New Beako Story +
It was a typical day. The sun was shining, birds were chirping—
"It's hot, the sun's in my eyes, the constant buzzing of bugs is annoying, I suppose."
—and Beatrice was complaining. After the Great Spirit reluctantly agreed to accompany that pesky human to go fishing, she was assaulted by several discomforts that weren't typically an issue for the shut-in.
"And knowing that you could be sitting inside reading one of your books is driving you crazy?" Subaru added with tease.
As her eyes narrowed on the pond, Beatrice reminded, "Who gave you permission to speak on my behalf, I wonder? This whole outing was your idea, so it's common courtesy to make sure I am comfortable in these conditions."
As he sat next to the spirit, Subaru lightheartedly encouraged, "Don't look at me. I didn't bring any bug spray, and it's not like I can change the weather. Anyways, just do your best, Beako. I'll be rooting for you from the sidelines."
"I don't understand what you mean by 'do your best'. You're just having me sit here until I feel a pull on the line, I—" Beatrice continued to complaints until she felt a tug on the line, "Hmm? I think I'm getting a bite, I suppose."
Once he leapt to his feet, Subaru triumphantly commanded, "Reel— I mean, yank em' to the shore!"
"D-Don't tell me what to do, I suppose!" Beatrice shakily replied; however, she yanked on the line regardless. Much to the spirit's dismay, she pulled too hard on the line which caused the fish to go flying. Of course, where the fish was going to land—
"Kyaa!" Beatrice shrieked as she fell over from the impact.
As he experienced a strong sense of deja vu, Subaru uttered in disbelief, "You… You can't be serious."
Once Subaru moved the fish away from the spirit's face, Subaru noted her silent fury as he sheepishly apologized, "Sorry, Beako. I tried doing things right this time, but it seems fate isn't cooperating today. Maybe we'll have more luck tomorrow."
When she finally sat up, Beatrice turned to the human and started to vent, "You… You told me to 'yank em' to the shore'. Those were your specific instructions, I suppose!"
In an attempt to appease the furious little girl, Subaru reminded, "Well, we cleared our objective, so let's head back, okay?"
After she stood up and swatted off the dirt from her dress, Beatrice turned away and coldly ordered, "Deliver that specimen to the silly maid and have her cook it."
Having already anticipated her cold reply, Subaru fearlessly grabbed her hand and offered, "Don't be like that. Let's head back together."
"…Hmpf, I suppose." Beatrice pouted, but despite her anger, she didn't swat the boy's hand away.
Once the two of them returned to the mansion, Beatrice felt strange vibrations coming from her hand as she verbally observed, "Not that I particularly care, but your hand is trembling in my own, I suppose."
"I'm just a little bit nervous." Subaru sheepishly scratched his cheek as he spoke.
As she recalled the human's earlier pitiful display, Beatrice wondered, "Does it have anything to do with your strange behavior today, I wonder?"
With a click of his tongue, Subaru weakly complained, "I don't remember you being this curious. Aren't you supposed to be—"
"Oh, Subaru, are you finished with your break?"
The sound of a familiar young maiden's voice shook Subaru to his core. It had been such a long time since he has heard her voice, and yet he recognized it in an instant.
As she gently gazed at the two holding hands, the maiden sweetly smiled, "Ah, I see that Lady Beatrice is with you. Did you finally succeed in getting her outside?"
Oblivious to the boy's torrent of emotions, Beatrice closed her eyes and sighed, "So you knew about this boy's scheming? Honestly, you and your sister have been influenced too much, I suppose."
Once he finally found the strength to speak, Subaru called her name, "Rem."
Puzzled by the pain that seemed to be on Subaru's face, Rem lost her smile as she asked with concern, "Yes, I am your Rem. Is something troubling you, Subaru?"
As he grit his teeth in an attempt restrain his rampant emotions, Subaru weakly spoke, "Just a little bit… Let me hug you for just a little bit."
Caught off guard by the sudden request, Rem furiously blushed as she nervously asked, "A h-hug, you say? W-What have I done to deserve such praise from you?"
"This isn't about praise. I just really want to hug you right now, and I don't think I can take 'no' for an answer." Subaru revealed his simple motives as he took a step closer to her.
Once again stunned by the boy's brazenness, Rem slowly opened her arms as an uncontrollable smile rested on her face, "That's not fair, Subaru. You already know I would never decline such an offer from you."
In almost an instant, Subaru darted toward the blue-haired maid and embraced her so strongly that he almost knocked her over. Of course, Rem was delighted to receive such intense affection, so she didn't have a complaint to voice as she closed her eyes and enjoyed the embrace.
As he got comfortable in Rem's arms, Subaru felt the part of himself that had been broken for so many years start to heal. In response to such overpowering emotions coming to the surface, Subaru couldn't help but quietly cry.
Rem could hear the boy's sniffles and she felt something wet on her shoulder. Once she realized Subaru was trembling in her arms, Rem looked at Beatrice for some kind of explanation only to receive a shrug.
In a rare moment of consideration for the maid, Beatrice spoke up, "I don't particularly care if you spoil the younger sister, but I wish you would find a more appropriate time and place for it, I suppose."
Once he overcame his tears and the plethora of emotions that assaulted him, Subaru lifted his face from the maid's shoulder. After Subaru wiped his tears away, he questioned, "Huh? Beako, you're still here?"
"It's frustrating to be forgotten about, I suppose!" Beatrice snapped at the boy.
"You don't know the half of it." Subaru took a jab, and as he turned to Rem, he went on to explain, "Anyways, I went ahead and caught this fish and had Beako carry it back. Wanna cook it up for Puck?"
"It would be my pleasure." Rem smiled as she gave a small bow.
"I didn't go along with your suggestions just for you to steal my praise by the end, I suppose!" Beatrice continued to shout.
Surprised by the spirit's claim, Rem asked for clarity, "Are you saying that you're the one who caught this fish, Lady Beatrice?"
Although she felt like she had just been accused of something terrible, Beatrice murmured, "Of course I did. It's my duty to spoil Bubby every now and again, I suppose."
His hand pressed against his chest, Subaru boasted, "You could say my plan to get Beako outside was a resounding success."
"Again, I don't appreciate my spotlight being taken away from me, I suppose!"
After Subaru chuckled at the little girl's expense, he waved at Rem and took his leave, "Well, I'm going to head out now. Now that I think about it, I probably have chores to do."
"Doing whatever he feels like, I suppose." Beatrice huffed as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"Have a good day, Subaru." Rem beamed as she waved back at the boy.
Once he remembered one more thing, Subaru turned around and added, "Oh, and Rem? Take it easy."
After Subaru had turned a corner, Rem realized she was in the clear. As she pressed her hands to her blushing cheeks, Rem giggled with delight, "Hehe! Is it just me, or was Subaru more affectionate with me than usual?"
In contrast to the maid's delight, Beatrice rubbed her forehead as she heavily sighed, "I don't understand how you could be so taken with that crybaby, I suppose."
Once she recalled the boy's tears, Rem lost the smile on her face as she cautiously asked, "Did something happen to Subaru?"
As she turned to leave, Beatrice spoke an empty complaint, "That guy's business is none of my concern, but it's troubling when he acts even stranger than he typically does, I suppose."
Although she was still troubled by Subaru's tears, Rem managed to see the hidden concern in Beatrice's voice. Rem's lips curved into a small smile as she questioned the spirit, "You really do care about Subaru, don't you, Lady Beatrice?"
"That's a terrible joke, I suppose." Beatrice flatly replied as she whimsically waved back at the maid before she turned a corner.
Now by her lonesome, Beatrice coldly spoke to herself, "As if I would bring myself to care about such a constant troublemaker, I suppose."
As she applied her magic and opened a door at random, Beatrice entered the Forbidden Archives as she announced to no one, "I'm back, I suppose."
Once she took a seat on her usual stool, Beatrice opened her usual book and wistfully gazed into its blank pages. Her thoughts returned to nothingness as she awaited the usual passage of time.
As if an alarm went off in her head, Beatrice snapped out of her trance as she spoke to herself "Bubby must be back about now, I suppose."
Even as that warm thought urged her into standing up, Beatrice was still rooted to her stool. She was even more reluctant into taking action than she normally was given tomorrow's significance.
Right before Beatrice completely closed herself off, she thought to herself "That guy might throw another fit if I don't go to dinner, I suppose."
After a sigh of resignation, Beatrice finally stood up from her stool and reasoned, "He might take all the credit if I'm not there to watch Bubby eat the fish, I suppose."
With her thoughts of tomorrow pushed aside for the time being, Beatrice marched her way towards the dining hall, and once there, she found the cat spirit floating near his contractor.
Her eyes sparkling upon seeing him, Beatrice happily greeted, "Bubby!"
After he turned around to see the fellow spirit, Puck smiled, "Hey, Betty. You seem well."
Completely ensnared by Puck's soft fur, Beatrice was completely oblivious to everyone else's chatter until Roswaal announced his arrival, "Sooooorry for the delay, but I have returned."
Although Beatrice had prepared a bitter reply, Subaru was the first to return the mage's greetings, "Where have you been, Ros-chi? Now that I think about it, I don't remember you leaving the mansion today."
"It was a surprise for me as weeeell. I had an urgent meeting that I needed to attend today." Roswaal returned Subaru's greetings.
As his instincts kicked in, Subaru became uneasy, "An urgent meeting, huh. For some reason, that gives me nothing but worry."
His hand pressed against his cheek, Roswaal whimsically smiled, "Oh, Subaru. You really do saaaay the strangest things."
Once dinner finally got underway, Puck spoke up about his dish, "Oh, fish! Now that's something I haven't had in a while. So, what's the occasion?"
"Well, actually, Bubby—" Beatrice started to speak with pride; however, she anticipated the usual troublemaker interrupting. Although she cautiously glanced at him, she noticed that his attention seemed to be on the two maids, or more accurately, the blue-haired maid specifically.
With Beatrice obviously distracted, Puck tilted his head to the side and asked, "Hmm? Were you saying something, Betty?"
"Oh, umm…" Beatrice fumbled for something to say until she lowered her head and reluctantly murmured, "It's nothing, I suppose."
"The hell? Why didn't you take your opportunity to gloat? Are you really Beako?" Subaru spoke up.
"More so, are you really that infuriating human, I wonder?!" Beatrice furiously retorted.
"Well, you look pretty infuriated, so it seems that I'm still doing my job." Subaru chuckled, and as he turned to look towards the cat spirit, he nonchalantly lied, "Anyways, back on topic. I caught that fish for you, Puck."
"Huh? You did? Well, thanks a bunch!" Puck smiled as he waved at the boy in gratitude.
"There it is, I suppose!" Beatrice snapped as she bolted up from her seat.
"Hmm? There's what?" Emilia curiously asked.
Her finger pointed accusingly towards the boy, Beatrice exclaimed, "There's the thief who's set on trying to steal my recognition away from me, I suppose! I was the one who caught that fish!"
"Huh? You did? Well, thanks a bunch!" Puck smiled as he waved at the fellow spirit in gratitude.
Caught off guard by Puck's thanks, Beatrice abandoned her shouts as she stuttered, "B-Bubby, why am I reaping the same praise as that thief, I wonder?"
His paw pressed against his chin, Puck speculated, "Well, I can kind of already guess that you only went out and caught it because of Subaru, right?"
"T-That's not true at all, I suppose. Simply baseless conjecture, I suppose." Beatrice faintly pouted.
Taking great amusement from the situation, Roswaal teased the little girl, "My, my, if I didn't knooow any better, I would've thought that the world was ending. For Beatrice to actuuually set foot outside the mansion and partake in such a leisurely activity."
"I wouldn't set one foot outside even if the world was ending, I suppose. I only did it this time with Bubby in mind." Beatrice declared with annoyance.
In an attempt to appease the fellow spirit, Puck beamed, "Either way, I'm really happy you caught this fish for me, Betty!"
Her hands clasped together in joy, Beatrice thought to herself "Your happiness is my reward, Bubby."
"Although… I wish I could partake in some happiness of my own merit, I suppose." Beatrice thoughts started to turn bitter as she reminded herself, "That's right, tomorrow is my birthday, I suppose."
After Beatrice made sure Bubby enjoyed his meal, she left her unfinished food on the table and exited the dining room prematurely.
With her previous bad mood returning, Beatrice immediately returned to her stool within the Forbidden Archives. As her forlorn gaze returned to her book, Beatrice prepared herself for another day of self-deprecation. Before she went back into a trance, the door swung open—
"Oops, sorry. This isn't the bathroom." Subaru smiled from the doorway.
—And that pesky human found his way into her room once again.
"Here comes the troublemaker yet again, I suppose." Beatrice spat as she closed her book. Her mood slowly turning for the worse as tomorrow inched closer, Beatrice hurried the boy along, "Well, out with it. There's not much time left in the day, I suppose."
After a short chuckle from the little girl's impatience, Subaru replied with a grin, "Geez, you're even more impatient than usual, but I guess I can understand why."
The all-knowing smile on the human's face unsettled Beatrice as she asked him almost threateningly "Did Bubby tell you anything, I wonder?"
His gaze pointed towards the ceiling in thought, Subaru tried to recall, "I think he said something about it being your birthday tomorrow and how he forgot to get you a gift while he was out."
Her secret exposed, Beatrice's grip on her book tightened as she spoke, "Bubby really is a sweetie, but he should really know when he takes his meddling too far, I suppose."
"Nah, taking meddling too far is my job. Besides, he told me not to approach you, so take it easy on him if you can." Subaru replied as he mentally apologized to the cat spirit for using his name. His smile widening, Subaru eagerly offered, "Anyways, let's celebrate your birthday together, Beako!"
"Human." Beatrice spoke in a deathly tone.
Having already anticipated her cold response, Subaru tried a gentler approach as he spoke, "I can kinda guess what you want to say, so I'll try to be a little considerate here too."
As he kneeled in front of the little girl, Subaru offered her his hand, "Beatrice, I want to spend time with you on your birthday."
As she carefully examined the hand offered to her, Beatrice asked with an air of caution, "What compels you to say such things, I wonder?"
"I'm simply compelled to tell the truth. You should know that by now." Subaru answered without hesitation.
Her annoyance from dinner still unresolved, Beatrice reminded, "Despite the fact that you spewed such lies about catching that fish, I suppose."
Caught off guard by his recent lie, Subaru looked away from the girl as he shakily defended himself, "A-Ah, you know that was just me messing around—"
In the midst of his ramblings, Subaru felt something grab his hand. The cause of that feeling should have been obvious, but he looked over to Beatrice for confirmation, "Beako?"
Surely enough, Subaru found that Beatrice had taken his hand. In disbelief, Subaru wondered aloud, "Was… it really that easy? I thought you were going to be really stubborn."
"You…" Beatrice uttered in amazement. She had a vague feeling earlier when the boy had forced her to hold her hand, but she grabbed his hand again to confirm her suspicions. Once she looked the boy in the eyes earnestly for the first time, she asked, "Why do you have two contracts with me, I wonder?"
In response to the little girl's question, Subaru was perhaps just as surprised as she was when he asked in return, "Huh? What do you mean?"
As she locked fingers with the boy almost as if to prevent his escape, Beatrice softly requested, "I meant exactly as I have asked. Why, no, at what point did we create those contracts, I wonder?"
In a rare moment of awareness, Subaru recalled one of Beatrice's lessons as he spoke, "You said that contracts transcend time, right?"
Despite having no memory of such a conversation, Beatrice answered, "I have never told you such a thing, but yes, that is an unbreakable fact, I suppose."
Once he was reminded of that fact, Subaru realized that the contracts he made with Beatrice had come back in time with him, and that caused him to hesitate. In this new timeline, he didn't intend to reveal anything that had happened to him in any of his previous loops because he wanted a fresh restart, and yet Beatrice had discovered evidence that came from the future.
What's more, Subaru knows that Beatrice could read from his memories directly. If she pried enough, there was no way for him to refuse her.
Once he realized the futility of trying to hide anything from the Great Spirit, Subaru decided to answer her question honestly, "Then let me give you a quick hypothetical scenario. In the future, or rather, a time that has not yet occurred, we go on to make two contracts together. Then I go backwards in time to now. Would that explain why I have these contracts?"
Shaken by what the boy had implied, Beatrice replied, "Why, yes, such a scenario is certainly plausible in theory, but are you saying that you've come from the future, I wonder?"
As he recalled another fact about the Great Spirit, Subaru pointed out, "As someone that can manipulate time, that shouldn't sound so crazy to you, right?"
Having once again been seen through, Beatrice narrowed her eyes on the boy and asked almost threateningly, "How much do you know about me, I wonder?"
"Easy, easy. I promise you I'm not your enemy. You should already know that much." Subaru eased the spirit.
Not having enough information to act, Beatrice set aside her unrest as she requested, "May I take a look at the contents of the contracts, I wonder?"
"Huh? You mean you don't already know?" Subaru questioned.
In a rare state of bashfulness, Beatrice lowered her gaze as she explained, "While peeking is fine, looking directly into the contracts of others without their consent is bad manners, I suppose."
"You really are only considerate when it comes to spirit stuff." Subaru chuckled before he went on to consent, "You can go ahead and look."
Immediately after Beatrice received permission, she closed her eyes and delved into the boy's soul. Once she directly looked at the contents of the contracts, she uttered "What… is this, I wonder?"
Once she opened her eyes back up, Beatrice felt fear, disbelief, uncertainty, and a little bit of hope as she slowly spoke "You were… contracted to be Betty's contractor? And what is this contract about forbidding you from ending your own life, I wonder?"
As she lifted her face up to gawk at the boy, Beatrice could only bring herself to utter in confusion, "You...?"
Having rarely seen the decisive Beatrice make such a face, Subaru gently spoke, "It's probably a lot for you to take in."
As she continued to stare wide-eyed at the boy, Beatrice asked almost pleadingly, "I'm baffled by the second contract even more so than the first. Tell me, what's the purpose of the second contract, I wonder? Why would I ever demand such a thing?"
"Yeah, because if I die, that should be the end of things anyways, right?" Subaru recalled his own response to the proposed contract.
"You're… Betty's contractor from the future, I suppose." Beatrice uttered as the hope she felt before start to kindle within her chest.
"Yes, that's right." Subaru affirmed with a nod.
Her patience finally running thin, Beatrice desperately urged, "If that's the case, then I must have taught you my magic. Cast it, I suppose."
"Huh? You want me to cast it in here?" Subaru cautiously asked as he looked around at the towering bookshelves.
After he received an eager nod from the spirit, Subaru sheepishly scratched his cheek before he went on to cast, "Well, if you say it's alright. Minya!"
At Subaru's command, purple stakes of magic manifested in the air. Although he was able to keep them levitating on the spot, Subaru kept his hand extended as he nervously asked, "Um, it's been awhile since I've been able to do this. So how do I turn it off without devastating the room?"
Rooted to the spot, Beatrice gawked with disbelief at the magical stakes in front of her. It was confirmation that Subaru's words and the contracts he held weren't fabricated. He was able to use magic that was long forgotten, and he was even able to take from her mana supply.
Once she snapped out of her surprise, Beatrice waved her hand to dispel the casted Minya. As the traces of hope she felt finally reached her voice, Beatrice felt her lips starting to curve as she shakily spoke, "That settles it then. You… That must make you 'that person', I suppose."
"Beako…" Subaru uttered as he watched with guilt as tears built up in the little girl's eyes.
As she felt her time starting to move again for the first time in centuries, Beatrice finally let her tears fall of her own volition as she warmly smiled, "I've waited… for so long. I almost gave up, I sup—"
"I'm not 'that person'." Subaru interrupted, unable to hide that fact any longer.
"…Huh?" Beatrice uttered in bafflement. Although the boy had revealed so much to her during this meeting, his latest reveal is the one who shook her the most. In a desperate attempt to hold on to the hope that had built up, Beatrice spoke in a pleading tone, "B-But… You became Betty's contractor. Surely that can only mean—!"
"All I've ever been to you is 'Subaru Natsuki'." Subaru interrupted flatly.
As the hope that had congregated in her heart started to scatter, Beatrice released the boy's hand. While her arm dangled lifelessly at her side, Beatrice painfully whimpered, "…No, that's wrong, I suppose."
"Beatrice." Subaru gently spoke, and as he reached out for the spirit's hand—
"That must be wrong, I suppose!" Beatrice exclaimed as she swatted the boy's hand away. Unable to control her emotions, an unhinged Beatrice started to scream, "I've been waiting for 'that person' to appear all my life! For a human to make his way here and state his name instead, there must have been a mistake somewhere, I suppose!"
Although momentarily startled by the girl's outburst, Subaru spoke firmly, "The only mistake that was made was when she told you to wait here for something as vague as 'that person' to show up."
The boy's words adding to her fury, Beatrice stood up from her stool and continued to shout, "You would deny me my purpose?! Then what was the reason for my solitude for the past four-hundred years, I wonder?!"
Still maintaining his calm façade, Subaru looked at her directly in the eyes as he solemnly spoke, "I don't have the right to say that I'm worth all that time."
"But Beako, choose me and I'll devote the remainder of my life to you." Subaru spoke an earnest plea as he offered his hand to her once more.
As she gazed at the hand offered to her, Beatrice felt embers in her chest that even moved her stoic heart. The longer she gazed at the hand, the more those embers started to dance within her chest as she wondered about the possibilities of such a life if she chose to accept it. Even so—
"I can't accept such a detour, I suppose." Beatrice rejected, and with her voice devoid of emotion, she went on to speak hollowly, "I was given instructions to wait for 'that person' to appear. Your name is irrelevant to that task, I suppose."
Although initially crushed by the rejection, Subaru continued to press the spirit, "The Beatrice in my time chose me over 'that person'."
With the heat in her chest completely gone, Beatrice was now able to speak coldly, "The Betty that made that decision was mistaken, I suppose."
"'Mistaken'…?" Subaru uttered in bafflement. The hand he continued to offer the spirit wavered.
As an unpleasant emotion started to swell within herself, Beatrice recognized it as hate as she swiftly spoke, "Yes, I will not make the same foolish mistake as her, I suppose. To surrender her post just so she could indulge in her own whimsy with a human that happened to catch her off guard."
His arm finally losing to gravity, Subaru's thoughts were muddled as he painfully spoke, "You're saying… all that time we go on to spend with each other… It wasn't supposed to happen?"
"And that I won't let it happen this time around, I suppose." Beatrice clarified cruelly, and as she pressed her hand against the boy's chest, she went on to rapidly explain, "I can't do anything about contracts you've agreed to, but even though you may be my contractor in technicalities, I am still not your contracted spirit. That's because you foolishly came back to a time before I agreed to the terms. To reiterate, the contracts you carry are one-sided, and that's because I didn't come back in time along with you, I suppose."
"You can consider those contracts between us annulled, I suppose!" Beatrice shouted as she pushed on the boy's chest, an action that caused the boy to lose his balance and sent him tumbling to the floor.
After speaking without pause for too long, Beatrice took a few seconds to catch her breath until she attempted to provoke the boy with a cruel smile, "You look like you have something you have to say. I suggest you spit it out, I suppose."
In all honesty, the primary emotion that Subaru felt wasn't the like of anger, sadness, or even loneliness. It was bafflement. As he sat up from the floor, Subaru slowly answered, "Something to say… I don't know. Honestly, we haven't had a serious fight in years, so I don't know what to say at a time like this. How did I used to patch things up with you?"
As he slowly rose to his feet, Subaru spoke an apology, "I'm sorry, Beatrice. I'm sorry for playing my cards wrong, and I'm sorry that I didn't wait until tomorrow. I knew exactly what I needed to do, but I blew it because I didn't want things to play out the exact same way as they did."
"Then I feel that I must thank you for revealing your true colors so that I didn't get tricked this time around, I suppose." Beatrice coldly spat.
"'Tricked'… Well, if that's how you want to see it, then I guess that's fine." Subaru hollowly spoke as he turned his back on the spirit.
As she watched the human make his way towards the door, the unpleasant emotions that plagued Beatrice started to disappear as she spoke with a hint of desperation in her voice, "Wait, are you leaving, I wonder?"
"My plans backfired spectacularly, and I don't want to be blasted out, so I thought I would take my defeat with some grace." Subaru admitted as he accepted the momentary defeat.
Disturbed by the boy's departure and by her own hesitation, Beatrice decided to mock him, "Y-You've certainly become quite spineless. You were already undesirable, so it's a shame to see that you only go on to become a worse version of yourself as you grew older, I suppose."
As if trying to stall him for a moment longer, Beatrice proposed a questioned, "Now that I think about it, how much of the future have you experienced, I wonder?"
With his hand pressed against the doorknob, Subaru gave a vague answer, "I don't want to give a number, but I'll tell you that I at least became a father."
"And you became a mother."
As she forced his lips to curve into a derisive smirk, Beatrice continued to condemn him, "I shudder to think how children raised by you would turn out. I hope for their sakes that the apple certainly did fall far from the tree, I suppose."
After he opened the door to leave, Subaru remained rooted to the floor as he pointed out, "You know, you've become awfully chatty all of a sudden."
Once he turned around, Subaru realized that the harsh words that escape her lips didn't match her face. The Great Spirit's lips trembled, and tears even formed in her eye once again.
As he received that pleading look from the little girl, Subaru offered his hand to her once more, "Beatrice, come with me. I'll make you happier than 'that person' ever could."
For a brief moment, Beatrice felt a pull on her arm as she subconsciously reached out for him; however, she held down her arm with her free hand as she spoke in a broken voice, "…I cannot, I suppose."
With her gaze glued to the floor, Beatrice clutched her book for comfort, but the cold cover did little to warm her. As she searched for something to say, perhaps even a compromise, the sound of the door closing snapped her out of her thoughts.
Just like all the others, the human had left. It was only when he was gone that Beatrice reached her hand out to him, but there was no longer a hand for her to take. Once again reminded of how alone she truly was, Beatrice finally let her tears fall.
In a suffocating space separated from everything else, Beatrice's sobs never reached anyone.
"Hmm…?" Subaru groaned as he slowly opened his eyes. Once he recognized that person's voice, Subaru finally rose from his bed as he spoke towards the door, "Emilia-tan, is that you?"
"Yes, it's me. Can you open the door?" Emilia requested with a hint of nervousness present in her voice.
Once he quickly made himself presentable, Subaru opened the door and greeted the half-elf with a yawn, "G'morning."
"Good morning." Emilia formally greeted back, and once she noticed the bags under Subaru's eyes, she pointed out, "Umm, you don't look so well. I was a little worried since you didn't join me last night."
Unable to keep his thoughts in check, Subaru hardly got a few hours of sleep before waking this morning. With his eyes closed, Subaru lazily scratched the back of his head as he sighed, "Yeah, I had nightmares about Puck destroying the world, so I didn't really sleep well last night."
After he manifested himself on Emilia's shoulder, Puck poked Subaru with his tail as he teased, "What's this, what's this? You been dreaming about me? That's so creepy. And you know I wouldn't destroy the world without a good reason."
Although annoyed by Puck's nonchalant response, Subaru instead turned to Emilia and asked, "Did we have plans for last night?"
Put on the spot, Emilia's lips curved into an awkward smile as she stuttered, "W-Well, it's kind of this unspoken tradition where you watch me interact with the spirits at night."
As he faintly recalled such a routine, Subaru lightheartedly apologized, "Oh, yeah. Sorry that I wasn't there. I had a really intense meeting with someone and it just—"
"Then… would you marry me?" Subaru came to a sudden halt once he recalled that proposal.
Once Subaru went silent, Emilia curiously asked, "You met with someone else?"
"I think I know who it was." Puck broke into the conversation, and as he sheepishly scratched the back of his head, he spoke apologetically, "Judging from your face, it didn't go so well. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything."
Assaulted by both his failed meeting with Beatrice last night and the knowledge of what Emilia wanted to discuss, Subaru became flustered as he shakily replied to the cat spirit, "A-Ah, no, even if you didn't say anything, I'm sure everything would have played out the exact same."
Suddenly lost in the conversation, Emilia directed her gaze towards Subaru as she humbly requested, "I don't know what you two are talking about, but Subaru, would you meet me outside tonight? I have something important I want to talk to you about."
"I'm sure you do." Subaru thought to himself, and unable to bring himself to say no to the pure-hearted maiden, Subaru reluctantly agreed, "Yeah, sure. I'll be there."
As she felt her cheeks flaring up, Emilia once again wore an awkward smile as she nervously spoke, "G-Great. Well then, I'll see you then!"
Before Subaru or Puck could protest, Emilia had darted down the hallway and ran around a corner.
After a short, awkward chuckle at his contractor's expense, Puck turned his attention back on Subaru as he cautiously asked, "So, things didn't go well with Betty, did they?"
In response to Puck's question, Subaru took a deep inhale before he went on to explain, "It ended with me walking out before she blasted me out."
As regained his previous smile, Puck scratched the back of his head as she sheepishly spoke, "Oh, that actually doesn't sound as bad as I—"
"Wait, you walked out? Willingly?" Puck clarified as he stared at the boy in disbelief.
With his back pressed against the wall and his hands behind his head, Subaru sighed, "I know right? I can't believe I'm the type of guy that would call it quits just from having his feelings hurt a little bit. What the hell happened to me?"
His smile turning bitter, Puck revealed his intentions, "I know I told you that you should avoid her, but there was a small part of me that hoped that you could pull her out of there. She's pretty stubborn, isn't she?"
Once he floated into Subaru's field of view, Puck gravely informed the boy, "But now I really have to warn you. Don't try anything with Betty today or whatever progress you've made with her will be ruined."
Finally able to recognize the traces of despair that stirred within his chest, Subaru emotionlessly uttered, "Puck, in all honesty, I think I already wasted it all."
"…It was that bad?" Puck gently asked with genuine concern in his voice.
As he recalled the detail that caused everything to fall apart, Subaru faintly explained, "She thought I was 'that person'."
"She what?!" Puck exclaimed as he abandoned his usual composure. Still in disbelief, Puck drew closer to the boy as he asked in awe, "Subaru, she called you 'that person'?"
"Yup, and then I told her that I wasn't." Subaru replied in monotone.
Once he finally understood the meaning for Subaru's hopelessness, Puck asked with a hint of anger in his voice, "Subaru, do you have any idea what you did to her?"
As he faltered under the weight of his choice, Subaru grit his teeth andsnapped, "Trust me, I know, but I can't… I just… I just wanted to be her 'Subaru'!"
His ears and tail starting to droop, Puck sighed, "I guess I can't blame you for that. At the very least, I'll try to cheer Betty up tomorrow."
Not wanting despair to take hold of him after all these years, Subaru looked to the cat spirit for hope as he asked in desperation, "Puck, give me your honest opinion. How do things look between me and Beatrice? Can it be patched up?"
Unable to answer with the likes of a simple 'yes or no', Puck contemplated Subaru's question as he reasoned, "Honestly, I don't know. I'm sure you know how kind of a person Betty is, but the dream she's had for so many years was crushed right in front of her, and she's going to blame you for it."
Once he finally arrived at his answer, Puck nodded to himself as his previous smile returned, "But you've managed to surprise me, so I honestly think there's still a chance if it's you."
With traces of a smile emerging on his lips, Subaru replied, "Thanks for the pep talk."
As he playfully nudged the boy's shoulder, Puck nonchalantly warned, "It's what I do. Also, you should prepare yourself for what Lia has to say to you later. If my hunch is right, you might end up as my enemy."
Already aware of what Puck was alluding to, Subaru sighed, "I really don't want to make enemies of both Great Spirits that live here."
"Then please take my feelings into account if and when Lia asks you." Puck finished with a hint of hostility in his voice.
Once the cat spirit floated away from him, Subaru whispered to himself, "Dumbass. As if I'd say 'yes' to anyone besides Beako."
The rest of the day proceeded normally for Subaru as he did his usual chores; however, there was one moment that stood out to him. As he went to open the door to clean the restroom, Subaru felt his 'Door Breaker' ability go off in his head. If he opened the door, he was sure he would be greeted by the scent of old books and dust, and the sight of a little girl near her usual stool.
Subaru recalled the cat spirit's warning and came to a quick decision. After he drew his hand away from the knob, he waited there for a full minute for Door Crossing to move to a different door.
After such an uneventful day, Subaru wordlessly entered the dining hall to join everyone else for dinner.
Once nearly everyone had convened in the dining hall, Roswaal noticed, "Myyy, it seems that Lady Beatrice is running pretty late."
"Well, it is kind of a special day for her." Puck sheepishly informed the mage.
After he was reminded of today's importance, Roswaal wore an apologetic smile, "Ah, yes. These past two days have beeeeen eventful to say the least, so it must have slipped my mind. Please forgive my forgetfulness."
Although Subaru would describe his recent experiences as hectic, he questioned the mage, "Eventful? I don't think I recall anything out of the ordinary happening."
After he deliberately decided to ignore Subaru's comment, Roswaal forced a sigh, "It seeeems Lady Beatrice's perfect attendance has come to an end then. It's strange. For so many years, she avoided joining the table for every meal of the day, and yet nooow it feels unnatural to go through dinner without her."
On the receiving end of the mage's piercing gaze, Subaru admitted, "What's strange is how you're saying all of this while looking directly at me. I get it, I get it. I'm the reason why Beako joins us for meals, right—"
"What an arrogant thing to say, I suppose."
Having been interrupted, Subaru became speechless as he turned to find the drill-loli standing at the doorway.
As the fellow spirit walked towards her usual seat, Puck cautiously asked, "Hey there, Betty. How are you doing?"
Once she took her seat at the table, Beatrice listlessly replied, "I'm sorry, Bubby, but can we skip over the pleasantries, I wonder?"
Unable to read her expression nor her mood, the usually collected Puck stuttered, "O-Oh, um, sure thing. Sorry, I just didn't expect to see you today given, well, you know."
As she grabbed the hem of her dress, Beatrice seemed to be holding something back as she spoke hollowly, "I just… thought it would be a pitiable if I lost my perfect attendance award, I suppose."
"Huh? Does it really mean that much to you?" Subaru blurted out without thinking. Almost immediately, Beatrice's expression erupted into a silent rage as she turned to glare daggers at Subaru. After Subaru flinched from the spirit's anger, he decided to change the conversation, "Anyways, I was just wondering, wasn't there another maid that used to work here?"
"Ah, would you be referring to Frederica? She left for personal reasons shortly before you came here." Roswaal was the first to reply.
Giving a slight nod of his head, Subaru suggested, "Yeah, I heard about her from Rem. I was just wondering if we could get her to come back here."
After a heavy sigh, Ram warned her little sister, "You've barely worked here for two months and you're already asking for your labor to be cut. Rem, be careful, Barusu is slowly becoming a deadbeat as I feared."
"Since you were able to come to that conclusion, I'm sure you had the same deadbeat-like thoughts, Ram." Subaru accused back. With his face stiffening, Subaru revealed his reasoning, "I was just thinking we should lighten Rem's load some more. No, a lot more actually."
Although surprised that she was the focus of the topic, Rem quickly reassured the boy, "You don't need to worry, Subaru. I know you and sister don't have as much stamina, so just leave it to me."
Feeling as if he reached a momentary dead end, Subaru stood up from the table and sighed, "I guess I'll have to think of something else then."
Watching as Subaru walked towards the door, Roswaal curiously asked, "Oh? Are yooou finished already, Subaru?"
"Yeah, I guess I just don't have that much of an appetite. Sorry about leaving so many leftovers." Subaru sheepishly apologized.
As she turned towards the mage, Rem humbly asked, "Master Roswaal, would it be alright if I take my leave as well?"
"You maaaay." Roswaal nonchalantly consented.
Once the two of them left the dining hall, Subaru turned to Rem and asked, "You couldn't stand the atmosphere either?"
Bothered by the little girl's behavior, Rem gently asked, "Did something happen between you and Lady Beatrice?"
"Do you know what today is when it comes to Beako?" Subaru asked in response. Once Rem had answered that she didn't, Subaru told her the partial truth, "Well, it's her business, so I wouldn't feel right if I told you the details. So, let's just say I said some really reckless things and ended up hurting her at the worst possible time."
As she gazed at the door to the dining room, Rem recalled, "When you spoke to her at dinner, I noticed that she glared at you with such animosity."
Already aware of that fact, Subaru sighed, "I'm sure you weren't the only one who noticed that. It's not like Beako was trying to hide it."
Having kept her eye on Subaru as well, Rem informed, "Likewise, you were too busy avoiding her gaze to notice, but Lady Beatrice glanced at you several times after that. I couldn't help but think how heartbroken she seemed."
Scratching the back of his head in frustration, Subaru spoke, "Even though I've been with her for a while, I still can't tell what's going through her mind back at this point. I can at least tell when she wants something, but she still rejects me all the same."
Although the Great Spirit had been a mystery to Rem for most of her time here, Subaru's interactions with her helped to reveal a side to Beatrice Rem had never seen before. Rem truly thought that Beatrice displayed her true nature when she was with Subaru.
With all of that in mind, Rem offered her input, "I'm not sure what you're talking about, but if she's rejecting you, I don't think she's being honest."
Despite his heavy heart, Subaru found some comfort in the maid's words as he smiled, "When is Beako ever honest?"
With the boy's smile being infectious, Rem assured him, "If it's you, I'm sure you'll be able to figure something out. After all, you are her self-designated caretaker."
As he chuckled at the maid's words, Subaru parted with the maid, "I still have to think over some things, so I'll see you tomorrow, Rem."
"Yes, I'll see you tomorrow, Subaru." Rem energetically spoke with a brilliant smile.
"Tomorrow." Subaru felt his heartstrings being tugged by that simple word spoken from Rem's lips.
Author's Notes: I'm back bitches!
How's it going bros? You been staying out of trouble? Get that promotion at the job you wanted? Have you been flossing your teeth?
Ugh. I literally just wrote one of these a/n's last night. I don't think I have it in me to write another. Maybe I'll just copy and paste some stuff over…
I'd like the temper some expectations real quick. The honest truth of why I wrote this is because I wanted to write about the characters in a way I'm familiar with. I'm not too picky about plot and stuff, but I hope I did a decent job of it regardless. Also, there's only one additional chapter planned at the moment, but it might be a bit before it comes out. I want to at least finish Re:Forgotten chapter three first.
Speaking of Re:Forgotten, I managed to do a double upload today. I've actually been working on this chapter and chapter two of Re:Forgotten for almost a year now, but I took long breaks in between writing. I'm truly Slothful. Taida, taida, taida~
Been really addicted to Granblue Fantasy lately. That's one of the places where a bunch of my time has gone. That and Runescape.
Can't wait for the next Re:Zero episode on Wednesday, but if you're a light/web novel reader like you should be, then you probably already know what it's going to be about. BUT THAT'S WHY I'M EXCITED!
Well, I think that's about it for now. Hopefully I don't take another ten months to update, and I'll see you… in the next one.
SPOILER WARNING: If you're anime only, I recommend waiting for season 2, part 1 to finish before you read the following afternote scene. There's a spoiler pertaining to Roswaal that will be revealed in the coming weeks. Of course, I'll go more in depth about it next chapter, but I imagine it won't be a spoiler anymore by then.
After another painful day of accomplishing nothing, Subaru retired to bed and hoped for a fresh start in the morning. He closed his eyes and allowed sleep to start taking hold of him; however, he suddenly remembered something.
His eyes opened wide in shock, Subaru uttered, "Oh, crap. Emilia wanted to talk to me about that tonight."
Although he had half a mind to close his eyes once again, Subaru felt that would be too cruel to the half-elf. After he got dressed and left his room, Subaru wandered the halls as he thought out loud, "I wonder if there's any way I can steer our upcoming conversation away from marriage. Ah, but she's probably going to bring up the fact that she received a proposal from some no-name. Ugh, I really don't want Emilia to propose to me. It would just be so awkward—"
"Honestly, what kind of man frets over such a thing? More so, isn't it arrogant to anticipate a proposal to begin with?"
The voice of a mature woman stopped Subaru dead in his tracks. As his blood went cold, Subaru put on a brave smile as he retorted, "It's not like you could understand. I mean, I doubt you've ever received a proposal to begin with."
Once he turned around to face her, Subaru grit his teeth as he uttered, "Elsa."
With her lips curved into a cruel smile, Elsa curiously remarked, "That's odd. You don't look too surprised to see me."
As he tightened his hands into fists, Subaru attempted to stall for time, "Oh trust me, I'm plenty surprised. I knew you would attack the mansion, but I didn't think it would be tonight. Is RNG screwing me over again, or did I accidentally trigger an event?"
With her gaze fixated on the boy's gut, Elsa licked her lips as she reminded, "I'm not quite sure what you mean, but I'm simply here to fulfil the promise I made with you."
His calm façade starting to crack, Subaru's felt his lips quivering as he spat, "Don't make it sound so romantic. Let me guess, a guy dressed like a clown asked you to do this, didn't he?"
Although Elsa was momentarily stunned, that look of surprise was quickly replaced by genuine pleasure as she remarked, "Oh my. It's seems you understand the situation. I was quite surprised that he would ask for my services in such a way, but I'm even more amazed that you seemed to anticipate this. I wonder just what goes on inside of this mansion."
Although Subaru had another witty reply ready to release, he felt something snap within himself. As all his dormant emotions rushed to the surface all at once, Subaru looked up to the ceiling and roared, "ROSWAAL, STOP MESSING WITH ME!"
In his moment of pure fury, Subaru had let down his guard. Once he looked down to see that the Gut-Hunter was charging at him, Subaru realized he had only seconds to react.
Out of pure instinct, Subaru used the precious seconds he had to aim his hand at Elsa and chanted, "Minya!"
But nothing happened.
In the moments he had left, Subaru gazed at his hand in disbelief as he recalled her words.
"You can consider those contracts between us annulled, I suppose!"
While distracted by that thought, Subaru didn't even feel his gut being slashed open; however, he felt the fiery agony seconds later as he was collapsed on the floor.
As she watched the boy writhe on the floor in agony, Elsa got on her knees and admired his insides, "Ahh! What a lovely color!"
In futility, Subaru clutched his stomach to stop the blood from pouring out. Once that failed, Subaru painfully whimpered, "I really… shouldn't have… come back here."
With a look of pure ecstasy, Elsa passionately demanded, "Are those your dying words? Hey, tell me what they mean. Let me understand the agony behind such words before you die."
"Go… to… hell…" Subaru spat as blood escaped his lips.
Delighted to no end from his pained response, Elsa giggled, "Hehe. That's fine too."
His vision starting to fade, Subaru used his remaining strength to whisper, "I wonder…"
As if she were a child brimming with curiosity, Elsa drew closer to the dying boy as she beamed, "Hmm? What is it? What kind of last thoughts are going through your head as you lie there dying?"
His lips unable to receive his question, Subaru instead had one final thought, "Will Beatrice cry for me?"
As his world returned to that familiar darkness, Subaru regretted that his final death would be the exact same as his first. The Gut-Hunter had claimed both his first and last lives.
"…Don't leave me behind."
Or so he thought.