A Piece of Cake
Chapter One


"I hate you guys sometimes," Battler muttered, arms folded- glaring sourly at Ronove's back. "I mean- I really, really hate you guys."

"May I ask- and I hope it's not impudent of me- the reason behind your sudden foul temper?" asked Ronove, turning to give Battler his usual smile; just a little bit teasing, and- at the same time- completely unreadable.

Battler sighed, running a hand through his hair.

He'd only been 'talking' to Ronove for a few seconds, and already he was beginning to get a headache. That was probably some kind of record.

Battler had been sat in the kitchen for a while (though why Purgatorio needed a 'kitchen' when they could just summon food from mid-air was anybody's guess); his head resting on his elbows, whilst his eyes burnt a hole in Ronove's back. Strangely enough, quite contrary to his usual nature, Ronove hadn't engaged in any pointless conversation with Battler (gasp). Instead, he'd more or less ignored the irritable red-head- moving about the kitchen, replacing the freshly-made cookies in the oven with more raw, unbaked dough shapes in silence.

Battler wasn't sure if Ronove was trying to be considerate, or if he was simply trying to annoy him further by pretending he didn't exist.

Then again, Battler was never sure about Ronove's motives; it was difficult to tell what Beato's butler was thinking, considering he was always smiling. In that manner, that damn butler was completely different from Beatrice. All of Beatrice's emotions (even the ugly ones; the arrogance and cruelty and selfishness) showed up on her pretty face perfectly, twisting it into something unattractive, almost frightening.

Beatrice was fairly easy to read. She was always shouting or laughing, mocking Battler- poking fun at him- and announcing him to be 'incompetent' at every turn; sometimes even using the red text- which was, Battler thought, complete and utter overkill. It was one thing calling somebody stupid- but to do so in a way where it was impossible to defend yourself, because it was the concrete truth?

That was a low blow.

Then again, Beatrice the Golden Witch wasn't renowned for her 'ladylike' nature.

Ronove, however, was completely different to his 'lady' (and Battler used the term loosely. Very loosely).

Beatrice was loud and raucous, her face occasionally displaying twelve emotions all at once, even if they weren't necessarily complimentary to one another, so they all crowded around her eyes and lips and brows in a complicated mess of contradictions.

Ronove, meanwhile, was a completely closed book.

Always smiling.

Always teasing Battler; but in a manner that suggested he didn't really mean it.

And always being, since the moment Battler had laid eyes upon him, completely infuriating and untrustworthy and just plain weird with it.

"You should know the reason," Battler replied tiredly- letting his back fall against his chair with a thwump.

Urgh. All the white was beginning to get to him a little. White was a stupid color for a kitchen, anyway; wouldn't that just show the dirt off more? Kyrie was a practical woman, and the kitchen back at home was a lot darker; as were all the carpets, come to think of it…

Then again, Kyrie didn't have any magical skills to clean up spilt food with the snap of the fingers and a few golden butterflies.

White, white, white, white, white.

Battler was sick of white.

That was why he closed his eyes. If he kept staring up at the ceiling, he'd get a headache.

… …Looking back on the situation, it retrospect, it was probably a bad idea to close his eyes around Ronove, though. Battler trusted that damn butler, with his facetious words and small smiles, even less than he trusted Beatrice.

Now, that was quite a feat- considering Beatrice was deranged; a fully grown woman, who believed herself to be the 'witch of Rokkenjima's night', and whose hobbies involved making people glorify her name and mass genocide.

That would have looked great if Beatrice was trying to find a date, Battler couldn't help but snicker to himself. It was always nice to have a hobby? What kind of guy would date a hag like that, though- even if she was attractive? With a personality like that, she was a complete nightmare.

"I'm afraid I don't know the reason behind your foul temper," said Ronove smoothly, his voice charming as always. "Thus, I decided to ask you."

"Yeah, well- maybe I don't want to talk about it."

"If you didn't wish to talk about it- whatever this undefined 'it' may be- then why did you try to initiate conversation between us to begin with? If you would care to recall, I wasn't the one who first began speaking."

Batter's lips contorted into a frown- and he opened his eyes, intending to leave them half-lidded and angry-

But at the sight of Ronove made Battler's eyes widen to almost comical proportions; his calm, carefully-manufactured aloof nature shattered.

He was very close.

Far, far too close.

Ronove was stood a few inches away from Battler's face, one of his gloved hands pressed to the side of Battler's head. His eyes- they were an incredibly bright, piercing blue. Battler hadn't noticed that before. Well… Why would he have noticed before? It wasn't like Battler wanted to wax poetic on Ronove's eyes- bore into Battler's with a strange kind of intensity; and that teasing smirk still played across his lips.

Battler's breath caught in his throat.

N-nobody (at least, not another man; a man with an unreadable expression and a smirk that wasn't quite cruel, but certainly wasn't friendly) had ever forced themselves into Battler's personal bubble so completely before-

And Battler hadn't even realized.

Battler hadn't realized Ronove had become so close.

At least- not until he'd opened his eyes.

…That was quite disturbing.

"H-hey… G-go away…"

"Hmn?" Ronove tilted his head to one side. "Does this bother you?"

Battler's left eye twitched.

Then, he reached forwards-

-and, in a sudden movement, the palm of his right hand smashed against Ronove's face.

At least it got that damn creepy butler to move.

Meanwhile, a rather dark part of Battler's mind started cackling over the thought he might just have broken Ronove's nose.

Sadly, when Ronove turned gracefully to face Battler once more, his nose wasn't bleeding. The only visible sign he'd been pushed backwards at all were a few out-of-place strands of hair; but he brushed those aside quickly, and rather elegantly, too.

He was still smiling.

T-that damn demon…

He didn't have any right to smile like that; not when he'd just done a very good job of halving Battler's life expectancy in two.

"Y-you creep," Battler said- his voice still agonisingly, irritatingly breathless. "T-that's precisely why I hate you… y-you so-called 'witches' and 'demons'. Y-you fucking bastard…"

All of the inhabitants of Purgatorio; they all made Battler wanted to stab himself in the face with sharpened objects.

Multiple times.

Apart from maybe Virgilia- but Battler didn't want to involve her in his argument. Adding any exceptions to his rant would, somehow, invalidate it; and Battler wasn't in a very generous mood, anyway.

Not when his BPM was still pounding at around 180.

Oh, so he was going to have a heart attack from stress.

That was cool.

At least dying via natural means was preferable to being killed by one of Beatrice's enchanted human-stake girl things, or being vaporised a cloud of butterflies; or, say, having his stomach split open and stuffed with cakes and candy.

Hell- compared to all the things Battler had seen Beatrice do, having a heart attack actually didn't sound that bad.

It sounded somewhat pleasant, even.

"Pu ku ku~" Ronove only laughed, his gloved fingers pressing against his lips. Battler wondered why he bothered to place his hand to his lips at all; it was fairly obvious Ronove was laughing, and his fingers didn't stifle the sound. "I apologise. It's far too much fun trying to irritate you, Battler- especially when your reactions are so violent~"

"…Why does that sound like such an innuendo. It shouldn't be an innuendo. Are you trying to flirt with me?" asked Battler- trying to keep his voice steady; deadpan; disdainful.

Battler expected Ronove to deny it- to shake his head, and say 'I'm a gentleman'- or some such other complete lie. If Ronove was a 'gentleman', than Battler was a newt.

…Which he wasn't.

However, instead of following Battler's expectations, Ronove merely smiled- and said, in his light, teasing tones, "Perhaps~ It depends. Would you like me to flirt with you? I have no objections to the idea."

Battler felt his face burn bright red- the same color as his hair.

Ronove… was just too complicated to try and figure out- and Battler wasn't even sure why he was trying to 'figure him out' at all; because Battler really didn't care about Beato's butler that much, and Battler was convinced- in fact, he knew it for a fact- that if he spent too much time with Ronove, his sanity would gradually begin to wear away.

But, then again…


The same could be said about Beatrice's company.

And Lucifer's.

And Leviathan's- and all the way right down the scale to the pigtailed Asmodeus (because the stakes may have looked harmless, but they were anything but; even more irritating than that old bastard had been when he was trying to teach Battler how to drive).



The stakes weren't too complicated to understand- not at all. The biggest mystery about them were their names; Battler had a hellish time trying to tell them apart- and his pains were only compounded when Satan, enraged he'd accidentally called her 'Beelzebub', had tried to put out of his right eye.

And Beatrice wasn't overly complicated to understand either; she had so many emotions watching her sometimes gave Battler motion sickness.

But Ronove…

Ronove was different.

And Battler always had liked mystery novels.

Some people- or 'demons', as it were- hid their true emotions behind masks, constantly acting like characters in a play, trying to remain elusive; just as enigmatic as the culprits in the mystery novels Battler had always loved to read.

But Battler had (generally) been able to find the right answer to the mysteries presented in those novels; and when he'd solved something particularly difficult, he'd always felt a sudden rush of pride- a feeling of achievement he rarely felt elsewhere, during other pursuits.

Some people weren't so different from mystery novels.

And solving them- prising right into their hearts and laying their emotions bare so you could see, quite clearly, the real lhuman being underneath, was just as satisfactory as reaching a conclusion in a mystery novel.

Battler wasn't sure if he could solve Beatrice's riddle. Her game board was too expansive, with too many characters- and the red truth only pinned Battler's arms behind his back; boxed him into corners and shattered any reasoning he attempted to make before it even passed his lips.

But, those games were still fun, even if they did make him want to tear out his hair- and Beatrice was, admittedly, very good at spinning an interesting story.

So… maybe something like this would be fun, too. There weren't any rules that prevented Battler from trying to understand Ronove; to prompt a more emotional response from him that wasn't a small smirk or a teasing comment.

Earlier, Battler had been irritated, completely exasperated, because he'd been unable to solve Beatrice's game; to the point where even trying to think about it felt like beating his head against a brick wall.

Battler needed a distraction.

That was why he'd gone to Ronove in the first place, wasn't it? For a distraction; because, whilst Battler knew conversing with Beato's butler inevitably made his heartbeat speed up and his head swim with confusion, it would take his mind off Beatrice for just a little while.

And, if Battler could dig a little deeper- and find out what Ronove truly thought, behind those small smiles- then maybe he could distract himself for even longer.

Just for a little while.

Maybe Battler would…

Start to play a new game.

A game of his own creation.

He'd elicit something other than a small smile from Ronove; and he'd try to draw as many emotional responses from Beato's butler as he could.

And Battler wasn't going to lose this time.

a/n: This is kinda-sorta pointless plotless Battler/Ronove fic because… aaa well you guys should all know this is my ~favorite~ umineko pairing by now, and those two are my favourite characters to write, and I need a break writing adorable Jessica/Shannon tentative romance-type stuff and do something different XDD Something with ~cake~ XDD

27/02/2012: Um, proof read, tried to sort some wonky characterization and awkward sentence structures... …

~renahhchen xoxo