Slayers - Game

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Literature Text

Theme #15: Game.


Xellos sat on the light brown sofa (with coral pink decorative pillows at either end) in the middle of Filia's living room and watched her flurry of activity with an expression buffeting between amusement, puzzlement, and slight annoyance. She was currently grunting as she heaved a hutch with pears painted on the side of it from one wall to the opposite wall and doing her best to ignore him all the while.

He sipped his tea in mild irritation. He'd had to get it himself too. Filia had never been a very good hostess. Informing her of that had done nothing to improve her manners. Apparently she was much more content to move display cabinets from one perfectly reasonable position to another than she was to pay the slightest bit of attention to her guest.

Filia wiped the sweat from her brow as she brought the hutch to a rest. Then she abruptly turned to face Xellos with a determined glare and her hands on her hips.

"Move," was all she said.

He looked upward as though he was weighing the matter. "No," he said. "I'm quite comfortable here if it's all the same to you."

"It's not all the same to me!" Filia thundered. "I'm trying to rearrange the furniture in here and you're just getting in the way."

"I don't see why you bother," Xellos said calmly, taking another sip from his tea cup. "There was nothing wrong with the way the room looked before."

"Oh please," Filia said scornfully. "What would a monster know about interior decorating?"

Xellos raised an eyebrow and wondered what a dragon would know about it.

"It really doesn't look any better to me," Xellos commented, looking around the partially rearranged room.

Filia looked around the room speculatively, the dreams of home improvement plans churning away in her mind. "It will when it's done," she said.

Xellos leaned forward. "Filia," he said, "every time I come here the furniture is in a different configuration."

Filia got this sort of look in her eye, like a recovering alcoholic caught with a bottle. "It's— I just…" she began weakly.

"Don't people trip over things with you constantly rearranging them?" Xellos wondered out loud.

"Not if they're cognizant of their surroundings they don't!" Filia answered in such a shrill, excuse-laden voice that Xellos was fairly certain he'd described an event that took place on a regular basis.

"Look," Filia said, as though she was loathe to admit something but was being forced to, "I just… well, when I've had a stressful day I just… like to rearrange the furniture, okay? Don't ask me why, but it makes me feel better."

Xellos thought he could see the pathetic little philosophy that brought this about. It went something like: 'I may not be able to control my life, but damn it I can still control my living room!'

"You clearly have way too much physical energy to expound," he said. "You need a hobby."

"There's nothing wrong with moving furniture," Filia said huffily as a crash from the other room signaled Jillas tripping over a footstool that hadn't been there a few hours ago. She steadfastly ignored it. "It's not like I'm in any danger of crushing myself with a wardrobe. I'm strong enough to handle it."

"Oh yes," Xellos said with a nasty little curl of his lip. "You dragons do tend to have a misplaced pride in your strength, don't you?"

"It's not misplaced!" Filia shot back. "I'm very strong! I've won the county arm wrestling competition for all three years that I've lived here."

"How impressive," Xellos commented in a tone that was snickering behind the bleachers. "What an interesting image that brings to mind," he added thoughtfully. "You, drunk in a bar at midnight, swindling ham-fisted sailors out of their hard earned money."

"It wasn't like that at all!" Filia snapped. "It was at the county fair, it was broad daylight, I was completely sober, and no money changed hands." She paused, thought for a moment, and then conceded: "There were ham-fisted sailors, though."

"And what did you win for this great accomplishment?" Xellos inquired.

"All-you-can-eat steaks from Tiberius's T-bone House in the village square," Filia said.

Xellos looked around her openly to her gluteus maximus. "I imagine that was quite a lot," he said.

She threw the first thing she could lay her hands on at him, which turned out to be a porcelain pony. Xellos saw her wince as it broke pointlessly on the wall behind him. That was not something she'd wanted to break.

He watched her as she got out the dust-pan and gathered up the remnants of the erstwhile pretty pony and shoveled them into the garbage, muttering angrily all the while. Unlike her, he knew that strength wasn't the most important thing. It was really about how you leveraged it.

He could see the pieces lining up…

"Of course," he commented carefully, "I can't really be sure you won honestly, can I?"

She straightened up immediately, turned around and scowled at him. "Are you daring to imply that I cheated?"

"No, no," Xellos said, waving away this accusation. "I just meant that it's not hard to imagine a bunch of muscle-heads deciding to be sports and let the girl win."

"They didn't let me win!" Filia exclaimed. "They might have said that afterwards, but that's just because they were embarrassed. I can beat anyone in this town easily!"

Xellos shrugged nonchalantly. "You couldn't beat me," he said certainly.

Filia's scowl gained new intensity. If she was being cool-headed, which was a rare but not entirely unheard of state to find Filia in, then she might have reluctantly accepted this as true. But she wouldn't now. Her pride was on the line and she was blinded by anger.

And sure enough she walked purposefully over to the table (previously on the left wall, but now neatly tucked in a niche by the window), sat down, leaned her elbow on the table, and held out her hand. It was like a bear claw, waiting to strike down a salmon, deer, or unwary hiker. She gave him a challenging look.

Xellos just smiled. "I don't think so, Filia," he said.

"Why?" she barked. "Scared you might lose?"

"No," Xellos said. "I'm so certain that I'll win that honestly it's too boring to be worth bothering."

"You were the one who said I couldn't beat you," Filia reminded. "You have to defend that."

"I don't have to defend anything," Xellos said unconcernedly. "But if you're really going to insist on this then it might work as long as we made it more interesting."

"Interesting?" Filia repeated guardedly.

"A game is always more fun with a wager," Xellos said, looking into his tea as he swished it from side to side as if he wasn't paying much mind to the conversation.

Filia glowered at him as though trying to figure out what he was up to. After coming up with fairly little she finally said: "What could you possibly want out of me?"

Xellos noted with interest that this wasn't merely a scornful statement. Oh, there was plenty of scorn in it. But it was definitely a question. As in, she really wanted to know what he wanted out of her.

"Nothing really," he said.

Filia gave a derisive snort.

Xellos broke his eye-contact with the tea, to peer at her. "Well, it's not as though there's any use in you."

Filia finally quit her pre-arm wrestling pose in order to cross her arms. "If I'm so useless," she shot back, "then why are you always hanging around here?"

Xellos grinned. "Because if I didn't show up, you'd have no healthy way to relieve all that frustration you're so good at accumulating and eventually rearranging furniture wouldn't be enough for you to deal with it so you'd snap and end up as a performer in some sort of underground mud wrestling competition."

Filia made a face at him. "You have a disgusting mind!" she declared. "And anyway, you're the cause of my frustration!"

"Well, we all know that," Xellos said cheerfully.

Filia's brow furrowed as though she wasn't entirely sure what he meant by that. But she didn't appear to be willing to spend much time dwelling on it, as she rolled her eyes and said: "What kind of wager did you have in mind anyway?"

Xellos could practically hear the gears clicking into place. "Oh, I didn't really have anything in mind," he said unconcernedly. "I can't really think of anything I want from you right now. What about you, Filia?" He looked up at her. "Was there something you wanted from me?"

Even from across the room, Xellos could see the giant, jittering shudder work its way up from Filia's toes. "No!" she yelled. "Why would I want anything from you?"

Xellos wagged an admonishing finger at her. "It was only a question, Filia. No need to get so excited."

He took a long drink out of his tea while Filia stewed in her anger at the table. "How about this," he finally said. "Let's make the bet be that the loser owes the winner a favor. That way it doesn't matter that neither of us can think of anything right now."

"A favor?" Filia repeated, suspicion-level sky-rocketing.

"Oh, nothing too extreme," Xellos assured her. "I wouldn't have you kill a baby or blow up a temple or anything. Nothing you'd never be able to bring yourself to do. Just… a favor when the time comes that it might be needed."

Xellos watched Filia's face as the flickers in her expression revealed her thought process. She was still suspicious. She didn't believe for a moment that he hadn't already lined up what he wanted her to do in his mind. And she was certain that she wouldn't approve of whatever it was. On the other hand, she realized the possible potential that having Xellos owe her a favor could have. She would do anything now to protect her adopted son, and in a world where dragons and monsters might one day decide to knock off the fledgling survivor of his race… well, having a chance for a favor from Xellos seemed like something to good to pass up.

And then there was the most important part. She'd issued the challenge. If she said no now then she'd be a coward.

"Fine!" she said, removing her glove, rolling up her sleeve, and once again getting into arm-wrestling position.

Showing absolutely no respect for her determination or getting into the spirit of the thing at all, Xellos strode lazily over to the table with his teacup in hand, set it down on the table, and only then did he put his gloved hand around hers.

"Count of three?" he asked. Filia nodded.

"One, two, three!" they said together.

Filia's arm quivered as she drew on the massive force of her dragon form, locked away beneath her human appearance, and slammed it against Xellos's arm.

Which. Didn't. Move. A. Centimeter.

She ground her teeth together and continued to push, hammering against her muscles to make them give out something more. As Xellos watched her with a faint smile that he knew was positively killing her, he saw that the thing that bothered her most was that he wasn't even trying.

To add insult to injury, he reached over with his other hand, picked up his tea cup, and took a drink as she continued in her tireless, but futile effort to topple his arm.

After a moment he saw her tentatively reach up her other hand and then pull it away.

"That's fine," he said. "Try it. I really don't mind."

She hesitated and then swallowed her pride and added her other hand. But even pushing with both hands she still couldn't beat him.

Xellos wondered vaguely how long she'd go before something got dislocated. But he was going to wait until her strength ran out before he made the winning strike. She had to learn that she couldn't win against him.

He watched as she winced, one eye closed in concentration while she continued to push. She wouldn't give up as long as there was strength left in her. She was breathing heavily and vocalizing her pained efforts. Her forehead was shiny with sweat, and her hands slippery against his gloved one.

She didn't even notice as he leaned forward, tilted his head, and put his lips against hers.

Shock poured off of her as her eyes flew open and the grip on his hand instantly weakened. It increased immediately when he pressed onward, as though she needed to hold onto him. As he raised the hand that wasn't holding hers to caress her cheek, she instantly let her face fall into it, as though too tired to resist.

They remained like that for awhile, kissing in the sunlight that filtered in from the curtain windows and onto the table (which really did look much better in the niche), their arms still frozen in positions of combat. Something like this probably wasn't mentioned in the World Arm-Wrestling Federation's playbook, but Xellos thought he had a pretty good argument that it counted as an improvisational distraction technique.

Xellos watched her intently as they pulled apart. She was breathless, weary, and unsure what to do next. Her eyes sparked with that captivating combination of guilt and lust. It was… a powerful thing to be able to put her in that state.

A thlunk sound drew Xellos's eyes down to the table. Both her hands lay over his, pinned to the table. He looked back up at her.

"I…" she began, barely able to get the words out. "I win."
Another entry for Beloved Enemy's 100 Nights of Summer Writing Challenge. Join the fun: [link]

Theme #15: Game.

Partially inspired by this image: [link]

And I *will* be continuing this one. I might not do it next, but I will get a follow-up in soon.

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: [link]
-Unoriginal Sin: [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]
© 2010 - 2021 Skiyomi
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shishiyoukai's avatar
you know what? your stories are so funny and well done even because you are capable of describing the characters so danmly close to the originals. I mean, your stories could be a slayers episode at all! your xellos is mischievous, smart, smug and funny as te original xellos and so filia's pride, overreacting and naivety, gourry's dumbness, lina's perspicasy and arrogance, amelia's... been amelia XD and zel's irony. everyone is perfectly balanced. I've read stories in which they were so far from the original characters that they didn't look like anymore. yours are true! in every sense XD good work!
Skiyomi's avatar
Thank you so much! Character is very important to me, so I appreciate that you feel like I'm pulling it off :)
shishiyoukai's avatar
"You, drunk in a bar at midnight, swindling ham-fisted sailors out of their hard earned money."
ahaahahahaah! oh! filia wins! ahahahaah, xellos, your technique became a double edge blade XDXD!!!
well, I want to read the sequel soon!
littlecloudflower's avatar
Just like Xellos to underestimate someone's strength and let himself be distracted! Ah, the irony...:D

I'll be looking forward to the sequel!!!
Skiyomi's avatar
:D Yep. Love it when Xellos gets pwned >:)!
littlecloudflower's avatar
Me too!!! Xellos should get pwned more!!! :D
FireDemonessJaganshi's avatar
Kiren201's avatar
Yeah, Xellos, perfect distraction technigue... that only works on you :D

Now I want to know what would Fillia want from him.
Skiyomi's avatar
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