Summer Nights - Just Because

Skiyomi's avatar
By Skiyomi
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Just Because You Can Do It, Doesn't Mean You Should.

Xellos's eyes blinked open slowly, as though the body he used to get things done in the physical realm wasn't quite as responsive as it usually was. Waking up and not knowing where he was was an unusual experience for him… so was waking up.

He concentrated on his surroundings. He was on a light-brown sofa in well-decorated (if a little froufrou) living room. It was an extremely clean space. In fact, the contrast between the unnecessarily clean living room and the somewhat messy kitchen with dirty dishes piled on the counter was very odd. He tilted his head to see that he'd been covered with a quilt. Several patches of the quilt featured kittens.

Oh dear… he thought as recollections began to emerge.

"It's about time you woke up," a voice complained.

Xellos turned his head to see Filia glowering at him from over by the mantle. She was holding a feather duster and ostensibly dusting the dust-free trinkets over the fireplace. Her body was tense, like she'd been waiting for something for a long time and now worried that it might have been better to go on waiting.

He sat up on the couch and touched his forehead gingerly. The fine chemical processing structures that he'd created the day before to properly enjoy alcohol seemed to be sloshing around as though preserved in death throes. It was a good thing that he didn't really need those structures, because he knew that they'd been severely damaged by last night's little… indiscretions. In short, alcohol was no longer fun.

"Well," he said with some effort as he fingered the quilt over him with his other hand, "this is extremely unpleasant."

Filia held her hands to her hips, one hand still clasping the feather duster. "A hangover is fate punishing you for drinking," she told him self-righteously.

"I was talking about your quilting skills," Xellos answered calmly.

She threw the feather duster at his head, which is, for the record, not a nice thing to do to someone who is hung-over. It was a mark of how bad Xellos was feeling that he didn't dodge.

"I think," Xellos said slowly, almost laboriously, as the feather duster fell on the floor in front of him, "that I've had enough of this." He made adjustments. The air shimmered oddly around him for a moment, like super-heated air on a desert horizon. He straightened up and looked more alert.

"What did you just do?" Filia asked suspiciously.

"Got rid of the alcohol," Xellos said simply.

Filia growled. "You can't just opt out of the consequences of your vile actions!"

"Yes," Xellos said, "I can. I just did."

That much was evident. "Well, it's not right," Filia insisted. "You think you can just get drunk and then waltz in here and mess everything up without so much as paying the penalty of a headache in the morning?! There is a child in this house for your information. You should be ashamed of yourself!"

Xellos made a determined study of his fingernails, which was difficult because he was wearing gloves. "I don't think I should have to change my behavior just because you can't grow up."

Filia took a minute on that one, then set her teeth into a grimace. Too bad she didn't have anything else to throw at him. "I was talking about Val."

"He at least has more of an excuse then you," Xellos said, visiting a smile on her.

Filia gave him a disapproving look. No one had the right to be that chipper the morning after bursting into their enemy's house in a drunken stupor and then collapsing. She approached him, and he watched her as though wondering what she'd do next. Then she reached down and pointedly snatched up her feather duster. She sat down on the recliner perpendicular to the couch.

She sat there for a moment, plucking idly at the duster, before finally saying: "I didn't think that you monsters could even get drunk."

"We can," Xellos said, swinging around his legs so he was facing her. He still had the quilt over him, which made him look very out of place. "We just don't have to."

Filia's brow creased. "Why would you want to get drunk if you don't have to?"

Xellos shrugged, not looking at her as he shook out the quilt and began folding it on his lap. "I suppose because I can."

That explanation cut absolutely no ice with Filia. She gripped the feather duster in her hand, but held on in case he did something else to make her want to hurl it at him that was worse. "That's no reason to do something!"

"Isn't it?" Xellos said, using patented deflection technique number one (respond to questions with questions); "Then why do you get drunk?"he asked, pressing on to patented deflection technique number two (pretend the other person is the one with the problem).

Filia scowled. His patented deflection techniques weren't anything new to her. "I don't get drunk."

"Oh really?" Xellos asked disbelievingly. "I've seen a few tell-tale bottles on high shelves where children's hands can't find them."

Filia made an indignant squawking sound. Xellos had no right to go through her pantry and pass judgment on her. "Those are just for cooking!" she explained.

Xellos gave her a sly look.

"Alright," she said harshly, "maybe occasionally when I've had a very bad day I'll… put it to non-culinary use. But it's not like I get wasted and come to your door lurching around and slurring nonsense!"

"That would be funny," Xellos commented, giving the drunken-Filia scenario an almost criminal amount of thought.

"You didn't seem like you were having fun," Filia pointed out. "You sounded upset."

One of those quick twitches crossed Xellos's face. It was the kind that always left Filia unsure as to whether she imagined it or not. "By you?" He let out a little 'as if!' snort.

Filia narrowed her eyes and leaned forward. "I never said by me." She gave him a puzzled look. "What could I possibly have done to upset you so much?"

"I suppose you just do it naturally," he said sourly.

"I was being serious," Filia said severely. "What did I say that hurt so much that you needed to get smashed to forget it?"

"You can't hurt me, Filia," he said, falsely as it happened.

"My 'pitying' you seems to hurt you," Filia struck back. She'd had all evening lying awake in bed and all morning waiting for him to wake up to mull over his strange performance. "But apparently that's okay because 'we're the same'."

"We're not the same," Xellos almost whispered.

"That's what I said; you seemed to have other ideas."

Xellos was quiet for a moment. It had all made more sense when he was slightly-or-more-than-slightly-as-the-case-may-be unhinged from reality. This idea that no matter how different they seemed that there was something about her that called out a fellow feeling… that they could understand each other in ways that no one else could.

"I was a little out of sorts as you might have noticed," he answered.

"Maybe," Filia said, "but that doesn't mean it came out of nowhere." She gave him a searching look. "What were you thinking?"

He got up abruptly, picking up his staff from where Filia had leaned it against the couch.  "Clearly I wasn't," his back said.

"You were!" Filia shot back indignantly, standing and moving toward him. "Maybe you didn't like what you were thinking but that doesn't mean it didn't happen!" She reached out and touched his shoulder. "Xellos?"

He turned around snatched her hand, but when he spoke next he sounded more tired than angry. "You're doing it again, Filia."

"What?" Filia asked, unsure as to whether she should take back her hand or let things lie. It felt very much like that brief moment when he'd touched her face the night before.

"Pitying me," he said, definitely sounding resigned.

"I'm not," Filia said, caught off-guard by this accusation.

"You are," he said heavily, "and you were. I can feel it."

"Well, maybe I am," she shouted, "but if I am it's just because you can't even manage to tell me what's going on without resorting to changing the subject or your stupid catchphrase or pretending this is all about me!"

"It is all about you," he said gravely, though he understood Filia's meaning.

"I'm not the one that's upset about something!" she yelled back. He raised an eyebrow and she added: "Fine. I am upset. But only because you started it."

"We are rather in tune to each other, aren't we?" Xellos observed with a small smile.

She very nearly stamped her foot. "You're changing the subject again."

"I'm not," he said. "Not really." He looked into her had-it-up-to-here-with-this-bullshit expression and sighed. He sank back onto the couch, still holding her hand so that she was obliged to sit next to him.

"Could you say that you'd be happy about being called a slave?" he asked her.

"That?" she asked incredulously. "Come on, you've said way worse things about me!" That was what her words said, but there was a prickle of guilt just beyond them. Xellos could taste it. It tasted better than the pity, but he still didn't like being on the receiving end of it.

He scratched his cheek in thought. "I suppose I have," he said.

"Don't just admit it so calmly like that!" Filia exploded.

"I thought you'd appreciate my honesty," he answered smoothly.

She scowled. "You're not honest. You tell the truth—most of the time—but that's not the same thing."

Xellos couldn't help but smile. Filia was more perceptive than most people would give her credit. That's why exchanges with her, while often leading to triumph for him, could easily end in such scenarios as him getting the bright idea to marinade his troubles in whiskey. What a troublesome girl she was…

She was looking down now, at his hand still holding hers—lightly, almost inviting her to let go. "And that's what was bothering you?" she asked quietly, as she let his words sink in.

"Don't feel too sorry for me," he warned: "it's not species-appropriate. Anyway," he added, with a shrug of his shoulders, "we're all governed by limitations… you as much as I, perhaps even more so. And don't fool yourself. There are very few things that I would change even if I had the power to."

She leaned toward him, eyes wide, surprised and watching. "…But there are things you would change?"

He increased the pressure on her hand for just a moment, perhaps more as a reminder that he was holding it than anything. "I suppose there's always a line," he said speculatively, "but it's rather sketchy as to where exactly it is. So I'm afraid I won't know until I've crossed it."

"And you're worried that you're going to cross it?" she asked. It must be true, she thought, or the idea of his freedom being restricted wouldn't have driven him to… to try out drunk.

He looked at her very seriously. "I'm going to cross it," he said. "That's the problem."

"But what will happen to you if you do that?" she asked. Surely Xellos's creator and master would do more than give him a time-out if he stepped out of line.

He rolled his shoulders back. "Hope that the line gets redrawn," he said simply.

She gripped the feather duster with the hand not being cradled in Xellos's gloved one, sliding the feathers idly against the base of the couch as she thought. That hardly seemed like a satisfying or secure way of looking at things. But maybe Xellos was valuable enough that he could get away with whatever small indiscretion was so important to him.

He let go of her hand and tapped the side of her nose playfully with his index finger. "But look at it this way," he said brightly, "for someone in my station to be able to hang around in some dragon hovel after a night's hard drinking without stirring up trouble seems to imply a more than comfortable amount of liberty."

She scowled at his finger, still in the air in one of Xellos's stock gestures. His serious to silly attitude was starting to annoy her. Not only that—her house was not a hovel!

"You don't know that," she shot back. "You haven't even reported in—after spending the night at the very nice house of a golden dragon no less!"

He withdrew his hand and looked thoughtful. "I hadn't thought of that," he admitted. He leaned against his staff and propelled himself off the couch. "I suppose I'd better go face the music then," he said in a voice that had a bit of a sigh in it.

He looked at her, looking at him, and perhaps her pity wasn't as terrible an experience as the first time.

"Oh, might as well," he said, "I'm in trouble anyway," and kissed her briefly on the lips before disappearing from the physical plane.

She brought the feather duster around in a heavy, inevitable arc, slicing the air where he'd been just a second ago with a more terrible force than a mere feather duster ought to carry.

"JUST WHAT KIND OF 'LINE' WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT CROSSING?!" she demanded of the still shimmering space where he'd disappeared.
Theme #42. Continuing from Totally Smashed: [link] which itself was continued from Clipped Wings: [link]

My first 3-part Summer Nights piece (though it was originally meant to be just a 2 parter). Some people wanted to see what the next morning would be like, so I was obliged to give it some thought.

I'd be proud of myself for managing to get something non-school-related written during dead week, but I think it's like how my dad accomplishes an endless amount of chores before he gets arround to working on taxes. Anything is more fun than working on taxes... or writing a postmodernist English paper as a completely random example. So I hope you enjoy it!

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: [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:
© 2011 - 2020 Skiyomi
anonymous's avatar
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werehogdog's avatar
The end of this was perfect now I want to know what line he wants to cross.
the4gotten's avatar
OMG he just did, didn't he?? XDDD
i loved the last line, i didn't saw it coming at all XDDDD
this one is wonderful, i love the follow-up's :iconchuuplz:
Skiyomi's avatar
the4gotten's avatar
you're welcome :la:
Zelswift's avatar
Oh My Gods.... *falls into a fit of laughter that wakes mazoku* THAT WAS AWESOME!! it makes me wonder weather or not Xelloss will get punished for it. I mean just think of the days ahead for Filia my gods she will be tormented! and in seeing that i think Zelas might reward him instead of punishing him. ohhhh you should follow up on ambers idea of Zelas turning him mortal for a week to *evil laugh* 'reward' him. all and all it was great!
Skiyomi's avatar
XD Thanks! Who can say what Zelas will do? After all, she's not exactly a stranger to alcohol.
Mayleef's avatar
Whole Xellos... *laugh*
anonymous's avatar
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