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Devil May Cry - Degrees of Separation

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Aug. 17th, 2006 | 11:35 am
location: Flagstaff, AZ
mood: awake
music: Mnemic - Deathbox

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.


* * *

“What is this?”

The man stood in the center of the room, with thick black hair rolling down his back and dressed in a crisp white suit. Vergil had never seen the form, but he recognized the man anyway – Sergius.

Even as a human, he was a hideous creature.

“What is this?” Sergius bellowed, and the throngs of demons surrounding him shifted and cringed. “You search for hours, and this is what you bring me?”

The room was one Vergil had not yet seen, it was built like a cathedral with high, ornate ceilings and elaborate statues everywhere. The white demons stayed on the ground, close to their master, while Pride demons clung to the ceiling and shrieked.

It was a messy scene. Ironic that Vergil could stand here in the center of it all, when it appeared that the object of the search was, in fact, himself. The demons directly next to him paid him no attention, though Vergil was fairly certain that if they had been armed with scythes that story might be different.

Hiding in the demons was the perfect plan, really, since it made him difficult for Sergius to see, and impossible to sense. Not with all these demons present.

“I send you after the spawn of Sparda!”

Vergil snapped to attention. With a search parameter like that – he pushed through the crowd, trying to get a better view.

“I send you after the spawn of Sparda and you return with this—this useless human garbage! Is this what you think I wanted? Is it?”

Crouched in front of Sergius was a small figure, shivering. The devil lashed out with a brutal kick, knocking the figure backwards, and the child crumpled silently to the ground. Vergil felt his disgust with Sergius growing; he knew the devil was a cowardly opponent, and apparently attacking a human child was not even beneath him.

“This—“ He kicked again, and this time the child cried out. “Get rid of this, and then I want you to tear this entire city apart. Do you understand?”

Of course. There had been few demons in the tower, because Sergius had assumed Vergil immediately fled.

Imbecile.

Vergil shoved his way to the front of the crowd.

“I will send you out and you will bring me what Mundus wants. Do you—“ Kick. “—understand me?”

The child started crying.

—Mund—uus—serv—

—F—F—Find—

—Kii—kill—the—chi—chi—iild—

“Sergius,” Vergil said, loudly, taking his place right in front of the rows of demons. “I see you’re as unable to take care of your own business as I imagined you were.”

The child, a human boy, jumped to his feet at the sight of him. A white demon caught him by the shoulder and forced him down on his knees, the claws bit into his shoulder and the blood flowed freely. He whimpered.

Sergius stared at him for a moment. Then he laughed. “Vergil, I thought you’d come back.”

“You certainly did not,” Vergil scoffed.

“Nonetheless, it fits into my plans nicely.”

Vergil doubted that, too. Sergius anticipated battles like he would fight them – by trickery, overwhelming his opponents, and, when the going got tough, fleeing. Catching Sergius by surprise might have been the best thing to happen to Vergil in an entire week.

He rolled forward to avoid the pride demons that had launched themselves at his back. A swing of Yamato cut them down, and he didn’t even bother looking.

Then a set of claws hooked on the heavy sword strapped to his back.

The weight sent him to his knees – down on his knees in front of Sergius – and he reflexively summoned his ghostly swords. They pierced his back, destroying the demon and driving sand into the wounds, and he ground his teeth.

The white demons took that opportunity to swarm.

The fought with their teeth, and they were damn heavy. He needed his hands to get back on his feet, all the while the things were tearing his coat and flesh. When he shoved himself back up he swung his sword wildly. Almost desperately.

No, not desperately.

The demons fell around him, their blood soaked his clothes and his hair. He could smell it.

Sergius was within ten feet of him. He smiled. “There’s a great power, there,” he said, and he was talking about the heavy sword. “Why don’t you use it, Vergil?”

“I don’t think I need to,” Vergil replied. “Not to deal with you.”

Sergius laughed out loud.

He decapitated the demon that was holding the boy, and the row of white freaks that stood behind him. The boy fell forward with a gasp, and again jumped to his feet.

Vergil turned to face Sergius. “This is your lucky day,” he said over his shoulder. “You can run, now.”

The boy stood staring, his eyes wide and his hands shaking. Whatever Sergius had said, he looked completely human and utterly useless. Vergil turned back towards the mess of demons, resting his fingers lightly on the hilt of the Yamato. “I’ve caught you, Sergius,” he said. “Unless you’re going to run. Again.”

The devil gave a raspy laugh, and the demons surged in front of him. Of course he was going to run. He’d have a portal open before Vergil could cut down half of his minions.

Gritting his teeth, he adjusted his stance. He was going to take them all on.

“Daddy!” The boy grabbed onto his coat and buried his face there. Vergil looked down in horror, prepared to peel or beat the child off – but then the second wave came from above, and he did not have time.

He swung his sheath in a vicious circle over his head, clubbing the demons out of striking range.

He grabbed the child by the hair and shoved him to the ground at his feet.

Then he drew his sword.

He wanted to take them all on; he wanted them to taste their own blood before they died at his hands, individually. Screaming. But a tiny voice told him he didn’t have the strength to carry on that long. It was a voice he generally ignored.

Now he was getting that message from every muscle in his body. The child’s interference had given him the second he needed to realize that if he didn’t end this battle now it was going to end in his defeat.

That was not acceptable.

His fingers curled around his sword, and he concentrated. The demons were almost on him. They seemed to be moving in slow motion.

He concentrated, and at the last second he smiled.

“—Die.”

It took a burst of strength, being everywhere at once. He cut through the air at a speed faster than he could think, his enemies falling from his blows even as he was two, three opponents beyond them. The effects of Judgment Cut were still rippling through the air when he landed, and he landed hard.

Three seconds, and more than a third of Sergius’ minions were dead.

The rest were fleeing, tearing into a series of portals behind their master. They had no way of knowing that the massive attack could well be the last Vergil was capable of. That if they continued their onslaught now, he would die.

Sergius was glowering at him, his eyes a deadly red. “We will finish this later, traitor’s son.” The last of the demons had nearly vanished, Sergius was clearly giving them orders of a sort with his mind.

“We could finish this now,” Vergil shouted. He tasted copper and spat on the ground, hoping he was bleeding in his mouth and not internally.

Nothing was healing like it should.

“I fight on my own terms,” Sergius said.

“As do I.”

“Your long dead master kept you in the dark about many things,” Sergius said. “You don’t have the strength to use your father’s power.” And he vanished into the portal, taking the last of the demons with him.

Vergil charged after him, but that was a reflex, and he stopped after a step. Sergius was long gone, and now there wasn’t anything to be done except wait for him to appear again. Next time, next time he would be ready, he would—

“Um, mister?”

Vergil spun hard, wincing as he did, even though his instincts told him there was no threat. And, sure enough, there wasn’t. Instead, the child was sitting perched on a pile of rocks. The boy flinched at his sudden movement, but relaxed. And then he jumped to his feet, just like he’d done before.

“Um, thank you for saving me before, and I was wondering where are we, ‘cause—“

“You aren’t any use to me,” Vergil said. “Shut up.”

The boy sighed. He was injured, bleeding. His clothing was destroyed. But the wounds across his torso were superficial, and apart from them the boy appeared completely healthy. That was odd, because he’d been in the care of demons for hours, at least. “You saved me, anyway,” he said.

Vergil sneered. “It’s a decision I’m coming to regret.”

The boy was young, yes, maybe six. Even so, he couldn’t have missed the tone in Vergil’s voice. He just didn’t seem to care. “Um,” he said. “You looked really strong killing all those demons. My mom is really strong too, and I’ve never seen my dad fighting, but—“

“Be quiet.”

The boy sighed heavily, again, and sat back down.

Sergius had escaped again, and Vergil had lost track of how many times this was. All of Mundus’ minions caused him problems; Sergius was easily the most irritating. Vergil had defeated thousands of demons under his control, but had yet to cross swords with the devil himself.

And for the last five days, Sergius’ sole reason for living had been to make Vergil’s life a living hell.

Vergil couldn’t guess what Sergius’ purposes for the boy had been. But it was quite clear that he didn’t resemble anyone Vergil knew – and he found the fact quite reassuring.

Unfortunate that the boy took that glance as permission to speak.

“Mister?” he said, standing up again. “Um, who are you? I never heard of you, but you really look like—“

“I’m no one you know.” Demons were still about, he could feel and smell them. If he left alone, the child would die. It was as simple as that, and certainly not his problem.

“My name’s Verge,” the boy continued. He might have seemed calm, if he wasn’t speaking so fast he was almost impossible to understand. His hands were still shaking, beads of sweat were forming on his face. “Are you sure you don’t know my dad? He’s got hair that’s white just like yours, even though he’s not old, and you aren’t old either, and anyway—“

“Verge,” Vergil repeated.

“It’s short,” the boy said. “My dad doesn’t like my whole name so he never ever calls me it, and no one else does either. They call me Verge or V or,” his voice took on a tone of haughty irritation, “kid. I told Dad I don’t like it but he does it anyway, and—“

“I don’t care,” Vergil interrupted. He didn’t plan on having the child around long enough to have to call him any name at all.

“Oh.” The boy sat back down on his rock and frowned. “It’s okay, everyone says I talk too much, even Mom doesn’t listen to me sometimes… Can I go home now?”

“I don’t see how that has anything to do with me.”

“Oh.” He hung his head miserably. “Oh.”

Vergil looked at the child for a second. He didn’t feel a trace of pity for him; in fact, there was something about his mannerisms that irritated Vergil on a disturbingly deep level. He turned to leave without a word, and heard the child gasp behind him.

“Are you leaving now?” the boy asked.

“I would think that was abundantly clear.”

“Can I—Can I follow you?”

Vergil snorted. “I seriously doubt you can keep up.”

In a second he would realize he had given the child permission – but that was a second too late.

* * *

Lady gave Dante about thirty minutes of silence. Maybe forty. Then she couldn’t stand doing nothing anymore. “I’m going to wake up Mara.”

Dante crossed his arms and peered down at their hostage, who was looking pretty pale. “So the shock wore off, along with all of the painkillers?” he asked.

“I didn’t give her any painkillers.”

Dante wondered how he felt about that. Not great, but not all that broken up, either. He reached back and pulled out Ivory, which he trained on the girl’s head. That didn’t make him feel bad, either. “You said she wasn’t dangerous, right?”

“Not to us. But she stands a good chance of getting away, again, so we might have to shoot her.”

“Because she can fly.”

“She can’t fly. It’s more like...” She paused. “Do you remember—” She trailed off and shook her head. “Never mind.”

He opened his mouth to ask her about that, but Lady was already bent over the girl, shaking her roughly by the shoulder.

Mara groaned. “Go... away...

“Mara, you have to wake up, now.” She looked at Dante. “You’re silent coercion, Dante. Silent. That means you don’t say anything.”

“Yeah, Lady, I get it.” He resented the implications there, but knew when to shut up.

She shook Mara again. “Mara!”

“Shut up.” The girl sat up partially, and blinked at them blearily. “You’re not my mother. My mother is nicer than you. You’re—“ She blinked extra-hard at Lady. “Oh, God, you’re you.”

Lady sat down at the edge of the bed. She still had a gun curled in her hand, which made the gesture a lot more threatening than maternal. “Mara, we need to talk.”

Dante tried to loom menacingly. He didn’t think he was very good at it, but that didn’t seem to matter. Mara was already so incredibly and obviously terrified of Lady no silent coercion was needed.

Mara covered her eyes with her hands. “You shot me, you psycho bitch. You shot me and now I’m going to die.”

“You’re not going to die, kid,” Dante said. Lady glared at him. “Fine, I’ll shut up.”

“I know I’m not going to die,” Mara snapped. “But it hurts like hell. What, lady, you couldn’t spring for some fucking Tylenol?”

“The gunshot wound isn’t that big of deal,” Lady explained calmly. “It was the blow to the head that knocked you out.”

“Oh. Oh.” Mara probably hadn’t realized how much her head hurt, distracted by the sharp pain in her thigh. But now she was rubbing her temples and whining even more.

Lady had a way with people that reminded Dante of, well, his brother. Striking up a conversation with either was a good way to get yourself killed, and watching them try and converse with someone was pretty painful. Lady probably had no idea she was doing such a bang up job, and as long as she was hanging onto her nine millimeter he wasn’t about to explain, even if she did have it pointed at the ground.

“Mara,” Lady said. “You told me something before we were attacked.”

Mara sank down into the couch. “I wasn’t attacked. I was sleeping in a warehouse.”

“Fine, when I was attacked—“

“I want to go back to sleep.” She meant it, too, her eyes were starting to drift shut. “Your sofa smells funny.”

“Mara!”

“Hnn?”

“You said someone was following me!”

Mara opened her eyes. “Thought I said I was following you.” She rolled her eyes up at Dante, and gave him a funny look. “Hey, your finger isn’t on the trigger, is it?”

It wasn’t.

Mara flipped up off her hands and landed on the wall, like an insect. And like an insect she scrambled across the wall on her hands and knees and made it through the doorframe and into the next room, where Dante heard her tumble to the floor.

“Dante,” Lady yelled. “Go after her!”

“What? It’s not like she’s going to get far.”

“Hey!” the girl called. “I bet I’m faster than you’d think!”

And her voice did sound farther away than Dante expected her to be, so he grabbed Ebony and ducked into his office.

Mara was limping and hobbling, all right, but she wasn’t doing it across the floor, she was on the ceiling, and making good time, too. She kind of yelled when she saw him, or maybe she saw Lady behind him, and then she tripped over his ceiling fan and fell flat on her face. On the ceiling.

And then gravity went back to normal and she fell on the floor.

Dante was feeling pretty relieved that he didn’t have to shoot up his own shop, but then Lady shoved right by him with murder of her face. Mara knew what was coming because she turned her head just in time to avoid getting kicked in the face.

She caught it in the head, though. “Ow, stop it!”

“Mara, those demons that were following me? They came back here and kidnapped my son. So you’re going to tell me everything you know about them, or I’m going to—“

“Kill me. Yeah. Ow.” She lay back down on the ground. “But if I do, you’re going to let me go.”

Dante was about to agree with her, wholeheartedly, but Lady was already shaking her head. “Mara,” she said, “I’m afraid—“

“No more stalking. No more bounties. No more fucking shooting. I never want to see you again. Okay? Okay?”

“All right,” Lady said, too quickly, because she was lying. She wasn’t very good at it, and pretty obvious. Dante wondered what the hell she was doing, because it was obvious Mara wasn’t going to buy it.

“It’s mostly those freaks with the big heads you saw, remember?” Mara said, talking to Lady. Dante guessed Mara did buy it. “They’ve been crawling all over the whole damn city, not just after you. And I don’t think they fight, they just look for stuff.”

“They didn’t mind you following them?”

Mara rolled her eyes. “You guys are fucking retards. They aren’t looking for me, they’re looking for S—Spa—Spaar—

“I get the point,” Lady snapped.

“So they could care less what I do. Very single minded. Kinda like your almost mute boyfriend with the forty-five.”

Ebony and Ivory weren’t forty-fives. Not by a long shot. But if Lady was willing to let the boyfriend thing slide, Dante guessed he could stand to let Mara get away with that, too.

“What about the wards?” Lady asked. “This entire house was layered in them, and the monsters still got around them.”

“And I don’t know how they got past your stupid wards. People set those up for me all the time and they never freaking do anything.”

“They’re for demons, that’s why.”

“Well, I don’t know anything about them. Hey, maybe your kid just got up and walked out the front door? Don’t ask me, I don’t know.”

Lady stopped at that, and she spun on her heel and glared at Dante.

“What?”

No answer.

“He didn’t sneak out, Lady.”

No answer.

“Jesus Christ, Lady, you think I would let him just walk out into this part of the city? What kind of father do you think I am?”

“A lousy one, obviously,” Mara said. “And, hello, I’ve got one more thing to tell you.”

“What?” Dante and Lady said in unison.

“The freaky demons have a leader, guys.” She started to get to her feet. “A really ugly guy, looks like he’s human but dollars to donuts he’s not. They call him S–Se–Serg–

“Mara!”

“Sergius! They call him Sergius!” She stood up straight, Dante suspected she managed it with some help with her powers. Her hair was doing funny things around her head. “That’s all I know, that’s all I fucking know. Can I go now?”

She was telling the truth, and that sucked because she hadn’t given them near enough. Dante sighed, and then he put his guns away. “All right, I guess you can.”

Lady nodded. Then she flipped her gun in her hand and smashed Mara in the temple with the butt end of it.

The girl fell back and cracked her head hard on the wood floor, arms and legs spread out like a kid making angels in the snow. Dante puzzled at that for a second, scratching the back of his head.

“Funny,” he said. “How come I say she can leave, and you hit her in the head until she stops moving?”

Lady ignored her. Mara was a tiny thing, so Lady could pick her up pretty easy, and she carried the girl back into the guest room. “We’ll be gone when she wakes up,” she was saying. “We should tie her down or something, so she won’t get away.”

“Uh, Lady?”

“We have a name. I can try to research it, and we can both see if we can find anything about these demon attacks. It’s not much, but we have a name now and—“ She dumped Mara on the couch.

Something else was going on here, and Dante was pretty sure he needed to find out what it was, and quick.

“Dante, are you going to help me tie her down, or are you going to keep staring?”

He rubbed his temples. “Rope’s in the closet.”

He would find out. Just… later

For now, he was going to be killing demons.

* * *

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