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Domesticating Devils

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            Vergil killed a couple dozen weak demons upon entering the Fortuna city proper. He sheathed his sword then felt someone’s eyes. He turned to look but nobody was there. Leaving that coward to lurk in the shadows he retrieved his cloak and entered the citadel.

 

In the center of the already opulent room they were building a giant statue of Sparda. He paused near the center for a better look. A woman, judging by the heavy click of heals walked up beside him.

 

“A bit gauche, don’t you think?” She asked. He glanced at her briefly. Far taller than expected and wearing a red hood and robe rather than the white that the other villagers had. “I know people need their idols but at a certain point it goes beyond admiration into creepy.” Vergil ignored her and turned to leave. “Word of advice, dear,” she spoke to stop him, “trying so hard to avoid attention only achieves the opposite.”

 

            There was an edge to her voice so he drew Yamato to quickly end things. Instead of the sound of bone and blood, a clang of metal on metal echoed through the hall. The woman caught his sword with the barrel of a pistol. Her hood had fallen off revealing white hair and a smirk.

 

“Where’s your handsome face? You took that ugly cloak off to fight scarecrows but not little old me?” So this was who had been watching him. She kicked at him and he retreated a few steps. He tossed the extra fabric aside and charged in for a second attack.

 

            He hadn’t met anything or anyone faster than him but this woman somehow got the drop on him. One second he was mid attack and the next he was in an undignified sprawl on the other side of the room. He reached for Yamato only to feel empty air. The cocky woman grinned and held up his sword.

 

“It’s a beautiful weapon.” She was clearly familiar with swords from the way she eyed the edge. Handling his sword was adding insult to injury, and Vergil angrily got to his feet. “A legendary devil arm, clearly. Left behind by a great demon warlord of the last millennia, Yamato if I’m not mistaken.” She gave him a knowing look which he didn’t acknowledge. “Hm,” she hummed and snapped it closed. “Good to see a unique item being treated with the proper respect.” She tossed the sheathed sword back to him. He caught it easily out of the air, watching her cautiously.

 

“What would you know of it?”

 

“I only met Sparda twice but his arsenal was legendary.”

 

“Then you know who I am.” She clearly didn’t want to fight so he walked closer to her.

 

“Sparda’s sword and Eva’s eyes, you must be their son.”

 

“I’m Vergil, son of Sparda.”

 

“But not son of Eva?” She caught that from his tone of voice.

 

“My mother was human.”

 

            “And a damn fine human at that.”

 

“Humans are weak,” he shrugged it off.

 

“Oh really?” She smirked in a way he didn’t appreciate and leaned closer to him in a condescending fashion. “So, you didn’t just get knocked on your pretty-boy ass, by a human?”

 

“You’re supposed to be human?” He scanned her 7 foot frame disbelievingly.

 

“An Umbra Witch, one of the last.”

 

“A witch?”

 

“Masters of magic, allies to demons, and in peak physical condition. But, yes, entirely human. 500 years ago there were a good 50 of us in the order. In fact, we were killed off because everyone was afraid of our abilities.” She smirked and nonchalantly started to walk towards a side door. “But you wouldn’t be interested in that would you? I’m only human, after all.”

 

            Vergil watched her go for a second. “You better not be lying about your power,” he said then followed.

 

            They managed not to draw weapons on each other again for the first two days. Jeanne showed Vergil around the Fortuna library and her own collection of artifacts whenever he asked for something. Because he was her guest, the populace were polite and brought them food and gave Vergil a place to sleep.

 

            Vergil still had doubts about whether she was truly powerful or not but her collection of knowledge exceeded anything he had seen before. He experimented with several enchanted objects and read up on devil lore.

 

            On the evening of the third day Vergil lifted a leather bound journal from a shelf. It looked vaguely familiar. He glanced to Jeanne, who stood nearby then turned the cover.

 

“I recognize this,” Vergil opened the front page to find familiar handwriting. “This belonged to my mother.” He drew Yamato and pointed the blade at her. “How did you get this?”

 

“So, you do care for your heritage,” she grinned but didn’t anger him by refusing to answer. “That was one of Eva’s things to survive the fire and I retrieved it.”

 

“Why? How did you know her?”

 

            “Since my sisters died 500 years ago I’ve been training apprentices, trying to preserve what is left of our order. You mother was my star pupil. She could have followed the Umbran Way if she wanted but chose to settle down with your father instead.”

 

“Not a witch, then.”

 

“That bracelet you’ve been playing with all morning,” she nodded to the time bangle Virgil wore. “You read its history didn’t you? Made by a witch named Eva.”

 

“‘A legendary witch named Eva’.”

 

“Hon, she tamed THE Dark Knight, that is legendary. Witches had been trying to win his contract for two thousand years.”

 

“I thought witches were on the side of demons, wouldn’t you despise him?”

 

“You misunderstand. The purpose of the contract is not only to share power but also for the witches to act in their demon’s interest so they don’t come to Earth themselves. If my demon partner, Madama Styx, came to Earth or attacked a human without being summoned she’d be in breach of contract and I’d get her powers. Our organization is entirely pro-human.

 

            “Eva mastered her spells, crafting, lore and theory. Her final challenge was to choose a demon to make a pact with. She wanted one who respected humanity and sought out Sparda. I’ll never know if she had her eye on him or simply wanted a list of his associates. Genius girl or not, I was still surprised when she brought him home.”

 

            “If you were so close with my parents why didn’t you save them?” Vergil growled, failing to keep his voice completely level after hearing that lecture.

 

“I wish I had been there.” Jeanne frowned. “Unfortunately, I had family business to attend to. My sister recently woke up and I was tracking her through rural East European countryside. I didn’t hear of your father’s death until months after the fact. By the time I arrived poor Eva was dead and you boys long gone. All I could do was collect her things and keep an ear open for you or Dante. I figured any child strong enough to survive that ordeal would turn up sooner or later.”

 

~DMC3~

 

            Vergil heard someone approaching from his right but it was only a human with demon magic, sensing variations in magic was one of the useful skills Jeanne had taught him. The human didn’t feel like a threat, besides he was hesitant to start a fight at the moment. They were surrounded by books he wanted to read rather than destroy and his son was sleeping peacefully.

 

Nero was a fussy baby and started screaming whenever there wasn’t at least one parent in sight. That was why Vergil had originally carried him in a baby sling only to discover that a child strapped to his back didn’t significantly slow him down. Now he just took Nero with him everywhere, unless it promised to be particularly dangerous.

 

Vergil continued to skim the page while making sure the man didn’t act in a threatening manner.

 

“So you’re looking for the book of ancient legends, the tale of the Demon warrior Sparda.”

 

“That’s not what I’m looking for, leave me.” Vergil replaced the book on the shelf and read the spines for another.

 

“Then what are you looking for? A demon that impregnates a woman who then bares twin sons, that’s the story isn’t it?”

 

“Leave me, I won’t tell you a third time.”


~DMC3~

 

            Dante met Vergil on the top of the tower. The rain, making a dramatic setting for their show down. For several minutes they traded blows but then Vergil paused for some reason, tilting his head to the side as if listening. “Shit.” He cursed right before someone leapt from a lower story to the tower roof. Dante pointed Ivory at the newcomer on instinct but was less inclined to pull the trigger when he got a good look at her. The woman looked like an Amazon, at least seven feet tall, flawless skin and bright eyes, wearing a tight white outfit that left nothing to the imagination and that matched the color of her long platinum blonde hair.

 

The woman glanced at Dante then walked over to Vergil. “Vergil, (While I appreciate that you remembered to leave a note, if you’re going to write less than five words you might not as well not bother. No return time, no mission statement, just a name ‘Arkham’. I might think you’re stepping out on me.)” The hot woman spoke in a language Dante didn’t know so he only caught Vergil’s name.

 

“Ugh.” Vergil’s answering groan was a universal language. “(How’d you find me?)”

 

“(You summoned a giant tower in the middle of a city, I’m not stupid.)”

 

“(Where’s Nero? I told you I don’t want him left alone with those Order humans.)”

 

“(Well if you kept me in the loop I would have time to make alternative arrangements.)”

 

“Any time you feel like including me,” Dante said.

 

“Shut up. (I’ve got this. Go home.)”

 

“(I’m not a housewife. But if you insist.)” She started to walk away only to add, “(I’m still checking out this Arkham character before I go.)” over her shoulder. With barely a fault in her step she hopped off the edge of the roof.

 

“Soo, who was that?” Dante commented on the randomness.

 

“None of your business.” Vergil restarted their fight before Dante could ask more questions.

 

~DMC3~

 

“Cute trick,” Jeanne leaned casually against a wall, arms crossed, watching Jester with an unamused gaze.

 

“Ooh, pretty woman, after Sparda’s sons?”

 

“Don’t back talk to me, Amateur,” Jeanne growled and stood up straight, displaying her Umbran broach to anyone who knew what to look for. “The heir’s already signed himself over to me. Whatever game you’re playing ends now.”

 

Arkham changed back to his original form. “I’ve devoted my life to studying demonic power, alas I am no match for the last Umbra Witch. If you had challenged me anywhere but here.” He pressed his palm to a specific brick, causing a wall to come crashing down in the few paces between them. Claws of a huge demon appeared from nowhere and caught the door a scant distance before it hit the floor. While Jeanne’s ally struggled to lift the heavy load Arkahm sprinted to the other side of the chamber. Right as Jeanne slid through the gap, Arkahm brought down the second door. This one steel and warded, she wouldn’t be getting in his way again.

 

~DMC3~

 

“It was quite a ride you know. If any of you had died before getting here, our little plan would have gone to waste. Therefore it was my job to make you battle each other in order to wear you out. But at the same time I had to guide you here and make sure you were kept alive. There was only one wrinkle, one person, I didn’t account for. That meddlesome wife of yours, Vergil.”

 

“Jeanne?” Vergil was still on his knees and panting but renewed anger got him to his feet. “Where is she?” He demanded and took a swing at Arkham/Jester only to be knocked aside.

 

“That witch is smarter than all of you put together. Saw through my plan immediately. I had to give her a little time out. Wives are so annoying, it’s why I killed mine.” Jester cackled. “It’s time for bed, Mary. You can visit your dear mother.” He laughed again but the girl kicked her rocket launcher out of his hand and the brothers placed their swords at his neck.

 

“Try me.”

 

“It’s time for the clown to bow out, Arkham.”

 

“Dude, the show’s over.”

 

“Impressive, I expected nothing less from the devil’s descendants,” said Arkham. “But aren’t you forgetting something, Vergil? The spell is broken. What do you think will happen next? Let’s welcome chaos.”

 

~DMC3~

 

            Once Vergil had helped Jeanne break out of the room Arkham had locked her in, he went to join Dante fight Arkham in the demon world. Between the two of them they were able to defeat the creature he had become. His destruction broke the amulet in two and sent Sparda’s sword flying into a nearby shallow river. Dante and Vergil each had their half of the amulet and they both lunged for the sword. Vergil got it first.

 

            They stared at each other for a second then Vergil held out his hand for Dante’s half of the amulet. “Give that to me.”

 

“No way, you got your own,” Dante transferred it to his back pocket.

 

“Well, I want yours too.”

 

“What are you going to do with all that power? Huh? No matter how hard you try, you’re never going to be like Father.”

 

“Like Father? Don’t you see, Father failed! He foolishly gave up his power and it cost him everything! I won’t make the same mistake.” Vergil shouted back. Dante realized he was talking about their mom.

 

“So that woman, she really is your wife?”

 

“Yes, and I have more than just her to protect. Now give me the amulet.”

 

“Yeah? What do you think all that power will turn you into? She might not even recognize you.” This last comment sufficiently pissed Vergil off and he charged.

 

            The brothers fought and this time Dante was the stronger.

“Come on, get up, you can do better than that.”

 

Vergil half growled, half groaned as he got to his feet. The scenery around them shook. “The portal to the human world is closing, Dante, because the amulets have been separated.”

 

“Let’s finish this Vergil. I have to stop you, even if it means killing you.” They both swung their swords but only Dante’s blade drew blood. Vergil gasped in pain, dropping both Sparda’s sword and Eva’s necklace. He chose to pick up the amulet.

 

            “No one can have this Dante.” Vergil backed up defensibly, clutching his own half of the pendant to his chest. “It’s mine. It belongs to a son of Sparda.”

 

“Come on.” Dante offered his brother a hand so he wouldn’t back closer to the waterfall. “You’re not going to stay here are you? You’ve got a hot piece of ass waiting for you back home.” Vergil ignored his hand but trudged back to the portal anyway.

 

“Speak of her that way again and I’ll cut out your tongue,” he grumbled which really didn’t have the same intimidation factor given his current exhaustion.

 

“Heh, right.” Dante grinned, glad to be back on normal bantering terms with Vergil. He picked up Sparda’s sword from the river bed and headed back to the human world.

 

            Jeanne was there waiting for them. She fussed over Vergil’s torn clothes for a second while the portal began to shrink. Then she looked meaningfully at Dante.

“Excuse me, Dear.” The woman took Sparda’s sword from Dante’s hand.

 

“So, you can speak English.” Dante lightly accused her of ignoring him earlier. She winked then threw the sword like a spear through the portal right as it closed.

 

“No! Jeanne!” Vergil reached ineffectually for the closed door then yelled at his wife.

 

“Oh shush, Sparda sealed it off for a reason you know. He killed so many demons that their souls were too much to carry around without being a burden. Accessing that much foreign power at once is destructive.”

 

“I could have handled it.”

 

“(You sure about that?)” She poked him in the chest with a pointer finger. “(What if you couldn’t, or if there was something truly poisonous in that power that you didn’t know about? You would risk leaving Nero?)”

 

“(To protect him.)”

 

“(Well, I wasn’t willing to take that chance. And if you still want any of this, then you’ll leave it be.)” She ended with a sultry smile. Vergil frowned but for the first time, Dante had ever seen, allowed someone else to win an argument.

 

            “What are you looking at?” Vergil noticed him watching.

 

“Nothing. She doesn’t happen to have a sister does she?”

 

“As a matter of fact I do.” Jeanne spoke in English this time.

 

“Really? What’s her name?”

 

“There’s nothing more for us here, let’s go,” Vergil interrupted.

 

“Yes, Dear,” she said to his retreating back then turned to Dante. “It was nice to finally meet you, Dante.”

 

“The pleasure was all mine.”

 

“Jeanne!”

 

“Coming!” She sounded amused by Vergil then quickly whispered. “Her name’s Bayonetta. Just make sure not to mention me to her.” She told him with a conspirator’s grin then hurried after Vergil.

 

“Bayonetta, huh? I’ll remember that.”

 

…..Later…..

 

            Maybe it made him a sentimental sap but Dante would like to see Vergil more than once a year. Of course he had even less hope for that now, Vergil had a hot wife and probably didn’t want to hang out with his little brother. So, Dante was pleasantly surprised when he received an old fashioned envelope containing a letter from his sister-in-law. She promised him free food and reimbursement for travel expenses whenever he wanted to visit their home address. Business was slow so he went ahead and made the trip.

 

            Dante barely stepped foot off the small airstrip outside the Fortuna city limits when several weak demons jumped him. He killed a few then heard gunfire. He found Jeanne, wearing a long red dress and her hair in a bun this time, shooting the weak demons with duel pistols and an almost bored expression. At his footsteps she turned but lowed her weapons when she recognized him.

 

“Ah, Dante, you decided to visit.” She smiled then shot the last demon.

 

“What was that about?” He glanced at the weak demons as their bodies disintegrated.

 

“There’s a hell gate under the city. It’s safely sealed but weak demons still converge here. Clearing them out’s a weekly chore,” Jeanne explained.

 

“Charming place to settle down.”

 

“I think so. This way.” She waved for him to follow her towards the city walls. The gate was opened and unmanned but Dante could feel a shimmering veil of magic pass over them as they stepped into the city proper.

 

            “You tell Vergil I was coming?”

 

“Not in so many words. He’ll be happy to see you though. He’d sooner die than admit it but he misses you.”

 

“So you’re being a good wife and just making decisions for him?”

 

“That’s my job.”

 

            “Mama!” A little kid came running up to them. He glanced at Dante but didn’t find him interesting. The same couldn’t be said of Dante, he found the sudden appearance of a kid, whom his brother hadn’t bothered to mention, extremely interesting.

 

“Nero!” Vergil popped his head out of the doorway of a large house then paused when he saw they had company. “Dante.”

 

            Dante was ready to say something in return but then the kid stopped a few feet away from him. Upon closer appraisal of Dante, Nero’s eyes went comically wide. Nobody was sure what the kid was looking at, at least until he glanced behind him at Vergil as if to confirm he was still standing there. Jeanne started laughing. Nero stared at Dante’s face then turned back to Vergil once more to compare. Vergil sighed and walked over. Nero glanced between them again, eyes less wide this time. Jeanne kept laughing her ass off as if this was the funniest thing she had ever seen.

 

“It’s not that funny.” Vergil bent down and picked up the boy.

 

“It is.”

 

            Nero looked at Vergil a second longer then decided he definitely was his daddy. He turned and glared at Dante as if he were impersonating him on purpose.

 

“Hi there.” Dante came closer and Nero frowned.

 

“Say hi,” Vergil had to prompt him.

 

“Hi.”

 

“He’s as grumpy as you are,” Dante teased.

 

“Jeanne, why’d you call him here?” Vergil asked his wife.

 

“Because I’m bored. I’ve barely been out of the country in months and you throw a fit whenever he’s alone with the Napolis.”

 

“I don’t trust them.”

 

“You asked me here to baby-sit?” Dante understood now.

 

“Yes,” Jeanne had no shame over this fact.

 

“In that case, I expect to be paid. Preferably with your sister’s number.”

 

“I’m afraid she and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment.”

 

“Bummer.” Dante held out his arms. “If I’m going to watch him I gotta carry him.” Vergil considered this for a second then reluctantly passed his son to his brother.

 

            Vergil would gut him if he dropped the kid so Dante held him carefully. To Nero’s credit he didn’t seem to mind being handled by someone new. He reached up with his little, asymmetrical, hands to tug on Dante’s bangs. “What’s with his arm?” 

 

“It’s where his demonic power is concentrated.”

 

“Impossible to know if that’s normal or not,” Jeanne added. “Considering he’s the first fourth-demon I could find record of.”

 

“Okay, stop that,” Dante leaned away from Nero’s attempts to pull out his bangs.

 

“Eyes,” Nero argued.

 

“He probably wants you to push your hair out of your face like Vergil does,” Jeanne translated.

 

“I thought we agreed that I’m not your dad, kiddo.”

 

“Who?” He managed to communicate a fair amount of frustration into a single word.

 

“I’m Dante.”

 

“He’s your uncle.”

 

“Just call me Dante.”

 

            Nero considered this a second then made another demand. “Down.” Dante set him on the street and the kid ran over to Jeanne.

 

“Nice place.” Dante glanced at the large house.

 

“This city was built after our father closed the hell mouth here. They worship him as a god.”

 

“Really?”

 

“A bit tacky but they’re well meaning,” Jeanne added. Nero played with the hem of her skirt; draped it over his shoulders like a cape.

 

“So what, they gave you a big house?” Dante asked.

 

“They acknowledge my abilities.”

 

“The city has substantial income, an expansive library, and decent connections for finding work,” Jeanne praised the city. “A good place to raise a mix species child, all in all. He won’t have to pretend to be human.”

 

“I’m a devil.” Nero held up his arm proudly. Then ran back over to Vergil and tugged his sleeve for attention. “Is he too?” He pointed at Dante.

 

“Yes, Nero. Dante is my brother.”

 

“Oh, his Mom and Dad are Grandma and Grandpa?”

 

“Smart kid.”

 

“He can already speak three languages.” Jeanne bragged.

 

“Why?”

 

“English is the most widely used, Italian is what they speak here, and my mother taught me Enocian when I was his age.”

 

“What the hell’s Enocian?”

 

“The ancient language of Heaven.” Vergil said like Dante was an idiot. “Also used for casting spells.”

 

“Didn’t know it was called Enocian.” Dante shrugged then went towards the front door.

“You promised food.”

 

“Lunch is in twenty minutes,” Jeanne said.

 

“Then I’m going to sleep off the jetlag.”

 

“You and Nero should get along perfectly.” Vergil followed them inside, corralling the child in ahead of him. “You’re a kid yourself.”

 

“Vergil, you don’t eat or sleep enough, that’s why you’re cranky.”

 

DMC 1: At Mundus’ Castle:

 

“Jeanne?” Dante double checked to make sure that was definitely her he was seeing, this place liked to play tricks.

 

“Dante,” she gave a recognizable smile.

 

“Fancy seeing you here. Don’t tell me this is your vacation home or something.”

 

“Afraid not. Although it has potential.” She joked back. “I’m actually here looking for Vergil.” She briefly waved a folded piece of paper. “After the whole Arkham mess he finally started leaving addresses.”

 

“Vergil?” Dante frowned. He figured he was safe in Fortuna city with the wife and son, knowing he wasn’t made that knight in dark armor he’d met earlier far more worrisome.

 

“I’m more surprised to find you here. This place is supposed to be hidden, which of your backwater clients managed to get wind of it?”

 

“That’s a long, weird story,” Dante said dismissively. Not ready to tell her about Trish. He continued through the castle corridors, confident Jeanne would follow.

 

            They walked together making idle chatter between killing things until they came to a room with a glowing dais. Jeanne read from the stand while Dante closed the door behind them.

 

“’Prove yourself worthy with the sign’. Know that that means?”

 

“Probably this.” He set the rock he had found earlier on the altar.

 

“’Sign of Chastity’?” Jeanne found this amusing. He picked up the cup from the altar and the doors slammed closed around them. The armored demon he’d encountered earlier appeared.

 

            “Vergil, is that you?” Jeanne’s ability to sense magic had always been better than his so she caught on immediately. The knight seemed to get a migraine at hearing the name. He pulled his helmet off. His face was pale, eyes blood shot and empty of recognition.

 

“Vergil!” As if seeing Vergil in such a state wasn’t stressful enough, Jeanne’s shout was heartbreaking. Vergil actually took a swing at her, if he were in his right mind he would sooner cut off his own arm than raise a hand to his woman.

 

“Hey!” Dante tried to distract him from attacking his wife. They traded blows for a minute, Vergil was slower than usual but could take more punishment. Jeanne seemed hesitant to hurt him.

 

            Dante knocked him down. Vergil started to glow with a blue color that was off from his usual power and teleported away.

 

“Vergil! No!” Jeanne transformed into a panther and ran after him.

 

“Wait!” Dante sprinted but quickly lost sight of them. “Oh great.”

 

            He had to fight his way through more of the castle before finding them again. The sound of breaking glass and Jeanne’s shouts let him know which passageway to follow. He came into a throne room, the big window open to the night sky, to find Jeanne leaping around Vergil’s attacks and in true wife fashion, nagging him. “You selfish-bastard don’t you dare leave me alone. I will not be a single mother because you needed to fight Mundus by yourself.”

 

“If this is a couple’s thing I can come back later,” despite the situation he couldn’t resist the opening.

 

“If anything it’s a family thing and I’m the one intruding.” Jeanne landed beside him. “Not that I’m going to apologize.” Vergil watched them talk.

 

“So, Vergil,” Dante unsheathed his sword and walked closer. “If the Mrs. is done kicking your ass how about taking me on?”

 

            Dante and Vergil had spared in the last years so even with his power corrupted, Dante knew what to expect. His flying swords attack was familiar and still a bitch to dodge.

 

            “Hold him still,” Jeanne instructed. Dante complied by knocking Vergil on his ass. She shouted an Enocian purification while she wrapped her long limbs around him and transferred her locket from her chest to his. Dante shielded his eyes from the explosion of bright lights. He looked back and this time Vergil looked normal, if underdressed and unconscious. “I’d like to stay to help you, Dante,” Jeanne trailed off.

 

“Don’t worry about it you’ve got Vergil and Nero to take care of.”

 

She nodded and gracefully stood, Vergil draped in her arms as if he weighed nothing. “Do be careful.” She said then ran for the busted window.

 

“You’re talking to me, remember?” With a graceful leap white wings sprouted from her back and she flew away. Dante watched her go then noticed Vergil’s half of their mother’s amulet on the floor. He must have dropped it. He picked it up for safe keeping then left the room. “Alright,” he spun Ebony and Ivory in his palms. Head in the game.

 

_Later_

 

            Because he was a considerate brother like that, he brought Vergil a souvenir from Mundus’ defeat. Vergil seemed recovered from his possession but was even grouchier than usual.

 

“Don’t let him upset you.” Jeanne said when her husband’s back was turned “He’s just frustrated that he failed to kill Mundus himself.” Dante could understand that.

 

“He’s been taking care of Nero rather than training, right?”

 

“Don’t say that around him. He’s been a good father so far and I don’t want to risk him building resentment.”

 

“You can tell him Trish helped if that’ll keep him happy.”