In Your Eyes


The song used in this fic is written by Peter Gabriel. Jeffrey Gaines did a cover of it on his 1998 album Galore. Listen to that one and you'll see his version is far better than the original.

Saillune City. A fourstar hotel. VIP suite.

Lina Inverse sat slumped in a big recliner, half paying attention to a trashy romance novel as she ate from a gallon carton of Neapolitan ice cream. Although she read the words, her thoughts were on other things. Although it was relatively early, the clock only reading half past six, she figured to be in for the remainder of the evening. Her eyes followed every word until she realized she didn't know what was going on. Frustrated, the flame haired girl hurled the softcover against the nearest wall.

"Fine!" she hollered. "I didn't give a damn!"

But she certainly did. Today was Valentine's Day, usually a holiday she never really had cause to celebrate, but this year Sylphiel had pulled a "Sadie Hawkins" and invited Gourry to be her date at the annual Ball. Amelia had done the same with Zelgadis, who suprisingly had accepted. The chimera usually shied away from such things, but since the event was to take place in Saillune, the princesses' home, he did not want to hurt her feelings. That left Lina out in the proverbial cold. She had been given a formal invitation, but felt it ludicrous to attend such an event unescorted. She'd be the laughingstock of the Sorcerer's Guild!

"Romance, who needs it?" she muttered. I Do.

The door to the suite burst open suddenly. In stepped her older sister, Luna clad in a strapless, backless chiffon party dress that left little to the imagination. The curvy waitress/knight definitely had the body for it. Lina wished she had her sister's genes.

"What's the matter, brat?" Luna asked, somehow aware of Lina's mini tantrum.

The latter sat up in her recliner, quickly subdued. She knew better than to mouth off to her older sibling. Years ago, Luna had put the fear of God into her.

"Nothing sis," she replied meekly while sitting up.

"All sad because tall, blonde, and dumb went to the dance with the shrine maiden?" Luna pried, her dark indigo eyes, scutinzing her younger sibling. One could sense the amusement in her husky voice.

"Gourry's free to do as he wants," Lina declared, not bothering to hide the disappointment in her response.

"Well, you should have asked him before Sylphiel did. Or were you that naive to count on him to ask you?"

"Maybe I did assume too much," Lina admitted with a pout.

"So it's your own fault. Admit to it."

Lina stubbornly folded her arms and faced the other way. She did so, knowing that her sister was in a good mood or else she would have acted more demure.

"You can still go, Lina."

"Yeah right." She was dead set against seeing Gourry dance the night away with Sylphiel while she sat alone by herself.

Luna stepped closer to her sister. "Instead of feeling sorry for yourself all night, go out and socialize. There will be plenty of food, wine, etcetera," the older sister encouraged.

"But it's Valetine's, sis. I'd rather stay home than go by myself."

Luna grinned wickedly. "Who said you had to go alone?"

"I don't have anyone to ask!" Lina whined.

I get so lost sometimes
Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
When I want to run away
I drive off in my car
But whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

"What am I, chopped liver?" a familar voice playfully inquired.

Lina sat up with a shocked expression on her face as Xelloss phased into the room, dressed to the nines in a traditional black tuxedo with purple cummerbund. His bowtie and shoes were impeccable.

"Xelloss?" she exclaimed in disbelief. "I didn't know Mazoku celebrate Valentine's Day." Lina flushed, a little embarrassed in front of the two other people with purple hair.

"We don't," the Trickster Priest said smirking, his eyes seemingly closed. "But Luna here called me at the last minute. I had no plans, so I thought it might be fun to dust off my dance moves."

"Are you serious?" Lina sweatdropped.

"Just get dressed, brat. The coach is waiting. We're all going together and I don't want to keep my date waiting outside," Luna insisted.

Lina face faulted. "But I don't have anything to wear!" she cried.

"I told you to bring a nice outfit for this trip," the Ceiphied Knight reminded with a stern glare.

"Yeah, but....I don't have a nice dress, never got around to buying one."

"Cripes, pick something from MY closet," Luna told her with a sigh. "Magically alter it to fit your size, okay?"

They went into her room and Lina searched through the wardrobe for something. There were many things she wouldn't be caught dead in. Finally she settled on two, a red satin sleek evening gown or a lacy white ruffled minidress. Holding the two up for her sister and Xelloss, she asked, "Which one?"

"The red one" both answered together.

"Goes with your hair," added Xelloss giving her an okay sign. "I'll just change the color of my cummerbund."

Lina rushed to get ready, only taking about fifteen minutes. Luna had gone out to wait in the coach with her date.

"Can you help me a sec?" Lina called out, not knowing that.

"What is it, Lina-chan?" Xelloss strode into her room, while she stood in front of a mirror, arms up, hands holding her hair over her head, away from her back.

Lina blushed in spite of herself. "Can you zip me up?"

All my instincts
They return
The grand facade
So soon will burn
Without a noise
Without my pride
I reach out from the inside

Xelloss reached out with a gloved hand and helped pull the hidden zipper up. He stole a glance at her bare back, her lithe body. The dress fit snugly around her waist and hips. The gown had two deep side slits that showed her smooth alabaster legs all the way to upper thigh.

Lina looked at herself in the mirror and made eye contact with the Xelloss image. She kept a neutral expression but had to admit they looked sharp together. Then the notion hit her and made her laugh. I'm going to a dance with a Mazoku

"All set, Lina-chan?" he asked.

"Yep. Just need to find a coat."

In your eyes
The light, the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
In your eyes

Lina and Xelloss made their way outisde to the waiting carriage. Pulling it were two incredibly large clysdales. Their breath steamed in the frigid February night air.

"Riding in style," Xelloss remarked as the driver opened the doors.

Luna sat inside on one seat with her date, a dark haired, well tanned young man. He wore a flashy scarlet kimono like tux with odd looking symbols randomly decorating it.

"Don't we look cute," Luna gushed sweetly, causing her sister to blush the color of her dress. "By the way, this is Tippy."

"Hello," smiled the young man.

Lina had never met one of her sister's boyfriends. Most guys were too intimidated to ask her out and if they did, Luna had certain high standards. Xelloss intended to ask them later how they met.

"Hi Tippy-san," Lina managed. Xelloss nodded politely.

"Luna's told me a lot about you."

"Good things, I hope."

"From what I hear, you've made quite a name for yourself," Tippy grinned.

"You can say that again," Xelloss allowed. He put an arm around Lina, much to her chagrin. Tippy and Luna just smiled back.

Zelgadis rode with Amelia in a royal coach, dressed in a dark blue tux with a light blue dress shirt, matching dark blue bowtie and cummerbund. Amelia looked lovely in a hot pink gown, sequins and white lace trimming the upper part. A great deal of her ample cleavage was showing, and her date pretended not to notice.

Sylphiel wore her hair up in an elegant Spanish bun, looking stunning in an indigo velvet gown. Gourry wore a white tux with the same indigo colored accessories. Both girls had dreamy looks in their eyes, finally being able to spent a special night with the objects of their obsessions, er affections.

The place to be was at the Saillune House of Blues, a large two story building, one of the most popular attractions in the capital. Prince Phil had wanted the shindig to take place at the palace, but Amelia convinced him otherwise. An honor guard escorted the four down the red carpet in inside where the princess was greeted by many friends, visiting digniaries, and members of the Sorcerer Guild.

Zelgadis felt awkward, having to meet so many people and be introduced as her date. He found himself wondering if they disapproved and thought it wrong for the Princess of Saillune to hang out with a freak like him. Amelia cut short her conversation with someone, having sensed his discomfiture. She took his arm and started walking.

"What are we doing, Amelia?"

She led him to their table, the royal table where Prince Phil and others of royalty would be sitting. "Let's just sit here and talk awhile," Amelia said with a smile. "After all, I came with you, Mr Zelgadis!"

The kitchen staff looked like it was ready to serve cocktails and hor' dourves.

"Thanks," Zel suddenly felt a whole lot better.

The Inverses arrived just after the cocktail hour/open bar ended. Luna's outfit drew a lot of attention, getting admiring stares from many a male, hardly mattering that they were with a date or not. "Hey Tippy, let's go mingle," she said taking him by the arm and going towards some wealthy restauranteers.

Sylphiel and Gourry sat at their table, she nibbling on some stuffed grape leaves. The swordsman downed trayfuls of appetizers, notably shrimp cocktails, crab cakes, and baked clams. Something caught the healer's eye and she looked up to see Xelloss and Lina walking towards their table.

"Gourry dear," she said gently. "Miss Lina's here!"

The blonde looked up to see Lina stop in front of the table. His eyes widened and his jaw dropped. She hardly looked like the scrany little kid he was used to protecting. This Lina looked radiantly beautiful and womanly in her red dress.

The red head froze, suddenly not wanting to sit with Gourry. But Sylphiel had gotten up and hugged Lina. "I'm so glad you decided to come after all. You look lovely. You too, Mr Xelloss."

Gourry did a double take. "She's here with Xelloss?"

"Hey Gourry," Lina said awkwardly. She had to admit he looked good in his tux.

"Hey Lina," Gourry answered with a lopsided grin. "You missed all these great appetizers!"

Lina eyed the crisp jumbo shrimp on his plate, her mouth watering. Even if he offered some to her, she would not take it from him. It disappointed her that he hadn't shown an ounce of jealousy at seeing her show up with Xelloss.

A waiter passed by, carrying an empty tray full of dirty plates.

"Sir, could I get some more of those mozzarella sticks, jalepeno poppers, chicken wings, and swedish meatball thingies," Lina requested eagerly.

"I'm very sorry, madam, but the kitchen is bringing out ze soup an salad next."

"No more appetizers?" Lina said crossly. "I'm a friend of Amelias!"

"They've all been served," the waiter shrugged with finality. "Now, if you'll excuse me....."

Lina stomped her foot, disgusted, staring daggers after the man. She noticed everyone at the table staring at her and stopped. Xelloss pulled out her chair for her. "I'll be back," he said then disappeared.

A minute later, he returned with a heaping tray full of everything she had asked for and more. Teriyaki chicken on a stick, fried wonton, oysters on the halfshell, and coconut shrimp with curried mango sauce.

"There you go, Lina-chan," he said, setting the tray down in front of her. "Bon Appetit."

She hoped that he hadn't killed anyone to appropriate that food. "Thanks Xel," she uttered meekly, as the astonished people at her table stared at her.

Everyone stood up when Prince Phil came into the room and took his place at the royal table. He warmly welcomed everyone, thanking them all for coming, and telling them to enjoy the special evening. "Love!" he crowed. "Is in the air!"

Each guest had a choice of main course. The House of Blues chefs had created a fine selection of entrees: Filet Mignon with potato gratin, wild mushrooms and onion rings, Pan seared Hawaiian Sea bass with Basmati rice, Wood fried rack of lamb with grilled asparagus, or The whole Lobster with plenty of butter and conch chowder on the side.

Lina finally settled on the Filet Mignon, but Xelloss promised to share his lobster with her.

"Shall we get a bottle of Sairaag wine to share?" Sylphiel suggested.

The Saillune royal band was on hand, playing various classical musical pieces during dinner. Other musicians and artists had been scheduled to provide entertainment and dance music as well, ranging from ballroom dances to snappy R&B grooves. Live singers were thrown in at random intervals as well.

"So Lina," said Wendell Martin, one of the guests at their table. "What was it like going up against the most powerful of monsters?"

Lina paused in mid bite. "It's no picnic, I can assure you that."

"Who scared you the most?" Martin's date, Sarah asked.

"I'm not afraid of anyone," bragged the petite red head. A lot of the Sorcerer's Guild believed it had been Lina herself who had defeated both Gaav and Phibrezo with the Giga Slave. Far be it from her to tell them otherwise or admit to being scared.

"What about Mr Xelloss here?" asked Simon Budh, a bald swashbuckling poet.

"What about him? He saved Prince Phil from Kanzel and Mazenda, remember? Saillune owes him a debt of gratitude!" Lina replied with half a scowl.

"Are you questioning my presence here?" Xelloss asked.

"Just asking," Budh put up his hands in a placating gesture. It struck him strange as to what their relationship really was.

Xelloss stole a glance at Lina and smirked. They exchanged eye contact for a few seconds.

I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In your eyes
The resolution of all the fruitless searches
In your eyes
Oh, I see the light and the heat
In your eyes
Oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light, the heat I see in your eyes

As dinner winded down, a slow song started up. The Juice Newton classic, "Angel in the Morning" with a reggae touch. As Lina ate some of Xelloss' lobster, licking her buttery fingers, everyone at the table decided to hit the dance floor. This being the first formal she had ever attended, Lina was unused to dancing in public. She watched with nervous apprehension as everyone else swayed in unison together, enjoying the music, getting caught up in the Valentine's spirit. Scanning the crowd, she saw Gourry and Sylphiel, the latter resting her cheek against his shoulder. She had always been one to make her affection for the swordsman quite evident.

Xelloss cleared his throat, interrupting her reverie. "May I have this dance, Lina-chan?"

She had forgotten he was sitting alongside her. "Um, you mean now?"

Grinning, he took her hand in his. "Yes, now."

Lina rose with a tense look on her face. "I'm not a good dancer, Xelloss."

"It's okay. Just follow my lead then."


He took her hand in his then put the other arm around his back. She glanced at her small hand in his. Since he usually wore gloves, it felt strange to touch bare flesh.

"You're my darling angel...closer than my are to me..."

He proved to be an attentive partner, moving with grace and precision. She found she did not have to worry about accidentally bumping into another couple or falling and making a fool of herself. Lina's eyes searched the crowd and found Gourry again. She found herself staring and rueing the fact that she hadn't asked him.

Xelloss felt her palpable anguish. Normally it would have invigorated him. But coming from Lina, all it did was make him feel incomplete.

I don't like to see so much pain
So much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for OUR survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

"Something the matter, Lina?" he asked, voice soft and gentle.

She snapped out of her self induced pity party at the sound of his voice. Facing him, she looked up into his amethyst eyes, wide open and showing genuine concern. Almost tender. He rarely opened them and they were never this....kind.

"Naw, I'm okay," she replied cheerily, trying to hide her emotions.

"Angel" ended, giving way to "Almost Paradise" by Kenny Loggins. Lina moved with him, glancing over his shoulder at the other couples.

"You're meant to look at me," he told her and their eyes met again.

"Sorry," she uttered, blushing. They stopped short, she had stepped on his feet. "Oops, sorry again."

"Let me dip then twirl you," he requested with a smirk.


He did so and it didn't feel bad. When she came to a stop, he pulled her back into his arms, a lot closer. Their faces were a mere six inches apart. Gazing at her, relishing their close proximity, he felt enamored, marveling at how beautiful she looked.

And all my instincts
They return
And the grand facade
So soon will burn
Without a noise
Without my pride
I reach out from the inside

Another song. George Michael's "One More Try" then Wham's "Careless Whisper"

"Since when did Mazoku priests know how to dance?" Lina asked.

"I don't know about all Mazoku, but this one does," he answered with a warm smile. "Besides, this is just the easy stuff. I'll have to teach you to tango sometime!"

"How about disco?" she chuckled.

"I can talk to the deejay if you like," he offered.

"Naw Xel, just kidding."

When "The Electric Slide" came on, Lina froze, standing still among a throng of couples all dancing funky.

"C'mon Lina, it's easy!" Xelloss encouraged.

"I-I'm gonna sit this one out," Lina told him, rushing back to the safety of their table.

Luna made her way over to her sister's date. "Tippy doesn't like to dance fast either," she told him. "Wanna boogie?"

"Sure Luna," Xelloss grinned as the Ceipheed Knight and her matched steps.

Dessert had been brought to everyone's tables. There was Chocolate Amaretto Mousse, a whole assortment of Valentine-themed gelatos and sorbets, plus a huge seven layer vanilla cake with pink and white frosting.

"Hello Lina," Zelgadis took a seat beside her.

"Hey Zel. Nice tux. You and Amelia enjoying yourselves?" Lina asked, glad to see a friendly face.

"It's not as bad as I thought I'd be," allowed the chimera. "The food is excellant and the music's rather good."

"Hey, it's the House of Blues. Best music in this venue," she remarked.

They both looked over at the dance floor and saw Martina up there with her husband, Zangulus. The green haired girl was making a fool of herself, two left feet and all.

Xelloss and Luna, smiles plastered on their faces moved with grace and in sync.

"I can't believe that fruitcake is the life of the party," observed Zelgadis. "Or that you came with him."

"Well it's better than staying home alone," smirked Lina. "Plus I got a gourmet meal and he's been a perfect gentleman."

So Far, Zel thought.

"There you are," Amelia rushed up to them. "I was telling the bandleader that you played the guitar rather well, Mr Zelgadis."

"Amelia," he sighed. "I'm not that good!"

"Nonsense Zel!" Lina chimed in. "I've heard you play!"

"You should go up there later on and maybe play a song," Amelia urged.

"Zelgadis, you look Mahvelous!" Xelloss exclaimed from behind the startled chimera.

"Am I in your seat?" he asked, quickly standing.

"Hey Xel, try this!" Lina offered the Priest a taste of her dwindling cake, feeding it to him from her own fork.

"Delicious!" he commented after tasting it.

"Let's go get our own," Zelgadis said, turning away. That sight made him sick to his stomach.

"Hello Miss Lina," said a sweet voice.

"Hey Filia," Lina smiled as the former dragon priestess stood by with her date, the beast man, Jilas. Filia wore a white gown with matching arm length gloves, Jilas had a black tux, top hat, and cane.

"Gad evenin'," he said in a thick cockney accent.

"Xelloss," the blonde spoke through gritted teeth.

"Good evening, Filia. Don't we look lovely," he laid on the sacchraine. "Why didn't you give your fur coat to the maitre d when you arrived?"

"Get bent," she spat then walked away, refusing to socialize at the table where a mazoku sat.

"Did I ever tell you, you had a way with people?" Lina giggled.

Xelloss smiled and took a sip of his tea, oblivious to the disapproving looks from the others at their table.

The energetic dancing gave way to the slow ones again. "How Do I Live" by Trisha Yearwood came on. Lina softly sang along while she tripped the light fantastic with Xelloss. As they moved through the crowded dance floor, those closest to them gave curious looks. Martina had spead rumors that Lina Inverse had dared to show up with the Beastmaster's priest as her date. Xelloss didn't care one iota, he could have obliterated everyone in the building with just one finger. As for Lina, she tried to drown it out. Xelloss had been very instrumental in her gaining the knowledge from the Claire Bible. He had killed his own kind to protect her and even helped save the world. She tried hard to not think what he thought of her. Don't go there, she told herself.

"Have enough to eat?" he asked, gazing into her crimson eyes, two things he never tired of looking at.

"For now, maybe I should bring home a big doggie bag," she joked.

Luna and Tippy danced close by, putting on quite a show. They were making out like teenagers, not caring who watched. Lina wondered how the two had met and planned to ask her later. She then wondered what she would do if Xelloss kissed her but quickly dismissed the thought, cursing.

"No Body Wants to Be Lonely" by Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera played, two singers doing a duet.

Lina listened to the words. "Nobody wants to be lonely, nobody wants to cry..."

"So when's the last time you did something like this?" she quickly asked him, afraid to simply dance and look at each other.

"Hmmmmm....maybe a century or two," he guessed. "With humans, I mean. But you should see the parties Juu-ou throws on the Island."

"Centuries, huh?" the redhead repeated.

"That's right. And it's been even longer than that since I...."

Their eyes locked, her vision blurred momentarily. Reality seemd to move in mind numbingly slow motion. "Since you what?" she gasped, as his face neared hers, amethyst hypnotic.

"Did this," he whispered then moved his lips to hers.

Lina's eyes remained open for a second, studying his face. He slowly closed his eyes, savoring the experience. The sensation was totally new to hear and far from disgusting, even though he was a mazoku. She found herself returning the kiss despite her better judgement.

Eventually she needed to breathe and pulled away, opening her eyes. Gourry was looking at her from across the room, a bewildered expression on his face. Lina reacted with fright and panic.

She hauled off and slapped Xelloss across the face only to want it back a microsecond after she did it.

He had been hit by her before, much harder, but nothing hurt more given what had just transpired between them. But instead of pleasure or pain, his face showed regret and concern. "Lina I'm sorry...."

She rushed off the dance floor, embarrassed and ashamed, not at his actions but at her own. Gourry let go of Sylphiel and caught her arm as she went by.

"Lina, are you okay?" he asked.

"Let me go!" she cried, breaking his grip and fleeing.


She ran into the ladies room where he couldn't follow. Highly disgusted, she kicked open a stall door and sat down on a lidded toilet. The gamut of emotions ran through her, confusing her like an unsolvable puzzle.

Soon Amelia and Sylphiel came into the bathroom.

"Miss Lina?" the princess spoke softly, afraid to stand in front of the stall door.

"Leave me alone, Amelia!" Lina growled.

"Please come back out. If you want, I'll have Mr Xelloss escorted out of the building..."

"NO!" the sorceress yelled hotly. "It's alright."

"Miss Lina?" Sylphiel asked.

"Just leave me alone. I'll be okay."

The two shrine maidens paused and turned to leave. They heard soft crying coming from Lina's stall. Amelia had never seen weakness in the older girl. Wait, crying wasn't a weakness, expressing sorrow and emotions only showed you were human.

They left, respecting their friend's request.

About an hour later, Lina composed herself but remained in the bathroom, now more embarrassed than anything to come out. Filia told Luna who stormed right in there to confront her little sister. Banging hard on the stall door, she startled the other into standing up. "Okay brat, it's time to stop this childish behavior!"

"Or what?" Lina stood up for herself, tears filling her eyes again. "You gonna beat me up?"

"Don't tempt me, little sister!"

"Go ahead, I probably deserve it," she sniffed.

Luna reached in and grabbed Lina, pulling her out into the open. Their faces were inches apart. "So what, he kissed you. Big freakin' deal!"


"You tell me you weren't into it?"

Lina looked away, ashamed.

"So what? You caused a scene. You're always causing scenes in public places!"

"But everyone saw...."

"You faced down Ruby Eye and Darkstar and came away unscathed. Don't let one small kiss ruin your life!"

"It's Xelloss, Luna!"

"What's yer point? Xelloss who's treated you like a princess," retorted the Kinght.

"Whose side are you on?"

"Not on any side where this sitution's concerned. I'm not telling you to marry the guy either, just give him a chance as your date for Ceiph's sake!" She handed Lina a tissue. "Now stop the waterworks and keep your chin up."

Lina wiped her face, considering the advice she had just been given.

"Thank you," she said after a while then hugged Luna.

They went back out into the darkened room, filled with the sound of a saxophone soloist playing a romantic tune.

"You even missed Zelgadis and Tippy's inpromtu perfomance," Luna chided.

"Is HE still here?" Lina asked, hopefully.

"Outside on the south balcony."

She swallowed hard, taking a slow walk towards the way her sister had indicated. After opening the sliding doors, Lina stepped outside into the cold night air. She shivered a little, folding her arms across her chest.

Xellos stood outside, his back turned, gazing out into the starry night sky. He had heard her approach, but chose to remain as he was.

"Listen Xelloss," Lina began. It was always hard for her admit she was wrong. "I'm sorry I..."

He put up a silencing hand. "I'm the one who should be apologizing."

"No. I didn't mean to...shouldn't have hit you."

There was a long silence.

"I'll take it as a love tap," he joked, face unreadable.

She drew closer to him putting a hand on his shoulder. Swallowing her pride, she spoke again. "I didn't mean to do that...up until then I was really enjoying the evening and now I feel like I've ruined it."

He turned around, shadow obscuring half of his face. She realized that he had not left in spite of the scorn people felt at his actions. When was kissing such a heinous thing? When it was a Mazoku kissing a human girl.

"I'll get over it," he said softly. "After all, I got to dance with the most beautiful girl here."

"Well the most beautiful girl here has one request..."

"Name it."

"May I have the last dance with you?"

She gently took his hand in hers and put her other arm around his waist.

As the last number came on, Lina Inverse danced cheek to cheek with Xellos Metallium.

Inside an acoustic guitar and a nice voice thrilled the guests.

In your eyes
In your eyes
The light, the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
In your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In your eyes
The resolution.....
of all the fruitless searches
In your eyes
Oh, I see the light and the heat
In your eyes
Oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light, the heat I see in your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes
In your eyes!

Neither wanted the song to end, but eventually it did.


Xelloss did not let her go until a voice interrupted.

"You two red to go?" Luna asked.

Lina opened her eyes, breaking away from his warmth. She felt the wintry cold again. "Yeah guess so..."

A while later the carriage pulled up to the inn where the sisters were staying. Both men walked the two girls to the front door and into the lobby. Tippy took Luna to the one corner, while Xelloss and Lina gravitated to the other.

"Well Xel, I want to thank you for a nice time," Lina said softly then leaned up and kissed the priest on the cheek. He closed his eyes, filing that sensation away. They opened again and the look on his face seemed bittersweet.

"Good night Lina-chan. Happy Valentine's Day." He forced a grin.

She waited several seconds, just standing in front of him, tumultuous thoughts and feelings within her. Finally, the red head turned to leave.

"Parting is such sweet sorrow!" he called after her.

She turned by the staircase and gave him one last look. "Good night, 'romeo'!"

With that he disappeared.

Lina saw Luna give Tippy one last kiss then walk towards the stairs to join her. They went up the two flights then unlocked the door to their suite. The older one found the nearest lamp and turned it on.

"I think I'm gonna save this corsage," she said as Lina headed for her room.

The latter paused and gazed at her own wrist. "You know, Xelloss forgot to get me one," she said a little disappointed. Lina had been a little green when it came to formals and never thought to ask.

"My fault, I shoulda reminded him earlier," Luna admitted consolingly.

"It's alright." At least she had the memories of a first kiss and slow dance. "Sis?"

"Yeah brat?"

"Can mazoku really love?"

Luna set her corsage down and stared for a moment at Lina before replying. "Why are you asking me a question you already know the answer to?"

The younger sister nodded, then went into her bedroom. As she stepped inside, her eyes widened in shock. Over twelve dozen rose bouquets, balloons, plush stuffed animals, and candy boxes filled the room to capacity. A single purple envelope rested on her pillow.

"What is this?" Lina said, opening it to reveal the card inside.

"Sore wa himitsu desu," she read aloud, a smile soon playing across her lips.