"I'm your only friend, I'm not your only friend but I'm a little glowing friend but really, I'm not ACTUALLY your friend but I am..." -They Might Be Giants, Birdhouse in Your Soul

A beautiful and graceful young woman sat outside her modest home and sipped her tea thoughtfully. The sun was on the verge of dawning, painting everything in a very delicate shade of pink (one of her favorite colors). She sighed and closed her eyes, quite at peace with herself and the world around her. She treasured moments like these. They reminded her of the quiet times in the temple, before she knew how fragile tranquility was. In the times before Lina Inverse, and the inherent insanity that followed her like a storm cloud. In the times before she'd known just how evil good could be, and how occasionally even evil could be on the side of right . Those peaceful, happy times...

The times before HIM.

-This is a mistake.- She thought to herself apprehensively. -Thinking about HIM inevitably summons him. I think its a rule. Well... maybe he won't-

As was the usual order of business during such special moments in Filia's life, Xellos found some way to be a part of it.

Usually in the same manner that flatulence is a part of a really good meal.

"Fantasizing about a certain handsome Mazoku we both know, Filia dear?" that taunting, whimsical tone of his always managed to send nails careening into her eardrums.

Frickin' BIG ones. With bells on.

"Oh absolutely, Xellos. I was just imagining you wriggling about on a large iron hook like the worm you are." she kept her eyes closed, more so that she could maintain the illusion that she was still alone than for enjoying the sunrise.

"Ah... you always say the sweetest things, my dear." she heard him fiddling with the teapot.

A vein pulsed in her forehead. The only outward sign of annoyance. She hated playing the insult game with Xellos.

More or less because the outcome was inevitable.

Ultimately he always won. He wasn't really upset by anything she could say about him, and he had a real knack for getting under her skin.

"I refuse to let you needle me Xellos. I'm having far too nice a day to allow it to be ruined by a worthless piece of mazoku filth like you."

"Contrary to what you may think Filia, I don't JUST come here to annoy you."

She opened her eyes to look at him. He was seated in mid-air across from her, one leg crossed over the other, staff leaning casually against his shoulder (braced off of absolutely nothing that she could discern, as though even the laws of physics were leery of dealing with Xellos) his trickster's mask in full force, mouth hidden behind a teacup. A purple teacup. A particularly tacky purple teacup. A particularly tacky purple teacup with the words, "Kiss Me, I'm Evil" written on it.


"What other reason could you possibly have? Valgaav left a long time ago." It hurt, to admit that. She wondered what he was doing now. Was he one of Xellos' minions? She didn't know. Not since he ran away.

He set the teacup on her table (where it looked glaringly out of place and by its mere presence on her table caused huge amounts of negative energy Filia noted. It would be just like Xellos to master Feng Shui just to make things discordant) and raised a fist counting off a finger.

"Well... one reason is that you have such delightful tea..."

Filia frowned.

Inwardly Xellos sighed. So she wasn't going to fall for that again. Oh well.

"Though bear in mind that I have a tendency to like food that would kill anyone else."

Filia snorted. "Surprise surprise. Anything else?"

He smiled and started to tick off another reason, then simply raised his finger to his lips. "That is a secret."

She rolled her eyes. Some things never change.

"I will admit I DO have an ulterior motive to visiting you today, Filia."

She glared at him.

He smiled.

She sighed. "Well?"

His face became distant and he looked thoughtful. "Lina and Gourry are on the move again. Their daughter's gotten herself into a bit of trouble-"

"Mina's in trouble?!" Filia put down her teacup and gave Xellos her full attention.

"Mina is an Inverse." Xellos gave her a dry look. "They ARE trouble."

"WHAT KIND of trouble, Xellos?" Filia gave him a deeply scrutinizing look.

"The Mazoku kind." he replied cheerfully.

"YOUR kind."


Filia leaned back in her chair and sighed. "So what does this have to do with me?"

Xellos opened his eyes and returned her deeply scrutinizing look. Seeing him like this sent chills down her spine. There was no mistaking the potential for cruelty in his eyes. She stared back defiantly and it was perhaps because of this that she noticed something else.


Xellos was afraid of something. The realization shocked her so badly that she looked stunned. Xellos assumed that his look had had the proper effect and continued.

"Simply put, Lina and her gang are going to come to you asking for help."

He steepled his hands together. "I don't want you getting involved. Make up any excuse you have to, but STAY OUT OF THIS. Get involved, Filia, and you're going to make me angry."

He smiled sweetly at her. "You don't want to see me angry."

"Are you finished, Xellos?" she asked, just as sweetly.

He leaned back (odd, since he wasn't sitting in a chair). "Yes."

She reached under her skirt and drew mace-sama, barrelling over the table (without upsetting a single cup) at mach 7.angry-dragon. Xellos blinked in surprise and ducked under a swing that had been destined to send a certain purple haired mazoku into a low atmospheric orbit, then another.

Then another.

"HOW!!" Swish! "DARE!" Swat! "YOU!!" smack!

Xellos quickly found himself running away from a very irate dragon girl.

-She's taking this rather well- He thought to himself.

"Calm down, Filia! It's a simple request! You needn't get upset over this!"


"We aren't in your home at the moment Filia, and I didn't threaten you exactly. I WILL get angry if you get involved... I was telling the truth. Don't you dragons believe that the truth will set you free?"


"Please?" he asked hopefully from behind a stump (recently created by an errant swing).

"ABSOLUTELY NOT! All you know how to do is destroy and corrupt everything in my life and I'm tired of it! First Valgaav, now MINA? Screw you Xel-"

"I didn't corrupt Valgaav."

"Los... you.... huh?" She paused, blinking confusedly in mid-swing.

"I said, I didn't corrupt Valgaav."

"But... but he ran away..."

"Well... yes, he did. I didn't have anything to do with that. You managed that all on your own."

"But I just assumed..."

"Of course you did. Don't get me wrong Filia. I could have. Very easily. Teenagers who think they've been lied to are very easy to manipulate. Particularly if they trust the party doing the manipulating."

He smiled. "I didn't."

"Why?" she looked at him confusedly, mace-sama still paused in mid swing. Her thoughts became a jumble of confused images... back then...

(Cue the trippy psychedelic flashback wavy lines)


When one is white washing a house, wings are a definite advantage. They also had the added advantage of forcing Valgaav to remove his shirt (which can cause fangirl convulsions not unlike epilepsy at 500 feet) which was actually preferable in the hot summer air. Dropping down to ground level (where Filia was working) he dipped his brush into the pot of white paint and turned to his mother.

"Why can't we do this by magic again?" he grinned at her, arms crossed.

Filia turned and looked at him. "Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Besides... doesn't the house look so much nicer with a good coat of fresh paint?"

He smirked. "Your nose looks alot nicer with a fresh coat of paint too."

She blinked, then looked cross-eyed at tip of her nose (which had a daub of paint on it). She frowned. "Dang it... never fails." she chuckled. "I'm glad Xellos isn't here. I'd never hear the end of it."

Valgaav frowned slightly and looked up at the house where he'd spent the last 15 years. After a moment he sneaked a glance in his mother's direction. She was trying to wipe the paint from her nose (and not particularly succeeding).


"Yes dear?" she asked distractedly.

"How come you and Xellos aren't... you know.."

She stopped suddenly. "Wha... aren't what?"

"Why don't you like Xellos?"

Distracted and somewhat defensive, Filia reacted a bit more harshly than she probably should have. "Xellos! Because he's a Mazoku. He's evil. What other reason do I need?"

Valgaav turned to her quietly. "I'm part Mazoku mother. Does that mean that I'm evil? That you hate me?"

Filia paled. "Of course not! I love you, Valgaav!"

"THEN WHY do you hate XELLOS!" he thundered.

She sighed. Here it was. "I know you like him alot Valgaav, but he's not the nice guy you think he is. He's heartless and cruel, and he's killed thousands of dragons just like you and me. He plays games with people and throws them away when he doesn't need them anymore."

"That's NOT true! Xellos is.." Valgaav turned away. "Xellos is the closest thing to a father I've ever known."

"Valgaav... look at me."

Valgaav didn't move.

Filia sighed. It was time for the boy to face the truth. "The only reason Xellos spends so much time with you is because his master probably ordered him to subvert you. Hasn't it ever seemed strange that he only teaches you black magic?"

"Thats not all he's taught me mother. He cares-"

"XELLOS CAN'T CARE!!" she shouted, and Valgaav was stunned at the pain in her voice.

"Xellos can't care about anything, Valgaav. Xellos is a Mazoku. They feed off of negative emotions. Hatred. Fear. Anger. Loathing. Thats all they know. Positive emotions hurt them. He CAN'T care about me, or you. Thats just the way it is. Valgaav..." she closed her eyes, looking tired. "I didn't want to tell you this, but... the last time you were alive, he was ordered to kill you. I was there. He was going to do it. He WOULD have done it if I hadn't.... er... distracted him."

"I-... It's not true!" Valgaav's face was a mask of pain and betrayal.

Filia simply nodded.

"NO... It's not true... YOU'RE LYING!!"

Her eyes flew open wide in shock. "What?! No... I'm telling you the truth!"


"Valgaav wait! Valgaav please! You aren't all Mazoku! I don't hate you!" she took dragon form and chased after him, but he was far too fast for her, and he had a head start. She lost him almost immediately.

She never found him again. The house had never felt the same afterwards. She'd confronted Xellos about him, threatened him... tried to force him to tell her what had happened to him.

It had always been a secret.


"He isn't working for Xellas?" she stared at him hard, barely able to hope... if he was lying...

Xellos grinned. "Sadly no. Dear Valgaav is working for a far worse individual. Before you attempt to reduce me to a pulp though, allow me to say that the person he's sworn his loyalty to happens to be a woman you would approve of whole-heartedly, much to my disgust. It's going to complicate matters."

She frowned. "Complicate matters? Why can't you just tell me who he's with?"

He sighed. "Because you'd try to see him. That would be counterproductive."

She growled. "I hate it when you do this. I hate YOU. You can never just out and say what's going on can you? It always has to be riddles and circles. Well I refuse to play this time. If Lina needs my help... if MINA needs my help, I'm going to to everything I can. You understand me, namagomi?"

He sighed. "I knew you were going to say that. I had to try though." He held out his hand and his staff zipped through the air to hand in his palm.

She looked at him in astonishment. "Why?"

He looked at her a moment longer, then shrugged. When he spoke, she had to blink surprisedly, because he sounded a bit angry and introspective at the same time. "For once, Miss Filia... I don't know."

With that rather enigmatic statement, he disappeared, leaving a rather disturbed and confused Dragon Girl in his wake.


Astral space was a great place for sulking, mainly because no one could see you do it. Xellos had a rather long distance to travel astrally, so he had plenty of time to stew about Filia.

It was beginning to disturb him.

He remembered the first time he had begun to question his lifestyle. How could he not, after that rather disasterous (from his perspective at least) encounter with Filia?

(Cue the crazy psychedelic flashback wavy lines)


The woods shook with something horrendously strong crashing its way through the brush. A great hundreds of years old oak flew several feet over the canopy, crashing thunderously back down only to be followed by its brother, thus forcing bystanders (mostly the little critters of nature) to rethink their position on this from something horrendously strong, to something horrendously strong and PISSED OFF.

Which was, of course, right on the money.

The little critters of nature may be ugly, but they know which way the wind is blowing.

Xellos waited patiently just out of range of the enraged ancient dragon's senses and waited for just the right mixture of anger, betrayal, and pain to build up. He grinned in anticipation. After all this time, Filia had finally made a mistake. Finally, he'd be able to bring Valgaav back into the fold... back to his proper place as a Mazoku. Xellas would...

He frowned. Xellas would...

A tiny, until now completely silent voice in Xellos chose this moment to speak up.

"She'd do exactly what she did to you all those centuries ago. She'll take him-"

"Who are you-"

"Use him-"

"What are you doing here-"

"Turn him into a perfect little mazoku-"

"Shut up-"

"A perfect little monster-"

"Shut up!"

"Just like you-"


The voice returned to its slumber, and Xellos gasped, looking down at his staff. He'd worn grooves into the nigh indestructable wood.

What the hell had that been? Some sort of... conscience? How in the hell did that happen? He realized with a start that he didn't particularly want Valgaav to... no... that wasn't right.

He'd rather spend the next thousand years as Xellas' plaything again than wish it upon Valgaav....

...and he DIDN'T know WHY...

In the end, he never appeared before the wayward ancient dragon.

Xellos was learning quickly that sometimes he was just a bit too smart for his own good.

Lina Inverse was having her revenge at last...


Author's note: For those of you who don't know, Feng Shui is a Chinese art in which one places objects in locations that increase the flow of positive energy in a room or area. It makes perfect sense for Xellos to master something like that just to ensure that the maximum amount of negative energy were produced instead.

Isn't evil fun?

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All original, creative-type stuff on this website is copyright to Chris Cuellar and Teresa Dietzinger, 2002