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Chapters 1-3
Inner Child
Written by Terra

All Slayers characters belong to the guy who made them up. I don't know his name. In short, I didn't make them up. Don't sue

Chapter One: Innocence

     Zelgadis sat at the mahogany work table that was in his room at the inn in the middle of nowhere. Not that he was thinking about that.  He sat at that table, the room lit by one candle. Not that he really needed it.

     Ever since... that.

     It never occurred to him, before that night, how much he was like...him. The Mighty Red Sage. The Blind Rezo. Who fought and worked all his life for a chance to see the world he had been born into. When he finally succeeded, he was beyond sanity and died within a few seconds.

     And it was happening to him. Just like that. Hell, maybe Ruby Eye was in him also, waiting. Just waiting. He was also going mad by this short coming.

     "It hurts," he whispered to no one, "if I get it, I know I still wouldn't be happy. It won't be any different."

     So, that was why he was writing a note to his friends. A suicide note. It was only polite. It wasn't their fault his life sucked. It wasn't even Rezo's fault. It was all him, in the end.

     "To whom it may concern,

     After many sleepless nights, I have now realised that I have nothing to gain or lose if I continue wandering this mortal coil. I wish for sleep. I wish for rest. So, leaving this place that we call 'Life', will grant my wishes. To sleep and to dream. I'm not dying, I'm going to bed after a long and tiring day. Do not weep, for I'm only sleeping. I will finally rest.

     I thank you for your kindness and easing my long day but you can only do so much for me.

                                   My regrets,

     He looked at his note. He sighed and realised that he had said enough. He rose and slipped the note under his friends' door. He smiled.

     "Good night," he said to the door, "Sweet dreams." He went to his room and sat down on the chair in front of the desk. He took out the poison and smiled. It would be painless. Maybe a jolt but nothing more. But it would kill... wait, let him sleep at last. He raised the bottle to his lips...

     "Now, that isn't the way to do it," a woman's voice said.

     He whipped around. The voice belonged to... his mother. She had been dead for 15 years. After 3 years of sickness.

When he was nine years old. She appeared as she did when she had been living but not ill. She wore a small smile.

     "Well, what is the way to do it?" Zel asked her.

     "You should die with peace, not angst."

     "There's nothing left."

     "Oh? Is that so?"

     "Mother," he sighed, "you've been dead too long. Life is hard. Death is easy."

     "I remember Life. I remember grief and pain. But I also remember happiness and a little boy, whom no one could understand, laughing at a bird. What happened to that little boy?"

     "He grew up, Mother, he grew up."

     "But you are still that little boy, Zel, you are still..."

     "I am a MAN!" Zel screamed, "A grown man, who is tired and sad and lonely. I am a grown man who is stuck with the body of seventeen year old boy, sculpted by stone. By the man whom he trusted and loved. By the man who didn't even save his own daughter-in-law when she had been ill for three years," he sighed, "I am a man just like him."

     "Oh, dear. No one said you had to die like him."

     "Death will come. Why fight?"

     "Good question. But, what if I could make the pain go away?"

     A bitter laugh, "Heh, I'm doing that already."

     "No, I'll take the pain but not your life."

     He guffawed, "That's impossible. I must be crazy. I'm arguing with a dead woman! You're in my head!"

     "You know that's a lie. You could always see me. You have a gift." She looked at him with determination, "I won't waste that."

     He threw up his hands, "Fine, fine, what the hell. I got nothing better to do!"

     "Stand up."

*** ***

     "Hey, Miss Lina, wake up," Amelia whispered, shaking her red-headed friend.

     "Wha... Amelia?! What do you want?" Lina grumbled.

     "I heard Mister Zelgadis screaming."

     "So, he's having the Rezo dream again. Let me sleep."

     "I don't think so, let's go check on him."

     Lina sighed and got up while Amelia shook Gourry. Lina opened the door to their room and stepped on something. She bent down and picked up the paper. She cast a Light spell and read the note.

     "Holy... he's going to kill himself! We have to stop him!" Gourry immediately bolted out of bed.

     "Who is?"

     "The inn keeper... who do you think? Zel, Jellyfish brains!"

     "He can't be serious!" Amelia squeaked.

     "Well, either that or he wants to win an award for poetic letters. Hey, he used some stuff from that play you were telling us about. What was it? Baconlet? Porklet?"

     "Who cares! We have to help him!" Amelia screamed.

*** ***

     "I will return your innocence, Zelgadis."

     "Will it take away the pain?"

     "When you were innocent, the biggest pain was scraping your knee."

     "I guess that's a `yes'."

     "Are you ready?"

     "Born ready, Mother."

*** ***

Zel's friends were rushing to the door. Gourry began to try knocking the door down with his weight with Lina pushing the area his body missed. After much banging and sweat, Amelia turned the knob and replied, "Uh... the door's unlocked."

     "Oh. Right."

*** ***

     "Zelgadis, ignore them for now," his mother replied at his head turning toward the door when Gourry banged it, "look at me." Zelgadis looked at up at his mother. "Close your eyes." He closed them. His mother smiled.

*** ***

     Lina and company rushed in the door. They faced a tall woman in an almost transparent white robe. She had long purple hair that fell freely. She looked at them with blue eyes that mimicked Zel's. She smiled and shrugged and faced Zel once again.

     "Uh... who are...?" But Lina never got to finish her statement. The woman bent down and kissed the young man on the lips. Zel's eyes fluttered briefly before the woman rose again.
     As she rose, her hair shifted to blonde and her eyes glittered a bright green. She smiled and, instantly, large white wings burst out. She looked at the mirror.

     In the mirror was the woman she was before. Screaming a horrified silent scream. She smirked at the reflection and said, "You can't protect him forever." The reflection screamed with more intensity but just as silent. Tears ran down her cheeks.

     Zel slumped and the woman dropped him. As he dropped, his stone skin became human flesh. Then he became younger and younger until, when he hit the floor, he had the appearance of a six year old boy.

     The others just stared in shock, at the winged woman, the silent screamer and their now young friend.

     The woman bent down on her knees and kissed the boy's forehead, "I'll see you soon, my Prince." Then she was gone.

To be continued...

C&C at

Chapter Two: Babble

     After the woman had left, the others went over to the boy's side.

     "Is he... alive?" Amelia timidly asked.

     "I think he's breathing," Lina answered.

     "Uh... where did this boy come from? And where did Zel go?"

     Lina prompted bonked him on the head, "That IS Zel! I think." She put the little boy in her lap and stroked his hair.

     "What are we going to tell him?" Amelia asked nervously.

     "I guess we could say, `Good Morning, would you like some toast? Oh by the way, you are now six years old!'" Gourry answered.

     "Mister Gourry, that's cruel!"

     "Gourry's got a point, what can we say?" Lina mused.

*** ***
     Red. Lots of it. In his face, in his mouth, everywhere. Zel moved his head around to avoid the red mass but more just fell in his mouth. Finally, he just yanked it out of his way.

*** ***

     "Ow! Let go!" Lina shrieked. She looked down at the now awake boy. He blinked at her and answered simply, "Der."


     "Der," he repeated, yanked her hair more.

     "Stop pulling my hair!" Lina sat up straight so the boy could not touch it. He pointed at her hair and repeated, "Der!"

     "What are you saying?!" Lina screamed in frustration.

     "Amam ym si erehw?" He asked.

     "Come again?"

     "Amam ym si erehw?!"

     Lina turned to her two friends, "Do you guys understand him?"

     "Not a word."

     "I've never heard that language."

     "Amam ym tnaw i!" The boy cried. He began to sob.

     "You know," Gourry mused, "he never told us where he was from."

     "So, he had to learn our language?!" Lina screamed.

     "Does he understand us?" Amelia wondered aloud.

     "I don't know! Not only has our friend been turned into a little kid, he's speaking his native language! Now what are we going to do?" Lina groaned. The little boy got out of Lina's lap and went to cower in a dark corner, his eyes darting back and forth among these "strangers".

     "I think he's scared of us," Gourry whispered. Amelia got on her knees and beckoned in a soft voice, "Come on out, we're not going to hurt you. Come on." She held out her hand for him to take. He didn't take it. Lina sighed and just went over and picked him up.

     "No! You'll just..." Gourry warned just as Zel bit Lina's arm. Lina screamed and Zel dashed to hide under the work table.

     "He's like a wild animal!" Lina scolded.

     "I was going to say, you'll just frighten him more," Gourry murmured.

     "How will we get him out?" Amelia whined.  Gourry stood up sharply.

     "Where are you going?" Lina demanded, rubbing her arm.

     "I have an idea. I'll be back." So, Gourry went out the door, leaving Lina and Amelia to stare at each other.

     "So, what do we do until he comes back?" Amelia asked.

     "Think of a plan to get him out," Lina responded.

     "But, Mister Gourry said he had an idea!"

     "Look, first off, it's Gourry. Second, he's a guy. What does he know about children?"

     "Well, what do you know about children?"

     "I'm a girl, it's in-bred. We have to use our mothering instincts."

     "What `mothering instincts'? And how do we use them?" Lina blinked and answered slowly, "Well, I guess, we... think like mothers."

     Amelia shrugged, "I guess we should make ourselves `believe' we are mothers, and then the instincts will come."

     "Sounds like a plan." Lina and Amelia closed their eyes and got in the role of being a mother.

     "I have mood swings," Lina said to herself.

     "I have cravings," Amelia whispered.

     "I have morning sickness."

     "My clothes don't fit."

     "I'm proud of being fat."

     "My body parts have become food sources."

     "I sing lullabies."

     "I don't bathe."

     "I don't sleep."

     "I tell bedtime stories."

     "I'm back," Gourry said as he came in, "Uh... what are you doing?"

     "Shh... I'm putting them to bed," Lina responded.


     "I'm baking cookies," Amelia replied. Gourry blinked a couple times then shook Lina. Lina coughed and looked around, "Huh? What?" Gourry then shook Amelia and she reacted the same.

     "What were you two doing?"

     "Trying to tap in our mothering instincts. Did yours come, Miss Lina?" Amelia asked calmly.

     "No, you?"

     "Nah, maybe we have to do it longer."

     "Uh, okay. I'm ready so if you want to keep doing whatever it was that you were doing, then do it over there, I need room," Gourry ordered, completely baffled.

     "What are you going to do anyway?" Lina asked, moving over.

     "You'll see," Gourry answered, holding up a bag.

     "What's in the bag?" Amelia asked.

     Gourry smiled and answered, a bit loud, "Candy." Then they heard a bonk from under the table and Zel letting out a little sound of pain. Gourry smiled and bent down in front of the table. He opened the bag and placed down a little piece of chocolate. Zel swiped it in a blink. Gourry did the same and Zel reacted the same. Gourry chuckled and took out another piece. He held it up, so he would have Zel's attention, and took an little step back and placed the chocolate right by his toe. Just out of Zel's reach. Gourry took another step back and placed another piece down. Then another. And another. And another until he was near the two girls. Then he straightened and went to sit on the bed.

     "Oh, I get it, he has to get out from under the table to get more candy," Lina reasoned, "Funny, my sister used to do the same thing."

     "He'll surely crack. He won't be able to resist for long. We just have to be patient," Gourry said, quite proud of himself.

     "Either that, or he'll eventually fall asleep," Amelia added.

*** ***

     Oh, the big guy was clever. Eris does this trick too! He was big boy, he'd show them! He'll resist! Sure, the odds were bad but he could do it, he was big boy. Eventually, those big people will get bored and then he'll have his chance. If he survived that long. Oh, who was he kidding? This was torture! He stretched out his arm to reach the chocolate. He was just a few centimeters away. Then he thought of a plan.

*** ***

     "Uh... isn't this a little cruel?" Amelia asked.

     "Well, it serves him right, biting my arm like that!" Lina retorted.

     "Oh, look, he's stretching his arm out, it's cute," Gourry said aloud.

     "What's he doing now?" Lina asked.

     "I don't know, he went back under the table. I think he's positioning himself."

     "How? To do what?" Amelia inquired. Although she thought the treatment was cruel, she still thought it was fascinating. See, she knew that Zel had to use reasoning to get out of this mess.  Brawn didn't matter, he would need to depend on his brain.
     She was on the opposite side of him, but she secretly hoped he would outsmart them. She was often in his position when she was younger.

     "Those stupid maids," Amelia murmured.

     "What?" Lina asked.


*** ***

     Okay, he was ready to execute "Operation: Get-The-Candy-Without-Getting-Caught-By-The-Big-Scary-Guy"!

     He faced the wall on his belly. See, he knew that his legs were longer than his arms so he would use his feet to get the candy. He scooted out backwards, constantly looking behind him. When the chocolate was in his reach, he kicked the chocolate to a place where he could reach it. He then escaped under the table.

*** ***

     "That was kind of cool," Gourry said. The others murmured their agreement. "But, unfortunately, he can't do that again because the next piece is too far away. He'll have to come out."

     "But how do you know he'll want the next piece?" Amelia asked.

     "He's a kid, he'll eat it," Lina snapped.

     "So? Maybe he's full."

     "Like that matters to a kid."

     "It mattered to me!"

     "You were a high class princess! Of course you cared, you had to."

     "What does that mean? I was never a kid?!"

     "Don't you mean `I am not a kid'?"

     "I am not a child!"     

     "Guys," Gourry pleaded, "cut it out. If you two get distracted and start killing each other, I'll have to break it up and he'll outwit us." He turned that over in his head, "I'll get distracted and he'll come out. Hm... I could use that against him."

     "What was that?" Lina asked. Gourry smiled at her. "What? What do you want?" She asked nervously. Gourry pointed at the window behind her, "Look out the window!"

     They turned toward the window, expecting to see some unknown Dark Lord staring back at them. But there was nothing.

     "Look, it's dawn, we've only slept two hours," Amelia sobbed, "I guess I understand what a real mother feels like."

     "What? The dawn was the big emergency?! I've seen a dawn before!" Lina started to turn to face Gourry but Gourry screamed, "No, keep looking at the window!"

     "Why are we looking out the window? Shouldn't we be watching Mister Zelgadis.... or would he be Master Zelgadis? I mean, young men are referred to as 'Master' not 'Mister', aren't they?" Amelia clutched her head, "AAAA!!! How could I commit such a faux pas? I'm going to kill myself!" Lina slapped her across the face.

     "You okay now?"

     "Yeah, thanks. I needed that. I get like that when I don't sleep."

     "I understand, Amelia, it's okay," Lina patted her on the shoulder.

     "It's okay, you can sleep later," Gourry comforted then changed gears, "But for now, you must watch the window!"

     "Gourry, why are we watching the window?"

     "Well, isn't it obvious? Watching Zel is very, very boring but watching the window is fun, Fun, FUN!"

     "Are you two on something? You didn't buy the `Dream Tea' from that weirdo in the last town, did you? I'm here to help."

     At first, Amelia was going to argue that Gourry has the weirdest taste and really should get back to the matter at hand. Until she realized that he was handling the matter at hand. Amelia took a breath, "Yeah, you're right, Master Zelgadis is very, very boring. This window provides hours of entertainment, right Miss Lina?"

Of course, Lina had not figured out Gourry's plan, "No, I disagree. This is boring."

     "No, it isn't," Amelia retorted.

     "Yes, it is." Lina snapped back.

     While those two fought, Gourry looked at Zel out of the corner of his eye. See, kids are very stupid. To them, if you're not looking straight at them, you're ignoring them. His plan was to make it look like that they were ignoring Zel (by looking at the window) and he would be over confident and crawl out, not realizing that Gourry wasn't really ignoring him. As soon as he got close, he would grab him. Assuming that Zel was a normal child, not some hyper genius who was wise beyond his years. But, from what he had observed, it was unlikely.

*** ***

     What luck! Red, Big Guy and Lady* were completely ignoring him, they were totally entranced by the window. Adults are weird. He crawled out of his little shelter and ate the next piece of chocolate. He looked up. Nope, no one was watching. He crawled forward for the next piece. No movement in the Adults. He ate it.

     "You sneaky dog you. Brian eat your card out**"

*** ***

     "Come on, come on, a little closer," Gourry thought. Zel crawled oh so slowly nearer. "Come on! Pick up the pace, I'm getting eye strain." Then, there he was, right under his arm. He turned like a cobra and Zel was paralyzed with fear.

*** ***


*** ***

     Gourry lifted Zel up like a sack of feathers while Zel screamed and kicked for his life.

     "Og em tel!"

     "Whatever. Playtime's over." Then Zel stopped kicking and screaming. He looked Gourry straight in the eye then his bottom lip shook and his eyes filled up with tears as he made his one final plea, "Em truh ton od esaelp. AMAM YM TNAW TSUJ I!!!!!"

     Gourry frowned and drew Zel close, resting his little frail body on his shoulder, rubbing his back while he slightly rocked back and forth. Then he began to sing:

In the ocean,
there's a little fish.
Tomorrow, maybe,
he'll be a little dish.
But he isn't scared
of tomorrow.
Tonight all his little friends
dance in a row.
All the little fishes
and also the big ones,
all the mothers and fathers
and daughters and sons.
They dance in the big row
all through the night
and they'll invite you too
if you sleep tight.

     He repeated this little ditty over and over until Zel calmed down. When he did finally did stop, Gourry could hear Zel almost start up again so he sang the song again. Over and over until...

     "Gourry, he's asleep," Lina whispered.

     "Mister Gourry, why don't you put him down?" Amelia asked when Gourry didn't move.

     "I'm afraid I'll wake him up."

     "How did you do that?" Lina demanded.

     "Do what?"


     "Well," Gourry stated matter-of-factly, "I just know more than you two."

     "Oh, is that true?" Lina asked, "Hey! What happens when you pinch his neck like...."

     "Okay, I take it back! Just don't pinch him."

     "Well, how did you think of those things?" Amelia asked.

     "When I was back home, my town, during the summer, would have a cook out every week at a different house. They all needed someone to watch their kids while they got drunk out of their minds so I would usually do it. I had a little girl once who sort of acted like Zel does. She was just really shy and stuff. The bigger kids would tease her a lot so she would always be hiding in the houses. The chocolate trick always seemed to work on her."

     Lina giggled, "You... baby-sat?!"

     "Yeah, I baby-sat. What's wrong with that?"

     "Guys don't baby-sit, Gourry."

     "Any guy would baby-sit if they made what I made."

     "How much?"

     "On average... about 12 golds a night."

     "A NIGHT! How did you get that?"

     "Simple, I asked for payment AFTER they got drunk. `How do we oweth ya?' `Uh, about 15 silver would good but 20 silver would be better...' `Charlesth give the kided 25 silverths, I'm getting another drinkth for the roaded.'"

     "You robber!" Lina laughed.

     "I know, they never figured it out. It was really funny when they forgot they paid me and would come back the next day asking how much they owe. So, they all thought I baby-sat for only 1 silver. They all loved me. `He's such a good boy, what a work ethic' and I'd be in my room, laughing my head off. Those were good times."

     "12 golds a night! I can't even imagine it!" Lina said, shaking her head in disbelief.

     "Anyway, Miss Lina, what should we do now?"

     "Sleep sounds good."

     "No, I mean, what should we do about Master Zelgadis?"

     "Oh that. I almost forgot. Well, it's obvious, isn't it? We have to find people from his native country so we can understand what the hell he is saying!" Lina answered simply.

     "And probably find his next of kin, I mean, I certainly don't know how to make Zel normal again so it would probably be best to leave him with his family so he'll be taken care of."

     "Sounds like a plan, we'll start tomorrow." And all promptly passed out from exhaustion.

To be continued...

C&C are welcome and needed. Send them to

*- Red, Big Guy and Lady are Lina, Gourry and Amelia. In case you didn't figure it out, Zel can't remember who Lina, Gourry
and Amelia are. He will use these names throughout the rest of this fic.

**- No, this is not a typo. Little kids often don't understand little sayings so they often repeat them incorrectly. He means, "Eat your heart out."      

Chapter Three: Peacemaking
     The dawn came and went. It was a very pretty dawn like every other dawn but it was a dawn that Lina, Gourry, Amelia and Zel missed.

     Around ten o'clock, Zel stirred. Actually "stirred" is an understatement. He took exactly 1.234567 seconds to open his eyes, rub his eyes, yawn and spring out of bed. When he was sprung, he looked around.

     "Oh, it wasn't a dream," he thought. He was still in this strange place with Papa and Mama nowhere in sight. He looked at the strangers.

     Big Guy was snoring and his arm was dangling off the bed. He was laying on his back and his tongue was hanging out. Red had her right arm draped over Big Guy's upper chest area with her left arm holding the pillow. She was drooling. Lady was curled up in a fetal position and murmured words in her sleep, usually "Justice", "Victory", "Evil-doer" and "Zelgadis".

     Zel actually jumped whenever she said his name, thinking she was awake. Sure, Big Guy could sing a song but that didn't mean they weren't strangers. And who knew what evil plots they had in store for him.

     And he wanted his Mama!

     His mama had magic and stuff. She'd... do that spell... that has something to do... with... that guy... with the all the siblings... no, wait, he was split into... seven?... yeah... that sounded good... parts.

     WHATEVER! It didn't matter. She would do it and they would... not be here any more. Or something.

     He sighed. He felt so alone. He didn't even have any of his friends. Brian would've thought of something by now. Or maybe Michelle, she's really smart.

     But no one was here. He was on a solo mission. Against the enemy. Who couldn't understand a word he was saying. He sighed.
     He looked at the bed again. Everyone was out of order. It was so untidy! He had to fix it. It was bugging him. He crawled on to the bed. He moved Big Guy's arm so it didn't dangle. He flipped it over so that the arm was resting along his chest. Unfortunately for Big Guy, his arm was so long that his arm rested on Red's chest also.
     Zel didn't give it a second thought.

     He moved Red's left arm from its original position and placed it under Big Guy's neck. Then he placed her legs between Big Guy's legs, which he had also straightened.

     He got off the bed to admire his work. But something wasn't right.

     Ah! The heads. Total disorder. It's the finer details that can kill you in the end, that's what Grandpapa always said! He wouldn't let this finer detail slide.

     He hopped on the bed again and then adjusted the heads. He shut Red's mouth and placed her head on Big Guy's chest. Second, he shut Big Guy's mouth. Next, he flipped Big Guy's head over so he faced Lady and Red. Unfortunately, Big Guy's lips touched Red's scalp.

     Zel thought nothing of it.

     Pleased with his work, he sat at the work table. It was covered with papers and ink. He decided to doodle.

*** ***
     It was 11 o'clock and none of the travelers had checked out. Mrs. Applebaggus wouldn't stand for this. This counted as another day.

     "Those stupid ragamuffins, trying to cheat me out of house and home! They think they don't have to pay for an extra day, ha! Who's first?" She looked at her guest book, "Zelgadis Greywords. By Cephied, why can't kids have normal names like in the old days? Why, it's not a name, it's a bunch of letters! His parents should've never bred! I bet he just like them, my goodness, what a ghastly creature. He should be locked up..."

     Okay, I'm not going to bore you to death with her rant. Mrs. Applebaggus was a sad woman, because of which her dear Mr. Applebaggus having left the mortal plane not too long ago. Besides, her rant would take an entire chapter on itself so I cut to the ending.

     "... And if I was a princess, I wouldn't wear my hair like that, no siree, kids these days, when I was her age, I was... Oh, here's his room." She knocked on Zel's room door.

*** ***

     Zel heard the knocking. He wondered if he should answer it, since he wasn't allowed at home. "Only adults answer the door," they always said. He looked at his respective adults. Big Guy snored, Red drooled and Lady murmured in response.

     She knocked again and called, "Mr. Greywords! Mr. Zelgadis Greywords! I need to discuss your bill!" Hm... she was calling him. Is it alright to answer the door if the knocker is specially calling for you?

     He decided it was alright. He went up to the door... then realized that he was too short to reach to the knob. He got on tiptoes and pushed the knob in the correct direction and got the door open.

     At first, he was frightened. This was the biggest woman he had ever seen. She didn't see him, then she looked down.

*** ***

     "Gods, he cloned himself!" She thought. Well, A little version of himself. She decided it was silly and probably some kid that had traveled with the group. Perhaps she had not seen him. She bent down, "Could you tell me where Mr. Greywords is?" The boy nodded but made no other movement to fetch him. "Could you get him for me?"

     "Ereh thgir ma i."


     "Ereh thgir ma i."

     She was getting really impatient with this brat, "Listen, you, I need to talk to Zelgadis Greywords and I have no time for gibberish! Where is he?"

     The boy sighed, "Tnaw uoy od tahw?"
     "WHERE IS HE?!"

     "I'm coming in."

*** ***

      Adults are weird. He was right here, so what did she want? The woman pushed through the door and nearly toppled him. Lady picked up her head.

*** ***

     The noise woke her up. Amelia sat straight up when Mrs. Applebaggus looked at her.

     "Where is Zelgadis Greywords?"

     "In his room probably."

     "THIS IS HIS ROOM!" Amelia looked around. Indeed, it was his room. What was she doing in his room? Oh yeah, the suicide note and the winged woman and the screaming woman in the mirror and the...

     OH NO! Zel was a child! She spotted Zel, who was right behind Mrs. Applebaggus, repeating over and over, "Ereh thgir ma i. Tnaw uoy od tahw?"

     "And tell that child to speak like a human being!" Mrs. Applebaggus screamed.

     "Master Zelgadis, will you please be quiet?"

     "Sredro em evig ton nac uoy. Amam ym ton era uoy," he snapped back. She didn't know whether or not he had agreed or whether or not he had made a rude comment.

     "Did you just call him Zelgadis?"

     "Yes, madam, I did."

     "But that's not Zelgadis Greywords!"

     "But, it is him. He has been turned into a child."

     "That's impossible. No one can grow down!"

     Amelia put her face in her hands, "I don't know how it was done either but that is the way it is."

     "Well, how is a child supposed to pay the rest of his bill?"

     "The rest? He paid in full."

     "That's where you're wrong. You've stayed here for two days."

     "Two days? What day is it?"


     "But yesterday was Monday!"

     "That's right. But it's 11 o'clock and you haven't checked out yet and if you stay past 10, it counts as another day. You all owe me for another day." Mrs. Applebaggus puffed up, proud, "You can pay when you all check out." And with that, she left the room.

     Amelia moaned. She still felt tired. She looked at Zelgadis, who was going back to doodle.

     "It's your fault, you know," She got up, "You and your angst. Have you ever once considered others' feelings?" Zel did not respond, "Suicide is the coward's way out. My daddy would've never attempted it, even though a lot worse things happened to him. He had dignity. How were you going to do it anyway?"

     That's when she spied a black bottle. She picked it up. It was labeled, "Weevil Root. Danger: Toxic. Do not ingest."

     "That's how, huh? Drown your sorrows. See if I care." She throw the bottle out the window. It hit the cobblestone with a little kilink, where a dog lapped it up and immediately died. "Oops. Sorry doggie!"

     She looked back at the bed. There she saw Lina and Gourry in an... erotic position.

     Lina stirred, "What time is it?"

     "It's 11 o'clock, Miss Lina."

     "Oh... we have to pay for another day, don't we?"

     "Yeah," she paused, "um... when we channeled our motherly instincts, did you feel the desire to procreate?"


     "Then why are you and Mister Gourry in that position?" Lina looked around her and screeched. Then she punched Gourry in the nose so hard that he hit the wall next to the work desk. The desk rattled.

     "Ti pots! Pu ssem em edam uoy. Ti pots!" Zel cried.

     "Ooww, what did you hit me for?" Gourry moaned, trying to decide whether to hold his nose or his head.

     "You pervert! Wait til Lina's asleep and make your move, is that your game? Huh? Answer me!"

     "Lina! I don't know what you're talking about and even if I wanted to `make a move', as you put it, there is no way I could've done it last night since I was too dog tired after running around after `Psycho Baby Zel' for an hour and then having to sing him to sleep so I can finally get some sleep and then not only that, you guys have to interrogate me on how I could calm Mister Psycho Child down. And not only that but then Lina kicks me about five thousand times during the night so it's really hard to get comfortable and Amelia has to talk in her sleep which is really annoying! And has it EVER occurred to you that MAYBE, just MAYBE, I just ROLLED over? That I rolled over in that position that you just punched me about? And did you have to punch me? Couldn't have you just tapped me and said, `Hey, Gourry, your position is making me uncomfortable, could you please move?' and I would've moved. Really! I'm not a sicko pervert who does sicko perverted things on purpose. I don't touch your non-existent breasts, don't interrupt, it's true, during your flying thingy spell because I like to, I touch them so I don't fall to my death. And another thing, the reason I panic during that flying thingy spell is I am afraid of
heights! Okay? Guys can have phobias, too, alright? And I can wake up one morning and have my body not be harmed in any way before dinner? Is this, like, impossible for you to do?" Gourry took a breath and screamed, "And could one of you sorceresses heal my nose because I think it's broken!"

     Amelia rushed over and started a healing spell on his nose while Lina said, "Whoa. Where did that come from? Gourry, I'm really sorry."

     "It's okay. I'm just really tired and I'm in a bad mood today," Gourry wanted to say more but he felt he had said enough for the time being.  

     He looked up at the Little Zel. He then panicked. Zel's eyes were brimming up with tears.

     "Uh oh. I think I scared him," he thought. Zel let out a wail.

     "What's wrong with him?" Amelia asked Gourry, seeing as he was the expert.

     "I think I scared him. Some kids can't handle people arguing, I sure know I was one of them."

     "No kidding, Gourry! You scared me!" Lina shouted over the noise, "Calm him down!"

     Gourry got up to grab him but Zel leaped out of his chair and into the corner, "Yracs era uoy! Emoh og ot tnaw i!"

     "Here we go again," Lina moaned, "Still got chocolates left?"

     Gourry sighed, "Even if I did, it wouldn't work now. I frightened him, he probably thinks I'm going to kill him."

     "By yelling? What does he think Miss Lina's going to do?" Amelia asked. Lina shot her a look.

     "Well, to a child, the world is simple: mean people and nice people. Showing any negative emotion makes you a `mean' person..."

     "Which is what you basically did by yelling, right?" Amelia mused. Gourry nodded. "So, you can't do anything?" Gourry shook his head. "So, _I_ have to think of something?"

     Both Lina and Gourry nodded. Amelia huffed and knelt down. "Look, Master Zelgadis, we're not going to hurt you. We want to help you but you have to trust us. If you don't, you'll be stuck here forever and forever."

     "Niaga amam ym ees reven lliw i os?" Zel asked, with a worried expression. Amelia didn't have a clue what he said.

     "Okay, 50/50 chance that my answer will get him out of there," she thought. Aloud, she answered, "Yes." Zel's eyes widen like they had never widen in their presence before. Zel all but leaped into Amelia's lap, screaming, "Uoy htiw og lliw i! Amam my ot em ekat tsuj! Og su tel!" Zel hopped out of Amelia's lap and started jumping up and down, pointing at the door.

     "How did you know what he was saying?" Gourry asked.

     "I didn't. I guessed," Amelia said, shrugging, "It worked."

     "Who's going to pay for Zel's room?" Lina asked. Gourry went deep into thought and turned toward the desk. He opened the desk and took out Zel's money pouch.


     "You room with a guy for a while, you learn his tricks. He's very predictable."

     "Gods, who are you and what have you done with Gourry?" Lina asked, completely amazed.

     "Well, I'm Gourry and I'm here."

     "How do you suddenly know a lot of stuff?"

     "Well, uh, most of the situations we were involved in were more of your field so I never got to do anything really..."

     Zel called from the door, "Olleh! Gniog ew era? Olleh!"

     "Master Zelgadis is getting impatient, I think we should leave," Amelia suggested. Gourry opened the door and Zel ran out and forced Gourry to chase and throw him over his shoulder. Zel squirmed and kicked Gourry.

     Gourry moaned, "There's gotta be an easier way to keep him in sight..."
     "There is."

     Gourry noticed Mrs. Applebaggus at the front desk. "There is?"

     "Yes, for 5 silver I'll show you." Gourry coughed up the money as Lina and Amelia were descending the stairs. "But you have to pay for your rooms first."

     They groaned and paid up. Mrs. Applebaggus nodded and led them to a back room, "I had three children. A wild bunch. I tried everything but only thing worked." She paused and looked at them, "Well, who's the guardian?"

     "I'm Lina's guardian!" Gourry answered.

     "I meant of the child."

     Both Lina and Amelia replied, "He is! He is!"

     "No, I'm not!"

     Lina whispered, "Look, you're the only one with child raising knowledge and you have the strength to keep him in line! So, agree or I'll kill you!"

     Gourry whimpered, "I am the guardian." Mrs. Applebaggus nodded and shuffled through boxes and brought out the kind of rope that they tie killer horses with.

     "You gotta be kidding!" Amelia gasped.

     "Just a rope? Come on!" Gourry said.

     "It's not `just a rope', it's the strongest rope around! Nothing stronger! Besides, you already paid so you might as well use it!"

     "You tie down horses with that, not little kids!" Lina protested.

     "Esroh a ton ma i!" Zel screamed.

     "Okay, we'll take it. How does it work?" Lina asked.
Mrs. Applebaggus pulled Gourry closer to her, "First, you tie one end of the rope around the guardian's waist," she did so, "then grab the kid and, usually, sedate it but we don't the time. Give me the kid." Gourry gave her Zel. He, of course, struggled (what else is new?) and resisted but he was tired from a long night of struggling and resisting and soon gave up.
     "Then you tie the other end to the child's waist. And that's it! Now, leave!" Mrs. Applebaggus barked and they ran out.

*** ***
     When it grew dark, they decided to find an inn.

     "Hey, Lina, since we tied Zel up like a horse, can we just leave him in the stables?" Gourry asked.

     "Mister Gourry, that's awful!" Amelia pleaded.

     "No, what's really awful is forcing me to be tied to some..."

     "Oh, give it a rest, Gourry, no matter what you say, in the end, you will be tied to Zel. So deal," Lina snapped.

     "It doesn't mean I have to like it," Gourry muttered under his breath.

     "But, Mister Gourry, good has come out of this. I believe that we are starting to earn Master Zelgadis' childhood trust. After a day or two, we won't need to tie him up any more. We have to take baby steps in trust."

     "Then why don't you take them?"

     "Because... because... I'm special and you're not, that's why."

     "`Special'? In what way?"

     "I'm a woman. It's in-bred."

     Gourry wanted to make some remark but decided it would do more harm than
good. He dropped the subject.
*** ***

     Zel knew he was making others upset with him. Maybe he should try to make peace with them. They certainly didn't act like they were going to kill him. Maybe signing would help.

*** ***
     Zel tugged at Gourry's pant leg. He turned around and saw Zel pointing at his eye.

     "What's the matter with your eye?"     

     Zel shook his head and pointed to his eye again. "Yeah, that's your eye." Zel nodded.

     They were passing a pig farm and he pointed to the pigs and then to the slaughterhouse.

     "Yeah, that's a pig farm and that's where they, uh, kill them and the pigs go to a happy place with lots of flowers..."

     "What are you talking about, Gourry?" Lina asked, perplexed.

     "Well, Zel keeps pointing to stuff and I'm telling him what he's pointing at." Zel hit his forehead and moaned.

     "You got a headache now?"

     "On!" Zel cried in frustration. He pointed his eye then to the pig farm slaughterhouse and then clasped his hands together and bowed.

     "I think he's playing `Charades'," Amelia said.

     "Oh, I hate that game!" Lina groaned.

     "Let's see," Amelia mused, "See, look, oh, eye! I! Okay, the pig farm slaughterhouse. Uh, Mister Gourry, any ideas?"

     "Oh, I stink at this game, sorry," Gourry shrugged. Zel was making a carving motion and then an eating motion, implying utensils.

     "Eat? Kill? No, that wouldn't be carving, that would be hacking. Carve and eat, what do you carve and eat?"

     "Turkey?" Lina suggested. Zel shook his head.

     "Roast?" Gourry asked. Zel shook his head.

     "Pork? No, wait, ham!" Lina thought aloud. Zel nodded.

     "`I ham'? Do you mean `I am'?" Amelia asked. Zel nodded. "I am bowing? I am praying?"

     "Sorry?" Gourry asked. Zel clapped his hands and nodded. "Oh, I forgive you. It's okay. As long as you try to be nicer to us from now on, okay?" Zel nodded, then made an untying motion. "No, I'm not untying you. Nice try."

     "I think we should stick together tonight, to keep an eye on him. Besides, it's cheaper," Lina suggested.

     "I think I see the town. I'm so hungry!" Gourry started to run, lifting Zel into the air until he was parallel to the ground.

     "Wait for me, Gourry!"

To be continued.

Author's Notes: Just so you know, I hate Charades too. I don't own these characters. Don't sue me. C&C are welcome and needed at Write to me even if you have nothing to say on the fic, just drop me a line! Hey, I'm so bored, I'll accept flames! Go ahead, I might write back!

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