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It's a Hard Life

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It all began with a cold shower.

Ever since escaping from Hell, Vergil had had no choice but to live with Dante in his shop; a decision which he was steadily beginning to regret. As soon as he stepped into the shower, Vergil was met with a blast of cold water, causing goosebumps to rise all over his body.

"Damn it Dante, how many times do I have to remind you…" he muttered under his breath, wrapping a towel around his midriff and stepping out into the shop's main foyer. As he started to make his way towards the perpetually empty hot water metre, the front double doors suddenly burst open and Lady sauntered her way in, removing a pair of sunglasses. Vergil froze in place, unsure whether to retreat or keep going.

"Hey! Dante, are you-" Lady's words froze on her lips as she caught sight of a very dishevelled looking man wrapped in a small towel facing her. "Oh! Uh… Sorry, Dante…" Lady said, averting her eyes. "Guess I shoulda knocked huh…"

Vergil said nothing and decided to continue towards the metre. He stopped at the desk halfway and rummaged around in one of the drawers a little, before retrieving a bit of pocket change. "This ought to cover… Ten minutes maybe?" he said quietly to himself, ignoring the obviously embarrassed woman who was trying to look in the other direction. He walked over to the box on the wall and started to insert the coins, each one making an awkward clunk that echoed in the silence between them. Finally, Lady spoke again.

"Uh, so… I guess I'm just so used to walking in, I didn't think to knock. Although, whoever decided to build their bathroom leading into the front lobby of their shop clearly didn't plan ahead." She snuck a cheeky glance at the man behind her who was now starting to make his way back to the bathroom. "Are… Are you mad at me?" she asked, turning to face Vergil's retreating back completely, still none the wiser.

Vergil stopped walking and looked over his shoulder slightly. He wanted to get back to the shower before all the hot water ran out again. "Dante isn't here," he said at last, slicking his hair back with one hand, while the other attempted to keep the towel from slipping down. "Come back later." With that, he walked into the bathroom and slammed the door behind him, leaving Lady with a very confused expression on her face. As the realisation of what had just happened sunk in, she felt her face flush and quickly ran outside to try and cool herself down.

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Five minutes later Vergil emerged from the bathroom, this time fully dressed minus his coat, and with the towel now wrapped around his shoulders. The shower had lasted nowhere near as long as he had hoped. He made an internal note that he would have to do something about this and started to head upstairs, only to find Lady sitting on Dante's chair at the big desk in the middle of the room. "You're still here," he said matter-of-factly, not even bothering to phrase it as a question.

"Well yeah, it's only been a few minutes," Lady said, still trying to hide her embarrassment. "I wanted to pass a message on to Dante," she continued. And apologise to you, she thought, but she knew she wouldn't be able to.

"You couldn't just leave a note or something?" Vergil asked, taking a comb out from his back pocket and starting to brush back his already slicked hair.

Lady regarded him for a moment, admiring his exposed arms a little, despite herself, before saying something that took Vergil by surprise. "You know, you should really invest in some hair gel or something. Then you wouldn't have to keep pushing your hair out of your eyes."

Vergil's arm stopped in mid-air and he brought his hand down, placing the comb back in his pocket. "Human products don't work on… this," he said, gesturing to his silver locks.

"Is that what it is?" Lady asked, raising a disbelieving eyebrow. "Maybe you just haven't found the right product yet. Or maybe it's a comfort thing, what do I know?"

Vergil grunted in response and started to head up the stairs again. "Anyway, Dante is out on a mission tonight. Just leave a note on his desk, he'll pick it up eventually."

"I was hoping you could pass a message on actually," Lady said, swinging around in the chair until she faced Vergil was who still hesitating near the bottom of the almost inconspicuous staircase, which was mostly hidden in the shadows. Lady hadn't even realised there were stairs in the shop until a good few months after she had first started hanging out there. From what she knew of the few times she had been up there, it was mostly just rooms full of junk, and now Vergil's room. Dante, being the lazy bum that he was, often just slept on the couch in the corner of the lobby, but he did apparently have his own room on the ground floor somewhere behind one of a few hidden doors.

"I'm not your errand boy," Vergil said coldly, starting to ascend. No sooner had Lady hopped off the chair and started to make her way towards him, than she suddenly found the tip of Yamato pointed at her forehead. "Do not approach me from behind without warning, woman," Vergil growled. "Next time I may not be so lenient." He sheathed his katana and continued upwards, saying nothing further.

"Wow… Jerk," Lady said, just quiet enough that she hoped he couldn't hear her. She found a piece of paper on the desk and wrote down a location and a time, before leaving it in a place she hoped was obvious enough. With one last look behind her towards the shadowy staircase, she put her sunglasses back on and finally left.

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The slam of the doors closing was a welcome sound to Vergil, who let out a big sigh having realised he was unconsciously holding his breath while waiting for her to leave. Despite being back for a good few months now, he still wasn't used to dealing with Dante's… associates.

He sat himself down on the small rickety bed and looked around the dark, cramped room. The moonlight shone through the window behind the bed, illuminating things slightly. He had tried his best to make the space look as presentable as possible. He had cleared out all the junk and empty pizza boxes, he had dusted it thoroughly and replaced the carpet; hell, he had even repainted the walls and lined them with a variety of demonology and poetry books, but it still didn't feel like home. After this evening's incident, he knew he had to do something.

After a moment of hesitation, he opened his bedside drawer and took out the flip phone that Nero had given to him as a gift to 'welcome him back to the real world'. He still wasn't entirely sure of its purpose, but he knew that if he opened it and pressed the right buttons he could talk to people. He pressed the button which connected him to Nero. After a moment, the boy answered.

"Well, this is a rare treat," the smug sounding voice answered, without so much as a hello. It always irked Vergil how Nero sounded more like his uncle than his own father. "Whatcha want, pops?"

"You know I dislike it when you refer to me that way," Vergil responded angrily, forgetting for a moment why he had called in the first place.

"Hey, lighten up already, just be glad I answered at this hour," Nero said, sounding slightly miffed. Vergil checked the clock on his bedside table. It was 11pm.

"Hmph, fine," Vergil said, the closest thing he would ever get to making an apology. "Listen, I… I need your advice," Vergil continued, trying to sound less embarrassed than he felt.

"Uh, sure? What's up?"

"I can't stay here any more," Vergil said bluntly. "It's driving me insane. I almost impaled that dark haired woman just now for walking in my direction."

"Damn dude…" Nero said, trailing off, unsure how to respond further. "And here I thought you were getting better at human interaction."

Vergil sighed again before responding. "You sound more and more like Dante every day. It displeases me."

"Aww, what's wrong dad? Getting jealous?"

It took all of Vergil's strength not to throw the phone across the room, or grip it so hard it would break. "Enough, Nero. Listen, I want you to help me find a new place to live. And… Maybe a job."

Nero was silent on the other end of the phone for so long that Vergil wondered if he had disconnected the call by accident. By the time Nero spoke again, it was clear he was trying to hold back laughter. "You? With a job? You?"

"Is that so strange?"

"Listen, I don't know how it was back in your day, but nowadays you walk into an office with a katana strapped to your hip, you'll be quick to find yourself arrested."

Vergil pondered this for a moment. "All right, so perhaps a different type of job. Something that doesn't involve office work."

"I'm gonna be honest with you pops, your choices are either officer work or manual labour, and I don't really think you're suited to either. Besides, I thought you were helping Dante run his business?" Nero said, still trying not to laugh.

"I was, but the pay is awful," Vergil replied. "Not only that, but he hardly even needs me. He just goes out with those women all the time, and with you and that redneck driving around, there's nothing left for me to do."

"Hey!" Nero said sharply. "You know I draw the line at you insulting my friends Vergil, come on." Suddenly a different voice mumbled something in the background and Nero responded quietly before coming back to the phone. "And now you've woken Kyrie up," he whispered angrily.

"Are you going to help me or not?" Vergil asked, feeling his own frustration rising.

"Let's talk about this in the morning," Nero said bluntly. "I'll give you a call after breakfast."

"Fine."

"Fine." Vergil heard the click as Nero hung up the phone. He sighed and tossed the small object towards the end of his bed, where it bounced and fell off onto the floor, making a small thud. Despite himself, he grimaced a little; if he broke the phone, Nero definitely wouldn't help him. He leant over the edge of his mattress and picked it up to inspect it. Fortunately, it seemed fine. He reached over to turn on his bedside lamp, only to remember that the bulb had blown the night before and he had not yet been able to replace it. Defeated, he lay back on the lumpy pillow and tried to get some sleep.