Chapter One



"My, my, Battler. You certainly are very good at this," said Ronove appraisingly, looking down at the chessboard sat between himself and Battler on a white table. He grinned, holding his fingers to his mouth in his usual elegant, yet somewhat flamboyant manner. "I see I will have to plan my moves more carefully around one as wily as yourself."

"Hey, don't sound so surprised. You should know by now I'm not an idiot," said Battler, pouting slightly. He wasn't even aware he was doing it; it was a subconscious reflex.

It does make him look rather delectable, though… Ronove thought to himself, his grin widening. If only the products of my culinary skills could look one eighth as appetising…

"Aha, my apologies. I did not mean to insinuate you were an idiot. Anybody who can hold their own against Milady whilst playing one of her 'games' is worthy of my respect."

Battler frowned. "Why would I want your respect?"

"I am a high-ranking noble demon, Battler; the respect of one such as myself is worth quite a lot in this world." He smiled, waggling a gloved finger in Battler's direction. "Tsk, tsk- how silly of you to forget."

"Like any of that matters," said Battler, shaking his head. "I'm trying to deny you guys exist, right? I don't need you praising me- it's weird. Urgh." He sighed, staring down at the chessboard with a sour expression on his face. "What a pain."

"Well, quite. I imagine playing a friendly game of chess with a being you refuse to believe exists is quite the dilemma, pu ku ku ku~" Ronove chuckled, gracefully picking up a piece and, after a pause, moving it. "I hope those irritating doubts of yours do not spoil this game for you; I am finding it quite enjoyable."

"Hmn. I don't know," said Battler, looking at the chessboard, pout still in place. "Beating the thirty-seventh ranked demon at a chess game might make me feel a little better, even if you obviously don't exist."


"Excuse me?"

"I am the twenty-seventh ranked demon. Not thirty-seventh."

"Like that makes any difference," Battler said, moving his knight. "That's check again, by the way. Heh."

"How interesting. You made a rather excellent move, Battler; I can understand why Milady enjoys having you as an opponent," Ronove smiled as he surveyed Battler, head tilted slightly as though he were examining a piece of art, or a bug under a microscope. It made Battler flinch slightly; the look on Ronove's face was so… intense. And his eyes were so very piercing.

"Incidentally," Ronove continued, his fingers hovering over the remnants of his pieces, "why did you ask to play chess with me? I'm sure Milady would have been happy to oblige your, hmn, whims~"

Battler sighed, collapsing back in his chair as though his skeleton had shattered.

"Watching my family die all the time is incredibly depressing. I think I'm handling it pretty well, considering. Tch." He rolled his eyes. "I don't get off on violence and murder like you people; I need a break from it every once in a while. Else I'll go insane. Then I might start to think there's possibility you guys could exist."

"And we couldn't have that. Milady would be disappointed if you had to retire early owing to mental illness," said Ronove smoothly, that charming grin still on his face. "Although, I am offended you assume I could… ah… 'Get off', as you so charmingly put it, to something as unsightly as violence. My tastes are rather more refined than Milady's~"

Ronove smiled, his fingers still hovering over various pieces. When he finally selected a rook, he lifted it with the elegance a princess would lift her soup spoon during a dinner party with an emperor. The black pawn against his white gloves was strangely striking; Battler found himself watching those long, elegant fingers in spite of his better judgement. Ronove's movements were almost captivating.

"Are there any other reasons you did not desire Milady's presence for this game?" Ronove asked, leaning back in his chair. "Not that I object to being here, of course; it is always most pleasant being with Battler."

Battler made a face, still pouting, still looking criminally adorable.

"Ahaha- do not feel you have to oblige to indulge my curiosity. I apologise if the request was a tad impertinent; I am, after all, just furniture."

"Gahh. Now you sound like Shannon," said Battler, reaching out to put Ronove into check again hastily, as though he were trying to punish him.

"Oh my~ Is there anything wrong with adapting the qualities of Miss Shannon? She is a very charming woman."

"Yeah, but you don't sound charming like that."

A rather sincere smile pulled at Ronove's lips, his eyes widened slightly, and a soft, light pink flush spread across his cheeks. He leant across the table, suddenly too close- way too close- and Battler felt his own face begin to turn red, as he leant back in his chair.

Then, Ronove spoke, in a voice slightly higher and more feminine than usual, still with those large eyes and that small smile and that rose petal pink blush; "B-battler, I-I hope you enjoy being with me, even though I am just mere furniture... I-I'm sorry if Kanon was rude to you earlier… Would you like some tea? Hehe~"

Battler felt the breath still in his throat. His heart seemed to have stopped beating- or, more like, it was only sending blood to his face.

Argh! I hate it when I blush! Why do I have to have red hair? It makes me look like I'm on fire.

The only flaming one round here is definitely Ronove, though.

Fucking weirdo.

"D-don't do that!" Battler yelped, his cheeks still beet red. Shuddering, he reached forward and pushed Ronove away. "Y-you sounded way too much like Shannon just then. T-that's not right…"

Ronove only smirked at Battler's outburst, his earlier blush vanished completely. His eyes were back to their slanted, intense state as before. "It must seem odd, hearing the voice of a rather attractive and… ah… largely gifted woman coming from a person like myself. Once more, I apologise- although the look on your face is truly priceless, pu ku ku ku~"

"D-damn right it's odd. That's so odd it needs a whole other word to describe it!" said Battler darkly, turning his head away. "I-if you really want to know why I'm playing chess against you, then it's no big deal, I'll tell you. 'Cause the reason doesn't matter, see?"

"I see."

"Well, I can't relax like this around Beato! I mean, I doubt anybody could, unless they were missing half their brain. She's a complete psychopath; I bet if I tried to play ANY game against her- not just chess, but like noughts and crosses or something!- she'd, like, take it way, waaay too seriously and feed me to her goat butlers if I lost. Not that I feel relaxed around you, but y'know; you're marginally less homicidal than Beato."

"Milady is not a complete psychopath."

"But she acts like one so much the finer points of her character are completely negligible."

"Pu ku ku ku~ As always, you have a very clever way with words, Battler; and a very sharp tongue. Mmn~" Ronove grinned, brushing a few strands of hair out of his eyes with a delicate grace that would've made a ballerina cry in envy.

"Ngh," Battler made a small noise of irritation, as he turned his eyes away from Ronove and stared resolutely at the chessboard. The black and white squares were nice and non-threatening; they wouldn't try to flirt with him (which Battler was 90% sure that was exactly what Ronove was trying to do- probably for no better reason other than 'boredom'. That seemed to big motivating factor in the metaworld; why else would that weird witch in pink with all the hair ribbons take 'candy baths' for any other reason? Unless she had some really weird fetishes… Actually, that was kind of sexy. In an 'oh God why?' kind of way. Now, she was a girl Battler would take a 'candy bath' with).

"I thought about asking one of the sisters of Purgatory for a game," said Battler, images of sexy, sexy jailbait witches and the inappropriate uses of lollipops running through his head, "but I decided against it."

"Oh?~" Ronove pressed his fingertips together, elbows resting on the tabletop, body bent forwards slightly.

"Yeah, 'cept I can't tell them apart and last time I thought I was talking to Mammon, but it was actually Leviathan or something, and she went completely mental and tried to stab me in the eye when I got her name wrong, saying something like 'I have my own identity! How dare you! I'm just as good as my sisters!' Damn, those girls are all way high-maintenance."

"Haha~" Ronove laughed, his fingers splayed across his lips once more. "Women can be so very temperamental. They may appear delicate and lovely, but a woman scorned-"

"Can be a fucking pain in the ass."

"Your wording is perhaps a tad unsophisticated, but it is true enough," Ronove replied, still chuckling.

"Man, the girls here are all insane- apart from maybe Virgilia. And what's with Lucifer's modesty? I was talking to her a while ago, and then she started going red and was all 'no, don't look at my chest, pervert!'" said Battler grumpily, throwing his arms up in anger. The motion was so over-exuberant he almost sent the chessboard flying. "And then she tried to maim me, like ALWAYS- I swear, that's how all my talks with those sisters end! But c'mon, if she was sooo concerned about her appearance then she wouldn't wear such a stripperific outfit! I mean, her boobs are like-" Battler made a crude motion, as though he were holding two balloons to his chest "-and her skirt is, like, non-existent. Tch. You'd think she'd at least cover up a bit more. Any guy would stare! I'm not a pervert- I'm just a victim of circumstances!"

"Aheh, yes. The seven sisters are quite lovely, aren't they? Their personalities, however, can be quite fearsome."

"You're telling me. Damn." Battler ran a hand through his hair, turning it into a messy birds' nest of wild, flyaway spikes. "All the hot girls I know are either related to me or trying to murder me. How is that fair? What did I do to deserve this? Fucking Beatrice. I bet she dresses them like that on purpose just to torment me. Blahhh."

"I fear Milady's actions may warrant those harsh words," said Ronove, his long, white fingers hovering over his next piece. "However, I pray you have enough sense to abstain from saying such things to her face. She is very fond of you, Battler."

"If that's true, she has a really odd way of showing it. Whatever happened to chocolate on Valentine's day and love letters?"

"Traditional human customs are so endearing." Ronove smiled. "But do you honestly believe Milady is the sort of the woman who would follow such customs?"

"Of course not. I'd never eat anything she offered to me anyway; I don't take my own life so lightly."

"I doubt Milady would try and poison you."

"I wouldn't put it past her," said Battler darkly, "considering all the other sick stuff she's done."

"So, when you became weary of Milady's company- not the mention the combined company of the very beautiful seven sisters- you sought out my humble self for a game of chess. Ah~ That really is quite flattering, Battler~ Do you honestly find my presence so relaxing? Pu ku ku ku~"

"Don't be flattered. It was the best choice of a poor selection," said Battler, waving one hand dismissively. "It was either you or one of those goat butlers- and I doubt they'd be able to pick up any of these pieces, let alone actually play chess. Those things are terrifying- they ate me!"

"Aha~ It appears you have made a mistake then, Battler," said Ronove silkily, moving his next piece with usual graceful motions.

With a small smile, he fixed Battler with a penetrating stare, dark eyes smouldering with intensity. Battler found himself flinching slightly at that expression.

"W-what mistake would that be, exactly?"

"Intelligent demons are far, far more terrifying than unintelligent ones~ In fact, I would like to make this game more… interesting."

At the word 'interesting', Battler felt his insides clench.

That word never heralded well when it came from the mouth of a demon. The last time Beatrice had declared something was 'interesting', it was when Rosa and Maria were being drowned in jelly by Eva's insane, took-a-level-in-bitchiness-and-badass split personality in the pimped out witch dress.

Oh God. I hope Ronove doesn't want to drown me in a jelly, too.

Then again, he'd probably say such a thing was 'inelegant'. Fucking weirdo. And the sad thing is, he's the closest thing to a 'normal person' this place has; apart from Virgilia, I guess.

"Don't look so frightened, Battler~" Ronove said with a light, teasing lilt. "Anybody would think I was planning to eat you alive… Although I am not completely opposed to that idea… Pu ku ku ku~"

"I'm not frightened," said Battler, narrowing his eyes.

There had been a glimmer of challenge in Ronove's words, and Battler would never fold to a demon- doing that would be just as good as admitting they held power over him! From there on, it was only a short step to admitting they really existed- and that would be like signing his own death warrant.

Besides, Battler Ushiromiya had never been one to back down from a challenge, no matter how ridiculous or impossible. That was the reason why he was always covered in scars and bruises when he was a child. He could still remember the time Jessica had told him he'd never dare try and the climb the tallest tree in the forest (not that it necessarily had been the tallest- their parents had forbidden them from wandering too far into the forests of Rokkenjima). Battler had laughed in Jessica's face and, ignoring George's 'I don't think you should do this…' Battler had showed Jessica he wasn't afraid of anything! He'd climbed that tree! Well… he'd climbed most of it. Until he fell off and splattered himself across the floor like a pancake. But he'd still done it- even though he broke his arm and nearly smashed his brains out.

The worried look on Shannon's sweet face when he limped heroically back to the mansion, sporting a bruised eye and a severe injury, had been worth the pain.

"And don't say you'd like to 'eat me'- I already reserved that honor for Maria when she gets older!" Battler continued, pointing in his typical over-dramatic fashion at Ronove. "I'm way too good for the likes of you!"

"Of course. I apologise," said Ronove, shaking his head with a smile. "At any rate, I would like to propose we add a greater element of challenge to this game."

"Fine. Whatever it is, I accept! Don't think I'd tremble in fear at a demon's request; I'm stronger than that!"

Ronove laughed to himself in his typical effeminate manner, fingers across his lips, eyes closed.

"I like your attitude, Ushiromiya Battler. I am honored to have you as my opponent, even if it is only for the duration of a small scale game such as this. I fear I may become quite jealous of Milady if she continues to monopolise your time; I wonder if you are as passionate in other areas, too~"

"I'm passionate in everything I do, but that doesn't mean I have to give you a demonstration of it!" Battler said forcefully, folding his arms. A smirk spread across his face. "So what's your challenge?"

"Oh, nothing too spectacular," said Ronove, smiling. "I would not wish to turn your attentions away from Milady for too long. I propose a rather simple exchange; namely, whoever emerges from this game as the victor gets to ask the other a favor."

"So there's a penalty for losing?"


"You could have said it all that in five words," said Battler, rolling his eyes. "You didn't need to state it in such an overly-elaborate way."

"I am descended from nobility, Battler~ It is in my blood to act in such a manner."

"I'm from a rich family too, and I don't talk like I swallowed a thesaurus."

"To your credit, Kinzo is not the most verbose human; his vocabulary seems to consist solely of 'Beatrice' and inarticulate screaming," said Ronove with that sly smile. "I can't imagine he finds his family members' command of their own language overly important."

"Haha, yeah. Maybe, if he'd bothered to teach my dad some English, I wouldn't be called 'Battler'," said Battler, rolling his eyes. "It's not even a name. It's just a humiliation."

"Personally, I think it suits your personality very well. I couldn't imagine Battler Ushiromiya being named anything else~ Although, I suppose in your case, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Pu ku ku ku~"

"Whatever. I'm being serious now," said Battler, reaching forwards and grabbing hold of his last remaining knight. "Let's do this! I'll certainly defeat you, no matter what!"

a/n: I love Ronove XD I forgot how amazing he was, but I've been rewatching Umineko and I just love him!~ Love love love 3 Pfft, and he so obviously has the hots for poor Battler XD~
IDK about this pairing. I think it's kind of cute-ish, and at the same time incredibly hilarious and just plain weird XD But it's charming, and Ronove is /very/ charming, and I had an idea for a fic and I was all 'screw it, I'll write it' XD

Actually, my idea for this fic was just a oneshot, but then I had an idea for two other oneshots with this couple, and I thought 'oh, I can just combine them into a short little fic and run them together', so here you are :3 This is just the first half of the first oneshot idea, though. This will be sort of plotless (I think…) and will be a very short and sweet fanfic, but I hope you like it anyway ^_^~

Oh, & I think it's hilarious that Japanese Itsuki and Japanese Kyon play Battler and Ronove, respectively, and I ship Itsuki/Kyon and kinda-sorta Ronove/Battler, to a certain extent XDD~ ihihihi. Funny how dat works out.

Please R&R?~ I'd like to know if I'm doing a decent job, or if any other peeps like this pairing XP

renahhchen xoxo