Pairing: Lina x Xellos
Rating: PG-13 [Rating for some swearing, violence and probably a little lemon (not sure yet).]
Summary: Xellos ends up sacked by his mistress and in a life debt to Lina Inverse. Somehow he grows to enjoy the situation.
Status: Work in Progress (the Prologue and first two chapters up)
Xellos’s body was spread out on an enormous stone table, his black astral essence leaking from a painful-looking wound in his stomach. Zellas bent over him, whispering something reassuring, then put her hands over the wound and started to enchant.
As she was reuniting the elements of his inner structure, images and emotions he had experienced flashed through her mind. She was used to it and didn’t pay much attention until...
Suddenly she froze in mid-chant and straightened her statue.
“Xellos!” she barked in a surprised and resentful voice, forcing him to come to his senses at once. He opened his eyes weakly and stared at her as if blind.
“Are you really in love with that human wench?!” hissed his mistress.
“Yes, Zellas-sama,” managed Xellos resigningly.
“Then go croak on her lap, you walking disgrace to my creations!” roared Zellas, and Xellos felt himself being teleported away with enormous speed.
Lina was deeply engrossed in a book they’ve extracted from a weird underground temple the day before. The book turned out to be a prior’s diary and contained all kinds of exciting things — from kitchen spells to battle tricks. Everything the odd man heard, read or figured out and decided worth writing down. Currently Lina was learning a summoning charm that brought you things from not far away — very useful when you are too lazy or too busy to stand up and go fetch it.
And then all of a sudden she felt the air around her shuddering, and there was Xellos falling out of an astral slit, like a log. He collapsed with a low thump and a groan, dark vapour streaming from his stomach in every direction.
“Xellos! What the hell happened to you?!” she cried jumping up.
“Sorry Lina...” he barely whispered. “I didn’t mean... to end up here...”
He clutched at the wound and curled up defensively. Lina knelt beside him.
“Who did this to you anyway? Not Gaav-reborn, I hope?”
“No... Say hi to Filia for me though...” the mazoku attempted a wry smile, but that didn’t look convincing. He winced and groand again, somewhat desperately.
“Hey, Xellos... Can’t you go to the Astral Plane and heal there? Or can’t your master help you out?..”
Xellos just shook his head weakly. By that time the whole Slayers gang, including Sylphiel, surrounded him. Lina’s mind was racing.
“But there must be some way to get you to normal... Maybe some other mazoku-lord?..”
“Nah, Lina, I won’t make it, sorry to bother you...” Xellos’s words were barely audible. Lina’s eyes widened:
“Holla! You’re not dying on me!”
Instead of an answer the mazoku closed his clouded eyes. Lina clenched her fists. It was time for action.
“Oi, Xellos! Just make sure you’re alive for another minute, OK? I’ll just check something out!”
With that she jumped back to her place near the fire and grabbed the book. Where was it? After the noodles-making spell, but before the dragon anatomy chart... Ah, here!
She quickly re-read a page, recalling the words and moves. Then rushed back to where Xellos lay still and silent, as if already dead. But she knew he wasn’t because mazoku vanish when they die...
Lina turned her unfortunate comrade face-up and pulled the glove off her left hand. Then she pressed her hand with spread-out fingers right into his wound. Xellos jerked and opened his eyes once more:
“Lina! J-just leave me alone!”
“I know better than to do that”, she smirked evilly and proceded following the prior’s instructions. There — she felt the pulsing orb at the very center of Xellos’s body. That was supposed to be his core, the essence of his being. She cupped her hand around it gently and took in a deep breath before starting her chant.
“Lina! Don’t do it!” Xellos moaned desperately.
“Sorry. You’re not in the position to order me around”, she smirked.
Lina opened her eyes to see the first sunrays penetrate the thickly interwoven branches above her head. She slowly sat up feeling weak and agitated. To her right Xellos was lying motionless, but his form was solid and his energy was not spilling into entropy anymore. To her left Zelgadiss jerked his head up, an expression of relief plastered uncharacteristically across his face.
“Lina! Are you all right?”
“Sure! Just a little funny... and VERY hungry!”
“Good,” Zel nodded. “There’s a town a couple miles away, we can have breakfast there. Just wake that sodding mazoku up, no one would want to carry him, you know...”
Not willing to stand up yet, Lina crawled to Xellos’s side and shook his shoulder.
“Oi! Time for breakfast, you sleepyhead!”
The demon started and abruptly sat up. He eyed Lina with something vaguely reminding of concern.
“Are you all right?” he asked predictably.
“Sure, why shouldn’t I be?” Lina giggled nervously, thinking that, perhaps, she really did something at the top of her abilities. She even checked if her hair was still red...
“That was kind of presumptuous of you to think you could heal me... I am a high level demon after all, and with the injury to the core... It took all of your power to make up for my damage. And why on Earth would you even want to do it?”
Lina raised an eyebrow.
“Presumptuous or not, I did succeed. And now you’re in a life debt to me, aren’t you?” she smirked at the obviously dumbfounded monster.
“Just who is the monster here?” whispered Zel to himself.
Lina finally stood up slightly swooning and waved at the approaching Gourry, Amelia and Sylphiel who brought water and some herbs.
“Hi guys! Drop that stuff, we’re having a decent breakfast in the next town!” shouted Lina a little less cheerfully than she would have liked. Xellos, who was still eyeing her thoroughly, stood up at her side.
“I’m teleporting you there”, he said curtly. And the next thing they knew — they were all standing in a narrow deserted street just a block away from a cute little inn. Lina almost fell over at the teleportation and was now cursing loudly:
“What the hell made you do that, Xellos!? I can’t recall you acting so cooperatively anytime before!”
“You won’t have made those two miles in your current state, Lina”, he answered coldly, slightly scoffing (which looked kinda weird with his eyes closed). “You need to eat immediately if you don’t want to collapse. Your Astral Body is barely visible...” he finished angrily and strolled off towards the inn. Lina caught him by the elbow and hung onto him, her legs stumbling at every next stride.
“I warned you not to do it,” said Xellos grudgingly, turning to Lina just to meet her astonished gaze.
“Xellos... Is this really you?”
The mazoku sighed, then pulled what was left of himself together and finally managed a Typical Xellos Smile.
“Of course it is, Lina-chan.”
Thus they entered the inn.
The Slayers gang ate in relative silence — Lina was too weak to battle over food today, and anyway no one dared to steal from her plate when she was barely standing. Xellos sat straight and stared at the table in front of him looking pretty pathetic. As Lina finished the last bit of her order, she decided it was time for him to come clean.
“So, Xellos, talk to me. What on Earth happened to you yesterday?”
Xellos waved his hand dismissively and — to common astonishment — actually answered.
“The Golden Dragons of the Earth King’s Temple have found some powerful artifact... I was supposed to go see what they were up to, but they spotted me. A battle started — and as it took place on the holy grounds of the Temple, my powers were limited... So I got injured before I could get away.”
“So how come Zellas couldn’t repair you if I could?” wondered Lina feeling uneasy at Xellos’s abnormal behavior.
“It’s not that she tried and failed... She decided I didn’t deserve to be saved.”
“HUH!?” roared the whole gang, even Zel, who was normally more reserved than others. But to think that the trickster-priest was so easily let down by his Lord... As much as the Chimera hated the guy, he had to admit that Xellos was extremely good at his job and never once failed his mistress... And all those Dragons and minor demons fearing to so much as pronounce his name... Surely, that Lord was making a huge mistake sacking such a servant like that.
“Pretty humiliating, isn’t it?” Xellos said in a slightly raised voice. “And others are going to know soon, too.”
“Is she really THAT kind of a fool?” cried Lina who had obviously been thinking along the same lines with Zel. Xellos shuddered and pursed his lips.
“She... had good reason to be angry, actually. But that is none of your concern,” he opened his eyes and gave Lina a pointed look.
“Oh.” the sorceress said simply. She fell silent for a bit and then changed the topic: “So, Xellos... You are somehow enormously talkative today... Does the life debt thing work differently with mazoku or something?”
Xellos raised his eyebrows in calm contemplation.
“No, it’s the same as with every other race. I’m talkative because I don’t need to be loyal to my mistress anymore... And you can actually say that I’m too distressed for games.”
Lina frowned. During the time she was acquainted with Xellos she often wished that he’d drop his playful attitude and be serious for a bit at least. Yet now when he did she somehow wished he was back to his jolly self. It made her feel really uneasy to watch him lay his forehead on his crossed wrists at the edge of the dining table. She got up and went to the bar to make another order, not willing to be overheard.
“A huge bowl of hot chocolate please. With ice-cream and cream and almond and marshmallow and maybe even strawberries, just anything. And make it as sweet as possible.” If there was something about Xellos that Lina was sure of — it was him having a gigantic sweet tooth.
As the order arrived, Lina pushed the bowl in front of Xellos and tapped a finger at the back of his head to make him notice the treat. At that Zel seemed to have choked on his coffee and Amelia got the whole Milky-Way of stars in her eyes seeing Lina actually taking care of someone else. She and Sylphiel immediately exchanged glances and started discussing something in undertone. Gourry put his hand to the back of his head and smiled approvingly: “Yeah, Grandma always said chocolate helps when you’re down.”
Meanwhile Xellos was unsure of what was going on, so he stared searchingly at Lina.
“Empty this,” said Lina coldly, her lips a thin straight line, trying hard to ruin her own friendly-like gesture.
“Th-tha-anks,” Xellos blinked and tried a strawberry resting on top of the cream-iceberg. He then proceeded with the dish, looking a little less awkward. Lina inwardly sighed in relief — eating was at least something to keep the mazoku from imitating a worn-out rag-doll.
“So Lina,” he said suddenly, “Your sole concern when saving my life was to get me in this debt, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah!” said Lina cheerfully before anyone could even think of any other reason. “You see, ever since I got hold of that spell and knew how to convey the ritual, I was kinda looking forward to finding a mazoku in need... I mean, I thought it would be lovely to have a demon all to myself, wouldn’t it?”
“Oh.” Xellos seemed surprised unpleasantly. “It would certainly have some benefit. Did you consider the negative consequences though?”
“Eh? What negative consequences?” Lina asked, clueless as Gourry.
“I see,” Xellos said in a weird tone that made Zel tense. “I’d better enlighten you then. Once you have claimed that a certain mazoku is ‘all to yourself’ you automatically become responsible for his actions.”
Oh, and anything for a Beta...