They come upon the plant one morning, or perhaps it’s one night – it’s hard to say in the starless glow of the Underworld. It sprouts from the floor of the cave they’ve sought shelter in, a grotesque amalgamation of almost flesh-like, glistening tendrils coiled around puffy round flowers, each as tall as a human. In the dimness, it almost seems to shine, iridescent colors pulsating on its soft surface.
Dante, of course, is immediately drawn to it. “Now what the hell is that thing?”
“It’s a Raskovnik,” Vergil answers swiftly. “A devil plant that emits aphrodisiac pollen when threatened. Do not touch it –”
Dante shoots it with Kalina Ann.
Vergil has never considered himself an emotional man. In this moment, however, he feels so utterly floored that he completely freezes, body and mind, as a cloud of pollen erupts from the barely damaged flowers.
“Oops,” Dante says. For once in his life, his brother sounds sheepish.
“Dante.” Vergil has no words.
“Uh… Reflex. Sorry.”
Vergil’s first instinct is to stab some sense into him, hand already clenched on Yamato’s hilt, but he reins in the impulse and steps back instead. “You are the most foolish being this universe ever had the misfortune of spawning. I don’t know how you’ve survived so long when you’re so obsessed with being disobedient.”
The air is saturated with pollen now, tinting everything in a strangely colored hue. Vergil falls back to the cave’s entrance, protecting his nose. He can taste a hint of cinnamon against his tongue, but there is no smell that he can perceive. How much did he take in? It couldn’t have been much, and yet he’s already feeling the effects; breath tightening, warmth blossoming under his skin, his thoughts slowing down. Need is pressing down on his mind, gripping his throat, but it’s nothing that he can’t control. He is used to containing himself.
Dante follows after him, literally covered in pollen. Vergil keeps him at bay with the point of the Yamato. “Stay away until you’ve dealt with this mess.”
Of course, because Dante is wired to be contrary, this only makes him grin and step forward. “Aw, Vergil. You afraid of getting dust on your pretty coat?”
Vergil answers with his sword.
The fight is brief and ruthless, the spray of blood coloring the floating pollen like paint on strange snowflakes. Bloodlust mingles dangerously with desire and Vergil keeps himself on a short leash, refusing to trigger despite the temptation. He will not call the beast here and now; it’s safer to let Dante come at him, to parry and to evade until his foolish brother exhausts himself from rushing and dancing around with his ridiculous arsenal. Dante, of course, has no such compulsion about restraining his own demonic form. This close to him, communicating through their swords and bodies, Vergil can feel his unbalance and his growing excitation. Weaknesses, his reason thinks; chaos and passion as a technique, irritating in its messiness. Temptation, his instincts feel; joyful fury inches away from pulling him into its madness…
Vergil resists. Instead, he waits for the perfect opening, then pins down the demon hunter with a thrust of the Yamato, his free hand ripping King Cerberus from Dante and stabbing it in alongside his sword. Dante cries out in pain and attempts to trigger further, only to be stunned by a violent elbow to the temple.
“Calm down, Dante.”
“Fuck you,” the demon hunter gasps.
“I see that you’re responsible for Nero’s eloquence.”
Dante grins in answer, white teeth standing out starkly against his flushed, blood-soaked face. The black of his pupils have eaten away his irises to thin, warm blue circles and though they’re no longer fighting he can’t seem to catch his breath. Vergil can feel himself reacting to his twin's obvious arousal – an inevitability, but the pollen seems to be making it worse. More dangerous. Dante, after all, has chosen the human side of their heritage, and likely shares their opinions on incest. They’ve spent so long fighting each other; Vergil will not disturb the peace they’ve finally established with something so trivial as lust. His brother is by his side, now, and that is already more than he could ask for.
It is enough, whatever his instincts protest.
“Vergil,” Dante pants, his hand weakly gripping Yamato where steel meet flesh, straining for his brother’s attention.
Vergil stares at him. His little brother doesn’t have much fight left in him – is probably edged enough by the pollen that he wouldn’t struggle too much. Vergil could easily subdue him with a few, well-placed phantom blades and have him like that, helpless and needy.
Dante tries to breathe, quick gasps of air, and closes his eyes. His whole body is shivering. Vergil can smell the thick, cloying scent of his arousal, can feel the tempest of instincts wreaking havoc on his self-control as he fights to lie still. His brother is surprisingly good at containing himself, when he wants to.
“Have you calmed down?” Vergil asks, knowing full well he hasn’t.
“This… pollen thing. How long does it last?” Dante asks.
“A few hours.”Dante groans loudly. “Can jerking off calm it down?” He sounds hopeful.
“Not unless you really exhaust yourself. There’s an antidote in its tendrils. It must be… absorbed into the body through a mucous membrane.” Vergil had been so sure that the Raskovnik was someone’s poor idea of a joke. First, the plant dispersed its aphrodisiac pollen, sapping their victim’s willpower with an arousal that would only grow with exposure. Affected individuals would then be drawn instinctively back to the plant and the antidote in its tendrils, even going so far as to encourage or accept the tentacle-like structures inside their body. Once inserted, the plant took advantage of the situation to drain a little energy from its prey, feeding quietly until the effects of its pollen wore off. Some demons and sorcerers even deliberately sought it out, an absolutely disgusting idea.
“Take it into your mouth, Dante.”
“Ah.” For once, his brother falls silent.
“Are you going to behave if I let you go?”
Dante takes a shuddering breath, his eyes still closed, his fingers clenched so hard around Yamato’s blade that blood is seeping alongside metal. “… Give me a little space and I will. I don’t wanna…” Dante claws at the air with a frustrated noise.
Vergil snorts. “You can’t hurt me. Not as you are.”
Dante glares at him, something wild and trapped in his eyes. “Vergil, you know what this thing does. I’m saying I don’t want to grope you.”
Something tightens in Vergil’s stomach, avidity so sudden it makes him reel; he gets up as if burned, and is instantly offended by his haste. A strangely bitter smile curves Dante’s lips, quickly replaced by pain as Yamato and King Cerberus are pulled out of him. His gasps –
(Vergil could have him like this too; step forward instead of away, make him find relief in defiance of his foolish, useless human taboos.)
He crushes the idea, angry at himself for this lack of self-control, and he turns away. “Hurry up and deal with this, Dante.”
“Want me to bring some antidote back?”
Is his own affliction that obvious? “No.”
Dante chuckles and gets sluggishly to his feet, face flushed and hands shaking. “Okay, okay, I’m going. Don’t have too much fun while I’m gone!” He brings two fingers to his temple in salute and heads in.
Vergil sits at the entrance of the cave and waits, breathing the madness-free air and not feeling any better for it. Arousal paces in his mind like a caged beast, frustration eating away at his temper, but admitting the pollen’s effects on him is out of the question. Showing weakness in front of his brother is unacceptable; he’d rather endure this in solitude. He focuses on his respiration; Yamato’s perfect equilibrium in his hands; the stillness around him.
Dante’s cry startles him – a testament to his state of unrest. He turns toward the cave’s entrance, surprised by the sound’s clarity. The acoustics of the place are remarkable, a trick of its natural topography.
“Dante? Is there a problem?”
“Those plants – do they uh –?”
“Do they what?”
“You said any mucous membrane, right?”
Vergil has never liked swearing. Right now, though, he’s feeling unfamiliar words crowding in his throat. “Just absorb the antidote, Dante. With your mouth.”
“No but wait –” Dante’s voice hitches and then it sounds rougher, trembling with anticipation. The obscenity of it bites into Vergil’s mind like a dog and refuses to let go. “I mean, if it’s harmless –”
“Dante, you do realize that I would hear whatever you’re thinking of doing in there.”
There’s no answer, at least not in words, but the cave’s excellent, accursed acoustics bring a small, breathless noise to his ears; the unmistakable sound of arousal. It’s easy to picture the Raskovnik’s tendrils sliding under Dante’s T-shirt to caress touch-starved skin, his shameless animal of a brother pulling the fabric away to encourage it…
Vergil exhales slowly, deeply. He calls upon his self-control and his pride and arms himself with them once more, ignoring the demon’s outrage in him – lust, anger… jealousy. The beast demands, enraged that Dante would find… satiation with this just because of human taboos – would spurn Vergil but welcome the touch of some barely-sentient plant –
“Why, hello to you too, baby!”
He wants to kill his little brother. He wants to pin him to the wall. He wants to take him and claim him and make him shut up.
“Dante! I can hear you!”
“Then close your ears!”
It makes no sense, which is unsurprising when Dante’s voice sounds like this – raw, high-strung, vibrating with open need and anticipation. There’s a pleased gasp, then a long moan. He doesn’t know why he thought that Dante, so irritatingly quick to howl and laugh and tease and whoop during combat, would make less noise during sex. Vergil shouldn’t be able to picture so easily what his twin might be doing – what might be done to him, but his mind conjures the images uninvited with every breathless, filthy encouragement that leaves his brother’s lips. Dante’s belt is undone and the Raskovnik’s tendrils are sliding against his skin, searching for the contact they crave. They’re pressing between muscled thighs that should crush them and he’s bucking against the contact to show them what he likes, in case his breathless praises aren’t enough.
Vergil breathes. Focuses on his immediate surroundings rather than on ridiculous fancies and disorderly passions. Inside, his demon seethes with cold fury, his body shivering on the verge of triggering. He won’t. He’s in control. One of his hands plays with Yamato’s hilt, the other stroking the sheathed blade – imagining foes falling one by one, sprays of blood and sated hunger.
Briefly, Vergil considers leaving Dante behind, to make him pay for this utter shamelessness and for the – the bother it causes him. Of course, though, he can’t. His twin might play at insouciance but Vergil still knows him enough to understand the real meaning of somebody has to keep an eye on you. And though he doesn’t want to listen to the wet sound of tendrils sliding against, inside slicked flesh or the way his brother’s voice and breath come undone from mere things touching him, he refuses to hurt Dante by forsaking him again. That is the most important thing – the most frustratingly important thing.
Impuissant, wrathful, Vergil waits while his twin amuses himself.
“Vergil,” Dante chokes out – a sound more than a name, a prayer more than a cry, torn from unthinking pleasure.
For the second time in one day, Vergil freezes. Even his demon instincts stay quiescent for a moment, stunned into receding. When they come back, they weave seamlessly with his human feelings.
He’d been ready to control himself, to satisfy himself with fighting and smiling together. He’d been ready to forget desire and jealousy and the need to own and control.
But Dante called him.
Pollen is still floating around in the cave, getting thicker as Vergil descends into its depths; he knows and he doesn’t care. Around him, the air vibrates with low-level magic, still strangely odorless, feeding into the madness pulsing deep in his veins. Trifles. Nothing important. Nothing that he doesn’t forget when he catches sight of his brother.
Dante is surrounded by tendrils, lying in their embrace like a prince on his throne – naked, exposed, and utterly shameless in his debauchery. There’s obscene movement between his thighs, tentacles thrusting deep into him, a slow, regular rhythm, while a few tendrils coil around his erection. His skin is flushed with pleasure, shivers running through his battle-forged body. Half-closed eyes widen at Vergil’s approach, and unthinking hunger crosses his face before he veils it with a jovial smile – mouth falling open a moment later, when the tendrils’ grip on his cock tightens briefly.
“Hi – Vergil –”
The air is barely breathable, thick with pollen and – worse, so much worse – the musk of his brother’s pleasure. Vergil braces himself not to stare or touch, frustration sharp and painful behind his eyes; instead, he carefully picks up his twin's discarded clothes and weapons. Order is a step in the right direction. It is important that he establishes control over his surrounding before he acts.
“D’ya come to join us,” Dante asks, so relaxed and confident in his own strength, as if the whole affair is but a funny mishap. He’s still stupid with pheromones; the tendrils’ fluid may be an antidote, but in such a saturated atmosphere, it’s no better than a Band-Aid on a wooden leg. Vergil could take him right now. Subjugate him, make him beg, make him bleed –
His brother’s hips twitch, his thighs spreading further open when Vergil says his name – his whole body instinctively calling for him, needy for him.
Vergil triggers. Dante tries to get up when he grabs him, but he’s already teleported them away. In a second they’re out of the cave, and Vergil throws Dante onto the ground.
“Fuck! Vergil –”
Dante is slow with satiation, with surprise, and his skin splits so easily under Vergil’s fangs when he pounces. He bites and claws until Dante triggers too, fire erupting and flesh reshaping itself for combat as his fingers grip his older brother’s shoulder.
“Vergil, what the hell are you –”
“Insufferable,” Vergil growls.
Dante moans when he forces a thigh between his legs, trying to push him away. “Brother –”
“Dante, shut up.”
And then, only then does Dante seems to understand, a breathless, wondering noise leaving his throat as his hands grab at Vergil’s nape instead.
Vergil falls, once more.
Dante’s lips are soft and his kisses anything but – nipping fangs and a clever tongue fiercely fighting for dominance. Vergil is far from experienced, far too rapacious too, drunk on the taste of his brother’s mouth, nerves alight with the impossible reality of their embrace – yet his twin moans as if Vergil’s skill is unrivaled, grabbing at his ears, his horns, his nape to bring him closer and deeper into the kiss. The need in Vergil’s veins makes him rock his hips against Dante’s, sparks of pleasure shooting through him when his erection presses and slips against rough, impossibly hot skin. He didn’t even know his demon form could unsheathe when aroused – he’s never been excited as a devil, never thought of sex except as a chore sometimes required by his mortal flesh.
But it’s Dante under him, and Dante has always subverted Vergil’s expectations.
Dante’s hands slide to their erections and grip them together, rough demon skin against sensitive flesh, fiery warmth around him and against him, the thick and scalding proof of his brother’s arousal. Vergil burns, bucks against the raw pleasure of it, mind going blank for a second from how good it feels. He wants more. He needs more. He presses against Dante, hands and claws and mouth searching for the answer to a question he doesn’t know how to shape, and his brother lets him – opens his thighs for him, infernal heat against his palms, leading him to the impossible softness that hides deep inside him.
“Vergil, caref – claws –” Dante whines low in his throat when he fingers him, muscles clenching, trembling, need bare and unashamed. Vergil grabs his twin’s legs and pushes them further apart, earning an approving gasp. Dante is still so obscenely slick from the Raskovnik’s tendrils and the thought tears a jealous growl from the clench of his throat as he thrusts deep inside his twin.
Dante just keens, so damn happy about the whole thing, a long tremble of pleasure as Vergil drowns in the moment – the grip of heated flesh around his erection, slick and tight; the power shivering in the hard planes of his brother’s body, offered to him; the wet sounds of their embrace; and Dante’s voice…
He does never shut up. Thoughtless praises and half-coherent words make up a breathless monologue that Vergil shapes with the harshness of his thrusts and the violence of his kisses – his bites. Pain only makes Dante louder, harder, the leaking length of his cock straining against their bellies as his hips roll and jerk against his brother’s. The iron tang of their blood mixes with the salt of their sweat and the taste of their mouths. Vergil is struggling to breathe, muscles clenched by growing pleasure, chasing after a release that builds up at every catch and grip of Dante’s insides, and yet it’s not enough, he needs –
He triggers even deeper when he comes, shapeshifting to his Sin Form, and Dante howls as liquid heat splatters against their sweat-soaked skin. The strength of his orgasm leaves Vergil dizzy, empty, air knocked out of him by the impact but still –
It’s not enough.
Dante half-laughs, half-moans when Vergil licks at his mouth and thrusts back in him, already hardening. “You’re going to kill me,” he breathes out.
It sounds like an invitation.
Vergil bites him.
The pollen’s effect fades hours later. Sprawled among the rocky desolation of the Underworld without the slightest hint of clothes or shame, Dante’s laugh is soft and exhausted.
“Okay, so….Tell me there’s somewhere nearby we can get cleaned up.”
“The Raskovnik has deep roots. For one to be growing so well inside that cave, there must be a stream beneath it,” Vergil states in a matter-of-fact tone. He’s currently feeling so overwhelmed that he’s chosen neutrality as an efficient, working state.
“The source must be somewhere else then.” Dante states with bright enthusiasm. “Let’s take a look. Think we can find it if we fly?”
“Obviously.” Are they not going to talk about what just happened? Vergil wouldn’t put it past them. Silence and violence are the two keys of their relationship. Still, he feels something empty at the idea of it. Weakness – frustrating and raw.
At his side, Dante lies motionless; calm; sated. The proof of their shared madness marks his waist and his torso, and the inside of his thighs shine lightly in the diffuse luminosity of the Underworld. After a while, he sits up and touches Vergil’s shoulder with a caution that does not suit him.
“Huh. You got a blast of pollen too, right? Do you… Err. I was thinking with my dick back there, but did you – I mean… Are you alright?”
“I descended to a plant’s level,” Vergil states dryly.
Dante chortles. His hand is still on Vergil’s shoulder, warm and light. “Why did you rush in after me anyway? You knew about the pollen.”
“You called for me.” This is the wrong thing to say. Ambiguous. It will look exactly like what it is. Something flashes in Dante’s eyes and his fingers clench, briefly.
“Uh, I – fuck. I didn’t realize...”
“I imagined so, yes.”
“I wasn’t calling for help.”
“I knew that.”
For once, Dante seems at a loss for words. Vergil feels like he’s won, in a way, though he is ignorant both of the game they’re playing and the victory he is supposed to taste. It’s just that there’s a hunger in him now, an ache that just realized its existence – a man seeing the sun after an eternity under the starless sky of the Underworld, only to fall back into the gloom.
“Vergil,” Dante says.
His hand slips from his brother’s shoulder to his wrist, gingerly, like he’s expecting violence any second now. Vergil stares at him, unsure of what to do. Blindly, he touches Dante’s fingers and feels him relax. The contact is pleasant, foreign.
“Dante...” He stops, unsure of himself. Asking anything feels like a weakness. “We are sons of Sparda. When you copulate with lower demons and things, you demean the bloodline.” And you make me mad with jealousy and need and I’d hate you if I could still do it.
“… Really. That’s really what you want to say.”
“What should I say?” Vergil snaps back.
“’Wow, Dante, you were so great! You’re the best lo– the best I’ve ever had,’” Dante retorts with some horrifyingly enamored intonations.
“You’re ridiculous,” Vergil states matter-of-factly, squeezing his brother’s hand just because he can. Dante’s fingers instantly entwine with his, thumb caressing at the heel of his hand in small, slow circles. He likes the way it feels when they touch in that ridiculous, meaningless way. He likes the way he feels as they do it, though he doesn’t quite have a name for it. Unreasonable fondness, a strange sentiment of comfort – something unknown, fragile, embarrassingly human. “Obviously you were competent. I believe I have… shown appreciation for that.”
“Yeah, but you were even more doped up on aphrodisiac than I was.”
Dante sounds worried, for some reason. Vergil shrugs. Why is his brother suddenly playing humble? Does he think Vergil’s tastes would be affected by some lowly demon plant? “I was still aware of my actions. You are very good at this… practice.” Obviously, he does not sound jealous. He’s just stating a fact; an abhorrent one, but a fact just the same.
“Can I kiss you?”
For a fraction of a second, Vergil is taken aback by the sudden question, then he grabs his brother by his stupidly long, unruly hair and crushes his lips to his. Dante lets out a delighted noise and kisses back with the same violence – biting and sucking and fighting him in a way that quickly melts to tenderness. This time, Vergil takes his cues from his twin, learning from the pleasure that he feels and gives in turn. Desire returns – softer now; wanting more than needing.
“Let’s make a deal,” Dante says when they break for air.
Vergil caresses the outer shell of his brother’s ears, letting his fingers slide along his cheeks to the chiseled angle of his jaw. Enjoying. Discovering. “What kind of deal?”
“I don’t fuck plants anymore and we fuck each other instead.”
Vergil grabs his nape. Something in him wants to bite at the side of Dante’s exposed neck, mark him and lick at the wound. “Neither plants, nor...” – anyone else – “… anyone weaker than I am.”
“That’ll just make you obsessed with power again,” Dante chides. “Let’s compromise: ‘I only fuck you.’ Sound better?”
“And in exchange, you only fuck me, of course, and also I want to hear about how great I am every time we do it.”
“Your ego will explode. Once a month.”
Dante seems pleasantly surprised by Vergil’s agreement but, obviously, his little brother has to try to press his luck. “Day.”
“Week. Obligation weakens meaning, brother.”
“Is that a Blake quote?”
“It’s a reality. This is my last offer, Dante. Do we have an understanding?”
“Fine, fine! Once a week. God, you’re stingy.”
“Good. You’re the strongest fighter I’ve ever crossed swords with. Your versatility is impressive and your technical skills, formidable.”
“What? That’s not the kind of praise I want!” Dante protests, outraged.
“That’s all you’re getting for this week.”
Dante pounces on him, and Vergil laughs into their kiss.