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Slayers - Amusement Park

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By Skiyomi
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Amusement Park.

The county fair should've been the highlight of Filia's summer. It brought new and exciting sights from throughout the area, rewarding business opportunities at the crafts section of the fair, and plenty of time to spend with Val. Normally, she'd have looked forward to it, but all she could feel as she passed out tickets from under the awning that was the only thing standing between her and the heat of the sun was dread. And it was all Xellos's fault.

Sure, Xellos had a history of showing up to ruin her life on a regular basis, but the county fair was something else entirely. Maybe it was just because the county fair should have been fun, maybe it was because there was an audience to her humiliation, but his antics at the county fair always struck her as particularly horrible.

Let's see… he had always one-upped her in any contest or game she tried. There had been the high striker game, the ring toss, the gold-fish catching game, the arm wrestling competition… his only real failure had been the pie baking contest which had resulted in two of the judges going home sick and one of them spending the next four hours in the port-a-potty. Other than that, Xellos delighted in trumping her at any way he could. At the end of the day he would be smugly carting around armfuls of trophies, ribbons, and stuffed animal prizes while Filia carried dinkier trophies, second-place ribbons, and lollipops given to her by any carnival game operators who felt sorry for her.

And her expo table was always a nightmare of shattering ceramic and pottery shard wounds. It was hard to get fair-goers interested in her wares when Xellos kept reminding everyone how breakable they were.

She shuddered to herself. But the worst of it had been during the picnic basket auction. People still talked about that one. It had been a few years ago and the fair committee was trying a new charity ploy to raise funds for a roof for the schoolhouse. So they'd gotten a bunch of the women in town together to make homemade picnic lunches. Then the men at the fair would bid for the lunch of their choice (and, more importantly, a certain companion to eat it with). It was a set-up based on charitable intentions, an appreciation for good cooking, and male loneliness.

Filia hadn't been so hot on the idea when she'd been asked to take part in it. Then again, it was for a good cause and all she was being asked to do was make and eat a lunch when you got right down to it. So she'd agreed.

The auction took place on the last day of the fair and she'd been in very high spirits. The expo table had done well, Val was having a blast, and Xellos hadn't shown up once. She'd started to think he had better things to do then spoil her good time. Little did she know what was about to unfold.

After several young ladies had auctioned off their lunches and a decent pool of money had been collected, it was Filia's turn. The bidding was going pretty well… she wasn't sure if she should take that as a self-esteem boost or not, when…

"500," a voice called lazily from the crowd.

Filia froze on the podium. She knew that voice.

"What?" Xellos asked, looking curiously at the slack-jawed crowd. "I thought this was an auction."

It was an auction. And the last bid had been an already-too-generous 25. But Xellos just had to go and bid twenty times that amount!

Filia looked around wildly at the crowd, but no one else thought spending that amount on lunch was sane.

"Well," the auctioneer had said with a slightly shocked smile. "I guess that's sol—"

"501!" Filia shouted out, elbowing the man out of the way.

The auctioneer gave her a worried look. "Umm… Miss, you can't bid on yourself."

"I don't see why not!" Filia cried out, close to hysteria. "If I win then I can just eat lunch by myself!"

"600," Xellos added calmly from the crowd.

Filia gritted her teeth. "601," she said in a pained voice. Damn it. She'd really wanted a new pottery wheel too…

"1000," Xellos said in an affectedly offhand sort of way.

Filia may have chipped a tooth at this point. The auctioneer gave her a doubtful look. "Any further bets?" he'd asked.

Filia made a helpless sort of sound, then looked down and shook her head.

"Alright," the auctioneer said brightly. "Sold to the man with the staff! And I daresay we've gone and raised enough for a schoolhouse roof earlier than any of us expected!"

Yeah, more like a roof and a half, Filia'd thought bitterly, biting her lip.

That showoffy jerk! Did he just enjoy making a spectacle of her in public or something? ARGH! Just thinking about it made her want knock that stupid smile off his face!

When she'd questioned/threatened him about it at their inevitable picnic table meeting later, he'd played innocent. He said that all he'd been trying to do was contribute to a worthy civil works project. That made Xellos a liar, a cheat, and a potato salad hog.

File that incident under 'unpleasant conversations with Xellos', but they were all unpleasant when it came to him! That particular meeting had ended in an overturned picnic table and a solemn vow to never participate in a farce like that again.

Of course… she still volunteered.

Well, she was a respected member of the community! It was downright expected of her. Anyway, she liked to help. She was just more… discerning about what jobs she took nowadays. That was why she'd stoutly refused both the kissing booth and the dunking booth when offered to her. To be fair, she would've said no to both of those anyway, but the Xellos factor just made her all the more insistent that it wasn't gonna happen.

So she'd taken a safe little job running the Ferris wheel on the last day. It was a nice job, she got to see a lot of the children she recognized from Val's class, and Xellos couldn't do much with something like that.

…At least… she didn't think so…

She cringed. This was the day it would happen. He hadn't shown up any of the previous days when she'd been running her pottery table or taking Val around. Experience told her not to let her guard down. He'd show eventually… he always did. And then there'd be trouble.

"Mommy!"

Filia abandoned her inner torment over what the future might hold for a moment as she look up and saw Val approaching at a run with Jillas close behind. He had a balloon in his hand.

"Val!" Filia said warmly as he approached her ticket booth. "How are you doing, sweetie? Are you and Jillas having fun?"

"I petted a sheep," Val said, as if that was all that needed to be said on that subject.

"Good," Filia said vaguely, looking at Jillas out of the corner of her eye as she asked, "did you wash your hands?"

"'es," Val said.

Filia clasped her hands together eagerly. "So, did you two want to ride the Ferris wheel?"

"'es," Val said again. "But Mommy, I wanna know: when's Xewwos gonna get here?"

Filia groaned. Val had gotten rather stuck on the idea of Xellos showing up at the fair ever since an incident two years ago. They'd been at the petting zoo when Xellos had 'accidentally' (so he claimed) dumped a food pellet bag over the child's head causing all the animals to swarm around him. That's right: Xellos had tried to feed her child to goats. As if she didn't already have plenty of good excuses to hate him. But for some reason, Val had thought all of this was very funny and meeting Xellos had become one of the high points of the fair for him. Go figure kids.

"He's not coming," Filia said in a probably-too-sharp voice as she plunked the Ferris wheel tickets into Jillas's outstretched hand.

"Why not?" Val asked, wide eyed.

"I told him not to," Filia said firmly.

"Wait…" Jillas said, cutting in. "You don't think 'e's coming, because you told 'im not to?"

"Yes," Filia said firmly, not about to betray her own fears for the day ahead.

Jillas was silent for a minute. "But boss, you tell 'im that every year!"

Filia gave Jillas a look that froze his expression. He held up a hand. "O' course, you were really firm last year. You're right. There's no way 'e's coming back after that!"

"Right," Filia said with a determined nod.

As Filia watched the two of them get into their Ferris wheel car, her determination faded away. Her shoulders slumped. There was no getting out of it. Xellos would show up sometime during the day for his annual make-Filia's-life-a-living-hell festivities. But what could he do? After all these years, she felt that she was prepared for practically anything he could dish out. What could he be scheming…

Oh no… Filia thought, staring at the Ferris wheel as a flash of insight took her.

That was right! The Ferris wheel stopped at the top so that the people in the cars could see the entire fairgrounds and enjoy the view. She didn't know how it would happen, but she just knew… she could see it as clear as if it was happening right then… Xellos would get her up there somehow… the car would stop… and it wouldn't start moving again.

She put a hand to her heart and tried to calm her breathing. No, no. That wasn't going to happen. Now that she'd thought that, there was no way he could trick her into getting in that car. She was totally on top of the situation. Nothing to worry about.

"Snow cone, Miss?"

Filia screamed.

*****

Okay, so maybe screaming at innocent snow cone vendors was not the action of a totally prepared and well-adjusted person. And maybe she'd overreacted in throwing a rock at that bandleader, but it wasn't her fault! He shouldn't've gone around with that baton which could've easily been mistaken for a staff! And only sociopaths like hairstyles like that!

The balloon seller had taken up a position right outside the Ferris wheel line, all the better to sell whiny kids balloons. He had them in all different colors and the kids could pick their favorite. Whenever anyone said 'purple' Filia visibly twitched.

So… she might not have been calm. But that was fine. She was wary! She was on the lookout for any sign of him. She was wise to his tricks! He wouldn't get the drop on her this time…

She kept turning around in case he tried to tap her on the shoulder.

*****

"No," Filia said numbly as Mister Farrier, the organizer of the fair, came up to her several hours later.

"'Fraid so," he said with a grin. "Time flies, don't it? But you've done a great job, Miss. Don't think I don't appreciate it. The clean-up crew will be around in about an hour to take care of packing things up. You can head on home."

Filia looked around from one side to the other. "He'll be here," she said quietly. "He's just waiting for me to relax and then…"

"Umm… who?" Mister Farrier asked.

Filia closed her eyes, shook her head, and said: "No one. Don't worry about it." Then she gave a false little smile and said: "You go on. I'm just… going to hang around here for a little while longer."

Mister Farrier gave an understanding smile. "Sure," he said, putting on his hat and walking toward the exit. He gave a wave. "Good evening, Miss Filia."

Filia smiled and nodded back, but the moment he was out of sight her smile dropped. She stepped out of her booth and looked around. The summer sun had set. It was dark and cool now, and all the milling children were gone. The empty fairgrounds were a completely different place.

She subjected her surroundings to a penetrating glare. "I know you're here," she said sourly. "Why don't you just come out?"

There was no response. She looked up at the Ferris wheel, sighed, and walked toward it. She approached the control lever and flipped it, causing the structure to jerk into life. As the slowly rocking carriages filed one by one onto the loading dock, she climbed into one of them with a stony expression and stared out into the night as the rig climbed.

When she reached the very top the machine stopped as it always did, allowing her to take in the full splendor of the abandoned fairgrounds. The moon was big that night and seemed to hint at the coming autumn.

She stood up, which was technically against the rules, and leaned against the railing. The high winds streamed her hair back from her face and whipped at her dress. She looked this way and that.

Then she yelled loud enough to cause the fairgrounds to shake with echoes: "WHERE ARE YOU, XELLOS?!"

*****

Xellos weaved in and out of the astral plane, leaving a line of afterimages as he teleported from dark cliff to dark cliff. The ruins were just ahead…

It was a shame, he reflected. He'd come to look forward to Achaea's county fairs. But… well… his other duties had to come first. He couldn't very well use a summer festival as an excuse for playing hooky.

Without him there, Filia would have no choice but to sabotage herself all on her own. The good news was that she was already so good at that. It was such a shame to miss the fireworks though…

He smiled in the darkness where no one could see him, then parted his lips in the emptiness where no one could hear him and said quietly: "Don't miss me too much, Filia."
A response to theme #55 of Beloved Enemy's 100 Nights of Summer challenge. Join the fun: [link]

Rating: T
Fandom: Slayers
Pairing: Xellos/Filia
Genre: General

Themes done so far:
-Exorcism: [link]
-Tea Leaves: [link]
-First Kiss: [link]
-Guilty: [link]
-Dwelling on it: [link]
-Unoriginal Sin: [link]
-Game: [link]
-Terms & Conditions: [link]
-How to Impress a Woman: [link]
-Wolves and Their Prey: [link]
-Good Deeds: [link]
-Amusement Park
-Flower Garden: [link]
-Gemstones: [link]
-Childish: [link]
-You are Answerable for your Fantasies: [link]
-Clipped Wings: [link]
-Totally Smashed: [link]
-Just Because You Can Do It, Doesn't Mean You Should: [link]
Published:
© 2010 - 2020 Skiyomi
Comments13
anonymous's avatar
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Alien-Snowflake's avatar
Xell the potato salad hog xD

He sounded like some kinda stalker xD
Skiyomi's avatar
XD He kinda is. Thanks for the fav!
littlecloudflower's avatar
Screaming at snow cone vendors! That is so Filia! :D
Skiyomi's avatar
XD He shouldn't have said 'cone'!
the4gotten's avatar
Lol! i couldn't stop picturing filia being paronoic... it's just so In Character for her xD like one of the first chapters in Try when Xellos was around and she had a feeling of uneasyness xD
i really enjoyed this one :D
Skiyomi's avatar
the4gotten's avatar
you're welcome ;)
ds9guy's avatar
I worry about Filia sometimes, I really do....

fun read.
Skiyomi's avatar
Yep. Yep. He's totally in her head.

Thanks!
LilyBotanica's avatar
That made Xellos a liar, a cheat, and a potato salad hog.

*LOVES*

So much to love in this- Filia being Filia, Xellos being Xellos, Val and goats....

Although I think my favorite moment was sweet Jillas' commentary on Filia "telling Xellos not to come."

Oh Jillas, the unlikely voice of truth....

Skiyomi's avatar
XD Thanks! I just visited a local apple orchard and they had adorable goats there, so I had them on the brain <3
LilyBotanica's avatar
OMG goats are so amazing....with their sweet faces and demonic eyes....
Skiyomi's avatar
I luvs them so...
anonymous's avatar
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