"Huh? What's going on here? Fufufu~ as if I couldn't guess! Gyahahaha!"
Letting out a startled yelp, Battler's whole body was racked with convulsions. He jumped, as if he'd been hit with electricity. The chair tipped backwards- as Battler had predicted it would've done.
It was, after all, incredibly stupid trying to balance two people on the same chair, especially if they were both desperately trying to kiss the other in as many places as possible.
This fate was almost inevitable. If the newcomer's laughter hadn't startled Battler, something else would've made them overbalance eventually.
That didn't make the experience any more pleasant.
Battler gave a cry of pain as he landed ungracefully the floor, a tangle of limbs with messy, flyaway hair and swollen lips and flushed cheeks.
It was probably Ronove that suffered the brunt of the fall, though- first, being pitched backwards, knocking his head against the floor, and then having Battler land on top of him. They were thrown against each other as clumsily as a young child would try to slam together puzzle pieces that obviously didn't fit. Battler wasn't sure, but he swore he'd accidentally hit Ronove in the face with his elbow.
And yet, somehow, the small noise of pain emitting from Ronove's equally swollen lips was worlds apart in elegance from Battler's undignified yell.
Battler lay there on top of Ronove for a while, his head buried in the hollow of his neck. His breathing was laboured, heavy. He didn't think he was capable of moving- he felt completely boneless, like a filleted fish, and adrenalin was pounding through his body at such speeds he was sure he'd collapse if he tried to stand.
A small silence surrounded the pair, broken only by heavy panting.
Was it his?
Battler wasn't sure; noise was beginning to run into each other, a collision of sounds and feelings, and Battler couldn't pick them apart in his head.
Then, Ronove broke the semi-silence with a single word- though he was stuttering, and his voice sounded strained.
"I-it would be in our best interests if you... m-moved your knee. I-I'm sure you understand what I mean… Heheh…" His laugh was uncertain- it didn't sound as teasing as his usual laughter.
Battler blinked, and looked down at the rumpled, flustered form of Ronove underneath him.
Then, he realised exactly what Ronove meant.
"O-oh, right. That…" said Battler, his cheeks flushing an even darker pink. "S-sorry."
With trembling arms, Battler placed his palms onto either side of the butler's head, and pushed himself off him. As he tried to manoeuvre his heavy, unresponsive limbs, Battler wondered whether he'd falter and collapse, once again, against Ronove; however, he grit his teeth, and managed, through force of will, to get into a sitting position.
"Fufufu~ What a sight! I never imagined you would end up in a situation like this, Ronove! How'd you get such a hot guy all over you like that anyway? I'm jealous! Gyahahaha!"
The newcomer's voice pierced through Battler's head like a bee sting. Each syllable was sharp and poisonous, and all hit Battler with a horrible precision; he was beginning to get a headache.
The voice was high-pitched, too- the laughter, even more so.
Battler felt his cheeks flush like sunspots. Lambdadelta's words from earlier played through his mind; "you can never be too sure who's watching youuu~"
Had this person been there all along?
I thought demons and witches had all the power in the world. They can bring people back to life, and murder them just as easily. They can produce objects out of thin air, summon other objects that were lost, and fix things with magical incantations.
You'd assume that would keep them entertained.
Instead, they devote their time to spying on people who really, really want to be left alone! Then, they choose the worst moments to phase into existence, cackling like stuck records all the while.
I hate this place.
And I hate the people in it, too.
I really shouldn't be surprised at this point, but still…
Battler thought he'd seen everything the metaworld had to throw at him, from bare-legged mercenary sisters to magical goat-headed butlers, from blank-eyed girls with cat tails to all those fucking golden butterflies.
Even so, this woman still managed to shock him- and that wasn't just because he could only see half of her. Her torso was sticking out of the table-top, the other half hidden- though Battler suspected the dark portal beneath her had something to do with that.
No- the real reason why Battler had to do a double-take was because of her clothes.
Battler was sure, if he'd been drinking something (probably tea- that was all they had to drink around here), he'd have spat it back out all over himself at the sight of this woman.
The way her dress was styled was impossibly impractical; she was in danger of falling out of it at any sudden movement. It would've been more logical if she'd forgone getting dressed that morning at all. She was a severe wardrobe malfunction just waiting to happen; Battler was sure his eyes would be fixed on her chest for the entirety of their conversation.
Maybe that's the point. Maybe it's meant to be a distraction, so it's impossible to counter any of her attacks.
These people sure like to fight dirty.
…That outfit really takes 'dirty' to a whoollleee new level, though.
And I thought the seven sisters of purgatory were bad, ihihihi…
"Ah- it's nice to see you, Gaap."
Battler turned to look at Ronove, fixing him with a questioning glance.
Ronove had managed to get to his feet, and inclined his head slightly towards the walking wardrobe disaster. His face was carefully blank; a complete contrast to the more unguarded expression he had displayed to Battler earlier. However, his cheeks were still flushed a very soft, almost invisible, pink.
"Fufufu~ Hey, Ronove!~" the blonde woman giggled, waving. Battler noticed her fingernails were impossibly sharp- the blood red talons added a few inches to each finger!
Urgh… Imagine being poked in the eye with one of those.
"Do you know her?" Battler asked Ronove, jabbing a finger at their unwelcome guest (or, at least, the half of her he could see). "Her?"
"Of course he does~" the creature known as 'Gaap' cooed, slowly pulling herself out of the tabletop. She, like Ronove, moved with an unearthly agility and grace. "There aren't too many demons around, you know- we all pretty much know each other. Big happy dysfunctional family, right? Kikikiki~ And how could anybody not know Gaap, ranked thirty three out of Riiche's servant demons?~"
"Indeed," Ronove agreed, watching as Gaap jumped off the table, her high-heeled shoes making an audible click as she landed. "You always were one for making a grand entrance, Gaap."
"I know! It gets people attention- along with other things. Kikikiki~"
Battler couldn't help but stare as the vision of blonde curls and complete immodesty walked towards him, in that dress that covered so little it didn't deserve to be named as such.
"Is there any particular reason you're here?" Ronove asked cordially. "I can't imagine this was a mere coincidence."
"Ooh, well done~" Gaap giggled, clapping her hands together. "You get a point! Of course, Gaap loves to know all the latest gossip! And if it involves a hot guy like this one-" she pointed at Battler "-then how could you keep me away?"
Ronove was smiling, ever so slightly, as though he were talking to a friend. Then again, maybe he was- though if that was the case, Battler would advise him to choose his 'friends' a bit more carefully.
"Incidentally, Gaap. This may seem like a naïve question, but is Milady aware of…" he paused, gesturing towards Battler. "This?"
"Ohohoho~" Gaap cackled- though her smile didn't look cruel, and her laughter wasn't malicious. Instead, it was merely mischievous. "Well, if I know all this juicy, juicy gossip- and Ushiromiya Bahh~ttler-" Battler was getting pretty sick of all these demons knowing his name, "-isn't even my concern, then I'm sure Riiche does! You can't hide anyyythinggg from her! Well~ Kiki~" She cackled, brushing a hand through her golden curls so they bounced. "I can- but that's just Gaap's amazing talent! Nobody else can be as stealthy as me!"
In that outfit?
She's about as subtle as a punch to the face! By somebody who has no arms!
"That would be problematic, then…" said Ronove, with a small sigh.
"You don't say~" Gaap said, voice teasing, as she prodded Ronove in the side. "If I had a ho~oot guy like Battler with me I'd be pretty pissed if he got snatched away by someone like youuu~ Fufufu."
"Thank you for your sentiments, Gaap. However, I'm not sure it was I who, as you said, 'snatched' away Battler." Ronove's smiled widened ever so slightly at this. "Not if Battler's previous advances were to be believed. It was quite the opposite. Pu ku ku~"
"Oh, re~eeallly? After a thousand years, I guess you've still got it in you, Ronove! Good job! Gyahahaha!"
"You remain as attractive as ever too, Gaap."
"Why, thank you~" Gaap grinned, doing a quick twirl to show off her 'dress'. The ruffled skirt spun round her long legs, in a wave of crimson fabric, before settling down again. Then, she winked, and pulled a pose- bent forwards, swaying slightly. "I am pretty free~aking hot, right?~"
"You wouldn't be Gaap if you weren't."
"Ha!" she let out a short laugh, running hand through her blonde ringlets again. "And, even so, despite my undeniable hotness, this kid would still choose somebody like you?~ I'm jealous, I'm totally jealous! If Riiche tries to murder you, Ronove, I'd tooo~tally understand! I might even join in! Kyahahaha!"
"Ah- thank you for your refreshing honesty, Gaap."
"No problem!~" beamed Gaap, winking again.
Battler couldn't help but notice her lashes, like certain… other parts of her anatomy… looked far too big to be real.
Man, is goldilocks here a living ad for plastic surgery or something? She kinda reminds me of a Barbie doll… Ihihhi…
Then, in a flurry of bouncing princess curls and rumpled skirts, Gaap crouched down to Battler's level and began patting him on the head. "What does a cu~uute guy like this see in you, Ronove, I wonderrr~ Aha, now that is real magic! Kyahahaha!"
Battler glared at the poster girl for illogical outfits with a sourness that couldn't be rivalled by eating a whole lemon. Then, he backed away, and tried to get to his feet- though that was easier said than done. His limbs were numb and uncooperative. It felt like he had full-body pins and needles; a prickling, uncomfortable sensation that pierced every square inch of his skin.
Trembling slightly, his knees gave way from underneath him. He was sure he'd fall back to the floor, like a skittle in ten pin bowling.
That didn't happen, however.
Because Ronove caught him.
"Are you alright, Battler?" he asked, holding the limp, exhausted form of Battler to his chest.
Battler rolled his eyes- but the motion was lost on Ronove, who couldn't see his face.
Well, at least I can always fall back on sarcasm to get the job done.
"Oh, great. I'm fine. I should be used to these creatures appearing all the time and making my life hell, shouldn't I?"
Battler didn't try to push Ronove away; he was sure, without somebody to support him, he'd just fall over again. Rejecting help when he obviously needed was childish- and the results would only be embarrassing.
Instead, with a small, defeated sigh, he let his head fall against Ronove's shoulder, and shut his eyes.
Maybe, if I pretend none of this has ever happened, it'll go back to normal.
…Yeah, like that's ever worked out before.
I hate my life.
"Humph! How rude!" Gaap exclaimed, in tones of mock hurt. "I'm wounded!~ I'm no 'creature'; I'm the amazingly, unbelievably sexy Gaap! And I'm here to give you some advice- and pretty good advice, too, if I don't say so myself~ Fufufufu~"
"Advice?" Battler asked. He scoffed. "Yeah, 'cause you demons are soo trustworthy. What's the catch? In exchange for your help you get to portal me into some other dimension? You're not going to sic goat butlers on me too, are you?"
"Ooh!~ You're a pretty sharp kid!"
"I love how everybody sounds so very surprised when they realise I'm not a complete moron. It gives me such a feeling of confidence."
"Fufufu~ Well then~ If it makes you feel any better, I won't do any of that 'portalling to another dimension' stuff- even though I totally could! I'm nice like that, see?"
Gaap sat back down on the tabletop, kicking her legs back and forth like pendulums. Leaning back, she said casually, almost as though she were speaking to thin air;
"You two were acting pretty recklessly back there, riiiight?"
Battler cringed slightly at this comment.
"Even though youuu can be pretty rash, Bahh~ttler (ohmygosh! I love your name! Hihihi!), it doesn't seem like something Ronove would do~ I mean, not twice in one day, anyway. He has more common sense than that, I think- that's not something I can take and hide! Ohohoho!"
Battler cringed again at this. Was it really impossible to have any moments of privacy in the metaworld?
"Don't you think that's a little strange?" Gaap prompted. "A little weird? Could you even call this out of character behaviour… Fufufu~ Ever~ so~ sllligh~tly miraculous?~"
Silence enveloped all three of them for a few seconds.
Then, Ronove said "Ah…"
There was a great level of understanding in that single, simple noise. Apparently, Ronove had come to some kind of conclusion, like a mathematician reaching the answer of a difficult problem.
"Exactly!" Gaap exclaimed, the swinging movements of her legs becoming more pronounced the more excited she became. "Isn't it perfect? It sounds just like something Bern would do! She's sucha bitch! Maybe I should thank her for creating something so interesting to gossip about! Gyahahaha!"
An image of that young witch with the arctic tundra eyes came to Battler's mind. She had acted so cold and aloof. The expression on her alabaster face had been unchanging.
She hadn't seemed like the sort of person who would play around with other's lives.
In fact, she'd even scolded Lambda for it.
…But she was a witch.
Underneath her airs and graces, weren't all witches- as Ronove had previously said- selfish creatures that enjoyed tormenting others for their own amusement?
"Yes, I see," said Ronove, with another resigned sigh. "This does seem like something Lady Bernkastel would do, on a whim, to erase her boredom… Tch." He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "For all of Lady Lambdadelta's promises that she'd 'coat Bern in honey and lick her clean', it seems she failed to entertain Lady Bernkastel… This is problematic."
"Or, more like, they both decided to entertain each other by pissing off Riiche! They could do that and the honey thing at the same time! Gyahahaha!" Gaap said, laughing like a hyena. A hyena that was psychologically disturbed. Well… that 'dress' of hers was proof Gaap wasn't 'all there' in the head. "I feel kind of useless that my magic only allows me to steal things!~ If I could do things like Bern, the whole metaworld would be like one big soap opera! Gyahahaha!"
"I believe, at this moment in time, it may already be one."
"Yep! It's fun- this stuff is wayyy interesting!~"
Battler began to feel anger welling up inside him. The idea of being controlled by Bernkastel was nothing short of insulting- especially when he'dbelieved he had the better of Ronove.
Being a piece in a witches' game when he wasn't even the Battler on the game board left him with a sick feeling in his stomach.
"D-damn those two witches…"
Battler found enough strength to push Ronove away. Even though his body was shaking, he was able to stay upright- and, with an energy fuelled by anger, he stabbed a finger at the cheerfully laughing Gaap.
"Damnit! I will definitely make them pay for this! I can't stand being manipulated!"
"Oooh, such rage~ That's soooo hot~" Gaap cackled, swaying backwards and forwards with a dream-like expression. Her numerous curls bounced mesmerizingly as she moved- a golden miasma around her pretty face. "I can see why Riiche likes you so much!"
Something began to sparkle in Gaap's eyes. Her grin became more twisted.
Battler flinched, and took a step back.
He knew that face.
And not just from Gaap.
It was the same- the exact same- expression Jessica got whenever she was plotting something. And that face only ever foreshadowed trouble- with maybe a splash of humiliation thrown in there for good measure.
Battler could remember Jessica looking at him like that when they were younger, and it was raining outside, and they couldn't go and play, and she couldn't cajole Battler into climbing any more trees and breaking random limbs, and she was bored. Oftentimes, it had resulted in Battler being forced- not asked, forced- into Jessica's old formal clothes; pink hat, ruffled skirt, the works.
…Those were not pleasant memories.
"I know, I know!" Gaap declared enthusiastically, punching her fist in the air. "I know what you should do! I had an awesome idea! Bahh~ttler, you should go and get Riiche, so you two can knock Bern and Lambda's heads together! Naughty kids need to be punished, right? Fufufufu! I don't care who wins- it'll be fun either way!"
Battler blinked at Gaap's words, slightly taken aback.
At least she'd not trying to force me into a dress.
She's right, I guess. This does affect Beato, just as much as it affects me… So, I really should be teaming up with her.
And yet, despite that…
"This has everything to do with Ronove, too!" Battler exclaimed, turning to look at the demon butler. Then, Battler smirked, his eyes narrowing; that expression truly was dangerous. It was a better declaration of all-out war than any words would have been.
"If anybody should go and knock down those Gothic Lolita brats, it's us! Right, Ronove?"
"Pu ku ku~ Such energy," said Ronove appraisingly, smiling. "Whilst it would be reckless to face off against the likes of Lady Bernkastel and Lady Lambdadelta, I believe you could do it with that passion of yours~ And if that is the case, I will accompany you, and would be honoured to do so. After all… Pu ku ku…" Ronove took a step towards Battler, leaning down so their noses were almost bumping. "I've done so very many reckless things today, one more would hardly make a difference~"
"You might as well break the rules in style, right?" Battler asked, smirking.
"Oh yeah!~ It's best to do everything in the most stylish way possible! That is what I, Gaap, always, always do! It's one of my ruu~uules! Kyahahaha!"
Paying no heed to Gaap's laughter (it was pretty standard with demons; after a while you got used to it, like repetitive background music in video games), Battler's eyes continued to search Ronove's face, feeling the other's breath ghost across his cheeks.
Were these feelings also being manipulated by that kitty/witch hybrid and the blonde airhead with the honey fetish?
Would giving in to such feelings be admitting defeat? Would it result in a complete loss before he'd even begun to strike back? Or would ignoring his feelings and denying himself of what he wanted –more badly than he'd care to admit- also be equivalent to defeat?
"Pu ku ku~ You do know miracles are impossible, don't you, Battler?" Ronove asked, his voice softer than usual.
Battler raised a brow. "What are you trying to say?"
"He means not even the 'Witch of Miracles, the Great Bernkastel'- ooh, all these witches have such pretentious titles, don'tcha think? It's such a pain to say all that stuff, amrite?- can make something happen if the probability of it occurring was less than zero! You get it? You get it? You get it, right?" Gaap prompted.
"Ah…" Realisation began to bud in Battler's eyes. "I see…"
"Yes! There always a chance this could happen!" Gaap said enthusiastically. "So don't shyyy away from it~ If it feels right, then you should do whatever you want!~ That's how witches and demons live! Ahh~ It feels good having no inhibitions, yes? Gyahahaha!"
"Is that why you dress like that, Gaap?" Battler asked, unable to bite the question back.
Gaap didn't seem to mind, though. Instead, she cackled.
"Gyahaha! How rude! How impertinent! I like it! I like it a lot!~ Yes, that's it- that's exactly it! Fufufufu!~"
…Aha. Well then… If that's the case….
If I want to do something, I should just do it. I don't care what those witches think about it- or whether this is some sick 'game' they're playing together. I'm making these decisions for myself!
"Battler?" Ronove asked, reaching forwards to press his fingers against Battler's cheek. He still wasn't wearing his gloves. The feeling of skin against skin, without any barriers, made Battler's flesh prickle slightly. He trembled. Warmth began to spread though his body.
Then, Battler smirked.
He took hold of Ronove's waist, forcefully pulling the butler's body against his, until they were pressed flush against each other. There was no space for either to move; instead, they clung to the other, faces inches away.
Battler closed that irritating space in a matter of nanoseconds.
Ronove kissed back, his eyes flickering shut upon contact. He gasped softly, in the same way he had done before- yet the reaction still made Battler's heart hammer in his chest.
'No inhibitions', right?
It feels pretty good… Ihihi…
When Battler drew his face away- though he did not relinquish his hold round Ronove- the butler was panting softly, his cheeks flushed, eyes slightly wider than normal.
"Battler, you really are incorrigible."
"Heh~ And you are pretty amazing."
"Pu ku ku~ Now, that's something I never believed you would say. Are you sure you're feeling alright, Battler?" Ronove asked- though his expression was warm, and worry was not evident in his words. Instead, they were lighting teasing.
"Nope," said Battler, shaking his head. "I'm incurably crazy- nothing you could ever hope to fix."
"So let's go and teach those two witches a lesson, right? It'll be a total curb stomp battle, right? We'll give them everything we've got! Ihihihi!~"
"I would expect nothing less from Battler, of course."
"Ihihi~ Let's grind them into the dirt!"
"And what about Milady? What do you propose we do about her?" Ronove asked, tilting his head. "I can't imagine she'll be very happy…"
"If needs be, we'll beat her down too, right? It'll be a piece of cake- I'm positive!"
"No 'it's useless, it's all useless'?"
"Ihihi, well…" Battler grinned, kissing Ronove on the side of his mouth. "Maaa~ybe. Who knows? But I'll definitely not give up. That's something Ushiromiya Battler doesn't do!"
"Pu ku ku~ I'm glad to hear it. Maybe you should go easy on Milady, though? A woman's heart can be a very fragile thing… Even for a person like her…"
"Ah- fine, fine," Battler agreed, moving to kiss the other side of Ronove's mouth. "Ihihi~ But I'm getting all fired up now! Don't expect me to go easy on you later!"
"I'll be looking forward to it~"
"Yeah. Damn right you should."
Forcefully, Battler pressed his lips against Ronove's once more, inwardly laughing at the small noises the butler made. The pair, entangled in the arms of the other, began to break up into thousands of separate points of golden light- until they were nothing more than a flurry of golden butterflies.
Gaap watched the scene with amusement, tilting her head to watch the shower of butterflies flap themselves into non-existence.
"This day has been very, very fun!~ Oooh, I wonder what will happen now? Ohoho! I guess Bern and Lambda better prepare themselves! Fufufu… Gyahahaha!"
a.n: And thus, Battler and Ronove go to the metaworld to beat up Lambda and Bern and anyone else who stands in their way, a la Symphony of Golden Dreams~ fufufufu~
I hope you enjoyed this fic? Weird though it was? With such a weird pairing XDD~
I might do some more fic for this pairing some time in the future, maayybeee. But it's not guaranteed. But they're so fun to write :3 So, who knows~
Thank you to the people who read and reviewed this ^_^ It means a lot to me, and I'm glad people enjoy my strange fanfics XP~