Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine. They belong to Hajime Kanzaka and a host of Japanese companies that I can't particularly remember at the moment. Also, if I screw some canon up, feel free to kick me over it, but I honestly can't remember this being gone into detail over in any source.
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Blind Within the Light

By Crystal Dawn Phoenix



Gourry leaned against the base of the large, shadowy oak, shielded from the midday sun. It was a warm, late spring day and the heat had begun to make him drowsy. Weary of traveling, he and Lina had decided to stop and take a short break.

Days like today made Gourry's mind wander even further than normal. They made him recall a long-distant memory. As his eyelids grew heavier, it began to creep back to him.

It had been hot, just like today. Only that day, Gourry had been busy practicing his swordsmanship in the field behind his parents' house.

Ma had gone to the river to wash clothes, and Pa was taking a nap on the front porch. The hollow 'tok-tok-tok'ing of the heavy, dull practice blade against the logs Gourry struck wouldn't have disturbed Pa's nap. Thus satisfied, he could practice as long as he wanted, or at least until Ma called him in for supper.

As he stopped to wipe the sweat from his brow and take a breath, Gourry thought he heard footsteps behind him. Immediately raising his guard, he swung about, leveling the practice sword at the intruder. His stance relaxed when he saw that it was only Pa.

"Oh, Pa, it's just you," he recalled saying, noting the hilt of the family sword that his father was carrying. The metal replacement blade wasn't fastened into it, though. That was rather odd. "Did you come to spar?"

The Swordsman of Light didn't immediately respond. Instead, his face turned up in a twisted sort of grimmace as he looked at his teenaged son. Gourry began to worry when he realized that the look on Pa's face was actually supposed to be a smile. There was something very wrong with him.

"I was your age once, too," his father began to mutter, "Don't think I don't know what you're thinking. You're going to try and take it from me. I won't let you do it! It's mine!" Gourry looked at his father, puzzled. What was he going on about? Gourry took up his defensive posture again. If Pa meant to fight him with the Sword of Light, there wasn't much he could do to defend, but he would try anyway.

"Pa?" he asked warily, "What's wrong?" He watched Pa mouth the words 'light come forth' as the blue blade sprang out of the empty hilt. Gourry instinctively took a step back to improve his footing. Pa was coming for him.

"I'll kill you before I let you have this sword!" Pa ranted, swinging down in a wide, clumsy arc. Gourry leapt to the side, realizing how lucky he was; Pa wasn't normally this sloppy. As he crouched and prepared to spring, the thought struck him that whatever was causing his father to act this way was also causing him to lose his focus. In so many words, the older Gabriev was deranged.

Gourry raised the blunt practice sword to defend against the next strike. As soon as he did, though, he realized it was a mistake. The blade made a sizzling sound as the Sword of Light seared it completely in two, leaving Gourry holding half a sword. That was going to make things a lot more difficult.

As Pa readied the blade for his final strike, Gourry decided to go for broke and lunged forward. If he missed, he would be dead; then again, if he did nothing he'd be dead, as well. The melted edge of the practice sword struck Pa's hand just before the Sword of Light came swinging down on Gourry. The light from the blade flickered and died as the hilt flew out of Pa's hand, skittering with a chink to the grass behind him.

Gourry watched as the older blonde sunk to his knees, cradling his injured and bleeding hand. He didn't appear to be going back after the sword, which Gourry decided was definitely a good thing. Instead, the older man began crying, his body racked with sobs. Finally, it struck Gourry that he knew what he was seeing.

When he was a small boy, no older than maybe six, he had asked his mother why Grandpa Gabriev had always been funny in the head. The old man never seemed to recognize anyone that came to see him; he always called Gourry by his father's name and nearly refused to acknowledge his son at all.

Ma's answer had sort of scared him at the time. She had told him that the Sword of Light had a history of causing its bearer to become unravled after so many years. She had said that Pa had to take it away from Grandpa to keep him from hurting people, that the power in it makes its owner act in ways they normally wouldn't and eventually go mad.

That's what it was. Tears forming in the corners of his eyes, Gourry sprang for the hilt. He grabbed it from the ground and ran from his father; if he didn't take it away from him, there was no telling what he'd try. Besides that, he didn't want Pa to wind up like Grandpa. Maybe he still had time before he went that far out?

"Gourry!"

Gourry's eyes opened with a start. He stretched his arms over his head, giving a mighty yawn. It had been a while since he'd had that dream. Did it mean anything?

"Gourry! Hey, Gourry!" Oh, someone was calling him! A white-gloved hand waved in front of his face, drawing his attention to the owner of the voice that had been calling him. A short, skinny redhead was bending over him, trying to get his attention.

"Are you just going to sleep all day?" Lina asked, standing straight and putting her hands on her hips, "Let's get a move on! I've heard the next town over this rise has some great restaurants and I'm hungry!" Gourry smiled back at her as he rose into another stretch.

"Yeah, let's do that," he replied, "Food sounds good right about now."

As his arms came to rest at his sides and he started down the hill after Lina, Gourry found his hand wandering to the hilt at his side to make sure it was still secure. There was no need to worry her with details of his family's history with the blade; in fact, he thought it might make her want to own it more, if only out of curiosity.

Lina didn't need to worry about anything like that, he thought. As a smile spread across his face, the dream was quickly forgotten.