November 6, 1996
"Is this it, daddy? Is that Rokkenjima?"
George pushed his glasses up his nose and smiled at his eight-year-old daughter, Molly. Molly was, in every way possible, the spitting image of her father: She had long, straight black hair, dark eyes, and even wore the same glasses. Not like her younger sister, Rosa, who had her mother's soft brown curls and big, blue eyes.
"Yes, Molly," he said as the boat neared the island. "This is Rokkenjima. Did you know I proposed to your mother on this island?"
"Really?" said Molly.
"Yes, really," said Sayo, holding a terrified Rosa in her lap. "I actually started out as your father's maid. Well, I wasn't his maid; I was the family maid."
"Yes, you could say we had a bit of a forbidden romance," said George, smiling over at Sayo.
"Sounds romantic," sighed Molly. "It's just like one of those books!"
"Oh, I think real-life can be even more romantic than books," said Sayo. Then, "Look up, Rosa. We're nearly there, see? We're just about the docks..."
"Roger! Wait up!"
Six-year-old Roger laughed and ran down the steps to the docks ahead of his parents. The last time he and his cousins met, he had been too young to remember it. Now he was old enough to properly meet them and make new memories.
Roger stopped when he arrived at the docks, taken aback by the size of the large boat approaching. His blonde curls were tossed in the salty sea air. Surrounding him were several seagulls standing tall on the edge of the docks, squalling up a storm. He loved the sound of seagulls and on this morning, they were especially lively.
Roger turned around at the sound of footsteps. His mother was heading towards him, looking worried. "Roger, don't ever run off on your father and I like that again," she scolded.
"I want to meet my cousins!" said Roger excitedly, jumping up and down.
"You should've still waited for your father and I to catch up with you," said Jessica, who herself was looking forward to getting to see George and Shannon again after being separated from them for so many years.
Kisho joined up with his wife and son at the docks, smiling at the sight of George and Sayo getting off with their young ones. The last time he had seen them, Molly was very small. She had grown quite a bit. Rosa was even smaller; she and Roger were in fact around the same age.
"It's been so long!" said Jessica, giving George a hug before hugging Sayo. She bent down to the girls and said, "You must be Molly, and you must be Rosa."
"It's nice to meet you," said Molly, shaking Jessica's hand. Rosa said nothing until Roger ran up to her and said, "Hi!"
Rosa took a few steps back and hid behind her mother, clinging to her dress.
"Oh, Rosa's just a little shy," said Sayo. "She just needs some time to get used to her cousins. In the mean time, why don't we all go up to the mansion and chat? Battler is here now, right?"
"Yes, the entire clan should be here," nodded Jessica. "By the way, George, prepare yourself: Your parents arrived ahead of you. And you know how much they spoil the girls."
"Not that they mind, of course," laughed George.
Everyone met up in the parlour, and were all laughing and conversing within minutes, sharing stories and memories.
"Ah, Battler, I still remember that time you stood up and sang that Elton John song to Sayo!" laughed George.
"Yes, I remember being unable to look at Rudolf in the same way for the rest of the weekend," mused Krauss.
"Krauss will be the bane of my dignity yet!" laughed Rudolf.
"Ah, well, I'm not too embarrassed by it anymore," sighed Battler, leaning back in his chair. "I realize now things happen for a reason."
"I wonder, though, why you insisted on having that song played at your wedding with Beato," said Eva, who had aged quite well over the years.
"I remember onii-chan mentioning something about how she would understand the meaning behind it," said Ange, pouring herself a glass of water. She, too, had aged quite well, a blossoming young woman at sixteen. Her red hair fell down nicely at her shoulders, but she no longer wore pink bobbles in her hair, or at least, not recently. She was planning to give them away to someone else.
"Where is Beato, by the way?" asked Hideyoshi. "For that matter, where's Maria?"
"Beato's meeting up with her parents right now," said Battler. "You know how sentimental she is about them. Maria, I am not sure. I know she's around here somewhere, but I'm just not sure where."
"She's probably up in her room with her studies," said Natsuhi, stirring her drink with her straw. "She has become studious and serious recently. I'm so glad to see she has come a long way since her mother's death. Poor dear."
"I think she was better off at her new school, anyway," said Krauss. "From what I heard, she used to be bullied at her old one. But she seems to have made a few new friends."
"I still can't believe we actually carried on the Western-name tradition into this generation," sighed Jessica. "But they are kind of nice. We picked well."
"Yeah, unlike my father, the old bastard," said Battler, playfully punching Rudolf in the arm. Rudolf laughed, "Hey, c'mon—I was just getting a little creative!"
"Ah, sometimes, you're too creative," sighed Kyrie, shaking her head. Then, "By the way, where are the rest of the cousins?"
"They're all outside in the rose garden," explained Kisho. "We're giving them a bit of alone time together so that they can get properly acquainted."
"The last time we left them, they looked perfectly happy together," said Sayo.
Just then, Molly came running into the parlour. "Battler, Ange," she panted, "she's scaring the cousins and I can't stop her."
"Who is?" asked Ange.
"Eleanor," replied Molly.
Battler groaned, "Eleanor."
"B—Beatrice doesn't really exist, right?" laughed Roger, but it was clear from the way he bit his nails that he was thoroughly convinced by this tale.
Eleanor smiled at her cowardly cousins. "Oh yes," she said, her blue eyes tingling with malice, "she exists all right. And do you know what she does?"
Rosa was trembling. Eleanor turned in Rosa's direction and said, "She guts your stomach open and then stuffs it with candy!" Rosa shrieked and ran off crying.
Eleanor cackled and, with a toss of her long, blonde hair, said to Roger, "She also eats little annoying cousins for breakfast!"
Roger paled and clung on the nearby iron fence for dear life.
"So beware," said Eleanor, grinning madly. "If you ever happen to walk down the hall late at night all by yourself...beware." She threw her head back and cackled evilly as Roger stood up and ran away.
Eleanor abruptly stopped laughing and whipped around at the sound of her name being called. To her dismay, her mother came marching right up to her, her twin brother, Robert, hiding right behind her black business pants, which she wore with her usual blouse, jacket, vest, and tie, her hair up in a bun. Tried as he might, it was hard to go into hiding and not stick out with such red hair.
"Mommy!" exclaimed Eleanor. "What are you doing here?"
"Eleanor," said Beato sternly, "have you been scaring your cousins and your brother with those Beatrice stories again?"
Robert peeked out from behind Beato's leg and stuck his tongue out at Eleanor, who rolled her eyes and said, "Yes, mama."
"Don't roll your eyes at me, young lady!" scolded Beato. "Learn to show your mother some respect!"
"Indeed, Eleanor," said the voice of Ronove, who walked up to the scene with Virgilia, "you should really show your elders the proper respect they deserve."
"Grandfather! Grandmother!" cried out Eleanor and Robert. Their troubles instantly behind them, they ran up to Ronove and Virgilia, each trying to squeeze in a hug with one of them, but they managed to each get an equal turn at hugging the twins.
"Ah, good day to you, little ones," said Ronove cheerfully. He pulled some candy out of his pocket and said, "How would you two like some candy?"
Eleanor and Robert nodded eagerly, but Beato stepped in and said, "No candy today, Ronove. Eleanor has been a very bad girl, and bad girls don't get any candy."
"My, what happened here?" said Virgilia.
"I made the mistake of telling Eleanor a ghost story about Beatrice, and now she's been scaring everyone she meets with that story," sighed Beato.
"Ah, then you only have yourself to blame for telling her such a silly story, now don't you?" said Virgilia. She bent down to Eleanor's size and said, "I know the story of Beatrice is a fascinating one, but it's one you'd be better off keeping to yourself, okay?"
"I guess so," sighed Eleanor.
Just then, Battler and Ange came running out into the rose garden, the tearful cousins with their respective parents, and all the grandparents, following close behind. "Now what's going on out here?" said Battler.
"Daddy!" cried out Eleanor and Robert, running up to their father and hugging his legs. Battler laughed and bent down to his two children, hugging them back. He shared a glance with Beato, who had to smile back. It was funny how Beato got pregnant right before she and Battler moved out of the house together, after Battler's graduation, and after he had managed to secure a job...when neither she nor Battler even planned on having a baby. The idea that they could not immediately start a family together simply became a fact that they had accepted, to the point where they started getting a little too 'casual' on the nights they made love. Naturally, they were both shocked to learn Beato had not caught a stomach bug, but was in fact expecting a baby—two babies to be exact.
When they let go, Battler said, "Now what seems to be the problem here? Eleanor, have you been scaring people again?"
Eleanor bit her lip and nodded. Robert added, "Daddy, she scared me!"
"Now Robert," said Battler, "you don't need to pay any attention to what your sister says about witches. They are just a fairy tale. Eleanor, why don't you go apologize to your cousins right now?"
"Okay," sighed Eleanor. As she walked up to each of her cousins to apologize for scaring them, Battler stood up to his feet. Virgilia said, "Now Beato, you shouldn't be so harsh on her. She's just like you when you were that age. She has your defiant spirit, and your tendency to play mean tricks on people." She lightly chuckled, "I remember occasionally hoping you would have a child someday who gave you just as much grief as you gave me!"
"Well, your wish came true, thank you very much," said Beato dryly. She sighed, "Still, I do love them both, even if they can be a handful at times."
"Much like me with you," said Virgilia, smiling at Beato.
After Eleanor had apologized to all her cousins, Ange said, "Eleanor, I forgot to give these to you at your birthday party. You already had my main gift, but there was something else I meant to give you right before my friend and I took her little sister trick-or-treating."
Ah, it was one of many blessings and curses that came with having a birthday fall right on Halloween...in the midst of preparing the celebrations for both two birthdays and a special holiday, it was all too easy to mix the two festivities up.
Ange pulled her pink bobbles out of her pocket and said, "Now hold still."
As Eleanor had her hair done up, Robert looked up and said, "Are you absolutely sure witches don't exist?"
Battler and Beato shared a glance before Beato said, "Well, nothing is for certain...but there are only good witches now. The kind that only bring love and joy."
"You're sure, mommy?" said Robert, his bottom lip trembling.
Beato gave her son a warm and loving hug. "Of course," she said. "I guarantee it."
Ange had now finished. Eleanor now had two blonde pigtails in her hair, making her look very cute. "There," she said. "Happy belated birthday."
"How kind of Ange," said Beato. "What do we say when people do nice things for us?"
Ronove and Virgilia were tempted to make a smart remark on this, but they held it back. Eleanor said, "Thank you, Aunt Ange." Then, "Who is that?"
Walking right up to the group was a teenage girl with red hair falling just past her shoulders, dark blue eyes, wearing a pink blouse with one of the sleeves bearing the single-wing crest, a long black skirt that went down to her ankles, and sandals exposing her bare toes. She had both a down-to-earth feel, and an air that suggested something almost supernatural.
"Maria?" said Beato, surprised to see how much Maria had grown since the last time they spoke.
"Beato!" cried out Maria, temporarily letting go of her age and running up to Beato like the way she once did as a child. The two women shared a hug and laughed.
"This," said Battler, "is your cousin Maria. She has been living with Aunt Natsuhi and Uncle Krauss since she was nine years old."
Beato and Maria separated. "It's been too long," said Maria. "The last time I saw you, Eleanor and Robert were just babies."
"We're not babies!" said Eleanor defiantly.
"Of course not," said Maria gently. "You're both four years old now, am I right?"
"As of this Halloween, yes," nodded Beato. Then, "So how have you been?"
"Well, I'm learning how to sew," said Maria. "Recently, I've been thinking of sewing up a few Sakutaro's to give to the cousins for..." She noticed the curious cousins standing there and quickly changed the subject: "I also met this boy at college..."
"Have you now?" said Beato with a smile. It was something of a sad smile; Maria had long stopped using "uu" ever since the night of her mother's death...ever since Beato had saved Maria's life. Over the years, she had grown up far too quick.
"Yes," said Maria, blushing. "And, um...should I try your technique? You know..."
Eleanor giggled at the talk of boys. Battler quickly said, "How about we take this conversation inside the mansion?"
Battler, Beato, and Maria went inside and to the parlour room, where a new chessboard had been set up, and began talking.
"So I start by acting 'tsun' and then switch over to 'dere'?" said Maria.
"That's right," said Beato. "That's how I got Battler...that was how we got each other, come to think of it."
"Ihihihi, you were a bigger tsundere than I was!" said Battler defiantly. Then, "So how are the Stakes and Gaap?"
"They're okay," said Maria. "I don't conjure them up much anymore, but I still enjoy talking to them from time to time. Although, I think Mammon is especially close to Ange."
"Now tell her not to go about starting any sort of romance with my sister!" said Battler jokingly.
Maria only smiled and said, "Battler...there is another thing we need to get resolved between us. Right now."
Beato held back a smile. She seemed to know what it was, which made Battler say curiously, "What is it?"
"My breasts!" said Maria proudly. "You said to let you feel my breasts when I grew big, maybe even ten years from now, and now it is ten years from now!"
Battler felt his face grow warm. "Ah, Maria, you do realize I was just kidding, right?"
"Oh, we know," said Beato, no longer able to hold back a smile. "We're just doing this to embarrass you."
Battler laughed nervously, "So, uh...you really remember those things I said in those other worlds, do you?"
Maria nodded enthusiastically. "Go on, Battler!"
Battler said, "Ah, I'm not sure if I really—GAH!" he cried out when Beato took him by the wrists and firmly placed both his hands on Maria's breasts, finding out she had inherited the D-cup gene in Ushiromiya women. He felt his face flush even hotter and Beato giggled while Maria smiled proudly.
"Don't worry, you can make it up to me in bed later tonight," laughed Beato as she let go of Battler's hands and pulled them back, much to his relief.
"Yeah," laughed Battler, getting up off the couch. "I look forward to that."
"So are you two still a happy couple?" asked Maria.
Battler and Beato walked over to the chess board and began to set up the pieces from the box. "Oh yes," said Battler. "I got to take Beato to quite a few movies which she enthusiastically enjoyed...maybe a little too much; I remember at one point we were kicked out for three weeks!"
"I remember that," laughed Beato, making her first move. She sighed, "I also remember that day Battler-kun took me to the zoo. That day he showed me all those animals...the elephants, and the tigers...the kangaroos, and the giraffes..." She giggled, "Oh, and I also remember my first rollercoaster ride with him! He kept insisting he wasn't scared, that he was willing to endure it for me, but he cried like a baby during our first trip around!"
Maria giggled, and Battler blushed. He now made his move and said, "I also remember the day we found out we were going to start a family. As I recall, Beato's reaction was to first slap the doctor," Beato made her move, "then slap me," he made his move, "and then finally cry about how she wanted Virgilia there."
Beato sighed wistfully as she made her move, "Indeed. It was a scary time for me; all I knew about babies was how to make one, and that was just about it. But Battler did manage to convince Kumasawa to bring Mother back over just to help me through."
"That was sweet of him," remarked Maria as the two went back and forth, each making their individual move. "I'll bet the moment you two got to see your babies was really romantic, right?"
"Eh...not exactly," said Beato, making her move. "It isn't very romantic when you're secretly wishing you were a witch again so you could sadistically kill your husband while giving birth, then giving him the dirtiest look you can think of when he dares to say 'isn't giving birth the most beautiful thing in the world?'."
"Hey, how was I to know?" said Battler self-defensively, now making his move. "But once it was over, it was kind of nice."
"I guess," sighed Beato. "At least I got to have my husband and my mother by my side. And it really did feel wonderful to hold my babies...and look at them...and see how beautiful they were." She gulped back a forming lump of sentimentality in her throat and made another move.
"I think the old bastard is enjoying being a grandfather a little too much," said Battler, concentrating before making his next move. "The kids are always getting new presents out of nowhere after he comes by to visit. Kyrie's not so bad, though."
"Ronove and Mother can be just as bad," sighed Beato, making her move.
"One last thing I'm curious about," said Maria. "If Eleanor and Robert ever ask how you two met and fell in love, what are you going to say?"
Beato and Battler smiled at each other before Beato said, "We've decided we'll tell them the truth."
Maria figured there had to be a catch. "Really?" she said, raising an eyebrow.
"Of course," said Beato. She and Battler were on a roll now in their game. "We'll tell them that we fell in love after first laying eyes on each other, then we were separated for a long time, and when we finally met again, I started playing a series of intense chess matches with their father."
"And in between one of the matches, their mother got sick, and it took my healing to make her better," added Battler. "And when I got sick, she made me better in return."
"And when he proposed to me, I agreed to marry him on the condition that he beat me in a game of chess," said Beato, who now stopped. Her king had been cornered. She grinned. "And he did."
Battler grinned back and uttered one word:
Credit song: Promise by dai
Quote: That's because
I'm gonna become much much more happy from now on.
I'm not gonna compromise with just this.
We are gonna take back all of our happiness that we lost.
For me, that's about a hundred year's worth.
For you, a thousand year's worth.
A/N: So now we reach this fic's end...all I can say is, wow. This has been way, way different from anything I have ever written before (fanfiction or original fiction), and I think I can safely say this is a fanfic I am definitely proud of personally. It feels like time has flown by so fast...it feels like it was only yesterday I was a naive anime viewer/manga reader (the latter of which is the better adaptation, btw) who found out about Beato's fate...that I began to write down various ideas for a possible fanfic about reviving Beato...that I finally found a helpful person on this site who guided me on the right path...and finally, that I came home after a trip downtown and published the first chapter right after dinner.
First, a few words of thanks to the following people:
Chidori vs. Rasengan for agreeing to be my beta-reader and filling me in on the blanks, and for helping me find the VNs...and for providing me with the delicious Pony Theory. :-)
YouTube users embracingthesky, muffiekin,miragecoordinator, NeroinabaKai, obergint, RenaRyuguuChan, and Skittlesxthexpimp for the various VN clips they put up on YouTube that helped me right before I found the VNs.
LiveJournal user Atashi for their LiveJournal entries of "End of the Golden Witch", the closest thing to the English "End of the Golden Witch" I found.
And of course, the Witch Hunt for the English translation of the games (I find it ironic that the English patch is released at around the exact same time my story is finished...as Battler said earlier "when irony comes back to bite you, it bites you in the ass").
And a thank you to whoever gave my story a Fanfic Recommendation on TV Tropes. :-)
As for anything else I would like to add...another reason why this story was so challenging was because I wanted to get it done before December 30 (the release of the sixth game) because I figured half of my theories would get Jossed by then, and I would not be able to use them when the time came (two more days, and we'll see how many theories I screwed up, lol!). However, a part of me wishes I had that kind of deadline more often because then I would be able to work twice as hard with my other unfinished fanfics.
And as for some facts surrounding this fanfic...well for starters, I went through quite a few different plot outlines before settling on one I liked, but the basic core (Battler reviving Beato and falling in love) was the same. One idea that stuck in my mind when I was still settling for a plot, though, was Maria kicking ass while singing her character song; I felt I just HAD to include that.
The plot twist of Virgilia being Beato's mother actually struck me out of nowhere while I was writing down the rough outline of the plot in my journal. Literally. It just suddenly struck me that maybe there could be a twist where Virgilia and Beato turn out to be related. The chances of this theory actually being true in canon are very, very slim (assuming we go with the theory of Virgilia's existence being meta-representative-of-Kumasawa only), but I added it to my story to give it another layer; I didn't want it to be a random plot twist, however, so I went back and added a bit of foreshadowing to it (ie, her sin).
Virgilia fans should be very, very thankful because in my original draft, I had planned to kill her off through a similar method in which Rosa was killed off (taking the bullet for her daughter). However, as the story went on, Virgilia quickly became one of my favourite characters and I thought, 'is killing her off really that necessary? We already have one mom-sacrificing-herself plot device.' So instead, I had her survive to mend things with Beato.
One last thing...as soon as I am finished with my Higurasi fanfic "Waiting", I will temporarily be on hiatus from this site for a while because I am planning another epic original story for fiction press. But only after I'm finished, though. I'll still come back to this site, of course, maybe finish off some of my other stories, or maybe even start up another epic one like this, but don't expect anything other than the occasional oneshot for now. However, I'm currently getting into the epicness of "Avatar: The Last Airbender", so who knows—maybe I will write another epic fanfic for that one, too. ;-)
So...any final thoughts? What did you like the best? What did you like the least? What surprised you the most?