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October 5, 2011
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Face It
A Slayers Fanfiction
CHAPTER 1

((Author's Note: Yet another Xelloss X Filia fanfiction at last! :D I apologize for the long hiatus and for my general hermit-like state in the Slayers community of late. My fandoms cycle pretty quickly, but I'll never get tired of this pairing. They're my OTP of all time, and Slayers is my all-time favorite animanga.

With much encouragement from Skiyomi/Llybian Minamino, Lilybotanica, and Ragnablast, and borrowing a prompt from Skiyomi due to her generosity, I'm going to tackle the very complex concept of Filia going BACK to the golden dragon temples, seeking haven there as a returned priestess. This is a real stretch of character so it'll be a fun challenge. Xelloss is not happy, and goes to many sources for some advice on what the hell happened. As a result, I'll get to cameo pretty much the entire Slayers main cast plus our darling stoic Milgazia, who is the only ryuuzoku aside Filia who is NOT a giant dickface a thoroughly unpleasant chauvinistic hypocrite. LOL.

Please forgive the probably sluggish pace at which I will update these chapters. I am currently writing a PhD dissertation simultaneously, and at the moment Kuroshitsuji has my fandom ardor, so I will be understandably distracted.

Enjoy! ))

No matter how sweet his voice may be
He frightens me
~Petra Berger


The endlessness of a field of flowers can entice, can promise. Sweet scented perfection, velvety crowns quaking in a forgiving breeze, as far as the retina can process it.  

That very endlessness can also be a source of despair.

After all, what is there beyond that field? There is nothing beyond perfection.  No place to go, no transcendence to eagerly anticipate.  Perfection is finite, the pinnacle.  Too much perfection daunts a naturally voracious mind.  A mind with a body, hands, that want to pluck, feel, smell, experience, every flawless petal before life's end.  

What does someone who always thinks "what happens next?" do with a perfect field of flowers? With such terrifying, immaculate order? With such predictable happiness? With an anesthetizing contentment that covers messy pungent filthy grass, soil, roots, bones, ants and worms?  

She first wondered such unsettling things when she was a hatchling. Such heretical things. She first realized she should try and cramp her mind into its conventionally allotted, confined space that day. That day.

The day began like any other. Every morning, just after dawn, she, the sole female hatchling of the Temple of the Fire Dragon King, daughter of Bazard and Aphra, crept out of her bed alone—sin!—and ran outside her craggy rock-hewn convent—sin!—in just a thin, white, be-ribboned shift—sin!—and ran barefoot—sin!—into a thriving field of blue and white morning glories, unescorted by any of the many patriarchs of her order—sin!  

She only wanted to see the morning glories in their full bloom. By dusk, they had shriveled up and vanished, as if their beauty, their picture of peaceful contentment, was merely an illusion.  The sight of them shriveled into tight chutes was disturbing to the child.  So she made a daily vigil out of their early, fresh-sprung splendor.  

She liked to pick them too—sin!—and tuck them into her nightgown pockets, and take them home, and dry them, even though every attempt she made in the dank cellar of the temple led to their browning and premature death.  Greedy, overly-curious her.  

It was the first day that she decided to pluck morning glories and hoard them in her bedroom that the hatchling ran into….

Him.

Sin!

She had strayed far across the field of morning glories, to a wild underbrush at the outskirts of a dense forest.  While squatting to gather her stash into the folds of her nightgown and count them, she heard a rustling. It was not this that disturbing the hatchling, though. It was the sensation of everything around her going unnaturally still and calm.  The feeling of the air itself becoming brittle with cold.

The child turned slowly, clammy, with a thundering heart.

She didn't have time to scream. It seized her by the neck—it—a genderless thing with stretched grotesquely veined arms, a single acidic lime green eye, and a great deal of hair as coarse as a buffalo's. The piercing shrill of a soulless wraith. A lesser demon.

The hatchling's mane of yellow-blond hair flew out around her.  Her tiny nose indignantly snarled.  Her eyes rolled back to whites as her body pulsed with the struggle to transform into a dragon.  Her fangs distended from her feminine lips and struggled to bite her attacker. Rage filled her at the impertinence of such an attack, when all she wanted was to pluck her morning glories.  She was fighting back—sin!  

But her field of vision was flooding with tears and blue dots, black dots, closing, her ears roaring…

What followed happened very fast.  So fast that it was more frightening—and exhilarating—than the initial assault.  

A blur of black and purple collided with the lesser demon.

Together, the demon and its assailant careened through the foliage and landed out in the clearing of morning glories.  

There was no sound but that of air rushing past, no fanfare: just a lethal efficiency.

The child rose, rubbed her neck, and glowered with all the righteous fury that she could muster, first at her ruined bouquet scattered all over the ground, and secondly, at her attacker and its most worthy foe.  

Her glare melted quickly upon sight of that superior predator.

Here at last was a beauty that surpassed the infinite perfection of her morning glories.

A beauty that proved her little world was indeed an illusive cocoon.

Her scrawny little calves were littered with goose bumps as she watched, slack-jawed.

It was a man—humanoid, handsome, slim, somehow both breathtaking and unremarkable in the same glance.  

With every light-footed step and crafty lunge at his repulsive quarry, however, he proved that he was, however understated the nature, remarkable.

His gestures, the property neither of male nor female, simply WERE—they simply achieved what was necessary.  He was graceful, quick, and precise, something between a dancer and a guerrilla combatant, and it was the way he moved, the way he operated, that proved to the hatchling that he was not truly human: he was not hesitant with fear, not clumsy with passion, not weighed down with cumbersome things like battle etiquette or ethical restraint. He just insistently, confidently, coolly existed, and did his job.

The hatchling noted this when her savior let out a clucking little half-snicker, and used a gnarled wooden staff, with a red orb at its tip, to crisply bludgeon the lesser demon's head. It promptly burst into green flames and vanished.  He clicked his tongue and turned toward the girl.

"How troublesome," he sighed, peeling off a pair of tidy white gloves which were now soaked in black astral goo, and resting his hands on his dark-clad hips. "It seems Lord Dynast is not happy that Lord Greater Beast was chosen to send someone to dispatch…" His gaze darted, with an unmistakable air of shifty malevolence, toward the hatchling. "…our mutual adversary."

The girl was too distracted by the man's voice to think on the meaning of his words.  It was not a voice she would have expected from a fox-trotting warrior.  The little girl who had been star-struck now scoffed, as if her hero had affronted her unforgivably by not living up to her romantic illusions. Really, the nerve! She had been expecting something like a deep svelte baritone.

But the voice of her rescuer was a high tenor, it carried an undeniably facetious "ladeeeda" singsong, and it even had the temerity to be slightly nasal.

The man cocked his head down—way down—at the child. "What?" He sniffed. "Don't tell me you're not impressed. What's someone like you doing alone without an escort, anyhow? I thought the golden dragons didn't let their girl-children break a nail without flying into hysterics."

The hatchling's cheeks puffed outward in a fine impression of a chipmunk with a mouth full of nuts. Her mind became a big fat fiery inarticulate void in her rage, an annoying and unfortunate trait she had possessed since birth. She sputtered the beginning of several sentences. But she didn't get far. The man's appearance had her enchanted again, darn him (and the girl wished to Ceiphied she knew a stronger word than "darn" to use, even as part of her amoebic internal monologue, for how she felt)!  

The slice of purple that had sailed across her vision was his hair—a chin-length curtain of nonchalant violet, too perfect in its glossiness and unnerving in the way that it always partially concealed his eyes.

His eyes.

They were probably the features that made him truly stunning. His face was pleasantly shaped, symmetrical, his nose nice and small and straight, his jaw firm but not overly prominent, his eyebrows tidy and arched, and his skin tone a mild beige, all nice but unmemorable, almost deliberately disarming in their ordinariness, but his eyes were what made him….well. Exquisite. His eyes were his real weapons.  

In fact, had the hatchling not looked into the man's eyes after his hair led her gaze straight to that pair of similarly-colored, amethyst moth-flames, she might have found a real zinger to throw up at her savior-turned-insulter.  Alas, his long black eyelashes had parted to reveal those gorgeous jewels and she stood staring up at him like a slack-jawed imbecile.

The man trilled another high, strange laugh.  "When I asked for you to be impressed, I wasn't really going for dumbfounded."

"Who ARE you?!" the hatchling finally managed to blurt, her cheeks exploding red.

The man grinned broadly, and the goose-bumps returned along the child's flesh, because there in that smile were white wolf fangs paired with doll-like dimples.  He was….contradictory, and very, very confusing. It made her so DARNED mad. Her cheeks poofed out again, and her infuriating hero bent, his hair falling forward and caressing his jaw, placed his two index fingers on her rounded cheeks, and pressed. "You look stupid doing that. Be a lady now." But those eyes were twinkling. It was like some part of him found her irritation delicious.

She smacked his hands away. "I SAID who ARE you?!"

That ballsy cockroach squatted next to her. "You like flowers, right?"

"WHO ARE YOU?!" Her voice was becoming so shrill that it threatened to break the sound barrier and ascend somewhere to the pitch of a bat, dolphin, or dog whistle.

He continued impartially, "Something rather difficult is coming for you. You should keep this." He flicked a bare wrist and a morning glory was liberated from the soil. It glistened with a sea of black and magenta sparkles; it looked as though a small black needle, or spike, or cone, pierced the center of the blossom. And then it went unnaturally rigid. "Morning glories are so dull, aren't they?" He handed the stupefied girl the magically altered object. "Always closing up by mid day and drying out. This one'll last as long as you like."

He straightened then. "You really DON'T know who I am, do you?"

She gawped at him, clutching her bloom.

"Surely you know what day it is."

The girl dumbly shook her head.

"Sure you do. Think for a moment. It's an anniversary.  Therefore, today, someone very…appropriate to the occasion…was sent to remind your people of that.  A messenger. To keep them from getting, in the sender's words, 'uppity.'"

The girl's blood went cold. Yes. Of course.

Today was the anniversary of the genocide of one third of her race, by a legendary demon they called Dragon Slayer. Few knew his actual name, but she had once heard her parents whispering it in hushed, choked voices at their shrines and alters in the still of night, begging Ceiphied that this mighty demon of Ruby-Eyed Shabranigdu's making never return.  The demon had a bizarre, vaguely Mediterranean name, with a purring consonant that lurked at the end of the alphabet.

X.

The purple-haired man's expression was strangely kind, and not a trace patronizing, as he studied the hatchling's face, as realization dawned. "You should go home." He pressed an index finger to his lips. "Go home, and see."

The child smelled ashes on the air. It began to snow between her rescuer and herself, a snow of white ashes.  

She let out a forlorn wail. She whirled around in her stained white nightgown and ran back toward the cavernous temple where her elders and her cocoon lay.  

She did not once look back.  She did not think to thank the man who had made her realize something horrible had happened to her world.

She did not realize that this same man had been the cause of the horrible thing. That he himself had been the messenger of whom he spoke, and had reminded the golden dragons of the atrocity he himself had committed. That he himself was Dragon Slayer.

She did not realize that the gash in Flarelord Vraubazard's mighty temple at the edge of the Outerworld, the inferno of flame and smoke belching out of it, and the despairing cries of her people, were this person's doing.

She did not even remember the face of her morning glory gifter, in apparently an extreme textbook case of traumatic memory repression....



Not until today, several centuries later, when, as a woman, she awoke from a fitful sleep realizing that the flame emanating from the temple was green—just like the flame that had engulfed the lesser demon whom her rescuer had killed.

And it was today that she remembered the morning glory he had gifted her, the morning glory that had dropped from her trembling young hands that day, right into the flame of his making, and dissolved into still more ash.

Filia Ul Copt sat up in bed and covered her mouth to stop a retch.  

After that day so long ago, that day that had plagued her in dreams, Filia started wearing pink under her priestess robes.  An insistently washed-out, frail color, which she used to conceal her too-feral, too-inquisitive, too-blunt, too-assertive self, like the morning glories covered up the soil where dead things decomposed and became exciting, vibrant life again.  

She did not stop wearing pink until after she had met the Slayers…and was reunited…

With HIM.   

Filia rose from bed.  Her gathered nightgown folds—white—trailed out limp behind her like broken wings.

She stumbled into the bathroom.

A few moments later, she stumbled back out.

And there HE stood, hands on his hips, on her bed, with that same insufferable smile. He always chose irreverent, inopportune moments to materialize, with that secret-keeper's smile.

But for once, Filia got in the first, and last word. "You'd 'rather write a report on morning glories,' huh?"

Xelloss Metallium blinked and cocked his head in an avian manner. "What? Oh. Wow. I can't believe you have such an encyclopedic memory of all my slights. My my, wasn't that back during the Darkstar Campaign?"

"Shut up." She was weirdly calm. Everything was so clear. "You shut up. Do you remember that day? Did you all along?"

He looked genuinely bewildered: but that meant nothing. Xelloss was an actor par excellence. "What day? You and I have had quite a lot of those."

Filia stepped up to Xelloss, who only had an inch of height on her, which always made him appear, maddeningly, to be staring just slightly down his nose at her, with that same expression of generally benign amusement of an older, wiser, more tainted creature toward someone very green.  Filia's ears roared in the way that they had when that long-ago lesser demon was strangling her. Because Xelloss had spared her only to subject her to…this.

This….

The no-longer-hatchling clasped shaking hands across her chest, cutting off access to breasts that were highly visible through the thin white gown, the gown that was so like the one she had worn when they had met—and also, so unlike it. Cutting off the privilege of this being seeing her bare and lost.

She rose onto her tiptoes. Perhaps it was an absurd thing to do under the circumstances. But she wanted to look him in the eye when she said this.

"I'm leaving you," she pronounced.  "For good."
What would happen if Filia had a spiritual crisis and decided to return to the sanctuary of the golden dragon temple? How would Xelloss react? How would the rest of the Slayers react, and how would they advise both the dragon and demon on how to proceed? What would prompt Filia to do something so extreme?

Xelloss X Filia, Zelgadiss X Amelia, Lina X Gourry. There will be Rezo and Milgazia appearances, and possibly some mazoku lords. if you don't like any of this, kindly hit the back button. :)

Special thanks to :iconskiyomi: for several helpful conversations and a great deal of moral support in launching this fanfiction!

This will be many chapters and likely span several months, as I am quite a busy bee! Apologies!

Slayers (c) Hajime Kanzaka. Enjoy!
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:iconrinoaebastel:
rinoaebastel Oct 7, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a great begining. It's going to be interesting how thiscontinues :D

I loved that you remember the the morning glories coment and created a story between them based on it .

Awesome work.
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:iconamberpalette:
AmberPalette Oct 7, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much XD The funny thing is, I chose the type of flower in the field unconsciously, then later realized I did it for that reason! XD
Reply
:iconrinoaebastel:
rinoaebastel Oct 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Lool. Your subconsciunts it's smart :D
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:iconamberpalette:
AmberPalette Oct 8, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
LOL thank you
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:iconmaryxula:
It sounds interesting ^^
Greetings!!!
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:iconamberpalette:
AmberPalette Oct 6, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks :D
Reply
:iconmaryxula:
You´re veeery welcome ^^
Greetings!!!
Reply
:iconskiyomi:
Skiyomi Oct 5, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
It's time for me to seethe with jealousy once more, isn't it? Yes, I'd say so.

Your descriptions are, as I've said before, SO striking and beautiful. In this chapter they're particularly haunting. You've pulled off that early, unremembered meeting so well and so naturally. I especially liked the repeated 'sin.' It really brought home the repressive atmosphere of the temple, and the differences Filia has always shared from her peers.

My heart tells me that I'm going to be in for some drama that will hurt as the story goes on. I'm very susceptible to the written word and my empathy tends to run a little out of control which is why I read and write almost entirely comedies. But even still, I'm really looking forward to seeing where you take this and I know it will be wonderful, poignant, emotive, and undeniably worthwhile. I'm SO glad you decided to write this and good luck as you continue :D
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:iconamberpalette:
AmberPalette Oct 5, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Also, this is a super weird question, but did you get the metaphorical allusions to a future highly sensual, even sexual, relationship? I was hoping to make them without smacking people over the head with them, but one of them is going to be super significant in the last chapter.
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:iconskiyomi:
Skiyomi Oct 5, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, I was definitely getting that--subtle, but there. Reminded me that I'm talking to someone over at BE about whether the two of them should/would have a sexual relationship or not.
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