Only Stone on the Outside

by Dreamsinger

Note: I expanded two scenes and added some details here and there.

Only Stone on the Outside

a Slayers fanfic

by Dreamsinger

2003

I do not own this terrific series; I just wish I did.. Please let me know if you'd like to print or archive my story, though, just 'cause I like to know people are interested.

Rating T

Chapter Eighty-Eight: Happiness

"Where's the Oracle's orb?" Zelgadis looked at the young woman sitting beside him on the floor of the healers' room. "We should put it somewhere safe. Or better yet, keep it-"

Zelgadis stopped short as Amelia shook her head at him. "It's gone," she said.

His fist clenched involuntarily, and instantly he winced as he felt his nails bite into his tender flesh. "Ow-w-what do you mean, it's gone?" he sputtered loudly.

"Shh-you'll wake Kerrin."

That's the least of my worries. Zelgadis glanced the bed on the far side of the small room, noting the deep, slow breaths of its occupant. "Amelia, what mmph-"

Zelgadis glared at the Seyrune princess with fierce blue-green eyes. She removed her hand from over his mouth. "Shh, I said. He's been up all night-and besides, there's something I need to tell you, and I don't think you'll want anyone to hear it. We're not likely to have much privacy for a while, you know."

He calmed down, and nodded to let her know he was ready to listen.

Her blue eyes were serious. "The orb... it vanished from my hands right after you became human again."

Zelgadis let out his breath in mingled shock and horror. "No... " he breathed. Did the Oracle betray me? Why-

Amelia interrupted his thoughts. "Now, I've been thinking about it since last night. Tell me,

Zelgadis, did the Oracle ever say we would have to do this whole ceremony all over again if you ever changed back to a chimera?"

Zelgadis hesitated. "Well, no... but it's not like I asked her. "

Amelia nodded. "So the spell we did last night was permanent, wasn't it?"

"I-I guess so. It depends on what you mean by permanent." He shifted uncertainly on the hard blanket-covered stone floor. Permanently human, or permanently in a half-state? I'm not sure where she's going with all this...

She must have seen the bewilderment in his eyes. "It gives you permanent control over your form," she clarified, as if it were obvious.

The former chimera stiffened in shock. No! Could it be that easy?

Amelia didn't give him time to think. "And while I was casting it, I thought about that phrase-you know, the one the Oracle suggested-to turn you back into a chimera... "

Zelgadis rubbed the back of his neck, trying not to let the feeling of soft hairs brushing across his hand distract him. Why do I have this strange feeling of foreboding?

"... and I also thought 'wouldn't it be wonderful if all he has to do to be human again is say-'" Suddenly she stopped and looked at the sleeping Kerrin, watching him for several moments as if to make sure he was still asleep.

A sudden dread took Zelgadis in its grasp. His eyes widened. "No. Please, don't tell me-"

Amelia looked abashed. "'Zelgabunny,'" she whispered. "Just like the Oracle suggested." She winced at the expression of horror on his face. "It was all I could think of at the time."

Zelgadis put a hand over his eyes, shaking his head in resignation. "I should have known I'd end up with some form of humiliation from all this."

After a minute, Amelia began hesitantly, "Sorry... "

Zelgadis looked up at the poor girl, who was practically squirming with shame, and felt his shoulders relax. He gave her a rueful smile, his eyes softening with affection. "Don't be. It's not your fault. In fact, I should be apologizing to you. I never even thought about a counter-reverting clause, to turn me back into a human if I should ever need to go chimera again."

Her sapphire eyes still held a shadow in their depths. Impulsively he reached out and took one of her hands, letting a hint of laughter into his voice. "Better yet, you saved me from an even worse humiliation-having to beg Xellos for help a second time."

He was rewarded by the sight of her face lighting up with joy. She gave a soft little laugh and threw her arms around him. "Oh, Zelgadis."

He closed his arms around her, glad to be able to hold her close without worrying about hurting her, as long as he paid attention to the messages his extraordinary skin sent him. He closed his eyes and breathed in her scent, strawberry shampoo and warm skin, finding excitement and comfort both in the aroma, and in the feel of her soft warm body against him.

Mmm... I could hold you all day long... but I have the feeling that someone's going to pounce on us any minute now with preparations for Lina's wedding. And probably a lot of other things. He gave her one last squeeze, and released her. Tonight, my girl, tonight you and I will spend together, and then we'll see just what this new body of mine can do...

Amelia looked into her beloved's large teal eyes, and shivered. I know that look. She felt no fear, only excitement and the pleasure of knowing that he found her as desirable as she found him. Still, she blushed a little, and watched him smile at her.

"You're so cute when you do that, Amelia," he said softly, and before she had time to react to his compliment he went on, "So what are the phrases again?"

She looked at Kerrin and leaned forward to whisper into his ear, "Well, to become a chimera, you say 'Boos-' oh, wait, I shouldn't say it out loud. I don't want to accidentally transform you."

She looked thoughtful, then smiled and took his long hand in her small one and traced 'Boost Brothers, come forth!' on his palm.

Zelgadis twitched as she wrote. I'd forgotten about being ticklish. I want her to stop-and yet I don't.

Amelia saw him shiver. She grinned and slid her arm around his. I can flirt, too. She leaned even closer, her lips actually brushing his ear through his soft blue hair, and murmured amorously, "To change back into a human, you say, 'I am Zelgabunny.'"

This time she felt the shiver of pleasure run through him, and had to fight to keep her mind on her message. "Since I'm the one who cast the spell, I can use those phrases, too, I think. I don't know about Miss Lina and Mister Xellos, but it's probably not a good idea to mention it to them."

Zelgadis nodded slightly. She could tell from the tense way he held himself that he was trying as hard as she was to keep his mind on business, and smiled to herself, pleased at his reaction toward her. "Yes-I can just imagine either of them taking it into their head to change me back and forth at the most inconvenient times, as a prank."

"Mm-hmm," she murmured into his ear, then gave in for a moment and kissed it, and giggled. As she sat back she caught the surprised look on his face, which changed to a playful sort of expression, one that she had never seen before.

His voice took on the rich, vibrant depth that she loved so much as he teased, "You just wait until tonight, my girl. I'll show you tickling." He winked at her. "Among other things."

Amelia could only smile foolishly at him through her blush. I can't wait until tonight. Today's going to seem so long!

"Gyaah!"

"Sorry, Phil!"

The blonde-haired swordsman stood up from where he'd been leaning over the balcony railing. "Look what you made me do, Lina! I dropped my ice cream cone right on the Prince's head!"

Lina snickered. "That's what you get for not paying attention." She focused her attention virtuously on her own enormous soft-serve cone, just as if she hadn't been trying to sneak a bite of his while he wasn't looking.

"I'd barely started it," he moaned, turning big sad puppy-dog eyes on her.

Already feeling regretful for the awful waste of good food, Lina felt an unaccustomed surge of shame for making her fiance unhappy. I really should be nicer to him. Especially today, of all days... "Here, Gourry," she said abruptly. "You can have some of mine." Suppressing her fierce greed, she held out the brown-and-white swirled object of every food lover's dreams.

Gourry gaped at her as if she had lost her mind. "Lina, are you feeling all right?"

She gritted her teeth against the powerful urge to yank the cone away. "I'm fine!"

"But Lina... you've never offered to share your dessert with me! I don't get it... Why?"

"I don't know." She was surprised at herself. "Because I love you?" That sounds right. I guess Gourry's more important to me than food. Who would have believed it?

Gourry softened. "Well... thanks, Lina."

He leaned toward the cone, sticking out his tongue. At the sight, an entirely different urge swept over the red-haired sorceress. "Wait!"

Gourry froze, his pink tongue extended, his eyes bulging in fear.

"I want to make sure you don't eat it all." An fascinating idea had occurred to her. "How about we eat at the same time? You start on that side and I'll have this side... and we can tongue-wrestle over the last bits."

A slow grin spread over the swordsman's face. "Sounds fair."

The ice cream was finished long before their latest bout of 'wrestling', although eventually the twosome ended up cuddled together as they stood looking out over the city, their arms around each other.

"You know what, Lina? You've changed a lot."

"Hm?" She looked up at him curiously.

The tall swordsman wore a rare, musing expression as he gazed out over the city. "You used to hit me a lot more," he explained. "Other people, too. Now it takes a lot more to get you really violent-"

"Hey!"

"You know, when I met you, you were just a kid. A really powerful kid, but still a kid; someone who needed looking after."

Lina opened her mouth to argue that point, but he continued, "But lately I've noticed how you treat people. You're starting to think of others before yourself. You're even taking responsibility for stuff you've done."

Not sure how to feel about his first comment, she stiffened in indignation at the second one. "Hey, I always take responsibility for-"

"Oh, really?" Now he looked at her, and suddenly she found it hard to meet his serious blue eyes. "What about all the times we ran out on people after you blew up their towns?"

Stunned, she tried to think of a scathing reply, but could only manage a weak, "Well, you ran away too... "

"Because you needed me more. My first responsibility is to protect you. Besides, I'm not a builder or a healer-I wouldn't have been much help to those people. But you could have used your magic to make things better for them." His tone was soft, even gentle, but it was a reprimand nonetheless.

Anger was nothing. Anger she could take, but this quiet disapproval had her eyes stinging with sudden tears. Why is he saying such cruel things all of a sudden? I can't undo the past.

Gourry moved around behind her, sliding his arms around her body so that he could hug her from behind, with his chin resting on her fine copper hair. "You're growing up, Lina. And I'm glad."

And suddenly everything was all right again. Relaxing, Lina pulled his arms closer, enjoying his warmth in the cool morning air, appreciating that he had chosen not to wear his armor. "Oh, Gourry. I... thank you."

"What for?"

"Well, for... for forgiving me, I guess. Not everybody would. I've caused a lot of trouble for you over the years."

She felt him chuckle. "I wouldn't have missed it for anything." The genuine affection in his tone was as warming as his body.

As they gazed out over the brilliant blue sky, Lina's thoughts wandered back though all of the adventures they'd had, both the good times and the awful times. Something was bothering her. "Hey, Gourry... "

"Yeah?"

"Maybe you're right. Sometimes I guess I am a little too ready to use my fists-or my spells-instead of my head. I mean, sure, it gets results, and-" she laughed, "it's damned satisfying, giving people what they deserve-but it probably makes me as many enemies as it does allies. When I think how easily that Ponmar believed that I was the leader of a group of fifth-rate mages who think of the outer world as nothing more than 'easy pickings'... "

Gourry, ever the wise fool, kept quiet and let her think out loud.

"Well, I... I don't like it. I mean, I knew I had a reputation... some people, when they meet me, walk on eggshells to avoid ticking me off... but still, that's not in the same category with the kind of people who go out and prey on innocent people, people who haven't got a chance to defend themselves against magical attacks, since the magic in the outer world is so weak... Am I?

Gourry had gotten lost somewhere. "Are you what?"

"Am I as bad as Ponmar says?" He caught the note of self-doubt in her tone, something that was new, but happening more often lately as she grew older.

Gourry considered. "I don't think so... " He sensed that she wanted more, so he bent to kiss the top of her head, feeling her shining red curls tickle his nose, then said, "I don't know what other people think of you... but if you don't like it, you can always change. You can treat people right, so they'll respect you, instead of using violence to scare them into doing what you want."

She was quiet for a long time. Gourry was gazing off into the distance, his mind drifting pleasantly through the sweet blue sky when Lina said, "It's not going to be easy."

He blinked, trying to focus both his eyes and his mind. "What isn't?"

"Stopping myself from using violence. It's a habit."

"Oh."

After a long pause, Lina turned in his arms, putting her hands flat on his chest and staring up at him with those heart-stoppingly vivid ruby eyes of hers. Her eyes shimmered with feelings, feelings he wasn't used to seeing there-need, and hope, and a kind of hesitant resolve that grew stronger as he watched. "Gourry, I want you to help me. Help me try to control my anger-at least, keep me from blasting people who don't deserve it."

His eyes flew open. "How do you expect me to stop you?" The very idea of getting between the hot-tempered sorceress and her target made his hair stand on end.

"I don't know," she answered honestly. "I've never tried this... never seen my own actions so clearly before. I'm beginning to see patterns in my life that I never realized I was weaving."

"Weaving?" His forehead wrinkled in puzzlement. Is she saying she wants to become a tailor?

Lina's eyes unfocused for a moment, and then she met his eyes with a clear, steady gaze. "But one thing I do know is that I trust you. And I know you know the difference between me beating up a bandit and me throwing a... a temper tantrum." She looked embarrassed at this admission. "So, if you think I need to back off from a situation, tell me. Try to get through to me... " Her voice grew softer, with a hint of that huskiness he liked that only happened when she was feeling the softer emotions. "... And I promise, I'll try to listen from now on."

He had never heard her promise such a thing-or ever expected to, either. Now, though, it sent a warm feeling flowing through him, softening his eyes as he gazed down at the fiery young girl-no, young woman-who had such a hold over his heart. "Okay, Lina. I promise, too."

Lina felt her heart soar, as if a burden had suddenly been lifted. "Thanks, Gourry." She leaned up to kiss him, and he was more than obliging to bend down the rest of the way to meet her lips with his own.

A few minutes later a brisk wind swished through, tangling their hair together. Lina pulled her head back, breaking their kiss, and shivered a bit. "Well, you can sure tell it's autumn. Brr."

"Here, Lina." Gourry enfolded her in his arms, with her back against his warm, firm body.

The petite sorceress relaxed, smiling dreamily. Mmm. I love it when he holds me like this. Ever since the time Ponmar captured us, when I was so sick and Gourry held me in his lap all night, comforting me... When he holds me like this, I feel so secure, so loved...

Then Lina noticed his green hand, the one Amelia had inadvertently changed while she was trying to prove that the Star Spheres were not working right. I hope it wears off soon. At least he'll be wearing gloves for our ceremony, thank the gods. Damn that Zelgadis. I wish I'd figured out a way to get him to go along with our plans from the beginning, instead of having to go through all that trouble. Maybe if I'd thought to ask Xellos for a way to force the truth out of Zel, he'd have given me the truth-gem sooner.

She frowned. Still, he could have told me that the gem has the power to make you tell the truth. If I hadn't figured it out-wait a minute! Her eyes widened. Do you suppose he doesn't know? Of course! She mentally snapped her fingers. That's why Xellos never lies. His master probably had him wear it for ages, so he got into the habit of telling the truth and never even realized it! HA! The joke's on him!

Feeling smugly satisfied, she snuggled back deeper into Gourry's embrace, a smile of utter contentment softening her features.

"Does anyone else know I'm still a chimera besides you and me?" Zelgadis asked his new bride in an undertone, mindful of Kerrin's presence nearby. They were still sitting on the floor beside the empty bed in the healers' recovery room. Zelgadis' auburn-haired cousin slept quietly in the bed near the window.

"They all do," Amelia answered. "Everyone who was there last night, I mean. Mister Xellos figured it out."

"Damn," he muttered. "Well, at least he doesn't know the phrases. You never said them out loud, right?"

"Not while I was casting it, no."

"I'll have a talk with Phil, Kerrin and that priest. Lina will know to keep her mouth shut, and Gourry probably won't remember, anyway... " The young man who was Zelgadis put the side of his index finger against his chin as he thought aloud, and Amelia felt a surge of grateful recognition pass through her at this familiar, beloved gesture.

"We won't say anything," he decided. "No sense letting word get around that Seyrune's new prince isn't all he appears to be, at least not before some crisis makes it absolutely necessary. Life will go much smoother that way."

Amelia beamed at him, suddenly misty-eyed. "My prince... Oh, it sounds wonderful."

The young man gave her a look of surprise, then a soft smile of understanding. "It sounds almost too good to be true, doesn't it?"

"No."

He blinked at her in surprise.

"It's one thing if you're happy due to luck, or because someone else provided you with what you wanted," she said solemnly. "That kind of happiness can be taken away, sure, but it's different when your happiness is due to hard work and sacrifices. When you really know yourself, and decide what's most important to you, and are willing to work for it, then it's not the kind of happiness that can be taken away so easily."

She reached out to take his warm human hand in hers. "We've earned the right to be happy, haven't we, Zelgadis? There's no need to feel guilty, no reason to punish yourself any more by not letting yourself be happy."

Zelgadis looked at the smiling dark-haired girl sitting so close to him, holding his hand in her own small soft one, and realized that she spoke the truth. "I'm doing it again, aren't I? All those years of unconscious self-hate... I've gotten in the habit of feeling unworthy of happiness."

He paused to relish the sensation as she gave his hand a sympathetic squeeze, then continued, "But you're right. Damn it, I do deserve some happiness. Not because I've been through a horrible ordeal. Not even because I was victimized by my own grandfather. The fact is, I was a young, callous brat when I was transformed, and it wasn't until I met you and the others that I began to change, to become a better person."

Impulsively, he lifted Amelia's hand to his face and pressed his lips to the back of her hand, closing his long-lashed eyes in reverence. "It was thanks to your friendships that I was able to see past my own petty hates, and learn to care about others."

He opened his eyes to see tears shining in the sapphire eyes of his princess, but she gave him a dazzling smile and said, "Then I'm glad. If you've learned that much, you might even say that everything we've gone through was worth it, wouldn't you?"

He brushed another kiss across her hand and simply nodded. She's right. If I had met her as the cocky, thoughtless youth I once was, I probably would have assumed she was just another crazy airhead princess, and avoided her. It never would have occurred to me that someone so young and silly would grow up to be the brave, caring, intelligent woman she is now.

Amelia turned to look at the empty dishes. He sensed that she was feeling her duty to get the day started, and released her hand. He was content to sit for a moment, watching as she got up from the floor and began to stack the ceramic dishes neatly on the tray with a series of clanks. Even if I hadn't been cursed, I wouldn't have been happy. It took four long years as a chimera to make me appreciate what really matters in life. It was the hardest lesson I've ever learned... but look at my reward.

His thoughts stilled for a moment as he gave his princess a fond smile. She was carefully picking up the unwieldy tray, and did not see him, but her every movement was a joy to the former chimera, simply because she was Amelia.

I'm married to the most wonderful girl in the worlds, and I deserve to savor every moment of happiness I can. I won't be the fool any more and let it all slip through my fingers.

At that moment a heavy ceramic pitcher that had held milk tipped off the edge of the tray, falling straight at Zelgadis. Even as Amelia said, "Oh!" his reflexes kicked in and his hands shot out.

"Ow!" The sudden pain shocked him. He sat rigidly, temporarily unaware of the rest of the world, fighting to control his reaction. His teeth clenched to keep him from making any more humiliating sounds as he pulled in deep, shaky breaths, trying to ignore the way his hands seemed to be on fire, throbbing and twitching.

The pitcher was snatched from his hands and Amelia's concerned face appeared. "Zelgadis, are you all right?"

The fear in her voice tugged at him. He pulled in a breath, held it for a moment, then answered evenly, "I'm all right. It just... took me by surprise. I don't think I'm injured."

The young woman sat back on her heels, looking relieved. "Thank goodness. I-

"What's wrong?" Kerrin's voice came from the other side of the room.

"Oh, good morning Kerrin!" Amelia smiled at her new cousin-in-law. "We had a little accident," she explained as Shiran rose from the floor between the two beds, stretched, and gave the youth a good-morning sniff in the face.

Kerrin held himself still, with wide brown eyes, and then relaxed. "I forgot about her," he said sheepishly, sitting up and running a hand through wild red-brown locks. He wore pale mint-green pajamas with horses on them.

The pain was fading. Slip through my fingers, indeed! Zelgadis thought with a wry half-smile.

"I'm sorry we didn't leave you anything to eat," Amelia said. "I wasn't sure how long you would sleep. Oh, and thank you so much for watching over Zelgadis last night."

The slender young man slid off the bed and approached the couple. "I was glad to." He turned to look Zelgadis' new body up and down. "How are you feeling, Li?" he asked, his vivid brown eyes full of concern.

The pain was down to mere soreness now, not much different from the way the rest of his body felt. "I'm just fine," Zelgadis said with a warm smile for his favorite cousin as he rose to his feet.

Amelia looked between the two of them, realizing that anyone could tell they were relatives now. Both young men stood the same height, had the same fluffy hair, the same small, slender build and big eyes in a delicate-looking face. Their only real differences were their coloring, and Zelgadis' slightly pointed ears, half-hidden by his shining dark blue hair.

Zelgadis gave his cousin a half-bow. "I want to thank you for everything, Rin. For watching over me last night, for giving up Amelia when you knew it would make her happier to marry me, and for all the support you've given us." His teal eyes were very solemn.

Kerrin looked a bit embarrassed, putting a hand behind his head and blushing, but he only said softly, "You're welcome, Li. I would do it all over again if I had to, to see you so happy."

For a long moment no one spoke, but before the silence could get too awkward, Shiran stuck her head under Kerrin's hands and yawned, showing off her fine while teeth, then nudged the youth with her head until he began to stroke her soft lavender fur.

All of them laughed as the serious mood was broken. "Well, Kerrin, would you like to get changed and go have some breakfast?" Amelia asked. "I have to get started on Miss Lina's wedding preparations."

"I'll take that tray to the kitchen for you," Kerrin offered. "I'm going to go eat first."

Amelia handed him the tray with a word of thanks, then turned to her new husband. "I need to see about some clothes-do you want to come with me? You should be measured for alterations. Oh, and your suit needs pressing to get rid of the wrinkles."

"So when is this wedding?" he asked as he followed her out of the room, Shiran trotting softly after them.

"At sunset. Everything is ready except the wedding dress I had planned to gift Miss Lina with. She's gotten-that is, she's grown a little more, um, full, since the last time she had clothes made here. She was really pleased to hear that!"

Zelgadis chuckled. "I'll bet!"

Author's Notes:

Gullwhacker comments: To be fair, this story is mainly the drama/romance side of Slayers, without too much action. Nonetheless, it's practically an extra season of Slayers, in a way. There's just one thing missing. It needs a Dragon Slave in it somewhere.

DS... .You know, you're right. I should have put one in earlier... I'm afraid it wouldn't fit in at the end, mainly because of something Gourry comments on, about Lina's new maturity. That, and there are no bad guys at this stage of my fic. And I feel too sorry for the royal family to have Lina blow up the palace-she already wrecked part of their city in Next!

Hakuyo-chan says: I've been trying to draw something from one of the scenes (Near the first few chapters) but I'm a bit rusty with drawing with pencil.. if your interested in seeing it when I finish it (Hopefully) just let me know I'm not that great at describing things in that much detail, and half of the "big" words you've used I dont really know what they mean.. I've been trying and trying to write a Slayers fanfic of my own... maybe you could give me some tips?

DS-Sure, I always look forward to getting new fanpics! And as for writing, I took a through-the-mail course in writing fiction for young adults. It explains a lot of stuff that sounds easy and obvious as soon as you read it, but it's stuff that doesn't always occur to you until somebody points it out. Like, when your character is looking at something, put in sensory data-what do they smell, hear, feel? It makes your reader feel like they're really there, right along with your character. Use your imagination, try to put yourself into their shoes.

Big words-well, if you read a lot, you kind of just pick them up as you go. I never put down a book I'm reading to look up words; I just try to figure out what they mean by how they're used inthe sentence.

Plus, I like having a choice. I like knowing how two words that the dictionary says mean the same thing can actually be very different. For example, in the passage above, where Amelia breathes into Zelgadis' ear, I first used the word 'sexily', but I didn't like that, and changed it to 'amorously'. To me, 'sexy' can be too-well, perverted, I guess depending on how you use it, and with what kind of characters. To me, it's a word for experienced adults, not for young, fairly innocent maidens like Amelia. I like 'amorous' better because it focuses more on love, (the Spanish word for love is amor, by the way) romance, and longing.

Dictionaries never tell you in what ways the words 'sexy' and 'amorous' are different, but boy does it make a difference!

TRAVEL ITINERARY CONCLUDED:

WEEK 7: Dreams-true purpose of ward bracelet. Lina gets her period and can't help fly the Woodwind. Crash, heal injuries, must travel on foot. Stress builds-will they make it in time?

WEEK 8: Amelia's birthday/wedding. (I decided it would be a late summer/early fall birthday, probably September.) They arrive in Seyrune; Filia not there. Phil says midnight. Mere hours to go. Zel meets Kerrin-and can't kill him; we learn of their past together. Zel uses his Star Sphere to see if Kerrin matches-yes. Xellos appears to reclaim gem. Kerrin is invited to be family to Phil and Amelia. Zel leaves, but Lina catches up to him and delivers her rooftop speech.

Z remembers his dream-'I didn't just want a life; I wanted THAT life, THAT family... ' He approaches Amelia and asks her about children. They share their first kiss.

11:30 pm. Globe plays music. Candlelit garden mosaic. Music and lights, Zel is human. They are instantly wed, and then Amelia falls unconscious. Zel is horrified, and fades out himself.

Morning-Amelia studies the new Zelgadis, Lina gets her to kiss him. Later: All the loose bits are tied up, and Lina and Gourry are wed.

DS-I play instrumental music to keep out other peoples' noise while I write. I can't listen to music with words, though-it messes up my concentration. I like piano music, like George Winston's CD 'Summer' and Celtic harp music, like Aine Minogue, or Maggie Sansone. The anime series His and Her Circumstances Act 1 CD is very good for thinking romantically. So is Fruits Basket: Song for Ritsuko Okazaki. Someday's Dreamers has some lovely Celtic-type music, too.

I would like to thank all the people who sent me words of support on my college endeavors. I took the SAT after 6 weeks of studying five enormous 'Taking the SAT' books, and I am pleased to announce that it paid off: I got a 460 on the math section, (for someone who hasn't used higher math in fourteen years, this slightly below-average grade is very good), aaand drum roll a 790 out of 800 on the critical reading/verbal section! The average score is a 509, so that means I did better than 99 of the test-takers in the USA. The two scores add up to 1250, which is a relief. I was told that you need at least a 1000 to get into college. Now I'm about to start my very first online class, General Psychology, on January 17th, 2006.

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