|The Pen is Mightier! (penismightier) wrote in chaotic_library,|
@ 2016-07-16 12:11:00
|Entry tags:||gourry gabriev, gourry x lina, het, lina inverse, multi-parter, pg-13, short story, yuuo, yuuo: slayers|
[Lina Inverse/Gourry Gabriev; PG-13] This, I Promise (Part 2)
Character/Series: Lina Inverse/Gourry Gabriev; Slayers
Notes: Click here for Part 1.
Title: This, I Promise
Word Count: 8928 this part, 14732 total
Summary: Her hometown was near the smack middle of the map of Zelfielia, so it was a couple more days' travel, and as both of their nerves got strung tighter as they approached her home, moments of privacy became more used for comforting snuggles rather than the product of hormones.
Her hometown was near the smack middle of the map of Zelfielia, so it was a couple more days' travel, and as both of their nerves got strung tighter as they approached her home, moments of privacy became more used for comforting snuggles rather than the product of hormones. She needed his strength and calm more than orgasms and love making.
She was certain her parents would welcome her home. Luna might be a problem. She had a bargaining tool, at least, but there might be an initial unsisterly reunion.
But more than that was if any of them would approve of Gourry. He was strong and handsome, sure, and she didn't think anyone could be more loyal than him, and they'd admire that. That wasn't in question. But her family was full of geniuses, and while Gourry had his own areas of genius, he wasn't exactly an all around type.
If a single one of them - even Luna -said anything against his intelligence or memory, she was going to go postal on them and then walk away for good. She wasn't going to let them insult the man she loved just for a few shortcomings. It wasn't like she didn't have a few they pretty much accepted.
(Nonsense. She was perfect in every way.)
As they neared her hometown, her footsteps slowed to almost a crawl, and with the buildings in sight she stopped all together and put a hand on her stomach.
Gourry stopped next to her. "What's the matter, Lina?"
"Just nerves," she said, trying to blow it off. She took in a breath, squared her shoulders and started all but marching into the city, navigating the streets from memory. Although many things looked very different than she remembered. She'd only been gone six years, what happened to all her favorite old restaurants and shops?
"Who should we look for first?" Gourry asked, taking in the sights without the twinge of confused nostalgia she was feeling.
Lina debated that question. "Well," she said, pausing to look around the busy streets. "A lot of restaurants have changed, so Luna might not be working at the same place anymore. We'll find my parents, first. They live on the northern outskirts of town."
"So we cut through downtown?" Gourry's nose was twitching, and she didn't blame him. Even though most of the places she remembered had been replaced by new businesses, they still smelled yummy and her stomach was growling at her.
"Yeah." She felt herself start to drift towards an all-you-can-eat country cooking restaurant despite herself, until she stopped and stared a sign. "What the hell? I wasn't even here when this place opened!" The sign on the door said "all you can eat" and under it, "(except the Inverses)"
"I think they know your name around here, Lina," Gourry said, staring at that sign forlornly.
Lina sighed. "Well, I was gonna say let's eat in town instead of imposing on my parents, but if that's how this town is gonna be, we'll just go hope Mom and Dad still eat like proper Inverses and have plenty of food around the house for us."
Gourry hurried to catch up as she walked away, or rather, stormed away. Stupid town. Some welcome for a hero native who'd saved the world more times than she cared to count, although if it'd get her some food, she'd start counting pretty damn fast.
"So your parents eat like you, too?"
She tried for a proud smile, but the signs on restaurants as they passed that all said "No Inverses" made that smile grim. "You should see the grocery bill. Sometimes I think we're the only ones keeping food places in business around here." She paused at another restaurant door with another sign. "But apparently, some places aren't very grateful for that. Stuck ups."
The trek through town was murder, so much food to be smelled and none to be eaten. Curses upon them all.
Her parents' home, though, seemed to be where it normally was, the front a magical store that sold Inverse-made talismans and enchanted weapons, god statues made of almost any conceivable metal. The business had been suffering when she left, but it looked like something had happened to change that, because the offerings in the window looked good.
The living quarters of the store were around back, with more inventory in the upstairs and the hall area that connected the business and the home. A peek in the window showed a customer talking to whichever Inverse was manning the counter. In the name of not losing her family a customer by upsetting things during a transaction, she grabbed Gourry's hand and led him around the far side, to where the family's front door was.
Nobody appeared to be outside, but the small stable that housed their horse- man, she was getting old -that pulled their cart into town when they went shopping was still where it was, and aforementioned old horse was the same one in the stable that Lina remembered. She let go of Gourry's hand to walk over to the stable.
"Hey, Cinnamon," she said, holding her hand out for the old horse to sniff. Once it looked like she was remembered, Lina put her hand on the horse's forehead, rubbing down the hair there before resting her own forehead there. She smiled, petting the hair around the horse's face lightly. "Little Lina's come home."
Cinnamon nickered, shaking her head before leaning her head forward to rest her chin on Lina's shoulder. She smiled, wrapping her arms around the horse's neck. "I missed you, too, troublemaker." She pulled back and wave Gourry over, who'd stayed back near the front door, leaving Lina to her reunion with the family horse.
At the invitation, Gourry walked over with long strides, not quite hurrying, but not exactly shuffling, either. "I didn't know you were related to a horse, Lina," he said.
She smacked his arm with the back of hers. "Don't be cute," she said. "This is Cinnamon. She's the horse we keep to help carry groceries home." Before he could say something dumb, she pointed to the cart. "She'd pull that, and Mom and one of us kids, usually Luna, would ride into town proper to pick up food for the pantry." She turned her attention back to Cinnamon, a wide smile on her face. She had no idea how happy she'd be to see her family- horse and all -before getting there. Even the idea of seeing Luna again was making her smile.
"She seems to have missed you, Lina."
Lina rubbed Cinnamon's forehead. "I missed her. I missed a lot of things here." She looked up at him. "Not that I'm ready to come back here and settle, But sometimes coming home isn't so bad. Luna shouldn't be angry at me anymore. I should visit more often." She looked at Cinnamon. "Is anybody home right now, Cinny?"
The horse's answer was a headshake and a pushy nuzzle against her hand.
"I don't have anything right now," she said. "I'll bring an apple later if Mom has any." She motioned towards the door. "Come on, Gourry, we'll see who's home."
Please let it be one of her parents who answers the door. You know, just in case her good mood is proven not to be a good one by an angry older sister.
She knocked on the front door that was more of a back door, with the shop up front, and stepped back and waited, counting the seconds. The longer it took, the more likely it was her mom or Luna. Her dad didn't know the meaning of the word 'sedate'. If there was a knock on the door, it was answered in a run.
"Coming!" her father's voice said from somewhere beyond the door, accompanied by quick, hard steps across wooden floors that Lina had a feeling had just been mopped and Dad had just tracked something on.
The door opened in a rush and her father, looking older than she remembered, but younger than his actual age, looked up at Gourry, before finally realizing there was another person there whose head only hit Gourry chest-high.
"Lina! Lina, baby, you've come home!" Her dad, a very large man that was built like he might've given Gourry a run for his money in his youth, yanked her up into a hug, picking her up off her feet. "Meg! Meg, our little girl's come home!" he called back into the house without letting Lina go.
"Dad, you're smothering me," she said, turning her head against his chest to unquish her face from him and maybe get some oxygen in her lungs.
Her father let her down, but kept a hand on her shoulder. "Dear!" he called back into the house. "Hurry, Lina's home and she's brought a boy home!"
Lina resisted the urge to facepalm. Her dad had been waiting for she and her sister to grow up and bring home potentials for years.
"I'm coming," her mom said from inside. "Don't be so impatient, unless she's dying."
"She's not, but I might be if you don't hurry up!"
Lina glanced up at Gourry. Gourry gave her a look entirely too amused for his safety and shook his head. No matter what, unless he was called on, he was staying out of things.
Probably for the better, but some bodyguard.
"You're melodramatic," her mother said, finally joining them at the door. Her normally stern expression softened into a smile like the sun had come back from stormy weather and pulled Lina into a hug. "Oh, we've missed you around here," she said. She- unlike Lina's father -was wise enough to know when to end a hug and do the introductions thing when someone new was around. "So, this must be your bodyguard that stories of the trouble you find include. Gourry, right?"
"That's right, ma'am," Gourry said. "Gourry Gabriev." He held out his hand.
Her mother took it first, just barely beating out her father's enthusiasm. "Meg Inverse. It's a pleasure to meet you."
While her father and Gourry made introductions to each other, Lina's mom looked at her. "So what trouble brings you here?" she asked, voice down to not talk over the men and interrupt Lina's father's good mood.
Lina shrugged. "Not really trouble. We need a favor from Luna, if she's not still out for my blood, and it was time to take him home to meet you guys."
Her mother took her arm and took her a few steps away from the men. Gourry looked at them, but when her mom waved her hand at the men, her dad took the hint and occupied Gourry with unbreaking conversation that was entirely one sided.
"How long?" her mother asked.
"How long what?" She hated it when her mother got vague like that. It was obvious which parent which daughter took after, and her mother was far more compatible with Luna than Lina.
"How far along are you? Do you need help?"
Lina turned about thirty shades of red that she could count just from the heat in her cheeks. "I'm not pregnant, Mom, for gods' sakes. I have a favor to ask of Luna and I wanted to introduce my fiance to you guys. I mean, if you hadn't wanted to meet him before we went to Seyruun to try to con a big wedding out of our friends, Prince Phil and his daughter, Amelia."
Her mother straightened, letting go of Lina's arm. "We know you're friends with the royal family, no need to brag," she said. She glanced over to where Lina's father still had Gourry trapped from coming to Lina's rescue. Then she smiled. "Fiance, hm? Good. One of my daughters had better marry and give me grandbabies before I turn sixty."
Goddamnit, there was that mention of babies again. "Mom, after this, we're hitting the road again," Lina protested. "We'll come home to settle eventually, but there's too much to see out there still!"
Her mother drew in a deep breath, looking vaguely disappointed, and put her hand on Lina's shoulder. "I'm holding you to that, dear. Come on, let's rescue your fiance from your father before he gnaws off his own leg to get away."
"Good to hear that Dad's the same as always."
"Other than finally bringing home a man, Lina, it doesn't sound like you've changed any, either," her mother said, then cleared her throat once they had rejoined the men. "Dear, that's enough. Let's let Lina introduce us to her fiance inside. Go see if Luna's still busy with customers, or if she can be spared."
"Fiance?" Her dad looked ready to bust into another rambling and enthusiastic monologue like the one that had kept Gourry busy. Fortunately for Lina's comfort and Gourry's sanity, her mother headed it off at the pass.
"Dear? Luna. Now."
Gourry looked reluctant to enter the house, even upon invitation, and Lina had to grab his hand and drag him in. He reluctantly ducked under the door frame and politely closed the door behind him. "Is he- is he always like that?"
Lina's mother smiled. "Sometimes. Usually when I ask him to distract someone for me. I had a question for Lina that wasn't just yet your business."
Considering that if Lina was pregnant, it would most certainly be Gourry's business, that almost didn't make sense, but her mother had an old-fashioned streak in her that the women discussed these things before talking to the men in the family who were not in the know. Which meant her father, mostly.
Her father returned, energy levels back down to something resembling normal, and stepped to the side, arms outswept to show off Lina and Gourry to Luna, who'd followed him from the store.
Lina ducked behind Gourry and only just peeked out from behind him. "I did what you said," she told her sister in surrender.
"The world's still here, so I noticed," Luna said. "You may live for now."
'For now' was ominous, but Luna also had their mother's dry sense of humor, so it was possible that the 'for now' was a joke meant to tweak Lina's nerves. She wasn't sure if she should assume that yet or not, but just to be safe, she decided to tiptoe until Luna explicitly stated that Lina had been forgiven for showing her off naked to half the boys in the city.
"Luna, don't be a stick in the mud," their father said. "Your baby sister's home! And she brought a fiance with her!"
"And a favor to ask, unless I heard the rumors wrong," Luna said, raising an eyebrow in Lina's direction.
"Uh, maybe a small one. But um. Yeah, also fiance." She shoved Gourry forward. "Luna, meet Gourry. Gourry, meet my older sister who ordered us to save the world."
Gourry flailed, steadied himself, then offered his hand to Luna. "Nice to meet you."
Luna smiled at him and shook his hand. "And to you, future Mister Inverse."
Gourry frowned. "Inverse-Gabriev. We're sharing names."
Luna looked around him at Lina. "You're sharing your name?"
Lina shrugged. Luna's question had been asked in a casual manner, with no sign of a threat for not maintaining the family name. "Well, we're kind of an undeclared business of Inverse-Gabriev Bandit Killers, so we may as well stick with it. Besides." She looked up at Gourry, her nerves relaxed enough since knocking on the door to give him more than a passing glance. "His name has a good legacy, too. I can't take that away from him."
Gourry opened his mouth, paused, then apparently decided on something else to say. Probably something smarter to say. "I've got a few good Gabrievs behind me," he said. "We're all swordsmen and get into the kind of trouble Lina and I get into together."
"Sometimes with help," Luna said, flashing her sister a smile.
"I was trying to stay out of trouble that time," Lina said.
"You're an Inverse on the road, you had to be in trouble," her mother said. "Enough, you two. Charlie, be a dear and go close down the store for the day. Luna, will you please start dinner? I can hear Lina's stomach from here."
"That was actually mine this time, Missus Inverse," Gourry said, rubbing the back of his head. "Lina's is only sometimes louder than me. I'm bigger than her."
Her mother studied Gourry while her orders to the other two Inverses were followed. "Let me guess, you eat like Lina. Please say there's at least some manners with you?"
"Before I met her and she started stealing my food while I was eating, yes, ma'am."
Missus Inverse gave Lina a sharp look. "How many years did I waste teaching you manners?"
Lina toed the ground, an instinctive response to Mother Inverse scolding her. "I was doing okay on my own. Then the jellyfish brains over there joined and we both started stealing."
Gourry looked aghast. "I did not start that."
"You did too."
Lina's mother sighed, holding out her hands to separate the two. "Great dragon lords, there's two of them in existence. Lina, you found the right man. But." Both Gourry and Lina went stone still at that firm emphasis. "In this house, you will show manners, and there will be no stealing of food. You can play that game all you want in restaurants or wherever you are when you eat, but not here."
"Yes, ma'am," the engaged pair said in tandem.
Her mother smiled. "Ah, that's nice to hear. To be listened to by all sides. If you're that in synch already, you'll make a fine couple, and parents someday." She gave them both a look. "I want grandbabies. You don't get out of it."
Gourry, in contrast to Lina's vaguely uncomfortable reaction, gave her mother an easygoing shrug. "Someday, I guess," he said. "Lina and I will wanna settle down eventually. Right?" He looked at Lina.
Usually Lina loved the spotlight. Standing in her mother's living room, talking with her fiance about settling down and having children was not the spotlight she preferred.
But you know what? She was the Inverse heiress. Luna was always going to have to put her duty to the gods above something like a husband and children. Lina had that freedom, that put the duty of carrying on the Inverse name into the next generation on her, and the Inverse family was a damn fine family and one that was an honor to carry on.
Besides, she'd make a damn good mom someday and she knew it. "Yeah," she said, practically puffing up her chest. "Someday. There's still too much out there to see though. The outer world doesn't interest me, but I haven't seen everything of our world." She gave her mother a bright grin. "You know that was always my dream."
Her mother smiled. "It was, and you've made us mostly proud with it. Now come on, let's go sit at the table while your sister cooks. I'll send your father to help her."
Gourry looked between the two Inverse women. "Um, can we talk to Luna for a minute, actually? I have a favor to ask, and-"
"And you can't wait to get back on the road," the elder Inverse woman said. "I know. You can ask her after dinner. You'll need to stay the night somewhere before leaving again, and Lina's room is still up there. You'll stay here."
Gourry gave Lina a panicked look. Her mother had specified only one room for them. Which made room for Lina's question for her mother.
"Gourry, go help Dad and try not to sample everything. I wanna talk to Mom."
Gourry studied her a moment. "All right, Lina." If he didn't know exactly what Lina was going to be asking her mother, he had an even worse memory than Lina thought, and she couldn't be that wrong in her assessment after all these years.
"The table, dear," her mom said once Gourry had followed the early hints of the smell of food to the kitchen.
Lina headed into the dining room with her mother, just catching sight of Gourry's back as he reached the kitchen and started leaning over everyone's head to try to find a place to stick himself without stepping on Inverse toes. He knew better than that, even if he still did it. Because he was an idiot with tapioca for brains sometimes.
But he was her tapioca brain, so she could put up with his bouts of stupidity.
"You came back for more than just introductions and a favor from Luna," her mother said once they were seated, folding her arms on the table and leaning forward expectantly.
Lina reclined back in her chair, putting a bit of thinking space between her and her mother. "Yeah. Did you and Dad ever hide your relationship when you were on the road?"
"Not particularly," her mother said. "Why, are you two?"
Lina took in a deep breath so she didn't sound too dejected when she answered "yeah. Our friends don't even know."
Her mother looked like she was desperate for a cup of tea to drink during this very Serious Talk. "Why not? You see them more, they should've found out before us."
Lina shook her head. "Because we keep finding trouble. Big, save the world sort of trouble. And it's kinda my fault. Too many creatures from the evil race know about some of the spells I can do, and even if they didn't, they flock to me like seagulls to the ocean anyway. Then there's the mundane idiots who want a name for themselves."
"That's the Inverse curse," her mother said. "Your father and I had similar problems. Between his swordsmanship and my magic, everyone wanted to say they took out the Inverses. We became boring once we went into retirement."
Lina snorted. "I don't think Gourry and I will get that freedom."
"I hope you do someday, sweetheart," her mother said. "We planned on leaving the store to you."
Her original direction in the conversation derailed. "Me? Why me? Luna doesn't go anywhere."
"She also can't make magical talismans like you. She doesn't have the same knack for magic that you do, and someday, she's going to be called to her duty, and the home's going to fall to you. Now, if you don't want it, you can sell it, but since you've mentioned wanting to settle someday, it's here for you, ready to go."
Lina stared down at the table. "Well, yeah, we wanted to someday." She glanced up at her mother. "Just don't make someday any day soon, okay? You and Dad stay healthy."
Her mother laughed. "Oh, Lina, we're a long way from putting a foot in the grave. Just remember who taught you your tricks. Your father and I handled ourselves on the road just fine, we don't need you girls to treat us like we're old when we're not." She reached out and patted Lina's hand. "It's so good to see you, dear. Now, you had a problem you were addressing?"
Lina took a second to get her thoughts back on track and rubbed her forehead. "We're already liabilities to each other," she said. "That's already been used against us, and we weren't even involved yet. If we go around as a married couple, that's going to just invite trouble. Someone will go after one or the other of us to get to the other. I can't risk him. I almost lost him once, and it almost ended very badly."
Her mother rested her chin on the back of her laced fingers. "If the rumors we've heard about you two are true, most people already think you're a married couple, or otherwise involved." She tilted her head forward. "Instead of worrying about something that might happen anyway, be honest about yourselves. Especially to your friends. How hurt are they going to be that you've been lying to them all this time?"
Her mother had a point. A lot of points. Lina'd heard those rumors and both she and Gourry had been quick to try to dispel them when they came up, but really, what was the point? It was already assumed, anyone else wanting to cause trouble out there the way Phibirizzo had wouldn't have to know for certain or not anyway. So why hide? Lina and Gourry's own paranoid natures- especially Lina's, if she were honest -were just getting in the way of things. She felt like they'd just been being silly instead of actually thinking.
She just hadn't been able to see anything but Gourry getting hurt because of her to be able to be honest.
She sighed. "I know," she said. "It's just been done once already, we didn't feel we should poke the hornet's nest."
"If whatever was done already has you this scared, it must've been bad," her mother said. "Tell me about it?"
Lina fidgeted in her seat. "I'm not sure I want to talk about it right now, Mom."
Her mother's eyebrow raised."That bad? Which Evil Race lord got to you?"
"How'd you know it had to do with them?"
"Anything bad enough to scare you like this had to involve someone that high. And while there aren't any rumors about whatever this event was that I've heard, I'm going to go with the Hellmaster. The border of the Desert of Destruction went down a bit over a year ago, so someone took him out, and I don't know anyone strong enough to do it but you."
Lina stared down at the table, hands in her lap, trying to keep her hands still. That whole mess still was a jumble in her head. It didn't stop her from enjoying time on the road, or from being willing to take on big bads, but it made her scared of losing Gourry and that was something that she couldn't stand going through again.
"Yeah, it was him," she finally answered her mother.
"Lina?" Her mother waited until Lina was looking up at her before continuing. "I'm going to give you some important advice. If you two haven't talked about this beyond whatever paranoias it left you two with, you need to change that. And more importantly, if it's already happened, then don't worry more than you need to. It can obviously happen, regardless of if you're public or not. So enjoy each other's company without tip-toeing around in the dark. Just do me a favor?"
"I'm sure the royal family of Seyruun is going to want to give you a big royal wedding, and we won't be able to attend. So exchange your rings here. Let us get to see your first wedding."
A wedding. Not the big production where she stood in the spotlight like she wanted, and which she'd get, just as certain about that as her mother was, but something nice and quiet and with family. To come home to introduce her fiance and leave a married woman.
A married woman. That was a phrase she hadn't thought would actually apply to her any day soon for years. She was too young, too star struck, too busy. But she was eighteen now, and had a fiance and her mother wanted to see her get married. She knew her father would want to, and Luna would probably destroy her if she didn't do something to celebrate with her.
Well, she was an adult, and her mother was right, she and Gourry were both being too much on the paranoid side, and while her mother hadn't needed the details to guess, she'd pointed out that their paranoia was simply a reaction to the mess Phibrizzo had made.
Well, screw you, Phibrizzo, you're not keeping this girl from getting what she wanted.
Thanks, Mother Inverse, for the kick in the pants she needed.
Lina rubbed the back of her neck. "We don't actually have rings to exchange, Mom," she said, going back to the subject at hand. "We haven't really looked, but we hadn't planned on exchanging anything before leaving here."
"Then you'll exchange your father's and my rings. That's what we had planned for you when you were a little girl. These rings were going to go to you and your future husband, so I won't hear any protests from you."
Her mother still knew her. Lina had been about to protest. She'd already thought her parents would do that, but she couldn't just say 'okay! gimme', not with her parents. Anyone else, sure. Anyone else stupid enough to offer her something that valuable got what they deserved. But her parents were offering part of her inheritance to her, in exchange for getting to see her and Gourry wearing them as a married couple.
The idea actually sat well with Lina.