A red-clad man rested lazily in the only chair within the empty foyer, an open magazine covering his face, his hands resting under his head and his legs propped up on the desk before him. The enormous house was completely empty, or nearly so, and not a single call had come through with the password during the entire day. Though bored, this gave him time to spend on reminiscing, something he normally stayed away from. This time his mind went to the savory things he had within his extensive memory banks, for a change...
From under the magazine, his lips spread into a small smile as he recalled good memories...
Slowly, his smile melted away as he was brought back to the present, eyes blinking open to meet with a nude model. "...Mn?" he grunted, eyes closing again. He was so relaxed and deeply into his memories, he hadn't even noticed someone entered the room.
"Daddy, I'm bored."
He sighed, murmuring, "...Bored...? How can you be bored..."
"I wanna hear a story."
A white eyebrow rose. "...A story."
"You're bored, and you want to hear a story?" he repeated, just to make it clear.
"...Sounds boring," he sighed, lowering the magazine to see his younger daughter standing beside him, hands behind her back, "but if you want to hear a story, I'll bet your uncle has a million he could tell you."
The girl frowned, sitting on the desk, lifting up the picture placed atop it, taking in the details of the woman it displayed. "Uncle and cousins aren't here," she said, then glanced suspiciously at him. "I thought you could sense them?"
Cracking a sheepish smile, he lowered his legs from the desk, opening a drawer to place the magazine inside.
Observing as he did, she narrowed her eyes. "Didn't Mom say if she caught you with one of those, she'd freeze time and kill you?"
He quickly placed a finger to his lips, glancing around conspiratorially. "Shush," he hissed, looking at the ceiling, and then back to his daughter.
Rolling her eyes and shaking her head, the girl placed the picture on the desk space to the far left, out of the way. "Why do you even keep those nasty things around?" she asked, glancing at him with what almost looked like a glare.
"They're not mine," he lied, putting on a serious face.
Eyes slanting, she crossed her arms. "Oh, yeah? Who do they belong to, then?" she pressed.
He expertly froze every muscle on his face to prevent himself from cracking into a grin. "The only adult man here without a mate."
A look of disbelief with a hint of contemplation crossed her features. "...Uncle?"
He nodded, expression still serious as he said, "Shocked me, too."
"...Well," she murmured, glancing away in thought, "you two are twins..."
"Hey, I'm affronted by that."
"...except Uncle himself told me he wouldn't be caught dead with one of those things!" she countered with a scoff, pointing accusingly at him. "You suck at lying, Daddy! I'm telling Mommy when sh—"
"You wanna hear a story?" he quickly asked, leaning forward with a look of pleading in his eyes.
Arms crossing again, she sat up straight. "I'll only stay mum if you tell me the best story you know," she said. Somehow, she was always able to blackmail him...and he let her.
Sighing in defeat, he said, "There's only one story I know, and it's not for kids—"
"I'll tell Mo—!"
His hand clamped over her mouth. "—but I don't see why I can't edit as I go along," he finished, placing a finger to his lips once more in subdued warning.
As he removed his hand, she stuck out her tongue, earning a pat on her cheek as her father sat back in his chair. She then quickly made herself comfortable, lifting her legs up and crossing them on the desk, eyes sparkling in anticipation, the magazine forgotten.
Leaning back, he glanced to the ceiling, realizing he would be telling the story of both the savory and extensively unsavory events that had crossed his mind just minutes ago. Now that he thought about it, his young daughter was the literal umpteenth person to ask him to tell this story and the last person in the entire household to do so, albeit unintentionally...
Though he was quiet, the young blonde remained surprisingly patient, waiting in silence for him to begin. As if remembering something, she suddenly blurted, "And you have to start with 'once upon a time'!"
He frowned, looking back down at her. "...It doesn't— okay," he easily relented upon her crossed arms and glower.
All smiles once more, she placed her hands in her lap and leaned forward as he finally began:
"Once upon a time, there was a fallen angel who rebelled against his kith and kin for the sake of humankind. He reasoned, unlike his brethren, that humans were no threat to the creatures of Hell, and refused to take part in their annihilation. He fought against his own lord, the Demon King Mundus, said to be the second most powerful devil in known existence, and held him and his armies back from destroying the surface world of earth. Afterwards, he sealed..."
He suddenly stopped, sensing another person approach the room, and turned to see a little boy enter from around the staircase.
"Hiya, Uncle. What're ya doin', Cousin?" the boy asked, electric blue eyes wide and curious. He was around four years old, sporting stark-white hair, like his granduncle.
As she turned to him, the girl said excitedly said, "Daddy's telling a story, Jules! It's got devils and demons and fallen angels in it!"
Slanted eyes slightly rolled at her latter sentence, not bothering to remind that devils and fallen angels were one in the same, but the older man softly smiled as the boy cheered before attempting to scamper atop the desk as well. He then placed his feet back on the desk, leaning back in the chair, and watched.
"I wanna hear, I wanna hear!" the boy cried, then ran around to the other side of the desk, as there was no space for him on the side where his first cousin sat and the booted feet were. Once on the other side, he jumped onto the table beside the picture, sitting down immediately while facing his granduncle with big, pleading eyes.
Red-clad shoulders shrugged. "Sure, kiddo. But don't go running to your dad if you get scared."
Jules frowned, puffing out his chest. "I'm not gonna get scared!" he said determinedly.
"...Where'd you come from, anyway...? I thought your dad wasn't home."
"You think a bunch of words are enough to scare him, Dante?"
Also from the direction of the kitchen came another, older silver-haired and blue-eyed man. As he wore a sleeveless shirt, his right arm's visible, glowing blue veins pulsed gently in contentment. Scoffing as his uncle frowned at his sudden appearance, he leaned against the banister to the second floor. "Came in from the back," he grinned. "Or is Alzheimer's finally settling in, old man?"
Making a mock smile of appreciation, Dante crossed his arms. More of his family had entered from the back entrance as well. "...Well," he murmured to himself, "it's like everyone got off work, or something..."
"Dad! Unca D's tellin' us a story about demons...an' devils, like us!" the boy blurted, bouncing on his knees as he focused on his father.
"I think Daddy's in the prologue," the girl added, "so you came just at the right time, Nero!"
Raising an eyebrow, Nero glanced at his uncle, who looked back at him, then strolled over to the couch and sat down, resting his arms behind the headrest. "Then I've got to hear this, myself," he said. "Been dying to hear this story for damn near eight years, and you tell it to the kids?"
"Whatever. Is this going to be long?"
"Very long," the older man sighed.
"Then I'll order some pizza, make it a big deal..."
That proposal brightened the mood around the desk. Both children cheered as the part-devil stood from the couch and approached the bar, where a desk phone was placed atop the counter. Sighing in defeat for the second time, Dante closed his eyes, but cracked a small smile. With the others arriving, it was almost as if karma itself wasn't going to allow him to let this story slide any longer. The thought of telling his story no longer appealed to him...yet, he wanted to tell it...
The chatter of his nephew on the phone quickly prevented him from wondering too deeply into his thoughts. "No olives, kid," he called, keeping his eyes closed.
Eyes rolled, a blue-veined hand waving dismissively. "You're not the only one eating piz—No, no, I said three party-sized pizzas," Nero said into the phone. He then briefly lowered the phone, looking back. "...Or should it be four? Or five?" he asked aloud.
"...Why should it be more than three...?" Instead of an answer, Dante's eyes opened as another presence approached the room from the kitchen. "...Right. Full house. Never mind; get six."
The white-haired woman entering the room gave a defeated sigh upon hearing this and focused on him, coming to his side. "Hi, Dad," she said softly, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and placing a kiss on his cheek.
He smiled widely at her embrace, slightly returning it before she moved away.
"Sis!" the girl brightly exclaimed. "Just in time! It's a pizza story time!" she said, raising fisted hands into the air in delight.
"What type of story?" the woman asked, looking up from her father to her sister.
"My story," Dante replied, deciding to not bat around the bush now that the one person who needed to hear the story had arrived.
Large blue eyes impossibly widened in awe. "Whoa! Cool, Unca D!" the boy exclaimed, then jumped down from the desk and sped around the staircase towards the kitchen.
This stumped his granduncle, but he didn't dwell on it too deeply, figuring the boy was getting something to settle comfortably for the long tale. The reaction of his older daughter was more pressing, anyhow.
Identical blue eyes met as she looked at him, watching him carefully. "...Everything?" she then asked quietly, breaking her gaze from him to the floor.
"Everything. Was going to edit it for the kids' sake, but...you're here, now," he replied evenly, surprising himself with his composure. He then looked to Nero, who was just getting off the phone, and glanced at his younger daughter. "Of course, I can't start yet."
Scoffing, Nero moved to the couch. "What're you waiting for?" asked, placing his arms over the backside.
The girl said, "Jules." However...
"The pizza," said her father simultaneously, grinning.
As she began to throw futile punches into her laughing father's arm, her older sister shook her head and moved to the couch, sitting beside her cousin. "Couldn't you order Chinese?" she asked.
Both silver-haired men in the room made faces of disgust. "No! Hell no!" Dante exclaimed, the blocking of his daughter's punches devolving to her trying to best him. "Perish the thought! You are Sparda's descendent and must love pizza and only pizza as take-out!"
"Great-grandpa liked pizza?" Jules asked as he came back in the room, holding his mother's hand. Apparently, he went to get her.
"Pizza hadn't been invented yet, dear," his mother responded gently, walking with him over to the couches. "Oh, no, Hallen, you don't have to move..." she began as the silver-haired woman stood.
But the silver locks swayed in refusal. "I'm fine with it, and anyway, Nero would want to be near you," she snickered, earning a glare from her cousin while moving to the opposite couch. But everyone knew it was true, so he said nothing.
And rightfully so; he took his wife's hand as she slowly sat beside him, cradling her swollen stomach with her other hand. Jules then bounced into his father's lap, who adjusted him comfortably.
The room was quickly filling, and there were only three others missing to make it complete. Dante's hand he had raised wasn't being hit anymore. "...Patty, you're not even trying," he said lazily to his younger daughter, who had switched from punching him to fiddling with his coat.
"Why are you wearing this inside?" she asked with a pout.
Smiling to himself, he slightly leaned forward and shrugged out of the heavy leather, handing it to her. "Treat it well," he reminded as she eagerly took it with two hands and slipped off the desk.
"I will!" she cheered while putting it on, causing most of the lower half to inevitably drag behind her. She then took off towards the kitchen, shouting, "I'm getting my sword!"
Jules jumped out of his father's lap, running after her. "No fair!" he cried.
He ran right by an older blonde woman coming down the stairs, who dodged out of the way before she could collide with his small body. Looking back at him as she walked to the side of the desk, she crossed her arms and commented, "Full house?"
Slightly scrunching his mouth, Dante gave a nod, humming in agreement.
"Lively, isn't it?"
She focused her attention on him, tilting her body to see his self-satisfied, half-lidded expression. "Enjoying yourself?" she asked with a smile.
"Every moment." He placed his hands behind his head, resting comfortably as conversation began around him. No matter how long it took for the last two members of his family to enter the room, he wasn't starting the story until the pizza arrived.
Upon seeing the predictable question on the tip of the woman's tongue, Nero said, "Dante's going to tell his story, but not until the pizza comes."
This caused the woman to chuckle, a sly smile upon her lips. "But I already ordered pizza~" she innocently purred, sitting atop the desk.
Both silver-haired men blinked rapidly at this. The younger of the two then groaned softly as Dante pulled back a fist in silent triumph. "Lifesaver, Trish. Lifesaver."
"Lifesaver?" Nero balked as his wife giggled beside him and his cousin laughed across from him. "Not for you! In fact, I can't recall you eating anything but the older boxes of pizza that were already in the—"
The sound of children making a clamor broke him out of his tirade, and he broke his gaze from his ingenuously blinking uncle to the direction of the kitchen. A moment later, his son and younger cousin ran back inside the room, both brandishing swords longer than their bodies and wearing oversized coats. In stark contrast to his cousin, the boy's coat was blue.
Upon seeing this, Dante gave a double-take. "...What the...?"
His unfinished question was answered as blue swords made of energy shot out at the children, who were arguing over how unfair it was that one of them was so much older. Without a prompt or warning, the children broke apart and began to block the swords coming rapidly at them from all sides. Their movement was breakneck fast, and even Patty, otherwise full human, was able to keep up with the inhuman pace of her younger cousin. As the blue energy hit the children's blades, they shattered. Leaning back, impressed, as were the other three adults in the room, Dante saw his older brother enter the room out of the corner of his eye.
"Well done, you two," the elder half-devil praised, his signature katana in his hand and moving to stand beside the desk. He let off his attack, leaving the two cousins brandishing large smiles. They had never fended off the powerful energies before.
Patty turned to her father. "Daddy!" she said, panting hard, but otherwise fine.
As did the boy to his father. "Did you—"
The boy's mother was clapping, smiling in praise. "Good job, Jules," she said, easily diverting his attention to her.
As his daughter bounced on the balls of her feet, Dante nodded in approval. "I know just the reward, too," he said with a grin, only earning him a swift knock to the back of his head from his brother's sheathed sword. "Hey!"
"This is the last time we are having pizza in this house," the older twin said sternly, giving a sideways glare towards his brother. There was no shred of compromise in his expression.
"Agreed, at least for some time."
Hallen jumped in surprise at the dark-clad, bespectacled woman suddenly sitting next to her, then heaved a heavy sigh, muttering to herself.
The woman took a lollipop out of her mouth, giving a small, apologetic smile. "Still jumpy, I see."
"Mommy!" Patty exclaimed, placing her sword on her back before running to her mother.
As his daughter and her mother quickly began a conversation, Dante simply eyed his mate before glancing to his brother. "...C'mon, you have to admit you're only saying that, Verge."
"Does it look like I'm just saying that?"
"...Ah...surprisingly, no, all things considered..."
"Before I came to DMC, I had a healthy respect for cheese, sauce and bread. No more."
Hallen again broke into laughter. "I have to agree," she added, "and while you're at it, revoke his sundaes."
Her father gaped, looking to her in mock, if not actual, horror. "My own flesh and blood!" he exclaimed.
"From the mouths of babes," his brother hissed at him, moving to sit in the chair on the other side of the desk beside him. "Do you consume anything other than dairy, bread and strawberries?"
"And alcohol," Nero added in, the traitor, taking great humor in this affair.
Almost shuddering, his father shook his head in disgust. "And alcohol."
The red-clad man rested his arms on the table, feeling betrayed. "You know why I like them so much," he said with a frown.
As if a magic word was said, every other eye turned to the eldest son of Sparda. "You know his story?" his son asked in disbelief.
"Is it good?" Patty asked eagerly. She just wanted a good story, nothing more.
"Do you like blueberries, then, Vergil?" the bespectacled woman slyly asked between her lollipop.
Said man briefly closed his eyes, head turning in mid-shake. "...What?"
Trish chuckled at the thought. "I only know why Dante likes the sundaes."
Looking over his brother's head, Dante nodded. "He does, by the way, Cerez."
"No, I do not."
"He's lying. And can a man just like strawberries?"
"Or blueberries," his twin muttered.
"Yes, the story is good, Patty," her uncle said to her, ignoring his brother completely. "But truthfully, if it is going to be told in its entirety, you and Julius will hear elements that he might not understand and that will inevitably disturb you."
There was a sudden eerie silence after he spoke, as no one was expecting to hear that. Lowering his eyes, Dante murmured, "Nice going, Verge..."
Scoffing softly, the older twin simply rested his sword against the desk. "It had to be said." He then focused his attention to the other occupants in the room, lifting one leg over the other. "This is truly not a story for children, but if you think they can manage..."
His daughter-in-law was the first to speak, brows furrowing in concern. "What elements are in it?" she asked. Her son, sitting on the floor, looked between them with interest.
The answer came from Dante, who had rested his legs back up on the desk. "Everything. Every little thing you can possibly imagine kids shouldn't hear, Kyrie," he said softly, continuing to murmur.
Various expressions of shock and concern passed over the faces of the adults in the room.
Her smile having long dropped from her face, Patty's expression was instead replaced with unease and sudden remorse for bringing up the story at all. She moved away from her mother and towards her father, head lowering. "...Daddy—"
"It's fine, Patty," he said calmly, looking up to give her a small smile of reassurance. "I want to tell it, really."
His gaze then drifted to his older daughter, who had gone quiet and her expression turned stern once the discussion took a sudden apprehensive turn.
Nearly half of the room suddenly jumped at the sound of a knock at the door, and Nero took the chance to leave the room's stiff atmosphere and answer the door. He opened the door and went out to greet the delivery boy, wordless as he took the money from out of his pocket and handed them to the shaking teen. He only murmured to keep the change before easily carrying the twelve party-sized boxes with one hand back into the room after shutting the door with his free hand.
He couldn't help but admit it; just as much as he suddenly wanted the story over as soon as possible, he greatly desired to hear it.
Trish had already brought the pizza cutter and two rolls of paper towels, placing them on the coffee table between the couches. He then took two boxes and placed them on the desk before his father, who unhappily moved them over to Dante's side. Naturally, the top box was immediately opened.
The arrival of the pizza helped to slightly ease the tense atmosphere, the smell of the pies filling the air and causing many a stomach to rumble in hunger. As everyone became comfortable and the first boxes of pizza were opened, Dante took a moment to gather his thoughts.
He hated to admit it, but he actually felt better with Vergil there. Naturally, this hadn't gone unnoticed by his twin, who had crossed his arms after pushing the box over. Their sideways gazes met, and though they were still unable to communicate telepathically, in that moment, they instinctively understood what the other was likely thinking: Vergil let Dante know it was his decision to let the story be known at all, and Dante let his brother know he was thankful for the silent support.
He then focused his attention to his expansive audience, leaning back in the chair. "I'll start from the beginning, then," he said, reaching for a slice of pizza, "but...at a different angle." He took a bite of the slice, taking a moment to savor the greasy, sweet cheesy goodness before continuing. "...This story is about the events resulting from the actions of a single devil. Of how the ensuing chaos and tragic events surrounding his legacy, specifically his younger son...became a devil's cacophony..."
Once upon a time and over two thousand years ago, the Fallen King and self-disposed ruler of Inferno, Lucifer, disappeared. In the wake of his disappearance, a powerful devil named Mundus took his throne with the intentions to convert humankind's world into another Hell, a literal Hell on earth. There were not many from the otherworlds who dared to interfere with Mundus' objective for the sake of their own kin, and humankind's annihilation appeared imminent.
However, from amongst the spheres of Hell came Sparda, a fallen angel who condemned the destruction and corruption of the human race. He, unlike his brethren, had come to find humans as mere innocents, young and with much promise for untapped potential, and only a threat to the Infernal Kin if they were threatened. He single-handedly fought against Mundus and his legion, resulting in the sealing of the path to the demonic realms with the assistance of the blood of a human woman. Yet, as he, too, was a devil, a great wealth of Sparda's powers were also sealed away.
For hundreds of years, Sparda lived amongst humankind. Throughout the ages, he remained as Sparda, the Dark Knight who saved humanity, on the tongues of humans. However, one day he withdrew from the public eye, disappearing in time, and the story of Sparda became a legend...
Sparda continued to live with a mortal guise, only known as a devil in the flesh by few who lived in the human world. Nearly three-hundred fifty years ago, he came upon the female Infernal Hunter Evangelina Alighieri, whose allusive charm, wit and encompassing beauty blossomed Sparda's partially opened heart, and stirred within him the emotion of love. After some time as acquaintances, Sparda courted Eva, and successfully won her affection and trust. He revealed himself to her and conveyed his sincere intentions, that he indeed loved her. Eva, a woman who followed her instincts, perceived no ill purposes in his words or approach, and believed him. They were wed, and shortly after, Eva conceived their twin sons.
It was a contented time...a new time. A time of revolution and invention, and a time for rebirth.
...But for the denizens of Hell, there is no such long-lived happiness...
Revenge was vowed upon both Sparda and humankind through his sons and the planet itself, creating yet another cacophony throughout the realms as the contest to destroy Sparda's legacy begins.