Chapter 8

Zel carefully removed his suit and changed into a pair of light blue, flannel pajamas. It had been a very...eventful night. (What is going through your head? You perverts! Nothing happened between anyone so far!!!)

Lina wasn't used to low cut dresses. She hadn't noticed that when she leaned forward or bent over that it gave ample view of her bosom to any who happened to be standing in front of her. Namely, Zelgadis. She wasn't really built, but she wasn't flat, either. He had finally feigned exhaustion and had escaped to his room.

He lay in bed thinking of her. Odd, how a little while ago he wouldn't have even thought to consider her as more than a friend, but now he just couldn't get her off his mind.

I feel like I'm running in circles, Zel thought, arm on his forehead, staring at the ceiling. Grasping at something always just out of reach. Something that I never knew of until now, but cannot live without. Just as he was drifting off to sleep, he felt tangible images surround him...A smile here, an outstretched hand there...

He shook his head to clear it. There was no way he was going to get any sleep tonight.

He imagined what it was like to fall asleep next to wake up with her beside him. He choked on a sob he didn't know he was hiding, turned over, and tried to fall asleep, in his cold, empty bed.

About an hour later, he heard a knock on his door. Who would knock at this hour? He wondered, Picking up his sword on the way to the door. It's past midnight! God, I hope it's not the princess...His thoughts cut off short.

It was Lina. She was dressed in pastel pink flannel pajamas, and had her hair in a braid. She was hugging a small pillow, and her face was streaked with tears. "Zel?" She said hesitantly, " said that if I needed a shoulder to cry on..." She paused, as if unsure of welcome.

He started out of his shock, any hormones still in his bloodstream killed by the sight of her so utterly miserable. "Of course!" He said immediately, "Always." He led her in and closed the door, then sat next to her on the bed. "What's wrong?" He asked, putting an arm around her.

She sighed and leaned on his shoulder. " you know, he was here tonight?"

Zel didn't need to ask who he was. It was obvious. "Was he?" Zel didn't even feel a pang of jealousy. Lina needed him right now. He couldn't let his feelings get in the way.

She nodded. "All dressed up, too. God, he looks amazing in black." She hugged the pillow tighter.

"So what happened?" Zel asked. By god, if he hurt her, he was going to skewer the asshole alive...

"I...I tried hinting, you know, that I liked him. I was flirting a lot. But.." She looked out the window. "He completely ignored me." She sniffled. "I..I think I know how Amelia feels..."

Zel shook his head. "I don't see how he could have ignored you, Lina. You looked amazing in that dress, and I'm not just saying that to cheer you up." He lifted her chin so she looked at him. "Even so," He said softly, "He'd have been a fool not to notice you." He hugged her. She stiffened, then relaxed and hugged him back. "I suggest you forget him. He doesn't deserve a girl as wonderful, talented, intelligent, and pretty as you."

"I can't forget him." She said into his pajama top. "I know I should, but...I love him." She let out a strangled sob, and he held her closer. "And I think...that I might not deserve someone as wonderful as him..."

He swallowed hard and pushed all his feelings far into the back of his mind. "You deserve the most amazing, loving man on earth." He said softly into her hair. "You are a wonderful girl, Lina Inverse, and that's the truth." He winced. "And if you truly love him, don't give up. He'll have to come to his senses eventually." He pushed her away so he could look into her tear-filled eyes. "Since when have you ever taken no for an answer? Since when have you given up? You fight to win, remember?" He brushed hair back from her eyes. "Even when there's only a one percent chance."

Lina smiled at him. Oh, it was all worth it, just to see that smile reflected in her eyes. "You always know just what to say, Zel. You make me feel like a princess." She brushed tears from her eyes. "I don't know what I'd do without you."

He smiled. Oh, to hear that..! "You'd stil live, Lina." He grinned. "You always do."

"That's because I have something to wake up for..." She said so softly that if he were human he wouldn't have been able to hear it. She paused. "Um...Zel?"

"Yes, Lina?"

"Can...can I stay here tonight? I...really don't want to be alone..." She said hesitantly.

She could have asked for his heart on a platter, and he would have given it to her. "Of course." He smiled warmly. "I know exactly how you feel."

She smiled thankfully at him and headed for the chair.

"Take the bed." He said calmly. "Please. I actually get the same amount of sleep on the floor."

She looked at him searchingly. "Are you sure? I don't want to be any bother..."

"I'm fine. Really. You bruise more easily than me. Anyway, you deserve a sound sleep after tonight."

Lina smiled at him and leaned down. "Thank you Zel." She kissed him on the forehead. "You are a true friend." Then she curled up in the bed.

Zel sighed and waited until she was asleep. Then he got up, leaned over the bed, and stroked her hair. "Sleep well, Angel." He said softly.

And for the second time, the world exploded.

But this time Zel felt it coming. He quickly flung up a shield over Lina and himself. It parted around them and moved on.

Zel went to bed. It could wait until morning, and it would be a long day tomorrow.

Lina crawled into Zel's bed and curled up. It was filled with his cool, reassuring scent. It was so calm and comforting...

Just as she was drifting into the peaceful oblivion, she thought she felt a hand stroke her hair and a whispered voice say, "Sleep well, Angel"

Oh, Zelgadis.....

Chapter 9   |   Fanfiction