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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.”

Chapter Text

:Anime:

 

“Uncle Dante!” Nero ran through the front door of Devil May Cry without preamble. “Oh, hi.” Nero pulled up short when he spotted Patty. Vergil was two steps behind his son and caught the door before it swung back into his face.

 

“Uncle?” Patty repeated.

 

“You adopted one of your own?” Vergil said instead of hello.

 

“It’s not that hard. I don’t know why you complain so much,” Dante bantered back.

 

“You met Nero after he was toilet trained.”

 

“Is she my cousin?” Nero asked.

 

“No, she’s just hangs out here.”

 

“Are you his uncle?” Patty continued the bombardment of questions.

 

“That’s my brother, Vergil.”

 

“Why didn’t you say you had a family?” Patty whined.

 

            “I didn’t expect to see you,” Dante ignored her and spoke to Vergil.

 

“We have a five hour break between flights.” Vergil answered then went to the back room.

 

“Do you have any new weapons, Uncle Dante?”

 

“Just Dante.” He answered then noticed Vergil leaving. “What? You expect me to watch him?” Vergil closed the door. “That’s my room.”

 

“Dad didn’t sleep on the plane so he’s tired,” Nero explained.

 

“And you did, huh?” He guessed from how energetic the kid was.

 

“Mom taught me to meditate, she says it’s essential to staying young.”

 

“She’d know.” That had been an interesting conversation when he learned his human sister-in-law was over 500 years old. “Play with Patty.”

 

            “I’ll play with whoever I want,” Patty complained.

 

“I want a souvenir for Kyrie.”

 

“Yeah, well I’m broke. That’s an idea, Patty you still want nice things? How about you go live in Fortuna?”

 

“What’s a Fortuna?”

 

“That’s where my family lives.” Nero started answering his questions about his home. With the kids entertaining themselves Dante looked to see what reading material he had left.

 

            Two hours later and the kids had wondered off somewhere when Vergil emerged. Sans coat and shoes he trudged towards Dante’s desk in just his pants and undershirt and his hair hanging in his face, which made his relation to Dante more obvious. Without asking for permission he grabbed the phone and made a call.

 

“It’s me. Any word? …Damn. Call this number if you hear anything,“ he listed off Dante’s phone number.

 

“Hey, why are you giving them my number?” Dante set aside his magazine. Vergil responded only by grabbing a handful of paper and junk off the desk and tossing it in Dante’s face. He sat down on the spot he had cleared and kept talking.

 

“Then find out…I don’t care if you die. Keep looking.” He hung up the phone. “Where’s Nero?”

 

“Out with Patty.”

 

“Good.” Vergil gave a huge sigh and pushed his hair up.

 

“You look like crap.” Seeing his normally put together brother in such disarray was worrisome.

 

“Jeanne’s been missing for almost two months.”

 

“What happened?” That had Dante sitting up straight.

 

“I don’t know. I just got back from searching where she was last seen.”

 

“And she isn’t the kind to ditch you,” Dante agreed that this was concerning.

 

“Don’t say that around Nero, he’ll get ideas.” Vergil accused. Dante smirked at how much fatherhood had changed Vergil. “I need you to watch him.”

 

“Nero? You want to leave him here?”

 

“I have to find Jeanne.” Vergil stood up from the desk and started to reassemble his clothes. “Nero will understand.”

 

“Great, any idea how long this will take?”

 

“If she dies I’ll only have twenty-four hours to kill Madana Styx.” Dante didn’t get that but doubted Vergil would take the time to explain it to him.

 

            Dante decided to cut him some slack, whatever Vergil’s faults he was dedicated to his wife and son. “I’ll watch him but my life’s not safe, you know.”

 

“He can take care of himself. Besides, he’ll be safer here than where I’m going.”

 

“You’re leaving me cash to pay for him, right?”

 

“If you let him go hungry I’ll kill you.”

 

“Uh huh.” Any other time Dante would remind his brother who was the stronger twin but, again, missing wife.

 

“I don’t want your creepy crush near him.” Vergil glanced around as if expecting her to come out of the walls.

 

“Again, Trish may be creepy but she is not my crush, that would be weird. Also, she ditched me a while ago.” Vergil gave him a superior grin.

“Can’t keep a woman around?” He loved to harp on that point. If he couldn’t defeat Dante in combat he’d make sure everyone knew who had a hot wife, a strong son, and a steady income.

 

“Yeah, and who beat Mundus?” Dante gave up on being nice to the possibly widowed brother.

 

Predictably, Vergil abandoned that well worn banter and returned to the original topic. “I’ll have Napoli wire you money. You have a bank account, don’t you?”

 

=Later=

            Dante watched out the train window. The setting sun glared off the glass and made shadows over the landscape. In the seat across from him, Nero grunted and shifted under Dante’s coat. Dante was on his way to the next job and with both Nero’s parents still awol he had to tag along for the ride. Dante watched him for a second to make sure he didn’t roll off the seat then looked back out the window. The train was mostly empty but a few rows down were two middle aged men who’d spent the last ten minutes in heated discussion. Whatever they were talking about turned hostile and they started shouting expletives at each other. The inappropriate noise made Nero mutter in his sleep. Dante was about to say something but someone else beat him to it.

 

            “Hush.” A tall woman Dante hadn’t noticed in the car before leaned over the men and pressed a pistol to one of their cheeks. “A little one’s trying to sleep.” The men went bug-eyed at the gun pointed at them then meekly quieted down. The woman nodded in approval and slipped her weapon out of sight. She met Dante’s gaze and gave him a wink. Well, that was an invitation he wasn’t about to pass up. He quickly checked to make sure Nero was sleeping peacefully then walked over to where the woman was sitting.

 

“Thanks for that.”

“Don’t mention it, some people have no manners.” She sat against the window with her long legs crossed.

 

“Tell me about it. My brother dropped the kid off with me without so much as a thank you.” He sat across from her and propped his feet up on the seat next to her.

 

“Not your little one, then?”

 

“Nah, I’m just the babysitter.” He glanced back at Nero but the kid was quiet and had buried deeper into the red leather.

 

            Dante wasn’t a teenager anymore and this woman acted far too classy for a train bathroom so they just chatted and flirted outrageously. The train ride was far more enjoyable when spent flirting with an anonymous woman. She didn’t offer her name or any personal information and didn’t expect him to either. When his stop arrived, he picked up Nero. The kid didn’t want to let go of his coat but didn’t wake up either. Dante maneuvered him to his shoulder and looked back to say goodbye to the woman. She was nowhere to be seen even though he hadn’t noticed her walk away. He shrugged and left the train.

 

            He gave Nero a few bills to buy his own meals then went to check out the supposedly haunted prison. Apparently, demons had taken over the establishment disguised as the warden and guards. He hadn’t been able to bring Rebellion, Ebony, or Ivory inside so it was old school fighting.

 

            Dante led the man he had been hired to save and several others to the nearest door. He shouldered it open so the civilians could flee. When he heard gunfire he ducked outside to find the source. The hot woman from the train was fighting several demons on the roof. Shooting them with pistols and kicking them hard enough their necks broke.

 

            She noticed him watching and gave him a wink before leaping away to a higher part of the roof. Damn he wanted to chase that, but there were demons milling about and men running for their lives. Unfortunately, he couldn’t really justify it to himself. Once the humans were safe he took a minute to look for her but she was long gone.

 

            While Dante was busy. Nero went to a field outside of town to run and practice his magic. Then he noticed a stream and decided to look for crawdads. Instead he found a mask that he immediately picked up. “Cool.” Or at least it was until it began to pulse with demon power, making his arm glow.

 

“You have awakened me, what is your wish?”

 

“What?” Nero backed up to a defensible distance.

 

“I will grant your wish.”

 

“Okay. I wish that you return to your home in the demon world and never return.”

 

“No.”

 

“What?”

 

“It will not benefit you.”

 

“I wish that you go away without harming me or anyone else.”

 

“No.”

 

“Okay, you’re officially up to no good.” Nero drew his right arm back and created a spectral version of a fist with his blue energy. “Time to die!” He punched the mask into the river bed. He pulled his arm back but the mask was still there. “Go away!” He punched harder. This time there was an impression of the energy fist in the mud but no mask.

 

            Nero didn’t have time to rest because someone came up behind him.

“Hey, what’s a demon kid doing all the way out here? Aren’t you a little young to be causing so much trouble?” Nero turned to look at the woman he didn’t recognize. She held a pistol on him and carried a rocket launcher on her back.

 

            The kid’s arm suddenly stopped glowing blue. He glanced down at his limb and then back to the woman. “You’re human.” He squinted at her. “You have different eyes, too. Are you Mary?”

 

“It’s Lady,” she snapped and twitched her gun hand for emphasis.

 

“Sorry,” Nero held up his hands passively. “Mom told me that was your name.”

 

“Who’s your mom?” Lady asked.

 

“Witch Jeanne. Vergil is my dad.”

 

            Lady considered that for a second then put her weapons away. “Okay. What are you doing here?”

 

“Uncle Dante’s at a prison nearby. I got bored waiting for him.”

 

“Of course you did,” she sighed. “Come on, Kid, you can hang with me until he gets back.”

 

            Hours later Dante returned from the prison with his rescued target in tow. He opened the door to the town bar only to be greeted by Lady staring at the door. “Wow, how’d you do that? Is your arm a homing beckon or something?” She addressed Nero who was sitting next to her.

 

“When it’s combined with my witch magic, pretty much.” The kid had the remains of a sandwich and chocolate milk in front of him. His arm was out of a sling but wrapped up to hide the glow.

 

“Lady, when did you get here?”

 

“This afternoon. I can’t believe you, Dante. Leaving your nephew unsupervised.”

 

“I can take care of myself,” Nero objected.

 

“Oh really? Then what were you so freaked out about earlier?” Lady asked.

 

“Right, I almost forgot. Uncle Dante, I found a talking mask down by the river. I told it to go away but it wouldn’t.”

 

“Talking mask?” The man Dante had just rescued repeated. “With three gemstone eyes?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“That’s it! That’s the demon I told you about.” He said to Dante.

 

“Right, where’s it now?”

 

“Dunno. It ran away after I punched it,” Nero shrugged and sucked more milk through his straw.

 

“You ask it for anything?”

 

“Only for it to go away, it didn’t.”

 

“Make another wish, that should get it back.”

 

“Okay, Creepy Mask, I wish for you to drop dead.” Nothing happened.

 

“Try again.”

 

“Creepy Mask, I wish for you to come out and fight Uncle Dante.”

 

“As you wish.” The mask appeared.

 

            Dante killed the demon, which caused a bit of property damage to the nearby street then returned to the eating establishment. Lady and Nero hadn’t bothered to get out of their seats while he was gone.

 

-Later-

 

            Patty still lived at the local orphanage but school was out for the summer so she spent the days hanging out at Devil May Cry. This suited Nero just fine because he had someone to play with.

 

One afternoon Nero noticed Patty’s pendant and complimented her on it.

 

“Thank you, it’s the only picture I have of my mother.”

 

“It’s from your mother? I have a locket like that, too.”

 

“Really?”

 

Nero reached under his shirt to pull out a chain necklace. He proudly displayed a large circular jewelry piece. “Everyone in my mom’s family had one of these.” He opened the lid and pointed to the engraving. “It has my birthday written in it.”

 

“It’s a pocket watch?” Patty admired the blue-silver metal with red gems.

 

“Yeah, it’s a symbol of our magic powers.” He carefully closed it and returned it to its hiding place under his clothes. “I can’t loose it.”

 

The phone rang. Nero was closer and picked it up before Dante could reach it. “Ciao.”

 

“Give me that.” Dante grabbed the phone away from him. “Devil May Cry.”

 

*Later*

            Dante fell asleep while waiting for Morrison. Nero had his arm in a sling, because he didn’t want the human to see it, while he played a game of solitaire on the coffee table. Morrison finally came through the door. He gave Nero a curious look then walked over to Dante’s desk.

 

“Hey, Dante, wake up.”

 

“What time is it?”

 

“Sorry I’m late. My client’s train was delayed.”

 

“Tony.” A man with brown hair entered.

 

“Huh?”

 

“It’s Ernest,” The man said happily. “I know it’s been a long time.”

 

“Who’s this guy?” Dante asked Morrison.

 

“Come on, Anthony, you don’t have to pretend, we grew up together.”

 

“Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

“Maybe it’s my dad,” Nero had wandered over while the adults were talking. That got attention directed at him.

 

“No, go play.” Dante pushed him away.

 

“How do you know if…”

 

“Vergil wouldn’t go by that kind of name.”

 

“Who’s this, Anthony?” Ernest spoke up.

 

“My nephew.”

 

“He and my dad are twins.” Nero waved with his unbound left hand.

 

“You said your brother was dead.”

 

“Cause I’m not Anthony.”

 

            Despite his initial protests, Dante went to the island village. Nero joined him because he refused to stay behind.

 

“Welcome home, Anthony.” Ernest greeted them and gave them a ride in his car.

 

“I’ll say it again, I’m not Anthony,” Dante grumbled once they were in the car.

 

“I understand why you’d want to keep your name quiet but you don’t have to worry. There aren’t many left here who knew what happened twenty years ago. I’m treated as an eccentric for trying to figure out what really happened.”

 

“Say, who told you about me? There are very few people who know what I actually do.”

 

“You mean being a demon hunter? I just happened to hear it around one of the circus tents.”

 

“Take me there.”

 

“Circus?” Nero leaned forward into the front seats.

 

“You should put your seatbelt on,” Ernest chastised the kid kindly. Nero frowned.

 

“Do it.” Dante ordered. Nero groaned loudly to make it clear he was doing so under protest.

 

            They got to the circus tents but it looked empty. “Stay with him,” Dante told Nero and went into the tent alone. He came back out a second later, guns drawn.

 

“Why would you pull a gun here?” Ernest quickly recovered from having a weapon waved in his face.

 

“Just looking.”

“Are we leaving?” Nero asked.

 

“It looks like the circus is on holiday. We should go,” Ernest answered even though Nero had asked Dante. Dante shrugged and put his guns away.

 

            Ernest took them to see Miss Margaret, the old school teacher. They said they found evidence that the town was destroyed by a demon.

 

“You plan to summon the demon from the ruins,” Dante confronted Ernest once they were outside the nursing home.

 

“You’re sharp, you saw right through my plan.”

 

“Did your friend at the circus tent tell you that?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“He gave you the idea that I’m Tony, did he also tell you to summon the demon from the ruins?” Nero quietly glanced between the two adults.

 

“What’s wrong with that? I got to see you, didn’t I? Do you know how long I’ve waited? Don’t you see the important thing is clearing you and your mother’s names?!” the man said angrily then stormed off. Dante watched him go

 

“He’s going to get his ass killed,” Nero observed. Dante didn’t comment.

 

            Ernest invited them to his house. He had an old photo of himself and Anthony on a shelf. Nero squinted at the white-haired boy in the picture then at his uncle. “Tony was about your age in that picture.” Ernest said happily and offered Dante a glass of wine. “A bit delayed but a toast to seeing you again, Anthony.”

 

            A woman came through the front door then. “Ernest, you’re home already?”

 

“Yes, I’m back. Anthony, I’d like you to meet my wife, Elise.”

 

“Oh…” she gasped then quickly covered her mouth. “He’s…a lot bigger than you made him sound in your stories.” She gave an excuse for her surprise.

 

“Of course he is, Honey, we were children back then. Time waits for no one.”

 

“Right, I’m sorry. I’ll go prepare dinner.”

 

“You don’t have to do that. You just got home from work, have a drink with us,” Ernest said happily.

 

“But Darling.”

 

“I’ll get dinner started. Relax and have a chat with Anthony.” Ernest went to the kitchen.

 

“I’m sorry, this is the first time Ernest has introduced me to one of his close friends.”

 

“You don’t have to worry about me, Lady, I’m used to the idea of being alone,” Dante shrugged her off.

 

“Bullshit,” Nero coughed.

 

“You want to say something, Punk?” Dante glanced at him.

 

“No,” Nero grinned far too smugly.

 

“That’s my nephew, feel free to ignore him.”

 

“Hello,” the woman smiled.

 

“Hi, my name’s Nero. You’re lucky to have a husband who does the cooking, that’s what my mom says.” That made the woman laugh.

 

“You want to help, don’t you?” Dante guessed.

 

“I never get to cook at your place, you always eat out,” Nero whined.

 

“I’m sure Ernest won’t mind if you help,” she assured him. Nero grinned and hurried into the kitchen.

 

            Dante talked with Ernest’s wife until dinner. A storm blew in after they ate. Nero insisted on helping clean and came up stairs right in time to see Dante chase a weak humanoid demon away.

 

“Why’d you let him live?”

 

“He’s too weak to cause any trouble. And he finds me work.”

 

“What? Is he just hanging out at the circus as a side-show freak rather than go home and have to service a devil lord?” Nero guessed. He untied his sling and flexed his arm that had gone stiff.

 

“Can’t really blame him. Get some sleep. We’ll have to kill that devil tomorrow.”

 

            “Good morning,” Ernest found them downstairs the next morning. “You two are early risers. I’ll put some coffee on.”

 

“Don’t do it. Don’t summon that demon. What are you planning to do if you manage to summon that demon? Or were you counting on me from the start?”

 

“Hah, I won’t need your help.”

“Don’t act tougher than you are. I’ll lower my fees if you need it.”

 

“I’m prepared.” Ernest got a shotgun out of a closet.

 

“That thing won’t even serve as a security blanket,” Dante didn’t even turn around to look at the gun.

 

“Hey, it’s a start but you’ll need a hell of a lot more.” Nero said. “Depending on how strong the demon is you’ll need military grade weaponry. And training, at least ten years.”

 

“You should listen to the kid, Ernest, he’s grown up in a demon killing cult city.”

 

“My mom trains human devil hunters,” Nero explained. “All the knights in Fortuna have to be at least 18, pass exams, and have ten years experience before being allowed to go up against a weak devil or angel solo.”

 

            “Really? There are that many people fighting demons?”                  

 

“Yeah, that’s why most people don’t know about the other worlds, cause we keep them safe,” Nero said proudly.

 

“I didn’t even know about it until I met your mother,” Dante commented.

 

“Mom’s pretty awesome.”

 

“Anyway, there’s no way you’re fighting a demon alone. Let us kill it.”

 

            Ernest pretended to agree but snuck off without telling them. They got to the ruins just in time to save the stupid man from dying. Dante shoved Ernest aside and blocked the huge demon’s claws with Rebellion.

 

“Nero, get him out of here!”

 

“On it.” The boy pulled Ernest over his shoulders in a fireman’s carry. He had more than enough strength to run and leap out of the way of fire attacks with a full grown man on his back.

 

            Ernest passed out sometime during the fight. They took him back to the hospital and waited to make sure he’d be okay.

 

“The doctors say he’ll wake up soon.” Elise said.

 

“That’s our cue to leave. Nero.” Dante led them out of the room into the hall.

 

“Wait, you demon!” A few seconds later, Ernest burst out of his hospital room to shout at Dante. “You bastard! That demon attacked our town looking for you! It’s your fault everyone died!”

 

“Hey!” Nero jumped between them like a pint-sized protector. “Don’t say that about Uncle Dante! It’s not his fault Grandpa was a demon.” Ernest looked down at Nero and glared at his uncovered right arm. Nero frowned and hid his arm behind his back. His own self-consciousness didn’t quell his ire at the treatment of his uncle, however.

 

“You’re one of them, too.”

 

“Saying all demons is bad is like saying all humans are bad just because some people are serial killers.”

 

“Nero,” Dante tried to interrupt.

 

“Everyone died because of him! If he hadn’t been here,”

 

“That’s not his fault!”

 

“Nero.” Dante tried again then sighed.

 

“It was only a matter of time before someone summoned that demon. Grandpa died protecting…” Dante walked back down the hall. He grabbed Nero off the ground and transferred him to under one arm. “Hey!” Nero complained at being carried. He gave a few futile kicks as Dante walked away. The frustrated child settled for flipping Ernest off before they rounded the corner.

 

            Dante didn’t put him down until they were on the train back to his office. “So he really was your friend?”

 

“You figured that out?”

 

“Mom has some old photos Grandma mailed her. That was definitely you in that picture. Also you’ve been grumpy all trip.”

 

Dante stared out the window for a second. “It was after the demons found us. I was on my own and only a kid. I went to live with a woman my parents rescued from demons and still kept in contact with. She wasn’t a demon hunter but she had some chops too. She let me stick around, live with her until I was skilled enough to make it on my own.”

 

“She died?”

 

“Couldn’t keep her alive either.”

 

“Dad lived with some weak demons. Promised to protect them if they trained him to fight. They all died too.”

 

“That right?” Vergil never talked about those years, to be fair Dante didn’t either.

 

“Are you going to call him when he calms down?”

 

“No way. This isn’t Fortuna, Kid. He’ll be better off forgetting he ever knew me.”

 

;Last episode of anime;

 

“Are you going?” Nero followed Patty as she left to find where Sid held her mother hostage.

 

“I have to, she’s my mom.”

 

“Okay, I’ll drive you.”

 

“You can drive?”

 

“I think so.” Patty accepted this answer and watched Nero wander down the street. He selected a car he liked, punched out a window with his devil hand, brushed the glass away, and opened the passenger door for her. Patty put on her seat belt while Nero took his pendant out from under his shirt. He pressed it to the dashboard, making the whole car glow with his magic. “Hah, it worked.” He jerkily propelled the car with his magic, steering with the wheel.

 

The weak devil, Sid, used Patty’s family necklace to summon an ancient power that Nero completely overestimated his ability to handle alone. Fortunately, Dante showed up in time to pull the kids and Patty’s mom out of danger and chase Sid into the portal. Only to get stuck. At least that’s what Nero assumed happened considering Dante was nowhere to be seen as Sid took to the rooftop and summoned a bunch of weak devil minions to cause mayhem.

 

            Nero, and Patty when he handed her one of the swords he’d borrowed from Uncle Dante’s office, fought the weak demons until Lady and Trish showed up. Lady assured Nero they could handle things here and he should go find Dante. Nero went inside the building and got to work.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

“Recreating the portal Sid made.” Nero ran in a circle to sketch. “With Patty’s locket we should be able to get Uncle Dante out.”

 

“I want to help!” He pulled a second piece of chalk from his pocket and passed to Patty. She knelt to add detail to the edge.

 

“But Patty,” her mother started to protest.

 

“Mom, I have to help Dante.” Nero ignored them talking and finished the magic symbols.

 

“Patty stand there,” he pointed her to her side and stood opposite. He had a brief second of nerves considering he’d never done any spell this complicated but he got over it quickly. He circled his human arm to make an Umbran seal like Mom taught him. “The symbol of Umbra compels the worlds to shift. Open the door.” It worked like he knew it would. They waited a few seconds but Dante didn’t come out.

 

“I’m going in!” Patty jumped from her spot into the glowing circle. Nero was planning to do that but now he had to hold the door open, which was becoming increasingly heavy.

 

After what felt like ages, Uncle Dante finally climbed out of the demon world. Patty hung around his neck so Nero let the portal slam closed.

 

“Hey, good job,” Dante set Patty down next to Nero. “I got it from here.” Once he left Nero had nobody to impress and allowed his shaking knees to collapse.

 

“Are you alright?”

 

“Yeah, I’m just going to sit here for a little bit.”

 

Dante went to the roof. “Hey, you’ve grown since I last saw you.” Sid was now easily 60ft tall. “I’m going to pay you back for all this.”

 

“Can you? I have enough power to destroy this human world.”

 

“Really? Just what I wanted to hear,” a female voice interrupted. They both turned to look. Sid got shot in the eye by the sexy woman Dante met on the train.

 

“You again, huh?”

 

“Mind if I join?”

 

“Not at all.”

 

            Sid took offense to being ignored so they could flirt and punched them. The woman hopped over his arm easily. Dante was kinda tired from hell but didn’t want to stop chatting for some ugly devil. He blocked the punch with Rebellion.

“So, what brings you here?”

 

“A formally sealed well of magic opened up, easy pickings if you can take it.”

 

“Yeah, Sid’s pretty lame.” Case in point, he stabbed needles through the floor. This Dante didn’t bother avoiding.

 

“Oh, you know him?” She raised an eyebrow at how he didn’t even flinch after being impaled.

 

“Yep,” he grunted at the sting then broke off the spikes so he could move again, “stole my stuff to get that power.”

 

“Such a waste of perfectly good power. You want it back?”

 

“Nah, don’t need it. I owe him a beating, though.”

 

“I’m afraid I don’t have the proper outfit to cheer you on.”

 

“What you’re wearing is plenty fine with me.” He shot Sid absentmindedly when he tried to interrupt again. “Almost forgot, what’s your name?”

 

“It’s Bayonetta, and you are?”

 

“Bayonetta huh?” Well now he had to show off a little bit. “I’m Dante.”

 

Despite his ‘massive power’ Sid was an idiot and easily beaten down. Before he fell, Bayonetta stepped in. “My friends will get a kick out of this.” Dante watched her do a quick summoning dance, then as a bonus all her clothes flew off. Wow, never seen Jeanne do that. A devil appeared from a portal to drag the dying Sid to Inferno. Dante barely noticed any of that, he was a bit busy leaning over for a better look.

 

“You want to touch me?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“What kind of woman do you think I am?” Her clothes slid back into place. “Buy a girl a drink first.”

 

“How about now and then drinks, and breakfast if you have a place nearby.”

 

“I like the way you think. If you think you can handle me.”

 

“Hell yeah!”

 

“Well, we shouldn’t expect Dante back any time soon.” From a pile of rubble, Lady watched the roof top exchange through binoculars. She passed them to Trish.

 

“Hm, she looks demonic.”

 

“Who cares? If Dante’s stupid enough to get killed that way, serves him right.” Lady descended the rubble with a sigh. “I guess, we’re going to have to watch the kids.”

 

Patty supported Nero as they walked out of the building.

“Is the fighting done?”

 

“Yeah, the demons are gone. What happened to you?” Lady asked.

 

“Nero held a portal open. Now he’s trying not to faint.”

 

“I am not!” Patty gave him a shove and he collapsed. “You bitch!”

 

“Just for that,” Lady smirked and picked the kid up bridal style. “You’re riding home like this.” Patty smirked at him, which he responded to and this quickly devolved into a face making contest over Lady’s shoulder.

 

 

*Post anime: Pre-Bayonetta1

 

“Caio, Devil May Cry.” Nero answered the phone.

 

“Who the fuck is this?”

 

“The guy answering the phone. Who the fuck are you?”

 

“The guy calling on the phone. Where the fuck is Dante?

 

“Busy. What the fuck do you want?”

 

“Well, shit, you ain’t that sexy assistant of his?  I thought word was she’d run out on him.”

 

“You better hope I’m not her. She’d gut you for calling her that. Now do you fucking want something?”

 

“Just tell ‘em Enzo wants to talk to him, ya’ damn shit.” He hung up before Nero could offer a scathing comeback.

 

            Half an hour later, Dante returned. “Hey,” Dante shouldered open the door while carrying two pizza boxes, one of which he was eating out of. “Dinner.” He dropped them on the desk in front of Nero.

 

“Did you get paid?” Nero got himself a slice.

 

“Yeah, paid off my debt and got these.” He pushed Nero out of his chair.

 

“You’re lucky they let you buy on credit.” Nero sat down on the corner of the desk now that he wasn’t allowed in the chair. “Hey, someone called while you were gone. Enzo wants to talk to you.”

 

“Hm, wonder what he wants.” Dante polished off another two slices before picking up the phone.

 

            “Enzo here, what the fuck you want?”

 

“Yeah, it’s Dante.”

 

“About fucking time! What piece of work you got answering your phone these days?”

 

“You got a job or not?” Nero stole the last slice from the box. Dante tossed it towards the trash and opened the second one.

 

Come on, you know Enzo’s always good for it.” Dante didn’t bother to respond to that and kept eating. “Okay I don’t have something specific right now but this might pan out into something.”

 

“Yeah?” Nero scooted closer to listen in.

 

“This broad’s paying, not a lot, but she’s got guns and legs for days so I ain’t sweating the small stuff with her. Anyway, she’s looking for word on something called ‘The Left Eye’. Magic gemstone or something.”

 

“Never heard of it.” Dante said then noticed Nero gesturing for his attention.

 

“Eh thought as much, just calling all the…”

 

“Hold on a second.” He moved the receiver to his shoulder. “What?”

 

“The Left Eye of The World used to belong to the Umbra Witches, it was in one of Mom’s books,” Nero said. That was interesting, Dante considered that for a second before putting the phone back to his ear.

 

“This ‘broad’ have a name?”

 

“Calls herself Bayonetta if you can fucking believe it.”

 

“Where is she now?”

 

“I can’t tell ya that! Where would I be if I started squealing on my clients, huh?”

 

“Fine. Tell me whatever you tell her about this Left Eye.”

 

“That I can do.”

 

 

Bayonetta 1: After final boss

 

            Cereza landed on one of the tall buildings. She and Jeanne ended up with a bit of space between them during reentry but she could see her land on the nearby rooftop safely. Even for a witch, falling from outer space took some talent so she allowed herself a moment to stretch.

 

            Relaxing proved to be a mistake as an enemy almost managed to sneak up on her. Cereza sensed the attack just in time to dodge a sword swing. The blue demon, its power didn’t read Paridisio, charged a second time. This demon was fast, as fast as a witch. Bayonetta didn’t mess around and kicked him back then readied her other guns. “Stop!” Jeanne’s shout made Cereza pause and, to her surprise, the demon also froze. Jeanne leapt in and grabbed the demon. She dipped him backwards in a dancing pose and sealed their lips together. The blue demon in her arms changed into a man, who then quickly swapped their positions, scooping Jeanne up in a bridal carry. Jeanne didn’t seem to mind him asserting his manliness and wrapped her arms around his neck.

 

“What’s this? I hope you know him.” Cereza interrupted their necking. The man-devil held Jeanne in both arms and a sheathed katana in the hand wrapped around her back. He glared at Cereza and Jeanne just grinned.

 

“Who is this?” The man asked.

 

“Don’t be thick, Dear, clearly this is Cereza. Cereza, meet my husband, Vergil.”

 

“Husband? My my, I leave you alone for five hundred years and you start domesticating demons?”

 

“I’ve been busy. You can meet our son later.”

 

“Son? I finally get my memories back only to find you’ve changed completely?”

 

“Oh don’t be so dramatic, you know I’ve always wanted to train the next generation of Umbra. I also trained this handsome creature’s mother.” She patted Vergil’s chest.

 

“What happened to your hair?” Vergil apparently lost interest in Cereza and scanned Jeanne for anything different.

 

“The bastard who inscrolled me made me cut it. Like any good Umbra can’t work around that.”

 

“I’ve been looking for you.”

 

“I never doubted you. How long have I been gone?”

 

“Almost a year.”

 

“A year! My poor babies.” She kissed Vergil again briefly.

 

“Don’t call me that.”

 

“My poor baby and his poor very manly daddy. Have you been alright without me?”

 

            Cereza turned her back on this lovy-dovy scene, not that she begrudged Jeanne her happiness she just didn’t want to watch it, and went to see if Luka was still alive.

 

Not fifteen minutes later, Cereza joined Jeanne and the Mr. near the ruined building to search for anything worth saving from the Luman Sage’s lair.

“Mom!” A kid appeared from behind the building next door.  A white haired boy in a hooded sweatshirt and jeans sprinted towards Jeanne who scooped him up in her arms immediately. “Mom! You’re alive!”

 

“Nero! Oh my baby!” Jeanne snuggled him. Vergil stood close to them, clearly including himself in the moment and shielding them without actually hugging them. Cereza felt awkward interrupting this family cuddle so fortunately someone else did it for her.

 

“Come on, don’t tell me I missed the excitement.” A man walked towards them from the same direction the kid had come from.

 

“Dante, what are you doing here?” Vergil frowned at the new man. Cereza didn’t need the name to recognize him.

 

“Following her,” Dante jabbed a thumb in Cereza’s direction. “Enzo told me.”

 

“That’s hardly surprising. I’m more interested in how…” ‘you know each other’ was on the tip of her tongue then she glanced back to Vergil. Wait a second, that wasn’t just coincidental similarity. “Shit.” She rubbed at her right eye under her glasses. The one man she’d had any sort of continuing relationship since waking happened to be related to Jeanne’s husband? How embarrassing. Jeanne didn’t help the situation by creaking up. Vergil’s expression didn’t change but Dante gave Cereza a sorry-not-sorry shrug, clearly he knew more about this than she did. “You and I are going to have a talk,” Cereza pointed accusingly at her laughing friend.

 

“What?” Jeanne stopped giggling enough to tease. “I was being a good sister. He’s just your type.”

 

“I had amnesia, that’s not fair.”

 

“So really, did I miss all the fighting?”

 

“Focus,” Cereza snapped at him.

 

“What? I’ve known we were in-laws since you told me your name,” said Dante.

 

“You’re dead to me, Jeanne.” Cereza turned her back.

 

“What’s she mad about?” Nero asked.

 

“She’ll get over it. Come on, Baby. I’ve got so many artifacts to show you.” Jeanne walked away, carrying her son and her husband trailing behind.

 

            “So, do you have a rule against dating family or something?” Dante prodded.

 

“Your twin brother?”

 

“Identical, yeah I know. Adopted sisters?” he nodded towards where Jeanne had gone.

 

“Raised as such and second cousins by blood. What exactly did Jeanne tell you about me?”

 

“Just that she had a hot sister. Hey,” he noticed her glare, “I didn’t recognize you right away. It’s not like you look alike.”

 

“And what’s your story?” She strutted around him in mock predatory circles. He watched her move with an appreciative smirk. “Hell obviously, devil contract? Half-devil?”

 

“Ever heard of Sparda?” That got her to stop walking.

 

“Jeanne trained the witch who finally won Sparda’s contract? Ooh, she’s going to be insufferable after this.”

 

“Yeah, that’s our parents. Is there anything left to kill? I came all the way here.”

Chapter Text

Cereza dropped off a piece of angel armor at the gold exchange she knew and trusted not to ask questions then took her loaded credit card into the fashion district. She loved these credit cards, easy and stylish and they paid you to use them with credits and ‘cashback’.

Her stature and bearing usually warded off small talk but the baby bump apparently contracted that. She went to her usual tailor to have her dress fitted, not many humans were 7’7” so she always needed custom work. The seamstress fitting her dress engaged her with inane questions for the first time in years, which she humored to an extent. Once appropriately dressed, she boarded an airplane, skipping the ridiculous amount of security they had at the gates, and settled down in the first class section to read her book. Relaxing ride later, she slipped in to Purgatorio to leave the airport and hitch a ride on a boat. The waves made her seasick for the first time in her life. She’d get a private plane to take her back.

Nero’s directions were a bit vague so it took her a little while to find the right house. A drab, normal looking woman opened the door when she knocked. She blinked in surprise to be looking at breasts rather than Cerez’s face and quickly adjusted her gaze upward.

“Hello, I’m looking for Ernest and Elise.”

“Yes, you have the right house. How can I help you?” She recovered gracefully from her obvious surprise.

“Is Ernest home?”

“Ernest! You have a visitor.” She called into the house and opened the door for Cereza to enter. She surveyed the home, couldn’t be more normal if they tried, well except for the obvious gun cabinet in the corner of the living room.

“Elise? Who is it?” a plain man with a thin face entered from a side room. “Oh, hello, I don’t believe we’ve met. Would you like to sit down?” Another thing she heard a lot since being pregnant.

“Ernest, formally friends with Anthony?” He turned pale quickly. “Oh, calm down, if I were here to hurt you I’d have done so already.”

“What do you want?” he said hostilely.

“We’re getting married, Dante and I. It’s a private ceremony but I’m planning a party afterwards.”

“You’re inviting us to your wedding reception?” Elise asked politely.

“Are you a devil, too?” Ernest said not as politely.

“I’m human, although several of my close colleagues are not. I’ll pay your travel expenses if you attend our get together. Dante doesn’t have many friends from his childhood.”

“Because they’re all dead.” Ernest said bitterly.

“Oh dear, I see Nero wasn’t exaggerating.” This was going to take a while so she got out one of her lollipops. “Dante said nothing, it was Nero who told me how you know Dante, in language I’m surprised his mother allows him to use.

“You fail to comprehend how difficult his life was, is. As a half-devil he was born with a target painted on his back. His parents did the best they could but they both died by the time Dante and his brother were eight. After witnessing the brutal murder of his mother and his brother’s disappearance, Dante went to live with a family friend, the woman you knew as his mother. You were the last person he let in as a friend until he was eighteen.”

“That’s terrible,” Elise whispered.

Ernest looked less angry but no less upset. “If he hadn’t been here nobody would have died.”

“Three things, Hon. One, he didn’t know that. Two, would you have condemned an 8 year old to isolation on the off chance of such a thing happening? Half-devils don’t mature any faster than humans, mind you. Finally, angels and demons like to eat human souls. With that hell mouth on the island something hungry and demonic would have shown up sooner or later.” This candy wasn’t filling her up as much as usual.

“You want me to forgive him?”

“I hear it’s good for the soul.” She glanced around. “Nero said you had a photo. I’d like a copy.”

“I threw it out,” Ernest sounded a little guilty about this.

“I have it,” the woman spoke up. She left the room to fetch it.

“Are the ruins still dangerous?” An intelligent question for once.

“I’d have to check, depends on how toughly Dante destroyed the site. He means well but he tends to forget things like that.”

“Very goal oriented,” Ernest muttered.

“He hasn’t grown up that much,” Cereza said jokingly.

“Here it is. I’m sorry, I forgot to ask your name.” Elise returned.

“Cereza, Bayonetta in certain circles.” She accepted the photo and exchanged it for Jeanne’s business card. “Here’s my sister’s number, she’s in charge of the preparations. I’ll check those ruins on my way out of town but there will always be a small chance of otherworldly interference regardless of your place on the globe. You can also call her if you have any demonic or angelic pests.” She slid the photo frame into her sleeve. “I’ll give this back to you at the party.”

“I didn’t say we were going.” Ernest said grumpily.

“You’re welcome to come without him. I know several fashion designers that can give you a bargain.” She addressed Elise. “But do come, it’ll mean the world to Dante. His childhood was tragically cut short. The only one he can reminisce with is Vergil and he’s painfully dull.”

“I am a little curious to meet his brother, Tony, I mean Dante, talked about him sometimes.”

“Oh yes, come and pester Vergil, everyone does, it’s endlessly entertaining.” Her joke successfully made Elise laugh quietly.

“Is there really a city where everyone fights demons?”

“Several across the globe, but I assume you mean Fortuna. I’m sure you can move there if you want to aid the eternal struggle of Earth, Paridisio, and Inferno.” She pointed to the card Elise still held. “Ask Jeanne about that, as well, it’s her city. Now if that’s all, I’ll be on my way.”

“You don’t want to stay for tea?” Elise asked.

“How kind, but I have other things to do today. Jeanne will expect your call.” She also doubted she could talk to these extremely normal people without quickly getting bored.

Madama Butterfly laughed and said “I guess I’m not getting your soul unless I outlive you both,” when she learned that Dante was going to be fixture in Cereza’s life. “I’m so making a short list of who gets that child’s contract.”

Although Jeanne offered to find a different location, Cereza insisted on having the ceremony in Vertil. Jeanne had 500 years to find a new home but for Cereza if felt like very little time had passed. If she was going to bind herself to a man she was going to do it where the memory of her mother was strongest. Although that was potently sad in a way, considering how things had ended with Rosa and Balder.

The Umbra were creatures of the night so they gathered in Vertil with the moon overhead. Dante was dressed in a nice suit that he would never have worn of his own accord.

“Thank you,” she said to Vergil.

“You’re welcome.” He knew what she meant. They had to improvise a bit with the ceremony. Typically either the senior witch or the host of the Left Eye would lead the ritual. Cereza was both so she recited the ritual lines she could then Jeanne took over. Dante remained exceptionally well behaved through the whole thing.

They retired for the night in private then met up again mid-morning.
Upon spotting her sister the first thing Cereza did was ask, “The surprises?” Jeanne flashed her a confirmatory grin.

“You got me a gift?” Dante asked. She had his arm linked with hers. He enjoyed casual and friendly touches even if he didn’t initiate. It was a psychology thing, most beings only got close to him to cause him pain but he still liked and wanted to trust people.

“Two.”

“Good thing I got you one, then. Other than my self, of course.”

Jeanne’d arranged everything to take place in the city’s awesome indoor/outdoor courtyard. Guests were already there when they arrived. Dante didn’t startle, not after the life he’d led. When surprised he didn’t show it; Cereza’d never seen it anyway. Telling him she was pregnant earned her slightly widened eyes and a long pause. She wasn’t disappointed when he saw Ernest, though. A small fault in his step and tiny hand twitch gave away that he’d spotted his old friend. She gave him an encouraging smack on the rear then ducked out of reach before he could return the gesture.

Jeanne’d prepared quite a spread of edibles to choose from. Not just Cereza’s favorites but oddities and stackable things as well. Being pregnant gave her strange cravings that she prefer nobody talk about. Unsurprisingly, Nero was already eating.

“Do you like the decorations? Mom let Kyrie and me help.”

“Thank you, it’s very nice, Dear. Did your mother tell you Ernest is here?”

Nero frowned. “Yeah, I’m not allowed to talk to him.”

“Hey, am I late?” Lady joined them. And yes, her name really was Lady. Any Umbra Witch could see that was the true name she identified with and would be required for a curse.

“Not at all.”

“Good, the jetlag got me this morning. Thanks for the dress.” She wore a custom number from a designer Cereza recommended and paid for. The skirt folds obviously covered a thigh holster. She’d left her rocket launcher with her bike, parked at the edge of the plaza, for once. She correctly calculated that she’d have plenty of time to reach it with so many other fighters around.

“I saved one of his pupils from being possessed, he gives me discounts.”

“How have you been doing this the same amount of time as us and be so much better off? And I’m not counting the time before your power nap.” Lady helped herself to the nearest shiskabab. She was just giving her crap, she knew that witches could pull sellable valuables, other than weapons, off their demon and angel queries while normal hunters never learned that trick.

“Hate to tell you, Dear, but it has to do with bearing,” she gave her crap back.

“So, when are you and Trish getting married?” Nero joined the insult comedy.

“Don’t think I won’t shoot you in front of your pregnant aunt, Twerp.” She was clearly joking but said this in a serious tone of voice which made Vergil glance over. Jeanne’d found the overprotective, helicopter partner she’d always wanted.

“Give me a few years, I’ll be taller than you soon.”

“Yet, I’ll always be older.”

“Until you die at ninety and I live for two millennia.”

“You can brag to my corpse.”

Cereza left them to their snipe contest and went to mingle with other guests. Nero had insisted on inviting Kyrie and her big brother Credo tagged along. Their parents weren't in attendance because they trusted Jeanne and Vergil to babysit. Elise sought her out.

“You didn’t say Dante’s brother is married to your sister,” Elise found this amusing.

“One big happy family.”

“Bayonetta, I’m disappointed you didn’t ask me to cater this fine event.” Rodin appeared at her elbow.

“Direct complaints to Jeanne. Elise, this is Rodin, don’t buy anything he tries to sell you.”

“You wound me, Woman. I can play nice with the humans, mostly one myself these days.”

“Don’t buy that either.”

"Ah shit, is that Morison?" Rodin noticed another potential customer in Dante's friend and agent and abandoned the two women.

“Hi! Are you Dante’s wife?” A girl in a pink dress ran up to Cereza.

“I am, and you must be Patty.” Cereza shook her hand. “Nero says you have potential in magic.”

“Patty! Hey, come meet my parents, I told you about them.” Nero dashed over and dragged her off before Cereza could talk to her further.

Half an hour into the event and Luka had already managed to flirt with every woman present. Except Jeanne because he correctly assessed her frightening husband as the possessive type. Ironically, Dante’s devil may come (pun intended) attitude made him far less intimidating than his slightly less skilled twin. Not that Dante cared who Cereza flirted with. For example, he was currently sharing mildly sexual banter with Lady and introducing her to Ernest. Dante had an arm wrapped around his old friend’s shoulders so they must have made up.

Cereza didn’t want to disturb that potentially fragile peace so she joined Trish and Luka, “You two are certainly cozy.”

“We’ve met. I think I mentioned that to you. Didn’t know she was a devil at the time…”

“You didn’t know I saved your butt either.” Trish seemed to find him cute.

“He has a bad habit of sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.” Cereza teased.

“Tell me about it.”

“Hey, I can take care of myself. Come on, you’ve seen me escape half a dozen explosions.”

Cereza wasn’t sure who invited them but Enzo, his wife and two kids were at the party. Ed and Edna quickly proved to be little terrors with no fear of the supernatural. They took it upon themselves to annoy or demand magical demonstrations from every adult in attendance. Including Vergil, who gave them a few good smacks to make them leave him alone. And Jeanne who said she’d show them an amazing spell but it required them to sit quietly in a corner for five minutes. Kyrie and Credo tolerated them but Nero and Patty refused to play with them until they calmed down and acted like civilized beings.

Vergil, ever the misanthrope, got tired of interacting with people and offered to take the children elsewhere before the booze was brought out. The kids had plenty of exciting ruins to explore and wouldn’t fall to their deaths as long as Vergil minimally supervised. With the kids off playing the adults could all get drunk, except Cereza which she complained about loudly.

Patty’s mother, Cereza didn’t know or care about her name, was a sad drunk and ended up crying in a corner with Ernest and Elise. Enzo and the Missus danced sloppily with whoever they could rope into their group. Drunk Lady found them hilarious. Drunk Morison ramped up his flirting to almost Luka levels, which Lady also found hilarious because he was 'old'. He did however seem to be getting somewhere with Patty's mother and Mrs. Enzo. As for Luka, alcohol brought out his bisexual side and he got increasingly cozy with both Trish and Rodin. So cozy they were the first ones to leave.

Jean stood in front of the exit to the courtyard. “Hold up, where is this going?”

“Where do you think?” Rodin sounded more than a bit sloshed. Luka was draped over one of his shoulders, held there with a hand on his butt.

“And we all agreed?” Jeanne leaned over to look at Luka.

“Well, not to being carried,” Luka twisted about from his position. “I’m going to barf all over you, Rodin. Trish, help.” Consent confirmed, Jeanne got out of the way and let Rodin carry him off. Trish, with a glass of something in hand, followed them.

“Anyone see where Trish went?” Dante, hadn’t noticed the exchange and asked a minute later.

“I don’t think you want to know, Dearie,” Cereza patted him.

It took quite a bit of Rodin’s specialty booze to get Dante inebriated but he managed for the ‘first time since I was a punk kid’. Drunk Dante complained of being hot and took his shirt off, which he didn’t need much encouragement to do anyway. Today, however, he got cheered on and money thrown at him by his equally drunk friends. Cereza got to end her wedding party by helping her underdressed and overly affectionate husband into bed. She left Jeanne for Vergil to deal with.

Next Day:

“I have a final gift for you Dante, a solemn one I’m afraid.” Jeanne set a large jewelry box in his hand. “Vergil may be the heir, but he can’t stand to look at it.” Dante opened it. Inside was an antique cooper broach in the shape of the moon. Slightly dented and damaged despite being well cared for. Dante smiled sadly and opened the locket. The clock face was cracked and still, the gemstones dull and lifeless. So different from when he last saw it around his mother’s neck.

“Where’s her body?”

“With your father’s human remains, per her request. But a witch’s soul is passed on to her teacher and then her children when they enter the order.”

“Marriage counts?”

“Marriage counts.”

Later:

Although Cereza wasn’t initially thrilled to learn she was pregnant with twins, it turned out to be a good thing. Both she and Dante wanted uncompromisingly to name their child after their mother. As Cereza had no intentions of being pregnant a second time, disagreement over what to name the single baby may very well have resulted in a fight to the death. As it was, she easily talked Dante into naming the boy Evan because Rosa couldn’t be converted into a masculine name, unless he wanted to name the boy Rose, which he did not. If it were two boys she would have settled for Rosan, Roland, or Thorn, but didn’t tell him that.

The twins came out looking nearly identical except for their sexes. Dante couldn’t tell them apart most of the time and as soon as they were old enough to realize this they would purposefully switch clothes to further confuse him. Nero had his rough edges and teenage attitude but was a softy at heart and adored his little cousins. Jeanne was happy to have babies to coddle without having to wake up at night to care for them. Vergil said he was pleased Dante had finally gotten his act together and increased their family’s legacy. Dante answered with a taunt that twins meant he clearly had superior sperm, only once within Cereza’s hearing. They were fraternal twins, if anything it were her eggs that were superior, thank you very much.

Vergil warned them, Jeanne found it humorous to not share any parenting tips unless directly asked, that their half-demon bones would start growing and itch as much as teething. Nero commented that he remembered that and ‘it sucked ass’. He wasn’t kidding. Evan wore out his arms twisting them into strange positions trying to scratch his back. He recruited Rosa to help him but she never broke the skin, he only managed to hurt himself when he figured out how to scoot across the rug on his back or rub against a tree, brick, anything rough, until he got carpet burn.

Rosa’s took her parents a while to discover. While Evan tugged his shirts off, Rosa was largely content to wear her pants and skirts. Dante was starting to talk about how maybe being a girl meant she wouldn’t get demon bones when Cereza realized what looked like bad rash from her pull ups was actually made by little nails. Rosa started itching at her hips and eventually scratched up her entire thighs, even biting herself until she bled.

In the twin’s defense the process looked very uncomfortable. Cereza got to watch the progression of bones growing, skin stretching and hardening into rocky scales and dim glow beginning whenever Dante was close enough. Evan got an extra centimeter of height in his spine as all of his vertebrae turned inhuman. He had what looked like spines growing out of his back that would likely only get more impressive with age. This didn’t bode well for him ever keeping a shirt on, however. As a girl who hadn’t inherited Grandpa Sparda’s Y chromosome, both Rosa’s femurs and patellas grew to larger than human size and thickness which looked impressive but in reality she only had four devil bones while her brother and cousin had over a dozen. The femurs also made sense because most new bloodcells grew in femur marrow and thus most of her devil blood.

At five years old Rosa’s hair had just started turning dark in patches. The roots grew in black while the rest of her chin length hair was white. Dante called it skunk hair but Cereza found it closer to a dalmatian as it wasn’t happening all over her head, just in spots. The idea that his daughter might completely loose his hair color made Dante pout. The twins now looked different and were easily recognizable even when dressed the same, meaning they couldn’t pretend to be each other anymore without hats, which made them pout.
This excessive pouting may have contributed to Cereza’s decision to go to Findlebenter on Jeanne’s errand rather than head to Fortuna with Dante and the kids.

Jeanne’s Order of the Sword friends turned on her. She and Vergil had allowed a fallen angel to live in their city only for him to buy out their loyals with the promise of power. Vergil had humans helping him experiment with manipulating demon energy and now he was missing. One of the Order members lured Jeanne away from the city and then tried, and failed, to assassinate her. So now she was calling in backup to deal with the situation. A barrier spell blocked her from contacting Nero and there wasn’t much point in calling someone only to reveal she wasn’t dead. Dante was willing to back-up her attack on the city. Cereza chose instead to take a holiday in a lovely village at the base of the mountain Findlebenter. Truthfully she was on standby in case someone died. If Jeanne died then she’d take the hell mouth on the mountain straight to Inferno where all the devils allied, or formally allied, with witches lived and retrieve her soul. If Vergil or Nero died then she’d go to Inferno and follow the commotion an heir of Sparda would inevitably cause to hell or wherever their souls might end up.

In the town square she found a kid, maybe 12 years old fighting several angels. He said he was heading to the mountain but didn’t say anything else about himself. Just a lot of backtalk and attitude. She let him run off and killed a few of the angels chasing him to kill time.

Cereza’s cell phone rang. She had a cell phone, no service except magic of course, because it was the fastest way to communicate with Jeanne.

“Bad news, Vergil’s dead.”

“Oh dear.

“As a half-devil and a stubborn bastard I expect it’ll take a week before his soul sustains any irreparable damage. And it might take us a day to get things straightened out here and him put back together, don’t ask.”

“Shall I enjoy the scenery on my way to hell?”

“Whatever you like, just don’t dally too long. It’s not a flower picking expedition you’re on.”

“You’ll have your hubby back by dawn tomorrow. I expect a heart felt ‘thank you’ from him.” She joked then hung up.

Cereza killed angels and protected the kid, Loki. For fun she summoned Dante to help kill a first sphere angel.

“No, don’t bring the kids!” She shouted a second too late. The twins rode piggyback on a custom back sling. The twins were a little big to be carried this way but Dante was used to lugging ridiculously large devil arms around. He didn’t mind carrying them on his back and keeping Rebellion with the rest of his weaponry and the kids didn’t mind being tied together at the waist so that’s how they traveled.

 

“What? You can just send them back.”

“No, I can’t! I can only summon demons to my location. I’m not a taxi service. I’ve told you this before.”

“Oh, I thought you just didn’t want to.” He wisely stopped talking when she glared at him. The angel took offense to them ignoring him and they had to kill it before they could continue the conversation.

With a put upon sigh, Cereza said, “I can summon Rodin, I suppose, but I don’t know if he can carry passengers with him.”

“I’m not leaving my kids alone with Rodin,” now it was Dante’s turn to indignantly cross his arms. “Call Jeanne, have her summon me back.”

“Have you given her explicit permission to do so?” He shrugged. She rubbed at her forehead to ward off the headache at his chronic cluelessness.

The kids sensed an opening and chimed in. “We stay.”

“We be good.”

“Not sure if it’s much safer to have them there,” Dante added. “She’s got devils all over the city, this place looks pretty calm.”

“Fine, but then you won’t be joining me when I go to hell.” She frowned as if she wanted to threaten Dante with something nasty.

“Don’t bother,” he recognized her expression. “They’re my kids too, I won’t let anything happen to them.”

The twins were NOT joining Cereza on a trip to Hell so she left Dante in the city center while Loki guided her towards the mountain. She lost track of Loki for a few minutes only to relocate him while he was being attacked by a figure in white and gold.

For a second she thought he was fat then she realized he was carrying two children. The man had fashioned a carrier out of gold fibers and random pieces of fabric. Rosa was ridding piggyback while Evan was strapped to his chest. Oh, Dante was dead. If this stranger hadn’t killed him she would.

“I can’t speak for this little one but I know those two don’t belong to you. He your daddy, little one?”

“I don’t need my memory to know that’s a barmy idea. He one of your friends?”

“Trust me, Little One, he’s not my type.”

“Hi Mummy!”

“Hi Mummy!”

Taking the kids screeching in his ear as a distraction, Cereza attacked the man. She fired her guns at him but he stopped time and caught the bullets. It couldn’t be. That magic, that fashion sense. “Oh my, you’re a Lumen Sage.” He stayed silent, not acknowledging her in return. This could be a good or bad thing. The Lumen and Umbra had been sibling organizations for eons. Until she was born, that is. So it was a tossup how this stranger (where did he even come from) might treat her kids.

They fought. She summoned Madama Butterfly to kill his angels. If she were less angry with him she would probably have summoned Dante. Fortunately, the sage clearly had no intention of hurting the twins. He held them securely, kept them from taking any hits, and even tried not to jerk them about too quickly. The large summoned allies knocked them both into the water. Cereza woke up and carried Loki to the surface. She looked around but the Sage was nowhere in sight. Great. And Loki wasn’t moving. Terrific.

“Little one?” She shook him only for him to laugh at her concern. “Brat!” She knocked him to the ground. Rosa and Evan wouldn’t get away with that kind of behavior.

Before they continued on she had something to do.

“Dante!” It only took him two seconds to jump through her portal, far above his average.

“Give me your hand.” He gave her a suspicious look but obeyed. She immediately took his wrist and twisted his arm behind his back. She pressed a barrel-heal to the back of his neck, forcing him down until his shoulder popped out of place. They were equally fast so she usually resorted to tricks to catch him but once she had a hold of him there was little he could do to escape considering she was several times stronger than him.

“Care to explain why a Luman Sage is carrying my babies?!”

“It wasn’t my, ow, entirely my fault! Cut that out.”

“Insufficient response.” She crushed all the bones in his wrist, it made her feel better.

“Hey! Pretty sure this is spousal abuse. Ow! It was a coordinated ditching, alright?”

“The five year olds ganged up on you?”

“Said they needed to use the bathroom then ran off.”

“Ugh,” she pushed him away, he didn’t fall. “Still your fault, I was never so disobedient at that age.”

“Yeah?” he smirked and easily popped his shoulder back into place and realigned the bones in his wrist. “Jeanne says you snuck off to see your mother all the time.”

“That’s different. I was running towards my parent not away from them.” He couldn’t argue with that.

“We’ll find them and they’ll be in trouble. They demonic enough for you to summon yet?”

It was a valid question, encountering angels might jump start their demon blood. She concentrated on her magic, feeling the connection she had with her children. “No.”

“Right, so you want to look for them yourself, both of us? Make Vergil wait?”

“You lost them, you find them.” Also this mess with Loki was looking more and more like Umbra Witch business, meaning it was her duty to deal with. She didn’t tell him that though and he didn’t question, he had some redeeming qualities.

Loki waited until Dante left to say anything. “You still want to go to the mountain?” Loki asked.

“Don’t you?”

“I’m not heartless. Keeping toddlers safe is more important than my memories.”

“While I appreciate that, Dante will handle it, or he will if he knows what’s good for him.”

Loki looked amused by this but wisely didn’t run his mouth for once and just turned into his squirrel form.

POV change; Balder

 

“Wee!”

“Let’s do that again!”

“Are both of you alright?” Balder asked and put the children down to check for himself.

“Yeah, we’re fine.”

“That was fun!”

“Look it’s Mummy.” They stood on a high ledge overlooking where Cereza exited the lake. Balder watched his grown daughter talk with the evil child then summon a man who looked human yet responded to demonic summons.

“Who’s that man?” He could guess from how Cereza put him in an arm lock.

“That’s Daddy.”

“How can you not know that?”

“I told you, Rosa, I haven’t seen dear Cereza in a long time,” he stroked the two tone hair of the pouting little girl. “I haven’t met your father. Can you tell me about him, perhaps?”

“I’m named after Grandma Eva,” Evan said proudly.

“Daddy’s named Dante.”

“I see,” Balder patted Evan’s head so he didn’t feel left out. “Do you know who your daddy’s father is?”

“Sparda.”

“The Dark Knight?” That explained the power in their blood and bone. He’d never heard of a forth angel or devil but if anyone’s genes would be up to the task it would be Sparda’s wouldn’t it?

“Yep, look look.” Evan spun about and tugged at his shirt. “I got bones like Grandpa Sparda.” His spine was made of black scales.

“That’s nice, Evan. Don’t play with that, Rosa.” Balder stopped the girl from running little hands over his holstered weapons.

“Rosa, show him your bones,” Evan demanded and tugged at the waistband of his sister’s pants.

“No, I wanna see Ganddaddy’s magic.” Rosa continued to try to play with Balder’s weapons and Lumen Sage garb. She completely ignored her brother even when he pulled down her pants.

“Evan, don’t strip your sister. Rosa, that’s not a toy.” Balder was suddenly vividly glad Cereza was an only child.

Later

Cereza followed Loki through the city, up a tower, down a pit, and finally to a stone submarine. The devils weren’t anything she couldn’t handle, at least until a massive appeared from nowhere to swallow them.

She took a sojourn through the monster’s intestines and finally found Loki trapped behind some sort of membrane. The Lumen sage was there as well, sans children.

“Where are my kids?”

“With their father.” He spoke for the first time.

“Good, now you just have to back off from this little one.”

“Step aside, witch, this doesn’t involve you.”

“Actually, it does.”

Their combat quickly turned into a bloody mess as the walls around them became collateral damage. The fight with the sage continued until they were interrupted by the demon exploding, guess the build of internal bleeding was just too much for it. While the ride was anything but first class, the devil had brought them right to the entrance to Inferno. When they busted out of it’s insides they barely had to walk at all.
Loki helped her reach the doors, only for them to be jumped by the sage again. The Sage met them at the gate and this time he had a friend. This man was translucent blue all over as if he were a projection not an actual being. He also wore the most garish outfit but he wielded considerable power so she couldn’t mock him for his fashion choices.

Loki opened the gates. The prophet teleported away but the rest of them fell through the gates into hell.

Although finally in hell, Cereza had to take the time to save Loki again, this time from a devil woman named Alraune. Rodin showed up at the end of the fight to finish off Alraune and turn her into a devil arm.

“Rodin, I expect you know where my unfortunate brother-in-law is?”

“One of Sparda’s Sons this side of Earth, and Mundus too dead to call first bites? It’s a damn feeding frenzy and in this case I mean that literally.”

“And what are you doing here, Rodin? I would have thought you’d be in the buffet line,”

“It’s hard to justify not doing favors for friends when those friends can kick your ass.”

“In that case, you’re with me. Little One stay here and try not to get eaten, again.” Loki flipped her off but obediently stayed in Alune’s ruined castle. Rodin summoned them a flying devil to ride.

The flight took a while, Vergil probably hadn’t landed straight at Findlebenter even if he’d been moving in their direction. The mob of demons made it obvious when they reached their destination. Vergil wisely had his back to a sheer drop. The demons still managed to form a circle around him, flying ones hovering at the cliff over open air. Weaklings and cowards/intellectuals hung back, out of striking distance, picking at the corpses Vergil created.

Cereza sighed, she didn’t wait in lines. She summoned Madama Butterfly to her location, an easy task as she had less distance and no planes of reality to travel. “Step aside insects, or be stepped on.” The peanut gallery wisely scattered and let the witch and powerful devil through. When she got to the center however, the ones dumb enough to take on Virgil were also dumb enough to attack her. She had to shoot and cut her way through before spotting her query.

“Brother-in-law.” Vergil, devil form, turned at her voice.

“Bayonetta,” he politely didn’t use her real name in front of an audience.

“Hi,” Madama Butterfly waved. “Madama Styx failed to mention how handsome you are.”

“You can ask for his autograph latter,” Cereza rolled her eyes at her demon.

“Can you get me out of here, or not?”

“Assuming Jeanne’s put you back together, I was told not to ask,” she shot a devil in the face as it got too close.

“Don’t.” His growl might have been menacing if she hadn’t seen him hold her babies or comfort Nero.

“We need some space. Rodin?”

“I see my next three paydays in this crowd.” Madama blew Vergil a kiss.

“Let’s go then.” She sprinted for the cliff edge, Vergil right beside her. They slashed through anyone in their way and flew into open air. Rodin and Madama Butterfly kept the crowd busy.

As she fell, Cereza fired both guns, creating a magic circle with the bullets. Vergil landed in the center as she took the outside edge. For a recently dead half-devil all they needed was a simple gateway. One on Jeanne’s end and one here to reconnect his body and soul. Cereza could cast this spell at age eight. Now it depended on Jeanne.

Meanwhile in Fortuna
The previous morning

Nero really didn’t care much about his parent’s organization. Dad just used the humans as information gathers and lab assistants. Mom was the one who played city politics. Dad called it a replacement for the coven she’d grown up in and lost. Even after marrying Mom, Dad was pretty down on humans. He treated anyone who couldn’t take down a devil solo as Mom’s pet more than anything. Nero didn’t bother to know the name of most Order officials or many of the soldiers he occasionally fought with. Kyrie and Credo were really his only friends in Fortuna which suited him just fine. Being the bosses’ kid and the third most powerful person in town had the advantages of being able to go just about anywhere and get away with just about anything. Credo bossed him around but he and Santurous were the only ones who dared.

Care or not, Nero had a lot of chores around town. Mom and Dad kept him focused mostly on his own training (as a swordsman, devil, marksman, and witch) but he had knight duties as well. Sparring with Credo and other knights, practicing spells with Kyrie, library and artifact archiving, training junior knights, occasional missions, and of course killing any devils milling about the city. The latter of which took up more and more time in the past couple weeks. The magical wards and barriers were supposed to keep these weaklings out, where were they coming from? Nero couldn’t even ask his parents because Mom was on a mission and Dad disappeared a few days ago.

Nero abused the hell out of witch time, which he didn’t really need to kill these weak devils, so he could get to Kyrie’s performance on time.

After Kyrie’s song and Sancturous’ speech everybody stopped to pray. Mom explained it wasn’t weird, it was just honoring Sparda’s memory and legacy. Nero used to send out a mental “Thanks for having Dad so he could have me. Sucks you’re dead” or something like that at prayer time. But now that he fully understood what happened to devils when they died he didn’t bother. He glanced around to confirm that neither parent had wandered in when he wasn’t looking then stood up to leave.

“Nero?” Kyrie asked.

“I’m otta here.”

“But it’s not over yet.”

“With Mom and Dad awol I gotta watch the boarder.” He explained. Kyrie stood to follow him. They barely stepped into the isle when his arm reacted to demonic energy, familiar demonic energy. Dante? He looked up at the ceiling just in time to watch a skylight shatter. Nero wasn’t initially alarmed, Uncle Dante did dramatic stunts like that and could just be stopping by to deliver the mail or something. Regardless, he didn’t have time to react before Dante landed on Sancturus’ dais and shot the old man in the face. The hall was stunned silent. Nero recovered first, Credo a second later.

“What the fuck?”

“His Holiness!” The knights charged at his shout.

“No, you dumbasses!” Nero couldn’t worry about them for a second. Everybody in the stands started screaming and running. He led Kyrie to the door to make sure she wasn’t trampled. She didn’t hesitate, she knew who Dante was and was smarter than Credo.

Nero used a spectral fist to knock Dante away from the humans. “Do you have a hole in your head, Credo? Get the knights out of here,”

“I’ll return with reinforcements!”

“Yeah right.” Like that would do any good.

Dante was either holding back or whatever was controlling him didn’t have full access to his powers and arsenal. Nero was actually wining a fight against Dante for the first time in his life. Nero threw him into the statue of Sparda and impaled him there with Rebellion. For a second everything was quiet.

“Getting better.” Dante stopped playing dead. “Vergil’s taught you some of his tricks.” He pushed himself off the statue.

“That didn’t do it?” Nero took a second to catch his breath. “Not a just wearing Uncle Dante’s face then?”

“I’ve told you a hundred times, Kid.” Dante started to pull Rebellion out of his chest. “Don’t, call me, uncle.” There wasn’t even a scratch where the sword had skewered him. “Makes me feel old.”

“Hi, Nero!” “Hi, Nero!”

“Huh?” He looked up where the unexpected chorus came from. Rosa and Evan peeked their heads over the edge of the busted glass of the skylight. “You brought them?”

“It’s a family mater, you, me, them.” Dante smugly gestured to one of the fallen knights. Nero thought the knights were human, all the ones he’d met were, but this man’s face was demonic.

“Huh?”

“Climb on, Kids.” Dante jumped up to the skylight while Nero wasn’t looking and picked up Evan and Rosa. “I’ve got these two to watch so don’t get yourself killed while I’m working, kay, Kid?”

“Hey! Get back here!”

Uncle Dante was a showoff and couldn’t resist a final wave. “See you around.”

Credo returned with more knights predictably too late. Kyrie brought Nero the Red Queen sword.

“Witnesses say he’s heading to Fortuna castle.”

“Guess, I’m following him.” Without Mom or Dad, Nero was the only one anywhere near Dante’s league, mind controlled or not.

“Please be careful,” Kyrie said. Nero smiled when he saw she was wearing the necklace he’d selected for her.

“I must return to headquarters and give my report.” Credo started to leave but screams diverted their attention outside. A swarm of weak puppet-like devils were attacking the townsfolk.

Kyrie wasn’t a swordsman but she had an innate talent for magic, one Mother took full advantage of. Kyrie wielded a variety of healing chants, defensive spells, and wards. She could strengthen the cities barriers with her singing and would one day be in charge of maintaining all of Fortuna’s magical defenses. Or in this case, she could summon up a quick shield to repel the demon about to pounce on a child. Nero ran over and slashed it in two so Kyrie could pull the boy to safety.

Credo and Kyrie led the bystanders to safety while Nero killed the demons and tracked the invasion to its source.

“What the hell?” Nero found a spiral machine creating/controlling the scarecrows. It wasn’t quite witch magic, looked almost like something Dad would make. He removed the magic relic acting as its power source and watched it power down. The relic controlling it wasn’t one he’d seen before in the Fortuna library, it looked new.

He followed the scarecrows and more powerful demons through the city outskirts to a bunch of warehouses on the fringe.

“That supposed to be a gate?” he noticed a large slab of stone that wasn’t there before. A centaur like devil made of lava rock appeared from it, confirming it was a gate.

“The human world, it’s been a while.” The devil looked around. It completely ignored Nero until he put all the fires it had set out. “How curious.”

“Fire’s bad for the complexion, I burn never tan.” Nero channeled a bit of Mom while mocking the idiot devil.

“When I came to this world 2000 years ago there was no human as the likes of you.”

“I’m an Umbra Witch, asshole, learn the name.”

“Silence!” He tried to stab Nero who easily caught his massive sword with his own.

“2000 years, huh? Maybe you didn’t know this world’s off limits, so I’ll give you one chance to get the fuck back where you belong.”

“Futile pest! You will suffer the wrath of…”

“Blah, blah, blah,” Nero rolled his eyes over the devil’s boasting. “I tried being nice, now your soul’s never leaving Earth.” Nero proceeded to kick the devil's ass.

“Your arm, you are not human.”

“You just noticed? The damn thing drives me crazy.”

“You’re just like him.”

“‘Him’, huh? Sounds like you met Grandpa Sparda which means you have no excuse for showing up here.” Nero killed the devil before it could regroup. He picked up the devil arm it turned into. A jetpack looking thing with several hundred exploding energy swords. Nero experimented with it to destroy the devil gate. “Huh, better than I expected from a dumb demon.” He sheathed it in his arm with the rest of his weapons and continued on his way.

Nero continued through a part of the city that had been turned artic by a devil gate. He was ready to kill another swarm of weak devils but paused when a woman he didn’t recognize started fighting them. A woman in an impractical outfit who made more sex noises while fighting than Aunt Cereza, and that’s saying something. She fought a bit like Aunt Cereza too. He wasn’t sure if she was an Order member or not, at least until a familiar magic arrow blasted a devil the woman had missed.

“Hey Patty,” Nero grinned at the girl and her invisible bow that continued to look dorky. Patty didn’t have the requisite ten years experience to fight solo but that didn’t mean she couldn’t kick serious ass. Well, she wasn’t supposed to fight devils solo, she’d killed one just to prove to a point to Dad and badger him into teaching her devil magic.

“It’s Patricia.” Unlike most other fighters Nero knew, Patty favored disposable weapons. She had a short sword and buckler for close combat but mostly used throwing knives, arrows, potions, bombs, grenades, scrolls, tripwires and magical traps; most of which she made herself. As such she wore pink cargo pants and a harness lined with poaches in addition to the standard Kevlar Holy Knight tunic. Not to mention all her enchanted jewelry and ribbons. She outgrew her nickname but never her fondness for nice things.

“Only slightly pretentious.” She stuck out her tongue at him he didn’t hesitate to make a face back. Credo accused him of it, but Nero didn’t like Patty romantically, never had. She was too high strung for his tastes and more like a sister or the original annoying cousin. “And who’s,” he looked to her companion only to see her bend over in a cleavage revealing way and quickly looked back to Patty, “that?”

“Trish.”

“Really?” Her energy didn’t feel demonic at all and he could now look at her without getting turned on. Not only was Trish like an aunt, the fact she looked so much like Grandma made her cleavage more awkward than anything.

“Pretty good, huh?” Patty must have helped with her disguise to sound so smug about it.

“It’s supposed to be a secret,” Gloria/Trish said. “Your mother had some misgivings about The Order’s loyalty, and asked me to infiltrate. Founded concerns apparently.”

“Dante hasn’t gone off the deep end, then?”

“If he has it’s unrelated.”

“Heh, Santurous is a fallen angel, right? How much trouble could he be?”

“We don’t know that yet.”

“Why do you think we’re undercover? Here.” Patty tossed him a healing crystal and an energy bar from her pockets. “Don’t know if Santurous considers you a friend or enemy yet, so don’t be too surprised if Order members start attacking you.”

“Noted. I’ll leave these weaklings to you guys.”

“We’ll meet up with the rest of The Order, find out what’s going on.”

Nero left them and continued searching the building and surrounding area for the devil’s gate. Thanks to the heads up he wasn’t surprised when an Order suit of armor tried to kill him.

Nero shut down another machine, killed a toad demon in the courtyard, and went through several needlessly complicated rooms before finally finding another member of the Order. A man who introduced himself as Agnus, wearing order colors stood on the other side of a glass wall.

“Hey, I know who you are. You’re the stuttering idiot lab assistant Dad keeps bitching about.”

“Assistant? Watch your words!” Agnus shouted then muttered to himself and wrote on a clipboard. This was getting tiresome. He’d been at it for hours and still hadn’t found either of his parents. When the man threatened to kill him he snarked back.

“Don’t you think that’s a little harsh, killing me because of the way I tttalk?” Agnus growled and siked small flying demons on him. “Great, more demons.”

Nero killed the small demons and busted through the glass wall.

The man shrieked as he fell down. Not so tough now. Nero landed in front of him and scanned the room quickly for more devils, his arm was still glowing. What he saw made him preform the fastest double take of his life.
“Shit!” A glowing cylinder in the center of the room. The light had the same color and feel as Dad’s magic which helped recognize the figure inside. A figure in multiple pieces. Mechanized blades or perhaps more of those sword demons cut his arms or legs off ever few seconds. Dad had an insane ability to heal but it looked like they were doing a fine job of overriding it. “For your sake he better be alive!” He pointed Red Queen at the man. He looked intimidated for all of a second then started waxing poetic about Nero’s arm.

“That’s the power, concentrated and perfect?” Agnus pointed at Nero’s arm. Nero didn’t know what he was talking about but really didn’t care.

“Hey, did you even hear me?” Nero swung the Red Queen at him but the man caught it with a surprising show of strength.

“If you want answers. Then I shall give them to you. It’s only been a few years since we began this research. Could we isolate and bind demonic power? It could enable us to conquer the world. And that, that is the wish of His Holiness.”

“Conquer the world? What a crock. The whole point of the Order of the Sword is to prevent that.”

“Ah, but his Holiness has been reborn as an angel, and so will I.”

“I don’t care, jackass.” Nero interrupted. “Just turn this shit off.” Nero had ever intention of running the cocky bastard through and shooting his machines if he didn’t comply immediately. Then the man smirked at him. Nero wondered why for half a second then noticed a gust of wind. He didn’t react fast enough to dodge or activate witch time before something stabbed him through the chest. He slammed into the far wall. Nero had the vague thought that for all the times Dad, Uncle Dante, and Aunt Cereza beat him up they’d never actually skewered him. Then the suits of armor stabbed him again and he had no more thoughts except pain.

The animated armor left Nero hanging on the wall. Agnus babbled at him which Nero completely ignored and tried to summon the strength to move. He only looked up when Agnus said something about not needing Dad anymore. Agnus cut Dad’s head off. Ah shit.
“I will have that arm.” Agnus turned to him.

Ah, fuck. Nero couldn’t die like this. Kyrie, Mom, Dad, fuck! He needed to protect Kyrie. What was the point of being a witch or his damn arm if he couldn’t save anyone? His senses were suddenly overwhelmed. Kyrie’s screams, the tingling from his arm traveled through his whole body, blue fire behind his eyes. Something formidable attached to his right hand, extending his arm into something sharp and deadly yet natural and comfortable. Nero pulled himself to his feet. He hung above his body, moving it almost like a puppet on a string. Kill the armors, send Agnus running, who cares if he becomes a demon?

Then as soon as the rush started, it ended. Nero sat down heavily as he found himself back inside his head. Where he’d been stabbed didn’t hurt and Yamato was in his hand. Nero chuckled to himself, what the hell was that? Aunt Cereza would be making all sorts of climax jokes right now.

Once he’d recovered Nero took a second to confirm that Dad was beyond-healing-spells-dead and then decided to destroy every machine in the room out of spite.

After shooting a particularly important looking console, Nero’s phone rang. He fished it out of his pocket.
“Hello?”

“Hi, Baby, you alright?”

“Mom? Where are you?”

“Still at the city outskirts, I’m afraid. It took me forever to get past their wards. I taught someone too well, even kept me from calling.”

“That explains it.” Nero kept talking and shot the last bit of machinery. “The Order’s gone completely nuts.”

“I felt some fluxes in demonic energy a few minutes ago. Was that you or your father?”

“Yeah, ‘bout that.” He glanced back at Vergil’s corpse. “Dad’s dead.”

“Tsk.” She didn’t seem overly surprised. “You’re okay, though?”

“Little banged up.” And his favorite hoodie was likely unsalvageable. “But now Santurous has pissed me off.”

“That’s my boy. Text me the address and I’ll pick up your father’s remains. As long as Cereza finds his soul soon I should be able to fix him good as new.”

“You sent Aunt Cereza to hell?” That was snicker worthy.

“She volunteered, the crazy girl. She and Dante are perfect for each other.”

“Got that right.”

“Please be careful, Nero. Power form Paridisio or no, Santourus isn’t one to fuck with.”

“Yeah, I got it.” Nero finished searching the lab for anything useful and went to the door. “And this counts as my final Umbra test. I want the gun shoes and shit after this.”

Break
At a meeting for Order Officials Credo was speaking.
“That’s the situation so far, as reported by Nero’s girlfriend.”

Patty slammed a fist on the table and stood to glare at the slightly older man. “For the last time, Credo! Nero and I aren’t fucking! Never have been, never will be. Even if I found scaly devil parts attractive, which I don’t, he’s been obsessed with Kyrie since long before I met him.” Credo looked ready to say something in return but Santurous interrupted their glaring match.

“Children, sit.” They continued glowering at each other but obeyed.

“Credo!” Agnus barged into the meeting. And shouted at Credo for losing control of Nero.

“Credo,” Sanctourus interrupted.

“Yes, your Holiness?”

“can you apprehend this boy?”

“If that is your wish. But then who will track the witch?”

“I’ll take care of the witch.” Gloria offered. “Patricia,” Patty nodded to and rose to follow the other woman. Gloria bowed briefly at the exit. “It’s good to see your holiness has recovered.”

“May the Savior guard you,” Patty added with a haughty look to Credo, indicating how she expected his fight with Nero to go.

~DMC4~

“Heh, not so tough.” Nero struck the flying, flytrap, dragon, devil a final time. She roared and dove for him. He thought she was trying to bite him so dodged but realized she was actually going for the rift back to her home in hell. “Witch Time!” He slowed her to a crawl then ran in front of her. Nero created a spectral hand to slam her face into the ground right as time resumed its normal pace. She hissed angrily so he kicked her in the face. His devil hand held her pinned.

“You can fly, burrow, shoot needles and control plants? Pretty handy.” Nero stepped on the female devil’s face and leaned over her. He held Yamato, ready to slice off her tail if she used it again.

“Then kill me here, fiend.”

“Nah, I’ve had enough of shit devil arms. So, here are your options. I summon up a friend of the family who will not only kill you but torture you into a custom devil arm that does exactly what I want.” She tried to raise her tail so he swung Yamato like Dad taught him, creating a flying blade with the air. She shrieked as the end of her tail was sliced off. “OR, you sign this. *Contract*” A bit of Enocian to summon a floating scroll.

“No! your order died 500 years ago.”

“Ugh, why is everyone so damn surprised? We downsized and stop that wailing or I’m dialing Rodin.” She finally quieted and tilted her head to read the terms.

The contract Nero had written up in his spare time didn’t offer a friendly partnership like Mom had with Madama Styx. Rather, a servanthood where he could enslave as many other devils as he liked and terms were subject to change on his whim.

“My children?”

“Fine. *Change wording from ‘lesser devils and minions’ to ‘lesser devils, minions, and childeren’.* Happy?”

She scanned the contract again. “My name is Echidna Queen of Plants.”

“Alright, Echidna Queen of Plants and Eternal Servant of Nero,” he let her up but didn’t lower his guard. “Let’s make it official.”

 

~DMC4~

“I am an angel!” Credo glowed gold for half a second. Nothing else happened.

“Uh oh, performance issues?” Patty appeared on the walkway with a far too smug an expression on her face. “Almost like someone slipped a talisman in your pocket to drain away all your power the next time you tried to summon it.” Nero stifled a laugh. Credo patted down his clothes. “Santorous gave you a lot more power than he did me. You filled up two extra rings.” She showed him these glowing rings, which were on her two middle fingers. Nero went ahead and snickered this time. Credo was such an idiot. Credo found the talisman and angrily threw it away.

“Traitor!”

“Bullshit! This organization was started by a devil and a witch, dumbass.”

“Heh,” Nero scratched his nose idly and made to walk around them. “while you two flirt, I’m going to go avenge my parents.”

“Bite me,” was Patty’s response to suggesting she might like Credo.

“By the order of his Holiness…” Credo swung his sword at Nero as he tried to walk past. Nero knocked him over effortlessly.

“Please, you couldn’t beat me if you had a million years.”

They were interrupted by a gasp. “Kyrie?” Nero quickly turned around. “Kyrie, this isn’t what it looks like.”

“Kyrie, come over here,” Patty tried to wave her over.

“Why are you fighting?” She didn’t follow Patty’s order. Nero took a step towards her.

Agnus ran to join them and leaned into Kyrie’s space. “Stay where you are. I have no intention of harming her. Yet.” He placed his sword at her throat.

“You son of a-“ Nero lunged at Agnus but he positioned Kyrie between them. “She has nothing to do with this. Let her go!” Nero shouted.

“Agnus!” Credo yelled over him. “How dare you use my sister? This is my fight and I will finish it. Let her go.”

“His Holiness predicted your defeat and has decreed that your sister will be utilized.”

“What!” Credo shouted. Nero wasn’t about to risk Kyrie. He activated his witch time. The world around him slowed. He reached for Kyrie with his human hand, devil one drawing Yamato. From nowhere Agnus’ devil sword flashed out and sliced off almost half his hand. Apparently, he also had a time manipulation spell. Nero may have swore, definitely lost hold of witch time as he stumbled and pulled his injured hand to his chest.

Although Kyrie wasn’t a fighter she wasn’t a delicate flower either. She struck Agnus square in the jaw with a repelling spell that would have floored a normal human. As it was, Agnus barely flinched and summoned suits of armor and demons to swarm down from the castle. Agnus flew away while they were distracted.

“Fuck.” Nero cut one of the devils in half and glowered at his human hand that regrew fingers far too slowly for his liking. Credo blocked the sword swing from a suit of armor so Patty could slap a Japanese style seal to it and shout “Disenchant!” They killed the armor and devils. Nero sheathed Yamato and flexed his newly grown left fingers.

“His Holiness use, Kyrie?”

“I’ll take that apology now,” Patty removed the rings on her middle fingers and one of her necklaces. Nero thought she was kidding but Credo took her seriously. He bowed and offered overly formal apologies to them both. Patty tied the rings to the cord and tossed it to Credo. “Here, make yourself useful.”

“Where’d Trish get to?” Nero asked.

“She’s looking for your mom. Even if she’s gotten in the city by now she has a ton of devils to fight through.”

“Your skills are best suited to finding the witch. Go, Nero and I will rescue Kyrie.” Patty ignored him and looked to Nero expectantly.

“Yeah, Credo’ll tell me about any other traps the Order’s set. You and Trish take care of the city and find Mom. Dante’s around here somewhere, too.”

“Your call, Boss.” Patty saluted with half-sarcasm. She summoned the angel wings Sancturous had gifted her and flew off towards the city limits.

~DMC4~

Credo got his ass handed to him quickly, leaving Nero alone to try and take on the giant statue Sancturous brought to life. It didn't go well. He got sucked in and lost tack of time until someone cut him loose. Nero fell out of the fleshy bindings he’d been attached to the statue with.

“There you are.” Mom joined him inside the statue.

“Mom, about time you show up.” He got to his feet and shook himself off.

“Sorry about that, Dear. I had to bring your father back to life."

“Dad here too?”

“Outside. He is very annoyed.”

“Heh, I bet.”

You want to take on Sanctus by yourself?”

"Unless you have a problem with that.”

“You're a witch now, you can kill your first arch angel. I’ll search this monstrosity for any other humans they’re using as fuel.” She smiled before walking deeper into the statue. “Scream if you need back up.”

Back to Bayonetta:
Cereza sent Vergil home then returned to pick up Loki. Only to find the Sage trying to kill the kid yet again.

“Why must you keep interfering?” The sage complained.

“He still owes me some answers.”

“What?” Loki’s forehead started to glow. “Get away from me!” He warned before he sent out a blue explosion of light.

Cereza found herself in the familiar fight between witches and sages 500 years ago. She spent several fun minutes fighting along side her mother. Things were as she remembered until Loki’s evil twin approached her.

“Who are you?”

“Never mind that. Something more important to talk about, my dear. The witch and the sage are still alive, trifling creatures both of them, I must be rid of them as soon as possible. I want what they have. I want back what is mine, the eyes of the world.”

“What?”

“The other me escaped to the future and I can’t let him have them. Which is why I must see you eliminated my dear.”

The evil being beat her back long enough for him to fly away and beat her to the bell tower where he killed Rosa in front of Balder, the sage she’d been fighting all this time. Now it made sense why he was after Loki. Fortunately, she was there to point out that the boys had different symbols on their foreheads and were different people. She then ran up to the skylight to open a time portal.

“Balder! The dimensional portal is opening! We need to get back to my time! There’s no time!” He wouldn’t leave Rosa’s side.

“Rosa!”

“Balder!” Finally he jumped up to grab her hand. She couldn’t help but spare a final glance to her mother. “Mummy…”

Cereza hadn’t expected the sage to really be Balder. She took a second to ponder this as the spell brought them back through time. She’d given up on her father as being anyone worthy of admiration. When she’d last seen him he’d been a crazed cultist. She doubted if he’d ever really loved her or Rosa. This younger man was entirely different. Dedicated, calm, and painfully in love with Rosa. What on Earth happened to change this badass warrior into the man she’d met? She needed to get a hold of herself before tried to introduce him to the twins, properly this time.

“What is this place?” Balder asked when they arrived.

“We’re in my time. There’s no time to explain we need to get to the mountain.”

“What is upon the mountain?”

“I don’t know but it’s where the being who created the Eyes of the World once lived, and now someone is after that power.”

“The eyes? But how can we reach that place? We’re in Vigrid.” The floor started to shake.

“Jump!”

“Jump?”

“That wasn’t a request.”

“Have you lost your sanity?”

“Sanity isn’t a requirement for our kind.” They ran out of the crumbing building right as Nero, with his mother’s prefect timing flew by with a jet.

Like the badasses they were, she and Balder landed perfectly on the wings and went for a ride. They landed on the wings of a passing jet and changed back into human form. The jet already had a devil passenger and a witch pilot. “And your kind are?”

“The kind of witches you don’t fuck with. I have to admit, I like you much better this way, Balder. You actually shut up and follow directions.”

“What did you call him?” Vergil looked over. Whoops, almost forgot about him.

“Vergil, feeling better?” Her question went ignored. Vergil glowered at Balder and might have said something soon but Nero was more talkative than his father and spoke first.

“Who’s this guy?”

“Friend of mine,” she said sarcastically, expecting Balder to correct her but he didn’t. Balder eyed Vergil, clearly not a witch, studied Nero, clearly using witch magic to fly the jet, noted the familial similarities and said nothing.

“Friend?” Nero said incredulously

“What are you doing here, Nero? I expected you to be home with that girl of yours.” This successfully made him embarrassed and lay off Balder.

“Mom and Kyrie are rebuilding the wards. And Dad insisted on killing something.” He gave his sire a frustrated look that was so obviously inherited from Jeanne it was adorable.

“Anyway. This should get us to Fimblventer at mach speed.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that, witch,” Balder pointed out the flying welcoming party waiting for them. Vergil didn’t hesitate to enter devil form and teleport to the nearest enemy.

“You two not getting off?”

“We have a meeting at the temple. Be a dear and fly us there.”

“Whatever.”

“What a respectful next generation of Umbra,” Balder made an unexpected comment.

“I know, his mother babies him far too much.” Nero flipped them off through the windscreen.

In a minute they got close enough to the mountain to jump. Cereza leapt. Balder followed her as they landed in front of the temple doors.

Loki and his evil twin Loptr were two halves of Aesir and the evil half wanted the eyes back.

“We might need some muscle. Dante.” She summoned him for a final time this day.

“Hey, am I late?”

“For once, no. Put the kids with Luka then be a dear and help me kill a god.”

“A god?” That successfully got his attention.

With Dante’s help they held their own until Loki activated his last power to destroy the eyes entirely, leaving Loptr largely powerless. Just when things were wrapping up nicely Loptr tried to open a time portal and escape. Balder trapped the malevolent spirit in his body, preventing it from being reborn.

“Grandaddy!” Rosa screamed and sprinted towards them on little legs.

“Shit, hey!” Dante ran interference, scooping the girl up before she got too close and grabbing Evan before he could follow his sister.

“You’ve, known who I am this whole time?” Cereza tried not to tear up as she realized it was truly this brave, self-sacrificing man who was her father not the crazed cultist.
Cereza stared at this man. She barely had time to realize that this final sacrifice was what turned her father evil, not any fault of his own, and then she had to say goodbye. “Daddy!” she reached for him as he fell through the portal. She wished she knew him better.

“You crying, Mummy?” Evan asked, walking over to her now that Dante allowed it.

“Just a little, Dear, Mummy’s allowed.”

“Grandaddy left?” Evan hugged her.

“Yes, Little One. We won’t see Balder ever again.”

“Sorry, Mummy.”

Dante still looked a bit confused by the time travel but didn’t ask in front of the kids. Instead, he adjusted Rosa in his arms and noticed she was holding something.

“What have you got there?”

“My locket. Grandaddy changed it for me. He said it suits me better now.”

“May I see?” Cereza held out her hand for it. Rosa passed it over. The metal shone pale gold in the sunlight, the purple gems now diamonds, and the Umbran symbol of power replaced with that of the Luman Sages.

“He wouldn’t change mine. Said I was too much like Granma Rosa,” Evan whined.

“Well, I think he might be right,” Cereza ruffled Evan’s hair and helped Rosa tuck the locket back under her shirt. “I’ll explain later.” She said, some to the kids mostly to Dante. Dante shrugged to indicate he didn’t particularly care either way.