Disclaimer: This might get ANGSTy. Just a forewarning. Other than that, I don't own any of these characters, nor have I ever claimed to. Nuff Said.
Feedback: So mote it be! ~ SailorN1@aol.com
by Crystal Dawn Phoenix
Heavy footsteps echoed down long hallways. A man in a black cloak held his side, grimacing. There was liquid black oozing through his fingers, and while pain was usually something he enjoyed, this wasn't that kind of pain.
"I see you've been injured," a woman's voice floated down the hallway at him, "But I take it you succeeded." Cigarette smoke wafted along with her voice. He smiled gravely.
"Yes, Lord," he replied, grinning wickedly, "You won't be troubled with that business anymore. I've taken care of it." There was a noise like ice cubes clinking together in a glass.
"How long will this wound require to heal?", she asked expressionlessly.
"No more than a few days," came the response, "I'm not as young as I once was, you know."
* ~ * ~ * ~ *
"Fire, fire, cleanse this space," a young woman chanted, holding a burning candle up, "Spirit of fire, light this place." She walked clockwise around a pentagram drawn in white chalk on the floor. The room was lighted only by the candle she held and the full moon streaming in through a window on the east side of the room. The blonde sat the candle down on the north end of the circle and took up an expensive looking wine glass that was laid out there as well. "Water, water, cleanse this space," she continued, flicking water out of the glass with her fingers, "Spirit of water, wash this place." She returned to the northern edge of the circle and picked up a holder with incense burning in it. She took that around the circle as well, followed by a small clay bowl of earth. When she was done with that, she looked over the tools she'd gathered and placed in the circle. Double bladed dagger, amethyst chalice full of wine, sage incense, a small broom. Yes, everything was there that she would need.
She brushed her long blonde hair away from her bare shoulder. She walked clockwise to the northernmost edge of the circle, then picked up her dagger, drawing a pentagram in the air with it. "Spirits of the North," she said quietly, trembling, "I summon, stir, and call thee up." She walked to the east, then the south, then the west, repeating the incantation for each direction as she went. Now was time for the real ceremony to begin.
The blonde knelt down, placing the amethyst chalice in front of her knees. The moonlight reflected brightly off the wine in the glass. She looked into it, then caught her breath, steeling her nerves. "Black light," she chanted softly, "Breath like ice, breathe your chill down into me." An ethereal breeze began to stir around the circle. "Black fire," she continued, shakily, "Black angel, chaos bringer. Slayer of dragons, slayer of men." She took the dagger in her left hand and slashed the palm of her right hand with the blade, letting her blood drop into the chalice and mingle with the wine therein, then repeated the action with the other hand. "I, Filia ul Copt, pledge my blood that you may come forth," she said breathlessly, "Xellos Creed!" She brought the dagger down hard into the chalice, shattering it into splinters.
* ~ * ~ * ~ *
"There is no new work for you currently," the smooth female voice reasoned, "I see no trouble with you resting. But do be more careful next time." She was answered with a smirk.
"Always, Lord Beastmaster," he replied. He was about to simply vanish back to his own chambers when he heard some familiar words echoing in the back of his mind.
'Breathe down your chill into me,' they whispered to him, 'Black fire, black angel, chaos bringer...'
"What is it?", she asked, noticing the far-away look in her priest's eyes. He stopped listening to the familiar voice for a second to look at her.
"A summoning," he replied quietly, "I'm being summoned." The look on his master's face didn't show pleasure.
"Very well," she said, begrudgingly, "You are obligated to go, and so you shall." He couldn't hear her, though. The voice in the back of his head grew louder.
'I, Filia ul Copt, pledge my blood that you may come forth,' it spoke, 'Xellos Creed!' The pull was irresistible. It was something he was bound to obey, whether he wanted to or not.
* ~ * ~ * ~ *
Filia felt herself fall forward to the floor below her. She rested, stomach down, watching the wine from the shattered goblet congeal with her own blood. The floor suddenly became so cold, and she wanted to move, but she knew she was entirely spent from the ritual. The gelatinous maroon-colored liquid moved like it had a will of its own, and in a manner of speaking, it did. It reached the center of the circle, then rippled and reformed until a dark shadow emerged from it. Filia watched in awe. It had actually worked. There was now a man standing in the middle of the circle, clad in a long, black cloak, and with shoulder-length purple hair, holding a staff. Filia watched helplessly as he knelt down and took her slashed palm and held it facing outward. She felt a pressure over the cut, then realized that he was licking it. She could no longer feel pain from it. In a matter of seconds, the wound had vanished altogether. He took the other hand and did likewise.
When he was finished, Xellos sat down, cross-legged in front of Filia. He put his hands under her shoulders and pushed her up off the floor into a sitting position. "Well, now," he said, smiling a little, "This is quite a greeting." He regarded Filia, who was trembling slightly, her long blonde hair falling over her bare shoulders to cover her naked chest. She was entirely nude. Her arms moved shakily to cover her body. "So tell me," Xellos remarked calmly, "Since when do good little Golden Dragons do black magic summonings?" Some of her senses came back to her enough for her to reach out of her circle and grab a robe she'd brought with her.
"I was lonely," she said, quietly. His eyebrows went up.
"And for that, you summoned the priest of a Dark Lord?", he asked in disbelief.
"You're the only person I know anymore who's still alive," she said quietly, "All our old friends... well, companions... Have long since passed away." He considered this.
"Yes, it has been a long time since we've traveled with Lina, hasn't it?", Xellos reasoned, "More than a century." Filia huddled into the robe. "Weren't you raising Valgaav, though?", Xellos asked, "What became of him?" Filia tossed him a mean look.
"Not Valgaav," she said in a hushed tone, "Just Val. No, he's gone. Has been gone for years now." Her tone was edgy, he could tell. Might be a smart idea not to prod at that.
"So what happened to him?", he asked blithely, "Scar him for life with that mace of yours?" Filia weakly glared at him.
"No, he's dead," she said pointedly, "He was killed in a skirmish with a neighboring kingdom." Time to change the subject, apparently.
"Well, I certainly hope you know the terms of this summoning," Xellos said, opening one eye at the smaller woman, "This isn't just some little spell to summon a creature like a magical beast, or a bird, or a snake, you know. This can get pretty complex." Filia nodded at him.
"I know," she said, "I read up on this at the local Sorcerer's Guild. Well, what's left of it, anyway. You have to stay with me for three days." Xellos smiled at that. She must not have read much in-depth about this subject.
"It's a little more complex than that, Filia, dear," he replied smugly, "I have to do whatever you do, and go wherever you go now. We're bonded by the blood you used to summon me." Filia stared at him. She was lucky enough to stumble upon just the instructions for performing this ritual, but hadn't been able to find much more than that. Magical texts and books were hard to come by these days. "Of course," he continued, "There are several, several more stipulations to doing this. The Dark Lords knew that human beings would eventually find a method of summoning their Priests and Generals. Knowing that, they wanted to keep them from doing it very often. We have work to do, after all. So they put so many restrictions on these summonings that few, if any, sorcerers would bother trying them. For instance, this has left me with only a fraction of my power. Your blood has weakened me quite a bit and made me almost like you. Now I have to do things like eating and sleeping, that I normally wouldn't do." Filia nodded, looking at the floor. None of that was so very bad.
"Very well, then," she replied, "I shall feed you and give you a place to sleep. It's only right, since I summoned you." Xellos continued smiling unnervingly.
"Of course, there's much, much more to it than that," he continued, "But anyway, I'm curious... What would possess a Golden Dragon, let alone a priestess, to learn black magic?" Filia blushed as she studied the cracks in the wooden floor.
"Well, truthfully, I didn't really learn black magic," she said softly, "I only learned enough to cast this summoning. It's hard for a Dragon to cast black magic, you know. It damages our souls. That's why I wasn't wearing any clothing when you appeared. It would've restricted the magic, and I didn't need anything restricting me. It was difficult enough just working that magic as it is." Xellos raised an eyebrow.
"You went to a lot of trouble for this, didn't you?", he asked. She nodded shyly. "You must be really lonely," he remarked, almost laughing, "Especially to summon me, of all creatures. I thought you hated me, Filia?" She smiled softly.
"Oh, I still do, Namagomi," she remarked, "I suppose loneliness can do strange things to your head, neh?" She finally felt strong enough to stand and did so, tying the sash of the robe around her waist so that she didn't feel as naked.
"I suppose so," he responded, smirking, "So. Now that you've summoned me, what do you plan to do? Is there some threat to your life you want me to fend off? Anything in particular you want me to do?" Filia blinked at him.
"Well, we could go down to the kitchen and get tea," she said, thinking, "And I have to take a bath soon. All I want you to do is keep me company..." Xellos blinked at her in disbelief.
"That's really all you want me for?", he asked, disappointed, "You only want a companion? I thought there would be some ulterior motive?" She shook her head in response.
"No, none," she replied innocently.
* ~ * ~ * ~ *
Filia put some tea leaves into the diffuser she always used with her favorite tea pot. They were her own special blend, something she'd taken a great deal of care to gather and dry and mix herself. She was interrupted as Xellos stuck his hand into the tea container at the same time as her.
"I've already told you," he said, smiling mockingly, "Everything you do, I have to do, too." He put his leaves into the diffuser in synch with Filia, causing her to glare at him. His hand snapped the lid of the tea container shut at the same time as hers. They put it back into the cabinet together, causing Filia to turn red in the face. She turned away, hoping to reach the teapot before him, but to no avail. He put the diffuser into the water-filled teapot just as she did. Their hands both put the lid onto the pot at the same time and then set the teapot onto the hot stove together. By this time, Filia was absolutely infuriated.
"You're just doing this to make fun of me!", she said angrily, stalking over to the kitchen table. She angrily plopped down in a chair, noting with some disgust that Xellos was already sitting across the table from her.
"Not at all," he replied, smiling, "I'm bound by blood to do this. I have to, whether I like it or not." Filia sighed, putting her hand to her forehead.
"I'd forgotten just how annoying you could be," she said irritably. Xellos smirked, and twirled his staff on its tip.
"Well, now," he responded, "I suppose that means you shouldn't cast magic that you don't understand, now doesn't it?" Filia made a noise like grumbling and looked over at the teapot, which was beginning to emit steam.
* ~ * ~ * ~ *
Filia poured the last kettle of hot water into the tub, then turned to give Xellos a critical look. While she'd enjoyed the help in filling the tub, she was a little apprehensive over what was going to happen next.
"Do you think you can go outside while I take a bath?", she asked, pointing toward the door or the bathroom. Xellos shook his head, smiling.
"Sorry, Filia," he said, reveling in her embarrassment, "I can't do that. I have to stay in here." Filia's face turned red, partly from anger, partly from embarrassment.
"Look, I only summoned you to keep me company," she said, folding her arms and tapping her foot, "Not to ogle me while I take a bath!" Xellos continued smiling.
"I wouldn't ogle you," he responded, "And it's not as if I've not seen you without your clothes before." Filia sighed. There was no way to fight it.
"Fine, do whatever you want," she sighed, frustrated, "Just don't stare." She turned her back to him, blushing, and undid the belt of her bathrobe. It slid down over her shoulders and then off completely before she folded it over and laid it on a nearby dressing table. She stepped into the hot water in the bathtub, keeping her back to him all the while. Her ears perked up as they heard the sound of cloth hitting the floor. "Oh, don't tell me...", she mumbled, listening to the sound of water splashing, then overflowing the tub and pouring into the floor. Filia sighed. "I should've known," she said, defeated.
"Didn't believe me, did you?", Xellos asked, sitting across from her in the tub. He was sitting cross-legged, hands on his ankles. Filia covered her chest and drew her knees up to the rest of her body.
"You big pervert!", she said, blushing furiously, "What in the world do you think you're doing!?" She looked at him from the corner of her eye. What a clever fake he was, carefully made to look like a real human. Excepting that he had a few feral markings on each arm and on the corners of his chest... and a large black gash along the right side of his ribcage.
"What you're doing," he replied, "I thought that was obvious." Filia ignored him and turned to look at his wound.
"What in the world happened?", she asked, reaching over to touch the gash. Xellos smiled nervously and brushed her hand away.
"It's nothing," he said, "I got that during a job I did for Juuou-sama." Filia glared at him.
"It doesn't look like nothing," she said angrily, "Does it hurt?" Xellos gave her a pained grin.
"Well, of course it does," he responded matter-of-factly, "It hurts like hell. What difference does that make? Ack! What are you doing!?" Filia had taken a wet washcloth and was cleaning the wound. He jerked away abruptly.
"Don't," he said, trying to squirm away from her, and splashing more water out of the overfull tub, "It'll heal on its own. I don't need you making it worse with white magic." She sat back up, glaring at him.
"I'm not using any magic on it," she said, irritably, "And you can't heal it yourself, with your powers being reduced like they are. Just let me take a look at it." He stiffened visibly and sat still, allowing her to clean it and prod at it. "Besides," she said, "It'll get infected if I don't." He gritted his teeth and began growling low in his throat.
"What's the difference?", he asked sharply, "You're already making it hurt worse." Filia backed off, satisfied that it was clean, and glared at Xellos.
"Ingrate," she sniffed, "You should be thankful I cared. I should have just let it get infected." She crossed her arms indignantly. "When we get out, I'll put some bandages on it," she said, shyly, trying not to look directly at him. He wasn't bad looking in the least, she admitted to herself. The feral markings actually made him look intriguing... sort of dangerous. His previously sour demeanor faded again, revealing a more obnoxiously cheerful one. He began smiling once again and grabbed a bar of soap from the side of the tub.
"Soap?", he asked, offering it to her and watching her blush fiercely.
* ~ * ~ * ~ *
Filia turned the covers of her bed back. They were thick and white, the comforter being about an inch thick and full of down. She got into bed, forgetting momentarily about Xellos, who was standing behind her in a pair of sky blue pyjamas, complete with a night cap and teddy bear. She pulled the covers up to her shoulders and rolled over with her back to him.
"Well," she said sleepily, "What are you waiting for? Go to bed!" Xellos shrugged, turned out her lamp, and crawled over her to the other side of the bed. "What are you doing!?", she said, sitting up, "Not in here! In another room!" He curled up on top of the covers, his back facing her.
"Don't be silly, Fi-chan," he remarked, causing Filia to fume, "You know I can't do that." This was getting to be too much for her. She questioned if this whole thing had really been such a good idea as she begrudgingly drifted off to sleep.