Perchance to Dream
Lina came crashing back to consciousness with the mother of all headaches. She lay there, wherever there was, with her eyes closed and focused her thoughts enough to reflect that if she had a headache, she had somehow survived to return to the physical world enough to experience it. Therefore, she was still alive. Well, time to open your eyes and get on with life, Lina. But first…
She reached up and put her hand on her forehead and cast the recovery spell silently, gritting her teeth at the pain involved, but it soon started to fade. The headache taken care of, she opened her eyes.
She was in her room in the palace, lying on her bed. It was obviously night-time, and yet she was fully clothed. Well, at least I had the sense to land somewhere familiar. I wonder how long it’s been…
As she lay there looking at the ceiling, it came to her that she wasn’t alone in the room. Indeed, it came to her as whoever was in the room with her rolled over on the bed and threw an arm over her, pulling her in closer.
Even after everything she’d been through, and with all the offensive spells that she had at her command, Lina reacted as any young woman who had just woken up to find someone in her bed with her: she screamed.
Chaos thus ensued.
The figure in her bed awoke with a start, leaping backwards out of the bed, landing beside the door.
The door blew open, flattening whoever was beside it as Gourry burst in, sword in hand, stopping just in front of the physical door, effectively trapping whoever was now stuck behind it. Not that Gourry knew that he’d done so.
Sylphiel came running in mere moments behind Gourry, scepter in hand, any number of pathetic attack spells at call.
A freeze arrow shot through the room and out the balcony door, shredding the curtains in the process as Naga ran in behind Sylphiel.
Amelia and Jedah both rushed in, Amelia at the tail end of yet another Justice speech, Jedah eagerly looking around the room for a ‘bad guy’ to clobber with the candlestick that he’d grabbed from the table in the hall.
All of this happened practically at once.
Lina stopped screaming.
A voice behind the blocked door swore quietly.
Naga cast a light spell as Gourry looked around the room for whatever intruder had been there, and Sylphiel walked over to the bed and looked at Lina. “Lina! Are you all right!? How did you get here? What happened?”
Lina blinked at the immediate reaction to her scream, then looked around the room. “There was… someone in here… with me.”
Gourry had his sword in his hand, which accounted for his lack of intelligence at the moment. “But Lina, we’re all in here with you.”
Lina shot Gourry a dark look. “No, you idiot! There was someone in my bed. Before you came charging in to my rescue.”
Sylphiel and Naga looked around the room, but as far as they could see, it was empty. “I don’t see anyone, Lina. Are you sure that someone was here?”
“Of course I’m sure,” Lina snapped. “They put their arm around me and took off in a flying leap when I screamed. Whoever it was landed by the door, and must have slipped out while you three were barging in.” She folded her arms. First a headache, then some unknown person in her bed, and now all of this madcap nonsense in her bedroom.
Gourry turned and peered behind the door. “Hey! There’s someone back here!”
“Nice of you to notice, Gourry,” a familiar voice muttered sarcastically. “Could you possibly get out of the way so I can move?”
Lina’s eyes widened. “Zelgadis?” No… she couldn’t dare hope that had truly been his voice.
Gourry moved out of the way and the door swung a bit as the black-clad intruder extricated himself from behind it.
Silence fell in the room as Zelgadis dusted himself off and looked at everyone. “What?” He asked irritably. He had a pretty good idea of what happened, but he wasn’t about to elaborate at the moment. He was still peeved about being slammed into the wall by the door.
“Gosh, Zel… you really shouldn’t sleep with Lina if she doesn’t know you’re there. I mean, she can really cast some fireballs,” Gourry said, sword still in hand and brain still turned off.
“Gourry, put your sword away and start using your brain, would you?” Zelgadis muttered in reply.
Lina sat in the bed, torn between berating Zelgadis for allowing her to think that he was dead, berating him for being in bed with her, or going to kiss him in her relief that he was alive and further embarrassing them both.
Amelia saved Lina from doing anything. “Zelgadis! I’m so ashamed! How could you, when you and Lina aren’t even engaged!”
Lina facefaulted, then watched Zelgadis’ face turn completely red. “Amelia…” Zelgadis started, but Lina took the defense for him.
“Amelia, we’re both fully dressed. It’s no big deal… he just startled me. I mean… if there’s anyone I’d want to wake up beside, it’s Zelgadis, but when you’re waking up from a trip into the Astral, sometimes you aren’t completely aware…” Everyone was staring at her. She blinked, replaying her words in her mind, then turning her own shade of scarlet. Oh no… I didn’t just say that… No… no… but the look on Amelia’s face was undeniable.
“Miss Lina! You do love him! Oh, I knew that true love would win over that evil Xellos!” Amelia spun with hearts and love flowing around her.
Zelgadis sweatdropped. “Amelia… it wasn’t precisely like that…”
“Ano… Amelia…? You’re killing me with cuteness again,” Lina protested.
Sylphiel got caught up in the moment, smiling brightly. “It’s so sweet, don’t you think, Gourry dear?”
Gourry could only nod as Naga and Jedah looked on in amazement. “My sister can really put on a show, can’t she?” Naga asked Jedah quietly. Jedah only nodded in reply, eyes wide with what Naga feared was admiration.
“That’s it!” Lina said, slipping off of the bed, grabbing Amelia and Naga, and starting to shove people out of the room. “Out. All of you. I’m tired, I’m irritable, and I’m going back to bed, and the next person I see before morning is going to get a fireball in their face. Now beat it!”
Not even Zelgadis was safe from getting shoved out of the room, and the little group stood outside the now-closed door to Lina’s room and looked at each other.
“Um…” Amelia ventured. “What happened, Zelgadis?”
Zelgadis looked at the door thoughtfully. “I’m trying to remember, Amelia.”
Inside the room, Lina stalked back to her bed and took off her boots. A noise caused her to look up, and upon seeing someone; she sent a fireball flying towards them.
“That wasn’t nice, Lina,” Xellos complained, looking only somewhat singed. It was, after all, hard to harm a Mazoku with a simple fireball spell.
That was, of course, the very last straw. Lina brought her hands together, preparing to cast another spell, but Xellos stepped backwards, putting up his hands. “Lina… wait!”
She lowered her hands and glared at him. “What?”
“I have to explain something to you,” he said simply.
“Start talking, fruitcake,” she growled, spell still at ready.
Xellos sighed. Sometimes it didn’t pay to irritate Lina. And he could tell that he’d irritated her plenty. If she got any more irritated, he’d have to get his Mistress to repair him, and that would involve a discussion of why he irritated Lina to begin with… and that could lead to some secrets being revealed. Xellos was a creature of secrets, and preferred all of his secrets remain so… so he was going to do his best not to irritate Lina further.
“My job, Lina, was to destroy Zelgadis if he became a Mazoku.” There. That was simple. No room for misunderstandings or hard feelings, right?
The knuckles in his jaw said otherwise.
“Ow… What was that for, Lina?” Xellos asked, startled. He’d been as straightforward as he could be…
Lina scowled at him. “Leave Zelgadis alone.”
“Oh, I intend to, Lina. He’s not a Mazoku, though I’m not positive what he is… and I have no fears of him at this point. You think it over. We can talk about it later.” He gathered his magic around him. “Bye!”
And then he bid a hasty retreat before she could get another hit in on him, vanishing into the air.
Lina sat on the bed. So Zel isn’t a Mazoku… We’re both alive. Maybe… maybe there’s a chance. She thought as she curled up on the bed.
As tired as she was, it took her no time to fall asleep.
Morning came and went without Lina. She slept through it, and woke up somewhere around lunchtime. It felt good to sleep that long. She stretched and sat up in the bed and yawned hugely before she realized that she was being watched.
Closing her mouth, she looked at him, lost somewhere between being pissed off that he was in her room, and being happy that he was there and not dead. She chose a combination of both and threw her pillow at him. “Zel! By Cepheid, don’t you ever knock??”
He caught the pillow and looked at it for a moment. Instead of answering right away, he stood and walked over to Lina, looking at her for a moment before silently bopping her on the head with the pillow.
First, Lina squeaked in surprise. Second, she frowned in mock annoyance at him. Third, she grabbed another pillow and beat him in the stomach with it.
Of course he retaliated.
Suddenly the feathers were flying and both Lina and Zelgadis were engrossed in such an intense pillow fight that neither one noticed the knock at the door. Nor did they see the door pop open slightly and Sylphiel stick her head in.
The room was a chaos of feathers and occasional ‘whoomphs’ and ‘oofs’ as pillows made contact, resulting in an even bigger cloud of feathers. The Cleric occasionally saw a flash of flame red hair, but she couldn’t see who the other participant in the feather pillow war was. So she cleared her throat.
When that didn’t work, Sylphiel clasped her hands in front of her, closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and then hollered quiet loudly: “Lina!”
When she opened her eyes, all movement within the room save for the falling feathers had stopped. One pair of ruby eyes and one pair of aquamarine eyes looked in surprise to the door and Sylphiel.
“Oh… Sylphiel…” Lina put down her pillow and blushed as she scratched the back of her head. “Um… good morning…?”
“Actually, Lina,” Sylphiel said as she waded through the feathers towards the bed, “It’s almost lunchtime and we were wondering what you were doing.”
“LUNCHTIME???” Lina hollered. “WHY DIDN’T YOU WAKE ME SOONER!? GOURRY AND NAGA WILL EAT IT ALL!!!”
Sylphiel barely had time to register the black and red figure approach and then pass as Lina took off for the dining hall. She did, however, look at Zelgadis sitting on the bed with a half-filled pillow in his hands.
He blinked. “What?”
Sylphiel hid her smile as she turned to leave the room. “It’s good to see you smiling, Zelgadis.”
He sat there, lost for a moment as she left. Then it occurred to him that she wasn’t poking fun or anything. She was genuinely happy for them. He grinned. A thoroughly devilish idea had come to him, and he had to find Amelia at once.
“She might hurt us if we do that, Zelgadis,” Amelia said dubiously. Then she smiled. “But I think it’s a great idea and she can only kill me once. I leave the hard part to you.”
Granted, the hard part was getting Lina into that green dress that he’d seen her in before. But if he told her that he wanted to see her in it… well… she just might.
He nodded to Amelia and headed out towards the library where Lina was reading.
“You want me to what? Zelgadis, have you lost your mind? You still haven’t told me what happened with Xellos and you want to take me where?” Lina said, book forgotten in her hands.
“I want to take you out to dinner, but you have to wear that dress,” he repeated. “It’s a few hours until dinner, so you have time to go get ready.”
“Go get ready?! What am I supposed to do? Some girlish thing like soaking in a bathtub or something?” Lina squawked.
Zelgadis shrugged. “Why not?”
Lina stared. She considered, for a moment, refusing. But… he looks so serious… and I’ve never known Zelgadis to be so romantic. Oh, what the hell. Even though I’ll probably regret it… “Okay, fine. I’ll go… soak.” She put her book down and walked out of the library towards her room.
Zelgadis watched her go with a hidden smile. That had been easier than he’d thought it would be.
However, he was positive that Lina was going to kill him later.
Lina stood in front of the mirror, wondering why she’d let the servant talk her into wearing the slender crown in her hair. The last time she’d been this dressed up… her eyes met in the reflection and she shook her head. None of that. It’s past. It’s over. Zelgadis wants to take you to dinner and this time you don’t say no, Lina Inverse. This time, you don’t break it.
She looked at herself in the mirror again, this time blushing. You can cast a Dragon Slave without a thought, but you can’t wear a dress comfortably, eh, Lina? She asked herself.
Shaking her head at her own silliness, Lina turned and left the room.