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Slayers - Dwelling On It

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By Skiyomi
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Theme #93: Dwelling on it.

Dwelling On It. (Or: Filia's Really Gone Crackers This Time)

Oh gods, I want to touch his hair.

The thought burst through Filia's mind like an illegal firework. She glowered at the back of Xellos's head as they walked along. Now the pretty lights of the thought were done and the crackle of guilt was sounding as the sparks of compulsion descended and went out.

As an extended metaphor it wasn't all Filia had hoped it would be. But the fact was, she wasn't entirely sure how it had come to this point. Really, how do you go from 'Filthy monster; I hate him!' to 'Oh gods, I want to touch his hair'?

By the way, she didn't take back any of that first impression. He was a filthy monster. And she did hate him. She just really wanted to touch that filthy, hateable monster's hair. That made sense, right?

No. Not even a little.

It wasn't even that she liked his hair! She didn't! Really! Actually, the fact that she loathed it so much was probably to blame for this whole thing. Indeed it had been one of her first impressions of him. She couldn't help wondering at the time, in a sort of muted, horrified way, if the creature that embarked on a solo-genocide of her people could really go around with a haircut that stupid.

I mean, she thought, can't he decide how he looks? He's got some pretty weird tastes if that's the case.

And purple? Don't even get Filia started on purple. She used to like purple. Now purple was the enemy.

And do you know, this was probably where the problem started. Yes, she had disliked his hairstyle (along with every other aspect of him thank-you-very-much), but she'd… she'd dwelt on it. She shouldn't have done that. She'd just kept thinking about how ridiculous it was and how he couldn't possibly think it looked good or inspired any sort of respect at all and…

…And somewhere along the line she'd started thinking how she'd like to touch it. Just once.

Filia would've pointed out at this time, though she'd think this so obvious as to be a bit unnecessary, that there was absolutely nothing, in any way, shape, or form, sexual about this desire. Because just… ugh. It was Xellos. That's all the evidence she really needed against that claim.

Anyway, a person could have completely non-sexual reasons to want to touch someone's hair. Filia was sure it happened all the time. …Like… hairdressers.

Or, and Filia was much happier with this example, little boys! Yes! It was very much like that. Little boys often got the urge to pull of pigtails of little girls that they certainly didn't like at all. And every knew there was nothing at all sexual about—

…Filia didn't like this example so much anymore.

Anyway, it didn't matter that she couldn't come up with an equivalent example for her situation. She knew that there was nothing untoward at all about it and that was all that really counted.

She'd felt this way back in the Dark Star days, but then she'd split off from the group to carve out a living in the mace and vase making business and all was well. Now she was back with Lina Inverse's traveling side-kick brigade again at least for a short time and she was having to face him again. And she clearly wasn't dealing well.

She glared again at the figure walking in front of her. Stupid monster… leading innocent women to their doom with his ridiculous, yet strangely attractive hairstyle…

The sun shone through the trees and his hair seemed to shimmer slightly in a way that you wouldn't notice unless you were maniacally focused on it. Which Filia was.

She grit her teeth. Her palms itched. She knew that if she really lost her marbles and reached for his hair there would be no way to explain her actions to the others. She couldn't even explain it to herself that well.

She took a deep breath. When all else fails: bluster. She reached out a hand and…

…Navigated past him and to the line walking in front containing Lina and Gourry. "Out of my way, you monster!" Ha. This plan is foolproof.

"Well excuse me," Xellos answered dryly from behind her. "What's your rush?"

Filia cursed the fact that her foolproof 'out of sight, out of mind' plan rather depended on Xellos not talking back. "I'm just," she began. "I'm just tired of looking at the back of your stupid head, that's all."

"Oh? Is that so?" Xellos shot back in an eye-twitching sort of tone. She didn't need to see him to know his eye was twitching.

"Will you two cut it out?" Zelgadis asked from where he and Amelia were taking up the rear of the procession. "You're acting like children."

"Just leave 'em alone, Zel," Lina said in a resigned sort of way. "You know they're not going to stop anyway."

"So I guess now I'm stuck looking at the back of your stupid head, then?" Xellos asked as if this interruption hadn't occurred.

This was too much for Filia to take. She looked back and glared sharply at him. "No one's 'stuck looking at the back of my stupid head' because it's no stupid."

"Oh really?"

"Really," Filia affirmed. "I won best hair four years in a row in temple training school."

Of course, she might not have won that last year if Adelfa Vios hadn't had that unfortunate accident. But that's why long hair and rotary blades don't mix.

"So I suppose that makes you an expert then," Xellos said in his mocking sort of way.

"More than you at least," Filia shot back.

"Oh?" Xellos began with an edge in his voice that probably didn't belong in a discussion about hair. "So you don't think I'm quite your equal in the coiffure department, then?"

"I know you're not," Filia answered. It wasn't much. He was stronger than her, smarter than her, and knew more synonyms for 'hairstyle' then her, but damn it: she had better hair.

"You don't like my hair," Xellos said. "Is that what you're saying?"

"No," Filia said.

"Oh?"

"I can't stand your hair," Filia specified with feeling.

"Don't you think that's a little over the top?" Xellos asked in a 'you're being ridiculous again' kind of tone he excelled at.

"It's not," Filia snapped. She knew there was a rant waiting to leak out so she just let the pressure off. "It's like you started out with a dorky bowl-cut and let it get overgrown. I don't know why you'd possibly want to wear it like that. Unless you wanted to put everyone off their guard enough to think that no one who wears their hair in such a silly way could possibly be dangerous. And knowing you, that's probably why. Because if you honestly think it looks good then you're more deluded than you accuse me of being. Everyone thinks it's stupid looking!" She threw up her hands dramatically and looked around for help. "Right, guys?"

There was a long silence. Then Amelia piped up with: "Umm… to be honest, Miss Filia, we really don't think about Mister Xellos's hair that much."

"I don't either," Filia responded a little too quickly. "It's just stupid, that's all," she muttered quietly to herself, making eye-contact only with the ground.

For awhile there was no sound aside from the clomping of turf under six sets of feet. Then Xellos made a very ominous sound. It went like this: "Hmmm."

*****

Early that evening after the all-you-can-eat massacre known simply as 'dinner', Filia was enjoying some quiet time with a cup of tea at her own table by the window while Lina and the others negotiated for free dessert. The waiter wasn't buying that it was all their birthdays. More the sorrow for him.

"So, is there some sort of prize for getting the 'best hair' award?" Xellos asked, sitting down at her table uninvited, unwelcomed, and unwanted.

"You get your portrait in the end of the year student flier," Filia said through gritted teeth. "Now go away if you're just here to make fun of me."

"On the contrary, I was wondering if you might consider lending me your talents," he said.

Filia nearly choked on her tea. There was no way he was asking what it sounded like he was asking. "What?"

"You know," he prompted. "Change my hair."

She stared at him, mouth agape.

"I'd expect you to jump at the chance," he said in the face of her stunned silence. "Especially since it bothers you so much."

This didn't make sense, she thought wildly. Why would Xellos want to change his hair? As far as she was aware he'd had that dumb hairstyle as long as he'd been taking human form. That had to be thousands and thousands of years. In fact, the last things said at the War of the Monsters Fall before he massacred her people were probably: "Who's that guy with the stupid haircut?" "I don't know, but he looks like a momma's boy". And now he was going to change it just because it bothered her? Since when did he care what bothered her? Generally things bothering her was a point in their favor as far as he was concerned!

"If you want to change it, can't you change it yourself?" she asked, stalling while her brain reeled.

"I could," he allowed. "But I'd be changing it to my tastes, which you clearly disapprove of."

He had a point, but that only increased the feeling that she was being backed into a corner. "Why should I help you?" she asked sullenly.

"Wouldn't you be helping yourself?" he asked, exercising his tendency to answer questions with questions. "Considering that you hate it so much that it drives you to distraction."

"I'm not distracted," she grumbled in what was an outright lie.

"If you say so, Filia," Xellos said with a 'yeah, right' kind of smile. "But will you do it?"

Inside Filia's mind a schizophrenic battle was being waged over her next course of action. Voice A said: Do it. If you change his hair to a different style then it won't be as distracting to you, and boom presto: we get our sanity back.

Voice B said: Don't listen to Voice A, it just wants to touch his hair. This is clearly a trap.

Both good points. Perhaps she should tread lightly here. Perhaps she should think about this before she made a decision. Perhaps she should—

"Alright," she said.

*****

Filia had left the door to her room wide open, which probably betrayed more of her feelings about having Xellos in her room than she would've been comfortable with. Xellos was sitting at the desk with the mirror, tapping his fingers unconcernedly against the tabletop while Filia tried to get herself together as quickly and inconspicuously as possible.

She was going to get to touch his hair.

…I mean, she was going to get to change his hair to some less ridiculous style and therefore break whatever obsessive hold he had on her.

Right.

She wanted to take a deep breath to prepare herself, but there was no way that she could let him know what a big frickin' deal this was. So she just… reached out a hand (which was not shaking at all, no matter what it might have seemed like) and touched it.

FINALLY.

She ran her fingers through it and then raked her other hand down it. It was silky and smooth and slightly cool feeling just like she'd imagined it would be.

"Filia," he said after waiting several beats. "What are you doing?"

Don't panic. You're not doing anything wrong. There's a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" she snapped. "I'm styling your hair."

"…I just thought you might use a brush," he commented.

It— uh…

Huh.


"I don't have a brush on hand," she deflected.

"Yes, but you must have one somewhere in here," he pointed out. "It might have things easier."

She glared at him as though he was being difficult just for the sake of being difficult. Then she turned away to find her bag.

"Just a minute," she said grouchily.

Stupid Xellos and his completely reasonable expectations.

*****

She was brushing his hair with one hand and smoothing it down with her other hand. Not that she really needed to do this. Xellos's hair seemed to be magically tangle-free; which is very irritating to anyone with long hair who's ever been sick for a week and had to practically rip out their own hair to remove the knots. But she needed to buy some time. Even if this meant causing a freak-out some time in the future when she found his purple hairs amongst her blonde ones on her brush.

She'd gathered her various hair care items and laid them out on the table since Xellos didn't seem to think that her running her fingers longingly through his hair qualified as 'styling'. Pfft. What did he know! Wasn't she the expert here?

It felt like the scissors were staring at her. She really didn't want to have to use them yet.

But the scissors were the whole point, right? She was going to give him a new hairstyle. A less attention-grabbing one. Then she wouldn't have to dwell on his hair anymore. That was the reason she'd agreed to this. It wasn't just some cheap excuse to paw his hair.

But now she was having second thoughts… did she really want to do this?

Yes. Yes. She had to. Look, she'd cut it shorter and maybe angle the bangs or something. It'd look less weird. Maybe he'd even let her bleach it or something so it wouldn't be that eye-catching shade of purple color. Then everything would be okay. He'd look… normal. He wouldn't attract her attention. He…

He wouldn't be Xellos.

What a ridiculous thing to think, she chided herself. Of course he'd still be Xellos. Hairstyles don't make a person who they are. And anyway, that's not even his real form. His real form is as impersonal as things get. This is just… a costume he wears. His hair might as well be a hat that he can wear and discard at his leisure. He just looks how he wants to look.

…But maybe that makes it even more important. Because… because it's how he chooses to look so it reflects something about him. Because it's what he wants people to see. It's all part of a carefully crafted persona that might be completely fake but… well, it's someone he actually likes to be.

Maybe I don't want to take that away.

Stop it, she ordered herself. Look, even if cutting his hair somehow makes him… 'less Xellos', that's not a bad thing. Xellos is bad. Xellos could stand to be less… Xellosy.

She picked up her scissors with trembling fingers, which is always a bad sign from anyone cutting your hair. Xellos, however, seemed unconcerned. This was because he'd never learned one of the better, yet somehow less widely taught lessons from the Old Testament: Beware of women with scissors.

She opened the scissors with a scrape of metal on metal and brought them up to his hair about the level she planned to cut. Then she stopped; frozen; trying to level the expression on her face so he wouldn't see it in the mirror.

"What's the hold up?" he asked.

She grit her teeth so hard it hurt and tried to will herself to make the first cut. Once she'd started then she'd be able to finish. She tried to squeeze the handle on the scissors, but she couldn't seem to get her hand to move.

"I can't do it!" she shouted suddenly.

She threw the scissors point first with considerable force into the wall, where they lodged about two-and-a-half-inches into the plaster.

He turned around in his chair and raised an eyebrow at her in an expression that clearly said: 'Oh boy, Filia's really gone crackers this time' which she really didn't need at the moment. She was about to burst into frustrated, angry tears as it was.

"You want me to say it?" she demanded. "FINE! I like your stupid hair! I don't know why, and along with the schizophrenic conversations with myself it's probably just a sign that I need counseling. There's no sense in it, but there you go! I don't want you to change it! So just," she hesitated here, having reached the point where she still wanted to yell at him but was running out of things to yell, "Just take your stupid, distracting hair and GET LOST!"

Xellos surveyed her post-tantrum stance with the eye of a connoisseur. Then he slowly arranged his expression into a smug little smile that made Filia want to claw his face off.

"I knew I looked good," he said.
I am becoming a crazy person.

I mean, I've got another oneshot for Beloved Enemy's 100 Nights of Summer Writing Challenge. Join in the fun: [link]

Rating: T
Fandom: Slayers
Pairing: Xellos/Filia
Genre: Comedy/Romance

Themes Done So Far:
-Exorcism: [link]
-Tea Leaves: [link]
-First Kiss: [link]
-Guilty: [link]
-Dwelling on it
-Unoriginal Sin: [link]
-Game: [link]
-Terms & Conditions: [link]
-How to Impress a Woman: [link]
-Wolves and Their Prey: [link]
-Good Deeds: [link]
-Amusement Park: [link]
-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
Comments7
anonymous's avatar
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shishiyoukai's avatar
"Xellosy", a new adjective ahahahahaahahahaha!!!!
"I knew I looked good", XD ahahaha, you smug hot bastard!!!!
Skiyomi's avatar
XD It's a good word.

He's got self-confidence, I'll give him that :P
littlecloudflower's avatar
"Because it's what he wants people to see. It's all part of a carefully crafted persona that might be completely fake but… well, it's someone he actually likes to be."

I agree!!! :)

Also, Xellos is extremely deluded... But perhaps in the anime world, that actually counts as a good hairstyle. Good hairstyle in the anime world depends on the anime's ability to make them shiny, and Xellos' hair is VERY shiny. And so many characters have that hairstyle in anime. But it just looks stupid in the real world.
Skiyomi's avatar
Shininess is always a plus.

I don't know... it'd be funny if someone actually commented on it in the anime-verse. ...But the only one I think has done that is Martina and she's not exactly an unbiased party.
littlecloudflower's avatar
Yeah, it's hard to take Martina seriously...:D

I wish I had shiny hair, though...;)
Skiyomi's avatar
Yep. And she got to touch his hair! Filia would've been hideously jealous XD

You and me both. My hair sucks!
littlecloudflower's avatar
Yeah, I know! Anime hair is always so amazing and interesting...:D
anonymous's avatar
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