It isn't until the fifth date with Vergil that he decides to tell you more about his home life. When Nico had set you up on a blind date the first time, you'd both been so hesitant - he stumbled over his words and acted so cold, while you'd tried not to hate the way he treated you. She'd warned you; Vergil was different, Vergil just needed time to get used to civilian life, Vergil had a hard time growing up, all the excuses. You'd almost said no.
Thinking back on it, you're glad you didn't. Nico was right - Vergil needed time, he needed the slack you'd given him. He was a tough person with an unbelievably hard outer shell. You'd once likened it to diamonds, in confidence with Nico. She'd agreed.
Any questions about his past from your first date to this newest had always been met with a hard subject switch; you find that asking him about the things he enjoys is far easier. He'll talk about his time returning from the Underworld with his twin brother, and the adjustment to human life again, and parts of his past that he deems appropriate - things like his favorite authors, his demonic nature, and what he can of Dante. But never anything more.
So when Vergil drops the bombshell in your lap that he's old enough to have fathered a grown man, sitting next to you and reading from his poem book like he promised you he would instead of trying to impress you with fine dining, you can't help but spit out your wine into his lap. He's quick enough to pull the book away, but the red wine stains on his leather pants give the impression of water in his lap.
The poor cream couch, however, looks so suddenly like a bloodbath. "You what?"
"I should have said something sooner, it seems." Vergil looks more annoyed that you may have ruined the couch rather than his leather pants as he stands up. The wine drips down his thighs and onto the hardwood floor; you're quick to sop it up with a kitchen towel he throws at you. Your glass is discarded on the table, precariously hanging on the edge. Vergil quickly slips it further onto the table as he sets down another towel - he's never tried to take wine stains out of cream fabric. He'll have to hire a professional. "I... have a son. It's a new revelation to me, as much as it is to you."
"Is he really an adult?"
"I thought Nico told you my age." His voice is quiet, irate.
"Yeah. Sorry. It's just... hard to imagine." You slide backwards on the couch so Vergil doesn't have to sit in wine and he follows, keeping the book a good distance away. "I can't imagine he's taking me well, then."
Vergil looks up from where he's staring at his hands, offering you nothing but confusion. "I don't understand what you mean."
"Well, I'm sure it's awkward, watching your father pursue someone other than his mother, whatever happened to her." You offer Vergil a sympathetic look even though he doesn't acknowledge the last half of your statement.
"I am an adult. I--" He pauses, trying to find the right words, "I am allowed to pursue whomever I wish."
Your sympathy turns into quiet laughter. "That's brutally honest." Your fingers, stained ever so at the tip with wine, reach to take his hand into yours. "Is your son something you want to tell me more about, or leave it at that?"
"How do humans do it?"
"Well, one or the other, I guess. It's your choice - I'm not going to force you to tell me about him." His fingers intertwine with yours. You've found it's all he wants most nights, apart from quiet conversation. He seems much more talkative now that he knows at least one person in the world wants to hear what he has to say. You cup your other hand around his and lean up to hold it close to you. "You know I could listen to you talk for hours about anything at all."
Vergil watches your movements intensely, watching the way his arm lifts to meet your hands at the center of your chest; it trails higher at your movement, slipping up over your shoulder as your own hands slip away. It's subtle, but Vergil gets the hint that perhaps he should do something more, if it's something he wants.
His hand slips into your lap as he turns away. "His name is Nero. It was not my choice; it never would have been had I been there to do so. But that is what his mother chose." His fingers twitch on your thigh instead as he keeps his hand there, palm up. As if he's waiting for yours to slip into it.
"Nero? Like... Nico's boss?" You're lucky that wine isn't in your hand or mouth, because you might have made a bigger mess choking on your own saliva. "Wait, this whole time, I've been in his garage tens of times to hang out with her, and he's your kid?"
"Yes. He, alongside myself, Nicoletta, and Dante operate Devil May Cry. It's... a family business." Family. The word leaves his tongue uncomfortable in his mouth. "He and Nicoletta operate the 'mobile branch'. They take jobs inside and out of Fortuna. That's what her van is for."
Though you have so much more to say, getting to hear Vergil explain this part of his life so in-depth is far more important. He only gets like this when he speaks about his favorite poems. You know when he speaks of those, it's out of admiration. But with the way his eyes seem to light up looking towards you, this is different. You'd recognize pride anywhere. "I'm surprised she hasn't traded it in for something more modern. She's always complaining about it."
"I'm in agreement." His head turns back to look at the bookshelf where the television should be; you feel his hand flip as his thumb brushes along your thigh instead. He must feel a lot of pride to lower his walls this much. You aren't going to take such things for granted. "But it has character. I think Nero enjoys it, too. There's never a moment of quiet in his home, unlike here. Unlike Devil May Cry. Always one thing or another - Nicoletta and her van, or his arm, or his weapons. I think he enjoys the chaos."
You scoff softly, not noticing the way his head falls ever so. "It's a good thing you have a place to get away from it all then, huh? I can't imagine your brother's fun to hang out with. He seems like a handful from all the stories I've been told." You shift just enough to lean into his arm - with your head on his shoulder, he tenses, but doesn't pull away.
This must be how humans show their affection now. It's not as though Vergil hasn't seen it a thousand times before, watching Kyrie and Nero when they think no one is looking. He just can't bring himself to tell you that he wants what they have too. "I suppose it is."
Quiet settles in Vergil's apartment as he softly lays his head against the back of the couch. His fingers, still as light, continue to caress your thigh - you'd fall asleep otherwise, but you're on a little mission of your own now as you stare off into space. An arm curls around Vergil's to keep it in place, telling him without words that he can continue to touch you like this if he wishes. He must want to, because he doesn't pull away.
"Vergil?" Your voice is quiet from his side.
Though ready to meditate - because he very much doesn't sleep - Vergil lifts his head and turns.
It must surprise him to feel his nose brush against yours, or to see the way you're looking at him with your own sort of admiration in your eyes; his lips part ever so to exhale. His breath is warm and smooth like the wine he'd offered you to drink. You've learned that although he doesn't favor eating, he enjoys a fine alcohol. You've also learned that you love the way his lips stain when he drinks.
Though it may have been almost a quarter of a century since he's ever romantically pursued someone, he's been learning too - you get the invitation mostly off of your lips before he presses his own against yours. "I may be overstepping my place, but, I really wish you'd k--"
They're as soft as they look, and taste even better. You move with him as he turns, feeling an arm disappear from yours. That's fine. It's hard not to pull him closer towards you as your fingers tug at his dress shirt.
He gets the hint he should move in closer and does just so; his body is warmer than you expect, but not unwelcome. Slipping back against the arm of the couch is just as easy - he follows, trailing an exhaled breath against your cheek as you dare to slide your hands up his shirt and around his neck.
You weren't exactly sure how you wanted this night to end, but underneath a slowly more and more desperate Vergil is not a half-bad way to close it out. He braces against the arm of the couch, slamming one white-knuckled hand into the fabric as his lips find yours again; Vergil is tense in every way you can imagine, but none of the ways you think. There is no mistaking how much he enjoys it with the way he knees your legs apart.
But it appears you've both misread what you want tonight - you manage to pull away from his hungry lips long enough to whisper, "Is this what you want? Is this really--" Your words are paused by more desperation; his free hand grips your chin tightly in his grasp to pull you to his lips again. You barely get a chance to get away. "--Really what you want, Vergil? Or is this what you think is expected of you?"
"I want this," He murmurs back - although you're not quite certain you both understand what 'this' is.
"Want what, Vergil? Articulate. You're amazing at that." Your question must throw him for a loop, because he sits up on one leg and stares down at you for a very long time.
You're finding the way his cheeks flush with embarrassment more and more attractive as he stews. As if to give him comfort, you pull his hand to yours like you've done the past month and a half. He leans forward immediately; expecting to kiss, you push up - he slips past your lips, landing with a soft shiver in your ear. "I want to feel your lips on mine, until your head swirls and you're left breathless. Until dawn breaks and you wonder how much time has passed staring into the sunrise."
His lips trail along your cheek, all the way back to your lips as he pulls you in for another, desperate kiss. You can feel how much more he wants against your inner thigh, but you know better than to push.
It's difficult not to indulge Vergil when he looks so handsome this disheveled.
Upon hearing clattering in the garage, Nero opens the door from the kitchen of his home to it, peeking his head through. "Nico, you in here?" He peers around, spotting you before he spots her.
"Where else would I be, little bro?" Nico grunts from her position as she slips out from under the van - you're careful to side-step out of the way as she leans up and stands; to help as best you can, you hand her a towel so she can wipe her hands off. "Why, you got a problem?"
"Uh, yeah." Whether Nero notices your blatant stare or not, he doesn't say anything at all as he sheepishly walks forward, holding out a sword. "I... I think she broke again. I can't get her to ignite."
Nico rolls her eyes. "Not aga--Nero, it's been less than a month!" She tosses the towel, dirty with motor oil and who knows what else, at his face. He ducks and holds it out. "Learn to take better care of this goddamn thing! It ain't a toy!" She seems mighty pissed off, and it's honestly hilarious.
He seems a little pissed off too now, his fuse as short as hers - they're quite a pair, you've noticed. He stands tall for the moment, pointing at the sword. "I don't choose which demons break the damn thing!"
"But you do choose how hard you rev her goddamn engine! How many times, huh?" Nero doesn't immediately answer, but he does falter. "How many times, Nero?"
He rolls his eyes, huffing. It seems Nico will come out dominant yet again. "A lot. I'm getting better at it."
"Clearly not, you dipshit!"
It's hard not to laugh at the way Nero folds in on himself, scolded by someone other than Vergil. Maybe Nico should be his step-parent, you think, watching the way she snatches the sword from his grip and brings it over to her work table. She tests out the gear shift mechanism on the handle and growls. "Is it bad?" Nero asks just a little too loudly.
"Yes, of course it's bad! You shattered her gear shift and her damn compressor! No wonder she's not igniting..." Nico's voice trails off as she gets further into her work, eventually quieting down as she slips between the two of you to gather her tools from her van. When she returns, you're left alone beside Nero as he stands next to you to watch her begin her work.
Through her gripes about Nero's mishandling, you hear his voice perk up from beside you. "So you're uh. You're my dad's new thing, huh?"
"Nero, we've been dating for three months," You deadpan, looking over at him with an immediately apologetic look, "We're um. Not really that new. If anything, you're newer to me than he is... But--But hey, that's okay!" Nico doesn't seem to notice your conversation as she's already thrown in headphones to work in peace. "It's uh, it's totally alright, you're busy with Devil May Cry and you know, I'm busy with work and uh. Other things." You don't quite want to admit just yet that you're working on getting Vergil used to affection and intimacy. That'd be far too awkward of a conversation.
Nero scratches at the back of his hair, offering an awkward smile. "Uh, yeah. Totally fine." He waves you off as he begins to depart.
"Hey, um, you know," You inhale sharply, offering him an awkward grin now, "I just want to let you know that uh, you don't have to, you know, consider me like, your step-parent or um. Yeah." You'd only thought moments like this would be this awkward in movies and television. It's a far more awkward reality. "Figured I'd just, let you know that. I don't expect it from you, and Vergil and I aren't that serious," yet, "so. You know. But uh, I'm here, if you need anything, like, you know just someone to talk to."
"Uh, yeah, sure." Nero scoffs - unlike his father, he is much less subtle about the ways his body betrays him. Soft pink tints his cheeks as he begins to walk away. "I'll uh, see you 'round, then. Um. Have fun with Nico."
In unison, as soon as Nero closes the door to the garage, you both exhale a breath you both didn't realize you were holding. Idiot, you think, looking to Nico, who seems far more interested in whatever Red Queen was, doesn't notice as you slip away from the house. "That could have gone so much better," you murmur as you make your way towards Port Caerula to get a ferry off the island. After all, you live closer to Devil May Cry on the outskirts of Red Grave than on the island itself. Luckily, Fortuna isn't that far from the mainland, and getting there doesn't take long at all.
The first thing you do once you step on land is call Vergil. He's since warmed up to the idea of having a phone for such a reason - it's easier to call than to show up at your apartment at three in the morning with blood on his hands and a desperate need to get it off as soon as possible. When that had happened the first time, you'd nearly fainted. But it was getting easier.
Vergil connected on the fourth ring. "Has something happened?" He asked; though there was little panic in his voice, it was there.
"I uh," you start to walk, intending on grabbing a taxi. But for now, you stick to taking a walk along the seaside. "Finally met Nero."
The other end of the line is quiet for so long, you thought Vergil had hung up on you. "Was it as bad as I envisioned it to be?"
"It... was awkward. It could have gone better. He was riding the end of being scolded by Nico in front of me, and he was pretty annoyed with her." You continue to walk, listening to the way Vergil quietly breathes, awaiting whatever else you want to say. He's worse at conversations on the phone than in real life, you've noticed. "I guess it was embarrassing. But, I said what I needed to say, and he seemed pretty okay with it."
"And you needed to say..." Vergil shuffles something on the other end of the line and pulls away for but a moment to talk to who you assume is his brother, Dante.
"That it was alright if he didn't consider me a step-parent. What I really wanted to say is that I didn't want him to think of me as a replacement, but I was kind of put on the spot. I panicked." You chuckle dryly.
Vergil is quiet for a long time again - you can just barely hear his quiet scribbles. He must be doing some sort of office work for the business. He still won't tell you exactly what his role at Devil May Cry is. "How do humans usually handle this sort of thing?"
"Lots of ways. I wouldn't know. I've never dated someone with a kid before," You tease him lightly, but it doesn't translate as well as you would have hoped, because Vergil doesn't scoff. "That was a joke. Sorry. I'm as new to this as you are."
"Perhaps my brother will know something. He raised a child once, I've been told."
"I wouldn't exactly call that the same situation, but I'm willing to accept any sort of help." You kick a can across the sidewalk and then lean down to pick it up - you toss the can, some drink called Virility that you remember being a fad a lifetime ago, and toss it into the nearest trash can. "Hey, uh. I know it's not our usual time, but are you free tonight? I kind of miss you. And your lips."
"Hold on," Vergil parts from the phone as you hear it set down. There's the sound of shuffling, a door opening, and a loud, Dante!
You hear an even quieter response in the distance, and then the sound of receding footsteps. You know better than to hang up; Vergil attempted to text once. Never again. You take this time to hail a taxi and manage to get into one and offer up your address before Vergil returns. "Are you home?"
"I just got back from Fortuna, should be home in..." You peer forward to the taxi driver's radio, "half an hour? I haven't had a chance to clean up, though."
"You know it doesn't bother me. I only care if the mess is in my home." Vergil's inflection leaves you to laugh at yourself. "I've accepted that you're human, and that you bring quite the mess with you."
"The wine was one time, Vergil," You roll your eyes - it isn't often that Vergil cracks a joke, and you're ready to pull it as far as it will go. In reality, you're desperately hoping you get to hear his laughter - the only thing rarer than his desperation to spend the night lazing about against your lips.
"I distinctly remember three times more..." His voice trails off, hearing the way you mutter a long, ugh into the receiver.
"You're the worst."
Vergil laughing could bring life to a thousand angels - though quiet, it's deeper than his voice, as though he pulls it deep from within his chest. You don't have to see him to know he's holding his hand against his heart - he does it every time he laughs, just like the way his tired eyes crinkle with the beginnings of crow's feet. You've committed every little quirk like that to your memory, cataloging it in the event that you may never see it again.
He laughs for an eternity, eventually trailing off when he realizes that you aren't speaking. "Are you still there?"
"I am," you clear your throat, absolutely breathless yet again, "Just admiring you and your laugh. It's the most beautiful sound I get to hear, I love it."
After a long pause, he replies, "I shall see you soon." Vergil, a man of punctuality, leaves no goodbye. Why should he, when he knows he'll see you so soon again?
Knock, knock, knock.
Halfway through the day and you're lucky it's your day off - otherwise, the person on the other side of the door might not have caught you. You sit up, looking over. "Coming!"
You know it isn't Vergil, as you pull off the throw blanket you'd been using to keep warm. With winter finally in full swing, it's been hard to do anything but try and keep warm. You pull on a pair of warm slippers and fix your sweater over your body so you're not as cold - you really wish your landlord would just turn the building's heat on. But according to him, it 'wasn't that cold,' and he'd turn it on 'when snow started falling.' That was two weeks ago.
You pull open the door just enough - the chain that keeps it closed is pulled taut as you see a man as tall and as handsome as your boyfriend standing proudly at your door. "You uh, gonna let me in?" He quips.
"If I perhaps knew who you were?" you feign ignorance just to watch the way offense grips his face.
"Aw, c'mon," The man rolls his eyes. "We look exactly alike. I've got white hair, a killer smile, and a huge--" Whether to ensure you don't hear the end of his sentence, or because you know exactly who Dante is, you slam the door in his face so you can pull the chain off. When you open it again, he's pouting. "Huge heart..."
"I'm sure that's exactly what you said, Dante," You roll your eyes and side step to let him in. He is at least kind enough to kick his muddy boots off at the door. "Any particular reason you're here? I know Vergil's working right now. Shouldn't he be with you?"
"He's at the shop. Not why I'm here." He even hangs his jacket up so it won't drag freezing rain into the apartment. The way Vergil described him, he had far less manners than this. You shouldn't be as impressed as you are. "I'm here on important business."
You raise an eyebrow as you gesture towards the living room. "Hot chocolate?" He accepts, and you slide into the kitchen to make some. You would have offered tea, but Vergil had confided in you that he was the only person in the family besides Nero's girlfriend, Kyrie, to enjoy tea. You don't feel like making a pot of coffee. "I have a hard time believing that I'm more important than demon hunting."
"Ah, see, that's where you're wrong." Dante plops onto your couch and makes himself useful, though you don't quite know that yet. He sees your blanket, sees that it was in use, and bunches it up on his chest. He knows he runs hot. "In this case, you're a thousand times more important."
You gather two coffee mugs and get the hot chocolate ready - the kettle is set on the stove and left to boil while you lean up against your breakfast nook and try to soak up the warmth. "And why is that?"
"Well, as you know, the holiday season is coming up," Dante gestures into the air dramatically; you notice your blanket over him but think nothing of it. "And, well, you're part of the family. I asked Verge if he invited you to our holiday dinner."
"You have a holiday dinner? I don't think I believe you." You snort.
"Hey, hey! Chill. It's our first annual. Kyrie's trying to make it a thing we do, since we're all so busy all the time. And Vergil wouldn't answer me. I think he's embarrassed. But you're his partner, and I personally think it's stupid that he won't invite you." He watches you for any sign of emotion, and when he finds nothing but disinterest, he squints at you. "I'm shocked you're not hurt."
"If he has his reasons not to invite me, then I'll respect them. I'm an adult, Dante. Not a man-child like you." You offer him a smug smirk as he scoffs and waves you off. "Does Vergil know you're here, asking me about this?"
"No he does not, and I'm here not to ask you to come - because you are coming - but to keep it a secret. 'Least until the day of, or something. We're not all as bad as he makes us out to be, you know. I hear you're friends with Nico. She's the most ridiculous out of us all."
You shrug. "I take it I don't actually have a real choice here, even if I tell you no, right?" Dante nods almost too proudly as he flips your blanket over. "I don't enjoy keeping secrets from Vergil. His life has been bad enough the past three decades. I understand you may never have been in a relationship before, but your partner keeping secrets from you is one of the most hurtful things they can do."
"Yeah, but you're not in a normal relationship, and we're not a normal family. You're my sibling-in-law now, practically. You can keep up this white lie for... two weeks?" He flutters his fingers in the air just as the kettle comes to a boil. You pull it off, pour the water, and mix the hot chocolate mix in. It even has the little marshmallows. A part of you feels as though Dante will find it amusing.
You carefully carry both over and he's quick to pull your blanket off and take his mug so you don't burn yourself. You curl up on the opposite side of the couch; when you pull your throw blanket over you, it's as though it's just come out of the dryer. How kind. "If you're trying to butter me up to accept your proposal," you gesture to the blanket, "It isn't going to work."
Dante downs the entirety of his hot cocoa in one sitting. You don't know whether to be disgusted or impressed. He doesn't wipe the chocolate from his mustache. "Listen, I'm not arguing. You're coming with, and you're not going to tell Vergil because I know he won't go if he finds out I asked. And... everyone really wants him to go."
"Yes, of course!" Dante sets the mug on your coffee table and sits back, pressing his palms together. "Look, if you do this, then I owe you big time. Anything you can think of, I'll do it. Just don't tell him, and come anyway, and take your rightful place as part of our big, dysfunctional family."
You're not sure whether it's Dante's puppy dog eyes or the way his thin lip extends into a pout, but it really is hard to say no. After all, you do want to get closer to the rest of Vergil's family. He's chosen not to get close to yours. "Fine." Dante looks hopeful.
His face falls a moment later. "But?"
"But," you pull your phone over and search through it, thrusting it into his grasp. "This is my work schedule. You see how I have weekends off?" Dante nods. "I want Vergil to have Friday and Saturday off from now on. Until we either split or I retire."
"And!" You point, "If I happen to lose this job and find another, whatever schedule I have from thereon will also result in Vergil having the same two days off. For life, or if we split." You are not taking chances losing out on such a sweet deal. "And if I lose that job, so on and so forth. Got it?"
"Easy. What if it's an emergency?"
"End of the world scenario?" Dante nods along, handing your phone back. "Then it's alright. But it has to be an end of the world scenario. Like that giant tree. Or that huge statue in Fortuna, or that giant tower everyone always mentions but never really talks about."
"And you promise that if I do this, then you won't tell him until you're pretty much already at dinner with us?" You nod now, setting your phone on the coffee table while you sip at your hot chocolate. "Perfect. You're the best. I could kiss ya, I swear."
"Please don't." you sigh softly, watching the way he stands up and stretches. "I take it you're not going to tell Vergil you stopped by."
"I think you know better than I do that he's the jealous type. And if I don't tell him why I stopped by, he'll assume the worst. It's not you he doesn't trust, it's me."
"Understandable. But, and I mean no offense at saying this, but you're really not my type." You continue to sip at your drink.
"We're identical twins!"
"No you are most definitely not." You set your mug down and shoo him away. "Now get out of my apartment before you destroy it."
"Alright, alright... but. Two weeks. I'll text you the details."
"You don't even have my number!"
Dante winks. "Vergil doesn't lock his phone."
Keeping a secret from Vergil for two weeks is the hardest thing you've ever had to do. Six months into the relationship already, and he's opened up so much - lying feels like the ultimate betrayal, even if it's something so inconsequential. You're sure he has his reasons why he won't ask you himself; you can only assume that he's chosen not to because he's nervous of what you'll think. But as far as you're aware, Nero and Dante are his only blood relatives, and while they're both chaotic in their own ways, they aren't all that bad. He was right about Dante, however - he's a handful.
Nero, on the other hand, is an entirely different obstacle. But they aren't bad. You're best friends with Nico, and while you only know of Kyrie, Trish, and Lady from what the others discuss around you, you know they're not all that bad. Perhaps he doesn't like how they are when they're all together.
In any case, the day comes, and Vergil seems so hesitant to even leave his bed. You're curled into his side, watching as he stares up at the ceiling; while you both still haven't shared intense intimacy, you've graduated from hand holding and darkened rooms filled with the sounds of lips smacking together. Vergil's found comfort in being able to bare himself completely to you, and finds that he loves that you share his comfort. You trace soft patterns on the bare skin of his chest, watching as it rises and falls slowly. "Would it really be so bad to stay home?" You ask, reaching up to tip his chin down so he'll look at you.
Vergil's gaze shifts from the wall to you. "Is that what you wish for me to do?"
"Babe, I thought we were past this," you lean up to gently pepper his jaw in soft kisses. "You make your own decisions. That wasn't what I meant, either."
"You phrased your question poorly."
"Let me rephrase it, then." Sitting up on one elbow, you stare at him from above as his eyes follow all along your face. "Would the real consequences of your decision to stay home be as bad as you think they are? You know I don't care that you're going. They're your family, and they miss you. I couldn't ever take you away from them. It'd be monumentally selfish and rude." Your hand slides from his jaw to his cheek to cradle it. He's gotten so much better with not shying away. "But you look like you'd rather be anywhere but there today. So, would it be as earth-shattering as I know you think it will be to stay home?"
Vergil's eyes follow the way yours shift to watch all the ticks of his face; it's moments like these that he's at his most human, soft and malleable under your touch. His brow, usually furrowed, sits as relaxed as it can be even as you brush your thumb over the bridge of his nose. He twitches in response to how soft it is - ticklish, perhaps? - but does not break from your gaze as your thumb shifts across the dark circle under his eye. Your thumb brushes over his eyelid as it closes, awaiting his answer. "I know that I have the choice. The others would understand should I wish to stay home." Home. Vergil will never be comfortable with the word, but he's finding that he's using it to describe your apartment more and more often. Whether you've noticed or not, you never say anything to deter him from using it.
"But?" Your thumb brushes against his high cheekbones, slipping down to the corner of his lips - he shifts only so he can press a soft kiss to the pad of your thumb.
"But," he murmurs softly as he faces you once again, "I... feel an emotion I cannot understand."
"What's it feel like? Explain however you need, even if it's ridiculous." Your hand parts from his cheek far too soon as you shift to sit up completely; you stretch and splay across his chest entirely, looking up at the bottom of his chin as he stares at the ceiling once more. You can feel the warmth of his fingers brush against your bare spine, circling your lower back. He's also become much better at physical affection.
"Turn over." You do as told without question, resting your head against his stomach as you lay on your back. "Not like that. Next to me."
"Sorry, sorry," You sit up and lay on your back next to him on your back, turning only so that it's easier for him to touch you - you have a feeling he's going to give you a physical explanation.
"You've never been stabbed, have you?"
"Not that I can remember, no."
Vergil's hand slips across your chest, brushing past nipple and skin alike; with minimal strength, he pushes against your sternum with enough force to be extremely uncomfortable. "Explain how that feels, to you."
"I'm having trouble breathing," You exhale slowly - Vergil doesn't relent. "It feels as though my chest may cave in, if you can't keep your strength in check."
You think, and it starts to click; your fingers wrapping around his wrist is enough for him to relax. His hand, however, doesn't leave your chest. "You're anxious."
"Is that what you call it?"
"Anxious that she'll be disappointed or upset with you..." It starts to make more and more sense now, as Vergil's thumb brushes against your nipple. "Because you know that it'll upset Nero, and you don't want to disappoint either. You're afraid you will if you decline."
The discomfort on Vergil's face for being read so easily is clear - his brow furrows into what you can only consider to be his version of surprise and shock. His eyes dart between yours, and it should be illegal for him to look so handsome like this. But you have to admit it - seeing him so taken aback could fuel you for life. "Y... Yes."
You pull his wrist towards your lips, pressing soft kisses to his warm palm. "That's natural, Vergil. Welcome to having feelings again. I'm sure it'll be fine - you can always show up, eat dinner, and leave before everyone gets shitfaced. I mean, as long as you even show up, I think it'll make both of them happier than you could ever imagine. It shows you're making an effort, and that's probably all anybody could ever want from you right now."
"How do you know such things?" Vergil settles next to you, and you don't hesitate to push him out of bed so he can get ready.
He tilts his head to the side, unamused. "You couldn't possibly be such. You're human."
"Ask me what you're thinking about, then."
"What," He pauses to sigh as he stands, stretching in the morning sunlight, "could I possibly be thinking?"
You only have to glance down to know exactly what he's thinking about now, and you don't hesitate to wink at him as you slip out of bed too. "I think you're about to take our relationship to another level, is what I think."
As you take his hand, you can hear his quiet noise of surprise as he's pulled to the bathroom for a shower.
Part of you wants to cancel the moment Vergil leaves your apartment to arrive early and help prepare dinner; you're just a little sore. But you promised Dante, and you know he'd never forgive you for letting him down.
That, and you want to do your best to let Nero know that you want to be a part of his family as much as he wants Vergil to be. You know it's selfish to think about, but with the way things are between you and your boyfriend, Vergil is serious. Quite serious (and a little bit rough, but you've already forgiven him. He's rusty).
With Vergil safely out of range, you send Dante a quick text.
He just left. You said 1:30ish, right?
Yeah, 1:30ish. He use Yamato?
No... he left it here, actually. Doesn't have its ribbon though.
Great! Nico said she'll pick you up.
See you soon
You don't need much else than that as you offer Dante your address in case he forgot it; at only 11:26, you have some time before you need to be there. It's spent finding a good outfit, something with holiday spirit but also semi-formal; you want to make a good impression after all. That, and you also need a turtleneck to hide the hickeys on your neck.
To the best of your ability, you put yourself together rather well and await either Dante or Nico's call. It comes early, closer to noon than to 1:00pm.
"Hey, get your ass out here, weather's pickin' up something crazy so they're closing the port soon!" Nico's voice is loud.
"Jeez, alright. No need to yell." You make your way out of your apartment and quickly pull yourself up and into Nico's van; you nearly slip as she peels out of her parking space, just barely hanging on as you lift yourself into the van fully and shut the door behind you. "You couldn't wait until I was inside?"
"Nope, no can do, we gotta be back at the port in twenty minutes or else we're both stuck here."
The rest of the drive and the subsequent ferry, is uneventful. Nico only brings up if you're nervous or not, lying to Vergil, and if you're nervous to meet the whole family. You tell her no, even though that isn't true, and she goes quiet, concentrating on not freezing to death even though she's wearing three layers of clothes. You can see that in her haste, she threw on Nero's jacket instead of her own.
Eventually, you're on the island, and Nico calms down knowing she won't be late with your arrival. "I don't think Kyrie's got enough room for everyone to sleep comfortably if this storm keeps up, so, I just wanna put this out here, but if you need it, you can use the van. I got this set up in the garage with this absolutely killer heater. Thing turns this hunk of metal into a sauna in the winter."
"Thanks for the offer, but... I'm sure we'll be fine." You offer Nico an awkward laugh in return and she shrugs.
"More room for Dante, then... 'cause he ain't takin' my damn bed, no matter how much he thinks he's called dibs. It's my bed." The thought of Dante sleeping in Nico's bed is singlehandedly the most hilarious thing you can imagine, knowing that her bed is far too small to fit someone as imposing as he. She pulls into the garage and parks her van where she always does, careful not to knock over any barrels or carts of tools. "You go on in, I gotta get this ol' gal settled."
"You got it." Inhaling deeply, you depart from the van; it's Nero that's there, jogging down the stairs upon your arrival, to greet you.
He gestures lazily for you to come over, but prevents you from coming up the stairs. "Hey." He smiles just a little, tapping his fingers on the wall separating the two half-staircases.
"Hi." You raise an eyebrow. "Can I come in?"
"Maybe." You can see the blush on his cheeks and it makes you laugh - 1:30, and he's already either buzzed or drunk. It's adorable. He seems much more talkative too, not outright avoiding you every time you're in the same space. "What's the password?"
"May I pretty please come in so that I may join your family officially, perhaps, and see my loving boyfriend who also just so happens to be your father?" You give him a hopeful grin.
"Close enough...." He pushes off the wall and gives you room to get up the second set of stairs. "Real password's 'the snow sucks'."
You snort, kicking your shoes off where everyone else has - the floor is freezing, but not for long as you follow Nero up the stairs and into his and Kyrie's house.
Two things hit you immediately: the smell, and the sounds.
As for the smells, it's a mixture of holiday scents - pine needles and sweets and delicious food in an oven you can't quite yet see, mixed with the scents of fruity drinks, alcohol, and everybody's shared perfumes and colognes. While not entirely overwhelming in its own right, it's certainly one you're not used to. You've never been inside the house so directly.
The sounds, however, are mixed - you can hear everyone's voices together as they talk, and you can just barely pick out who they belong to. You can hear Dante complaining to who you assume is Kyrie about the food not being done, and why she didn't make him a pizza like he'd asked; you can hear a woman with a low, almost sultry tone teasing him for being so picky, and another, more singsong voice agreeing with her; you hear Nero as he points at Dante and stops just in front of you. "Hey, don't talk to my wife that way."
"Wife? You're not even common law married!"
"Shut--Shut up." Nero seems embarrassed.
You don't quite have a chance to get up the stairs as you hear a voice from above. "Hi! I can't believe it's taken this long to meet you!" Her hair, short, black and choppy, fits well as she hangs over the half-wall to the stairs and offers her hand. "I'm Lady. You can thank Dante for the name. He's not that original."
"I'm not the one who chose to keep it!" He calls from the kitchen, which you can see in front of you as you continue to ascend the stairs - Nero walks forward so he can greet Kyrie and kisses her forehead; his arm lingers around her midsection as she tosses a towel onto the counter and gives you a warm look.
"Hi. It's.. really nice to meet you too, actually. I've heard quite a lot about all of you. Guess it's up to me to figure out what all was truth, huh?" You look out among the living room and don't immediately see Vergil, so he's either not here or in hiding.
In front of the stairs is the kitchen, which you gravitate towards as Lady follows to presumably learn more about you. Dante pulls you in for a hug before Kyrie gets a chance to, and she seems rather offended. "Hey, you actually kept your promise." Kyrie shoos Dante away as you nod in his direction - in her distraction pulling you into a warm hug, you can just see over her shoulder a cheeky Dante trying to grab at what appears to be some sort of fresh-baked pile of cookies.
"Dante, I don't think you're supposed to eat those yet..." You mutter as you squeeze Kyrie as tight as you can; she seems much more welcoming than Nero had initially been. You're thankful, watching as Nero turns around and quite literally throws Dante out of the kitchen with his demonic arm. He flies into the couch with a loud grunt, the blonde woman Lady had been sitting with just barely sliding away in time. She doesn't even spill her glass of wine. "It's so nice to finally meet you, Kyrie. I've heard the most about you."
Kyrie seems... pleased with such knowledge as she pulls away and smiles, her auburn hair pulled into an easy braid to keep out of her face. "Really? Vergil doesn't seem the type..."
"He's much more talkative than originally thought, I know. It's crazy." You lean forward to quietly whisper, he's intimidated by you because he doesn't want to disappoint you or Nero, and give her a knowing nod as she quietly gasps. "He's probably just... actually, where is he?"
"He's with the boys right now," Kyrie mutters almost sheepishly as she returns to the kitchen to fix the cookie arrangement Dante screwed up and look after the oven. You, unsure of what she means, give her a look that makes her explain. "Oh, he didn't... he didn't mention the--the boys.... right."
"Oh, yeah, your boyfriend's a grandpa. How's it feel dating an old man?" Dante's voice chimes in, but is quickly squashed with a painful ow, what the hell, Trish? as the woman with blonde hair does something you can't quite see. It seems as though she just touches him and he seizes. Right. She must be the demon that Vergil rarely speaks of.
"Quite great, actually! He's rather spry for his age." Out of Nero and Kyrie's vision, you tip down your turtleneck and, despite wanting to initially hide them, show Dante all the hickeys Vergil left along your throat.
"Guess grandpa's still got it..." Dante's voice trails off as you fix your turtleneck.
Nero walks over and hands you a glass of wine. "They're not really ours - we adopted them after uh, after the Incident some time ago. The orphanage was in ruins, and the kids had nowhere to go. Three boys, Julio, Kyle, and Carlo." You nod along as he explains, not as nervous as you initially thought you'd be while he continues to explain how they are. "So, yeah. Any chance they get they just whisk Ve--Pops away to play, I guess. I don't think he likes it very much, but he tolerates it."
As if on cue, you hear tiny little feet pad into the living room, and with it, quiet footsteps that seem rather hesitant. "See, I told you you weren't crazy, grandpa." The child can be no older than seven or eight.
Vergil, however, is just as you left him when he'd left for here, though hunched over to accommodate, "Kyle, where's your brothers?", Kyle's shorter stature as one hand is interlocked with another, pulling Vergil into the living room.
"Bedroom, playin' checkers. Are you my new grand--"
"Yes." Before Vergil, before Nero, before Dante or anyone else can really stop you, you answer. "If you want me to be, that is. I told Nero the same thing."
Kyle looks up at you with sparkling eyes, looking back to Vergil. "Two grandparents?" He asks.
"Two... Two grandparents, yes."
"And a mom and dad?" He turns to Nero and Kyrie, even though he knows well and true that's exactly what they are and always will be, so long as they have room in their house. The two nod, giving a soft smile - you can't help but do the same, seeing the way Nero's eyes dart first to yours, then back to Vergil and Kyle's. "That's a whole family! Mom, and dad, grandparents, Uncle Dante and Uncle Morrison, Aunt Trish and Aunt Lady... Two brothers... Big stinky sister Nico..." He goes quiet for a minute, then breaks from Vergil's grasp to run back into what you assume is the boys' shared bedroom. "Julio! Carlo! We have a whole family now!"
You hear Kyle's voice trail off as he quiets to explain to both or one what he means, leaving you to lean up against the half-wall to the garage, wine glass in hand, staring at a Vergil who rights himself and stares at you with his nose held high. If he's upset about you being here, he doesn't show it at all as he comes over to hover near you. "I see that you are my surprise." His voice, though monotone as always, is laced with betrayal - but not to you, as he slips a hand in yours and stands there, holding his head high. "How did you get here?"
"That'd be me!" Nico calls from the garage, kicking off her boots as she nearly trips up the stairs in her socks. "Told ya, I love makin' special orders, 'gil." She skirts past Nero and Kyrie to grab herself a beer from the kitchen and pops it open on the counter; she flips the bottle cap into a glass cup on the breakfast nook, taking her place on the couch in front of Dante's outstretched legs. "I miss anything good?"
"Kyle just realized he has a whole family now," Nero hoists his wine glass into the air, "cheers. To whole families."
"To makeshift families, Nero." You hold up your glass, cheeks tinting pink as Vergil squeezes your fingers. "To makeshift, dysfunctional families. To new beginnings, all the cliche shit. Not to get so sappy this early on, when I'm not even drunk, but... I expected a much more different outcome to right now than, well, right now." You give Nero a soft smile and pull Vergil's hand around your midsection. Surprisingly, he doesn't resist. Watching the way both Nero and Kyrie's lips part in surprise is better than any gift they could have possibly given you. "But I'm glad that it turned out the way it did. I love all of you, even if I've only just met some of you. And here I am, proud... grandparent. Possible step-parent--"
"Definite step-parent," Nero pipes up after Kyrie nudges his midsection, "Definite step-parent."
"Definite step-parent. Little sibling," You offer a passing glance to a Dante that sits up, realizing the moment is serious. "Just, part of this ridiculous, dramatic, makeshift, dysfunctional family. Kyle's right. You're right, Nero. We are a whole family, and it feels fucking great."
"You're damn right it does!" Dante pipes up, almost too enthusiastically as he parts from the couch to come over - Nero and Kyrie follow, with an extra glass in tow for Vergil; Trish and Lady wander over and there's a quiet moment of clinking glasses as everyone toasts to your little speech.
Eventually, everyone parts to do their own things, leaving you and Vergil to find a place on the sectional to sit and talk - Dante immerses himself in quite the argument with Nico over who is sleeping in her bed tonight, and Lady and Trish instigate. If they can hear you talking, they don't say anything of it.
"I'm sorry for not saying anything. Dante made me lie to you."
Vergil turns his head to look at you as he watches Nero and Kyrie take out two pies from their oven; he knows he won't eat it, but it does look delicious. Kyrie is rather good in the kitchen.. with his help. "I knew you would come."
"Sure you did. I take it you're psychic now?" You elbow him lightly in the ribs and he scoffs, sipping at the wine provided to him by Nero.
"Dante isn't subtle; he left my contacts open to your name. His phone password is Vie de Marli." He mutters quietly; you follow his gaze to a wide-eyed and seemingly offended Dante. He gestures as if to say, what the fuck, Vergil? and then goes back to his conversation with Nico. "I wanted to ensure that you hadn't..." his voice trails off.
"I could have never, Vergil. He isn't my type." You reassure him, taking his hand in your own as you gently squeeze his fingertips. "He came over the day before, drank a cup of scalding hot cocoa and told me I had to come."
"So you were forced?"
"No, of course not. I wanted to come. Make a good impression." You shift so you can lean your head against his shoulder. He tenses, but does not pull away. "And to make sure you wouldn't feel so alien alongside your own family."
Vergil says nothing more, but the way he relaxes into your touch tells you all you need to know. Nero and Kyrie set the pies out to cool and finally enter the living room - Kyrie parts to grab something from a bookshelf behind the couch and bring it over. "The main course still has a few hours left... you guys want to play Capulet City Monopoly?"
It's so odd, seeing everyone's heads shoot in Kyrie's direction. She laughs sheepishly, offering an awkward smile. She knows exactly what happened the last time everyone played. "No way, Dante cheated last time." Lady quips.
"Well, I--I was thinking you'd be the banker this time," Kyrie, though talking to Lady it seems, is staring at you. "You don't have to play. Just... make sure no one cheats. You're an impartial third party, you know?"
You smile. "Of course."
Capulet City Monopoly, you find, is monumentally intense.
You can't let the bank out of your sight for a single second, lest someone try and embezzle - you've caught even Vergil attempting to do this towards the end of the game, when the sun starts to set from how long you've been playing and everyone is at least two to five drinks in. The three boys have resigned to their fate of watching the adults go completely and utterly feral, more amused with how they get so serious when playing such a dumb game.
With only Vergil, Dante, and Trish left, the others have parted to either watch or do other things; Kyrie relieves you from banking duty knowing that Dante wouldn't dare cross her. "Hey, where's your bathroom?"
Kyrie points to a small, open archway behind the couch. "Straight back. Door to the left is our bedroom, the right is the boys'. Stairs go up to the attic, but that's Nico's space."
You nod and do just that - Vergil seems content to try and steal a property card that Dante owns so he can get a monopoly on the most expensive part of the board, and doesn't notice your departure. You use the bathroom, wash your hands, and exhale; today has been more that satisfactory. Nero seems more welcoming than he ever has, Vergil isn't upset that you're here, and there hasn't been any truly awkward moments. Perhaps being called a grandparent at your age, but it's endearing. At least you won't have to wait.
You leave the bathroom expecting to get back to the game at hand and back up Kyrie - instead, you're met with Nero yet again blocking your path. "Can we talk?" He asks, though it doesn't sound any more like a question than it does like a statement. He gestures to the stairs to the attic and you sit on one while he sits on another sideways. "I--I want to, uh,"
"You don't have to do this, you know."
"I don't have to, but I... I need to. And I'm only doing this because I'm drunk and I don't have the capacity to regret right now." You snort softly, leaning forward to listen. "I just. I wanted to apologize, for how I acted some months ago. And, well, up until this point."
"For, you know, being an asshole." He keeps his voice low as he speaks, so as to not alert the rest of the family outside, nor the boys that are making their way in and out of the living room and their room. "It's just, I didn't know either of 'em my entire life, and--"
"Typical step-parent stuff, I know, Nero, don't worry." You extend a hand out to touch his shoulder and instead receive the top of his head. It's hard not to card your fingers through it affectionately. "I came into this not expecting you to be so open to it in the first place. It's hard. Not only am I seemingly a replacement, but I'm a replacement for someone you never even got to know in the first place. It's a pretty big pair of shoes to fill."
Nero scoffs. "You got that right."
"So I came into this when I found out knowing you wouldn't be happy at first, or at all. I'm... absolutely ecstatic about the sudden shift. You mind if I ask what changed?"
Nero shrugs, leaning until his cheek rests against your knee. Your hand slips from his hair to his other cheek to comfort him; you have a feeling he's about to open up more than he expects. "I... I don't know... I just--I saw how you and Vergil were earlier and. I guess it finally clicked that you're not going anywhere." He pauses. "Wait, that sounded awful, I'm sorry."
You pat his cheek. "All good. You can try again, though, if you feel the need to."
"Alright," Nero pauses to collect his thoughts, shifting again so that he can rest an arm across your knee as well. "I guess I just realized how much love I saw between--" he burps, "between you two and. And how happy you made him, and he made you, and I didn't want to keep fucking that up anymore."
"You weren't fucking it up in the first place, Nero," You lean over so he'll look you in the eye - he turns so that he can, the nape of his neck against your knee now as he looks up at you. "It was never any source of conflict between us. I mean, Vergil's terrified of disappointing you and Kyrie, but that has nothing to do with me. That's the only 'conflict' we have between us regarding you. Vergil knew you'd be unforgiving, and I knew it wasn't my place to force you to get used to me. You have to understand that. I thought I'd made it clear, but, I guess not as well as I'd hoped."
Nero sits up then, parting from your hand as it falls back into your own lap - he scratches at the back of his head and grimaces. "You--You really mean it? You're not like, upset? Like not really?"
"I'm not upset in the slightest. I'm only mildly upset it took you so long to realize I wasn't going to force your hand." You offer him a kind smile.
You don't expect to receive a hug in return.
Nero lunges forward and for a moment, you think he's going to do something he regrets - but he does nothing of the sort as two warm and rather strong arms wrap around your midsection as best they can from his lower position. He rests his head on your shoulder and all you can do is hug him back, pulling your arms around his neck. "I--I don't expect you to call me any parental names, either. Actually, I think it'd be kind of weird. But you can call me whatever you want, and I'll be whatever you want me to be. Friend, step-parent. That crazy person your dad is dating that's absolutely head over heels in love with him. You know, normal stuff."
The grip around your midsection tightens - Nero begins to bounce in your arms, and you mistake it for laughter; you're half-right as he pulls away. Even in the darkened stairway, you can see the way Nero's eyes glisten with tears. He must be more drunk than he originally let on with the way he sniffles and pulls you into a second hug. "Right," he whispers, "normal stuff."
"You get what I mean, you shithead," You nudge your head against his playfully, not at all calling out the way he's crying because the more you notice, you're starting to tear up too. "I know our family's never going to be normal." Our.
"Our family... Shit, that's so... so fucking weird to hear," Nero mutters through his own tears. He finally pulls away - you don't say anything even as you watch the way he blatantly wipes his tears away with bare hands. "I--I never thought I'd have a family again." You lean over to help wipe the tears away and find that he's trying to do the same to you. "I, I only ever had Kyrie and--" Nero pauses for a long moment, shaking his head. "I only ever had Kyrie growing up. And then Dante, too. But now I have two parents, an uncle, several aunts, practically a sister, and a girlfriend that--that I want to marry."
"It's overwhelming, isn't it?" You offer, pulling him into a third hug to comfort him. "Is that why it took you so long to accept me in your life?"
Nero's quiet, "Yeah," breaks your heart, but not in the way you think it should. You aren't at all upset. "You being with Pops just. It made it all too real."
You take a stab at trying to help Nero find his words. "And you didn't think you deserved it, did you?" He nods. "Well, you do. Vergil--Your father's told me so much about all the things you've done. All the good you've done. And you know what?"
"What?" Nero sniffles and shifts away as he fixes his sweater.
"It's about damn time something good happened to you for once. That's the way I see it, anyway. Vergil had his happy ending, or, well, we're working towards that. You deserve yours."
Nero nods along, agreeing completely. "I... I do."
"Yes you do." You reach up and pat his cheek with your palm, standing up. "We should probably get back to everyone else before, before Dante sets off a nuke..." Nero agrees again and he stands and wipes his eyes off the best he can. He knows he'll regret this in the morning, when he's sober and he realizes just how vulnerable he made himself, but for now, he's never been happier. And with your words, he knows exactly what he's going to do the moment he comes into money again.
Cliche as it is, as soon as your words leave your mouth, you hear an evil, "Dante," and need say nothing more to Nero as you both part from the stairs to see what the hell is going on.
The two of you, along with Kyrie, Trish, Lady, the three boys, and Nico, get to witness as Dante begrudgingly lets his head fall low. "I'm. I've gone bankrupt. You uh..." His voice goes quiet.
You look to Nero as you realize that no, what you heard was not anger from Vergil, but triumph. He inhales deeply from where he sits against the sectional, and get to witness alongside everyone else in the house as Vergil's lips curl into the biggest smile you've ever seen. "I have won, brother."
There's nothing quite like the quiet bonding between you and Nero as you take his hand, absolutely stunned to see Vergil so openly burst into laughter. Your eyes shift from Vergil's shaking form as he slips down the front of the sectional and onto the floor, to where Nero is looking right back at you. It seems neither Dante nor he have seen Vergil this way - only you.
You squeeze Nero's hand, offering him a big grin; it seems that you, he, and Vergil are on the same wavelength as all at once you say the same, single phrase.
"Suck it, Dante!"