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02 February 2014 @ 07:17 pm
Fanfic: A magic spell called ‘hope’ - Part 1  
Title: "A magic spell called ‘hope’ - Part 1"
Author: J.J.
Warning: It's an AU. It's unbetaed, it might look spoilerish and anyway it’s better if you’ve knowledge of the 8 episodes, it contain some Japanese words, some OOC...
Notes: Either consider this a happy fragment or a happy dream Sayo had. It works both ways. And yes it’s written in present form because… I wanted to give it a feeling of… unrealism, I guess. What’s in the past surely happened to us but what’s happening right now… we’re in process of grasping it but we haven’t quite grasped it yet.
Disclaimer:
"Umineko no naku koro ni" belong to Ryukishi07. I'm merely using his characters because I love them... especially Battler and Sayo...
Do I own something here? Oh yes, I own the plot and a sensible heart which would surely break if you give me harsh reviews... so please be honest but nice ok?
Summary: 1984. An ordinary day in the life of Sayo and Battler after she had left Rokkenjima.


She’s staring at him, feeling a mix of confused emotions she can’t quite name.

He’s tall and handsome and charming and confident and has a catching smile and… and she’s not the only one who notices this sort of things. She can see a group of girls moving closer to him, trying to start a conversation while he’s buying their ice creams.

She should have gone with him, even better she should have been the one going to buy them, she shouldn’t have played the role of the spoiled princess but it’s so nice to know she’s the only one for which he does this sort of things, he who claims that he doesn’t believe in the policy of ladies first and he always ends up doing things for her, like no one had ever done before.

Under the table she clench her hands in fists and tries not to pay attention to how those girls are flirting with him, to how those girls are prettier than her.

Maybe she shouldn’t have stopped wearing pads, if she still could have presented herself like a girl with a huge chest maybe they wouldn’t have dared to compete with her but he found out of her sorry state, he found out and didn’t complain, didn’t make fun of her, he waved it off as if it wasn’t important, as if he wasn’t obsessed with breasts, as if he didn’t care, as if he was ready to accept her the way she was and… and somehow she hadn’t felt like hiding behind a lie any longer.

‘Well, maybe you should have,’ Beatrice-sama’s voice whispers in the back of her mind. ‘Remember? You’re furniture!’

‘I’m not!’ she counters but doesn’t dare to look up at her. ‘He said I’m not. And we… we share interests and like the same books and have fun and…’

‘And if you think this is enough, why don’t you look up and go to those girls and say they can’t compete? Where’s the temper he likes?’ Beatrice-sama scolds her and she bits her lower lip. ‘Ah, if it was me I wouldn’t let those girls swarm around him like flies. I’ll turn them all in frogs with a wave of my pipe! And then I’ll make him regret glancing at them! I’ll have him naked kissing my boots!’ she adds with an undignified, bold laugh.

She blushes and tries not to think at that. Better focus on picturing the girls turning into frogs, she decides, turning her gaze on them and see their faces fall as he’s leaving them, as he’s returning to her, carrying two giant ice cream.

“Well?” he asks her tilting his head as he places the ice cream in front of her and she stammers a hurried thank you. “Are you having naughty thoughts? You’re all red! Sayo-chan has a perverted mind!”

“What? I… no!” she denies trying not to think at how she had fantasized second ago about having him naked and… “I was just…”

“You were just?” he prods when she trails off.

“I’m a mean girl,” she murmurs, turning her gaze away. “I was just thinking it would have been nice if Beatrice-sama had turned those girls into frogs for swarming around you…” She knows it’s probably the wrong thing to say. It shows him how greedy she is and he doesn’t like when she talks about Beatrice-sama. He doesn’t believe in her and yet she can’t help but mention her, here and there. He sighs and she expects a scolding about her silly fantasies when he speaks up.

“Silly,” he began and she wince. “Do you realize if there’s someone that witch should turn into a frog that’s you? It’s you I’m with, not those girls, aren’t I?” he asks tapping her nose with his finger, humouring her beliefs for once, if only to make a point. She stares at him, mouth open and then flushes.

“Ah... I... I...” and she hates how she can’t find the words and is fumbling for them when she’s sure those girls would know what to say and...

“Careful not to say croak,” he warns and then laughs and with his laugh a wave of relief washes her. He’s not mad, he’d not going to scold her and... and he’s her date and not those girls and she’s okay the way she is and it really felt silly she had worried about it.

“Oh, Battler-kun, you’re so mean!” she complain, pouting slightly and that too is a success, is a success how she had moved from calling him Battler-sama then Battler-san and now Battler-kun.

“Croak!” he jokes than smiles at her and she feels overwhelmingly happy. “Eat your ice cream before it’ll melt, Sayo-chan!” he reminds her gently while serving himself with a generous scoop.

She stares at the giant ice cream he bought for her and remembers girls shouldn’t eat so much, girls should...

“It’s... too big, I...”

“Don’t worry, paying for it is not going to push me on the street,” he assures in between a mouthful and another, failing to get her point and it’s reassuring somehow. He’s not the sort of guy who worries for this sort of things.

“I’ll blame you if I’ll get fat!” she warns waving her spoon at him and he stares at her as if she’d said a really curious thing.

“How could you think such a small amount of ice cream get you fat?”

“Who knows?” she counters smiling mischievously before beginning to sample her ice cream.

“I’m not fat! I’m in perfect shape!” he protests and she can’t help but giggle at that as he complains and says she’s so mean to him but it’s a joke and they both know and they exchange smile and everything is going all right in the world and she’s really, really, really grateful that she’d picked up that phone call for Jessica-sama that day and it had been him and he’d remembered her and he’d asked her out and... and...

“Well? What’s that huge smile? What are you up at?” he asks and sounds in between curious and worried. “You aren’t thinking of dumping me now, are you? Sayo-chan, you promised!” he protests and she giggles.

“You’re a big baby sometimes,” she counters and it’s his turn to pout. “I keep my promises, differently from someone else,” she can’t help but remind him and he blinks in confusion.

“Uh? What do you mean?” he asks and she’ll never be able to explain him the promise he thought he made and the promise she thought he made were different.

She had believed he promised he came back to take her away... but he believed he had promised he would take her away if she were to ask him to do so. Which she couldn’t do as he couldn’t return on Rokkenjima and she didn’t know she was supposed to ask and how... which he had done as soon as she had left Rokkenjima and had asked him.

“You’re a hopeless case,” she states instead as she finishes the last remains of her ice cream. “Of course I’ll accompany you, I wouldn’t know how you’ll manage without me there... though you promise you’ll pay me back,” she reminds him standing up.

“Yes, I did, and I carried you here as you wanted, didn’t I?” he asks following her as she begins to walk.

“You did,” she admits, turning her gaze away.

“And we ate ice cream, didn’t we?” he continues.

“We did,” she agrees, still not looking at him.

“So what?” he asks not getting her point. “We’ve little time so if you want to eat something else you’ll better tell me now...”

“It’s not like I want to eat something,” she points out.

“So what? Your stomach hurts and you need to go to the bathroom?” he asks carelessly.

“No!” she protests flushing. “Oh, you! I should let you go alone!”

“You said you wouldn’t abandon me!” he protests and she doesn’t reply although she doesn’t leave. “Come on, Sayo-chan, if there’s something else you want just tell me!”

“You said you’ll do whatever I’ll ask,” she reminds him and somewhere in her mind Beatrice-sama is shouting ‘Naked! Tell him you want to see him naked!’ She flushes and makes a point to ignore her.

“I did, I did, so if you want me to buy you something...”

“I want to cling to your arm,” she blurts out. “Hold it. I mean... I mean... You... you got what I mean... I... I...” she’s flushing even more red as she stills, unable to walk further and stared at the ground and wishes it would swallow her. She said it. She said it. She...

“Uh? Okay, no problem,” he agreed as if it was really no problem for him to let her do it, to let her get that close, to walk through the street as if they were... they were... She flushes so much even the tips of her ears turn red and peeks at him. He’s not looking at her though... so can it be he’s embarrassed too?

“Is it okay?”

“Sure, no problem, it’s fine, it’s not every day I’ll walk with a pretty girl laced at my arm, isn’t it?” he agrees and still doesn’t look at her and... and she’s not going to waste this chance as she grabs his arms and clings at it... way too tightly for it to look natural she thought as they started walking... but she can’t help it though, it’s just... and couldn’t he help? Couldn’t he make her feel he wants this date and isn’t just paying her back for coming with him? Couldn’t he...

“Next time I’ll be the one to put my hand over your shoulder and squeeze you to death,” he comments and she feels her heart sink. She tries to not let this bother her though, she really does.

“Am I... holding you too tightly?” she whispers not daring to look at him and okay, she fails at not let this bother her, she realizes she’s loosening her hold and feeling again like the silly, little maid who always failed and that everyone bullied and that no one could ever love.

“Naa, it’s no problem, it’ll be worse if we were holding hands. I’ll probably break your bones. It’s better like this,” he comments without looking at her. “It’s not a bother really. Quite the contrary,” he assures and it dawns on her that maybe he is nervous, nervous as she is for that meeting and it seems so weird because he’s usually looking so confident and charming and... and she resumes clinging to him, although not as tightly. Maybe he’s so nervous he doesn’t even realize she’s nervous too and thinks she’s holding him that tight merely to support him or something and although a side of her scoffs he’s a self centred jerk that’s better for her too, as she it means she doesn’t look as weak and pathetic as she feels to him.

“Are you really that worried?”, she asks softly, trying to be sympathetic. “She’s just 4, you know, it’s not like she’ll eat you, and you’ve met her already in the past.” He swallows before answering as if for once he’s fumbling for words.

“She’s my stepsister,” he says as if this explains everything and maybe for him it does. Under his cheerful behaviour and his charming looks there’s something that got broken by the discovery of his father’s betrayal and never got fixed. He tries, he tries hard though, and she gives him credit for that. He tries harder than her to fix himself, to stare straight in front of the unpleasant truths, even if he has moments in which he completely crumbles and is a mess he then always does his best to pick himself up and say this’ll make him stronger or something. He tries to be positive, he tries not to escape, he tries to do the right thing.

He doesn’t find it any easier though and that’s comforting because she fails at being positive, at picking herself up, at facing reality. She just wants to escape from all of it and sometimes she thinks it’ll be easier if he wanted to escape as well, if they could hide in a fantasy world together, in a pretty golden land just for the two of them to stay in.

“You don’t have to meet her if you don’t want to. We can make up an excuse,” she suggests. “Say you’ll feel sick in your stomach or something,” she adds a little vengefully as she peeks at him and he makes a forceful smile.

“Can’t. She’s not responsible for any of it. I won’t hold her responsible for any of it. She’s looking forward to this meeting. I can’t disappoint her,” he says and she doesn’t know if he’s answering her or telling this to himself. She’d like to point out she too was looking forward to meet him and he disappointed her but she knows now it’s not the moment.

“Maybe you should try to think at Kyrie-san as a black witch. She used her magic arts to charm your father and...” ...and she shouldn’t mentions witches around him as she knows he doesn’t like it but it’ll be so easier if he...

“What would this make of me?” he asks with a snort. “A bad copy of Cinderella or Snow White?” and she can’t help but giggle at that.

“That would be terrible, you’re so bad at housework!” she comments. “Though maybe you’ll look good in a dress, who knows...”

“If I were in you, I’ll worry more for how you would look in the role of the old fairy godmother who can never remember a thing!” he counters sniggering.

“So mean! I wanted to be Prince Charming!” she protests.

“Sorry, but Prince Charming is totally unable to use magic and it’s you who always brag about it, right? So no Prince Charming for you! Only old hag clothes!” he insists.

“Well, Cinderello, if you’re hoping I’ll help you to win Princess Charming’s heart and send you to the ball, you’ll better think twice! I’m more likely to turn you into a pumpkin and...” she began outraged then feels him stilling for a moment.

“They’re here,” he states and she turns and can see Kyrie-sama waiting for them while holding Ange-sama’s hand as the little girl waves excitedly at her older brother. He waves back, as if everything is all right and he’s also excited to see them. She unconsciously holds his arm tighter and tells herself to smile and behave like any normal, charming girl would while being with her boyfriend and meeting his stepmother and stepsister.

“Battler-oniichan, you’re late!” Ange-sama exclaims running to meet him.

“I am? Sorry about it then,” he counters and bends to pick his stepsister up, forcing her to let go of his arm and she feels more vulnerable without it to cling at but she has to endure. She had grown up from the time in which she would get all clumsy and shrink in fear... hadn’t she?

“Now Ange, don’t be greedy. Probably Battler-kun was enjoying his date with Saaayo-chan, wasn’t he?” the way Kyrie-sama draws out her name, stretching the ‘a’ a bit, almost stumbling on it, somehow give her the impression the woman wants to remark how she was used to call her ‘Shannon’ not ‘Sayo’ and all her efforts to forget that part of her life come crashing down. Ange-sama complains about her brother being late due to her, he shouldn’t date other girls when he has a date with her and he defends saying they only got an ice cream and she feels herself really sink and somehow can’t help but bow low to Kyrie-sama and...

“It’s a pleasure to see you, Kyrie-sama, Ange-sama” and no, she did it again, she used ‘-sama’ when she was told more than once to use ‘-san’ for Kyrie-sama and ‘-chan’ for Ange-sama, she acted like a servant, a maid, ‘a low furniture with no right to speak up or have a date with a human,’ Beatrice-sama whispers in her mind and she clenches her hands in her lap and can’t look up and...

“Yes, Ange-sama, we’re all so honoured to see you, please, forgive us for our lateness as the kind and merciful princess you are,” he says in a mockingly sorry tone as if it hadn’t been a lapse from her part but something she did on purpose and on which he’s willing to play along and his sister giggles in pleasure and pretends to ponder at it. She loves it when he talks to her as if she were a princess.

“I don’t know... maybe I could...” she drawls out as if she has to consider it. “But only if you’ll carry me on your shoulders!” she exclaims excitedly, making her request and he laughs and obeys to her demands with really little effort.

“You spoil her, Battler-kun,” Kyrie-sama... Kyrie-san, it’s Kyrie-san, chides him and he laughs again.

“Little girls deserve to be spoiled!” he counters and his sister nods from over his head.

“Yes, because as Ojiisama said girls are made of sugar and spice and all that’s nice!” she heard her quote in a singsonging voice and she wishes it would apply to her too would feel like she’s made of that and not of...

“Uh, sounds tasty, mind if I take a bite?” he jokes and pretends to bite his sister’s leg. She hears the little girl protesting and he laughs again and she feels really like a third wheel. Why had he wanted to drag her here? Why had she let him? He can handle just fine being with Ange-sama and Kyrie-sama and...

“Let’s go?” he asks turning to her and he’s smiling a gentle smile and she... she smiles back and agrees. So stupid she is... but she loves him so much that she treasures any gaze, any scrap of affection...

It’s not so terrible, she reminds herself for the nth time after an hour they’d been spending together. Sure, Ange-sama is demanding and pretends to have her brother’s attention focused on her but when she sees the game arcade she’s very much prone to forget about him entirely in favour of playing with some child games and Kyrie-sama tells them they can try and have fun too while Ange-sama tries out the games adapt for her age and so they move through the arcade in search of a game they can play and end up on a shooting game and she ends up showing off before remembering maybe it’s not fitting for a girl to be good with weapons but he doesn’t seem to mind he compliments her and shows her he’s also good and maybe they are a good pair, maybe they are and her heart beats faster as she smiles at him and flush.

He notices and jokes over it because that’s what he always does and she feels like hitting him with the toy gun but then he’s pulling her toward another game and even though she tries her hardest she’s not good at this one, she can’t beat him, she can’t even compete, she’s a loser and... and he gets behind her and places his hands on her own and helps her and for once she feels like a fairy maiden rescued by her prince and she’s so into the sensation she doesn’t even realize when he makes a mistake and the game ends and he parts from her way too fast for her liking.

“Let’s see what Ange-sama’s doing, all right?” he suggests stressing the ‘-sama’ part, continuing to play that game and she bows her head.

“About it... sorry...” she apologizes. She wants him to be proud of her and instead... she keeps on slipping and acting as a servant and...

“Forget about it, no one is angry and, after all, it’s fun. We’re Ange-sama’s humble servants today, okay?” he asks with a wink as if he was okay at being a servant with her, as if being a servant didn’t mean to be some inferior being and he always insisted, even before, he’s not the classist type and she always thought it’s easy to claim it when you’re not in a lower class, when you’re just pretending to be in one, when you can choose not to be in one but she also knows he’s trying, he’s trying for her, he’s trying to make things better for her, simpler, so she should just accept him the way he is and... try as well.

“Okay,” she agrees softly and his smile widens as he takes her hand and they begins to walk in search of Ange-sama and she flushes and feel happy and that’s like being on a rollercoaster, one moment happy and the other sad but she doesn’t want to get down anyway.

They find Ange-sama busy with the crane game. She’s having no luck with it but she’s trying as hard as she could even though every attempt seems to be clumsier than the previous. She’s getting nervous and tired and this makes her more prone to mistakes.

“Oh Ange, even if you fret over so much about it, it’s unlikely there’s something great inside. They can only contain cheap stuffs. Just let it be,” Kyrie-sama is suggesting her but this only makes Ange-sama more disappointed.

“But I want to take it...” she hears Ange-sama protests and she remembers what it means to wish for something so much and see it escape from your grasp continuously and it’s not a pleasant memory. She’d like to leave, to forget, but he walks closer to his sister and fishes a coin from his pocket.

“So you want it, uh? Leave it to your Oniichan then! I’ll pick it up immediately!” he promises and... and he does. He’s good at this sort of things and short after he can toss a capsule at Ange-sama and Ange-sama cheers and claims it’ll be her treasure and... and she feels bitter inside because no one had done this for her when she was a child of Ange-sama’s age.

No family, no amusement park, no crane games, no help, just a brush and Okusama telling her to use it to clean that place and the other maids making fun of her and complaining she’s no good with the brush and... and... and she really shouldn’t be jealous but... but...

As lost in her thoughts as she is she doesn’t realize his gaze is on her or that he had returned playing with the crane and she’s startled when he grabs her hand and presses inside it another capsule. She blinks in confusion and he smiles.

“Well, you looked like you wanted one too so... here it is,” he explains.

“Battler-kun, Sayo-chan is too old for those childish stuffs!” Kyrie-sama chides him and shook her head with an exasperated smile. “Really sometimes you are even worse than Rudolf-san,” the woman comments and she shouldn’t, she shouldn’t because even if he laughs carelessly as if it was only a joke, those words are like rubbing salt over his wounds because he tries so hard to be nothing like his father, because...

“I like it!” she exclaims uncharacteristically loudly and felt uneasy when gazes turn on her. “I’m... I’m really thankful for it... Battler-kun,” she manages to assure even though in a more demure tone and she has been good, she had reminded herself to call him ‘Battler-kun’ and not ‘Battler-sama’ and that’s... that’s the way a girlfriend act, isn’t it? She won’t be scolded for talking back to Kyrie-sama, will she? Will she?

But he smiles and seems really happy and that’s all she can see, really.

“Then I’m really happy about it, Sayo-chan!” he comments and she can’t help but smile back, feeling overwhelmingly happy as well.

“Ah, young love, makes me feel so old,” Kyrie-sama comments and they both blush at the same time.

“Stop making fun of me, Kyrie-san!” he protests as if he were the only target of the woman’s words. Maybe he is but she would like it if he were to keep her into consideration when he makes his complains. Ange-sama looks confuse and Kyrie-sama laughs, immediately followed by him so that Ange-sama cheers up again and demands a drink and cake.

They ends up sitting on a table with Kyrie-sama drinking coffee and he and Ange-sama eating a huge slice of cake, while she behaves like a proper girl and solely content herself by sipping some juice.

She’d like to tell him he’ll get fat if he keeps eating so many sweets, which is unlikely as he works out a lot but he could have tried not eating such a delicious cake in front of her... though she restrains herself as that’s probably not something a perfect girlfriend would do.

It doesn’t help he waves his fork under her nose, a generous bite of cake stuck on it and asks her if she really doesn’t want a bite.

She blushes; doesn’t he realize it would be like... like an indirect kiss? And shakes her head a bit more quickly than she normally would.

“Too bad for you,” he comments and swallows that bite in one single mouthful and she feels like kicking him under the table. She doesn’t though.

“Too bad for you,” Ange-sama echoes as she eats her slice as well and she knows she shouldn’t think it but it would be nice if that bite she’s chewing were to go the wrong way. Then she caught the speculative way in which Kyrie-sama is gazing at her and lowers her eyes nervously, almost afraid the woman could read her mind.

“Ah... is there something on my face...” she can’t help but ask when she doesn’t stop staring and her embarrassment is starting to grow out of proportion. He eyes her as is she’d asked him then places two fingers under her kin and makes her turn toward him.

“Naa, nothing, don’t worry,” he assures as he studies her and she feels only a bit less tense as she tries not to peek at Kyrie-sama who... giggles.

“Sorry, Sayo-chan, sorry. My bad. You had reminded me of someone,” she comments and she tenses, could it be she had realized... “Someone I knew long ago,” she adds and there’s something... bitter in her tone that seems to imply that she’s not speaking of a friend, quite the contrary really. She blinks in confusion but Kyrie-sama doesn’t offer other information. “So from when you and Battler-kun had started dating?” she asks going straight to the point and making them both flush.

“We... we aren’t...” she tries to deny although it’s very pleasant she had asked but he has to ruin everything by denying it as well.

“We aren’t dating!” he states loudly, completely red. “We’re just friends! Friends!”

“Oh, so I should take the fact you’ve carried with yourself Sayo-chan and had been uncharacteristically nice with her compared to the behaviour you normally keep with all your female friends, Battler-kun?” she asks, sounding amused.

“No... I... this...” he fumbles for words and she feels miserable at the idea it could be true, that she’s just another one in the huge, huge number of his female friends and this means nothing, nothing really and...

“What’s ‘dating’?” Ange-sama asks all of sudden looking at her mother.

“Oh, let’s say it’s an outing between... two special friends,” she explains.

“Then Oniichan isn’t ‘dating’ right now. We’re four,” she points out and everyone stares at her before he and Kyrie-sama start laughing. Ange-sama blinks, evidently not understanding why they’re laughing.

“You’re right, Ange, Oniichan isn’t dating anyone right now,” he confirms her and his sister smiles taking for good his words but there’s an odd nuance in his words, as if he wanted to imply he’ll like to date someone or that in another moment he had been dating someone or maybe she’s reading too much in his words and... and maybe to him all the time they went out together weren’t real dates because... because they always had another reason to be out, one that wasn’t romantic... but maybe he too would like... or not... ah, she doesn’t know what to think and... and...

“Yes, let’s put things like that... for now,” Kyrie-sama agrees though that ‘for now’ somehow makes her nervous again. He too, she thinks as she heard him chuckle nervously next to her.

But they manage to pull through it without any other incidents so maybe that was the worst of that day or so she hopes as they finally began walking toward the exit.

Only her hope shatters when Ange-sama decides she wants a balloon. However the balloon vendor is far and in the opposite direction and it would take them to make a detour and Kyrie-sama claims they can’t or they’ll be late but this doesn’t stop Ange-sama to start raising a fuss about it and so, before she’ll realize, he volunteers to make a run and be back with a balloon for the overly spoiled princess. No, she shouldn’t think of Ange-sama as spoiled, she’s just a child with a loving family, she gets only what normally children get, it’s not Ange-sama’s fault if she didn’t have a loving family and could never... and now he’d left her alone with Kyrie-sama and Ange-sama and all she can think is...

“I thank you for spending the day with us, Sayo-chan. I know at your age you might think there are more pleasant things to do with your time,” Kyrie-sama says in the meantime and she hurries to shake her head and try to act the correct way.

“Oh, no, it was a pleasure, really,” she counters. “I didn’t really get to go to amusement park... no, I mean...” and she feels her mark of normal girl is slipping because she’s been furniture for too long it has become a part of her and now it’s hard to pretend she isn’t anymore. Which she isn’t. Furniture. She’s not furniture, not anymore. Is she?

“I see,” Kyrie-sama says in the meantime, saving her from having to answer. “Battler-kun is a charming young man, isn’t he? He completely charms Ange. Must be his father’s blood,” she observes and she’s not so sure what she should reply that wouldn’t be embarrassing.

“He’s good with children, yes,” she settles with.

“I’ll say he’s good with females,” she corrects her with a slight chuckle. “I bet they all swarm around him like maggots, like they used to do with Rudolf-san,” she comment and there’s something... dark and unpleasant in her tone as her gaze seems lost far away.

“Well... he’s popular... yes...” she agrees because there’s no point in denying it.

“Isn’t it a bore though? Watch as they look at him, parade in front of him, offer themselves to him as if you weren’t even here, as if he was free for their taking... don’t you hate it?” she asks and although it’s a mean question somehow Kyrie-sama doesn’t even seem to be speaking to her but more to herself. Had she too lived it with Rudolf-sama? The fear of losing him? The annoyance of watching others getting close to him? The anger of watching him allow it as if...

“It’s more than a bore, it’s the most terrorizing thing ever,” she confesses and she has no idea why she’s talking about this with Kyrie-sama but now that she has started she simply can’t stop. “They always seem so smart, so beautiful, so intelligent... will one of them catch his eyes? Can I even compete with them? I’ll like to chase them away, to yell to him, to cling to him, to chain him to myself so that he’ll never get away but then... then will I really have him for myself or will I only own a shell while his soul will long to leave me?” She’s hugging herself now, feeling the full weight of all her fears. “But if I were to lose him... what would be of me? How will I manage to go on without him? I can’t even think at it, I...” She swallows, feeling lost. Without him she’ll be nothing, furniture, trash. It’s because he claims she’s human that she is. It’s because he accepts her that she can. It’s because she loves him that she doesn’t lose herself. It’s because he fills her present and her dreams for her future she can try not to think at her past, at the horrible, horrible things she learnt about herself, about her past, about her body. Without him... she would simply sink. In hate, depression, loneliness, desperation, emptiness. “He takes care of me the best he can though. When I can’t do something, when something is wrong, when everything seems to conjure against me... he tries to be there,” she admits with a sad smile. “Oh, he makes a mess of it more often than not and he so fail at understanding the most basic things but... he tries. He tries. He tries to understand my heart. He tries to understand me. To accept me. He might be not as good at it as I’ll like but... he tries. Sometimes he gets angry, gets frustrated, gets depressed, claims he gives up but then... then he’s always back on trying. Always. He apologizes and... tries again. And again. And again. And so I end up thinking I should try to, try to understand him, try to accept him the way he is. And somehow... I somehow go on another day. And another. And another. As long as he tries to understand me. As long as I try to understand him... we can go on. Somehow we can go on...” ... and then her gaze catches sight of him coming back and she realizes she had talked too much and she flushes, covering her mouth with her hands as she turns to Kyrie-sama. “I... sorry, I...”

Kyrie-sama shrugs, as if nothing had happened.

“You know, I always wanted to know if Asumu-san had even feared of losing Rudolf-san, had ever felt as jealous as I did. Don’t tell Battler-kun, but you reminded me of her today,” she confessed. “He didn’t remind me of Rudolf-san though,” she added bitterly. “Although he smiled to Ange, although he smiled to other girls, although he denied you two were on a date... he only had eyes for you, Sayo-chan. Other girls must hate you for this more than you can imagine. Because he smiles at them but only you catch his gaze. I know in their place I would have hated you enough to kill you,” she whisper more quietly and a second later he’s standing in front of them, holding a balloon for his sister and covered in sweat.

“Here, Ange-sama, all for you!” he exclaims and his sisters grab it enthusiastically then turns her gaze away from him with a frown.

“You took too long though, Oniichan!” she protests, in the perfect tone of a spoiled princess.

“Ange! Apologize to Battler-oniichan and thanks him properly!” her mother chides her and she winces at the scolding.

“Never mind, never mind, I’m used to demanding girls who’re hard to please,” he comments and she stares at him. Is that what he thinks of her? That she’s demanding and hard to please?

Kyrie-sama chuckles at that.

“Oh, Battler-kun, that’s not something you’re supposed to say in front of girls,” she observes. He raises one of his eyebrows in confusion.

“So am I supposed to lie and claim that’s all so cute they made me run back and forth? Naa, that’s not me,” he counters and Kyrie-sama chuckles more.

“You’re too honest, Battler-kun. Then why doing it anyway?” she asks.

“Uh? Because regardless of it being cute or not I wanted this to be a good day for Ange,” he explains and for him it’s really that simple. “And Ange-sama wanted the balloon from the bottom of her heart, didn’t she?”

“Yes! Thank you, Oniichan!” Ange-sama exclaims, smiling at her brother. “You’re really the best!” He laughs and rubs his head and seems happy and maybe what he meant was that it was fine for him to make an effort... as long as it was properly appreciated and not taken for granted. He’s a child like that, after all, demanding and self centred in his own way, and she loves him all the same.

“Well, since Ange now is satisfied I guess now we really have to leave. Thank you to you both for taking your time in keeping us company,” Kyrie-sama says in the end. “Say bye to Oniichan and to Sayo-oneesan, Ange,” she tells then to her daughter.

“Bye-bye, Oniichan! Goodbye, Sayo-oneesan!” Ange-sama dutifully says before climbing on Kyrie-sama’s car and leaving with her. When they’re out of sight he let himself slump on a nearby bench and toss his head behind, eyes closed. Tentatively she sits next to him, unsure about what to do now, about what’s going on in his mind.

“It went well... didn’t it?” she tries asking. “Ange-sama thinks you’re an awesome big brother.”

“I’m not really. A real awesome big brother would live with her. A real awesome big brother wouldn’t have to do his best not to think at the circumstances in which she was conceived and that aren’t absolutely her fault. A real awesome big brother... he’ll be always there for her, not just here and there. A real awesome big brother... wouldn’t be me,” he admitted bitterly. She frowns, she thinks he had done a lot for his stepsister while she had acted as a spoiled princess, she thinks he had done more than anyone else had done for her and now... now it’s unfair he keeps on worrying for her, on trying to do the right things for her, she’d like him to pay attention to her.

Kyrie-san though... she had said during the whole day... he only had eyes for her. And deep down she knows. Everyone says it. That he never deals with other girls the way he does with her. So maybe... is she being greedy? But she needs him, she needs him more than the air she breathes, she needs him to remind her she’s human, she can live, she... she swallows, tries to... to try, like he does and tentatively rests her hand on top of his own.

“You’ve done your best. And the next time I’m sure you’ll do even better. And slowly you’ll become the perfect big brother you want to be,” she says, trying to sound reassuring. “You know... maybe you don’t feel it but I was watching you with Ange-sama and I was really thinking... I was jealous of her. I wished at her age I had such a cool big brother. I mean... you’re good with children so... so you’ll probably make a wonderful father if... when... I mean... I mean...” she fumbles with words realizing if he were to have children it wouldn’t be with her. She can’t give him children so... so... He snorts and turns to look at her.

“Isn’t it a bit too early to talk about me being a father? I’m not even sure I want to have children,” he protests and that’s reassuring somehow but then she’s not really sure what she’s supposed to say here.

“Well, George-sama always talked about the importance for a man to have a family and...”

“That’s Aniki’s dream, not mine,” he cuts her a bit more rudely than usual as he turns his gaze away from her. “It seems in those 4 years you and Aniki had gotten closer though. It must have been fun.”

“Well, it’s not like you ever bothered to come there,” she counters bitterly, those 4 years of loneliness, fear and pain washing over her. He straighten up, turns toward her angrily.

“I couldn’t come on Rokkenjima, you dumbass, I...” he trails off abruptly, his expression switching from anger to sorrow. “Sayo-chan, I...” She realizes too late she’s crying and tries to cover her face, she doesn’t want him to see her like that, she doesn’t want him to see her desperation, she... “Sayo-chan, I’m sorry, I...” he says almost pleadingly but it’s too late and she’s sobbing.

“Shut up. Shut up. Shut up!” she demands covering her ears. “You forgot about me, you never came back, you never phoned, you never wrote, Beatrice-sama was right, Eva-sama was right, Okusama was right, nobody could love someone like me, I’m just furniture and maybe you’re only a fragment of my imagination and I... I...” she’s sinking, she’s sinking, what if she’s really there all alone and that’s a dream and he’s not there and... and...

... and he hugs her all of sudden, tightly, so very tightly.

“I’m here, Sayo-chan. I’m here. And they only told lies to you. You aren’t furniture I swear. I swear it, Sayo-chan,” he assures her, whispering those words right in her ear.

“I’m not believing you. I’m not believing your promises ever again. I... I...” she protests and he takes her face in his hands and makes her look at him.

“Look at me! I’m here! I’m here, can you see me?” he’s almost yelling and... and he’s right, he is there... and he seems so worried... and serves him right because he’d been so mean while she was trying to be nice to him and... and...

“I... I see you...” she confirms and he hugs her again, tightly.

“Good,” he whispers and she sees nothing in reply but he... he doesn’t let her go as if he knew it’s only his hold that’s keeping her together. They remain in silence, she doesn’t know for how long. “I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you now. I... I didn’t know you were waiting for me. I didn’t know you wanted me to come back. I thought... it was a messy time and I thought you think nothing about me, that you forgot about me and I decided to forget about you too. About you and all the Ushiromiya. I was... angry, hurt, young... and I thought you didn’t care. I swear I never, ever meant to hurt you, Sayo-chan. I swear. I would have tried to come back to you if I had known, if I had thought you wanted to see me. I swear. I wanted to see you, back then, but I was stupid and prideful and thought you wouldn’t care...” he insists and that’s something pathetic in his voice and it’s probably a good thing because she’s sure she looks worse than pathetic now.

“You never came back... and I wanted to see you, I wanted so much to see you... I wanted you to take me away... I only wanted you to take me away...” she whimpers as quietly as she could.

“Then why didn’t you phone me or something,” he protests and there’s a note of frustration in his voice. “It’s not like I disappeared from the face of the Earth!”

“What if you... what if you were to say... to say...” her voice trembles and she can’t force it out.

“Oh...” he murmurs understanding anyway. He swallows. “Okay,” he whispers. “Okay, my bad. My fault. I should have figured out. Don’t cry. Don’t worry about this sort of things anymore. I’m here now. I won’t let you go.”

“But you... you yelled at me... you said...” she protests and he sighs.

“I don’t like it. When you compare me to Aniki. I know he’s cool and I’m not like him. But I’m not going to become like him, no matter what. I’m me and that’s it,” he states like the stubborn child he can be sometimes and it’s weird because it sounds like he’s jealous when there’s really no reason for him to be and... and...

“You’re always around girls though,” she counters but she has stopped sobbing and it’s nice how he’s rubbing her back, really.

“They are around me! It’s not like I search for them! And I never compare you to them!” he protests.

“You do. In your mind you do, I know,” she accuses him. “You like girls with big chests and blond hair and I... I’m not... I don’t even have...”

“That’s not important to me!” he insists as he makes her look at him in the eyes. “That’s not important to me!” he repeated. “Look at me, Sayo-chan. That’s not important to me. I swear it,” he says again and he... he seems honest. She swallows.

“Okay. Okay, I... I believe you...” she concedes and she feels him rest his forehead against hers.

“Good,” he says and sounds... tired. She’s tired too. And she feels empty inside. A side of her... doesn’t really want to hear his excuses. A side of her... it’s just hurt and it’s doesn’t matter if he had good reasons to do what he did or not, it’ll stay hurt, it’ll keep hurting, the wound will never close, will keep on getting infected and... and she snuggles against him as she let her head fall against his chest.

“You... you’re tired, aren’t you?” he observes. “Next time... let’s go some other place. Some place... quieter...” he whispers and she has to swallow twice before she manages to reply.

“I don’t think your sister will like some place quieter,” she counters meekly.

“I don’t mean with Ange,” he corrects her. “I mean just us. You and me. Together,” he clarifies. “Together,” he repeats with more strength as if to underline it and she... she peeks up at him.

“Just you and I... together... as in... as in a...” she should say the word, she should say it so that there will be no way to mistake his intentions, so that she won’t delude it’ll be something it’s not, so that...

“As in a date,” he finishes for her. “As a date. I mean... it’s supposed to be a date. I mean...”

She straighten up, looks at him in the eyes.

“Are you... are you asking me on a date?” she tries. He never did before, not in this way. It was always ‘I’ll accompany you’ or ‘do you feel like coming with me?’ always ‘You’ll go, I follow’ or ‘I’m going, feel like following?’ never... never... ‘let’s go together, let’s go together someplace we both want to go. As a couple’. Never. She told herself it was enough, she told herself it was enough but now that he maybe offered more she knew it wasn’t...

He nods, face red as his hair. She just... stares at him.

“Yes. That’s what I’m doing,” he clarifies and tries to sound confident but somehow he’s still fumbling on words a bit. “I’m... asking you out. On a date. That’s what this is.” She... swallows. Opens her mouth. Closes it unable to make an intelligible sound and... tosses her arms around his neck and hugs him. Tightly.

He’s startled, confuse.

“Sayo-chan? Is this a yes?” he asks and does he really need to have her spell it out? But she needed to hear him spell it out so maybe it’s the same so...

“Yes,” she manages to say in a quiet whisper then, as it doesn’t seem convincing enough... “Yes, yes, yes. Yes! YES! Yes, you dumbass, yes!” she yells and she doesn’t know if she’s laughing or crying but... but she’s happy and that’s all that matter and he... he stands, pulling her up as well, keeping her in his arms.

“Awesome! It’ll be wonderful, I swear!” he promises and he really shouldn’t because, knowing them both, it could end up being a complete disaster but he’s grinning and she wants to believe.

“You’ll better make sure it’ll be,” she says but she’s laughing through tears and... and she doesn’t quite know how but... but the wave’s gone, she’s not sinking anymore, drowning anymore, there’s no trace of water apart for maybe the wetness on her cheeks, as if there had never been water in the first place. It’ll be back, she knows it, it’ll be back to drown her but... for now it’s gone. For now... she can live, carry on.

He puts her down and she knows cuddling time is up. She doesn’t want it though and she ends up hesitating in letting him go. He stares at her expectantly and she lowers her gaze, embarrassed.

“What is it?” he asks in the end, unable to figure it out on his own.

“I’m... tired... I guess...” she says quietly. Can’t he catch a hint?

“Let’s go home then,” he suggests. No, evidently he can’t catch hints, she has no idea how can he be good at writing mysteries with such low deductive abilities, yet somehow he’s good at them, he’s the head of their school mystery club and everyone loves to read his mystery tales and she... she wishes she could show him her own but... she hasn’t worked up the courage to do it yet.

“I’m... too tired to walk,” she tries again, using the sentence Ange-sama likes to use so much when she wants to be carried and flushes at the thought she’s copying the behaviour of a spoiled child but...

“Oh...” he says and he doesn’t really sound like he got it then... “Oh!” he repeats and maybe now he finally realized it and... and he chuckles and she pouts. “It seems there’s another spoiled princess here, am I right?” She glares and he... hugs her and she has the distinct feeling that despite his words about demanding girls... he finds it cute when she’s the one who’s demanding. It’s nice. It’s nice to be cute in his eyes. They part and he kneel, like some sort of knight, like a... like a prince, her prince. “So Oujosama, will you let me the honour to carry you on my shoulders?” he asks mischievously and she tries hard not to pout like Ange-sama and fails.

“You... you’re not asking it seriously,” she protests and he stands, still grinning.

“No, but I’ll seriously do it, if you want me to... Oujosama,” he taps her forehead as he calls her ‘princess’. “I’ll really take you all the way from here to home on my shoulders if you want. Leave it to me,” he assures and she suddenly remembers that they’re pretty far and she weights way more than Ange-sama and she really must have sounded like some spoiled princess and...

“Well, maybe all the way home is too much...” she admits lowering her gaze and... and he lowers himself so that she’ll have to look at him in the eyes.

“Didn’t I say I’ll do it, if you ask me to? So tell me, Oujosama, what do you want your knight to do?” he repeats and she... she takes her decision.

“I... I want my prince to carry me on his shoulders all the way home,” she blurts out and flushes cherry red. “That’s what I want,” she adds when he doesn’t reply. “If... if it’s okay... I mean...” she begins to stammer growing nervous.

“Okay,” he agrees and she tries to look at him but catches only a glimpse of him as he turns and kneels again. “Hum, I guess you’ll have to get on my back... Oujosama.”

He’s blushing. He’s blushing. She feels somehow giddy as she moves closer and then... flushes at the idea of what she’s about to do.

“Hum... I never...” she stammers.

“Same way as Ange does. Arms around my neck, legs around my back and...” he seems to flush more at that as he hurried to continue. “Well, I’ll think at the rest... hurry now, or we’ll be late.”

She hesitates then... complies. Sort of. He straightens up, supporting her weight and she clings to him in fear he’ll drop her. “I can’t breathe like that that!” he complains and she apologizes as she tries to loosen her hold. Why has she asked for this? This is so embarrassing she’ll end up combusting on his back, she thinks as he begins to walk. The only comforting thing is that he too seems to be pretty embarrassed. Way more embarrassed than usual and a thought crosses her mind.

“Are you thinking something dirty?” she asks and he hurries to shake his head.

“Battler-kun! You are, aren’t you?” she realizes in a mix of horror, embarrassment and excitation.

“You’re on my back! And you are... and I’m a boy! What do you expect me to do?” he protests.

“You... put me down!” she demands.

“No way,” he states stubbornly though he’s still very red. “I’ll carry you home as we agreed.”

“Yes but... but...” and now she feels very embarrassed as well and way more conscious of their position and the way their body touch and she’s almost afraid to move because...

“If you keep this up everyone will stare at us,” he warns grumpily and she ends up burying he face against his neck in the stupid effort to hide.

“This is embarrassing, Battler-kun,” she protests in a quiet murmur.

“You asked for it,” he counters grumpily.

“Jerk,” she murmurs so low she’s not sure if he can hear. He does though and he turns and sticks his tongue at her like a five years old would. He’s still flushing red though.

“I’ll have dirty thoughts on you as well,” she threatens trying to sound vicious.

“Fine, I’m not complaining,” he counters. “I’ve always thought you’re one with a dirty mind,” he states and she decides she won’t dignify him of a reply. She’ll be... worse than Beatrice-sama in her dirty thoughts, she swears it, she... she believes she hear Beatrice-sama laughing boldly, claiming a virgin like her has no idea what it means to have dirty thoughts but she can’t teach her, she can whisper on her ears stuffs about what to do with Battler-kun that will make a sailor blush and... and she again buries her face against his neck and tries to ignore her.

It’s odd though but, after a while, it’s not so bad. His back is large and he carries most of her weight. He’s warm and somehow his movements... feels almost like he was rocking her. She wonders if she had ever been rocked as a baby. By her mother. By Kumasawa-san. By someone. Anyone...

“Battler-kun?”

“What?” he asks grumpily. He’s panting slightly though. She must be heavy for him, even if he trains a lot and he has walked for so long...

“Thank you...” she murmurs sincerely. “Thank you.”

“Anytime, Sayo-chan,” he answers. “Anytime.” He sounds less... grumpy... less... upset... as if she had lifted a weight off of him. He doesn’t like to argue with her, especially when he’s trying to be nice to her. What a child, she thinks.

“Still having dirty thoughts?” she teases flushing.

“Aren’t you?”

“You’ve no idea how much,” she replies and he swallows.

“You’ll have to tell me then,” he says then and this gets her to swallow and blush more.

“I’ll let you wonder instead,” she manages to say. Why had she started this? Oh yes, because he was being a child. It was sort of backfiring though.

“Pity,” he comments and she wonders what’s in his mind. “Should I tell you mine?” he teases like the brat he is.

“Battler-kun!” she protests indignantly and he laughs. “That’s no way to talk to a princess!”

“Well, you’ve started it though,” he reminds her in a totally unrepentant way and she pouts. Beatrice-sama laughs at her and she glares back. She’s sure Beatrice-sama wouldn’t lose against him the way she keeps doing. She wishes she could be her. He probably would wish it too if he could only see the size of Beatrice-sama’s breasts.

“Sayo-chan?” he calls. “Why aren’t you saying anything? Are you angry?” he asks and it’s nice he worries.

“I was only wondering if you’ll like more to carry Beatrice-sama on your shoulders. She’ll probably tell you her dirty thoughts,” she admits.

“Waaa? That old witch? No way, I bet she’s way heavier than you, Sayo-chan!” he exclaims and she laughs as she pictures Beatrice-sama’s totally outraged face in her mind.

“If you’re so disrespectful she’ll play a prank at you, Battler-kun!” she warns, secretly happy that he prefers carry her than Beatrice-sama.

“She’s Rokkenjima’s witch, isn’t it? She can’t leave the place so as long as I stay here it’s not like she can touch me, can she?” he comments carelessly and all of sudden Beatrice-sama is gone because yes, there’s no Beatrice-sama here. She had left Rokkenjima and came here alone so there’s no Beatrice-sama. Just her. Just her. She swallows. She’s pathetic. Why can’t she get real friends?

“Sayo-chan?” he calls.

“Yes?” he answers weakly expecting a scolding. She knows he doesn’t like it when she mentions Beatrice-sama and magic and all that stuffs and today she had continued doing it and he had patiently humoured her but what if now he’s feed up with it?

“You should inscribe to my club,” he says instead. “There are nice people there. You know, you can make friends there.” He knows she’s making none in her class, despite attending school by 2 months. She tried to trick him into believing she had but then he’d come into her class to tell her something during lunch break and... and her classmates had ended up informing him no one wanted to be friend with her. She had suggested her friends were witches others couldn’t see and... and here had come the first scolding, albeit done very, very gently.

She... she had tried to ignore the witches and the magic but... but somehow Beatrice-sama herself and her friend Gaap-sama had left Rokkenjima to check on her and... and they had seen how the others were jerk toward her... and they had started the pranks and... and one day he had caught them using her body as a vessel to prank others and... well, that scolding hadn’t been gentle. Far from it.

He had refused listening her explanations on how it was Beatrice-sama who was responsible for it and had just... yelled at her. She had ended up in tears.

He had calmed down then and... and awkwardly comforted her but he’d also stated he didn’t want to hear anymore stories about witches. She could end up in serious troubles otherwise. It hadn’t been particularly comforting but then he’d also yelled at the girls that were bullying her and that Beatrice-sama wanted to prank and he hadn’t comforted them when they had cried so... so maybe it hadn’t been so bad.

She tried to ignore Beatrice-sama and Gaap-sama, at least when he was around or when she was in school, she really tried. But the topic of magic keeps on slipping from her lips although she knew it annoyed him and one day she’d been so foolish to tell him that the resurrection magic could have allowed him to see his mother again and he... he got so very angry, as angry as she had never seen him...

He had apologized later on and she had apologized too and they had come to the compromise they’ll have to agree to disagree on magic and she had tried to not to mention it ever again only she kept on failing and he had tried to not pay it attention when she mentioned it or Beatrice-sama by mistake and... and it wasn’t perfect but it more or less worked. More or less. It was... stressing though.

“Sayo-chan...” he called her, getting her attention back on him. “About the club... it doesn’t have to be mine though, you can pick another if you prefer, one with people you can get along...”

“I’m not good at getting along with people,” she blurts out without realizing. Maybe it’s because she can feel his warmness but not see his face. Maybe it’s this that makes her strong enough to admit it.

“That’s not true, Sayo-chan, me and Jessica and...” he tries and she interrupts him.

“That’s completely true. Jessica-sama made friend with me merely out of pity and loneliness as back then I was the only one of her age on Rokkenjima. No one at the Fukuin house wanted to be around me. No one of the servants got along with me. No one at school. No one,” her voice breaks as she’s facing for once the truth she doesn’t want to see. “No one apart Shannon and Beatrice-sama and Gaap-sama and...”

“Sayo-chan. I didn’t become your friend out of pity and loneliness,” he points out in a serious tone. “I really think you’re a cool person to hang around with. And... hum... I... I wouldn’t have asked you...” he fumbles for words again, embarrassed.

“Yes but you... are you,” she states and she’s not sure she can explain better how awesome it is for her that he exists and she can... connect with him somehow.

“I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or I should get offended if you say it like that, Sayo-chan,” he points out and she’d like to laugh at this but it comes out way too strained and bitter.

“I’m not good at getting along with people, Battler-kun,” she repeats, matter of fact, and just wants him to give up and never touch that topic again. He sighs.

“You know... there had been a time where I wasn’t good at it either,” he confesses and she blinks.

“That’s not possible, Battler-kun, you...”

“It’s real. You can ask around. I was angry and bitter and upset and insecure and... well, it was a messy time,” he explains and she tries to picture it in her minds and... fails. “It was... as if I had forgotten how to get along with people all of sudden and I couldn’t learn to do it again. I didn’t want to learn to do it again. And I couldn’t tell it to Ojiisan and Obaasan or they would worry and think I wasn’t okay at living with them so...”

“But then you found your social skills again,” she reminds him.

“I... it’s more like I rebuilt them, yes. When I opened the club. I thought... I couldn’t stay like that and that... it’ll make things simpler if I were to try and talk with people that shared my same interest. Also I began to train a lot... to vent out frustration. And I somehow managed,” he concluded and she wants to point out it’s not the same because he always had the potential while she... but she doesn’t dare because she figures he has confessed her something personal and... and he probably he’s not interested in her failures.

“Okay. I’ll try the club,” she agreed without conviction.

“You don’t have to if you don’t believe it’ll work,” he states and she feels like smiling bitterly.

“What is it, some sort of ‘friendship magic’ and if you don’t believe it won’t come true?” she ends up asking before reminding herself she’d just told herself not to talk about magic with him. He sighs.

“If it makes more sense for you to think at it in these terms, yes, in a way it is,” he concedes. “If you don’t give your all you’ll fail. If you don’t keep on trying you’ll fail. You can’t go at it already thinking it won’t work. I can protect you if you come joining my club and I can introduce you to anyone and make sure they’ll all be nice to you... but it’s only you who can make friends with them, Sayo-chan. If you don’t want to there’s nothing anyone else can do. There’s no ‘friendship magic’ there’s just your will.”

“It’s unfair,” she murmurs. “I wished for so long for friends and all I got were Beatrice-sama and the others. I’m not good with human friends. Maybe that’s because I’m not human either, just furniture. It’s not fair you ask me to make human friends,” she complains.

“You aren’t furniture and I’m not asking,” he snaps. “I said if you don’t want to it’s okay, it’ll change nothing for me. But you... you’re unhappy, Sayo-chan, and lonely and... do you really want to remain like this?”

“I... it’s enough... it’s enough if I’ve Battler-kun. If you stay... it’s enough... please, stay, Battler-kun...” she whimpers holding him tightly. “I... I’ll try if you want me, I’ll inscribe to the club, I...”

“I’m not going anywhere, Sayo-chan, don’t worry,” he reassures her. “And I’m not asking you to do what you don’t want to do. I’m just... worried,” he admits and for once she wonders if he can see it, the broken, lonely person she hides on the inside. But her lack of friends is just the tip of the iceberg, what would he say if he were to know... “It’ll be all right. Whatever you want to do. Just think at it though, okay?” but the last time she’d said she thinks at it 4 years were gone before she could give him his answer and now she doesn’t want to wait anymore.

“If I’ll join your club... will you really protect me?” she asks tentatively.

“I swear. I won’t let anyone make fun of you or be rude with you,” he assures.

“And... there’s nice people in it, you say?” she asks again.

“Very. They’re a little odd here and there but they’re all mystery lovers and you’ll like them. You can try just showing up and testing the air, if you want. We’re cool with potential new members,” he answers.

“And if I still don’t make friends... you won’t get angry?”

“I promise I won’t get angry,” he states.

“And... can I hang out with you if I’m at your club? I mean... talk to you and stuffs...”

“Uh? Why shouldn’t you?” he asks in confusion.

“You’re the president and you’ll be probably busy and... and... I’ll be a nuisance...” she whispers quietly.

“Exactly because I’m the president it’ll be my duty to show you around and explain you stuffs and answer to all your questions. You’ll probably beg me to shut up and leave you alone,” he warns her and she makes a timid smile.

“That’s not going to happen,” she murmurs as she holds him. She doubts she’ll make friends, she has long given up on them but if joining the club means she can spend more time with him she’s fine with it.




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*Grumbles* for the usual length problem this fic is split in two parts... *grumbles some more* Mind you it was supposed to be an one-shot...

Part 2 here