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Umineko fic, The Witch's Dream

Title: The Witch's Dream
Fandom: Umineko No Naku Koro Ni
Pairing: Beatrice/Battler
Warnings: Character spoilers for Ep 3.


There are times that Beatrice dreams. These are rare, and brief, flashes of what has been, what is, or what might have been. These days, it is far too hard to tell between them. When she awakens, she tries to shake them from her mind, they are unimportant, meaningless fleeting moments in the mind of a woman that barely exists anymore. She barely remembers them.

Sometimes she wonders if Purgatory is not some dream, a great, terrible, endless nightmare. She wonders whose nightmare it is. Is it her dream of a punishment for her own cruelty and foolishness, to be trapped with no escape but death, and no death without a defeat that is more complete than anyone can imagine? Or is she the dream? She wonders that sometimes, even though she knows she shouldn't. If she doesn't believe in herself, then no one will, and she'll fade away for sure.

They are longer than she would like, sometimes. It is harder to shake these sorts of dreams from her head, harder to convince herself they don't exist. They haunt her. When she is on the edge of sleep, they lay at the back of her mind, trying to force their way into becoming a sort of truth. They turn her bed into a prison, and every time she tries to get up she feels as though she has to pull apart iron chains.

She dreams of being stripped of everything, left with nothing but what she was before she became a witch, a weak, pathetic woman, clinging to her worthless ideas of power. Or, perhaps that's what she is now. She dreams of this, of being strung up, laid out and crucified for all to see. She is naked, her hair loosed from its ties, sticking to her shoulders. Whether it is wet with blood or rain she does not know.

The chains holding her are gold, thin, and delicate-looking, but strong as steel. That's the way it is with magic, she thinks, even as she pulls at them. It's her dream, and she knows it's useless, but still, she struggles anyway. Even when the situation is hopeless, Beatrice is not one to give up without a fight. Not until her last bit of strength is exhausted, not until she has laughed in the face of pain and death.

People come to see her, one by one, each leaving their own humiliation for her to bear. Ronove looks disappointed, admonishing her for her graceless grimaces. She knows only his vague remaining loyalty keeps him from laughing at her. The Stakes, simple-hearted girls that they are, worry for her, trying in vain to pull her chains off, not stopping until they are ordered to do so. They fear for their own lives more than hers, she knows. She does not blame them. That's how demons are made, after all.

Members of the Ushiromiya family come and go, briefly, all of them. She grins and laughs at them, she becomes a grotesque. If they want a show, she thinks, she'll give it to them. Most of them looked frightened, some, oddly disappointed. The furniture, Shanon and Kanon, only shake their heads at her, looking on with something close to pity. She spits at both of them, to stamp it out, for nothing is worse than contempt but pity. Only little Maria stays for any real length of time, clinging to her knees, sobbing helplessly, not minding how she gets her face or her hands stained with blood. She's asking, why, why, and for once, Beatrice has no words for her. She does not want to say she is this way because of magic, that this, here, is the price of being a witch. Before she can even offer false words of comfort, the girl is dragged away by her mother.

Even old Kinzo comes, full of barely-contained glee that his old mistress, his old foe, has finally been brought down properly. What he doesn't know is that she's been like that all along, chained to his damn island, less than furniture for him, really, but he doesn't need to have anything else over her. The way he looks at her is enough, the way he runs his hands along her waist, and then dares to steal a kiss from her half-open lips is enough.

Her teacher comes next, shaking her head also, but in a kind sort of a way, a way that infuriates Beatrice more than the furniture's pity. She doesn't need to be told what she did wrong, she thinks, or how she could correct this mistake. Virgilia says nothing, though, only reaches for her, and brushes her hair out of her face.

"He's coming next, you know," she says sadly. Beatrice knows who she means without her having to say any more, but before she can even make some immature joke about it, about him, she is gone.

She hears his footsteps, echoing down a hallway that is now far too long, much longer than before. She pulls at her chains, trying to speak, trying to scream at him, No, no, don't you dare come, don't you dare come here you idiot you liar you dear thing.


But he comes. She sees his shadow on the pale gray walls, sees his figure walking in the distance. She looks away, trying to hide her face with her hair. He cannot see her like this, he can't. Let everyone else come, let everyone else throw her their mocking and pity and humiliation, but not him. Not Battler, her opponent, her detective, her fool.

When her eyes meet his, it's hard to tell what he's thinking; there's no pity in them, but no contempt either. He seems almost confused, in fact, and there's something she wants to say to that, some biting remark about his stupid face, but somehow she can't bring herself to. She's too tired, these days. He, for his part, gives a small sigh, coming over and laying a hand on her chains.

"What the hell have you done to yourself?" he asks.

"And why do you think it was me? What if it was you, what if you and your stupid game went and did this to me?" She snaps at him, bitterly, but it lacks a bite, and she's sure he notices.

"Don't blame others for problems you caused yourself," he says sharply. "It's something a coward does. I thought you were better than that, Beato."

"You should stop thinking so highly of me. I'm your opponent, remember? The cruel and awful witch who murdered your family."

"Yeah," he says, not looking at her. "I know."

He reaches for the chains across her shoulders, examining them, feeling them between his thumb and forefinger. She scoffs at him.

"They're too strong. You think I haven't tried that already?"

"They don't look strong," he says, and before she can even tell him just how useless it will be, he yanks sharply, and the little chain shatters as if it was made of cheap plastic. Without warning, she falls into his arms, limp and helpless as a child just born.

For a while, she stays there, clinging to him, trying to push back the tears that seem now to insistently prick at her eyes. Eventually, somehow, she finds herself laughing at the foolishness of it all, at just how cliche, how stupid it is. He joins her, laughing in that light, carefree way of his that has always both frustrated and delighted her. She finds herself, inexplicably, contented, happy to be here, laughing with him, holding him.

Beatrice always awakes uneasily, her bedsheets drenched in unladylike sweat. She gets up, goes over to the mirror, and takes a close look at herself. How human she looks, her hair falling about her shoulders, mussed from her moving about the bed in her sleep. How weak she looks, how helpless. She waves a hand, her pipe appears. Another wave, her hair whirls up into it's proper place, rose and all. She's dressed again in her fine clothes as she leaves the room, closing the door behind her.

"Did you sleep well, Milady?" Ronove asks, appearing next to her as she walks down the stairs.

Yes," she says. She smiles. "Now, let's begin the game."


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
moichispa
Apr. 17th, 2010 11:01 am (UTC)
Wow, this one became even better that the last umineko one.

You are quite good working with Beatrice character.
web_of
Apr. 22nd, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
Thank you~
veraliana
Apr. 20th, 2010 03:23 pm (UTC)
Lovely~ You write Beatrice well, I think.
web_of
Apr. 22nd, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm still nervous about her characterization, so I'm glad I haven't messed up. XD
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )