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Prologue | Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Ending Number 2
Time stopped for Lina Inverse as her name was spoken by a voice she knew as well as her own. All her of hopes, fears, dreams and nightmares came to her in a very sudden and very real way. Frozen to the spot she didn't know if her mind playing tricks on her or if was he really there. How many nights had she hoped he would come back, she couldn't count them. How much anger had she felt for him leaving? How often did she long for his presence to protect her from what she couldn't see any more? Her heart beating wildly she stretched her hand out in the direction her name had come from. "Gourry?" She prayed to who ever would listen to her that it wasn't some cruel trick being played on her.
Walking slowly up the few steps he took her hand gently in his, somewhere his mind noted how fragile Lina seemed now. Feel her hand grip his tightly the moment they touched, as if to say she had been waiting for this moment. He could see her tremble with emotions unsaid and long hidden, tears slowly fell from her eyes. He didn't know what to say, the words he had always thought to say to her when next he saw her left him. Reaching up and slowly wiping away the tears streaming down her face, Gourry pulled the small woman close to him, his arms wrapping around her. No words were needed for this moment.
Zelgadis stepped away from Lina and Gourry putting his arm around the weeping Princess as he guided her inside the house. Feeling Amelia bury her face in his arms he let her cry. He had become used to the emotional girl, letting his own emotions show briefly as he hugged her tightly. "Come on Amelia stop crying. It's going to all right now. Give it time and Lina will be back to bashing Gourry over the head." He chuckled as she scowled at him wiping her tears.
"I just can't help it. I mean I'm so happy that they are reunited. Did you see how they embraced each other, love can not be seperated forever! I bet they are still holding each other." Amelia regained her composure as Zelgadis looked up to see Mrs. Inverse enter the hallway where they stood, followed by Mr. Inverse.
"Amelia! Zelgadis! This is a pleasant surprise. Lina should be outside didn't you see her?" Mrs. Inverse was fond of the young people and she had become rather motherly toward them all over the years.
Zelgadis with his arm still around Amelia, felt her take a breath and to start announcing to Lina's parents what was going on with their daughter, quickly put a stone hand over the open mouth. "We brought an old friend with us and Lina is catching up outside. We thought we would give them some privacy." He wanted to stall as much as he could, not sure how the Inverses would react to Gourry being here.
"So my youngest daughter has a suitor does she. Well I guess we can meet the young man later, when she has had time to catch up on times past." Mr. Inverse looked to Zelgadis nodding and turned to go back into the kitchen. "Why don't we all go and have something to drink."
Zelgadis slowly took his hand from the fuming girls mouth. He knew that later he was going to get an ear full but he didn't worry about that. Mr. Inverse always seemed to know more than he should a habit which made the chimera more than a bit nervous. Walking behind the everyone he was dwelled Lina's father when a scream from the front porch interrupted his thoughts. Turning, he ran outside.
"Gourry!" Lina was picking herself up of the ground, holding on to the steps of the front porch hearing the sounds of fighting near her. She had been lost in her thoughts enjoying the feeling of Gourry holding her when a hand roughly shoved them apart. She had stumbled and found nothing below where her foot came down, falling from the porch.
"What are you doing here?" Luna Inverse glaring as the blond man glanced at her sister before turning back to her. She had separated them before her fist connected with Gourry's face.
"Why I'm here has nothing to do with you. I'm here to see Lina." Gourry could feel the anger welling up inside him. He had always made it a rule not to hit women, but for Luna he was going to make an exception. Wiping the blood from his lip, he waited for her to attack him again.
"Your being here has everything to do with me, especially if it involves Lina." Luna looked at Gourry closely, he had changed in the last couple of years. She stepped closer, pressing him.
"Luna! Stop it! Leave him alone!" Lina felt her ankle flare up with pain realizing she must have twisted it when she fell. She then felt someone's hands on her shoulder realizing that it was Zelgadis she shouted. "Zelgadis stop them!" She was angry and frustrated at not being able to do anything as he pulled her away to join her parents and Amelia.
"Lina, let them fight this out. I think this is something that has been coming for a long time" Zelgadis knew Lina was upset but he held her as Amelia took her place next to Lina watching the confrontation.
Gourry watched as Zelgadis took care of Lina and he sent a silent thanks out to him. He saw Luna step closer out of the corner of his eye. Gourry didn't stop the turning motion but let the tension of his body go as he closed his fist right before it found her stomach. "Now then Luna, I will be happy to finish this argument later but I will not waste time or energy on a pointless fight when there is something more important to be done." He spoke to the doubled over waitress, stepping away.
Luna coughed a few times, holding her stomach. Gourry had caught her off guard. She had seen the attack but before when she had fought with him Gourry held back. This time was different he had hit her hard not caring if he hurt her. "What..is more so important..that you finally came back?" She looked at him through her dark bangs.
Turning his back to her Gourry started walking back to Lina and the other who were watching in a quiet shock at what had just happened. "Your sister is what is so important Luna." He could hear her still coughing as she walked behind him to join everyone else.
As Gourry made his way up on the porch, no one said a word at first. Zelgadis and Amelia were aware of the difference in Gourry but it still shocked them to see him suddenly become so cold.
Mr. and Mrs. Inverse almost didn't reconize the young man as the same Gourry Gabriev who had brought back their daughter half dead.
Lina had listened to it all and her mind raced to take everything in. Gourry had come back at last but she didn't know there had ever been an argument between him and Luna. She still wasn't totally sure why he left. He sounded so cold, so full of rage. 'He sounds like Zelgadis when we first met..' She knew he was with them on the porch when Zelgadis let her go. She stepped away from them. "Gourry? Are you all right?" She winced as she put weight down on her ankle hoping no one would notice that she was limping.
"Yea I'm OK Lina, but you're not." Gourry could feel the urge to blame himself for this, if he hadn't come back she wouldn't have fallen and hurt herself. Shaking his head he bent over and picked the petite woman up off her feet. "Don't argue and don't protest, I'm just taking you inside where Amelia can look at you." He smiled listening to her fuss and start to throw one of her old fits about being babied.
"Gourry put me down! I can walk you know! Come on, I am not a baby I do not need to be carried!" Lina protested loudly but in truth she didn't fight much. She was glad he was here. She felt safe in his arms. She could hear Zelgadis and Amelia laughing at this and gave into her old habits. "You guys think this is funny! You wait till I get down! Ohh, I'll show you people funny!"
Mr. Inverse opened the door for the man and his youngest daughter. He wanted to speak to Gourry but he knew it could wait. Right now Lina was the happier than she had been in a long time and to him that was much more important than voicing his concerns. Smiling to his wife, he watched her enter behind them and followed her into the kitchen. There would be a lot more food needed tonight. Luna stood on the porch alone after everyone had entered. She looked at the woods, sensing a threat. Right now it was safe but she was concerned for how long it would last. Gourry had done what she hoped and returned stronger. She had pushed him like she had pushed Lina all her life and again it paid off. Opening the door she walked in to go help her mother, leaving the four people to each other.
"Now Miss Lina hold still! It's just a sprain but if you keep moving I can't heal it!" Amelia sat at the end of a couch where Lina as laying trying her best to work.
"Guys, I keep telling you I'm fine!" Lina sat there allowing Amelia to heal her ankle.
"You know Lina magic or no magic your still the most stubborn person I have ever met." Zelgadis teased the white haired girl which just made her fume more.
Gourry sat next to Lina watching her with sadness in his eyes. He was happy that she hadn't rejected him and sent him away but he felt there was much that hadn't been said between them. He felt her hand reach over and feel for him, touching his shoulder.
"Gourry what happened to your hair?" Lina sat up leaning over her hand going up till it found his hair, cut short.
"I was fighting with some guy that was harassing a town I was paid to guard for a while. He reached out and grabbed it in a fight and next thing I know it's on the floor." He shrugged knowing that at first he had been mad but soon coming to look at it as just another battle scar.
"Oh Gourry, I'm sorry. I know you always took pride in your hair." Lina let her hand drift to his face her fingers finding the scar that marked him there. "And this one Gourry?"
Reaching up he took her hand and pulled it away. He didn't want to tell her he was almost to drunk to fight when he got that one. He didn't want to tell her that he was trying to drown the guilt of failing her in alcohol. "I was having a bad day and wasn't paying attention. My fault there."
Amelia looked to Gourry and Lina feeling the sadness between them, yet at the same time a relief and joy. Taking Zelgadis's hand in her own and giving it a light squeeze, she looked at him with concern. "Mr. Zelgadis, something isn't right. I don't know what it is but there is something wrong and getting worse." She couldn't shake the feeling of dread that had been building since they came back inside.
"What is it Amelia?" Zelgadis had come to trust the young shrine maiden's intuition. It would never be as strong as Sylphiel's but it was rarely wrong. He noticed Gourry and Lina were listening too.
"I believe that what Amelia is sensing would be me." Xellos phased in at the end of the room, amethyst eyes looking directly at Lina. "Hello Lina, my it has been a while hasn't it and I believe that we have unfinished business to take care of." His eyes narrowed as he lowered his staff towards her and people rose in defense.