Zelgadis sighed as he tossed and turned in his bed, worrying. What if she went back while they were asleep? What if that demon didn't play fair? They never did. Heaven, she might lead him out while Zelgadis was in bed and...and...
Needless to say, Zelgadis wasn't getting to sleep. He grunted tiredly and flipped on the light switch. Might as well read.
It might have been the usual stories they had up there; the angel was the hero, rescuing the fair damsel from the clutches of the devil, and leading her into a life of sainthood. All the stories that were usually read around heaven were. It got a bit boring.
This one was a little risqué, in that other angels might look down on it's being read. It wasn't anything to do with angels. It was about a girl on earth fighting her way against prejudice, hardships and finding her own way. Since that way wasn't sainthood, it may not have been on the required reading list, but it was a lot better than a retelling of the same story he'd read countless times.
He was twenty pages into it when he heard a rap on the door. Quickly stowing the book under his pillow, he invited he person in.
He smiled when he saw who it was.
Rezo, walked softly into the room. Zelgadis always had admired how the old angel had sort of floated without doing so as he walked, steps never ringing, head not bobbing. It was standard, but Zelgadis had never gotten the hang of it. He had to fly to be silent.
Rezo smiled softly at his young friend. Zelgadis practically worshiped him, and Rezo finally found someone to listen to him. They were both different among the angels, not quite the same as everyone else. It created a fellowship between them. Zelgadis trusted Rezo with everything, and Rezo never gave him reason not to.
"I saw the light on and I came to see what was wrong," He began, studying Zelgadis. "This was your first assignment, I was worried you may be nervous."
"Might be?" Zelgadis laughed out loud, hit by the hilarity of the band statement. "Rezo, you know blessed well that I'm terrified! What kind of a demon would they send against Gourry!? He's practically a saint already!" Zelgadis wasn't the model of self confidence anyway, and with this assignment...
Rezo was lost in thought for a few miniutes. Zelgadis was silent, knowing that when he was ready, Rezo would speak.
"Could it be they're trying to get rid of her?"
Rezo shrugged. "They wouldn't have sent someone as new as you to help him if she was very good. Besides, she just started, didn't she?"
"Well...yes, but..." Zelgadis started doubtfully. He'd considered it, but he didn't think it was likely. He was more certain it was his own hopefulness putting the thought before him instead of logic.
Rezo exhaled sadly. "The demons are never very careful with their pawns. If they turn out badly, they try to rid themselves of them as soon as possible."
Zelgadis thought for a moment. "True. She did seem a bit...different."
"Different and expendable does not mean not dangerous, Zelgadis. I advise you not to underestimate her. The desperate become deadly." Rezo warned softly. Zelgadis had long ago learned to listen to Rezo; the being of light was usually correct.
Zelgadis nodded. "I understand. She's very new, it may have turned out they didn't like her much." In that case, it may be possible to convert her, to bring her back to the light...
Besides the fact that he'd be pretty respected if he brought over one of Hell's, how would it feel to save someone?
How would it feel to accomplish something so important as saving a soul?
Zelgadis flopped down on his bed as Rezo left and thought about it.
Lina woke up in a cold sweat, heart beating furiously. She'd had another dream, a dream of her life before...before all this. She shook her head and got out of bed. Don't think about it. Don't think about it. Don't touch, don't feel. She yanked on her clothes and hurried to get out of there and back to Gourry. It wouldn't do to be late and let the damn angel influence him more. She spun around down the hallways and pushed past those in her way, occasionally trampling them. She didn't really care. They weren't of her concern, and none of them were even nice by Hell's standards.
Hell, I'm gonna be too late for the taxi. Dammit. Lina shrugged. She knew a shortcut. It involved a bit of distance, but she could make it to the mortal realm relatively easily. It was just a matter of where in the mortal realm she'd go. The closest entrance was over a mile from Gourry's house.
No big deal.
Lina leapt over a statue and into the pool behind it. If people thought a demoness searching around on the bottom of a pond was weird, they hadn't been in hell very long.
"Not here, not here...Ah!!" Lina grinned and yanked on the metaphorical cord of magic she found there. Dizziness swept over her. Everything went black.
Zelgadis looked up as Lina dashed into Gourry's room. Presumably she'd slept in. He allowed himself a slight feeling of superiority, but quickly banished it. It didn't do to think like that. That led to narcissism, something completely unlike specified angel behavior. And the further from the norm he strayed, the more likely he was to be cast off.
Lina grinned as Gourry started to awake. Presumably because she hadn't missed anything. Zelgadis sighed and leaned against the wall, watching as Gourry yawned and stretched. This guy was a morning person, but he had to wake up first. It would take him at least ten minutes of "Huh? What?" before he would realize his surroundings, even if the house was on fire.
"Dear! Get ready for breakfast!" His mother called from downstairs. "The college won't wait for you, you know!" Gourry?s eyes lit up at the mention of food, and, like any stereotypical young male, he immediately ran in it's direction. He charged down the stairs and into the kitchen where his mother and father were just sitting down to breakfast.
Gourry's mother was a slightly graying woman, her beauty worn away slowly by time and rendering her to merely handsome. She was Sally Homemaker, who loved her son very much and would have spoiled him, had Gourry not been so unspoilable. She cleaned house and made meals. She was the picture of a suburban housewife, the very picture the government had tried to encourage in the years following world war I.
No one could have said she was particularly bright, but she was kind in a way that made you not care. She practically radiated love and peace, and it was obvious that Gourry had inherited much from her.
Gourry's father was a steadfast man, working hard for the family he loved so dearly. He was tall, strong, a hard worker. His hair was shocked with grey, his eyes a deep blue-silver.
Gourry's family was the absolute perfect, the stereotype of the suburban family.
Zelgadis noticed that Lina was looking a bit sick at the barrage of wholesomeness from the room. He smiled slightly and returned to watching the scene before him.
Lina listened to all that went on. She needed to work hard, listen to everything, keep her ears open for the slightest chance, the smallest advantage that could maybe let her come out on top, or at least not on the bottom.
Gourry sat down to breakfast and his mother smiled at him.
"Gourry, I'm afraid you and your father are going to be the only ones here this weekend." Gourry's mother apologized, unhappy that she wouldn't be able to take care of her family while she wasn't ther. "I dread to think what will happen to the house," She said jokingly, "With only two men in it, but it can't be helped. I have a girl scout sleepover at the mall on tomorrow, on Halloween night, and I have to be there."
Gourry's father looked up from his newspaper. "What? But I have a business meeting this weeekend!" He said, surprised.
Oh yes oh yes...
"I guess Gourry will be home alone," His mother said.
Oh yes oh yes oh yes...
"Don't worry, I'm a big boy! I can handle it!" Gourry grinned. "I promise not to make any animal sacrifices, okay?"
Oh yes oh yes oh yes oh yes...
"Well, if you're okay..."
"I'll be fine mom! I'm 23! It's okay!"
Ohhhhhhh, YES!!! Lina nearly sang for joy. My chance! My chance!! My CHANCE!!!
Gourry headed towards Syphiel's house and picked her up. Lina was still in spasms over her newfound opening, so she wasn't paying much attention. But the words "Sleep over" and "At your house" came to her ears...
Lina nearly believed in miracles right then and there. A small little part of her said that it wasn't going to last, something was going to go wrong. Just when everything's going your way, that's when you fall on your face, it warned her. She tossed it in the back of her mind and ignored it, studiously not asking what could go wrong. She didn't need a jinx at a time like this.
"What's got you so joyous?" Lina spun. She'd forgotten Zelgadis in her glee. Ohhh, stupid move, Lina. You'd better be glad that he isn't out to get rid of you, apparently.
"Nothing. Don't worry about it."
"How can I not worry about it?" Zelgadis hovered slightly, as they were following Gourry's car from the outside, they had to fly to keep up. "You're on the opposite side and you're practically in fits."
"I'm on the other side. Why would I tell you?" She shot back. He was acting like she would tell him! Jeez, this guy was so naïve. What kind of an idiot actually talks to the enemy on a friendly level? She rolled her eyes and ignored him.
"I'd like you know what you're planning to do this weekend." But then, he'd been like this from the first minute she'd met him, too damn uncaring when it came to sides. Idiot.
"Don't be so smug," She countered. "Anyone could have seen that tomorrow's gonna be a perfect day for me."
"Yeah, and I want to know what you're planning." He acted like it was so natural to ask her that!
"I'm going to dance the Rumba, okay? Mind your own business."
And the worst thing was he looked so damn nice while he was saying it...Like he didn't care she was on the other side, not really...
"I am. This is my business." He said. "I'm here to protect Gourry. What are you here for?"
She looked at him'as if he'd grown antlers.
"Why are you here?"
"Isn't it obvious?" She managed. "I'm here to damn Gourry, nitwit!"
"Why?" Zelgadis asked, as if she was beating around the bush. "What did he ever do to you?"
"What did he...he never did anything to me!"
"Then why are you doing this?" Zelgadis pressed.
Lina sputtered. Who was he to ask her to justify herself?? "Because I am!" She managed. It sounded really lame, but that was all she could do. She was just too shocked. This guy graduated top of his class?
"You don't have to," he said softly. Lina turned to him.
White wings. Such beautiful white wings...
Lina mentally smacked himself. They were flying behind a car, for hell's sake! She was annoyed at him for being so dense!
- not to mention it's not a very romantic scene in the narration...ohhh, this is a dumb scene... -
In other words, now was not the time to be admiring his wings.
But every damn time she looked at him, she could only think about how nice he looked...how unique he was...how...different...
"Come back to the light," he said pleadingly. "You can try, can't you? Why are you doing something this hateful?" he held out a hand to her. "Please? I can help."
For a second, she believed it. Despite the corny lines, the obvious stumbling over his own words, the newness it all had to him, she believed it, if only for a moment. It seemed so nice...so easy. Just give herself to the light. How hard could it be?
And then logic kicked in, tossed cold water on the star-gazing part of her that was enthralled with the winged beauty.
"You think it's that easy?" She snarled at him. "You think I can just pretend nothing happened? Ha! What would be the point of damning someone if they could just run right back to god? Why do you think I'm here? Because I like it?" She laughed, a bitter, cold sound. "Hah! I don't have a choice, stupid!" She swooped upwards, sick of this. It didn't matter what Zelgadis did today, tomorrow night she would have the perfect chance, and nothing could stop that. Nothing. "Besides, if this God is the same one that let me have more torment on earth than I have now in hell, I don't want his heaven, and I most certainly don't want him!" She soared away, trying to ignore the stupid little voice saying how he looked cute when he was hurt...
She was right. Why would there be a hell if people could simply go back whenever they wanted to? You had to pay for your sins. He knew that.
Zelgadis tried to concentrate on Gourry instead of Lina. He concentrated on how he could protect him, how he could keep him from being lost. Not that he probably needed to, actually.
Zelgadis felt a pang of jealousy and tried to smother it. Gourry was perfect. He looked exactly like an angel was supposed to. He had the long, blonde hair that many girls would kill for, the strong, built body, the beautiful, loving blue eyes. Add wings and a halo and poof! Instant angel.
He even acted like an angel was supposed to. Every thought he had was trusting and kind. Every action he made was to help someone else. He was perfect. Perfect like an angel should be.
Perfect like I'm not. Zelgadis looked at his slim, lady-like hands, fingered the soft blue shock of hair hanging in his face, felt himself blush with jealous embarrassment at how inadequate he seemed next to Gourry. Zelgadis would have been better as one of the female angels, he'd have suited that role better. But even then, he didn't come close to the perfect angel. He hated it. He absolutely hated it.
And he hated himself more for being so inadequate and for being jealous. How was he, he, the angel that never really was, supposed to save anyone's soul, much less a hardened Demon like Lina? How could he even have such misplaced delusions that he let himself think he would ever live up to any standard put before him? Zelgadis sank deeper and deeper into depression.
Where am I? Lina wondered as she turned slowly in a milky fog, unable to discern anything. Shifts of images and unidentifiable blurs rushed past her, sounds and wisps of music danced in her ears, and sensations swirled around her like the scent of grass after a rain. What am I doing here? Everything was entirely alien, yet somehow familiar. She thought hard. Where was I last?
I was in bed.
Oh, good. So she was only dreaming. That explained it.
Lina didn't have time to rejoice in that fact, or even take that much comfort in it. Before she could process her last thought, Lina was drowning in a thick liquid. She gasped, surprised, and felt her mouth filled with water. She clawed for air, and only went deeper into the fluid. She couldn't tell which way was up, and yet she knew she was continually sinking further and further into the depths. Lina was drowning, drowning, with no hope of getting out, no hope of rescue, unable to stop her own plummet towards the murky bottom.
She felt a strange timelessness, as if none of this was really happening to her. As if...it was a dream...
But it is a dream, I don't have anything to loose... Then why did this inexplicable fear dominate her senses?
I'm going to die, I'm going to die...
And no one cares...
Strong arms reached into the darkness and pulled her away from the bottom, away from the fear and lonely feeling of being lost forever. Arms that held her near the light, shelter, peace and joy. She relaxed and let herself be carried, let herself trust.
Lina was suddenly outside of her body, looking down. At herself. And...
What was he doing here? What did he want? And...
They were talking. Lina watched helplessly as Xellos held her close, reaching his hand to her heart. Telling her how much he loved her, letting her drop the iron walls for him, getting closer...closer...
It was surreal, he had his hand reached deep into her chest, hand slowly closing around her heart. And when she dropped the last of her walls, the last of the masks draped over her heart, bearing her soul to him as she had never done to anything but her paintings...
He ripped her heart out.
She screamed as she saw her body slump to the floor, saw her own eyes gazing back at her, unseeing, glassy.
Xellos brought his bloody hand to his face, grinning at her prone corpse and chuckling at the blood spattered over his clothes. He threw his head back and laughed.
Lina shuddered and turned away.
And saw herself.
She was...different, somehow. It didn't feel like her. There was something dead, something killed, something lifeless and apathetic about her. Something...
She shuddered, but couldn't turn away. She hurt, she hurt, seeing herself like this, but she couldn't stop herself from gazing upon her animated form.
This Lina didn't work directly, it was more of a whisper in his ear, a guidance of his eyes. Unlike Xellos, who put himself there, Lina worked behind the mind, using her power to influence, not encourage. She moved Gourry like a puppet.
Lina blinked, and saw herself covered with blood.
It was the same. It was the exact...same... as Xellos.
She was Xellos.
Lina screamed and pulled her consciousness away from the image, diving headfirst into an expanse of black water, the current pulling her down. She tried to scream again, but no sound came out. She tried to claw for air, but her hands didn't move. She tried to think, but the neurons wouldn't work.
She was dead. Dead, but still alive.
And she was so terribly, horrible, alone.
Chapter 5 | Fanfiction