It was the way the world seemed to work. Lina would always remember the month of absolute hell and Gourry wouldn't remember a thing.
Author's Note: This story takes place after the end of Slayers NEXT and the Slayers N>EX radio dramas.
Story #2: "The Cruelest Month"
It seemed like a month when everything that could had gone wrong did go wrong, starting from their pursuit by Gaav in the Claire Bible temple and Auntie Aqua had given Lina a glimpse into what her future could had been had things gone wrong during the fight with Shabranigdu. Then, Gaav and Hellmaster Phibrizzo fought them (and each other) at the real Claire Bible location, which led to Gourry being kidnapped by Phibrizzo, Lina and her friends racing against time to get to Sairaag, seeing the city be revived as a ghost city and everything culminating in Lina casting the Giga Slave because she had chosen Gourry over the entire universe.
Yes, it was safe to say that the month absolutely sucked.
The most ironic thing about the month was that Gourry had absolutely no recollection of it. After he was first rescued, the group edged away from the topic of what had happened to him during his captivity. Lina, Amelia, Zel and Sylphiel all agreed that any time spent in the hands of Hellmaster Phibrizzo was heinous and they wouldn't pressure Gourry to talk about it at all until he was ready to do so. Their only conversation to date about the entire incident was just Lina and Gourry trying to explain what happened in the Sea of Chaos.
But even during that conversation, Lina had kept quiet about the true reason she had chosen to cast the Giga Slave. All she would say was that she was forced into it and cut off any other questioning after that. Thankfully, Martina didn't show up until after Lina had explained that, or she was sure that the princess would had made her tell all about her real reason.
It wasn't like she was ashamed of why she cast the spell! Lina knew that she cared deeply for Gourry...more deeply than she had ever cared for anyone before. At night, she would take out that little memory and turn it over and over in her mind as she relived those moments up until her memory went blank.
She had chosen Gourry over the entire world.
She had called on him to give her the strength she needed - not any sort of dark power, or even the Lord of Nightmares herself despite it being her spell. She had tapped into whatever emotion she felt toward Gourry and he apparently returned, based on some of the hints he had dropped in the past. The Lord of Nightmares had a capricious nature, as Xelloss had told them, and was probably amused by the entire situation. Zelgadiss told Lina that the Lord of Nightmares said that her wish had been a pure one.
That was when Lina shoved the memory back to the corner of her mind where she kept other things that she wished to suppress - like the time when she was eight and one of the boys at school had thought it funny to drop a slug down the back of her tunic. It wasn't that it was a bad memory per-say. It just caused Lina to feel all sorts of funny little emotions that she wasn't ready to deal with at the moment.
Two months after the battle, Lina finally asked Gourry what he remembered. She had waited until they were alone, with Sylphiel and Amelia having both returned to Saillune City and Zelgadiss off on his latest search for a cure. Xelloss wasn't around, but no one had seen him since their few scattered adventures after Martina's wedding.
She'd chosen a time when they were walking together down a stretch of road and had slipped it into casual conversation. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye to gauge his response as she lightly asked if he remembered what had happened after Phibrizzo captured him.
Gourry stopped walking and frowned. He scratched his head for a moment and gave her a bright smile. "Absolutely nothing!"
Lina froze and slowly turned back to him. She stomped the few paces back to his side. Anger rolled inside of her and she fisted his shirt, jerking his face so they were nearly nose to nose. "Don't pull a jellyfish moment on me," she hissed. "What do you remember?"
His smile faded slightly, replaced by confusion. "I'm being honest, Lina. The last thing I remember was Phibrizzo taking me away and you running after me. Then, the next thing I knew, you were that glowing gold lady."
Lina's fist relaxed into an open hand, which she slapped softly against his chest. Her head drooped and she sighed. It figured. The days she had spent agonizing over his life and he didn't remember a thing. It just wasn't fair! She had never felt so miserable, so lost in her life, all because he wasn't by her side, and he didn't remember a damn thing. Just how much crueler could life get?
Gourry glanced down at the top of her head, still confused. He tilted his head to one side, trying to get a look at her face. "Lina, are you all right?"
"No," she muttered against his chest. "I was just considering how the universe seems to be constantly out to get me."
"Oh. I see." But he really didn't. He didn't think he would quite get it, even if he knew what she had been talking about. But because it seemed like she really needed it, Gourry placed his arms around her and drew her into a hug. She stiffened slightly before her arms snaked around his waist, returning it.
"I don't remember what happened during then," he admitted. "But, if it felt anything like the time when you were almost killed last year and then when you fell off the cliff this year, it's not a good feeling to have."
Lina blinked as the memory of the battle against Kanzeil came back and she had faked him, and everyone else out, by pretending to fall to her doom - giving her enough to get into position and cast a Dragon Slave with her newly restored magic. She remembered Gourry's anguish and, suddenly, his request all those months ago for her to consider his feelings made sense.
She pulled away from him and gave him a bright smile. For some reason, it didn't matter anymore if he remembered what had happened when he was captured or not. She had a feeling that Gourry knew what she had gone through anyhow.