Chapter 2

Mrs. Jenny stood outside the classroom. She looked over to the jungle gym. Gourry and Shylfiel were playing house, Gourry looking around every so often to make sure no one was looking. Ahh, the perfect little children. Shylfiel would grow up to be a perfect mother someday. She came from a wonderful, loving family, and she was practically the carbon copy of her mother. Gourry came from another wonderful family,born and raised to be the provider of a family. They fit wonderfully into the little cookie cutouts of what girls and boys were supposed to be in Mrs. Jenny's narrow mind. She smiled and let her gaze pan across the playground.

Her eyes fell on Amelia, over by the sandbox. She was lecturing the little boy there for making another little boy cry. Mrs. Jenny frowned. Yes, Amelia was a wonderfully well behaved little girl, but she acted as though she would become the ruler for the country, not the husband she would marry. She shouldn't be working on her justice speeches and reading books of law for children, she should be polishing her manners and grace to attract a good ruler. She sighed. She would have to talk to her parents about that when parent-teacher meetings came up.

She scanned the rest of the playground and stopped at the two of her most troublesome children, one new, one old.

Lina Inverse.

Mrs. Jenny grit her teeth. The girl was brought here every day by a woman claiming to be her sister. Lina had no other relations, and the 'sister' was currently very single and working as a waitress. Mrs. Jenny could guess where little Lina had come from.

But Mrs. Jenny prided herself on not judging people by their relatives, so she had give Lina a chance. No one could ever call her unreasonable.

The little brat hadn't deserved one. Mrs. Jenny had only taken a day to know Lina well. The girl was anything but normal.

For one, she didn't want to get married. Ever! She wanted to be a sorceress, of all things. A sorceress! Ways of demons, those. She was going to grow up to be a little slut, just like her 'sister'.

And another thing was she fought. Mrs. Jenny refused to admit to herself that the girl always won, even against boys far older that she was. She obviously cheated. Mrs. Jenny never knew exactly how right after it had happened, but during the course of the day she remembered seeing things that Lina had done. Lina, the little liar, always denied it, but Mrs. Jenny stuck to her guns, so to speak.

And on top of all of this, the girl was unbearably stupid. Tell the girl to draw a picture of her friends, and she drew them with swords and princess dresses. She never sat still in one place, and she refused to play with the toys they had in the classroom. She insisted on using big words she'd made up herself, and wouldn't believe mrs. Jenny when she told her they were imaginary. The girl was constantly asking stupid, obvious questions, and Mrs. Jenny had a hard time explaining them. They just were. But Lina wouldn't understand that. She'd taken her to the guidance counselor, but after talking with lina for an hour he's pronounced mrs. Jenny the slow one and had told her to leave Lina alone.

Mrs. Jenny fumed. No one understood her.

And on top of everything else, Lina was playing with that.

All the other chidren had the sense to saty away from it when Mrs. Jenny had told them to. But lina refused, saying Mrs. Jenny was a big dumb-butt and she wasn't going to listen. She'd gotten put in the corner for that, but she wasn't sorry, and Mrs. Jenny could tell.

Couldn't Lina understand that the boy was... unnatural? AIDS was something God sent down to punish the sinners. The boy had it. Mrs. Jenny had herd rumors of Mr. Greywyrds. Most importantly the grandson/great-grandson of him, the boy sitting next to Lina. The child was wrong, unbeleivably wrong.

"Class! Nap time!" She called to the open playground, and was rewarded with moans and refusals from the bad children, and smiles from the good ones.

Mrs. Jenny smiled blandly at the depressed little boy in front of her. Everyone in the class was in their cots cuddled up under blankets but him.

"I'm sorry, Zelgadis, but we don't have any more room for another cot in here. You'll have to sleep in the other room."

Zelgadis looked at the five empty cots in the corner, then at the teacher. He knew what was going on.

"Okay." He said softly. It didn't help to fight them. It only made people hate you more.

"There's five empty cots over there, Mrs. Jenny." Piped a small voice . Mrs. jenny looked down and smiled around clenched teeth at the stubborn red head. "He can sleep on one of those."

"Those are all broken, dear."

"But isn't he going to get a cot in the other room? It's not broken." Line pointed at the cot Mrs. Jenny had taken from the closet to set Zelgadis up in the storage room. "Why don't you just move one of the broken cots into there and let him sleep with us?"

"Because going over there and dragging it around would wake up the other children."

"Why didn't you move it around when they were still asleep?" Lina pressed. Mrs. Jenny was getting flustered.

"It's too late now, isn't it, Lina?"

"Why - "

"It's okay, Lina." Zelgadis said softly. "I don't mind."

"Mrs. Jenny smiled. He would have been the perfect little boy if he wasn't... Anyway. She set up the cot and blanket in the stoarage room and left.

The room was cold and dank. Zelgadis curled up in his blanket and tried to go to sleep.

Zelgadis is strong. Zelgadis is brave. Zelgadis can deal.

But Zelgadis was also only five. Zelgadis started crying softly into his pillow.


Zelgadis turned around fast to look at his friend, clutching her pillow and dragging her blanket behind her.

"Can I sleep with you?" Lina asked. Zel frowned.

"Mrs. Jenny will get mad," He warned. She matched his frown, which is a hard thing to do.

"I don't care what the dumb-butt gets mad at. My sister says she's a stupid ol' hen, an' she is, too."

Zel shrugged. He didn't want to get Lina in trouble, but like any five year old, he didn't want to be alone in a big, scary room, either.

"Okay." He moved over and she snuggled up next to him. "Lina?"

"Hm?" She asked, almost asleep.

"Why aren't you afraid of me?"

"Why should I be?" Came her five year old wisdom, as she fell asleep.

End of the day. Ahhhhhhh... Mrs. Jenny looked forward to this time as no one else could imagine. She finally got to get rid of Lina at this time. And an added perk, She thought wryly, was getting rid of Zelgadis, too.

Most of the other mothers picked up their children a little bit early, so she could get off work a bit early. It was kind and thoughtful of them.

LUNA came exactly on time. Mrs. Jenny truly hated that woman. Unfortunately, it seemed that Rezo Greywyrds was equally punctual, if not late.

Mrs. Jenny was ready to kill someone as Luna came through the door, grinning, as usual.

"I take it the fireball's asleep?" Luna always called lina that. Much as it fit her, mrs. Jenny didn't hold with nicknames. She believed they caused confusion it the children.

"Yes, LINA is still asleep." Mrs Jenny said to empty air and Luna walked right by her, not even waiting for an answer. Mrs. Jenny grit her teeth.

Luna poked her head out of the nap room. "Nope. Only thing in here is your brat."

"I would appreciate your not referring to my Xellos like that," Mrs. Jenny snapped. Luna shrugged.

"whatever. Where is she?"

"I told you, she's - " Mrs. Jenny looked into the room. True enough, there was only her angel Xellos, sleeping like a baby. She started to panick. "She was right here! I - "

"Hello, mrs. Jenny. I've come to pick up Zelgadis."

"Hold on a moment." Mrs Jenny smiled blandly at Rezo. "He's in this way, sir. I hope you understand, there wasn't room in the nap room for another cot."

Rezo's face seemed to ice over, as did Luna's. Mrs. Jenny took no notice. She led him to the storage room,and was shocked to find Zelgadis and Lina, curled together like little cherubs, fast asleep.

Well, Mrs. Jenny didn't exactly think that as she was looking at the adorable scene in front of her.

"Lina Inverse! What on earth are you doing?" She shrieked. Both children started awake at her voice. Lina looked at her with defiance, Zelgadis with guilt plain on his face.

"I'm sorry. It's my fault - " Zelgadis began.

"Lina, we were worried about you! You ran off an hid! And in here, of all places! You're supposed to be in the nap room, young lady!"

Lina looked up, annoyance and anger on her cute little face. "You made him sleep in here all by himself! I was just here so he wouldn't get lonely! Zel-chan is my friend!" Mrs. Jenny was shocked.

Rezo smiled at the fiery little red head. "You're Zelgadis' friend?"

Lina looked at him as if she would tackle him then and there f he tried to threaten Zelgadis like everyone had been already today. "Yes," She said wearily.

"Do you like him?"

"I like him very much," She said, suspicious.

"Well! Would you like to come over some day, perhaps?"

Lina's face split into a large grin, and sunshine and candy seemed to radiate from her face. "Sure!" behind her, Zelgadis smiled softly.

Mrs. Jenny glared at Mr. Greywyrds. "If that's alright with her sister, of course."

Luna came up behind her, a touch of malice in her voice. "Why wouldn't it be? Zelgadis seems like a very sweet boy."

Mrs. Jenny Took Luna aside for a moment. "Ms. Inverse, The boy is... has..."

"AIDS, yes, I read about it in the paper." Luna shrugged. "So?"

"So? Aren;t you worried about you sister?"

Luna shrugged. "Why should I be?" She turned from Mrs. Jenny and walked back to her little sister, who had taken hold of Zelgadis hand and looked ready to throw a tantrum if Luna was going to insist on being stupid lke everyone else.

Rezo and Zelgadis, however, looked rather accepting, as if this sort of this happened all the time. Zelgadis looked as if his world was about to come crashing down - he was loosing a friend again.

Luna, even if she had agreed with Mrs. Jenny, would have melted at his look and swayed in his favor. As it was...

"Zelgadis? Maybe you can come over to our house sometime soon, too! Wouldn't that be great?"

Sunshine and flowers. Ahhh, what a cute kid!

Mrs. Jenny watched the sin going on before her face with an utter helplessness.

Chapter 3   |   Fanfiction