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Devil May Cry - Degrees of Separation

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Jul. 21st, 2006 | 01:53 pm
location: Flagstaff, AZ
music: Shinedown - 45

Title: Degrees of Separation
Author: Britani Gael (sterlingsylver @ lj)
Fandom: Devil May Cry 3
Rating: PG-13
Summary: AU. What if Vergil had won the final fight in the Underworld, instead of Dante? What if he’d lost to Mundus anyway? Seven years after Devil May Cry 3, Vergil returns to the human world – and bring all sorts of problems, demons, and enemies with him.

Warnings: Some DxL history here, and also original characters.

* * *

Chapter Two: Times Have Changed


Seven years later


Vergil smelled Earth.

He hated the relief he felt. This was the world he’d tried to hard to escape, the side of him he tried so hard to discard. But this was air he was breathing, air without the essence of fire and brimstone, and he filled his lungs with it. And he did it again.

He did not have time for this.

He was standing at the top of Temen-Ni-Gru – not a scene he was ever likely to forget. But now it was day instead of night, and though the tower was still standing there was a city standing around it. He could see people below, mulling around like insects. They were mulling around in buildings that were not destroyed, and that gave him pause.

How much time had passed?

He did not have time for this. His departure had not been subtle, and they would be on him any moment. The portal was still open, glowing menacingly above him, invisible to human eyes even though he had to work to tear his gaze away.

He had no idea how to close it.

That wasn’t true. Vergil had one idea, and only one: separating the amulets. He’d tried. He couldn’t pull them apart. He didn’t know if it was due to weakness of body or of character but he could not pull the amulets apart.

He’d lost several fingernails in the attempt, though. And it occurred to him that he had no real idea of how they worked. Damn, but he should have listened to Arkham’s ramblings when he had the chance.

His entire body ached. The wounds Dante had given him were still lingering, wounds from Arkham turned Sparda, wounds from his catastrophic battle with Mundus and his army. Nothing was healing like it should, because he was almost too tired to stand.

His thoughts turned to his options.

Run.

There was a voice inside his head, a voice he despised, and it was screaming at him to run and hide while he still had the chance. It was the voice of a little boy who once had spent the night impaled on a volley of swords and spears, pinned to a tombstone in a graveyard.

He wasn’t that boy anymore, and he’d just done enough running to last him his entire life.

He had an advantage; he knew that they were coming.

In his brief time in Hell, he’d fallen into every trap imaginable. He’d been beaten and cut and worn down. He knew they were coming here, and he was here first.

It was their turn.

He just hoped his own power would be enough.

* * *

It was late afternoon by the time the cherry red motorcycle came to a stop outside of offices of Devil May Cry.

The child on the back didn’t waste a second as he leapt off the motorcycle, trying to tug off his helmet as he went. He couldn’t quite manage it, though, and had to stand and wait as the woman on the front of the bike stepped off and undid the clasp at his throat.

The second the helmet was clear of his head, he tore up the steps of Devil May Cry, barged in without knocking, and started shouting at the top of his lungs.

“Dad! Dad, we’re here! I’m sorry we’re late, but Mom said there wasn’t any good reason to hurry and you never know what time it is anyway and—“

Dante looked up from his desk and grinned. “No problem, Verge. No problem.”

He’d spent the last half hour nailing demonic wards to the windows and doors – a task he hated, since the things gave him an awful headache. The kid didn’t appreciate them much, either, but Mom said they were a requirement, and for once Dante happened to agree with her. Fifteen minutes before that had been spent making up a room that hadn’t been used in more than two months, and taking down all the inappropriate posters had taken ten.

Enzo had taken way longer than he should’ve. Didn’t the guy understand the word vacation?

Oh, and he’d ordered a pizza. It was cold by now, yeah, but it was still pizza.

Verge stood by the door and waited.

With a false sigh, Dante dragged himself out of his seat, crossed the room and picked the kid up. “You got my present?”

Verge’s face lit up. “Yeah!”

“What’d you think?”

“Well,” he took a deep breath, “I like action figures. Spiderman’s not my favorite, Iceman’s my favorite, but I like Spiderman lots and Mom said I could get a Green Goblin too if my room’s clean for a whole month and Venom too if I also don’t cause any trouble—“ Another deep breath. “—and there wasn’t anyone really at my party ‘cause you weren’t there, except my cousin Jeremy – and he’s not my cousin, really, just his mom is someone my mom knows at work and—“

“Woah, slow down, kid.” Dante set him on the ground, then peered out the door. “Isn’t your mom coming in?”

“I’m not kid,” Verge said. He crossed his arms, looking very irritated. “And Mom said for me to say that she’s still not talking to you. And that I have to brush my teeth and stuff.”

“Oh,” Dante said, frowning. She was still mad at him? Some women… He handed a small white envelope to the kid, who took it with a puzzled expression. “Go run that out to your mom, all right? Before she leaves.” He’d take it out himself, except if she saw him step outside she might just drive off.

Verge nodded, and then darted outside.

Lady was sitting on her bike outside, drumming her fingers on the handgrips as Verge ran down the steps and started jabbering at her. She narrowed her eyes at Dante over Verge’s head, but she took the envelope, folded it up and stuffed it into a jacket pocket. She said something to the kid Dante couldn’t read on her lips, and Verge nodded solemnly.

She pointed at his backpack, which Verge had left strapped to the bike. She probably figured Dante didn’t have any clothes for the kid or something. Verge pulled the pack off and carried it in his hands.

She started the motorcycle just as Verge started up the steps again. Dante waved at her through the window. Lady rolled her eyes, revved the engine, and shot off.

Verge burst through the door. “She says she’s only a little mad at you, but that we’d both better behave ourselves, or else—“

“That’s enough about your mom.” Dante reached down and messed up the kid’s hair. “Looks like someone got a haircut.”

“Daad,” Verge whined, stopping to push his hairstyle back into place. Where before his brown hair had brushed his collar, now it was neatly trimmed above his ears. “I got it cut a long time ago, ‘cause Mom said it was too long. And it was hot in the summer and stuff… Can we pay Nintendo?”

Dante picked the backpack up out of Verge’s hands. “After you eat something.”

“We had spaghetti already.”

He dropped the bad on the desk as he walked by. “Fine,” he said, his voice shorter than he intended. “We can play in a minute.”

Verge was silent for several seconds, which more often than not was a sign of concern. Then, “Dad?”

“Yeah, V?”

“You aren’t… You’re not mad at me, are you?”

Dante turned around. Verge was still standing by the door, staring straight at the ground. “What?”

“I know—I couldn’t come over for a long time, and Mom yelled at you on the phone lots of times, and it’s ‘cause I told her that—“

Dante crossed the room, knelt down in front of the kid and put his hands on Verge’s shoulders. “Verge, listen. The reason you couldn’t come over? It wasn’t your fault, it wasn’t your Mom’s fault—“

“But I’m the one who—“

“It was my fault. Me. I screwed up. Got it?”

Verge nodded slowly, and then he gave a small smile. “Yeah, I got it.”

“All right.” Dante stood. “So how about some Super Smash Brothers? And some ice cold pepperoni?”

The kid rolled his eyes, almost exactly like his mother had only a few minutes ago. “The pizza’s cold again?”

“Hey, kid, I don’t work miracles, here.”

Verge just laughed as he followed Dante into the kitchen.

* * *

Lady coasted to a stop in front of the old warehouse, checking against the address against the one she had stored in her head. She hoped her information was right, this time, because if it wasn’t she just might have to start shooting to kill.

Putting the kickstand down with her foot, she reached into her pocket and pulled out the envelope Verge had given her outside of Devil May Cry.

Typical Dante.

Lady turned the envelope over in her hand and opened it with her fingernail. She wasn’t surprised to find several thousand dollars in cash inside.

She got these little gifts irregularly – Dante could never keep to a schedule – but often enough that she’d soon amassed a small fortune. Over the years she’d told him time and time again that she didn’t need his money, and certainly didn’t want it, and still the envelopes kept coming.

Since Dante wouldn’t take it back, she’d stashed most of the money in a savings account. Verge could decide what to do with it when he got older. The rest of the money went for clothes for Verge, and sometimes groceries. Not that she’d ever admit that to Dante, but she did work freelance. Sometimes paychecks were few and far between.

Speaking of which…

It was going to be a lot longer between paychecks if she didn’t finally get this mission over with.

She stepped off the bike and put the keys in her jacket pocket. She folded up the envelope and put it there as well.

Weapons check. She’d left Kalina Ann at home for this one, since she doubted she could collect if she blew up her bounty. Instead she’d brought two pistols and a powerful flashlight taped to the barrel of one of them. She was also carrying a special something she’d picked up for just this occasion.

She started walking up to the building. Now she needed a plan. She could just barge in and start firing. Or she could go for the subtle, sneaky route, creeping and doing a silent search.

She decided she would save the subtle routine for a day when she had more patience.

Lady kicked the door in and marched straight to the center of the room, swinging the flashlight in tight arcs around her. The warehouse was mostly empty, just some crates and garbage lying around. Unfortunately, the building had a lot of walls, beams, and other structures. She was hoping for wide open and empty.

She caught sight of her target quicker than she’d hoped, a huddled figure curled up in a corner. She started walking towards it slowly, and then picked up her pace. The sleeping girl didn’t even move.

For a moment, Lady thought that maybe, yes, it really was going to be that easy. And then the girl’s eyes snapped open.

She jumped to her feet, shielding her face with her hands from the light. “Ow, stop! What the hell are you—“ She peered around her fingers, and then her eyes widened. “Oh God, it’s you.”

Lady smiled. “Did you miss me?”

The girl ducked, and ran straight up the wall behind her.

Lady peppered the wall with gunfire, leaving quarter sized holes in the corrugated metal. Too late, Mara had already vanished.

Damnit.” Lady swung the flashlight beam around, following its path with her pistol. “Mara, come down here this second, or—“

“Or you’ll use your cross voice on me?”

Lady turned to the sound of her voice. Mara was hanging from a beam, her feet firmly planted on the metal. She did a flip, not up but down, and as she fell suddenly stopped so her head was level with Lady’s.

Mara was seventeen, with stringy blonde hair and clothes that didn’t fit – probably salvaged from garbage cans. Her oversized clothes and obnoxiously childish attitude made her seem years younger than her age. Her powers and obvious delight in tormenting people made her a particularly dangerous sort of brat.

Her capture and return was worth fifteen thousand dollars. Of course, half of that was in advance, already spent. More of a reason to get this done.

“Mara, I just want to know what it is you want.” Part of the problem with tracking the girl was that she seemed entirely aimless. She just liked hurting people. And things. With fire.

The girl turned in midair, hanging upside down with her arms folded across her chest. It was an eerie, disorienting effect – gravity seemed to be reversed, her hair still fell around her shoulders. “What do I want? I want you to leave me alone!”

Besides her supernatural motions, Mara had no other powers. Lady was certain she could take the girl down with ease. If only she could catch her.

The girl started moving upwards, as if pulled up by a rope. “You’ve been stalking me for weeks, you creepy lady.”

“I’m trying to help you,” Lady retorted. It was half true.

“I’ve been following you, too, you know.” Her voice came from the shadows above. “And I’ve got to tell you, this is no profession for a mother—“

Lady had a plan for this situation, and that plan was the charm slightly smaller than her fist. She pulled it out of her pocket slowly.

“And I’m not even the only one following you! Bet you didn’t know that, you—freaking—psycho—“

Lady cart wheeled directly under the girl, and then she looked at the charm in her hand. “Hope this works,” she muttered. She knelt and slammed it into the ground.

The crystal shattered and the entire room filled with white light, illuminating everything from the shadows in the ceiling to Mara’s startled face. Lady knew from experience that frightening the girl tended to disrupt her force fields, but she must have been learning, because this time she stayed floating.

The light faded, and Mara peered down at her. “What the…”

Lady rolled her eyes. “You don’t know much about magic, do you?”

Mara’s hair fell and her clothes sagged – and then the rest of her spell wore off and she fell out of the air with a yelp. Lady rolled out of the way as the girl crashed to the ground, and then lay there in a still heap.

Lady stood and approached the body slowly, keeping a single pistol trained on her. “Are you still alive?” she asked. “I’d just hate it if you broke your neck.”

The girl groaned. “Not … cool,” she managed, rolling onto her back and coughing.

“That charm will keep you out of the air for a minute. After that, you try to move and I’ll empty this clip into your skull.”

Mara moved to sit up, then flopped back onto the ground and sighed. “Whatever.”

Lady circled around her, coming to a stop near her feet. The girl crossed her arms and had her eyes closed, as if getting caught was nothing more than a nuisance. “Who else is following me?” Lady asked.

Mara said nothing.

Lady fired a shot into the ground beside Mara’s head. The girl screamed as the dirt and dust showered her face, and Lady wore a satisfied smile as she repeated the question. “Who else is follow—“

The entire building shuddered; the metal walls shrieked and the pipes above their heads cracked, water started dripping from the ceiling. And if Lady wasn’t crazy a wind was starting up in here. She froze.

“I think they might have caught up with you.”

“Mara, I’ll say it again,” Lady said, her voice low. “Who else is following me?”

Mara’s eyes glittered with malice. “Freaks.”

The first of the demons appeared directly above their heads. Lady shot them down quickly, and the sand showered over them both and quickly turned to mud in the dripping water. The building shook again, the water came down like rain, and the rest of the demons arrived.

Mara scrambled to her feet. “Jesus Christ!”

Lady made a note: when in doubt, bring Kalina Ann. She wasn’t Dante, and mowing down all these monsters was going to be a lot of work with only a pair of pistols. “They’re demons!” she called over her shoulder. “Stay close, and you should be—“

“You’re fucking nuts, lady.” Mara’s eyes roamed, probably looking for an escape route. She found it in a vertical beam to their right. “I’m out of here, see ya late—“

Lady took careful aim, and the second Mara’s feet left the ground she shot her out of the air.

The girl’s scream was ear piercing, and it stopped the second her head smashed against the ground. Lady winced, but she had no time to worry about that now. She’d just have to make sure to shoot up any demons around the girl’s body.

She almost slipped on a puddle as she swung around, shooting as she went. Pride demons usually went down with one head shot, which was good. She hadn’t been planning on taking out an army, and she hadn’t brought nearly enough bullets.

They converged on her, they died in hails of bullets. They came steadily until her third reload, and then they started falling back.

Demons rarely showed any signs of fear. She knew that, she kept it in mind as they started circling her.

She slowed her firing. If they were changing their tactics, she was going to need an escape plan, fast.

Of course, that would probably involve abandoning Mara. And considering the fact that the unconscious girl probably would have been able to escape herself just fine if Lady hadn’t shot her in the leg, that wasn’t particularly fair.

The demons stopped moving, all of them staring at her. Lady used the brief pause to reload her guns again. Whatever happened, she was going to be ready.

There was a stirring in the crowd, and the Pride demons started backing off fast.

They were making way for their leader, she realized, for another demon coming up from behind. It pushed its way to the front of the crowd, and stared her down.

It was a type of demon she’d never seen.

It stood almost like a man, slightly taller, with arms that hung to the ground and heavy claws at the end of them. Its skin was milky white, with blood red markings spotted all over it. But most grotesque was its head.

It was perfectly round, almost the size of his chest cavity, and split right in half where the lips would be. She could see teeth poking through the skin, blood running down its face. No eyes, no ears.

It opened its massive mouth, and to Lady’s shock, sounds started coming out. “S—Spa—Spard—aa—

Her weapons lowered a fraction.

Ste—stench—of—Sp—Sparda—aa—

She realized that it wasn’t after her. It was after what it smelled on her.

Oh God.

She had to get out of here. She needed to be back at Devil May Cry.

Not until she killed every last one of them, first.

If only the situation was different. Then she might actually enjoy it.

* * *

Dante had nearly fallen asleep at his desk when the knocks on his door startled him into consciousness.

His head snapped up. “I am totally doing my paperwork, here,” he said to no one.

The pounding on the door only went up in volume.

“I’m coming, I’m coming!” He shrugged into his jacket, holstered his guns for good measure, and then crossed the room and opened the door.

No rain, but Lady was soaking wet anyway; her hair was sticking to her face and her shirt was sticking to her chest, and Dante briefly entertained the possibility that she’d wanted him so bad she’d come crawling back here, in the middle of a job and everything. Unlikely, though, considered how furious her expression was.

She glared at him as he stared at her. “Can I come in?”

“Well, so you are speaking to me. I was wondering—“

She gave him a look that was a pretty good substitute for slapping him, and dragged herself inside and her baggage with her. Her baggage being an unconscious girl, hanging on Lady’s arm and drooling on her sleeve.

Lady pitched the girl onto the ground. She hit the floor with an awful thunk, and groaned. She was bleeding pretty heavily from a wound in her leg – and unless she had some sort of healing powers she was going to need help with it pretty damn quick.

“Woah, woah. What—“

“My bounty,” Lady said, by way of explanation.

“Yeah, I kinda figured, but didn’t Enzo say something about her being in one piec—“

“Dante, where’s Vergil?”

“I thought we decided he was probably dead?”

“Dante, where is Vergil, our son?” And there was something in her tone that made him take this situation a whole lot more serious.

Though Lady might have had problems with how he did pretty much everything, he’d never doubted that she trusted him with Verge. Well, not until two months ago, but that was more of an emotional issue – he couldn’t see her thinking Verge was in any danger with him. “C’mon, Lady, the kid’s in bed upstairs. What, do you think I’m completely irre—“

“I don’t have time for this.” She shoved past him, and started pounding up the stairs. “Verge? Vergil, answer me!”

Stop… yelling…” The girl on the ground moaned.

Dante stepped over her and headed after Lady. “You know I have wards all over this place, right? Not to mention some pretty nasty spells. There’s no way anything could—“

She slammed Verge’s bedroom door open. “Vergil!”

“Lady, what the fuck is going on?”

She was standing still in the doorway, and Dante felt his stomach sink a little as he came up behind her. He had a good idea of what she was seeing.

He looked over her shoulder, and then his stomach sank a lot.

Verge’s room was done up exactly like Dante had left it hours ago, with various Marvel posters taped to the walls and plaid sheets neatly folded on the bed. A nightlight was flickering in the corner. The problem was that there wasn’t any kid in it.

Lady spun around, and hit him in the face with her fist.

She’d shot him in the head, yeah, but she’d never gone and punched him, so Dante staggered back in surprise, not in pain. “Holy—” he said.

“He’s gone!”

“Calm down, I’ll look for him downst—“

“Dante, he’s gone. I know he’s gone. He’s gone.” She walked to the center of the room, and then she sank down on the bed.

He followed her, noticing for the first time just how beat she looked. She was breathing hard, and he could smell an awful lot of gunpowder on her. “Lady, what do you know that I don’t?”

Lady looked up at him. “I—nothing, really, just…”

She put her head in her hands and told him about Mara, the demon in the warehouse, and everything else.

* * *

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