A late happy New Years

*Disclaimers* All Slayers characters are the proterty of Kamisaka Hajime, Araizumi Rui, Kadokawa Shoten, T.V. Tokyo and SOFTX.

"Lina-san!" A cheerful, very elegant voice stops me in the middle of the streets of Seyluun. It was three weeks after new years when I saw her again. Long straight black hair, a very elegant face, and clothing of a priestess, Shilfiel Nels Raada.

"Shilfiel!" I say in delight and run over to her. We shake hands and say our hellos before we decide to go to someplace warm and talk.

After the fight with Dark Star, Zel, Gaury, Xelloss, and I all took Amelia back to Seyluun, and for a while Zel stayed but left again. Xelloss left about a month ago, and Gaury and I are still here. Gaury has been saying that we should go over and say our New Yearís greetings to Shilfiel, who lives in this city with her only living relatives. I for no reason have been putting it off, other than for the fact that I was overly tired from working as Phil-sanís personal body-guard, and as a trade merchant for Seyluun.

"You seem to be happy." I comment first thing when we sit down in a restaurant. The waiter than comes over and we both order a cup of tea. I had just come from having a huge lunch and arenít so hungry.

"Why yes! Lina-san, Gaury-sama has finallyÖ" She then trails off and looks at me as if she isnít sure. Her eyes search mine, as if they are seeking for approval inside of me.

"What Shilfiel?" I take a sip of my tea that had just come and smile. Shilfiel seems a little uneasy, but looks straight into my eyes.

"Gaury-sama, has finally started to return my feelings." I jump out of my seat and grab her arms.

"Thatís great! Finally Gaury noticed how lucky he was to have a girl like you after him!" Shilfiel looks at me surprised, and then turns into a smile.

"I am so glad you are do not think I took Gaury-sama from you. Gaury-sama was afraid you might be hurt in some way since he said you were down a little these days." I sigh and bring my chair next to her.

"Shilfiel, I honestly donít understand your taste in men, but Gaury is nice, and I can see why he and you were concerned. But Shilfiel, trust me. I am happy for you and Gaury as I am for Filia and Valgarv, and Zel and Amelia." I smile as I remember how Filia had flown all the way over here just to show us the Ďnewí Valgarv. And how before Zel left he promised Amelia he would come back for her. "Iíve just been very tired this past month, nothing else." Shilfiel nods and smiles.

"Lina-san, where did you get that necklace?" She asks indicating the necklace I received from Xelloss on Christmas. I made a habit out of wearing it everyday.

"It was a present from someone. I donít know where it came from." I reply honestly, tracing the delicate gold charm. "Well, seems like your year is off to a great start!" I tease her trying to change the subject. She blushes and tries to tell me that from here on is the hard part and I agree saying that from now on she has to worry about Gauryís stupidity.

After hours of constant teasing, Shilfiel said that she had to leave to go to work. She said that where she and Gaury would settle down would only be Sailarg, and that until Sailarg is in good shape again, I should continue traveling with Gaury. All I said was that I guess I should continue traveling with him, and left.

Once, safe inside my quarters at Seyluun castle, I walk over to my closet and take out the jacket I forgot to give back to Xelloss. His last words echo in my head. ĎGood-bye my love.í I could remember them clearly as ever. His warm hand, smiling face, everything of him, everything that happened that evening.

"I hope he didnít mean the good-bye, as that I would never see him again." I whisper into the jacket. I hold onto it, and slowly let sleep consume me.

"Lina-san, Lina-san.." A voice sweetly repeated my name. I slowly opened my eyes, angry that someone would ruin my comfortable sleep, I am about to growl at them and am surprised to find the face staring into me.

"XELLOSS!" I jump out of the bed so that I can look straight into him. Sure enough, there is that priest that I spent my first Christmas eve with. "Am I dreaming?" I ask in a very faint voice.

Xelloss shakes his head and sits down next to me. He extends his hand which plays with my hair. I look up at him, unsure what his intentions are for suddenly appearing. He just smiles at me. "What are you doing here?"

"Do you not understand? I came here to see you." He whispers into my ear, slowly coming closer to me.

"Wha-what does that mean?" I back towards the end of the bed, embarrassed by the closeness between us.

"It means, that I came to get my jacket back." "Huh? Oh, oh yeah your jacket! Sorry, here!" I say and hand him his jacket. He is still right next to me and I can feel myself blushing from ear to ear.

"That is not the only reason I came though." He then caressís my cheek. I jump up in surprise for a second before surrendering to the nice touch which sends shivers down my spine.

"Why did you come then?" Xelloss smiles even more at my question, he moves his hand from my face and looks at me straight in the eye.

"I didnít mean to come, I knew I shouldnít come, but the moment I thought of how you were doing, I was here." I couldnít look away, Xelloss had me under a spell. "I canít seem to forget you no matter how hard I tried. Lina-sanÖ" Xelloss stops for a while, his eyes looking worriedly into mine. "Like I said on Christmas eve, I love you. What do you think of me?"

I didnít know how to answer that question. I couldnít seem to think, it was as if my mind went blank. "Xelloss, I, I am very flattered." I was ready to kick myself for sounding like Filia. "I..I.. IÖ" Lina Inverse what are you doing!? I yelled at myself.

"Do you love someone else? Like Gaury-san?" Xelloss asks, searching my eyes to try and find a trace of hope.

"NO!" I deny it. "I donít know how I feel about you but I know I donít love Gaury, or at least the way Shilfiel loves him! True, Gaury is very important to me, and I have some kind of love for him but that is more like a brother I never had!"

"Then, does that mean there is a chance for me to be loved by you?" He looks at me as if he really needs the answer.

"Well, um, yesÖ. But I donít understand the Ďloveí that you are talking about! I donít understand the difference from the love Amelia feels towards Zelgadiss to the one Filia feels towards Valgarv to the one I feel towards Gaury!" I explain. "I donít mean to hurt you but I really donít!"

"Lina-san, please calm down. I understand what you are saying" He caressís my cheek again.

"I can say one thing though. I like it when you caress my cheek and hug me. It calms me down a lot." I tell him. "Can we beÖ kind ofÖ. More than allies, comrades, but not exactly the Ďcoupleí that Zel and Amelia, Shilfiel and Gaury are. I donít want to lose you. I can only tell you that for now. As time goes on, Iíll probably be able to figure out what the difference in the Ďloveís are. Can you wait that long? Itís probably going to be really long." I look up into his eyes. Now, itís me thatís searching for the trace of hope in his eyes.

"Lina-san.. that is what I would ask for. I donít want to push you into something you arenít ready for, I have seen the consequences. Lina-san, if that is all I can have for now, I am satisfied with it." He then laughs and hugs me. "Happy new years.. sorry Iím lateÖ" He whispers.

"Now I need to yell at you for two things." I laugh and tell him. He just looks straight into me smiling. "XellossÖ DONíT YOU EVER DARE LEAVE ME TO GO HOME AGAIN! AND DONíT YOU EVER DARE BE LATE!!!!!" Xelloss laughs out loud, pushing me deeper into his chest.

"No, Lina, I wonít do that again." His whisper echoed in my head for the rest of the day.