing I don’t understand is her closing her shop. Can’t Jillas and Gravos take care of it while she’s gone? But then again, they’d probably just drop vases like Xellos (only in their case unintentionally).
    To my mind, she closes shop for good because she doesn't intend to come back.

    It’s funny, but the first time I read this I overlooked this part a bit. Now that I’ve re-read it, I realized she’s talking about how she moved to a new town, correct?
    Well sort of. She's talking about that human town she set up in at the end of Try.

    Ha! I love this sentence.
    XD Thanks. I patted myself on the back when I wrote it!

    I don’t really have anything witty to say here, but I do like the fact that you mention ceremonies and religious occasions that dragons might participate in. Gives us a little glance into what dragon culture might be like.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wish we knew more about dragon culture.

    ...Can he go into the temple?
    That was a question I was delicately trying to avoid answering during the course of this oneshot because I'm not sure. He probably can go in the temple. I mean, he's been on Holy Ground before and was sitting on the top of the Temple of the Fire Dragon King. It probably wouldn't be as easy for him to walk around in there without people screaming at him though.

    Another great one shot! Yet again, no spelling or grammar mistakes that I can find, a rather intriguing plot twist in the fact that Filia is now in a place filled with dragons and not humans, and I truly liked the ending. Not only was the end a good point to contemplate on, it raises some questions: would the past Xellos have cared enough to avoid stepping on flowers or has Filia slowly poisoned changed him with goodness?

    More reviews to come! I’m going to (make an attempt to) catch up.
    Thanks so much! And I'd say you're on to something there: Filia has had quite an effect on him.

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    They're not at anywhere that was in the anime, but I'd place them at one of the other Dragon Lord's temples--it doesn't really matter which to me. See, the idea of Filia going back to a Golden Dragon temple for awhile (in fact, a friend of mine is writing a full scale fic based on that concept). This is just a brief oneshot dealing mostly with Xellos's feelings about her doing something like that, and her feelings at being confronted. It's a snapshot, but I did my best to hint at how they might've gotten there. The set-up would've gone something like this...
    Ah I see. I can imagine her trying to fit back into dragon culture, but I can’t imagine it would go all too well in the long-run. With or without Xellos. And yeah, I bet the monster would have a problem or two with rebellious Filia being unrebellious.

    Filia tries to carve a life out amongst the humans at the end of Try with her Vase & Mace shop and all.
    Which I always imagined the name of to be something like “Vases and Maces to Throw in Snide Faces”.
    Her suspicions will probably be confirmed by difficulties that she has with the humans... misunderstandings and such. Meanwhile, Xellos has taken to hanging around with them getting uncomfortably close to their little family unit as Val's father-figure and well... close to Filia in other ways.
    Xellos himself probably doesn’t help much with the misunderstandings either.
    Fearful of her own feelings and fear for her son both living among humans and with Xellos making concerted efforts to influence him, Filia retreats to an insulated community of dragons. Xellos is pissed off. He feels that Filia has gone back on her principled little rebellion from the dragon race (something he admired in her), that she's trying to avoid her feelings for him, and that she's putting Val in danger by going back among the 'untrustworthy' dragons.
    I like the concept, it adds another layer to their not-sure-if-happy romance. And yeah, Filia does seem like she is really there in part to avoid him. XD
    This is the garden of my dreams and nightmares.
    A garden of opposites is perfect for opposites.
    XD True. I'm not sure she's up for singing and dancing though.
    It’s funny, but I had this dream last night where Filia was dancing and singing “Cabaret” of all things and Xellos was just like ...-.-;
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wish we knew more about dragon culture.
    Well, you certainly paint a convincing picture of what it might look like given what little we’ve got to go off of.
    That was a question I was delicately trying to avoid answering during the course of this oneshot because I'm not sure. He probably can go in the temple. I mean, he's been on Holy Ground before and was sitting on the top of the Temple of the Fire Dragon King. It probably wouldn't be as easy for him to walk around in there without people screaming at him though.
    Probably. It certainly hasn’t been the first time Xellos has tread on “Holy Ground”. And if there happened to be any young, fiesty dragons hanging about and started challenging him or whatnot, I can see the elders of said temple looking a little horrified.

    Gemstones. Rated PG.
    Amazing, amazing one-shot. The episode in question is probably one of my favorites despite Xellos not sticking around for the entire time, so I’m rather happy you decided to write about it.

    Filia tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Her hands were feeling raw, dust was filling her lungs, and she had that Spring Cleaning high. Between caring for Val and running the shop, she’d been letting cleaning fall by the wayside lately. Well, no more. Filia had her mop out and she meant business.
    I’m guessing she either set up a different shop, decided to go back to the human town, or this is in the past because one-shot collections don’t always follow set times continuities.

    And organizing… organizing actually had its own quiet joys.
    How I wish I could share your sentiments, Filia.
    She reached in to take out the last remaining objects from the drawer to face her judgment. She held two of them, one in each hand, and half-sat, half-collapsed to the floor. “Oh,” she said out loud.

    They were circular gemstones, yellow in color, and on the large side. She’d almost forgotten that she…
    Whatever were they doing in her crafts drawer? Was she planning on making wedding rings from them? A bit large, but probably still doable.

    It had all turned out to be a scheme of Jillas’s to turn them against one another and not some legitimate prophecy. Of course it had.
    The irony is that Jillas is now her employee of sorts.
    Her married to Xellos? The very idea was utterly ridiculous!
    Something started to float into the back of my mind when I read this. It’s still a little blurry, but I think the word “Legal” and the name “Skiyomi” are somehow attached. XD

    But she’d picked up the two gems that declared them ‘the gods’ chosen couple’. All of them had thrown theirs at Gourry and after Xellos had abandoned her outside the temple and the others had gone off on their fool’s errand she’d just seen them all sitting there in a bunch along with one of Gourry’s teeth. So she’d… picked the gemstones up and put them away in her bag, never mentioning a word of it to anyone.
    Dare I mention that 2 out of 3 couples get divorced according to “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail” by Dr. Gottman.
    Only decent link I could find: http://www.amazon.com/Why-Marriages-...ion/0684802414

    Considering that Amelia/Gourry and Lina/Zel didn’t seem to work out that well...
    The longer it took, the angrier she was with herself. It shouldn’t even be a question, she thought forcefully. They’re garbage! He’s garbage. And what do you do with garbage? You throw it out, that’s what!
    And yet she doesn’t throw him out when he comes waltzing around her shop (though arguably because he doesn’t let her).

    “You’ve been busy today,” Xellos said, sweeping a gloved finger over the top of her mantle like everyone’s least favorite mother-in-law.
    O_O Mother-in-? ...HAhaha XD

    “Xellos!” she shouted, trying to bluster her way out of the impression she’d been caught doing something wrong. “What are you doing here?!”
    Xellos: Easy. I live here, in a matter of speaking.

    Xellos sat down in one of her chairs. “Now this is interesting,” he commented cheerfully. “What do you have in there that you don’t want people to see?” he pondered. “Perhaps your diary? A secret alcohol stash? If this was your bureau then I could make some more colorful guesses.”
    ....Did he just...? Was he...?

    “Absolutely not!” Filia screeched, incensed. Her diary was in a combination safe which was itself in a locked chest in the darkest corner of the attic.
    LOL. I guess you really can’t overcompensate when a monster has taken an interest in you.

    “Why would you want to see those?” she countered.

    “Because you don’t want me to,” he said simply.
    Best reason ever. I use it all the time.

    “Not a chance!” Filia declared. “You have no right to go poking around through my things just because you’re evil!”
    ...Isn’t that the point though? Even non-evil people go poking around just because they can.

    “Why should you care if an ‘evil’ person gets paint on their shoes?” Xellos asked, advancing still forward. He stopped in the middle of the paint puddle, getting magenta paint on his evil shoes. He tapped her on the side with his staff. “Well?”
    I had to chuckle at that. EVIL SHOES WILL ONE DAY TAKE OVER THE WORLD, AND THEN THE PRICE OF ALL BUT CLOWN SHOES WILL GO UP.

    “Oh, please!” Filia said incredulously. “You were just as insulted as I was when Jillas paired us up. Why would you want a reminder of all that? That’s just—” And then it hit her like a truck full of similes.
    For whatever reason, when I first read this it looked like “Truck full of smilies”. :/ I need more sleep.

    “Nothing,” Filia said, trying to hoist herself back up. She held a hand up to her head and took a few unsteady steps away. “I think… I need to lie down,” she said deliberately. And because of the current state of her mind, she added: “You’re not invited.”
    PFT! Are you sure now, Filia?

    He looked down at the golden gemstone in his hand. He held it up to the red one on his staff and shook his head. He didn’t even know why he’d thought that would be a good idea in the first place.

    He gave the gemstone a little toss in the air and caught it.

    Oh well. No harm in keeping it.
    So it’s like:
        Spoiler:- Picture:

    Yeah, I know it's horrible looking. I'm not good with computers, and it doesn't help that I have to do this in Microsoft paint because I don't have anything fancy like Photoshop.
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    Which I always imagined the name of to be something like “Vases and Maces to Throw in Snide Faces”.
    ...!! This needs to be true!

    Xellos himself probably doesn’t help much with the misunderstandings either.
    XD Nah, he's probably an exacerbating factor.

    I like the concept, it adds another layer to their not-sure-if-happy romance. And yeah, Filia does seem like she is really there in part to avoid him. XD
    One of that things I was thinking about there is the part of the Sound of Music where Maria goes back to the convent to avoid her feelings for the Captain.

    It’s funny, but I had this dream last night where Filia was dancing and singing “Cabaret” of all things and Xellos was just like ...-.-;
    You know, it's funny you should mention that because I've always more or less assumed that Cabaret would be Xellos's favorite musical :P

    Well, you certainly paint a convincing picture of what it might look like given what little we’ve got to go off of.
    Thanks! I do my best with the information I've got.

    Amazing, amazing one-shot. The episode in question is probably one of my favorites despite Xellos not sticking around for the entire time, so I’m rather happy you decided to write about it.
    Thanks you! It's one of my favorite episodes too

    I’m guessing she either set up a different shop, decided to go back to the human town, or this is in the past because one-shot collections don’t always follow set times continuities.
    Yeah, these oneshots don't usually exist in the same continuity and that last one is particularly distant from most of these.

    How I wish I could share your sentiments, Filia.
    I'm pretty messy, but I don't know... I sort of like organizing the files on my computer XP

    Something started to float into the back of my mind when I read this. It’s still a little blurry, but I think the word “Legal” and the name “Skiyomi” are somehow attached. XD
    *whistles*

    Xellos: Easy. I live here, in a matter of speaking.
    I know I read a oneshot once where he was all moved in and she didn't even notice XD

    ....Did he just...? Was he...?
    Xellos has a dirty mind.

    LOL. I guess you really can’t overcompensate when a monster has taken an interest in you.
    The jokes on her! Locks mean nothing to him!

    PFT! Are you sure now, Filia?
    She might revise her statement when she's had more time to think it over XD

    So it’s like:
    XD That's awesome. He should totally change out gems!

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    One of that things I was thinking about there is the part of the Sound of Music where Maria goes back to the convent to avoid her feelings for the Captain.
    SOUND OF MUSIC REFERENCE! Now where are Captain Xellos’ 7 children?
    You know, it's funny you should mention that because I've always more or less assumed that Cabaret would be Xellos's favorite musical :P
    Makes sense. Jealousy! Nazis! The Blame game! Love! Hate! And a seedy club whose acronyms I accidentally once misconstrued for a rather hateful and nasty subject in Southern American history!
    I'm pretty messy, but I don't know... I sort of like organizing the files on my computer XP
    I don’t really do that either... >.> XD

    I know I read a oneshot once where he was all moved in and she didn't even notice XD
    XD Where did he stay if she didn’t even notice? Not that he needs sleep or anything, but “all moved in” suggests that he had some place to put stuff and whatnot.
    Xellos has a dirty mind.
    And it tends to sometimes be brutally honest too...

    The jokes on her! Locks mean nothing to him!
    I think her only saving grace would be to say “What diary?”

    At then he (might) be slightly less inclined to go hunting.

    ONTO NEXT ONE-SHOT:

    Filia stirred her lemonade contentedly with her straw. It was a perfect day, the kind that even Xellos couldn’t ruin.
    How much do you think I should bet?

    “Oh really?” Xellos said, with a willingness to test her previous assumption about him. “Which part do you like best: the constant rain or the smell of worms the rain leaves behind?”
    I never really thought worms had a scent.O.o

    “I mean,” Xellos said, scratching his cheek speculatively, “what did you think the birds were singing about?”
    Male Bird: I am pretty~ Oh so pretty~ I am pretty and witty and gay!~

    Female Bird: You won’t be once I have my way! *dives*

    Filia whipped around, waving a ladle at him in a threatening manner. “I thought even you couldn’t ruin a day like this! I guess I was wrong!”

    Xellos surveyed her in an extremely unimpressed way. “It’s not as though it’s my fault the mortal races reproduce sexually.”
    *snort* I can imagine him a sort of Prometheus though, introducing new ideas into—ok I’ll be good now.

    “I mean, you like ducklings, don’t you?” Xellos asked. “It’s very juvenile to like ducklings but blanch at the steps necessary to get ducklings. But I suppose it doesn’t surprise me. The Dragon race has always had a high and mighty attitude about these kinds of things.”
    True, but now that Xellos mentions it, I feel like a lot of societies in general look at things a little like this.

    Knocking his brains out with a ladle won’t solve anything,
    Yeah, provided that you can actually hit him.

    Filia swung around. “How dare you threaten genocide in my house?!”
    Considering that he, at one point, actually committed genocide I’d say threatening is probably a step down.

    Filia hesitated. Thinking back to her youth, well… it wasn’t a subject that dragons talked about that much… or at all, really. She could still remember a time when she’d been quite young and her friend Mintha had made an innocent inquiry to their teacher wondering where eggs came from. She’d been told to stand in the corner until she was willing to behave like a proper dragon and to not ask again unless she wanted worse punishment. That probably classified as blame and fear-mongering.
    Looks to me like they don’t really teach “The Dragons and the Demons” talk...I mean “The Birds and the Bees”.

    Xellos considered the Dragon race’s attitude toward impropriety and their general fondness for rule collecting.
    Rule collecting...man, I can make a whole list of people who have this as their hobby.
    Filia bit her lip and shook her head. “We weren’t allowed to read it,” she said.

    Xellos raised an eyebrow. “What?”

    “They said it would give us ideas,” Filia explained.
    GAH! Then how were you supposed to know what was right and what was wrong? I can’t stand stuff like that. I can already name too many times when something like this was used against me.

    “And a diagram with numbered parts,” Filia finished.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


    “Oh, I’m sure you’ve managed to collect some idea over the years,” Xellos said thoughtfully, “from the vague forbiddances of your elders, overheard conversations and half-understood jokes. But I’d guess that there’s a pretty good chance that you’re not at all familiar with, shall we say, the particulars.” He looked up at her.

    Filia wished that she hadn’t put her ladle away. Whether or not it would solve anything, Xellos deserved to have his brains knocked out with a serving utensil.

    “Do I need to give you ‘The Talk’, Filia?” Xellos inquired.
    I wonder if Filia was under the impression he was going to be a little more...er...drastic.


    “When a man and woman love—or sometimes hate—each other very much—”
    Xellos: “They do something to relieve all their pent up frustrations and stress caused by the other. It’s very therapautic for, after all, it’s rather difficult to argue when said other has yo-”

    Filia: *begins to throw dishes at him*


    Another one-shot I really liked! It’s funny how Filia doesn’t “know” even though that’s how her race reproduces while Xellos “knows” even though he’s a monster (though I can think of plenty of reasons why he’d have such knowledge).
    Fanfiction:
    The Twisted Child of Johto

    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=543996

    Official from Oscars Thread ^

    png image hosting
    I made this ^

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