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Hot Chocolate

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Vergil regarded the styrofoam cup from behind his book with some trepidation. “If this is another of your esoteric mixed beverages, Dante,” he began.

“Wha? Oh, no no no no no,” Dante waved his free arm frenetically; his other hand, grasping a twin of the cup he’d just set down on the desk for Vergil, remained perfectly steady, “This is something everyone drinks, promise!”

“That is also what you said about the tomato milkshake,” Vergil retorted, surreptitiously sniffing the air. The liquid in the cup had a rich, sweet aroma, with a hint of something spicy. White marshmallows bobbed on the surface. “This is some new coffee formula Nicoletta has concocted, isn’t it.”

Dante clutched his chest, swooning dramatically. “So little faith in your brother!” he cried dramatically. “Let me remind you, that you were the twin who spent the last twenty-odd years in hell, while I am the one with topside experience.” He mock-sniffed, clutching his cup to his chest. “Such suspicion from a family member.”

Vergil ignored his histrionics and picked up the cup, delicately tasting some of the substance. That warm, spicy taste flooded his mouth, and he blinked in surprise. This drink, it was familiar...he took a larger sip, rolling it around in his mouth until the sticky sweetness coated his teeth.

“Well? What do you think?” Dante was watching him with an odd eagerness in his eyes, although it was rapidly turning to curiosity and concern. He took a cautious sip from his own cup, as if to remind himself of the taste. “I worked real hard on this batch.”

“This taste...” It was right on the tip of his tongue, tantalizingly out of reach, his memory of this drink. It did not feel like it came from the half-awareness that was his memories from V’s brief existence; this came from a time deep in his past. He made a frustrated noise. “I know this beverage, what is it?”

Dante set his own cup down and came around the desk, bending down to grab up Vergil in an awkward hug. “Relax,” he murmured, “it’s Eva’s hot chocolate recipe, or as close to it as I can manage.” His breath stirred the hair next to Vergil’s ear. “She used to make it for us whenever it was stormy,” he sighed.

“...My apologies,” Vergil forced out, mortified. He struggled constantly to remember events from before his capture by Mundus; even Dante often couldn’t confirm whether his memories were true recollections or only hallucinations. He drank some more hot chocolate to cover his panicked silence.

Dante shrugged away his apology, tightening his arm around Vergil’s shoulders. “It’s fine,” he said airily,” and hey! If you don’t remember drinking it with mom, now your first memory of hot cocoa is drinking it with me, huh?” He smacked a loud, wet kiss on his brother’s cheek-”Ugh!”- then slide off the chair and snatched up his own cup of hot cocoa again. He took another sip, then made a face. “It’s still not exactly like mom’s, but it’s the closest I’ve come all month. I cannot for the life of me figure out what the hell is missing, I’ve raided every store in Red Grave and Nero’s spice rack too.”

“I do not mind, as I have only a vague memory of the original drink anyways.” Vergil too another appreciative sip from his mug, savoring the spices as they warmed his belly, even as his cheeks warmed at the adoration on his brother’s face. He frowned; his cup was already half-empty. “Did you make more than just these two cups?” If not, he’d have to ration the rest out, take smaller sips.

“Sure! I can whip up some more right now!” Dante drained his own cup, then vaulted over the desk, dashing for the kitchenette. “I’ll have a new batch done before you finish that cup!” he crowed.

“Oh?” Vergil smirked. “Is that a challenge?” He tipped the cup back and drained the rest of his cup, chewing contentedly on the marshmallows. “Catch,” he called, flinging his cup at the back of Dante’s head. It slowed as it travelled, until Dante plucked it out of the air. “Tch,” Vergil scoffed, “Geryon powers are cheating.”

Dante rolled his eyes, “Yeah, yeah, whatever.” He smirked. “Well, guess you’ll just have to wait a bit longer before you get some more hot cocoa~” He fished a permanent marker out of his jacket, then paused.

“Vergil stared back at him. “What?” He asked, annoyed.

“Do you...” Dante pointed at him with the marker. “D’you want V or Vergil on your cup?”

Vergil snorted. “V is just fine, Dante. Now if you’re done wasting my time...” He pointedly lifted his book again.

“Alright, I’ll stop bothering you,” Dante chuckled, scrawling an elegant “V” on the cup, the marker squeaking slightly on the cheap styrofoam. Hidden behind his book, Vergil smiled. It was good to be home.