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Discarded Thoughts and Half Made Plots

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Your knees shake as you hear his cane hitting pavement on his way to the door, home at last after a long day of work. You wait for him anxiously in the living room just off the entryway, knowing he’ll see you the moment he enters your shared home. You hear the door squeak, his footsteps entering with the accompanying clatter of his cane. Your stomach drops, knowing the news you’re about to tell him.

“Little fox? What are you doing still up?” he asks you gently as he strides into the living area, a concerned look on his handsome features. You take a deep breath, your fingers fidgeting with the fabric of your shirt.

“You should sit down, my love,” you answer him softly, refusing to meet his emerald gaze.

 V obediently sits next to you on the couch, his long-fingered hand coming to rest on your knee comfortingly.

 “Y/N, what happened? What’s wrong? Are you hurt?” he questions you, eyes scanning your body for injuries as if you had been to a warzone. You chuckle nervously, gathering your resolve.

 “V, I’m alright, nobody hurt me. I… I have to tell you something,” you start cautiously and raise your eyes to finally meet his terrified emerald stare.

 He takes your still-fidgeting hands into his own, thumbs stroking the back of your palms to soothe you and patiently waits for you to speak.

 “V… you’re going to be a father,” you tell him, your voice shaking almost as much as your body as you keep his gaze and watch his expression change.

 His mouth pops open, eyes opening wide in shock. His hands grip yours tightly as he absorbs the news. His shock slowly shifts, an ecstatic smile spreading across his lips, eyes crinkling at the edges in sheer joy.

 “Truly?” he whispers, as if afraid to break the silence in case it made your words change somehow. You nod, smiling now as his joy spreads to you.

 “I got the call this morning, the doctor ran a blood test and everything. You’re going to be a father, V!” you repeat, this time with a light heart and excitement coursing through you.

 One of his hands drops yours and he forcefully pulls you into his arms for a tight embrace. You can feel his shoulders shaking as you wrap your arms around him, a full-bodied laugh bubbling to the surface and breaking free into the air. You’ve always loved his laugh, the way it starts low in his chest and rises in pitch as he laughs longer and longer. You smile so wide your cheeks hurt as he leans back from you to look in your eyes.

 You’ve never seen him look so happy, his eyes sparkling and crinkled at the edges, lips stretched over his teeth in a true grin. He rubs his hands down his face, starting to wrap his mind around the news.

 “Y/N… I don’t have the words to express my joy,” he murmurs quietly, and you giggle at the idea of V, the always eloquent poet being struck speechless. He chuckles with you and pulls you in for another embrace, hands stroking your back and cradling your head in his shoulder. You hum contentedly into him, enveloped in his scent.

 “Have you told anyone else? How long until you’re due? We’ll need to baby proof the house, I can convert the library into a nursery. How do you feel? It’s rather late, we should get you to bed. I’ll get you some extra vitamins tomorrow, Kyrie mentioned something about that the last time we visited them,” he speaks rapidly, his normally languid tone long gone as he thinks out loud. You sit back and listen, finding the sound of his voice enjoyable as ever. It isn’t until he says your name that you start listening to the actual words he’s saying again.

 “It’s not how I planned to ask you, not at all, but it doesn’t matter,” he pauses for a moment, taking a deep breath and calming himself before speaking again.

 “Y/N, you know I love you dearly, yes?” he asks you seriously and you nod, smiling.

 “Till we arise linked in a golden band, and never part,” he recites, and you recognize it as a line from the Book of Thel, his favorite poem. He takes your hands in his again, his emerald gaze earnest and sincere as he asks the question you knew he would, the question you’ve been dying for him to ask you for months.

 “Will you marry me?”

 Your smile splits your face in half and you bounce in your seat as you let out a small squeal of excitement.

 “Is that a yes…?”

 “YES!”

 He pulls you into his arms again and your lips meet in a joyful celebration of your love and your small but growing family, and you struggle to remember why you were nervous to tell this wonderful man in the first place.

Chapter Text

You give him one last peck before smiling and sitting up. It's only then you remember you never put your shirt back on, as you see V's eyes drift down to your chest and he licks his lips.

"Perhaps we can spare... just a few moments?" He asks, still not looking up.

 ________________

The sight of your bare body next to his own reminds him of what the two of you shared last night. The thought of it makes him harden slightly, and you sitting up, showing your body to the morning sun, does the rest. Oh, how he wants you… He doesn’t even care anymore why he wants you – all he cares about is finding out what it feels like to be buried inside you, touching your innermost depths. He can figure out the ramifications later.

 

You chuckle and pull him closer, giving him permission. He doesn't hesitate; his lips lock around your left nipple and he grazes the tip with his teeth, teasing. You moan and tug his hair again, sending a jolt of energy straight to his core. He trails kisses across your body, worshipping the beautiful skin beneath his lips. He takes your other nipple in his mouth, giving it a gentle bite and sucking it lovingly. You arch into him, pressing your chest against his mouth as if to ask for more. He happily acquiesces, licking you until he’s satisfied.

 

He wants more, god, how he wants more, and he pulls you into his lap to feel how hard he’s become. He groans into your ear as your body meets his, his cock twitching at the contact and the knowledge that you were naked, sitting in his lap. He can feel how much you want this too, and shifts you slightly so that his cock rests between your folds. He thrusts just a tiny bit to rub your clit and you arch against him and let out a guttural moan. He kisses your neck, sucking gently occasionally, emphasizing how badly he wants you. His mouth drifts to your ear, then takes your earlobe into his mouth. 

"My little fox, all you have to do is say yes and I’m yours," his honey voice whispers pleadingly, almost begging for release as he feels the pressure mounting. He isn’t trying to coerce you; not at all. He simply wants to make his intentions clear. If you were to shove him away and refuse his touch from then on, ho would respect your wishes and never touch you again. But in this moment, he must make it clear how much he wants you.

  ________________

 

With his words, your resolve vanishes. Hell, I could be killed by demons today, why wait? 

You look him in the eye, shyly, but with conviction. "I'm ready now, my poet," you say softly.

His grin makes you warm all over. His smile is perfect. He lays you down on the bed gently, bracing himself on his elbows above you. He pauses, looks to you once more and asks, "Are you sure? I don't want to rush you."

You know you love him then, but you don't say it. Not yet. Instead, you caress his length with your hands, angling it to your entrance. You smile at him, leaning up to kiss his beautifully tattooed shoulder and press his hips toward your own. 

He goes so slowly its excruciating. Holding his tip right at your entrance, barely inching his way inside you. You want to feel him to the hilt, but no matter how much you whimper he doesn't speed up. Finally, mercifully, he's fully sheathed in you. And oh my, it is glorious. He locks eyes with you and smirks, knowing how he's torturing you. He pulls back, sliding back in just barely faster than before. He groans in your ear.

"Y/N you feel so incredible... so tight, so wet... I don't want this moment to ever end." 

"V... please... I need you to--"

He slams into you with a smirk, gasping with pleasure when he's fully inside you again. You gasp with him, almost breathless at the sudden fullness. He begins thrusting now, setting a perfect pace. You lift your hips and meet him each time, growing each other's pleasure with every contact. He growls and kisses you deeply again. You curl your fingers in his hair as your toes curl under his body, aching with sensation. You pull his hair, harder than you did last night, and his body clenches above you. You hear his gasping breath stop as you feel him pulsing within you, filling you up with his seed. You shout his name as the sensation pushes you over the glorious edge with him. He thrusts a few more times as you clench around him, both of you lost to the high of release. 

He slowly relaxes, sitting back on his heels to admire your sweat-slick body beneath him. You can see the exact moment he realizes what he's done. His eyes widen and his mouth drops open into a soft 'o' shape. 

"Y/N, I'm sorry - I didn't mean to -"

You smile at him. How you adore this man.

"V, it's okay. I have an IUD. You can make a deposit every time if you'd like," you say.

His eyes light up, and he grins. "How... enticing. You, my little fox, are perfect."
He lays down beside you again, and all is calm. 

Chapter Text

V would never forget the sound of your scream that day. Not in a thousand years, not even if he united with Urizen and became Vergil again. That sound would haunt him for the rest of his days.

Something unfamiliar had coursed through his veins as he dispatched the last demons. He had never felt so strong, so focused. Nothing mattered except eliminating the threat. He didn’t question it, didn’t have time to question it, not after that terrible screech of agony had been so cruelly ripped from your throat.

Within twenty seconds of your scream, the last of the demons was dissolving into a fine ash, vanishing into nothingness as it deserved. He ran to your side, ignoring his own pain, pushing it away until he could deal with it later.

She comes first.

Even as he pulled you into his arms, the thought shocked him. He was not a man prone to selflessness, never had been. Yet here he was, breaking down at the idea of you slipping away into nothingness like the demons he had so brutally dispatched.

He had been awestruck with how you instructed him in first aid, even as you were bleeding out in the middle of a demon-infested hellscape. As if it was a regular occurrence for you to have to stitch your own flesh back together. His own clumsy bandage over your neat row of stitches only highlighted the contrast, his panic throwing your courage into stark relief.

And then, you had passed out and he voiced the words that had formed on his tongue days ago, begging to be set free and spoken.

“I love you.”

Even now, sitting by your side in Nico’s van holding your hand and waiting for you to wake up, he marveled at his own feelings. Awestruck by the sheer power of the emotion you had woken inside him after lying dormant for so many years.

It felt so good, and so terrible.

The terror of losing you had faded somewhat with the bandage in place, your own flawless stitches holding your body together. Knowing it was what you did every day reassured him, the reliability of your experience easing his worries. Yet even so, he couldn’t help his thoughts from parading an endless amount of scenarios in which you didn’t recover fully.

What if she couldn’t walk? What if she never woke up? What if she was in too much pain to accompany me moving forward? What if, what if, what if…

He had been sitting with you for hours, becoming more and more irritated at his lack of ability. Was there truly nothing else he could do? Nothing but sit and wait?

I feel so useless, just sitting here.

V was a man of action; he saw what he wanted, devised a plan to get it, and then enacted that plan flawlessly to achieve his desired outcome. That was the pattern of Vergil’s life and he carried it within him; decide, plan, enact, achieve. He was finding the pattern much more difficult to hold now, as V. There were too many outside factors, too many external forces at play for his frail form to compensate. He felt like a passenger in the vehicle of his own life. It made him want to hit something.

The door to the van creaks open, breaking V’s thoughts and scattering them like leaves in the wind. Nero’s signature heavy trod announces his arrival, his eyes immediately finding your face and his brow creasing in worry. Nero’s eyes easily spot V holding your hand, reading his body language and seeing how much he cares about you, and his mind flashes back to when he had been powerless to save Kyrie; remembering the sheer agony of not being able to do something.

Nero shuffles his feet, scratching the back of his head awkwardly as he tries to think of something to say to ease V’s pain, but comes up empty. He finally settles with laying a hand on the other man’s shoulder in what he intended as a gesture of support and understanding. V looks up at Nero, giving the young warrior a look at his eyes for the first time.

He looks like shit. His eyes are sunken, casting dark shadows over the planes of his face, darker than the normal ones. He looks haunted.

“What do you want, Nero?” V asks him tiredly. Where the words themselves could be interpreted as hostile, V’s tone identifies them as a simple question. The lean poet has no extra energy to spare on pleasantries.

“Nico told me what happened, I wanted to check on her,” he pauses, considering whether he should continue speaking or not. He thinks of his fiancé, Kyrie. She had a way of reaching people in pain and soothing it somehow, and he tried to imagine what she would say if she were here.

“Look, V, I uh… the thing is… you wanna go kill some demons with me?”

Wow, great job thinking like Kyrie. I’m an idiot.

V’s lips slowly spread into a feral smile, eyes flashing as he carefully sets your hand down and stands, turning to fully face Nero as he answers, “Absolutely.”

Huh. Okay, then…

The two men head out, going straight for the area with the most demon activity according to Griffon. V is silent the whole way there, and Nero knows better than to press him. He remembers the overwhelming urge to just let loose and destroy something, assert his dominance over something to remind himself he wasn’t as powerless as he felt.

For the first few fights, Nero holds back, knowing how much V needs this. He gives the dark-haired man plenty of room to command his summons, making sure to keep a portion of his attention on Nightmare whenever it joined the battles. That thing made him nervous. When he starts to notice V losing some of his rageful energy, Nero covers his back and lets loose some of his own fury. He cares a great deal for you, too. Your friendship has come to mean so much to him, your camaraderie a soothing presence when he misses Kyrie the most.

The two men tear through the hordes, wrathful strikes overpowering demon after demon. Nero’s rage quickly starts to cool, but V only seems to get angrier. Nero stays with him the whole time. They battle for the next three days, taking only a few hours each night to find cover and sleep.

By the third day, Nero’s thunderous temper has long since dissipated, but V seems determined to burn through every last scrap of his anger no matter how exhausted he gets. Even Griffon tells him to turn back, to rest, but he only pulls the bird back within him and continues fighting using only Shadow and Nightmare.

Finally, the dark-haired man breaks. He wrenches his cane free from the dissolving corpse of an Empusa Queen and howls, falling to his knees in a pool of demon blood. His cry echoes with all his rage, his frustration, his bitter self-loathing and his deep despair over his own fate, all the crueler for having learned what it feels like to love.

He bows his head, spent. Nero goes to him but doesn’t speak. He just sits next to the lean man and waits patiently.

“Thank you, Nero,” V finally says.

“No problem. Ready to head back now? I bet she’s awake,” Nero says reassuringly.

V nods and struggles to his feet, exhausted after the last few days. Nero walks beside him and they return to the campsite together, a silent understanding between them. A brotherhood of sorts.

Chapter Text

Nero had never trained someone before. He did his best to approach it calmly, professionally, and felt he’d done a decent enough job of that at least. He’d expected it to be slow, frustrating or boring.

He had not expected it to be fun.

It had been fun to watch you learn how to roll with a blow, how to shoot a revolver and (more importantly) how to hit the target.

It had been fun to show you how best to grip your dagger, so that it could be easily re-oriented to stab in any direction.

It had been fun to see you gradually gaining confidence, smiling whenever you first copied his movements successfully.

You asked intelligent questions, forcing him to actually think in order to answer you. You responded well to criticism. Didn’t get discouraged when you messed something up. Remembered how to attack and defend against the demons he taught you about, not getting their attack ranges mixed up or their weak points.

Not to say you were a natural – not at all. It took time for you to manage to land a punch that actually stung, for you to hit something hard enough to do damage with your hammer. You dropped your dagger more times than he could count when he forced you to spin it to a new direction to attack.

You’d simply pick it up, roll your shoulders and try it again.

By the end of the day, Nero had thoroughly changed his first impression of you. He had known you would be a huge help; medical expertise would be invaluable. But beyond that, he didn’t expect you to contribute much. Your cooking surprised him, almost as good as Kyrie’s and it sure was nice to eat something hot again.

But it was in training that Nero began to respect you as an equal.

Later that same night, he had a brief moment to chat with Nico alone.

“So… what do you think of Y/N so far?” he asked her curiously.

She chuckled, leaned back to take another drag from her cigarette. He waved his hand in the air around him to help the smoke dissipate when she exhaled.

“I like her! It’ll be real interesting to see what happens between her and V,” she responds, flicking the excess ash from the tip of her cigarette onto the bare pavement nearby.

Huh? Y/N and V?

“What are you talking about? Did I miss something?” he asks the southern gunsmith and she laughs in his face.

“Whew, Nero you must be blind as a bat! She totally has the hots for the guy! He’s a bit harder to read, but I think he might be open to the idea,” Nico proclaims excitedly.

Y/N liked V? How had he missed that? Nero still wasn’t sure if he trusted the dark-haired man; anyone who made it a point to not talk about their past is generally hiding something big, at least in his experience. He also had no reason not to trust the guy, just this weird feeling in his gut that something about V was just… off.

“Personally, I think it’d be good for him if they got together. He seems like he could use a little more happiness in his life, poor guy,” Nico continued on, not noticing or not caring that Nero was lost in his own thoughts.

I don’t like it. But I don’t know why, and it’s none of my business to interfere if they do… that stuff. Eugh…

He missed Kyrie. She would’ve known what to do, what to say. She would have figured out if V was trustworthy or not within ten seconds. She was great at understanding people. Nero’s judgement of people in the past was… suspect, to say the least. He had trusted the Order of the Sword, and then they had brought demons into his home. He had wanted to kill Dante, and he ended up being a valuable ally and friend. He really wasn’t a great judge of character. Maybe Nico was right, but regardless it wasn’t his business.

“So what do ya think of my plan?” Nico concluded just as Nero started paying attention again.

“Sounds good, you should do that,” Nero replied, without a damn clue what Nico had planned.

________________

Nico

The next morning, Nico woke up bright and happy. Which was weird for her, normally she’s quite grouchy when she wakes up, but not that day. It was the day to start Operation Cupid! She grinned like a kid in a candy store at the thought, excitement making her heart pound.

Where to start… guess I ought to plant the seed, first of all.

She immediately went to track down V, finding him outside reading his book of poetry. She plopped down to sit next to him.

“Any good?” she asked him.

“Always. Do you need something?” V replied offhandedly.

“I was just wondering what you thought of the new girl, Y/N.”

“Her medical expertise will be greatly helpful, as will her cooking skills. She’s dealt with fear before, so she should be able to handle traveling with us,” he answered her calmly, still barely paying attention. Nico rolls her eyes but keeps prodding.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what do you think of her?”

“I don’t follow,” V stated as he finally closed his book to focus on the conversation.

“Gawd, do you think she’s pretty? Ain’t that hard…”

V blushed, clearly caught off guard by Nico’s line of questioning. He glanced away in embarrassment as he answered.

“I don’t see how that’s relevant,” he replied carefully.

Oh, come ON, man! Just admit it!

Nico rolled her eyes with a smile, then tried a different tactic.

“I wonder if she likes girls? Maybe I should give it a go!” she mused to the poet, hoping to needle him into admitting the truth to her. His eyes narrowed and he paused before he responded to her words.

“Shouldn’t you focus on something a little more… useful?” he said slowly.

Ha! Gotcha now, sucker!

“So, you DO like her, then?” Nico watched his face carefully as she spoke, analyzing his reaction.

His jaw clenched, his eyes dilated just a fraction and he exhaled heavily through his nose. Nico practically laughed at his abysmal efforts to hide his attraction from her.

Again, I don’t see how that’s relevant,” he told her again, more insistently this time.

Alright, that should be enough for now…

She raised her hands in a placating gesture, standing as she added a final comment before walking away.

“Alright, my bad! You gotta admit, though, she’s kinda cute!”

She turned away and listened, rewarded as he let out a low hum of agreement as he returned to his reading.

I knew it!

She walked away with a slight bounce in her stride, heading back into the van to get some work done on her latest idea – a mechanical arm for Nero. Her mind filled with ideas on how to weaponize the thing as she reached her work table, humming happily under her breath.

________________ 

Nico waited a few days before approaching V again. She knew she didn’t need to do anything to encourage you, it’s obvious how attracted you were to the poet. But V would still need a little push to take the leap.

She woke up early again (what the Hell is wrong with me?) and looked out the tiny window from her bed to see you and V talking as you stirred a big pot of... something. V helped you with the bowls and the pair of you sat down to eat. Nico could barely stand to stay inside, but she didn’t want to spoil what could be an important moment for you. So instead, she waited and watched.

As V extended his hand, she had to suppress a squeal, thinking he meant to hold your hand.

I guess he made up his mind!

When the miniature Griffon appeared instead, she frowned deeply and growls in frustration as the lean poet stood and left without a backward glance. As Nero got up and joined you, she put her matchmaking efforts to the back of her mind and got to work on the Bladestorm. She didn’t get much done that day – despite her focus, the damn spikes just refused to retract properly.

It was barely dark out as she heard the sound of V’s cane on pavement, signaling his approach. Nico hurried out to meet him, intent on her plans, but one look at his face stopped her in her tracks.

“What the hell, did someone kill your puppy?” she asked him and he responded with a heavy glare as he sat at the picnic table.

“I found something at Dante’s. I’d rather wait until Y/N and Nero get back. This is not a discussion I’d care to repeat,” he informed her in a grave tone.

He’s just being overdramatic… right?

“Well, in that case lets talk about Y/N instead! You make a move yet, Shakespeare?” she asked, playfully using Griffon’s nickname for the man. V’s jaw clenched and he pinched the bridge of his nose before answering her.

“Nico, no matter how attractive I find her, I don’t have the luxury of pursuing her. Urizen is all that matters,” he told her tiredly.

She rolls her eyes and snorted. “Dude, ain’t you ever heard of multitasking? I have it on good authority she likes ya!”

His eyes widened slightly in surprise and she almost grinned triumphantly.

“She told you that?” he asked, his voice layered with his confusion and shock.

“Well, not with words… but a girl knows these things! You gotta trust me!” she replied emphatically. Just then, she heard footsteps approaching as you and Nero returned from training. V’s face immediately shifted back to his earlier expression of concern and gravity and Nico sighed, frustrated at the timing.

________________

For the next few days, Nico had to put her plan on hold as she focused on finishing Bladestorm for Nero. The news of the Qlipoth had shaken her; the thought of Urizen getting even stronger made her bones feel cold. She knew she had to do whatever she could to help, even at the expense of her fun.

Finally, it was ready. V wasn’t even in the camp when she presented the device to Nero, only arriving after the Neanderthal had broken it already. She had almost missed it when you followed the lean poet to the firepit, having left her and Nero to argue.

“Nero, shut up! Look!” she had urged him excitedly as she watched you and V talk.

“What? Nico, what the hell…” he had said as he followed her extended finger with his blue gaze to see you and V chatting.

“Are you serious? Don’t you have better things to do than spy on them?”

“Nope,” she replied with a saucy smirk and set off, determined to get close enough to hear what you were saying. She hid by the bumper of the van, barely out of sight but still able to poke her head around the edge to watch. She listened to V’s warning with bated breath, waiting impatiently for you to respond. She had to bite her lip and sit on her hands to restrain her excitement when you put your hand on his shoulder and spoke.

“I know what I’m risking by staying. But I’d be risking more by leaving now. Don’t think I haven’t noticed your health problems, V. We all know Nero can’t do this alone – he needs allies. He needs you. And if you should falter, he will fail too. Then what? The world falls. If I can somehow help you stand strong, help you support Nero and whomever we can find along the way, how could I possibly turn away? My life, or the hope of the world? It’s an easy choice for me.”

You tell him, girl! Now, kiss him! C’mon!

Nico tastes blood as she bites her lip even deeper as V mirrored you, putting his own hand on your shoulder as he responded.

“I am glad to know you’re with us. Your presence…It comforts me. It’s odd to think it, but you may be the difference between victory and defeat. How fortunate for us all that you stepped out your door at the exact moment we were passing it.”

Oh my Gawd, just lean forward a little bit… Y’all are killing me with this bullshit hesitation!

She almost smacked her forehead in frustration when the two of you drop your hands, the loss of contact such a letdown it made her want to scream. Until she heard V’s next words.

The most sublime act is to set another before you,” he murmured, still looking at you intensely.  “And here you are, setting the entire world before you. You are extraordinary.”

Yesssssssss!!! Good job, Shakespeare! Who knew poetry could be such a great pick up line?

V walked away then, and she waited a moment longer to watch your face as a slow smile grew on your lips, a tint coloring your cheeks.

That is so cute! This is so much better than reading a damn paperback!

________________  

The next morning, Nico easily repaired the Bladestorm. With that done, she knew it was only a matter of hours before you, V and Nero all left her. Her heart clenched, knowing how much danger you would all be in. It terrified her to imagine only two of her friends coming back, or worse, just one.

Or none…

She swallowed anxiously at the thought, trying to distract herself by tracking V down. He was thankfully alone, reading as usual by the fire. She walked over and sat right next to him and he shifted away from her awkwardly.

“So, V, you’re gonna travel with Y/N, huh?” she waggled her eyebrows at him suggestively and his lips twisted for a heartbeat, like he had been tempted to smile.

Awwww!!!

“Yes, she seems to think I need constant medical care,” he responded factually and she restrained the urge to smack him upside his perfectly-haired head.

“Uh-huh… it’ll be a perfect chance to get closer, y’know,” she said and V raised his eyebrows in a look of surprise.

“What, exactly, are you suggesting?” he asked.

Nico nudged him with her elbow as she answered him, “Get to know her, maybe hold her hand or somethin’. I mean, if I was you I’d just smooch her already and get on with it.”

V blushed, his cheeks a dark shade of pink to Nico’s delight.

“You really shouldn’t even bother trying to deny it, Romeo,” she commented, and V let out a frustrated sigh as he closed his eyes for a moment.

“It’s still irrelevant. I still don’t have the luxury of… that,” he said impatiently.

“Why not?” Nico asked. She had no idea what was holding him back and his hesitation mystified her.

“I must defeat Urizen,” the poet whispered calmly.

“Right, but I still don’t get why you can’t also makeout along the way,” Nico responded with a wink, still as clueless as before.

I just don’t get it, has he got ED or something?

V shook his head, stood slowly and leaned on his cane as he answered her.

“As I’ve stated before, it isn’t relevant. We’ll see you in a few days,” he concluded, and she scowled as she considered her options, watching all her friends leave to face incredible danger.

________________

Four days passed before she saw you and V again. She occasionally had to go help Nero; idiot kept breaking his new arm. She kept herself busy tinkering with a new design for the arm, one that would hopefully last longer than a single fight, but her attention wandered back to you and V periodically.

Finally, the day came when everyone was due to meet up again. She packed up her stuff quickly, excited to find out if V had made a move yet and nervous to make sure you were okay. Her new design showed great promise, she just had to work out a few more kinks before she could give it to Nero. She arrived at the meeting point just as Nero did, her van not even in park when he waltzed up covered in demon blood.

She went outside to meet him, not letting him track that disgusting filth inside her baby.

“Nero! That ain’t your blood, right?” she called out as he approached. He rolled his eyes and smirked as he replied.

“No, Nico. This is 100% demon blood.”

“Right, I’ll get the hose. You wanna get a fire pit started?”

He nodded and trotted off to gather some firewood and rocks as she uncoiled the large hose hidden in one of the van’s many outer compartments, hooking it up to the small spigot next to the hook the hose hung from normally. Once it was hooked up, she called him over and held tight as the spray went shooting at the young warrior, rinsing away most of the blood but also leaving him dripping water with every step.

Once Nero was more or less clean, he went back to building the fire pit. Nico found a spot to sit down for a smoke, barely lighting the damn thing when a motorcycle came rumbling up to the camp, two figures astride it. It took her a second to realize it was you and V, him sitting way closer than she would’ve expected.

Yes!!! Something happened! And that bike is badass!

To top off the whole scene, you turned to face her and Nero with a wide grin as you asked them casually how they had been.

“Where the hell did you find that thing? You got another for me?” Nero cried out, clearly jealous.

“Y/N found it in the parking lot of a bar, the keys were inside behind the counter. I never would have thought to check,” V answered with a wry grin as he dismounted the bike to stretch his legs.

“Well, it’s fucking badass!” Nico exclaimed as she ran up to take a closer look. It was in decent shape, all things considered.

She looked up for a moment as you ran up to Nero and gave him a hug.

“It’s good to see you’re okay! I was worried about you guys,” you said happily and Nico grinned as she stood back up, returning her attention to the group.

“Aw, no need to worry ‘bout us, Y/N! Only real issue we’ve run into is that Nero can’t seem to keep his damn arm from breaking when he fights, little jerk has had to have me fix it three times already!” she shot back at you, waving her arms for extra emphasis. She spotted V smiling and quickly tuned out the conversation, lost in her imagination.

What the hell happened? I ain’t ever seen him look so… not broody!

Finally, you break off from the group to make lunch, giving Nico the chance to interrogate you. She followed you into her van, almost pouncing as the door slammed shut behind her.

“Oh my Gawd, what happened? V was right up against ya on that bike, way closer than he needed to be to just hold on. C’mon, did’ja knock boots yet?”

Nico! Not so loud!” you exclaimed, eyes wide and blush already forming on your cheeks.

“Sorry, sorry, I’m just excited! You’re practically glowing, and I’ve never seen V go so long without looking all broody! C’mon, I’m dying to know! I ain’t getting any, let me live vicariously through you!”

“Alright, alright! God, where do I start? It’s been a crazy few days. I mean, I’ve been attracted to him since day one, and according to Griffon he felt the same towards me. We got a lot closer while we were traveling together. Heh, he let me touch his hair, and oh my gosh its like silk! And I swear, it never gets dirty! It pisses me off a little bit, to be honest,” you told her slowly, like sharing the information was something you hadn’t considered.

“Yeah, I’d noticed that too, it’s kinda weird. But come one, get to the juicy part!” Nico urged you once her laughter had abated. Your blush deepened even further as you spoke again.

“Last night, we stayed in a house, with a real bed and a shower and even a stove! It was perfect. And we… well… kissed a bit in bed. It was so perfect, he said I taste like heaven…

Oh, nicely done, Romeo! Smooth! Damn, she looks happy! So they haven’t done it yet?

“EEeeee! Oh my GOSH, Y/N! Of course the poetry guy says cheesy shit like that but that’s still so damn adorable! When ya gonna pounce him? I can let you use the van if ya want!”

“Ah, that’s really nice of you, but I think we’ll pass. Thanks though,” you answered, your eyes locked on anything other than Nico’s face.

“Suit yourself, just lemme know if ya change your mind!” Nico said happily.  Her curiosity sated, she went back to work on her prototype for Nero, whistling.

Chapter Text

V finally falls silent, exhausted from telling you the story of Dante’s fall. You take his hand, tracing the lines of his tattoos as you ponder his story. There’s something about it that nags the back of your mind, some detail that will surely prove crucial to finding a way for V to survive, but despite your best effort the thought escapes you.

You look into V’s sad eyes, still silent as you pull him into your arms, embracing him gently on the couch in Nico's van. He lays his head across your chest, right over your heart, and seems to settle.

“I’m so sorry, V. I know you still feel guilty for this whole mess, but it isn’t your fault. You and Vergil aren’t the same. He craved power for his own purposes, to further his own goals. You crave power because you want to help people, to protect them. Your reasons make all the difference, especially since you have lines you won’t cross.”

You stroke his silky hair, admiring the way the light reflects off of it. V sighs heavily but nods, accepting what you say as best he can.

“I have to ask, though… Do you remember what happened the moment Vergil was split? The moment of your… birth I guess?”

V tenses but nods and begins speaking again.

“Vergil was desperate, his body failing him. He took the Yamato for the sole purpose of ‘cleansing’ himself of impurity. My first memory as… myself is of the agony of being ripped apart, being cast aside like trash. I fell back, and I looked up to see him shift from human into demon.”

V pauses, lost in memory.

“What did you feel? Before he shifted and after?” you ask gently.

“Before he shifted I felt… shock, and cold. Fear. And after, I felt weak, and utterly terrified. I don’t know how I found the strength the stand, let alone run,” he says derisively, disgusted at his lack of strength.

You sit back, stroking his hair as you ponder his words.

What if…?

Then maybe…

Oh my god.

“Oh my god… V, what if he stole your energy? What if Urizen is feeding off you?”

He looks up at you. You watch his face as he follows your line of thought, his expression going from confusion to deep thought to hope and then to wonder.

“You think I could take it back? How? How did he even take it to begin with?”

You stand, gently pushing him off you as you start to pace, too full of energy and thought to sit still. Your hands gesture wildly as you begin to think out loud, putting the pieces together as best you can.

“What if Vergil’s preconceptions of weakness are what determined what was cast aside? What if everything he lost… he lost because he thought he should? Then could that mean its based on thought? On emotion? Because in the moment of separation it sounds like you were in shock, trying to comprehend what was happening, while Urizen, or Vergil, whatever… was focused? Driven? Still thinking about his desires? What if that’s all it takes?”

You turn back to face V, seeing a bemused smile on his handsome features.

“V, how do you feel, right now? How weakened?”

You crouch in front of his as he pauses before answering, “I feel moderately weak. I’ve been weaker than this many times.”

You wrap your arms around him, leaning forward and pressing his body against the couch. He obediently leans back, sinking into the cushions as you climb onto his lap to straddle him. You lick your lips and lean in, pressing your lips against his. You kiss him gently at first, your lips just barely brushing against his. He wraps his arms around you, running his hands up and down your back and you take his lower lip in your teeth, pulling it just a tiny bit and tugging his hair in the way you know he likes. You feel him shift under you, his rapidly growing erection straining to burst free. He moans and pulls you closer, holding you against his tattooed chest tightly as he rolls you onto your back until you lie prone beneath him on the couch.

Your hands trace a path to his chest, moving to untie the laces of his vest. He grinds his hips against you as you do, letting out a low moan as he finds friction. Untied, your hands easily push his vest off him, revealing his beautiful tattoos in all their glory. You take his palm, deliberately putting it against your cheek so his thumb barely rests on your bottom lip. He presses it inside your waiting mouth, his eyes glazed as he watches your lips welcome his appendage. You close your eyes, licking his thumb and biting it gently, reminding him of what you can do with your mouth. He leans over and kisses you, not bothering to move his hand. His tongue joins his thumb in your mouth, and you slide your tongue against his eagerly.

He growls and sits up, barely using the hand in your mouth to rise but enough to make your head turn. You feel him twitch against you at the sight, and he finally vacates your mouth, allowing you to speak.

“How do you feel now, V?” you ask him breathily.

He looks at you oddly for a moment before realization dawns.

“I feel… stronger.

You smile wickedly at him.

“I thought you might. I suppose you ought to use me to make yourself even stronger, then, shouldn’t you?”

“Oh, you clever little fox…” he growls, voice rumbling in his chest.

“C’mon, V. Take your strength back. You won’t hurt me,” you say earnestly and he licks his lips. His hands move at blinding speed, taking a handful of your shirt on each side and tearing it wide open, exposing your chest to his hungry gaze. He looks ready to devour you as his hands grip your hips, flipping you beneath him suddenly so you’re facedown against the couch. One of his hands caresses between your legs as you hear him unbuckle his belt, and you hear his pants hit the floor soon after. A shiver of anticipation runs through you as he kisses your ankle, your calf, your thigh…

He bites, making you squirm as his teeth mark you as his. His hands follow his lips, trailing up your legs until they reach the edge of your shorts. He pulls them down so quickly it almost, almost hurts. You glance behind you just in time to see his wolfish grin and raised eyebrow as he realizes you weren’t wearing any panties. He roughly shoves your face back into the pillow, making you gasp slightly. His hand pauses and you gesture at him to continue.

“How naughty of you, Y/N… You’ll have to be punished.

You moan at the tone of his voice, low and threatening, dangerous. If you didn’t know him as well as you did you would be scared. Instead, you’re slick with excitement. You feel his weight on you for a moment as he leans over to whisper in your ear.

“Here are the rules, little fox. I’m going to spank you, three times. If you make a sound, I’ll reset the count. Understand?”

You nod and brace yourself. He sits up and you wait for his hand to smack your ass, relishing the anticipation. You hear a rustling sound, but just as you’re about to peek something hard smacks your ass, making you let out a small sound of surprise.

Bad girl, now we start again.”

You moan slightly as he kisses your shoulder tenderly, leaning in once again to whisper in your ear.

“Just say the word and I’ll stop immediately. I love you,” he says. Then he spanks you again, at an angle that makes you tremble with pleasure. Somehow, you manage to stay silent.

“Good girl. Good behavior deserves a reward, I think,” he says above you, and you feel him slide a single finger through your nearly dripping folds, once, twice… and he stops.

“Keep being good, and you’ll get even better rewards.”

He spanks you again, sending another lightning bolt of pleasure through you and you have to bite your lip to keep from moaning.

“Very good. Another reward, then.”

And his already wet finger slides in your entrance, probing your depths so deep you feel his knuckle against your clit. Your back arches, and your toes curl, yet no sound escapes your lips.

“Last one…”

He spanks you a third time, this time lightly but hitting your clit and core, sending a wave of near orgasmic bliss through you. You taste blood as you bite your lip, focusing on the pain to withhold any trace of noise from V’s listening ears.

Very good…no need to hold back anymore. I want to hear you moan.”

His long fingers grip your shoulders, flipping you face up again. He smirks at the look on your face, then leans down to kiss you. His tongue traces your lower lip and you open eagerly. He pulls back for a moment, looking into your eyes as he tastes the blood in your mouth. You smile at him, letting him know you’re alright and he tucks a lock of hair behind your ear before his face slips back into a commanding smirk. He stands, his length in full view. He pulls you up and leads you to Nico’s workspace and you blush deeply.

He pushes you over the counter, the very same one you held onto for dear life on your way out of the city when he first saved you, and your head and upper body fall right below the lip of the counter, so you can see his legs approach your own. He takes your wrists and you feel his head at your entrance a mere moment before he slams into you, using his hold on your wrists as leverage and pushing you against the counter. You moan deeply, a shockwave of pleasure coursing through you as you feel him inside you again. He thrusts again and you see your fluids dripping onto the floor.

He pauses, releasing your wrists for a moment as something catches his eye.

“How perfect…” he mutters, and you feel him tie your wrists together gently, holding them down on the small of your back. You don’t know what he uses but its soft and when you twist your wrists it doesn’t chafe. You shudder at the feeling of being at his mercy as he pounds you for a moment, his gasps and moans matching yours and filling the air with your combined breath. He releases your wrists, though they’re still bound, and leans closely over your back. One hand goes to your breast, the other to your clit and he stimulates you without mercy, his hardness still inside you, motionless.

“Let me feel you come,” he commands you and immediately your feet leave the floor as your entire body clenches around him. You shout his name breathlessly, shuddering against him for what feels like an age. Finally, you go limp on the counter. The moment you relax, he pounds into you again and again, and you clench around him in a second round of ecstasy. You see stars and you hear your voice give out as you moan again and again for him.

When you come back down to Earth, he strokes your side lovingly and unties your hands, massaging your wrists gently to help restore circulation. He lifts your shoulders and you stand straight, though your legs shake as you struggle to remain upright. He turns you to face him, kissing you passionately as he lifts your aching hips to sit on the counter. He pulls you to the edge, lines himself up once more and presses his face against your neck as he thrusts inside you once again. You arch against him, holding him as close as you can. You dig your nails into his tattooed back as he pounds inside you, hips rolling with each impact.

His breath comes in panting gasps now, and he pulls you so close you feel like you’re inside him as he moans so deep and so long you almost wonder if he’s in pain as he pulses inside you. He thrusts through it, determined to bring you with him over the edge. You’re happy to oblige him, and you tumble together in a seemingly endless ocean of bliss.

You and V pant together, gradually catching your breath. He kisses your forehead, his love for you achingly apparent. You hum contentedly, holding his quaking, tattooed form against your own.

“So… now how do you feel?”

He starts to chuckle and it quickly becomes a full bellied laugh as he pushes his hair out of his eyes. You catch your breath at the sight, realizing you’ve never seen his hair this way before. You like being able to look into both of his eyes, deciding he’s the most beautiful, wonderful man in the world no matter what he does with his hair.

“I feel like I could run a marathon. I can’t recall ever feeling this good.” he pauses, thinking, then continues, “It’s all I’ve ever wanted; to be loved.”

“Oh, my poet. I’ll never stop loving you,” you whisper as you rest your forehead against his, “The moment you saved my life was the moment I started to live.”

Chapter Text

Traveling with V is always interesting, but today has been especially fun. He seems cheerful, more energetic as you traverse the city. He banters with Griffon, twirling his cane and smirking that smirk of his. He has a clever quip ready for every teasing word sent his way, his wit in fine form. His pleasant mood makes you wonder what his laugh sounds like, having never heard the poet do more than chuckle under his breath.

 

And with that, it begins.

 

“Hey, V, wanna hear a joke?” you ask him with a wry smile. He gives you a curious look, clearly aware that you’re up to something.

 

“Go right ahead,” he answers. Now the hard part – choosing a joke!

 

You start with an easy one.

 

“What did the zero say to the eight?”

 

He ponders in silence for a moment, his emerald gaze thoughtful as he tries to solve the riddle. Eventually, he gives you a bemused smirk and shrugs.

 

“I have no idea,” he states. You carefully watch his face as you deliver the punchline, mentally crossing your fingers that this joke will tickle his fancy.

 

“Nice belt.”

 

He chuckles lightly, his lips barely twitching for an instant, much to your frustration. You hurriedly think of another, determined to hear his laughter if it takes you all day.

 

“Did you hear about the cheese factory that exploded in France?” you ask the tattooed poet. He shakes his head, eyes sparkling in anticipation as he waits for your delivery.

 

“There was nothing left but de brie,” you inform him with a smirk. You’re rewarded with a cough as he lets out a single note of humor, stubbornly withholding his laugh.

 

I’ve got plenty more!

 

“Okay, here’s a good one. A man visits his doctor and says that he keeps hallucinating that he’s a dog. The doctor says, ‘Don’t worry, come sit on the couch and we’ll figure it out,’ and the man says ‘Oh no, I couldn’t! I’m not allowed on the furniture.’”

 

V has to cover his mouth this time, a few amused snickers emanating from his full lips.

 

Time to bring out the big guns!

 

“Why did the chicken cross the road?” you ask him once he settles enough to answer.

 

“I don’t know, why?”

 

“To get to the idiots house. Knock knock!”

 

He stares at you in confusion but responds accordingly, “Who’s there?”

 

Gotcha!

 

“The chicken.”

 

His lips twitch as a snort leaves his throat, his eyes glittering in amusement as the full punchline hits him. He looks away for a moment to compose himself but when he looks back at you, the look of sly mirth on your face sends him over the edge and he finally laughs.

 

It’s not what you expected, that’s for sure. It starts low, a deep rumble in his chest that rises in pitch as he continues. He even snorts a few times, making you struggle to keep a straight face. His lips stretch widely, showing his teeth as his laughter reaches a crescendo. He can’t seem to stop, his breath coming in wheezes as his eyes tear up and he holds his stomach in amused pain.

 

Ok, that’s pretty adorable.

 

At long last, he catches his breath, though his lips still twitch in an echo of his enjoyment. You smile as his laughter fades, oddly pleased with yourself for making the man break his calm demeaner.

 

“What brought that on, Y/N?” he finally asks as you continue walking. You can’t help the light blush that arises at his question, embarrassment making you look at the ground as you answer.

 

“I realized I’d never heard you laugh, not really. I was curious what it sounded like,” you mumble. He chuckles once more, holding his cane out before you to force you to stop moving and look at him.

 

He gazes at you with a mixture of appreciation and humor, his eyes holding yours in a piercing stare as his lips open.

 

“And did you enjoy yourself?” he murmurs quietly. The tone of his voice makes your cheeks tint again, but for entirely different reasons as the reverberations of his words echo in your eardrums pleasantly. You swallow nervously and manage a small nod. Your response seems to please him even more; he raises an eyebrow and smirks deeply.

 

“As did I,” he purrs, “Though, I can think of even more enjoyable things for us to do together.”

 

Wait, what? Did he really just say that?

 

Your mouth pops open, eyes wide in surprise as his gaze changes to one of barely restrained hunger. You can’t help but watch as his tongue extends to lick his lips, your hormones clearly taking over as you almost whimper.

 

He’s probably just teasing me. Payback. He can’t possibly –

 

Your thoughts freeze as V closes the gap between you and presses his lips to yours, his long fingers grasping your head gently like fine china. His mouth is unbelievably soft, his perfect lips like velvet. You inhale deeply through your nose as you automatically bring your hands up to rest on his slim waist, your mind still so short circuited that you can’t form a coherent thought.

 

He pulls back with a soft sigh, leaning his forehead against yours and staring deeply into your dilated eyes. Soft pants escape his parted lips, a minute chuckle rising from his chest.

 

“For example, I’ve wanted to do that for days,” he whispers, closing his eyes with a peaceful smile. A beat of silence passes as you struggle to string a few words together after his sudden kiss. By the time you speak, his breathing has returned to its normal cadence.

 

“What the hell took you so long?” you ask him playfully. His eyes shoot open in surprise and a slow laugh builds as his lips stretch wide to display his teeth in a true grin. Your own laughter joins in quickly as joy overwhelms you.

Chapter Text

Nico sighed heavily as she gazed mournfully at her workbench. She had run out of demon parts to play with and without them, she just couldn’t think of any new, badass ideas. You could only make so many guns before they all felt the same, could only craft so many blades before they became boring.

I need some new stuff… Maybe Nero could get some for me?

Nico grinned and stepped outside to ask the young warrior, already picturing the look of disdain on his features. She knew he’d tease her, he always did. But this was too important. She needed to keep improving her skills if she was ever going to rival her grandmother’s legendary status.

Outside, the rest of the team was gathered around a picnic table. Vergil and Dante were glaring at each other over a chess board; Dante had several pieces missing. Trish and Lady were seated nearby, watching the match eagerly. Nero and V were on the other side of the campsite, chatting about who knows what.

Nico’s shit-eating grin widened as she realized how much fun this could be. With the whole team looking so bored, she might end up with more parts than she’d know what to do with!

“Hey, listen up!”

Every head turned to face her as she called out, each pair of eyes waiting for her to announce her reason for hollering so loudly.

“I need y’all to get me some demon parts.”

Nero rolled his eyes and stomped closer to her.

“Why?”

Nico crossed her arms and gazed at him, the challenge clear in her eyes as she replied.

“Cuz I’m out, and I’ll make something badass for whoever brings me the most to work with.”

Nico watched in excitement as the group all reacted to her words. Dante and Vergil stood quickly, their game forgotten as they instantly grasped their weapons. Trish glanced at her with a knowing gleam, but she too reached for her weapons. Lady grinned, stretching her arms out behind her. Nero patted his pockets, checking to make sure he had everything he would need to take down some demons. V alone looked doubtful.

“How long do they have?” the poet inquired softly.

Nico held out four fingers.

“Let’s say four hours, should be long enough to get some good stuff!”

With that, her warrior friends all left. Only V stayed behind, taking the seat vacated by Vergil in front of the chessboard. He hummed softly and started to reset the pieces, giving Nico a look of invitation. She cracked her knuckles and sat opposite him with a small smile.

“Not gonna even try, eh?”

The poet shook his head, his dark hair covering his face for a moment.

“I have no need of a new weapon. Let them have their fun.”

“Fair enough.”

V smirked in amusement.

“Clever of you to have them gather what you need, though.”

He finished setting the board and took a pawn from each side, mixing them up behind his back before holding out his closed fists to Nico. She looked at him quizzically until he explained.

“Care for a game? If not, I can play with Griffon.”

Nico’s eyes widened at the thought of the chicken playing chess. She snickered then pointed to his left hand. He opened his long fingers to reveal a white pawn, setting it back in place and turning the board so the black pieces were before him.

“Griffon plays chess?” Nico asked, moving a pawn forward. V responded quickly, matching her pawn with one of his own.

“Not well, I’m afraid. He lacks the patience,” the poet commented with an amused glint in his eye.

“Yeah, I can imagine. I’m more of a checkers gal, but I can make do.”

Nico moved a bishop forward, threatening his pawn from a safe distance. V brought a knight forward in response. Nico paused, assessing the threat before making her next move. She wisely decided the trade wasn’t worth it and instead moved another pawn forward.

The pair of them played for the rest of the afternoon, with most of the games going in V’s favor. Nico surprised him a few times, managing to sneak her way past his defenses more than once to declare him checkmated. With each victory, she asked if he’d like to play Griffon instead. Each time, he replied in the negative, stating he enjoyed the challenge.

Soon enough, four hours passed and their friends began to reappear. The first one back was Lady, carrying a hefty bag full of prizes. Her smile was wide as she dropped the bag by Nico’s feet, blood streaked across her form but none of it her own. Nico’s glee was obvious as she dug through the bag excitedly, pulling out the largest piece and examining it.

“Am I the first back?” Lady asked shyly. V gave her a nod just as Trish and Nero came into view, each holding their own haul. It was hard to tell which of them had brought in more, their skills closely matched.

Next was Dante, dragging three bags full of loot into camp behind him. He grinned in victory as Nico ran over, almost squealing her ecstatic joy to get to work.

Last to arrive was Vergil, who pulled two bags forward. He left them at the edge of camp wordlessly, turning around to vanish again. The group watched him leave in confusion until his grunting exertion reached their ears as he dragged another three bags forward to join the first two.

Ten total… Oh my gawd!!! Best day ever!

Nico dashed over to Vergil to excitedly wrap him in a hug. He went rigid in her arms, his stiff reaction reminding her who exactly she was hugging. She stepped back but her embarrassment faded away almost instantly as she happily eyed the five bags of demon parts the man had brought for her to play with.

“I take it victory is mine, then?”

Nico grunted out her affirmation as she dug through the bags, her mind already swimming in ideas. Vergil smirked, pleased by his obvious superiority as he wiped away a small splash of blood from his lapel. Dante rolled his eyes at his brothers’ smug expression, the rest of the group already coming over to congratulate the man.

Nico pulled out a long horn from one of Vergil’s bags, holding it reverently to catch the afternoon light. She could already see how she could use it to make Yamato stronger, maybe even give it an elemental attack. Or maybe she could make Vergil a new weapon, something small and better for close range…

“I have so many ideas! Thanks, Vergil!”

The composed man only huffed in acknowledgement, stepping back to the chessboard to reset it for another match against whatever fool would accept his challenge. He was unbeatable and they all knew it. Nico gripped the piece of demonic horn tightly and ran inside her van to get started as V sat across from Vergil to challenge him with a small smirk. The rest of the group gathered around the two to watch, excited to see the result of this latest contest.

Chapter Text

Vergil hated the Underworld.

Why?

Well, for starters, it was always so bloody cold. The chill of it set him on edge the instant he and Dante had crossed over. The familiar icy caress reminded him of his other visits to Hell. He knew from experience if he made it back to the Human Realm, it would take at least a week to feel warm again.

Second on the elder Sparda’s list of reasons to hate Hell was the smell. Every plane had a distinct odor to it, but there was always an undercurrent of wilting roses. Ever since his first “visit” he’d hated the fragrance of roses. By itself, the scent wasn’t worth noticing. But when you mixed in the plane's aroma they had landed on, it was abhorrent.

Wilting roses and wet canine. Only in the Underworld.

Add to the mix of unpleasantness the fact that demons attacked every ten minutes, and Vergil lacked the ability to imagine a worse location to find himself.

And Dante’s here, too. Ugh.

Regardless, he had a job to do, and Vergil would not allow failure to wound his pride. He allowed himself the luxury of wrinkling his nose in distaste as he flicked the Yamato to the side to expel the demon blood coating it, sheathing the blade in a single, fluid motion. Dante didn’t bother. His idiot brother absorbed his own weapon back inside his body without cleaning it.

“C’mon, Verg. Let’s get this done.”

Vergil scoffed, his long legs bringing him to his brother’s side within three strides as the man in red walked toward their goal; the Qlipoth.

“My sentiments exactly, brother.”

Gazing at the tree filled Vergil with shame. He struggled to believe how foolish he’d been to think summoning this monstrosity to the Human Realm would bring him greater power. How naïve he’d been to imagine he could somehow become stronger by splitting himself in half. No, his desperation had borne that idea; it didn’t bear further thought.

His new plan was to observe Dante and decide for himself if his methods might cause his own strength to rise if adopted. It was a strategy he’d never considered, but knowing the life his brother led and taking into consideration what his human half had experienced, it was worth exploring. Perhaps the answer was to indulge both sides of himself, as opposed to just the one.

Even if his assessment proved incorrect, it would not be difficult to eliminate the man. Not considering how many demons were nearby waiting to rip him apart. Utilizing them would be child’s play.

The two men reached the Qlipoth within mere hours. There was no change in the lighting to mark the passage of time, leading Vergil to believe this was one of the Realms without sunlight. One where despite this, instead of the land being eternally shadowed, it was eternally bright.

Sleep would be a challenge.

A challenge to face later.

Vergil followed his brother to the bottom of the tree, the pair of them drawing their blades together to destroy the last remnant of his idiocy.

The Qlipoth fell easily to their combined might, a great crash marking its descent as it struck the ground. Once the rumbles subsided, Vergil once again sheathed his blade with care while Dante absorbed his own.

“Well… that’s that,” Dante commented.

“Indeed.”

“Guess we should find somewhere to rest for a bit.”

Vergil hummed his agreement, his cold eyes already scanning the environment for potential sites. Because they were in the Underworld, the Qlipoth hadn’t vanished upon being destroyed. Some of its limbs met nearby in a passable approximation of shelter. It still left one side open to attack, but it was an advantageous find, regardless.

“I’ll take first watch,” Vergil announced as he led his brother to the somewhat sheltered spot. Dante shrugged, peeling off his crimson jacket to curl up underneath it. He used one of the sleeves to cover his eyes and soon enough he filled the air with his restful snores.

Alone at last.

Vergil made a point to sweep his stern gaze across the horizon every few seconds, keeping vigil as was his duty. Yet as his eyes fulfilled his responsibilities, his mind wandered.

He couldn’t help but wonder about Nero. His son. He wasn’t sure how to describe his impression of that fact, his emotions too out of practice to recognize. His very bones informed him Dante had spoken the truth; he knew the boy was his. Yet there was no sense of ownership or urge to claim him.

I suppose I no longer have that right.

He’d made so many mistakes, so many errors in judgement. A twinge of unfamiliar discomfort made him shift uncomfortably as he dwelled on his many failures. He tried to fin the language necessary to describe what he felt, but lacked the terminology. This, by itself, was alarming. Vergil prided himself on his vocabulary, always having a word ready for any -

“Mom…”

His eyes shot straight to Dante’s as he mumbled. The sleeve of his coat had fallen away at some point, letting Vergil stare in confusion as his brother writhed in the grip of his nightmares. His twin’s brows met and his teeth showed in a pained grimace.

Dante has nightmares?

“Mom… stay with me…”

Vergil turned away, redirecting his focus through sheer force of will. He envisioned a wall between himself and his brother, one that sound lacked the means to penetrate. He clenched his jaw in frustration as the echoing cries of his brother’s pain intermittently interrupted his musings. His thoughts drifted to their mother, of course. If Dante’s nightmares reflected reality, then it seemed she had left him behind as well.

A rush of understanding and sympathy did its best to overpower him, but he brutally grappled it into submission. Even if Eva left Dante behind, his life was still so different from his own that he didn’t merit kindness.

“Vergil… find Vergil…”

Dante’s muttered words sent Vergil reeling. He must have misheard his brother’s ramblings. For a moment, Vergil maintained his vigil. Yet his curiosity refused to abandon his thoughts and soon enough he edged nearer to his brother. He heard the low moans between the muttered expressions, his own name mixed alongside their mother’s in a cacophony of woe. He stepped closer, now standing mere feet away to listen to every word that escaped Dante’s lips.

“Mom… come back… too late…”

Vergil froze, not daring to draw breath as he listened. He tried to assemble the puzzle pieces into a coherent image, but without more information it was a fool’s errand.

Suddenly Dante’s eyes opened. He instantly spotted Vergil crouched beside him and grimaced, sitting up hurriedly. At first, Vergil considered playing it off somehow, making an excuse. Yet something inside him proclaimed its distaste for the idea. Instead, he sat alongside his brother with a sigh, his form rigid.

The silence stretched on as the two brothers both searched for the right words to bridge the vast gap between them, each for their own reasons. Vergil spoke first.

“I didn’t know you had nightmares about Mother.”

Dante nodded, his white hair hiding most of his expression as it shifted from the motion.

“Of course I do. What a clusterfuck that was.”

Vergil hummed in agreement, unsure how to navigate these treacherous waters. He wanted to know what happened, what Dante had seen. Needed more information regarding the night that left their family shattered. He cleared his throat.

“I miss her, Dante.”

His counterpart looked at him through his hair, probably assessing the truth in his words. Vergil’s chest felt tight as he watched his brother’s expression soften, his pain reflected in his twins gaze as their eyes met for what felt like the first time in understanding. He focused on him, maintaining eye contact despite the overwhelming urge to look away.

Dante broke first, shifting his body to hide his face as he sniffled. Even as Vergil scoffed at the sign of weakness, another part of him wanted nothing more than to lay his arm across his brother’s shoulders and attempt to comfort him. The opposing urges clashed within him in a storm, resulting in him not responding whatsoever.

“I miss her too, Vergil.”

Warmth on his knee made Vergil glance down to spot Dante’s hand resting there. He stared blankly for a long moment, unsure how to proceed. Upon considering it, he could not deny that the contact felt… nice. He wondered when he’d last allowed someone to touch him, but nothing recent came to mind. Dante withdrew his palm, leaving Vergil to puzzle over his mixed reaction. He asked the question he longed to find answers for to give himself another moment to process.

“What happened that night?”

To his surprise, Dante responds.

“She… she hid me in their closet and… went to look for you. I heard her scream but that’s all I know.”

Would she have survived if I’d been there? Was her death my fault?

Vergil bit his lip to stop it from trembling, fighting to conceal his emotions. They swirl within him in a whirlwind. His anger, his regret, his childlike sadness and his grief. He took a halting breath, his shoulders twitching as he withheld a sob.

“It’s okay, Verg. Let go, I’m the only one here and you can kill me later, anyway.”

Vergil glared at his kin intensely enough to melt glass, the mere suggestion of displaying his pain for anyone to see abhorrent. Yet even as he held his angry stare, a tear slipped out and rolled down his cheek. Dante sighed, rolling his eyes at Vergil’s insistence on self-control. He leaned closer and wrapped his arms around his brother, awkwardly pulling the man into a hug. It was clear from the look on his face he expected to Vergil to stab him for it.

Vergil steadfastly remained rigid, his staccato breathing the only outward sign of his grief. Once again, some foreign corner of his being longed to return the embrace. Another portion of his being wished for nothing more than to see Dante with the Yamato embedded in his belly. Yet he does neither.

“I’m not letting go until you either stab me or hug me,” Dante muttered stubbornly.

I’ve stabbed him before and it’s gained me naught. Perhaps it is time for a different approach?

As he said, I can always kill him later.

Vergil raised his arms with reluctance, wrapping them around Dante with a clenched jaw. Somehow, returning the hug made it more difficult to hold in his pain, and all at once it became too much to bear. He shook under the force of his need to control himself, unable to do anything to halt the erosion of his restraint.

Dante patted his back, and the dam disintegrated. Vergil transformed into a pathetic mess of sorrow as his tears dripped down his jaw, his shoulders and chest heaving from the strength of his sobbing. He could feel his heart burning in his rib cage, the low ache he had grown used to evolving into an agony so soul wrenching he couldn’t remain silent.

His own frailty disgusted Vergil as he howled at the still bright sky overhead, expelling as much of his pain as possible with the power of his voice. Dante released him as the sound echoed, cringing from the volume. Even without his brotherly hug, Vergil found control unattainable. He angrily succumbed to the tide of misery within him, riding out the storm until it blew itself out.

At long last, he returned to himself. He felt like a wrung-out towel, devoid of moisture or coherence in the wake of his episode. His limbs were heavy, eyelids swollen and raw from the tears he’d scrubbed away. Only a faded ache remained of his previously tortured heart. He leaned back against the Qlipoth they sheltered beneath, taking deep breaths to calm himself further.

Dante stood, threading his arms through the sleeves of his coat.

“Get some sleep. My turn to keep watch.”

Vergil hastily searched for a response, some arrangement of words to reassert his strength. Yet what escapes his lips does nothing of the sort.

“Thank you, brother.”

For more than taking watch.

Chapter Text

“I love you.”

The three words sent your mind reeling. You stared at his earnest sapphire eyes, able to see the vulnerability that speaking the words had cost him with ease. You wanted to run and hide.

My best friend is in love with me.

Fuck.

You’d known Dante for years. He’d been there when no one else was, been the person you turned to in times of crisis. He was the person you called after your mother had been in a car wreck. The person you vented to about your dating troubles. The one who came to get you when you found yourself stranded one hundred miles from home.

And he was in love with you.

Fuck.

Have I been taking advantage of him and not knowing it? Did I lead him on, give him hints?

Not a single memory came to mind where you intentionally flirted with him or even casually touched him. You hugged, sure, but the type of contact that came with sexual attraction was never something you shared with the white-haired man. There was nothing, no drunken dirty dancing or double entendre. No awkward comments or anything.

The man in question sat beside you on one of the squishy couches at his place of business, one you’d sat on with him numerous times over the years. Now the atmosphere was different, from three crucial words. He stared at you, waiting for some kind of response.

Fuck.

“Since when?” you blurted. Dante smirked, his hands shifting from his knees to clasp together as he leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees.

The beat of your heart was erratic, too fast. You were sweating, your hands shaking as panic flooded your senses. How the hell were you supposed to handle his confession?

Dante glanced at your face and the light of hope in his eyes flickered out, so subtly you didn’t even notice as he lightly punched you in the shoulder.

“Gotcha!”

Wait, what?

He was kidding?

It made more sense. He played practical jokes on you regularly, and you on him. But this felt different. He’d never played a joke that messed with your emotions, not once. This wasn’t like him.

I don’t know what to believe.

It was irrelavant matter what the truth was – both options were unacceptable. Either he was trying to pretend he didn’t have feelings for you to give you an out, or he had pulled a cruel prank on you.

Motherfucker.

“You fucking asshole! I can’t believe you!” you shouted, standing in a single fluid motion powered by rage. He laughed, adding insult to injury. It sounded wrong, but you were too far gone to care as you grabbed your purse and jacket, stomping over to put your sneakers on and leave. To run.

“Hey, it was just a joke! You can stay,” he began. “I’ll order some pizza and we can play games like we always do.”

You finished tying your shoes and snarled at him, hands trembling. “Don’t fucking follow me. I can’t deal with you.”

With a slam of the door, you left him alone with the echoes of your fury. The walk home took only ten minutes most nights, but you needed extra time to think before facing your roommates. Instead of turning right, you went left. You paid little attention to where your steps led you as you angrily strode onward.

Unbelievable! Who does he think he is? What the fuck am I supposed to believe now? Does it even matter?

In the grip of your blind rage, you covered several city blocks in a matter of minutes. There was little traffic and as it got dark, the streets became even more vacant. The few pedestrians all but vanished until you pictured yourself as the only person in the city. Isolation gave you clarity. You always did your best thinking alone.

I don’t want to lose our friendship. How can we move past this bullshit? Can I forgive him for the joke, if that’s what it was?

What if he was serious?

Fuck.

You growled in frustration as your thoughts returned to the same conclusion over and over. A confrontation. Just ask him, straight up. He’d be honest with you.

Wouldn’t he?

I don’t know.

The energy faded away as quickly as it had appeared, leaving you exhausted as you leaned against a brick wall and tried not to cry. A few tears slipped past your defenses anyway and you scrubbed them away with the sleeve of your shirt. Sleep never sounded so appealing, and you scanned the area to discern where you were and find a route home.

The buildings surrounding you were stone, and all crumbling away. Someone had boarded over many of the doors and windows, a few with broken glass on the ground beneath the window frame. You recognized none of it.

Fuck.

Guess I’ll just turn around then, been walking in a straight line for a while.

Three blocks passed and panic bloomed in your chest as you still failed to figure out where you were. You walked faster, noticing figures standing in alley ways doing who knew what. Unsavory things, most likely

A loud clatter behind you made you turn your head, your feet moving even as you checked for threats. You didn’t spot the one in front of you.

A grimy hand wrapped around your wrist and tugged you sideways into an alcove. You gasped in surprise, your panic morphing into full blown terror as you saw the barrel of a gun pointed at your forehead.

“Good, got your attention. Gimme your wallet, jewelry too.”

The thief’s face remained hidden the shadows, but by the sound of his voice, he was male and probably a smoker. You swallowed nervously and moved your hands to your purse strap on your shoulder, taking it off and handing it over without a word.

“Ah, obedient lass. Show me your fingers and wrists. And your neck and ears too, can’t have ya hold out on me.”

Tears began to stream down your face as you obeyed a second time, putting your grandmother’s earrings on full display. You hoped your pendant distracted him, but his greedy eyes spotted everything.

“Right, take em off.”

The necklace was easy to part with, just a trinket not worth over twenty bucks. You tried to catch the man’s eye but still the shadows blocked you.

I have to try.

You took a deep breath and summoned your courage. “Please, sir. My earrings were my grandma’s, they aren’t even valuable-“

“I don’t care. Take em off.”

“Please. Can’t I give you something else?”

“You got anything else you better fork it over too, missy. No more games.”

No! They’re all I have!

“Take me to an ATM, I can get you cash instead. I have a couple hundred-“

He cocked the gun. Breath escaped you in a quiet gasp as his finger drifted to cover the trigger. You saw straight down the barrel; you’d be able to see the bullet coming at you. Or, you would if you were faster. If you were lucky, you might catch the flash before you died.

You started sobbing in earnest as your violently shaking hands moved to your ears. It took a few tries to remove the earrings and you dropped them into his grimy hand with a shudder of revulsion. The instant they left your palm, your heart broke as if your grandmother just passed all over again. The man smiled cruelly.

“Y’know, I always said there’s nothing as beautiful as a woman crying. I’m gonna take one more thing from ya, little lady. If you stay obedient, I might even let you live.”

Your blood ran cold, your body frozen as his hand tugged your wrist again and dragged you into a narrow alley. There wasn’t anything to hide behind – he meant to rape you right out in the open.

Fuck, what do I do? What do I do?!

You heard fabric rustling as he removed his pants, felt as his hand roughly tugged your bottoms down and revealed you to the night. You wondered what he’d do with the gun while he… did his business. The cold press of metal on the back of your neck answered that question as he forced you to turn around and face him.

“Now, let’s get you warmed up… stay quiet or else.”

The gun moved down your spine, still pressed against you so you tracked its every move as it neared your core. It was still cocked, and your teeth dug so deeply into your lip you tasted blood as he slid the cold metal inside you. He laughed, crouching down to get a better view.

“Ooh, look at that. Quite a pretty pussy you’ve got, missy. And it looks so good taking my gun. Let’s see what else you got. Take off your shirt.”

“P-please-“

“Do it or I’ll ruin that perfect pussy with a bullet.”

He thrusted the barrel deeper, and you raised your shaking hands to do as he said. You held your top tightly in one hand as he waited for you to remove your bra. He didn’t even have to ask. The sobs didn’t stop as you reached behind you to unlatch the hook, letting the straps fall down your arms and you let the brown bra tumble to the ground.

You never wanted to see it again.

“What a good girl you are, so trainable.”

He slid the gun in and out of you a few times and you struggled to relax the muscles enough so it didn’t hurt. You heard the sick squelching sound as your body responded to the intrusion by releasing fluid to ease the foreign object’s passage.

“Oho, she likes it! You naughty girl.”

No, you’re wrong! You don’t understand!

You wanted to scream, to shout and beat him senseless with your bare hands but there was nothing you could do as his free hand, stained with dirt, rose to explore your chest. Your nipples were already hard from the chill in the air, but this sick fucker took it as more proof of your enjoyment.

“What a slut, getting turned on by having a loaded gun shoved up her pussy. Think you're ready for my me now.”

Oh gods… someone help me, please!

The tip of his length probed you, testing your wetness. The ferocity of your crying made your teeth clack together, and disgust filled you from your body’s betrayal as he inched his way inside with a deep moan.

“Oh, you’re a tight little lass! Such a perfect pussy, gave my gun a home and now it’s welcoming my cock.”

He tweaked your nipple, then lowered his filthy mouth over it and suckled like an infant before biting down. He bit all across your breast tissue, leaving marks of your shame.

His thrusts were slow as he licked you from nipple to earlobe. When he reached your ear he whispered, “Tell me how much you love this cock, how you’re a dirty little whore and you love being raped.”

I can’t… I can’t do this.

You did your best to disassociate from your emotions, putting them on hold until it was over and you had the luxury of dealing with them. For now you had to be stoic and do whatever he asked of you, or die.

You did everything imaginable to hide your expression from his leering as you opened your lips, but his hand came up to turn your chin so you were face to face with him. His cheeks were filthy, his mouth missing teeth and grizzled lines running here and there. It was too dark to see his hair or eye color but what did it even matter?

“I love your cock. I’m a dirty little whore and I love being raped.”

His thrusts accelerated, the pace painful as he forced his way deeper to scrape against your innermost walls.

Breathe, just keep breathing. It’ll be over soon.

“Cry for me, show me them tears.”

You stared at him blankly, still cut off from your emotions. There were tear tracks on your face but none were fresh. To experience the force of your terror and shame would break you; you denied it the chance. Refused to allow this horrible piece of filth to have that power over you.

You couldn’t summon a single tear.

The man raised his gun and struck your cheek with the handle, turning your head to the side where you let it stay. You closed your eyes, praying for him to finish and leave you alone. He pressed the barrel to your temple, the metal digging into your flesh as he growled at you.

“I said cry, bit-“

A gunshot echoed through the alley and for a moment you thought he’d pulled the trigger, that when you opened your eyes you would be in whatever form the afterlife took. But the bricks still scratched against your back and the cold air still caressed your bruised skin.

Then a sudden emptiness struck you as the man’s body fell away from yours. You gasped as you heard the clatter of his gun hitting the ground, but it didn’t go off.

“Fuck, come here, Y/N,” a familiar voice said.

You opened your eyes.

Dante.

He held out his red leather jacket to you, his eyes respectfully averted from your exposed skin. Your shaking hand accepted the offering without a coherent thought, arms going through the sleeves and pulling the coat across your chest as if nothing happened.

“You can look now.”

His cyan eyes met yours and the raw expression on his face shook you from your stupor. The dam burst, the tears painting your cheeks once more as violent sobs wracked you. He stepped forward with caution, giving you the time to move away if his comforting hug wasn’t welcome. It was.

You buried your face in his shoulder and wailed, unable to hold in any of the pain and horror any longer. He wrapped his arms around you and rocked your bruised and battered body, murmuring reassurances that it was over and the man was gone.

Wait… what does he mean, “gone”?

You pulled away and looked.

Fuck. Holy shit.

The man who assaulted you lied on the ground in a pool of blood and brain tissue, a hole the size of your fist in the side of his skull where Dante had shot him.

“He’s… he’s dead,” you choked out. The broken sound of your own voice shocked you, and you realized you’d never seen a dead body before.

“He was… he was hurting you,” your friend replied defensively. He lowered his arms to let you control the distance between you, hesitant as he tried to give you whatever you needed. The muscles in your neck contracted as you gagged, the smell too much to bear. It took a moment to recover, but once you managed it you met Dante’s gaze.

“I… I know.”

He reached out an arm as if to rest it on your shoulder, but paused as you flinched at his quick movement. The pink line of his lower lip vanished as he chewed on it, trying to figure out what to say. He sighed.

“I had to. I couldn’t- I couldn’t let him hurt you anymore. I had to,” he murmured haltingly. His eyes were troubled, tortured as he crossed his arms and stared at the corpse of the man he’d just murdered to protect you.

Suddenly you knew he’d been telling the truth earlier that night, knew beyond any doubt that he was in love with you. It was impossible for you to process if you might return the sentiment then, the trauma too fresh. It could wait. For now, all you felt comfortable offering was your friendship and gratitude.

You stepped closer to him, grasping his chin with both hands and turning him to face you. He kept his eyes elsewhere, his stubborn streak showing itself.

“Hey, hey! Look at me,” you ordered. The steadiness of your voice surprised you, expecting it to still have lingering echoes of your pain. His conflicted blue gaze met yours obediently and you smiled at him.

“I know, okay? That motherfucker was going to kill me. You saved me,” you told him emphatically. He uncrossed his arms and you dropped your hands, continuing after a quick glance back at the remains of your attacker. “I’m just… shit. I’m just shocked, I guess?”

“But not scared?” Dante replied. He still looked uncertain in a way you’d never seen in all the many years of your friendship.

He thinks I’m scared… of him?

Am I?

The white-haired man waited for your response as you stared at him in silence, assessing your reaction to his presence. The shape of his hands, the angles of his face, even the obvious strength of his powerful muscles… None of it evoked any fear within you.

You felt safe.

You smiled, scoffing as you reached out to flick his forehead in a gesture you knew he found irritating.

“Scared? Of you? Never.”

He grinned, his posture relaxing at last with your familiar teasing. You wrapped him in another hug, sighing as the tension drained from your body. He held you close, letting you lean against him and taking your weight without complaint. The two of you stayed that way for a long moment until he pulled away.

“I guess we should call the cops, huh?”

You grimaced, knowing there would be questions. The man was dead, people would want explanations.

What if Dante gets in trouble? What if they put him in jail?

Fuck.

“I… I’m not sure… I mean, what if they arrest you?”

He huffed, a confident gleam in his eye. “There’s no way. No cop would be dumb enough to bring someone in for shooting a rapist.”

You gave him a dubious glance.

“You just shot him, though. What if they say you should’ve tried something less lethal first?”

He brought his hands to his hips and glared at you. “He had a loaded and cocked gun aimed at you! If I didn’t kill him with one hit, he would’ve put a bullet in your brain!”

A sired whooped from the entrance to the alley, a policeman already approaching and blocking the flashing lights. Someone must have taken the choice out of your control.

Fuck.

The cop had his pistol drawn but pointed at the ground, his partner crouching behind the open door of the vehicle to give him cover. The officer closer to you spotted the corpse with ease, his trained gaze shifting back to rest on you and Dante with a new sense of fear.

“Hands up, right now. Both of you!”

You shared a look with your friend and obeyed. A thin strip of your sternum became exposed to the air as Dante’s coat shifted, and you saw the cop’s eyes widen. Dante followed your lead, raising his palms.

“Evening officer. Uh, so… for starters, I’m armed,” he said awkwardly. The officer gulped.

“Slowly, set any weapon on the ground and take three steps back.”

Two guns and a pair of brass knuckles were soon on the asphalt as you and Dante stepped backward blindly. The policeman came forward and used a tissue to pick up the pistols, sliding the knuckles behind him with his foot.

“Tell me what happened.”

Fuck.

You cleared your throat and began, not giving Dante the chance to answer. It was your choice how much to say, and you spared nothing. Both men cringed and gave you an expression of sympathy as you described what the man had done with his loaded weapon, how he had forced you to say things you never would otherwise. Dante clenched his jaw angrily as you neared the end.

“He… he told me to cry. He liked it when I cried before. I couldn’t though, I was just… too shut off. He hit me with the gun and held it back to my head. I closed my eyes, so I didn’t see it happen, but that’s when Dante shot him.”

You fell silent and stared at the ground, studying the grain of the pavement as you took deep breaths and tried to disassociate once more.

The cop holstered his weapon and stepped closer. Seeing his colleague relax, the other man at the car followed suit and joined the group.

“Jesus…” he said as he got a better view at the carnage. He looked at his partner as if to ask what happened, but the first man in blue simply shook his head.

“Kevin, call an ambulance and a coroner. Might need forensics, too. Have them bring a rape kit and tests for GSR.”

The second cop, Kevin, nodded and retreated to make the arrangements.

“I’m Officer Kingsley, you can call be Rob. What are your names? And you can lower your hands.”

You gratefully lowered your trembling arms and pulled Dante’s jacket closed once more as he introduced you both. The cop led you back to the vehicle, offering you some bottled water. You leaned on the hood and drank as you waited for the rest of the summoned teams to arrive, listening with half your attention as Dante gave his version of events to Kevin.

Rob came to join you with a pad of paper in hand. He sighed and took off his cap, running his fingers through his hair.

“I’m really sorry, but we need your statement too. The more detail you give us, the better. Cases like this… they can get messy without a full report,” he said regretfully. You nodded, swallowing anxiously as you accepted the pad and a pen.

As you finished the last sentence, your heart raced from reliving the whole night. Rob waved Dante over and he joined you on the hood as the officer walked a respectful distance away.

“How you feelin’?”

You clutched the leather seam of his coat tightly, looking back down the alley as you tried to calm your nerves.

He’s dead, it’s over. I’m safe.

“I’m… not great,” you began with a sniffle. “I mean, it’s been a long night. I just want to go home and sleep. But…”

You sighed. Roommates were the worst sometimes.

“My roommates will ask me what happened.”

Dante grunted, leaning back slightly and catching your eyes.

“You wanna crash at my place? Uh… on the couch, of course.”

Right. There was still that fun conversation to look forward to.

Fuck.

In the state you were in, you knew you couldn’t deal with his feelings or even assess your own. It would take time for you to recover enough to face it, especially after everything that happened. Dante saved your life, that much was unquestionable. But you didn’t want to confuse your gratitude for something more. He deserved better than that.

“Look… I know you weren’t kidding earlier. And I’m still mad you tried to backtrack,” you began. He cringed, rubbing the back of his neck in discomfort as you called him on his bullshit. “But I just can’t respond to it yet. Not after this.”

You gestured at the alley, the implication clear. Dante nodded in understanding, though his face remained tight.

“Yeah, you caught me. I get it, take as long as you need. And if you wanna pretend I never said anything, that’s fine too. I didn’t expect you to pounce me or whatever. Just thought you deserved the truth.”

“And then you decided to lie and play it off as a joke.”

He raised his hands with a sardonic chuckle. “Guilty as charged. Sorry for that…”

You stared at him questioningly, waiting.

“I guess your reaction freaked me out a bit? You had that face, the one you get when you want to run away.”

I shouldn’t have left. None of this would’ve happened if I wasn’t such a coward.

You sniffled again, gulping back the tears threatening to fall yet again. Dante put an arm around your shoulders and pulled you into his chest gently. It would have been easy for you to slip out of his grasp, but you didn’t. You inhaled deeply as you rested your cheek over his heartbeat, listening to its rapid pounding. You gave him a smirk and he shrugged, as if to say he couldn’t help it.

“Thank you, Dante. I’m glad you were there.”

He hummed and pressed a brief kiss on the crown of your head, then muttered an apology as he realized what he’d just done.

You barely heard his words, too busy with the unfamiliar rush his simple gesture had given you.

Fuck.

Chapter Text

“This is… no, you are perfect.”

You saw the tension in his shoulders ease as you smiled widely at V, his nervousness dissipating. The shadows cast by the dozens of candles scattered around the bathroom danced across the planes of his face beautifully, highlighting the angle of his cheekbones and the prominence of his nose. With a turn, you presented your back to him and brushed your hair aside so he could easily reach the zipper running down your spine. Warm fingers caressed your neck briefly before he tugged the small piece of metal, revealing your skin inch by inch.

V pressed a tender kiss to your shoulder as he pushed the fabric away to pool at your feet. You stepped free and faced him again to find his eyes carefully averted, his cheeks lightly dusted with pink. It was an odd reaction, considering he’d seen you nude many times before.

“What’s wrong? Why are you looking away?”

The poet shifted his weight and fidgeted, keeping his eyes trained on the white tile floor as his lips parted to answer. “I don’t want you to feel as if I did any of this with dishonorable intentions.”

A warm puddle of goo replaced your heart at his words.

This guy…

You reached out to cradle his smooth jaw in your hands and tilted his head to meet your eyes. He looked so hesitant, so unsure that it almost made you laugh.

“I love you dearly, my silly gentleman. Though that makes me wonder, why did you go to all this effort?”

His blush deepened as he closed his eyes, the black fan of his lashes even more noticeable in the dim lighting. “Do you remember that day in the Qlipoth?”

“Of course…”

“Your smile when we found the dark candles is one of my most treasured memories. I wanted to see you smile like that again, that’s all.”

The puddle of goo that once formed your heart melted even further. The warmth in your chest rivaled the surrounding air in its heat, the flickering flames having brought the room’s temperature up. You smirked at V playfully.

“You mean to tell me you went through all this effort just to see me smile?”

He nodded solemnly, eyes still closed. “Shall I leave you to it, then?”

Don’t you dare!

“How on earth would you get to enjoy the smile you brought out if you aren’t even in the room?”

His eyes opened and he smirked at your teasing tone. You lowered your hands from his face and laced your fingers with his, pulling him toward the tub as you unhooked your bra and dropped your panties along the way. Tattooed fingers held your own as you stepped into the hot fluid with a sigh, his hand helping to keep you from losing your balance on the slippery gel.

How heavenly…

The gel cocooned you gently in heat as you settled, its viscous nature supporting you so effectively that you felt weightless. Even the porcelain pressing against your back was warmer and you let out a soft groan of pleasure as your body relaxed. A sharp intake of breath left V’s lips beside you and you restrained the urge to laugh. He was so reactive to sound, always had been.

Maybe that’s why his voice is so… delicious?

You met his gaze and easily spotted the desire pooled within his emerald depths, matching your own lust. The tub was sizable, almost twice the capacity of a standard bath. Perfect for two.

“Aren’t you going to join me?” you asked coyly, licking your lips.

V smirked and began undressing, bowing his head to hide behind his hair when you wolf whistled as his shirt hit the tile floor. He paused before dropping his pants to fetch your drink from where you’d left it by the sink, taking a small sip before handing it back to you. Another pause as he tapped the screen of his phone to play some soft music. You didn’t recognize it, but the notes added a perfect complement to the waltzing shadows.

The gel resisted as you scooted forward to make room for V while his hands tugged his trousers away at last. He was already partially hard and you couldn’t help but bite your lip as he drew closer. The heat between your legs intensified and you reached out to stroke him, sitting up further and turning to face the vision before you.  V gasped softly at your touch, his eyes fluttering closed as he hardened further from your sweet caress.

A tiny white bead leaked from him and you leaned forward to lap it away, savoring his taste with a quiet hum. His hips twitched forward and you obliged him, taking his head in your mouth with a deeper moan.

“Ah, fuck you’re so good at that…”

A surge of pride and self-satisfaction flooded you at his praise and you swirled your tongue around him, applying pressure right over the throbbing vein running up his shaft. His hands came to tangle in your hair as he whined. One of your own hands drifted to ease the intense buildup of arousal between your thighs, feeling the different texture of your own wetness as you lazily circled your clit in time with the bobbing of your head.

Your other hand rose to fondle his balls, soft as a kiss against the sensitive area.

“You’re going to make me come if you keep that up, love.”

You hummed knowingly, giving him one last hearty lick as you released his length with a sultry smile. His expression thrilled you, his glazed eyes, parted lips and flushed cheeks evidence of your intimate knowledge of his body. He looked like an ancient god with his intricate tattoos illuminated in candlelight and his cock at full attention, gleaming with your leftover saliva.

Both of you smirked at each other as his chest rose and fell. He lifted one leg and joined you quickly, his hot length coming to rest against your hip as he settled in behind you. The pressure within you climbed higher as his arms pulled your spine flush with his body, his elegant fingers stroking your ribs.

“You know, tonight was supposed to be all about you,” he murmured seductively in your ear. You whimpered as one of his hands drifted lower to caress your stomach teasingly, the other coming to knead your breast. V was extraordinarily skilled with his hands and he knew it, frequently using it to his advantage.

“Maybe it can be about both of us.”

He hummed, dipping down to cup your mound and making you buck your hips with a gasp. The signature tickle of his hair was the only warning before his lips latched onto your neck, sucking greedily as he pinched your stiffening nipple and tweaked it just right.

His mouth released you barely long enough to speak, ”Ah, but pleasing you is my greatest source of pleasure. You wouldn’t take that away, would you?”

A low whine escaped your throat as he bit the tender flesh of your shoulder. His lower hand crept further into your core, a single finger extending to dive between your folds and rub tantalizing circles around your nub.

“N-never…”

“Good girl.”

He added another finger and peppered kisses across your freshly bruised flesh. You shifted your weight to press against his erection, enjoying the smooth expanse against the sensitive skin of your hip. The low growl from his lips was like a lightning bolt, heightening your already intense heat to a new level.

His hand left your breast, leaving it cold in his absence as he fumbled with something on the windowsill. If his fingers hadn’t been busily teasing at your core, it would have made you curious. Instead, all you could do was moan as he dipped his two fingers inside you and curled them right into your most sensitive spot.

“Ah, V!”

A low buzz filled the air as he found what he wanted, a small silver device shaped like a bullet. He brought it to your collarbone, letting the vibration tease you as he slid it down your chest torturously slowly. His fingers still pumped in and out of you, and when the vibrator delved below the gelatinous fluid and he pressed it against your clit, you exploded.

“Fuck, yes!”

The flickering candles looked so bright, like fireworks as you tensed against his hands. Bolts of white-hot pleasure surged through you from head to toe and your inner walls clenched tightly around his long fingers. He kept pumping through your bliss, using the small vibrator to apply pressure to your clit and elongating your orgasm until your cries diminished and your body collapsed against him.

He pressed a soft kiss to the crown of your head, murmuring praise for you as he waited for you to recover. When you were coherent once more, you tilted your head to kiss his chest, your thighs shaking as you tried to turn around fully. He smirked and lifted your hips to give you more room to maneuver.

The jelly made it difficult but eventually you managed to fold your legs on either side of him, face to face as you reached under the surface to stroke his shaft. He groaned and let his head rest against the lip of the tub, closing his eyes to enjoy your ministrations. You loved seeing him like this, relaxed and peaceful. It was such a rush to know he trusted you enough to let his guard down.

Watching his face as you stroked him brought the tingle back to full force within you and you leaned down to trail kisses all across his torso. A nip here and there had him panting beneath you, at your mercy. You ran your thumb over his slit and he jerked violently with a growl, his arms pulling you forward as he angled himself. Following his lead, you lifted your hips just enough to position him and sank down with a long moan as he stretched you with his girth.

“Yes… you’re so tight, love, so wet and wanting…”

You whimpered and braced your hands on his chest, using the leverage to move against him as your eyes rolled back into your head. He felt so fucking good, like his shape was made to hit all the right spots within you. Just his entrance was enough to make you near your peak once more, and when he moved it was a struggle to speak.

“O- only for you…”

His hands gripped your hips bruisingly tight, helping you bounce even as he rose to meet you. The sound of the gel moving was obscene, an echo of the slapping of flesh on flesh every time you crashed against him. Pants and moans filled the air, a symphony of your joined pleasure. You could feel him tightening and knew his release was approaching from the way his cock stretched your walls. The muscles inside you clenched in time to his thrusts and milked him, coaxing his seed with every motion.

“Ah- I’m close!” he cried, his brows furrowed as he held back.

“Do it, come for me! Fill me up!”

With a final harsh thrust and a look of rapture on his lovely features, he obeyed. His cock pulsated inside you, painting you like a canvas with thick ropes of his come. He pulled himself vertical to bury his face in your chest, sucking at your nipple. A finger probed at your clit and the friction sent you over alongside him with a cry of his name.

You clenched together, bodies twitching and minds humming like a violin as the high of release drowned your senses. V held you tightly as he stilled, holding you against him as he slowly laid back against the ceramic with a contented sigh. You curled up astride him and closed your eyes, resting your cheek over his racing heart as he stroked your hair.

By the time you opened your eyes again, the water had finally chilled and the candles burned low. Some had already gone out, casting the humid bathroom in a shadowy world like a dream from long ago. The sweat on your skin gave way to goosebumps and V rubbed your back to warm you.

“Ready to rinse off?”

You nodded, not bothering to raise your head. He didn’t move and you were about to get up when you heard the door open as Shadow padded in, two towels held in her powerful jaws.

“Thank you, Shadow,” V murmured, taking the towels with a smile. She left silently, using her tail to pull the door closed behind her.

You stared at V until he explained that the massive panther had kept the towels warm. You can’t help but giggle at the picture of the lethal cat being used in such a way even as you melted at V’s thoughtfulness.

I’ll have to think of something to surprise him with in return. Tonight was nothing short of magical.

You already had several ideas as you rinsed and prepared for bed while V extinguished the candles. It was going to be so much fun to spoil him.

Chapter Text

As the last of the Antenora’s fell, V found his eyes locked on the crimson splash decorating the cobblestones. Such a lovely shade, so tantalizingly decadent. He licked his lips and tilted his head, changing the angle of the spray and comparing its effect on his mind. This was better, a more artistic view indeed. He wished he had a camera to save the image forever, but his memory would have to suffice.

“Shit…”

Your muttered curse broke his focus and his emerald eyes flicked to your body, catching sight of the source of blood as it leaked more of the beautiful fluid from your inner thigh. His pupils blew wide as he envisioned himself licking the trail from your skin, scraping his tongue against your flesh and tasting every drop. He was powerless to restrain his hunger, and his fangs popped out with a sharp click.

It had been days since he last fed, and the hollow pit of hunger in his belly was growing too intense to ignore any longer. He needed to satiate it soon, or he would lose himself in bloodlust. As delightful as that would be, to surrender to his urges now was unacceptable. He ran the tip of his tongue over the sharp points and walked over to join you, willing himself to ignore the appeal of your scent and your blood.

“I must leave you now, for a time,” he murmured, careful to keep his fangs hidden. You had your palms pressed over the wound, stemming the flow. It was all he could do to keep his arms relaxed by his sides as he imagined your fingers drifting inward, touching yourself as he fed from the tender flesh.

“What? Why?”

“I’ll find you later,” he replied, and turned away to leave. He couldn’t afford to explain, it would take too long. Your irritated huff reached his departing ears and he quickened his pace as the exhalation of breath made his mind spin. He started running once he was a block away from you, upwind so your scent was carried away. He surrendered then, letting his darkness take control.

His senses went into overdrive and he snarled as he failed to detect a source nearby. He kept running, his torso bent and legs pumping as his long stride ate the ground. Gods, he’d take anything.

There – a sweet aroma tinged with copper. Human.

Perfect.

V licked his lips as he honed in on his prey. It was close, only fifty yards if he had to guess. Hunger was all he knew and he streaked toward it fearlessly. When he spotted her, his mouth flooded and he parted his lips in a harsh growl. She didn’t look like much, her body frail and trembling as he grew closer. He savored the terror in her eyes as he gripped her wrist savagely, tearing her away from her hiding spot behind a dumpster.

“P- please! Leave me alone!”

The poor fool. If only she knew how much he loved it when his prey begged. So pleasing when they admitted their powerlessness and pleaded for his mercy. He had none. He pressed her slim form against the bricks of the closest building and used one hand to rip away the top of her shirt, revealing her pulsing veins to his lidded gaze.

“Please! I’m begging you!”

He growled and wrapped on hand around her milky throat, leaning closer to whisper in her ear.

“I’m going to devour you.”

He tilted her head to the side and ran his fangs over her skin, inhaling deeply as his eyes fluttered closed. This was the best part, right before the first taste when the anticipation was so high he felt like he was flying. He twitched in his pants, the sheer dominance of his power and the tempting morsel before him sending a bolt of arousal through him. Heat pooled in his belly, low and enticing.

The girl gasped as he pricked through the first layer of her skin. He took his time, reveling in each new flavor as he tasted every little cell. He ran his tongue over the small hole he’d made, depositing his venom in her body. She shuddered as it took hold, and he lowered his hand away from her throat as she succumbed. She pressed against him eagerly as her senses flooded with the intoxication.

He sank his fangs deeper, and the first few drops of blood were like liquid gold on his tongue. He didn’t rush; she was under his spell, he could take as long as he liked. He wrapped his arms around her and cradled her to him, slurping at her neck.

“P- please… more…”

The tightness in his pants became unbearable at the mewling tone of her cries and he pulled away to stare into her hooded eyes. She was gone, utterly lost to him and his needs. He could flay the skin from her bones and she’d still beg for more. He grinned darkly, displaying his sharp canines and letting a few drops of crimson spill from his lips to tease her. She reached out to him and he narrowed his eyes, communicating his displeasure.

“Tell me what to do…”

Oh, what a sweet sound that was… he couldn’t resist.

“Hold still.”

He already knew she would do whatever he asked. He didn’t need her to prove it. No, instead he amused himself by trailing a finger down her chest, drifting lower until it rested between her legs. She moaned and arched her hips, begging for friction.

But it was his desires he was serving, and he pulled his hand away to lick the thin line of blood still leaking from her neck. She whimpered as his tongue caressed her skin and he smirked. She smelled so good, tasted even better. He had to know what she felt like and grabbed her hand to press it against his hardened cock. She obediently stroked him through the fabric.

“What good prey you are, little one…”

He sank his fangs into her neck again, taking another deep draft of her elixir as her clumsy fingers tried to undo his belt. He hummed his approval and moved his hands to rip away her top, exposing her sternum to his hungry gaze. Suddenly he felt cold air on his flushed and hardened length as she managed to set him free, and her fingers wrapped around his girth as he moved his fangs to the top of her breast to make another weeping pair of holes.

He moved away to watch the stream of blood pool between her peaks, tilting his head to assess the artistry of his work. The bra would have to go, it was ruining the aesthetic. With a low growl he tore it open, breaking the thin material connecting the cups.

Much better.

He grazed the supple tissue with his canines, teasing her with the possibility of his hunger.

“Please, please, please…”

The word became her mantra as he slid one hand up her thigh, kneading the soft skin beneath her pretty skirt. He crouched and followed the trail of his fingers with his tongue, almost able to pretend it was your thigh as he bit down cruelly and let the crimson flow. He waited until it reached her knee before lapping it away, leaving pimpled flesh in his wake. It was too tempting, and he created a tapestry of bite marks leading to the crux of her body.

The arousal leaking from her folds was a heady musk, and his cock twitched again as he pulled the fabric away. Standing, he wrapped his hands around her throat once more and with a single thrust, sheathed himself inside her. The blood from his bites mixed with her fluids to coat him as he entered her and he hummed his pleasure.

She gasped and her walls contracted around him instantly as his venom multiplied the sensation tenfold and pushed her over the edge to orgasm. He gripped her throat even tighter, knowing the venom was about to wear off as he started thrusting. Her eyes shifted from pleasure to terror and her feeble hands scrabbled at his forearms uselessly.

“Oh, it’s far too late for you now…”

Her neck oozed blood, the rivulets filling the hollow of her collarbone and dripping to mix with the river seeping from her breasts. He took in his handiwork with a predatory grin and descended to lap at it, allowing a new painting to take form on the now clean canvas of her body. She began to cry, and the sight spurred his lust to new heights. His fingers tightened around her neck once more, choking the very breath from her lungs as he brought his fangs down to sink into her shoulder. He didn’t hold back anymore and suckled at the flesh brutally, consuming every drop of her life-giving fluid as he pounded into her core.

The flow slowed, her life almost spent, and he exploded at the knowledge that he was the last thing she would ever see. He painted her walls white with his cum, grunting and moaning as he took the last of her life force for his own.

His hips slowed and he pulled away with a sigh as he felt her heart stop, dropping her body like so much trash. Bruises lined her neck where he had held her, smears of blood marking her body and neck. She looked ethereal, beautiful beyond measure. He had made this ordinary waif into a work of art. V licked his lips, cleaning away the last few morsels as he turned away to return to you and continue the mission. His hunger was satiated, for now...

Chapter Text

You woke up with a long groan, clenching your eyes closed to subdue the ache of your skull. You licked your lips, swallowing thickly against the dryness of your throat as you struggled not to gag.

Note to self – never challenge Nico to a drinking game again.

You rolled over, trying to find a portion of the satin sheets that didn’t feel overheated against your sweaty skin.

Wait. I don’t have satin sheets.

Your eyes shot open and you almost vomited. The walls were spinning, but even so you recognized the dark blue paint and walnut bookcase beside the bay window.

How did I end up in V’s room?

Snippets of the night before played in your head as you fought to regain coherence – laughter and joking with Nico, Lady and Trish, all three of them teasing you mercilessly over your little crush on the poet. You remembered trying to persuade them they were off-base, that you felt nothing but friendship for the slim summoner, but none of them believed you for a second.

The last thing you can recall clearly is crying on Lady’s shoulder about how V was so far out of your league he might as well be on Mars, and the feeling of her arms rubbing your back as she led you upstairs.

Did she bring me in here or was I alone?

You sat up carefully, holding your head in your hands. The chilly morning air left goosebumps on your skin and you looked down to find yourself completely nude.

“What the fuck…” you muttered groggily. You didn’t remember taking off your clothes.

The room spun violently and you lowered yourself back down. V was out of town, you should be safe to rest here a little longer. Just until you could walk straight. You snuggled back into the luxurious sheets, inhaling deeply as you caught a faint hint of his aroma.

I’ll only rest for a couple hours. He’ll never know…

—V—

V sighed as he approached his bedroom, his cane clacking against the wooden floor. The mission had ended poorly, and once again he was left with no progress in his search for answers. He was exhausted; keeping up with Dante had taken every ounce of his strength, and all he wanted now was a nice, long nap.

He opened the door and froze.

There’s someone in my bed.

And she’s naked!

V rolled his eyes at Griffons astute observation. The person in his bed was splayed out like a starfish, facedown and fully exposed to his gaze. He tried to be respectful and look elsewhere, but his curiosity was far too strong. The curved hips looked familiar, and as he neared the head of the bed he stopped in his tracks.

I’d know that hair anywhere.

Why is she in here?

Who knows? But hey, at least now you don’t have to guess at what she looks like in the buff anymore!

V smirked; Griffon had a point. He had tried several times to conjure an image of this exact picture, but none of his musings did you any justice. A rush of guilt flooded his mind as he realized where his thoughts were headed and how inappropriate his behavior was, standing there staring at you as you slept.

In his bed.

Naked.

A low moan from your lips made him stiffen, the sound far too evocative for his paralyzed brain to handle as you nuzzled his pillow, sighing and smiling as you found a comfortable position. His lips twisted upwards at the sight. He loved your smile. And the way you laughed. And your persistent optimism. And, and, and…

Yeesh! You’re hopeless, Shakespeare.

V didn’t know why you were always in his thoughts, haunting him like a ghost. He didn’t know why the mere sight of you made him feel warm inside, or why he was overcome with pride whenever he made you laugh. It mystified him, this… affection.

It’s called love, genius. Like I’ve been telling you for weeks, you’re head over heels!

He stepped back to set his cane done on the dresser, still puzzling over what he should do about…

His eyes drifted back to your form as he considered the facts. First, he felt something for you. Second, you had made no indication that you returned the sentiment. Third, you were sleeping in his bed, completely nude. Fourth, he wanted nothing more than to lie beside you and sleep himself. And fifth, despite all other facts, there must be a reason you were here.

Naked.

Perhaps I should wake her? Or find somewhere else to rest?

V was too damn tired for this. But there had to be a reason you were here, and he couldn’t resist the temptation to find out what it was. He smirked and came to crouch by the mattress, clicking his tongue and tilting his head as he tapped you on your shoulder.

Well, it was less a tap and more a caress, but that wasn’t the point.

Your eyes fluttered open and he withdrew his hand as he watched your face. Heat flooded his belly as you moaned again, slowly gathering your wits. It was obvious when you realized your situation – your cheeks flushed and you tried to bury your face in his pillow. He couldn’t help the teasing tone in his voice as he spoke.

“Is there a reason you’re naked in my bed?”

Your blush spread to your shoulders. The image sent him reeling, imagining all manner of other methods he could employ to cause such a flush across your body. He stiffened again, arousal making it even more difficult to think clearly as blood rushed to his cock.

Get a hold of yourself.

“I’ll get you a blanket,” he forced out, wishing to do anything but. Still, V prided himself on his politeness and he stood to fetch a thin sheet from the closet. As he returned, his eyes betrayed him and traced the small expanse of flesh he could see between your legs. It looked delectable, the delicate femininity a perfect shade of pink.

“Stop that,” you said, your head turned enough to know exactly what he was looking at.

“My apologies,” he replied, even as he continued to stare. Gods, you were so lovely he could barely breathe.

You pulled his extra pillow close and used it to cover your chest as you sat up to glare at him. The spell broken, shame filled him at the hurt look in your eyes. He turned away, giving you the chance to cover yourself more adequately.

“You really shouldn’t stare at me like that,” you murmured quietly.

“Like what?” he replied, back still turned. He heard a sigh as you shuffled to wrap your body.

“Like you want me. Especially since you don’t. And you can turn around now.”

She thinks I don’t want her? Why does she sound like she’s in pain?

You should tell her how you feel.

No, she’s already uncomfortable enough.

Look at her face. She’s uncomfortable for a very specific reason.

V turned and met your sad gaze. Tears were gathering in the corners of your eyes and you were picking at your fingernails anxiously. You looked exactly how he felt.

Heartbroken.

His feet carried him to your side within a few steps. He watched your face as he got closer, looking for any hesitation or unease as he pulled you into a hug. You smelled so good, and feeling you in his arms was enough to make his head swim. The thunderous pace of his heartbeat pounded against his ribs so forcefully he imagined you could hear it where your head lied against his shoulder.

He closed his eyes and turned his head to plant a kiss on your forehead, like a friend or a parent would. A safe gesture, surely. But as his lips neared your skin, you turned your head as well, trying to find a more comfortable position.

That doesn’t… that’s not her forehead.

A soft moan sent his lips vibrating against yours as all the tension in your body drained away. He had to spread his legs to support you, marveling at this new experience as your arms rose to pull him closer. He moved his lips, feeling the silky texture of yours as you opened to him and your tongue darted out to meet his in a flash of electricity.

Fucking A about time!

He pulled away with a grimace as Griffon’s grating voice spoiled the moment. Instantly your arms dropped and you stared at the floor in embarrassment. He followed your example and released you, stepping back to give you space. You sniffled and crossed your arms.

“That… that was just cruel. Why would you kiss me, why tease me like that?”

Because I care for you, far more than I should…

“What?” your shocked voice said suddenly.

Yep, you totally said that out loud.

Marvelous.

V sighed and sat on the bed, staring at the intricate markings on his knuckles as you joined him. He didn’t dare meet your eyes, too aware of how ridiculous he must have sounded. How little you felt for him. There was no doubt in his mind that you were about to reject him, and he braced himself for the pain.

“V… I… I thought you only saw me as a friend.”

He shook his head, still tense and waiting. He clenched his jaw as he heard you chuckle.

Wonderful, she’s laughing at me.

He closed his eyes and bowed his head, hiding his pained expression behind his obsidian locks. It’s not like he was expecting something else, but to be laughed at was painful. His pride retreated deep within him to lick its wounds, his ego bruised and battered. You stifled your amusement and took a deep breath.

Here it comes.

“I care about you, too.”

What?

Your trembling hand gently came to rest on his own, emphasizing your words. V glanced at you through his hair to see your pink cheeks and sparkling eyes and he knew you spoke the truth. His heart took off in flight, dancing across his body in a rhythm of joy as he opened his fingers to lace them through yours. A moment passed quietly as you both came to terms with this new reality, until V broke the silence with a hum of amusement.

“You never did tell me why you were naked in my bed.”

He raised his head to catch your expression, smirking at the light blush at the reminder of your nudity. The idea of napping in the same place your bare form had just vacated made him stiffen again; he hoped the sheets smelled like you.

“I… got kinda drunk last night. I think I just wanted to smell you, but it’s still fuzzy.”

V stroked the back of your hand with his thumb.

“You’re welcome to sleep in here anytime,” he replied. It was a risky response, but he couldn’t help but extend the offer. You smiled and dropped his hand, standing with a stretch.

“Then… I’m going to go put on some pajamas. I’ll be right back.”

And with a parting smirk, you walked out the door. The moment he was alone, V smiled wider than he ever had before, his teeth glinting in the light. He stood and changed quickly into something more comfortable, climbing back into his bed with a sigh of relief as he felt the satin against his chest. He never slept with a shirt on, it felt too constricting.

I hope she doesn’t mind…

You came back quickly, wearing a t-shirt and shorts. He shifted his weight and made room for you to press your back against his chest. A bolt of white-hot lust surged through him as your ass met his waist, but he was far too exhausted to entertain the idea of acting on it. There would be plenty of time for that later. For now, he contented himself with wrapping you in his arms and pressing a kiss to the back of your neck, allowing himself to drift away into rest.

Chapter Text

Window shopping with Dante was one of your favorite ways to spend date night. Red Grave had such a wide variety of shops, you never knew what you would find. Even if you didn’t end up buying anything, Dante’s commentary often left you holding your gut in pain as you tried to stop laughing.

Tonight was no exception.

“Eugh, that looks like something my grandma would wear!” your white-haired boyfriend commented, pointing at a knitted shawl in the window of a boutique. He wasn’t wrong; the white yarn would’ve been at home draped over a rocking chair. You chuckled and mimed using a walker, pretending to straighten a pair of glasses as you tried to get a closer look at the item.

“Oh, sonny, it’s lovely!”

Dante cracked up and gave you an exaggerated round of applause. You bowed theatrically and moved on to the next pane of glass, featuring several mannequins dressed in risqué lingerie. A slight blush tinted your cheeks as Dante wolf-whistled suggestively.

“Babe, we gotta go in! That black number would look incredible on you!”

The piece he was referring to displayed the pale plastic of the mannequin’s stomach like a piece of artwork. The dark lace clung to the chest and the first tendrils of heat pooled in your belly as you imagined Dante ripping it off you. You grabbed his hand and tugged him inside the dimly-lit shop.

“ID’s, please,” a voice requested by the door. You dug through your purse and smiled as you handed the clerk your driver’s license, Dante’s waiting in his hand.

“Perfect! Can I help you two find anything?” the young woman said with a smile, holding out the plastic card.

“That black one in the window, you got that in a medium?”

She turned away and vanished into the racks, leaving you and Dante to browse as she fetched the item in question. You wandered around aimlessly, pointing out the bridal section’s penis shaped lollipops to Dante with a chuckle. He held out a pair of boxers made of a shiny, stretchy material that looked far too small for a full grown man to wear, and you giggled in return.

“Here we are! Let me show you to the fitting room!” the clerk said, reappearing like a mirage in the desert holding a length of black fabric.

“Have fun, babe! Take a few pictures for me,” Dante quipped with a saucy wink as you walked away. You shook your head as the clerk laughed.

She led you to a hidden alcove, tugging aside a thick red curtain and leaving you to it. It took a few minutes, but you managed to get the beautiful piece of lace on. When you caught your reflection in the mirror, you gasped. The black lace hugged your curves sensually, hinting at the sensitive flesh beneath. The texture of the fabric sent goosebumps up and down your skin as you posed to take a picture for Dante, a teasing smirk twisting your lips.

You had to hand it to him, the man had excellent taste in lingerie.

You found Dante a few minutes later by a rack of silicone rings, reading the label of one with a child-like grin.  He turned his gleeful eyes to you excitedly, holding it out for your inspection. You raised an eyebrow and smirked playfully.

“You only want it because it lights up!”

“So? Look, it has seven speeds! It’ll be great,” he assured you. You rolled your eyes but nodded, curious despite yourself. You headed to the register and paid, taking the lingerie for good measure. The clerk gave you a knowing smile as you took the bag and left.

Outside, the air had turned chilly and you crossed your arms to insulate yourself. Dante hummed and stood behind you, his arms going over yours and squeezing gently. His stubble tickled your cheek as he leaned down to press a teasing kiss on your neck.

“How bout we head back for some fun?” he whispered. His tone was dangerously seductive and you could feel the his growing hardness pressing into the small of your back as his hands ran down to rest on your hips. You giggled and stepped out of his reach, heading back the way you came with a saucy smile.

He smirked and gave chase, growling like a lion on a hunt when you twirled away from his grasp. It gave you such a thrill to taunt him, pretending to be scared of his gentle hands and rough passion. He cornered you against a brick wall a block from home, pinning you to it and pressing his body to yours as his mouth descended to devour you. A low whine escaped your lips as his tongue darted out to sample you.

But you wanted to keep the game going, and playfully shoved him away to dart past, biting your lip as his hungry eyes followed you.

“You’re asking for it, babe,” he said, stepping closer.

“Then you’d better deliver,” you replied, and took off running. You knew he could catch you easily, but he let you reach the door to Devil May Cry before he made his move. You barely had time to squeak as he picked you up and slung you over his shoulder, kicking the unlocked door open and using his free hand to smack your ass.

You squirmed until he had to set you down, but you only made it three feet before his firm grasp stopped you in your tracks. He gripped your hips achingly tight, sending a bolt of lightning up your spine as he dragged you to his desk.

“I always deliver!” he growled, reaching down to rub a single finger over your aching bundle of nerves. You arched your hips and moaned, begging him for more friction, but he only smirked and moved his hand away. You reacted instantly, ripping his red leather jacket off and throwing it to the ground. Gods, his shoulders were too much!

 Dante bared his teeth and hastily tugged his shirt off, his lips crashing against yours before the fabric even hit the floor. You wrapped your arms around his gorgeous back and lifted yourself onto the desk, spreading your legs and tugging him closer to press against your core. Your chin was raw from his scratchy white stubble, your lips swollen as he plunged his tongue past them to explore your mouth, but all you wanted was more.

He pulled back, panting as he brushed strands of white out of his hooded eyes.

“Now… where’s that bag?” he asked. You pointed to where it lied, forgotten by the door where you’d dropped it. As he went to retrieve it, you peeled your sweater off. The fabric took your shirt with it, and you tossed the bundle aside just as Dante returned, already tearing at the complicated packaging of his new toy.

“I’ll keep myself busy…” you murmured, tugging your pants down and kicking them away, taking your panties with them. Dante’s jaw dropped as you leaned back onto his desk and your hands drifted lower, teasing at your slick folds. You let out an exaggerated moan, letting your eyes flutter closed as you threw your head back and rubbed circles over your clit. You extended a single digit and dipped it inside yourself, curling it to hit that perfect spot. You could hear his panting breaths as he watched your little show.

“Dante…” you whimpered, using your free hand to pinch your stiff peaks.

And then his hands were on your flushed skin, his teeth biting just right on your needy thighs. He pulled your hand away and dove in, his tongue lapping at the fluids leaking from within. Every lick and nibble sent surges of pleasure through you, his expert mouth rending you into a quivering pile of lust.

“Dante, please!”

He hummed, taking your swollen bud into his mouth and sucking gently. His hot tongue crossed over the sensitive nerves and you came with a cry, tangling your hands in his hair and pulling him against your folds. He kept going, drawing out the blissful moment for what felt like an age as he tasted your heady flavor. Your lips stretched into a wide grin as the last wave rushed through you, every nerve in your body still tingling as he stood tall over your sweat-slick body.

He held out his hands as if he was taking a picture, framing it carefully with one eye squinted shut.

“You look perfect like this, babe. So damn hot…” he said, lowering his hands as you chuckled, raising yourself to your elbows to meet his eyes. At some point he’d finished stripping and put on the cock ring, and seeing his length pointed right at you made you lick your lips. A small drop decorated his head, his readiness almost as obvious as your own.

His cock bobbed as he flexed, smirking at your glazed expression. One of his hands dropped to wrap around it and stroke, sending another small bead rolling out from the tip as he groaned. You couldn’t take it and dropped to your knees before him, staring deep into his eyes as you licked the delicious morsel and took him into you hot mouth.

“Fuck, babe…”

You hummed and hollowed your cheeks, bobbing a few times and reveling in the way he filled your mouth and tickled the back of your throat. You ran your palms up his legs, coming to rest on his hips and encouraging him to move, but he pulled away with a muttered curse.

Dante took your wrists and turned you, pushing you down over the dark wood of his desk. You grunted at the impact, but it morphed into a gasp as he sheathed himself in you with a single thrust. He held you down with one hand as he started pulling back. The rough surface beneath you felt ice cold to your heated skin and you gripped it firmly as he rolled his hips forward again, slowly stretching you to fit his girth.

“Ready for me to turn it on?” he asked.

“Please…”

He hummed and withdrew, and a beat later you heard the telltale buzz as he flicked the toy on. The vibrations reverberated down his length and into your core, and your eyes rolled back into your head as you saw stars and moaned. Dante pressed into you again, not stopping until his hips were flush with your ass. You could feel the buzzing in every nerve now, the toy positioned so it pressed right against your clit.

“Damn, your pussy looks amazing in blue!”

“Bet it makes your cock look good too, especially with me wrapped around it…” you responded with a taunting smile. He wove his fingers in your hair and made a fist, sending jolts of heat through your scalp to match those between your legs.

“Nothing ever made my cock look better, babe,” he replied, resuming his movement. You could picture his head scraping at your walls as he thrusted, his panting breath joining the low buzz and the wet sounds of your pleasure, but there was one sound missing.

“Harder, Dante! C’mon, I can take it!”

He chuckled and obeyed, the slap of flesh echoing in the air with every roll of his hips. You rocked your body to meet his, using the desk for leverage until it was rising and falling with a crash along with your bodies. You clenched your internal muscles, milking him and making him feel positively huge as he fought his way past the tight ring. The vibrations pulsed at your flesh as his head hit your cervix and sent you over the edge again, howling his name.

His hands clenched on your hips, brutally tugging them to meet his movements as fireworks flashed behind your closed eyes. With another few thrusts he exploded with the sexiest moan imaginable, pounding into you and sending his seed deep into your body. His hips stuttered against yours as he rode out his release, quiet gasps escaping his parted lips with each contact.

Spent for now, he leaned over to kiss your shoulder and switched off the cock ring, leaving your drenched folds tingling at the sudden absence. You sighed happily as he slipped out, content to feel the dripping fluids on your legs.

“Here, lemme get you something…”

A smile graced your still swollen lips as Dante’s footsteps retreated. You didn’t move, basking in the afterglow. Within moments, he returned with a soft cloth to wipe away the worst of the mess and you rose to wobble to where your panties lied on the floor. Dante’s sapphire eyes followed you, making sure you didn’t fall.

“So, for the record, that was fucking incredible for you too, right?” he asked quizzically. You couldn’t help but laugh before you answered.

“I’d say that was a twelve, on a scale of one to ten. And we didn’t even use the lingerie!”

Dante smirked as he pulled his pants on. “Well, the night’s still young…”

Chapter Text

“Do you accept this charge?”

V swallowed. Only last week he’d been watching his last charge die, silently waiting to perform the final duty of Guardianship – escorting his charge’s soul to the afterlife. It was never easy; it was the first and only time he communicated directly with Michael, using his own voice and body as opposed to working through other beings. Though it wasn’t the first time he brought a charge over, it never got easier.

But he knew his responsibilities. “I accept the charge.”

Bael nodded his approval, acknowledging his apprentice’s adherence to the traditional phrasing as he gestured to the Seeing Pool’s shimmering water. V stepped to the dais to gaze into the water and get his first look at his new charge. The connection formed in his heart as he stared into a delivery room, witnessing a miracle.

But something wasn’t right; a quiver in a spider’s web echoed in his heart. His charge wasn’t breathing. He leaned closer, his white hair draping over his face to dip into the fluid as his eyes narrowed in concern. He reached out with a thin tendril of power, probing to discern what the issue was.

There!

The umbilical cord wrapped around your neck. He needed to be gentle, or he’d only make it worse. He extended another tendril and slid it under the cord, tugging it a few millimeters away from your windpipe as the nurses urged your mother to push. A third tendril snaked out to widen her birth canal just enough to allow your head to pass.

As gloved hands reached out to help you enter the world, fingers pulling the cord away fully, V released the tendrils and leaned back, taking a deep breath to calm his racing heart.

“Well done, Varnaah. Quite an impressive introduction.”

He bowed his head in deference to Elder Saiinov, stepping away from the pool to return to his place in the gallery where he stood vigil as his brethren received their new charges. None of their introductions required their interference, so it was a challenge to maintain his focus. His mind drifted to explore the fresh connection, mapping its structure and reinforcing its strength until the ceremony concluded.

Bael found him afterward, a broad smile on his grizzled features. The Elder crossed his arms and inclined his head in a gesture of respect, according to custom. V responded with the corresponding motion and rose to meet his mentor’s storm colored eyes.

“Truly an impressive display! You’ve grown much.”

V smirked, his pride inflating at the praise as they made their way to his personal chamber, where he would remain until you expired and they assigned him a new charge. Guardianship was fulfilling, but lonely. Always observing but never able to interact, it left most with a level of disconnect that was difficult to overcome.

“Hopefully there won’t be any more excitement for a while,” he replied.

Bael chuckled as they reached the familiar ivory doorway. His mirth faded, his mournful eyes meeting V’s once more as he opened the door.

“I’ll see you in a few decades, old friend. Be well,” V murmured. Bael extended his arm and the two Guardians grasped forearms in farewell.

The years passed quickly. You were a simple charge, with a caring family watching over you. He barely needed to intervene, only needing to provide the occasional soothing aura to grant you pleasant dreams at night. It wasn’t until you were three that events forced him to take direct action.

You played in the yard, swinging a stick around like a sword as you fought invisible foes. The babysitter was inside, occupied with her boyfriend. V fed your imagination, grinning with pleasure at your squeals of joy. His smile vanished as you turned to run into the busy street, darting to fence another enemy in the middle of the road.

His heart stopped as a semi rolled closer to you. The connection pulsed in warning, and he knew beyond a doubt that the truck would kill you. V streaked closer to you, arms outstretched. He tugged your wrists and cushioned your fall against the asphalt, pulling to the left to move you to the perfect spot. He held his breath as the massive truck roared over your small body, tires mere feet away from your arms and legs on either side.

The semi didn’t even slow, the driver oblivious to the near miss as he drove on. You bawled in his ethereal ears as the babysitter sprinted outside, her top still out of place. He released you and let out the breath he’d been holding as her arms pulled you into a reassuring hug. You were safe, and he allowed himself a moment of self-congratulation.

He stepped away from the dais with trembling hands, exhausted from the scare. Perhaps encouraging your play had been a mistake. He needed to be more careful, or he’d lose you.

For the next several years, he was attentive to the point of paranoia. He kept careful watch over your fate, ensuring that the limited amount of pain he allowed you to experience wasn’t too much for you to endure. It made his heart ache when you broke your leg, and he cried when your hamster died. He focused on the fact that growth sometimes required pain, but it brought little comfort.

The next true test of his ability came three months after your thirteenth birthday. The connection twitched and within seconds he was watching through the small pool. You stood in the living room of your home, red faced as you shouted at your father.

“I hate you! I wish you were dead!”

Your small feet stomped to your bedroom as your father’s face fell, and V followed with his calming aura already emanating from his incorporeal form. He watched helplessly as you packed some clothes and toys and climbed out the window, shimmying down an oak tree to reach the ground. The desire to speak directly to you, to explain why your parents were against you going to the slumber party in the trailer park flooded his mind.

By the time you reached the bus station, the rage leaking through the connection had cooled. He sent a powerful gust of wind billowing around you, leaving goosebumps in its wake. You wrapped your arms around yourself and shivered, glancing around you with the first stirrings of doubt. A beat later, you turned around with a sigh and began heading home.

Only two years later, you met a boy. He seemed nice enough but lacked courage, so V had to intervene. Only with the aid of the boy’s Guardian did the lad garner enough bravery to lean over and kiss you, and the smile on your face as the youth pulled back made his head swim.

Barely two months later, you’d first tried to please yourself. Your clumsy efforts proved ineffectual until he’d guided your fingers gently, knowing exactly what to do through the connection. He found himself fascinated by the sounds you made and the expression on your face, and his pale cheeks tinted a strange hue of red as you found satisfaction at last.

In your seventeenth year, you met another boy, this one not so nice. Like with every other charge, as you aged his ability to influence you waned, and he was forced to watch in silent agony as the boy took advantage of your naïve trust. After he left, you cried for hours and he had been right there through every second, using his meager strength to keep you from the depths of despair. It took you many years to overcome the trauma, and every step you took towards healing brought joy to his heart.

When you were twenty, you lived alone and he’d mournfully stayed with you as your solitude grew unbearable. By now, his power over to influence you was spent and all he could do was manipulate lesser creatures or tweak random chance, and it took all his focus to guide a stray dog into your path. It was your choice to take it home, to adopt it and allow it into your heart. You named it Lucky, for the dog’s fortune and for your own.

Now, you were twenty two, and he was beginning to understand his fondnness for you ran deeper than simple responsibility. Guardians always felt something for their charges, but never had he developed a bond so strong, so overwhelmingly powerful. None of his previous charges had evoked such a sense of need, of craving within him. It was his gift and his curse to know the fate of those he Guarded, know how every action would change it. Always, he had stayed objective and allowed just the right amount of pain to strengthen his charges. But with you, he found he wanted to guide you away from any pain whatsoever, protect you from every ill turn.

He found it harder and harder to stay alert as you interacted with men, cringing when you kissed them or touched them. Anytime you coupled, his stomach churned. He tried so hard to fulfill his duties, guiding those he found less abhorrent in how to please you despite his nausea. The few moments you pleased yourself were a blessing, and every time he guided you to fulfillment heat stirred inside him. It drove him mad, this feeling. It built to a towering inferno until he could barely think, and he broke his vigil to relieve the pressure.

He bit his lip to contain his groans, but it proved fruitless as he satisfied the desire with an echoing cry.  He froze, his hand still wrapped around his length as someone knocked at his door. He panicked; there was no hiding his actions and he hung his head in shame as he opened the door to reveal Bael, wearing the deepest frown he’d ever seen.

“You know what comes next,” the Elder said simply.

V gulped and nodded, gathering his courage as his mentor led him to the Great Chamber.

“I’m sorry, I meant no harm.”

Bael sighed, pinching the bridge of his flat nose. “The Council will decide the severity of your crimes. It’s out of my hands.”

They covered the remaining distance in silence. V braced himself, knowing exactly what he was in for as Bael entered the chamber without him. Left alone for a few minutes, V pondered how many of the Elder’s laws he’d violated.

Too many.

The enormous door opened once more to reveal Bael gesturing him inside. He took a deep breath and stepped forward, head inclined respectfully. His mentor brought him to the still waters and he obediently plunged his hand in the pool, letting his recollections play on the surface.

He used to think the Great Chamber was beautiful, with its pearlescent pillars and shimmering Seeing Pool. Yet as the twelve Elders bore witness to every moment of his Guardianship over you in those waters, his own memories betraying the depth of his care, the bright glow became overbearing. The purity stifled him and he fidgeted as he waited for the Elders to rise. At last, they turned their disapproving eyes on him and he struggled to display the proper amount of respect.

“You stand accused of developing romantic feelings for your charge, and allowing them to affect the manner in which you performed your duties to the point of negligence. For this crime, you are to be cast out to live amongst the mortals as one of them. So it shall be,” Bael intoned gravely, the remaining eleven Elders echoing his last four words solemnly.

No! I’ll never see her again! Who will protect her now?!

Panic consumed him as Nui, another of the elders approached him with a sympathetic gleam in his gaze. He lowered his ghostly blade and severed the wings from his back, but the physical agony paled compared to the torture in his mind. As tradition dictated, his voice remained bound to silence in these chambers unless given permission and never had the spell seemed so nefarious. All he could do was cry and turn his pleading eyes on each Elder in turn, finding nothing but contempt.

His halo faded into nothingness as Nui drained the last of his angelic power. The Elder stepped away and gestured to Bael. It was his responsibility, as the offender’s mentor to see the sentence fulfilled. They left the chamber behind and the instant speech was within his ability, he opened his mouth.

“No harm has come from my actions, and Father Himself praises love in any form if it be true. You must have mercy,” he begged his oldest friend.

The man walked in silence for a moment, refusing to meet his intent emerald eyes. He was about to continue his protestations when the Elder’s lips opened.

“V, I am being as merciful as I am able considering the circumstances. I am sorry,” he said, using his nickname. And just like that, they reached the Gate of the Forsaken. It was the only way they could traverse the gap between realms, and as Bael strode to set the destination, V’s panic turned to rage.

This is wrong! How can love be a crime? I’ve done nothing to harm her or change her fate! I haven’t even looked past the next year to see what her fate is!

V did not resist when Bael removed his clothing. He only glared, declining to pay any further deference to such hypocrisy. His mentor turned the wheel to open the gate and came to push him through it with a sad sigh. Only then did he react, planting his feet and stubbornly refusing to take a step. Bael gave him a disapproving look and crossed his arms.

“Truly, you are blessed. Many Guardians never learn what it is to love. But it comes at a cost, and nothing you do will change the price.”

The Elder backed away, his mournful gaze holding V’s as a swarm of Heralds dragged him through the gate. He screamed, he cried, he thrashed in their grip, but still he felt the cold embrace of crossing over before everything faded to black.

 

He woke in a small alcove, alone and wet under the drizzling clouds. He was naked, the fresh markings from his fall adorning his skin. The cold set in and he shivered. The downpour slicked his newly darkened hair to his forehead as he curled into a ball, not intending to ever move again. He didn’t know or particularly care where he’d landed, only knowing he could no longer tell if you were safe as the connection lay shattered within his heart.

The rain covered his tears, but did nothing to conceal the shake of his shoulders as he cried. Everything he believed, everything he’d been taught over the centuries, meaningless. His most trusted friend had betrayed him. The Elders whom he’d looked up to and respected had cast him out. Love, that which his Father professed to be the most holy of emotions, had led to his fall.

He leaned back, letting the rough bricks support his aching shoulders where his wings once sprouted forth. All that remained was a pair of identical scars, though the physical pain would torment him for weeks. Such suffering to look forward to. His sobs became crazed laughter and he lifted his chin to glare at the sky.

“No more I follow, no more obedience pay!”

Still, his wrath was a violent tempest in his belly. He stood awkwardly and raised a fist to use the gesture he knew was such an insult amongst mortals, extending a single finger and howling curses at the uncaring clouds.

A voice called out to him and he froze, unable to believe what his ears told him.

“Are you okay?”

A cruel trick, no doubt. Bael would never send me to her…

He turned to face the source of the voice and gasped, his rage vanishing into the ether as he stared at your features for an uncomfortably long time.

“Um, are you on drugs? Do you want me to call someone?”

Your concerned tone broke the spell and he blinked, suddenly acutely aware of how he must look. Utterly naked, cursing his fury at the sky in an alley during a storm.

Not the best first impression.

But I’m mortal now… what if I could still be in her life, in this new manner?

V’s heart flew, a new level of understanding rushing through him. Perhaps this was Bael’s plan all along? Was it possible the reason the punishment for loving a charge was to be cast out, was so the offender could pursue that love? Was this some secret tradition, one meant to honor their Father’s intention, honor the sanctity of true love?

He had no idea, but it didn’t matter.

V turned his attention back to you, noticing the way you kept your eyes averted and chewed your lip in embarrassment. He moved to cover his crotch, and you relaxed. Barely.

“I… I must apologize. I’m… well, you could say I’m stranded,” he replied. Your expression shifted to sympathy and you lifted the strap of your purse to offer him your raincoat with a kind smile. He beamed back and donned the jacket, finding it barely covered his groin.

“I live close by, come on. Looks like you need something to eat, too. What’s your name?”

“I’m Var-… You can call me V,” he replied. His nickname felt more suitable and the thought of you speaking his true name turned his stomach. It was too formal, too uptight for the relationship with you he desired. You gave him your name in return, extending a hand to shake his with a smile. His arm trembled as he reached out to touch you for the first time.

Calm down, it’s just a gesture of greeting.

The texture of your skin was ethereal, soft beyond imagining. Even such a simple contact made him smile widely, his long fingers pumping your palm for a beat longer than was normal. He didn’t want to let go, and his lips faltered when you released him.

“Nice to meet you, V,” you said.

“Likewise.”

You smiled and turned to walk away, glancing back to make sure he followed. He took a moment to whisper his thanks to the sky above, and he swore he heard Bael’s unmistakable chuckle as he joined you. He smirked, imagining his mentor looking down on him as he accompanied you home just like Lucky had, all those years ago.

Chapter Text

V had a serious problem.

He couldn’t find his book anywhere.

Last night, he left it on his bedside table as he always did, and this morning he woke to find it gone. He checked everywhere he could imagine, from under the bed to the freezer, but to no avail.

Then he remembered his roommate’s new puppy.

Oh no…

He ran to the living room, already fearing the worst. His white-haired roommate was in the middle of his morning meditation, sitting quietly with his eyes closed. V normally wouldn’t dare to interrupt, but this was too important.

“Vergil! Where’s Yamato?”

Vergil opened a single eye to glare at V, his displeasure clear. He huffed, barely opening his lips to respond. “In my room, why?”

But V didn’t answer, already on his way to the bedroom in question, panic in his eyes at the idea of his most cherished possession on the paws of the destructive two-month-old Shiba Inu.

He opened the door and gasped.

Paper littered the floor, tiny scraps of it still floating down to land around the dog. She had the remnants of his beloved volume between her paws, a section in her mouth as she shook her head back and forth to kill it, growling.

“No! Bad dog, drop it!” V cried, stepping forward to tug what was left of the cover from her grasp. She released it instantly, Vergil’s hours spent training her with basic commands coming in handy. She looked away guiltily as he grimaced at the slobber coating the once pristine pages. V sighed and praised the horrible animal for its obedience, even though he’d much rather throttle her or shove her nose into the carpet. The damage was done, and punishment would do nothing to restore his book.

So, he gathered as many scraps as he could find, sealing them in a plastic bag with a heavy heart. As he grabbed his coat, he caught a glimpse of Vergil disciplining the young puppy in the living room.

“We do not destroy others’ belongings, that’s bad,” Vergil explained to the animal, and she cocked her head to the side as if she understood. V shook his head and left.

The bookstore down the street was one he’d never visited, content to read the familiar pages of his childhood treasure. He didn’t even know if they repaired books, but it was all he could think of to try. Inside the brick building he found a glorious sight – racks upon racks of books, too many to count. Several people were milling about browsing, a few sitting in overstuffed chairs and reading. It was close to silent, only the turning of pages and occasional scraps of conversation filling the air.

I should have come here long ago.

“Hi there! My name is Y/N. Can I help you find anything?”

V turned to face the bright and youthful voice. It belonged to a young person outfitted in a dark shirt and pants wearing a name tag. An employee of the store with excellent timing.

“Yes, actually. I need this book repaired,” V replied with a smile. He held out the bag and waited for assurance that it could be salvaged.

“Oh! Uh, well… I really wish I could help you, but that looks beyond repair. What on earth happened?”

V’s face fell, shoulders sagging in disappointment. He took the bag back with a slight frown. “My roommate’s dog happened.”

You grimaced in sympathy and nodded knowingly. “Maybe we can find another copy of it? What was the title?”

V gazed mournfully at the remains of his prized tome. He couldn’t believe it was so destroyed, beyond repair as you’d said. It felt like he’d lost a friend.

“The Complete Works of William Blake, but it was customized. Of great sentimental value,” he responded. You shuffled your feet and chewed the inside of your cheek.

“I see. Maybe some of it’s in good enough shape? A partial restoration might be possible, though some portions would be missing.”

V handed the bag back gratefully; even a partial repair would be of great comfort. You took a closer look and smiled, gesturing for him to follow you as you led him to a counter nearby. You pulled out the larger sections, the cover and a few intact pages. V noticed several scraps that belonged to the same page and assembled them neatly, using his memory to recreate the page with one of his favorite poems on it.

“Yeah, we could get about three quarters of it fully restored. It’ll take a few weeks, is that all right?” you asked.

“Thank you, that would be superb.”

V gave the details necessary and accepted the receipt, carefully stowing it in his wallet for safekeeping. He felt much better, though his heart still ached for the loss. There was no way to know which poems were lost, perhaps another copy would be wise after all?

He voiced the thought aloud and you smiled. He followed you to a section labeled as poetry, watching as you located the specific shelf of his favorite poet and pulled out an especially well-made version.

“Here’s my favorite edition. It has a genuine leather cover and a ribbon to mark your place, and it features this nice paper, I love the texture of it. Here, take a look!” you said, holding it out for his inspection with a glimmer of excitement in your eyes. He hadn’t noticed their color before, but now found it difficult to look away.

He shook himself mentally and examined the volume. You were right, the pages had a wonderful roughness to them that reminded him of homemade paper. The leather cover was a nice touch, too.

“This is perfect, thank you.”

“My pleasure! All set?”

He nodded and within moments, he was out the door with his purchase. When he opened the door and stepped into his residence, Vergil and Yamato were gone. He took advantage of the silence and made a cup of tea, settling in under his favorite lamp to read his new treasure. Yet the flowing script didn’t hold his attention and his mind drifted back to the color of your eyes and the sound of your voice. There was something about you that captured his interest, and he puzzled over it throughout the next few days.

It was less than a week before he returned to the bookstore. V tried to convince himself he simply wanted to find another volume to enjoy, but the truth was that he wanted to see you again. There was an odd fluttering sensation in his gut as he opened the door and saw you at the register, busily cashiering.

I’ll have to buy something, then.

He wandered aimlessly for a few minutes, passing by new releases and cookbooks without a second glance. The classic literature section caught his attention, and he selected a copy of The Divine Tragedy. The premise of Hell intrigued him, and the structure was poetic enough that it felt familiar. V headed back to the register with a smile, excited to speak with even briefly.

Over the next two months, this became his pattern. He spent most of his time reading, powering through several classics and anthologies you recommended. Every time he finished a book, he immediately returned to the shop to discuss it with you and ask for another. It was the highlight of his days, speaking to you. He learned that you were barely younger than him, that you had always loved book and stories and were writing an original of your very own when you had time.

He learned what made you laugh, what made you smile and what made you frown. He learned what music you liked and who you’d kill to see perform live. He learned everything he could about you, and with each new piece of information, you stole another piece of his heart.

His infatuation was so obvious even Vergil noticed, commenting that he smiled far too much and had a ridiculous look about him. V only laughed and went back to his book, lazily scratching Yamato’s chin. The dog grew on him; after all, if she hadn’t destroyed his book, he never would have met you. The partially restored volume now rested on a shelf near his bed, high enough so the dog couldn’t reach it and displayed proudly.

He turned the last page of Count Dracula and hummed contentedly, already reaching for his coat and keys when Vergil’s voice reached him.

“Mind if I join you?”

V froze. What if Vergil got in the way? He treasured his time with you, even though he knew you were simply doing your job and being nice to him out of professionalism. Vergil would shatter that illusion; he had no tolerance for willful ignorance. Yet to protest would only cause further issues, so he nodded.

Vergil smirked and donned his jacket, following V out the door. They reached the shop within minutes, and once inside V searched for you out of habit alone. There, you were helping a young woman find something. Vergil’s clever eyes tracked the same path, discerning V’s focus with ease.

“So that’s why you’ve been acting so absurd. Impressive,” the white-haired man said.

V blushed and looked at the floor, studying the geometric pattern of the thin carpeting as if it held the secrets of the universe. This was exactly what he feared would happen. He knew you weren’t interested; you’d not once asked for his phone number or shown any desire to see him outside your workplace. Prickles of guilt washed over him when he thought about it, about how he continued to intrude on your work where you could do nothing to impede him.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he replied at last.

Vergil glanced at V and smirked knowingly. “Ah, forgive me. I must have been mistaken.”

V nodded and wandered away to browse, leaving Vergil to his own devices. The moment the poet was out of sight, Vergil strode over to talk to you with a charming smile.

“Hello, I was hoping you could be of assistance…”

 _____________________

V did his best to avoid you, his guilt weighing heavily on his mind. Yet that day you sought him out, having seen him enter the shop and met his friend.

“V! Hi! What are you looking for today? Did you finish Dracula yet?” your cheerful voice called out to him as you approached.

“Oh! Yes, I just finished it this afternoon,” he said. V couldn’t deny the rush he got when you spoke to him, the familiar fluttering of his belly and the buzz in his mind.

“Great! Did you like it?”

He cleared his throat and nodded, making you beam with joy.

“I know just what you should read next, then! Are you familiar with the story of Frankenstein?”

V chatted with you for the next twenty minutes, though normally he spent over an hour in your company. He made his excuses and left to track down Vergil, finding him near the door with a smirk on his lips and a bag in his hand.

“This is a lovely store, especially the help,” he said when V reached his side.

“What?”

“That employee I thought you had a thing for? I’m going to see them tonight for a movie,” Vergil replied.

V felt his throat contract and swallowed against it. His stomach dropped to his knees and his hands trembled as he opened the door to their home, the urge to utterly destroy his roommate painfully strong. He ignored it, reminding himself that he had no claim to you.

“Ah. Have fun.”

He retreated to his bedroom and sighed. He couldn’t stop thinking about you, reliving every laugh and every smile as he undressed and got in bed. How he wished it was him taking you to a movie! V’s imagination ran wild, picturing everything he would do if he had the chance. He’d start with a hand on your knee, waiting until the film was at least twenty minutes in before dragging it higher to rest on your thigh.

A coil of heat settled in his belly at the thought, and one hand drifted to rest over his groin.

Next, he would lean over to whisper in your ear, something about how the darkness of theaters made excellent cover for explorations. His hand would move inward, dancing over your skin to rest on the tender flesh of your inner thigh. He imagined the way your breath would hitch and your hands would clench on the armrests, eyes glued to the screen as his fingers caressed their way higher.

V groaned and lifted his hips, rubbing his aching hardness into his palm.

You would spread your legs, granting him permission to continue. He wouldn’t even need to look, using skill alone to unbutton your shorts and graze his fingertips across your stomach. The sigh you’d make would be so exquisite, so lovely as he ventured under the fabric to touch your most intimate and sensitive skin.

He wrapped his fingers around his length, running his thumb over his tip and spreading the bead of fluid around as he pumped.

You would arch your back and bite your lip as he first felt your wetness; he’d need to time it well to disguise the moan slipping through your lips. He’d coat his fingers in your arousal, pulling them away to lick them and taste you. You’d taste so good, and he would lean over to whisper that, too. Gentleman that he was, he would share the morsel and allow you to lick his moistened fingers, let you wrap that sweet tongue around him and feel your lips engulf his flesh.

His breath hitched and he started lifting his hips to thrust in time with his pumping hand, heightening the pleasure.

He’d take his fingers away and resume his ministrations, finding all your most sensitive patches of nerves and stimulating them without mercy. Your eyes would roll back into your head as he stroked, his every move sending pulses of pleasure through you. He’d tease you, bring you right to the brink and hold you there. With another whisper, he’d instruct you to beg. And you would, keening his name softly and pleading for him to give you release. How could he possibly deny you anything when you asked so sweetly? His hand would be drenched in the proof of your fulfillment, and the two of you would lick it clean together in the dark theater. Perhaps he’d hold it in his cheek and make you use your tongue to retrieve it from his mouth?

“Fuck!” V growled, groaning as he reached his peak. Thick ropes of his cum shot out onto his thighs and stomach, but he didn’t care. He was too busy pumping through his intense orgasm. For a few moments, he lied there and waited for his panting to return to a normal breathing pattern. The guilt that had prickled at him before was joined by shame.

He rose to clean up the mess with a sigh, now fully awake again. It was difficult to keep himself from picturing Vergil living out his fantasies, and he tried to distract his mind by reading. The words on the page blurred, the story only reminding him of how you had looked so excited when you told him the premise. How wide your smile was as he expressed his interest.

I wonder how wide they’ll smile when Vergil makes his move.

With a growl of fury and frustration, V hurled the book at the wall with all the force he could muster. Images filled his mind of Vergil touching you, caressing your skin and knowing you more intimately than V ever would, and he ripped his bedroom door open.

He stalked to the kitchen and poured a glass of whiskey, downing it in a single gulp. He poured another and claimed a perch on the couch. Yamato joined him, her sympathetic eyes begging him to pet her. He smiled softly and did just that.

“At least there’s one female who welcomes my touch,” he murmured. Yamato whined as if to disagree. He took a sip of his drink and settled in to wait, knowing he would find no rest until Vergil returned.

 _____________________

By the time his white-haired roommate opened the door, he’d finished his second drink and was just about to pour his third. The man had the nerve to hum as he took off his shoes, joining V in the kitchen with a smile as he opened the fridge to find a snack. Without prompting, he opened his mouth.

“What a lovely time we had. I’ll be seeing them again this weekend, I think I’ll go for a kiss then.”

V grunted and clenched his jaw as he returned to his bedroom to sulk. He couldn’t let this happen, refused to let Vergil do to you what he’d done to so many others. The poet finally found sleep as he resolved to do what he must tomorrow.

_____________________

He found you stocking the children’s section. You had a smile on your lips, a look of happiness in your eyes. V hoped you weren’t thinking about Vergil but couldn’t discount the possibility. He approached you and that same flutter ran rampant in his belly as you smiled at him.

“V! You didn’t finish Frankenstein already, did you?”

He sighed, searching for the right words to make you understand.

“No, I… I need to talk to you about something else. Do you have a moment?”

Your eyes narrowed in concern, but you nodded, following him to a secluded corner of the shop to talk in private. You waited for him to speak and he gazed into your eyes for courage.

“Vergil is not an easy man to be involved with. He will hurt you, if you let him. You should stay away from him,” he said. He tried to make his voice steady and earnest, but it came out less powerfully than he’d hoped. Your eyes narrowed even further as you listened, staring at him in confusion.

“Why are you telling me this? What does it matter to you?”

This is it.

V took a deep breath and opened his mouth as his hands trembled. His stomach was like a flock of birds, fluttering so much he feared he may lose his breakfast.

“It matters because I have feelings for you.”

Your eyes widened and your mouth popped open in surprise. You didn’t say a word, and as amusement filled your eyes V turned and ran, unable to face the rejection he knew was imminent. He fled outside, not planning on stopping until he got home, but a warm hand on his wrist stopped him in the parking lot. He turned to find you, bent over and panting as you held your other hand up in a gesture of needing to catch your breath.

They want to be clear. I cannot run away from this.

He waited in resigned misery as you finally regained the ability to speak, but no words came from your lips. Instead, you released his wrist and stepped forward, wrapping your arms around him to press your lips to his.

What…?

V’s heart flew into his mouth and he tugged you closer, cradling your precious form against his as he reveled in the softness of your mouth. He couldn’t believe this was happening, he’d been so sure you felt nothing for him. After a far too brief embrace, you pulled back with the most radiant smile he’d yet seen on your face.

“I’ve wanted to do that for weeks! I have feelings for you too, but I thought you weren’t interested!”

V smirked and rested his forehead against yours.

“So, Vergil…?”

“He offered to take me to see a movie nobody else wanted to see. I have no interest in him, at least not like I have in you,” you replied with a light blush.

He leaned in for another kiss, running the tip of his tongue over your lips until you opened to him, your tongues dancing as he moaned quietly. You tasted so much better than he could have imagined, and feeling your hands running up and down his back made him shiver in delight. He rested a palm on your hip and squeezed, his other hand occupied mapping your jaw. He had to pull away a beat later as blood rushed to his groin.

You grinned and took his hand, lacing your fingers through his as he caught his breathe.

“Why did you stop?” you asked.

V looked at the asphalt under his feet, his eyes passing over the bulge in his pants that was far too obvious for his liking.

“I liked that… perhaps too much.”

You laughed and reached out to feel his hardened length with a sly smirk, and he couldn’t restrain the whine at your touch.

“Trust me, you’re not the only one who enjoyed it.”

He raised an eyebrow and twisted his lips, eyes glittering in amusement. “Do tell,” he said.

“Let’s start with dinner. I’m off at five, sound good?”

He lifted your hand to his lips, planting a kiss on your knuckles. “Delightful.”

You turned to face the bookstore with a resigned sigh, and V escorted you back to the door. He didn’t want to let you go back to work, but knowing he’d see you in a few short hours helped. You gave him another kiss and released his hand.

“I’ll see you tonight,” you said, and stepped inside. He waved and started the walk home, and with every step he took the smile on his face grew wider.

Chapter Text

He was doing it again.

Reading.

Turning the pages of his book with those long, elegant fingers you so enjoyed watching. You’d never been jealous of a book before, but you found yourself envying the way he caressed the paper with such tenderness. It was maddening on its own, but even more so because you had no idea what to do about it.

It’s not like I can tell him to be less sexy when he’s just reading a damn book.

He turned the page.

You almost groaned, picturing his dexterous fingers buried within you.

This is so unfair!

V was practically a stranger to you, but in the few days you’d known him, not once had he lost his cool. His calm assuredness and confidence only added to his allure; he electrified you with his mere presence. Just once you wanted to break his composure, make him be unsure of himself and not know what to do. Turn the tables.

He turned the page.

You bit your lip.

Goddamnit!

“You know, it’s considered rude to stare,” the poet said, his emerald eyes never leaving the page.

You huffed and crossed your arms, deliberately staring at the clutter on Nico’s workbench. The mechanic was outside with Nero, testing some new gadget of hers a few hundred yards away. A safe distance in case it exploded. You smiled, remembering her wink as she’d left you alone with the mysterious man in black.

“I was staring into space, not my fault your body got in the way.”

He hummed and you could hear his smirk as he turned the page again.

Fuck it.

You crossed the van, making sure to emphasize the motion of your hips as you took a seat on the couch beside him. He didn’t react, so you leaned forward and peered over his hand to see the words on the page, twirling a lock of your hair idly and chewing on your lip.

“I can read aloud if you’d like,” he said calmly, still not looking up.

The idea of his honeyed voice reciting poetry only heightened the stubborn ache between your legs. This man would be the death of you, and he didn’t even know it. You licked your lips and leaned back, tossing your head slightly to get your hair out of your eyes.

“That’s all right, I’d rather read it for myself sometime,” you replied, injecting your voice with extra huskiness. The whole charade felt absurd, but you were committed now. Anything to get him to fucking lose his cool, just once.

He glanced at you out of the corner of his eyes, finally noticing your ridiculous behavior. Those lovely hands closed his book and he faced you fully with a smirk twisting his lips.

“What on earth are you doing?” he asked.

Still as calm as ever.

Smug bastard.

You smirked back at him and said nothing. He hummed and his eyes narrowed in suspicion. You crossed your legs, turning to face the other way. This might be more difficult than you thought.

You felt the touch of cool metal under your chin as V used his cane to turn you back toward him. He had an eyebrow raised, that signature smirk still adorning his mouth. When you tried to look elsewhere, the caress of his cane only brought you back to meet his inquisitive gaze.

“I could hazard a guess, but I’d much rather hear you say it out loud.”

He’s not going to let this go. Bastard.

Blood rushed to your cheeks and he chuckled at your obvious embarrassment. Even as rage pooled in your belly, another kind of heat joined it at the dark amusement in his laughter. It was too much and you exploded.

“Shut up! I was trying to be sexy!”

He laughed harder, dropping his cane from your cheek as his shoulders shook. You’d never been so embarrassed and you stood abruptly to leave. If this was what it took to break his composure, you’d rather he go back to being an inscrutable mystery. Just as your hand reached out to open the door, he spoke.

“You don’t have to try, you know. You already are.”

What…?

Your mortification morphed to shock as you faced him once again. His eyes were locked on yours, a glimmer of something unfamiliar and heated in their emerald depths. You watched in stunned silence as he extended his cane to you, hooking the handle around your waist and tugging you away from the door.

“I was wondering what it would take for you to confess. I suppose we’ll have to find a new game to play, now,” he murmured.

He stood and stalked to you like a predator, and the look on his face made your knees wobble. Hungry. Possessive. Lustful.

Like he wants to devour me. Oh, yes please…

Long fingers wrapped over your hips and you squeaked as he pulled your body flush against his, claiming your mouth with his own. Your hands rose to run up his back, stroking his spine before tangling in his obsidian hair. His lips opened and his tongue darted forward to beg for entrance. You obliged happily, eager to get a deeper taste of him.

Almonds… he tastes like almonds.

He pulled away after a far too brief moment, smirking through parted lips as Nico’s exclamations reached the van. Nero’s retort verified their return and you sighed as you stepped back from the man in black. But V leaned closer, nuzzling your hair out of the way to kiss your neck. His playful emerald gaze met yours as the shouting reached a fever pitch, loud enough to be mere feet away.

“To be continued,” he murmured, planting one last kiss on your lips as the door creaked open.

Chapter Text

In a dark room somewhere in Red Grave City, a man tossed and turned as he did every night. The chilled autumn wind caressed his clammy skin and he grunted, his face strained in the moonlight spilling from his open bedroom window. His tattooed fingers clenched and a tear leaked from his closed eye, spilling into his already sweat-dampened obsidian hair. There was no one beside him; the tormented man slept alone.

V bolted upright with a gasp, eyes shooting open as if he’d been struck by lightning. The pounding of his heart refused to slow until he checked every corner of the room, despite how sure he was of his own safety. His nightmares often robbed him of his senses.

As was his ritual, he reached out through the shredded remains of his bond with his familiars, mourning them as if their sacrifice was only yesterday. He still found it difficult to believe; the three demons he’d fought to gain as allies ended up giving the last of their lives to preserve him. Trading what little power they had to anchor his soul.

As a consequence, he no longer had the means to fight demons alongside his friends. He had become ordinary, and while his friends still cared, they were busy saving the world. They didn’t have time to support him or help him heal, for reasons he understood despite the ache in his heart. So, while he survived the showdown, V still felt as if he’d lost everything.

In a way, he had.

V sighed and threw aside the blankets, airing out the portion of the sheets now soaked with his sweat. He shuffled to the small bathroom and splashed water on his face, taking comfort in the sting the cold fluid brought. He stared into the mirror, assessing the worth of the person he saw.

There’s still so much to atone for.

His hands clenched on the porcelain, remembering the many sins of his past. Every day he strived to make amends, but it wasn’t easy. Most of his crimes proved too terrible to counterbalance.

Mass murder. Conspiracy. Matricide. Theft.

Theft. He could fix that, couldn’t he? His emerald eyes shifted to gaze at the dresser where his now useless cane lied, remembering the day he stole it. To be fair, his circumstances at the time were… complicated.

Still, perhaps he could find that shop in the morning, pay for the broken case and for his thievery. It was better than nothing. He sighed again and returned to bed, lying on the side where the sheets remained somewhat dry.

 ___________________________

Retracing his footsteps from the day of his birth turned out to be more of a challenge than he’d expected. The city had changed so much, many buildings damaged or destroyed entirely during the crisis. In some neighborhoods, the carcasses of the Qlipoth roots stood vigil as a reminder to the citizens. V clicked his tongue as he stepped over one particularly large root, disdain written on his every feature.

What a fool I was.

He walked two more blocks before he saw it – the paned glass door, the carved columns framing it. V swallowed heavily as he remembered breaking the glass and unlocking the doors, dragging Griffon inside by his feet. Desperate to stay hidden from the pathetic Empusa. He was weaker now than he’d ever been.

He shook his head. This wasn’t a trip down memory lane, there was no point revisiting the past. No point dwelling on pain. He pushed the heavy door inward and entered the scene of his crime.

It had changed little. A display of porcelain dolls to his left, a case of jewelry to his right. Ahead, a shelf stuffed with baubles and accouterments waiting for a new home. He would’ve liked to browse, but he was here for a reason. His gaze swept the room, passing over the paraphernalia to find a tiny figure carrying a stack of books, a nametag barely visible past the bindings.

I thought child labor was illegal?

He approached curiously and watched as you shelved the myriad of tomes. Eventually he got a look at your face and he chuckled to himself, realizing you were most definitely not a child. He cleared his throat. You spun to face him with an obviously false smile.

“Hi, can I help you find anything?”

He shuffled his feet and sighed. This may end with him in handcuffs.

“I need to pay for something…” he began. You stared up at him, waiting for him to elaborate. He held out the silver cane and gave you a sheepish smirk.

“I stole this a few months ago during the crisis. I’ve come to purchase it properly.”

Your eyes flicked from his face to the cane, then back again. A more authentic grin spread across your features and you snickered, holding a hand over your lips to hide it. V lowered his arms; by the time the cane clicked against the tile, your guffaws had reached a state of frenzy. He shuffled his feet in embarrassment and waited for you to calm.

“Are you for real? Dude, everything damaged during that bullshit got written off as a loss. You could’ve taken Elvis’ jacket and literally nobody would have noticed,” you said eventually. V clicked his tongue, unable to withhold his annoyance at being teased. Especially since he was trying to do something right!

“Regardless. I also broke in through the door and shattered the case that contained it. I may have damaged several other items during my encounter with a demon.”

You looked him over with a sly gleam of amusement and led him to a counter with a shrug.

“If you really want to pay for it, the owner won’t complain. I can get the cane sorted out, but the damage might take a while. Are you sure you want to do this?”

V grimaced. His job at a local bookstore didn’t pay well, and his work experience didn’t merit a raise. He’d have to take on extra shifts to cover the expense. More hours spent helping idiots find something to read on the plane, mindlessly stocking the shelves and pretending to have any deference for his boss.

I must make amends.

“I’m sure.”

You smiled and gestured at the cane, indicating you needed to see it again. He handed it over and you hummed.

“Well, you have my respect, then. Not many people would fess up to that.”

V didn’t respond. He locked his eyes on the floor, remembering how black it looked as Griffon dissolved right before he’d bonded with the mouthy demonic bird. It surprised him how much he missed the snide commentary and barbed insults.

No one left to insult me except myself.

“I think seventy-five would be a fair price,” you said, handing back the cane. V pulled his wallet from his rear pocket, finally having made use of the chain from so long ago. He handed you a few bills with a smile. The register opened with a sharp click and you counted out his change, even printing a receipt. The tiny scrap of paper in his hand lifted a fraction of the guilt from his shoulders and he breathed a sigh of relief.

“I’ll need your contact info for the glass,” you said, holding out a pen and notepad. He scrawled his name and cell, adding a note explaining his request. You peered at his writing curiously.

“Anyone ever tell you your handwriting looks like you’re five years old?”

 V chuckled. He knew better than to mention how young he was, but it was tempting.

“Ah, I must be improving then,” he replied instead. You snickered and shook your head.

“Good one! I guess I’ll talk to you soon,” you glanced back at the pad, “V…”

  ___________________________

 As much as he loved literature, working in a bookstore left V extremely unsatisfied. Most customers were after whatever new young adult fiction was big this week, or the latest self-help book. Not a soul asked him about poetry or classics, and the lack of stimulating conversation gave him far too much time to think.

He spent a significant portion of time trying to figure out other ways he could repay his misdeeds. Rarely did he stumble onto any new ideas or insights, and the repetitive cycle left him melancholy. Not a good mindset for customer service.

And according to Michael, we just sold out of that drivel the kids like. This will be a long day.

Still, he plastered as much of a smile as he could muster on his lips and pinned his nametag on, striding out onto the sales floor like it was a battleground infested with Hell Caina’s.

If only…

“Hey, you work here, right?”

He turned to face a youthful blonde, knowing from the tone of her voice alone what she wanted. Why she couldn’t have bothered Cassie instead was a mystery, the two would’ve likely been best friends within ten minutes. The idea twitched his lips into a faint smile as he nodded.

“Cool, you have that new one by Cyril McNabb, yeah?”

His jaw clenched in irritation. The girl didn’t even pronounce the author’s name correctly, let alone know the title. He took a deep breath and responded.

“I’m afraid we’re sold out. Can I recommend something else?”

The girl sneered at him, flipping her hair over her shoulder with a scoff.

“What, you don’t have like, one more copy in the back?”

V hid his hands behind his back and clenched them, keeping the pleasant smile on his face even as he seethed in annoyance.

“No.”

She pouted, puffing her lower lip out so theatrically he wondered how it remained attacked to her chin.

“Can’t you, like, go check? Cuz I didn’t come all this way for nothing.”

Her words echoed in his mind, harkening to that day in the Qlipoth. Nero had used the exact same phrase.

The shelves surrounding him vanished, replaced by falling chunks of rock and bloody vines. He was dragging the rash young warrior away from where Dante held Urizen in a stalemate, even as the boy screamed for him to let go. V’s rage had howled through him, lending him the strength to get Nero out even as he wanted to charge into the fray and finish it.

“Uhhh, hello? So, like, can you go check for me?” the young woman’s grating voice said, shattering the memory like glass.

He didn’t think, responding on sheer impulse.

“I suppose I could, but I will not. I happen to know we sold the last copy this morning, and your insistence on special treatment will not cause another copy to magically materialize just for you. I’d recommend an alternative, but truthfully the best use of your time would be a grammar textbook or a collection of poetry, and I doubt someone of your limited intelligence would make it past the first page.”

 Gods, that felt good to say.

Even as he enjoyed a surge of self-satisfaction, he knew he’d fucked up. The girl’s jaw hung open in shock as she blinked back tears. Her lower lip trembled as the first few drops slipped through her false lashes. To make matters worse, Michael stomped out from behind the mystery novels with a scowl, having overheard every word.

“V, go wait in my office. Miss, please come with me and I’ll have another associate check for you,” the pudgy manager said.

Damn.

Barely ten minutes later, V turned in his nametag and walked out the door. He brushed his hair out of his face and crossed the tree-lined intersection. Where could he work, with his lack of expertise in anything besides hell and demons? Life was so much easier when he didn’t expect to live longer than a month. Now, there were bills and rent to worry about, not to mention his car payment.

Granted, V had a respectable amount saved. He lived a modest life and made it a point of pride to set aside what he could. It may cost a great deal to atone, and it never hurt to have a safety net.

A buzz in his pocket stopped him in his tracks; his phone. He pulled it from his pocket to find an unfamiliar local number on the screen. His shoulders tensed and he braced himself for more bad news as he tapped the green dot.

“Hello?”

“Hi, is this V?”

“Yes, what can I do for you?”

He stepped off the sidewalk to lean on a brick wall, allowing an old couple holding hands to pass.

“It’s Y/N, from the antique shop on first street?”

He smirked, adopting a teasing tone as he replied. “I believe so, are you lost?”

“Ha-ha, hilarious. The owner passed me the receipts today, total comes out to $3,274.55, including all damaged property. She wanted to say thank you and that you can make as many payments as you need.”

“Ah. I suppose I’m lucky Elvis’ jacket wasn’t damaged.”

You snorted in mirth. “Nah, just his wig. When can you drop by?”

V clicked his tongue. He needed to find work quickly, but if he didn’t have a minimum amount he wanted to make the first payment as soon as possible. Begin the process.

“I’m on my way,” he said.

---Reader---

You chuckled as you hung up, still stuck on his crack about Elvis. The man had a talent for one liners, you had to give him that much. Part of you hoped he’d make his payment in person, so you could exchange jokes with him, but in this era the chances were slim. You sighed and turned back to the thick stack of papers, re-reading the top sheet for what felt like the hundredth time.

Ugh, lame. I wish someone else could work on this.

Still, it needed to get done. You forced yourself to focus and muddled through a third of the stack before a soft voice interrupted.

“There’s a guy here to see you, should I show him back?” Peter asked from the doorway. You nodded and he vanished, silent as a mouse only to reappear seconds later with the tattooed man in tow.

A ruler marked where you left off in the accursed pile as you waved V inside with a smile.  He looked strange in khaki pants and an olive shirt, the look so different from the dark jeans and layered tees he wore when you first met. He sat in the only other chair in the room, a mere three feet away from you.

“So! V! Ready to meet the owner?”

He nodded, making a move to stand once again. You cackled internally as you reached out to shake his hand.

“Surprise! It’s me.”

His lips twitched into a smirk and he let out a single syllable of amusement, eyes scanning the cramped room. Cluttered cork boards lined the walls, various notices and a few choice comic strips pinned up. Shelves lined the walls all the way to the ceiling in the few areas left over, packed with detritus and binders you hadn’t opened in years. Your desk was the cleanest surface in the room, littered with the stack of papers you needed to finish reading, a few pens and office supplies.

“So this is your office?”

“Yup! Though I let a few people use it sometimes.”

He nodded knowingly, as if something became clear to him with your words. You stared at him quizzically until he broke the silence to answer your unasked question.

“I was wondering why you had shelves so high when you’re so small,” he explained. “Which begs the question, how do you stock the higher displays?”

You restrained the urge to roll your eyes. It was inevitable, especially considering he was so damn tall. How could he not notice how short you were when he had to look down to make eye contact? You’d heard it all before.

“Witchcraft. And a few piggy back rides,” you deadpanned.

“Also known as a stool, I assume,” he replied with a smirk, not missing a beat.

Damn, he’s good. But so am I.

“Stewart, actually. Though we had to let him go when he started hiding my pens on the top shelf.”

The two of you stared at each other for a moment before you couldn’t keep a straight face anymore, breaking down into laughter as V released a few quiet sniggers.  You couldn’t remember the last person you met who appreciated your sense of humor. Wit was a dying skill, in your experience. How nice to find someone who enjoyed it as much as you did.

You fought your lips into a neutral expression, folding your hands professionally on your desk. V’s sparkling emerald eyes nearly sent you over the edge again, but somehow you kept your focus. Business first, jokes later.

Hopefully.

“So, how do you want to do this?” you asked, lips still twitching in rebellion.

He clenched his jaw, irritation radiating off him in waves. The change in mood wiped out the last of your amusement and you wondered if you’d offended him.

“I can do one hundred today, after that I’m not sure. I’ve just been fired,” he said tersely.

Oh my gosh, that’s perfect!

Wait. Slow your roll. Why was he fired?

You leaned back in your chair and crossed your arms, eyes narrowing in suspicion. “Why?”

He shifted his weight, matching your suspicion with plenty of his own. “What does it matter to you?”

You uncrossed your arms and smiled.

“Because I’m hiring.”

Chapter Text

—V—

The work wasn’t easy. The customers often browsed for over an hour and left without buying anything. At first, he tried to help them, but quickly learned his previous retail experience of assistance and urgency barely applied. If someone needed help, they asked. Otherwise, his offers of help met incredulous looks and confusion.

After the first week, you started training him in appraisals with the help of several reference books. As much as he loved old fashioned furniture and classic décor, determining its value was challenging. You spent as much time as you could spare teaching him, but you had several demands on your time.

And it doesn’t help that we spend half the time laughing.

He smirked, leaning closer to the ornate vase on the counter. Early 1950’s, judging by the decay of the enamel and the geometric pattern. It was in good condition, no major cracks despite its age. He scrawled a messy thirty on the sticker, setting the item in the growing pile of glassware with one hand while his other reached for the next piece.

“You’re getting faster. Might be time I popped your cherry,” you said over his shoulder.

He choked on his tongue, coughing loudly enough to echo in the massive storage area.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Acquisitions. Why, did you have something else in mind?”

Well, if I didn’t before

“Ha! Made you blush.”

“Yes, that’s a point to you. Twenty-three to seventeen, correct?”

You nodded as he stood and stretched, stealing a moment to recover. He tried not to picture a whole new way to win the ongoing contest; you were his boss and quickly becoming a friend. To imagine you naked and wrapped around him, flushed and sighing as he lifted your small form and held it against a wall was unquestionably inappropriate.

Not to mention I owe her three grand.

“In my favor, don’t forget that part!”

He grinned and did his best to adjust his suddenly too tight pants without drawing your attention. “I wouldn’t dare. What do acquisitions entail?”

You chuckled and grabbed your purse, digging through it until you found car keys. V always got a kick out of your quirky keychains and focused on the myriad of shapes to push away the last of his lingering arousal. None of them made sense to him, other than the lucky rabbit’s foot.

“Sometimes folks want an appraisal before they decide to donate or sell us their stuff. Got a call this morning, a death in the family and they aren’t sure what to do with what’s left behind. Might be some sad people there, but the house is on a beach at least.”

A beach. He hadn’t been in years, but the thought of salty air and rolling waves brought a smile to his lips. There might even be time to look for seashells.

“What are we waiting for?”

—Reader—

A fifteen minute drive later and you were knocking at the sandy front door of a single story beach house with paint that matched the sky. It was the perfect day for being on the sea, not a cloud to be seen and a gentle breeze relieving the worst of the heat from the hot sun. You scraped your feet on the entrance mat, losing the bulkof the sand stuck in your shoes as a middle aged man opened the door. His face was strained in grief and you met his mournful eyes with sympathy.

“Hi, you must be Mr. Sutherland. I’m Y/N, from Another Man’s Treasure, this is my associate V. I’m so sorry for your loss,” you said, reaching out to shake the poor man’s hand.

“Right. Thank you, please come in.”

With one last run over the rug, you followed him with V a step behind. Inside, the home was bright and cheery. Yellow pastel walls and light wooden furniture set a welcoming tone in the living area. Only the outlines of where photos once decorated the room reminded you of the reason for your visit.

“Mom kept her collection in the back, it’s this way,” Mr. Sutherland remarked.

He shuffled down a dim hallway to show you a back room stuffed with treasures. A beautifully preserved secretary’s desk, an intricate standing mirror and a stunning collection of porcelain plates caught your attention right off the bat, but that was only the beginning.  

The morose man led you through a narrow gap in the items to show the rest. The pristine bassinet from the 1800’s was a joy to behold, the vintage lamps a close second. This was going to be fun. You turned to the client and hid your excitement behind a tight seal of professionalism.

“We’ll treat each item with the utmost care, you have my word.”

He managed a small smile and left you to it.

The hours passed in a haze of assessment and discovery. Since the client was still in the home, you kept the laughter and joking to a minimum, and V was perceptive enough to follow your example. He worked diligently, and by early afternoon you had a final offer ready. You carefully returned the last of the plates to its stand and went to find Mr. Sutherland in the living room, typing away on a laptop.

“Mr. Sutherland? We’re finished,” you said. He closed the computer and waved you and V over to sit on the grey couch.

“Let’s hear it.”

“I can offer you $7,863.47 for the lot, and here’s a breakdown of each item. Do you have any questions?”

He accepted the folder and opened it, glancing at the figures within.

“I’ll have to run it by my sister, she might want one or two things. Can I email you next week?”

You stood and smiled, extending a hand for another shake. “Of course, take all the time you need.”

He gave you a sad smile and escorted the pair of you to the door. V paused by the car, taking a deep sniff of the sea air before climbing in. It was easy to see how much he liked the beach, and you smiled as your stomach rumbled and an idea popped into your head.

“Wanna grab lunch on the pier? Maybe a quick walk on the sand after?”

His wide smile was all the answer you needed, and you guided the sedan back to the main road with several options to choose from. In the end, you wound up grabbing street tacos from a food truck and sitting at a picnic table. It was heating up and as you chewed, you wished you had a skirt to change into before taking that stroll.

You swallowed. “Mind if we hit the surf shop before that walk? I don’t know about you, but I need something less hot to wear.”

V nodded mid-chew, a sprig of cilantro stuck to his lips. You chuckled and handed him a napkin, pointing at your own mouth to guide him. His hand paused and he smirked, staring you right in the eye as he slowly, teasingly licked his lips and hummed. Blood rushed to your face.

“Ha, now it’s twenty-five to nineteen!” he crowed in triumph.

Huh? What?

It took a few heartbeats for you to come to your senses. The glimpse of his tongue had you thrumming and you shifted your weight to ease the tension. It was impossible not to notice how attractive he was, but this was all in good fun. Right? He was only trying to even the score, using every tool at his disposal.

It didn’t matter. You were his boss. Self-control didn’t come easily to you, but this time it mattered.

That didn’t mean you couldn’t beat him at his own game, though.

You sighed and nodded, admitting his point as you reached for your milkshake. This was going to be so good. Your tongue wrapped around the straw and you closed your lips, sucking deeply so your cheeks hollowed. The faint remains of your blush still colored your face as you closed your eyes and hummed at the flavor.

V’s breath audibly hitched. It was too much and you opened your eyes to see his gaze fixated on your lips as you withdrew the straw, his lids wide and pupils dilated. You cleared your throat with a smirk and his eyes shot to yours, his blush a stark contrast to his normally pale skin.

Fuck, maybe I shouldn’t have done that. I’m torturing us both…

His lips parted. “Make that twenty-six to nineteen.”

Victory was sweet.

 _____________________

You backed off for the rest of the meal, too aware of your own attraction to dare pushing the envelope any further. V followed your lead, though he tried a few raucous jokes he probably got from Peter. Nothing new and you kept your cool with ease. You headed to the surf shop with the same score.

It didn’t have much outside swimwear, a few wraps and the like but nothing that wouldn’t be above the knee. You took a small bit of comfort in the fact that V had even fewer choices, only a speedo, swim trunks or board shorts.  You ducked into the only changing room and arranged the sarong with care. It was the only one they had that wasn’t transparent, and it barely brushed your kneecaps.

Well, here goes.

Why were you so nervous? It was just skin, and not even that much. Nothing to worry about, he’d seen worse from some of the vintage comics at work.What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe you’d score another point.

You pulled back the curtain, stepping aside so V could take his turn but he didn’t move. His brow was furrowed, more confused than anything else.

“What?” you asked.

He pursed his lips and shifted his weight. “Is that skirt supposed to be so short?”

“Shorter, actually.”

You pushed past him with a smirk and took a seat on the bench to wait as he changed. It didn’t take long, he probably didn’t have to adjust anything like you had. Men had it so easy with clothes. As the curtain parted, you couldn’t help the twitch of your lips and the cough of laughter that slipped through.

I can’t… I can’t handle this. I have to say it!

He was staring at you, the first hint of a blush appearing as he waited for some indication of the reason behind your strange reaction.

It’s so rude, though! But it’s too perfect!

He raised an eyebrow and the dam burst.

“The beacons are lit! The beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid!”

A second eyebrow joined his first. He didn’t speak and as the seconds dragged on in silence, you realized why. Your jaw dropped and you looked at him with new eyes.

“Wait… have you never seen Lord of the Rings?”

“No. What is it?”

Oh my god… he must be joking.

“Frodo and the One Ring? One of the greatest fantasy stories ever told? The cornerstone of fantasy tropes for decades?”

He shook his head. He seriously had no idea what you were talking about.

Unacceptable.

You marched forward and grabbed his hand, tugging him to the register to pay. There was no time to waste. Did V live in a cave? How could he not even know what Lord of the Rings was, let alone have never watched the films?

“Come on, beach is cancelled. I hope you like sword fights.”

This is going to be so good! If he doesn’t even know the story it’ll just be that much better!

“Wait, what? Where are we going?”

You smirked. “My place. I have popcorn and all three extended editions. You didn’t have plans for tonight, did you?”

—V—

It was truly as you said – one of the greatest stories ever told. He was hooked in ten minutes, laughing along at Bilbo’s party shenanigans and furrowing his brow as Gandalf confronted him. The world of Middle Earth entranced him with its complexity and detail. It felt as real as the world he actually lived in, as real as the Qlipoth. And the music! Superb.

His soul shattered as Frodo screamed for Gandalf. The raw grief reminded him of his own losses and he found tears spilling from his eyes as Aragorn dragged the hobbit away. The sheer heroism of Borimir’s last stand left him speechless, a stunning display of redemption. He hoped he could redeem himself so thoroughly. As the credits rolled on Fellowship, you turned to him with a huge grin, a gleam of excitement in your eyes.

“Well? What did you think?”

He struggled to find words for a moment, finally settling on a question. “You did say there’s three of these, right?”

The leather couch squeaked as you bounced happily, clapping your hands. It was easy to see how much you loved the story, and his heart warmed at how quick you’d been to demand he experience it. Inviting him into your home, making popcorn and dimming the lights. He didn’t even mind that he’d missed the beach, this gave him far more enjoyment. Especially when he glanced at you and saw you biting your lip, watching his reactions throughout the film.

Her joy is contagious.

“Yes! I knew you’d like it! Who’s your favorite character? Actually, no you should watch the rest first! Do you want more popcorn? I have some chicken too if you want something more substantial.”

He smirked, pitching his voice as close to Gandalf’s as he could. “Just popcorn, thank you.”

“You did not just do that! I’m so proud of you!”

And then your arms were around him. Hugging him. Squeezing his shoulders. He could smell your hair, feel the warmth of your body. Who was the last person to hug him? How long had it been?

It didn’t matter. He lifted his arms and returned your embrace, trying to toe the line between friendship and something more intimate. The moment he felt you pull back, he mirrored you and schooled his features into a smile.

“Bathroom’s on the left there, if you need it. I’ll get the popcorn!”

That seems wise.

He forced his legs to move at a normal pace to the bathroom. He didn’t need to use it, but a moment to clear his head was too valuable to refuse. The lines were clear, the boundary should be easy to respect. But somehow, it was becoming more difficult. V splashed some cool water on his face and sighed, staring into his green eyes in the mirror.

This was supposed to be simple. Make amends. Nothing more.

As long as he was careful, there was no reason anything had to change. It was just a hug, it didn’t even last that long. He’d tone down his jokes, but he was too selfish to push you away outright. Fool that he was.

He sighed again. Maybe he should just leave? Make some excuse and go home? No, too obvious. You’d see right through it. Plus, he really wanted to finish the movies.

He was starting to understand what Bilbo meant by feeling like butter, scraped over too much bread.

“Hey, you want something to drink? I’ve got some light beer, or water,” you asked from the hall.

Alcohol would be extremely unwise. I’m already barely holding on.

“Water sounds lovely,” he called back. He waited a moment longer and flushed the toilet, hiding his absurdity. A quick wash of his hands and he rejoined you on the couch, picking the same exact spot he sat in before so nothing seemed amiss. A glass of water was waiting for him and he took a few sips as the second film opened.

The hours flew by in a whirlwind of rocky plains and horses, black orc flesh and white wizard robes. If the first film left him speechless, the second left him gob smacked. Never would he forget the image of the Rohirrim, riding over the cliffs to save their king with the sun streaming over their armored shoulders. He’d been a little worried that the battle was lost and cheered at the victory. As the credits rolled, he stood to stretch with a smile.

“Ready for more?” you asked. He glanced down at you and nodded, his earlier discomfort forgotten in his eagerness.

By the end of the conclusion, he was crying again. What a beautiful ending. Even the credits were gorgeous and he couldn’t look away from the perfect artwork of the characters.

“So, now that you’ve seen them all! Who’s your favorite?”

Before he could answer, the front door creaked open, a thick figure stepping through. Your face went slack, the blood draining away in panic. V was instantly on alert, muscles coiled and ready to react if something went wrong. You hadn’t mentioned a roommate, but the dull resignation in your eyes didn’t speak to this person being unexpected.

It was a man, bearded and stocky. V thought he looked a bit like a dwarf, but knew better than to say so aloud. He stomped into the living room with an intense glare, taking in the scene.

“Who the fuck are you?” the man demanded, staring right at V.

You stood and approached the man, hand raised in a placating gesture. “This is V. He works with me and had never seen Lord of the Rings. We just finished watching. V, this is Caleb. My brother.”

Caleb snorted, derision in every feature. “Stupid name. Get the fuck out and don’t come back.”

“Come on, I’ll drive you back to the store,” you began, reaching for the keys. Caleb wrapped a meaty fist over your wrist before you got far.

V’s eyes narrowed in anger at the flash of pain on your face, quickly wiped away to pretend everything was fine. He missed his three familiars with every fiber of his being, wishing he could bring out Shadow to maul this asshole or at least get him off you. The fragments of their bond twitched at his thoughts, but the lines led nowhere. They were gone.

He was alone.

“Nah, he can walk,” Caleb said.

V knew there was no way he could fight the man; he was massive, a single hit would break his ribs. And who knew what would happen to you if he tried anything risky? It wasn’t worth it.

“That’s fine. Good night, Y/N.”

To say anything further risked angering the giant still gripping your forearm. He didn’t dare. Instead, he stood and gathered his things, shooting a worried glance at you as he left. He waited outside the door, listening for any hint of distress.

Nothing. All was silent.

This is wrong, this is so wrong.

But what else could he do? With only five minutes of interaction, how could he assume anything about your brother? Maybe this was unusual, maybe he was normally a kind man.

But your face when he walked in the door…

V growled in frustration. He still couldn’t hear anything from inside. There was no proof, no reason for him to intervene. And what if Caleb came out and found him still here? That could be disastrous. He had no choice but to leave. If you didn’t come to work tomorrow, he’d come back. For now, he needed to retreat.

His heart ached with every step.

Chapter Text

V rubbed his eyes and stifled a yawn, putting the car in park. He was half an hour early for work, but this was when you normally arrived. Your car wasn’t there yet, not a good sign. He took a gulp of his coffee, the strongest the barista could manage. So far, it hadn’t helped much. Six shots only to not lose consciousness.

He occupied his mind by thinking of new jokes, new ways to make you smile. Did you like pranks? Dante played enough on him as a child, he had plenty of ideas. Some would need to be toned down, Dante wasn’t exactly gentle.

He checked his phone. Ten minutes since he arrived.

How long should he wait before texting you? There hadn’t been any more messages since last night, but even in his current state he knew he was being paranoid. He couldn’t stop worrying, it was eating him alive and he didn’t understand why. You were his boss and his friend, yes, but so was Nero and he didn’t have this reaction to him being in danger.

Well, Nero is a fighter. He can take care of himself. She can’t.

That I know of.

He took another sip of coffee. The trouble was how much he simply didn’t know. His mind filled in the blanks with the worst case scenarios on repeat, merciless in its torment. It made him want to scream.

Another sip.

Was that an engine? He scanned the portion of road he could see in the rearview mirror, spotting a sedan on approach. It was the wrong color and he sat back with a huff. How long now? He checked his phone.

It’s only been fifteen minutes.

He sighed. Truly, this was driving him mad. All he wanted was to see you safe, make sure he hadn’t fucked up again. Why was that so exhausting, just to want one person to be safe?

Another sip.

His phone dinged.

Srry for late request, can U pick me up? Caleb not home.

V frowned. Was something wrong with your car? Did Caleb damage it somehow? It didn’t matter – he’d find out soon enough. He tapped out a quick response that he was on the way and started the car.

—Reader—

You smiled at his response. It was a relief to know that despite the disaster last night, V would still be there for you. He was a good man, a good friend. Honorable. Funny. Attractive.

And there I go again, thinking about how wonderful my employee is…

You distracted yourself by checking your email, catching up on your inbox as you waited by the window. There he was, pulling in right out front. You tapped the screen and hit send, telling him you were headed out to meet him.

You checked your reflection one more time, lifting the hem of your shirt to eye the angry bruise covering the lowest rib on the left side. It hurt like a bitch, but you didn’t think anything was broken. Cracked, at worst. You could get it looked at after work. All you had to do was not breathe deeply or twist and it should be fine.

Goddamnit, Caleb…

He was so kind growing up. Only over the last few years had he turned sour and angry. Sometimes he showed glimpses of who he used to be, and you weren’t quite ready to give up on him yet. Besides, he’d only hurt you a few times. Things would get better. He would get better. You just had to have faith.

He’s my brother and he loves me. He’s just going through a tough time.

You sighed and grabbed your purse. A twinge of pain in your side reminded you not to do that and you grimaced. It was going to be a long day.

Outside, V already had the door open for you. He looked exhausted, dark circles under his eyes and a dull sheen replacing the usual glint of energy within them. It was obvious he’d barely slept. You tried to move the same way you always did, hiding the pain under a mask of normalcy. Pain was temporary, family was forever.

“Thanks for coming,” you said. V smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes.

“Anytime.”

As if I didn’t feel bad enough already…

You buckled your seatbelt and realized this was the first time you’d ridden with him. He didn’t seem like he’d be a reckless driver, but you crossed your fingers anyway.

“So, where’s your car?” he asked.

“Caleb borrowed it.”

He frowned and pulled onto the main road. So far, so good. He was silent for a long time, eyes focused on the road. The silence was deafening, and you were tempted to try the radio when his lips parted.

“What happened after I left?”

There it was. The question you had no idea how to answer. You hated lying, and V deserved better. The truth was on the tip of your tongue, begging to be spoken. You swallowed and looked at your lap, watching your fingers fidget.

“He calmed down and went to bed. No big deal.”

His eyes stole a glance at your face as he stopped for a red light. He didn’t look away until the car in front of him moved, not even blinking as he watched you. It was unnerving and you hoped he’d go back to his normal self by the time you got to work.

Maybe a little less funny for a few days, just till I’m better…

He sighed. “You know, I don’t just think of you as my boss. You’re my friend. If Caleb ever crosses the line, I hope you trust me enough to tell me.”

Fuck, how do I respond to that?

The truth welled up in your throat again, threatening to force its way into the open. You closed your eyes and clenched your jaw until it subsided. The desire to tell V everything was strong, but you were stronger. You had to be.

“I do trust you. There’s nothing to worry about. He’s all bark, no bite.”

Your voice sounded tremulous to your ears, but V nodded. His easy acceptance of your lie left you feeling sick as he pulled into the parking lot. Bile rose in your throat and you shoved it back as you got out of the car, moving slowly to favor your rib.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” V asked.

Damnit.

“Just a stomachache, I’ll be fine once I get some pepto.”

Once inside, you took stock. It wasn’t usually a problem if you left the shop in Peter’s hands, it rarely got busy enough to warrant more than two people working at a time. Nothing looked too far behind, so yesterday was more of the same.

“Can you start the sorting? I’ll do some appraisals until we open,” you said. Though he didn’t look happy to be assigned work on the other side of the building, V did as you asked. You breathed a careful sigh of relief and got to work, praying you’d make it through the day.

—V—

It was over a week before you seemed normal again, moving with ease and confidence throughout the shop. He hated keeping his mouth shut, hated that he was at least eighty percent certain of why you favored your left side. It stung that you didn’t trust him enough to tell him the truth, but he understood and did his best to respect the boundary.

He swore if it ever happened again, he would unleash all his fury on Caleb.

The time he shared with you was precious and rare as the holidays approached, one of the two busy seasons. You hired a few seasonal employees and sent V to handle their training. It was either a compliment to his growing skill or an attempt to maintain some distance, and his mixed feelings left him confused and annoyed.

He wished every day that the easy, joking nature of your friendship would return, and every day he was disappointed. It hurt, far more than he would’ve guessed. You were the first friend he’d made in his new life after the Qlipoth. He was friendly with all his coworkers, but none of them made him smile the way you did.

He missed his familiars, too. Their companionship was worth more than he knew, and every time he felt the threads of connection that once flowed to them it broke his heart a little bit more.

By the week of Thanksgiving, he was the opposite of thankful.

He didn’t have any plans for the evening itself, and found himself going to work just to keep his mind occupied. He had a key now. You trusted him more with your business than your friendship.

Stop thinking about it. It never helps. Focus on the task in front of you.

A massive pile of new arrivals arrived just yesterday. It needed to be sorted and appraised, then he’d see how much he could fit on the sales floor before Black Friday. A daunting task, perfect to use as a distraction. He lost himself in it easily.

Hours passed. He didn’t notice how late it was until his phone buzzed angrily on the counter by his elbow. Nero was calling.

We’ve barely spoken in months, why is he calling me now?

He tapped the green button, then put it on speaker. “Hello.”

“V! Where the fuck are you? Turkey’s almost ready!”

His brows furrowed. Not once had Nero mentioned he was welcome for the feast, and Fortuna was a seven hour drive away. He picked up the phone and switched off speaker, already pacing. He could barely hear the young man with the cacophony in the background. Quite a party he was missing.

“What are you talking about? I wasn’t told I was welcome.”

“Dude. We didn’t think you were so dense you needed to hear it out loud. You’re always welcome.”

His lips twitched. A simple miscommunication, then. How absurd, to have wasted so much energy and time feeling lonely. Relationships were far too complicated; he wasn’t a mind reader, how was he supposed to know?

“Next time, I’d appreciate more direct communication.”

“Yeah, no problem. Guessing you can’t make it, then? Still in Red Grave?”

“Yes, I have to work tomorrow.”

“All right, well I’m putting you on speaker. Everybody say hi to Uncle V!”

What sounded like at least fifty people shouted out various iterations of the greeting and V’s heart warmed at the sheer number of voices on the other end. Only one was missing.

Yours.

He sighed. “Thank you, everyone. I’ll visit soon, I promise.”

“You better!”

The line cut out for a moment as Nero took him off speaker. The background noise faded and V could almost hear Nero’s heavy footsteps as he left behind the bulk of the group.

“What’s up, brother? You seem weird. Well, weirder than usual.”

What should he say? Was any of it even worth mentioning? Nero was at a party, he had better things to do than listen to his complaints.

“I don’t want to trouble you.”

“Tell me or I start driving.”

And suddenly he couldn’t hold it in anymore. The stress, the guilt, the loneliness. His joy at finding a friend and his sorrow at the chasm that now separated you. How much it hurt to be held at arms distance. The pain that despite the victory over Urizen, he felt like he’d lost. By the time he fell silent, he was utterly drained.

“Jeez, dude… That’s a lot. I’m sorry you’re dealing with so much shit. I mean, the way you talk about Y/N sounds like how I talk about Kyrie.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“Damn, you really are dense sometimes. I mean you want more than friendship from her. That’s why it hurts so much. You got feelings.”

V sighed. He could hardly believe he was actually listening to Nero. But he was the only person he knew in a successful relationship, so maybe he had a point.

“I can’t deny I’ve entertained the thought. More than once. I’ve almost paid her back, but she’s still my boss.”

“Then quit. Find a new job.”

He shook his head. “I like working here, though. Working with her.”

“You need to figure out what’s more important, then. The job, or the lady. Ah, shit, someone started a food fight. I gotta go, but call me soon. Or I’ll call you, whatever.”

“Thanks, Nero. Talk to you soon.”

He lowered the phone and pinched the bridge of his nose. He had a lot of thinking to do, but there was one thing he had to do first. With a few taps of the touch screen, he hit send before he could think too much. Three words.

I miss you.

Chapter Text

---V---

He didn’t expect to get an answer. It was Thanksgiving, and you were probably busy with family and friends. He went back to work and did his best to focus, but he couldn’t stop thinking about what Nero told him.

Do I? Do I want more than friendship?

He wasn’t sure. It wasn’t like he would say no, but it seemed risky to admit to anything. Even to himself. How would it even work, if he did pursue you? As Nero said, would he have to find another job? What a hassle, especially after having worked so hard to improve here.

He sighed and reached for another item, a well-made sequin dress reminiscent of the 1920’s. Was it an original or a cheap replica? That was important to tell its value. He wasn’t as comfortable appraising clothing and took his time, inspecting the inner seams to determine if it had been made with a modern style of stitching. Inconclusive.

Were the sequins sewed on or glued? Ah, glued. Modern, then. Any glue from the actual era would have degraded by now. He scrawled a ten on the tag and hung it on the nearby rack. On to the next item, a tea set. Easy.

His thoughts returned to you as he autopiloted through the next group of items. It might not even matter what his own feelings were, considering your recent behavior. To sort out his own thoughts would only get him so far. There would be no easy resolution, regardless.

By the time he needed to head home or risk working overtime, he’d made little progress on his musings. The store itself showed more promise, the shelves stuffed to bursting with new items. He’d done well; most of the stock he’d assigned himself was complete. Enough for one day.

He locked the door and headed home, the rumble of his car a backdrop to his still troubled mind. Home held little appeal. To sit in silent loneliness until tumultuous rest claimed him as it did every night… Where else could he go? Everything was closed and the only person he knew in town was you.

To drive past couldn’t hurt…

He turned left. Toward your home. A quick pass, then he’d leave. He wouldn’t linger.

But as he closed the last few yards, he slowed. A figure was sitting on the curb, hunched over as if in pain. His headlights illuminated your face and he hit the brakes. The startled look in your eyes was outshone by the darkness surrounding your left eye, and in a flash everything became crystal clear.

He wanted you. He needed you. Friendship was not enough, not now. You were everything, and without you he was lost.

He parked and slammed the door as he strode to your side.

“Y/N? What are you doing out here? What happened?” V asked. You kept your face hidden in the hood of your sweatshirt, turned away in a belated attempt to hide. The growing darkness aided your efforts, the last few rays of sunlight vanishing as he waited for an answer. A light breeze rustled the trees lining the street. Orange and brown leaves skittered against the pavement, blown away in the cold night wind.

“I wanted some fresh air, I’m fine. You should go.”

A lie. It was too cold for sitting outside; if all you’d wanted was fresh air, an open window would’ve sufficed. Something more was going on. He sat on the curb, crossing his tattooed arms. A foot of open space separated you but it felt like miles.

“Fresh air sounds lovely, I’ll keep you company.”

You didn’t respond. Even as his fury called him to action, V stayed silent. This was too important to get right to let his emotions take the reins. Besides, he’d only seen the mark for an instant. Maybe he was mistaken.

He hoped he was.

You sighed heavily. “What are you doing here, V?”

He grunted, trying to think of an answer that wasn’t crossing the line. There was so much he wanted to say, but none of it felt appropriate. He needed some excuse that made sense, given the circumstances. Anything to maintain the already strained bond between you.

But there was nothing. No clever way out, no witty rejoinder that would explain his presence. Only the truth, and the truth was a risk.

The truth that Nero was right, and he did want more than friendship from you. How else could he explain the pure rage that filled him at the mere idea of you being hurt? The desire to sweep you into his arms and hold you close until it didn’t matter anymore? The urge to take you away from here and keep you safe? The need that ached in his heart to kiss you?

And I’m tired of hiding from it.

Pretending he didn’t have feelings for you had gotten him nowhere. If anything, it may have pushed you further away. It was time to try something different. Time to take a risk. He took a deep breath, preparing to be rejected. “I wanted to see you.”

You were silent. Still facing away, refusing to look at him as if it would burn you. The quiet stretched on, becoming uncomfortable. His heart was pounding, a combination of anger and excitement. If that bruise was from Caleb, he would not restrain himself again.

“Why?” you finally replied.

“Look at me and I’ll tell you everything.”

Your shoulders tensed and time seemed to stop. Ever so slowly, your face turned toward him. You held the side of your sweater close, hiding the left side of your face but even in shadow it was obvious. Swollen and purple flesh greeted V’s eyes and he gasped. He hadn’t been mistaken. If anything, it was worse than he thought.

“Caleb?”

Your face crumpled and you nodded, sniffling as the first tears spilled free. Hs rage was an inferno, swirling inside his chest and demanding satisfaction. But you needed him now. Caleb’s punishment could wait.

He reached out to you, biting his cheek to keep the storm at bay as he pulled you into his arms. You were shaking, sobbing as he rubbed your back and planned a myriad of ways to destroy your brother.

“I- it’s not his fault! He’s going through a rough time, h- he didn’t mean it!”

How could you justify this? Why on earth did you even try? He didn’t understand, Caleb was hurting you and you were defending him?

But that could wait, too.

“Come. You’re shivering. Is he still inside?”

You nodded.

“Then you can stay with me tonight, for as long as you need. I’ll sleep on the couch.”

You didn’t fight him as he rose, pulling you gently to the passenger seat of his car. He buckled you in and climbed into the driver’s seat, cranking the heat up as he pulled onto the main road and took you home.

---Reader---

Your face ached almost as much as your heart. How could Caleb have done this? The night started out so nicely, he’d seemed like his old self. Cracking jokes and smiling as he carved the small turkey. Just like old times. The two of you, together and happy.

Until your phone buzzed.

His smile had vanished like a switch had been flipped. The first stirrings of fear coiled in your belly as he glared at you, demanding to know who would dare interrupt the festivities. Why hadn’t you turned off the damn thing? What a stupid mistake.

“Who is it?” his cold voice asked.

“It doesn’t matter, does it? I’ll turn it off.”

You fidgeted. Whoever had texted could wait.

“Show me.”

Fuck. Please be spam, please be spam…

A single notification lit the screen and you gulped as you handed it over. There was no going back now, all you could do was endure what came next. Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad, he seemed so happy a moment ago.

“V. I miss you. That’s that guy from a few months ago, isn’t it?”

You nodded, keeping your eyes locked on your full plate.

“What’s he miss? You been fucking him?! You gonna run off with that loser and leave me all alone!?”

Caleb was angry. You knew the signs. The tone of his voice, the way his shoulders spread, the tilt of his lips… He was beyond reason.

But you still tried.

“No, he’s just a friend! He works for me. I haven’t done anything! I’d never leave you behind, you know that!”

The first punch left you breathless and knocked you to the floor. You gasped as you felt something crack and curled inward to protect your core. Hopefully it would be over soon, all you had to do was not make him any angrier. You said nothing, only a quiet gasp or flinch marking your agony as he kept hitting you.

“You’re gonna fire him tomorrow, got it?”

Another hit, this time on your left cheek. He never hit your face, not once. You’d never seen Caleb so angry and you nodded, doing whatever it took to end the torment. The details could wait, for now all you wanted was for his hands to stop their assault.

Another punch, another crack. Tears rolled down your cheeks as the pain overwhelmed you. It was too much, you couldn’t think. Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak.

Until at last, the hits stopped. Footsteps retreated and you heard Caleb’s bedroom door slam. He was gone. Still, you didn’t move until you were sure. Even then, it took three times as much effort to reach the curb and sit down, the aches screaming across your skin.

And then there he was. Concern and anger engraved in his features as he sat beside you, waiting for an answer you weren’t ready to give. It broke you, to see V and remember all the things you’d done to push him away. Yet here he was, a friend when you felt so very alone.

The dam shattered; the truth came out at last. His arms were so warm, so comforting and safe. It didn’t matter where he was taking you, all that mattered was it was him that made you feel like everything would be okay. Once it was Caleb, but no longer. Even thinking your brother’s name sent rivulets of terror across your skin.

How could I have been so blind?

Caleb had changed. He wasn’t the sweet little boy you grew up with anymore. Hoping for him to snap out of it was a fool’s errand. Whatever changed him wasn’t going away and it was time to let go, to admit your brother was gone. You closed your eyes and sighed, surrendering to the truth at last.

 V pulled into a small parking lot. An apartment complex, by the look of it. You tried not to breathe too deeply as he parked the car and came to help you out. Every step sent a pulse of pain through you as he led you to a second story unit and unlocked the door.

“Apologies for the mess. Are you hungry?”

You shook your head. The thought of food held no appeal, all you wanted was sleep.

Inside, the apartment was cramped but welcoming. A grey couch in the living area, a dinette in the corner. A few pieces of tasteful art adorning the walls. And bookshelves, so many bookshelves…

“I’ll get you some ice. Make yourself at home,” V said.

You sat on the couch with a relieved sigh. It was comfortable, extremely soft and the cushions hugged your sore body like a lover. Within seconds you were struggling to stay awake.

“Here you are. Will this be enough?”

You opened your eyes to see his lean form bent over before you, arm outstretched with a trio of bags full of ice and a worried look in his eyes. It warmed your heart to see how much he cared, and you managed a small smile as you took the bags. Two went to your ribs, the third on your face.

“I’ll get some fresh sheets on the bed for you,” he said, but you grabbed his wrist to stop him.

“I’m too tired to care. Can I just sleep?”

“Of course.”

He led you to his bed and helped you get settled, averting his eyes as you took off your pants and bra. The sheets were soft on your skin and you hummed as you positioned yourself. He handed you the ice.

“I’ll be on the couch if you need anything. Sleep well.”

And then you were alone.

---V---

Sleep eluded him for hours. The couch was comfortable, the darkness complete. No noises kept him from rest.

Only his rage.

Anger was not new to him. In fact, quite the opposite. It had been a constant companion throughout his life, toward Mundus and Dante and Urizen and countless others. The boiling wrath was as familiar as his own face.

But this time was different.

Before, his fury had been only on his own behalf. He could manage it, keep it restrained and focus on whatever needed to be done. Push it from his thoughts and keep moving forward, or make the choice to embrace it and channel the energy into his enemies. To be angry on behalf of another was completely different.

He couldn’t ignore it, couldn’t subdue it or set it aside to deal with later. It demanded his attention and his focus despite how much he needed to remain calm. He refused to allow it to control him, not when you might need him. So he imagined how he would punish Caleb, picturing his vengeance to soothe the beast within.

It no longer mattered that Caleb could shatter his skull with a single punch. It didn’t matter that the man outweighed him by at least twenty stone. It was irrelevant that he didn’t have his familiars. All that mattered was making the man pay.

“V?”

Your hesitant voice interrupted his indulgences. You were standing in the doorway, a blanket wrapped around your waist as your conflicted eyes met his.

“What is it? Do you need something?”

You shuffled your feet and stared at the floor. “I need… I need to not feel alone. Can you join me?”

His eyes widened. “In bed?”

You nodded. He was surprised to find no arousal at the idea, too aware of the fragile state you were in to imagine anything inappropriate. You needed comfort, and he could provide it. He stood and followed you, keeping his distance as you settled into his bed once more. He lied beside you, careful not to touch you. It wasn’t easy, considering the size of his bed.

“Is this all right?” he asked.

You didn’t answer verbally, instead reaching out to take his hand in yours. It was the first time you’d initiated contact since the hug after watching Lord of the Rings, and it made his heart thrum happily. Even if this was all you ever wanted from him, it was enough for now to know you saw him as a source of comfort. The minutes passed in silence, and he wondered if you’d fallen asleep when you spoke.

“He told me to fire you.”

He froze.

“Why did you send that message? The one saying you missed me.”

How could he even begin to answer? It didn’t seem like the right time to admit his feelings. You needed time to heal. How could he justify adding another source of stress to your plate now?

Why is this all so complicated?

“It’s the truth. I do miss you.”

You turned to face him, grimacing and rearranging the ice as you moved. It was obvious it wasn’t just your face that was hurt.

I’m going to murder him.

“I miss you too,” you murmured. “I only pushed you away to keep Caleb’s secret.”

I’m going to destroy him.

“And now that the secret’s out?”

You sighed. Maybe it was too soon to ask such a weighted question, and guilt flooded his mind as you frowned.

“I don’t know yet.”

 

He escorted you home early the next morning, after Caleb was already gone. You’d accepted his offer to stay for a while and together, the two of you packed the necessities. He couldn’t imagine how you must feel and cracked a few jokes to alleviate the tension. When he offered to help clean out your panty drawer, you had outright blushed. The entire process took only two hours, and by the time you locked the door to leave, your mood was almost normal.

The rest of the day passed in a blur. The shop was packed and it took all his focus to keep things running smoothly. You stayed in the back, overly aware of the barely concealed bruise on your face. It was best if you kept hidden until it was more healed. He checked on you as often as he could, reporting on sales and cracking a joke.

As the last few customers left, wide smiles on their features, he dismissed the last few staff members and started closing up. He was counting the last till when Caleb showed up.

He hadn’t yet locked the doors, so the man came right in. His thick frame cast a shadow over the counter and V turned to face him with his rage already swirling.

“Where’s Y/N, you little shit?” he growled.

V dropped his hands to his sides, surreptitiously grasping the handle of a metal bat. His hands broke out in sweat.

“She doesn’t want to see you. Ever.”

Caleb sneered and leaned forward, the threat clear. “What are you gonna do to stop me?”

He almost snapped his fingers to summon Nightmare, instinctually reaching for the strongest weapon in his arsenal despite knowing it was gone. He paused and raised the bat, making his own intentions known to the dwarven fool before him. He would not back down.

“I’ll match her every bruise tenfold. How dare you, she’s your family!”

The irony wasn’t lost on him. The things he’d done to his own kin made Caleb’s crimes look like child’s play.

I am not that man anymore.

Caleb snorted and started walking toward the back, where V knew you were waiting. He marched out from behind the counter and swung with all his strength, landing a blow to the loathsome swine’s ribcage with a satisfying crack. He crumpled to the floor, holding his side.

“Fuck you! It’s none of your damn business!”

V clenched his jaw and snarled, wrangling his self-control. If he didn’t get his anger in hand, he would beat the man to death. He held the bat out as if in preparation to strike again, holding his wrath back with every ounce of his will. Caleb flinched and he grinned darkly. The man was clearly unused to being on the receiving end.

“Get out. Never bother her again or I will kill you. That’s a promise.”

To his utter shock, Caleb’s expression fell into one of sorrow. He sat up and stared at the floor, still holding his injured side.

“She’s all I’ve got,” he said.

“Then you should’ve treated her with greater care. Leave.”

With a subdued sniffle, the man rose and did as he was told. Not until he heard a car pull out of the parking lot did V relax his hold and stow the bat under the counter once more. He locked the front door and went to check on you, his nerves still calming from the confrontation.

You were waiting for him in your small office, an indecipherable look on your face. Had you heard what happened? Had you seen? V’s heart was pounding erratically as he stepped closer.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

You jumped as if he’d startled you. “Yeah, yeah! Are you ready to go?”

V nodded, still unsure if he needed to be worried but following your lead. It was a struggle to hold his tongue, but he maintained his silence throughout the drive home. After a simple dinner he started preparing the couch for him to sleep, imagining your need for comfort to be a one-time thing until you stated otherwise. It didn’t take long.

“Can you stay with me again tonight?” your shy voice called out from the bathroom.

“Of course.”

That night it was much more difficult to keep his distance. He could smell you, feel the heat radiating off your skin beside him and it drove him mad. At one point, you moaned and snuggled his pillow and the sound alone send blood rushing to his groin. He bit his lip and solved math problems until his arousal faded.

It became the norm over the next few weeks, to the point he didn’t even bother setting up the couch. Every night, he lied awake and struggled to keep his hands to himself, reminding himself you were healing and that you were his boss. The bruises faded and he had to find other reasons, and every night he came a little bit closer to breaking down.

Chapter Text

---Reader---

Christmas was less than a week away, and still you had nothing for V.

What gift could say “hey, you gorgeous person! Thanks for helping me and letting me crash with you. I’m your boss and I’m head over heels for you, by the way!”

You sighed. There had to be something. He’d given you so much, you wanted to do the same for him. Somehow, a gift card seemed inadequate for the guy who beat your abusive brother with a baseball bat and threatened to kill him if he ever contacted you again.

Not to mention the fact that you lived with him, rent-free. You could probably sleep on your own now, if you tried, but having him in the bed next to you was too wonderful. Hearing his light snores, feeling the mattress move every time he rolled over, watching his eyelids flutter in a dream…

It was almost enough to make you believe you were more than friends.

Almost.

Fuck, this is brutal.

You wanted to know what he tasted like, what sounds he would make when he came undone. What positions he liked and whether he preferred it fast or slow. He probably had a few choice kinks; he seemed the type. How fun it would be to explore that with him.

But not if it cost you his friendship.

After the first week after the confrontation with Caleb, it felt like nothing had ever gone wrong. You cracked jokes back and forth, teased him until he blushed and started keeping count again. It was like the beginning all over, but better because you felt even closer than before. It was maddening.

You sighed and tagged the last vase. Appraisals were caught up, the sales floor was packed and there was nothing else you could do to prepare for the onslaught of last-minute shoppers. You grabbed your purse and headed to the front to join V.

To your surprise, he was with a customer. The store was technically closed, but from the way he chatted with the white-haired stranger, they might know each other. When the two shared a quick hug, you froze in shock.

Is he gay?

Holy shit, that would explain everything! Only a gay guy could sleep next to a woman for weeks and not even get morning wood!

You hid behind a shelf of clocks, embarrassment flooding your cheeks with blood as the pieces fell into place. He never brought women home, didn’t mention any past relationships. True, it was a stereotype, but his hair was perfect, and he loved cooking. And now this man, this stranger giving him a hug?

“Y/N, can we talk for a moment?”

He turned the corner and you schooled your features into a neutral smile. No reason to embarrass him about it. You really should just be grateful you figured it out before making an ass of yourself.

“Yep! What’s up?”

He followed you into the office, a determined look on his face. Something weird was going on, that much was obvious. What could it be? You closed the door and took your usual seat, folding your hands and waiting for him to begin.

He didn’t sit. The look in his eyes was one you’d never seen before as he stepped closer, until he stood mere inches away. He licked his lips and spoke.

“I quit.”

And then he kissed you.

Wait, what?

His lips were so soft and timid you thought you imagined them. The kiss was so brief you didn’t even get to learn what he tasted like. It was torturous; you wanted more. So much more.

But he’s gay?! What the hell?

“What the fuck?” you cried.

You looked up into his eyes to see the hurt blooming in their green depths. His arms went to his back and he started untying his apron with a resigned frown. Your confusion knew no bounds as he folded it and placed it on your desk without a word.

Your mind was nothing but static as he turned and walked out the door. Did that really just happen? You brought your fingertips to your lips. If he had kissed you, shouldn’t you be able to tell? But it was so light, not leaving a trace behind to prove it even happened.

Your eyes flew to the carefully folded apron on your desk. V’s nametag was displayed on the panel facing up, with pride and respect. What reason could he have to quit? He loved this job, didn’t he? You stared at the two converging lines that formed his name for what felt like an age, puzzling on the man they represented. His mannerisms, his behavior and character. His humor and integrity. His… everything.

He just quit. I may never see him again.

Just to think the words sent a blade into your heart. Agony. None of the last ten minutes made a lick of sense but it didn’t matter. It boiled down to one, simple fact.

The fear of missing the chance to be with him, truly with him, was far stronger than the fear of losing him entirely. You’d rather push him away with the truth than risk living with the pain of unfulfilled hopes. You stood on shaky legs and took the first step toward the door. By the third step, you were sprinting.

I hope I’m not too late! Damn these short legs!

The twisting path through the shop had never felt so sinister. Shelves that normally made you smile now made you wince as you were forced to weave through them, wasting precious seconds navigating the maze. If he ran when he left, you’d never catch him. Your only hope was that he walked slow, just this once.

Please, please, please!

The globe marked the turn to face the door and you gasped as you saw out the glass storefront. He was already outside, his long strides devouring the distance to his car. You could barely breathe, holding a stitch in your side as you raced to the entrance and screamed his name at top volume, praying he’d hear you through the glass.

He didn’t.

No, no, no, no!

The closest item was an extremely pricy sculpture from last century. You didn’t care, and you exploded through the door with it raised high. His car was facing away, gathering speed.

Don’t you fucking miss, Y/N!

You threw the sculpture with everything you had, your entire body twisting in the follow through and watching with bated breath. It sailed through the air and shattered against his windshield; a perfect throw.

Red brake lights lit up and the tires squeaked against the asphalt as he slammed the pedal. You kept running, reaching the back of his car just as he opened the door. The windshield had spiderweb patterns running through it and you cringed.

Oops…

You reached the barely opened door and shouted the only words you could think of.

“You can’t quit!”

You reached out and pulled him to your level by the collar of his shirt, staring him right in his bewildered eyes. The racing pace of his heart set you on fire as you felt it through the thin fabric.

“You’re fired.”

And you kissed him, hard.

Fuck, it was glorious.

Even though you couldn’t fucking breathe.

You retreated with a gasp, your panting almost as quick as your racing heart. Neither of you blinked as you slowly steadied your breathing. A glimmer of humor bloomed in his disgustingly beautiful eyes and he nodded his head at the ruined windshield.

“Was that really necessary? You could’ve sent a text.”

Oh. That would’ve been smart.

Blood rushed to your cheeks and you shifted your weight awkwardly as a sly grin spread over his features. “Thirty-two to twenty-nine, in my favor,” he observed, turning off the car.

There was no stopping the eruption of laughter and you didn’t bother trying. You definitely didn’t need to do any cardio this week. Tears formed and you held your stomach, bent over to ease some of the tension.

V’s long arms reached you easily and tugged you into his lap. If he weren’t so damn tall, you never would’ve fit between his chest and the steering wheel. To your credit, you only honked the horn once while turning to face him, straddling his lap. He leaned forward and kissed you again.

You shuddered with the knowledge that the only thing separating your heat from his was cloth and scooted closer to angle yourself, wrapping your arms around his broad shoulders. His every motion fanned the flames licking at your belly. In unison, both sets of lips opened and tongues met at long last in a flash of lightning.

He smelled like juniper and woodsmoke, like a forested safe haven. It was already familiar from sharing the bed but never had it enveloped you so thoroughly. He tasted spicy and herbal, some mixture you couldn’t identify even if you cared enough to try. All you knew was you loved it.

The first stirrings of his cock beneath you made you moan, shivers running up your spine. You parted to rest your forehead against his, trailing your fingers through his hair. He closed his eyes and hummed his contentment, and for a moment all was still.

“Do you have any idea how long I’ve wanted to do that?” he asked after a beat.

“I could say the same!”

He chuckled ruefully. “Lying next to you all night has been torture, are you saying we could’ve been doing this instead?”

With a wicked grin, you thrusted your hips forward to rub against his length. “We could’ve been doing more than kissing.”

He hummed and rolled his hips forward, running his length against your core. “I suppose the only question, boss, is if you’d like to go home first or shall we ruin your desk?”

Oh, fuck… just as I was catching my breath.

You leaned forward to plant kisses along the dark lines of his tattoos, trailing up to his jaw. “Why not both?”

When your lips reached the hollow of his neck he gasped, twitching under you. “Obviously. But which one first?”

You chuckled and planted another kiss in the exact same spot, gratified with his hitched panting and the responsive jerk of his hips. “I don’t think we’d make it home at this rate.”

He smirked and inclined his head, acknowledging your point. His arms cradled you against his chest and he carefully rose, using his foot to slam the car door shut behind him. You locked your legs around his waist and he grunted, hands taking a firm hold of your ass for support. He barely paused at the door and navigated through the winding path to your office in under a minute.

You disentangled yourself to pass through the doorway, seizing the opportunity to focus before all rational thought abandoned you.

“For the record, I’m on the pill.”

 “Noted,” he replied with a smirk, then leaned down to kiss you again.

His lean arms wrapped around you, enveloping you in his delightful aroma as he picked you up and set you on your desk, knocking an assortment of office supplies to the floor. The angle was much better, and your neck sang its praises of his thoughtfulness as you opened your lips for another taste.

You moaned as he pressed against your knees. Without thinking, you parted your legs and scooted forward to feel his arousal, reveling in the proof that he was enjoying this just as much as you were. He pulled back and you sucked at his bottom lip before letting him go. The groan he released was downright sinful and you shuddered, already aching for more.

His fingertips trailed sparks across your spine, and even as he lifted the hem of your blouse you were unbuttoning his work shirt.  The silky fabric of your top caressed your arms as he pulled it away, his own shirt barely a second behind. The whorls of the ink decorating his slim chest made your mouth water and you pulled him closer to trace the lines with your tongue, nipping across his collarbone.

Your hands trembled as they drifted lower, caressing the smooth skin just over his belt as you searched for the buckle. His hand stopped yours and you stared at the mess of digits in confusion. Did he want to do it himself?

“Are you sure you want this?” his soft voice rumbled. His hesitation startled you – just seconds ago you felt how hard he was. Was he trying to be dirty? You met his gaze and caught your breath.

The vulnerability in his eyes showed the true question he was asking.

Are you sure you want me?

Oh, V…

You brought his hands to rest over your heart and smiled, letting him feel the steady thump before you spoke. He really was dense sometimes.

“Why do you think I threw a seven-hundred-dollar sculpture at your car?”

You paused to gather the right arrangement of words. A repeat of your hasty exchange in the parking lot was exactly what he didn’t need right now. You bent your head to kiss his knuckles as he shrugged.

“Because I couldn’t stand to watch you walk away, and because that damn thing was more replaceable than you are.”

You lowered his hands and waited for him to understand; you knew he would. It was only a matter of how long it took. His eyes widened and his brows rose in startled comprehension. There it was.

“The Jenobi!? But that was one of a kind!”

“Exactly.”

He smiled and a light blush stained his cheeks. Warmth flooded your chest and a matching grin split your features. His mouth opened and closed a few times before he gave up and lurched forward to kiss you, his hands releasing yours to tug at his belt. The rustle of fabric announced his success and you trailed your palms down his back, sliding forward to feel his length. He whimpered as your slim fingers stroked his shaft, a thumb crossing over his tip to spread the bead of wetness around.

You pulled back to glance at it and grinned. “Wow, you make my hands look really small.”

He snorted. “Your hands are really small.”

You gave him one quick pump and cleared your throat. “That’s fun-sized, thank you very much!”

His answering groan was positively lewd and you grinned at how vocal he was. You could hardly wait to discover his other preferences.

“My mistake,” V said, his hands shifting to work at your pants. It took teamwork to get you free – he lifted your hips and you shoved the cotton away to join the pile on the floor. He stepped back and stared at you, his lidded gaze heavy on your exposed skin. You broke out in nervous goosebumps and tried to resist the urge to cross your arms.

“What?” you asked after the silence became too much to bear. His eyes flicked back to yours and he smirked.

“I don’t have words to describe your beauty.”

You shuffled your feet where they hung suspended over the floor. Trust you to not only fall for the guy with the cheesiest lines imaginable, but also find the one who meant every word. You stretched your arms out to him, beckoning him closer again. He didn’t complain.

He pulled you right to the edge of the desk and rested his cock against your folds, his eyes locked with yours. You took him in your hands and stroked, spreading around every bit of fluid seeping from him. His muttered curse made you clench, aching with need and you brought him to your core. As the first inch sank in, his deep groan mixed with your gasp of pleasure.

He slid further with ease, your arousal giving him all the lubrication he could possibly need. Ice and flames ricocheted across your every nerve, a sensory overload so intense you couldn’t breathe. He moved so slowly it made you want to scream, even knowing how he’d split you in half otherwise. You just wanted more.

“V, please…” you choked out. He smirked and quickened his pace, crawling past the ring of muscles you clenched so tightly to feel his every ridge.

A wave swept across you as his head finally broke through, your walls stretching oh so deliciously to accommodate him. He leaned closer and pressed kisses across your shoulder, his hair tickling your collarbone. You arched to give him more room and threaded your fingers in his obsidian locks. Every exhalation of his staccato breath sent shivers up your spine.

“You are so damn tight,” he murmured.

It was all you could do to mewl in response as he finally bottomed out, his hips flush with you at last. You clung to him as he started pulling back, eyes rolling back into your skull at the plethora of sensations he was supplying.

And he’s barely moving!

He quickened his movements with the next thrust and you clawed at his back. Half of you wished he’d just pound you already; the other half hoped he’d never move again and just live inside you. Such perfect torture, and you were already addicted.

You tugged at his hair, dragging his mouth to meet yours. Time had no meaning as you swam in his embrace, his slow buildup bringing you to the brink of bliss. You were begging, pleading him to speed up but he only smirked and kissed you again. It wasn’t until he moaned in your ear that you came unglued for the first time. He held your trembling body close and murmured praise as you shuddered your release, his hips still not accelerating.

Never had you peaked from such slow strokes, and the knowledge of what he could do to you without resorting to brute force made you dizzy.  How had you gotten so lucky?

It didn’t matter. He was here, and he was yours, and everything was perfect.

Except for one, tiny detail; heat.

He braced one hand on the desk and rolled into you, faster than ever. Obscene slapping noises accompanied his every move. Sweat beaded across his forehead and over your shoulders, the stifling lack of ventilation overpowered by the gasps and sighs rending the air. You stretched out an arm to flick on the fan but couldn’t reach and had to direct one of his patterned hands to do it for you.

“We need to get a bigger fan,” he commented with a wry smirk. You nodded your agreement and leaned back into the blessed breeze.

“We could go home, too,” you added as he shifted his weight.

He flexed inside you. “But it’s such a long drive…”

“I’ll keep you entertained.”

You’d never seen a man get dressed so fast.

He stalked you through the shelves, somehow only catching up to you in time to hold open the door despite his lengthy stride. You gave him a playful swat on the ass as he locked it behind you, and he repaid you in kind. You tossed him the keys to your car and climbed into the passenger seat, grateful for the lack of a center console. He barely got the car started before you were pawing at his zipper and drawing his still-wet cock out to play.

“Try to avoid any bumps…” you said and leaned over to trail kisses down his length.

His whispered curse electrified you and you shifted your weight to ease the ache between your thighs. He had both hands on the wheel in a white-knuckled grip as you pressed your tongue against the throbbing vein running down his shaft. You tasted yourself mixed with him and hummed, the naughtiness of it an absolute delight.

He groaned and pulled onto the main road. It was close to dinner time and traffic was light, not to mention the tint of the windows would keep your ministrations private. Still, the idea of another driver peeking through the glass to see you bobbing on V’s cock sent shudders through your core.

You dipped a hand under his clothing to caress his balls, squeezing ever so gently as you took him in your mouth. With a swirl of your tongue you had him panting. You heard the click of the blinker and braced your weight as he took the first turn, not missing a beat and skillfully maintaining the pressure around him.

“You’re quite good at that,” he murmured. You pulled him deeper in your mouth so his head rested against the back of your throat and hummed, knowing he’d feel the vibrations. He cursed and let go of the wheel.

One of his hands cupped your cheek, the other resuming his tight grip on the steering. His thumb caressed your jaw and you hollowed your cheeks in reply, stroking him with tongue and lips alike. Another click; the second and final turn. You braced again as his hand held you steady, fingers tangling in your hair. Once the car straightened, he shifted his hips and guided your head with the softest of nudges.

You teased at his slit as he pulled into the driveway, savoring the more concentrated salty flavor before pulling away with a sinful pop. You smirked at the look on his face and put the car in park for him as he turned the key, other hand gathering the fabric of his pants to cover himself before he opened the car door.

He beat you to the house, of course, holding the door open for you like a proper gentleman. The instant it was closed he pounced, pinning you to the closest wall and claiming your mouth in a scorching kiss. His pants dropped to the floor as both hands worked at your top. It was mere heartbeats before you both stood unclothed. He wrapped his long fingers around your thighs and lifted, taking your light weight upon himself to carry you to bed.

The chilled sheets sent goosebumps across your flesh as he lied you down. You weren’t cold for long – he covered you with his own body and pressed his lips to yours. Flames of need heated you from the inside out. You pulled him closer, forcing his back to arch in order to maintain the kiss and bring his hips to yours.

“Don’t go slow this time,” you said, breaking away.

He grinned and slammed himself in, making you cry out in shock and pleasure. There was barely a beat to adjust to the feeling of fullness before he deprived you of it and you whined in complaint. He didn’t let up, bracing his forearms on either side of you and peppering kisses wherever he could reach between pants.

The rhythmic impacts had you reeling, clinging and clawing at him in bursts. Your senses were saturated with him; every touch, every taste and smell and sight and sound revolved around your best friend in a cacophony of perfection. It was all you could do to keep inflating your lungs, each inhale stolen away by a fresh moan. Your peak was so close, so damn close and you brought a hand to your folds.

He bowed his head at the crux of your neck and shoulder, grunting with every stroke. You knew he was close too by the way he tightened inside you. You quickened your fingers, sending bolts of electricity racing through you.

“I’m close,” he growled in your ear.

You clenched around him and locked your legs in place, keeping him captive. “Don’t you dare pull out!”

“You want me to—”

“Yes, let me feel you cum!”

Your fingers found the perfect spot and rubbed a frantic pace as he let out the sexiest moan you’d ever heard in your life, his hips stuttering and jerking erratically as he pulsated his pleasure inside you. You were less than a second behind, arching into him and screaming his name. It was a whole new level of ecstasy to cum together, a different plane of existence only the two of you occupied for those brief seconds.

Your skin was like the surface of a pond, ripples of orgasmic bliss disturbing the surface. The room flashed black and white as you rode out the last few waves, every muscle twitching into relaxation. V hovered over you, refusing to vacate his position. He brushed damp strands of hair from your forehead, smirking at the echoing moans you still emitted.

You opened your eyes slowly, meeting his euphoric expression with one of your own.

I’ve never seen him this happy.

You giggled and wiped the sweat from his brow. His low chuckle joined a beat later. You pretended to be upset, flexing the muscles still wrapped around his cock to emphasize your words.

“What’s so funny?”

He winced and twitched his hips away, pulling out with an obscene sound. His lips met yours for a tender peck and he rolled to the side with a content sigh.

“You laughed first.”

Your thighs ached at the loss; you’d be sore in the morning, but it was so worth the pain. The rustling of blankets accompanied your motion as you rolled over to cuddle against him, draping an arm and leg across his body.

“Far enough. I was thinking that I’d never seen you this happy,” you replied.

He wrapped himself around you and hummed. “That’s because this is the happiest I’ve ever been.”

Well, he must have enjoyed himself them. A thought interrupted your glow of feminine pride and your smile faltered. “What about work?”

“If I have you to come home to, it doesn’t matter where I work.”

He traced an idle path on your skin as you furrowed your brow in thought. What if he didn’t have to? He had the knowledge and the interest; all it would take was a few bits of tedious paperwork. Easy. You could have it done by next week, official by the end of the month.

“What if you didn’t have to?”

He raised an eyebrow. “That sounds terribly improper.”

You grinned. “Not if I make you a co-owner of the shop.”

He bolted upright and erupted in laughter. You threw a pillow at his head, missing entirely. He laughed harder and you blushed.

“Well, at least I didn’t miss when it mattered!”

The mattress creaked as he fell back, struggling to stifle his amusement. The pillow remained where it had landed in the corner and you stared at him, waiting for an answer.

“I stand corrected. This is the happiest I’ve ever been.” He turned his head and met your eyes, his expression utterly serious. “I love you.”

Holy shit…

You snuggled into his side, nuzzling his lined chest with a wobbly smile. The moment was so damn perfect you felt like your heart would burst. What could possibly be better than the last few hours?

Tomorrow.

And the day after. And all the days to come.

“I love you too.”

Chapter Text

It didn’t take long for you to fall for the poet. There was something about his aura, his energy that called to you and there was no resisting it. He was where the compass of your heart always pointed, the direction you turned when you had no map.

You felt such elation when he first kissed you. It was like being inside a firework, exploding into brilliant spots of color and noise. So perfect, so beautiful and lovely. His arms were warm around you, his lips soft but insistent.

When he told you of his origin and of all he’d endured, it shattered you. How could such a brilliant light have been born from such darkness? And then to emerge from it so whole, so strong in will and spirit? Unimaginable. He had tenacity you could never dream of matching. Even as you took his hand in yours after he fell silent, stroking your thumb over his tattooed knuckles, your heart was breaking.

You didn’t deserve this. Didn’t deserve to be the one sitting beside him, supporting him as he battled his demons. You had so little to offer him, and guilt settled onto your shoulders as you leaned on his shoulder to cry. You wanted to tell him to look elsewhere, find someone who could give him everything he needed and wanted. His love was overwhelming in its power and you wished you had the means to return the all-encompassing warmth he gave you every day.

“Tell me your thoughts, sweet angel,” he said, pressing a kiss to the crown of your head.

Even his nickname for you filled you with self-loathing. He saw you as a divine messenger, a harbinger of peace and wonder. A title you didn’t deserve in the slightest. You shook your head, refusing to answer. He had enough to think about, enough to deal with. It was your burden to bear.

“I can’t,” you whispered, withdrawing your hands.

He frowned, his brows furrowing in concern. You looked away, trying to escape his intense gaze as another wave of tears fell from your reddened eyes. He rested his palm on your knee; you could feel his earnest stare boring into you. How did he do that, how did he make you feel like if you only had the courage to lay your troubles at his feet, he would face them for you?

Another reason he deserved someone better. His partner should be able to do more to help him, not just sit there and cry. An equal.

Which you would never be.

A knife pierced your heart and shards of glass choked your throat, but you swallowed until it faded. You didn’t want to fall to pieces, not after everything he just told you. It must have been difficult to share. Painful to remember. Another blade sank into your chest as you realized he’d only done so for your benefit.

Hold it together. It isn’t supposed to be about me right now.

You took a shuddering breath and rubbed your leaking nose on the sleeve of your too-large sweater. One of his. You’d have to wash it for him; you could do that much, at least. With your other hand, you rolled up the fabric to keep your mess from touching anything. Your hands fell to your lap, fingers picking at your cuticles anxiously.

He reached out and ran the pad of his thumb over your cheekbone, wiping away a tear. “Tell me, please.”

His pleading tone pushed you over the edge into breaking.

“I don’t… I just…” you huffed in frustration, struggling to find the words. “Someone else could give you so much more than I can. I don’t deserve this, not when I can’t reciprocate.”

He hummed and wrapped his arms around you, pulling your head to his chest. His heartbeat was a steady rhythm thumping under your cheek. For a few minutes neither of you spoke, both gathering your thoughts. You tensed as his lips parted to respond at last.

“Perhaps. But you’ve neglected a very important detail.”

You closed your eyes, inhaling his familiar scent. This was it. It was for the best, you knew that. He’d be free to find someone better, someone stronger and more capable. With more to give. Your heart was in agony but you tried to take comfort in knowing he’d be better off without you.

“Those ‘others’ you mentioned? They may offer more, true, but they wouldn’t be you. The mere fact that you want me to have more is enough. I don’t love you for what you can give me.”

He turned your head to meet his gaze, specks of light glinting in his emerald eyes as he gave you a tender smile. You couldn’t breathe.

“I love you for who you are. And for the record, you give me far more than you know.”

You sniffled, unable to defeat the pain in your chest. He was wrong, you didn’t give him anywhere near enough. He was just trying to be kind. You closed your eyes and buried your face in his shirt to hide. He stroked your hair and hummed a few bars of a song you taught him last week, and the memory brought a mournful smile to your lips.

“There, you just gave me a smile. A treasure.”

You choked out a laugh, the edges of your pain smoothing over at his words.

“And a laugh, too? I am fortunate today.”

His lithe fingers probed at your shoulders, easing the tension you held with every touch. He smirked and lifted your chin again to face him. You didn’t resist, meeting his intent stare as he chipped away at your feelings of inadequacy.

“Look at that, you’ve given me your trust as well. You spoil me.”

You smiled, more stable now as the vice around your heart loosened even more. A smile. A laugh. Trust. Things you took for granted, but the poet never would. Nowhere close to comparable to all he’d given you, but more than you thought a few minutes ago.

“It may not seem like much to you, but it’s everything I didn’t have in the past. Everything I ever wanted and needed but couldn’t find.”

You froze, remembering the horrible tale he just told you of his life. He looked so sure, so completely confident in his words that it pushed away the last echoes of pain. Was it possible that he was right?

You didn’t know.

You didn’t care.

You kissed him, celebrating every taste of this wonderful man. A salty and tear-stained kiss, but all that mattered to you was giving him what you could. You stroked his hair, his cheeks, his shoulders in a desperate bid to convey your love. Maybe nothing would ever feel like enough.

Maybe that was the whole point.

Maybe that’s how you knew you truly loved him.

Chapter Text

You sighed and opened the hood with a metallic clang, waving a hand through the smoke billowing through the cracks. Nico stood beside you with a strained frown. As the smoke cleared, the two of you gasped in unison to see the engine block coated with viscous demon blood. Clearly some of the road pizza she’d left behind during the frantic dash away from the recent battle had left its mark.

“Well, shit. That ain’t good.”

You hummed your agreement and handed her one of the bottles of engine cleaning fluid from the nearby shelf. This was going to take a while.

“Nothing to it but to do it,” you replied.

She snorted and started spraying. “I hate this mindless maintenance crap.”

She said the same thing every time the van needed repairs. After the fifth time you helped her, you started to agree. “Let’s play a game or something, keep our minds busy,” you said.

Lips quirked in amusement, she gave a sharp chuckle. “Now we’re talkin’! I got one; you ever play fuck, marry, kill?”

You groaned. “C’mon, what is this, high school?”

“Betcha you can’t guess mine!”

Damn. She knew you too well – you never backed down from a challenge. “What are the choices?”

Another spray of the noxious fluid. A coagulated hunk of blood oozed away to hit the floor with a wet plop, and you both wrinkled your noses. A beat of shared disgust passed in silence.

“How ‘bout the guys?” she replied.

You rolled your eyes. Those three clowns? Easy.

“You’d fuck Dante, marry or kill Nero depending on what mood you’re in, and V… On second thought, you’d kill Nero and marry V, cuz he’s quiet and leaves you alone. Wouldn’t really change anything. How’d I do?”

You sprayed the engine again and coughed on the fumes. She snickered and followed suit on her side.

“Yeah, you got me. Y’know, they say never meet your heroes, but nobody ever talks about fucking em! Maybe I’ll start a trend.”

“Ha! The next fad… and me?”

Nico waggled her eyebrows. “Fuck Nero, marry Dante and kill V.”

The van rattled as you braced your weight on it, breaking down in laughter. How could she have gotten every single one wrong?

“Not even close!” you teased. Nico scowled and tapped her foot, her impatience clear. You stayed silent until she burst, lips still twitching in amusement.

“Well, spill! Come on!”

“No brainer. Fuck V, marry Nero and kill Dante.”

Her jaw dropped. “You’d kill Dante!?”

“What? He’d just get up again in ten minutes and laugh at me anyway!”

She gaped at you like a fish out of water. “Okay, true, but marry Nero?”

“He’s the only one of them with long term relationship experience!”

Now it was her turn to chuckle. “Fair point, I’ll give you that one! But if ya fucked V I’m pretty sure you’d break him in half.”

You sighed in disappointment, imagining his lean body getting pummeled by your more powerful build. “Yeah, he’d have to be on top. Trust me, if I thought he could hold me, I’d climb him like a tree!”

Her guffaws reached a fever pitch, echoing through the small garage. It was contagious, and within seconds you joined in and both of you had to sit on the floor and lean on the bumper to keep from accidentally falling. The last trills of mirth were still bouncing around the room when the door squeaked open and three sets of footsteps approached.

“What the hell is so funny?” Nero demanded. Dante and V stood right behind him. Their looks of perplexed concern were too much and you and your best friend broke into hysterics once again, leaning on each other for support.

Chapter Text

It started with pain, deep in your chest. Tightness around your heart, like something was wrong with it. Your mind raced, examining possible causes and discarding them at a pace that made you dizzy as you searched for a safe place to hide.

There wasn’t much to choose from, only a shadowed alcove between two chunks of fallen brickwork or a cement picnic table still covered with paper plates. You chose the alcove, slinking into the darkness and ignoring your companion’s worried glance.

Something terrible was coming, you could feel it. The air was heavy, weighted with catastrophe as you drew a shaky breath. A trembling hand wiped beads of sweat from your brow and a small part of your mind recognized it as your own. You stared at the foreign flesh and focused on your breathing. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

Damnit, not now!

Another breath. You had to focus, keep it under control. This was your body; you were in charge. Nothing would change that.

Still, you felt Death looming. A heavy pounding echoed in your head; your heartbeat, accelerating to send extra oxygen to your muscles. Preparing to fight.

Inhale, exhale.

Just breathe. It’ll pass.

“Love? Are you all right?”

You spared a glance at the lanky man in black as he approached. This wasn’t the first time he’d seen you like this, nor would it be the last. But that didn’t matter right now; only finding the threat did. Your fearful eyes scanned the courtyard, analyzing every shadow yet finding no signs of demonic activity. V’s eyes followed yours as he joined you in the small hiding place.

“I’m right here. I won’t let anything hurt you,” he murmured.

Your thoughts were an incoherent tangle of gut-twisting terror and paranoia, but at his words a rush of desperate hope mixed in, making the spiral stutter. You mentally reached out for the rope he threw, seizing it with all your strength to keep from drowning.

He twitched his fingers and a cloud of black lifted from his pale arm, drifting away to form Griffon.

“What’s new, Shakespeare?”

“Keep watch. Let nothing through,” the poet replied.

Griffon flapped away with a sigh. V turned back to face you, leaning over so he was eye-to-eye with you. His soothing voice battled against your swirling thoughts, a war raging only in your mind as he brought a gentle hand to your shoulder.

“I don’t see any demons. You’re safe, I’ve got you.”

How could he be so blind? Couldn’t he tell you were both about to die? You wanted to scream at him, shake him until he saw the truth. Force him to understand.

Inhale, exhale.

Too shallow; you tried again. Count to five, hold, count to five again.

This is so stupid! I should be able to control this!

But it was beyond you. Cobblestone was a bumpy embrace as you sank to your knees, clutching yourself and shaking. You couldn’t breathe, your chest was on fire and locked in a vice. Drops of sweat slid from your temples, following the curve of your skull to mix into your hair. You weren’t even sure why you were so scared anymore, but the lack of cause did nothing to stop the effect.

Black leather rustled in front of you as V dropped down to join you. Both sets of inked fingers rested on your tense shoulders and he kneaded at the stiff tissue, easing the ache.

“And did those feet in ancient time, walk upon England’s mountains green.”

You focused on his melodic voice as he recited the first line of Jerusalem to you from memory. For a moment you tried to remember the next line, or even the theme of the work, but it eluded you.

Inhale, exhale.

“And was the holy Lamb of God, on England’s pleasant pastures seen!”

His fingers worked their way to your neck, stroking the corded sinews into submission.

Come on, pull it together. It’s gotta start fading soon.

You focused on your beloved poet, shoving the terror aside as best you could. It wasn’t much, but the next breath you took made it to a count of five. The insistent ache in your chest faded by a fraction and you uncrossed your arms. He kept reciting, his lilting tone working just as hard as his hands to guide you back.

“Bring me my spear of burning gold: bring me my arrows of desire! Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold! Bring me my Chariot of Fire!”

Another long breath. Anther fraction of pain eased. Progress.

I’m okay, I’m safe.

Your heartbeat was almost back to normal and you wiped away the last few beads of sweat from your cheeks and forehead.

Inhale, exhale.

“I will not cease from mental fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,” he continued, fingers now drifting into your hairline to rub your scalp. The last echoes of pain and fear flitted away, leaving you exhausted and wrung out.

As you relaxed at last into the poet’s arms, you recited the last line together, voices mingling in a dance of words.

“Till we have built Jerusalem, in England’s green and pleasant land.”

V bowed his forehead to rest against yours, humming his approval. You closed your eyes and leaned into him, nestling your nose against his neck and taking another deep breath. He smelled so good, like home. You smiled at the thought.

“Feeling better?”

You shifted closer, wrapping your arms around him in a true embrace. The attack would’ve ended with or without him; the human body couldn’t stay in a state of panic indefinitely. But having him there, his velvet voice and loving hands an anchor against the fear was an incredible gift. You were a survivor, but even the strongest person needed someone at their back.

“Much better. Thanks for staying with me,” you responded.

He chuckled and pulled you closer, pressing his lips to the crown of your head.

“I’ll always stay with you.”

Chapter Text

Sweat dripped from your chin, falling to mix with the blood already splashed across the cobblestone underfoot. Light spilled through the tangled branches overhead and dappled the area in patches of yellow. The scent of copper was thick in the frozen air, but it didn’t bother you; it hadn’t for years.

Only the sound of rapid breathing broke the stillness as the last Caina dissolved into ash. Clouds of steam accompanied every exhalation from you and your two best friends and teammates. Three sets of lips twisted as one, adrenaline fading into the familiar surge of relief that came after every battle, even after all these years.

“Sweet, we survived another one! Once the client pays us, first round’s on me!” you said with a cheerful grin.

Your white-haired companion shook his head as he sheathed his elegant blade. He was the most serious of your trio, always seeking to improve his skills and training with a dedication that bordered on obsession. No doubt he’d refuse, as he always did. You mentally counted back from five and bit the inside of your cheek when he spoke as if on cue.

“I’ll have to decline; my parries need work.”

You shared an amused glance with your second companion, flashing a hand signal behind your back. His lips split open as he flashed it back at you – he’d been counting, too.

His black hair shone as he stepped out of the shade, emerald eyes twinkling with humor. He was always ready with a witty one-liner or strange observation, helping to counter Vergil’s serious nature with laughter. Not to say he didn’t take the job seriously, not even close. V was one of the most focused people you’d ever known. Once he set his sights on something, it was only a matter of time before he reached it.

“No rest for the damned. Or the perfectionist,” he quipped.

Vergil huffed, taking the bait even though he really ought to know better by now. “There’s nothing wrong with having high standards.”

“On that much, we can agree,” V replied, his eyes flashing your way.

“Not on anything else, though,” you chimed in, retracting your wrist blade with a wry grin. The two men shared an indecipherable look as they followed you down the sidewalk, heading back toward home base.

Your mind wandered as your trio traversed the area, lingering on the two men as always. It was impossible to pinpoint the exact moment your feelings changed, but that wasn’t the issue at hand.

No, the issue at hand was how the heck to deal with it.

All the tired clichés and excuses rattled around in your head. You didn’t want to risk losing their friendship, what if they felt the same but things went wrong, what if it was just a passing crush… blah, blah, blah. Still, that wasn’t the worst of it.

The worst of it was that you had feelings for both of them.

You’d been in love before, but never with more than one person at the same time. It both thrilled and scared you, forcing you to reevaluate your self-image. For weeks, you struggled with guilt and shame, mind stuck on the classical understanding of a relationship. Two people, no more. Add a third and it became complicated.

Some people did it well, but you didn’t think you were one of them.

And there was no way in hell you could ever choose one of them over the other. They were both equally important to you, though for different reasons.

Vergil kept you from slacking, always encouraging you to keep working on your skills or interests whatever they were. The few times you went to him for advice, he’d helped you construct a step by step plan to resolve the issue and would ask about your progress a few days later. He helped you become the best version of yourself, one day at a time. He was a warrior, a man with unshakable honor and integrity. His stubbornness and insistence on quality could be annoying, but if that was the worst of it you couldn’t really complain. He inspired you.

V kept you from taking everything too seriously. His sarcastic jokes and witty puns always made you laugh, even in the darkest circumstances. He was an old soul, the weight of wisdom in his emerald eyes yet he still acted like a child. He had simple dreams of a peaceful life and a home by the sea, and no matter what was stressing you out he would sit and listen for as long as you needed. He was one of those rare people that didn’t try to fix your problems for you, simply offering his understanding and comfort while you sorted things out for yourself. He believed in your ability to handle things, but would always be there to cheer you on or help you stand up again. He supported you.

To lose either of them was unthinkable.

Your trio turned the last corner toward home, walking the familiar asphalt toward the grey building. It wasn’t much to look at on the outside. Slate panels and unremarkable architecture, two trees and a few shrubs dotting the tiny yard.

“I’ll get dinner started,” V said. You couldn’t help but steal a glance at his backside as he walked to the front door, saving the image for later.

Inside, the home was completely different. Classical European furniture complemented the elaborate wallpaper, dark oak floors with thick plush rugs on the ground floor and soft carpet upstairs in the bedrooms. Bookshelves lined the walls, almost every room had two or more. Various portraits and landscape paintings in heavy frames hung on the walls, lit with special lights V installed. All in all, it felt like a palace or a museum.

Home sweet home.

Vergil turned toward the training room, probably going to work on his parries and leaving you to your own devices.

You sighed in resignation and headed to the heavy desk by the window. There was work to do, invoices to file and clients to charge. Tedious tasks, but crucial to the success of your business. You cracked your knuckles and dug in.

Roughly an hour passed with only the sound of shuffling papers and far off clangs of steel. A mouth-watering aroma spread through the home and your stomach rumbled its approval. The scent strengthened until you couldn’t stand it and set the paperwork aside to join V in the kitchen; the more help he had, the sooner you could eat some of his delicious cooking.

The man in black was humming as he stir-fried a mix of veggies. A metal pan sat at his elbow with a juicy roast at rest, chopped potatoes a thick bed beneath it.

“Wow… what’s the occasion?” you asked.

He gave the veggies another stir and turned his smirking face toward you. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

You stepped closer to the roast to take a deep sniff, flooding your mouth at the savory smell. You stole a piece of potato and popped it in your mouth, moaning as the seasoning made your taste buds sing.

“This ib so gub!”

He raised an eyebrow, lips twitching in humor as you swallowed. “Thief. I’m afraid there are consequences to stealing.”

His honeyed voice and suggestive words sent a shiver down your spine. Did he know he was doing that? How could he not?

Well, two can play at that game!

You gave him a salacious grin and stole another potato. “Pfft, like what?”

He tutted and long fingers wrapped around your wrist as you brought the morsel to your mouth. His grip kept your hand from moving, so you angled your head under your fingers and released the snack so it fell right on your tongue.

“Like you get to fetch Vergil. Time to eat,” he replied.

“A fair punishment,” you said, grabbing one last potato as you headed for the training room.

Steel striking steel echoed in the hall, louder with every step. You found Vergil in the midst of his training, his blade slicing through the air to clang against the mechanized dummy’s attack. His form was perfect, fluid and agile, every muscle honed to perfection. Not a single motion was wasted, not a scrap of energy spent unless absolutely necessary.

And he’s shirtless…

Pale skin glistened with just a hint of sweat, shadows playing across the planes of his chest. His icy gaze was locked on his target as he stepped back to prepare another strike. You cleared your throat and tried not to show how much you enjoyed the view as he lowered his sword to face you.

“Dinner’s ready,” you said.

He hummed and sheathed the blade, reaching for a nearby towel to wipe away the evidence of his exertion. There was no stopping your eyes from following the path of the fabric. You’d never been jealous of an inanimate object before.

Vergil smirked. “You’re staring.”

Crap.

No point denying it…

“What, can’t a girl admire a nice view?”

He stepped closer, grabbing his shirt and vest but he didn’t dress. Instead he came closer still, standing less than a yard away from you and giving you an up-close look. You forced your expression to hide the heat pooling between your legs.

“Why look when you can touch?” he murmured.

Your eyes shot to his. First V, now Vergil? Why the hell were they teasing you so much tonight?

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, his arm extending to bring your hand to his sternum.

His skin was smooth and still heated from his practice. The air between you and the snowy-haired man crackled with tension as you spread your fingers and dragged your palm across his pecs. Your heart was racing, mind frozen and yet simultaneously spinning with questions you didn’t dare ask.

An exaggerated cough pulled your attention to the doorway to see V leaning on the frame, arms crossed and an annoyed expression on his features. Your hand dropped from Vergil’s chest and you shifted your weight, eyes searching for a safe area to look at.

“I thought we agreed, Vergil…” the tattooed man said.

Agreed? On what?

“Hmph. You know where I stand.”

What the fuck are they talking about?

V lowered his arms and joined you and Vergil, your bodies forming a triangle on the padded floor. His emerald eyes glittered as he looked at you, an unfamiliar darkness peeking through. Your breath hitched and lightning sizzled across your skin as his slim fingers rose to tuck a lock of hair behind your ear.

“I’ve seen the way you look at us, Y/N. You lack subtlety,” he informed you with a smirk.

Vergil growled, glaring at the poet as you internally smacked yourself. They knew. Was that why they teased you? Were they being serious or making fun of your feelings? Embarrassment rushed through you at the thought, followed quickly by anger.

“What the heck are you two talking about?” you asked. You weren’t admitting to anything until they confirmed it.

“We’ve discussed it between us and come to a conclusion,” Vergil began, dropping his shirt and vest. V circled around to stand behind you, his tattoos twitching.

A hand on your cheek dragged your eyes back to Vergil’s. V’s voice was velvet against your ear, his fingers stroking your waist. It felt delightful, despite the confusion. They were touching you, acting like they wanted you just as much as you wanted them and it was setting you on fire.

“It’s time to stop pretending. He who desires but act not, breeds pestilence.”

You lost the ability to respond as Vergil lunged forward to press his lips to yours.

Holy hell! Is this really happening?

You struggled to believe it; why tonight, after years of friendship, were they being so bold? Why now? Why not months ago and every day since? What took them so long?

Two sets of hands danced across your body as you opened to him with a soft whine. Blood rushed in your ears as your tongues met and you discovered Vergil’s unique taste. You trailed your palms up his chest, mapping his every crevice and curve and eliciting a sinful growl from the man. A shudder ran through you at the sound.

Fuck yes, this is finally happening!

Your hands flew to Vergil’s belt, tugging the strap loose with a swift jerk. Insistent fingers pulled at your shirt, lifting it to expose your stomach. Elegant digits caressed the sensitive area, a light pressure teasing at your core and you arched into V’s touch, aching for deeper contact. He didn’t disappoint you and dipped his fingertips lower, lower…

Come on, lower!

As if the man read your mind, his fingers reached for the fastenings of your pants and deftly forced them to the floor, taking your panties with them. You kicked the fabric away with a grin. He pressed against you, letting you feel his length as hot breath caressed your ear. “I’ve wanted this for a very long time.”

He went lower.

He teased at your folds, scraping a single finger against your clit. You gasped and pulled away from Vergil, leaning against V and angling your body to gain more friction as he traced circles around your bundle of nerves. The fire between your legs pulsated with every swirl, growing hotter and hotter by the second and sending a series of guttural moans loose from your lips. The white-haired man seized the opportunity and pulled away your shirt; seconds later your bra joined it on the floor.

V’s free hand kneaded your chest, skilled fingers rolling your nipple into a stiff peak. A growl escaped Vergil’s lips and he swatted away the poet’s palm, his mouth taking its place. His tongue laved across the tender flesh, hands wrapping around you on either side to pull you closer and subsequently away from V. The loss of contact was a splash of iced water on your arousal.

Vergil, you jackass!

The poet huffed in annoyance. His stroking fingers paused, leaving you slick and frustrated and whimpering. You tried to shift backward to regain his heat but Vergil’s grip held fast.

Are you fucking kidding me?

V solved the problem by pushing Vergil’s face away from your chest and replacing it with his palm.

Alright, that’s it!

“Both of you, knock it off! If I have to tie you up to enjoy myself, I will,” you said.

Behind you, V snorted. He had the grace to try and cover it with a cough, but you knew him too well. Vergil stared into your eyes with a smirk, daring you to even try restraining him.

“I’m not kidding.”

The smirk grew.

Fine. Two can play that game.

You turned around to face the poet. His eyes were blown wide, the familiar emerald tone almost lost in his pupils. His hand moved to your hip and rubbed circles, his other coming to rest wrapped around your back.

“Are you going to behave?”

His lips twitched, but he nodded. Good enough for now.

Your hands traced the dark lines covering his alabaster skin, his tattoos dancing in a display of his enjoyment under your touch. One palm drifted lower to tug his t-shirt away, the other higher to answer one of your more persistent fantasies. You tangled your fingers in his obsidian locks and tugged, forcing his head to the side.

The look on his face was glorious, lips parted to release a restrained moan, brows drawn together and eyes fluttering closed. Vergil’s sharp intake of breath only heightened your self-satisfaction and you couldn’t resist any longer.

A single step was all it took to close the gap between you and the poet and press your lips to his for a deep kiss. You wrapped yourself around the black-clad man, reveling in the taste of his soft lips, the scent of his skin mixed with leather, the blazing heat of his body. His hips bucked against yours as he pulled you closer and you indulged yourself with a few rough grinds on his length. Waves of pleasure cascaded through your flushed body.

At last you pulled away to breathe and take in the results of your efforts. V’s eyes were dark and hungry as he stared down at you. A light blush stained his normally pristine cheeks, swollen lips open to catch his breath.

“Maybe that’s for the best, I’m not sure you could handle it anyway, Vergil. Look what I did to poor V.”

Vergil tutted, his hands exploring your thighs and trailing lightning down your spine. The poet hummed his agreement, an amused smirk pulling at his lips as he shared a knowing look with you.

“Yes, it would be such a shame if you couldn’t last.”

Vergil scoffed in response and tugged you against his cock, pressing a row of blistering kisses on your neck and shoulders. He rutted against your ass and groaned, dragging one hand to your core and dipping inside to curl against your walls.

“I will last as long as is required,” he said.

“Vergil, behave!” you commanded, using the tone you normally reserved for battle.

His fingers withdrew, recognizing the intensity of your voice. You stepped away and glared at him, holding that icy gaze for a moment before realizing he wasn’t going to surrender. Not yet.

Fucking Sparda blood, I swear…

“V, take off your pants. Vergil, don’t move.”

The poet tore away his trousers, smirking at you as you watched him lower them inch by inch to reveal himself. He lifted an eyebrow as you licked your lips and beckoned him closer, crouching down to meet him.

You stroked V’s length with one hand, spreading precum across his shaft as you moved. He released an obscene moan, his head falling back in the grip of his pleasure. With another few strokes, you leaned forward and licked his tip, humming at the salty morsel. He rested one palm on the crown of your head as you filled your mouth with his cock, hollowing your cheeks and looking up at him. The sounds you made as you bobbed were filthy, using your tongue to map his every inch. Your other hand crept across his back, dipping lower and lower until you found the tight ring you were searching for. A soft swipe across was all it took to elicit a groan.

You grinned and withdrew. “Interesting…”

Vergil was still glaring where you left him, his irritation rolling off him in waves. It was almost cute to see how he sulked, but he’d done as you told him. He deserved a reward.

“Both of you, come here and get on all fours.”

The poet didn’t hesitate, smirking as he got comfortable. Vergil couldn’t hide the gleam in his icy eyes, but he made a show of huffing as he joined V. You almost giggled; you were going to break through every layer of his nonsense and leave him craving more.

You coated your fingers with your own fluids and took a position between them. Goosebumps erupted across V’s squirming tattoos as you dragged your fingernails down their spines simultaneously, murmuring praise and shifting your hips to find what little friction you could. The view was divine, both beautiful men sprawled out before you with their assets lifted and begging for attention. Vergil was still tense, but he’d get there in time.

The fluid on your digits made a perfect first coating and you paused to refresh it, indulging your aching clit with a few perfect strokes. Only the promise of what was to come brought your fingers back.

You probed V first, intent on rewarding his continuous good behavior. His hands spasmed on the training mat as you slid inside to the first knuckle, every line of his tattoos dancing across his pale skin as he moaned. You waited, giving him the chance to tell you to stop if he needed it, but he only shifted his hips, trying to get you further inside. His shoulders heaved in gasps as you twitched your finger, testing his sensitivity.

You’d never heard him curse so violently.

With a gleeful smile, you leaned closer to his ear, your words for him alone. “You look so good like this.”

“Mmm, you’ll look even better when it’s your turn…” he replied.

Your finger crept forward to the next knuckle and he cursed again, arms flexing and tattoos swirling. They moved erratically, a clear indication of his status he couldn’t hide. You turned your attention to Vergil, giving the poet a moment to relax before you destroyed him.

Vergil was watching your every move, clever eyes locked on where your finger was buried in his counterpart. He was much harder to read, but as you traced a fingernail over his opening there was no denying the twitch of his hips. His nostrils flared as you pressed gently, taking your time to let him adjust.

The flames of arousal between your legs were delicious torture and you shifted again, leaning over to whisper in Vergil’s ear. “Relax. I’ll take care of you.”

The cords of sinew running up his neck flexed and he turned his head to meet your eyes. He looked so lovely with a light tinge of blood in his cheeks and a determined glare in his cool depths. “Careful, Y/N. Don’t forget this is only happening because I allow it.”

Wanna bet?

You sank your finger deeper and curled it, scraping against him. V was being so good, you twitched for him as well. Both men cursed into the mat, bodies reacting more honestly than you could’ve imagined. Knowing you could bring them to this sent pulses of heady power rushing through your veins, pride and lust mixing together in a jolting cocktail.

“I want you to watch,” you told Vergil, pulling your finger back a fraction to threaten the consequences if he chose to refuse. He whimpered, a sound unlike anything you’d ever heard from the man as he turned his head to gaze at where you were buried inside V.

Wow. That was weirdly hot.

You sank into the poet, fully cocooning your finger in his body. His tattoos moved more chaotically than ever as he gasped, his dark hair falling forward to hide his face as you began massaging him. His arms trembled, his cries of delight fanning your own desire. You bent over and planted a row of kisses along his ribs, adding a nip here and there for good measure. He bit his lip and a look of pain twisted his regal features; instantly you stopped.

“You can’t hold it back much longer, can you?”

You glanced at Vergil, making sure he was paying attention to the poet’s response and caught your breath. His icy eyes were dilated to the point you could barely see the ring of blue, his cheeks and neck flushed in excitement as V moaned his confirmation against the mat. The white-haired man’s nostrils flared as you sank your finger home, his ability to restrain himself eroding with every touch and you reveled in the sense of power it gave you.

V looked like he was ready for more, his peak a safe distance away once more, yet you barely had to move for him to react. You split your focus between the two men, using up the last traces of your own fluids to bring them both to the brink of bliss and pulling out just before they unraveled.

You slid between them and curled against Vergil, pulling V along behind you. The poet’s full lips peppered your shoulders as you molded your mouth to Vergil’s, brushing strands of white out of his eyes.

He growled and shifted his hips, rutting against your thigh as his hands explored your body. Shivers of delight danced across your skin, lightning scorching your every nerve. You rolled onto Vergil, coating his length in your wetness with a soft moan.

“What’s the magic word?” you asked him with a wicked grin.

His lips moved but no sound came out. Damn. You shrugged as if it didn’t matter to you, then ground into his cock and brought V’s hand to your core. The poet didn’t hesitate, plunging his long fingers into you right over where Vergil’s angry, twitching cock rested and curling against your sensitive walls. You released an exaggerated moan and closed your eyes.

“Please,” Vergil whispered.

That’ll do.

V withdrew as you wrapped your fingers around Vergil’s shaft, giving him a few strokes before angling him at your entrance. His hands stroked your ribs and you shivered, taking his first few inches with a whimper. His lewd growl made you grin and you lowered yourself down until he was fully sheathed, stretching to your limits to fit him.  There was the briefest moment of pain before you adjusted.

“Vergil… fuck…”

You leaned down to kiss him as you lifted your hips to drop on him again, gasping against his lips as he impaled you. His hands gripped your hips in a bruising hold, helping to lift you as you gained speed. You reached out to V, weaving your fingers together and leaning on him for added support. Grunts and sighs filled the air, mixing with the sound of slapping flesh as he lifted his hips to meet you, forcing himself even deeper. Vergil brought a hand to where you were joined, finding your clit with ease and helping you chase your peak. He tried different movements and pressure until he found one you liked.

“Right there, that’s it! Ver- Vergil!”

Bursts of white flashed in your vision as you keened his name and exploded into bliss. Every muscle clenched as one, wave after wave of ecstasy rolling through you until you could barely breathe. Vergil and V held you up together as the snowy-haired man ploughed against your shuddering walls, extending your release into an age.

When you finally came back down, you looked down at him with a wide smile. Pride stained his eyes, his lips turned up in a tiny grin of his own. “Told you I’d last as long as necessary.”

You snorted and looked at V. He had one inked hand wrapped around his cock, stroking just enough to stay hard. His eyes were locked on you and Vergil.

“I think it’s about time you joined us, V. Get behind me,” you said. His eyes gleamed in excitement and he positioned himself on Vergil’s legs.

The ocean-eyed man slowed his pace as V reached between you and gathered as much fluid as he could. Fingers rubbed against your second hole, probing within to help you prepare. You relaxed as much as you could, breathing into it as he brought his cock to bear. You pressed against Vergil’s hips to stop his insistent motion and gave V a smile.

He pressed forward at an achingly slow pace. His drawn-out groan was delightful, a euphoric expression on his face.

“Fuck…” the poet murmured.

“Wait until you feel it from this side,” Vergil replied.

You glared at him as V extended his middle finger with a smirk at the other man’s comment. His hips inched forward until they met yours and you marveled at the sensation of being stuffed to the brim by the two men you cared so much about. It was absolute perfection. You flexed your inner muscles around them, feeling every ridge buried in your depths and three voices moaned together in a blissful harmony.

You moved first, shifting your weight forward and bracing on Vergil’s broad chest. His arms came up to help, V’s on your hips. The poet leaned down to plant kisses on every patch of flesh he could reach, his own body moving to mirror yours. You nodded at Vergil when you were ready, and he lifted to join in.

This is incredible…

Heat pooled in your stomach as your trio gathered speed. It took a few minutes to synchronize but you didn’t care, as long as they kept going. Nothing else existed, maybe it never had. It felt like you were flying, never to touch land again.

Every sense filled with evidence of your enjoyment. The air smelled of sweat and sex, a heady perfume to go with the panting sighs and grunts. Beneath you, Vergil’s cheeks were pinker than you’d ever seen them, his eyes glazed over. His hair stuck out in every direction and you reached out to smooth it back, leaning down to kiss him for good measure. His arms cradled you against him and his cock tightened, his peak close.

“Cum for me,” you whispered, burying your face in the crux of his neck.

Vergil’s deep thrusts stuttered as he growled like a wild animal, pulsing in waves and filling you with his seed. His arms trembled, thick veins bulging. You pressed kisses against his neck, murmuring praise and reassurance as he rode out his pleasure. A satisfied smirk twisted his lips and you wiped away the beads of sweat from his forehead, your breath huffing every time V buried himself inside you.

The poet’s hands pressed into your lower back, forcing you into a different angle as he snapped forward. Having him pounding away at your ass right over Vergil while you were looking into his icy gaze set you on fire, bolts of energy zipping across your skin as he coaxed you closer and closer to a second climax.

Vergil brought his hands to your chest, kneading and pinching as he whispered absolute filth, telling you how much he was enjoying the show and that he looked forward to switching places with V next time. His words sent you hurtling over the edge and you wailed their names, arching back as he took your full weight.

The poet cursed, his tattoos a maelstrom as he followed you into paradise. Clouds of black demonic energy floated a mere inch off his skin, an aura of darkness surrounding his oddly pristine flesh and pale hair. He grunted and pulled out to spew his cum across your ass, pumping his length to get every drop. The inky shards sank back into his skin and hair as he panted and sat back on his knees, pushing his hair from his face.

You collapsed into Vergil’s arms, letting him shift you to the side. V crawled over and lied on your other side, still catching his breath. For several minutes, your trio was silent.

Maybe I can handle loving two people at once after all…

Chapter Text

You found him in his usual spot, perched on the old-fashioned armchair by the window with a book. Elegant fingers slid between the pages and turned, his eyes flitting across the words like hummingbirds. A mischievous grin lit your face and you tiptoed closer as quietly as possible. He didn’t seem to notice a thing, his attention never swaying as you reached the back of his seat.

For a moment you considered trying to startle him, but there were far more pleasant options. You slid your fingers down the fabric upholstery towards his shoulders, an audible friction announcing your presence. He lowered his book and dropped his head back to look up at your grinning face.

“I’m here for my daily dose of kisses and hugs!” you said as his eyes met yours.

He smirked. “Of course. I’ll happily provide.”

As your hands draped across his shoulders, you leaned down for a kiss, just like in that action movie a few years back. He purred as you tasted him, his chin bumping against your nose. The backwards angle of his lips threw you off; it felt strange to dart your tongue out to meet his. As if the muscles had to relearn the familiar motions from scratch. Why did anyone think kissing like this was a good idea?

You pulled away and rubbed your nose against his. His pleased smile followed you as you walked around the chair and gently took his book, moving the bookmark in place as you set it aside. With his hands now free, they rose to wrap around you as you plopped sideways into his lap.

“I’m vitamin V deficient, I need to take supplements and everything,” you quipped, resting against his chest.

A rumbling chuckle made your new pillow vibrate. You cuddled against him even harder, taking a deep inhale of his scent. Warmth flooded your chest – this was home.

“Consider me your dealer, then.”

His lips pressed on the crown of your head as his hands rubbed loving circles on your body. Work that day was stressful and busy, but all the leftover tension eased away with his touch. You sighed and settled in, knowing you’d be there a while.

“Wanna know a secret?” you asked playfully.

He hummed his curiosity, dropping a kiss on your forehead.

“You’re my favorite drug dealer.”

Another round of rumbles bubbled through his chest. “I do have wonderful pricing.”

You snorted in amusement, tilting back to meet his eyes with a sly smirk. “Yeah, all you ever ask for is your own supply.”

His biceps flexed around you as he shifted to meet your mouth again for another hit. For a few minutes the two of you didn’t part, unrushed in your embrace and treasuring the bond flowing between you. When the poet finally pulled away, you pecked his nose as he spoke.

“Yes, I’d hate to go into withdrawal.”

“Mmm, can’t have that.”

You tightened your arms and shifted your hips to a more comfortable spot on his lean legs. You shared a few more lingering kisses before you were satisfied, sighing in contentment as you resumed your earlier position. From where your cheek rested on his chest you had a wonderful view of his milk-and-midnight throat.

Inevitably, life would draw you from his arms to finish what you were doing earlier. Until then, you were going to savor every second.

Chapter Text

When you met the crew at the bar for karaoke, you didn’t mean to drink three margaritas. You didn’t plan on singing a duet with your black-clad friend or hearing his laugh for the first time after one of your quips. You never imagined the others taking off one by one hours later until only you and the poet remained.  

Yet there you were, sitting beside him at the bar and matching him shot for shot despite knowing what it would cost you in the morning. It didn’t matter; you were having too much fun.

The lean man had a low tolerance and watching him get less and less articulate was hilarious. The first time you heard him slur, you swallowed the laughter begging to spill from your lips. When he lost the ability to recite poetry, you cried in amusement. As he started adding in curse words for emphasis, you doubled over and pretended the last sip went down the wrong pipe while you choked.

Not once in the nine weeks and four days you’d known him had you heard him swear. And yes, you were counting.

“Nooo, he does! Dante doesss fucking know how!” the poet insisted.

“Nuh-uh, if he danced it would not be like Michael Jackssson! He’s a toootal b-boy!”

He stared at you, his face a display of his certainty. “Pffft… Nero, sure, but Dante’s too much of a flirty bastard!”

He had you there.

In fact, just a few hours ago the man in red invited you to a movie marathon where you might not watch the films. You slammed the last of your drink at the thought, shuddering as you replied.

“But still! Michael Jackson?!”

“I sssswear to shit, I’m not making this God up!” he slurred, his words shuffling. “I’ve seen it! Crotch grabs and everything!”

You were defenseless against the slough of images that flooded your mind and your face twisted in stunned discomfort. The black-haired man smirked as his eyes filled with something soft and unfamiliar. He held your gaze until your face relaxed, only then dropping the hand that previously held up his head from the bar.

“What’re you looking at?”

He hummed, his lids nearly shut in drunkenness. “You. You’re so fucking adorable.”

He leaned forward, close enough you heard the breath leaving his parted lips. Your heart raced, stomach fluttering as his eyes closed and left it up to you. There was no hesitation, only anticipation and impatience as you pressed a soft kiss to his perfect lips.

You pulled away barely a heartbeat later, and he tried to move with you by bracing one hand on your knee as he leaned forward. The spray of pink in his cheeks was darker than before, his eyes blinking open to meet yours. The stretch of both sides of his mouth deepened the hollows on his jawline and his hand twitched on your leg.

He purred and leaned forward further to return your kiss. You reached out to rest your hands on his slim shoulders as his mouth opened, tongue shyly swiping across your lips. A tiny whine echoed up your throat as you opened and met him in a flash of warmth.

The caution of his motions vanished; his hands cupped your cheeks and his barstool creaked as he shifted as far as he could without falling off. He explored every nook and cranny within as you tried to keep up, but the man was merciless in his passion.  An ache built at your core, pulsing to a higher intensity with every second his taste was on your tongue.

When you pulled away to catch your breath, you were swimming in need. The alcohol made it more insistent, screaming for satisfaction but you forced yourself to calm as you rested your forehead on his.

“Huh… that wasss even better than I imagined,” he said.

You giggled. “Likewise.”

“We should… try doing it sssober…”

Your hands covered his on either side of your face, bringing them down for a peck before letting go. “Count on it.”

Chapter Text

It was a cold winter.

Like, really cold.

Icicles in your hair cold.

So far you’d gotten five feet of snow and the local pond was iced over for the neighbor’s kids to skate on. No matter how many sweaters you layered over your skin, the persistent goosebumps remained. The heater broke from the overuse a few hours ago and no matter what V tried, he couldn’t figure out how to fix it.

“I suppose we’ll have to wait it out,” he murmured.

You were curled up on the black leather couch, covered in every blanket you could find. Your nose was ice, fingertips numb and toes close behind. A small toolbox sat beside him where he glared at the device, a puffy jacket wrapped around his shoulders. He sighed and got to his feet, turning to put away the metal case.

“Come here, I’m freezing,” you said.

Thick socks padded over to join you, his inked hands rubbing together. You opened your blankets to let him inside, gasping as a rush of brittle air flooded your carefully maintained refuge. The jacket he wore rustled as his arms wrapped around you, his slim form cocooned against your chest. You closed the blankets to lock in every scrap of heat.

“How’s this?” he asked.

“Hmmm, a little better.”

He tilted his head and pressed a tender kiss on your frozen cheek. “And this?”

You hummed in contentment. Sometimes it was maddening how he only got cold in his hands and feet, never his face. His nose never went red or dripped, his cheeks an ever-warm stretch of smooth skin. This time you were grateful for the strangeness of his circulation as his warm lips caressed your face.

“That’s perfect, your lips are always so warm!”

Those same lips twisted into a smirk and he dropped a peck on the tip of your nose. Another went to your other cheek, then your chin and forehead. He kissed every inch of your face, peppering you with tiny blasts of heat until the chill faded to the background.

“Are you cold anywhere else, love?”

Humor and affection swirled in his emerald depths as he whispered, his lips dropping to your neck. The pattern he painted had you purring, arching to give him more real estate.

“I can think of a few places,” you murmured.

He chuckled and his next kiss held more urgency, his tongue dipping out to caress your pulse. “Do tell.”

You shuddered, ripples of warmth spreading from his mouth to settle in your core. The blankets shifted as you scooted into his lap, grinning as you felt the searing heat of his erection. Never had it felt so good to grind into him.

“I’m cold everywhere,” you whined, pouting.

“Well, I believe I can be of service,” was the poet’s growled reply. He bucked against you to emphasize his words, not that he needed to. His meaning was deliciously clear. You brought your mouth to his and reached for his belt, intent on his scorching heat warming you from within.

For the rest of the day, he demonstrated all the ways he could keep you burning.

Chapter Text

You sighed, staring at the ceiling as you tried to sleep. For hours, you’d been tossing and turning, trying to find the right arrangement of limbs that would ease you to rest. Nothing helped.

The cause was easy to determine – a certain silver-haired man who slept a mere two doors down in the massive house. During your recent mission together, the two of you spent every night in one another’s arms. It was bliss just to be in his embrace, but the few times his hand drifted to explore your length were magnificent.  And the noises he made when you used your mouth on him? Perfection.

Yet ever since returning from the mission, you’d slept apart. Daylight hours were easier; he’d stroke your arm as he walked by or give you a sweet kiss if he got you alone. Sometimes you caught him smirking at you while carrying on a normal conversation with a third party, that gleam of interest lighting his icy gaze.

Even so. Sleeping alone sucked.

You sighed again and sat up. This was stupid. You wanted Vergil, and Vergil wanted you. What else mattered?

Flannel pajama bottoms dragged on the floor, a soft shuffling noise as you grabbed a shirt and left your bedroom behind. His door was closed and for a moment you hesitated, worried he might not appreciate having his slumber disturbed, but you pushed it away and knocked.

You waited with crossed arms, listening closely for the sound of footsteps. A foolish idea, considering how light the man’s tread was, but still…

The door finally cracked open, revealing a glaring pair of eyes over a tight scowl, but Vergil softened as he spotted you.

“What is it?” he asked.

You reached out to cup his cheek, running your calloused thumb over his smooth skin. He leaned into it and you smiled. “I miss cuddling at night. Can I join you?”

Amused eyes flicked to your face. “You came to my room at four am… to cuddle?”

He widened the gap and stepped aside to let you in with raised eyebrows. You went towards his elegant four-poster bed, running your fingers on the soft grey sheets as you turned to face him.

“Well, it’s hard to sleep alone now.”

He hummed in understanding as he closed the door. Those long legs you so enjoyed crossed to the bed within seconds, his limbs shuffling back under the blankets. He made an impatient gesture as you paused, unsure if he wanted your company.

“I know. Come here,” he murmured.

You smiled and slid in beside him, his strong arms already reaching for you. Without a second thought, you brought your mouth to his with a hum of happiness, lazily caressing his tongue for a moment before pulling away. His eyes were sparkling, lips turned up in a smirk.

“Are you sure you only want to cuddle?” he teased. You closed your eyes and rolled over to press your spine into his chest with a sleepy chuckle.

“This time.”

Chapter Text

Inked fingers brushed across your bare stomach. Lips danced over your pulse, teeth nibbling along the throbbing vein. Hips rolled against yours and you moaned as he sank inside to scrape against your walls. Your hands clenched against the sheets, your face buried in a pillow as the poet took you gently from behind.

He panted by your ear; a sharp grunt mixed in with his hot breath sent shivers down your spine. You shifted your weight to press your ass into his motions, begging him to quicken his strokes. A rumble of amusement echoed up his chest as he chuckled, his palms skimming across your heated body in reverence.

“I love your skin, you’re so soft,” he murmured, dragging his length away.

He inched his way forward again, pressing a tender kiss to your shoulder as you moaned. “Only for you…”

He rewarded you with a single, sharp thrust. The impact tortured you, reminding you just how much the man was holding back. A lewd whine slipped from your lips, your desperation clear.

“Do you know how much I love hearing that?” his lilting tone asked.

You tightened around him, milking his length as he retreated again. “As much as I love saying it?”

A single syllable of his amusement reached your ears as he rolled forward. He flexed his core at the perfect moment to rub against your most sensitive spot, grinning at your vocal reaction. Pleasure ebbed and flowed within you, gradually rising with every movement. His lips trailed up to your ear, pulling the lobe into his mouth and playing with the rounded flesh.

“What else do you love saying?” he muttered as he released it.

He flexed again. Lightning danced over your skin, ripples of enjoyment flowing from where you were joined with the poet. Your body screamed for release; during the last forty minutes of his attentions, not once had he allowed you to climax. He knew exactly when to retreat and when to stimulate, coaxing you to the edge over and over but not letting you fall.

It was maddening.

“Damnit, V, please!” you cried, reaching the limit of your patience.

He chuckled and slammed forward, his hips striking your ass in a loud slap. Your body lurched forward as you moaned, so achingly close you wanted to cry. To your surprise, he repeated the motion, forcing you to brace against the mattress. Just a few more and you’d peak, come on…

You wailed as he pulled out.

His hands gripped your hips and flipped you on your back. He grasped your thighs and tugged you to the edge of the bed, bringing your calves to rest on either shoulder. A single finger swiped across your clit and he smirked at you, his cock inches away from where you needed it most.

The bed squeaked as he leaned down for a kiss, bending your legs to an almost painful angle as his tongue danced with yours. You tangled your fingers in his hair and at last he sheathed himself again, flexing against your hungry walls. He growled, low and dangerous when you tugged his locks the way you knew he loved.

“Are you sure you’re ready, love?” he taunted after his lips left yours.

”Yes! Make me cum!”

He dragged one hand from your sternum across your chest, drifting lower at a pace that would make a snail feel quick. You whimpered as he reached your stomach, arching as best you could in the crunched position.

“As you wish.”

A pair of fingers pressed into your tiny bundle of nerves, adding just the right amount of friction as he let loose and pounded into you. It drove the air from your lungs as he panted, his own peak approaching judging by the way he tightened inside you. You clamped down around him, your inner muscles refusing to let him go and he closed his eyes, brows drawing together and lips dropping open with an extended groan.

You tugged his hair again, forcing him lower to meet your lips as he pulsated his ecstasy. The fingers stroking inches from his cock quickened, adding pressure and dragging you over the edge with him.

This was your favorite part; the unity of joint euphoria was a different level of delight. Your voices blended in a symphony of moans, your spine arching as every part of your body spasmed in rapturous release. You were fire and ice and lightning and water, an endless loop of energy as your nerves jangled.

Perfection.

One by one, sections of your body relaxed. The last waves of bliss crashed to form a delicious memory as you returned to yourself with a massive smile. V’s expression matched yours, his teeth glinting in the low light of your shared bedroom. He leaned down for another sweet kiss, his patterned biceps flexing to take his weight.

“I love you,” he murmured as he pulled away.

You extended a trembling arm to cup his cheek, stroking his face. “And I love you.”

Chapter Text

The first time he saw you, Griffon figured you’d be dead within the week. Some skinny broad with no experience in a fight? Puh-leeeze…

But three weeks later, you still drew breath. He had to give you credit for that.

Not much, though. After all, it was he and Shadow who kept you alive. Oh, and Nightmare. V might have something to do with it, too.

Regardless.

There you stood, chatting with Shakespeare as if the world wasn’t coming to an end. As if demons didn’t hunt your group every day and try to kill you. As if this was another ordinary morning.

He fluffed his feathers and kept his eyes locked on you and V. Something about your posture seemed off, like you were uncomfortable or in pain, but you had no injuries. Still, he couldn’t shake the feeling of wrongness.

Shakespeare smirked at something you said. Griffon cocked his head to the side, honing his attention to hear your response.

“Th- that’s not what I meant!”

What the hell?

Your eyes darted to the ground as you shifted your weight.

You gotta be shitting me.

“Apologies. What did you mean?”

He could hardly believe his yellow eyes as you became even more uncomfortable. A piece of him held an odd fascination with your reactions and the demonic bird found he couldn’t look away. Unfamiliar emotion swelled in his chest, a mix of hope and trepidation that didn’t belong to him.

Damnit, Shakespeare! I’m catching feelings from you again.

“I meant that- I was trying to say- Quit smiling at me, I can’t stop messing up my sentences when you look at me like that!”

What a pair of morons. I gotta see this shit.

Shimmering blue feathers caught wind as Griffon lifted off. He flapped closer, taking a streetlight as his new perch as he watched the display below. He couldn’t help but root for you and the poet after watching the two of you dance around each other all this time, both too bashful to admit your feelings.

Not to mention how annoying it was whenever Shakespeare got especially keen. It was torture to feel how badly the idiot wanted to kiss you, as if it were his own desire. The times he’d wanted to do more than kiss were downright traumatizing.

“Look at you like what?” V replied.

He can’t possibly be that clueless!

Yet he was, judging by the blatant confusion leaking through his bond with the idiot.  Griffon ruffled his feathers and clicked the prongs of his beak together, trying to cleanse himself of the poet’s feelings with limited success.

Honestly, the sooner they bone the happier I’ll be!

“I don’t know! Like that, you’re doing it right now!” you cried, throwing your hands up in frustration.

Griffon didn’t see what the big deal was. Shakespeare was smirking, sure, and his eyes looked a little funny, but so what? The whole situation was ridiculous; if either of you just said the damn words, his torment would end. He’d be free to ignore the poet’s more human impulses.

No more distractions or daydreams. No more urges, no more echoes of lust or need. No more wondering what your lips felt like, or how warm you’d be in his arms.

Gah! I don’t even have arms!

He couldn’t hold back any longer.

“OI! Idiots!” he cawed, spreading his wings to get your attention.

Two sets of accusing eyes stared at him and Griffon wondered if he should’ve planned his words a bit better. Oh well, too late now.

“If you two don’t hook up soon I’m gonna lose it!”

You bit your lip and turned away as V’s cheeks tinted a light shade of pink. Neither of you made a move, too embarrassed to even lock eyes. Griffon wanted to scream.

“You’re killing me, Shakespeare! I can’t stop feeling the shit you wanna do so just freaking do it already!”

A pulse of annoyed energy shot through Griffon and he lost the ability to stay solid. He became a cloud of black, his awareness fading as if he were looking at the world through a keyhole. Everything he had went to fighting it, desperate to yell at you and V until you both surrendered, but he was helpless against the pull of the man’s iron will.

Just as he sank into the poet’s skin, he glimpsed your shy glance at the black-clad man as you leaned just a tiny bit closer. A surge of elation rushed through him as V met you halfway, joy resonating through the bond as he faded into the background of the man’s mind.

That’s it, Shakespeare! Get some!

Griffon thrummed, mentally preening in self-satisfaction. The bond vibrated for a few moments, hints of what the poet was feeling ricocheting back to him until a barrier slammed down to divide them. He cawed in amusement, overjoyed at the silence.

Peace. At last.

Chapter Text

For years, you harbored your feelings in silence. Any time you came close to spilling the beans, you reminded yourself of the myriad of reasons Dante could never be yours.

Chief among them was that you were pretty damn sure he wasn’t gay.

The rest were circumstantial, debatable and easy enough to talk yourself out of caring about, but that one cruel fact remained. You simply weren’t his type, through no fault of your own.

It still hurt, though.

Little things made it worse, like when he called someone ‘babe’ or teased about the noises Nero and Kyrie made over the weekend in the spare room. Anytime he patted you on the back, making a crack about whatever was going on around you. The worst was how amazing his mouth looked when he ate pizza, slurping away at the warm cheese and moaning at the flavor…

You wondered if anyone else got jealous of food.

Regardless. Everything changed six months ago when he brought a guy home. Some tall asshole with ear gauges and black jeans, basically the opposite of your small self. You were heartbroken, knowing the context of the new face and realizing how wrong you were about Dante’s preferences.

At least the guy hadn’t stuck around long. Small mercies.

Once he was gone, things settled down for a while. Dante made his usual jokes, munching away on pizza and driving you nuts with every bite. He patted your back and made fun of Vergil when he misplaced a book. Nero stormed off in a huff whenever the man in red quipped something about selling tickets.

The knowledge that Dante was, at the very least, open to being with a man made it more and more difficult to talk yourself out of confessing. You struggled every day to hold back, biting your lips and muttering excuses so you could retreat until the urge faded. The others gave you some funny looks, but Dante didn’t seem to notice your strange behavior. Another reason to keep it hidden – he didn’t care enough to pay attention to your quirks.

Little did you know how wrong you were.

Dante knew something was up. At first, he assumed you’d deal with it on your own and he didn’t need to worry, but as the weeks dragged on his concern grew. You could barely look him in the eyes sometimes. You flinched when he touched you. You even stopped coming to his weekly movie night.

It hurt. You were his friend and he wanted you to be happy. If something was up, he wanted to help you fix it. Seeing you in pain, day after day was more agonizing than the time Vergil stabbed him as a teenager.

Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore and he pulled you aside, muscles already tensed to fight off the source. You looked confused and maybe a little scared as he dragged you to the kitchen and sat you down at the cracked plastic countertop. To help ease the tension, he poured two shots of whiskey and forced one into your hand, clinking his own glass against it and downing it in one gulp.

“So. What’s been bugging ya?” he asked, slamming the shot glass on the counter.

You froze. Who told him? Why now? Did it even matter?

Probably not. You licked your lips and replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Dante snorted and gestured at the still-full shot glass in your hand. “Drink up. I’m not taking any more bullshit.”

Shit.

The man was legendary for sniffing out half-truths and lies. It was a goddamned miracle he hadn’t figured you out yet. You raised the glass and cringed as the amber fluid slid down your throat, coughing as you set the glass down again. A firm hand smacked your spine in a rough approximation of helping.

“Better out than in, right?”

You glared at him and he chuckled, reaching for the bottle to pour another round. He downed half a shot and raised an eyebrow at you, blatantly ignoring your shaking head as he poured a matching amount in your glass.

“Come on, Y/N. How bad could it be? Let me help you sort it out.”

He’s not going to let this go. I’m a goner.

You held your breath and emptied your glass. This time you managed to maintain a shred of composure, only clearing your throat to ease the alcohol’s passage.

“You can’t help me with this,” you said.

“Why the fuck not?”

You bit your lip, eyes darting around in search of a safe escape. After this long, even to think of telling him had you in a cold sweat.

“Hey, look at me.” His hand grasped your chin and forced you to meet his stern gaze. “Why. The fuck. Not?”

The calloused fingers on your chin were too much. Even that small contact felt so damned good, and you closed your eyes as your lips parted.

“Because you’re the issue!”

He chuckled and lowered his hand. Your soul cried out at the loss.

“Me? What did I do? Tell me and I’ll make it right.”

He poured another round of shots and grinned. You didn’t bother protesting and followed his lead to slam the drink with a shudder.

“The problem isn’t something you did, its something you’ll never do,” you whispered. The tile floor was suddenly fascinating; you couldn’t tear your eyes off the grimy grey surface.

“Well, I definitely won’t do it if you can’t even tell me what it is,” he replied sardonically.

He has a point. Damnit.

You really couldn’t expect anything to change if you refused to tell him and holding onto the pain was too painful to bear. It begged to be spoken, the confession waiting on your tongue. Every nerve screamed at you to do it, to just open your mouth and say the damned words, but something still held you back. He didn’t want you; it was lunacy to pretend otherwise.

A warm weight rested on your shoulder and your eyes lifted to find his staring at you. A gloved hand gripped you and you reached for another drink. Haze clouded your thoughts, but one urgent need shone through the fog.

Don’t say it.

Don’t you fucking say it, Y/N.

“I want you, Dante. I have for a long time,” your traitorous lips said.

God damnit. This is why I don’t drink. Fucking stupid.

A soft hum rumbled in his chest as his eyes lit up. Was that humor? If he started laughing you might have to run, hide somewhere and sleep off the buzz. Go home and never come back.

“Uh, I… I don’t really know what to say.”

You dropped your eyes back to the floor. “It’s okay. I know I’m not your type.”

He sighed and another warm weight dropped onto your knee. “That’s not what I meant. I’m pretty crap at this stuff, you know. Just… give me a sec, yeah?”

You focused on a crack in the tile. It surprised you that you weren’t crying. Maybe after so long, you just didn’t have it in you? Or maybe the drinks were messing with you. Whatever, it didn’t matter.

His thumb rubbed a tiny circle on your knee. An intimate gesture, one you’d never seen the mighty devil hunter perform before. It felt really, really good and you bit your lip to restrain the pleased hum rising in your body.

“Okay… so I gotta set you straight here. I don’t… I don’t have a type. If it feels right, who gives a shit what people look like?”

That made sense, in a Dante sort of way.

“And… look, I suck at this. But, you know what? You’ve always felt right to me.”

The hand on your shoulder drifted inward to cup your cheek, his thumb stroking your lower lip as it twisted into a smile. His touch was like acid, burning through all the layers of doubt and fear to reveal the truth you’d kept hidden for so long. You had to be dreaming, nothing else made any sense.

And if this is a dream, I can do whatever the fuck I want.

Part of you wanted nothing more than to tackle him and fulfill your wildest fantasies, but a more rational voice overpowered the urge. There were too many other things that needed to be said first.

“So, wait… why didn’t you say anything?” you asked, squinting.

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I was scared?”

Dante?! Scared?! You gotta be shitting me.

Laughter bubbled out of your mouth, gaining strength the longer his sheepish expression stared at you. It was unbelievable, the man who charged into demon infested hellscapes on a regular basis, cracking jokes as he demolished the hordes, scared?

“Quit laughing, I know it’s dumb.”

You gathered your wits, choking back the last few peals of mirth as you reached out to feel his coarse stubble. It wasn’t as rough as you imagined. What would it feel like to have it pressed against your face, his lips locked on yours?

You longed to find out. “I would… very much like to kiss you now.”

Dante leaned closer, pulling your head to rest on his chest with a goofy smile. “How ‘bout we wait till morning? I’d hate to not remember our first kiss.”

He’s got a good point.

“One condition – I’m sleeping next to you. No more waiting,” you replied. “I want that kiss first thing in the morning, got it?”

He chuckled and helped you to your feet, already pulling you in the direction of his bedroom. “You got it, babe.”

Chapter Text

Dante pulled away with a contented sigh, his nude body glittering with sweat. Fresh marks lined your neck and ribs and his seed warmed you from deep within. A satisfied smile adorned your face as you caught your breath after his energetic pounding. You’d probably be sore tomorrow, but you considered it a badge of honor to be reminded of his passion with every step.

“Damn, babe… where did that come from?”

You snickered, burying your face in the sheets as he collapsed beside you. He’d been gone for almost a week, off hunting demons with Nero or something. You knew better than to ask for details; it was enough that he came back safely.

“I missed you,” you replied.

He chuckled and rested a hand on your stomach, his signature way of maintaining the intimacy of contact even when the summer sun left you both too miserable to cuddle.

“Is that all I am, a good fuck?”

You rolled your eyes at his petulant tone and turned to face him, carefully keeping your inner muscles clenched to prevent any further messes. “You, my pizza-loving devil, are ridiculous.”

A flick on his cute nose emphasized your point and he smirked, rolling to face you. “Oh, really? I think you’re the ridiculous one here!”

His fingers grazed your ribs, right where he knew you were ticklish. You squirmed, arcing away from his teasing touches with a surprised squeal but he was too fast. Arms wrapped around you and his stubble replaced his fingers, mercilessly forcing you into fits of laughter.

“Okay, okay! You win! I surrender!” you gasped.

“That’s what I thought.”

Soft lips pressed against your shoulder and he stood, padding to the bathroom to wash up. The loss of his warmth left you shivering, goosebumps erupting across your forearms. Piles of discarded clothing dotted the less disturbed portions of the bed and you grinned as you spotted one of Dante’s comfortable tees.

The shower turned on, and you snuck a peek to see Dante checking the temperature. He’d be a while. Sure, you could join him, but the chance to wear his clothes was too appealing to pass up. He never left clothes at your place and you couldn’t blame him, considering your penchant for stealing them.

You smirked as you grasped the cloth.

On him, it hugged every bulge and valley of muscle like a second skin. It was one of your favorites and you took a deep sniff as you pulled it over your head. It billowed over your smaller body, a delightfully warm and comforting tent that felt like the man himself was hugging you.

“Is that my shirt?”

You shot him a sheepish glance and pulled the neckline over your chin, huddling in the fabric for warmth. “I got cold…”

With a sigh and a shake of his head, he brought over a small towel to clean you up. “I’m not getting that shirt back for a while, am I?”

“Nuh-uh!”

With the worst of the mess taken care of, you relaxed into the bed and nuzzled the aromatic fabric. His smell was perfect, warm and homey and masculine. Delicious. You missed it whenever he was away.

“If I promise to let you keep it after, would you join me for a rinse?”

His amused smirk and glittering eyes showed the sincerity of his offer and you hummed your agreement. Calloused hands lifted the shirt away and soft lips pressed against your forehead, his love replacing his clothes to keep you warm.

“Shirt goblin,” he teased.

You stuck your tongue out. “You’re just jealous cuz you can’t fit in my clothes.”

He nipped at your chin, his hands pulling you to his chest as he lifted. “And?”

There wasn’t much you could say to that. Damn. You settled for nuzzling into his shoulder as he carried you to the massive shower, only setting you down again when the water already flowed through your hair. The temperature was perfect and you moaned softly as it eased the chill. Gentle hands rubbed soap into your skin, caressing every inch like you were the most valuable treasure imaginable.

Once you were both cleansed, a fluffy towel materialized in his grip and he rubbed your hair and skin dry, dropping kisses on his favorite spots. The tenderness of his care turned you into a puddle of melted bliss, too content to care that soon enough he would leave you again. He always came back, but you missed him every second he was away.

“Ready for bed?” he asked, stripping away the soiled top sheet and bringing a fresh one to replace it.

You glared at him and crossed your arms. “Not without your shirt, I’m not.”

A rumbling chuckle and a rustle of fabric signaled his agreement as he tossed the requested article at you. You spluttered as it smacked you in the face, but you didn’t let it distract you. Seconds later, a pleased grin twisted your lips as you sniffed the cotton, climbing into bed and into Dante’s waiting arms.

“Seriously, though. You are a total shirt goblin,” he murmured.

You wiggled closer, burrowing into his embrace like a hamster. “You love it.”

“Damn straight, babe.”

 

Chapter Text

The first time, it was an honest mistake. Somehow your clothes got mixed in with his in the laundry and you didn’t notice, adding several of his shirts to your own closet. To be fair, the man’s taste in tops was abysmally plain; how were you supposed to tell the difference between his black t-shirts and your own?

It didn’t click until a few days later.

“Hey, have you seen any of my shirts? I swear I had more than this,” his familiar rumble asked one morning.

“Maybe the dryer ate them?”

“Yeah, maybe. Weird.”

Dante turned to leave and you glanced at your reflection in a nearby mirror. The shoulders were a bit loose, now that you thought about it. Just to be safe, you headed to your room to check.

Sure enough, several folded tops occupied space that normally remained vacant. It was a challenge to identify which ones belonged to who by sight alone, so you ended up trying them on to check the fit.

How did I end up with seven of Dante’s shirts?!

You returned them all within the hour with a sheepish grin, but the man in red only chuckled and brushed it off. No harm, no foul. Water under the bridge. All good in the hood.

He probably would’ve recited another ten adages if the doorbell hadn’t rang.

The second time was a few weeks later. Once again, you found yourself stuffing his load into the dryer and rolling your eyes at the pile of dirty clothes waiting by the washer. Honestly, if the man couldn’t be bothered to rotate his own laundry, you sure weren’t going to do it for him. You picked up the pile to move it aside, but the scent of his deodorant stopped you in your tracks.

Old Spice.

Your favorite.

Fuck it.

You took a deep, indulgent sniff and sighed. It suited him perfectly, like the aroma was designed to highlight his already intoxicating masculinity. Not fair.

The bastard was already obscenely attractive.

A frustrated groan rattled up your throat. Moving in with him was quickly becoming torture. The initial thought was to help ease his financial struggle and to get you out of the halfway house you lived in after you came out to your parents. They were less than accepting. Even thinking about their disgusted eyes filled you with hurt and rage.

You heart ached and you took another sniff. It gave you comfort and you didn’t question it, stowing the most fragrant shirt you could find in your laundry basket for future enjoyment. Surely he wouldn’t miss a just one?

The theft didn’t seem to catch his notice and you relied on the soothing cotton over the next few weeks, hiding it under your pillow and sniffing it in the darkness whenever your thoughts turned to home.

The third time was last week. You noticed his eyes began lingering on you a little too long, his chuckles quicker than before. Subtle changes, but important clues. The first time he touched you, a simple press of his fingertips to emphasize his enthusiasm, fireworks exploded in your mind. You wanted to dance and sing, but instead only smirked and continued the conversation.

That same night, you searched for a hint of scent on the wrinkled shirt under your pillow to no avail. It was inevitable, you knew that, but you’d hoped it would last just a little longer. You sighed and padded to the laundry room, hoping he’d dumped his dirty clothes on the floor yet again. All you needed was a simple switch, he’d never know.

A grin lit your face as you spotted the treasure trove waiting for you. It took mere seconds to find a suitable replacement, yet another plain black tee. Unremarkable, save for the delightful odor it carried. You dropped the other shirt and took a deep sniff, tension you hadn’t even been aware of melting away.

“Is that my shirt?”

Your eyes shot open and the breath froze in your lungs as you heard his amused inquiry. Caught red-handed, you scrambled for a reasonable response but there was no easy explanation. Excuses would only make it more embarrassing. That left only one option.

Fuck it.

Boldness guided your actions as you turned to face the smirking man leaning on the door frame, his shirt never leaving your nostrils. He looked so casual, so relaxed and uncaring… coils of heat gathered in your belly, blood rushing to your rapidly growing arousal. His eyes were locked on yours as you indulged in one last sniff.

“Yep.”

His arms dropped to his sides and he stepped closer, close enough you didn’t need the shirt to enjoy his unique aroma. “Did you just come in here to sniff it or…?”

Your bravery wavered under his bemused expression. Heat gathered in your cheeks and you tilted your head to the side. Go big or go home, as the saying went. And you weren’t welcome at home anymore.

“Mmhmm.”

“Huh. You know, there are better methods,” he replied.

You raised an eyebrow, daring him to make a move. The fluid in your mouth vanished, your heart beating a thunderous pace in your chest as you reveled in your nerve. It was a rush to openly acknowledge your affections, even in such a roundabout way.

Sapphire eyes danced as his hand reached up to cup your cheek. Hints of his delicious scent enveloped you. Surges of lighting coursed through your veins and you dropped the shirt, freeing your hand to mirror him and feel his stubble.

Dante hummed and turned his head to heighten the contact, his eyes fluttering shut. Nothing existed but the two of you, or if it did you didn’t care. All you cared about was how he felt in your arms.

Does he taste as good as he smells?

You closed the remaining distance to find out, boldly stealing his lower lip for a gentle nibble. His answering groan was pure magic, and he crushed you to his chest a beat later. Not a single atom separated your lips from his as you opened to him and met his tongue.

Shit, he tastes better than he smells!

It was total perfection to sample his flavor again and again, an intricate dance that left you dizzy and aching with need. You stroked his hair, clawed at his back, mapped every inch of his body you could reach and still it wasn’t enough.

His head rolled back as you pressed your hardness against his, a sinful moan slipping through his swollen lips. A sly grin split your mouth as you rutted, teasing him without mercy until he was panting in your arms. Pink dusted his cheekbones and his eyes were glassy as he met yours in a moment of clarity.

“Wanna go upstairs?”

You froze, your nerve vanishing at the thought of him discovering your lack of experience. Kissing and teasing was one thing, you’d done that dozens of times.

But never before had you shared your body with another man. How would it work? Would it hurt? Did Dante prefer being on top or was he more into receiving? What were you supposed to do with your hands? When did you last ‘trim the shrubs’?

“I… uh… I’ve…” you stammered. The words simply refused to come out.

“You’ve never done this before?”

You stepped back and glanced away. “Yeah.”

Calloused fingers wove through yours. He squeezed and brought your knuckles to his lips. “Don’t worry, gorgeous. I’ll take good care of you.”

You bit your lip and met his eyes, still hesitant even though you wanted this so damned much.

“If that’s what you want?” he added.

A sheen of concern shrouded his face and you melted. Maybe he was just as scared as you were. You pressed a soft kiss to his cheek and squeezed his hand, offering what reassurance you could.

“I want nothing more.”

Chapter Text

Sweat mixed with fresh bathwater on your fragrant skin. Steam still leaked through the gap over the geometric shower curtain, the noisy fan helping to clear away the moisture. Your damp towel lay discarded on the tiled floor, kicked away in the grip of V’s hunger.

“You’re so beautiful like this.”

You hummed and arched into his snapping hips, demanding his full attention. The poet didn’t hold back, ramming deep into your core and moaning by your ear. The bathroom counter dug into your hips and you braced against the mirror to ease the force, but it did little good.

“Look, see how lovely you are.”

You shook your head, eyes clenched tight. Warm hands caressed your skin, reverent touches skimming over every inch of flushed flesh within his reach as if in worship. It was almost enough to make you forget, but not quite.

“Come on, love. Open your eyes.”

“No!”

You knew what you’d see. Patchy skin and knobby joints, plain hair and dull eyes. Why he thought you were beautiful, you didn’t know. All you knew was he was dead wrong.

And he was killing the mood. “V, please!”

His hips stopped moving. A whimper of protest slipped through your lips but he only tutted, his hands holding you in place so you couldn’t find your peak without his permission.

“Open your eyes.”

“I don’t want to.”

Tender kisses dotted your shoulders, soft nips leaving goosebumps behind. He knew exactly how to drive you mad with need, but you weren’t giving in that easy. If you saw what you looked like right now, you knew you’d start crying.

A slim finger teased at your folds, darting inside to swipe across your aching clit. A taste of what you knew he could do to you, how easily he could bring you to bliss. More kisses and bites marked your burning neck and shoulders, the merest twitch of his length torturing your most sensitive spots.

You’d never understand why someone like him was interested in someone like you, but you never let him see it. Better to enjoy it while it lasted than focus on how doomed it was.

His full lips drew your earlobe in, his tongue teasing at the nerve-laden tissue as he released a deep groan, hot breath fanning across the shell of your ear. A second digit joined the first to toy with your aching bundle, sending flames racing across your body. There was no withholding the whine of pleasure forcing its way past your lips.

“That’s it, come on. Just open your eyes,” he crooned.

You bit your lip as he rocked against you, gifting you a scant few thrusts to drive his words home. What exquisite torture, yet still your lids didn’t open.

“I only want you to see how perfect you are.”

Your arms trembled as he wrapped his fingers around your neck, turning your face to his for a deep kiss. A soft purr rumbled up his throat as his tongue met yours, his grip tight to heighten the sensations. It was too much when he snapped forward, burying himself inside you over and over with wild abandon.

You keened in his mouth, clamping down on his length as your entire body went rigid. Lightning played across your closed eyelids, pulses of euphoria radiating from your twitching core.

V’s lips pulled away and his grip shifted. His voice was warm honey as he whispered, “Open your eyes.”

His fingers tweaked your clit and your eyes shot open, instinct taking over as he drove you to new heights of ecstasy. The breath froze in your chest as you saw your reflection, his darkly lined body pressed against you.

The patchy skin you were used to was glowing, flushed in enjoyment. The knobby joints you so hated were locked in a pose of passionate joy, beads of sweat scattered across the muscles quivering in between. Your hair was lustrous and full-bodied. Even the dullness of your eyes was gone, replaced by dancing sparks and unrestrained energy.

“You see? You are beautiful.”

A choked gasp drew air into your lungs once more and you couldn’t take your eyes off your reflection as he continued his ministrations. Every inch of skin he touched erupted in radiant joy. With every roll of his hips, a breathy moan slipped from your lips and fogged the glass, a sound that only served to emphasize your hidden splendor.

His gasps grew more desperate as he approached his peak. The slap of flesh meeting flesh quickened into a harsh and unforgiving pace, and you arced to meet his every move. Mewls and grunts mixed into a cacophony until his signature cry burst from his chest. Dark hair shifted as he threw his head back. Hands gripped your hips in a bruising grip, tugging you just the way he needed as he filled you to the brim.

You couldn’t look away.

Chapter Text

Soft shadows danced across the walls to quiet music only the denizens of darkness heard. Discarded clothing speckled the carpeted floor, leather and cotton and denim hastily torn away to reveal new territories. The icy air chilled your bare skin, but the blankets were warm and so was the man underneath you.

Your hand stroked the section you couldn’t wrap your lips around. Strands of hair tickled at your nose, but you’d expected that. Smooth, heated flesh slid across your tongue, bumping against your throat deeper than you thought possible. Long fingers tangled in your hair, coaxing you to the perfect angle for his pleasure. Decadent and sinful moans slipped from his parted lips and sent flames to gather in your belly.

“Ah- what was that?”

You pulled back with a soft plop and a sheepish smile. It was the first time you’d tried this; your jaw was tired and your arms ached from leaning over him. The magazine didn’t mention any of that, just what to do with your tongue.

“S- sorry!”

For days, you’d been practicing on lollipops and popsicles. The swirling wasn’t too difficult, but keeping the rhythm still challenged you. He didn’t fit in your mouth the way the sugary treats did, and he certainly didn’t taste like them.

He tasted better.

Inked arms shifted as V sat up to look you in the eye. His pale cheeks were flushed, a glassy look in his normally bright eyes. The way his mouth hung open made you swell with pride; you must’ve done at least part of it right.

“Did you just bite me?” he asked.

Your hand left his length to fidget with the soft sheets as you sat back. “Not on purpose… should I stop? Did you… you know, like it?”

The poet answered by pulling you closer for a deep kiss. Did he taste himself on your lips? Did he mind? By the way his tongue kept darting past your mouth, it wasn’t a problem. You couldn’t help but grin at the idea and broke away to cough through the laughter.

“I enjoyed it thoroughly,” he murmured.

Another surge of pride flooded you at his words. All you wanted was to make him feel good, and to know you succeeded was a thrilling elixir despite the nerves. What other new ideas might he enjoy? The article listed off so many!

“So, you liked it when I used my teeth?”

He hummed and stroked your ribs, trailing the pads of his fingers over the tender area with a soft smile. “I did, oddly enough.”

You returned his grin and pushed him back into the pillows. The tattoos under your hands whipped across his skin, proof of his excitement he was helpless to conceal as you leaned down to plant a row of kisses on his collarbone. Without warning, you took hold and suckled, adding your own marking to his patterned flesh.

The thrilled gasp he rewarded you with only added fuel to the inferno and you added another mark. Lithe fingers roamed across your spine as you decorated his chest with your own designs, soothing kisses and licks making their way lower and lower. With a downright mischievous grin, you nipped at his hipbones, carefully sinking your teeth in just enough to have him panting.

By the time your lips reached his slick head, he was a mess of purpling bruises and angry welts. You paused to meet his wild eyes, shoving aside the heady arousal that left you aching with a need you barely understood.

“Tell me if you don’t like it,” you said, then dipped down to take him in your mouth once more with a quiet hum.

His answering groan was all the response you needed, and you hollowed your cheeks as you drew back. Your palm joined in at his base, stroking in time with the movement of your neck as the magazine explained. A few investigative licks and you found the perfect spot to press your tongue, right against what you thought was a vein.

Muttered praise and curses spilled from the ebony-haired man beneath you. His hips arced to meet your mouth and his fingers fisted your hair. He had to be close, that’s what it meant when it got tight like that, right? How incredible would it be to have him finish from using your mouth alone?

The idea coupled with the slurping noises electrified you. Your free hand flew to your aching core and struggled to match the pace of your bobbing, rubbing haphazard circles in a desperate attempt to gain friction. Mewling whimpers snuck past your tongue as you brought yourself to the brink.

“I’m c- close!” the poet gasped. “Just a little- bit--!”

With a final hum, you narrowed your jaw just enough to scrape your teeth against him. V released the sexiest sound you’d ever heard as he lifted his hips and tugged you down on his cock, pulses of salty warmth coating your tongue. You latched on and followed his stuttering motions, careful not to let a single drop escape.

By the time he went still, your tongue tingled under his seed and your jaw was howling in protest. The ache between your legs still demanded its own satisfaction, but it was enough to revel in the look of stunned bliss on the poet’s face. Your trembling arms lifted you from his spent cock and you swallowed, licking your lips as you dragged your tired body to lie at his side.

“That… was amazing.”

Heat rushed to your cheeks, slightly embarrassed for eliciting such a reaction. His tangy flavor lingered on your taste buds as you curled around him and bashfully hid your face in his chest. Beads of sweat dotted his heavily marked flesh, another sign of your success. Dark lashes fluttered against your cheekbones as you closed your eyes and relaxed, mind already seeking the escape of rest.

“But now it’s my turn.”

Your eyes shot open as he shifted, extricating himself from your grasp. It hadn’t even occurred to you that he might want to follow your example, but in the next few minutes you surrendered to his will as he tried a few new ideas of his own.

Chapter Text

When you arrived at Devil May Cry, nothing seemed different. You knocked like you always did, and Vergil creaked the heavy door open with the same smirk he always wore. He took your coat the same way he had every time you visited, hanging it in the hall closet as you took off your shoes.

“So, what’s up?” you asked. He didn’t say much on the phone, just that he needed your help.

“Follow me.”

You shrugged but did as he asked, padding up the staircase without a second thought. It was far too easy to check out his ass as he walked a few feet ahead and you grinned as you took full advantage.

“In here,” he said, gesturing at a door you’d never seen open.

What’s going on?

You gave him a questioning glance, but he only smirked. The first hint of apprehension coiled in your gut, a warning you viciously ignored. This was Vergil. Sure, he could be cold and had some darker vibes, but he’d never hurt you.

The door opened to reveal Dante, shirtless and smiling as he made way for you and Vergil to enter. Your eyes widened at the muscles of his chest, mouth going dry as you imagined what his skin felt like.

Stop that! Think about it later.

The twins featured frequently in your fantasies; you couldn’t deny that. They were too damned hot not to, especially with that whole bad boy vibe they gave off. You’d never been one for nice guys and the hints of darkness they showed you over the last few months left you achingly curious.

A rustle of fabric drew your attention as Vergil took off his jacket, carefully hanging it on a hook mounted on the wall. Dark molding and fine wallpaper covered the plaster, a floral pattern in shades of brown and yellow. You frowned, both at the strange action and at the unfamiliarity of the room.

“What’s this room for?” you asked.

“You’ll see,” replied a lilting voice. You turned to face the source and froze.

V stood nearby, casually leaning against a four-poster bed completely nude. Your eyes traced the lines of his tattoos down to his cock, admiring every inch of alabaster skin. He was smirking, you didn’t even need to look at his face to know that as you shamelessly checked out his length, your heart hammering in excitement and confusion as you stared at the third man you often imagined naked.

“Wh- what’s going on?”

Powerful hands seized your wrists as Dante made his move. You stared at him in shock as he tugged you closer to V and the massive bed. Fear blossomed in your mind and you searched for Vergil, historically the calmest and most reasonable of the three, but your heart sank when you saw him taking off his pants.

Have they all lost their minds?!

You thrashed against Dante’s grip and V came over to help, taking one arm for himself. The two men easily dragged you to the bed and forced you onto your back over the hazel comforter.

“Guys, what the fuck!? This isn’t funny!”

You kicked your legs and snarled at them, confusion now morphing into full-blown terror as they stretched you out. Vergil, now naked, took hold of your ankles and held them down with a stern glare.

“Stop fighting us, Y/N,” he rumbled.

A fibrous material replaced Dante’s grip and your eyes shot to him, widening as he wrapped a thick length of rope over your wrist. You struggled with even more ferocity, but the three men were far too strong for you to break free. He knotted the rope without sparing a glance at you.

“Dante, come on! Let me go!”

Another rope chafed at your skin as V mirrored Dante’s actions. You couldn’t believe this was happening, not like this! In all of your fantasizing, never had you imagined a situation like this!

Dante and V stepped over to help Vergil restrain your legs, more ropes materializing to steal your freedom. You spat venom and hurled insults, fighting them for every inch, but it was useless.

“Shall we begin?” V asked. Icy fear made your skin erupt in goosebumps as all three men smirked, Dante pausing to toss his pants aside before clambering onto the bed to lie beside you. V mirrored him and Vergil filled the void between your ankles. Words failed you as three sets of greedy hands tore away your clothes, shredding them in their haste to see you bare.

You closed your eyes and hiccupped, shame and regret pooling in your mind as they eyed you. Hums of approval and lust mixed with rough friction and you cringed, recognizing the sound of pleasure.

Maybe they’ll just masturbate and be done with me? Maybe it won’t be so bad.

Wet warmth enveloped your nipples as Dante and V latched on, slurping and teasing until your body responded. Scorching heat rubbed on either side of you as they rutted against your hips, heated palms caressing every exposed inch.

No, there would be no mercy.

“Open your eyes, Y/N. Don’t you want to watch?” Vergil said. You clenched your eyes even tighter.

He huffed and a sharp pain on your left ankle stole your breath. Did he have a knife or something? What the fuck?

“Open. Your. Eyes.”

Another sharp pain on the right side. You cried out and the first tear dripped from your eyes as you opened them, glaring at Vergil with every ounce of fury you had. One hand was wrapped around his length, stroking away in full view while the other remained out of sight. His thumb crossed over his weeping head to spread shiny precum over him as he moaned.

You wanted to strangle him. It didn’t matter how many times you imagined seeing each of them naked, pictured the way they might touch you or wondering what they tasted like. This was messed up, and no amount of lust or desire would counteract that.

“Fuck you! Fuck all of you!”

Dante chuckled and pressed kisses across your chest, nuzzling and taking a deep inhale. V’s lips popped away from the other side and his long fingers took hold around your neck.

“Language, my dear.”

You coughed as he squeezed. Blood rushed in your ears and the edges of your vision darkened, but he released you before the peace of unconsciousness took you. A deep sob shook your body, horrified by how good it felt.

What the fuck is wrong with me?!

Bottomless sapphire and forests of jade gazed down at your splayed form. Legs parted and quivering, beads of sweat covering every inch of your skin, every nerve tingling in a mixture of rage, terror, and confused arousal. You tugged at the harsh fibers holding you in place, but the knots were far too tight. The poet tutted and gave a painfully harsh tug to your hardened peak.

“Now, now, don’t struggle. It’ll only make it worse,” he purred. His other hand wrapped around his cock again, pumping a steady pace mere inches from your face. You could smell his skin and a hint of his heady scent.

“Let me go!”

Vergil’s warm hands trailed up your calves, leaving static behind in his wake. He kneaded at your thighs, forcing you to relax in his insistent grip. A soft hum vibrated through his throat as he bent over and sank his teeth into the tender area, his hungry lips coaxing blooms of red to the surface.

“Just relax, babe, you’ll have more fun that way,” Dante’s familiar voice rumbled.

His calloused hands danced across your ribs and stomach, trailing fire hot enough to melt steel. A soft whimper slipped past your lips as he palmed your mound. Tears of shame prickled at your eyes as you instinctively arced into his touch. Why couldn’t they just get on with it instead of taking their sweet time to make it all so confusing?

“P- please! Just stop!” Even to your own ears, your voice sounded off. As if you only said the words because you knew that was what anyone else would do.

This is wrong, this is so wrong! I know that, so why does it feel so damned good?!

Tattooed fingers cupped your breasts and a pair of unimaginably soft lips pressed to yours. Ebony hair tickled your cheeks as V’s tongue forced its way into your mouth, mapping every inch no matter how you tried to block him. Despite your fury, there was no denying how fucking good he tasted. Maybe you should’ve bitten him, should’ve fought or resisted, but his delicious flavor overwhelmed common sense.

You weren’t stupid. They were going to do whatever they wanted to you, and there was nothing you could do to stop them. All your stubborn pride and bravado meant nothing in the face of these three men. Confused, helpless rage filled you and you tugged at the restraints again, with no change. Even if you did get loose, there were three of them and one of you. There was a chance you could outrun them, but you’d never been much of a sprinter. They’d catch you, probably before you even made it outside.

I can’t stop them. And I’m not even sure if I want to.

Dante’s hand shifted lower, a single finger tracing over your lower lips. Vergil’s mouth pressed electric kisses over your hips and thighs. V rolled your peaks and hummed, his mouth stealing the very breath from your lungs.

It was too much. You whimpered and tried to shift your body, but the ropes still held. There was no escape, no way out and no hope of rescue. Not here, in the privacy of their home office.  

“There’s no need to hold back. We all know you want this,” Dante murmured.

You gasped as V moved, nipping at your pulse and decorating your slim neck with marks to rival those on your thighs. His hot breath fanned over your ear as his hands tangled in your hair. A pitiful whine rewarded his efforts as he fisted the strands and he smirked.

“You cannot hide the truth, not when your body speaks with such honesty.”

Dante dipped his fingers into your folds and you cringed at the wet sounds emanating from your core. He chuckled and pressed against your clit. There was nothing you could do to withhold the deep moan or the lift of your hips as your traitorous body begged for more.

Oh, please! Keep going!

Vergil shifted, bringing his mouth to join Dante’s hand. His tongue darted forth to sample the fluids leaking out and Dante leaned closer to whisper in your ear as his twin lapped away.

“Do you like that? You like Vergil’s mouth on your cunt, don’t cha?”

His finger swirled and ripples of undeniable pleasure surged across your skin. Maybe they were right, maybe it was stupid to fight this. Even though they lured you here with lies and wrestled you onto the bed, tearing away your clothes without a second thought as they tied you down. Even though they ignored every protest and touched you, caressing you until instinct took over and logic faded away.

You liked it.

“Just let go, darling. You’re not fooling anyone,” V crooned. “If you behave, we can be quite kind.”

You shook your head, not trusting your voice anymore.

The poet sighed and locked eyes with you, his thumb stroking your cheekbone as if what he and the two brothers were doing was totally normal. Disappointment colored his entrancing green eyes and twisted guilt squirmed in your gut. You hated when people looked at you like that, like a failure.

“Admit it.”

Dante and Vergil quickened their pace, fingers and tongue dancing between your legs. An inferno raged under their ministrations, heat unlike any you’d ever experienced pooling deep within.

“Admit it,” V repeated, eyes still locked with yours.

Vergil shifted and a long finger joined his tongue, pulsing in and out in a blistering rhythm. A second finger plunged in, twitching to stretch you wider and finding your most sensitive spot.

There was no stopping the tidal wave that crashed over you. Every muscle clenched, the ropes creaking as you flexed against them. A guttural moan escaped your throat, your eyes drifting half closed as wave after wave of intense euphoria washed over you. Tears leaked from your eyes and mixed with the sweat gluing your hair to your scalp.

Fuck! Holy fuck!

You lost any semblance of reason. You were fire and ice and lightning, a storm of sensation without limit. All that existed was you and these three men, their forceful attentions and the whirlwind of stimuli.

The last dregs of your mulish resistance vanished in the wake of your bliss, a soft smile twisting your lips and your shocked gasps rending the air. V hummed as pride cast a haze over his gaze and he leaned down to kiss you. This time, you indulged the urges consuming you and met his tongue, flicking and dancing across your joined lips. He pulled away after a beat and smirked at you.

“Admit it. Tell us how much you want this,” he said.

Surrender wasn’t something that came easily to you, and never had you been forced to relinquish your own body and ignore logic. You pleaded with V with your eyes alone, begging him to let the words remain unspoken, but he only glared back. Vergil curled his tongue and spread his fingers as Dante found an all-new angle that sent molten desire ricocheting up your spine and you shuddered, the words forcing their way out.

“Fuck! Okay… I- I do, I want it,” you whispered. You closed your eyes and moaned as Vergil added a third finger to reward you.

“That’s a good girl, so obedient,” V praised.

He shared a glance with Dante and calloused hands lifted your body as high as the ropes would allow. The poet slid beneath you and brushed aside your hair, his lips finding one of few unmarked spots on your neck to enjoy as you settled over him.

“You look so good, babe. I can’t wait to feel you,” Dante said with a hungry smile.

He bent over and pressed his mouth to yours as Vergil helped V’s cock find the right position. The poet’s head probed at your back entrance and you tensed, bracing for the intrusion as Dante’s tongue met yours. He was gentler than V, taking his time to explore.

The poet rolled his hips, easing himself past your tight ass. He groaned and sank his teeth into your neck, stealing your focus for a brief moment.

It was enough. You relaxed, allowing him to sheathe himself without too much discomfort. Inked hands held your hips in a bruising grip, slowly guiding you into motion as you adjusted to his cock. A pulse of pleasure surged from your core and you moaned.

“Quite a view, I must say,” Vergil commented.

You mewled in response as Dante pulled away. Lust colored his gaze as he shifted, straddling your rib cage to rest his girth between your breasts. Vergil smirked and repositioned as well, ruthlessly plunging into your wet heat in a single motion with a lewd groan.

You cried out as he and V filled you to bursting, their considerable lengths buried inside your core. Nothing could have prepared you for this, for what it felt like when they moved and found their rhythm. Sparks flashed in your vision, a tsunami of perfection barreling across your senses.

I can’t- it’s so- FUCK!

You keened as you clamped down, spasming in ecstasy as V wrapped his hand around your neck and squeezed. You couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t anything, too overcome to function. Somewhere far away, thick heat filled your mouth as Dante inched forward, forcing the first few inches of his cock past your teeth. A lilting voice murmured praise and encouragement, two others grunting and panting nearby.

“That’s it, look at you, taking all of us at once. Such a good girl, so lovely and agreeable…”

Someone clawed at your hips, another taking a brutal grip of your breasts. The ropes were agony, burning and pulling at the soft flesh beneath. You turned your head and tried to speak, only able once V loosened his grip.

“Please… my hands!”

Suspicious blue eyes locked with yours, but Dante only shrugged. Everyone knew even if you tried to flee, they’d catch you. It would be a waste of time to even try.

“Don’t do anything stupid.”

You nodded your agreement and Dante’s hands made quick work of the knots, setting your aching arms free. He chuckled as you clawed at his back, digging your nails in deep enough to draw blood. Vergil groaned, his pace quickening at the sight of the crimson droplets. If it weren’t for the ropes holding your ankles in place, the force of his movement would have pushed you off the bed. Instead, the resistance only added to the force of his impacts and sent your eyes rolling back in your head.

Fuck, yes!

“Dante, switch!”

The twins extricated themselves and for a moment you were shocked at the sudden emptiness. V didn’t waste a second, taking full advantage of having you to himself and pounded into your ass, his hands slamming you home with a sharp grunt. Just as he took your ear in his mouth, a warm weight settled on your chest as Vergil claimed his new spot.

“Let’s see if your mouth is as capable as your cunt,” he said, then snapped forward into your waiting lips. You tasted yourself as your tongue caressed his length, swirling over his head and tracing the veins. A deep hum of approval rewarded your efforts and you hollowed your cheeks, taking him as deep as you could.

Shit, I’m gonna-

A muffled wail accompanied your explosion. It was all you could do to keep your jaw open as reality shifted and blurred. Pleasure overloaded you as Dante found his balance and slammed home, just in time to feel you milk him.

“Fuck, yes!”

Vergil’s hand slapped V’s aside and clamped on your neck, his hips stuttering and bucking without restraint. Blood flooded your face as you lost the ability to breathe, but you didn’t care. It felt too damned good. An inhuman sound signaled Vergil’s release and the first few strands of hot cum dribbled across your tongue, but he pulled away to spill the rest of his seed across your face.

“What a champion you are, little one. You will be such fun,” V said. You idly wondered if any of Vergil’s cum wound up on his face, but that could wait.

“What a mess you’ve made, Y/N,” Vergil growled, scooting forward so you could clean him. His smirk was obscenely smug as you licked away every drop of your own cream between gasps, careful not to smear the mess on your face. He hummed and shifted aside to release your legs.

It’s too much, even just the two of them!

Within seconds of regaining your freedom, powerful arms wrapped around both you and V as Dante forced the trio to roll. You barely managed to clamp down as you spun. The poet grunted and cursed, stabilizing himself on your hips as he found himself on top.

Mere heartbeats passed before the two men synchronized, their bodies moving in a rhythm so perfect you could barely breathe. You stared down at Dante and his hand tugged you down for a kiss, uncaring of his brother’s mess as he tasted you.

“You were right, Vergil. Quite a view,” V commented.

The impossible pressure in your belly was building again, the familiar ache setting fire to your skin against your will. Never before had you endured such attention, and you didn’t have much left for them to take before nothing remained. Still, you arced your back to meet V’s thrusts and groaned as he reached out to rub circles on your clit.

“Cum for me,” he ordered, and you did just that.

Another round of heady pulses left you crying, out of joy or exhaustion you couldn’t say. Probably both. Dante growled as you tightened, walls coaxing him over the edge alongside you with a drawn-out moan. Fluid poured from your core as he painted you white.

I can’t- I’m gonna pass out!

You blinked and tried to focus, but the fog refused to dissipate. Trembling arms did their best to support you, but your collapse was rapidly approaching. All you could do now was hold on.

“I’ve got you,” Dante murmured. His strong hands held you close, stroking your hair and face and offering any smears to you for cleanup. It challenged you to keep your mouth open and lick his fingers.

“You belong to us now, understood? This,” V said, an intense pound emphasizing his words, “is ours.”

A soft whimper slipped from your lips. Your entire body ached, wrists and ankles raw from the ropes and dark bite marks covering your neck and thighs. A pool of wetness spread from under your hips, the smell of sex thick in the air. Remnants of Vergil’s cum made your eyelashes stick together.

“Stop, p-please!” you begged brokenly. “I can’t take it!”

“Yes, you can!” V insisted.

His grip brought tears of pain to your eyes as he released a feral growl, throwing his head back and mindlessly rolling his hips faster than ever. Your oversensitive nerves knew the instant he climaxed; even the smallest change in his movements was easily detectable. A cloud of black shards sliced shallow cuts into your skin inches from his and he pulled out, spewing his load across your ass.

Heavy panting echoed through the room, the maelstrom settling back into his tattoos where it belonged. Dante still held you close, the faintest hint of worry staining his eyes, but you were too far gone to notice.

I don’t… I can’t… what just happened?

You didn’t have a clue how to process the experience; the exhaustion was too powerful, and you lacked the energy to care. For now, maybe it was enough to just be alive. The rest could wait.

In the distance, you heard footsteps and something warm scraped at your skin, low voices exchanging words you didn’t understand. Arms lifted you up, maybe, you weren’t sure but you couldn’t think of anything else. You heard more voices, more footsteps and a door opening and closing. The arms set you on a soft surface and a warm body lied beside you, familiar hands rubbing at your aching muscles. Just before the encroaching darkness overpowered you, a gentle voice pierced the void.

“I’ll take care of you, little one.”