A Piece of Cake
"Whoa! How'd you get so much food?" asked Beelzebub. Her eyes were wide- and for good reason. A plate of cookies had materialized in her hands; delicious, sugar-laden treats forming from clouds of golden butterflies. That 'golden butterfly' magic was fairly commonplace in the meta world, though, and that wasn't why Beelzebub was so surprised.
Rather, Beelzebub was surprised because of the sheer amount of food Mammon had managed to pilfer for her. Ronove was never that generous! Beelzebub lifted the plate up to eye level, tilting her head to one side- trying to evaluate the exact mass and volume of the food on her plate.
She couldn't do it.
It was an impossible task, even for a lover of food like her. Her mind simply couldn't create a decent estimate; it was far too overwhelmed by the sight and smell of such delicious food- all of it for her!
Why did Ronove give so much food to Mammon? He didn't have favorites, did he? T-that wasn't fair! Beelzebub appreciated his food far more than anyone else!
That didn't matter, just so long as Beelzebub got to eat as much as she wanted.
"You want to know how?" asked Mammon, a cruel smirk slicing across her face. "I'm amazing."
"A girl as sexy as me is allowed to be arrogant," said Mammon haughtily- though there was humor infused in her words that suggested she wasn't being 100% serious. Flicking strands of brown hair over one shoulder in a very graceful motion.
"You're not sexy! You're about as adorable as this!~" Beelzebub said- and then, with a childish 'bleurgh' noise she stuck out her tongue. Her tongue was peppered with cookie crumbs- and whilst Beelzebub was fairly attractive, the bits of saliva-covered cookie on her tongue certainly wasn't.
Beelzebub really knew how to make herself look as unappealing as possible. It was almost an art.
Mammon only smiled at her stupid little sister's childish antics; watching as Beelzebub continued to eat, the look on her face so blissful it suggested she was in heaven. Mammon hadn't taken that much food because she cared for her sister and truly wanted her to be happy; of course not. It was merely her duty, as the stake of greed, to manipulate every situation for her maximum gain- and she had such a large amount of blackmail potential from the compromising positions she'd caught Ronove and Battler in she'd be stupid to waste it!
Blackmail was fun. It gave Mammon a light, fluttering feeling in her heart.
"What would Milady do if she found out?~" Mammon had said, in a teasing sing-song voice. "What would she do if I called her ri~ight now, I wonder~"
"I-it's not like that!" Battler had retorted- but that only made Mammon laugh.
"Not like that?~ What happened, then? Battlerrrr~ Did you perhaps trip and fall and land, oh-so-conveniently, mouth-to-mouth with Ronove?~ Kukukuku. How unfortunate!"
Battler had turned brick red at that.
Mammon liked it when Battler did that. It was kind of adorable.
"Miss Mammon, please don't tease Battler," said Ronove, regaining some of his composure; a miracle, really considering his own breathing was fairly erratic and his heartbeat must've been hammering. Then again, Ronove was rather good at regaining his composure; he even managed to smile. "I believe he's rather confused at the moment."
"So I can see," said Mammon, quirking a brow. "You think Battler prefers it when he's being teased by you?"
"It would appear so, yes."
Both Mammon and Ronove shared a knowing smirk at that. Battler, meanwhile, had looked completely defeated; utterly broken.
"You people are all horrible- fucking horrible."
That comment was enough to make Mammon and Ronove laugh; Mammon's laugh more high-pitched and jeering, whilst Ronove's was soft and elegant and rather controlled as always.
Mammon had proceeded- using her amazing business-like blackmail skills- to lay down her ultimatum. She wouldn't tell Beato about what she'd seen ("it really doesn't matter why you were doing~~ Beato'll crush both of you just the same if she finds out") if Ronove would give her unlimited access to the kitchen. It might have seen like a relatively small price to pay- but Beelzebub was right, Ronove's food really was amazing. Beelzebub wasn't right about most things, but she was right about that.
Besides, thought Mammon, she could always think of more things to ask of Battler and Ronove using blackmail as leverage; a bargaining chip.
Ronove hadn't seemed all that perturbed by Mammon's deal- but Battler's face had burned bright red, and he'd called Mammon some rather unflattering things no lady should've been subject to. Somehow, Mammon felt (she was rather instinctive about the subtler shifts of emotion, having spent a rather long period of time being friends with a girl who hardly ever smiled and was about as incomprehensible as a Rubik's cube) Ronove had only agreed to her terms to comfort Battler.
Ronove didn't seem care overly much about Beato's opinion of him, which was why he frequently teased her- with almost the same regularity he poked fun at Battler. Of course, Ronove didn't do anything that could spike Beato's anger to such extremes she actively tried to murder him- and sticking his tongue down Battler's throat was highly liable to make Beato snap into her 'serial killer' tendencies. But Mammon couldn't help but feel Ronove hadn't done that merely for his own safety.
Maybe... he'd done it for Battler, too.
Awww~ That was kind of... sweet? Sentimental? How noble; it was just what Mammon would expect from a supposed 'gentleman'!~ Not that Battler noticed, of course, being far too consumed by his own embarrassment to care for anyone other than himself.
Mammon's smile turned into something darker, more dangerous, as she idly wound a coil of brown hair about her finger. The look on Battler's face had been precious; a light pink blush, his eyes wide, his voice breaking when he said, quite untruthfully, 'I-I can explain...'
Battler always tried to act so composed, so self-assured, so confident when he was around Beato- but he'd been caught completely off-guard by Mammon. He'd been vulnerable.
That... reminded Mammon of somebody, just a little.
A girl from another plain of time.
A girl from another game board; a board that would be forever separate from Battler's owing to the subtle shifts in time. Battler knew that girl as a child he'd baked cookies with when he was younger- but Mammon had known her as a teenager, just a year or so younger than Battler, with serious eyes, a small frown, and childish pigtails.
Ange acted cold and aloof too- but Mammon, with her careful pushing and prodding and unrelenting friendliness, had managed to make Ange's face flush and her mask break, too. And Mammon- being greedy- liked those expressions. She wanted to see more of them; and she savored the memory of each and every time she'd made Ange smile.
It had been nice to have a friend. A friend she could tease and torment- and yet, at the same time, a friend she could support and comfort and sometimes, very rarely, make smile.
Maybe Ange and Battler weren't all that dissimilar after all.
It was a comforting thought.
"I hate this," said Battler darkly, leaning his head against the table-top.
Battler was still in the kitchen- still in Ronove's company, even though Battler was trying to distance himself from that damn butler with his irritating smiles a-and how was he still smiling like that after Mammon had seen them-
Battler gave a rather tired, resigned-to-misery moan of irritation.
It wasn't fair. It really, really wasn't.
Battler hated the meta world and the all people who inhabited it. Those bare-legged stake girls and witches in ornate dresses and butlers with self-assured smirks didn't deserve to exist; they shouldn't have existed! They only served to make his life hell.
They probably thought screwing with his head was one entertaining game.
Maybe that was why they always smiled.
And Battler had thought for one brief, shining moment, he'd managed to score some kind of victory.
He thought he'd managed to win.
How stupid he was.
Battler tensed as he felt a hand fall upon his shoulder; shaking him slightly. Battler didn't want to talk to Ronove- not now. He had no desire whatsoever to speak to Beato's butler, who was (probably) still smiling as though nothing had changed and nothing was wrong.
Battler hadn't been in 'control'; he hadn't been in 'control' at all.
He'd only succeeded in making himself look stupid.
Well, that wasn't very difficult, was it?
Maybe Beato was right- maybe his hair really was ridiculous.
Battler would've left Ronove's company right then and there- dissolved into a cloud of butterflies and departed- but, at that moment, he simply didn't have enough energy. He could barely even bring himself to push Ronove away, although in his minds eye he entertained images of himself punching Beato's butler in the face.
In the end... Battler didn't do that, though.
He didn't move.
Instead he said, voice dry, "Get off."
"I'd rather not."
Ha. Well. Battler hadn't expected that to work anyway.
Battler managed to lift his head from the table through sheer force of will, his eyes meeting Ronove's. Ronove's eyes were bright blue- so piercing it made Battler wince slightly, as though a spear of red truth had pierced through one of his lungs.
It was stupid Ronove had such a profound effect on him- b-but maybe that was only to be expected, considering what they'd done...
What Ronove had let Battler do to him.
Battler was never going to be able to look at Ronove the same way again. Even if Mammon didn't tell Beatrice, Beato would notice Battler's feelings eventually wouldn't she? There might be a few clues in the way Battler would start, as though scalded, every time Ronove looked at him.
"Please get off me," said Battler, voice deadpan. "I don't have the energy to deal with this right now."
"What I intend to ask of you doesn't require any energy... Unless you have something else in mind?" asked Ronove, smiling, voice teasing- but not cruel.
Battler glared at Ronove sourly. His expression could have curdled milk. "No thanks."
"Ah~ That's a pity, considering you seemed to enjoy it so much before..."
"Yeah, well, things change."
"I wish you wouldn't give me false hopes in such a cruel manner," said Ronove, his voice laced with faux hurt. If Battler hadn't already known Ronove was a liar (just like everybody else in the meta world) he might have been inclined to believe what he said- but Battler wasn't that naïve anymore. "If you truly despise me, perhaps it would have been better if you'd never encouraged my advances."
Battler's eyes narrowed. He didn't like being manipulated. Beato did it enough- he didn't want Ronove to join in, too.
And yet, even so...
I-it had been... again with that incredibly inadequate word, but it had been 'nice' kissing Ronove; pressing their bodies together; making him moan. It had certainly distracted Battler's mind from Beato, if only for a while...
Why did everything in the meta world have to be a 'game'?
Feelings weren't like that; they didn't have to be like that. What did it matter who was controlling who if Battler... enjoyed it?
Did it really matter all that much?
Battler sighed. He was so confused- and Ronove's fingers against his shoulder, Ronove's eyes looking into his, weren't helping things; they were only making Battler's mind whirl and his heart hammer in a way that couldn't have been healthy.
"I thought you said you didn't want me to return your, ahaha, 'affections'," said Battler, rolling his eyes. "You said it would hurt Beato's feelings- which I find incredibly hard to believe, considering she doesn't HAVE feelings, but... But... T-this is stupid." Battler gave a humorless laugh. "W-why am I even considering this...?"
"I'm aware this is highly... unorthodox," said Ronove, his words gentle, his smile softer than usual. "But logic and emotions can be mutually exclusive."
"Y-yeah, I guess so..."
Battler frowned, looking down at his lap, at the table top, around the room- and then, finally, his eyes settled back on Ronove again.
Battler didn't know what he was feeling or why, and it didn't make any sense- it was completely senseless; but Ronove had been right. Feelings were rarely logical; they didn't have to make sense.
Nothing in the meta world made any fucking sense anyway- why did this have to? In fact, it made more sense that this 'relationship' didn't make any sense.
Maybe it was better that way.
Slowly, almost unbidden- a small smile spread across Battler's lips.
Then it became a smirk.
What should it matter if what he wanted was completely nonsensical, incomprehensible, confusing? Didn't that make it more exciting?
Battler didn't care.
He'd figure out the details later.
But, for now-
"Ihihihi~ You know what?"
"I like you much, much better when you're flushing and stammering my name~ Maybe I'm a twisted person?"
"Pu ku ku~ Perhaps. That must be why Milady likes you so much."
"But, right now, I really don't care."
-that didn't matter.
It didn't matter at all.
Battler's fingers found Ronove's shoulders- pulling Beato's butler down until their eyes were level; Battler sat down, Ronove leaning over him. Battler was hardly even aware of what he was doing; his head had all but shut down, allowing his hormones to do whatever they wanted. Who needed to think about things like this anyway? This wasn't a verbal battle with pretty colors flying around; this was something else altogether- although it could've been just as deadly...
What if Beato found out?
This wasn't right- it wasn't right at all.
But that only made it more 'interesting'.
"Oh, by the way," said Battler, his voice soft, "can you smell something burning? I think you left those cookies in the oven for far too long."
The look of surprise that flitted across Ronove's face was enough to make Battler laugh; and though Ronove tried to rise, to push Battler away, Battler wouldn't let him.
Battler pressed his lips against Ronove's in another kiss.
Ronove still tasted like cake.
Battler would think about that kiss- and, subsequently, give himself a headache- later- but for now the logic behind it (or lack of logic) didn't matter.
All that mattered was the feeling of Ronove's mouth against his and the lingering taste of cake.
a/n: Yay :D There's a light dash of Mammon/Ange in here aussi, so... something for everyone? XDD;
I feel really sorry for Beato when I pair Battler with anybody other than her considering, you know, Beato's past and the like... but I can't help myself liking this pairing :3
This might be the last fic I do with this pair though, because... idk. People are probably sick of me spamming the relatively yaoi-free umineko fandom with this stuff now XDD
Anyway, I hope you liked it, I'm thankful for all the people who read & reviewed this, and... yes, thank you ^_^;