I just finished playing this game and stumbled across a kink meme, and this had to happen. I never intended to write anything for this fandom, but this fic basically wrote itself. The prompt was: "Towards the end (before the final battles) Zacharie propositions the Batter and the Batter accepts but... Is incredibly kind and tender to Zacharie, and for once he's the one who can't understand why. Gratitude for his help? Guilt? His own inscrutable reasons? It's up to you. Something sweet that still stomps all my feelings and heart into a paste is what I'm getting at, basically."

So hopefully I achieved that while still keeping with the general tone of the game.

"The end is near, my friend. I believe what's floating behind you is the final save block. Perhaps it would be wise to record your progress one last time…

"Before you enter that door…

"Before you face the Queen…"

He giggles. Softly. "Alas, the time has come for you to spend the golden fruits of your carnage. Here's what I have at the moment…"

The Batter waves him off; not that it comes as a surprise. This is merely the final step of the purification process, the moment he's spent all of this time preparing for. There's nothing more he needs.

"Ah, then perhaps… A free gift?"

This catches the Batter's attention, but only just. He hesitates at the doorway, and that's all Zacharie needs. The bait has been cast and the Batter is hooked.

"A free gift, yes, no strings attached! It comes in the form of stress-relief, a meeting of the bodies in evanescent bliss. Come, soothe yourself."

There's a prolonged silence. Then: "Alright."

The Batter approaches him, as collected as usual, not the vaguest flicker of emotion in his face – it remains blank, expressionless, and Zacharie grins at him from behind his mask. "It's hardly private but there's not a soul here but ours. Only your puppeteer watches."

They're close now, closer than they've ever been, and Zacharie doesn't move. He waits for the Batter to decide. He is, after all, merely a merchant; a minor character in a bigger story. Though he calls himself a protagonist, he doesn't act on his own. He waits, as always, he waits.

He's rarely surprised, but there's a flicker of confusion when the Batter's fingers skim his mask, slipping just under the edge, brushing his chin.

"Can this come off?" the Batter asks, lifting it slightly despite the question.

Zacharie's mouth is already exposed when he says, "Perhaps. But perhaps not. This is, after all, a fanfiction – do what you will."

The mask clatters to the ground as the Batter pushes it up and over his head, and this wasn't quite what Zacharie expected. The hands that cup his face are tender, soft, holding rather than grabbing. The kiss that follows feels almost apologetic, and Zacharie is frozen. He was expecting a monster, but the creature touching him now feels so human.

He laughs when the Batter pulls away, the Batter's breath puffing against his face. He opens his mouth, but for once, the words don't come. The Batter is staring at his face, intensely, and Zacharie is stricken by how vulnerable he suddenly feels. There's not a single player who's ever seen his face; Zacharie himself hardly remembers what he looks like.

But he also sees the Batter, clearly now, for the first time – he looks possessive, arrogant, the same self-assured hero he's always been. There's a softness there, however, a softness that Zacharie hadn't noticed before. Whether it was obscured by his mask or born of this moment, he's oddly touched to be allowed to see the Batter as vulnerable as he is.

"How interesting," Zacharie says, and the Batter doesn't respond. His hands slide under Zacharie's sweater, slowly, carefully. It's almost as if he's done this before, as if his hands have memorized a map that they now trace out over Zacharie's torso, brushing his ribs and squeezing the sensitive places.

"You struck me as more of a fighter than a lover, though your touch tells a different story. I must say you've surprised me."

The Batter hushes him, kisses his lips before guiding his arms up to remove the sweater entirely. The two of them sink to their knees as if it had been scripted, moving in unison, the Batter guiding him down with a strong hand behind his head, laying him gently on the colorless ground.

There doesn't have to be color here for Zacharie to be able to see them – bright oranges and yellows when the Batter's lips touch his chest, searing into red as his mouth makes its way downward. It's as if a rainbow is about to burst from inside him, colors forming from every touch, and it's almost too much to bear.

He groans with relief when the Batter releases him from his pants, and for the first time in his memory, Zacharie has no control of himself, his sounds, and he's enraptured, free, but also a slave to the Batter's touch. The Batter moves back up to his mouth, swallowing Zacharie's sounds; his clothed body conceals Zacharie's nakedness, bent over him like a protective shell.

The Batter's lips are still so surprisingly soft, touching the corners of Zacharie's mouth, moving up to kiss his fluttering eyelids. All of this felt too sincere, too passionate, to be a form of gratitude – Zacharie had often aided the Batter, yes, but a few overpriced trinkets hardly warranted this reverence and care. He feels loved, almost; sheltered from the eyes of the puppeteer as the Batter's hands make their way downward, squeezing his thighs and sliding between his legs.

He moans once, loudly, brokenly, the first time the Batter touches him. It's a sound the Batter allows to reverberate into the nothingness, echoing with an indistinguishable murmur of his own.

"Please…" It's all that Zacharie can say, shivering under the Batter's weight, pushing into his hand. The Batter pets his face, his hair, soothes him without a word. But the touch between his legs becomes firmer, more insistent; the Batter's eyes are trained on Zacharie's, though Zacharie can barely look back at him.

There's a symphony of color, of emotions, welling up inside of him, escaping in his shallow bursts of breath. He clutches the Batter's shoulders – they're strong, sturdy – and he throws his head back as the sensations overwhelm him, pleasure blossoming in his core.

The Batter is kissing him again, softly, as Zacharie tries to regain his breath, shaking hard. But the Batter's eyes are closed now, no longer focused on Zacharie's face – he looks calm, almost happy, in a way that Zacharie has never seen before, and his heart twists.

He releases the Batter's shoulders, his hands slowly trailing upward to cup his face. He's speechless once more, and he longs for the Batter to look at him – he brushes his thumbs over his cheekbones insistently, willing him to open his eyes.

But he doesn't. He dips back down, pressing his lips once more against Zacharie's, a kiss that's firm and full of longing. He lingers there for just a moment before pulling back just enough to whisper, "My Queen…"

The color, the warmth, rushes out of Zacharie as if he were a candle that had been doused with water. The Batter kisses him a final time, fleetingly, and Zacharie feels cold, empty, because he's not the one being kissed. This was the Batter's apology for what he's about to do; the place for him to store the last shred of his humanity so he can carry out the purification.

He leaves Zacharie lying there, passes through the doorway without a glance behind. And the world, in that moment, is darker than ever; colorless and empty.