Beatrice the Golden Witch sat on her white chair, surveying the scene before her with a small, barely there smile on her face. Battler had his arms circled round the younger Rosa's body, holding her close, whilst he tried to soothe the pain in her heart that had plagued her for so long.

Perhaps Rosa could be happy.

After twenty years of piled-up guilt, eating away at her insides like sulfuric acid, Rosa deserved a few shred of happiness to flitter through her miserable life now and again. It was a wonder she'd managed to drag her feet, one after the other, from day to day at all, given how weighed down she was with problems.

In a sense, Rosa reminded Beatrice a lot of herself. She was another lost, lonely girl; a girl who'd entertained large, lofty dreams, which were inevitably snatched out from her clasped hands by a cruel world that refused to let people hope for a better life.

Rosa had dreamed of a prince charming rescuing her, too.

And maybe she'd found him.

"This was an unusually kind thing for you to do, Beato," said Virgilia, looking at her pupil with fondness in her half-lidded eyes. "It appears you've finally grown up."

Beatrice nodded. "I suppose so. Or maybe... Heh." She smiled. "Maybe I was just feeling a bit of whimsy. That's all."


"Battler can't love me," said Beatrice, her voice quiet. Her fingers grasped handfuls of heavy dress, rolling the thick material under her palms. It was just something to occupy her; if she didn't move, she felt she would start to shudder.

"He... He's my opponent. He can't. E-even though I... well..." Beatrice sighed, breaking off hastily. Thinking about that was painful, and it'd been all she had to think about for the past thousand years. Other than tea, of course. You couldn't fault Ronove's delicious tea. Tea didn't try to make you do things you didn't want to do, and tea didn't call you a heartless monster, and tea didn't rip out your heart and grind it under the dirt. Tea was, Beatrice decided, the real love of her life- and the tea couldn't do anything about it, so there).

Beatrice continued, her voice strangely hollow and empty. It was alright, though. Battler wasn't there; he was with Rosa. Beatrice didn't need to act anymore.

"B-but I thought... I should at least let somebody else have a sliver of happiness in this world. Even if that person isn't me."

Rosa had needed help; that much was obvious. However, how could you ever hope to 'help' somebody if they didn't tell you they were in trouble? It was impossible. Rosa, being a member of the Ushiromiya family, was far too proud to reach out and ask.

Because she never asked, nobody could take her hand and save her.

So, instead, Beatrice had asked Battler for help in lieu of Rosa. She had deliberately shown Battler several tragic scenarios revolving that woman so Battler could realize she was falling apart (she had been for a long, long time) and she needed somebody to take her hand and pull her out of the water.

Beatrice had to break Rosa down to gain Battler's attention- but in this world, you had to be cruel to be kind.

...Beatrice was sick of being cruel.

It wasn't nearly as much fun as people said it was. Even the elaborate murders got boring after a while.

Beatrice tipped her head back against her chair. Her mind was filled with so many thoughts and feelings it felt heavy; her slender neck could hardly support it anymore. Beatrice let her eyelids flicker shut; stark black against pale, porcelain cheeks.

"He won't be able to keep that promise, though. Ushiromiya Rosa is going to die," said Beatrice- using the red truth off-handedly for the last sentence, even though Battler wasn't there to witness it.

Beatrice sighed.

She was so tired of this; so very, very tired.

Why had she given Rosa and Battler a small fragment of happiness if she intended to shatter it herself only moments later?

Battler would soon learn of her and Virgilia's scheme, and then Battler would hate her more than ever. That was what she wanted though, wasn't it...? She wanted Battler to hate her, so when it came to their final confrontation (it was getting so close; Beatrice new it was getting close) he would tear into her with his own blue truth from all sides until she couldn't fight back with red anymore. The only red that would run from Beatrice and the end of their battle would be her own blood, staining her dress and her hair and her milky white skin.

Death was the only way Beatrice could escape the shackle Lady Lambdadelta had placed round her foot.

It was the only way she could escape this game board.

It was only way she could escape Battler.

And all the feelings inside her heart...

The feelings that had been eating away at her insides like termites for years upon years, with no hope for rest- no rest for the wicked (or those pretending to be wicked)- and no hope of salvation.

Beatrice had known Battler would never return her feelings when he looked at her with hatred so acute it could have burned a hole in her face.

There was no 'love' there.

Beatrice frowned.

Battler was making more promises to Rosa; promises he couldn't keep. Hadn't he learnt his lesson last time? You didn't say things like that to people. Human beings were foolish; they could build their whole lives around promises.

When those promises crumbled away, so did their fragile hopes.

But Battler had completely forgotten the 'last time'.

He didn't even realize there was one.

It must have been nice being so stupid. Battler was the one who'd oh-so-casually thrown promises around, and yet Beatrice was the one who had to suffer for this, whilst Battler himself completely forgot he'd done anything wrong.

He'd murdered her.

It was the type of murder where 'people' don't die, but still- he'd murdered that girl with the white hair (she couldn't hold onto feelings like that; her heart was too weak, her body too delicate).

And now Battler was going to murder Beatrice, too.

But that was... okay.

For now.

Because- if only for a few moments, in a single fragment (a single universe)- Ushiromiya Rosa, that girl who liked to daydream and skip around arguments with dainty footfalls, had found forgiveness. In a cruel world that tried so desperately to tear compassion from human beings like people pulled weeds from their garden, maybe having hope (even for a few seconds) was enough.

The other Beatrice had felt it as she tumbled through the air- flying on invisible butterfly wings.

Hope was enough.

It had to be enough.

Otherwise, Beatrice would have abandoned her dreams Battler would- one day- apologize to her just as he was apologizing to Rosa. If Beatrice hadn't held onto hope, she wouldn't have engaged Battler in this game to begin with. She would have drowned herself like Ophelia, until the blood froze in her veins and her body turned cold and dead.

Battler might have been her enemy, but Beatrice loved him.

She didn't want to lose him.

And that was why she wanted him to hate her.

That was why she'd offered him a few glimmering moments of hope- only so she could snatch them back and shatter them between her fingertips.

That was why Beatrice wanted Battler to kill her instead.

She would rather die than be killed.

She hated Ushiromiya Battler.

And yet, at the same time...

She loved him, too.

And that was the biggest irony of all.

The End

a/n: I worked on this story for about a week, editing and changing things until it was all complete and shiny and pretty. It was originally going to be a threeshot, but...
As you can see, it spiraled out of control just a little XD
I spent so long working on this I no longer know if it's any good or not ;A;
I also pondered whether I should squish it all up as a huge oneshot at the end or leave it in chapters, but I decided it would be best to chapter it cause it's easier working through quick chapters than a really long oneshot XD

With this fic, originally it was a bunch of angst like my usual stuff, but then I decided to try something a little different so I tried to add some rather black humor into it at places- even despite the rather depressing nature of this fic. I also debated whether I should label this as Rosa/Bahhttler cause it's not, not really… but oh well.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoyed it ^_^

~renahhchen xoxo