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My Brother's Keeper

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Dante could feel it.

Not just the chill of the autumn rain, or the static of the lighting storm.

Not just the hint of demons constantly testing the borders of his "territory".

Vergil.

He might had been able to grab his idiotic big brother away from the edge, but after that, after Temen-ni-gru returned to wherever it was buried, Vergil left.

Just, straight up and left without even so much of a "bye", leaving him and Lady to clean up his mess amidst the ruble.

Oh, Dante could feel his "dear big brother" right outside his door. Part of him wanted to ignore Vergil, leave him in the downpour, and go back to finishing up the damn forms that had been piling on the desk. The other part of him...

"Dante, you know that Vergil was simply looking out for you."

Letting out a frustrated sigh, he tossed the pen to the side and marched towards the door, trying not to stomp while grabbing Rebellion and making sure his guns were holstered. The light from the shop barely lit up a soaked Vergil surrounded by the gloomy darkness, cloaked but not even having his hood up and holding some sort of bundle close to his chest. (One of the bulbs flickering had him reminding himself to find replacements, the good ones.)

His hair being down twitched something within Dante, and he couldn't help but notice the blood smear on the right cheek and the highly visible scar cutting diagonally down Vergil's left cheek.

(The scar on his left hand throbbed briefly.)

Hiding his anger, Dante nonchalantly leaned against the door frame with a mocking grin. "Well, well. Look what the cat dragged in."

Vergil forced himself to not glare, right arm tightening around his precious bundle closer while his left hand made sure the hood was still covering properly. If anything, the warm glow of the bulbs creating a halo-like effect on Dante's hair had him thinking of the "angels" lauded by some of the texts found in communities that practically worshiped demons as "divine" figures like Fort-

He ruthlessly cut that thought away, and barreled through his pride. "I need your help."

Dante had to fight to not sneer, but he did frown. His proud big brother, coming to his doorsteps in this weather, wanting his help? "And why should I help you?"

'Why, indeed,' the older Son of Sparda thought morosely.

Lightning flashed through the sky and a loud roar echoed throughout the city just as thunder rumbled overhead before Vergil could answer. Dante was surprised by the closeness of the roar, but he didn't miss the terrified look on Vergil's face. ('Vergil? Terrified?') Nor did the younger twin miss the sense of demons in the distance, prompting him to immediately whip out Ebony and Ivory, rage showing on his face. "What the HELL did you unleash this time?!"

Weeks. Nothing but weeks and a near never-ending stream of stuck having to clean up after his irresponsible brother's mess. He didn't even bother defending his brother's honor when Lady voiced her own frustrations, some of her rage poured into stabbing demons that got close enough to her. Bad enough that there were crazies that tried to use the leftovers for more idiotic shenanigans, which meant more of the shitty jobs.

Vergil grimaced, knowing exactly what was going through his twin's mind. "I didn't-"

"BULLSHIT!" Dante snapped, Ivory aimed towards him, while Ebony was pointed out at the darkness in case someone or something wanted to interrupt. "Try again before I put a hole in your head, brother."

Resignation and accepting hubris, Vergil moved slowly, deliberately, giving Dante ample time to track his movement as he tugged on the dark blue bundle in his arms. And there, through the downpour, was a small white head, hair plastered to its skull by the rain that slipped through the finger gaps. Immediately not liking the cold wetness, soft whimpering bordering on crying sounded out, barely drowned by the heavy rain.

A baby.

Dante's heart squeezed and he quickly jerked Ivory to the side, while Ebony was lowered. Ice blue eyes took in the detail of the white fuzz, and then the exhausted lines etching the normally stoic older half-devil. Eyes that would usually be as chilling as glaciers and sharp as Yamato's edge were dulled and bleary.

"Dante, they're..." Vergil's voice became slightly hoarse. "...they're after my son."

The roar of a demon and fire from the past echoed in Dante's ear, the dying scream of his mother louder than reality. 'Are you shitting me...'

Vergil made sure to shield as much as he could of his baby boy. "I... I don't know how the demons found out about him. I've been doing my best to protect him, but I'm reaching the limit of what I can do without a safe place."

Hands automatically holstered both guns out of muscle memory as his mind tried to work through the shock.

The constant moving, the continual drain of seeking and using limited funds, dodging unwanted and uncomfortable questions, and the needs of his son... Vergil wondered if this weight bearing down on him was the same that Sparda felt when he realized he and Eva were expecting. He wasn't one to put much stock into luck or fate, but he chalked it up to sheer coincidence on going back to the island and discovering his son. "I wouldn't come here unless I was desperate, you should know that."

Shame, guilt, bitterness, sadness, and more danced between them.

"So, Dante..." Vergil looked up, feeling how his son clutched at his cloak, still whimpering. He swallowed at the lump in his throat, feeling as if thorns were scraping away at his insides. "I'm begging you to let us stay."

Dante buried his face into his hands with a groan, internally screaming at himself, at Vergil, and at the craziest hand he just got dealt with right then and there. He wanted to slam the door in Vergil's face and drink himself stupid and to forget, but in light of the baby boy - his brother's son, his nephew, his family - and his own memories, he knew he couldn't.

"If only for a day so I can figure-"

"Stop, stop, stop." The younger twin held up both hands, sighing to himself in resignation. There went the bachelor life. "There's a lot to unpack there, but if you think I'm gonna let the kid stay out in the rain, you've truly lost your mind."

Vergil tried to keep his face neutral, but he couldn't help himself with staring at his little brother, daring not to breathe.

The red-clad twin jerked a thumb inside, a scowl still on his face. "Get your asses inside before I kick you in."

Sheer relief and that glimmer of hope. Yamato had been right when she said it wouldn't be like Dante to say no once he found out about their newest family member. "...thank you, Dante."

Dante rubbed the back of his head as he shut the door behind Vergil, trying to sort through the additional mess of emotions that had shown up at those three words. "Tch... Yeah, yeah."

Hours later of cleaning out a spare room and putting away some stuff, Dante was aware of the silence as he took stock of his bare kitchen. He wasn't sure what babies ate, but Isabella who ran the bodega down the corner had often regaled stories of her children and grandchildren, and his refrigerator was rather empty. Cautiously, he went back upstairs and turned the doorknob after a soft rapping.

"Vergil, do you guys need any-" The sight before him explained why it was so quiet.

Vergil had simply removed his cloak, gloves, and long coat, dressed the boy in a dry onsie, and had collapsed on the bed with boots still on, Yamato placed on the baby's opposite side. A partially opened rucksack sat at the foot of the bed, while the dripping cloak was draped over a chair. His left hand was tucked under the pillow, while his right hand was protectively placed over his son. Dante was sure that the image of his sleeping nephew ('Nephew! I got a freaking nephew!') clutching Vergil's right thumb was probably enough to give cavities to even the most toothiest of devils, if not outright kill them.

Despite himself, Dante felt a small smile grow and quietly closed the door behind him, letting father and son rest peacefully.

Outside, the heavy downpour lightened to a gentle patter.