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A Slayers short story
By Aaron Bergman

Disclaimer: 'Slayers' and all characters belong to Hajime Kanzaka, Rui Araizumi, Kadokawa Shoten, TV Tokyo, Softx, and Marubeni.

It still hurts.

Looking down at her gravestone, I marvel silently at that. Don't the wise say that pain fades with time? And yet…

"I still miss you," I say softly, then chuckle. "But I guess you know that, don't you? Not a day goes by that I don't think I see you on the street, or hear you call out my name, or…"

I stop talking for a moment, lost in memories of her smile, her laugh, the odd way she had of viewing the world not as it was, but as it should be. Then, I start talking again. "And each time, when I stop and know that it isn't you, that it can never be you. I can't help but cry. After I'm done, I dry my tears and tell myself, 'That's the last time. I won't cry any more. I won't!' It's been a year! Then, it all happens again…" I touch my cheeks. They're wet. I choke back my tears and continue. "We've been trying to live up to your example, but it's hard. So hard…"

I start sobbing in earnest. My words garbled so badly that I can't even understand them, I ask, "Why didn't you tell us? Why did you keep fighting? Why didn't you just stop and say that you were hurt real bad? All it would have taken was one healing spell." I scream, "Just one!" My voice gives out as I go to my knees by her graveside. Several minutes later, I whisper, as though she was just sleeping and I didn't want to wake her, "You wanna know what the worst part is? You didn't get any last words. I thought that real heroes always got last w-w-w…"

That makes me start weeping again. Then, I hear a shout. "Hey Lina, you all right?"

I turn around and fake a smile for Gourry's benefit. "'Course I am. Why wouldn't I be?"

I stand up and read Amelia's epitaph aloud. "'Justice should be the only ends, heroism the only means.' You tried to teach us that. I only wish I'd've learned sooner." Strangely, I felt no urge to cry as I stood up and walked back to Gourry and adventure's road.


Aaron Bergman

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