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The Scent of Lilies After Rainfall

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Delsin had grown fond of Seattle. The hipsters, the coffee houses, the Space Needle. By now he knew every inch of this city, every side street, every rooftop. He loved the city when it was sunny and welcoming, but he loved it when it was rainy and trying to get rid of the unworthy too. Which, granted, was a lot of the time.

He loved simply roaming it, exploring the art that popped up everywhere - not just his, though of course little paralleled his own. He loved the anonymity on the streets, and the familiarity if you went to the right places. And he especially loved the cold. It seemed that even though he was basically a power sponge, smoke was his primary power, the one most ingrained in him, and the one he was most familiar with, but it also meant he was almost constantly hot. And that didn’t just mean his looks.

 

After everything he had been through in this city, he just hadn’t been able to leave. Eugene, Fetch and he had found a wonderful small house for them. Though the city tried to be modern, it still had houses like this, almost… quaint, hidden in a side street.  

Eugene had claimed it looked like the house from ‘Up’, and the two of them had stared and mocked that he had seen that movie, but by doing that they had revealed that they had, too. In the end, when their house had been furnished with the bare necessities, they had ended up watching it. First night. First movie.

 

There had been so many firsts in that house.

 

The first time he had broken down thinking about Reggie, the first time Eugene had successfully explained to Delsin what he was working on, the first time Fetch had laughed so hard that milk came out of her nose.

 

It was a good house, and they had healed here, from loss, from addiction, from neglect.

 

Of course it hadn’t stayed looking like the house from that movie. They all brought their little additions to it. Delsin snuck a few Akomish things here and there, a blanket, a dreamcatcher, he was closer to that part of him now and wanted it to show. Fetch was excellent at finding the most comfortable things at flea markets, she had been the one to get their dark red couch and the green armchair. The piles of pillows and blankets she assembled served them well when the heating broke down again and none of them had remembered to get wood for the fireplace. Body heat helped during that time, and Delsin’s powers, too. Eugene, interestingly enough, was the one who kept insisting on keeping them together. While not the best cook, he would always get them to sit down in the evenings, Fetch and Delsin always returning - sometimes barely in time - from whatever it was they were up to. It had become a ritual Delsin now sorely missed.

 

Delsin sighed as he walked down the all too familiar road to his usual coffee place. While his notoriety had dropped a little in the years since he had defeated Augustine, the people there still knew him well. A few in the city still did too, and people weren’t that surprised anymore when he revealed his powers. Generally, at least in Seattle, the opinion on Conduits had certainly become a better one. Delsin liked to think that he had been part of that, and would certainly brag about it if it came up.

 

So good was their opinion, in fact, that Eugene and Fetch had found their own ways.

 

They didn’t need him to take care of them anymore. Didn’t need his money, not that he had ever had much of it, or his guidance.

 

Eugene was off developing software for some big company, Delsin couldn’t remember, but he knew that the kid was doing what he loved. Last they had talked he had even had his first date. Delsin had to grin at the panic, at the way he had tried to talk him through the steps to a successful date. But in the end he just needed to be himself, Eugene had come so far since they had first met in that basement.

 

Fetch had gone all the way to New York now, helping to open up a shelter for Conduits. People who had the same problems she had, drugs, alcohol, homelessness, whatever it was, there were people now that helped. And she was unique, and strong, Delsin knew she was perfect for the job.

 

It didn’t stop him from missing them.

 

He tried to be more involved with his tribe, went to see Betty on a regular basis, and she in turn came to visit him in the city, too. But every time he went back to that house, covered in darkness, he felt lonely.

 

And he couldn’t call Reggie anymore to change that. Couldn’t meet him, or annoy him, nothing. No matter how much he got into trouble, he wasn’t there to get him out of it anymore. Of course now it was easier for him to do that himself but he still got those moments where he expected his brother to walk in, fuming because of what he had done. He never did and the slow realization overcoming Delsin in those moments still hurt.

 

The image of his brother falling into the water below them haunted him. The way the concrete had slowly covered his entire body and he wondered what had killed him. Suffocation? The impact, or did he drown?

 

“Real fucking cheery thoughts there, Delsin”, he muttered to himself, pulling up the collar of his jacket a bit further. The rain was especially cruel today, the cold went straight through his jacket, and even his beanie couldn’t help him stay warm. His powers didn’t always work, but today he suspected it was himself sabotaging him. Of course he felt guilty, if it hadn’t been for him, his brother would still be alive. That feeling would never go away, he just had to learn to live with it.



His thoughts were temporarily silenced, and Delsin was grateful for the distraction the figure on the roof in front of him provided. A man, black hair, that much he could make out. No one besides him was usually on roofs like that, he used them to escape, or to get a shortcut to his home.This was definitely not a maintenance worker, or anyone else who could have business on the roofs. So who was he? Delsin needed to find out.

 

The day could still be interesting.

 

He was still fully charged, had even wrapped the chain around his arm before he left - for some reason he had felt he needed to, today. It always made him feel safer.

Delsin had to grin as he charged, changing his form to swiftly move through the vent and onto the rooftop. He stumbled a little on his landing, he hadn’t done this in a while.

 

The smoke needed a few moments to clear, but the rain helped with that. It revealed a slim man, a bit taller than him with short black hair… and a giant sword in his hands, ready to strike at any moment. He had startled him, yes, but he seemed more annoyed than scared and suddenly he was on Delsin, slashing at him with the sword.

 

“Whoa there, slow down!”, he yelled, only barely managing to block the slash with his chain. He had rolled off some of it, one end around his arm, the other in his hand, and thankfully it was strong enough to not be cut in half. The sword was still dangerously close and he crossed his eyes to glare at it.  

 

He had never seen a Conduit with a sword like that but there were many types of powers he hadn’t seen yet. And he had to be a Conduit because now the sword was changing into some sort of scythe, a blue glow around it. Again the man slashed at him, but now he was moving with a grace he hadn’t shown before.

 

“Hey man I’m sorry I startled you”, Delsin said, trying again to make him stop. But again he had to dodge a slash, hitting the blade with his chain. “I didn’t come here to fight.”

 

“Yeah right, demon scum.”

 

Demon? That insult was new.

 

Once  more the man’s weapon changed, this time into a sort of huge flippin axe and he had to blast it with some smoke to get it out of the way. That was close. That had almost been his fucking leg. Now he was getting angry. He was trying to apologize here, what the hell?

 

“Er, the term is ‘Conduit’, if you please”, he made finger quotes around it just to get his point across. “No demons around here.”

 

The guy seemed to hesitate. Maybe not all was lost.

 

Except it was when he suddenly pulled out guns. Two of them, pointing them at Delsin.

 

“Oh just give me a break”, he mumbled as he sped forwards. His body exploded into smoke as he did so, making sure he wouldn’t get hit. Just before he reached the guy he assembled himself again, the momentum making his punch so hard that he managed to split the man’s lip open.

 

Immediately he brought space between them.

 

“Now I didn’t wanna do that, but you kind of left me no choice”, he said. Delsin raised up his hands, not too much though, in case this fight wasn’t over. His chain was still unrolled, the tip of it dragging over the rooftop. Looking at the guy, he seemed ready to jump right back in, despite the blood on his lower lip.

 

“Nice shot.” The guy was actually grinning at him now, finger lightly tracing his bloodied lip. “Not easy to hit me.”

 

Before he could do anything however, their little spat was interrupted. Well, Delsin thought, what had the guy called him before? A demon? If anything was a demon around here, it was that. It just came out of the floor, too, all big, fat, covered in a weird metal? Instead of hands it had just huge fists with spikes sticking out.

 

If Delsin knew one thing, it was that he couldn’t let this get loose on the city. It looked like it could topple the Space Needle, and he liked that place! He threw a smoke bomb at it, not wanting to lose any time. It didn’t have the desired effect however, it didn’t get stunned at all and instead charged. It seemed he had to get out the big guns, he just hoped that he had enough energy for it.

 

For a split second it seemed the guy, now to his right, was about to attack him again. But he had just turned to see that they were both ready to fight.

 

“On his back”, he said before stepping forward, still with the huge axe in his hand. He was distracting it. Giving Delsin enough time to phase behind it, and he realised what he had meant. The spine, it was different, and definitely looked like the vulnerable spot. Very convenient.

 

A cinder blast was just the right thing for it.

 

The thing still was all about attacking the man, so Delsin’s first attack hit spot on. But then it turned, and he didn’t manage to dodge in time. The fist hit him face first, and while he soared through the air he was grateful for accelerated healing, but he still knew this was going to suck. His head hitting the concrete roof knocked the air out of him, and he simply knew that his energy was drained now. Smoke. Neon. Anything.

 

“Ow, my pretty face…” He hoped he wouldn’t retain a scar, but so far his healing had always prevented that from happening.

 

Delsin was startled when he noticed that the other Conduit was right on top of him now, his sword up in a protective position.

 

Protecting him? After their fight before?

 

In any case, he was close now, Delsin just had to reach out, sneak his hand under his jeans and… Nothing. Were his powers broken again? Did he actually reach a limit? He hadn’t tried to get any more powers since Augustine, it had never mattered before but why now of all times?

 

“What are you doing? Get up!”, the guy yelled as he parried another blow. Delsin could practically see the bones vibrate beneath those lanky muscles and only now did he realize that the man must have lost his coat at some point. Whatever he was, it couldn’t be human. No human would still be standing after that.

 

Right. Standing.

 

Delsin did so, only slightly shaking, only slightly nauseous. There was a neon sign nearby, bless Seattle for its obsession with it. He’d feel better once he had absorbed it.

He reached out, concentrating as he usually did, except with a bit more urgency. The fight was still going on, but he immediately felt better, his head was clearer now. Running behind the thing was easy now, he was fast like this, his surroundings blurring for a moment. But he took his time focusing his laser, letting it run down the thing’s entire spine, until finally, at its bottom, it exploded.

 

Actually, truly exploded.

 

Delsin was stunned into silence for a moment, whereas the guy just put his sword on his back and… it vanished. He had to be a Conduit, why didn’t his powers work on him?

 

“That was….”, Delsin took a deep breath. “Awesome! What the hell was that thing?”

 

He dared to come closer now, really taking the man opposite him in as he picked up his coat to put it back on. He had to be freezing in that thin top, and the coat didn’t look made for winter, either.

 

“A demon”, he simply said, but he was grinning, too. Delsin could tell he enjoyed this, fighting, in general. He knew the feeling all too well. The rush he felt right now was one of his favourite feelings in the world. Reggie would have scolded him if he had ever admitted that to his brother.

 

“And you thought I was a demon, before?”, Delsin pressed a hand to his chest in an attempt to look offended. “I am hurt, deeply hurt. Am I not too handsome to be a demon?”

 

“Well, yes, but you got that whole smoke thing going on. Better safe than sorry.”

 

“A sound logic. Sorry about that whole lip thing, by the way”, he gestured to his own lip. “I’m Delsin by the way.”

 

“Dante.”

 

“Wait your name is Dante… and you fight demons? Are you serious?” That had to be coincidence, or maybe he had changed his name after fighting demons for the first time?

 

“Uh… yes.” Dante seemed pretty confused. Like he didn’t actually know the story of Dante’s Inferno. Though Delsin supposed that could happen, it just seemed too much of a stretch.

 

“Well then…”, he hesitated for a moment, the silence between them a little awkward. “How about I make it up to you with a coffee? It’s the least I can do.”

 

Delsin had to admit he was curious.

 

Why had Dante been up here? Was that a normal demon fighting place? And why hadn’t his powers worked on him? Perhaps he could try again because, man, those swords looked amazing. He wanted that.

 

“Yeah sure.” The answer came quickly, but Dante looked just as disinterested as he had done before. He went to pick up his - very small - bag that was close to the ledge where he had sat before.

 

There was a nagging suspicion in the back of Delsin’s mind, but it couldn’t quite take form yet. Apart from the demon thing, there was definitely something odd about this guy.

 

Maybe it was the way he just went to jump off the roof, landing on the sidewalk in front of it.

 

Even Delsin had to slow his descent. What a show off. At least he looked far more gracious and impressive, the pink neon lights emitted from his hands swirling around him.

 

“For someone that fast this took you a surprisingly long time.” The grin on Dante’s face was one he had seen a lot in the mirror. Cocky.

 

“Well not everyone’s a show off like you apparently.” Which was of course a huge lie. Delsin loved to show off. And he knew how amazing it looked when he absorbed energy. He hoped Dante had seen that.

 

“We getting coffee or what?”

 

“Right this way”, Delsin nudged his head to the left. He had been on his way there anyway, just made a little detour. Oddly enough, he felt better now. He wasn’t thinking about his brother anymore. Well, mostly he wasn’t thinking about his brother. What he did think about were those shoulders he had seen before, Dante was nice to look at from all angles it seemed.

 

It was a short walk, but still he noticed Dante relaxing as soon as the warm air of the coffee shop hit them. Delsin loved the smell, not just of coffee, but of the spices they used in their baked goods. It was a small place, one among the many in Seattle, but it was his.

 

“The usual”, he told the barista. It was was Jenny today. “Twice.”

 

“What, I don’t get a muffin?” Dante’s cocky grin was still there, and Delsin let his gaze wander along his bare shoulder, where his coat had slipped off. He was certainly attractive, and he knew it.

 

“Fine. And a muffin.” Delsin quickly glanced over the ones in the display, choosing the biggest one. “That one.”

 

“Coming right up!”, Jenny said with her usual perkiness.

 

The sharp rain had let most people stay inside their homes today, it seemed. The place was almost deserted, but it meant Delsin’s favourite spot was free: The two big armchairs near the window, drops of rain blurring the view. He loved watching the streets as he sat there, big, steaming mug of coffee in front of him, sketching when he was in the mood, planning where he’d put up his next tag.

 

The ones here in Seattle always got taken down after a few weeks. But the one of his brother, near the Akomish long house, was still there. He didn’t know how they managed that, but he was grateful. Delsin still needed it there.

 

He cursed himself for not bringing a sketchbook, or a notebook, anything, really. Looking at Dante made him want to draw, though he wasn’t quite sure what. He had a pen though, and soon enough a napkin was covered in doodles. His hands had moved on their own and after a while he was looking at a few demons, not ugly ones like the one they had fought, but beautiful ones. He made a mental note to explore that idea further. The napkin was too small for the leathery wings he had the urge to draw.

 

“You’re pretty decent at that”, Dante said. Why was he frowning at his sketches like that?

 

“Decent, please.” Delsin twirled the pen between his finger. “I am awesome. That over there. I did that.”

 

He pointed across the street, where he had tagged the building. Of course he had, he loved watching people react to it. This one was a particular favourite of his. A blue eagle, breaking free of its constraints, spreading its wings to freedom.

 

Dante looked at it wistfully. As if he understood what Delsin had tried to convey with it, and craved it.

 

And here Delsin had thought the sadness was over for today.

 

It didn’t take long for their coffee to arrive, since they were the only two of four customers in here. But as Dante reached out for his muffin Delsin leaned in, quickly taking his hand in his own. Still, there was nothing. Why?

He turned the hand, traced the lines on it, but when he lifted it up to his cheek Dante finally pulled away.

 

“What the hell are you doing?”, he asked as he leaned back in his chair, muffin in hand. For a split second he looked like he was starved, like he hadn’t eaten in days, but then the moment was gone, and he was eating normally.

 

“That’s my power. I’m basically a power sponge but it doesn’t work with you, I just don’t get it.”

 

“I really have no idea what you’re talking about.” Dante just raised an eyebrow, but hummed in appreciation as the piece of muffin was finally in his mouth. Delsin had to grin, he could remember his first time in this place.

 

“You, me, the whole Conduit business?”, Delsin asked, gesturing between them, not sure if he was pretending to be ignorant or if he really was. Maybe he didn’t know what he was, but it had gotten so much media attention lately, how could he not? “So what’s your power exactly? Swords?”

 

“I’m not a Conduit. Whatever that is.” Dante was almost done with his muffin now, and Delsin was amazed at how quickly it was gone. Now it was the coffee’s turn. It was fun watching this, because despite Dante’s disinterested demeanor, Delsin could tell he deeply enjoyed this. How long had he even sat out there in the cold?

 

“Well, what are you then?”

 

“Does it matter? Thanks for the coffee.” Dante was about to get up. Delsin could practically see the walls that had sprung up around him. Something had happened, and he didn’t let anything close.

 

But he was worried. Why was he worried?

 

“You got a place to stay in Seattle?”, Delsin asked quickly, before Dante could vanish.

 

“No, I’m just passing through.” Dante drained the rest of his coffee. Every last drop. There were two kinds of people who did that: coffee addicts, and people who never got anything nice. He had a feeling which one Dante was.

 

“You could stay at my place.” He wasn’t quite sure why he offered, but there it was anyway. He had enough space in the house, that certainly wasn’t the problem. “For tonight.”

 

Delsin added the last bit because he didn’t want to seem too forward. Or maybe he wanted himself to be safe, he wasn’t quite sure. There was simply something about Dante… Something he had seen in Fetch and Eugene, something that needed to be taken care of so it could heal.

 

Dante hesitated for a moment, looking him up and down and he could understand. They had just met, had fought a demon, sure, but Dante was the one who didn’t seem at all phased by it. He must have done it before and Delsin didn’t want to think about the implications it brought with it. He had enough trouble in his life, he didn’t need demons, too.

 

“Okay”, Dante said eventually. No thanks, nothing. Odd.

 

The house was basically just around the corner, but by now Delsin wasn’t even surprised anymore at how much trouble he could get into in such a short time. He always had a knack for it, and superpowers didn’t exactly lessen that particular talent. This time, however, trouble seemed to stay away.

 

“I’m not exactly the best when it comes to cleaning up.” Delsin let his keys fall into the dish next to the door, trusting Dante to close it behind him. “But I can offer uh, lemme see, tea. Look here’s a clean mu- whoa!”

 

When he turned around Delsin had a full view of a shirtless Dante, his bag discarded to his side, along with his coat and top. He strode up to him, and Delsin was just completely in shock. How had that happened, and so quickly? Why was he kneeling in front of him and oh shit now he was working on his jeans.

 

“What are you doing, stop!” In his frenzy Delsin took a step backwards, making Dante stumble a little. He almost seemed angry now.

 

“What, you don’t want it?” His hands were still on Delsin’s jeans. Finger still underneath the waistband. Touching skin, so close to…

 

Delsin shook his head, trying to get rid of the image of Dante’s lips around his cock, him desperately grasping that shock of black hair as he’d come in his mouth.

 

Oh hello there, gay thoughts, haven’t seen you in a while.

 

Boy did he want it.

 

“This isn’t why I asked you here. You basically saved my life from that thing this is just me saying thanks.”

 

The heat, Dante’s fingers, were gone.

 

He had to admit, some part of him regretted doing that. Dante was attractive, incredibly so and it had been a while for Delsin. Not that it was hard for him to get some, but having this gorgeous man in front of him, on his knees even, that was hard to resist.

But the same feeling that had told him to invite him here in the first place told him this was taking advantage. He wasn’t that big of a dick.

 

Though his dick was thinking other things apparently.  

 

Dante stood, towering over Delsin now, but awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck.

 

“I just…”

 

Delsin knew. He just thought that’s what he wanted, what he had expected. He had a feeling why that was.

 

“Hey, man, don’t worry about it”, Delsin tried to defuse the situation, the awkwardness threatening to creep up between them. “You still hungry? I can make something. I’m starved, actually.”

 

“I, yes. I would like that.” The cockiness he had seen flashing up earlier was gone now as Dante stooped to pick up his top. Delsin knew what kind of a person would offer this on a first meeting.

 

“Just uh, make yourself at home.” He waved into the general direction of the couch, and crossed over the hall into the kitchen. There wasn’t a door between the two rooms, they were only separated by the hallway leading upstairs, but once he started to work, he couldn’t really hear what Dante might be up to over there.

 

Delsin was actually a pretty good cook. Meals with Fetch and Eugene had honed his skills, and he had tried out more complicated recipes over time until the two of them had finally given up on helping him, only chopping the occasional vegetables. He hadn’t known he had such a maternal instinct inside him, but cooking like this… meant taking care of them, and that was the most important thing. He had promised himself he wouldn’t lose anyone else, wouldn’t fail anyone else as he had done Reggie. And somehow in the back of his mind, cooking a hearty meal prevented that.

 

There were still some meatballs leftover from last night, as Delsin still tended to cook too much, always somehow expecting Fetch would come rushing in, apologizing for being late. Or Eugene to come down the stairs, having been lost in his work. He knew they weren’t gone forever, and it was easy to pick up the phone but it simply wasn’t the same.

 

“Focus, Delsin”, he mumbled to himself. That’s what he did. Letting the movements of making pasta and a sauce take over. He knew all of this by heart, but today he chopped the onions extra fine, took pains in picking just the right spices. He wouldn’t let himself be sad again.

 

He put as much pasta, as many meatballs onto the plate as was possible, he had a feeling Dante would need it.

 

But when he came back into the living room, he froze.

 

Dante was curled up on the couch, the quilt with traditional Akomish designs halfway dragged over him, asleep. His boots neatly placed in front of the couch, next to his pitiful bag and his folded coat.

 

Something deep inside him constricted. As he stepped closer he could see how deep the rings under Dante’s eyes were, how pale he was. What had happened to him, how long had he been on the run?

Because all the signs pointed to it. Dante was on the run, from something, or someone, and Delsin had the urge to protect him. Maybe he just missed doing it, but there was certainly something about him. Something that maybe reminded him of himself.

 

He leaned down to drag the quilt further up so it would cover Dante’s shoulders, hoping the designs on it held what they promised: protection. From bad dreams, from whatever he was running from. Just keep him safe, he thought.

 

Among all that black hair there was a little bit of white, just at the back of Dante’s head and the image of a skunk came to his mind. He had to smile. It was a weird spot, if he had done it himself, though Delsin couldn’t explain how something like this could occur naturally.

 

What was natural anymore though? He could control smoke, neon, video, maybe even more and Dante had magical swords at his disposal.

 

Demons. Don’t forget the demons, Delsin thought, and had to groan though he slapped a hand over his mouth as to not wake Dante up. He looked like he really needed that sleep.

How was it though, that with all he got up to, he had never fought demons? Apparently they just showed up at random, and with his knack for getting into trouble he felt like he should have seen one long ago. But he was a little grateful for that, and hoped that today was the last time. Remembering made his cheek hurt again.

 

Delsin sighed. Whatever this, whatever Dante was, he would have to figure that out some other time. It didn’t seem like he would wake up any time soon, and he was happy to let him have that. For some reason he trusted him, and so Delsin left for his own bed, making sure the plate of food was covered and in view for the sleeping figure. It wasn’t like there was much here that Dante could steal, financially Delsin was okay-ish off, at least that’s what he thought. He still had trouble with organizing it sometimes but so far no one had come to repossess his things so that was always a good sign.

 

As he was lying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling above him and the night sky he had painted on it, Delsin promised himself he would at least try to help Dante. He had no idea if he would let him, as he was essentially a stranger, but Delsin knew that he could help. Start by putting a roof over his head, and some decent clothes on him. The walls he had seen spring up earlier would be tough to get down, it would definitely need time for that to happen. But Delsin could be patient, if he needed to be, and Dante had managed to elicit that protective streak from deep within him.

 

But he had a feeling that he could do this, that he could be the one to help him. Perhaps Delsin was entirely wrong about that, but he just couldn’t shake the thought.

 

The fighting had exhausted him enough so that he fell asleep immediately, but his nervous nature still made him wake up early. He grinned. The sun hadn’t risen yet and there were stencils in Fetch’s old room that he had prepared. Now was the perfect time to get some art done. He had an obligation to the city after all. It did look terrible without his amazing skills.

 

Stencils under his arm, spray can in his belt, tape in hand, he froze once more as he walked past the living room.

 

Dante was still there. Still asleep. He had half expected him to sneak out in the middle of the night, it just seemed like something he would do. But he was definitely relieved, and he hoped he’d still be here when he returned. If he was truly this exhausted, he might even be. This shouldn’t take long, he had a plan.

 

Then again, when did anything, ever, go according to plan?

 

Delsin scribbled a note on a piece of paper, hoping it would be enough to keep Dante here, and snuck out into the darkness.

 

 

Chapter Text

Dante slowly blinked his eyes open. He was lying on something soft and he was warm and comfortable, which could only mean that something was very, very wrong. He looked around the dark room, needing a few more moment to realize where he was.

 

Delsin.

 

The hipster with the beanie had invited him into his home, had offered him a place to stay and had asked… nothing in return, hadn’t even mocked him when he was on his knees before him. This was an entirely new concept to Dante and he still didn’t quite understand it.

It couldn’t be that Delsin wanted nothing. Maybe he just waited until Dante was really in his debt, and then reveal whatever it was. It didn’t matter at the moment, he was alone here, perhaps he had the chance to leave before that happened.

 

The plate on the coffee table in front of him drew his attention. As he removed the lid he was greeted by the smell of spices he couldn’t name and the sight of meatballs made his mouth water. When had he eaten last? It was definitely before he had snuck onto the bus that eventually led him to Seattle.

 

His hunger overtook him, and he dug in, practically inhaling the entire plate. Dante didn’t care that it was cold, this was the best thing he had ever tasted in his entire life. Which wasn’t true, not really, but at the moment it seemed like that to him.

Only when he had licked the rest of the tomato sauce off the plate did he notice the note that had been next to it. It had been scribbled hastily, and so Dante needed quite a long while to decipher its meaning. Delsin’s messy, flowing script certainly didn’t help, and he was almost about to give up when he noticed the little drawing the guy had done of himself. It was basically just his head, in a cartoon style, but with the beanie it was unmistakingly Delsin. Smiling, with a soft blush on his cheeks. Dante had to grin, this was silly, but it made him take a shot at reading the note once more. It was short, at least, and he could guess most of the words.

 

Out for some mischief

Make yourself at home, just clean up the plate

Be back soon

Delsin

 

Right. The plate. Dante almost felt guilty for not having considered cleaning up. But he did so now, and while he had no plans to stay until Delsin returned, he figured it couldn’t hurt to shower. He had no idea when he would have the chance next, so the risk was definitely worth it.

 

The hot water felt good against him. It untangled some of the knots in his back’s muscles, the ones he tended to have all the time now, from sitting in buses or trains for hours on end. He had started running a while back, and he hadn’t stopped since. Couldn’t even if he wanted to. There was nothing left for him, not anywhere and he couldn’t even tell himself what might happen if he stopped to think. What he might do.  

 

A sudden urge to hurry overcame him, so he dried himself off quickly, putting on the last of his clean tops. Somehow he had to get more, or money for a laundromat. He had no idea how, but that had never stopped him in the past. Somehow, he always managed.

Dante was about to rush down the stairs to flee when the wall in front of him caught his eye. It was covered in pictures of Delsin, a pink haired woman, a nerd with glasses and another guy with dark skin and hair. The way Delsin seemed to act around the last one, and their similar features, Dante figured he was his brother. The others though… best friends? Roommates? Some of the pictures had been taken in this house, but Dante hadn’t seen anyone else here.

 

Suddenly he was curious.

 

There were three other rooms up here, aside from the bathroom, and Dante picked the one closest to it, on the left side of the staircase. It was almost entirely empty. A bed was still here, and a few bare computer towers, with not a lot in them. Not that Dante could tell, really, he had never even used a computer before, let alone did he know what needed to be inside one.

 

There was a window to his left that let him look outside. The sun had risen now, and despite the cold, despite the emptiness of the room, he felt a little calmer now. Something still lingered here. This had been a home.

 

Not much else was here, so Dante walked to the next room, past the railing around the staircase. This one, Dante guessed, belonged to the girl. Not because it was that girly per se but this room was deserted, too, just a bit of clutter here besides a bed. The dust covering the shelf to his right told him that it had been like this for quite some time.

 

He leaned back against the door. In the pictures everyone had looked so happy. Laughing, cooking together in that kitchen downstairs. Why were they gone?

But Dante knew only too well that things, no matter how good they seemed, could always turn sour. People were selfish and they’d leave if there was something better out there. Or once they were done using you.

 

The last room had to be Delsin’s. He hesitated only for a moment before entering, because by now he was led by his curiosity, making him turn the door knob and step inside.

 

This was… sort of exactly what he had expected. Delsin’s room was messy, his clothes were strewn on the floor, over a chair, on the bed, and it almost seemed like the closet - which was still open - wasn’t holding the majority of it. His bed was huge and - Dante tested it - comfortable.

Dante would be glad to have a single pillow when he slept, but Delsin had at least ten of them on his bed, a large one to the side and he could just imagine the guy snuggling up to it while he slept. Or maybe he was a messy sleeper, moving all the time, and, yes, there were indeed a few pillows that had fallen from the bed.

There were even more pictures on the nightstand here, more of that dark haired guy, and Delsin’s ex roommates. But also of a group of people with darker skin, in what looked like a long house. Most prominent was the picture of an elderly lady, who looked Native American too, and only now did Dante realize that’s what Delsin had to be. He might have seen some signs about a reservation nearby, but he hadn’t really paid any attention to it, and couldn’t name the tribe. He had other things on his mind but now he regretted it because, and he couldn’t tell why, he wanted to know more about this person.

 

However, Delsin’s artist side was still the most prominent feature in the room. The place wasn’t just covered in clothes, but also in sketches. Detailed ones that made Dante hold his breath, the pink haired girl and the guy with the nerdy glasses depicted like angels lifting Delsin from what looked like a swamp. But also rough ones, half finished ideas or instructions for his tags, location ideas, there was just so much. Dante would need days to go through all of it, and he had half a mind to do so. This was fascinating.

There was an easel here too, but at the moment all the canvases here were empty. But Delsin had worked here, Dante could tell from the splashes of paint on the floor and the wall behind it. On the chair next to it there was a color palette, the paint on it dried and unusable. But there were cans of spraypaint here too, along with what looked like chalk and other things Dante had never seen before. Delsin seemed to be a man of many talents, and from what he had seen he wasn’t surprised that didn’t focus on just one discipline, but tried out whatever he could get his fingers on.

 

The posters on the walls were of bands Dante had never heard of, but then he figured that was the point. He didn’t understand all this hipster stuff, but things like this weren’t important to him. Not when he was hard pressed to even find a place to sleep for the night.

 

Dante almost didn’t want to leave this room, but he forced himself to anyway. It was no use getting attached to anything. And he hardly knew the guy, he could turn out to be an asshole at any moment. The thought made him feel not so bad about taking a red flannel shirt that was hanging over the chair here. After sniffing it and deciding that it was still clean, he stuffed it into his bag and made his way downstairs again. He hadn’t really looked around here yet.

 

His fingers were twitching. He should leave, right now if at all possible, why wasn’t he? Why was he dropping his bag again, making his way slowly through the living room? This was crazy, there was nothing keeping him here.

He found himself folding the quilt he had been sleeping under, at least something nice that he could do, but soon enough he was distracted again. Even more pictures of the mantlepiece, Delsin really seemed to like candid shots, here was the pink haired girl shooting a laser beam like Dante had seen yesterday, while giving the camera a thumbs up. Another one of the nerdy kid, projecting a huge persona above him, almost like a demon. He looked different like this, not as shy as he had done in other pictures, but confident.

There was a TV next to the fireplace, but it was small and dusty, therefore rarely used. Dante could understand it too well. He never had the chance to do it much, and when he had he just hadn’t seen the appeal. At least with a game he was in control - which he had only played in malls as a kid until he was thrown out - he couldn’t stand just sitting back and doing nothing. But that was his survival instinct taking over. If he was just sitting around he wasn’t getting any food or money, and during the wrong days that could mean bad things.

 

The kitchen took up the entire right side of the house, but its counters only lined the walls near the entrance and made room halfway to a huge table, enough space there to seat about ten people. From what Dante had seen in the pictures they had eaten here regularly, and he could imagine all too well that this place could be filled with people, laughter, happiness. All the things he didn’t have.

 

“Stop pitying yourself.” He said it loudly, trying to get himself to finally leave. But he was startled by a knock on the door, so much that he was actually flinching. “Shit, shit, fuck.”

 

He should have left long ago, what had he been thinking?!

 

Dante grabbed his bag, looking for perhaps a window at the back of the house that he could climb out of.

 

“I know you’re in there, I saw you.” It was a woman, not Delsin. Well, of course, Delsin wouldn’t have knocked.

 

What was he supposed to do? If he just left she might think he was a burglar and get the cops on his ass. He really didn’t need that right now. Maybe if he just explained what happened, and that he was on his way now she would believe him.

So, again, he dropped his bag, straightened himself, and opened the door.

 

“You’re not Delsin”, she said. It was the woman he had seen in the pictures, elderly, wearing a brown skirt, red shirt and a vest with traditional designs. He couldn’t help but somehow feel intimidated.

 

“Well, no, I… Well he’s not here right now.” Dante had met demons that made him sweat less.

 

“Of course he would forget”, she smiled as she shook her head. “I’m Betty, and who might you be?”

 

“Er… Dante.”

 

“Well aren’t you going to invite me in, Dante?” Betty let her hand rest on her hip, and Dante couldn’t help but comply. Not that it was really his place to invite anyone inside, but he had seen enough pictures of her to know that she and Delsin were close. The pictures he of course hadn’t seen because it was rude to enter people’s rooms without asking. Dante tried desperately to think of the things he wasn’t supposed to know as Betty made herself comfortable at the big table in the kitchen. He followed, feeling incredibly awkward. Should he stand? Sit?

 

“You’re just his type”, Betty said, her smile gentle. “Come sit with me, Dante. I’m sure he’ll remember that we were supposed to meet soon.”

 

“I… we’re…”, Dante slid into the chair across from her, not quite knowing what to say. He had fully expected this to go in the direction Betty was suggesting. He’d been in that situation more times than he could count, exchanging sex for a place to stay for a night, or something else. It had seemed natural to him, and he was still completely taken aback by it not happening. “It’s not like that, we’re not…”

 

“Honey, no need to be nervous.” She reached over to take his hands in hers, gently patting them. Normally his first instinct would be to flinch back, but he didn’t dare. The touch felt nice. “I promise I don’t bite.”

 

That image made him smile at least, and make him feel a little calmer.

 

“Now how about you make us some tea, and I can tell you a nice story about Delsin to set you more at ease. A baby story.”

 

That spurred Dante into motion. He really wanted to hear that, about how that cocky artist had been like as a kid, and what kind of embarrassing things he had surely done. Everyone had those stories, but he would just love to tease him with it.

 

Which of course meant he would have to spend more time with him. Maybe… maybe it wasn’t so bad. He just had to figure out a way to stay in Seattle for longer. But he always did find a way, and every city had horny people willing to pay for his body.

 

As he was standing in the kitchen, looking through every cupboard to find what he needed Dante realized he had never actually made tea before. He had ordered it, when he had some money, but… how did one go about actually making it?

 

“Okay, mugs, spoons, tea…?”, Dante muttered to himself, as quietly as he could. Right now he could kill Delsin for having loose leaf tea without the box it came in. A box that most likely would have instructions on them.

He could practically feel Betty’s eyes on him as he spooned some of the tea into the mugs and set up the kettle. Dante forced himself to pretend that he was hypnotised by the water boiling, he just had no idea how to act around this sweet lady. Though he knew as he poured the water into the mugs that he had probably messed it up. Had he mentioned he had never done this before?

 

“It’s terrible, isn’t it?”, Dante asked as he watched Betty take her first sip. At least she didn’t grimace.

 

“Well”, she calmly put the mug down again. “I will not lie to you. Yes, yes it is. Come, I will show you.”

 

He was on edge the entire time Betty showed him how to properly make tea. Apparently there was a little round thing you could put the leaves in so they wouldn’t just swim around in the mug. He had never seen anything like this before, but as Betty smiled at him, telling him that now he knew, Dante realized why he had been nervous.

He had expected her to mock him. To call him out on how ridiculous it was that he didn’t even know how to make tea but she… hadn’t. Had only patiently shown him instead.

 

What was with these people?

 

“Where was I?”, Betty asked, as they now sipped their delicious tea. “Ah yes, an embarrassing story about Delsin.”

 

“Oh I can’t wait”, Dante had to grin, he was quite at ease now, after realizing he was more or less safe here. For now, at least. “He’ll hate this, you know.”

 

“Oh I know”, her grin was playful. “Hm… let me think… ah yes. I think he was about four years old and I had helped him bathe, which, as you can imagine, was a challenge in and of itself. I look away for one second, and he had just dashed off!”

 

Dante could imagine it too well, Delsin had that nervous energy about him, that he himself usually had, but lately, it seemed to be gone. He was tired, so tired.

 

This story was a good distraction.

 

“So I ran after him”, Betty continued. “That was when I still could run, and I search for him in the entire long house. Eventually I just find him in a corner, still naked mind you, and he’s apparently found crayons with which he is now drawing onto the walls! I still have no idea how he managed to cover so much space in so little time, but I suppose he always was an artist. And then-”

 

Dante almost didn’t notice the door opening through all his laughter. It felt so good to laugh again, after such a long time, but he was soon stunned into silence again when Delsin came rushing in, face flushed as he pressed a kiss to Betty’s cheek.

 

“Oh, nice, tea”, he said as he sat down next to her, taking her mug to drink the rest of it. She rolled her eyes at him, but didn’t protest. “Sorry, Dante, got a bit caught up.”

 

Why was he apologizing to him? It was Dante who should do so, still occupying his home when he was supposed to be long gone.

 

He was… wasn’t he? Dante couldn’t be sure anymore. What was happening here?

 

“You were running from the police, weren’t you?” Betty had crossed her arms, and tried to look disapprovingly at Delsin. It still looked like she was more amused than angry.

 

“Why I am shocked you would think that! Me? Chased by the police? I am offended, deeply offended.”

 

“I know that look, young man!”, she said. “Please don’t insult me by lying.”

 

“All right, okay, but”, Delsin was just so excited about telling this story, Dante couldn’t help but be infected by the feeling. “It was so radical, they were just suddenly coming from everywhere and I had to book it! But you know, if I use my powers they’ll know it’s me so I run as fast as I can and I end up hiding near this trash can…”

 

Delsin was mostly addressing Betty now, gesturing wildly as he retold his story of running from the police, coming back to the place of the crime and finishing his artwork. Only then did he use his powers to escape, when he was sure the police couldn’t see him.

 

Dante felt like an outsider looking in. Why was he here, this was ridiculous. They were, as far as he could tell, family. He had no business being here.

 

He was about to get up when Betty turned to him again, as if she could sense his feeling of not belonging here.

 

“Don’t you have a sweater, dear?”, she asked. He was only wearing a top at the moment.

 

“No I… have my coat. It’s fine.”

 

“Delsin get him a sweater, will you? I get cold just watching him.” Betty urged Delsin to move, who just slipped out of his own jacket and handed it to Dante. “Get him something that’s not sweaty, okay?”

 

“Ugh, fine”, Delsin rolled his eyes, but complied, vanishing upstairs for barely a moment.

 

Dante’s heart started to beat rapidly, scared that he might notice that he took his shirt, but Delsin returned, completely unperturbed, just handing him a black sweater. At this point Dante wouldn’t have even considered to decline, he just didn’t want to go against Betty.

He slipped into the sweater, immediately enveloped in Delsin’s scent. Smoky, but sweet, too. It seemed almost too comfortable to bear.

 

“Better”, Betty said, still smiling that gentle smile of hers. “Are you staying with Delsin?”

 

“I ah… no, I’m just passing through.”

 

“Well, you can’t move on yet, I have some clothes that might fit you. I can bring them by tomorrow.”

 

“That’s really not necessary-”, he was interrupted by Betty, gently, but firmly.

 

“Nonsense, Delsin will be happy to keep you for another night. I’ll come by again tomorrow”, she insisted.

 

“I suppose Delsin will be happy to keep you for another night”, Delsin repeated, still grinning at Betty. “It’s really not a problem, I can make up Fetch’s bed.”

 

“Fetch?”

 

“Yeah, she used to live here. And Eugene. But they… went off to do their own things.” Delsin’s smile was still there, but his eyes betrayed him.

 

Dante had learned to read people, needed to know if someone was posing as a cop, or who was willing to pay for his company. He had gotten good at it, and his instincts told him Delsin was sad. Deep down, he was hurting.

He could understand too well, because even with his skills, he hadn’t been able to predict his brother’s betrayal. But he couldn’t let himself think about that now, it was the reason why he was running after all. If he stopped to think he knew he would break down.

 

“I went by that art store the other day”, Betty seemed to be able to sense it, too. She was distracting Delsin. “Your painting was gone.”

 

“Oh yeah, they sold it.” This time, Delsin’s smile was genuine. “And they asked for more. I mean, of course they would.”

 

“That attitude will be your downfall one day young man. Being humble will take you a long way”, she said in a way that told Dante she had said that to him many times before.

 

“I think that ship has sailed”, he found himself say. Dante felt like he was intruding by joining in their conversation, but they just both laughed.

 

The tea was warming him up. Yes, it was definitely the tea, this pleasant feeling would pass soon enough.

 

Betty stayed for about another hour, and during that time Dante found himself relaxing, despite every fibre of his being telling him not to. He was swept up in Delsin’s energy, and even if he had wanted to leave, at this point he wouldn’t have been able to. Once Betty was gone, who had of course made him promise that he’d be here tomorrow too, Delsin grabbed his bag and dragged him upstairs into Fetch’s room. He only hesitated for a moment before he gave Dante instructions: There’s a vacuum, go get it, help me make the bed, put your stuff over there, now come follow me.

 

The day went by so quickly, and Delsin just never seemed to tire as he dragged Dante through the city. He showed him some more of the tags he had done, as he loved to show off apparently and Dante could only roll his eyes.

Before he could protest he had bought them food, and Dante felt guilty again, but at the moment there was nothing in his pockets, he couldn’t pay him back. Though he figured he should take advantage of this generosity while it lasted.

 

Why did he feel guilty about it?

 

Maybe because he felt at ease with this man, his easy going nature, his excitement about almost everything. Oh and not to forget the shameless flirting. Dante still expected this to become about sex at some point, but so far, it was just flirting. Not in an earnest ‘I want to date you’-way, but something friends would do, teasing, and that was certainly something he was good at and enjoyed.

 

“If you’re trying to seduce me you could put in more of an effort”, Dante said playfully as Delsin had stooped to pick up his wallet, presenting his well formed ass to him.

 

Delsin hesitated for a moment as he realized what he was talking about, but immediately a grin spread on his face. He stayed in that position.

 

“What, you don’t like the view?” Only slowly did he straighten himself, giving Dante enough time to really take him in.

 

“Please, I have standards.”

 

“Ouch”, Delsin clutched at his vest where his heart would be. “You wound me. How dare you wound such a handsome creature?”

 

He let himself fall against Dante, who barely managed to catch him in time. Lately he wasn’t exactly happy about physical contact, but at that moment he didn’t mind, barely even thought about it. Not even about the fact that they were still in public.

 

“You have fatally… wounded me…”, Delsin said in a strained voice. The guy was a pretty good actor he had to admit. It was such a silly thing to do, Dante wanted to be annoyed, but his grin betrayed him. Delsin looked up at him now, almost as if he were about to cry. “I am… so fragile… I need compliments…”

 

“Ugh, fine.” Dante made a point of rolling his eyes. “You’re hot and your ass is amazing, happy now?”

 

Delsin straightened himself, all distress gone from his face, an ear splitting smile there now.

 

“Ha, I knew it!”

 

“Wasn’t there something you wanted to show me?”

 

“Right”, and off he was again, despite being taller, Dante had to hurry to keep up with him. “Prepare to be amazed! Again!”

 

And he was, though Dante tried not to let it show. Was amazed by how good that day felt to him, though it was nothing compared to returning to a warm house, knowing there was a place for him to sleep. Just this one night, he told himself, and he’d be off.

 

Except it wasn’t just that one night.

 

The next day breezed by just like the first one, with Betty coming over again, along with an enormous bag of clothes for him. They basically forced him to try on every item, with Delsin and Betty judging if it suited him or not. Then there were the dinners Delsin made, with which he had to help of course because it seemed that it was the only thing he expected from Dante. Earn your way, nothing more.

 

But it couldn’t be the only thing Delsin wanted, it just couldn’t.

 

Dante didn’t understand any of this. The generosity, the places Delsin took him. To his friends, his favourite places in the city, even the Akomish long house that functioned as a community center for his tribe. Despite people simply accepting him because he was Delsin’s ‘friend’, Dante felt out of place everywhere. What was the point of it, anyway? If he wanted to fuck, why didn’t Delsin just do it? It couldn’t be that he wasn’t interested in guys, Dante had seen the way he looked at him sometimes, and despite their flirting being shallow, there was something underneath the layers of sarcasm.  

 

Before he knew it, about two weeks had passed, and Delsin still hadn’t made a move. They had almost found a sort of routine in their daily lives, and it was unnerving to Dante. He never had a normal life, and had never stayed in one place for such a long time. He still couldn’t quite understand himself, his reasons for staying for so long. If he really wanted to, he could still have left at any moment.

 

He was nervous tonight, restless, and he felt himself getting angry at Delsin just sitting there, sketching. His hands were full of charcoal smudges, some of it had gotten on his face, too and he looked so adorable it made Dante want to punch something.

This uncertainty… he couldn’t stand it anymore. So he got up from the couch and crossed over to the chair Delsin was in, immediately getting on his knees. He had the advantage here, Delsin was too stunned to move as he wrapped his arms around his waist to pull him closer to the edge, only dropping his sketchbook to the floor.

 

“What the-”

 

Dante looked up at him with a gaze that he knew would make him hot. He was talented after all.

He pushed up Delsin’s shirt, immediately leaning in to press kisses to that dark skin, along his abs and further down. Already he was working on unbuttoning those jeans, and he found himself looking forward to doing this, despite his anger.

 

“Dante- oh shit…”, Delsin moaned despite himself, but now he was actually pushing Dante away. “Stop, just… stop!”

 

“What the fuck, Delsin?!” Dante stood now, crossing his arms after wiping along his mouth with the back of his hand.

 

“I should be saying the same thing.” Delsin joined him, frantically adjusting his shirt and open belt. “Where did that come from?”

 

Dante frowned at him, scanning him from head to toe. Delsin was genuinely confused. Did he really not get it?

 

“This is what you want, isn’t it?”, he asked. “A fuck for a place to stay?”

 

It had to be what he wanted, Dante knew. This was how the world worked and there was no point in denying it. He just wanted to get it over with and move on.

 

“No! When have I ever given you that impression?”

 

“It’s what people do!” He was shouting now, all his confusion at his behaviour turning into anger.

 

“Listen, Dante, I’m only going to say this once.” Delsin’s calm was infuriating to him. But he would listen because the usual sarcasm was completely gone from his voice now. “I will never, ever, expect sex from you. Whatever happened to you… It doesn’t matter, but I want to help. All I ask is that you earn your keep, do your chores, that kinda stuff, okay? Don’t do anything you don’t want to do.”

 

“But I just…” Suddenly his anger was gone. This, Delsin… he was serious. His body language told him as much, but he was still in disbelief. This was a concept his mind just couldn’t wrap itself around, and his voice was shaky when he kept talking. “I just don’t understand. I don’t understand… Why?”

 

“Cause I’m a good person?” Delsin’s smile was warm as he stepped closer to him. He was so confused he didn’t know if he wanted to run or get even closer. “I just… I can relate. I promise I just want to help.”

 

A tear rolled down Dante’s cheek as he felt Delsin’s hand come to rest on his arm. He quickly wiped it away, what was wrong with him tonight? He was stronger than this.

 

“Of course you can always leave if you want to.” Delsin was so patient, making sure he was still listening, and understanding. “I won’t keep you here but just know that you can always come back if you do. I… I hope you’ll stay.”

 

“For… for now.”

 

Dante had to admit he was scared of being on his own again, of being lost like that. He never had a safety net before and it was an incredible feeling to know that it was there.

Of course having his own bed, warm food in his belly, all the normal things he rarely had, were things that kept him here as well. He had almost gotten used to it by now. Had almost gotten used to Delsin. Maybe even more than that.

 

Who was still smiling at him. Gentle, not mocking for what he had tried to do - again.

 

“I’m glad”, he simply said.

 

“I… I’m gonna go to bed”, Dante eventually said, when he trusted his voice to be strong enough again.

 

Perhaps this was still a dream. Maybe, if he went to bed he would finally wake up under a bridge and resume his life.

 

“Okay”, Delsin said softly, just watching him go up the stairs.

 

He had turned so quickly, Dante hadn’t seen the open sketchbook on the floor. Hadn’t seen that it was filled with images of him.

 

 

Chapter Text

Delsin sank back into his armchair.

 

What a day. What a wild two weeks, he had to admit.

 

He had deliberately kept them busy, thinking that way Dante would have less chances of running away, and maybe, once he got to know Delsin and this house, he would stay. He could have kissed Betty as she suggested that she bring him clothes. She was a brilliant lady, and had of course picked up on the same things he had. That Dante was on the run, homeless and in need of help.

 

Granted, it hadn’t been the best plan. But Dante had been so shocked by this kindness, and so in need of a steady place, at least for a while, that he had stayed. Delsin had to admit that he had stayed up a lot of nights, waiting for Dante to leave, almost scared that he would do so.

 

The more he got to know him, the more Delsin realized how alike they were. Dante could certainly hold his own in a conversation with him, his wit was just as sharp, only outside of the slow rhythm they were building up Dante was actually quite shy. Not with strangers, no, but with people Delsin cared about, and that in of itself was a curious thing.

 

His people took to him quickly enough, just knowing that Dante was his friend did the trick. And there was always something to do at the long house, whether it was a quiet afternoon drinking tea and just talking, or a project to build something. It was definitely good to keep someone busy, and Dante needed to be, to distract him from whatever was haunting him. Delsin didn’t dare ask yet, too short a time had passed for Dante to let him past his walls.

 

Delsin pulled off his beanie in frustration, letting it drop onto the sketchbook next to the armchair, his black hair now loose. He ruffled it in frustration before he picked up both.

 

He couldn’t do this, if he did, he was doing the exact opposite of what would help Dante.

 

Delsin was falling for him.

 

Maybe it was the mystery of not knowing where he came from, or what he had been through, but Delsin knew that wasn’t true. He just liked the way he smiled, his wit, his charm when he let it out for once, and those beautiful grey eyes.

It didn’t help that he had become somewhat of a muse to him. Delsin had had a small spell of artist’s block, he supposed everyone had that at some point, but Dante had practically erased that. And now his sketchbook was filled with only him.

On the couch, asleep, running ahead of him, laughing, absentmindedly looking out the window, that incredibly sad look he sometimes got that tore at Delsin’s heart - every second with Dante was burned into his mind and it would only leave him in peace if he sketched it. He had even made a stencil art, hidden in an alleyway. He hadn’t shown Dante, not yet, and he wasn’t sure if he should.

 

Something about some of his Dante-sketches was odd though. His hands almost seemed to move on their own, and sooner or later one of his drawings turned into an angel or demon imagery - sometimes both. He truly couldn’t decide which one Dante was, and even when he was consciously making an effort to draw something else, it always came back to this. Whether he made Dante’s wings of feathers, or leathery, whether he had claws and sharp teeth or a halo, he was always beautiful. Delsin couldn’t help himself, that’s how he saw him.

 

Dante did have different sides, though he had seen his gentle side flash up only once. It had been a simple, a little thing, but the way he had caught Delsin after he had stumbled over himself, the way he had let his hand rest on the small of his back was… Delsin couldn’t describe what exactly it was, but he wasn’t able to forget that touch.

 

Just as Delsin knew he wouldn’t be able to forget what had just happened.

 

Before he thought further about it he managed to make his way upstairs, hoping that it would be enough to distract him from this, but it was no use. As soon as his head hit the bed, it was back. The feeling of Dante’s lips on his torso, and he could still feel every kiss like fire, forever ingrained on him. Dante’s hands working on undoing his belt, again on his crotch and that look he had shot him.

 

“Fuck”, he said to the air around him.

 

Dante was just next door. He shouldn’t do this, shouldn’t touch himself, it was wrong, Dante had prostituted himself before, that much was clear to him. Why else would he think he needed to exchange sex for what Delsin was giving him?

 

But, man, he was hard.

 

“You’re scum if you do this.” He had to say it out loud to himself, and finally the gravity of the situation hit him.

 

Dante had sold himself.

 

The thought let his desire to touch himself almost vanish. It had been a short time that they had known each other, but Delsin liked him. Not just because he was attracted to him, and had a crush on him, but also because they got along so well.

In different circumstances he would certainly have gone for that blowjob. Would have asked him out on a date first, all those normal things, but being with Dante wouldn’t be that easy. Before he could even consider any sort of romantic relationship, Dante needed to heal.

 

Delsin needed to put these thoughts aside, perhaps forever.

 

But it was hard, extremely hard. Especially when Dante was more at ease now, seemingly trusting Delsin that he had told the truth. That there was nothing he expected in return, except that he heal.

 

He managed, though. His life was pretty busy, his art, the Akomish and Dante taking up most of it, and slowly but surely he was enjoying himself again. Now, when he talked to Fetch or Eugene and hung up the phone, he didn’t feel so lonely anymore.

 

Well, in the end there was something that Dante gave him in return. Company, friendship, a home that actually felt like one.

 

Except when it was filled with smoke.

 

Delsin had returned home a few weeks later, exhausted from trying to get a decent price for his art and avoiding those damn anti Conduit protesters that had popped up again, just to find the kitchen almost on fire. Well, he couldn’t tell if it was actually on fire, as the smoke completely blocked his vision.

 

“Delsin?”, Dante’s voice was panicked, but he couldn’t see where he was.

 

Delsin stumbled through the smoke until he eventually bumped into him.

 

“Ouch, sorry, what the-”, he had to cough. “What happened?”

 

“I... “, Dante had to cough as well, but he was clinging to Delsin’s jacket. Maybe the smoke wasn’t so bad. “Tried to cook.”

 

He could barely see Dante in front of him, even though they were so close, practically hugging.

 

“Hang on, I got this.”

 

Delsin reached out to absorb the smoke, finally making the rest of the kitchen clear - and the panicked look on Dante’s face. He stepped forward to turn off the stove and tried not to resent the loss of Dante’s touch too much.

 

“What did you do?” He picked up the pot by its handle, its heat not bothering him, showing it to the other man. “This is black.”

 

“I just…”, Dante was practically squirming, twisting the end of his grey top. He rarely wore anything else, despite Betty’s gift to him. “I had to check something in the recipe and it was just… then it burned.”

 

“Did you read it for an hour? Well the pot is ruined.” He let it fall into the sink to let some cold water run over it. If he tried to throw it away now he’d just set the garbage on fire. One was enough for the day. “Dante…? What is it?”

 

Dante was still squirming, which was unusual for him. He’d have expected him to brush it off with a joke, a terrible one at that, and they’d move on. It wasn’t like Delsin was really mad, they could just get a new pot.

 

“I uhm… it was hard to…”

 

Delsin followed his glance to the recipe which he recognized was in their neighbor’s handwriting. He had actually gone out and socialized to get a recipe, to do something nice for him. It warmed his heart but the look on Dante’s face constricted it at the same time.

 

“Dante, can you read?”, he asked.

 

He hadn’t even thought about that. What an idiot he could be. He knew Dante had been on the street for a long time, so why didn’t he think it hadn’t always been this way for him? And if he grew up there, what use would he have for reading? Where would he have even learned?

 

Dante hesitated. For a long while. But Delsin stepped closer and let his hand rest on his arm, just reassuring him. He hadn’t ever judged him, and he wasn’t about to start now. The simple gesture had become quite common between them, but it was the only thing Delsin let himself do. There was no pressure behind that gesture, no expectations.

 

“Sort of”, Dante eventually said. “I never really needed to… Sometimes I have trouble with it.”

 

“It’s not too late to learn, you know.”

 

“Oh please.” Dante huffed. “Why would I…”

 

Deserve it?

 

Delsin sighed. There really was a duality about him. The mask that Dante put up that he knew so well, making it seem as if he thought the world of himself, but then there was this… Deep down Dante thought himself worthless.

 

“I don’t need to”, he finished.

 

“Dante. The kitchen was basically on fire.” Delsin smiled up at Dante, who, despite himself, joined in. “I know a place where you could learn.”

 

“Delsin, I can’t-”

 

“Or I could teach you.” Delsin understood. Out there, learning in front of other people where there was a risk of messing it all up? Of embarrassing yourself? That wasn’t what would help Dante learn. “But I’m warning you I have no idea if I’m actually good at that. I might just mess you up.”

 

“Believe me that ship has sailed”, Dante mumbled, making him squeeze his arm. Delsin hated when he got like this. “I can’t ask you to do this.”

 

“Bullshit. Well”, he hesitated. “There is one thing you could do.”

 

Dante frowned and only now did he realize what that sounded like. But by now Dante should know that wasn’t what he meant? Though Delsin still had no idea how long he had been on the streets, maybe it was something that was just ingrained in him forever.

 

“I’m going to get another tattoo”, he said quickly. “I just need someone to sit through it with me, it’ll take hours and I get bored so easily.”

 

“Oh.” Dante relaxed his stance, looking like he hadn’t even realized how tense he had been. “What are you going to get?”

 

“You’ll see then.” Delsin couldn’t say it yet, it was… personal. “It’s gonna be on my back, and yeah, you’ll be bored, but then we can be bored together.”

 

“So basically…” Why was Dante smiling like that now? It was a little unnerving. “You’re asking me to ogle your naked torso for a few hours?”

 

“I… find myself immediately regretting that I asked.”

 

“But still…” Dante’s smile faded a little. “You would… really teach me?”

 

“Yes. Of course. Come on let’s go to the bookstore the place still smells terrible.”

 

Dante’s smile was back as he put on his coat and they made their way outside.

 

“That’s how you smell, you know. Like smoke”, he said.

 

“I do not smell like that how dare you!” He lightly nudged Dante with his shoulder, barely making him stumble in his walk.

 

“Well… you smell nicer. But still like smoke. A little sweet though”, he added. His dreamy expression froze, and was replaced by a look of panic. Wow, he really hadn’t meant to say that.

 

“I smell nice, huh?” Of course he would tease Dante with that. A lot. He moved closer as they walked, practically rubbing their arms against each other. “Is this better? Does my sweet, smoky scent please you?”

 

“Ugh, forget I said anything.”

 

“Never.” Delsin’s smile was ear splitting, but it soon dropped when they came across those damn anti Conduit protesters. Again. They had moved, and Delsin had almost forgotten about them. “Shit. Come on, this way.”

 

He just didn’t want to risk them knowing who he was. He used to be quite famous in this city, and with his luck those people had come to Seattle just to mess with him. Delsin didn’t want to deal with this today, so he made them take a little detour, along an alley to their right.

 

Which was unfortunately the alley where he had sprayed Dante’s likeness onto the wall.

 

“Why are we-”, Dante stopped in his tracks as he saw the painting. “This is yours, isn’t it?”

 

By now Delsin wasn’t surprised that he would recognize his art immediately. It was pretty much everywhere in their house.

 

“Yeah uh… surprise!” That was a lame attempt at covering this up, and he knew it. Though Dante didn’t seem to. He was too distracted just looking at it.

 

It was pretty simple, but unmistakingly Dante, kept in black and white despite Delsin’s preference for blue and red. He had other designs for Dante that used those colours, but he was glad he hadn’t used those. Some of them… were very obvious about his feelings. This one was just him, down to his shoulders, smoking, but there was no special meaning behind it. Stencil art wasn’t the most detailed but he still thought he had captured that cocky over the shoulder look Dante did pretty well. Of course he had, he was fucking talented.

 

“I’m sorry, is this weird?”, Delsin asked, as Dante hadn’t said anything in a while. “I can spray over it if you want.”

 

“No.” The answer came quickly and he had to admit he was a little relieved. “But why would you I mean why me I don’t I just-”

 

Dante was rambling, mumbling and Delsin had a hard time even understanding him. Was he… embarrassed? It couldn’t be nowhere near what he was feeling at the moment.

 

“I just paint what’s in my life and well you’re… in… it.” He frowned, silently cursing himself for that really lame excuse. But he didn’t even know himself exactly why he had done it. He had just found himself in this alley in the middle of the night, spraying Dante’s likeness onto the wall.

 

“Why were we avoiding those guys?”, Dante said suddenly, and now they were moving again. Delsin was grateful for the distraction. It seemed neither of them really wanted to talk about this.

 

Whatever ‘this’ was.

 

“Anti Conduit protesters.” Delsin made a point of rolling his eyes. “I guess these people will just always exist but I’m just too tired to deal with them today.”

 

“You? Tired?” Dante’s smile was back, and their banter. “I didn’t think it was possible.”

 

“There’s still so much you don’t know about me, darling.”

 

Whoops. He hadn’t meant to say that, but he brushed it off with a teasing smile. Which Dante returned.

 

“I look forward to finding out, honey”, Dante replied and he had to admit that he kind of liked that word coming from him.

 

They were walking closer to each other again, which Dante tended to do when he was cold. Which was a lot. Apparently Delsin radiated some of his heat, or maybe it was an excuse to stay close to him in this city that he barely knew, either way he liked it. There was a familiarity in that, even after knowing each other for barely a month.

 

Instead of the usual basement bookstore Delsin would go, he brought them to a commercial one. Because, well, the one he usually visited didn’t have a children’s section. He figured that was a good place to start.

 

“Do we really have to be here?” Dante was squirming again, surrounded by books for children who were just about to learn how to read.

 

“Relax, no one knows. If anyone asks we’re getting a book for our son. Not that anyone would.”

 

Our son?”, Dante raised an eyebrow, but he was smiling. “Of all the excuses you could use, you went with ‘our son’?”

 

“Oh I am so terribly sorry that I didn’t think this lie through. What do you want to use? We’re doing charity for sick children? Making a pyramid out of books?” Delsin started to pick books at random, leafing through them. It had been quite a long time for him since he had had a book like this in his hands. He remembered when Reggie used to read to him, while Delsin kept interrupting, his small hands pointing at the colourful pictures. He was surprised that the memory brought a smile to his face.

 

Dante just kept smiling at him, his grey eyes full of amusement and… something else?

 

“Dragon or dog?”, Delsin asked before he did anything stupid.

 

“Dragon”, Dante immediately said.

 

“I agree one hundred percent. Dragons are so fucking cool.” Delsin started to pull out other books at random, from different age ranges so they had more to work with. In the end the subject matter wasn’t important.

 

“Are you… getting excited about a children’s book about a dragon?” Dante was following him through the bookstore, always a little behind him. He did that sometimes, and Delsin suspected it was when he was shy, or uncertain about where he was supposed to be. That he clung to him in those cases was somehow very important to him. Dante almost looked like a puppy. An overgrown one, but those were definitely puppy eyes.

 

“Might as well”, he replied. Their conversation halted when he paid for the books, and he could almost feel Dante’s guilty look on him. He had no problem supporting him, but he could also understand that it could make him a little uncomfortable. It was hard accepting help, especially for Dante. “And have I mentioned how cool dragons are?”

 

“They are cool…”

 

The rest of the way back to their house was filled about talks of dragons, their favourite kinds, from movies, games or books, though Dante didn’t really know many. Delsin made a mental note to show him more, maybe it would even get him interested in reading, and not just see it as something he had to do.

 

He did insist that they start that night, because he knew Dante would just avoid it if they didn’t. Delsin made a fire for them - a safe one in the fireplace this time - and spread out blankets and pillows in front of it, as he had done many times with Fetch and Eugene. When they had made themselves comfortable, Delsin urged him to read. As slow as he needed but without guessing any words, and he would give his help, but only when Dante asked.

 

It was very slow going, but Delsin didn’t mind.

 

“What’s this?” Dante pointed to an ‘and’ at the beginning of a sentence. His cheeks were still a little red, but his initial embarrassment and died down a little. Delsin was grateful that he trusted him enough to do this together, and he told him the word he needed. “But the ‘a’ looks different here.”

 

“Because it’s a capital one, since it’s at the beginning of the sentence.” Delsin found himself slouched against Dante, so they could both look at the book, though he wasn’t quite sure that he was aware of that, so absorbed was he in his task. “The one in ‘dragon’ is lower case.”

 

“Ugh this is… this is dumb.” Dante ruffled his hair in frustration, the little tuft of white especially sticking out now.

 

“Hey, relax.” Before he could stop himself Delsin found his hand on the small of Dante’s back. Instead of flinching away from it, he relaxed into the touch. “You just started. It’s going to take time. What about writing by the way?”

 

“I… that’s not good either.”

 

Of course not. Delsin briefly wondered if he had ever been to school.

 

He straightened himself, but his hand stayed where it was.

 

“Look at me?”

 

Dante did, but it was hard for him to keep Delsin’s gaze.

 

“You’re not stupid.” It felt like something Delsin needed to say because from what he knew about Dante, it was probably what he thought. Stupid, worthless, all of those things, when he was just the opposite. “You can do this if you set your mind to it.”

 

“You’ll… help me?”

 

“Of course. I promised, didn’t I?” Delsin knew he needed to reassure Dante a lot, but it didn’t matter. He would do it as many times as he needed.

 

“Well you didn’t exactly promise…” The shy smile on Dante’s face was a good sign.

 

“Okay, sorry. I promise I’ll help you.”

 

That gave Dante the courage to finish the book, though they needed well into the night to do so.

 

Delsin had his work cut out for him. He bought even more supplies, like charts that would teach Dante how to write the letters of the alphabet, and he realized that they needed to pretty much start all over.

Dante got frustrated, a lot, but Delsin was patient with him, and in the end he always returned to the task. He would need to work a lot on his skills, but when Delsin returned home one night to find a note - written by him - he couldn’t help but feel a little bit proud.

 

Meet me here

Hurry

Dante

 

There was an address beneath it, a place near the docks, and a little drawing of where exactly he was supposed to go. Delsin knew the place and true to the note he used his neon power to get there quickly.

 

“What’s with all the mystery?”, he asked as he dropped down next to Dante, his legs hanging off the edge of the plateau that overlooked a parking lot. To his credit, he hadn’t even flinched.

 

“It’s gonna happen any moment now.” There was a childlike grin on Dante’s face, whatever this was, Delsin was looking forward to it.

 

“Wait isn’t this-?”

 

“Yep.”

 

Delsin had just realized that this empty parking lot housed the small trailer that group of anti Conduit protesters used as their home base. It was pitiful, really. Their group was tiny, annoying, yes, but not threatening.

 

“Shit!” Delsin flinched as the trailer suddenly caught fire and he was about to jump down to see if anyone needed help when Dante held him back.

 

“There’s no one in there, I made sure.” He watched the fire spread, quickly starting to consume the entire thing. Thankfully there wasn’t much else around, there wasn’t a big chance it could spread.

 

“Did you do this?”, Delsin asked, not sure if he should be shocked or impressed.

 

“Yes. But it will look like an accident.” Was that… was he showing off? Was he actually proud of this? How had he even done this?

 

Now it hit him.

 

Dante had done this for Delsin.

 

He wasn’t that puppy anymore that followed him around, at least not at the moment. Now he was acting like the cat that killed a mouse and brought it to its owner.

 

Look I did this for you.

 

“I… I feel like Betty would be really mad about this”, he said, but grinning now too. “But man… this is awesome. I’m impressed. But don’t tell anyone about this!”

 

“Wasn’t planning on doing that”, Dante replied, turning to look at Delsin now. His stance had relaxed a little, like he hadn’t known if Delsin would really like this and that had set him on edge. “It just for y-... It’s not for the public. I don’t want to go to jail you know.”

 

It’s just for you.

 

They both turned to watch the fire again, and the chaos ensuing down there as well. By the time the fire department arrived it was too late, and the trailer couldn’t be salvaged anymore. That would probably mean the end of that particular group of haters. Dante had really done well.

 

Delsin felt flattered, yes, but he was also worried Dante might develop an unhealthy dependency on him. Not on his money, but on his approval? If he was willing to go this far, do actual property damage, just for him… what else was he willing to do?

 

All the more reason not to act on his feelings for him. That would just complicate things even further and Delsin already had trouble keeping everything straight.

 

Ha, straight. Aren’t you funny today.

 

But what Dante had done did put an end to the group, and once more Delsin could freely roam the city without getting annoyed. He appreciated this immensely, but there was still a part of their bargain Dante had to hold up. His reading was coming along nicely, as did his writing, but now it was time for Delsin to get his tattoo.

 

“It’s… a bird?”, Dante asked as the tattoo artist had finished copying the stencil onto the skin on his upper back. A traditional Akomish design, thick black lines, the wings spreading over his shoulders.

 

“A falcon”, he corrected. He was still enjoying the way Dante was looking at him. When he had taken off his shirt Dante had ogled him in a very over the top way and he had winked back at him, but now he was sitting backwards on the polstered chair and he could still feel his eyes on him.

 

“Does it have a meaning… if it’s okay to ask.” Dante had circled around and sat down so they could look at each other.

 

The little motor of the needle started to whirr, but he knew the first hour or so wouldn’t be so bad, considering the pain. Only after that it would get worse. But this was important, he’d have to get through it.

 

“It’s… leadership, reliability, that sort of thing. I… Reggie was like that.”

 

There. He had said it. Was.

 

“Your brother.” Of course Dante knew, it had been hard to avoid with all his pictures in their house, and the Akomish who talked about him a lot, though mostly not to Delsin. Aside from the fact that he was his brother, and dead, Dante didn’t know much though.

 

Reggie had been his guardian, legally and spiritually, and Delsin wanted to honour that.

 

Dante, thankfully, didn’t press the matter and instead distracted him with more silly flirting. Comments about his muscles at first, but then he switched over to tease him about his beanie, which he did quite a lot. Delsin realized he truly had never seen him without it yet, it was probably a source of mystery for him. He’d keep it like that for a little while longer, he loved to let Dante stew.

 

“Hey you okay?”, Dante asked when his flinching became a little more obvious.

 

“Yeah it’s just getting a little dicey back there.”

 

Pain was part of the process though, and it helped him deal. Deep down, he knew he deserved this. It wasn’t even a fraction of what his brother had been through. Must have been through, just before he died.

 

“It’s not going to be much longer”, the tattoo artist piped up, and Delsin sent up a silent prayer of thanks to whatever spirit was listening.

 

Dante suddenly moved his chair closer to Delsin so they were almost side by side, though he still needed to leave some room for the tattoo artist to work. But now he held out his hand, let it rest on his leg, palm up.

 

“Uhm…”

 

Oh shit.

 

Dante was offering his hand. To hold. And he was smiling shily about it.

 

Delsin returned the smile as he slipped his hand into Dante’s, intertwining their fingers. He had to involuntarily squeeze it as the needle dragged over his spine, one of the more sensitive spots.

 

“Thank you”, he whispered, and Dante’s smile widened.

 

Yes. He would be able to bear the pain like this. Though it got more intense by the second now. There was always a point during the tattoo process where that happened, and every time the needle came back into contact with his skin, he had to flinch. It wasn’t like he couldn’t endure it, but his body just took over.

This was so different from being in a fight. He basically did this to himself, and it was… more intense, in a way. But now Dante was squeezing his hand too, a silent assurance that he was still there.

 

Delsin opened his eyes, hadn’t even realized that he had closed them. Dante was close, he could make out every single detail of those grey eyes. He had hardly seen grey eyes before, they were fascinating, and beautiful.

Dante’s thumb was now gently stroking his hand, the touch such a stark contrast to the raging fire on his back. He knew it wouldn’t last long, with his healing he’d be okay tomorrow, but at the moment it seemed neverending.

 

“He’s almost done”, Dante informed him.

 

“And, does it look awesome?”

 

“Very. As awesome as you”, he added.

 

“You’re just saying that because I’m in pain”, Delsin said, grinning back at his housemate.

 

“Yes. You’re actually super lame but I didn’t want to say that right now.”

 

“That hurts more than the tattoo, Dante. I thought we were friends.” Maybe, if Delsin tried really hard, he could make a tear roll down his cheek for the full dramatic effect. But the expression on Dante’s face had him worried now. Shock. “Dan...te?”

 

He was quite thankful for the tattoo artist who just kept working, cleaning the excess ink off his back and covering it with saran wrap.

 

“Friends?”, Dante finally asked.

 

Fuck. This was another new concept to him, wasn’t it? That’s why he always expected something, couldn’t just accept his help at first, because he hadn’t experienced these things before.

Delsin squeezed his hand once more, dragging Dante out of his stupor. He really wanted to hug him, tell him he was safe now, but he had to respect Dante’s boundaries.

 

“Yes, we’re friends. Of course we are.”

 

“Oh. Okay… Okay”, he said again, and it almost seemed like a few pieces finally slid into place in his mind. Did he understand now, why Delsin was just being nice? It’s what friends did.

 

Friends. A bittersweet concept. The bitterness was threatening to overtake him as Dante untangled their fingers and pulled back from him.

 

There it was again. That urge to reach out, to cup his cheek, brush through his hair. To hold him, to whisper reassurances into his ear. That whatever had happened to him, whatever his life had been, it wouldn’t have to go back to that. Even without Delsin, Dante could be strong. He could do anything.


Well you’ve done it now, Delsin. You’ve fallen in love.

Chapter Text

I loved you brother

 

The dream haunted him. The memory.

 

Dante relived it almost every night, at least in the beginning. Over two months had passed now, and the dreams had gotten a little less, but that didn’t mean they weren’t always just as vivid as they had been the first time.

 

He could still feel himself gripping Rebellion so tightly, twisting it inside his brother’s chest. His scream, all that blood…

 

If it hadn’t been for Kat, Vergil would be dead now.

 

Or maybe he was, Dante had no way of knowing. They could heal, and they weren’t human, but that wound… He knew exactly how bad it had been, he had been the one to cause it.

 

His brother was dead. By his hand.

 

The more time passed, the surer he got.

 

Despite the warmth in the room, his room, he was shivering. He always did after these dreams, and every time he was convinced it wouldn’t stop. Convinced that the guilt would overwhelm him, consume him.

 

But it helped that he didn’t have to be scared of where he would wake up, because for the last two months that had always been the same place. It was still eerie to him.

 

“Dante?” Delsin’s voice was muffled through the door.

 

He unconsciously pulled up the sheets over his bare torso before answering, his grip on them so tight his knuckles were almost white.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Are you okay? You were… kind of loud.”

 

Dante could imagine him too well, that look of concern on his face, leaning against the door. But he appreciated that he didn’t come inside. He needed some time to compose himself, to make his body stop shivering and sweating.

 

“I- I’m fine”, he replied, his voice only barely cracking.

 

“Well I’m going to make two cups of hot chocolate. You know. In case someone else decides to come into the kitchen.”

 

Dante listened to the footsteps ebbing away before he let himself smile. It was three in the morning and he had most likely woken Delsin up with his nightmare. And yet he was the one to stay up, to offer company and comfort.

He still couldn’t quite believe how lucky he was. It had to be luck, it had to have been a coincidence. If he hadn’t come along, Delsin would simply have helped someone else, but he was really glad that he hadn’t. He could admit to himself now that this was what he needed.

 

He needed help. Someone as patient as Delsin, though the guy was really only patient when it came to him, someone as gentle and respectful. And he seemed to be able to bring a smile to Dante’s face more and more often.

 

The shivers had died down now, and he slipped into a red flannel shirt, the only clean one in his bag. He still kept his clothes in there, expecting that he needed to run at some point. But so far he hadn’t. It was still strange, all of this.

 

Dante brushed through his hair, trying to give it some resemblance of normalcy before he made his way downstairs. The kitchen floor was cold underneath his feet, except when he stepped over those spots Delsin had occupied mere moments ago. The guy practically radiated heat, and since Dante tended to be cold, it was a perfect fit.

 

“Just done”, Delsin said and Dante got a glimpse of the falcon tattoo on his back. It moved along with the movement of his muscles, it was… hot.

 

He was confused about a lot of things regarding their relationship, but he was still thankful that Delsin had decided to only wear sweatpants right now. Barely clinging to his hips, showing just the beginning of that v shape and Dante had to force himself not to think about where that lead.

 

Dante suspected he was ‘too hot’ again, despite it being barely above zero degrees outside. Not that he was wearing a lot more, only boxers along with the flannel shirt.

 

Dante could certainly appreciate the view though.

 

They both slid into their usual seats at the dining table, Delsin to the right, and Dante at the head of it. That way they were close, though it hadn’t been a conscious decision, they had somehow just ended up like this.

 

“What is this?” Dante frowned at the little white square engulfed in the liquid.

 

“You’re shitting me, right? You’ve never had marshmallows before?”

 

Delsin stood up again to rummage through one of the cupboards. He produced an entire bag of the things and brought it with him when he returned.

 

“Go nuts”, Delsin said.

 

Before he opened the package Dante gingerly took out the one marshmallow that was swimming in his hot chocolate. Which was of course not made from a package, but from scratch. He loved that about Delsin. He had had more delicious meals in this house than he had in his lifetime.

 

He bit off a tiny piece of the marshmallow, which was weirdly soft… incredibly sweet, mixed with the taste of chocolate.

 

“I… this is weird, I don’t like it”, Dante said, making a grossed out face, knowing how much it would annoy Delsin.

 

“You’re a weirdo.” Delsin shook his head. “More for me then, gimme.”

 

He reached out to take Dante’s hand - by now he rarely flinched at the touch anymore - and pulled it towards him. Suddenly Delsin’s lips were around the marshmallow, and the tips of his fingers, basically sucking it out of his grip.

 

“Aren’t you supposed to say ‘no homo’ when you do stuff like that?”, Dante asked, surprised that he could even talk. By now he was good at putting up his mask though, he definitely felt something for Delsin but until he could figure it out he wouldn’t make a move. That waiting was even an option to him now was still a little incomprehensible.

 

“Well maybe I mean a little homo, something wrong with that?” Delsin’s grin was ridiculous, he knew exactly the effect he had on people.

 

“Fuck, no, I didn’t mean that. I mean… Seriously, I don’t have a problem with that.”

 

With all their flirting he had always assumed that this was something they were both okay with. To Dante it didn’t matter, he’d happily sleep with any gender as long as he liked the way they looked. Or if they paid him.

 

“Er, well me neither, that wasn’t what I mean either…” The confusion on Delsin’s face was clear, but it soon vanished, and they both started to laugh.

 

Well, that was out of the way then.

 

They just sipped their chocolate in silence for a little while, with Dante trying not to stare too much at Delsin’s abs. Ignoring his possible crush on the guy, this was… nice. Just being together, enjoying each other’s company. He could relax around Delsin, he didn’t have to force any sort of conversation, there was no pressure here. Dante realized he’d never had a friend like that. Never had a friend at all.

 

“Is that my shirt?”, Delsin suddenly asked.

 

Oh. Shit.

 

It was. The one Dante had stuffed into his bag on his second day in this house. The one he had planned on stealing, because he hadn’t expected any of this to happen. Hadn’t expected to stay.

 

“Shit um…”, he hesitated. He felt like he could be honest with Delsin now, at least about this. “It was still in my bag. From when I wanted to take it. When I thought I was going to leave.”

 

“It’s cool”, Delsin replied calmly. “It looks good on you. Keep it.”

 

“Sometimes I can’t believe you. Well. I can’t ever believe you.”

 

Maybe it was the late hour, maybe it was the lingering nightmare that made Dante this honest.

 

“What do you mean?” Delsin seemed to sense that he wasn’t teasing, wasn’t joking anymore.

 

“You’re kind of a jerk but then… you do this. You’ve done so much for me.”

 

“Well I am quite the mystery.” Despite the very Delsin-esque comment his smile was gentle. This wasn’t helping him understand at all. But maybe he just had to accept it, for however long it lasted. “Did you… want to talk about the nightmare?”

 

Dante was close to it. So close to confessing everything. But there was still too much holding him back, most of all the fear of what Delsin would think of him. Because he was messed up, in so many different ways, and the things he had done… He couldn’t forgive himself, not now, maybe not ever. How could Delsin just accept him when he couldn’t do that himself?

 

He couldn’t risk it, not yet.

 

“I’d rather not. If that’s okay.”

 

How could he even explain? Delsin had seen a demon, seen how horrific they were and if he told him that was part of him… Dante knew he’d be repulsed by that.

 

“Of course. But if you ever want to, you know where to find me.” He loved Delsin’s gentle smile. That smile meant safety.

 

He didn’t quite know when that had happened.

 

“Hey, I just remembered”, Delsin almost forgot to swallow before he talked. It was a thing that had happened once or twice when he got too excited about something and just couldn’t wait. It was kind of endearing. “Were there ever any more demons? I mean we saw that first one, but then nothing.”

 

“No.”

 

It was a lie. But Dante was good at those.

 

He was fully aware that Delsin could hold his own in a fight, but after everything he had done for Dante he didn’t deserve to have his life turned upside down by fucking demons. Like it had happened for Dante so many years ago.

He wanted to spare him the confusion, the anger, the desperation of being one of the few who knew about this other world. Dante could only remember his breakdowns too well, when he had thought he was going crazy, because none of that could have been real. Eventually he had accepted it, knew in his heart that it was true but it was just another thing about him to add to his isolation.

 

Dante was scared, terrified that the demons would eventually attack them in this house. It seemed like a sanctuary to him now, but there was nothing here that would actually stop them. He had been simply lucky so far, had only been attacked when he was alone, and away from the house, but it couldn’t stay that way. Things weren’t this easy.

 

He had to do something.

 

“I’m gonna go to the library tomorrow”, Dante hesitated. “Well. Later.”

 

Delsin’s smile seemed almost proud.

 

“Awesome. I think I’ll start on my project.”

 

“Project?” Dante had drained the rest of his chocolate now. They had stayed up for so long it made no sense to go back to sleep. He’d just go now, there wasn’t any time to lose anyway.

 

“It’s a secret.” Delsin just loved to tease, still did about that other secret art project he had sprayed somewhere in the city, that Dante still hadn’t been able to find.

 

“Fine. Have it your way.” Dante made a point to roll his eyes again before he stood to clean up both their mugs.

 

It had somewhat become his job in their household, though he enjoyed it when they stood side by side too, with Dante cleaning the dishes and Delsin drying them off. They’d act like children, nudging each other, flicking bubbles and water onto each other. It was relaxing. Normal.

 

Dante needed to preserve this.

 

Seattle’s library didn’t exactly have the biggest occult section, but it was enough to get him started. His progress was slow and frustrating, but he forced himself to keep going even when there were words that seemed impossible to read. He never brought any of the books actually home, but he did find a few useful things.

His work reminded him of Kat, there was no avoiding it, though he had done so for a while now. She would be incredibly helpful with this but also… comforting. He hadn’t been able to stay with her, she didn’t deserve him messing up her life even further. Except that was what he was kind of doing with Delsin now, wasn’t it?

 

The thought edged him on, made him forget about Kat again. He couldn’t deal with thinking about her anyway.  

 

Dante spent days in the library, collecting different recipes and ideas that might help him protect their home, and Delsin, from demons. The latter gave him worried looks whenever he came home late at night but didn’t say anything, even when Dante started to miss their dinners. By now Delsin was good at sensing his mood, and didn’t press the matter, only left him a plate of food on the table.

 

Just when Dante had though he was used to this life, to Delsin’s generosity, he was overwhelmed by a simple gesture like that again.

 

About a week after first starting his research, Dante was stumped. He had found a few useful things, protective symbols, recipes for hex bags that could help in that regard as well, but now he needed ingredients. Things you couldn’t just buy in a supermarket, but he didn’t know the city well enough to know where he could get what he needed. Perhaps he had to even go further than Seattle, but his resources were limited and the initial problem was still there.

 

He had a little money now. The Akomish insisted on paying him when he helped out, mostly renovating, or building things, which he was surprisingly good at. They were still in the middle of fixing up the roof of the long house, and he found himself looking forward to their next trip to the reservation. When he was up there, working with his hands, actually doing something useful, he was focused, his mind completely on the task. Everything that haunted him just slipped away for a few hours.

 

But would what he had be enough? He would gladly give up anything to keep Delsin safe, it was the least he could do. Maybe he could earn some money on his own. As he used to do.

 

The thought was… distressing. It hadn’t used to be. It had simply been a natural progression for him as he grew up. First it was begging, then stealing, conning, and as he grew up, prostitution. Yes, there had been bad customers, bad days, but it always beat going hungry or cold, which he still was plenty of times. Besides, he could still forget the bad days if he drank enough, fucked enough.

 

But now it was different. He hadn’t needed to do it for over two months and only now did he realize how much it had bothered him when he needed to do it for his survival. He was more relaxed now, at ease and even allowed Delsin to touch him in those casual ways he liked. Though he was always still considerate, asked if it was okay and gave him enough time in case he changed his mind. That man was unreal. If he needed to sell himself again to keep him safe, so be it.

 

He didn’t get the chance though. Before he could even think about where he could find the ingredients he needed, he was attacked again. A mob of demons this time, those things that vaguely resembled spiky wolves. He had been caught by surprise and he was furious at himself that he hadn’t kept his guard up.

Dange got hurt, badly. He used all of his healing but he was still left with a few scratches on his face and stomach. It was late though, so Delsin would most likely already be asleep. That way he could wait until enough time had passed and he could heal himself again. There really was no need to make him worry, but his life rarely went according to plan. He usually didn’t even have plans.

 

“Dante, what the hell happened?”

 

Delsin was all over him, hand on Dante’s chin as he moved his head this way and that, inspecting his wounds. He was wearing those damn low hanging sweatpants again, but this time his naked torso was covered in splashes of paint. Normally he confined his painting to his room, but there was a huge canvas spread out on the floor of the living room today. Dante couldn’t quite make out what he was working on as Delsin was still fussing over him.

 

“Come on.” Delsin started dragging him into the kitchen, and gently pushed him down onto a chair.

 

Dante was exhausted, from the fight, from trying to heal, he couldn’t resist.

 

“I’m fine, Delsin”, Dante insisted, but his housemate was already in front of him again, a first aid kit suddenly on the table. Dante hadn’t even known they had one of those.

 

“You’re clearly not. Did someone piss you off?” He was about to dab Dante’s split lip with a disinfectant soaked pad but he reached out to grasp Delsin’s arm, stopping his movements. The paint on his arm was still wet, and now it was on Dante’s hand but he hardly noticed.

 

“Stop. I’ll be fine, I just want to go to bed.”

 

“But you’re hurt, just let me disinfect it a little. Please.” Delsin had that worried look on him again, his fingers were even twitching a little.

 

Dante sighed. Maybe it was time to give him something.

 

“You’re not the only one with healing powers”, he said.

 

Delsin froze for only a moment, until he finally relaxed his stance and slowly let his arm drop again. He sat down now too, moving his chair close and leaning forward, elbows resting on his legs. Dante could feel his body heat against him.

 

“But you said you’re not a Conduit.”

 

“I’m not.” Dante couldn’t bring himself to say more. Not yet. “But I can heal. I’m just tired, and I’ll be able to do it again tomorrow. I promise I’ll be fine.”

 

Delsin mustered him for a while, most likely trying to figure out if he was lying, if he was just trying to set him at ease. Which was definitely something Dante would do, but in this instance he had opted for the truth. Some of it anyhow.

 

He sighed again as he gathered what little energy he had left, concentrating on healing at least his split lip. Delsin would trust him, he knew that, but if he could actually reassure him then he figured it would help.

 

“Wow, that’s radical!”, Delsin said softly, making Dante smile. And he hadn’t even seen the glowing mark on his back yet. “May I?”

 

His hand was halfway stretched out towards Dante’s lip, but of course he would ask.

 

“Uh…”, Dante hesitated. He was really tired. “Sure.”

 

Delsin let his thumb gently brush over his lip. He was close again. Really close. But there was only curiosity in that look Delsin gave him, not that other thing Dante sometimes saw flashing up in his eyes. He wished he knew what it meant.

 

“Incredible, it’s just completely healed.”

 

“Kind of the point”, he replied, gently taking Delsin’s hand in his, pushing it away from his lip. He couldn’t deal with how electrifying that touch had been, not now. “I really need to go to sleep now, Delsin.”

 

“Oh yeah, sure.” His grin was a little shy as he stepped back to give Dante space. But he stopped him on his way up the stairs. “Are you going to tell me what happened?”

 

“Maybe some day.” Delsin would already be worrying, he knew that, but he didn’t have to know how bad that fight had been. It was easier letting him think he had fought humans.

 

“All right. Sleep tight, I’ll make you breakfast tomorrow.”

 

“Don’t stay up too late then”, he replied, grinning at how adorable he looked down there. Paint all over, brush already back in his hand.

 

“The muse doesn’t sleep, my friend!”, Delsin called after him, his smile just as big as Dante’s.

 

Despite being so exhausted Dante woke up again in the middle of the night. He had slept even more uneasy ever since his realization. That this wasn’t a real sanctuary, not yet, not from the demons.

He was on his way to the bathroom to get something to drink when he noticed a soft pink shine coming from beneath Delsin’s door. So he was still up, of course he wouldn’t listen to him.

 

“Hey I thought I told you to not stay-”, Dante stopped in his tracks after almost bursting inside the room.

 

This… couldn’t be real.  

 

Delsin still looked pretty much the way he had before Dante had gone to bed, sweatpants, paint all over, even still wearing his beanie. He was snuggled up to the large body pillow, leg drawn across it and holding it tightly.

And above him, in the shape of a dove, was a light made from his neon power. Gently shimmering, slightly hovering up and down in a soothing motion.

 

He slept like a stone it seemed, and Dante’s intrusion hadn’t woken him up. Thankfully. Dante didn’t want to disturb this picture. He crept up to the bed however, carefully pulling up Delsin’s blanket to tuck him in.

 

He was essentially sleeping with a night light. Being scared of the dark was so out of character for him, but then Dante didn’t know everything about him yet. Delsin hadn’t had an easy life either, his parents and his brother were dead, and his friends had left. He still didn’t know if them ‘walking their own path’ was just an excuse or if that had really been the way it had happened.

 

Delsin stirred now, mumbling in his sleep.

 

“Reggie.”

 

That was all Dante could make out. He hesitated for a moment before reaching out, gently brushing over Delsin’s cheek.

 

“I’m here”, he whispered.

 

He didn’t want to say that it would be fine, or that it was going to be okay, how could he say something like this when he was so ignorant about what had happened in Delsin’s past? And he just knew too well that sometimes it just wasn’t okay, wasn’t fine.

 

That gentle gesture seemed to have worked though. Delsin was calm again, and Dante made his way out of the room, closing the door as softly as he could.

 

What if he just left, instead of trying to make this house safe? Wouldn’t that be easier? And safer, for Delsin?

 

But he was selfish. This place was good for him, he was learning how to heal here, as well as actually learning. Dante still couldn’t believe that he could now read and write relatively decent. These thoughts were conflicting, and along with that picture of Delsin with his night light, were tearing him apart.

 

He needed a drink. Or twenty.

 

There was still vodka in his room. One of his first purchases with his own money, because it helped with the nightmares. If he drank enough, he could just pass out and not have them. He didn’t really get hangovers thanks to his healing factor and figured that way he couldn’t get addicted either. He completely ignored the fact that he was craving it now, and couldn’t have stopped if he wanted to.

 

It took a lot tonight to silence his thoughts, and when he finally passed out the sun was already rising.

 

Delsin had kept his promise of making breakfast, but he missed it. Hadn’t been able to hear his housemate knocking on his door, or him softly calling his name. But there was nevertheless a plate with his name on top waiting for him.

 

It was almost noon now, he had wasted so much time. Time he could have used to protect this house, or leave.

 

As always, Delsin had left a note, complete with little cartoon Delsin at the bottom. Today it was him in a nurse outfit, with a stethoscope and a wagging finger, a disapproving look on his face.

 

I hope you feel better today

Out getting groceries and spreading my talent

(if you know what I mean)

Please take care of yourself

Delsin

 

It was too much. Dante didn’t know why, but this was too much. He slid to the floor, clinging tightly to the note.

 

He couldn’t leave, he just couldn’t. Not this house, not Delsin, not the only place he had ever been safe in.

 

Which meant he had work to do.

 

Working with the Akomish had taught him to carve a little, and Delsin had so many supplies, among those he found a small crafting knife. He had painstakingly copied the protective symbols from the books he had read, and he in turn now carved them into different places in the house. Though he always made sure that they were covered by something, or in places that weren’t too obvious.

 

Dante had no idea if it helped, but he could feel the mark on his back glow as he pressed his hand to each symbol, focusing on it, trying to push his desire to protect this place into them. And the energy lingered there, he could feel it.

 

It was a start.

 

He still had to figure out where to get the ingredients for the hex bags, which seemed to be the more powerful way protect the house. It was a long shot, but he figured he might as well check the paper. At least Delsin was enough of a hipster to still get one, claiming the feel of paper was just nothing compared to a computer.

Dante rolled his eyes at the memory before he flicked through it and the classifieds.

 

“Edge of the… Circle”, he mumbled to himself. The description certainly seemed like it would be what he needed. If any human store even did, but he knew enough people dabbled in the occult without knowing what was out there.

 

Dante found his way to the store easily enough, but when he arrived it was closed. Permanently.

 

“Fuck.”

 

Why would they advertise if the store was closed? It didn’t make any sense.

 

A small sign next to the boarded up door caught his eye. He had seen that symbol before… But he couldn’t figure out where. As he stepped closer, he could feel a similar energy radiate from it that he had used on the symbols in their house. He made sure that no one was around before he pressed his hand to it. He could feel a tingling in his fingertips as the symbol changed into an arrow pointing to the left, leading him into an alley.

 

Maybe this place was the real deal. Someone certainly had put a spell on that sign.

 

Dante followed a few more symbols, further down the alley and into another one. At the end of it there was a metal handle, round, like the ones medieval castles used to have. Except there was no door, it was just attacked to the wall. He was close though, he could feel it and so he simply pulled.

A soft light started to shine from where the wall hit the pavement. It moved up, tracing the outline of a door, and when it was done, it opened under Dante’s pull.

 

The store was dark, and after he stepped inside his eyes needed a few moments to adjust. It was only lit with candles, but they were occupying almost every free space. Old fashioned wooden shelves lined the walls, filled with dusty, leather bound books. As Dante traced their spines he noticed that most of them were written in languages he didn’t understand. Well that was certainly helpful.

The wall behind the class counter was lined with a sort of apothecary cabinet, dozens of small drawers filled hopefully with the ingredients he needed. The glass counter itself was filled with different, mostly horrendous looking items. He recognized a claw of those spiky wolf demons, and what looked like a mummified hand as well as some necklaces with protective symbols on them.

It all seemed like a big cliche, even the stuffy atmosphere in the place. But it had to be the real deal, whoever had made those signs and that door knew what they were doing.

 

A man passed through the curtain that separated the store from the back room. He was a bit taller than Dante, but certainly looked like he fit into this place. He was bald, but there was an odd tattoo on the right side of his head as if someone had traced his brain but decided on a steampunk style. Oh, and he had a glass eye. Of course he did.

 

His smile though… that seemed eerily familiar, and it immediately sent Dante on edge.

 

“Welcome, Dante. It has been quite a while.” That deep voice, that long nose… Where had he seen that guy before? And how the fuck did he know his name?

 

“How do you know my name?” Dante stepped back, ready to summon Rebellion at any second.

 

“You don’t recognize me?”, the man asked, the wrinkles by his eyes deepening as his smile widened. “I suppose I have changed a bit since you freed me.”

 

“Freed you…?” The realization hit Dante like a punch to the gut. “Phineas?”

 

“The one and only.”

 

He had to get out, had to get away from this place and this man who was part of his old life. Who reminded him too much of what had happened, of what he was, of his brother.

Most of all he needed to get fresh air, to get out of this stuffy atmosphere, he couldn’t breathe.

 

Dante turned on his heels and stormed towards the door, but it wouldn’t budge.

 

“No no no”, he mumbled. As he turned he summoned Rebellion, drawing it to threaten Phineas. “Open that fucking door right now.”

 

“There is no need to resort to violence”, Phineas said calmly. “You know I mean you no harm, I am still grateful for what you did for me. There must have been a reason for you to come here.”

 

Right. There was.

 

Dante hesitated. His grip on Rebellion tightened with his struggle. He wanted to get away so badly, to hide from all of this, from what it reminded him of. But he needed some of the things here, needed to protect their home.

 

His anxiety only rose as he sheathed his sword, keeping it on his back just in case. But he could do this. Phineas didn’t need to know anything.

 

“I need these things.” Dante slid the list of ingredients over the counter. He was a little ashamed of his blocky, child like writing but what did it matter at the moment? This was hell already.

 

Phineas took the note, scanning it’s contents, his glass eye emitting a soft whirr.

 

“Protection hex bags. I see, I see…”, it seemed like he was mostly talking to himself. “I have all of this, though I would exchange some of this… Christian imagery with more powerful symbols. I have just the thing.”

 

He had said that word with such distaste it almost made Dante smile, but he was still trying too hard not to break down. He thought of Delsin and that hot chocolate they had shared. He wanted to do that again, just being together like that, so he had to get through this.

 

Phineas assembled the ingredients onto the counter, it stacked up to quite a lot and Dante was worried he wouldn’t be able to afford it. Maybe he could come back later, perhaps even today if he got lucky. He knew where he needed to go in Seattle if he wanted to earn some money, though he wasn’t quite sure why he had looked that up in the first place. Old habits, he supposed.

 

“I can show you how to assemble them, if you like”, Phineas said, distracting him from his thoughts.

 

Dante hadn’t even thought about that. There were probably a million things he could do wrong, and would do wrong because it was him doing it. He needed to be sure.

But could he even be sure that Phineas was actually helping him? Hadn’t he already paid his debt by telling him about Mundus’ spawn? Why would he just help him?

 

Then again, what choice did he have?

 

“Okay.”

 

Phineas assembled the first hex bag slowly, making sure Dante could follow his movements. There were a few things he had to look out for, the order in which everything had to be placed into the leather bags, the way some of the ingredients had to be bound together with herbs. But Dante quickly got the hang of it, and by the fifth bag he might have almost called himself decent.

 

“Now infuse them with energy, that will help, too.” Phineas’ gentle smile was still there. Dante hadn’t ever done this in front of anyone else before, and still didn’t quite understand how it worked in the first place but he still took the bags in his hands. Again he concentrated on his desire to protect their home, as he had done with the symbols he had carved, and once more he felt the mark on his back glow.

 

“Nicely done”, Phineas commented when he placed the bags back onto the counter. “You shouldn’t have any troubles from demons if you place those in your home.”

 

“I uhm…”, Dante hesitated. Now came the awkward part. As if it hadn’t already been awkward enough. “I don’t know if I have enough. For this.”

 

“I’m sure we can come to some sort of understanding.”

 

Phineas… He couldn’t mean what Dante thought he meant. Surely not… But if that was what it took… He took a deep breath, steeling himself.

 

“I’m running low on Rage claws”, he said, pointing to the claw in the glass case with his long finger. “If there is one thing I know about you, it’s that you’re good at killing demons. If you bring me a few of those, you will be out of my debt.”

 

“Just some claws? Why would you want those?”

 

“They are quite useful for potions or spells. Their spikes, too, if you manage to harvest those. My old supplier ah… he hasn’t been around. I suspect he didn’t survive his last hunt.” Phineas was so calm about this, like they had done this a million times before. It couldn’t be this easy. “So if you are interested, I could offer a… partnership of sorts.”

 

“Partnership?” What the hell did that mean now? “You would… pay me? For killing your own kind and harvesting their… whatever you want from them?”

 

“If you think of it that way, aren’t they your kind as well?” Phineas’ smile never dropped, and his comment enraged Dante. Better than feeling disgusted with himself at least. “This business is lucrative. It is merely an offer.”

 

Dante’s hands were twitching again. He had to get some of those claws anyway, to pay for this. And he was good at killing demons, if this was a real offer, he should take it. He was so far in Delsin’s debt, it was time he paid his own way, and returned what he owed.

He had never had a problem with exploiting people before, it was usually for his survival, or sometimes just because they were jerks, but Delsin didn’t deserve that kind of thinking. He felt so guilty about all of this.

 

“I’ll think about it”, Dante eventually said and he picked up the hex bags. “I’ll return when I have the claws.”

 

“I look forward to it”, Phineas replied. “Oh and one more thing.”

 

Dante stopped, hand on the door handle.

 

“What happened to your brother?”, the demon asked.

 

“I thought you could see things…”, Dante’s hand, and voice, were shaky. How did he even know about Vergil?

 

He shouldn’t be surprised, really. There was so much he didn’t know about Phineas.

 

“Unfortunately, not everything. And I do tend to stick to this world now, I prefer it immensely to Limbo. There’s an actual sun here.”

 

“He’s dead”, he said quickly to answer Phineas’ question. The first time he had said it out loud.

 

Dante didn’t wait for an answer, he just stormed out.

 

He couldn’t think about it, he just couldn’t. Breaking down was not an option, not out in the open, and so he ran. All the way back to their house, and by the time he had arrived his lungs and muscles were burning. So he focused on that, on the searing fire, anything to distract him from his brother.

 

Those eyes, full of pain.

 

“Get your shit together, Dante.” He balled his hands into fists and before he could stop himself he had punched the wall in their living room. There was a small crack there now. “Fuck. Fuck, just stop!”

 

He was so grateful that Delsin was still out, he didn’t want him to see him like this. Broken.

 

Though he knew, didn’t he? How broken he was? Why else would he have helped him?

 

Dante had to fight back his tears as he was hiding the hex bags in their house, roughly in the shape of a pentagram if he were to draw lines between them. When it was done, he practically collapsed onto the couch, not even the energy to go back to his room in him.

 

There was still so much to do. He had to find demons to repay his debt, but he found himself not able to move anymore. He needed this to be over, to never see Phineas again. Yes, Dante needed the money, wanted to repay Delsin for all his kindness, but could he? Did he have the energy to face the one person constantly reminding him of what he had done,  of what he was?

 

“Dante?”

 

He hadn’t heard Delsin come in, if he had, he’d have gathered whatever energy he could find to not let him see himself like this.

 

“Shit, are you okay?” Delsin was kneeling in front of the couch, so close, hand outstretched, just hovering over Dante’s arm. He was waiting for confirmation, of course he did.

 

Dante couldn’t answer. There was just no energy to do so, and even if there was, he couldn’t tell Delsin he had killed his brother. Couldn’t tell him about Phineas and what he unwillingly associated with the demon. By this point, he couldn’t even cry anymore.

 

“Oh, Dante, I wish you would tell me what happened.” That worried look on Delsin only tore at his heart more. He didn’t deserve that concern. Didn’t deserve the quilt his housemate pulled over him now. “I wish I could help. Is there anything I can do? Can I hug you?”

 

He couldn’t have said where the energy for the nod had come from, but he was glad that he had. Delsin pulled him into a sitting position, and into the greatest hug he had ever known. He let himself think about it a little, and realized that he hadn’t ever been hugged like this, this desperately, but there was so much compassion in that touch too. Dante slowly let his hands move up a little, so he could grab the fabric of Delsin’s jacket. Not tightly, he couldn’t do that, but as much as he could.

His breaths were shaky, almost sobs, but still no tears would come. He let himself breathe in Delsin’s scent, that smoky aroma he loved so much by now. It enveloped him, his entire being and now he let his head rest on Delsin’s shoulder, his nose so close to the crook of his neck that this sweet scent was almost overwhelming with how good it felt to him.

 

“I’m here, Dante”, Delsin whispered, his hand now softly playing with the hair at the base of Dante’s neck. “I’m here, I won’t leave.”

 

They stayed like this for a while. If Delsin was at all uncomfortable in this position, he never let it show. He just kept holding Dante like this, grounding him in the here and now. All those terrible things, they were haunting him, but they were in the past.

 

He was slowly relaxing now, his breaths calming as Delsin started to softly hum a tune. Like a lullaby, sweet, promising safety and comfort.

 

That’s when Dante knew. He could do this, he could work for Phineas. Because he had this home, and Delsin.

 

Chapter Text

Something was different about Dante.

 

Delsin had been thrilled when he had announced he wanted to go to the library, but hadn’t expected him to practically live there. Dante didn’t exactly look like he particularly enjoyed it, when he came home he only looked exhausted.

And he had started to miss their dinners. There was an unspoken agreement between them, as there had been with Eugene and Fetch, that this was the one meal they would eat together. Every day. Delsin could see how guilty Dante felt about it though, and so he just prepared a plate for him to eat whenever he came home.

 

And then Dante had come home, hurt, had shortly after that broken down, not even able to talk to Delsin. All he had been able to do was hold him, for a long time before Dante even had the energy to go back to his room, still with Delsin’s help.

 

He had stayed up all night, not able to sleep with that image of Dante on the couch, desperate, broken.

 

But the next day he had been completely different, changed. Delsin wasn’t quite sure if it was just a mask he had put up, or if Dante had somehow come to a realization that brought him new energy… He looked good, Delsin could certainly admit that.

 

Of course he still constantly wondered what had happened, and what bothered Dante so much. Maybe it was time to talk, maybe he trusted Delsin enough to share a little. He would take it slow, and he would give him something in return.

 

They regularly made trips to the Akomish long house, this time around however, it was packed, despite there not being a celebration. It happened, he supposed, though the two of them struggled to find a free space to place their shoes. There was a shelf next to the entrance, with little boxes just for that purpose. Today they both had to cram their shoes into one.

 

Delsin had to grin as he remembered their first time here, when Dante had taken off his shoes to reveal no socks at all. He had been able to tell how embarrassed he had been about that, but no one made a comment. Betty only pressed a pair of hand knitted socks into his hand shortly before he left.

 

“I get cold just watching you”, she had said. “And I’m sure you don’t want to make an old lady uncomfortable.”

 

Of course she had made it about her, pretending that it had been Dante’s choice not to wear socks, and not the fact that he didn’t own any.

 

Delsin was so, so grateful for Betty. Who was patient and kind, immediately taking Dante under her wing, too. She recognized that he had a talent for working with his hands, and she had been the one to suggest that he help out around the long house and the reservation.

 

Dante had pretty much stuck to Delsin in the beginning, following him around in that puppy way of his. But he slowly warmed up to the people here, and that habit got less. It didn’t vanish though, and today, with so many new people here, Delsin felt his housemate grab the hem of his jacket as they wound their way through the people.

 

“Betty! What’s going on?”, he asked her when they had finally found her. “So much for a quiet afternoon.”

 

“Just one of those days I suppose”, she said with a smile, greeting a friend who was just passing by.

 

“Listen, Delsin-”, Betty started, but was interrupted by someone calling for Dante.

 

It was Joe, an elderly man who had taught Dante a lot about building and crafting. He was the one in charge of renovating the roof.

 

“We’re discussing some of the changes we want to make, come join us”, he said. He was standing among a group of people, some of them even Delsin didn’t know.  

 

“Uhm…” Dante was visibly fighting whether he should go or not. But it would be good to get out of his shell, and he did know some of the people here already. Delsin was confident he’d get along with the others as well.

 

“Go on then”, he urged him. “I’ll join in a second okay?”

 

“Okay uhm…”, Dante hesitated.

 

“I’ll be right there”, Delsin said again. “You’ll be fine.”

 

Dante nodded, and left to join the group. Still shy, but Joe was already pulling him in, introducing him to the people he didn’t know. He’d be fine.

 

“I haven’t seen that particular smile before”, Betty dragged him from his thoughts, and back into the real world. “But I think I know what it means.”

 

“Do you now?” Delsin could feel the heat rise into his cheeks. Of course she knew.

 

“But Delsin, listen to me.” Her smile faded and she got that lecturing tone Delsin knew only too well. “He’s a good boy, and he’s been through so much…”

 

“Betty-”

 

“We can both guess some of the things that happened, that he had to do, but there’s something else that haunts him deep down. He will need time, and he will need you to be gentle. What he needs may not be what you want.”

 

“Betty…” He gently took her hands in his. Hearing those words from her… he absolutely knew that they were true, had never planned on showing Dante how he felt but he had ignored his feelings lately. Now they came rushing back with a force he hadn’t expected. His voice was shaky as he kept talking, and he had to work hard to keep it from cracking. “I know, Betty… I know.”

 

“Oh my sweet boy…” She reached up to cup his cheek. The look he must have given her had to be conveying just how he felt about Dante. This had long ago surpassed a simple crush. It looked like she only now realized that. “You’re doing the right thing, I know it’s hard. Reggie would be proud, I am so, so proud of you.”

 

“Seriously, do we have to do this now?”, he forced a smile, forced himself not to cry. “Don’t you… don’t you have to fill up your lecture quota with some other people?”

 

“Now don’t get sassy with me, young man.” She pulled him down into a hug, and for a moment he let himself enjoy it, let himself cling to her sleeve.

 

He needed to pull himself together. Whatever he was feeling, however agonizing it was right now, it was nothing compared to what Dante had been through.

 

Betty gently patted his cheek after letting him go. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He could do this.

 

“Go on then, he’s looking for you”, she said.

 

As Delsin turned he could see that Dante was indeed watching them, frowning.

 

“Delsin?”, he mouthed, calling him over with a tiny nudge of his head.

 

“I’ll see you later, Betty”, Delsin said and made his way across the room, stopping just a little behind Dante. He let his hand rest on the small of his back and could feel him relax under the touch. “Now what exciting talk about roofs have I missed?”

 

“Are you okay?”, Dante whispered after the initial round of introductions were over. The others were too deeply involved in talking about shingles or something, Delsin had no idea, that they didn’t notice. “You looked a little…”

 

“I’m good”, Delsin said quickly. “Really. I’m okay.”

 

He listened to the group talk, surprised at how Dante joined into the conversation now. He actually knew about this stuff. But then why exactly should he be surprised? Dante was capable of many things.

 

“Hey, I want to show you something.” Delsin had to stand on tiptoe to be able to whisper in his ear.

 

Dante turned, frowning at how mysterious that sounded. But he nodded and they excused themselves.

 

Being outside again relaxed them after the bustle in the long house. Delsin led Dante along the back of it, and into the woods. He still knew the way by heart, even though some of it had changed. He had to remind himself that he wasn’t alone now, had to tell Dante the tricks to not get hurt on the way. The small stream could easily be overlooked, and the first time he had been here he had completely ruined his shoes. And there was that bit through the cleft in the mountain where they needed to duck. But the trek was certainly worth it.

The crack in the mountain led to a small plateau on the cliffs, looking out over the ocean and the long house in the distance. But there was a small cave here that had protected Delsin from the elements countless times. He used to hide that entrance, not wanting anyone else to find it, but it seemed that even without his makeshift camouflage door no one had. Some of his things were still here. A spraycan, a weathered sketchbook and a bit of chalk that was unusable now.

 

“Wow.” Dante was frozen, just staring out over the ocean. Well, that was certainly the reaction he had hoped for.

 

“I used to come here after I got into a fight with Reggie.” He stood next to Dante, their arms not quite touching as he looked out as well. Delsin could still feel Dante tense up. They’d never talked about this. Delsin hadn’t ever talked about this, with anyone.

 

He hadn’t showed anyone this place either.

 

“We could never just… I don’t know, we could never just talk”, Delsin sighed. He regretted so much. “Always misunderstanding what the other said, and I suppose I did it on purpose, too, just to spite him. But he also never understood that I had to go my own way, or at least it seemed like it. I know that… I know he just wanted what was best for me.”

 

This was hard. Delsin hadn’t realized how hard it would be in the end. He could feel Dante’s eyes on him, who had now turned to look down at him. He didn’t make a move though, and Delsin appreciated it. If there was one person to know that touch wasn’t always wanted, it was him.

 

Delsin didn’t quite know where he was going with this though. He had wanted to talk to Dante about something else, but it had just spilled.

 

“I… I just really miss him.”

 

He had to take a deep breath, had to focus on the calm sound of the waves crashing against the cliff below them to restrain the tears.

 

He had never cried about Reggie. Was that wrong?

 

“I know you do”, Dante said softly. Right now Delsin did kind of wish he would offer a hug, or any sort of touch, but that wasn’t what he had brought them here for.

 

He took a deep breath.

 

You’re okay, Delsin.

 

“Can I ask you something, Dante? You don’t have to answer.”

 

“Okay uhm…”, Dante hesitated and tensed up again. “Sure.”

 

“Where do you keep going?”

 

After that week he had spent at the library, it had seemed Dante was back to his old routine. But then he started to leave, randomly, staying away for hours and not telling Delsin where he would go. He never pressed, that just wasn’t him, but he worried. Constantly. Was he prostituting himself again? Delsin had thought he had made it clear that he didn’t have to do this anymore. He didn’t care about money, he was happily supporting him.

 

“I… found some work”, Dante eventually said.

 

Delsin’s stomach dropped. He was so vague about it… Why was he being vague?

 

“Dante…” he turned to properly look at him now, not able to hide the pleading look in his eyes. “Please tell me you’re not… not selling yourself again. You don’t have to do that I-”

 

“It’s not that”, he quickly said. “I didn’t… want to worry you.”

 

“Well that plan didn’t work, I still worry.”

 

Dante’s smile was weak as he looked down for a moment, taking a deep breath before replying.

 

“I… hunt demons.”

 

“You hunt… demons?” That, Delsin hadn’t expected.

 

“I’m good at it and it pays well. Until recently I didn’t know there was a market for it, but apparently there is. Spells, potions, that kind of stuff. Occult stores buy their claws and teeth, whatever I can get my hands on.”

 

Spells? Potions? Shit, Delsin thought, there is so much he had no idea about and he had always thought those Occult stores were just selling crap that didn’t work. But with Conduits out there, demons, why was he surprised exactly?

Though he still figured that’s what Dante was, he just hadn’t realized. He seemed to have been pretty isolated from those Conduit incidents. It hardly mattered though, Dante seemed to have a good grip on his powers. The only thing still a mystery to Delsin was the fact that he couldn’t absorb his powers. But there were different kinds of Conduits, different ways they could unlock their powers, maybe something in that combination prevented it.

 

Delsin certainly appreciated that Dante was being honest, and that he hadn’t reverted to his old ways.

 

“Well. I’m a little relieved”, Delsin said. “Still a little worried. And a little freaked out about what else I might not know about this world. But… thank you for telling me.”

 

“I’m good at this. I’ll be fine. And…”, Dante hesitated. “I can pay rent like this.”

 

“You know it was never about that…”

 

“I want to do it. I want to… earn my keep, I don’t want to be a burden.” Dante was so fiercely honest about this, Delsin couldn’t help but smile.

 

“You’re never a burden, Dante.” He stepped closer to let his hand rest on Dante’s arm, that gesture that had become so comforting for both of them. “But I understand. Just… pay whatever you can from now on. You don’t owe me anything.”

 

Dante huffed at that, but returned his smile.

 

Delsin had always felt safe in this place. Had always been able to calm down, to figure things out. Maybe there was a spirit here that helped not only him, but Dante too.

 

“I do owe you.” Dante looked like he was about to move, to lean forward, or reach out, but the feeling only lasted for a moment. “A lot.”

 

“Nonsense. I’m just awesome, but so are you, sometimes.” He gave him an even wider grin. “That’s enough emotional crap for today I think.”

 

“Oh boy yes”, Dante agreed, and they both had to laugh.

 

“Wanna go home and make dinner?”

 

“Sounds perfect.”

 

They figured Betty would forgive them for not saying goodbye with all the bustle in the long house, so they simply went on their way. The commute back to Seattle was long enough, and it was starting to get dark by the time they approached their house.

Their comfortable banter was back though, and it seemed to Delsin that the tension that had been between them before was completely erased. He was certainly glad that Dante had opened up to him, at least about this. Baby steps.

 

“So what should we- ow.” Dante had held out his arm and Delsin had walked into it. “What the hell?”

 

“The lights are on.” Dante pointed at the kitchen window. Indeed, a soft glow emanated from it.

 

Normal lights though, not flashlights, something burglars would use. Unless they were confident enough that they wouldn’t get caught?

In any case, they had certainly chosen the wrong house to break into.

 

Smoke was curling around Delsin’s hand as he turned the door knob with his other, and out of the corner of his eyes he could see that Dante had summoned his sword.

 

As soon as the door was open, a neon beam hit him, making him stumble and smile.

 

“Fetch!” His grin was so wide it actually hurt.

 

“Smoke man!” She was practically charging at him and jumped, with Delsin barely catching her in time. As they hugged, with Fetch’s legs around his waist he twirled her around a few times before letting her down again.

 

Behind her, Eugene was waiting in the doorway, still wearing his battered, striped hoodie. But he looked different, more confident.

 

“Hey Delsin”, he said as he adjusted his glasses. Delsin stepped forward to envelop him in a hug as well, although a little less stormy.

 

“Well, well, well, and who do we have here?”, Fetch grinned lewdly at Dante.

 

“Fetch, no.” Delsin wagged a finger at her. She hated that. “Dante, meet Fetch and Eugene, who were so kind to let me borrow their powers.

 

“Borrow?” Fetch started to drag Delsin inside, and Dante followed. “I kind of remember that differently. There was a fight, and you took it.”

 

“Well if somebody had just listened, that could have been avoided.”

 

There was just no way to express how good it felt to see his friends again. The two of them had halfway prepared a meal, and it only felt natural that they would continue to do so together. Dante was standing a little awkwardly just outside of the kitchen as they were catching up, so Delsin pulled him inside and gave him some work to do. He earned a grateful smile in return.

 

They were both happy in their new cities. Eugene’s date a while back had gone well, and he was in his first relationship now. Of course he earned a long ‘aw’ from Delsin who ruffled his hair, telling him how proud he was that he was ‘a big boy now’.

Fetch was still pretty busy organizing the relatively new shelter in New York, and according to her barely had any time for anything else. But she loved any minute of it and Delsin could see how good it was for her to help others now.

 

“Right, so how long have you guys been together?”, Fetch asked, leaning back in her chair, her plate practically licked clean.

 

A feeling of dread overcame Delsin as the silence between them dragged on. The most awkward silence he had experienced in a long time.

 

“We’re… not together”, he eventually said, because someone had to. He could feel the heat creep into his cheeks, and a glance at Dante showed him he wasn’t alone in that.

 

“Well what the hell are you waiting for, Delsin?” Fetch’s smile was wide. Of course she would tease them. “If you’re not gonna go for it, I just might. Because, well, damn.”

 

That made Dante straighten himself in his seat, a grin slowly spreading on his face. Of course he would love that.

 

“Yeah, he’s really pr-”, Eugene piped up. “I mean attractive.”

 

“That’s very true”, Dante said. “I am very hot.”

 

Despite his cocky attitude Delsin could tell he wasn’t entirely comfortable with this. The times Dante had offered himself to Delsin popped up in his mind, making him fidget nervously in his seat. Dante was probably remembering that, too.

 

“How about we move this to the living room?”, Delsin asked, ushering them all to stand. “It’s more comfy that way.”

 

Dante shot him a grateful smile as they crossed over, Eugene and Dante made themselves comfortable on the couch but Fetch held Delsin back.

 

“Seriously, Delsin, what’s the deal?”, she asked and Delsin immediately pulled her back into the kitchen to make sure the others couldn’t hear.

 

Dante and Eugene seemed not to notice as they talked, and the latter had pulled out his tablet, showing Dante something on there.

 

“Why are you not all over that? Life is short, go for it!” Fetch said, grinning as she looked at Dante for a moment.

 

“I… why would I?”

 

“Come on.” She put her hand on her hip, frowning now. She could tell something was wrong. “You can talk to me.”

 

“I… don’t want to take advantage”, Delsin sighed as he looked away. “He’s been through some stuff, Fetch. Living on the streets and… you know.”

 

“Oh shit… you mean...?” Of course she would realize. She had been close enough to prostitution herself, only Brent had stopped that from happening. “But…Seriously, D, have you seen the way he looks at you?”

 

“So?” Delsin couldn’t believe what she was insinuating. Even if it was true… it wasn’t what Dante needed. “He needs stability, he doesn’t need me to mess him up.”

 

He glanced over to where Dante and Eugene were sitting, talking, laughing at something on the tablet. Dante seemed to be at ease now, and he was glad that he got along with his friends. He involuntarily had to smile, and his stance relaxed.

 

“Oh boy”, Fetch said, drawing his attention again. Her smile was gentle now. “You got it bad, D.”

 

Today was apparently the day where everyone noticed how heads over heels in love he was. He only hoped that Dante wouldn’t. He had enough things to worry about.

 

“Delsin!”, Dante dragged out his name in a long whine.

 

“Oh boy what is it now?” Delsin rolled his eyes, but he was thankful for the distraction. He had almost broken down today because of his stupid feelings for the man, and he wasn’t sure he could stop it if it happened again.

 

He and Fetch finally joined the others in the living room, with him cross legged on the floor and her in the armchair.

 

“I want a playstation!”, Dante said, holding out the tablet so Delsin could see the screenshots of a game there. He had never seen it before.

 

“Ugh fucking corporations”, he rolled his eyes. “I don’t want to support Sony, they have enough power as it is.”

 

“But look.” Dante swiped the screen, showing the next screenshot, this one of a dragon. “It has dragons.”

 

Delsin got the feeling he wasn’t just talking about dragons, as the fake sadness in Dante’s eyes was hiding something else. Was it real? What could have triggered it? Whatever it was that had made Dante look like a kicked puppy, that look tore at his heart.

 

“Ugh fine”, he sighed. “We’ll get a playstation.”

 

Fetch leaned down to whisper in his ear. Thankfully Dante was too busy being excited and happy to notice.

 

“Boy you are so whipped”, she said.

 

Delsin didn’t even care, only brushed the comment off with a wave of his hand. Dante was smiling again, even laughing as the evening went on. This was all that mattered.

 

“Oh, oh!” Eugene was usually quiet, but he almost hopped up excitedly as he turned on the radio for some music. Delsin had completely forgotten that radio was even still there, next to the couch. It was a small miracle that it even worked. “It’s Bohemian Rhapsody!”

 

It was pretty much their song. They had rocked out through the kitchen, throughout the whole house so many times. It was another unspoken rule for them. If someone played it the others would storm out of their rooms to join in the performance.

 

And yes, they did have a routine.

 

The beginning was Delsin’s part, and when he began to sing, Dante’s frown turned into amazement.

 

“Holy shit you’re good”, he said, immediately slapping a hand over his mouth.

 

“Oh don’t worry we make up for it- oh shit my part”, Fetch hurriedly said, continuing to sing in a terrible, off key way. Despite their many times singing that song, she never got any better.

 

On the ‘little low’ Delsin quickly moved to kneel in front of Dante, holding out his hand to invite him to participate. Fetch and Eugene were already in their positions, dancing to the song with Fetch sometimes picking up the smaller man to twirl him around.

 

Dante hesitated for a moment, his look telling Delsin that he thought he was intruding on their thing, but he gently smiled at him, until he finally reached out to take his hand. Delsin stood, pulling Dante up from the couch.

 

“Damn you can move”, Delsin yelled over the music. Dante’s hips were certainly talented, and he found himself hypnotized, almost missing his cue. “Oh uhm- Mama, oooh…”

 

He perfectly executed his part, not even missing a note when Dante picked him up too, mimicking Fetch. Who now moved closer with Eugene, letting the two men passionately intertwine their fingers as the sang their ‘Galileo’ part.

 

The song almost went by like a dream. It seemed like Fetch and Eugene were back living here again, except it was a hundred times better with Dante here. Who seemed to be too shy to dance with anyone else, who never let go of Delsin’s hand, making him twirl and joined him when he jumped onto the coffee table. Who also pulled him close by his hips, gently making him sway in time to the end of the song.

 

“Anyway the wind blows…”, Delsin finished, a little more quiet than normally. They were so damn close, his hands pressed against Dante’s chest, both breathing heavily from their dancing. He was incredibly aware of Dante’s hands on his hips, slowly moving lower even? Dante’s pupils were blown wide.

 

Don’t, Delsin, don’t do anything stupid, be the better man, do the right thing.

 

He pushed himself away from Dante, who only reluctantly let go of him. As he turned to the others he saw that Fetch and Eugene were both grinning widely.

 

“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m beat.” What an obvious lie. Delsin had no idea if he would be able to sleep after that.

 

“Oh I can take the couch”, Dante said. “You can use your room, Fetch.”

 

“Oh bullshit”, she waved the offer away with her hand. “It’s your room now, I’ll take the couch, or bunk with Eugene.”

 

“I wouldn’t argue with her”, Eugene said, nudging her.

 

“All right, all right.” Dante nervously scratched the back of his neck. “I’ll help you set up then.”

 

They all helped make the couch as comfortable as possible, which it already was in the first place, before they all said their goodnights and went to their separate rooms.

 

“Delsin you are so fucked”, he whispered to himself.

 

If he had to be precise, he wanted to be fucked, which was the problem here. Or fuck, but not just anyone. He hated being in love right now, not that it was pleasant when not reciprocated in the first place.

 

Though after that just now… he wasn’t so sure anymore. The way Dante had looked at him, the way they had been so close... They hadn’t been that close since that desperate hug a few weeks ago.

 

“No, no, no, stop it, Delsin.”

 

Even if there was a chance Dante liked him, too, it didn’t mean he could act on it. That was not why he had taken him in and he knew there was a lot Dante still needed to work through.

 

It didn’t make Delsin any less hard right now.

 

He hesitated.

 

“Oh who am I kidding…”

 

He didn’t have the willpower to stop right now, and how wrong was it really, to jerk off to the thought of your best friend - slash - the person you’re hopelessly in love with? People did it all the time, he was sure.

 

Delsin quickly unbuttoned his shirt to slip out of it, before lying back down on his bed. The buttons on his jeans were undone quickly now, and he pulled them only as low as they needed to be, along with his boxers. He sighed as he finally wrapped his hand around his erection, imagining it was Dante doing so.

 

It would never be forced. In his imagination they were together, happily so and Dante had offered because he wanted to.

Delsin started to pump himself with a slow rhythm, thinking about Dante’s grey eyes. He’d be watching him, his reactions, the way Delsin was moaning softly and biting down on his lip to stop himself.

He increased the pressure, feeling himself get even harder at those thoughts. What would Dante do? Would he kiss his jaw? Pepper more kisses along it until he reached his earlobe where he’d softly start sucking? Delsin had to moan at that thought, almost able to feel Dante’s lips on him.

 

“Hngh, shut up”, he said to himself breathlessly.

 

Letting his thumb flick over the tip of his cock didn’t exactly help. He bit down on his lips again as his body was slowly filled with a warmth, wholly different from the way he usually ran hotter than others. He sped up his movements now, pumping himself with increasing speed.

 

“Come for me”, Dante would say.

 

And he would happily oblige, as he did just now. He was overwhelmed by that warmth, that pleasure spreading through him, making him not notice the come covering his hand and stomach. He just rode out that orgasm, slowly letting himself come down from it.

 

“Ah, shit”, he mumbled when he finally realized the state he was in. There were enough dirty shirts discarded on the floor so he picked one to clean himself off with, making a mental note to wash it separately from everything else.

 

Well, he had done it now. There was no going back. Not that there had been any denying about his feelings before, he hadn’t fought them, only hid them away.

 

Delsin figured he might as well clean himself up a little, but going to the bathroom had been a terrible, terrible mistake. He had forgotten to knock, was too distracted to think that there might be someone else in there.

 

Of course it was Dante. Shirtless. Jeans unbuttoned all the way showing almost everything.  Delsin had to use every bit off his willpower not to stare, though it only worked half way. His eyes still lingered on Dante’s lean muscles, those gorgeous abs.

 

“Shit I’m so sorry”, he eventually said, when he finally realized what he was doing.

 

“Don’t worry about it”, Dante said, not even making a move to cover himself.

 

Fuck.

 

“Sorry… Sorry”, Delsin said again as he finally managed to turn and go back to his room.

 

Today was just not his day. The universe had decided to torture him.

 

At least the next few days were better.

 

Fetch and Eugene had time to stay, at least for a while, and it almost felt like back in the day. Though all of them seemed to have matured a little, which was hard to tell when the three of them were together. Dante didn’t exactly help. He fit perfectly into their group of twelve and a half year olds.

 

At the moment Dante was out though, ‘working’, and Delsin had to come up with some excuse as to what he was actually doing. Telling them he was demon hunting probably wasn’t the best idea. Not yet.

They were currently sitting at the kitchen table, drinking tea and waiting for Dante to return. There was a plan to go out later, ‘hit the town’ as Fetch had said.

 

“So how crazy in love are you with the guy?”, she asked with a wicked grin.

 

Delsin let his head fall onto the table with a loud thud. He groaned to really get his point across.

 

“Can we please not talk about that?”

 

Eugene started to helpfully rub his back.

 

“Why exactly… aren’t you doing something about this?”, he asked.

 

Delsin straightened himself again, grateful that Eugene wasn’t stopping his movements. He was sad and needy.

 

“He has some things to work through, let’s leave it at that. I would be taking advantage.”

 

He had already told Fetch too much. She would keep it to herself, he knew that, but it wasn’t exactly his place to just tell everyone about Dante’s past. The little he knew of it.

 

“Are you… Are you being selfless?” Eugene pressed a hand to his mouth in a fake shocked expression. “Who are you and what have you done with Delsin?”

 

“Oh bite me!”

 

“Seriously though, D. You’re doing a good thing here, kinda proud of you”, Fetch said. “But I don’t think you’d be taking advantage. He likes you, trust me. And you should trust him to make his own choices.”

 

“Fetch, please-”

 

“Just think about it okay? But not for too long, I just might snag him away cause boy is he gorgeous…” She stared off into the distance, a dreamy grin on her face. She composed herself a few moments later. “Just promise me that, okay?”

 

“Fine, yes, I promise”, he replied.

 

But that’s when Dante returned, and he immediately got up, ignoring the kissing noises Fetch made at him. He couldn’t stop Dante from doing what he wanted, what he enjoyed and what made him feel better, but that he was hunting demons still set him on edge. He couldn’t help but worry.

 

Delsin stopped mere inches in front of Dante, who was startled by his sudden appearance. He remembered in time that he wasn’t allowed to touch, though, no matter his late night fantasies.

 

“Are you okay?”, he whispered, not wanting to give Fetch and Eugene any clues.

 

“Yes. I’m not hurt”, Dante said, smiling gently. Now it was him who let his hand rest on Delsin’s arm, for the first time, he realized.

 

“Okay. Good.” Delsin returned the smile. “You ready to go out?”

 

“Yeah, I can’t wait.”

 

They started their night off in Fetch’s favourite club. It wasn’t what Delsin liked in huge quantities, but losing yourself in the music, the bass and the alcohol was good once in a while. They seemed to move like one being, changing dance partners as if they had planned those movements before. With a rising alcohol level, it seemed that Dante favorited him more and more. It was increasingly harder to care, to force himself to hold back.

Delsin used that opportunity, knowing he could still chalk it off to a drunken thing in the morning, which it kind of even was. He let his hands wander up and down Dante’s arms, let them linger on his chest and even brushed them over his waist.

Dante grinned widely as he pulled him close, as he had done the first night his friends had come over. They were practically grinding against each other at that point, but that was when Fetch intervened.

 

Future, sober Delsin would be incredibly grateful for that, but present, drunk Delsin was severely disappointed.

 

“How about some fresh air, boys?”, she asked, already pulling them both after her.

 

The cold night air hit Delsin like a wall, but it felt good in a way, and cleared his mind a little. Dante still stayed close to him, as he did when it got really cold.

 

Eugene led the way to their favourite place at the docks, where they could sit and let their legs hang over the edge, to look out over the water that reflected the city’s lights. Fetch reached out to burn lights into the floor around them, gorgeous flower patterns almost like a protective shield.

 

Despite the cold, they let themselves lie on the wooden planks of the pier.

 

Delsin turned to grin at Dante.

 

“Want some?”, he asked as he pulled out a joint, showing it to him.

 

“Sure, why not.” Dante’s grin was just as wide as his. “Fetch, Eugene?”

 

“You kids do your own thing”, Fetch said, and Eugene hummed in agreement.

 

He knew Fetch never did any more drugs, not after what she had been through. And while weed wasn’t as bad as what she had been addicted to, he could understand. But she had never complained when he got high in his room, which was quite rare anyhow.

 

Delsin lit the joint and inhaled deeply before handing it to Dante, who did the same. This was the part of the evening when they went quiet, just smoking and enjoying each other’s company.

 

It didn’t take long for him to feel the effect of that joint, and slowly but surely, everything seemed hilarious. He had to giggle, the shaking of his body making Dante turn to look at him again.

 

“Did you just fucking giggle?”, he asked, his grin so wide he seemed close to it himself.

 

“Isn’t it adorable?”, Eugene asked, nudging Delsin who only giggled harder.

 

“I am adorable”, he managed to say between laughing fits. “That’s why you all love me.”

 

“Sure it is”, Fetch said, her rolling her eyes almost audible in her voice. “Maybe it’s time to get you two home.”

 

Delsin and Dante had to be practically dragged out of their lying position, and as soon as they were standing, they seemed to be drawn to each other.

 

“You’re really warm”, Dante giggled, hooking his arm under Delsin’s.

 

“Don’t catch a cold okay?” The thought of Dante being sick, or hurt, wasn’t quite as funny, not even now.

 

“You always worry.” For some reason, that seemed hilarious to Dante, too. “That’s so silly.”

 

“It’s not silly. I like you, so I worry.”

 

Delsin didn’t notice that his friends politely left enough space between them so they had some sort of privacy. All he could notice was Dante’s smile, his eyes, again so close to him.

 

“I’m so drunk”, he said.

 

That made both of them giggle again, all the way back to their house, where Fetch and Eugene had to separate them almost forcefully. It was better this way, Delsin realized the day after, he had been stupid to let his guard down like that.

 

It had been a good night though, a fitting end to his friends’ visit. Though he still couldn’t help but feel a little sad when they left again. He always would, he supposed, they were simply close and not being able to just be around them when he wanted to would always bother him.

 

Dante seemed to sense that after they had left.

 

“Do you need a hug?”, he asked.

 

Wasn’t Delsin the one who was supposed to support him? Dante really had changed.

 

“Yes please”, Delsin stretched out his arms and Dante stepped close, enveloping him in a strong hug.

 

It felt good, way too good. How was he supposed to keep being strong if they were getting closer every day? Fetch couldn’t have been right, could she? It was only wishful thinking on his part.

 

More time. He needed more time to suppress his feelings.


Dante would always come first.

Chapter Text

After his initial shock over meeting Phineas had ebbed off, Dante found that it wasn’t so bad working for him. He didn’t really have an idea how to actually hunt demons, but as time passed he learned about the places where the veil between the worlds was thin, where he was attacked most often, and then it meant just waiting. Eventually Phineas gave him spells, similar to the ones Kat had used, to force those rifts open. He was quite impressed when Dante suggested using a spraycan, though he didn’t say where he had gotten that idea from.

 

Apart from that one question about his brother, he had never asked anything else, and Dante supposed that the demon needed to be discreet in his line of work and applied that to their relationship as well. With all the secrecy, hidden doors and anonymous customers… Dante soon thought it was pretty hilarious.

 

And it was nice not having to be careful about what he said for once, as Phineas already knew what he was. He knew stories, too, from the olden days when Nephilim still existed, though unfortunately they weren’t very specific. A lot about him, about what he was, remained hidden from Dante. But before he knew it Dante stayed in the store, even after their business had been concluded, drinking tea with the demon.

 

He couldn’t say that he truly trusted Phineas, but the arrangement seemed to work, at least for now.

 

Though he still couldn’t quite say why he had told Delsin about it. It was dangerously close to his old life, to what he was, but he knew about demons already, hunting them was essentially a good thing. And he deserved to know something, to not be lied to the entire time. This was something he could give him, to set him a little more at ease. Not to mention that there was so way he could have him keep thinking he had gone back to selling himself. The way Delsin had looked at him, actually scared that it was true… It was too much.

 

Delsin had opened up, too. It had been the first time he had talked about his brother, up on the cliffs, that secret place he had never taken anyone else to. Except Dante, the homeless guy mooching off of him. He trusted him, the least he could do was return that sentiment.

In all those months he had been living with him, Dante had never seen Delsin this sad. He could understand just too well how it was to lose your brother. Only Dante hadn’t lost Vergil, he had killed him.

 

That look on Delsin’s face, the slight shaking of his body, he had looked so close to breaking down. All Dante had wanted to do was reach out, and had almost done so, but he had hesitated, and then the moment was gone. He shouldn’t have hesitated.

 

So he had told Delsin instead, what he was up to, why he did it. He just couldn’t stand having Delsin do everything for him anymore, he needed to repay him. Of course he had understood, it was Delsin after all.

 

Dante had secretly dreaded Fetch and Eugene showing up, but his worries turned out to be unfounded. They immediately took to him, and he got along with them, even with Eugene the genius. Who was kind when he showed him his tablet, and how it worked, even the basics of an internet search. Dante had never asked about it before, he had a very rudimentary knowledge of these things but he had to admit he was curious. And when he told Eugene about how he used to play games as a kid at the mall he was immediately shown what was on the market nowadays. It blew his mind a little bit, the games almost looked real and boy, did he want them.

 

Delsin’s comment about corporations had hit him out of nowhere. Too much power, yes… Just like Mundus. These memories could suck all the energy out of him at a moment’s notice but at least the silliness of that dance they performed distracted him from that. Boy, was it silly, but he loved every second of it. He was a good dancer, knew just how to move to make himself look amazing, and it was satisfying to see the way Delsin looked at him. But Delsin was pretty good at it too, and he could sing. Dante made a mental note to ask him to do that more often, but then he had found himself pulling him close and the dancing turned into something different.

 

There was definitely something between them, Dante could feel it, see it in Delsin’s eyes that night, and again when they were dancing a few days later. Dante might have been high, and a little too clingy, but the feeling remained even after sobering up.

Delsin had rejected his advances before, but it was different now. He wasn’t thinking about being with him because he thought he had to, but because he wanted to. It had taken him months to figure that out, and he was glad that it hadn’t escalated into something else before. When he thought about how good Delsin was to him, he had to smile.

 

“What are you grinning about?”, Delsin asked, wrapped up in a blanket in his armchair, but still sketching. The guy just couldn’t stop.

 

Dante liked these quiet afternoons, both of them just silently enjoying each other’s company, usually doing their own thing and only exchanging thoughts from time to time. He was currently trying to secretly browse for a birthday present for Delsin, on the tablet Eugene had sent him after he had proclaimed that he ‘liked touching things’. Delsin had snickered like a twelve and a half year old at that.

 

“Oh just you, looking like a burrito”, Dante replied.

 

“Speaking of which…” Delsin briefly stopped sketching. “If you go out to get some tortillas I can make us some.”

 

“Why do I have to go out?”

 

It was cold and rainy outside, as it tended to be in Seattle. And when Delsin wasn’t there next to him, warming him up, he didn’t particularly like it.

 

“Because…”, Delsin stretched the word, obviously still thinking about a reason. While thinking about it he had let the piece of chalk he was using rest on his cheek, unconsciously making a black smudge there. “I am an adorable burrito and you wouldn’t want to disturb that?”

 

Damn, that was actually a fair point.

 

“Fine. But you owe me…. something.”

 

“Thanks, sweetie!” Delsin winked at him and blew him a kiss before he resumed his work.

 

This guy. He was impossible.

 

Dante loved it.

 

By now he knew the city well, maybe not like Delsin, but he knew that if he went through a particular alley and over that roof from his way back from the store, he’d shave a good ten minutes off the journey. And he badly needed that. He hadn’t even considered taking an umbrella with him and he was getting soaked.

 

But he didn’t even register the rain and the cold anymore when he reached the top of the roof. Dante was frozen in place with the view that presented itself before him, making him drop the package of tortillas.

 

That was undoubtedly Delsin’s artwork covering the entire side of the building in front of him. No wonder he hadn’t seen his secret project, unlike Delsin he wasn’t in the habit of climbing roofs.

 

This was him. Two of him, an angel and a demon version, melting into each other at the hip, their hands intertwined. Their wings were forming a protective shell, making them safe from the chaos around them. Worst of all, to Dante, was that they were both so beautiful. Despite the claws, the sharp teeth, despite the leathery wings of that red demon Dante, he was gorgeous, smiling at his blue angel counterpart.

 

Delsin couldn’t know, it was impossible. There was absolutely no way he could know that Dante was Nephilim. Was it just a natural progression of what Delsin had seen when they first met? He had seen the demon, was it just natural that he’d imagine an angel too?

 

Dante realized he was shaking now. Was this… was this how Delsin saw him? It couldn’t be, that artwork… Dante wasn’t that beautiful, that gentle, wasn’t worthy of this. Of this painting that radiated so much love.

 

His body worked on autopilot as he picked up the tortillas again, clinging to them on his way home. He had no memory of that trip, couldn’t remember that he had almost been run over by a car. He only suddenly found himself in the hallway of their house, still shaking.

 

“Dante? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

 

He couldn’t even remember how Delsin had suddenly appeared in front of him, but now he felt the fluffy blanket being wrapped around him, the package of tortillas gently taken out of his hands. He regretted that last bit, he needed something to hold on to.

 

“I saw”, he blurted out suddenly. “The painting.”

 

He couldn’t look at Delsin, could only stare at the floor but he could still feel him tense up in front of him.

 

All of his conflicting emotions, all the tension, the feeling of unworthiness, all that uncertainty about what he felt for Delsin and himself spilled out in an incoherent rant. He stumbled over his sentences, trying to make sense of what he had seen, trying to tell Delsin that he had to be wrong about him, he wasn’t like that, not that beautiful, not gentle, not worthy of any of this. But how could he make any of this clear if he didn’t know himself?

 

“...thank you”, he eventually said, and just stopped.

 

The silence between them was raging in his ears, only made louder when the blanket dropped from his shoulders and fell onto the floor with a soft thud.

 

Suddenly he felt Delsin’s hand on his neck, and he stepped closer, their chests almost touching, the heat from him penetrating Dante’s shaking body. He flinched for a split second, but froze again as Delsin leaned in close. So close.

 

“Tell me to stop and I will”, he whispered. Dante could feel his breath against his jaw.

 

He nodded, slowly, shily, not at all his usual self before his chin was gently lifted. Delsin needed to lean up a little to press the softest of kisses to Dante’s lips. Chaste, gentle.

 

Dante’s eyes remained closed when Delsin pulled away. He needed to think, to take this in. This… This was what he wanted, he realized. That kiss, so electrifying, and more.

 

“Hey, it’s okay”, Delsin said, making Dante finally look at him. “You don’t have to be afraid, I won’t hurt you.”

 

He had to take in a sharp breath at that, shaky when he exhaled. How did he know him so well? How was any of this possible?

 

There were still no words, all Dante could do was lean in that tiny bit, his way of showing Delsin that he wanted this, wanted more.

 

Delsin smiled gently as he stood almost on tiptoe again to kiss him once more. This time the kiss lingered for longer, their lips pressed together harder and that was finally Dante’s breaking point. There was no holding back as he leaned down, making it easier for Delsin, who was now clinging to his neck with both hands. He was trying to lead them into the living room, but they were so lost in that kiss they couldn’t help but first bump into the coffee table, and the armchair before they finally, somehow made it to the couch.

 

Dante was in Delsin’s lap now, straddling him, the awkwardness of him being taller not even registering right now. His entire being was filled with the sensation of Delsin’s lips on his, of his smoky scent, of their tongues finally meeting.

He hated needing to pull away for breath, and he stayed close, and even while he tried to catch his breath he would always press another short kiss to Delsin’s lips. Or his jaw, his cheek, his neck.

 

He didn’t realize that it was his old instincts, his habits taking over when he slid out of Delsin’s lap and knelt in front of him. That position he had already occupied before. He was almost frantic now, unbuttoning Delsin’s jeans halfway before he could stop him.

 

“Whoa, slow down, Dante”, he said.

 

Dante’s stomach dropped, a feeling of dread suddenly overcoming him. Wasn’t this what he was supposed to do?

 

“Don’t you want it?”, Dante asked, his embarrassment making him angry. Why did he keep rejecting him? What the fuck was he doing wrong?

 

Delsin just smiled, and for some reason that made him blush, the anger immediately evaporating again. He took Dante’s hand in his, pulled him back up into his lap, wrapping an arm around his waist before he pressed a soft kiss to the palm of Dante’s hand. That simple gesture was so innocent, and he realized he had never experienced it before. It made him take in another shaky breath, as he tried to figure Delsin out.

 

“Oh I’d love to”, he said. “But not right now. There’s no rush.”

 

“I… I’m sorry I-”

 

“Don’t be, please”, Delsin interrupted, comforting him with another soft kiss. “Do you trust me?”

 

“Yes.” Dante didn’t even need to hesitate anymore. “I do.”

 

“Let’s go upstairs.”

 

Dante was confused by that, he thought Delsin didn’t want sex, at least not now? But he did trust him, and stood, letting himself be guided up to Delsin’s room.

 

“What I said before still stands”, Delsin said as he softly closed the door before moving back to stand in front of Dante. He gently helped him out of his wet coat, brushing along his shoulders while he did so. “If there’s anything you don’t want me to do, anything, just tell me to stop. There’s nothing that you have to do.”

 

“Okay.” Dante could finally let himself smile. He’d never thought he’d reach this point with anyone. “So you’re undressing because…”

 

“Don’t worry, this doesn’t go past underwear”, Delsin said, grinning back at him as he let his shirt drop to the floor. He took hold of Dante’s top, waiting for him to nod and raise his arms so he could help him out of it. “Sit.”

 

Dante obeyed, letting himself almost fall onto the bed, which was just as soft as he remembered from that first day here. Delsin didn’t know about that of course. Maybe he would tell him soon. But right now he was busy watching him untie his boots, gently pulling one off after the other, followed quickly by his socks.

Delsin did the same now, almost as if he wanted to show that this was an equal thing, they would both do it, he wasn’t being degraded here. And it was Delsin who first slipped out of his jeans, now just standing there in his boxers, again silently asking for confirmation before he helped Dante out of his.

 

“Will you please, please take off that beanie now?”, Dante asked after Delsin had slipped into bed beside him, still wearing the damn thing.

 

“I suppose this would be the time”, Delsin replied, grinning as he led Dante’s hand to it. “Will you do the honors?”

 

Dante was actually shaking a little bit as he pulled it off with one swift motion, Delsin’s black hair now loose. It was gorgeous, despite the choppy haircut. Without the beanie, it even seemed quite long. It looked so soft and Dante had to stare for a while, almost not noticing the blush creeping into Delsin’s cheeks.

 

“Is it everything you thought it would be?”, he asked, drawing Dante’s attention again.

 

“More”, Dante said breathlessly. “Can I touch it?”

 

“Why are you even asking?”

 

“Despite what you might think, I do listen when Betty tells me about the Akomish. I know I have to ask.” Dante actually loved her stories, loved to learn about Delsin’s people. That way he also learned about him.

 

“Dante…” Delsin leaned in suddenly, kissing him so fiercely he almost fell. He clung to Dante’s shoulders, grasping for support, suddenly so desperate, so unlike himself. Once more they ended up breathless, gasping against each other. “You can… Of course you can touch it.”

 

And Dante did. First just taking a streak of it between his fingers, gently brushing along it. It was just as soft as it looked, and he really wondered why Delsin always hid it away. Now he let his hand move through it, feeling the strands through his fingers, once, twice, before he let it linger there. Delsin leaned into the touch, closing his eyes and softly sighing.

 

“You like that, hm?” Dante had to chuckle at the sight before him.

 

“Hm… shut up.” Delsin opened his eyes again, grinning despite his blush. “This isn’t really what I had planned.”

 

He placed his hands on Dante’s chest, gently pushing him down onto the bed. Dante was truly at ease, he trusted him completely and just watched him as Delsin gently brushed over his cheeks. His hair fell into his face now, and he blew it away, most likely not used to it himself. It just fell right back, making Dante laugh again.

 

“See, this is why I wear it”, Delsin replied.

 

“Fuck, you’re adorable”, Dante said before he could stop himself.

 

“Adorable, hm? Not ridiculously handsome? Incredibly attractive?”

 

“Well. That, too.”

 

This was perfect. This was comfortable, this felt incredible it was… intimate, Dante realized. He had never experienced intimacy before, and the thought used to send him on edge. But now it just felt natural, right.

 

Delsin leaned down, started to press kisses to Dante’s chest, his hair tickling him. He knew this wasn’t about sex, and it relaxed him immensely. This way he could just enjoy this, Delsin’s lips on his skin, slowly exploring every inch, his hand reaching out to take his. Dante pulled it up to press a kiss to it as well.

 

“Can we switch?”, Dante asked, feeling a little embarrassed about it. It seemed so silly to ask, but he wanted to explore Delsin too.

 

Delsin let his chin rest on his chest, grinning up at him.

 

“Of course.”

 

Delsin let himself fall onto his back, and Dante almost scrambled to follow, settling in between his legs. He wrapped them around Dante’s waist but this was still completely innocent. Dante started with Delsin’s arm though, first tracing the tattoo there, pressed a kiss to it before moving up along his arm. He felt Delsin’s eyes on him, watching intently as his trail of kisses led Dante to his jaw. He only moved further down to eventually come to rest on his chest.

 

Dante listened to the steady rhythm of Delsin’s heart, focused on his body heat seeping through him. Again, they intertwined their hands and Dante just watched them move this way and that, suddenly thinking just how beautiful Delsin’s dark skin was. He was beautiful, all of him.

 

He felt Delsin’s free hand in his hair now, playing with it, and he knew he was focusing on that bit of white at the back.

Dante couldn’t help but sigh, he was bursting with emotions he couldn’t even name. That gentle touch, the warmth of Delsin’s body, it was perfect, but it also made him sleepy. Falling asleep like this, waking up like this already seemed like a dream too good to be true.

 

“Before you fall asleep, can you grab that blanket?”, Delsin asked softly, not stopping to play with his hair.

 

Dante did, though he had to disentangle their hands and he resented that. But there would be more chances for that. A lot more, he hoped.

 

It had gotten late, though time had passed quickly for Dante. As he settled in to sleep, still lying on top of Delsin, he could feel him squirm a little beneath him. Dante remembered that time he had walked in on him sleeping.

 

“You can make the light, Delsin”, Dante mumbled. “It’s okay, I know.”

 

“W-what? How?” Delsin tensed up a little.

 

“Kind of walked in, I thought you were still up. Sorry.” Dante twisted to look up at Delsin. “It’s okay, really.”

 

“Bet you’re embarrassed about your boyfriend needing a night light…” Delsin sighed as he lifted his hand, making a circular motion to make a simple, round light.

 

Boyfriend.

 

“I…uhm, I like having a boyfriend who needs a night light. I did like the bird better though”, he quickly added the last part, trying to make it seem as if his heart wasn’t about to burst from his chest with how rapidly it was beating.  Nevertheless it had been a really lame attempt at saying he was okay with that term.

 

Delsin seemed to have realized what he had said, what it meant, and he turned so they could lie side by side, legs still intertwined but this way they could look at each other.

 

“You okay?”, he asked. “Is this too fast? Am I… taking advantage?”

 

Was that why he hadn’t acted before? How had he ended up meeting such a patient person?

 

“You might have, had you… accepted, in the beginning”, Dante replied, focusing on Delsin, trying to convey that he was telling the truth. “But not anymore. I want this. You.”

 

Delsin sighed with relief before he leaned in for a final kiss. For that night at least. Dante snuggled closer to him now, head resting on Delsin’s arm. A few months ago he couldn’t have even imagined being this close to someone, just being with them, with it not leading anywhere. He was so, so lucky.

 

“Can you sing for me?”  

 

“Sing for you?”, Delsin asked. He had started to brush up and down Dante’s arms, almost absentmindedly. “Anything in particular?”

 

“I don’t really care. I just like your voice.”

 

Dante had heard him humming before, softly singing a tune when he was really deep in the zone, painting and not realizing he was singing, but then that performance of Bohemian Rhapsody had utterly enchanted him.

 

“The sun will come up… tomorrow”, Delsin’s singing was soft, the tune slow.

 

“Are you shitting me with that song?”, Dante asked, and Delsin hesitated for a moment. “Keep going.”

 

It was a ridiculously cheesy song, but he kind of loved it, especially coming from him. Delsin chuckled before he resumed his singing.

 

“Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow...there’ll be sun…”

 

Dante could feel his voice resonate in his chest, along with the warmth of Delsin’s body, and those soothing motions, he quickly drifted off to sleep.

 

Waking up was always a small shock for him, he’d do it sharply, whether he had a nightmare or not, because he had learned to be careful. He never knew where he’d wake up.

Curiously enough, he hadn’t had a nightmare this time, but he was still confused when he opened his eyes. Even more so than usual, and it took him a few moments more to realize he was in Delsin’s room. In Delsin’s arms.

 

“Morning, cutie.” That was Delsin’s voice, and as Dante looked up he was greeted by an adorable sight as well. That black hair was all messed up. “You look a little confused… you okay?”

 

“Hm…”, he let his head drop onto Delsin’s arm again. “Just still a surprise to wake up here. Especially today.”

 

“Good surprised or… bad surprised?”

 

Even in his sleepy state Dante realized Delsin was just as self conscious as he was, at least in regard to what was between them.

He pushed himself up, despite just having woken up - he normally wasn’t a morning person - and slowly started crawling up Delsin’s chest until he was close enough to kiss him. The kiss was slow and lazy, but just as perfect as any they had shared before.

 

“Does this answer your question?”, Dante mumbled against his lips.

 

“Yeah I think I got it.” Delsin’s grin was so wide, so innocent and honest Dante couldn’t help but join in. It was ridiculous.

 

“So… this is pretty sickening, huh?”

 

“Yeah, but I love it”, Delsin admitted before pressing quick peck to Dante’s lips again. He figured they’d be doing that a lot. And now he reached up, softly letting his fingers brush over his shoulders, down his back, as far as he could reach.

 

“Hm… keep doing that”, Dante mumbled, eyes closed as he let his head drop onto Delsin’s shoulder, kissing the crook of his neck from time to time.

 

“You’re a little scratchy today”, Delsin said, never stopping his movements.

 

“Sorry. I’ll shave in a bit.”

 

“It looks good on you though”, he continued, sighing softly. “I really want a beard...”

 

“You… want a beard?”, Dante chuckled. He really couldn’t imagine him with one.

 

“Yeah I mean, society’s so obsessed with hairless people, or people not having hair in certain places, it’s so dumb to conform to that shit you know?”

 

Dante always had to grin when Delsin got like that. And he thought he had been a rebel. His little activist…

 

“Admit it, you can’t grow one”, Dante said.

 

“Well… no. Shut up.”

 

He couldn’t stop the laughing fit from taking over, it shook him so hard he had to roll off Delsin to get some air.

 

“Do you…”, he said, trying to calm himself. But the laughing fit wasn’t quite over. By now Delsin had propped himself up on his elbow, looking down at Dante, smiling as well. “Do you want me to grow one for you?”

 

“So I’ll be jealous when I see you? I think I’m good”, he replied.

 

“Aren’t you already jealous of how incredibly attractive I am?”

 

“Please”, Delsin huffed. “Have you seen my ass?”

 

“Oh believe me.” Dante’s laughing had subsided, and now he mirrored Delsin’s position, sneaking an arm around him so he could squeeze his ass. “I have.”

 

“Hm… naughty.” Delsin leaned in to kiss him again, softly licking along his upper lip before he pulled away.

 

Dante involuntarily had to moan.

 

“That’s good to know”, Delsin said, that ear splitting grin back.

 

“Wow, rude…” Dante hesitated. He was wondering… would Delsin be okay with waiting? He actually didn’t feel ready for sex at the moment. He had changed, a lot.

 

“Dante? What are you thinking about?”

 

“I, uhm…” Dante let himself fall back onto the bed. “Is it okay if we wait? With sex I mean, I don’t know if I can… If I…”

 

“Of course, Dante”, Delsin said, gently letting his hand rest on Dante’s chest. “I thought I made that clear? Whenever you’re ready, or if you’re never ready, that’s cool too.”

 

“What?” Dante turned to look at him. “No… no sex at all? You would be fine with that?”

 

“Of course.” His boyfriend’s smile was gentle, he was patient. Dante loved that. “It’s not that important. You’re important.”

 

“Fuck, Delsin, you-” The words got caught in his throat, how did that guy manage to say these things? That hit him right where it hurt? He had never been important to anyone, not even his own brother, and yet Delsin made him feel like he was.

 

“Come here, love.”

 

Dante moved back onto his chest, too distressed to realize what he had called him. It might have been too much at that moment. Delsin gently humming, stroking along his arm was enough to calm him down again. He only needed time.

 

“Now how about I make you breakfast just the way you like”, Delsin said. “Maybe we could go to the movies later.”

 

“Didn’t you want to go to this art show thing?”

 

“Yeah, kinda, but it’s not your thing, is it?”, Delsin asked. Again, he was only considering him. He could understand that he wanted to spend time together, but he shouldn’t have to miss something he loved just for him.

 

“You’re such a dork, Delsin. I’ll go with you. You love that kind of stuff. I’ll just look at your ass if the art gets too weird for me.”

 

“It basically is a piece of art. And I believe what you are referring to is modern art.” Dante felt Delsin press a kiss to the top of his head. “Thank you.”

 

It took them about another hour to finally get out of bed, and Dante congratulated himself on actually putting his clothes back on. He followed Delsin around as he prepared breakfast, hugging him from behind whenever he could, which was a lot. He was starved for this, for simple touches, for intimacy, he needed to catch up, and Delsin was all too happy to comply.

 

“So how do you feel about PDAs?”, Delsin asked as they were finally enjoying their breakfast of eggs, bacon, fried tomatoes and toast.

 

“PDAs?”

 

“Public displays of affection”, Delsin explained, grinning shily. “I just… know I’m going to want to kiss you, all the time, but I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

 

“I…” Dante hadn’t really thought about it. But this was… theirs, private. And it was still new to him, he had to get used to it. “I think… not yet.”

 

“All right.” Delsin’s gentle smile didn’t even make him feel bad about this. He just understood, and accepted him the way he was.

 

At least now. He had no idea what he truly was.

 

Dante forced himself to suppress these thoughts, he would be happy today, he needed it. Just this one day.

 

Delsin pulled him aside just as they were about to leave for the art show.

 

“What is-”, Dante was interrupted by Delsin leaning up to kiss him. His hands back on his neck, clinging to him desperately as he let their tongues meet. Delsin tasted a little smokey, too, and it was the best taste Dante had ever known. “What… was that about?”

 

“Just getting a little sugar for the journey.”

 

“Did you just… call it ‘sugar’?” Dante shook his head, but still had to smile. “You’re such a dork.”

 

“Maybe. Good thing you like that about me.” Delsin flipped his imaginary long hair as he walked outside, with Dante quickly following.

 

He certainly was right about that.

 

It was natural for them to walk close to each other, but now Dante was worrying about it constantly. Did people think they were together? If he increased the distance between them would it seem like he was trying to hide it? And why exactly did it bother him if other people knew? He shouldn’t, and he supposed it was mostly that this situation was so new to him. He’d never had a boyfriend before, or a girlfriend. All he had were fucks.

 

It was hard for him to not smile constantly, to not glance over at him all the time. More often than not he’d catch Delsin returning the gesture.

He might not be able to be open with his affections at the moment, but there were other ways to show them. Glances that lingered just that bit longer, brushing over Delsin’s fingers as he handed him the coffee they got on the way, simple things that suddenly meant so much more.

 

The art gallery looked pretty fancy, all white walls and glass fronts, and for a moment Dante thought he was terribly underdressed. But the people in there were dressed casually, and he was able to relax again. ‘Casually’ was perhaps even an overstatement. It was full of hipsters.

As he had expected it was an exhibition of modern art, things he just would never be able to understand. There was a canvas that was just red, another one with a blue stripe and… a chair?

 

“Can I sit there or is that art too?”, Dante whispered into Delsin’s ear. And maybe he was a bit closer than was strictly necessary too.

 

“To be honest”, Delsin replied through clenched teeth, looking around just in case the artist was there. “I’m not quite sure. Just don’t touch it I guess.”

 

Dante stayed pretty quiet. He didn’t know anything about art, only liked the things Delsin made, and when people, friends of his, came by to say hello he was afraid he might make a fool of himself.

Delsin hesitated when he introduced him, eventually settling on ‘housemate’. They hadn’t talked about it, and Dante was glad he didn’t go with ‘boyfriend’ straight away. Though Dante had to admit… he liked that word.

 

“Holy shit, Delsin, that’s your painting!”

 

It was taking up an entire wall, the large canvas Delsin had been working on a while back, though Dante had never seen the end result until now. It was wholly unlike everything Delsin had made until that point, but it wasn’t really surprising. He was constantly experimenting with new things, different materials, styles, whatever he could get his hands on.

He had used rough strokes in this one, mostly reds and black, depicting a desert scene that reminded Dante of Limbo.

 

“So, uh, what do you think?”, Delsin asked, actually sounding self conscious for once.

 

“I love it.” It was true, he couldn’t quite take his eyes off it. Could Delsin sense these things? It seemed too much of a coincidence along with that painting he had done of Dante.

 

“Are you just saying that cause-”

 

“Hell no.” Dante turned to look at his boyfriend now, giving him a reassuring smile. “I really do love it. This is a huge deal Delsin, look how much they’re selling it for!”

 

“Ah no it’s not that big of a deal…” Delsin waved the thought off with a vague hand gesture. But then that split second of being humble vanished and that cocky smile was back. “Well okay it totally is. Finally my talent is appreciated.”

 

“I’m glad it is. You deserve it.”

 

“Course I do. But… thanks.” Delsin lightly nudged him with his shoulder, again a little embarrassed, and so unlike him. Dante kind of liked that side of him, liked all sides of him. He could just set him completely at ease, even in this new place, surrounded by people he didn’t know.

 

“Wait…”, Dante squinted at the label next to the painting, reading its name. “Did you seriously call it ‘The Scent of Lilies After Rainfall’?”

 

“Yes.” Delsin’s grin was smug.

 

“But there aren’t even any lilies in it! Or rain!”

 

“Well there’s the blood rain. But it’s kind of the point.” He crossed his arms, as if there was something that only he knew.

 

“The point is… that it doesn’t make sense?” Dante really didn’t understand art.

 

“I use it ironically.”

 

“Of course… of course you do.” Dante rolled his eyes, but still had to smile. This was only something Delsin would get, but then the name of it wasn’t the most important thing. It was important that it was here, in this place, being sold for so much money. Dante was proud of him.

 

Neither of them had to say out loud that they didn’t want to stay much longer, not when they could be doing other things at home. Besides, Dante managed to annoy his boyfriend enough by asking him every time if that was really art they were looking at, or commenting that it was something he could have done.

 

“Ugh, you uncultured swine”, Delsin had said before they finally made their way home, just shortly stopping to get groceries.

 

Dante had been promised burritos, and he insisted that he get them.

 

“All right, so I’ll start chopping…” Dante was almost quite versed in these things now. Had even cooked a few things without setting the kitchen on fire. He liked it, too, and had already shrugged out of his coat to start working in the kitchen. “And you’ll-”

 

He suddenly felt Delsin’s arms wrap around his waist, and that silly grin that had hardly left him all day was back. He twisted in his boyfriend’s embrace, who was already back on tiptoe to lean up to kiss him.

 

Right. They could do that now.

 

All food was completely forgotten with that taste of Delsin on his lips, his tongue. This was still so new, so exciting, and he wasn’t sure what to do with himself. His hands just kind of hovered in the air until Delsin took them in his own, gently leading them around to rest on his ass.

 

“That’s better”, Delsin mumbled against his lips, both grinning before they kissed again.

 

He was so lost in it, the heat, the taste, Delsin’s perfectly shaped ass that he was only able to stop when his stomach started to rumble. They had kind of skipped lunch today.

Delsin started to giggle, the way he had done when they had been high, in that adorable way of his.

 

“Okay I can take a hint”, Delsin said, disentangling himself from Dante. “I’ll go take care of the meat.”

 

“Hell yeah you will”, Dante snickered and Delsin rolled his eyes, but grinning just as widely as before.

 

Their routine hadn’t changed that much, except now, once in a while, they’d stop what they were doing just to lean over and kiss, or touch, or smile at each other. After dinner they found themselves entangled on the couch, Dante’s legs over Delsin’s lap as he was playing with his tablet again.

Tonight it was Delsin who excused himself first. Due to Dante’s physiology he didn’t really need much sleep, though a few months ago that had been quite different. He certainly had more energy now.

 

“I’ll be off to bed”, Delsin said, leaning down to kiss him again.

 

“Right, I’ll go soon too.” He watched Delsin walk upstairs, who seemed to be swaying his hips a lot more than he usually did.

 

Dante still had no idea what to get Delsin aka his boyfriend for his birthday. He browsed the internet for a while longer, eventually just ending up looking at dragons, before he made his way upstairs as well.

 

Was he… supposed to go into Delsin’s room? He certainly wanted to… He craved that touch, wanted to cuddle up to him as they had done last night, wanted to wake up in his arms again. But he didn’t know how relationships worked, he had never been in one.

He ended up talking himself into going into his own room, the blanket unnaturally cold to him tonight. He couldn’t fall asleep though, constantly wondering what Delsin would think now. Was he just being stupid? Shouldn’t he act on what he wanted? But Delsin might just get sick of him too, so he should give him space… right?

 

Dante groaned into the silence, almost not hearing the knock on his door.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Can I come in?”, Delsin asked.

 

“Of course.” He sat up as his boyfriend came in, making him smile. He still asked, didn’t just assume.

 

Delsin walked up to his bed and held out his hand.

 

“Do you want to… come over?”

 

Dante sighed in relief as he took his hand, let himself be pulled up. Delsin led them back into his room, where Dante could cuddle up him again, sighing as he did so.

 

“Why didn’t you come?”, Delsin asked softly, playing with Dante’s hair again.

 

“I didn’t know if… that was okay.”

 

“Of course it is.” He didn’t sound annoyed, or exasperated. “I can’t always promise I’ll like this, but the bed is big enough, there’s always room for you here.”

 

“Okay.” He wriggled closer, as close as possible, pressing a kiss to Delsin’s chest. “I didn’t know… I mean it’s only been a day and-”

 

“Well, it doesn’t matter if it feels right I think. And it does to me.”

 

“It does…” Being with Delsin like this seemed to make him relax even more, and he felt himself drifting off to sleep. “Thanks for being patient. Thank you for being you… and stuff.”

 

Sleepiness did seem to make him very eloquent it seemed.


“Not a problem, love, you deserve it.”

Chapter Text

When Delsin had painted Dante onto the side of the wall, deep down, he had hoped his housemate would see it, would realize what he felt for him so that it would be out of his hands. It had been a shitty thing to do, but he had never expected Dante to almost break down once he saw it.

 

But he should have known. Dante was fragile, despite his tough exterior, and it had been all too obvious when he stood shivering and rambling in their hallway. Delsin couldn’t understand any of it, only one phrase had stood out.

 

“I think I want to be with you but I don’t deserve you.”

 

It had shattered his heart. It had made him step forward and finally kiss him. Because he did deserve him, Dante deserved everything he wanted, and more.

His heart had only stopped beating for a few moments as Dante’s eyes were closed, and he had been taking in what had just happened. Delsin didn’t know where his reassurance had come from, but it had been enough to set Dante at ease. And after that… everything had just changed.

 

Not really, of course, but it felt like that, at least for the moment. Delsin had been with people, but this was something else entirely. He had never cared about anyone the way he cared about Dante, which was why it was easy for him to stop Dante from offering himself once more. His view on sex was warped, still he thought it was something he had to do. But Delsin didn’t want this to be just sex, he wanted it to be more, and Dante had to first learn that it could be. Exploring each other with the clear intent of not having it lead anywhere had seemed like a good start, and when Dante had asked that they wait Delsin took it as a good sign.

 

He wouldn’t mind waiting, however long it took. And if it never happened that was okay too. It didn’t matter, all that mattered was Dante in his arms, falling asleep to his soft singing.

 

He had never actually done that for anyone before, but when Dante had asked, who had already simply accepted that he had called him his boyfriend, there was no hesitation. After all this time, it all just seemed so natural.

 

They were acting sickeningly. And he loved it, every second of it. If Dante were comfortable with it, Delsin would be all over him in public as well. People always resented couples like that, but that was just one hundred percent who Delsin was. He didn’t care what people thought as long as he was happy. And boy was he happy.

 

It seemed to be perfect for a while, all their usual silliness, being comfortable with each other now mixed with kissing and cuddling and falling asleep on top of each other. It just worked, though Dante didn’t always stay with him over night. Delsin understood, he loved cuddling, but Dante needed space once in a while.

 

But Delsin was reminded about a week later that just because they were together, it didn’t mean that Dante was magically okay. He hadn’t expected him to be, but with all this being-freshly-together happiness it had kind of moved to the back of his mind.

 

Dante shaking during his nightmare had woken him up, and he found his boyfriend desperately grasping at his shirt, close to tearing it apart. Seeing him suddenly like this, shaking uncontrollably as his subconscious was fighting whatever was haunting him felt like a punch to the gut.

 

“Dante”, he whispered, gently trying to wake him. He didn’t want him to see whatever he was seeing anymore. “Dante, wake up, I’m here, you’re safe.”

 

Dante’s eyes snapped open and he froze as he was trying to figure out where he was. Some days it took longer than others, but that split second of confusion was always there.

 

“You’re safe”, he said again. “I’m here.”

 

Suddenly Dante scrambled out of his arms, sitting up, wrapping his arms around himself to try and stop the shaking but it only got stronger, and he looked terrified. Delsin tried to reach out, but he flinched back, and then he was running. Before Delsin could follow he already heard the door to Dante’s room slam.

He got up slowly, following him. He knew sometimes Dante needed space but this… he had never seen him like this, so pale and completely out of it.

 

“Dante”, he whispered, hands pressed to his door. “I want to help. I’m here if you need me.”

 

There was no reply. Only a soft thud which told him Dante had slumped down on the floor. He slid down the door, finally coming to sit in front of it. Delsin couldn’t move away, perhaps if he stayed, Dante would know? There had to be something he could do. Delsin wracked his brain for hours, but couldn’t come up with anything. Eventually he fell asleep, not even noticing when he slid onto the floor as well.

 

When he woke up, Dante’s door was open, and he was snuggled up against his back, arm around his waist. He was awake too, Delsin could feel his nervous breath against his neck.

 

It must have looked ridiculous. Two grown men lying on the floor, Delsin almost pressed against the wall.

 

“I’m sorry”, Dante whispered, his voice cracking.

 

“It’s okay.” He sighed softly, gently brushing over Dante’s hand. “You don’t have to apologize, but it’s okay.”

 

“You slept on the floor because of me.”

 

“I’ve slept worse places”, Delsin tried to keep his voice even, tried to make it sound lighthearted. “Are you… okay?”

 

Dante sighed against him, and Delsin could feel him press his forehead to his back.

 

“Not really.”

 

It wasn’t good, but Dante wasn’t pretending. It was a step forward.

 

“Anything I can do to help?”

 

“If you took off that stupid beanie it might make me feel a little better.” Dante let two of his fingers walk up Delsin’s arm until he reached his head, and he started tugging on the beanie.

 

“Go ahead then.” Delsin had to smile, he did sometimes forget to take it off when he went to bed and Dante liked to mock him with that.

 

Dante swiftly pulled it off, immediately throwing it against the wall where it of course slid down, hitting Delsin in the face. He was so startled that he had to sneeze, but that made Dante laugh and he didn’t mind that, not at all. His boyfriend slipped away from him, swinging his leg over him and Delsin moved to lie on his back.

 

“Am I too heavy?”, he asked, straddling him, and Delsin just shook his head, letting his hand rest on his boyfriend’s slender hips. Dante looked tired, like he hadn’t slept at all that night. His smile was real though.

 

“You’re a lightweight- oh…”

 

Dante head leaned forward, one hand resting on the floor beside his head, the other brushing through his hair. Even lightly scratching him behind his ear, it was ridiculous but it felt good.

 

“Hmmm, keep doing that”, Delsin mumbled and closed his eyes. Just relishing in Dante’s soft touch, playing with his hair, twirling it around his finger, brushing through it again and again.

 

“Wow you’re like a dog”, Dante chuckled. “Do you want your belly scratched too?”

 

“Hm… maybe?” Delsin opened one eye, peeking up at Dante. “Try.”

 

He gently lifted up Delsin’s shirt, sliding his hands along his torso, softly at first, but when he moved them back down, he lightly let his nails scratch over him. Delsin had to gasp and bit down on his lower lip, hoping the look he gave his boyfriend would tell him to keep going. And he did, repeating that movement a few more times before he leaned further down to kiss him.

 

“Yup, definitely a dog”, he mumbled. “By the way… we’re still kind of on the floor.”


“Coffee, then?”, Delsin asked. “If you need anything else, just let me know, okay? Anything.”

 

Dante hesitated, and his smile dropped a little. Of course he wasn’t just talking about coffee.

 

“I’m… good. For now.” He stood and offered his hand to pull Delsin up, and didn’t let go, only when they needed them to make their coffee.

 

Delsin used an old fashioned way of course, grinding the beans with a small, hand operated grinder before he transferred them into his ‘vintage’ french press. Dante rolled his eyes at that every day, but today he did it while hugging Delsin from behind, his chin resting on his shoulder.

 

“You love my coffee shut up”, Delsin said as he poured the water into the press.

 

“I didn’t even say anything.”

 

“I can feel you roll your eyes.”

 

“I wasn’t”, Dante lied.

 

Delsin just turned to press a quick kiss to his lips, before he dragged his boyfriend to the kitchen table, but he wouldn’t let go.

 

“Do you want to sit on my lap?”, he asked.

 

For a moment Dante remained silent, hiding his face in the crook of Delsin’s neck. But then he nodded, and finally let go of him. Delsin sat and Dante immediately followed, sitting sideways and he wrapped an arm around that slim waist.

 

“I hadn’t really pegged you for the cuddly type”, Delsin said, almost able to see the blush creeping into Dante’s cheeks. “I like it.”

 

“Anyway.” Dante had apparently decided to completely ignore that comment. “It’s your birthday soon. Did you want to do anything?”

 

“Hm… I don’t think so.” Delsin sighed. “It’s the first since Fetch and Eugene left… Some people have asked if I want to go out but… nah.”

 

“You sure?” Dante wrapped his arm around his shoulders, hand immediately in his hair again.

 

“I’d rather spend time with you.”

 

“Well I could come with you, if you want to go out. As your friend or… boyfriend.”

 

“I appreciate that. A lot.” Delsin grinned up at him. “But I think I’ll stay in. Aside from going to see Betty, she’ll expect me.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Delsin’s birthday came soon enough and it was the first time he wasn’t particularly excited about it. Dante was here now, yes, but it didn’t make him miss Fetch and Eugene any less. They used to get up to all kinds of shenanigans, and he might do something with his boyfriend at some point, but this year he’d just stay in, have a quiet evening.

Betty did expect him though, at least for a little while, but when he was about to leave for the reservation Dante excused himself, claiming he needed to do something for work. Something was off about that excuse, he could see it in his eyes, and he couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Delsin could have used his company, his support. But maybe he didn’t want Betty to find out about them, not yet, and so Delsin kept quiet about it during his visit.

 

Of course Betty sensed he wasn’t in the best mood while they drank their tea, but she still kept him there for quite a while. It was odd… that she would insist on him staying, it wasn’t her style at all. And when he did finally leave he could have sworn she scrambled for her phone.

 

Something was definitely going on.

 

And that something was Dante frantically cooking in their kitchen. Hurrying from the counter to check the recipe, back to the stove to stir, or add something. He hadn’t noticed Delsin coming inside, and so he just watched for as long as he could.

 

“Shit”, Dante said when he finally noticed him, big grin and everything. “Why are you here? It’s not done yet!”

 

No way could Delsin tell him now that he had been attacked by a demon on his way home. A huge one, with sawblades instead of hands and its head floating in a weird liquid in a bowl inside its torso. He had been frozen in place for a second, he hadn’t seen a demon since that first time he had met Dante. But then he just got annoyed. He didn’t need that on his birthday. So he had gathered what energy he had and orbital dropped onto that thing’s obvious weak spot, instantly destroying it. Delsin didn’t know if it would be a big deal to Dante, but he didn’t want to risk it, not now.

 

“Uhm… sorry?”

 

“Betty was supposed to call!” Dante tried to check his phone, but the oven mitt he was still wearing made it difficult and he practically threw it off his hand to do so. “Oh… she did call.”

 

“Do you want me to leave again?” Delsin would hate to do that though, the view was just too adorable. Dante was actually wearing an apron, but there were still smudges of… flour? Yes that was definitely flour on his cheek.

 

“No…” Dante’s shoulders dropped. “It’s fine, but it’ll take a bit longer.”

 

“I could go take a shower and leave you to it.”

 

“Well you shouldn’t… not yet anyway. I mean… okay just wait over there.” Dante was clearly nervous. What on earth was he up to?

 

But Delsin obeyed, made himself comfortable at the dinner table and just kept watching him. The longer he did though, the more nervous Dante got. He didn’t need to be, he was pretty good at this. So he walked up to him, gently stopping his frantic movements.

 

“Relax, Dante”, he said and stood on tiptoe again, because Dante still didn’t always realize what he was going to do. Clinging to the apron he pressed to a kiss to Dante’s lips, let it linger until he felt him relax underneath that touch.

 

“Okay”, he whispered, and now he did continue cooking a little slower, a little more at ease.

 

“Holy shit you made bread”, Dante said when Dante had finally finished, the table almost creaking under the sheer amount he had made.

 

“Yeah…” Dante looked a little bit embarrassed, but also a bit proud as he took off his apron to finally sit next to Delsin.

 

“So… that bit about having to work was complete bullshit?”, Delsin asked, already breaking apart the bread and biting off a bit. “Oh shit this is good.”

 

“It was, sorry.” Dante smiled at the compliment. “Okay so… you’re already enjoying the ciabatta-”

 

“Oh so it’s fancy bread?”

 

“Damn right, it is your birthday after all... “ They were grinning sickeningly at each other again. “Anyway, that’s roasted lamb, grilled sweet potatoes, and uh that bean salad is with goat cream cheese, well and I made some mac and cheese because I know how much you like that.”

 

“This… is perfect, Dante.” Delsin leaned over to kiss him softly. “Thank you.”

 

“You’re uhm, you’re welcome.”

 

Delsin made sure to make the appropriate yummy noises with every bite, making Dante just grin wider every time, but also roll his eyes. And it really was amazing, his boyfriend had gone all out, though he regretted a little not having seen all of it. He had just been so adorably concentrated while working, making sure everything was just right. How did he even know how to make roasted lamb? It was incredible, perhaps the best meal he had in his entire life.

 

Half an hour later he was stuffed, but still picking a few things off his plate. He just couldn’t stop, it was too good.

 

“Maybe you should pace yourself”, Dante said, he had stopped long ago eating and was just watching him now. “There’s still more.”

 

“More food? Shit, Dante, I love it but I’m going to explode.”

 

“No just… more. I don’t want you to fall asleep. We can still eat the rest tomorrow.” He started to clean up the dirty dishes, and Delsin was about to help when he was just pushed back into his chair. “Nope. It’s your birthday.”

 

Delsin watched him bustle back and forth, or to be precise, he was looking at his ass. It was one of his best features. Not that he could really decide… Those shoulders were amazing too, always perfectly accented by that top with the x-shape on the back, which Dante had about five of. And then the curve of his back… Delsin let his gaze slowly wander down, just taking it all in.

 

“Would you like to take a picture?”, Dante asked, taking his hand to pull him up.

 

“Actually, yes I would but you leading me to the living room tells me the ‘more’ part is going to happen oh- Is that a present?”

 

Indeed there was a box on the table, all wrapped in blue with a big red bow on top.

 

“It’s not much uh… I wasn’t sure what to get you.”

 

They settled down on the floor by the coffee table, and Dante leaned over to turn on the little radio they used more and more since they had realized it was still there. Delsin always had to grin when Dante complained that the stations he made them listen to were ‘too hipster’.

 

Delsin quickly tore off the bow and opened the box. The first thing in it were two tickets to the upcoming exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. Dante wasn’t really fond of art, but Delsin loved when they strolled through exhibitions together. Even with Dante complaining that it didn’t make sense.

 

“Thank you-” Delsin managed to stop himself from saying ‘love’ again, and instead leaned in to kiss him. The times he had accidentally said Dante had been too distracted to realize and he was glad about it. He didn’t want to pressure him into saying anything he wasn’t ready to. It was just Delsin who was so completely and utterly in love. “I’ll drag you through this for hours you know.”

 

“I feared as much.” Dante gingerly pulled the box more towards Delsin.

 

“Paint?” The box was full of it.

 

“Body paint uhm…” Dante avoided his gaze, playing with the hem of his top. “I thought you could paint… on me. And maybe the other way around I mean if… if you want to.”

 

“Dante?” He slowly looked up at Delsin again. “This is… I love this, you have no idea. Woah-”

 

Just as he had said those words Dante practically ripped off his shirt, scrambling to undo the buttons on his jeans. Delsin soon joined him, he knew Dante would be more comfortable if they were both in their underwear. Except Dante didn’t stop with underwear.

 

“Uhm, Dante are you sure…?”

 

Dante had asked that they wait not too long ago, it couldn’t have changed so quickly.

 

“Just uhm… more canvas like this”, Dante said, a slight blush in his cheeks.

 

This was essentially an exercise in trust, just like on that first night. Though Delsin couldn’t help but look down when they were both naked in their living room, after closing the blinds for some privacy. Dante had, too and they had to laugh before they kissed.

Delsin quickly brought a tray that they could spread the paint out on, and multiple brushes just in case.

 

“So uhm…” Delsin was already tracing over Dante’s chest, walking around him, mapping out what he would paint. “Can I start?”

 

“Of course, birthday boy. Oh and by the way...”

 

“Yeah?” Delsin came to a stop in front of Dante.

 

“Nice dick.”

 

Delsin burst out into laughter, with Dante quickly following. That had been the most ridiculous, and the least sexy thing he could have possibly said, and it was perfect.

 

“You…”, he said between laughing fits. “You too.”

 

His first attempt of getting some red paint on Dante ended in a very crooked line, as they both still had to laugh now and then. But he had to focus now, concentrating on painting as realistic a heart as he could manage with this paint, using a lot of shadows and different shades of orange and red. In the end it turned out to be more abstract, but he was satisfied with his work.

 

“A heart?”, Dante asked, frowning down at himself.

 

“Yeah. You got a big one.”

 

“Stop saying cheesy stuff like that”, Dante said, still watching Delsin’s movements. He was now painting a fitting background, slowly merging the colours, only gradually changing them. Soon Dante’s entire chest was covered with that heart and a red to purple gradient, but he had to stop when he reached the side of his torso.

 

“I’ll say cheesy stuff if it’s true”, Delsin mumbled as he accented that v shape with a few blue strokes of the brush.

 

“Leading the way I see”, Dante said and as he looked up Delsin was welcomed by the slyest grin he’d ever seen.

 

“Yes, I wouldn’t want to forget for when I need it some time. Terrible memory you see.” Just to get his point really acrossed he slowly painted a bright red line just along his penis. “There. Now turn around.”

 

Chuckling, Dante did. Delsin froze as he saw the mark on Dante’s back. It was the first time he had and this… this looked like it had been burned into him. It looked gorgeous, a sword with wings, but knowing Dante’s history he couldn’t imagine it had been voluntary.

 

“What is this?”, Delsin asked. “Can I… can I touch it?”

 

“What do you-” Dante hesitated and tensed as he realized what he had meant. “Yes, it’s fine I… was born with it.”

 

“In that shape?” Delsin slowly let his finger wander over the shape. It did feel like a scar. “How is that possible?”

 

“I really have no idea. Maybe it has something to do with my powers.”

 

“Hm… could be.” That was the thing with Conduits, all of them were just so different. Delsin was just glad that it hadn’t actually been burned into him. Dante had been through enough.

 

Delsin let his hand brush over his shoulders before he continued to paint. They were just so gorgeous, and he had to lean down to press kisses everywhere he could reach. People might tease him with it, but he loved that Dante was taller, loved that he had to stand on tiptoe to kiss him if he didn’t help out.

He could feel him relax under those kisses again, even shuddered when he pressed a kiss to that mark, right in the middle of his shoulders. He would need to do that a lot more once they were done with this.

 

The autopilot was back on as soon as he started painting again. A red, sharp, almost leathery wing stretching over Dante’s right shoulder, all the way over his arm, and a blue, soft, feathery one over his left. He was so absorbed into the task, he needed the shading to be just right, that he didn’t notice Dante had turned his head.

 

“Are you… making wings?”, Dante asked, finally making him realize that he was doing just that. “Why… why do you keep doing that?”

 

“I… I don’t really know”, Delsin admitted, walking around Dante to face him once more. He pressed the brush into his hand. “It just keeps coming to me. Maybe that first demon inspired it, but maybe it was just you. You’re strong and fragile, gentle and tough, you’re… loving and wonderful and-”

 

Dante cut him off with a kiss, hand on his neck as he pulled him close. Maybe eloquent wasn’t part of what Dante was, but he was definitely a good kisser. An amazing one and Delsin had to gasp. Suddenly it was a little harder to keep this innocent.

 

“Come on, paint!”, he said, grinning as he stepped back, spreading his arms in an inviting gesture.

 

The widest, most childish grin he had ever seen spread on Dante’s face as he quickly spread a huge glob of paint on his hand, slapping it onto Delsin’s chest.

 

“I don’t need a brush”, he said as he slowly started to drag the paint all over his torso, now adding a few different colors. He only made vague shapes on his body, but in an abstract way it was quite beautiful. The way his tongue stuck out a little bit was, too.

 

“Who knew there was a little artist in you?”

 

“Yes and they said if they remove him, I’ll die”, Dante replied, promptly followed by a full hand of yellow in Delsin’s face.

 

“Wow, that was a terrible joke.”

 

“Then why are you laughing?” Dante leaned in close, pulled Delsin the rest of the way by his hips. Now they were just flush against each other, the paint on their bodies mixing as they kissed.

 

“Dante can I… can I take a picture of you, like this?” The paint on Dante’s chest had been dry enough so it hadn’t been completely ruined by their kiss, and what was on his back was still intact, too. “I mean only if you want to, only your chest, and of course I would keep it for myself.”

 

“Just… for you?”

 

“Yeah.” Delsin reached up to brush over Dante’s cheek, spreading even more paint there. “But only if it’s okay.”

 

“It is”, Dante said and he pressed another quick kiss to his lips.

 

He needed to dry his hands off a little before he pulled out his phone, making sure Dante’s face was in the frame. His grin was dirty, wow, Delsin had never seen it like this before and that picture would certainly find one use or another at a later time.

 

“Now turn.”

 

Dante obeyed, turning his head so that sly grin was still halfway visible, even on that one.

 

“Wow I am so fucking talented”, Delsin said as he checked the pictures on his phone.

 

“And also my boyfriend is really hot?”, Dante added helpfully.

 

“True. You should see him.”

 

“Oh very funny.” Dante grabbed the phone to discard it on the coffee table. “Shower?”

 

Delsin nodded and grabbed his boyfriend by his hand, leading him upstairs. Their shower wasn’t exactly big, and it was a tight fit with both of them but it didn’t matter. They were laughing too much, having too much fun cleaning each other, though Delsin left everything below Dante’s waist to him. Just to be safe.

He forewent any underwear, just slipped into his sweatpants as Dante did the same. As in, he slipped into another pair of Delsin’s sweatpants, which reminded him he had to get him some too, since his were a bit too short for him.

 

“So… was your birthday okay?”, Dante asked as they cuddled up under the blanket, Delsin’s arms around him. “I know it wasn’t the same without Fetch and Eugene.”

 

“Dante are you kidding me?” He gently squeezed his boyfriend, pressed another kiss to the top of his head. “This was amazing, you’re amazing. Thank you.”

 

“Well, uhm. Happy Birthday.”

 

The second part of Delsin’s birthday present only took place a few weeks later. There was a classical exhibition in Seattle’s art museum, and Dante seemed to like that kind of art a lot better. At least that’s what Delsin figured since he wasn’t constantly complaining about it. Or maybe he was just being nice to him, either way they leisurely strolled through the long halls, and Delsin completely relaxed. He could spend hours in places like this, just taking it all in, not analyzing or criticizing, that wasn’t his style. There could be something enjoyable in every kind of art.

 

After a while Delsin noticed Dante wistfully staring at a painting of an angel, reaching out to a human below her. He suddenly looked so incredibly sad, and he hadn’t been that way in so long now…

 

“Dante?” He stopped close to him, but not quite touching. There weren’t many people here today, but Dante still wasn’t quite comfortable with being affectionate out in the open like this. Or that’s what Delsin thought, he didn’t press the matter.

 

“She looks like my mother”, he almost whispered.

 

The angel had long red hair and her white robes were flowing around her. It was a truly gorgeous piece, radiating warmth and safety.

 

“She was beautiful”, Delsin said after a while.

 

He tried not to seem too surprised when Dante reached out to take his hand, intertwining their fingers and holding on to it tightly.

 

“She was…”, Dante hesitated, still mesmerized by that painting. “But she was k- ... She’s gone now.”

 

“Dante I’m so sorry.”

 

Delsin had guessed that he was an orphan, the comments he sometimes let slip, the way he acted around Betty who was essentially a grandmother to him. But Dante’s mother hadn’t just died, she had been killed. He couldn’t even imagine what that must be like, losing his parents to a car accident had been horrible enough.

 

“It was a long time ago.” Dante finally managed to take his eyes off the painting, but the sadness was still there. “I do like the painting though it’s… comforting.”

 

“We could see if they have a print of it, if you like.” He would have almost leaned in for a kiss, almost, but he remembered in time.

 

Dante didn’t look quite as sad anymore as he noticed the little tilt Delsin had done, a soft smile was playing on his lips and now he was leaning in, softly kissing him.

 

“Where did that come from?”, Delsin whispered, head still tilted up.

 

“I realized that I don’t care. What anyone thinks. I wanted to kiss you so I did.”

 

“Always a good attitude to have.”

 

Dante kissed him once more, and they went on their way, leaning into each other as they walked and looked at more paintings, never letting go of each other’s hand. They might have earned a glance or two, but Dante didn’t seem to care.

With all his complaints about modern art, and his confusion about it, it was nice to see Dante actually enjoying these classic paintings. He slowly opened up a little, started talking to Delsin about what he liked about a particular piece, but he would always end it with stating that his opinion didn’t matter because he didn’t know anything about art.

 

“Dante, stop putting yourself down”, Delsin said after what felt like the tenth time of Dante insisting. “You’re not stupid and you can voice your opinions on this. I didn’t study art either. You just pretend like you know what you’re talking about and then one day you do. Believe me, a lot of people are just pretending.”

 

“I just uhm.. don’t want to embarrass you.” Dante didn’t meet his gaze.

 

“You could never do that, Dante.” He gently lifted his boyfriend’s chin with his free hand, making him look at him. “Anyone fucks with you, they’ll wish they hadn’t been born. Besides, I can embarrass myself. Did you know I once stumbled, fell and ripped my jeans?”

 

“No way.” Dante was smiling now, almost gleeful. This was the Dante he liked.

 

“Sure did. There may or may not be pictures and if you’re being really good I might show them to you.”

 

“Why would you have pictures of that?”, Dante asked, almost giggling.

 

“Reggie can be a pretty big dick”, Delsin replied, suddenly stopping in his tracks. “I mean. Could be. Past Tense. Shit…”

 

He had forgotten. For a second he had been so happy, he had forgotten. But now it hit him again but he couldn’t drag Dante down, not when he been in the same situation only an hour ago.

 

“Delsin…” Dante reached out with his free hand, gently cupping his cheek. “Do you want to talk… do you… want to go home?”

 

“No way we haven’t seen everything yet.” He smiled up at his boyfriend, putting up his own mask of pretending to be okay. But he felt that he could talk about Reggie with him, someday.

 

“Really, we have to look at every single thing here?” Dante groaned but his smile was back too.

 

“Yes. Birthday present, remember? Oh, see, it’s a Turner!”

 

“A what now ah-”

 

Delsin had just started walking towards it, and as they were still holding hands, dragged Dante with him.

It was a perfect day to him, despite the bad memories. Dante opened up more after their little talk, and they openly started to discuss the paintings before them. Delsin just couldn’t stop grinning anymore, and soon enough he had almost forgotten about that episode earlier.

 

“I really like the way the shadow plays on her face- will you stop grinning like that, Delsin?!”

 

“You’re enjoying this”, Delsin said. “Art. Looking at it. Talking about it.”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“Nope.”

 

But Delsin figured he had tortured his boyfriend enough for that day and he allowed him to lead them back home.

Of course Dante hadn’t forgotten about those pictures Delsin had teased him with, and he insisted immediately that he show them to him.

 

“Let me see if I have them on my phone…” Delsin had already taken it out and was browsing through his gallery.

 

“Why would you have them on your phone?” Dante came to stand next to him, watching over his shoulder.

 

“Well it was pretty hilarious so…”

 

He trailed off as he slowly remembered why he hadn’t checked his gallery in such a long time. He hadn’t dared to, because there were pictures of Reggie here. Delsin didn’t even make it to the ripped pants incident, only slowly slumped down in front of the coffee table with Dante quickly following. Most pictures showed his brother frowning at him, rolling his eyes or with his face covered by his hand. But then there was one where Delsin had hid behind a bush, waiting for Reggie to find his newest artwork, ready to take a picture of his undoubtedly angry reaction.

 

Except Reggie hadn’t immediately flipped. He had stood there in front of it, and he was smiling, had almost looked proud of this Akomish inspired piece. Delsin had taken a picture of that anyway, planning on teasing him with it later but it had only become a sort of comfort for him from time to time. Now… he had hardly remembered that he had that.

 

Delsin had to work hard to hold back the tears, but it had probably been a bad move to press play on the video that showed up next in his gallery. It had been recorded way before Seattle, when he had been arrested - again - by his own brother and was cuffed in the back of his cop car. He had managed to take out his phone though, and stubbornly kept filming Reggie from the back seat, who only got more agitated by the second. His lecture had been the usual, and Delsin could almost say it along with him.

 

“Are you recording?”, Reggie had asked.

 

“No…”, Delsin’s voice came from offscreen.

 

“I know what the light means, Delsin, I swear if you don’t turn this thing off right now I’m gonna-”

 

That’s when the video cut off, with a faint Delsin giggle and Reggie needing to steer heavily to the left to avoid another car.

 

Present-Delsin had to take in a sharp breath, almost like a sob and he was shaking now. He hadn’t heard his brother’s voice, hadn’t seen his face in such a long time. Missing Reggie was like a force that threatened to overwhelm him.

 

“Delsin-”, Dante started.

 

“I need to tell you. About Reggie.” He had to get it out. Had to tell someone about how he died. He was the only one to really know what happened, everyone else just knew he died a hero.

 

“I’m here, Delsin.” Dante gently took the phone out of Delsin’s hand to put it aside, replacing it with his own hand. “I’m listening.”

 

“I told you about Augustine and the whole… shitshow right?” Delsin waited for Dante to nod, he had roughly told him how he had ended up here. “She had… she had Fetch and Eugene trapped. Stupid, stupid Reggie, of course he was going to help me rescue them, wouldn’t let me go in there alone. He was only there because of me.”

 

He was holding on to Dante’s hands tightly, his gaze pleading, though he didn’t know for what.

 

“She got him”, he continued. “Concrete all over and we, ah I don’t know, we fell and I was holding on to him, but the damn concrete was spreading and he just… He let go because otherwise I would die too. Told me he was… he was fucking proud of me. And then he just… he fell, I-”

 

Dante pulled him close now, wrapped his arms around him as the tears started to roll down his cheeks. He had never cried about Reggie before. Never. It had all been his fault and for some reason he could only now break down because of it.

 

“He would be proud of you now, too”, Dante said softly. He gently pulled off his beanie so he could brush through his hair, something that was always soothing to Delsin. “That must have been terrible, I’m so sorry.”

 

“I shouldn’t-”, Delsin’s breathing hitched as he tried to suppress his tears. “Shouldn’t bother you with this, you have your own-”

 

“Hey.” He gently pushed him away a little so he could look down at him. “That doesn’t mean your experiences aren’t as… as bad, as mine. I mean, just… His death was… fucked up, it sucked. Period. You’re allowed to be upset about it I… You kind of taught me that.”

 

“Fuck.” Delsin dropped his head, let himself fall forward against Dante who immediately wrapped his arms around him again. When had Dante become this stable, this patient? When had he become Delsin’s rock? “It was all my fault.”

 

He just let himself go now, there was no stopping it anyway. Let the the tears fall freely as he clung to the back of Dante’s top. Who was only holding him steadily, gently rubbing his back as he whispered to him.

 

“It wasn’t your fault”, he said. “Reggie made his choice. I’m sure he was aware of the danger. Augustine killed him, not you. It’s not your fault.”

 

Delsin heard those words, but Dante hadn’t been there, he couldn’t know. But if Reggie were here… wouldn’t he be saying the exact same thing? Along with scolding him that he shouldn’t be so self obsessed. It made him laugh, that image of Reggie scolding him when he was basically falling apart, but it only came out as a strangled noise.

 

“Delsin…?”, Dante gently asked.

 

“He… He would say that”, he managed to get out, wiping away some of the tears but it seemed now that he had started, it was hard to stop. “He would insist, actually and… And he’d be so hard on you.”

 

That strangled laugh came out again as Dante kept brushing through his hair in a soothing motion. He could only imagine it too well. Reggie would have been opposed to helping him at first, but there wasn’t anything he could talk Delsin out of, and he’d be grumpy and pouty until he realized how great Dante was. And then he’d be just as protective of him as he had been of Delsin, but he would groan and roll his eyes when they got together, complaining about the ‘shenanigans’ they would probably get up to.

 

“But then he’d come to care for you”, Delsin continued, his sobbing subsiding a little. “And he’d… he would do anything for you.”

 

“You think so?” Dante’s smile was gentle.

 

“I know.” He had managed to calm down a little, and when he wiped his tears away new ones stopped coming.

 

In a strange way, he felt better now. It was out of him, he had let himself actually think about Reggie. It had hurt, but it could only get better now.

 

“Do you uh… want some hot chocolate or something?”, Dante asked, looking a little awkward. He could imagine this had been the first time he had ever comforted someone, but he had done an excellent job.

 

“I just want to be with you, if that’s okay.”

 

“Of course.” He leaned in to press a kiss to Delsin’s forehead.

 

“Will you stay over tonight?”, Delsin asked.

 

“Do you even have to ask?”

 

“I do”, he insisted. “I will always ask, Dante.”

 

“You’re incredible.”

 

“I- Whoa, hey!”

 

Dante had slipped his arm under his legs, and swiftly picked him up, bridal style. Delsin was too shocked to do anything about it, except hold on to his boyfriend’s neck as he carried him upstairs.

Tonight they switched. It was Delsin’s turn, for the first time he realized, to have Dante’s arms around him as they cuddled up in their bed. He made a mental note to do that more often, it felt wonderful.

 

He wondered if he had ever been able to fall apart like this without Dante. Without someone there to catch him. It might have just festered inside him, made worse every day until it would be irreversible.

Delsin had no words to describe how grateful he was, and proud at the same time that even though Dante had his own problems, most of them he didn’t even know about, he had been able to support him like this.

 

He tried to show it with a kiss instead, slow and intense with him clinging to Dante’s shirt.


“You’re welcome”, Dante mumbled against him.

Chapter Text

Dante had almost - but only almost - forgotten that Delsin had agreed to his wish for a Playstation. But as soon as he had remembered, months after Fetch and Eugene had visited, he had dragged his boyfriend to the store. A big, commercial one just to really annoy him.

 

“I don’t see why we can’t just buy a used one”, Delsin said, arms crossed as he tried not to look excited about the sheer amount of games in the store. Dante knew how much of a child he could be, and his desire to play and his hatred of capitalism were really tearing him apart right now.

 

“Because then it’s not shiny anymore.”

 

“Ugh, whatever.” He reluctantly walked up to Dante, who was currently wondering what games to get.

 

They all looked so amazing and he couldn’t believe that he could actually finish them now because he would buy them, take them to his house and play them there. Not in a mall where he would eventually be kicked out by a security guard and where the controllers were so greasy and worn down they must have held a million diseases.

 

This would be his.

 

People were always complaining that others shouldn’t place so much value on possessions, but that was easy for them to say when they had them. Dante was new to this, he hadn’t even really owned that trailer. Hadn’t bought it, anyway.

 

“Can’t we get a WiiU?”, Delsin asked, holding said console right in front of his face.

 

“Why…? Does it have games with dragons too?”

 

“Probably.” Delsin shrugged. “But it has a lot of games we could play together, which could be fun. Besides, Nintendo isn’t as evil as Sony.”

 

“Right…” He wasn’t quite sure if he could part with a game that had dragons in it, but playing games with his boyfriend? Possibly in their underwear? That did sound pretty amazing. “What kind of games?”

 

“Like this one.” Delsin pressed it into his hands. “Kirby’s Epic Yarn. With Kirby and Prince Fluff, I’d even let you chose.”

 

“This is…”, he hesitated. “Fucking adorable. Holy shit can I be Prince Fluff?”

 

“If we get the Wii, then yes, you can be Prince Fluff. Which is incidentally a great nickname for you.”

 

“Don’t you dare call me that.” He did put the Playstation back though, and started stacking up Wii games, everything that could be played with two people. He was almost giddy, because he could buy this with his own money, and he didn’t have to worry that he would go hungry. It was surreal.

 

“But your grin is so adorable, and that white bit of hair is definitely fluffy.” Delsin shuffled close and stood on tiptoe, very subtly tilting his head up.

 

“Shut up.” Nevertheless Dante still leaned down for a kiss, because really, Delsin was the one who was being adorable here.

 

“Though you really look more like a skunk with that hair”, Delsin said as they started to carry their things to the register.

 

“Did you just… compare me to a skunk?”

 

“Well uhm… it reminds me of that. But a cute skunk. A sexy skunk, too.”

 

“Delsin?” Dante stopped in his tracks, almost making Delsin bump into him.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“This is getting into a really weird area. Please stop talking.”

 

“I suppose it did”, he chuckled, but of course he didn’t stop talking. “Oh I actually can’t wait to go back and play! But we still have to get some groceries.”

 

“I’ll pack it up with a bunch of bags then”, the guy at the register said, who had luckily only heard the last part of their conversation. “It’s pouring out there.”

 

“Dante.” Delsin stopped him from taking out the money he had brought. Which was actually a lot. He didn’t have a bank account, there were a lot of normal things he didn’t have that were required for it. An ID, for one. “Let me pay, at least half.”

 

“No, please. Let me. I can.” He stressed the last word, couldn’t suppress his grin and it was enough to show Delsin why he needed to do this.

 

“All right.” He smiled back at him now, gently brushing along his arm.

 

Just buying so much at once was quite exhilarating to Dante, and he was still giddy when they left the store. He didn’t care about the rain, none of it mattered. Today was a good day.

 

Delsin was already running ahead, hands in his pockets and shoulders up to keep as much of the rain out as possible.

 

“Come on, Dante, hurry!”

 

He couldn’t. He could only stand there and watch his boyfriend, who needed a few more moments to realize that he wasn’t following him anymore. Delsin came jogging back, soaked, rain pouring down his face, making him scrunch it up.

 

“What is it?”, he asked. “Something wrong?”

 

“No…”

 

It was the exact opposite. Everything was right.

 

Dante leaned down to kiss him, but there was a force behind it this time, and the rain mixing with Delsin’s smoky taste made him deepen it further. Everything else was forgotten, that they were in public, that they were standing in the rain, it was just him and Delsin, who was now clinging to his neck and that’s when Dante realized.

 

“Delsin.”

 

“Yeah?” He was panting just as much as Dante, their breaths fogging between them, his eyes blown just as wide.

 

“I’m… I’m- Let’s go home. Now.” He didn’t know when it had happened, maybe it had been months, weeks that he had known, maybe it was just in this instant, but he was ready. And now he couldn’t wait.

 

Delsin practically ran for the curb, hailing a taxi into which he dragged him. Their address was barely out of his mouth when he was suddenly straddling him and leaning down to kiss him, tongue immediately searching out his. The ride was a blur to Dante, it was all just heat and Delsin and lust, his hands on his boyfriend’s ass and Delsin’s in his hair.

The taxi driver needed to clear his throat several times before they realized they had arrived, and the bill Dante vaguely threw in his direction might have been way too much but it didn’t matter. Neither did the console and the games they had just bought which were discarded in the hallway as soon as they were inside.

 

They were drawn together immediately, stumbling up the stairs, bumping against the wall and maybe even knocking down a picture or two but none of that registered with either of them. Dante had already shrugged out of his wet coat and had lost it somewhere on the stairs, now he pulled off Delsin’s beanie before helping him out of his vest. It was messy and hurried and yet it still wasn’t fast enough.

 

“Dante hngh-”, Delsin had to force himself to pull back. “Slow down.”

 

He had only said that on one other occasion, and Dante stopped, realizing they were already in Delsin’s room.

 

“You don’t… want to?” Dante had been so happy, so sure, he hadn’t considered what Delsin really wanted.

 

“I do, love. But I don’t want a hurried thing, I want this to be more. I want you to remember it.”

 

Delsin had called him ‘love’. He hesitated for a moment, but found that he liked it. A lot.

 

“All right.” He stepped closer to his boyfriend again, hand reaching out to slowly, very slowly unzip that black jacket. “I can do slow.”

 

Not that he had ever done slow. He had done fast, drunk fucks, or had let himself be used when he got paid, but this was different. This was Delsin, this was someone he actually cared about. Now that he was thinking less with his dick and more with his brain he got a little nervous at that thought.

 

“Good.” Now it was Delsin who helped Dante out of his top, before slowly starting to unbutton his own shirt. Dante watched intently. They had seen each other naked before, but Delsin was hot and now he would actually be able to do things. Waiting was difficult right now, he had to admit.

 

“Can I do one thing though?”, Dante asked.

 

Delsin stepped closer and pressed his hands to his chest. It felt like they were on fire and they made his heart race.

 

“Anything.”

 

Dante reached down to unbutton Delsin’s jeans. He had tried to do it before, and had always been rejected. He needed to do this now, to know that he was wanted. Delsin didn’t stop him, encouraged him with that dirty grin of his and Dante knelt in front of him to help him out of his jeans and boxers. And his socks, while he was at it. Everything was soaked, anyway.

He pressed a few soft kisses along that v line which elicited a soft moan from his boyfriend before he started to slowly move up, along his abs, chest, his neck and finally reaching his lips again.

 

“Ah”, Delsin gasped when Dante finally pulled back again. “My… my turn now.”

 

It was satisfying to see Delsin this flushed after just a few kisses, and this hard. Though Dante knew he was hard too, but now his boyfriend was gently pushing him down onto the bed, and he let himself fall with the biggest grin.

His heart was still beating rapidly, but he knew he was safe with him. And they were grinning, laughing when Delsin’s hair fell into his face again as he started to pull Dante’s jeans off. He had never laughed with anyone during sex before, or foreplay… never. It was good, it was incredible.

 

“Is that a huge boner or are you just happy to see me?”, Delsin asked when he had successfully removed the rest of Dante’s clothes.

 

“Definitely both”, he replied and pushed himself up but Delsin was immediately over him, kissing him, pushing him back down. He leaned back a little, just staring at Dante, letting his eyes wander over every inch. Suddenly he felt… shy. He had been looked at, had been desired by many people, but never in this way. Never this intense, or with a look that told him Delsin actually cared. Dante’s hand was shaking as he reached out to pull him close by his neck into another kiss. A short one this time, barely brushing their lips together before he went for Delsin’s hair, arguably his favourite part on him. He let the strands fall through his fingers, pulled Delsin even closer to lean in and inhale deeply. That smoky scent was most intense here, and he couldn’t get enough of it. His boyfriend let him enjoy it for a while before he freed himself.

 

Delsin took his time in exploring him, dragging his finger along Dante’s arms, the touch featherlight. He pressed kisses to his chest, each just as soft as his touch before he finally came to focus on his nipple. Sucking, licking, biting, Dante realized no one had done this to him before, and he decided he liked it, showed it by gasping and grabbing Delsin’s hair.

 

But he couldn’t wait anymore, as much as he loved this, he wanted to please Delsin too. He tried to push himself up again, but was met with the same gentle push as before. And for a third time.

 

“Delsin, come on, let me do something!”, Dante said in exasperation.

 

“Love…” Delsin looked up from where he had been kissing him. “If you’ll let me, I want this to be about you. I want to spoil you and make you feel things you’ve never felt before.”

 

“You… you seem pretty sure you can do that”, Dante’s voice was shaky. That look Delsin gave him, lids low, pupils blown wide, told him he could do all the things he had promised. “But how could I say no to that?”

 

“Good. Then relax, and enjoy.”

 

And Dante did. He let his head fall back down onto the many pillows on Delsin’s bed, let himself enjoy his touches and kisses and he didn’t feel that kind of pressure that had always been there before. That it needed to be quick in some way, needed to be rushed. But tonight that wasn’t the case, tonight they had all the time in the world.

 

“Ah, Delsin, fuck…”, Dante practically moaned his name, couldn’t help himself with the way he was being watched. Delsin seemed to notice the slightest change in the way he gasped more or less depending on where he kissed him, or in what way he touched him and he looked like he would remember every single thing about it.

 

“That will come later”, he replied, blowing a streak of hair out of his face. “Unless you want to?”

 

“No I… I want you to.”

 

I want you to fuck me. I want you inside me.

 

Why couldn’t he say these things anymore? With Delsin he was suddenly… shy? He didn’t know if it was a good thing or not.

But he had changed a lot in the months - almost a year - that he had been here. Maybe it was indeed a good thing.

 

It was so, so hard for him to stay passive, his old habits took over as he pushed himself up despite Delsin’s protest, and swiftly embraced him to switch their positions. Now he was on top of his boyfriend, straddling him, feeling his erection against his ass he leaned down to kiss him.

 

“Hm… lube?”, he mumbled against his lips. Delsin only nodded in the direction of his nightstand and he leaned over to rifle through its contents, quickly finding what he was looking for. But before he could even open it Delsin took it from him.

 

“Let me, love.”

 

“O-okay.” It seemed that when Delsin used that word, he could get him to accept anything. He pushed himself up a little, placed both hands on either side of Delsin’s head as his boyfriend spread the lube over his fingers.

 

“Relax, okay? I’ll take it slow”, Delsin said and Dante could feel his fingers at his entrance. He only slowly pushed one inside, and the time they had spent just being with each other had relaxed him. It didn’t feel as uncomfortable as it normally did, not with Delsin’s slow pace. He closed his eyes, but he could still feel his boyfriend watching him, his gaze burning into his skin. It only spurred him on though, made him gasp and moan even louder than he normally would.

 

Delsin took his time in stretching him, as he had promised. It was strange and not at all what he had expected as Delsin waited until he was completely ready for a second finger. That one… didn’t hurt either.

 

“Dante?”, he whispered. “You’re frowning, does it hurt?”

 

“No.” Dante opened his eyes again to see his boyfriend looking worried. “Not at all ah-”

 

“It’s not supposed to”, Delsin said, grinning because he knew full well what he had hit inside him. “If done right.”

 

His hands were gripping the sheets tighter now, and he couldn’t help but let his eyes fall closed again. Not only did it not hurt, Delsin made it feel good and yet he still waited until he was completely used to it to stretch him even wider. Anyone else would have had trouble staying up like this, thighs trembling at the strain but at this moment Dante was thankful for his Nephilim physiology. It let him enjoy the view of Delsin below him, black hair spread out, and that wonderful grin on his face.

 

“Delsin I think - ah.” Dante needed to gasp, had to hesitate before he could continue. “I think I’m good.”

 

“All right, love. Grab a condom, will you?”

 

“Do we… need one?”

 

“I want to be safe, okay? I want you to be safe.” Delsin didn’t mock him, he was still patient and gentle even when he slowly removed his fingers from inside him.

 

Dante just nodded and reached over once more. He knew he would be safe either way, but explaining it to Delsin would mean telling him what he was and that wasn’t an option. Not to mention that it would put quite the damper on things.

He reached behind him, grinning as he managed to roll the condom onto his boyfriend without having to look. Before he lifted his hips Delsin helpfully handed him the lube again, which he quickly applied before his boyfriend aligned himself with his entrance. Dante pushed down on him, slowly, his eyes fluttering close once more as he concentrated on that sensation.

Delsin had done excellent work on preparing him, still he was surprised that it didn’t hurt, wasn’t uncomfortable at all, it simply felt perfect.

Lower he went as he tried to keep his breathing even, all the way down until Delsin was completely buried inside him. He stayed like that for a moment, relishing in how perfect this was, being filled up by him. This was just… more. More than sex, more than pleasure. This was about them becoming one.

 

Delsin pushed himself up, wrapped his arms around Dante, who only now opened his eyes again.

 

“You’re doing so well, Dante”, he whispered and that got Dante’s heart racing even faster.

 

“I… I am?” He needed to hear it again, he didn’t know why, but he needed to hear more.

 

“Yes, love. Taking all of me like that…” Delsin pressed a soft kiss to his lips. “You’re so good.”

 

“Ah, Delsin…” He could only gasp. He wanted to do well, wanted to be good and please him.

 

“I’ll switch us again, okay?”

 

Again he could only nod before Delsin swiftly lifted him so he could lie on the bed again, all the while never pulling out. Before anything else happened, Dante needed to pull his boyfriend down again, kiss him again, brush through his hair. His chest was already about to burst with so many different emotions, but he also knew that he needed Delsin to start moving soon. He seemed to be able to read his mind, or maybe he was just that good at reading his expressions by now, because now he did start to move. Slowly at first, almost pulling out all the way before pushing back in, deep, and brushing against that spot inside him.

 

His moan was soft, so unlike himself, but the more Delsin encouraged him, telling him how well he was doing, that he was so good and beautiful made him become louder with each thrust. Dante hardly noticed the world that was slowly fading away from him, he was too wrapped up in Delsin, in the pleasure, that smile his boyfriend gave him and those gentle kisses he leaned down for.

 

“Ready for more, love?”, Delsin asked. After he nodded again Delsin guided Dante’s legs onto his shoulders, pressing a kiss to each before he picked up the pace. Only a little though, what made this different wasn’t the speed, it was the force with which he thrust into him.

 

If his moans hadn’t been loud before, they certainly were now, as each time Delsin brushed against that spot, each time he fucked into him harder he could see stars. He got so lost in that pleasure, he had no capacity to even think about touching himself. There was only Delsin, inside him, his pupils blown wide, soft moans tumbling from his lips as well.

Dante couldn’t even register anymore that he was gripping the sheets so tightly, it almost felt like he was floating. He tried to call out Delsin’s name, but couldn’t even be sure he managed that.

 

“Dante… Dante…” Delsin had stopped moving and only now did he realize he had called his name out a few times before it had registered with him.

 

“Y… Yeah?” His words were slurred, his movement clumsy as he tried to reach out to brush along Delsin’s cheek.

 

“You still with me? Is this too much?”

 

Dante shook his head. This was more, more than he could have ever imagined, more perhaps than he could handle, but it was perfect.

 

“I want to… Want to lose myself to you. I trust you.”

 

He had never given in to someone. Had never trusted someone this completely to just let himself go. But he knew Delsin would be there to pick him up again, wouldn’t abandon him.

There was something different in the way Delsin looked at him now, but he was already too far gone to really know what it was. And when Delsin resumed his movements, thrusting into him even harder than before, he simply came apart.

 

His vision was almost gone, he could only focus on Delsin above him, moving with that steady rhythm, his hair sticking to his face in places, a bead of sweat slowly rolling down his chest. Everything else was blurry around him, but it did not matter. Only Delsin was important.

The warmth inside him started to spread through every fibre of his being and the pressure within him grew. Grew so much for a moment he thought he truly could not handle it, but just looking at Delsin reassured him, that he could do this, that he could just let go.

 

And he did, letting the pleasure overwhelm him as his vision now went completely black. He hardly noticed. He was too lost in ecstasy, too lost in his orgasm which was unlike any he had experienced before. The pleasure stretched out, ebbed away a little only to return with full force, wave after wave of pure bliss.

 

He had no idea how long it took him to come down from it, but when his vision returned he found himself in Delsin’s arms, both of them still breathing heavily.

 

“Hey, love, do you hear me now?”, Delsin whispered softly, and slowly did he realize he was playing with his hair.

 

“Hn-...”, he hesitated, speech right now seemed difficult, and he was still floating inside his boyfriend’s arms.

 

“It’s all right I’m here”, Delsin kept whispering to him, though he couldn’t understand all of it yet. But it helped to ground him, he focused on that voice, those sweet nothings until he could feel the bed beneath him again, the hot air around them, could smell Delsin’s smoky scent.

 

“Delsin…” With his vision sharpening he could see that he had already discarded his condom, and there was somehow a towel draped over him? How long had he been out?

 

“Ready to be cleaned off?”, he asked, lightly brushing the towel over his skin. The touch seemed so intense, but it was bearable and he nodded. As Dante looked down he noticed his chest was covered in his own come - a lot of it. So much he doubted it could have all been his. Delsin grinned down at him. “All you. Was that your first time, coming like this?”

 

“Shit, yeah.” Dante needed to swallow, his tongue still seemed a little too heavy. “I almost thought it was a myth.”

 

“I’m glad I could prove otherwise.” Delsin took great care in cleaning him, doing it so softly, so slowly. Dante just watched and blushed when Delsin met his gaze, smiling so gently at him before discarding the towel.

 

He didn’t move away though, only pulled Dante closer.

 

Another part that was new. Dante had never stayed with anyone like this before. There just wasn’t any cuddling in his life, or well, there hadn’t been until Delsin, and he enjoyed it immensely.

 

“I know I might inflate your ego even more by saying this but…” He looked up at Delsin, who looked deliciously fucked out, with his hair messy and a slight blush in his cheeks. “That was incredible. The… the best I ever had, to be honest.”

 

“Me too, love.” He leaned down to kiss him, but Dante stopped him midway.

 

“Don’t just say that.” It couldn’t be, what had he done, really.

 

“I’m not Dante I-”, Delsin hesitated. “I’ve never cared about anyone the way I do about you. It was incredible, believe me.”

 

“Is that… why you call me ‘love’?” It was quite surreal to him. That he would care about him this strongly that he would call him that…

 

He was in love, wasn’t he? This… what he felt, it had to be. It all clicked into place at that moment, and though it might have been scary with anyone else, he knew he was safe here, with Delsin.

 

“Yes I…”, Delsin trailed off and Dante could see him think.

 

He reached up to gently stroke along his cheek, making him focus on Dante again - and smile that beautiful smile of his.

 

“I like when you call me that”, he said. Would it be too much of a cliche to tell Delsin how he felt right after sex? Would it mean less? He didn’t even know if he was ready and eventually he decided he would wait.

 

“All right then, love.” It was silly that Delsin saying that made his breathing hitch, but it did stir something inside him. “So you’ve come down again, you’re okay? Should I get us something to drink?”

 

Dante didn’t really want him to leave, but it sounded like it was a good idea.

 

“Bring some snacks”, he said and when Delsin grinned and was about to put on his boxers he stopped him. “Don’t get dressed. Pretty please?”

 

“As you wish, Prince Fluff.” Delsin bowed as he backed out of the room but the pillow Dante threw after him still hit him in the face.

 

There were enough pillows in Delsin’s bed, and he took another one to hide his face in once his boyfriend was gone. He just couldn’t stop that grin that had spread on his face. He was exhausted, yes, in a way he had never been before but he was so incredibly happy right now. How had his life changed so much? He didn’t want to think about where he would be if Delsin hadn’t taken him in, and he didn’t have to as that was when he returned to the bed, carrying an entire sixpack of small water bottles as well as a package of cookies and some grapes.

He dropped all of it onto the bed before joining Dante there again, who managed to sit up and drain an entire bottle of water in one go.

 

“Looks like that was a great idea, huh?”, Delsin slowly sipped on his own water. He leaned back against the head of the bed as he popped a grape into his mouth, grinning.

 

“Even you have those once in a while”, Dante replied, rolling onto his stomach. “Gimme one of those.”

 

He opened his mouth and Delsin tried to throw one in, but missed. Dante had to laugh and he joined in. He tried a few more times before he decided it wouldn’t happen and gently fed it to him, and Dante took that opportunity to suck on his fingers while looking up at him.

 

“Shit, Dante.”

 

“Don’t call me Prince Fluff or you will never see that again”, he said with a big smile.

 

“Hm… that is a really tough choice. The way you’re hair is sticking out right now would definitely make you Prince Fluff. But damn that was hot…”, Delsin trailed off and looked like he was actually thinking about it for a moment. “All right I suppose I’ll have to keep calling you ‘love’.”

 

“Good choice.”

 

They stayed in bed for the rest of the day, talking, eating, joking around and eventually Dante crawled up to cuddle up to his boyfriend again. Who was wonderful and kept whispering terms of endearment into his ear, kept softly stroking his arm, over his chest, wherever he could reach. Dante needed it after being so completely apart before, all those gentle touches, just being together with Delsin was bringing him back together.

 

That night, when Delsin made his night light, it was in the shape of a hummingbird, and maybe, just maybe, it glowed a bit brighter than it normally did.

 

His legs were still a bit wobbly when Dante went to shower the next day, but so he had an excuse to invite Delsin in with him… ‘for support’. He got a little distracted when Delsin turned and showed off his falcon tattoo and he started to trace it, started to press kisses to it. It was Delsin who had to remind them that they were in here for a reason, and when he mentioned that their Wii was still waiting for them downstairs Dante actually managed to hurry.

 

They settled down on the floor in front of their, quite frankly, very small TV. But Dante realized that, too, was something he was able to change now. It would take a while, he would have to actually save some of his money, but he could buy one. Or they could buy one.

 

When had he started to like being this domestic? Next thing he’d be cooking for his boyfriend… Then it hit him that he had actually already done that. In an apron.

 

“When did you pick up Resident Evil?”, Delsin asked, his excitement about the game quite obvious. Dante had thought they could play something together, but if it made him this happy, he would gladly watch for a while.

 

“You want to play it for a bit? I’ll watch”, he suggested.

 

“Really? I don’t wanna-”

 

Dante cut him off with a kiss.

 

“Really. Go on.”

 

It was fun to watch Delsin play this game, how excited he got, so excited that he hardly noticed that Dante settled down to rest his head in his lap. He kept alternating between watching the screen and watching Delsin, but after a while he got a little restless. His thoughts wandered, and eventually settled on last night. It still felt like he was a little high from that - and horny.

 

He carefully rolled from Delsin’s lap, making sure not to disturb his playing, and then basically snuck under the gamepad between his boyfriend’s legs. Dante started to unbutton them, and only then did Delsin stop playing.

 

“What are you doing?”, he asked, only holding the gamepad with one hand now.

 

“Sucking you off”, Dante replied, shrugging. “You can keep playing.”

 

“Oh. Okay.” Delsin leaned back against the armchair, giving Dante a bit more room to move. He would need it.

 

He quickly undid the rest of the buttons and pulled Delsin’s jeans down as much as he could, enough so he could pull out his cock. He hesitated for a second, suddenly he felt… nervous. Dante knew he was good at this, but would it be enough to make him feel good? The way he had made him feel last night?

 

There was only one way to find out though, and despite his rapidly beating heart he leaned in to press a few kisses to Delsin’s torso before moving further down. He dragged his tongue along his length, feeling a deep satisfaction as he felt him growing hard underneath his touches.

Dante thought it would be a bit silly, but he pressed a few kisses to his erection and immediately heard Delsin take in a sharp breath above him. He had to grin at that and he started pumping him, feeling him grow harder before he decided it was time to taste him. Dante actually craved that taste, needed to make him feel good.

 

He had a lot of practice with this, and his gag reflex was practically non existent and so he wrapped his lips around Delsin’s cock, slowly moving down. So far down until he felt him hit the back of his throat, and only then did he move back up. He knew just how to use his tongue, let it drag along his length as he bobbed up and down, licked over Delsin’s tip, tasting the delicious precome there.

His boyfriend’s breathing was getting heavier and his movements clumsier, though Dante hardly even registered the sounds coming from the TV. He was too focused on using his mouth and his hands to please Delsin, flicking his wrist in the way he knew he would like, taking all of him in because every time he did so, Delsin would moan above him.

 

“Ah, shit”, Delsin gasped and now he finally put aside the gamepad, letting his head fall back and it was enough to show Dante that he was close. “Ah, I’m gonna…”

 

He felt Delsin’s hand in his hair now, not pushing him, but it encouraged Dante, made him work harder on pleasing him. He moved up and down faster, and wouldn’t have minded Delsin pushing him down at all but he knew that wasn’t him. Nevertheless he froze when he felt his boyfriend come into his mouth, wanted to taste all of it and waited patiently until his moans had subsided and his hand fell from his head.

 

Dante slowly dragged his lips off of him and looked up at Delsin before he swallowed.

 

“Fuck, Dante…”, Delsin cursed. “Fuck that was amazing. You’re amazing.”

 

He grinned at that and helped adjust Delsin’s pants into a semi decent state before proceeding to sit in his lap.

 

“Glad you enjoyed it”, he said and turned to look at the screen. The words ‘You are dead’ were displayed there. “Sorry about that.”

 

“Oh fuck the game”, Delsin gasped as he pulled him into a kiss and it gave him a strange satisfaction to know he would taste himself now. “You’re really fucking good at that.”

 

“I know. And you curse a lot.”

 

“Well it’ll be your turn to curse…”, Delsin leaned over to take one of the games he had bought to shove it in his face. “When I beat your ass at Mario Kart!”

 

“You’re on, bitch!”

 

Dante was so excited to play, so happy that he had been able to please Delsin that he didn’t even realize he wasn’t hard, and didn’t even feel the need to jerk himself off, or do other things. Just knowing Delsin had enjoyed it was enough. Another first.

 

It had been a while since Dante had played Mario Kart, and the version he had played had been quite a bit different. But he quickly got used to it and between them they were pretty evenly matched. Of course they still shit talked each other whenever one would win, or make up excuses when they lost. The usual. At least that’s what Dante figure, he had never actually played this with anyone else before, especially not with the person he loved.

 

“Oh.”

 

“Yeah that’s right I owned your ass!”, Delsin yelled, assuming Dante had been upset about the game.

 

But what was happening on the screen hardly registered with him anymore. He turned to Delsin, not scared of what he was about to say, but his heart still beat rapidly in his chest.

 

“Delsin?”

 

“Yeah?” He turned to look on him now, his look of triumph still there.

 

“I think I kind of love you.”

 

Delsin dropped his gamepad, and his smile changed into something gentle. He took Dante’s controller out of his hands to put it aside and slipped into his lap, arms resting on his shoulders.

 

“I think I kind of love you too”, he whispered as he leaned in for a kiss. They took their time exploring each other and it was all the more electrifying for what it meant.

 

He hadn’t known he was capable of that emotion, had never expected himself to be in this position, to not be scared of saying it. After all he had been through, all the pain and betrayal, he had learned that there could still be someone who would care for him, who would not leave him no matter what. It may have taken Dante a while to be able to believe it, but now he knew with every fibre of his being.

 

Dante had to gasp, suddenly a little overwhelmed by the whole situation.

 

“Are you okay, love?”, Delsin asked, gently cupping his cheeks.

 

“Ah I’m just… Fucking happy okay?! You make me fucking happy and I don’t- I’ve never- Just shut up okay?!”

 

“All right, all right, I’ll shut up”, Delsin chuckled as he leaned forward to let his head rest on Dante’s shoulder, just holding him like that as Dante tried to come to terms with how lucky he was.

 

And he was lucky. To have Delsin wrapped around him, holding him close with his hair tickling his nose a little bit. He was patiently waiting for Dante to decide that it was enough, or that he wanted more, and he still couldn’t believe that someone could be this generous.

 

“Can I ask… one thing?”, Dante asked.

 

“Of course.” Delsin sat up again so he could look at him.

 

“Why did you… help me? You had no reason to.”

 

“I could tell that you were in pain, and that you had nowhere to go. I could help, and so I did.” Delsin said it as if it were such a natural thing to take in complete strangers.

 

“You didn’t know me, I could have been an… axe murderer or something”, he said.

 

“Well I can take care of myself. I took a chance and I certainly don’t regret it. I guess I just… had a feeling about you.”

 

“In any case…” Dante pressed a short kiss to his lips. “Thank you.”

 

“Any time, love.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Vergil was seething.

 

After everything he had been through, going through literal hell, discovering his own power and emerging victorious, after salvaging what was left of Mundus’ empire and establishing himself as the new Demon King he had found his brother in the arms of a mortal.

 

A mortal.

 

It had taken Vergil months to find Dante, had to use everything at his disposal to track him down, but what he found in Seattle had not been what he had expected.

But what had he expected? Something, at least, not this broken shell of his brother. He had had so many revelations about himself, about what it meant to be Nephilim and his almost limitless power, for some reason he had thought Dante must know by now too. About the way they could change forms and most importantly, that they were meant to be together. Dante was supposed to be his.

 

Instead he was with this Delsin, this… Conduit.

 

Vergil had been surprised to find out about Conduits. It seemed that even with his skills Mundus had successfully managed to keep information from him. While he had repressed the information about Conduits to keep people in the area docile, it pleased Vergil to find out that there had been things even Mundus was scared of. And that his control hadn’t been as complete as they had thought.

 

Which meant of course that after he had managed to take over, there was still a lot to do. Publicly, in the eyes of the mortals, he was now a CEO, working on gaining influence in more and more companies, while behind the scenes he would gather his demon followers - a group that got larger by the day. In the end they had been the ones to track Dante down, who even mostly kept him safe from those that would harm him.

 

He didn’t know why exactly he had hesitated in just getting rid of Delsin and claiming his brother for his own. Perhaps because he didn’t truly want to claim him. He had once already made the mistake of assuming things about his brother, assuming that he would be on his side, always, and it had almost killed him.

 

And then he had seen that Conduit use his powers. Vergil was intrigued, he had never seen anything like this. Delsin was versatile, too. Unlike other Conduits - and he had extensively researched them - he was able to absorb different kinds of powers, each more impressive than the next. The demon he had sent to intercept him had merely been a test of those abilities, and Delsin has easily smashed the thing into a million pieces, confirming that he wasn’t to be underestimated.

 

So Vergil decided to watch. For now.

 

Getting surveillance equipment into the Conduit’s house hadn’t been difficult, but watching him and Dante grow closer every day was. Vergil kept asking himself why he didn’t intervene, but he needed to know more about his brother, there was so much time they had spent apart. To eventually get him onto his side would require him to know everything.

 

Besides, running an empire required his attention. A lot of it. Though he would stay up late every night, thankful to his Nephilim physiology that enabled him to review the day’s tapes of Dante and Delsin’s house.

 

He wasn’t surprised to see that Phineas had made his way into the human world, or that Dante started working for him. He was surprised to see how fragile his brother could be though, how much he needed Delsin to support him. It seemed that part of the reason why Dante was so distressed in the first place, was that he thought Vergil was dead. That brought a strange mix of emotions to him. Relief to know that he hadn’t meant to kill him, and still cared, but it also made him wonder how his brother would react to find out he was still alive. More than that. Awoken.

 

Vergil needed his brother to find that power, too. They had their devil trigger forms, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Once he had crossed that boundary within himself, Vergil had changed, physically. His hands had turned into claws, his teeth grown longer and he had felt actual leathery wings sprout from his back. Oh the power that had surged through him, it was pure freedom. And yet he knew this wasn’t all, there was still so much potential inside him, and his brother.

 

His brother…

 

Vergil missed him, craved him, needed him. It had been hard to admit, but it seemed like Delsin was good for him. For now, at least. Helping him heal from his trauma, and from what had happened to him in the past. Just like the Conduit, Vergil had to piece most of it together himself, and it made him angry. Angry at the world for treating him like this, angry at Sparda for separating them, and angry at himself for not being able to find his brother sooner. His family hadn’t been good either, but at least he had always had a safety net to fall back on. As long as he delivered, as long as he had stayed their perfect little prince, their trophy, he had been able to get anything. Vergil would have traded all of his wealth for his brother’s safety. He’d have given his own life to protect him from what he had been through.

 

How could he show him that? And how could he make him finally understand that they were meant to rule, that they were better than humans? Who were fragile beings, in need of protection. He truly did not want to be a tyrant like Mundus had been, his one desire was to see mankind safe. But Dante hadn’t seen it that way, Vergil had a scar to show for it.

 

He had never scarred, had never had a mark like that on his body, aside from the one on his back. It had to have been because it was Dante who had caused it, with the sword inherited by their father. Vergil kept brushing over the scar before he managed to get a bit of sleep. At least his brother had cared about him, hadn’t he?

 

Though would he care about him as much as he cared about that Conduit? He had to, there was no other way. Once they were together again Dante would surely see, would surely feel what Vergil felt? There was a connection between them, and it was open, though carefully managed, on his side, but Dante had closed it off. Was too scared to delve into that side of him, into that world. Their world. Where they belonged.

 

They were so different from humans, and could never be one of them. Dante still tried, with success for now, but at one point it would fail, Vergil was sure of it. The longer his brother kept going like this, the more it would hurt in the end. And if there was one thing Vergil didn’t want to happen to Dante, then it was him getting hurt.

 

He had already experienced far too much pain.

 

Vergil had to do something, more than watch. He wanted to be part of Dante’s life so badly, and though it was cheesy and domestic and so human, wanted to spend time with him the way that Conduit did. Being away from his brother made him weak, and he couldn’t show weakness, not ever. So whenever he met with humans or demons that worked for him, his mask was back on. Stoic, powerful, intimidating. Vergil was all of it, and he relished in that power it got him.

 

He hadn’t just kept track of Dante though. In a way, Kat was still important to him, though he was fully aware she would not be able to forgive him, for the things he had said about her. Nevertheless he would keep her safe from a distance. She had helped them after all, had put her life on the line and only slowly did Vergil realize that it was… impressive. Her holding out under Mundus’ torture, a demon king who surely knew what he was doing. And she was alone now, Dante had run and Vergil kept himself out of the public eye, couldn’t risk anyone recognizing him, not yet.

 

Vergil had gathered power, yes, but it was nowhere near what Mundus had, or what he had imagined the former demon king to have. He had seemed so all knowing, all powerful, it had been a surprise to find out that he hadn’t been. But it hardly mattered, Vergil was capable of easily surpassing him.

 

But power almost seemed to be his second priority. His first and last thought every day, was Dante. And after over a year of watching, establishing himself, he knew it was time to reveal himself to his brother, and to finally get him back. He had a plan, and there would be no stopping him.

 

Just because his plans were drawing to a close, did not mean that he had time to waste. Quite the opposite, his growing empire needed so much of his attention, which today, meant a shareholder meeting. Vergil hated dealing with these incompetent humans, who had somehow managed to become important in this company, and he avoided it as much as possible. But he was obliged to attend these meetings on a monthly basis, so he put on his metaphorical mask and one of his more expensive suits to attend.

 

“Mr. Sparda there is an important matter to discuss.”

 

Vergil needed to lean towards his assistant, who informed him that this particular old, white man’s name was apparently Whitman. Fitting, in a way.

 

“And what would that be?”, Vergil didn’t try to hide the fact that he was bored by all this. Actual work could be done during these meetings, and not endless discussions that only moved in circles. In the end, he always managed to do what he intended. And so far it had always been the right thing to do, the company had almost gotten back to its former glory.

 

“We have discussed this and… we are still quite unsure about the legitimacy of your claim to this company. No documents have been provided.”

 

Vergil sighed. Yes. The documents he had promised a long time ago, and had stalled actually handing them over because he had still needed to forge them. Which he had by now, but he had needed everything to be airtight, needed everything to look legitimate. It hadn’t been a problem for someone with his skills, it had only taken some time.

 

He waved his assistant closer.

 

“Please make a copy of the requested documents and send them to everyone, Paul”, he said, and his assistant nodded before leaving the meeting room. “I assure you my dear uncle has made sure that everything was in order.”

 

“It still seems curious that he never mentioned you.” Apparently Whitman was their speaker today, everyone else seemed to scared to even say anything.

 

“He only wanted me to stay out of the spotlight. Which still applies, even after his… unfortunate death.”

 

Vergil had learned that humans were amazing at ignoring what they couldn’t understand. The destruction to the city had been blamed on an earthquake, and no one would publicly acknowledge the giant demon that had appeared in it. He was thankful, really, it made his work so much easier for now.

 

Whitman huffed at that, and frowned at the documents that had been forwarded to everyone’s tablets, as he wasn’t able to find any fault with them. Why they were suspicious of him, Vergil couldn’t understand.

 

“Well, it seems everything is in order”, Whitman finally admitted. “Forgive me for being suspicious, but we had to be sure.”

 

“Of course”, Vergil replied, finally standing. “But have I not been good for this company? Without me, many of you would have lost their jobs.”

 

No one dared to say anything to that, and Vergil had to smile, though it could barely be called that. It showed that he was in control though, showed that he knew he was better than them, and he needed them to finally accept that.

He was in control of his powers now, and while he wouldn’t risk changing into his demon form in front of them, he could give his appearance just that bit of an edge. Could make himself seem a bit taller, a bit more frightening, radiating some of that demonic energy.

 

“Do not question me again”, he simply said. “Or there will be consequences.”

 

They were scared, Vergil could feel it. He relished in it, and as he walked out, his assistant joining him again, he finally let himself smile a real smile.

 

“The meeting went well I assume?”, his assistant asked, already handing him documents he needed to sign.

 

“Indeed. Remind me on the progress of the task I gave you.”

 

“Done, sir. Whitman has affairs with three people, one of them male and has made advances towards me. This gives you leverage on all of your shareholders.”

 

“Perfect.” Vergil gave Paul a dazzling smile. He was fully aware that his assistant had a crush on him, but he could use that to his advantage. He was talented, as he proved almost every day, and his infatuation made him go to great lengths to please Vergil. But his work never went unrewarded, he’d make sure Paul would be provided for, and protected. “Do give yourself that raise, will you?”

 

“Thank you, sir.”

 

Paul left him to his own devices in his office on the top floor of the building, though it could hardly be called that. It was huge, with a high ceiling and minimalistic furniture kept in black and white. Vergil had a small lounge in one corner with a fireplace framed by dark black wood, where he’d entertain important clients, and a door in the back led to a walk in closet and a luxurious bathroom. He certainly needed it when he stayed in the office through the night, working. Though he had an old, oaken desk at home, everything here was modern. His desk was large, shiny, black of course, and a row of monitors lined the wall behind him, letting him review whatever data he needed. Invisible in this world, but visible from Limbo were the arcane symbols lining the walls and the floor of his office, protecting, shielding him. This place was bullet and demon proof, no one would be able to find him here if he didn’t want to be found, human or supernatural being.

 

The day was drawing to an end, and it was time to review what his brother had been up to. He would fly to Seattle soon, and it made him almost giddy. Watching his brother go through his usual routines together with Delsin put an end to that feeling though. Their domestic routine, as silly as it was, made Vergil sad. He knew he would have that with Dante, simply knew that they were meant to end up together, but right now, he was all alone.

 

It had never bothered him before, being alone. He was good at it, he could get work done, delve into whatever he fancied at the moment and didn’t have to regard anyone else. But now, things had changed. Not that he would admit that to anyone else.

 

He fell asleep at his desk that night, not the first time it had happened, and sometimes he even wondered why he had bought this expensive bed for his penthouse apartment in the first place. But when he woke up there was a blanket draped around his shoulders. He brushed his hand through his hair to give it some resemblance of normalcy before he saw Paul walk inside.

 

“Sorry, sir, you looked cold”, he said, a shy smile on his face. “Coffee?”

 

“Yes, thank you.”

 

Vergil quickly closed the live feed of the camera’s in Dante’s house, didn’t need to watch him make breakfast with his mortal boyfriend and instead threw himself immediately into work. Just over night dozens of emails had reached him that demanded his attention. He sighed and slipped out of his suit jacket, which was now wrinkled anyway.

Paul quickly returned, handing him a large mug of coffee made from extremely expensive beans. He could order the most obscure ones, so why wouldn’t he? He liked to indulge in the good things in life. Vergil stood to lean against his desk, carefully taking a sip of coffee and loosening his tie.

 

“I don’t mean to be forward, sir, but are you okay?”, Paul asked nervously, clinging the tablet with today’s appointments tightly. “You have been falling asleep at your desk a lot lately.”

 

“I appreciate your concern, but I’m fine. Tell me I don’t have to meet humans today…” He softly massaged his temple with one hand, probably not setting his assistant at ease. His sleep hadn’t exactly been restful that night.

 

“I can… rearrange some things…” Paul was swiping furiously at his tablet. “Done. I’ll forward everything you need to know.”

 

“Thank you. That would be all.”

 

He would need to freshen up, to change into something he hadn’t slept in. Thankfully he always had some more clothes at the office. However, Paul had stopped with his hand on the door handle.

 

“Sir. Please… take care of yourself.” And with that he left.

 

Vergil liked him, but he was human. An attractive human, yes, and Vergil found himself watching him through the glass that separated his office from the area where Paul’s desk was. What had started as a simple secretary job had turned into something more. He was talented, as he had shown on countless occasions, with hacking, or maneuvering social situations, it seemed there was almost nothing he couldn’t do. And while he might not have noticed at first, slowly Vergil realized that it was Paul who cared for him. He was a workaholic, was fully aware of and liked it. Which meant he sometimes forgot to sleep, eat or drink. When his bottle of water was empty he’d simply stopped drinking, but more often than not a new one seemed to appear out of nowhere, or a plate of food, a gentle reminder on his screen that it was midnight and he should go home to sleep.

 

His business sense was good too, and slowly Vergil forwarded tasks with more responsibility to him. It was pleasing to watch him grow like that, and to watch him develop a crush on him. It was pleasing to watch him too, period. His strong jawline, white hair similar to Vergil’s, combed back, his impeccable style, always figure hugging.

 

While Paul was usually quiet, he was aware of his own skills, and good looks. So one day, he had offered himself to Vergil. He had hesitated for only a moment, he needed his brother, yes, but he had urges too. And after making it clear it would simply be about relieving those urges, had let himself fall back onto his chair, legs spread as Paul had given him one of the best blowjobs in his life. There could never be anything more between them, Paul was human, but he could certainly let himself enjoy this, especially with his assistant always so eager to please him. In whatever way Vergil wanted.

 

That night another plate of food had suddenly appeared on his desk. Vergil had been so lost in his work that he hadn’t noticed it - again. It was his favourite, too, and after devouring it while continuing to work, he called Paul into his office.

 

“What do you need, sir?”, he asked as dutifully as ever.

 

“You.”

 

Paul smiled almost wickedly as he placed his tablet onto Vergil’s table before walking around it, but this time, Vergil stood up. His assistant hesitated.

 

“I thought-”, he was interrupted by Vergil pulling him close by his shirt, into a rough kiss. Paul practically melted under the touch, soft lips parting to let their tongues meet. They rarely kissed, part of his way to show that this was just about need, but once in a while he’d let him have these sweet moments. Though the roughness of their kisses showed Paul what he was: his.

 

“Undress”, Vergil commanded, hot breath against Paul’s jaw.

 

He stepped back, watching his assistant eagerly undo the buttons on his perfectly ironed black dress shirt. Paul knew exactly that he liked things neat, and he was always so eager to please.

Vergil merely leaned over to press a switch on his desk, turning the glass front black so they’d have their privacy.

 

Paul was quite slim, very petite and quite a bit smaller than him. Vergil let his eyes slowly wander down, taking in his very cute belly, not at all surprised by how attractive he was without his clothes. His assistant’s movements were slow, deliberate as he unbuttoned his black jeans, tugging them down to reveal that he wasn’t wearing underwear. He shrugged out of them, along with his shoes and socks, now completely naked before Vergil, who pressed the flat of his hand to his chest, pushing him back onto the desk.

 

Documents flew everywhere but Vergil was so enraptured by that view, that smooth white skin, stretching over gorgeous lean muscles. Paul was reaching out to him, and Vergil finally stepped closer, between his assistant’s legs. He let his hands run over those gorgeous abs, traced that v line, and even along Paul’s steadily growing erection. He moaned at that touch, arched his back, perfectly presenting himself.

 

Vergil was always prepared, for anything, and had known this would eventually happen when he felt like it. So he opened the lowest drawer of his desk to pull out lube, slowly covering his fingers with precise movements. Paul was already licking his lips, spreading his legs even wider, inviting him.

 

He wouldn’t show him too much affection, would always make it clear what this between them was, but it didn’t mean he would be a cruel lover. He slowly pushed his first finger inside his assistant, gently working on stretching him open. Paul was still arching his back, arms above his head as he completely bared himself to Vergil.

 

“Ah, Mr. Sparda”, Paul gasped, practically moaned as he brushed against his prostate. In all their time together, no matter how much Vergil respected him, he would not let him say his first name. It implied familiarity. The whole Sparda thing was just a farce anyway, a mask.

 

“Don’t talk”, Vergil said, and Paul immediately bit down on his lower lip, suppressing another moan as he slid in another finger. Their positions were clear, and this between them only worked because Paul acknowledged it, even liked it. He let himself be stretched wider, gasping and moaning ever so softly as Vergil brushed against his sweet spot over and over again. Talking wasn’t allowed, but moaning certainly was, especially these delicious, sweet, soft ones that tumbled from Paul’s lips.

 

“Are you ready?”, Vergil asked, and his assistant nodded, mouth hanging open but not gasping as he pulled out his fingers.

 

He was fully aware of Paul’s medical history, his business was information, and he knew, and made sure that he was completely healthy. He needed to be, or Vergil would never be comfortable around him, if there was one thing he hated it was germs. But it meant he could do without the condom. He undid his pants almost mechanically, only enough so he could tug them below his ass, pulling out his own erection and coating it with lube. Vergil aligned himself with Paul’s entrance and pushed inside without hesitation.

 

His assistant threw back his head, writhing underneath that first thrust and gasping into the silence around them. Vergil picked up the speed, thrusting into him steadily, intently watching that little frown that appeared on Paul’s forehead. He didn’t quite know why he was so fascinating to watch, but supposed it was simply because he was attractive. He was holding on to Paul’s knees, keeping them up as he fucked him harder, relishing in the effect that had on him, the power he had over him.

 

Precome was already leaking from Paul’s length, bouncing against his stomach and he reached down, but hesitated before touching it. He glanced up at Vergil, silently asking for permission. He nodded in reply and his assistant wrapped his hand around it, slowly starting to pump himself.

Vergil allowed himself to close his eyes for a few moments, concentrating on Paul’s warmth, relishing in the pleasure that tightness gave him. And it got tighter as his assistant squeezed, making him abruptly open his eyes at the moan that tumbled from his own lips. Looking down at Paul he saw him grinning wickedly. Oh he was good.

 

But Vergil was in charge here, and he thrust into Paul harder, showing just that. His assistant’s movements were getting sloppy, his eyelids heavy and he could tell he was close, and so was Vergil.

Looking down he saw Paul’s toes curling as he came over his chest, tightening once more around him. He elicited such a soft moan, almost a whimper, and that little frown was back, stirring something inside Vergil. But he ignored it, instead kept thrusting into Paul, who gasped with each one, oversensitive now but still taking him, and he hadn’t expected anything else.

 

It didn’t take long for him to freeze in his orgasm as well, let his head fall forward, breathing heavily but staying quiet. It wasn’t in him to moan loudly, he simply closed his eyes to concentrate on the warmth flooding him.

 

“Sir?” Paul’s voice was quiet, unsure, almost sounding afraid to break Vergil’s earlier command.

 

He opened his eyes again, and pulled out, adjusting himself before walking to the small closet at the back of his office. Aside from suits to change into, among other things, he had a towel here that he handed to Paul to clean himself off.

 

“That would be all for today”, Vergil said as he sat back in his chair. There was still work to do. “Feel free to go home.”

 

“I still have to catch up on some paperwork. Coffee, sir?”

 

“Yes, thank you.” Vergil only glanced up once as Paul was just about to leave his office. There had been… something he had felt, aside from his orgasm, some kind of energy within his assistant, lying dormant. He, too, was still new to some of this, but Vergil was fully aware that some humans had powers, could be more useful than others. And he had lost his witch, it would be time to find a new one.

 

Paul’s infatuation with him made him loyal, and Vergil was certain he could handle being introduced to his world. Might even thrive in it.

His assistant stayed late that night, brought him coffee, water, and a snack before he left, things that he was noticing more and more now. And he noticed that Paul returned at seven am sharp, his exhaustion barely noticeable, the shadows under his eyes covered by concealer. Yes, he would do nicely.

 

There were things to prepare though, books to gather, supplies as well so he’d be able to properly teach him. What materials he’d had, had gone up in flames along with the Order’s base, and he had to start from scratch.

During that time though he found himself needing to relieve his urges more frequently than before. But as always, Paul was all too eager to comply, let himself be bent over the table and taken roughly from behind, Vergil’s hands on his hips, fingers digging into the flesh to leave bruises. Whichever way Vergil wanted him, he would get, though he usually made sure that there wasn’t too much touching involved, aside from the necessary. Vergil just couldn’t stand it.

 

A few weeks later he called Paul into his office around midnight, inviting him to sit on the black leather couch that he sometimes used to take a quick nap before diving straight back into work. Vergil however decided to stand. He handed his assistant a small, white jewelry box, who frowned down at it.

 

“What is this, sir?”, he asked shily.

 

“You will need it later”, Vergil replied, hesitating for full dramatic effect. “I can trust you, Paul, can’t I?”

 

“Yes, Mr. Sparda, of course you can!” His reply was almost too eager, and Vergil had to hold back his smile.

 

“What I’m about to tell you will be difficult to understand, but it will not leave this room, understood?”

 

“Yes, sir.” Paul was always so to the point, he liked that about him.

 

“Do you trust me?” It was a question that he already knew the answer to, but he still needed to hear it.

 

“Yes”, his assistant replied almost breathlessly, clinging tightly to the small box he had given him.

 

Vergil stepped closer, now towering over his assistant and he reached out, placing his hand on top of his head. He needed to unlock the potential he had felt, which had gotten stronger in the recent weeks, making him sure Paul was the right choice. It was like flicking a switch inside him, finally unleashing all the energy that had been bubbling just under the surface.

Paul’s eyes rolled back and he slumped against the back of the couch, but Vergil knew he wasn’t unconscious, was simply doing what Kat had used to do. He was in Limbo, which was why he needed him.

 

He could feel his assistant's presence close by and he turned, trying to make out where his spirit form could be.

 

“You’re in Limbo”, Vergil said, his voice calm. Most likely Paul would be panicking by now, even Vergil had been distressed the first time he had been there. He would see Vergil differently now too, would see his true self. “A parallel world controlled by demons. You should go and explore, but try to stay out of sight, I will not be able to protect you. Return to your body when you’ve seen enough.”

 

He would give him an hour, it would be more than enough time for him to get a sense of what was going on, and perhaps he would even see a few of his demon allies that worked in the company. There were only a few, as he yet kept these things separate, but they would definitely have an effect on his assistant.

 

Paul’s fingers were still twitching a little, and he frowned, most likely with what he saw in Limbo, but after an hour he was still not back. Vergil started to worry, he could not lose such a talented human, he’d have to teach someone else and finding a replacement would take up too much time. He sat close to his body, taking his hand in his own.

 

“It is time”, he said, hoping his spirit form would hear it as well. “Come back. Return… to me.”

 

Vergil could feel a surge of energy as Paul’s spirit returned to his body. He sat up sharply, gasping for air as if he had been underwater the entire time. He looked panicked, but not more than Vergil would have expected, not beyond coming back to his normal self.

 

“Limbo… Everything… This place I-”, Paul gasped, gripping the little box so tightly his knuckles turned white. “Demons and you… What are you?”

 

“I am Nephilim”, he explained, gently taking the box out of his hands to open it. Inside was an earring, a small black dreamcatcher that he had spent a fortune on. Paul twisted sharply as he was about to put it on him, but relaxed when he saw what Vergil was doing. “Half demon, half angel. Tell me, what did I look like to you?”

 

“You”, Paul hesitated. They were close now, and his crisp blue eyes could not decide which part of Vergil’s face they wanted to look at. “You were… terrifying and, and gorgeous. Beauty that I haven’t seen before, unlike anything I- … What, er, what is this?”

 

He brushed against the earring, blushing at what he had said.

 

“You have awoken”, Vergil said. “You’ll be able to see now, but it also means you could attract unwanted attention, and you are not yet ready to deal with demons on your own. It will protect you. I suggest not taking it off.”

 

“I won’t…”, Paul’s soft smile was soon replaced by another frown. “Why… Why did you do this, show me this world… And why me?”

 

“I need you. I need a witch.” He knew full well what he was doing when he placed his hand on top of Paul’s again, could feel his heartbeat rising at the rare touch. “I can teach you, but I will not force you. You can still walk away.”

 

“I am yours, sir”, Paul replied, just as he had expected. “In whatever way you need me.”

 

And so they started spending even more time together. Paul accepted without comment that this would need to happen in addition to his usual tasks, though Vergil was aware that his human form needed more time to rest than he. Still, he worked himself harder than even Vergil had anticipated, staying well into the night to learn spells, recipes, demonic lore. He was fascinated by all of it, and thrived under Vergil’s guidance, though he still left him a bit unclear about what his ultimate plans were.

 

Despite his eagerness, and his talent, there was still a lot of work to be done, and finally Vergil decided that his brother could wait. For now, at least. He needed a witch, and a person who could replace him in his absence.

 

It now occurred to him that Paul could be both.

 

 

Chapter Text

Delsin hadn’t expected their first time together to come as abruptly as it had, but once he was wrapped up in Dante, once he saw his boyfriend coming apart beneath him, it all ceased to matter. It had been his ultimate show of trust, just giving himself to Delsin, completely submissive to him.

He couldn’t deny that it had been a huge turn on for him, but he would have never taken advantage of the state Dante had been in. His desire had only been to please him, and he studied Dante, every change in his moans, every breathless gasp.

 

Delsin was good at this, finding out what his partner wanted and he had to admit that he got off on it. Just seeing the pleasure on their faces… he had expected Dante to make him feel amazing, but what he had imagined hadn’t even compared to what it had really been.

 

And once that was over… Well, they were both young, horny men with superpowers and Dante had stamina, it was incredible. Still, Delsin liked to hold his boyfriend close when they had sex because he knew Dante craved those gentle touches, was starved for them. His arms around Dante’s waist, gently cupping his cheek, leaning in for the softest of kisses, his boyfriend made the most delicious sounds when he was gentle with him.

 

To make things easier they started hiding lube and condoms everywhere in the house. At first it was funny, and they made a game out of it, but it truly was everywhere. In a kitchen cupboard, behind the couch cushions, under a loose floorboard, in the bathroom, all the bedrooms, and still other places it was hideable.

 

Delsin hadn’t actually thought they would use it but he was proven wrong pretty quickly. They were all wrapped up in each other for weeks, though he had to admit that Dante had him exhausted quite a few times. He had always thought that his fast healing was enough to keep him active for a long time, but Dante was a whole other story.

 

He was almost thankful for their regular trip to the reservation, where they’d meet Betty for tea. And for the first time with them openly being together. They had talked about it, and both found that it was for the best since they didn’t want to hide it from her, but Delsin was still incredibly nervous. He had to remember their conversation, Betty telling him he might not be what Dante needed, and it still sometimes resonated in his mind, despite his boyfriend telling him it was what he wanted. What if he was still somehow hindering him and his healing process?

 

Dante stopped them just in front of the steps leading up to the door of the long house. He looked a bit nervous, but it couldn’t compare to what Delsin was feeling right now.

 

“So how exactly do we tell her? I’m guessing making out in front of her isn’t the best idea”, he said, still holding on to his hand.

 

“Hm, why not?” Delsin stepped closer so he could lean up and kiss him. “I guess we don’t have to say much, I mean… it’s pretty obvious.”

 

Nevertheless they still scrambled away from each other as Betty of course walked out of the door at that precise moment.

 

“Oh hello boys”, she calmly said and just kept walking as if she hadn’t seen the quite obvious display of affection.

 

“Hey, Betty…”, Delsin said, watching her take away the bag of trash she had been carrying. He glanced up at Dante, who shrugged and looked just as panicked as he felt.

 

“Dante, sweetheart”, Betty said as she hooked her arm under his. “Let’s talk. Delsin, you wait out here.”

 

Well. Shit.

 

Dante looked back at him, mouthing something he couldn’t quite make out and all he could do was shake his head and raise his hands in a ‘I have no fucking idea’ gesture. But it hit him once they were inside. Dante wasn’t in trouble, as he was surely thinking right now, he was in trouble. Betty would talk to him, make sure Delsin hadn’t pressured him into anything, to see if he was okay.

 

It warmed his heart that Betty cared so much about Dante, but he was still terrified. She could have that effect on him, Conduit powers or no.

He started to pace back and forth in front of the door, only vaguely greeting the people going inside or out, and every time he was startled into thinking it would be Dante or Betty.

 

Until it was. It seemed like hours later when Dante finally poked his head out and motioned for him to come inside. He looked so serious… this was bad. Delsin was sweating and wringing his hands as they walked to the table at the back where Betty was waiting for them. He couldn’t sit, and she didn’t motion for him to do so, instead she slowly walked around it to come to a stop in front of him.

 

She looked him up and down, frowning, staring at him for an eternity. This was hell. He was going to die. Death by Betty stare. It was all over.

 

And then she broke into a grin and Delsin could hear Dante snickering behind him.

 

“Oh you mother-”, Delsin was about to break out into a long string of swear words. They had played him. They had fucking played him.

 

“I am so happy for you two”, Betty interrupted and engulfed him into a tight hug. “I knew you would realize eventually.”

 

“But you said-”

 

“And I was right”, Betty insisted, now motioning for both of them to sit down. Which they did, close to each other. It was hard not to. “Back then. Both of you have changed.”

 

Dante turned to look at him, that happy smile back on his face and Delsin had to join in. They got like that sometimes, just looking at each other, grinning like the idiots in love they were. Betty needed to clear her throat a few times to make them come back to earth again.

 

“You’ve come a long way, Dante”, she said, letting her hand rest on his. “I’m really proud of you.”

 

“I, I, I…”, he only stammered, not managing a complete sentence.

 

Delsin let his hand rest on his neck, thumb gently brushing over the skin there.

 

“She’s right, you know. I’m proud of you too.”

 

He could see the heat slowly rising into his cheeks, his mind working on processing what he had been told. Dante never got praised, which is why Delsin figured it turned him on so much when he did just that… in other scenarios at least.

 

“Well before you completely forget how to function, why don’t you make us some tea?”, Betty asked, and Dante seemed glad to be able to leave the table. Delsin watched him go, his gaze lingering on his shoulders, and he appreciated that Dante had taken off his coat. But he could never just focus on one thing, not when the curve of his back was so delicious. Delsin loved to let his hands wander down that gorgeous back, slowly, appreciating every muscle and how it moved when Dante would throw back his head in pleasure, all the way down to his perfectly shaped ass.

 

“Is this what I have to deal with today?”, Betty asked, dragging him out of his M rated daydream. “I might as well not be here at all.”

 

“Sorry”, Delsin said meekly, turning to face her again. Her smile betrayed her however, she was almost as happy as he was.

 

“You’ve never brought any of your… acquaintances here before”, Betty said. Of course she had realized that he had them, quite a few of them actually, but they usually didn’t last very long.

 

“None of them were Dante. And…”, he hesitated, but only because he was so filled up with that emotion it was sometimes hardly bearable. “I didn’t love any of them.”

 

“Oh Delsin…” Betty pressed a hand to her heart. “Don’t tell me you’ve grown up?”

 

“Well I wouldn’t get ahead of myself there”, he replied.

 

Dante was coming back now, balancing three mugs in his hands, his tongue sticking out a little. He quickly slid them over to Betty and Delsin before he sat down in his boyfriend’s lap. After realizing he had done so, he unceremoniously slid out of it again and into his own chair, his ears a little red.

 

Betty was nice enough to ignore that little mishap, and they just talked for a while, about whatever came to mind. Delsin had managed to sell a few more painting, and it had become a sort of regular thing, which meant he had been able to cut his hours working as a tour guide for tourists who visited Seattle. It was fun and he knew the city like no one else but it was merely something he needed to pay the bills. Living on his art alone was his big dream. He had to admit life seemed pretty damn good at the moment.

 

After a while Betty needed to excuse herself though, apparently there were important knitting discussions to be had with a friend of hers, which left the two of them to their own devices. Dante took Delsin’s hand in his, and dragged him through the house, into one of the corners, grinning suspiciously.

 

“Look at that”, he said and pointed to the lower corner. It was full of faded scribbles, something a child had done. “Do you remember that?”

 

“Remember?”, Delsin asked. “What are you talking about?”

 

“That was you. As a kid. I’ve been told you were sitting here, naked, drawing on the walls.”

 

“Now where would you have heard something like that?” He tried to ignore the heat rising into his ears. He had been a kid, nothing wrong with that. They were pretty good scribbles he had to admit.

 

“Oh you know… around.” Dante shrugged, but the answer was obvious.

 

“Betty told you. Of course she did.”

 

“She told me on that first day”, Dante said, his smile fading a little. “To set me more at ease.”

 

“I’m assuming it worked.” Delsin stepped closer to his boyfriend, lightly tugging on his top. They both started moving backwards and he couldn’t take his eyes off of Dante, but his nod was enough to tell him that there was some sort of seating behind him. He wasn’t disappointed, though letting him fall onto the floor would definitely be something Dante would do.

 

“It did”, Dante mumbled as he sat down in his lap, straddling him, his arms resting on his shoulders. “But now I can’t help but imagine you naked, all grown up... “

 

“Ah, shit…”, Delsin gasped as his boyfriend started to press kisses to his jaw, and rolling his hips like that. The bookshelf behind them gave them a little bit of privacy and yet Delsin knew they should probably stop, someone would eventually come over here.

 

“You know I really like that tattoo on your back…” He wandered lower now, pressing featherlight kisses to his neck, letting his teeth drag over the sensitive skin there. “The way it moves when you do… You have a beautiful back…”

 

“Right… ah-” Dante had hit an especially sensitive spot. “Right back at you…”

 

“Oh there you boys are”, Betty’s voice let Dante scramble off of his lap, and made Delsin turn and lean forward in his chair at an attempt to hide how hard he already was. “Come, I need you two to help me carry something heavy.”

 

“I, uhm, er… I’ll be right there you go on ahead”, Delsin stammered. At least they didn’t question it, but as Dante left he turned his head to give him a sly grin. Oh that bastard knew exactly what he had done.

 

He couldn’t talk to Betty like this, there was just no way. Delsin looked around and made a dash for the back door, hoping that the cool air would be enough to calm him down. But it was hard not to think about Dante and those beautiful lips… what they could do…

 

“Delsin, stop”, he tried to tell himself, but of course it wasn’t that easy. He sat down, let his legs drop off the small veranda here, his face mashed against the railing. As embarrassing as this was, he couldn’t quite believe how happy he was. He really hoped Dante felt the same way.

 

He froze when he heard the door open and close behind him, soft footsteps coming to a halt beside him, and now Betty joined him where he was. Delsin tried very hard to casually pull down his hoodie as far as it would go.

 

“Do I dare ask?”

 

“Believe me, Betty, you don’t want to know”, he said, the blush coming back into his cheeks. But maybe that would help with the blood going from certain other places.

 

“Oh Delsin, there’s no need to be embarrassed. We’ve all been young once, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”

 

“Ugh…”, he dragged it out, trying to focus on the ridiculous noise he was making and not on the images that came to his mind at that sentence. He tried to convince himself that Betty had never been young, and had certainly not ever done any of the things he had…

 

Well. At least he was able to stand up now.

 

“Right”, he said. “You needed something to be carried?”

 

Dante had apparently decided he needed to be tortured for the rest of the day. It couldn’t have been coincidence, the way he acted was deliberate. He knew it, Dante knew it. Torture. Sweet, sweet torture.

It was ridiculous how hot something as simple as bending over to pick something up could be when it was Dante doing so. But the way his boyfriend would stick out his ass when he leaned over the table to pick up his mug was one hundred percent intentional, his look proved as much. And there was nothing Delsin could do here, except glare and plot.

 

Which he did extensively. Especially when Dante ‘accidentally’ spilled some water over his fingers, proceeding to slowly lick it off, all the while holding Delsin’s gaze. He was furious, furiously aroused the entire way home and when they finally did get there he grabbed Dante by his coat’s collar and pushed him against the front door. A little stronger than he had intended to, but Dante’s grin showed he wasn’t bothered by it.

 

“You wanted my attention?”, Delsin asked, keeping his voice low. “You got it.”

 

Dante gasped into the hard kiss Delsin pressed to his lips, and let himself be pulled and pushed into the kitchen. Why he chose to go there he had no idea, but it didn’t matter, all Delsin needed was his boyfriend. On the free standing counter in the middle of the kitchen, where they normally prepared food and stored their plates, but its use would be quite different today.

 

Dante eagerly shrugged out of his coat, letting Delsin tug on and help him out of his top. He pressed a hand to Dante’s chest, but hesitated, looking up at him to silently ask for confirmation. If it was too rough, he would stop, but Dante only nodded and proceeded to pull off Delsin’s beanie.

 

He pushed Dante onto the counter, his back hitting it hard enough to knock the breath out of his lungs but he was still grinning. He loved this, and Delsin wasn’t exactly surprised.

 

“Is this what you wanted?”, Delsin asked as he frantically undid the buttons of Dante’s jeans, tugging on them to reveal his erection.

 

“Yes, Delsin”, he moaned. “Ah, shit yes.”

 

He quickly threw off his vest, scrambled out of his jacket and shirt in record time as he watched Dante turn on the counter, now supporting himself on his elbows. That gorgeous back…. It was just as Delsin had imagined earlier. And he let his hands run over it, tracing every muscle, watching them move as Dante arched his back.

 

Delsin only barely managed to tug his own jeans off far enough so they were just below his ass. It was far enough. He stepped closer, pressing his erection against Dante’s ass and leaned forward, starting to press kisses to his back.

 

“You want me to fuck you?”, he practically growled and let his hand run along Dante’s throat, making him throw back his head.

 

“Yes, Delsin, please fuck me.”

 

“Good boy.”

 

Dante gasped at that and Delsin rummaged in the counter’s drawer because of course there was lube hidden here too, and condoms. They had learned that Dante didn’t need that much preparation as he had done during their first time. Maybe that, too, had something to do with his powers but what it really meant that this could be over more quickly, and in a moment like this Delsin was just incredibly grateful for that.

 

He rolled on the condom before covering his length and his fingers with lube, quickly pushing one into Dante. He loved to be loud, and Delsin loved listening to his delicious moans, and watch the curve of his back, the slight spasm in his muscles.

He couldn’t keep his free hand off his back, letting it slide over it, let his fingernails drag, leaving small red marks. Dante only moaned louder at that, and this was everything Delsin needed to know about how this would play out.

A second finger followed quickly, and Delsin made a point of brushing against his prostate, making Dante almost lose his moans, making him gasp silently. But this, this was already enough, Delsin knew, at least for a rough fuck like this and so he pulled out his fingers and aligned himself with Dante’s entrance. He barely pushed inside before he stopped again.

 

“Ah, Delsin, please…” Dante let his head drop onto the counter.

 

“Please what?”

 

“Please fuck me”, he said again, his voice shaky. “I need… need you inside me. Please, Delsin. I’ll make you feel good, I promise.”

 

“I know you will, love.”

 

Again he let his hands wander over Dante’s back, feeling him shudder underneath the touch. Delsin grasped his shoulders tightly, using that as leverage to push into his boyfriend. Not as slowly as the many times before, this time he slammed into him and Dante gasped, who was now grasping the edge of the counter tightly, his knuckles white.

He quickly picked up speed, thrusting into Dante mercilessly and he had to grasp those slender hips to keep that rhythm. So hard that he would surely leave bruises, but Dante’s moans were only spurring him on. Delsin let his head fall forward, his hair already sticking to his sweaty forehead.

 

“Ah, Delsin”, Dante moaned his name in that beautiful way of his, so much love in it despite his rough movements. “More, please, Delsin I need more, please.”

 

“Shit, ah…” Delsin hadn’t known that Dante begging for him to fuck him harder was a thing, but here he was being proven otherwise. His grip on Dante’s hips tightened as he sped up his thrusts, giving him just what he wanted.

 

Dante was so perfectly tight around him, he was so lost in that heat he didn’t realize the noise coming from the counter. Nothing else mattered at this moment, only the way Dante arched his back, only the way he moaned and made sparks appear behind his eyes.

He only froze briefly when a loud noise startled him, something had shattered, but whatever it was couldn’t have been more important than this. Dante was almost whimpering with the loss of his movements and Delsin leaned against him, completely inside his boyfriend.

 

“You’re so good”, Delsin whispered and lightly bit down on Dante’s shoulder, who really whimpered at that. “So good around me.”

 

Without warning, he thrust into Dante again, hard, not stopping for anything. He was close now and so he wrapped one arm around his boyfriend’s waist to grasp his erection, already leaking precome. His movements got messy now, his thrusts losing their rhythm, but Dante only threw his head back, moaning into the silence around them.

 

Delsin’s orgasm came suddenly, almost overwhelming him with the heat that rolled over him in waves, and it took everything to keep stroking Dante’s cock. But he soon felt him come over his hand as well, and against the counter. They both froze, and Delsin collapsed against his boyfriend, gasping, needing air so badly, but still inside him.

 

He only slowly pulled out after a while, letting himself fall down onto the cold kitchen floor, with Dante soon following. He helped Delsin discard the condom before letting himself fall onto his chest. At least he was gasping for air just as much as Delsin was.

 

“That… good, love?”, Delsin asked, stroking Dante’s cheek.

 

“So fucking good I can’t pull up my pants.”

 

Delsin chuckled, tried to sit up to help Dante but his strength wasn’t quite back yet.

 

“Oh shit…” Now he saw what had made that noise earlier.

 

“Hm?” Dante looked up at him, head still resting on his chest. He was beautiful like this, fucked out, still flushed and looking completely happy.

 

“It seems I fucked you so hard the plates fell from the counter. All of them.”

 

“You know I really don’t care…” He started to draw lazy circles on Delsin’s chest now, and the longer he did it, the harder it was for him to care too.

 

“Ah… We still have to get new ones. Tomorrow?” It was getting kind of late and Delsin didn’t have the energy to go out anymore. He desired sweet touches now, after that rough fuck.

 

“Wait… does that mean we have nothing to eat from? But I’m hungry”, Dante said, almost whining a little.

 

“We can just order something. Maybe pizza?”

 

Dante pushed himself up, and while he was at it adjusted his jeans. Now he was gasping at Delsin.

 

“Order? We have never ordered something before! Are you okay?”, he asked in mock horror.

 

“I don’t mind it.” Delsin shrugged, after sitting up as well. “I just like cooking. Especially with you.”

 

“Dammit and now you’re being cheesy again.” He leaned in to kiss Delsin, slow this time, not at all like it had been before. “Can we order and eat in bed?”

 

“You read my mind.”

 

They had started doing that a lot, not just after sex, but also when they were just hanging out, cuddling, talking. They’d get food, make it, or get just a snack, and immediately go back to bed. Like a mini indoor picnic and Delsin loved it. Loved feeding his boyfriend, or be fed by him, which sometimes led to more sex, but more often than not just more or less innocent kissing. Today it seemed like it would be the latter as well, as they made themselves comfortable with their pizzas, Dante leaning against Delsin’s chest, happily munching on a slice.

 

“I didn’t know you liked rough”, Delsin said.

 

“Oh I do, it’s just... “ Dante hesitated, thinking for a moment. “I’ve had rough but I’ve never had… what you do to me, I uhm… You’re so… gentle. With me.”

 

“Of course I am, love. I care about you.” Hearing that Dante had never experienced gentle before tugged at his heart. He deserved so much more. Dante turned to let his chin rest on his chest once more, looking up at him.

 

“I’ve never had… someone care before”, he admitted. That disbelief was back in his eyes, the way he looked when he just woke up and wasn’t sure where he was. Delsin wondered if that would ever leave him.

 

“Does it scare you? Is it too much?”

 

“To be honest… I thought it would.” Dante moved up a little, sitting next right next to Delsin’s chest. He let his fingers wander over it again, not quite meeting his gaze. “I’m not… I’m so sure of it, and that scares me. If that makes sense.”

 

“You think I’ll turn on you? That this was all fake?”

 

“How do you-” Dante looked up at him now, confusion clear on his face.

 

“I know you by now. Someone hurt you, I can tell. Whatever happens in the future…” Delsin reached out to take Dante’s hands in his, intertwining their fingers. “This, this is real. I love you. I have loved you, and I will love you.”

 

Right now Delsin could imagine loving Dante for the rest of his life. It seemed his natural state now, it seemed like this was what he was supposed to be, supposed to feel. He didn’t want this to change and thought that it truly might not, ever. But promising Dante something that was still uncertain in a way… he couldn’t do that. He could never lie to him, or break his promise. He hoped Dante would understand that.

 

His boyfriend was visibly shaken by his proclamation. Dante took in a deep breath, trying to steady himself.

 

“I hope you can believe me”, Delsin said quietly. After all this time… Dante had changed so much, but it had taken so long to take down his walls. His mistrust of others was ingrained in him by now.

 

“I do, Delsin”, he said, taking in another sharp breath. “Fuck it, I really do. I love you.”

 

He leaned in to kiss Delsin again, who instinctively wrapped his arms around Dante’s waist, pulling him close. They let their foreheads rest against each other, breathing in each other’s scent.

 

“Delsin I’m sorry but I… I think I need to sleep alone tonight. This is… a lot.”

 

“I wish you’d stop apologizing”, Delsin said, gently stroking his boyfriend’s cheek. “I understand. Take whatever space and time you need. And have sweet dreams.”

 

“You too Delsin. Good night.”

 

Dante kissed him again, and Delsin watched as he slowly got up to walk out of the bedroom. He hesitated at the door and looked back once more, smiling at him. As Delsin let himself fall back onto his bed, he thought that he hadn’t looked guilty anymore when he left. He hoped he wasn’t, because there truly was no need to be. He would always be patient with him, and everyone had their moments where they needed to be alone.

 

Whereas Dante would usually come back to his bed a few days later, this time he stayed away for longer, still apologizing every night when he left for his own room. And Delsin would still always tell him it was okay. The only thing he did regret was that he couldn’t be there when Dante woke up, couldn’t ease that moment of confusion where he wasn’t certain where he was.

 

One night, as Delsin had gotten up to get something to drink, he noticed that Dante’s door was open, which was unusual. He never slept with his door open. Though Delsin didn’t mind, when they slept together it was always Dante who would make sure that it was closed. Perhaps it had something to do with a feeling of safety.

 

In any case, it warranted investigating.

 

“Dante?”, Delsin asked softly as he opened the door further, peeking his head inside.

 

Dante’s bed was empty. His heart seemed to stop for a moment. Had he left? Had something happened that made him run again? Delsin was shaking as he went inside the room, but somewhat relaxed when he saw his boyfriend curled up in a corner of the room behind the bed. No blankets, no pillows, just Dante on the cold, hard floor, head resting on his arm. He looked like a stray cat that had somehow found its way inside a house, hiding in a corner so it wouldn’t be kicked out.  

 

Delsin knelt in front of him, silently dragging the blanket from the bed to drape it over his boyfriend. Why would he do this? It couldn’t be comfortable.

Dante started to stir, his eyes slowly opening. Even as he looked up at Delsin he saw the uncertainty there. It only took a few heartbeats for his smile to return though. He couldn’t stop his hand brushing through Dante’s hair, smoothing it and messing it up again. His boyfriend leaned into the touch, humming contentedly.

 

“You know there’s a perfectly good bed right there?”, Delsin asked, grinning down at his cat like boyfriend.

 

“Hm yeah I know…”, Dante was blushing now, maybe because Delsin had found him like this, or maybe because he didn’t stop petting him and he seemed to enjoy it, Delsin couldn’t be sure. “I’m just not used to sleeping in beds. On my own, anyway.”

 

Delsin had to admit he was surprised, Dante had never shown any problems with it when they slept in one bed. But then he was always in his arms, it was certainly comforting to him, it was likely the same for Dante.

 

“Hm, maybe we can work on that.” Delsin had to stop petting Dante now, as he pulled down the rest of the blankets and pillows from the bed. He draped them in the corner, under and over Dante to create a makeshift bed. Not quite as soft as the mattress, but not as hard as the floor. Dante immediately curled up there again, that imagine of a cat not leaving Delsin. At least his head was resting on a pillow now. “This better, love?”

 

Delsin was still kneeling in front of his boyfriend, but Dante reached out now, taking his wrist and lightly pulling on it. He never actually said out loud when he wanted to cuddle, but he used other methods that were pretty obvious, at least to Delsin. He made himself comfortable around his boyfriend, of course pulling him into his arms, now leaning in to nuzzle the crook of his neck. Dante nodded against him, silently answering his earlier question.

 

It didn’t take long for Dante to fall back asleep, and it seemed to be restful tonight. Delsin watched him for a while longer, his sleepy hums almost sounding like purrs, his mouth open a little, drooling on his chest. He only replied with petting his hair more, he didn’t mind any of this, not sleeping on the floor, not his wet shirt. Not when Dante pressed himself closer to him in his sleep, hands clinging to Delsin’s shirt.

 

Dante looked vulnerable like this. A lost kitten in need of a home. Delsin had hoped Dante saw their house as one, even if he wasn’t quite used to it yet.

 

But Delsin thought maybe he would, one day, as Dante woke up the next morning and immediately smiled at him. He only looked a little embarrassed when he saw the drool stain on Delsin’s shirt.

 

“Don’t worry about it, love”, Delsin said, pressing a kiss to his lips. “You were adorable.”

 

“Shut up”, Dante mumbled against his neck, but also kissing him there. “I’m hungry.”

 

“Hm, wanna go to that café again?”, he asked. Despite them having planned to buy new plates the day after they had shattered them, it just hadn’t worked out. The gallery had asked for more of Delsin’s art and he had gotten right on that, not used to actually having a deadline for his work. Dante had been busy as well, and though it wasn’t exactly important, they needed to buy them together. It was for their home, their home.

 

“Sure. You think we have time to go shopping today?”

 

“I’m free. You?”, Delsin asked.

 

“Yup. Wow I can’t believe we’ll be able to eat off proper plates again”, Dante said, enjoying the way Delsin was petting him again.

 

They took their time in getting up and getting ready. For once there wasn’t a rush, nowhere to go, and nothing to do. First they got a bit of breakfast at their usual place, where by now, Dante was known as well, and what he favoured. They settled into their favourite place by the window, the one where they had talked for the first time. But by now Delsin rarely had reason to look outside anymore, Dante was his muse.

 

“Have you been sleeping on the floor for this entire year now?”, Delsin asked.

 

“Not always, no. But a lot of times I just… I just can’t sleep unless I’m, well… On the floor.” Dante practically buried his face in his coffee, hiding his expression.

 

“You could have said something, love. If you want to we can work on it.”

 

“Say something? Yeah right…”, Dante drifted off. “No offense, but I had no idea if I could trust you.”

 

“You’re right”, Delsin had to admit. But he had thought that after all this time, Dante would have said something. Then again, it was probably normal for him, and he never sought out attention. “But you can now... right?”

 

“Yeah.” Dante was smiling again, and Delsin got lost in that gorgeousness for a while. But they did have something planned that day and he had to force himself to not stare at his boyfriend for the rest of it.

 

But as it turned out, buying plates wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be. The ones Delsin had gotten were old ones from Reggie’s and his place, plain white ones, but apparently those were hard to get. He refused to go to a big chain store, as Dante had suggested, so instead they went to one small store after another, browsing through their selection.

 

“What about these?”, Dante asked, holding up a plate with a garish flower design.

 

“Are you serious? Look at the composition on that, it’s horrible. A child could do better!” The artist in Delsin was offended at the crap these stores were selling. Didn’t people have eyes, didn’t they understand basic colour composition?

 

“What are you even talking about? The flowers are… okay I guess. We’ve been looking for plates for hours.”

 

“And we’ll only stop when we find decent ones”, Delsin insisted. “I refuse to spend money on this. Why are you grinning like that?”

 

“Because you’re ridiculous”, Dante said, placing the horrendous plate back onto the shelf and stepping closer to him. “You’re rambling… about plates.”

 

“Well, I mean come on it’s-” He was interrupted when Dante leaned down to kiss him, really stooping because this time it was Delsin who hadn’t seen it coming. He melted into that kiss, sighing into it. He felt a little less angry about those damn plates when Dante pulled back.

 

“I’ll give you three more stores”, Dante said. “If we haven’t bought any by then we’ll go to IKEA.”

 

“Deal, I guess…”, Delsin sighed. “Damn your powers of persuasion.”

 

“Oh you’ve seen nothing yet…”, he whispered, lips so close to Delsin’s ear, brushing against his jaw. He shuddered under that touch, and it spurred him on, to drag Dante into the next store. He wanted this over with quickly now.

 

Dante was following him around now, in that adorable puppy way of his, not suggesting anything anymore, he was only watching him. Delsin was mumbling to himself, about how ridiculous some of the designs were, others too garish, again others too plain. He didn’t even quite know when he had gotten this obsessed with plates, but Dante chuckling behind him kept him going.

 

“Finally! What do you think of these?” Delsin held up what he had found, one that had a simple blue flower pattern, slightly abstract on one side. It wasn’t too deep, the design wasn’t too obvious, but tasteful. He hadn’t known this was what he had been looking for, but here it was.

 

“Yeah I like em”, Dante mumbled against him, head resting on his shoulder. “Let’s take those and go home, though I will miss your rambling.”

 

“I’m sure I’ll find something or other to ramble about if it pleases you.”

 

They decided to relieve the store of all the plates in that design, and to store them somewhere else. A place where they would not easily fall out of if they decided to be a little rougher again. Regularly buying entire new sets of plates would strain their accounts a bit too much.

 

“There, that should do it.” Delsin had placed them in a hanging cabinet. Far away. Safe. Hopefully…

 

“Planning ahead, I see”, Dante commented, leaning against the kitchen wall.

 

“Well you never know. Though I would suggest staying away from the kitchen? At least sometimes.” Delsin remembered Dante’s earlier touch, his whisper, breath hot against his jaw and suddenly he was in the mood for something that had nothing to do with plates.

 

He strode towards Dante, who had straightened himself in eager anticipation, knowing full well what that look on Delsin meant. He pressed his hands to his boyfriend’s chest, pushing him so he was walking backwards towards the stairs now. Dante started to walk up them backwards, but Delsin commanded him to stop, and he did. The buttons on Dante’s jeans were quickly undone, and Delsin pulled them down before telling him to sit. Once again his boyfriend followed.

 

“I thought I would-” Delsin silenced Dante with a kiss, tongue searching out his boyfriend’s, exploring, showing him what was to come.

 

“Let me, love.”

 

Dante’s pupils were blown wide as he nodded and, as was his custom now, he pulled off Delsin’s beanie. His hair was getting quite long now, and he thought about cutting it but Dante seemed to love it too much. But he couldn’t follow that thought right now anyway, not when he completely got rid of his boyfriend’s jeans and boxers now, revealing him to be half hard already. Delsin needed space, so he gently spread Dante’s legs, settling on the lowest step, and between his boyfriend.

 

Dante’s hand was already in his hair, grasping it, but not pushing. He took his time in pressing a trail of kisses to Dante’s torso, moving steadily lower. Dante’s cock twitching as he wrapped his hand around it, thumb brushing over the tip.

 

“You can push if you want”, Delsin said as he looked up at his heavily breathing boyfriend. Dante had to bite down on his lower lip to keep from moaning. “Gently.”

 

He kept Dante’s gaze as he slowly started to stroke him, ever so slightly increasing the pressure on him. It was amazing to watch his boyfriend’s breathing get unsteadier with the movement, small gasps now tumbling from his lips.

Delsin leaned down now to resume his trail of kisses, even onto his cock, making Dante moan at that soft touch. He slowly let his tongue drag from root to tip, feeling the grip on his hair tightening. He did it again, following that vein on Dante’s length, making his boyfriend moan for the first time that evening. A low, guttural moan, almost animalistic.

 

His hair was getting in the way, and so he led Dante’s free hand into it as well, who immediately grasped it. It hurt a little, but he could only imagine too well how much his boyfriend would love this. Looking up he could see it too, and Dante moaned again at the look he gave him.

Delsin pressed a soft kiss to Dante’s tip, feeling him shudder again as he parted his lips to slowly take him in. He was big, but he knew he would be able to take him. He moved lower, letting his tongue drag against Dante’s length as he did so. About halfway he moved back up again, repeating that movement and going lower each time.

 

Delsin could feel Dante’s eyes on him. It encouraged him, brought him pleasure even, especially when those moans tumbled from his lips more freely now. He could tell how hard Dante was trying not to thrust into his mouth, despite him having the permission to do so. It only made Delsin more eager to take all of his length, and when he did, Dante couldn’t resist anymore. His hips bucked a little, but Delsin had anticipated it, and he was good at ignoring his gag reflex by now.

 

He let Dante use him, pushing him down after he had moved up a little, letting it happen, all the while using his tongue to pleasure his boyfriend. Dante pushed him down again, keeping him there with his entire length in his mouth as he let out a long moan, cock twitching as he came into his mouth.

Delsin concentrated on his breathing, let Dante’s come fill him, patiently waiting until he was done. And then he slowly dragged his lips along his length once more, looking up to see Dante’s flushed face, chest still rising and falling quickly. For the full effect Delsin dragged his tongue along his lips, grinning at his boyfriend.

 

“Shit”, was all Dante could say as he let his head fall back against the stairs.


“I know.”

Chapter Text

For a human Paul made amazing progress on his studies. He sank his teeth into every topic presented to him with a fervor Vergil had only ever seen in himself, needed to perfect every spell, every recipe. He even made improvements beyond what Kat had done, and the spraycans he used for some of his recipes were clean and neatly labelled with symbols to identify them.

 

Vergil had an entire floor dedicated to this kind of work, which so far only he had access too. But now part of it was reserved for Paul and his own work, who needed a safe and quiet environment to truly develop his skills.

 

Though he had to admit… The first time Paul had successfully managed a spell had filled both of them with pride. His assistant had spent hours gathering and preparing the right materials, had made a fine white paste which he used to paint symbols onto the floor. Vergil knew that if this were any other situation Paul would need to work a lot faster but he could be a patient teacher, and these things needed to be done correctly.

His assistant’s tongue had stuck out a little as he meticulously painted those intricate symbols, looking up expectantly at Vergil when he was done, his earring dangling from the movement.

 

“Hold your hand above it”, he said, and Paul complied. “Close your eyes. Concentrate. Feel the energy of those symbols, pour your own into them.”

 

That little frown appeared on his forehead again as he did what Vergil had told him, and slowly but surely the paint started to evaporate, turning into a thick, white mist. Useful for escaping in dangerous situations. It was so thick that Vergil couldn’t even see Paul anymore, but he must have opened his eyes as he yelped in surprise next to him.

 

“I did it!”, he said, the happiness clear in his voice.

 

“Indeed you did, well done.”

 

Paul was still beaming with pride when the smoke had finally dissipated and Vergil ignored the thought of ‘he’s adorable’ that popped into his mind. Instead he urged him to keep practicing, to work these spells faster, prepare some of them in advance as he had shown him.

 

He even taught him the basics of self defence, of fighting with a sword and dagger, preparing him just in case his spells would not be enough. But now he knew more than when he had taught Kat, could teach Paul more offensive spells that could cripple demons and humans alike, along with powerful magical bombs or traps. The spellbook his assistant kept was perfectly organized, but hardly necessary as he learned all of them by heart. Even Vergil was impressed.

 

For the fighting lessons he had prepared another section of their floor, it had been smaller before, since only he had used it, but now it was extended, could almost be called a gym. They started with wooden sticks instead of swords, and Vergil taught him his own style. Precise, neat, deadly. Because in this regard they were quite similar. A lot of things Paul did weren’t just to please Vergil, his being neat, his organization of everything was a part of him, and one of the reasons he had hired him in the first place.

 

Of course Vergil had interviewed him personally, after seeing his picture on the application and running a thorough background check. He couldn’t deny that he liked looking at beautiful things, and Paul was just that. Though he came from a simple background, a poor family. He had clawed his way into an Ivy League school, worked hard for a scholarship and even harder to get the best grades possible. It was impressive, what he had accomplished with what little he had. But Paul seemed to have fallen out of contact with his family, never flew back to his hometown to see them. The two of them ended up being the only ones still working during holidays, and it surprised Vergil to realize that the blackout on the last Christmas day had turned into a fond memory. They had gathered what battery powered electronics they had been able to find, because of course there hadn’t been any candles, had draped them around themselves in a corner of Vergil’s office to be able to keep working through the night. And somehow, perhaps with his dormant magical abilities Paul had gotten them cake, which they had shared silently while each was engrossed in their work.

 

Vergil shook off the memory as he stepped closer to Paul who was holding his wooden stick all wrong.

 

“Straighten your back”, he said sharply, pushing it into the right position with the flat of his hand. “And lift your arm, like this…”

 

He could feel Paul’s heartbeat rising, could see the blood pulse through the vein on his neck. Vergil’s touch did that to him, he was aware of that, but he also needed his witch to be prepared for anything.

 

“Focus”, he said just as sharply, and immediately Paul’s eyes left him, stared up ahead at the dummy in front of him. “Twenty more repetitions.”

 

It was a lot, he knew, but as always, Paul obeyed. And by the end of that session his posture had improved a lot, and he was exhausted, but proud. He dragged himself into the shower, and when he returned Vergil was already back on his laptop, sitting cross legged on the mats of their workout area.

 

“Can I ask you something, sir?”, Paul asked, sitting down next to him, a respectable distance between them.

 

“What is it?” Vergil finally managed to look up from his laptop, letting his gaze wander over Paul’s naked torso, watched a drop of water roll down his jaw.

 

“What is… all of this for? I don’t want to second guess you, I just want to understand. What… what are you planning?”

 

Vergil had held back on telling him the whole truth, what he eventually planned on doing with humanity. Because he had once already assumed that Dante would follow him, he didn’t want to make the same mistake again. He had started to drop subtle hints to Paul, tried to make him see what humanity needed, and so far it had seemed to bear fruit. But now he was openly asking, and he didn’t know if he was ready yet.

 

“I… need you to trust me, for a little while longer.”

 

Paul looked down for barely a second, but soon enough he was smiling at him again.

 

“Of course, Mr. Sparda. Would that be all?”

 

“Yes, Paul. You did well. I will see you tomorrow.” Vergil watched his witch leave, his earring glistening from the waterdrops still on it. He was really quite gorgeous to watch.

 

He liked to reward Paul for his hard work once in a while, took him out to expensive restaurants, art galleries or even the opera. Vergil never asked though, always simply led him wherever he had chosen that night. The first few times Paul had expected them to meet a client, couldn’t possibly fathom that this was just for him, and even now he still got very nervous when he realized no one else was coming.

 

Vergil liked to keep his human happy, and Paul relished in the attention he got from him.

 

A few months after he had started his witch’s training he took him to the theatre. The most exclusive one in the city and it was not surprising to see a client they had been trying to get into contact with was there as well.

Paul was amazing at flirting his way into any business deal, despite how shy he was around Vergil. He realized that it was all an act he put on, performing to get what he wanted. Paul would create the illusion of a promise, that something might happen, delicious, amazing things, and in the end, it always got him what he wanted. Because he was attractive, to women, men, more often than not even the straight ones, but lately Vergil had noticed his flirting had become less.

 

He couldn’t let his assistant think that there was something serious between them, though of course Vergil would never let him actually sleep with any of their clients. Paul was still his.

 

“Go”, Vergil whispered into his ear, making sure his breath was on his jaw. “Charm him.”

 

“But sir, I-”, Paul shuddered under his almost touch, but Vergil interrupted him. Commanded him to go. He would not be allowed to forget his place.

 

Paul obediently walked over to the client, male, quite young, he would not have a problem. Vergil ordered himself a martini, and settled in to watch the show. His assistant's smile was dazzling, the way he brushed over the man’s arm was just perfect, hinting on what would come, as did his gorgeous, luscious lips. If he didn’t know that he was completely his, Vergil might have been worried, Paul was certainly the center of attention in a lot of places. But as the client handed him his business card, Paul turned to look at him, his smile so shy just as his earring caught the light, reflecting it and making it sparkle.

 

Yes, he was his.

 

As soon as he returned to his side Vergil had forgotten all about the play they had been about to see. One word and Paul followed him out of the theatre and, since it was closer, to their supernatural workspace. Of course Vergil had provided a place to sleep, mostly for Paul, and though it was not as luxurious as his own bedroom, it came pretty close.

 

He commanded Paul to undress again, to prepare himself while he watched, presenting his perfect ass to him. Vergil claimed him again that night, made sure he knew his place as he pressed his face into the mattress, thrusting into him roughly. Until he was gasping, softly moaning and then quietly whimpering underneath him, until they both found their release and fell breathless onto the mattress.

 

But after Paul had turned to rest on his elbow he reached out to him, softly brushed over his chest and was about to cup his cheek when Vergil sharply grasped his wrist.

 

“Leave”, he said, voice low and threatening.

 

His witch froze, seemingly only now realizing what he had done. It was no excuse, this could never happen, and it seemed Paul needed to be reminded of it.

His assistant was still obedient, and he gathered his clothes, only whispering a soft ‘I’m sorry’ before leaving. Vergil was even more distant over the next few weeks, though their training never stopped. He was only more curt in his instructions, would keep his distance even more until Paul finally understood.

 

It took a while for their relationship, as it was, to return back to normal, and for Vergil to let Paul into his bed again. Who now strictly kept to the rules, no unnecessary touching, no kissing, not at all anymore, this was just about relieving urges. Nothing more.

 

As if to make up for his mishap in bed, Paul seemed to work even harder on pleasing him. On working on his own magic, on getting the best deals. Vergil couldn’t help but feel a little proud, especially when his witch started to procure his own spellbooks and obscure texts that even he hadn’t been able to find.

 

He was studying when one of these texts when Vergil entered their workspace.

 

“Sir, you should see this.” Paul was grinning up at him from his seat. The text he was reading was embellished with multiple drawings, some depicting magical symbols, others what seemed to be sex acts. “This is, from what I can tell… A ritual that protects a person but is fuelled by, well, sexual energy.”

 

“Protection?” From what he could make out by glancing over it, the ritual did seem to be powerful. Some of his blood would need to be used as well, and he knew how much power was in it. Sooner or later he would have to fight his brother again, a bit more protection couldn’t hurt. “We should do it.”

 

“Wait, what?” The shock and confusion on Paul’s face was a little bit adorable.

 

“It’s nothing we haven’t done before. It would be an interesting test of your abilities. What do you say?”

 

“Well some of the ingredients are hard to get, it would take a while…” Paul drifted off as he made notes on what they would need and where they could get it. “You would have to use your blood, and well you’d have to… Come inside me.”

 

“Like I said. Nothing we haven’t done before.” Vergil ignored the blush that crept up Paul’s neck, instead watched him order what they needed and starting to make preparations. He told himself he had to make sure everything went correctly, that things in rituals like this could go terribly wrong, but he found his gaze wandering. Over that beautiful curve of his back, that perfect ass…

 

“Right, that’s the chalk outline”, Paul mumbled to himself. “What we need should arrive tomorrow. Sir…?”

 

“Right, yes.” Vergil snapped to attention. “Wait for me to start with the preparations, I have to make sure everything goes right.”

 

“Yes, sir. Good night.”

 

It was again almost midnight when he returned to their workspace, and Paul was already there. The light had been turned off, only candles around the chalk circle illuminated the room. As he had ordered, nothing else had been prepared yet, only ingredients neatly prepared for instant use and lined up on the floor just outside of the circle.

 

“If you could uhm… please undress and sit inside the circle, sir?”, it wasn’t even an instruction, it was more of a question and Vergil smiled as he complied, now sitting naked and cross legged inside the circle.

 

He continued to watch his witch prepare the paint that would eventually really mark the circle, his gaze not leaving him as Paul leaned down to carefully draw a knife across his lower arm to finish the recipe. With the same expression he always used, the same concentration, he drew the symbols, a large pentagram around Vergil but also spirals around his own arms, and finally, a circle, engulfing both of them. His witch undressed before him, carefully tossing his clothes outside of the circle, not wanting to disturb the paint.

 

“We have to wait a moment, it… needs to dry”, he said quietly and Vergil stood, facing him.

 

“Focus”, Vergil whispered, watching with delight as Paul’s pupils widened. Whether it was in arousal or if it was the energy he could feel rushing through him, he did not know. “You can do this.”

 

“Oh”, was all Paul managed before he fell to his knees. Vergil could feel it too, the rising energy levels around them, emanating from his witch. Slowly the paint started to glow an eerie red, a light fog rising from it that filled the air with a sweet scent.

 

Vergil knelt before his witch, watching with interest as he raised his arms, palm up, to look at the paint that was glowing there as well. It didn’t stop with just this however, it started to move, seemed to turn into a harder substance that bound his lower arms together.

Paul must have known this would happen, had studied the ritual a lot longer than Vergil had, and yet he had still agreed. He trusted him this much, and Vergil had to smile.


“Ah, this… feels…” Paul seemed to have a bit of trouble speaking, and he realized the fog, the incense must have had a different effect on him than it had on Vergil. A stronger effect anyhow, which wasn’t surprising.

 

“What does it feel like? Tell me.”

 

“Feels so… good I-” He leaned back, eyes closed but his face to the ceiling, breathing in more of the substance, chest rising and falling heavily. “Aphrodisiac, but… but I didn’t know I… I need you, sir.”

 

Vergil smiled. Even in this state he remembered his place. He was almost… perfect.

 

"Look at me", Vergil said quietly.

 

Paul obeyed once more, opening his eyes, his pupils blown so wide they made his eyes seem almost black. Vergil mirrored that look, let the energy course through him, and even for him it was hard to contain himself - and so he didn't.

 

He let go, let himself change in front of his witch whose eyes widened as Vergil’s fingers turned to sharp claws, softly stroking over the vein in Paul's neck. If he wanted to... he would only need to add the tiniest bit of pressure and the man would bleed out in front of him.

 

But Paul looked at him with such awe, with complete submission as he continued to change. His teeth grew longer and sharper, the skin at his limbs turned a reddish colour, as if they had been dipped in blood and finally, with a sigh escaping Vergil’s lips, his leathery wings sprouted from his back. He stretched them wide, revelled in the way Paul's eyes grew wider at the sight. There was no fear in his eyes, unlike the first time he had seen his true form in Limbo, now there was only awe.

 

"Are you not afraid?" Even Vergil’s voice was lower, more animalistic.

 

"No", Paul breathed. "I trust you."

 

Vergil firmly grasped his wrists that were tightly bound together by the spell, pulled them over his head and he followed the movement, let himself fall back onto the floor. As Paul's wrists touched the glowing red paint his forearms snapped to the floor like magnets, holding him firmly in place. Vergil grinned. Oh he liked this spell, liked it even more when he carefully pushed a finger inside his witch to find him lose already. If only it didn't take such a long time to prepare.

 

No need to stretch him then, and so Vergil pulled out again to grasp his thighs, lifting his hips so he could align himself with his entrance. The incense in the air had at least the same effect on both of them in one regard, had gotten them both hard in a matter of minutes.

 

As soon as Vergil pushed inside there was no holding back anymore. His thrusts were fast, hard and merciless, his wings fluttering, stretching out to pull in again with each wave of pleasure rolling over him.

Paul was gorgeous beneath him, lids low, not able to do anything but moan softly, to whimper under Vergil’s unforgiving movements. His fingers flexed and he balled them back into fists, not able to do anything else, could only let Vergil do whatever he wanted.  

 

Vergil let his head fall back, his eyes fluttering closed as he relished in this pleasure, the energy connecting them, like an electric current running through both, the sheer power of this act.

 

He was so far gone, so high up but Paul's voice, nothing more than a whisper, pulled him back to the here and now.

 

"Please... Please slow down, sir."

 

Vergil looked down again, saw a single tear had rolled down the side of Paul's face. He was flushed, panting, the frown on him not the soft one he got when he was enjoying himself.

 

"Are you all right?", Vergil asked, his voice surprisingly human.

 

Despite his obvious distress Paul nodded and gave him a soft smile.

 

"Just please... remember that I am only human. Please...", he swallowed and hesitated for a moment. "Slow down, a little?"

 

Vergil had never wanted to hurt him, and he wouldn't start now. Paul had always been good, always did exactly what he wanted, and even this... He submitted to Vergil completely, he wouldn't disregard that.

 

So he slowed down more than a little, still thrusting into him hard but with a force that he knew Paul could handle. And he kept watching him, took notice of the way he moaned softly, the way he looked up at him... reverent.

 

Vergil abruptly pulled out of him, gently letting him lie down on the floor and Paul only replied with a whimper, he was so far gone now. He crawled over his witch, claws resting on either side of his face as he pushed into him again, and Paul, even in his state, wrapped his legs around him.

 

"I am your king", Vergil said, voice low but commanding.

 

Paul moaned in a way he never had before, louder, deeper, sending another wave of arousal through him.

 

“Yes, ah… My… My king”, he gasped as he froze in his orgasm, coming over both their chests, the most beautiful, blissful expression on him.

 

Vergil should have known that Paul would accept him as his king, but this was still the first time he had been called that, and his witch didn’t stop. Kept whispering ‘my king’ over and over again, with so much reverence that after a few more thrusts Vergil found his release as well, harder and longer than ever before. Not only did pleasure spread through him, the familiar warmth but magnified tenfold, he could feel more energy seep into him. It formed a barrier, almost tangible to him but invisible to the naked eye.

 

“Did… did it work?”, Paul whispered, barely able to keep his eyes open.

 

“Yes. You did well.” Vergil slowly pulled out, knowing that his witch must be sensitive, overstimulated by now. He let himself rest on his lower arms, now so close to Paul and he stretched his wings again, engulfed both of them in a protective shell. His witch gasped at the sight, mesmerized.

 

“Good…Just want to… please you, my king…”, he drifted off, let his head fall back onto the floor as he passed out.

 

Vergil smirked, he really had done well. He would deserve a reward once he had recovered, which could take a while. He gently scooped Paul up in his arms, feeling his wings leave him once more, returning to his usual form. Carrying him to the one large bed that was in their workspace, he almost couldn’t take his eyes off him. His skin was so smooth, his jawline so gorgeous, the line of his neck. That single earring accented his beauty just right.

 

He couldn’t dwell on this, on him. Forced himself to gently place Paul onto the bed before leaving him for a shower. A cold one, one that would hopefully make him able to focus on what was important. He had an extra layer of protection now, and Paul was almost ready, there was nothing else holding him back from going to Seattle. To finally be with his brother, where he was meant to be. Though of course he’d want to get him back here, to the seat of his power, both mortal and demonic.

 

But why was it that once he was standing in front of that bed again, looking down at his witch that thoughts of his brother left him? He couldn’t get attached like this, not to a mortal. But he still knelt, using the wet cloth he had brought with him to gently clean him off. He wouldn’t be able to stand having the sheets messed up by come, that was the only reason, he told himself.

 

Even he got tired though, so he slipped into bed beside Paul, deciding it wasn’t worth the effort to drive back to his penthouse. It had to be the afterglow of his orgasm, he told himself, it had to be this that made him turn towards the witch again, supporting himself on his elbow.

Paul was sleeping peacefully now, a soft smile playing on his lips, one arm draped over his stomach. Vergil adjusted the sheets over him, it wouldn’t do for him to get sick now.

 

Suddenly he was gently brushing over his cheek, the skin just as soft as he had imagined, and now he was leaning in, pressing the gentlest of kisses to his lips. It was electrifying, too much so that he had to pull back, flinching as he brought space between them. The spell. It had affected him more than he wanted to admit, it had to be the reason for his odd behaviour, for the thing that was between them. It would be gone soon enough, and they could go back to what they had been, master and servant.

 

His sleep was uneasy that night, and he kept turning towards Paul, watching him for a few moments before turning again. What he wouldn’t give to be able to pass out like that, it seemed the spell’s effects would take longer for him to wear off, or perhaps that energy between them would stay for longer, after the act they had performed. The magic they had created together.

 

Despite his exhaustion Paul slowly blinked his eyes open at around seven, an hour later than when he usually got up, as he had at some point told him. Vergil was impressed.

A small smile slowly spread on him, a blush creeping into his cheeks as he realized who was next to him.

 

“You should rest”, Vergil said. Even though his mind was screaming for him to get up and leave, his body was not moving.

 

“I’m fine… my king”, he replied sleepily.

 

So he remembered.

 

“I haven’t been idle, sir, after that conversation about your plans”, Paul continued slowly, still fighting off the sleep. “I’ve wandered Limbo. I’ve met your followers, after… we had sex. They could smell you on me, and they left me alone, knowing I was yours. They fear and respect you. This… This is what you’re planning, isn’t it? To rule, because you’re Nephilim?”

 

He had figured it out, on his own. Vergil shouldn’t be surprised, Paul was intelligent, incredibly so, which was why he had caught his interest, not just because of his looks. There was no denying it any longer.

 

“Yes”, he simply said.

 

“You’ll be just. You’ll protect mankind.” It wasn’t even a question, it was a statement. Vergil hadn’t realized how big Paul’s faith in him was.

 

“Yes”, he said again, feeling like he did need to confirm it.

 

“I would be honored to work for you.”

 

“I’m glad, Paul”, Vergil said. “I value your work.”

 

He was beaming at him again, and finally Vergil managed to get up, had to get away before he did something decidedly unlike him.

 

“Take the day off”, he said as he put on the fresh clothes he had prepared the night before. “You need to rest. Stay here, or get a car to take you home. It’s on the company of course.”

 

“But sir, there is so much-”

 

“I will be able to survive without you for one day”, Vergil interrupted, turning towards him again. “I will see you tomorrow.”

 

“Thank you, sir.”

 

Vergil tried very hard to ignore the smile he gave him, a smile that said he knew more than him which was impossible. He was in charge, not this mortal. He buried himself in his work that day, ignoring the energy that was constantly buzzing around him, comforting in a way, but reminding him too much of his witch. By the end of the day he had almost managed it, but the next day came, and with it his assistant, bringing it all back. The spell had created a connection between them, in a way and it was unclear to him if it would ever dissolve.

 

It didn’t matter. The spell worked, and Paul’s loyalty to him had only grown. It was good to have an ally who knew both sides of him, his true self.

 

Servant, he corrected himself. Not ally.

 

A small smile spread on his face as Paul finally noticed the tickets to the art gallery tonight, watched him enter his office with that little frown on him.

 

“Good morning, sir”, he said, placing a cup of coffee on Vergil’s desk, his usual morning routine. “This, er, is for tonight?”

 

“Yes. I have to make an appearance, see who else is there, perhaps make some connections. You know the drill”, Vergil hesitated for a moment. “I hope you are rested.”

 

“I am, thank you sir. This I…” Paul was trying to suppress his smile and failing. “I had been looking forward to this but I wouldn’t have been able to get tickets on my own.”

 

“What a marvellous coincidence. We’ll mix business with pleasure then, but you know which comes first.”

 

Of course Vergil had known, this wasn’t a coincidence at all but he couldn’t have Paul think he was coddling him.

 

“Of course, sir. Thank you, sir. I’ll make the necessary arrangements.”

 

The part about business had been a lie. People knew who he was, but not many knew what he looked like, and Vergil liked to keep it that way. Having the media on his tail would put a damper on his plans. Eventually of course even he wouldn’t be able to stop it, but as long as he could control it, he would.

 

Vergil enjoyed the finer things in life, and that included modern art. But it wouldn’t do to go to this exclusive event alone and besides, Paul was excellent company in this regard. Always impeccably dressed, always providing stimulating conversation, Vergil could hardly say that about many people. Though he certainly didn’t notice the way his assistant's eyes lit up at certain pieces, or the way that soft smile played around his lips. He was simply pleasing to the eye, a work of art in his own way, nothing more.

 

Or that’s what he kept telling himself anyway.

 

“Oh, this one is amazing”, Paul’s smile was gone, he only looked up at the abstract painting with awe. “This artist is one of my favourites… He’s outdone himself.”

 

“Truly…” Vergil could only agree, Paul really had a good eye, perhaps this would make a good addition to his collection displayed throughout the company.

 

He left Paul to gaze at the painting for a while longer, getting them both drinks. From afar he had the chance to watch his assistant, how perfectly that black earring accented his features, how peaceful he was like this. It was rare that Vergil could even stand to be around other humans, that he actually appreciated his company was… strange.

 

Before they left that night he had a private talk with the owner of the gallery, arranging for the painting to be brought over later this week. He didn’t have time to think about what Paul’s reaction to seeing it would be, because suddenly, he was swamped. Crisis after crisis made him stay over at the office for the entire week, barely getting any sleep and when he tried to distract himself with working on the program he was writing to hack into his competitor’s company it only made everything worse. Vergil never got stuck writing a program, never, and yet here he was, three six thirty am in the morning and throwing his tablet to the floor in frustration, completely shattering it.

 

It didn’t help that the connection he had created with his witch did not lessen. It seemed it would stay forever, he knew it when he concentrated, and if he did, he could feel him. Soft skin against his, splayed under him, writhing in pleasure and moaning his name. Calling him his king.

He was bound to a human. Permanently. This was… degrading, it was wrong, and yet he couldn’t stop thinking about him, wanting him. Vergil had never been very sexually active, but after meeting Paul, even before the ritual, he had found himself calling for him more often. And after it had simply escalated, he had trouble concentrating with the arousal distracting him. He was furious, this couldn’t happen. He was supposed to be with Dante.

 

And now Paul was coming into the office… the perfect ending to this cursed night where nothing would go his way. Late last night the painting Vergil had bought had been delivered, and hung up in Paul’s office. He had done this for him, of course he had but why? Paul was his servant, nothing more. And now he was staring at it, Vergil could watch him through the glass front, the initial shock replaced by a soft smile. But now he was turning towards his office, and Vergil quickly turned, inspecting the shattered tablet at his feet. He sighed, rolling his head to get some of the tension out of his neck.

 

“Long night, sir?”, Paul said in way of greeting.

 

“Long week. But there’s work to do.”

 

“You seem tense today, sir…” Paul stepped closer to him, eyeing him intently.

 

“You should go to work”, Vergil said sharply, glaring at him. But he didn’t stop, only when he was standing right in front of him.

 

“Sir I… May I massage you?”, he asked shyly. “I’m good at it, and you look like you need it.”

 

Vergil was furious. How dare he defy his orders? Implied order, in any case… but Vergil was also tired, and stressed. If Paul said about himself that he was good at something, then he’d be incredible at it.

So he slowly unbuttoned his shirt, neatly folding it to place it on his desk, and walked towards his office chair. Which was large enough for him to sit backwards and cross legged in. He had bought it precisely because it looked quite intimidating, almost like a throne.

 

“Go ahead”, Vergil said, listening to Paul’s soft footsteps as he walked up to him, felt the warmth of his body so close to his own.

 

This was just to help him relax, to finally get himself to figure out that program with its damn-

 

As soon as Paul’s hands were on him all these thoughts were silenced. Oh he was good, fingers brushing over his skin, gently testing which parts of his back were most tense. He could hear his assistant let out a little gasp upon seeing the mark on his back, then tracing it for a split second before he seemed to remember the rules. No unnecessary touching. So he did still know his place, but he also knew how to take care of Vergil’s needs. It conflicted him, but there wasn’t much capacity in his brain left for thoughts like that. Not when Paul’s hands were perfectly working on the knots in his back, slowly but surely undoing them.

 

The touch felt too good, almost like this was the way they were meant to be. Skin on skin, that warmth of his hands penetrating him and he let his head fall forward, a soft sigh escaping him. He really tended to disregard his physical needs and only now did he realize it. To think that a human needed to remind him, a human who was bonded to him… Had the protection spell really been worth it?

 

Vergil’s mind went blank again as Paul kept working, knowing just the right spots, the pressure just perfect. The mood was almost intimate, the only light coming from the almost burnt down fireplace, giving everything a soft orange glow.

 

“I can help you relax in another way”, Paul whispered, so close to him. “If you like, sir.”

 

He turned to properly sit in his office chair and gestured for his assistant to hand him his shirt, which he put on but didn’t button up before he leaned back. He gave him a small nod, the command to proceed and Paul slowly started to undress. It struck Vergil once more how beautiful he was, and as he folded his shirt to place it on the desk where Vergil’s had been, his arousal rose. He didn’t have to hold back in front of Paul anymore, could let everything show, could let his eyes go completely black from pure lust and want.

 

A slight shiver ran through his assistant, but he didn’t hesitate in further undressing himself. Soon enough he was completely naked in front of Vergil, and slowly got to his knees. This was his power fantasy come true, this was what it would be like sitting on his throne and being serviced by what was his. Vergil was in control, and Paul had nothing, not even clothes on him.

 

Yet he still looked up at him with this… look that he couldn’t place. Awe? Reverence? Or something else?

 

These thoughts were pushed aside as Paul swiftly undid his pants, taking him out to slowly lick along his length. Vergil let his head fall back, hitting the chair with a soft thud as he grasped his assistant’s hair with one hand, tugging on it sharply. Paul gasped at that, but let his eyes fall closed for a short moment, that little frown on him showing that he liked it. Not that it mattered. If Vergil wanted it, it would happen.

 

He pushed Paul onto him, his lips eagerly parting to take him into his mouth, the heat perfect around him. Paul was good at this, had been the first time, and had only improved since then, taking more and more of him. He would never be able to take all of it, Vergil was too big, but today he gave it his all, welcoming the way he pushed him further down. Until he could feel himself hitting the back of Paul’s throat, and he still stayed calm.

 

Paul only looked up at him, lips around his cock, sharp blue eyes showing complete submission to his king. Vergil gasped at the perfect sight and loosened his grip on him a little, giving him enough room to start moving again. It was perfect, and he let his eyes fall closed again, just enjoying the heat, the drag of Paul’s tongue along him who by now just knew exactly what he wanted.

 

Despite himself Vergil had to gasp at the flick of Paul’s tongue over his tip, had to moan when he went all the way down again. He wasn’t loud, not the way he had been when he had fucked his witch in his demon form, but letting himself go like this was rare. Paul hummed contentedly at the sounds he made, one hand resting on his thigh to get more support. The heat of it was almost unbearably good, but Vergil couldn’t bring himself to slap it away. Instead simply watched his witch again, perfect lips around his length, but when he went down again Vergil noticed something.

 

There was a small mark on the back of his neck, covered mostly by his hair but as Vergil brushed it away he saw that it was his. His mark, the one that was on his back, a tiny version of it.

Paul abruptly stopped his movements, had to pull away, gasping, shivering. His expression that of overwhelming pleasure.

 

“What… what was that?”, he whispered, his voice shaky.

 

Vergil didn’t answer, instead just brushed over the mark again, watching Paul come apart underneath the touch. Moaning, scrambling desperately at Vergil’s leg. What was this mark? When had it appeared?

 

“Ah, yes”, Paul gasped, leaning so needily into that touch. “Please, more, please.”

 

“Not until you finish.”

 

His witch sucked him off with an eagerness that was new even to him, but Vergil would certainly not complain. He grasped Paul’s hair again, pushing him down when he felt like it, and finally keeping him in place when he found his release inside his mouth.

 

And now it was Paul’s turn, though initially he hadn’t planned on doing anything for him, but that mark was fascinating. He had claimed this human, and now he could give him pleasure just by brushing over that mark, could watch him shiver and moan, could watch him wanting to reach out, to cling to him but knowing that it was forbidden. Could he inflict pain, too, it he wanted? There was no reason to, not yet anyway, now he was only watching as Paul came from this simple touch alone, slumping down against him.

 

Vergil let him have that touch for a few moment, as he didn’t know just yet what that mark did. If it drained him of his energy, or gave him more, but he soon pushed him away, telling him to clean up. He watched fascinated how his witch got up on wobbly knees, dutifully doing what he was told, cleaning himself and Vergil before dressing again.

 

“That would be all”, Vergil said, ignoring the confusion clearly visible on Paul. He had research to do, perhaps once he had found out what this mark was, he would tell him.


For now, he needed to get back to work.

Chapter Text

“Hey Delsin, why do you have a feather back there, next to the mantlepiece?”

 

Dante was splayed out on the living room carpet, in just his underwear with Delsin opposite him, back against the fireplace as he was sketching him. Sitting still like this wasn’t one of Dante’s strong suits, and so his eyes, and apparently his mind, had wandered.

 

Delsin was surprised that it hadn’t come up sooner, they had been living together for over a year now and it wasn’t exactly commonplace to display eagle feathers in your home. Though he was glad it hadn’t come up, it wasn’t something he liked to talk about. He hoped Dante would not ask about it further, he was in the metaphorical zone and really didn’t want his mood ruined.

 

“It’s not important”, Delsin said, but then sighed, his shoulders drooping as he stopped sketching. “Well actually, it is, but I don’t want to talk about it.”

 

His boyfriend sat up now, earning an annoyed huff from Delsin. Why could that man never sit still?

 

“Well if it’s important… maybe you should talk about it”, he suggested.

 

Delsin sighed once more. He had been avoiding it, ever since he had gotten it. Had just put it away, half out of sight so he wouldn’t be reminded every day of what it meant. But that could only work for so long.

 

“It’s uh… The Akomish gave it to me. Back when that whole Augustine-DUP-thing was over.” He set aside his sketchbook and pencil now, but didn’t meet Dante’s eyes, instead nervously wringing his hands. “For… Bravery. Great service to my people, that sort of thing.”

 

“But that’s a good thing, isn’t it?”, Dante asked. “Why are you half-hiding it back there?”

 

“Well it would be rude to completely hide it. And this way Betty is sort of happy with it. I just…”, Delsin hesitated, softly biting on his lower lip before continuing with his voice low. “I wasn’t brave. I was completely, and absolutely stupid. I should have just kept my damn mouth shut, should have done… should have done something. If I had then they wouldn’t have gotten hurt in the first place. And Reggie would still… Would still be here.”

 

Delsin’s voice was cracking, but his boyfriend waited patiently for him to continue. This wasn’t all.

 

“I wasn’t brave. I was a coward”, he continued. “I only went to Seattle because I had to. And Reggie paid the price for it. They got hurt because of me, he died because of me and then they… rewarded me for it. I can’t… I can’t even look at it.”

 

He was shaking now. Why had they given this to him? It was like a slap in the face. He was supposed to wear it proudly but it was just tainted to him, a mockery of that tradition because he was not worthy of it, and yet they had insisted.

Delsin was startled into looking up when Dante took his hands in his own, gently squeezing them. Tears were forming in his eyes and his boyfriend looked a bit fuzzy.

 

“We talked about this”, he said gently. “It wasn’t your fault, Reggie made his choice. I’ve talked to people, your friends, Betty. Plus I know you, you are not a coward. You could have turned back in Seattle, could have run but you didn’t. You took on the whole DUP to save your people. If that’s not bravery then it doesn’t exist.”

 

Delsin refused to believe it. There was nothing brave or heroic about him, he could just not have faced his people and told them he had failed, that Reggie had died for nothing and that’s why he had kept going.

 

Dante reached out to cup his cheek, gently brushing away the tear that had managed to form. He wasn’t going to cry now, this was in the past, and he was fighting so hard not to let this overwhelm him.

 

“I talked to Betty, you know. About Reggie. Back when… you wouldn’t”, Dante continued. “I was just always curious and she told me a little. About how proud he was of you, how brave he thought you were for following your own path and how it crushed him that he couldn’t send you to an art school. He was always so impressed by what you had taught yourself, even though it didn’t mean he wasn’t annoyed a lot. But he was proud of the man you had become, and he would be so proud of you now, selling your art, basically living off it. I know he would be.”

 

Delsin’s resolve vanished at those words, he couldn’t hold back the tears anymore, the sobs shaking his body and immediately Dante’s arms were around him. He hadn’t even known Reggie was so supportive of his art, with the way he yelled at him for spraying it all over the place. But he was a cop, he had to do it, and still… He had wanted to send him to an art school? It was news to him, but they had never had much money, could barely support themselves and it was so like Reggie not to promise something that he couldn’t hold up.

 

He had been proud… of Delsin? The thought was overwhelming. With all their arguments, all of what he thought was Reggie’s bullshit… If they had only managed to talk, really communicate, things could have been so different.

 

But it couldn’t be changed, Reggie was still gone and Delsin was still sobbing in his boyfriend’s arms.

 

“You know from what I’ve heard of him”, Dante said softly, brushing through his hair because of course he would pull off his beanie whenever he had the chance. “Reggie would get mad at you for not wearing the feather at least sometimes.”

 

Even through his sobs Delsin managed to laugh, a choked sound but it was just so true. He would be mad, would be furious at him for being such a stubborn fool, for not believing what other people told him.

 

“He… he would”, Delsin said, his sobs subsiding a little. He missed him, so much, but thinking about him at that moment… It hurt a little less.

 

“Could I… braid the feather into your hair?” The expression on Dante’s face contorted into embarrassment and it happened so quickly Delsin had to chuckle again. “I mean, fuck, that’s not offensive, is it? I mean only if you’re ready, if you want to, I mean… forget I said anything.”

 

“No it’s…”, Delsin trailed off, but he was calming down now, wiping away what tears were still there. “Maybe it’s time.”

 

Maybe his people wouldn’t judge him if he wore it, maybe… he would learn not to judge himself.

 

“Can you even braid?”, he asked Dante, who now seemed a little relieved.

 

“Of course I can, I grew up on the streets, not the end of the world. So… what do you say?”

 

“I hope I won’t regret this…” Delsin took a deep breath. “Okay, go ahead.”

 

He watched Dante stand and gently take the feather from it’s place on the wall. There were still doubts whether this was a good idea, but he took a deep breath, tried to calm himself. They’d go to the reservation today. If he could do this… If he could make it through this day, maybe, in a way, he would be brave? He wanted to be.

 

He had let his eyes fall closed, and only noticed Dante kissing him when his lips were already on his own but the touch relaxed him. A kiss from Dante meant safety.

He watched his boyfriend concentrate on braiding the feather into his hair on the right side, tongue sticking out just a little bit. His touch was so gentle, as if he was scared he might break Delsin if he tugged on his hair too much.

 

“It really suits you”, Dante whispered once he was done, gingerly brushing along his cheek. “You’re… really beautiful you know.”

 

“And you’re too sweet.” Delsin wrapped his arms around his boyfriend’s neck to pull him into another kiss. Let it linger this time, let their tongues meet, tasting the sweetness from the incredible amounts of chocolate his boyfriend had consumed that day. “I love you, Dante.”

 

His boyfriend blushed a little as he pulled him up. He still sometimes did when Delsin confessed his love, or when he whispered it into his ear. It was adorable and he hoped it would never stop.

 

Seeing his own reflection in the window was strange. His eyes a little puffy from crying, but Dante had been right.. the feather suited him, and his boyfriend was talented when it came to braiding apparently. It was a gorgeous, intricate little braid, his black hair perfectly holding up the eagle feather. It was a nice contrast and finally wearing it… almost felt good now.

 

Delsin wouldn’t have been able to do this without Dante, wouldn’t have been able to face his people with this on his own. Most only smiled knowingly as he walked in, tightly holding onto Dante’s hand. Except Betty, who of course would gasp and legitimately cry when he saw him, engulfing him into a tight embrace, muttering how proud she was of him too. There seemed to be a new understanding between them, but aside from Betty choking up a little once in a while, their visit was just like any other. Relaxing, just spending time in their second home, helping out if anyone needed it which involved some grocery shopping for some elderly members of the tribe this time.

 

And by the end of the day Delsin didn’t feel sad anymore, quite the contrary. Dante always had that effect on him, making him ridiculously happy. Sometimes he wondered how he had been able to find a person like that, and was sure that he didn’t deserve him.

 

And, well, by the end of the day Dante was back to his old self too. Shamelessly flirting and teasing him. But two could play at this game, and Delsin definitely wasn’t above teasing him right back. It went on like that during their entire way home and they were about a block away from their house when Dante seemed to finally have enough and stopped in his tracks.

 

“Oh, can’t take it anymore, big guy?”, Delsin asked, immediately frowning and shaking his head because ‘big guy’ was definitely not something he would ever say again.

 

But Delsin’s train of thought came to a screeching halt as he was suddenly picked up by Dante - literally slung over his shoulder with one hand resting on his ass.

 

“Whoa, what are you doing?”

 

“Getting you home so I can fuck you…?”, there was a slight question at the end of that, and Dante’s uncertainty, his forwardness in addition to being manhandled like that sent a sharp wave of arousal through him. He couldn’t deny the view either…

 

“Fuck, Dante…”, he mumbled before raising his voice again, as cocky as ever. “What are you waiting for?”

 

Dante carried him like that the entire way home, which of course earned them a few stares but Delsin couldn’t care less, not with what awaited him at home and so he just gave their confused neighbour a thumbs up and a stunning grin as they went inside.

His boyfriend immediately made a beeline for their bedroom and unceremoniously threw Delsin onto the bed. He, however, remained standing, towering over him with a lust and a hunger in his eyes unlike anything Delsin had seen before. His eyes seemed almost black, it was… hot. In all this time Delsin had been the one to top, which he enjoyed, of course but this… Thinking about what was to come made him almost giddy with excitement.

 

“Undress”, Dante commanded and he immediately scrambled to follow it. “Slowly.”

 

And so he did that, too. Now taking his time in getting rid of his clothes, his eyes never leaving Dante’s. Never before had he been desired like this, never before had he been commanded like this. It sent all sorts of waves of arousal through him, and he got impatient, wanted Dante inside him now but he would play along with whatever his love wanted.

 

He was completely naked now, only the feather in his hair remained but he wanted to keep it, gladly kneeling in front of his boyfriend, looking up and eagerly awaiting the next command.

 

“Prepare yourself for me”, Dante said, his voice somewhat changed, a bit lower than it normally was but it only spurred Delsin on. Made him scramble for the lube but oh, he would give Dante a show.

He got on his hands and knees, ass raised towards his boyfriend, before crossing an arm on the bed before him. He let his head rest there, his other hand gently working on stretching himself. Delsin knew just the picture he presented, and had to grin at the sharp gasp he heard Dante make behind him

 

Once more it only made him more eager, made him move in just the right way, made him moan in that way that drove Dante crazy. All the while stretching himself wider and wider, so eager for his boyfriend to finally fuck into him.

 

Delsin was so lost in working himself open that he didn’t hear Dante undress, only stopped when he felt the bed dip behind him. He quickly pulled out his fingers which were immediately replaced with Dante’s cock slamming into him. He gasped at the sudden force, the way his face was pressed into the mattress but he couldn’t deny that he absolutely loved it. His hands were grasping the sheets tightly as Dante managed to hit that sweet spot inside him with every single thrust, making muffled moans tumble from his lips.

 

There was nothing he could do but take it. Take the merciless thrusts, the way Dante was gripping his hips so tightly. He would surely be leaving bruises but Delsin’s brain was overwhelmed by that pleasure, waves of it rolling over him, nothing else seemed to matter at this moment.

 

And then there was more.

 

A wave of energy seemed to suddenly surge through his boyfriend, so strong that even Delsin could feel it. It was pure electricity, pure power running over and through him, yet he couldn’t place it, couldn’t form a single thought in his mind, couldn’t tell what exactly this was. Dante was slamming into him even harder now, fingers tightening their grip on his hips further and Delsin could hardly even moan anymore. Only silent, desperate gasps escaped his lips as he finally lost all control.

 

It had never come to this point for him, he hadn’t been able to perfectly use his powers from the beginning but he had never lost control. Couldn’t stop the smoke coming from his hands, swirling around both of them as Dante kept fucking into him, now wrapping an arm around his chest to pull him up and Delsin vaguely saw that he had left hand shaped burns in the sheets.

 

He turned as much as he could to be able to kiss his boyfriend, but as he saw him, there was that tiny bit of hesitation. Dante had changed. Hair white, eyes red, even the soft flesh around them was turning that colour with small veins spreading from them, and for one rare moment of clarity Delsin thought that maybe, there was a chance that Dante wasn’t a Conduit after all.

For some the sight of his changed boyfriend might have been frightening, but not to Delsin, who could still see the gentle soul behind those terrifying eyes.

 

“You’re so beautiful”, he muttered, the words slurred but Dante was still able to understand him. He closed the distance between them to press their lips together, both ignoring Delsin’s hair that was stuck between them, sloppily exploring each other before needing to pull away for breath.

 

If Dante hadn’t been holding him up like that Delsin would surely have collapsed under those continuous, merciless thrusts. Still his boyfriend managed to hit that sweet spot inside him with every single one, reducing him to nothing but a moaning mess. He didn’t have the capacity to try and kiss Dante again, let his head fall back onto his shoulder, simply taking it, loving every second of it.

 

He barely felt the kisses Dante pressed to his neck, to his shoulder, whatever he could reach from this position, his skin was so hot and there was still smoke coming from his hands. But while his Conduit powers let him take this superpowered fuck, Dante’s powers let him endure this as well. Though Delsin would barely have been able to think about it, could only feel Dante’s teeth scratch over the soft flesh on his neck and finally, biting down.

 

“Ah, Dante, yes”, he gasped as he felt Dante’s teeth break the skin, felt him lick over the wound, lap away the blood like a cat. It didn’t hurt, only sent shivers down his spine as his boyfriend kept sucking and licking.

 

He’d been hurt before, of course, countless of times even, but he hadn’t known it could feel this amazing. Exhilarating even, making him reach back to somehow grasp for whatever part of Dante he could reach because he could barely take all this pleasure. It just kept building up inside him, never ebbing off with Dante’s continuous, rough thrusts, his biting, licking, and now he was even reaching for Delsin’s already leaking cock. He pumped him in time with his thrusts, and this was truly more than he could take.

 

Delsin froze, hand reaching for Dante’s hair for support as warmth turned into heat as he came over his boyfriend’s hand and their bed. All he could do was ride it out and collapse onto the mattress, lowered gently by Dante’s strong hand. He was still inside him though, still thrusting into him with that merciless rhythm until he, too, finally came inside him. By then it was hard for Delsin to even keep his eyes open.

 

But before he passed out into blissful, fucked out sleep he was able to watch his boyfriend collapse beside him. He was slowly changing back now, hair fading into black except that bit at the back, pupils still blown wide but not red anymore.

 

“I love you”, Delsin mumbled, managing to let his hand rest on Dante’s cheek. His boyfriend managed a soft smile, panting with the exhaustion of this act before Delsin finally drifted off.

 

He woke up still feeling a little sore, but incredibly happy. Dante taking charge like that… he only needed to think about it and it turned him on again. Delsin was all too happy to do the bottoming once in a while - or a lot.

Though he barely remembered his thoughts on Dante not being a Conduit, he could still remember the way he had changed, how… inhuman he had looked. Unlike any Conduit he had ever seen. It was certainly unique, but with Dante waking up as well, sleepily smiling at him he couldn’t quite bring himself to care. He would accept him, would love him, whatever he was.

 

He didn’t need the support his boyfriend offered him on the way to the shower, but he certainly acted like it, just wanted Dante close, fussing over him. He even quietly asked if he had been too rough, if Delsin was all right, ever the one to worry.

 

“I’m fine, love. More than fine. It was incredible, amazing”, he insisted. “I’ll go ahead and make some breakfast, okay? I certainly need it.”

 

“Okay.” Dante was grinning widely as he leaned down to press a soft kiss to his lips. “I’ll be right there.”

 

Delsin couldn’t stop his own grin while preparing breakfast, which was by now more like lunch, but none of it mattered. He felt perfect now, still in the afterglow of that beautiful fuck and now mostly recovered from that energy he had lost. He was even humming as he chopped the fresh tomatoes that would go into the scrambled eggs, thinking that some basil might be a nice change from the usual as well.

 

He was so engrossed in his task that he only noticed Dante sneaking up on him when it was too late, when his arms were already around his waist. But the playful way his boyfriend had been acting was over quickly and he froze, quickly stepping back from him again.

 

“Dante?”, Delsin asked as he turned, now seeing that horrified expression on him. “Shit, what is it?”

 

“I… Fuck, Delsin I…”

 

“Seriously, you’re freaking me out, love. What’s wrong? You can tell me anything.”

 

“Have you… looked at your neck?”, Dante asked carefully.

 

“No, I don’t really tend to do that… Why?” This was a very weird question. His neck… Where Dante had bit him? Was that what he was worried about? “If it’s about the bite, I’ll heal, don’t worry about it.”

 

“No it’s… come on.” Dante took his hand in his own and led him back to the bathroom, placing him in front of the mirror and holding another, smaller one up behind him to he could see the back of his neck. Delsin lifted up his hair which had gotten quite long now, and finally he saw it.

 

A mark. Dante’s mark, on him.

 

For some reason, he couldn’t help but smile. The bite had already healed but was now replaced by a tiny version of the mark on Dante’s back.

 

“You’re… you’re smiling”, Dante said nervously. “You’re not mad?”

 

“No. This means I’m yours right?” Delsin turned and took the mirror from Dante’s hands, placing it back onto the shelf.

 

“I… I could never… own you Delsin I’m so sorry I didn’t know I could…”

 

“Hey”, Delsin interrupted his ramblings by cupping his cheek. “You don’t, but I’m still yours. And I like it.”

 

“Are you sure?”, Dante whispered, keeping his gaze as Delsin stepped closer to him.

 

“I am, love.” He stood on tiptoe to kiss him and when he pulled back, Dante was smiling again. As was he.

 

It was strange. Shouldn’t he feel offended, that he was marked like property? He didn’t feel like it at all though, it only reminded him of Dante and how much he loved him. And he could never believe that he had done it on purpose, not with the way he had looked like a kicked puppy when he had confessed it to Delsin. There was no sense in questioning it, it was on him now, permanently, like a scar but more beautiful. It was mostly covered by his hair anyway, which he had to admit he kind of liked. It was something just for them, not for others to see.

 

After their rough fuck the night before it seemed that both of them needed some gentle cuddling, and so they spent most of the day wrapped up in each other on the couch. For once Delsin was not drawing his boyfriend, only sat between his legs, doodling whatever he felt like at the moment. His hair had gotten so long that it kept falling into his face, and so he had managed to bind it into a tiny ponytail.

 

He was in the zone again, focusing so much on the single feathers of… a wing? He wasn’t quite sure yet where this was going, but he needed every little detail to be just right when suddenly Dante moved behind him, sat up to brush over the new mark on him. Delsin dropped his pencil, clinging tightly to his sketchbook as a moan escaped him.

 

“Ah fuck Dante what was that?”, he managed. The touch had felt… exhilarating? How was that possible?

 

Dante didn’t answer, instead leaned further in to press a kiss to that mark, making Delsin almost go limp with the pleasure that gesture sent through him. And he just kept going, too. Kissing, sucking, licking over the mark, making him grasp helplessly for Dante’s hair, his moans getting louder and louder. This was a whole different kind of pleasure for him, this was pure, direct, it was overwhelming in its intensity, nothing even compared to what he had felt last night.

 

Delsin only realized he was crying when Dante stopped to ask him if he was all right.

 

“Yes, Dante, please”, he gasped desperately. “Please I need more, take me, love.”

 

He needed help from his boyfriend to slip out of his sweatpants, and though he didn’t know how, he knew he was ready. Scrambling to pull away whatever was still between him and Dante’s cock, who still slipped a finger inside him.

 

“I’m ready, Dante, I’m ready.” Delsin couldn’t tell where this sudden urgency had come from, but he needed this, and he needed it now.

 

“But how-”

 

“I don’t care just do it please and use the mark, I need it I-” This time it was Dante who interrupted by simply lifting him onto his cock, letting him slide down, taking all of it. And just as he hit that spot inside him again Dante’s mouth was on the mark again, back to kissing, licking, even scratching over it with his teeth.

 

Both of this was just too much. The gentle thrusts, the raw pleasure the mark sent through him brought back the tears, took him apart completely. He could vaguely hear himself sobbing, begging for more of what Dante was giving him, spreading him wide, filling him up and just giving him what he needed.

 

Delsin had lost track of time, couldn’t even tell where he was anymore, or what was around them. All that registered was Dante fucking into him, using that mark to send every nerve in his body on fire and to him it only seemed like mere moments until he came over the couch, soon followed by his boyfriend. Now all that was left for him was collapse into his arms, let himself be gently lifted and placed onto the couch.

 

“D-Delsin?”, he heard Dante’s voice above him, sounding so worried. “Fuck what have I done… Delsin?”

 

He was too fucked out to say anything, too lost in that blissful afterglow of what had just happened. And twice in as many days, he passed out from it. Only this time, when he woke up, Dante was gone. He had apparently covered him in a blanket, but he was nowhere to be seen. Delsin got up on wobbly knees, blanket wrapped around him as he searched the house for him. Nothing, and not even a note.

 

He had a very, very bad feeling about this. Of course it wasn’t strange that Dante would leave on his own, but it certainly was that he didn’t leave a note, nothing. And then leaving like this after what had happened… though Delsin couldn’t tell how many hours ago it had been. Could it be the next day?

 

A quick glance at the clock on the wall told him that it wasn’t but still… Something told Delsin that Dante was not coming back. Whatever pleasure he had felt before was completely forgotten. Now there was only dread filling him. Why would he just leave like this? Things had been good, more than that.

 

He couldn’t just do nothing, and so he dressed himself and ran. Their neighbour Anne pointed him in the direction she had seen Dante take and that’s what Delsin followed, taking turns whenever he felt like it because suddenly there was something that he could feel. A distinct Dante-feeling that he couldn’t describe, as if there was a thread between them that was so stretched it hurt both of them, that needed to be loosened again.

 

Delsin thought he could almost smell his boyfriend when he rounded a corner at the other side of the city, but all it led to was a dead end. Maybe he had imagined the feeling maybe it was just wishful thinking. He had nothing to go on, didn’t even know where he worked! He was so frustrated with himself that he punched the wall at the end of the alley, expecting the concrete to give way beneath him but all it did was… glow.

 

“What the fucking shit…”, Delsin mumbled as a glowing stream formed a door inside that wall, finally opening a crack when it was done.

 

What the hell was this? He had never seen technology like it, wouldn’t have expected it in a run down alley like this… Was going inside such a good idea? Delsin had a knack for getting into trouble, but the desperation was still nagging at him, and finally made him step inside.

 

Into a store.

 

A weird as hell store, but still this was unmistakingly where things were sold. Herbs, books, strange things he didn’t know floating in liquids in jars that made him shudder, it looked very… occult. But why would it need to be hidden away?

 

“Ah, the mate”, a smooth voice from behind the counter said. It belonged to a tall, lanky man, bald with a weird tattoo on the side of his face.

 

“The say what now?”, Delsin asked, eloquent as ever. In his defence, he was as confused as he’d ever been.

 

“The mate. Dante’s. His smell is all over you”, the man continued, calmly sitting on a stool behind his counter. “He’s marked you, hasn’t he? It’s fresh.”

 

“Wait how do you know Dante?” This guy was giving Delsin an even worse feeling than he’d had before. “How do you know about the… How do you know all this?”

 

“He did not tell you? Well, he is always very disinclined to share anything about his human life. I am Phineas.” The man actually took a small bow at the introduction. “Dante and I work together.”

 

“Do you know where he is?”, Delsin suddenly blurted out. It didn’t matter, none of this did, he could ask questions later. He needed to know where Dante was, was so afraid he’d run and never come back and if this man had any answers, then he’d take them.

 

“If he did not tell you it is hardly my place to do so. You are just his mate. A human one at that, quite surprising I have to say.”

 

“Just… his mate?” Delsin didn’t know what kind of a warped idea he had about what Dante was, or what was between them, but it certainly wasn’t this. Anger rose in him like a wave of heat, and unconsciously smoke curled around his fingers. But violence was not the way to go here. “If I am just that, does he not have an obligation towards me as well? What if I need him?”

 

A smirk slowly spread on Phineas face, revealing his sharp teeth. This guy… was definitely not human.

 

“I like you, boy. He has chosen well. I will tell you where he is, but there are other things you should know.”

 

“Just tell me”, Delsin said through gritted teeth. Whatever he had to say would surely not be good, and all he wanted right now was to find Dante.

 

“He’s not what you think he is, though I think it’s best if he tells you. What I can tell you is that he experiences… love”, Phineas said it with such contempt Delsin was again tempted to just punch him in the face. “In a different way. He might need something different from you than what you’re used to.”

 

What the hell did that even mean? Delsin decided to forget about it once Phineas had told him where to find Dante. An address that seemed strangely familiar, but he only realized why when he stood in front of the building it indicated. The rooftop where they had met. He should have known.

 

His boyfriend sat up there, the small, almost empty bag next to him, reminding him so much of the way he had been when they had met. Even his shoulders were slouched in the same sad way.

 

“Hello Dante”, Delsin said and his boyfriend abruptly turned around, sheer horror in his eyes. What the hell had made him like this?

 

“How did you-”

 

“I met Phineas”, Delsin said flatly, stepping closer. “That’s an… interesting friend to have.”

 

“Fuck”, Dante mumbled, running his hand through his hair in frustration.

 

“What the hell are you doing, Dante, what happened?”

 

“I thought that I should run”, Dante said quietly, not looking up at him from where he was sitting on the ledge. “But I couldn’t leave Seattle… not yet.”

 

“But why, love? Why would you want to run?” Delsin forcefully took his boyfriend’s hand in his, pulling them close to his heart. He just didn’t understand, everything had been fine.

 

“Because I’m dangerous, Delsin!” He raised his voice now, stood abruptly and pulled his hands away. “I can’t be around you, I hurt you for fuck’s sake!”

 

“You never hurt me. Why would you think that?”

 

“You… You were crying. Earlier, when I… when we…”, Dante drifted off, his anger had subsided somewhat at least.

 

“Because it felt so good”, Delsin admitted. “You didn’t hurt me.”

 

When Dante finally met his gaze again Delsin didn’t see what he had hoped, not relief, only more pain.

 

“Delsin. I…”, Dante took a deep breath, but kept looking at him. “I’m going to tell you everything.”

 

And so Dante did, up there, on the roof in the cold, he told Delsin everything about his life.

 

How he grew up, which Delsin had already figured but it didn’t hurt any less hearing it from him now, the prostitution, hunting demons, out on the streets on his own. What had been before that was a pretty big surprise, though through the entire thing, Delsin listened patiently.

 

He truly wasn’t human. The realization was not as shocking as it should have been. It should have been strange to hear that his mother had been an angel, his father a demon but what did surprise him was to hear that he’d had a brother. Twin brother. Past tense.

Who was Nephilim as well, who had found him, and picked him up from the streets just to use him for his own gains. Dante’s voice was shaking when he talked about Vergil, how they had fought the demon oppression in that part of the country, just to have his twin turn on him, try to rule in Mundus’ stead.

Dante had fought him, had almost killed him but only the human witch, Kat, had stopped him from going through with it. Though Delsin doubted he could have, Dante was a gentle soul, no matter what he thought of himself. But Dante was convinced his brother had died of his wounds. Knowing what he was now, Delsin wasn’t so sure of that, but how could he convince him when he didn’t have any proof?

 

In the end Dante just hung his head, looking defeated as if Delsin knowing about all of this would make him stop loving him. So he closed the distance between them, reached out to cup his boyfriend’s cheek, who just looked at him in surprise.

 

“I love you”, Delsin simply said. “I want you to come home.”

 

“How can you-”, Dante hiccuped a little as he spoke. “How can you say that knowing what I am? What I did.”

 

“You’re still Dante. Sweet, gentle Dante. You’re still the person I love. And hey, I can shoot smoke and lasers and fly, who am I to judge?”

 

Despite himself Dante had to laugh at that and didn’t pull back when Delsin leaned in to kiss him.

 

“You’re too good to me”, Dante whispered.

 

“Nonsense. You’ve changed, love, you are ten times the person I am”, Delsin continued. “Look at where you’ve been, and where you are now. I am so proud of you.”

 

“You… I… shut up”, he finished lamely.

 

“No I won’t”, Delsin chuckled, holding out his hand. “I’m going home, you coming?”

 

Dante nodded as he took his hand, following him like a puppy as he led the way down the building, and back home. Their home. While Dante kept apologizing to him, for marking him, for making him cry and biting him, and Delsin kept reassuring him. He had done nothing wrong, he was the gentle soul he had always been and so he led him through the city, and back to their bed. Where he wrapped his arms around his boyfriend, let him rest on his own chest, gently stroking his hair.

 

He had to admit he was curious, about all of this. About Nephilim, and what that meant for Dante, or what it meant for him and that mark. But Dante didn’t seem like he had all of the answers either, and he wouldn’t need them if he wasn’t willing to share. He remembered that time they’d been to the museum though, and the angel painting that had reminded Dante of his mother.

 

“Do you… want to talk love?”, he asked softly. “About your mother maybe? About any of this?”

 

Dante sighed softly against him.

 

“She looked exactly like on that painting”, he said, apparently thinking about the same thing Delsin had. “She was so beautiful, and so warm… so kind I- She would sing to us. I remember now. God, I wish I remembered more…”

 

“You don’t?”

 

“I… our father erased our memories, when he separated us”, Dante said. “To keep us safe but… only so little has come back. She was so loving so… Sometimes I wonder how she and my father… They were very different.”

 

“He… hurt you?”, Delsin asked softly. With Dante’s past, he wouldn’t be surprised.

 

“What? No, he’d never he just… he was different. A demon. They… shit I don’t know much about this, I had no one to tell me.” He hesitated for a moment. “Except Phineas, he told me a little.”

 

“What did he tell you, love?”

 

“Demons they… they experience love differently”, Dante was whispering again, perhaps hoping that Delsin wouldn’t hear him. “It’s more about… possessing someone. And…”

 

He trailed off, clinging to Delsin’s shirt tightly.

 

“Well you’re not a demon”, Delsin said matter of factly. “You’re Nephilim. And you’re my sweet, gentle angel, nothing’s changed.”

 

“You are so fucking cheesy, Delsin.”

 

They were both giggling as Dante climbed up to kiss him.

 

“You love it”, he said, pulling Dante’s hips onto his own.

 

“I do”, Dante admitted. “And I love you. For just… accepting me. I’m not even human I…”

 

Delsin couldn’t bear the sad look in his boyfriend’s eyes.

 

“And what does that change exactly? You’re still the same person you were before, except now I know. I’m glad you were able to tell me, you know.”

 

“I… told you to push you away, Delsin.” Dante rolled off of him now, staring blankly at the ceiling. “I didn’t think you would just accept it. Didn’t think you would still… love me.”

 

“You dummy”, he said flatly, and now it was his turn to climb up his boyfriend, chin resting on his chest. “Of course I still do. Here, have it a few times so you can remember: I love you. I love you. I love you.”

 

For each sentence he pressed a kiss to Dante’s jaw, then his cheek, and finally his lips. It had the intended effect, it made Dante blush and hide behind his hands as he told him to shut up again.

 

“Never”, Delsin said. “Not when you’re sad and I can make you feel better.”

 

“I…”, Dante sighed. “I’m not so sad anymore. I’m glad I told you.”

 

“So am I, love. You’ll stay now, won’t you?”


“Yeah.” Dante smiled and relief washed over him at that word. “Nothing’s gonna get me away from here now.”

Chapter Text

For once Paul was distracted from work. He was smiling up at the painting above his desk, the one he’d fallen in love with at the art gallery a while back, that had cost millions of dollars, the one that Vergil had bought. For him.

 

Of course he’d say things like “It fits into our collection” or “I liked it”, but Paul knew that it was for him. Vergil might not be open with his affections, might not appreciate being touched, but he certainly knew how to show that he cared. And he did care, in his own way. Though there was no illusion as to what this was between them. Paul never expected more, didn’t expect a traditional relationship, but whatever Vergil was willing to give him, he would take. Whether this was a lingering, rare touch or kiss, or a painting, a new suit, cufflinks, it manifested in different kinds of ways.

 

Paul loved wearing the gifts he got from his boss, and he knew Vergil loved seeing them on him. They meant he was his, though Paul was all too willing to simply tell him that if he only asked for it. Vergil was his king and that pretty much summed up their relationship.

 

His smile spread as he thought about where he had ended up… Assistant to this powerful man, witch to this incredible, gorgeous creature - Nephilim. Was it strange that he simply accepted the supernatural into his life? But he had to admit that when Vergil triggered whatever it was inside him, it had felt like a missing piece had finally clicked into place. Vergil had explained that his magical energy had lain dormant for whatever reason, and that had to have been it. If he had only knew about this before… his life could have been so different.

 

Perhaps he could have hidden better from his parents, perhaps he could have even fled sooner from them, instead having to wait until he was off to university to finally cut all ties with them. They were Christians, not the loving your neighbour kind, and… strict. Extremely so.

He had grown up going to church a lot, and it hadn’t seemed so bad to him, at least while he was a child. Only later did he realize that it wasn’t normal to get hit by your father for doing something wrong, that other children were allowed to go onto field trips and could play with whomever they wanted. It could have been his breaking point, when he was fourteen and was caught kissing a boy, when his father had almost killed him. He suspected that the only reason he had been left with only a tiny scar on his hip had been his dormant magical potential, and maybe it had even saved his life.

 

After that he had still been sent to a camp to… straighten him out so to speak. And there he learned how to act, how to put up his mask to get through this, to play other people so that in the end, he could still do what he wanted. He needed to be careful of course, play the good son, the Christian son who had only made a mistake, had never liked boys in the first place, the good student, the obedient worker. As long as he didn’t draw too much attention to himself, delivered good grades, and did as he was told, he could survive.

 

That was just it though, his life had been about survival, about getting out of there, and despite his quiet rage and determination it put a steady strain on him. It kept building up and when it was finally time to leave his home, when he had been accepted into an Ivy League school with a scholarship, when his plans had come through and he had a new place to stay he just stood by the side of the road to scream. It didn’t matter if anyone from his home town could hear him, none of it mattered anymore. He had been so, so careful about leaving a trail, had only left a note that said he would never contact his parents again, and then he was gone. Without a single trace.

 

It had been the happiest day of his life, but thinking back to what his life had been had thoroughly ruined his mood for today.

 

He was always calm and collected, had needed to be his entire life and it had carried over into his adult life. If he could even be called that with his 24 years. He had been so lucky to get this job, to be trained by Vergil but today he didn't feel very mature.

The thought of his parents made him feel scared and angry at the same time. And then there was the way Vergil had treated him the other day… Yes, Paul was aware of what he could give him, and what he couldn’t, but he had used that mark, had driven him almost crazy with pleasure and then told him to leave. Of course he had investigated, had seen the mark that was now on him, claiming him as Vergil’s. That’s what it had to be. To be discarded like that felt horrible sometimes, it made him feel… worthless. That nagging feeling at the back of his mind that his parents just might have been right after all, that he was wrong, not even worth the food they had put on the table.  

He didn't quite know how to handle it, and suddenly the mug of coffee he had initially brought for Vergil lay shattered on the floor.

 

"Shit", he mumbled to himself as he stooped to clear up the mess he had made.

 

He heard Vergil come through to his office, had probably seen his little outburst through the glass front that separated their offices.

 

"What's the commotion?", he asked, and Paul only quickly glanced up at him in way of greeting.

 

"Sorry I just... I don't know what came over me."

 

"We have enough mugs, it's fine", Vergil seemed to hesitate for a moment. "I do believe I am quite sick of the office for today. You'll accompany me to the mall."

 

As usual, Vergil didn't even ask but Paul was glad for the distraction and was almost sure his boss didn't have the plan until he had shown that he was upset. Vergil did care.

 

"The mall, sir?" It was still unusual for Vergil to want to go to such a crowded place. He disliked being around other humans, especially in groups.

 

"Yes. I don't quite know what I want yet. Just… getting out will be nice for a change."

 

Paul had to smile, despite the conflict in him. The way he had been brought up, had been taught what was sinful, to think that he was now working for a literal demon. Maybe he was a sinner, maybe he was working for the devil and maybe this path was wrong. But nothing had ever made him happier in his entire life. How could it be, when it seemed so right?

 

He stood, trying to get rid of those thoughts for a while at least. They always tended to come back to him, but looking at Vergil could calm them, could calm him.

 

At least early in the morning on a weekday the mall wasn’t very crowded and they could leisurely stroll through it. Though of course Paul had needed to switch some meetings, and was still glancing at his tablet from time to time, making sure the company didn’t collapse without them.

 

“Put that away, will you?”, Vergil said. “It’s distracting.”

 

“Sorry, sir. Just making sure everything is okay.”

 

“It will be”, Vergil hesitated for a moment, and they both stopped walking. “For someone who keeps telling me I work too hard, you don’t know how to relax either.”

 

“At least I regularly go to sleep”, he replied, smiling shyly up at Vergil. The corner of his mouth turned up a little at that, and Paul could tell he was holding back a bigger smile.

 

“True. Speaking of that, get us some coffee, will you? I didn’t get mine this morning.”

 

“Right away, sir. I’ll be right back.” Of course that had been a quip to what had happened earlier, but he didn’t mind. He had made Vergil smile, which in turn made him smile, the entire way to the coffee shop and back.

 

He was halfway to where they were supposed to meet when he froze and dropped both cups of coffee. It stained his pants, and was too hot but it didn’t even register with him. Not when he was staring into his parents’ faces.

 

It couldn’t be. There was no way. He had made sure to get a job as far away from them as possible, they couldn’t be here. Paul was shaking, couldn’t take a step, not away from them, was frozen when they started to recognize and walk towards him. His heart was beating so rapidly now he was sure they would be able to hear it. Would it displease them, would they get angry?

 

He was twelve years old again, helpless, and scared as they started to fuss over him. They started to tell him how much they had missed him, even hugged him and it made his skin crawl. What he was, what he was able to do, all of it was forgotten, there was only fear inside him.

 

They were eyeing him, sizing him up with his expensive shirt, pressed pants, and the tasteful but expensive bracelet Vergil had given him. He knew what he looked like, what those clothes said about him, and knew that his parents would want to exploit that.

 

“It’s been so long, my dear boy”, his mother said, and his father came up to wrap his hand around Paul’s arm, so tightly it hurt, to lead him out of the mall.

 

“Yes, we should catch up”, his father added, and they started to walk.

 

He didn’t want to, didn’t want to leave, not with them, wherever they’d lead them. They would hurt him again, would make him hide his true self, but still he couldn’t even try to pull away. His vision was getting blurred, Paul could only see his own two feet, reluctantly moving forward. All the sounds of the mall were muffled, nothing but his father’s sharp, angry whispers filled him. Promises of what he’d do if Paul didn’t follow, didn’t comply with what they wanted, which was his money, of course it would be.

 

But suddenly they stopped, and it took all of Paul’s willpower not to collapse then and there, from pure fear.

 

“Excuse me, what are you doing with my assistant?”

 

Vergil’s voice let Paul snap his head up, seeing him just in front of his mother let him focus a little again. Though he couldn’t speak he hoped the way he looked at him would make Vergil realize he didn’t want to be here. The sheer panic inside him had to show on his face. Vergil had to know.

 

Please, please, save me, please.

 

“We are just going to take our son out to a nice lunch”, his father said, the polite mask he usually wore around others back on. Paul knew it too well. “We haven’t seen him in so long, so if you’d excuse us.”

 

They started walking past Vergil, but now it was his boss’ turn to take his father’s arm to stop him.

 

“Paul does not look like he wants to leave with you”, Vergil stated calmly.

 

“That’s really none of your business”, his mother insisted. But Paul could tell Vergil wasn’t letting them go, his grip on his father only tightened.

 

Please, you’re right I don’t want to.

 

They were connected through the mark, Vergil had to feel his panic. Even if he wanted to, Paul would not be able to hide it in any way right now.

 

“It is my business if you’re holding him against his will.” Vergil turned to look at him, and those grey eyes were comforting. despite the steely cold in them. “Paul, do you want to leave with your parents?”

 

Paul was silently pleading for Vergil to just take him away from here, anywhere, back to work, he didn’t care. Slowly, almost hardly noticeable, he shook his head.

 

“N-no…”, his voice was a whisper, almost inaudible over the din in the mall, but it was enough for Vergil it seemed.

 

He tightened his grip on his father’s arm, until he cried out and finally let go of Paul. Then he swiftly put his arm around him, and started to lead him out. Paul’s father protested only once, until Vergil turned to look at him and he could feel the demonic energy coursing through him. Paul didn’t know what exactly he had done, but it seemed to work. His parents were backing up, let them walk out of the mall and into Vergil’s limousine, though the trip was just one blur to him.

 

When he finally sat down in the back of the limousine, Paul lost it. Despite his conflicts, he had been happy, content with his life, but seeing his parents had made everything he had suppressed come back at once. It had been so long since he had felt fear like this, he had been utterly unprepared when it had come back. Not even Limbo had that effect on him, not the demons, only his parents could make him feel this way.

 

The sobs shook him quietly at first, the sheer panic not letting any tears fall. He was grasping at his own shirt, ripping off the buttons because suddenly there wasn’t any air in his lungs anymore. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t even tell Vergil what was wrong with him, could only cry in desperation.

 

“Paul…”, Vergil’s voice was quiet, but he was pulling Paul into his lap where he collapsed against his chest. All of Vergil’s reservations were forgotten, there was no room left in his brain to worry about it now. Not that he’d been able to when Vergil started to gently rub circles on his mark, the touch immediately calming him.

 

His breathing slowly started to return to normal, Vergil’s presence, so close, made him feel safe again. Paul left his eyes closed, enjoying his boss’ warmth just for a little while longer. He knew it wouldn’t last, Vergil had only been doing this because he must have sensed how he felt, must have known his touch was calming to Paul.

 

“What did they do?”, Vergil asked quietly, though he must surely have an idea. Paul knew how he worked, how good he was at finding out everything about a person’s past. Surely he must have done a background check on him as well.

 

But nevertheless Vergil waited, until Paul quietly started to tell him about his childhood, what he had been through. All through his tale Vergil’s grip on his own coat tightened, though he was still gently brushing over Paul’s mark.

 

“If you want to, I can take care of them”, Vergil said when he had finishes talking, his voice icy, and if it had been directed at him, he’d have been scared out of his mind.

 

“No!” Paul sat up now, looking at Vergil. “I… They were- are horrible but… They’re still my parents. Please don’t…”

 

“All right. I won’t.” Vergil gently brushed away the tears that were still on his cheeks, and that touch made his breathing hitch for a second. This was the closest they’d been in… they’d ever been, and Paul couldn’t deny how good it felt. “I’ll bring you home now, you should rest.”

 

“No, please I… I need a distraction. I’d like to work on some recipes if that’s all right.”

 

Vergil simply nodded as he told the driver where to go, but he didn’t push Paul off his lap, not yet. Though he didn’t dare move, either. He wanted to let his head rest on Vergil’s shoulder again, wanted to kiss him, but he was sure he’d overstay his welcome if he did so. He didn’t want to risk it, instead made himself enjoy Vergil’s arm around his waist the entire way to their workspace.

 

“I have some things to attend to”, Vergil said when the finally arrived. “Will you be all right?”

 

“Yes I… I am better now. Thank you.” Paul truly did not know what would have happened if Vergil hadn’t gotten to him in time. He was a powerful witch, but at that moment, he could not have remembered any of his spells, could not have remembered what Vergil had taught him about fighting. Most of all, it made him angry. That his parents could still do that to him, after all this time. But no matter what they did, he could not bring himself to have Vergil kill them. It wasn’t in his nature.

 

He was about to get up from Vergil’s lap when he was held back by his boss tightening his grip on him. Paul looked at him, confused, until he was pulled into a soft kiss and immediately relaxed into it. The kiss was chaste, but Vergil let it linger for a while, fingers grasping Paul’s shirt, his other hand sliding along his leg. Breaking it was a bittersweet sensation. He didn’t want the kiss to end, but the little sigh that escaped Vergil’s lips made his heart skip a beat.  

 

“Don’t work too much-”, Vergil stopped himself for whatever reason and finished lamely by saying his name.

 

Something was odd about his boss today, even with what had happened… being this affectionate was strange. And so Paul kept watching the limousine as it drove away, staring into the distance. He knew Vergil cared, somewhat at least, but could he… Paul didn’t want to give himself the illusion that there could be more, but it was hard not to think like that when he was acting this way.

 

There was no sense in lingering on these thoughts however, so Paul made his way inside. He needed to remind himself of what he was, and he lit some candles in a corner that he had made comfortable for himself. Lots of pillows and blankets were draped there, enough so he could easily lie back for hours to wander Limbo to his heart’s content. And he did like walking through it, most demons avoided him since he was marked by Vergil, and from the others he could easily hide. It was fascinating, really, and so he settled in, closed his eyes, focused his energy to send his spirit form into the other world.

 

It had always been interesting to Paul that everything was so much more vibrant in Limbo, so much more intense. And he still hadn’t gotten used to looking down and finding that he was see-through. Touching things had certainly been an experience the first time.

There was a place in Limbo he had found a few weeks after first discovering his powers. He hadn’t told Vergil about it, though he couldn’t quite say why. It was called Un-Town by the demons, and there was an unspoken rule, that no matter what your allegiance, you would not attack anyone inside the perimeters. Which meant Paul could explore, could listen to demons that weren’t following Vergil yet, or could simply spend time without needing to worry.

 

Though it never meant that he let down his guard, he wasn’t stupid. He’d seen enough demons tricking others to set one foot outside of the town, where they were immediately ambushed and killed. Limbo was still dangerous, but Paul was good at navigating it. He’d even begun to talk to a few of the demons here almost on a regular basis. Some of them were quite eager to befriend him, to be in good standing with his boss, though those Paul didn’t like as much as the ones that were mostly neutral. They were curious about him, his unique abilities, and mostly didn’t bother him with requests. They were self-serving, first and foremost though, Paul knew that, and knew how to barter with them for information.

 

The town itself strangely looked like it was taken straight out of an old Western movie. One demon had told him that someone had cast a spell so that tumbleweed would randomly waft through it, though no one could tell him how the town had actually come to be built. Paul almost suspected that the sheer need for a safe zone in Limbo had brought it into existence. Which would explain why it looked the way it did, oddly enough most demons seemed to like old Western movies.

 

Paul smiled and shook his head as he walked along the main road, though he was still hard pressed to call the dirt path that, to enter the bar, or Saloon. He was greeted by the demon behind the counter, who already prepared his usual for him. He didn’t know the name of the drink, and had been anxious the first time he tried it, but it was sweet, and most importantly it hadn’t killed him. Demons were experts at creating both pleasure and pain, and some of the most delicious things he had ever eaten had been from Un-Town, though he didn’t dare try too much. Someone was always out to kill someone in Limbo, and his unique appearance certainly made him a target. Apparently even by demon standards he was pretty.

 

Ronove, one of the demons he had become friendly with, was also here, and after asking politely Paul joined him at his table.

 

“Paul, you look distressed.” Ronove’s voice was raspy, and his leathery tail flickered at the lingering anxiety Paul still felt. “What happened?”

 

“It doesn’t matter. I came here to relax, if you don’t mind.” He took the first sip of his drink, let the curious taste fill his mouth, the sweetness of it making him smile. The realm of demons certainly wasn’t what he had expected at first.

 

“A human who comes to Limbo to relax, you really are one of a kind, aren’t you?” The demon chuckled as he shook his head in disbelief, black hair falling away to reveal the small horns on his head. “I will gladly oblige then, and change the subject. Did you try the camera I suggested last time?”

 

Paul nodded in acknowledgment of his courtesy.

 

“I did.” He used what little free time he had to experiment a little in photography, and may or may not have snuck a camera into the office to take a picture of Vergil when he was utterly concentrated. That man could be an excellent muse to him. And Ronove was curiously enough a demon who knew a lot about art, all kinds of them. Naturally they had come to talk about cameras at one point. “And I was very happy. Thank you for the recommendation.”

 

“Did you manage to sneak a picture of your ‘elusive subject’?”, Ronove added the appropriate finger quotes, and a knowing smile. It was obvious that Paul cared for that person, but he would never tell the demon that he was talking about Vergil. Even if he seemed friendly, showing weakness to the demon might be fatal.

 

In any case, Paul was glad that his see through form didn’t give away his blush too much.

 

“I… yes, actually. He didn’t even notice, he was engrossed in his work, as usual.”

 

“Oh how I wish you would show me. You talk about him with such… love and admiration. He must truly be a wonderful being, and I am convinced it would show in the way you frame him. I can only imagine it…” Ronove drifted off again, as he tended to do, envisioning an art project, fantasizing about it. It was really best to just leave him to it, either wait for him to return to his old self, or leave.

 

For now Paul contented himself with sipping his drink, watching Ronove, and the rest of the bar. He had to think of the simple polaroid he had taken of Vergil, and the way he felt about him truly did show. He had managed to frame it just so he was illuminated through the window behind him, giving him an otherworldly, an angelic look. Though Paul thought it would be creepy to hang it up in his apartment, he hadn’t been able to throw it away either, and so it was hidden in his bedside table. He took it out from time to time, remembering the few rare touches Vergil gave him.

 

The longing was so strong sometimes, but it was all worth it. They were connected now, he was Vergil’s mate, and he was happy with that. He realized it now, truly. He was happy. He’d be able to prepare himself if he were ever to meet his parents again, but he also had Vergil to save him. And he would, deep down he knew he would.

 

It seemed Ronove was lost in thought today, and not returning any time soon, so Paul slowly made his way back to his body in the real world. He always needed to keep his eyes closed for a little bit longer, concentrating on his breathing, feeling his own body in the space around him. Then wiggling his toes, moving his fingers, until he could be sure he was completely back to himself.

 

But this time, when he opened his eyes, Vergil was there, staring at him with an unreadable expression. It startled Paul, but his boss reached out to take his hand.

 

“I didn’t mean to scare you”, he said.

 

Vergil was definitely not himself today. But he didn’t mind. A Vergil who was a bit unlike himself was nice for a change.

 

“It’s all right.” Paul smiled softly at him, but couldn’t quite move yet, he needed a few more moments after walking Limbo for such a long time, and he didn’t pull away from Vergil either.

 

“Were you in Limbo?”, Vergil asked, and he nodded in reply. Something was off in the way he looked at Paul though, and he blamed his travelling through worlds in not realizing what it meant sooner.

 

Slowly he started to unbutton his shirt, slipped out of it to do the same with the rest of his clothes, watching Vergil watch him. His boss made no movements to undress though, but Paul knew he liked it this way sometimes. So he just laid back onto his mountain of pillows again, waiting for Vergil to make the next move.

 

He crawled up to Paul, who eagerly spread his legs so he would have enough space. Vergil reached out to cup his neck, softly brushing over the mark and even through gloved fingers he could feel pleasure running through him in a wave. They had discovered after a few more tries, that through some Nephilim magic they didn’t need to prepare Paul if they used the mark. In a manner of minutes he was wet and ready for his mate to take him, breathing heavily, gasping, twisting the blankets in a desperate grip.

 

“I am yours, my king. Yours to take”, Paul breathed. He knew just how much Vergil loved to be called that, and used it whenever they slept together. It made him eager, just as it did now, almost scrambling to unzip his pants, tugging them down just below his ass.

 

The way Paul was lying on his pillows Vergil needed to rest his lower arms on either side of him as he aligned himself with his entrance, slowly pushing inside. He wrapped his legs around him, still covered by Vergil’s coat, arching his back as he was completely filled by him. He was always so, so perfect inside him, Vergil knew just how to hit that sweet spot, to make him come apart completely.

 

As always Paul had to try his hardest not to reach out, not to wraps his arms around him as well, to pull him into a sweet and long kiss. But just as Vergil had been strange the entire day, he kept surprising him, and it was his king who leaned down, closed that bit of distance between them, and gave Paul what he wanted.

 

The kiss was sloppy, as Vergil kept thrusting into him, but it was gorgeous. Paul could taste coffee on his tongue, the crisp winter air still on his lips, soon replaced by the pure heat that was between them.

 

He wanted to tell him. At that moment he wanted to say it.

 

I love you Vergil.

 

Paul didn’t need to hear it back, it truly did not matter to him, but he wanted to let it out. Only the fear that Vergil might pull away if he did kept him from finally letting those words free.

 

They came almost simultaneously that night. Paul didn’t know if Vergil had held back until he was ready as well, or if the mark connected them even more than they had thought. Either way he blacked out for a mere second, gasping silently as he rode out his orgasm, fingers tingling as Vergil leaned in for another soft kiss.

 

When his vision had returned to normal Vergil had already adjusted his pants again, and sat with his back to him on the floor. He turned his head to the side and suddenly he looked… so young. Vulnerable. If he could only tell Paul what was going on within him today… The mark connected them, but Vergil had quickly learned to shut it completely off on his side. Paul could only use what he had learned about his king to try and read him, but today all the signs were indecipherable to him.

 

“I have to leave, for a few days”, Vergil said quietly.

 

“Did you ah”, Paul needed to swallow, to get his speech back. “Did you need me to come with you sir, or to make some arrangements?”

 

“No. I have everything arranged. I will be out of contact for a few days, I trust you’ll keep everything going.”

 

“M-me?” He couldn’t believe it. Even if it was for a few days, he’d leave the company in his hands? His alone?

 

“I… trust you Paul. You will do fine.” Vergil stood now, moved to hand him a clean blanket to cover himself with. “I will see you in a few days.”

 

It seemed to Paul that he was almost about to lean in for another kiss, but thought different of it at the last second. As Vergil was leaving he had to smile. Maybe things were changing, maybe once he was back there was that slim chance there could be more of the Vergil he saw today. The one that cared, that touched and kissed him.


Paul couldn’t wait.

Chapter Text

“Fuck, Dante, yes!”

 

Delsin was coming further apart with each thrust into him, so forceful under his boyfriend’s Devil Trigger. That’s what it was called, he had found out, not that he could remember while Dante fucked his brains out. He had taken the initiative more and more lately, and Delsin absolutely loved it. Whether it was slow and gentle, or rough like this, demonic energy coursing through his boyfriend, it was all good to him. More than that, there were hardly any words to describe the orgasms he experienced when Dante fucked him like this.

 

Both tended to just collapse afterwards, snuggling into each other’s embrace, smiling and giggling. He loved that about their sex, they could always smile and joke but then go straight into dirty talk and back again. That’s how comfortable they were around each other.

 

Now, again, they were just staring into each other’s eyes, leaning in for soft kitten kisses every so often. But sleep was going to overtake them both soon, superpowered sex did that to them.

 

“You left handprints in the sheets again”, Dante mumbled against his forehead.

 

“That’s why I bought that ten pack, I’ll change them tomorrow…”

 

Dante muttered something that vaguely resembled the word ‘love’ and Delsin made a motion that could in some way resemble a kiss but soon enough they were both lost in dream land. His dream started out wonderfully, it was just the two of them in a meadow, relaxing under the warm summer sun. Dante was brushing through his hair, braiding it. It was pure bliss that dream, and even in it he thought that they would definitely need to do this in real life soon, but then it changed.

 

The sun was blocked out, and in a matter of seconds the flowers around them had wilted. Suddenly Dante was gone, he couldn’t feel his presence anywhere and when he tried to sit up he woke with a start.

 

This… was not their bedroom. This was an empty apartment, all windows blocked, without any furniture and only a single lightbulb above him. When Delsin tried to move, he found that he couldn’t. He was tied to the chair that he was sitting on.

 

“Fucking… kid… napped?”, his words were slurred, his thoughts groggy. He couldn’t focus enough to use his powers, couldn’t get away from wherever he had been taken, though oddly enough even his clouded brain noticed the sweatpants on him. What kind of a kidnapper would do that?

 

A soft banging sound made him raise his head, and in front of him, a few meters away, was Dante. Banging his fist against what seemed like thin air. A forcefield?

Delsin could see his boyfriend’s lips move, but no sound reached his ears. Pure panic was written all over his face, tears streaming down his cheeks. It broke his heart to see him like this, and once more he tried to get out of his restraints.

 

“‘S all right… love I’m… all right…” It took all he had left to burn away the ropes, but he managed it, only to fall face first onto the floor. His hand barely managed to catch him in time, and his cheek still hit the floor below him. It stung, but his mind was so addled he barely felt it. He focused on Dante, crawled his way to the barrier to reach out.

 

Sure enough, there it was, separating his hand from Dante’s. He might have chuckled, it was straight out of a romance movie, but this was real life. Someone had taken and separated them, had drugged Delsin. Who would do this? They didn’t have any enemies, they’d just been living their lives, nothing more.

 

“Gonna… get us out of here”, Delsin mumbled.

 

“I am afraid that is not going to happen.”

 

He hadn’t heard anyone else come into the bare room he was in, but with whatever was in his system, it wasn’t surprising. Delsin slowly turned to look up at who had entered, and when he saw, he scrambled closer to the barrier with what little energy he had left.

 

This was… Dante.

 

It couldn’t be. Delsin looked to his right, through the barrier, and there was his boyfriend, frozen. If he had looked panicked before it was nothing to what he looked like now. As if all hope had left him, as if he was about to die. He mouthed something that Delsin again couldn’t hear, so he turned to the other Dante.

 

Not-Dante had his face, but not his hair. It was white, carefully combed back and the way he stood, the way he was dressed was completely different from his boyfriend. Dress pants, an elegant black coat that revealed one leg, and white gloves. Gloves.

 

“Twin”, he whispered.

 

“I have to congratulate you. That you can still form a thought like this, with what I did to you”, Vergil said. Delsin remembered the name, though it hurt to do so. “And you freed yourself. Impressive.”

 

“What the…”, Delsin took a deep breath. He had been right about Vergil not being dead but… well, never had he expected anything like this to happen. “Fuck?”

 

Vergil smiled in a way that was wholly different form his brother. Not kind, or warm, it almost seemed cruel.

 

“You have become quite attached to my brother.” He stepped closer, and if Delsin could have backed up more, he would. This man was scary, almost on a level with Augustine, but he couldn’t let himself think about that now. He couldn’t panic, not here. “I will show you, that this cannot, and will not go on.”

 

There was so much authority in his voice, Delsin could almost believe that this was going to happen. But he loved Dante, whatever his crazy ass brother had planned would not rip them apart. Nothing could.

 

“Why?”, he asked. “You’re… his… his brother.”

 

“That’s what you have to understand, Delsin.” Vergil looked down at him with such contempt, unlike anything he’d ever seen, not even from homophobic idiots. “We are not human. We are Nephilim, twin Nephilim, and he belongs with me.”

 

It took a moment for that to register with his brain.

 

“What?”

 

Be… together? The way he and Dante were? Was that a Nephilim thing? His drugged brain couldn’t even be shocked at the idea.

 

“You can never give him what he needs, Delsin. You are just… mortal. Just a mate. Nothing more. Only I can give him what he requires.”

 

“Bullshit”, he managed. Vergil raised one eyebrow, he looked surprised, probably did not get the reaction from Delsin that he had expected. Perhaps he didn’t know that he was aware of what they both were. Angel, demon, or both, Delsin didn’t care about any of it.

 

“I see it will take more to convince you”, he said flatly, and walked towards the energy barrier that Delsin was leaning against. He felt it ripple as Vergil simply stepped through it, and though he tried to push, Delsin could not follow.

 

Dante still looked so scared and there was nothing he could do.

 

“Don’t be afraid, brother”, Vergil said as he knelt in front of him, now eye to eye. “I will show you your true self.”

 

He reached out to cup Dante’s cheek, and even through the barrier Delsin could feel the energy raging through both of them. His boyfriend’s eyes changed the way they did when he triggered, going red, but it didn’t stop there.

Like Delsin, Dante was only wearing sweatpants, and so he could see his skin discolour at his hands, turning deep red and dissolving into regular skin at the elbows.His fingers twisted into claws, sharp and deadly as Dante’s whole body shuddered. He gasped, revealing his growing fangs but it was nothing compared to the way the skin broke on his back, not revealing red flesh, but leathery wings that burst through, that spread around him.

 

But the energy Delsin had felt dissipated quickly, and Dante slouched down again. Wings folding in, around him, almost like a protective shell. Vergil was still cupping his cheek, and it seemed Dante leaned into the touch, like a cat that wanted to be pet by its master. Vergil on the other hand just turned to look at Delsin, smiling again.

 

He returned to his side of the forcefield, but Delsin could not take his eyes off his whimpering boyfriend, hugging himself. He was as gorgeous as ever, and despite his changed appearance, that lost soul he had met on that rooftop so long ago, was still there. How could Vergil just leave him like that? He needed someone to guide him now.

 

“The first time leaves us weak”, Vergil said quietly. “But after that, oh… the power. You can’t imagine it. Do you see now, Delsin? You know nothing about him, and you never will.”

 

Only now did he manage to take his eyes off the slouched figure that was his boyfriend, to angrily glare up at Vergil. Some of the dizziness had left him, his mind was a little clearer now.

 

“You’ve been watching us, haven’t you?”, he asked. How else would he have known all of this about them? He had been spying on them. Pathetic.

 

“I bided my time”, Vergil admitted. Delsin just huffed at that and rolled his eyes.

 

“You think I know nothing about him? Well tell me this…” He balled his hands into fists, the gall this man had, to come into their lives like this, to try and rip them apart. Brother or not, he didn’t care. He was furious and if he could, he would stand and show him what a mere mortal could do. “Tell me, do you know what he looks like when he’s sleeping and dreaming of good things? Do you know what he smells like after a shower?”

 

He could see the confusion on Vergil’s face, which then slowly turned into anger. It was satisfying to watch.

 

“Do you know that he feeds every stray cat in the neighbourhood? Do you know he can eat chocolate all day and still ask for more? Have you ever heard him sigh because he felt so safe and content? If you did it was only because you spied on him like a pathetic creeper.”

 

Vergil’s anger had turned into rage, had made his eyes turn completely black as he rushed towards Delsin, grasping him by his throat to push him against the wall. With what strength he had, Delsin held on to that strong arm, trying to put some of the pressure off his throat. But he couldn’t help but laugh, a strangled sound, and it angered Vergil even more, black veins now spreading from his eyes.

 

“Why are you laughing?”, he growled, even his voice was changed. That of an animal. A predator.

 

“Because you’re so pathetic”, Delsin managed to get out. “You’re so desperate for him, but do you think he’d ever love you after seeing you hurt me?”

 

“Shut up”, Vergil shouted the last word, and suddenly the world was crashing around them.

 

Once again his big mouth had gotten him into trouble, he thought, as he watched Vergil change just as Dante had. Watched as the world became so much more vibrant, though the apartment seemed to rip itself apart and turn into a ruin. Red and orange and all shades in between were so dominant Delsin had to close his eyes for a moment. A sharp wind seemed to tug at him, made the hair on his skin stand. This was… where they’d been, but not. It looked like the other side of a coin. Not a copy, but part of their world.

 

“I rule here”, Vergil growled, his grip tightening. It was hard to breathe now, and Delsin’s vision was getting fuzzy, this overwhelming new world and Vergil filling him with fear. “And now you will die here.”

 

As soon as those words were out of his mouth Vergil was pushed to the side, and in a rush of wings Delsin was late to realize it was Dante who had ran into him. He hit the floor, gasping for breath as he watched the two Nephilim roll away from him. Dante didn’t even try to summon his sword, he was swiping at his brother with his claws, who retaliated in the same way.

 

There was nothing graceful about this fight, Dante couldn’t even speak, looked like he was made of pure rage as he raked over Vergil’s chest. Or tried to, as his first few swipes were repelled by another invisible barrier. But Vergil had been right, he was weaker than before, and so he had no problem pushing Dante off of him, reversing their roles. Now Vergil was straddling his brother, claws around his throat.

 

But he had come here for his brother, surely he wouldn’t want to hurt him… would he? Delsin wasn’t so sure anymore, as Dante kept trying to push Vergil off but failing, his movements getting weaker by the second. With what energy had returned to Delsin he focused, managed to shoot Vergil off of his boyfriend with one single smoke blast. The barrier around him glowed for a second, and then he could see it crumble into dust. Critical hit, Delsin thought bitterly.

 

Dante didn’t hesitate, got up to follow where his brother had fallen, face first into the floor. He settled on his knees behind him, grasped Vergil’s hair to pull his head up, and slam it into the ground. It connected with a sickening crunch, but Dante didn’t stop, repeated the motion twice, three times, until blood was spilling from Vergil’s mouth. Then once more, until his brother’s claws relaxed, didn’t rake at the ground anymore, and pulled his head up once more.

 

His boyfriend leaned in close to Vergil who… tried to nod, and bared his throat. Delsin couldn’t believe what he was seeing, the other Nephilim looked… submissive. And then Dante bit down onto the back of his neck, as he had done with Delsin, only now it was so much more violent. There was so much blood but he couldn’t even focus on that, not when Dante now furiously pulled down his brother’s pants, quickly followed by his own, and pushed inside him.

 

His own brother.

 

Delsin could only stare at Dante taking his own brother. There was nothing erotic about this it was… animalistic. He was claiming Vergil, marking him, making him him his own. This was unlike anything he had ever seen in Dante, this fury, this violence. His boyfriend’s name quietly tumbled from his lips, but the look he gave Delsin, the actual growl that came from him, made him flinch back. There was nothing he could do, he was frozen in fear. If he tried to intervene, Dante might just turn on him next.

 

And so he watched, because he couldn’t turn away either. Watched as Dante fucked his brother, still grasping his hair, other arm around his waist, holding him in place. Vergil’s expression was contorted halfway between pain and pleasure, though it was hard to see through all the blood still on him. His wings were folded, unlike Dante who head spread his, and they were gorgeous but Delsin couldn’t even think about that. Only watched as Dante spilled inside his brother, watched them both collapse as the real world came rushing back.

 

He needed a few moments to get back on his feet, to slowly walk over where the two Nephilim had passed out. They were transforming back to their human forms and he came to a stop just in front of them. There was still blood on Vergil’s neck, though the wound had already closed again. Delsin couldn’t help but kneel and adjust both their pants, couldn’t stand it and once he was done, he let himself fall onto the floor to immediately break into tears.

 

“This wasn’t how this day was supposed to go”, he mumbled to himself, and through the tears, the desperation, he started to laugh.

 

He had made plans. Had wanted to take Dante out for a nice lunch, which seemed such a ridiculous concern after what had just happened.

 

“What am I supposed to do?”

 

Delsin could hear how desperate, how lost he sounded in the empty room. He had two unconscious Nephilim here, cared about one of them. But he was still weak, how could he get Dante back home, how were they supposed to deal with this?

 

“Reggie… Reggie I wish you were here.” He had to suppress his sobs as Dante suddenly started to stir. He rushed over to him, ignoring Vergil behind him. “Dante, love, are you okay?”

 

“What… What happened?” Dante slowly sat up, glanced over at Vergil, eyes widening. “He… tried to hurt you I… Fuck my head. I don’t remember after that.”

 

“You don’t… remember?” While his boyfriend was still confused Delsin managed to wipe away the tears still on his cheeks, could pretend that he hadn’t seen what he had witnessed.

 

“No I… Fuck, Vergil.” Dante was grasping, pulling at his own hair, close to tears himself. Delsin sighed, and pulled him into a hug. He would need to be strong for his boyfriend now, who knew nothing about what it meant to be Nephilim, who was just as confused as he was.

 

“Dante… what do you want to do with him, he… We have to figure something out.”

 

Dante softly wrapped his arms around him, grasped at his back, sniffling into his chest. He seemed so small, so vulnerable. He seemed like Dante again.

 

“He’s my brother”, Dante said. “I can’t… I can’t leave him here but what if he tries to hurt you again?”

 

“I… doubt he will.” They’d been like animals, Dante had claimed his brother, and he didn’t think Vergil would be able to make a move anytime soon. And Delsin was getting stronger again too, he’d be able to defend himself, if it came to that. “We’ll get him home and… And then we’ll see, okay?”

 

Dante nodded against his chest before he pulled back, wiped away his own tears and Delsin stood. Went to rip off some of the cardboard that was taped over the windows to try and figure out where they were. Still in Seattle at least, and not that far from their home. But carrying an unconscious person through the city might draw some attention to them. But rifling through Vergil’s things revealed a car key, for a rental. Together the lifted the unconscious Nephilim, one arm around Delsin’s shoulder, the other around Dante’s. That way they carried him outside, but not without Dante stooping to pick up a sword that was resting against the wall.

 

“It… was our father’s”, Dante explained. “I can’t leave it behind.”

 

Delsin only nodded, it wasn’t the strangest thing to happen that day. At least they managed to avoid people on their way to the basement garage, though it took them a few minutes to figure out which car was ‘theirs’.

 

They were silent on their way home, Delsin glancing back at Vergil through the rearview mirror from time to time, making sure he wasn’t waking up. And he didn’t, not when they carried him inside their house, laid him to rest in Eugene’s old room. There was nothing else they could do at the moment, and when Delsin had closed the door behind them, he let himself rest against it, sighing into the silence between him and his boyfriend.

 

“I am so sorry Delsin”, Dante whispered, made him open his eyes again.

 

“It’s not your fault.” He reached out to gently take his hand.

 

“But it is”, Dante’s breathing hitched as he talked. “He’s my brother, he wants to be with me, and I… It’s all because of me.”

 

“You heard all of that then?”, Delsin asked. “That speech how you belong together? Do you believe it?”

 

“I can’t… can’t deny that there’s something. Especially after- What I turned into. But it’s just so…” Dante grunted in frustration. “I don’t know what any of this means. I just… I want my brother back.”

 

He sounded like a petulant child when he said that last bit, and Delsin couldn’t help but drag him into a hug. A second ago he hadn’t been sure if he could have, the image of Dante with his brother so fresh in his mind. Whatever he had turned into, that wasn’t his boyfriend, that hadn’t been the man he was in love with. It was all Vergil’s fault, he had changed him.

 

“How about you go take a shower, and then I’ll do the same”, Delsin said quietly, still petting Dante’s hair. “Then we’ll go to bed and we’ll figure this out in the morning, okay?”

 

His boyfriend nodded and did as he suggested, with Delsin following once he was done. While they slept Dante was clinging so tightly to him, that for the first time since they had gotten together, he had to squirm out of that embrace. It was too much for him, for now. But Dante had still been asleep, hadn’t noticed it and he was glad for that. It didn’t mean Delsin would abandon him, or stop loving him, but that scary ass alternate dimension, seeing two beings fuck in their demonic forms, it was a lot for him to process.

 

When the morning came, none of them managed to actually figure any of this out. They had breakfast in silence, with Vergil still in Eugene’s old room, who had even locked himself in. Delsin just sat a tray with food outside of the room, though he was close to not doing anything for him at all. He had come into their lives to rip them apart, to claim Dante for himself and now he was in their home. It made his skin crawl to think of it, and he was only distracted by hearing the door behind him close, the one to Dante’s room. Another click, and he knew his boyfriend had locked himself in as well.

 

Delsin tugged at his own hair in frustration. What was he supposed to do? He wasn’t equipped to deal with this! He had only not completely lost his mind when he had found out about his powers because Reggie had been there to help him through it. And now he was gone, he was on his own, and he just couldn’t.

 

So he did the only thing his brain could come up with, went to his own room, and started to paint. To sketch this other world, over and over again, in different styles, on a small piece of paper, to paint it on a large canvas. Again and again and again until his fingers hurt, until the day had come and gone, and a second one with it. Until he finally passed out from lack of sleep. Somewhere in the back of his mind he could hear Reggie scolding him, that this was not a way to deal with anything. But then another part reminded him that his brother was dead. Simple as that.

 

A shattering noise woke him, made him sit up sharply to find Dante on the floor with him, a broken mug at his feet. Tea was slowly seeping into the carpet, but it didn’t matter when Dante looked so absolutely scared. He was staring at the large canvas depicting this other world they had been to.

 

“Fuck, fuck…”, Delsin mumbled. He should have locked the door, this was likely as terrible to Dante as it had been for him. “Dante, love, talk to me.”

 

He scrambled to kneel in front of his boyfriend, ignoring the hot tea staining his pants, to take his hand, to block his view onto the canvas.

 

“I… I raped him, Delsin.”

 

His drawing had triggered Dante’s memory. But he stayed silent, bit on his lower lip because he couldn’t say that he hadn’t.

 

“Oh god Delsin what have I done?” Dante was hugging his legs now, rocking back and forth while staring into empty space. His breathing was erratic, and Delsin knew he was on the verge of a panic attack. Someone needed to explain something right now, and there was only one person who could do that.

 

Delsin rushed to Eugene’s room, banged against the door and called out for Dante’s brother.

 

“Vergil open the fucking door, I’ll blast it down if I have to!”, he shouted through it, but there was no need to. A shuffling noise behind the door told him Vergil was moving, and soon enough the door was unlocked, and the broken shell of Dante’s brother looked down at him through the crack.

 

He was even paler than he had been, bags under his eyes and that triumphant look, the proud way he had held himself, it was all gone.

 

“What is it?”, Vergil asked, still with the gall to demand that courtesy to be treated like a normal person.

 

“Your brother is having a panic attack because of you. He needs answers, I need answers and you’re going to give them to us. Now.”

 

Vergil hesitated for a moment before he brushed past Delsin, through the open door into his room. He knelt in front of his brother, but didn’t reach out. He quickly followed, kneeling next to Vergil.

 

“Oh god, Vergil, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry…”, Dante kept mumbling over and over again, his fingers digging so hard into his own arms that Delsin was sure he’d leave bruises there.

 

“There…is nothing for you to apologize for”, Vergil said hesitantly, and his brother was about to protest when he kept going. “We fought, you were the victor. You claimed what was yours by right. I… wanted it. You even asked me, do you remember? And I nodded.”

 

Delsin could tell all of this was hard for Vergil to admit. He had seemed like such a proud person, being claimed like this had not been his plan, it had been what he had wanted to do to his brother. The thought sent shivers down Delsin’s spine.

 

“But I… I forced-”

 

“You did not”, Vergil insisted. “This is what I have been trying to tell you ever since we met. You are not human, Dante. You never will be. This is what we are.”

 

“It is not all you are, love”, Delsin interrupted, reaching out to gently take one of his hands, forcing it away from his arm. “You are the sweetest, kindest person I have ever met. And I love you.”

 

He could feel Vergil flinch beside him, but the Nephilim didn’t say anything. Dante was just staring wide-eyed at him, as if he couldn’t believe he was still being loved.

 

“What does this… claiming, mean exactly?”, Delsin asked Vergil, turning to look at him, but not letting go of his boyfriend’s hand.

 

“It means… that I am yours, Dante. I am bound to your will”, his voice was monotonous. He had accepted his fate.

 

“But I… I don’t want that!”, Dante said, panic in his eyes. “I want you to be you! I don’t want… this. I release you, okay?! You’re free, you’re not mine!”

 

“It doesn’t work if you don’t mean it”, Vergil said quietly.

 

“Dante…?”, Delsin looked at his panicking boyfriend. There was guilt clearly written on his face.

 

“I…” Dante drifted off, burying his face in his knees.

 

“I can understand”, his brother said. “After everything I’ve done. He can’t trust me.”  

 

“Good point.” Delsin was getting angry again. Dante had never wanted any of this, he had finally been happy here, and now his own brother had destroyed all of that. “I am going to address the elephant in the room. You tried to kill me. Will you try again?”

 

“I cannot go against Dante’s will”, Vergil hesitated. “No. I will not attempt anything. You are safe from me.”

 

“Then you’ll stay”, Delsin said, earning the attention of both the Nephilim, whose eyes were trained on him now. “Not because I want you to, but because you’re Dante’s brother and… he wants to, I can tell.”

 

“Delsin…”, Dante’s voice was quiet, and he moved closer to his boyfriend, brushing the tears from his cheeks. “Thank you I… I don’t know what to do but…”

 

“Neither do I we just… have to figure it out.”

 

“May I be excused”, Vergil piped up, not meeting their eyes. Delsin nodded, and though the command hadn’t come from Dante, it was enough to let him leave the room it seemed. He stayed with his boyfriend though, who still looked so incredibly guilty, even after what Vergil had just told him. He could understand, a gentle soul like his, having changed like that, done things that went against his nature… It would haunt him for a very long time, Delsin knew.

 

But they would have to live with each other, at least for now. Until they could figure out what to do, how they would deal with Vergil. The connection between Dante and him would stay, as he was still not able to forgive Vergil, despite feeling guilty for what he did to him that day.

 

His brother was incredibly submissive, asking for permission for simple things, for leaving the room, for getting food. It drove both of them crazy, but it was especially hard on Dante. Because he knew the person Vergil had been, the boy he had been when they had grown up together. He missed that Vergil, so much that it turned into anger.

 

Until one day, a few weeks after Vergil had come to stay with him, it escalated, and Dante pushed his brother against the wall in an attempt to get him to react at all. Delsin had rushed up the stairs upon hearing his raised voice, but was unable to stop him in time. It didn’t look like a hard push at all, nothing a Nephilim, or a Conduit, couldn’t take. Dante knew that as well, but Vergil hit his head on the wall with an almost sickening crunch, then slid down into a crumpled heap, not moving at all anymore.

 

“Come on, brother, stop playing… Vergil?” Dante was shaking as he knelt, and Delsin could practically see the panic rising in him once more.

 

Delsin joined his boyfriend next to Vergil, and gently tried to shake him awake. But he wasn’t reacting at all, and he was filled with dread.

 

“I think he’s actually hurt, we have to get him to a hospital.”

 

“But he’s…. we don’t get hurt, not from this!”, Dant stared at him wide eyed. “He has to be okay!”

 

“He will be if we get him help, come on, I’ll drive.”

 

Dante cradled his brother with a gentleness he had only ever experienced himself, and Delsin led the way to Reggie’s old truck. He tried not to think about any of this as he drove to the nearest hospital. Why on earth would Vergil be hurt from this? Did it have anything to do with the way he had been claimed?

 

But first they had to get him help, he could worry about everything else afterwards. The ER was packed, as it tended to be, but Vergil’s condition seemed bad enough that they were quickly taken care of, though Dante had trouble filling out his forms. There was a lot he didn’t know about his brother, and he was still close to a panic attack himself. So Delsin gently took the form away from him, telling him there would still be time for all that later. If they had to pay for all of this in cash, it would be fine too.

 

Though he didn’t tell his boyfriend that if Vergil didn’t have any insurance, they’d be in big financial trouble. Later, all of this, later.

 

“Mr. er… Sparda?”, a nurse called for Dante, and both came over to her. Delsin grasped his boyfriend’s hand, holding it tightly.

 

“It’ll be okay, love.”

 

But Dante was pale, looked close to fainting himself. There was still blood on his hands, Vergil had cracked his head open it seemed.

 

“Your brother… excuse me is he part of the family”, she nodded at Delsin.

 

“No, I mean yes… I mean he’s my boyfriend”, Dante stammered. “It’s okay you can talk in front of him.”

 

“Er… okay fine. Your brother as a concussion. He needs plenty of rest, but he should be able to go home in a few hours”, she explained. “But er… the police have been alerted, and they want to talk to you. Both of you I suppose.”

 

“The p-police?”, the panic in Dante’s voice was rising again. “Why?”

 

“I’m sorry, they have to be alerted if domestic abuse is suspected.”

 

Dante just stared at her, and kept staring at nothing when she left and two police officers came over instead, started questioning them right in the middle of the hallway. They didn’t seem particularly interested in hearing any of this, it was a routine to them. Delsin did his best to lie, told them it was an accident, caused by Vergil himself, they had just been playing. He was good at lying to authority, had done it to Reggie for years, and now he had a more important reason: Dante.

 

Who only nodded and stammered what Delsin said. He was sure his boyfriend was a better liar than that, but he was so scared that he had hurt his brother again, his brain not working as it should. But in the end their performance must have been convincing enough that neither of them were arrested, and since no one was there to stop Delsin, they both went in to see Vergil.

 

His eyes were barely open, and Dante rushed to his side, but seemed to remember how they had gotten here and flinched back, didn’t touch his brother at all. Who looked even worse than after he had been claimed, weak, tired.

 

“Oh Vergil…”, it came out as a sob, and not being able to touch him, Dante hugged himself, fingertips digging into his skin. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. First I… I claimed you, and now I hurt you, I never meant to, I’m so sorry…”

 

He kept rambling like this, until Vergil slowly reached out to let his hand rest on Dante’s forearm. He immediately stopped to look down at his brother, tears in his eyes, that look of desperation back that Delsin hadn’t seen in such a long time. He himself kept to the foot of the bed, watching them.

 

“You’re weak you… lost your power”, Delsin stated. It was quite obvious, was probably connected to the claiming and he could understand why Vergil hadn’t told them. If there was one thing he didn’t want to be seen as, it was weak.

 

“Yes”, Vergil confirmed softly.

 

“Why didn’t you say anything?”, Dante was still holding back the tears, be he was shaking. “I’d have… I would never… I am never going to touch you again.”

 

Vergil’s eyes went slightly wider at that promise, fearful even. Despite what Delsin felt for Vergil, it hurt to watch.

 

“Don’t… say that, Dante”, Delsin said. It had tumbled out, he hadn’t meant to say it but seeing his boyfriend this unhappy was terrible. “It was an accident. I can understand why he didn’t tell us. Honestly, would you, in his place?”

 

Dante only pressed his lips together at that, but didn’t move towards his brother. The silence between them stretched out. Dante refused to look at Vergil, but didn’t move away either, and Delsin watched Vergil who only had eyes for his brother. It seemed like hours had passed when a nurse finally came in to tell them they could take Vergil home if they promised he’d get plenty of rest and would call if his condition got worse in any way.

 

They rolled him to the truck in a wheelchair, where Delsin had to lift Vergil inside as Dante seemed to make good on his promise. But he didn’t have a problem with it, only Vergil looked longingly at his brother in the front seat.

 

They repeated the process once they were home, and Delsin promised he’d take care of Vergil. Dante on the other hand, had immediately vanished into his room.

 

“It’s no secret I don’t care for you”, Delsin told Vergil. “But he does. You’ll get everything you might need, so don’t hesitate to ask.”

 

Vergil nodded at that, but flinched when it hurt him.

 

“Yeah don’t do that.”

 

“Do you have a laptop I could borrow?”, he decided to ignore Delsin’s comment.

 

“You’re not supposed to look at computer screens either”, Delsin replied.

 

“I run a multi billion dollar company that is currently without its CEO. I think I can put off my well being until I have figured out what to do.”

 

“Wait… what?” Delsin was completely stumped. Multi… billion? Vergil was loaded?

 

“Do you have a laptop or not?”

 

“Ugh, fine.” Delsin made a point to roll his eyes at Dante’s brother before complying with his request. While he wasn’t a big fan of the guy he didn’t want to ruin his life - not to mention the lives of the people that worked for him. That was not the kind of person he was.

 

Vergil actually thanked him for the laptop, and the water and tea he stashed next to his bed.

 

“Don’t stare at that too long”, Delsin said as he left. One brother dealt with, now to the other.

 

He had a feeling about what he’d find inside Dante’s room, and as he carefully opened the door he was not let down. Dante was curled up in that corner behind his bed, the one he still sometimes slept in because a bed was new to him. He had thrown the blankets and pillows Delsin had draped there all over the room, and was clinging to his knees in the fetal position.

 

He joined his boyfriend on the cold, hard floor, who flinched at first, but relaxed when Delsin didn’t move away.

 

“I’m a horrible person”, Dante whispered. “I hurt him.”

 

“And he tried to kill me and take you away from here.” His tensed up at those words and Delsin sighed. “I’m not saying he deserved it, but it was an accident. You are not to blame, my sweet angel. There’s not an abusive bone in your body.”

 

“How can you say that? You’ve seen me, what I did I… Delsin, I don’t know what to do.”

 

Delsin sighed again, and pulled Dante closer to him. He wished he had more answers, wished there was something he could do to just fix everything. All the progress Dante had made seemed destroyed in a matter of weeks. Here he was again, broken and scared. Because of his brother. This was not what family was supposed to mean.

 

“We’ll figure it out, Dante. I promise.”


He had promised himself he’d never lie to Dante, but it might just be the first of many broken promises.

Chapter Text

All Vergil had worked for, all his preparations and careful planning, it had been for nothing.

 

Defeated by his brother - again - he was now living with him and his human mate. He had mostly recovered from his concussion though, such a mortal thing to have… It made him wonder, it made him question everything he had been so sure of up to this point.

 

He had always assumed he was the stronger, the smarter one, the one who was eventually meant to rule. But it clearly wasn’t the case, otherwise Dante would not have defeated him again. Why had he assumed it…? It had seemed so clear at the time.

 

But now he had nothing. Less than nothing, had to rely on Dante and Delsin to even give him a roof over his head because after having been claimed by his brother, he was bound to his will. And that meant that he couldn’t leave. Even if Dante said that he would release him, it didn’t work unless he meant it. It wasn’t like Vergil was a slave to him now, but it was an entirely new concept to him, being the weaker one in a relationship. If it could be called that.

 

“Fuck.” Vergil was curled up on the floor behind the bed… Eugene’s old room, as he had been told many times, and not to break anything in it. While he had recovered he had hardly left the room, couldn’t bear to be with his brother and his boyfriend.

 

How could he be with Delsin? Dante had to feel what he did, that they belonged together. It was so clear, through what he felt, and the ancient texts he had found. Nephilim twins had always been special. And when he thought back to when Dante had taken him… Vergil would never admit it but it had felt good, had felt right, like this was exactly who he was supposed to be.

 

But now Dante didn’t even want to touch him, fearful that he might hurt him again. It was torture, having to watch his brother and Delsin grow increasingly closer again, watch them exchange casual touches and kisses. So he stuck to his room, had gotten his own laptop delivered here, and had gotten rid of all the cameras in the house. Delsin already hated him, he didn’t need them to find out about this as well.

 

With his own laptop here, he was free to engage in distracting activities. Hacking, programming, monitoring his own company. The latter, he had only tried once.

 

He had a failsafe in place, that gave the entire company over to Paul in case something should happen to him. And it did, and so now Paul was temporary CEO. If he was gone for a set number of years, the complete ownership of the company would transfer to him as well. At this rate, Vergil thought, it might actually happen. But he knew the company was safe in his hands, despite Paul’s constant worrying about him.

 

Of course Vergil had cameras in his company, and so he had seen Paul at his own large desk, hands tugging at his hair. He had been crying. Vergil hadn’t been able to watch it, had cut the feed and buried himself deep under his blankets.

 

He could have had what Dante and Delsin had, he realized.

 

Paul had been more than willing to be with him, completely, he had always known that. It had all been up to him, he could have taken it slowly, too. Vergil did have issues with touching and intimacy, but Paul had always been patient, had always accepted whatever rules he had set.

 

And now he had ruined that, too.

 

Missing Paul had come like a punch to the gut, something he had never experienced before. He had had a craving for his brother but this, somehow, was different. He had become such a big part of his life, more than Vergil had ever anticipated. But he had been… happy about it. Being able to rely on Paul, to know he would always be there, and to know that he relied just as much on Vergil as he did on him.

 

After that day in the mall, though Paul had made him promise not to go after his parents, he had done just that. Vergil had been cold, detached, clinical as he planned their murder, making sure there would be no traces of them left. They hadn’t had many friends thankfully, that would miss them, but in the end he had made their deaths last. There had been such anger in him, a rage that he hadn’t been able to explain but now he realized that he cared for Paul, hadn’t been able to see him hurt like that. And the people who had caused it had to be punished.

 

His gloves had been red with their blood, at least watching them burn with what was left of Paul’s parents had been satisfying to watch. His witch would never know, would only live his life in peace, without their interference. Vergil was torn between hoping Paul would move on, and fearing it. He wanted his witch to be happy, no matter what, but deep inside he was still wishing that he could return to what they’d had. But Vergil had changed. He could never be who he had been again.

 

At least Vergil was relatively sure that the huge distance between them kept Paul from sensing their bond, kept him from finding him. He didn’t want Paul to see him like this, weak, defeated, worthless.

 

As Delsin kept reminding him, when he left Eugene’s room, which he rarely did. He didn’t outright say he was worthless, but it was obvious in the way he acted around Vergil.

But he’d been living with them for weeks now, couldn’t leave, and was told that he had to pull his own weight, weakened or not. And so he was unceremoniously pushed out the door along with Dante, to go grocery shopping.

 

Grocery shopping.

 

He had never done that before, and it seemed so ridiculous compared to all the things that had happened recently. How could they just keep going like this like… nothing had happened? Then again, what choice did they really have?

 

So he and his brother walked in silence to the shops, a turmoil of emotions between them. Vergil couldn’t keep his walls up as well as he liked, but he could clearly sense what Dante felt, and it was a mess, just as he surely was. The anger at what Vergil had tried to do, the pure longing for his brother, and his mate. Dante’s fear that he’d hurt him again, and the desire to simply hold his hand.

 

That desire was so strong Vergil couldn’t help but comply with it, reaching out to slip his hand into Dante’s. Who flinched, and took a step back.

 

“What are you doing?”, he asked, the fear clear in his eyes.

 

“I thought you… wanted to.” Vergil knew he wanted to, but also knew Dante still felt guilty about hurting him. “You won’t hurt me.”

 

“O-okay…”

 

This time it was Dante who reached out, intertwining their fingers, and the warmth of his hand… oh it felt good. Vergil had no idea how to fix this, to make any of it up to Dante, because that’s what he had to do. There was no way for him to rule, he had surely lost most of his demon followers by now, by simply vanishing like this and in the end… Did it matter? It all seemed hopeless to him now, but Dante was here, Dante was real. He could focus on this.

 

They just stared at each other for a while, the touch getting more electrifying by the second. Before he knew what he was doing, Vergil was leaning in for a kiss. He had just waited for too long, had craved it for such a long time, and now Dante was just there, right in front of him. He had almost expected his brother to push him away, but instead he relaxed into the kiss, and returned it.

 

Dante’s lips were soft and warm, the feeling perfect on his own. He tasted like coffee and chocolate, the mix of sweet and bitter instantly burned into his mind. They were immediately in complete sync, knowing how to move, but just as suddenly as it had begun, Dante pulled away.

 

“I- I can’t, Vergil”, he whispered. “What you did and I… I’m with Delsin. I love him.”

 

Actually hearing it out of his brother’s mouth hurt physically hurt him, a whole new ache he had never felt before. He had rejected him. For a mortal.

 

Vergil quickly pulled his hand away, and took a step back. Of course it wouldn’t be this easy, of course Dante wouldn’t simply forgive him. But a small part of him had secretly hoped that his brother would.

 

“I understand”, he said, his voice not betraying any of what he felt. “I will not do it again.”

 

“Vergil I… Can we please be brothers again?” Dante looked so sad, so desperate, Vergil couldn’t help but nod. It was something, at least. Even though it was not the way they were meant to be. What else was he supposed to do?

 

Going shopping after this was awkward, with Vergil trailing behind his brother, just carrying everything he was handed. It was interesting to watch Dante though, how seriously he took all this. Testing the avocado to see if it was ripe, reading ingredient labels because Delsin had infected him with looking out for healthy food, comparing prices and more. It was a side of Dante he had never seen before, because so much had been taken from them.

 

He even asked for Vergil’s opinion, and slowly but surely he answered, admitting that he did not know too much about all this. He always had someone else do it for him. Dante actually seemed kind of happy about that, and Vergil suspected because it meant he could explain everything to him. Vergil certainly didn’t mind seeing his eyes light up like this.

 

Despite the initial awkwardness it was a nice spending a few hours with his brother, just being in his company made him feel a little better. But once they were home, and Dante had to go out again - for work this time - all of that seemed to vanish. Vergil had never experienced anything like this, feeling okay the one moment, having his entire world crash around him the next. He barely managed to make it into Eugene’s old room in time, returning to his usual spot in the corner behind the bed.

 

As he was sobbing and clinging to his own knees, he was glad there was a distance between him and his brother now, because he was having a breakdown right at this moment. If he were here, Dante might have just felt it too.

 

Vergil had no idea what had triggered the memories that he had successfully buried deep inside him. He hadn’t even thought about them when he had been claimed, only now, weeks later and out of the damn blue they all came rushing back.  

 

He was reliving his entire childhood and youth, every day he had repressed since he had been adopted.

 

Every day that he had been neglected, had only been taken care of by the nanny, who ingrained into him that if he didn’t deliver what his foster parents wanted, he’d be back at the orphanage in a second. Each new nanny, and there were many, had to teach him that lesson. He was a prize, a pretty little thing to be paraded around because children were apparently the thing that season. Later he had found out his foster mother could not have any children, and they had needed an heir as well.

 

But being neglected as a child had not been the worst thing. He had learned to be by himself, to study, to entertain himself, and it had become normal to him. And after he had been punished for failures a few times, he had learned never to do wrong again.

 

As soon as he had been old enough, his foster father had started to use his beauty, his perfect body for his own gains. He had paraded Vergil around in front of his clients and those who were willing to pay the price, would buy a night with him. He had been young, too young when he had first been forced to go down on some strange old man, too scared to even consider saying no.

 

He had needed to do it all, fuck, be fucked, do things he’d never even considered before, all to please his foster father. By the time he had realized what he was, how much power he held, he had lost count how many people had defiled him. The only thing he managed to do was repress it all, completely focus on getting away from his foster parents, and establish the Order. There had simply been no other way for him to be able to deal with all this, but now it had all come rushing back.

 

Tears were flowing freely down his cheeks now, he was shaking so hard, unlike anything he had experienced before. Every touch, every kiss and sexual act, he relived it all at this precise moment, and it made his skin crawl. He wanted to get out of it, to get away from himself and so he clawed at his skin, digging deep until he drew blood.

 

Vergil hadn’t noticed Delsin coming inside the room until he was kneeling in front of him, those dark eyes not filled with the anger that was usually there, but worry.

 

“Vergil, shit, please stop”, he whispered, his voice gentle, calm. Delsin softly but forcefully took his hands, away from his skin and the wounds he had created there. “What’s wrong, Vergil, talk to me.”

 

And so he did. So overwhelmed was Vergil by all of this returning to him that he didn’t realize who Delsin was, how much he hated him, and what Vergil had done to him. He just had to get it all out, to get rid of it in a rambling, incoherent stream of slurred words. Only when it was all out did he realize, and immediately all of his carefully built walls snapped up again. Vergil scrambled back, until his back hit the wall, staring wide eyed at Delsin.

 

“Are you… you happy now?”, Vergil asked, frantically trying to wipe away the tears that just did not stop coming. “Now you know everything, and you can tell Dante what a disgusting thing I am.”

 

But Delsin didn’t laugh at him as he came closer, making Vergil flinch. There was only pity clear on his face, accompanied by a small frown as he leaned in to hug him. At first Vergil had no idea what to do, and he was so surprised that he actually managed to stop crying. But Delsin’s unusual warmth felt good, his touch was so gentle, unlike what he had expected, and Vergil soon relaxed into the hug. Actually dared to cling to the front of Delsin’s shirt, closing his eyes as he let his forehead rest against his chest.

 

“I am so sorry you had to go through that”, Delsin whispered to him, gently rubbing his back. “You’re safe now, okay.”

 

Vergil tightened his grip on Delsin’s shirt at that. Why was he being so nice? He had no reason to, not after what he’d tried to do. Vergil just couldn’t understand, and so he voiced his concerns.

 

Delsin pulled away from him, and he had to admit that he actually regretted the loss of his touch. He was becoming weak, physically and emotionally. It made him recoil from himself even more.

 

“Because I suppose I understand you better now”, Delsin said. “Why you might have… done these things. And no one, absolutely no one should go through something like this. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like, and if you need someone, I’ll always be here. I won’t tell Dante, I promise, not if you don’t want me to.”

 

“I… I…” There had to be a catch, Delsin couldn’t just be that good of a person. But then why did Vergil sense no malice from him? “Thank you.”

 

“Do you need me to stay? Dante will be out for a while.”

 

“I… no, I’ll be fine.”

 

“What about your wounds?” Delsin gently brushed over some of the skin on his arm that had not been scratched open. Vergil closed his eyes and concentrated. The wounds weren’t bad, even with his weakened abilities he could still heal them.

 

“See? All good.” Vergil gave him a weak smile.

 

“Nothing’s good, Vergil, please don’t pretend that it is. That’s not how you’re going to get over this.”

 

“If you know so much then please, please tell me how to forget”, his voice was desperate, and he hated himself for it.

 

“It’s not about forgetting it, it’s about dealing with it. I’m not… I’m not an expert, but maybe we should get you to one.”

 

“No. No fucking way.” A therapist would stamp him as crazy, delusional, fantasizing of things that supposedly didn’t exist. But suddenly Delsin gave him a small smile. “What?”

 

“You just… sounded so much like Dante just now.”

 

It was too much.

 

“Could you… leave me now, please?” Vergil hated being vulnerable, hated that Delsin had seen him like this, and that he felt like he had to ask for permission for everything, just like with Dante.

 

“No way”, Delsin replied, firmly not moving from his spot on the floor.

 

“Why not?”

 

“You hurt yourself, Vergil. No way in hell am I going to leave you alone right now, not until I know you won’t do it again.”

 

“But I’m-”

 

“You’re not fine, how could you be? I promise that I wouldn’t tell Dante, but I can’t just leave you alone in good conscience.”

 

If he didn’t know better, Vergil might have thought he was worried about him.

 

“I don’t have a choice in this, do I?”, Vergil huffed.

 

“Don’t ever think I will decide anything for you because of this stupid bond, but in this, no.”

 

Vergil stared at him, trying to figure out if this person was real or not. He had so much power over Vergil right now, could hurt, kill him, or send him away, and yet Delsin used none of it. There had to be a catch. Eventually he’d turn on him.

 

Delsin met his gaze, didn’t let his eyes wander, but the stern expression he had started out with soon softened.

 

“You said that you and Dante belonged together”, he started as he draped a blanket around Vergil, who was too stunned to protest. “Is that a… Nephilim thing? I mean, us mere humans… siblings are not exactly supposed to-”

 

“That’s what you simply do not understand”, Vergil interrupted, anger rising within him, out of confusion and annoyance. “Your damn human conventions don’t apply to us. We are the last of the Nephilim, and even when they still were numerous, twins were rare. We would have been privileged, would have been encouraged to be together, it was never supposed to be like this! Do you even know what it’s like to live your entire life with one half missing, to have it ripped from you?!”

 

He was shaking again, anger turning into rage at all the things that had gone wrong in his and Dante’s lives.

 

“He craves me, I know it, as much as I crave him. Everything, everything I’ve ever done was only to be worthy of-”

 

Vergil stopped himself abruptly, finally realizing what he had said. Too much that was not for Delsin’s ears, that made him even more vulnerable and weak. He let his head fall forward, let it rest against his knees, trying to calm his breathing. When would things finally stop going wrong?

 

“Vergil?”, Delsin’s voice was quiet, and still full of sympathy. “I think you should tell Dante all this, and not me.”

 

“How could I?”, Vergil asked, his voice shaking as much as his body. “He’ll never touch me again. He won’t want a weak, worthless-”

 

Again he had to stop himself, though by now Delsin knew everything, held even more power over him.

 

“Do you think that little of your brother? He’s gentle, he’s kind and forgiving, you should trust him. If… if there’s someone who can forgive you, it will be him I… I need more time.”

 

Vergil looked up at that. It sounded like there was a possibility for Delsin to forgive him as well, it was… odd. He just couldn’t understand this man.

 

“How am I supposed to even say… all of this?”, he asked, playing with the seam of the blanket that had been draped around him.

 

“If you want to, I’ll be there, to help if I can and otherwise just… Just say it as you did just now. It doesn’t matter how messy or angry it gets, but he needs to hear it I think. And you need to work through it.”

 

Perhaps Delsin was right. If it helped them to be closer again, he’d do anything. Saying it out loud had made him realize things about himself, that he had always tried to become worthy of his brother. After his foster parents had ingrained in him that he never was, was only ever acceptable if he delivered the absolute best.

 

Delsin led him to the living room after he had agreed to talk to Dante, made him some hot chocolate and gave him yet another blanket to wrap him in. Vergil frowned at him.

 

“Trust me. It’ll make you feel a little better.”

 

The chocolate wasn’t too sweet, its warmth pooled in his belly and made him slightly relax as they both waited for Dante to come home. It was strange just being with Delsin like this, both quietly doing their own thing, and to not sense any malice from him.

 

Dante was just as surprised to see them both together in one room, and not be at each other’s throats, frowning when they both looked at him expectantly.

 

“What’s going on?”, he asked slowly.

 

“Please sit, love”, Delsin said, gently pushing him down into the armchair opposite Vergil. “Vergil needs to tell you something, it’s… it’s going to be a long story.”

 

“I uhm…”, Vergil’s hot chocolate was gone by now, but he was still clinging to the mug, needed something to hold on to. “I remembered things… Things that Sparda didn’t make us forget, things that… I made myself forget.”

 

He took a deep breath, kept staring at the remnants of his drink, the clumps of chocolate that had floated to the bottom of his mug. He detached from himself as he talked, as if it were someone else doing so, as if all of this had happened to someone else. Vaguely he could tell how monotonous his voice sounded, how unlike himself.

 

He even found himself describing in great detail how he had to go down on a client for the very first time, how scared he was, didn’t know what he was doing. Always expecting to be punished for it. But the client had been pleased, had struck a deal with his foster father and he hadn’t been rewarded… but hadn’t been punished either, had not been told he was worthless.

 

But he repeated what he’d told Delsin about the Nephilim as well, and what he’d always tried to achieve. To be worthy of his brother. Which he clearly was not. He was a used, broken thing, weak. Everything he’d ever done had been wrong.

 

“Vergil?” Dante’s voice made him look up at his brother. Vergil had been quiet for a while now, he realized, there were just no more words. His brother walked over to sit by his side, but did not reach out to touch him. It still felt like he was not in his own body, the only thing he could see sharply was Dante, and the raw emotion on his face. Concern, pain, anger.

 

“I’m so sorry brother”, Dante whispered, his hand shaking as he was about to reach out. And yet, still he didn’t touch Vergil. Wasn’t that something he had wanted? Vergil couldn’t tell anymore, couldn’t even feel when the mug was taken out of his hand. “Vergil?”

 

“Shit, Dante”, Delsin’s voice was muffled behind him, like it came from far away, and through several layers of padding. “I think he’s… I think you need to touch him, talk to him, he’s only focused on you. You need to… ground him or something.”

 

“But I-”

 

“He needs you now, Dante. Look at him.”

 

Dante tentatively reached out to take his hand. It was a strange sensation, to see this, but not feel it. It looked like he was tightening his grip, intertwining their fingers, and slowly he started to feel the pressure again.

 

“Vergil. Brother.” Dante still looked so sad, but he couldn’t understand why. He now leaned forward, letting his other hand rest on the back of his neck. The touch was numbed but it was there. “Are you with me? Just look at me, listen to my voice. Think about where you are. You’re in Seattle, in Delsin’s house, you’re with me. You’re… you’re safe okay?”

 

Vergil nodded at that. He could believe it, this… was his brother, who wanted good things for him, he could sense that.

Slowly Dante’s touch got more intense, and the rushing in his ears that he hadn’t realized was there ebbed of. He had to close his eyes, to concentrate on that feeling, the warmth of his brother, and of Delsin behind him. He was starting to feel real again.

 

“Do you remember what you talked about?”, Dante asked, making him open his eyes again.

 

“I… yes.”

 

“Can you… tell me what it was?”

 

“About… about my foster father and… how he prostituted me. It… it didn’t feel like I was saying it. But I know I did”, Vergil said slowly.

 

“How do you feel now, Vergil, tell me”, Dante still focused on him, squeezing his hand.

 

“I’m not… as numb anymore. I almost feel… normal.” He couldn’t say ‘okay’, or ‘fine’, because suddenly he had no idea how to be that way anymore.

 

Dante scooched closer now, the heat of his body penetrating him, making him feel more at ease. And then he was leaning in, pressing a soft kiss to his lips. He was himself again now, the simple comfort of this kiss grounding him. On instinct he returned the kiss, opened his mouth slightly to let their tongues meet. They took their time with the kiss, let it come to its natural end, smiling at each other.

 

But Dante’s smile soon faltered.

 

“Delsin I…”, he looked at his boyfriend, who Vergil now realized sat on the coffee table next to him. “I’m sorry I-”

 

“Look, Dante. It’s okay.” Now Vergil turned to look at Delsin too, hating that this man had caused Dante to stop touching him, his hands now resting in his lap. Delsin sighed before he kept talking. “This is clearly what you both want and need. And Dante, I want you to be happy, I guess what I’m saying is… Whatever you want there to be between the two of you, I am absolutely okay with it.”

 

Vergil was too stunned to say anything, and so was Dante for a while, the silence between them stretching out. Delsin just fumbled with the hem of his shirt.

 

“Are… you sure?”, Dante eventually asked. “I won’t… I won’t do anything if you don’t want to.”

 

“I am sure, Dante, that’s why I said it”, Delsin replied.

 

“What about the… sibling thing? Does that not bother you?” Dante still looked guilty, but Vergil could see his hand twitch, could sense his desire to be close to him again. He couldn’t believe that it was within reach now.

 

“Please, if you knew, I-”, Delsin stopped himself mid sentence and huffed. “You’re not human, I can understand that now. It doesn’t bother me.”

 

He stood now, and Dante was about to follow, but he gently pressed him down again.

 

“I think you two should spend some time together. Vergil needs you”, he said and leaned down to softly kiss his boyfriend. “I’ll go to the reservation alone, okay?”

 

“Okay”, Dante said softly, pulling him into another short kiss before letting him leave.

 

“Delsin”, Vergil said, trying to stand but with the blankets around him he almost fell over. Dante helped catch him in time. “Thank you.”

 

Delsin smiled at him, a gentle smile. He didn’t even look sad, and Vergil couldn’t sense any jealousy from him, but then his powers were not quite his own at the moment.

 

“Don’t mention it. I’ll see you tonight.”

 

And with that he was gone, leaving Vergil standing in the living room with the blankets falling off of him, and Dante slowly joining him. He got rid of the blanket still clinging to one of Vergil’s shoulders, his hands coming up to cup his cheeks. All he could do was stare at his brother, those grey eyes, just like his.

 

“I’m so sorry Vergil… about everything”, he whispered, frowning in a way that made him think of Paul. But he quickly pushed that thought aside, there was no sense in thinking about him now.

 

“So… So am I.”

 

“I wish we’d never been separated. I wish we could have grown up together. Would we have…”

 

“Done this sooner?”, Vergil finished his sentence. “Yes.”

 

Dante leaned in again, suddenly looking like he wanted to make up for all the time they had lost not kissing, not touching. Vergil whimpered into the kiss, knowing that now it did not have to stop, they did not have to worry about anyone else.

 

Not separating, Dante started to pull him towards the stairs, only breaking the kiss to quickly lead him upstairs, and into his own room. Vergil had never been in here before, and behind the bed, just as he had done in Eugene’s room, were blankets and pillows, draped in one corner. But Dante led him towards the bed, where Vergil hesitated.

 

“I… I can’t, not yet”, he whispered. The memories of his abuse still lingered, even for his brother, he would not be able to go through with it. Not for a very long time.

 

“Oh… Oh no! That’s not… I only wanted us to be more comfortable”, Dante said quickly, panic so clear on his face. He had always worn his heart on his sleeve, and it made Vergil smile. “I never… Of course I won’t, not ever without your wanting it too.”

 

Vergil nodded, and now it was he who first climbed into the bed, under the covers, throwing them open halfway to invite his brother in. He quickly followed, gathering Vergil into his arms, pressing his nose to the top of Vergil’s head, just breathing him in for now.

 

This felt so right, this felt like the burning feeling inside him, that had followed him most of his life, had finally been extinguished. His missing half, his other side, was finally here. He hummed contentedly as he concentrated on that feeling, slowly spreading through his whole body, like a warmth he hadn’t known he was missing.

 

“Hm.. Dante why are there blankets behind the bed?”

 

“It’s too soft sometimes”, Dante whispered. “I’ve gotten better but… sometimes I can’t sleep in here. Too much time spent sleeping on hard surfaces.”

 

Of course. His brother had been through a lot, too, both needing to sleep with people they did not want to. Though at least Vergil always had a place to stay. If only… if only they’d been together, they could have been unstoppable. There was so much Vergil would change if only he had the chance.

 

“It doesn’t matter”, Dante continued, leaning back a little to be able to look at him. “We’re here now, we… keep going from this.”

 

What choice was there, really? Vergil could only try and make up for his mistakes, try and become worthy of his brother, though he was not sure that he ever could be.

 

For now, he decided, he would enjoy being with him, as they were meant to be. Kissing, cuddling, enjoying each other’s company. Delsin was away for hours and Vergil could not get enough of Dante’s lips, which were soon red and puffy from kissing, as were surely his. Vergil was glad to know that this was not leading anywhere. The kisses were comfort, pure and simple. They only stopped when Delsin called them down to help him prepare dinner.

 

Dante explained it was a sort of ritual for them, one that Vergil hadn’t noticed locked in Eugene’s old room for most of the time he had been here. He was immediately tasked with with chopping vegetables, something that was very new to him, but it gave him something to concentrate on. And while his dicing skills left much to be desired, it got him distracted from any lingering bad thoughts. It felt good, not having to think about it, at least for a while.

 

“What on earth are you doing?”, Delsin asked, frowning at the entirely unevenly sized pieces of carrot and bell pepper.

 

“Chopping. As you told me to do.” Of course Vergil would have liked to have more even pieces, it bothered him too, but he promised himself he would do better next time.

 

“Wow that just looks teeee….riffic”, Delsin finished lamely, after Dante had nudged his side, glaring at him. “Anyway, you two stand back while I work my magic.”

 

“Oh he really is magic in the kitchen”, Dante said as he casually slid into Vergil’s lap, who was stunned at first, but then gingerly wrapped his arm around his brother’s waist. Together they watched Delsin fry the meat and vegetables, highly concentrating as he did so. Dante only stopped from time to time to press a soft kiss to Vergil’s jaw, and he had to admit he really loved these casual touches. Was starved for them actually.

 

But soon enough they were commanded to set the table, for the three of them, and when they were done, so was the food. Sitting down like this might be normal for most people, but it never had been for Vergil. He had rarely eaten together with his foster parents, as soon as he was able to get away with it he would eat alone in his room, to keep working on his projects. But now he could enjoy the food, listened to Delsin talk about what he’d been up to at the reservation, how people there had missed Dante, especially Betty.

 

Vergil knew about most of this, of course. Watching them, spying on them, it all seemed so silly now. What use had it been in the end? Now of course he had to pretend not to know any of this, scared he’d destroy the seemingly good relationship he was building with both of them.

 

By now he felt better, which also meant he could shield himself easier from both of them, hiding what he felt. Vergil briefly wondered if there would ever be a point in his life when he would not need to do so.

 

Before he could worry about it more though, it was time to clean up, another first for him. But he stuck to his brother, copying what he was doing, not that the concept was hard to grasp. Afterwards it was actually Delsin who invited him to join them in the living room. Not wanting to go against his brother’s mate, he did, along with his laptop, sitting cross legged on the armchair.

 

He needed to be busy tonight, brought up a really old bit of code that he needed to redo entirely in the end. It kept him occupied for hours, and he barely noticed the other two in the room, but once in a while he looked up, and it was comforting to see his brother there. Perhaps even Delsin, who only smiled at him.

 

Delsin was just… okay with all this? Vergil still doubted it, but if it enabled him to be with his brother he would accept it for now. For as long as he could.

 

He was the first of them to yawn, stretch, and announce that he would go to bed. Again Dante was about to join him and Delsin pressed him down.

 

“I think he needs you tonight”, he whispered, but Vergil could still hear it. Delsin turned to grin at him again. “If it’s all right with you, I’ll get him tomorrow? We’ll share custody.”

 

“I’m not a child”, Dante protested.

 

“Well it’s certainly not my Lego set in that cupboard…” Grinning, he waved good night to Vergil and made his way upstairs, leaving them alone.

 

“Are you… done with the computer stuff?”, Dante asked hesitantly, and Vergil had to smile.

 

“You still call it that, huh?” He closed his laptop before getting up, stretching his muscles as well. He tended to forget that sitting in one position for too long was bad, and now he had no Paul to remind him. “You want to uhm…”

 

“Yes.”

 

Vergil had never fallen asleep in someone’s arms before. There was a vague memory of his mother’s scent… her arms around him, but he could barely grasp it. This, however, this was real, this was happening right now and it was glorious. The two of them molded together perfectly, Vergil’s face pressed against his brother’s chest, their legs a tangled mess but everything was just right.

 

He would regret not always having this, but it was a start.

 

 

Chapter Text

“What the fuck have I gotten myself into?”

 

Delsin couldn’t sleep tonight, and it wasn’t because he was uncomfortable with his boyfriend sleeping in one bed with his brother, it was the exact opposite. He was fine with it, with all of this. He knew, somehow he knew that Dante still loved him, the same way he had before. And if the last few weeks had shown him one thing, it’s that those twins really were far from human.

 

It wasn’t a bad thing, actually, he was fascinated by them. But it also meant that human rules did not apply to them. And so now it was Vergil’s night with Dante, and Delsin’s turn to sleep alone. He kept taking turns, and so far it had all worked out pretty well. Surprisingly well.

 

Delsin still couldn’t believe that this powerful being, who had actually tried to kill him, had had a nervous breakdown right here in his house. He was actually glad that he had found Vergil in time, who knows what else he might have done to himself otherwise. It made everything he had tried to do to Delsin and Dante so much more understandable. Vergil was fucked up, and how could he not be after all he’d been through?

 

Not that he still wasn’t bitter about the whole attempted murder thing. He could have definitely gone without that.

 

What must it have been like, growing up like this, not knowing what you are. Delsin just couldn’t understand why their father had erased their memories, it was a cause of a lot of their hardship. All of their confusion had manifested in destructive behaviour, had caused them so much pain. If Sparda wasn’t exiled, as Delsin had been told, he would find and punch him in his damn face.

 

As much as he understood that Dante and Vergil belonged together, two sides of the same coin, it made him wonder… Was there still a place for him here, in Dante’s life? Maybe he’d just been a distraction, to fill the void until they were reunited again.

 

But he kept those thoughts to himself, for weeks, months, not quite yet ready to let go of Dante. Who had now asked him if it would be all right to take Vergil with them to the reservation. Betty was as important to him as she was to Delsin, and of course he’d want her to meet his brother. Delsin wasn’t quite sure, not with the whole, well, incest thing. At least that’s what it was to outsiders.

 

In the end, he agreed though, because it was not really his place to say no anyway. And Vergil was… different. Not that he knew much about the way he was before, but it seemed like he was slowly warming up to both of them, being close to his brother seemed to help as well. He was more inclined to stay out of his room, and it was his now, Delsin had to remind him. Not Eugene’s. Vergil had smiled softly at that, and actually thanked him.

 

He’d grown up in an environment where he never had to do any of the ‘manual labour’ as he called it, meaning cooking, doing the laundry, going shopping, and cleaning. Though the latter Vergil knew a surprising amount about, and it quickly became clear that he had a… thing about that. Delsin didn’t know if it was actual OCD, but Vergil did get very obsessed with cleaning from time to time, and always wore his white gloves when they went out. Dressed in his elegant coat and those gloves he almost, but only almost, looked like he did when they first met. But Delsin could see, and sense, the vulnerability in him. Dante was not the only one connected to him, though Vergil was very good at hiding whatever he was feeling most times.

 

Today they took Reggie’s truck to the reservation, instead of public transport, which Vergil was not a very big fan of. Though he also complained that Delsin would do good to clean ‘the damn thing’ as he called it, from time to time. Delsin just rolled his eyes, the truck still smelled faintly of his brother, maybe he was imagining it, but either way he was not going to get rid of that tiny piece of his brother still left to him.

 

Betty embraced them as tightly as she always did, she really was one of the best huggers Delsin had ever known, and only raised an eyebrow at Vergil before she did the same.

 

“I didn’t know you had a brother, Dante!”, she said. “And a twin too, would you look at that. Just… You are so similar, and yet not at all. Two sides of-”

 

“The same coin, yes we’ve heard it before”, Dante interrupted, but grinning. “Betty, this is Vergil.”

 

“Dante and… Vergil?”, there it was again, that raised eyebrow. “Your parents were quite… ah, creative.”

 

Vergil chuckled at that, but Dante looked as confused as ever.

 

“Remind me to give you the Divine Comedy”, Vergil leaned in to whisper to him.

 

“That really doesn’t sound like something I’d enjoy…”

 

“What are we still doing here, come, sit. Delsin, go make some tea!” Betty ushered them all towards the big table at the back, her arm around Vergil and already asking him questions over questions.

 

Delsin did as he was told, no sense in protesting when he was ordered by Betty, and rejoined them a few minutes later.

 

“So how come I have never heard of you, Vergil?”, she asked.

 

“We, er… Had a bit of a falling out. I… I was stupid”, Vergil admitted, staring at his mug, but not drinking from it.

 

“Everyone’s a bit stupid now and then”, Betty said, gently taking his hand. “The most important thing is that you found each other again. Family is so, so important.”

 

Dante glanced at his brother at that, a glint in his eyes. Delsin knew what it meant, and dreaded that Betty might understand as well. She was certainly watching them like a hawk, and he busied himself with his mug, trying not to meet her eyes. They were all very obvious, weren’t they?

 

“I think there’s still some cake, how about it boys?”, Betty asked, already standing. “To celebrate. Come help me Delsin.”

 

Delsin obediently followed her into the small, open kitchen area, where they could still see the twins.

 

“There’s something you want to tell me, isn’t there?”, she asked, the famous Betty stare back on her, this time accompanied by the ‘what did you get up to now’ hand on hip stance.

 

“Oh you have no idea… Let’s… let’s go outside okay? The sea always makes me feel better.”

 

“I do believe those two will hardly notice we’ve gone. Let’s go.” She quickly glanced over at the twins. Dante was leaning forward in his seat, chin resting on Vergil’s shoulder who pointedly tried to ignore his brother. But there were smiles on both their faces, a particular kind of smile Delsin had seen on himself when he thought about his boyfriend.

 

On the veranda at the back of the longhouse were a few chairs and a table that was used if someone decided to have a barbeque, or as in their case, just to talk. The cold sea air, mixed with the sun’s warmth set Delsin more at ease, but still, he had no idea how to start. It was time for Betty to know everything.

 

The silence between them stretched, until it was finally Betty who broke it.

 

“Dante looks at him the way he looks at you, you know?”

 

Of course she would have noticed.

 

“I know”, he said.

 

“They’re brothers.”

 

“I know”, Delsin repeated, finally meeting her gaze. She was just watching him, there was no judgement there.

 

“How… How much do you believe in all this stuff?” Delsin made a vague hand gesture towards the sky, and the sea.

 

“‘Stuff’? I need a little more than that, Delsin.” A soft smile played on her lips.

 

“About… Just all of it! Spirits and gods, and… angels and demons?”

 

“I don’t know about the latter but… Yes I do believe”, she said, making Delsin sigh in relief. “Look at you, and what you can do, how can I not? Why do you ask?”

 

“Well I know they exist… some of it anyhow. I… I’ve fought demons before. And I know how that sounds but I also know what I saw, and what I punched into oblivion.”

 

The frown Betty gave him was not that of disbelief, but of concern. Soon she’d start going on about how he always got himself into trouble, and that he really needed to take care of himself more. He decided to intervene before that happened.

 

“Listen I… You have to know all this, you deserve to know. Please just… believe me?”, he had to ask, needed to hear it from her first.

 

“Of course I do. Go on, sweetheart.”

 

And so he told her. Everything. About Dante and Vergil not being human, about the times he fought demons, how he met Phineas, the nature of Dante’s work. And of course, about Nephilim. What little he knew of them anyway, what he felt to be true, that the twins belonged together. It just seemed so right, he could feel it through his bond with Dante - and Vergil.

 

“Well?”, he abruptly ended his speech. It may have been a little convoluted, but he figured he had gotten the gist of it across.

 

“It… Is a lot to process. Give me a minute.” Betty sat back in her chair, hands folded across her stomach and looking out onto the sea. Delsin just stared at her, he couldn’t not do it. What would she think, would she say that they were all disgusting?

 

“Well”, she finally said, making Delsin jump and slide to the edge of his seat. “They are not human, it stands to reason that a… different set of rules would apply to them. Poor boys… losing their parents like that. I… What I want to know is: Are you happy?”

 

“What?” That’s not exactly the question he would have expected.

 

“This whole arrangement, does it make you happy?”

 

He paused to think about it. Was he?

 

“Yes”, he eventually said. “I know Dante doesn’t love me any less and… fuck, Vergil is just as broken as his brother was when he was first here. How could he not be after all he’s been through, and oh, don’t tell him you know, okay? I just… needed to tell all of this to someone, and I trust you. I do want to help him, and I think I got over him trying to kill me.”

 

“Only you, Delsin”, Betty chuckled. “Only you could just forgive something like this. I am so proud of you, sweetheart.”

 

“Oh stop it, Betty!” He rolled his eyes, but he was relieved as she pulled him up into a hug. She knew, and didn’t judge him, or the twins, it was such a big relief. Talking about it had brought some perspective, too. He could do this, he could definitely do this.

 

“Still, Delsin”, Betty continued. “You should be a bit careful. Around here no one will think twice about the three of you being together, but, well, they do look a lot alike.”

 

“Well, Vergil and I aren’t… But yes, I know what you mean. Of course I’ve thought about it. I’ll talk to them.”

 

“Time to get back inside then, I think, we still have that cake to share.” Betty ushered him back inside, though they had to track the twins down as Dante had decided to give his brother a tour of the longhouse. Especially pointing out where he had helped to fix things. Dante looked so proud of it, and a faint smile was playing on Vergil’s lips.

 

The promise of cake made Dante rush back to the table though, and as Delsin had thought, they had barely noticed they’d been gone. The rest of the day was just Betty trying to squeeze as much out of Vergil as she could, engaging in a conversation about his company that Delsin could barely follow. But Vergil looked sad talking about it, so she soon changed the subject.

 

Delsin was a little exhausted when they got home, from talking about all of this, though it was rare he got this way. Nevertheless he did, and his one method to recharge, was to paint. He placed a large canvas against the wall, and sat cross legged in front of it, deciding acrylic paint would be the thing to go with today. Just to be safe he put on his painting sweatpants, already covered in dried paint of all kinds, and removed the rest of his clothes. To stop it from getting in the way, he tied his hair into a small ponytail too. Sighing, he thought he really needed to find the time to cut it one of these days.

 

He heard a shuffling behind him though, and as he turned he saw Vergil standing in the doorway. He’d forgotten to close the door.

 

“Did you need something?”, Delsin asked.

 

“I… Is it okay if I watch?”

 

“I didn’t know you were interested in art.”

 

“I haven’t done anything in a while”, Vergil admitted. “I’ve seen some of your art it’s so different from what I’ve done, I’d… love to see, only if you don’t mind.”

 

He never actually had anyone watch him paint before, but it might be an interesting experience. Delsin patted the floor next to him, inviting Vergil to sit down too.

 

“Enjoy the show.”

 

Vergil was wearing some of Dante’s clothes, which simply looked odd on him. Today it was sweatpants and a band shirt, complete with skulls on it. After getting used to it, it really suited Vergil, and Delsin briefly wondered what he’d look like with black eyeliner. But it was time to concentrate on painting, and after a while he could barely tell Vergil was even there.

 

He was really just experimenting today, making abstract shapes, not only using his brush, but also his hands. He loved using his hands. Layers upon layers of paint stacked up on the canvas, creating a rough structure when he let it dry for a bit. It wasn’t really something he’d sell, it was just to put all of his current emotions out there, to understand himself better.

 

Delsin was quite happy with it, until he wiped across his brow with the back of his hand, and Vergil flinched beside him, reminding him that he was still there.

 

“Did you just fucking flinch at my art?”

 

“No!” Vergil looked offended that he’d even suggest that. “I just… you have paint on your face. May I…?”

 

He had found a clean towel discarded on the floor, and motioned for Delsin to come closer, who nodded and complied. Gingerly Vergil reached out to cup his cheek, dabbing at his forehead with the towel.

 

“You really have a thing about cleanliness sometimes, huh?”, Delsin asked.

 

“Sometimes. Sorry.” Vergil was concentrating really hard on getting every bit of paint off of him, though the one on his hands did not seem to bother him as much. Just to be safe Delsin kept them away from him.

 

“It’s all right, it’s who you are. I’ll be more careful.” He could see Vergil hesitating for a moment, looking into his eyes as if he were about to say something, but then just kept cleaning him. “Hey, I could give you some supplies if you want to draw. What do you need?”

 

“Just… pencils.”

 

“I’ve got a bunch of cases er… back in that drawer over there.” He pointed out the one, and Vergil gathered as much as he could, along with an empty sketchbook. “Let me just clean up.”

 

“No, wait…”, Vergil interrupted, keeping him from getting up. “Can I draw you?”

 

“Me?”

 

“Yes you’re very… aesthetically pleasing.” If he looked really closely, Delsin could see a soft blush on his cheeks. “Especially like this.”

 

“You mean shirtless?”, Delsin asked, grinning widely. Oh yes, that was definitely a blush.

 

“No I just… with the paint and… well can I?”

 

“Yes of course.” Far be it from him to deny anyone their inspiration, even if it was himself. “How do you want me?”

 

Well that sounded a little bit more sexual than he had intended, but Vergil ignored it, just started to position Delsin the way he wanted him to be. One elbow resting on the bed, hand just hanging off the edge, holding the tips of the fingers of his other. His legs stretched out to the side, it seemed like a very classical pose to Delsin, one he had seen many times in art museums. It also seemed very fitting that Vergil would have had a classical education.

 

Though he hadn’t done anything in a while, Vergil didn’t hesitate and started sketching immediately. His grey eyes seemed so sharp, seemed to pierce him when he looked up at Delsin. It was the first time he had ever been drawn, he realized. He certainly liked the attention.

 

“Wait could you move your leg just a little bit like… yes, thank you.” And Vergil was back to being completely focused.

 

“You’re really into this whole composition thing, huh? You learned all of that?”, Delsin asked.

 

“Yes.” Vergil briefly stopped to look at him. “I had a very… strict tutor. I would not have been allowed to do anything like what you are doing.”

 

“That’s a shame… How will you find your own style then?”

 

Vergil just shrugged, he even looked a little sad.

 

“Where did you learn?”, he eventually just asked, continuing to draw.

 

“I didn’t, I had to teach myself. We never had the money.” Delsin hesitated for a moment. “I didn’t even go to college.”

 

“What?” Vergil looked up again. “You taught yourself all of this? You’re… amazing.”

 

“Thanks, I really do appreciate it.”

 

How had this happened? The two of them in one room, just talking about art? It was… really nice, Delsin had to admit. They had more in common than he had initially thought, and now that he wasn’t trying to take over the world or kill him, he could just enjoy his company. There was so much more to Vergil than just hurt and pain, he wanted to belong, too. Just like his brother had.

 

What had he let slip during his breakdown? He had only wanted to be worthy? The thought tugged at Delsin’s heart.

 

“I uhm… it’s just sketches, but if you want to see…” Vergil held out the sketchbook and Delsin eagerly took it.

 

“You call this just sketches?” He was stunned. Vergil was incredibly good, especially considering he hadn’t drawn in a long time. His style was indeed very classical, and very realistic. Despite it being just a pencil drawing, he could almost feel himself staring back at him from the page, a soft smile on his lips. “Can I keep this?”

 

“If you want to.”

 

“Thank you, Vergil, really. You should keep going, you have a lot of talent. Maybe… Maybe we can teach each other. I’ve never properly learned.”

 

“I’d like that”, Vergil said quietly.

 

Working mostly freelance gave Delsin a lot of time to spend with Vergil, watching him work, being watched, and exchanging techniques. Vergil also bought books on art history, on classical techniques that he tried to teach Delsin, though the emphasis was always on trying. Delsin hated being confined, and mostly kept breaking out of whatever task Vergil had given him to do his own thing.

 

Vergil on the other hand was a bit more susceptible, let himself experiment a bit more. Even let Delsin guide his hand to just make a big blob of paint all over the painting he had been working on.

 

“Isn’t it ruined now?”, Vergil had asked.

 

“Only if you let it.”

 

Vergil had kept working on that painting, following his instincts. Though it was abstract in the way Delsin’s had been when Vergil had first watched him, he could see the pain behind it. Finally, Vergil was putting his emotions into his art. Maybe if it helped Delsin, it could also help him.

 

Dante had soon noticed the two of them vanishing for hours on end in Delsin’s room, and tended to join them for however long he could get himself to be interested in their art. And their endless talks about it. But both of them loved drawing Dante as well, who would always demand many kisses as a payment. Both of them were also just too happy to comply.

 

Displays of affection between them became more frequent, and more normal as time went by. Delsin found that he didn’t mind Dante kissing his brother in front of him at all, and Vergil did not seem bothered when he was on the receiving end either. Dante started to get into the habit of kissing both of them, shortly after one another, always alternating with who he would start first. As they tended to rest against the foot of the bed as they were painting, Dante would sneak up between them from his position on the bed. First leaning to the left to kiss Delsin, then to the right to kiss Vergil. He loved that little ritual of theirs, as it had certainly become one.

 

It had taken Vergil weeks, but he was finally coming more out of his comfort zone, regarding his painting. There was even paint on his fingers and face one night, and Delsin found himself staring. Not at the canvas, but at Vergil. His features so much like Dante’s, but still different in those small ways. They had the same grey eyes, those gorgeous eyes that were completely focused on what was in front of him.

 

Delsin’s mind was blank as he reached out to let his hand rest on the back of Vergil’s neck. He turned to look at him, only now realizing how close they were. Vergil slowly dropped his brush, didn’t even care where it was falling and Delsin could watch his pupils dilating. Even looking back, he could not have said what had made him lean in that night, what had made him kiss his boyfriend’s brother.

 

Softly at first, just lips on lips, before it was Vergil who slightly parted his to invite Delsin to explore him. It was so different from kissing Dante, in a way Vergil was more mechanical in his movements, but as he reached out to pull him into his lap his breathing hitched. As did his movements, allowing Delsin to lick along his upper lip.

 

“Oh”, Vergil gasped, staring at him for a moment. He looked up then, and his eyes went wide. “Dante!”

 

Instinctively Delsin’s grip on Vergil tightened as he turned to look at his boyfriend. They had been so lost on painting and each other they hadn’t even hear him come inside. But he was smiling.

 

“Don’t let me disturb you”, Dante said, settling in to keep watching them.

 

“What… Seriously?”, Delsin asked. “You’re not… You’re okay with this?”

 

Not that he really knew what ‘this’ was. All Delsin knew was that at some point he had started caring for Vergil, and that he really wanted to keep kissing him.

 

“Of course”, Dante said. “I’m glad, actually.”

 

“R-Really?” Vergil still seemed like he wasn’t quite convinced, but edged closer to Delsin anyway.

 

“Yes, really. Now do go on.” Dante’s grin was practically wicked, and infected Delsin who let his hands slide down Vergil’s back to finally come to rest on his ass. Of course he had to squeeze it, and Vergil yelped in surprise.

 

“Hm… very nice”, Delsin decided, squeezing again for good measure. “Yes… different from Dante’s though.”

 

“What on earth are you talking about?”, Vergil asked, blushing but pressing into the touch, his hands resting on Delsin’s shoulders.

 

“Dante’s is… bigger, rounder? Hm, but yours feels amazing too. I could do this all day.”

 

“Wow, Delsin…” Dante was giggling up on the bed, actually holding his stomach.

 

“What can I say? I’m an ass man!”

 

Even Vergil chuckled at that, but Delsin quickly silenced him with another kiss. Vergil’s lips were softer than his brother’s and the little moan that escaped him when Delsin softly rubbed over his ass, massaging and squeezing it, was just lovely. Vergil actually pushed into that touch, he was way more sensitive than Delsin would have ever expected. And soon enough, he could feel himself getting hard. Those moans were simply incredible.

 

“Shall we move this to the bed?”, Delsin whispered, smiling softly and brushing away the single streak of his gorgeous white hair that had fallen into Vergil’s face.

 

But the relaxed, open expression Delsin had seen on him completely vanished at that, replaced by absolute terror.

 

“I c- I can’t, not yet I… I’m so sorry please don’t be mad I-”

 

“Hey, baby, shh”, Delsin kept whispering, trying to soothe Vergil by gently rubbing circles on his back. “That’s all right, I understand, of course I do.”

 

With Dante’s help they still moved him to the bed though, as he was suddenly shaking like a leaf. How stupid Delsin had been, of course he wouldn’t be ready, he was still working through his abuse. Kissing him would not make it magically okay.

 

They both held him close, Dante pressed to his back, Delsin facing him as they whispered sweet nothing’s into his ear, trying to calm him down. That he had all the time in the world, that there was no pressure at all.

 

“I love you Vergil”, Dante whispered, and Delsin pressed a soft kiss to Vergil’s lips. No, he was definitely not there, not yet, briefly wondering if he could ever be.

 

They held him like this until Vergil finally fell asleep and they softly disentangled from him, sneaking out of the room. It was early for them, later they would return, so he would not wake up by himself.

 

“Fuck…”, Delsin whispered. “Are you as horny as I am?”

 

“Yes.” Dante was immediately in his personal space, kissing him roughly. Delsin’s hands came to rest on his ass, grinning at the difference, then tugging to give Dante a non verbal hint. Which he got, of course he did, jumping to wrap his legs around Delsin’s waist.

 

Silently blessing his Conduit strength he moved them downstairs, let Dante fall onto the couch to first get rid of all his own clothes, then his boyfriend’s.

 

“Turn around”, he commanded, and Dante rushed to comply, resting on his lower arms to perfectly present his ass, already wet for him. If there was one thing Delsin loved about being his mate, about having this bond with him, it was this. It meant that if they were horny enough, they could easily just go without any lube at all.

 

Delsin scrambled to get behind his boyfriend, leaning forward to press his chest against his back. He carefully aligned himself with his entrance, but did not push inside quite yet.

 

“Did you hear the little moans and whimpers he did?”, Delsin asked, referring to Vergil.  

 

“Yes, ah-”, Dante moaned, trying to push onto him, but Delsin’s grip on his waist was tight.

 

“We’ll be so good to him, won’t we?”, Delsin continued. “When he’s finally ready we’ll be so gentle…”

 

“Yes… yes…” Dante was whimpering now too, just as his brother had done, when Delsin finally pushed inside. Slowly, relishing in the heat and how easily Dante’s body adjusted to him. “So… so gentle we’ll… take care of him.”

 

Delsin started on a slow rhythm, watching the muscles on his boyfriend’s back move along with him. That gorgeous, gorgeous back, he could not get enough of it.

 

“Ah, he’ll feel so good”, Delsin continued. “He’ll be even tighter, I know it.”

 

Dante couldn’t even talk anymore, could only nod helplessly and moan into the pillow he had dragged over from the edge of the couch. Of course, Vergil was still sleeping upstairs.

Delsin bit down on his own lip to stop his moans, speeding up now, fucking into his boyfriend harder, tightening his grip on his hips.

 

“I… I wonder what he sounds like when he comes”, Delsin whispered. “If he’ll sound like you or… or if he’ll be so different…”

 

“Beautiful…” Dante managed, moving along with him, making him push even deeper into his boyfriend.

 

“Yes, love, yes. He’ll be so beautiful.”

 

Dante came first that night, all over the couch and tightening on Delsin, who soon followed after. Together they collapsed into the couch, neither of them minding being covered in come, too sated and happy.

 

“I’m glad you’re warming up to him”, Dante whispered between kisses, still that silly grin on him that he got when he was blissfully fucked out.

 

“He reminds me a lot of you, when you first came here. I want to help him.”

 

“How… How do you really feel about him?” Dante pulled him close, their bodies flush against each other.

 

“I don’t really know…”, Delsin admitted, burying his face in his boyfriend’s neck. “I don’t know how to do any of this. But I care about him, a lot.”

 

“We’ll figure it out, right? Whatever feels right for us, that’s what it’ll be.”

 

It seemed so simple when Dante said it like that. A few years ago Delsin would never even have considered a poly relationship, and here he was. With twins. It was pretty hot he had to admit.

 

“Since when are you the one to give me advice?”, Delsin said playfully, lightly biting the crook of Dante’s neck.

 

“Looks like the Padawan has become the Master. Come on, let’s shower.”

 

“A Star Wars reference!”, he exclaimed as he was dragged up the stairs. “I’m so proud I could cry!”

 

The shower was slow and chaste, both too exhausted to do much but clean themselves. And as they had promised before, the slipped back into bed with Vergil, framing him, holding him close. This time it was Delsin behind him, and his brother facing him. He figured it’d be better this way.

 

Even from this position, watching Vergil slowly wake up and let out a contented sigh was gorgeous. Just like Dante he could seem like a cat, stretching, revealing his stomach. His sweatpants, too, had ridden lower in the night, revealing his hipbones, and Delsin started to rub soft circles there, while Dante buried his face in his brother’s neck, kissing him softly.

 

“Morning, Vergil”, Delsin whispered, relishing in the soft whimpers the two of them could get out of him.

 

“M-morning, ah… please…”, Vergil trailed off and Delsin took the hint, stopped his movements to gently brush along his abs. Dante stopped, too, just pressing a soft kiss to Vergil’s lips before resting his head on a pillow.

 

“That’s not where we were going, brother, don’t worry.”

 

“I’m so sorry… Please don’t be angry. I want to”, Vergil said. “I do but I just… I need more time.”

 

“We’re not angry”, Dante and Delsin almost said in unison, making each other laugh.

 

“Seriously, Vergil”, Dante said. “You have no idea how patient Delsin was with me. We’ll both be patient with you, too. You have our promise.”

 

“You don’t have to suck up to me anymore, I’m already your boyfriend”, Delsin replied, grinning. “But he’s right, Vergil.”

 

As Vergil turned to look at him, reaching back to cup the back of his head and lean in for a kiss Delsin just knew that this would work, and that there was a place for him here. The three of them would work, and make each other happy.


“Thank you.”

Chapter Text

In a way, Dante had always known. From the day he had met his brother inside the Order, there was something there. But just like many other things, he had not been able to understand, to place it. In the beginning he had assumed he was attracted to this hot guy, and if they had met in different circumstances he would not have hesitated to hit on him.

 

But then he’d found out, that they were brothers, and the part of him that had grown up amongst humans had pushed those thoughts aside, thought they were wrong. The remaining, lingering attraction he had felt towards him, had been the only thing stopping him from hugging Vergil.

 

His brother. Family.

 

He had been so confused, but so happy too. Here was finally something, someone that he belonged to. Except none of it had worked out, and why would it? This was his life he was talking about, things never went right.

 

But now he could admit it, that he felt an unconditional love for his brother, in more than one way. It had always been there, only now had he been able to sort out his feelings though, for the first time in his life.

 

It hadn’t been easy, admitting that he loved two people at the same time. It had felt like cheating on Delsin, it had been the worst feeling in the world. Dante was overwhelmed by how lucky he was, that his boyfriend was the one person who could accept all this. This other world, full of scary and dangerous creatures, which he supposed he was too.

 

Yet Delsin had called him beautiful when he had triggered, hadn’t even pushed him away when he had turned into… into his demon form. He had been so angry at Vergil at first, to change him like that against his will. But it was something else he had to get used to, it was part of himself and he wondered… They were part angel, part demon, would he be able to turn into his angelic form as well?

 

He didn’t dare try to do it at will, was still scared of what Delsin might think, and if he were able to return to his human form once he did. In time, perhaps, when Vergil told him more about themselves. For now Dante wasn’t really interested in that, was too busy being happy with, well, both his boyfriends.

 

Watching Delsin and Vergil grow closer had made him so happy. He had been worried that Delsin would not be able to forgive his brother for how he had entered their lives, but after Vergil’s breakdown things had changed. Delsin was kinder, more patient with his brother, and as soon as they found their mutual love for art, started to spend more and more time together. It really looked like drawing helped his brother to get better, to express what he was feeling. Sometimes looking at Vergil’s drawings made Dante’s heart hurt, but if it helped his brother work through his abuse, he’d be glad for it.

 

It got them even closer in a way, knowing they had been through similar experiences. Though Dante liked sex - a lot - and was able to enjoy it in many instances, even when getting paid. That had never been the case for Vergil and the thought of it made Dante so angry he was close to devil triggering many times. But his brother needed him here, not hunting down his foster parents.

 

Vergil’s snide demeanor started to slowly return, ironically in domestic situations which he clearly loved, that helped him be himself again. He was working on his laptop - again - and Dante could only wonder what on earth he could be doing with it this entire time, as he was chopping up some melons he had bought with his brother. Delsin was out working, leading tourists through the city and he knew he’d be tired when he came home, wanted to surprise him with a healthy, fresh snack.

 

Dante was putting a lot of effort into it, cutting the big melon in half and spooning some of its insides out so they’d make a sort of bowl that he could place the pieces of cantaloupe in. He had seen it in a magazine. It looked fancy and the magazine had been too expensive to buy, so he had just browsed through it while waiting at the register.

 

“Is it really necessary for you to be shirtless while you do that?” Vergil raised one eyebrow over his glasses - something he had only recently admitted to needing. Dante could sense it made him feel flawed, but he had quickly told him how hot it made him look, and boy did it… He still couldn’t help but stare sometimes.

 

“Well I didn’t want to get any melon juice on my shirt.” Vergil huffed at him saying the words ‘melon juice’. “And besides… why not?”

 

Vergil hesitated for a moment, let his gaze slowly wander over Dante’s chest. He couldn’t help but grin, yes, he was very aware of his looks.

 

“Good point”, Vergil eventually said, letting his gaze linger for a moment longer before returning to work.

 

Dante was concentrating very hard, really wanted all the pieces to look very neat, and he even prepared some decoration. Green stuff. To make it look pretty. It was important, Delsin had once told him.

 

He was actually starting to giggle when he heard the front door open. He felt so proud, he had done something pretty, all by himself. Oh he was going to pamper Delsin tonight. Maybe Vergil would even join in.

 

“Man I am exhausted.” Delsin let his vest and jacket fall to the floor, along with his beanie, which prompted Vergil to immediately get up and fold it all neatly on the chair beside his. “Just one of those days with extremely annoying tourists who think they know everything better.”

 

He first walked over to Vergil, leaning down to kiss him, then over to Dante, standing on tiptoe to do the same.

 

“What’s this?”, he asked, pointing at the melon bowls.

 

“I made snacks!”, Dante said proudly, beaming down at his boyfriend. “It’s er… a beach snack. I know you like the beach, and since we don’t have it here, I thought I’d bring the beach to us.”

 

“You are the absolute sweetest”, Delsin whispered, leaning up for another kiss. “How did you come up with this?”

 

“I… saw it in a magazine?”, he admitted.

 

“Oh shit, that is adorable”, Delsin practically squaled at that, making Dante blush a little. “You know, we should go to the beach some time.”

 

“Like… a holiday?” Dante could feel his eyes widen at that. He’d never… been on a simple holiday, he realized. When would he have done that? Most of his life he had only been trying to get by, was happy when he could get enough money to buy himself some chocolate. A holiday was something he had never even dreamed of.

 

“Yeah, a holiday. Why do you sound so surprised? I think we deserve one.”

 

“I’ve just never been on one, what do we do? Do we need to pack? Probably, right?” So many things went through Dante’s mind now. He’d need underwear, and shirts? A toothbrush? Where would they even go? The beach, probably, but would the old truck be able to get them that far?

 

“You’ve… never been on a holiday...Ah of course not”, Delsin muttered the last part under his breath. He looked so sad, a lot sadder than Dante, who had just accepted it. Things could change now, they didn’t need to be so sad anymore.

 

So he swept his boyfriend up in an embrace, twirling him around until he was giggling. Dante liked that look a lot better on him.

 

“What do you say, Vergil?”, Dante asked his brother, who was watching them with a soft smile. “A beach holiday, the three of us?”

 

“I uhm…”, Vergil looked at the floor for a moment. Dante knew that wistful look, his brother was probably not the biggest fan of beaches, sand, dirt everywhere. He was about to speak up when his brother glanced at him, that sweet smile back. “Yes. That sounds like a good idea.”

 

“Really?”, Dante asked, watching his brother slowly make his way over to him. “We can… do something else, if you don’t like the beach. I don’t even know if I like the beach.”

 

“Then we should find out.”

 

“Hmm… San Francisco has some nice beaches”, Delsin mumbled, as if he were talking to himself. “We could fly, it’s not that pricey… I have something saved.”

 

“Money is no issue”, Vergil said. “But… I can’t go on an airplane I… need to lay low.”

 

“Well that doesn’t sound ominous at all…”, Delsin rolled his eyes. “It’s like a 12 hour drive to San Francisco, are you sure?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“That calls for one thing then!”, Dante said, still holding his boyfriend up. “Road trip!”

 

“Not in that truck”, Vergil insisted. “I’ll rent us something decent… Really, money is not a problem.”

 

He added the last bit, as Delsin was again about to protest.

 

“By the way I deposited some into your account”, he added.

 

“What, why?”, Delsin asked.

 

“A few hundred thousand should cover my living costs for a while.”

 

“A few what the fuck? I can’t take that kind of money!”

 

Only Delsin would refuse that kind of money, Dante thought, smiling down at him. It wasn’t like Vergil was really working, and contributing much regarding money. Though knowing his boyfriend, Delsin would be completely fine with that. But they had found out that Vergil was incredibly rich, even here, he could still access a lot of that money, so why not use it?

 

“I insist.”

 

“Er…” It was really hard to object when Vergil got this serious. He knew he wasn’t capable of it at the moment, but he could certainly look like he was about to kill you.

 

“All right now that that’s out of the way”, Dante interrupted the awkward silence. “When do we leave?”

 

“I suppose… if we hurry… tomorrow?”, Delsin suggested. There really was nothing that was holding them back.

 

“Leave it to me.” Vergil immediately got busy, typing away at his laptop and making one phone call after the other. Dante and Delsin did the same, organizing to get time off work, which wasn’t really a problem for either of them, considering their already irregular work schedules.

 

Dante was incredibly excited while they were packing, rambling on about what he’d like to do and packing way too many socks. At least by now his bag did not look so pitiful anymore, he had acquired his own wardrobe, and so had Vergil, though the latter had a neat little suitcase he packed everything into. Vergil had also organized on the road snacks for all of them. Bottles of water, sandwiches he had made himself, lots of chocolate for Dante and more.

 

“Who’s going to drive first?”, Dante asked as they stood before their rental car, all they needed safely in the trunk. Vergil had made sure it had lots of legroom for whoever was in the back seat.

 

“I will”, Vergil said quickly, but hesitated as he glanced at them. “If that’s all right.”

 

Because they had defeated him, they were technically in charge of him, and as far as he could tell, Vergil had the urge to ask them for permission for a lot of things. He hated it, didn’t want that kind of power over anyone. But in the end it was himself who would need to free Vergil from this bond, but so far… They had a lot to work through, Dante had a lot to forgive his brother for and though it was working for the moment, he was still not quite there.

 

“Of course it is”, Delsin said softly, opening the passenger door to take his place there. That left Dante in the back seat, which he all too happily scrambled into.

 

“Man this thing is huge”, he muttered, stretching out sideways.

 

“Sit up and put your seatbelt on”, Delsin said with a stern voice, and a smile.

 

“Sir, yes, sir.” He complied, sitting in the middle so he could look out the front as well. He would be in charge of their snacks, he decided. The Snack Master. “I’m so excited!”

 

“I know, love”, Delsin turned to look at him, and even Vergil was smiling. “But it’ll still be a while until we’re there, oh, Vergil, left here.”

 

Delsin knew the city best, and guided Vergil out of it and onto the road going south. From here on, it was pretty much straight, but Dante was fascinated. The last time he had been on the road, he had been running away from what he’d done to his own brother. But now… now they were together again, and going on a holiday. He’d be able to just lie on the beach for hours, go swimming, maybe rub some sunscreen on his boyfriends. He was certainly looking forward to that.

 

He watched the city make way to more open areas, watched town after town go by and yet he couldn’t get sick of it. He had taken his DS with him, but had no interest in playing, not when he could watch the scenery, and his boyfriends, who were bickering about one thing or another.

 

“Don’t you dare put your feet on the dashboard”, Vergil warned, glancing over at Delsin who slowly, with deliberate movements, put his feet on the dashboard.

 

“What, you’re gonna turn us around, because I was a bad boy?” The way Delsin said it went straight to Dante’s cock, and that smile was definitely not helping either. Vergil seemed to be blushing a little, too.

 

“I… just might”, he got out, focusing very hard on the road.

 

“You wouldn’t do that to Dante”, Delsin said with a smug smile.

 

“Dammit”, Vergil muttered under his breath.

 

“It’s dangerous though”, Dante piped up. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

 

Delsin’s smile softened at that, and he sat properly again, blowing a kiss towards him.

 

“You’re such a sweetheart.”

 

“I’m not.” Dante made a point to pout. “I’m Dante the demon killer.”

 

On cue both Vergil and Delsin started to laugh, so hard actually, that his brother needed to pull over on the side of the road, the car behind them passing them and honking.

 

“Dante… the… demon killer…”, Vergil wheezed, and though he was offended at their reaction, he couldn’t help but grin as well. Seeing his brother laugh like that, it felt good, very good. It was a lovely sound he really wanted to hear more often.

 

“What? Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?” It seemed like ages ago that he had killed that succubus, and to think that no one had heard his amazing puns… It was a shame, really.

 

“Oh yes”, Delsin managed to get out, even wiping away a tear from the corner of his eye. “My sweet, sweet demon killer. Hey, Vergil, you still with us?”

 

He gently reached over to rub circles on Vergil’s back, who had leaned forward to let his head rest against the steering wheel, still shaking softly with laughter.

 

“Yeah…” His breathing slowly started to return to normal, but then he turned off the engine and suggested they take a small break. They’d been on the road for a few hours, and Dante was certainly glad to stretch his legs.

 

“Wanna switch?”, Delsin asked, his arm around Vergil’s waist. “Dante could take over the last stretch.”

 

“Er yeah about that…” Dante awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t really know how to drive and… I sure as hell don’t have a license.”

 

“What? How has this never come up? We’ve been living together for over a year!”

 

“Well we don’t drive that much, and if we use your truck it’s always been you. It’s never come up. It’s really not that big of a deal.”

 

“I guess not…” Delsin motioned for him to come closer now, and he wrapped his other arm around his waist too. He briefly wondered what it looked like to other people, but couldn’t really care as he leaned down to kiss his boyfriend. “But we could have done something about it.”

 

“Eh…”, Dante dragged out the sound. “Who even needs a license?”

 

“We could have used it now”, Vergil replied with a soft smile.

 

“But that’s why I have you two!”

 

Delsin and Vergil rolled their eyes in unison, and they all stretched out a bit more before getting back into the car, this time with Delsin driving, and Dante in the passenger seat. But not ten minutes later Vergil insisted they pull over again because he couldn’t watch Dante ‘distract their driver’. All he had been doing was make kissing noises but apparently that was something his boyfriend found incredibly hilarious and Vergil was worried they might crash and burn.

 

Dante was fine, either way, and though they kept talking for a long while, eventually their conversation died down, and they settled into comfortable silence. Only interrupted here and there by Vergil giving directions, or Dante pointing out something interesting along the road.

 

The beach they had rented a cottage on was a few miles aways from San Francisco, but during their ride Dante had successfully convinced the other two to at least take a day to do some sightseeing. He’d never been sightseeing either, it seemed like such a normal, and fun thing to do.

 

It was late by the time they finally arrived, and they had to make a small detour to pick up the key for the cottage as well. Dante could hardly make out anything, and they had to use the light from his phone to be able to unlock the door. They were tired, anyway, they had enough time to explore the cottage and everything around it in the morning.

 

The cottage was not at all something he would have expected Vergil to chose. Small, cozy, cluttered even. There was no TV, but a small fireplace, with a leather couch and a few very comfortable looking chairs around it. The living room seamlessly turned into a small kitchen corner, with a stove that looked quite old fashioned but fit perfectly into the style of the cottage. Vergil led them all through a winding staircase to the upper floor, where there was only a small bathroom with a big tub, and a bedroom.

 

“Wow that thing is huge”, Dante breathed, and let himself immediately fall onto the bed. They would all fit in here no problem. Vergil thought of everything after all.

 

“I, er… I could take the couch if you two want to…”, Vergil trailed off, halfway out of the room already but Delsin held him back by his wrist.

 

“I don’t imagine that’s why you got us this huge bed. Do you want to join us?”

 

To emphasize Delsin’s suggestion Dante stretched out seductively on the bed, patting the covers beside him. Vergil sighed at that ridiculous display, but slowly crawled into the bed beside him, and Delsin joined on his brother’s other side.

 

They all just got rid of their clothes to curl up under the blanket in their underwear, too tired to unpack now. Despite the late hour, it was definitely still warm enough that the simple blanket was enough for them. Dante couldn’t wait to let the sun shine on his bare torso in the morning, just basking in its glory. It would be great.

 

“You grin like a cat”, Delsin said, peeking at him over Vergil’s shoulder. “Doesn’t he grin like a cat?”

 

“He does. Dante the demon killer cat”, Vergil agreed.

 

“Oh I’ll never hear the end of it, will I?”

 

“Nope”, they said in unison, giggling as they all snuggled up against each other.

 

“Well I will just ignore you now. Good night, babes.”

 

“Babes”, Delsin huffed, then paused. “I like it…”

 

“Good night”, Vergil interrupted, gently, but firmly.

 

Oh Dante could get used to this, his brother beside him, Delsin reaching over to hold his hand and pressing a good night kiss to Vergil’s neck. It worked, they worked, and he was happy. Or he was close to it, anyway, his mind reminded him when he awoke to a shaking Vergil in his arms. Not the kind of shakes you get when you’re cold, these were the kinds when you were terrified. He couldn’t truly be happy if Vergil was not.

 

Vergil’s eyes were pressed closed tightly, as he faced Dante, he could see that his fingers were digging into the skin of his chest, hard enough to draw blood. The scar from Dante’s sword seemed even more prominent now. He gently took his hands in his own, whispering his name.

 

The nightmares. Vergil rarely got them when he was sleeping with Dante, but he had confessed they were still there most nights, not always so violent, but always terrifying. Of what he’d been through, of what he had done. He was always trying to get out of his own skin, only his healing ability kept any more scars from showing.

 

Delsin had woken up as well, looking terrified as he watched Dante talk to his brother. This was the first time he had seen him like this, Dante realized, and he glanced up at his boyfriend, silently trying to tell him it would be okay. Sort of.

 

“Vergil, wake up, you’re safe”, Dante kept whispering in a string, until his brother finally, abruptly opened his eyes, immediately focusing on him.

 

“Oh god, Dante”, he choked out, but then sat up sharply, the blood on his hands leaving traces on the sheets. He stared wide eyed at Delsin for only a second before he scrambled out of the bed, and downstairs.

 

Of course they both followed, through the living room and out the glass door at the back of the cottage that led to the veranda, and the beach. Vergil had collapsed there, clutching at his own chest, his breathing irregular and not returning to normal. He kneeled in front of him, again taking his hands and going through their routine. Him counting, Vergil following with his breathing. In and out, in and out. Until he wasn’t panicking anymore, and returned to his own self.

 

Delsin had hung back though, watching them from the doorway, his beautiful hair softly swaying in the breeze. He was hugging his own chest, looking as worried as Vergil had. Dante knew his brother hated showing weakness, especially to Delsin. He had always been so proud…

 

“Vergil, love, can Delsin join us?”, Dante whispered. “He worries about you.”

 

He turned to look at Delsin, nodding softly as a tear gathered in the corner of his eye. Their boyfriend joined them on the veranda floor, slowly reaching out to gather Vergil in his arms, giving him enough time to pull back if he wanted to.

 

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of, baby”, he whispered, and Dante joined him, hugging his brother from the other side.

 

“I… I…”, Vergil clung to their arms, his grip tight. “I’m not okay.”

 

Dante’s heart broke into a million tiny pieces at how defeated his brother sounded. Lost, scared… simply broken.

 

“Vergil, oh Vergil, I know, we’re here for you, you don’t have to go through this alone”, he whispered.

 

They both held him like this for a while, Delsin gently rubbing over Vergil’s back, soft circles, then tracing over his mark just as he had done so many times with Dante.

 

“But Vergil”, Delsin eventually said, voice low. “There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. From us, from… someone else.”

 

“But I-”

 

“I know you worry, and I know that it does not come easy for you”, he continued. “You would not have to say anything about what you are but… I’m scared what will happen if we can’t help you. Please, please consider it.”

 

Vergil stared at him for a while, his breath hitching now and then.

 

“O… Okay”, he eventually said. “I’ll think about it.”

 

Dante breathed a sigh of relief. This.. was good, wasn’t it? That Vergil could admit that he needed help? Dante had no idea how to help him, but maybe there was someone out there who could.

 

“Good, Vergil, I’m glad”, Delsin whispered, gently brushing over Vergil’s cheek. “I… I should have gotten help, after… after fighting Augustine. If Fetch and Eugene hadn’t been there I… I could have messed myself up real bad. I don’t want that to happen to you.”

 

Vergil smiled weakly at him before brushing a soft kiss to his lips and Dante scooched closer, pressing his chest to his brother’s back for support. He relaxed into the touch, but turned to look up at Dante.

 

“How are you… How did you manage to be okay? You had to do these… things too.”

 

“Well… the drinking and the drugs sure as hell wasn’t a healthy way to deal with it”, Dante said. “I suppose, well I could enjoy a lot of the sex I had. Yeah I was desperate a lot of times but… Did you ever… Do you even like sex? I mean you repressed it completely, that’s how traumatized you were.”

 

Or still are, he thought. They would need to gently, but firmly guide him to get help. This was bad.

 

“I… do. With someone I c-”, Vergil stopped himself mid-sentence. “With someone I like.”

 

“Was there someone?”, he asked, hesitating a moment. “Kat?”

 

“What? No!” Vergil turned out of Dante’s embrace, sitting up to look at him. “I would never have taken advantage like that… She was so young, and hurt.”

 

“Wait… Who’s Kat?”, Delsin asked, a quite adorable look of confusion on his face. Right… he had never told his boyfriend about her, had been too guilty about leaving her behind. Just running. He was selfish, really.

 

“She was with us, helped us fight”, he mumbled. “I don’t even know…”

 

Vergil gently let one hand rest on his knee, making him look at his brother.

 

“I took care of her… from afar. She’s safe. She’s moved on.”

 

“Good. Now you wait here, I’ll get something to clean you up with.” Dante stood, ruffling his brother’s hair before he went inside to gather a bowl with warm water, and a towel. There was still blood on his brother’s chest, and he hadn’t healed himself yet. The cuts were only superficial though.

 

He knelt in front of him again, gently washing away the blood. The rush of the sea behind them filled the silence, but it was soothing in a way. Delsin was still holding Vergil’s hand, and it seemed like he was relaxing a bit more by the minute. Watching Dante clean him, then staring out at the sea. When he was done Dante joined him in that, wrapping an arm around his waist.

 

“So, Vergil”, Delsin whispered. “Was there someone… you cared about? Would you like to talk to them maybe?”

 

Dante had to admit he was curious, too. But it wasn’t really about that. He wondered though, if there had been someone, why had Vergil never mentioned them? Was it because of that stupid bond, did he feel like he was not allowed to?

 

Maybe it was time, maybe he could release Vergil soon.

 

“I… yes”, Vergil finally said, but kept it at that. Dante could feel a sort of… longing though. It was so strong he could even feel it through Vergil’s walls.

 

“Okay, I won’t pry, I’m sorry.” Delsin reached up to let his hand rest on the back of Vergil’s neck, rubbing soft circles with his thumb. “Do you wanna go lie down?”

 

“I’d like to stay out here for a bit… But you don’t have to.”

 

“Nonsense”, Dante insisted. “We’re not leaving you alone, unless you want us to.”

 

Vergil softly shaking his head was confirmation enough, and so both of them just snuggled closer to him. As they watched the steady rhythm of the ocean right in front of them, the soft glow of the rising sun started to engulf them. And finally, Delsin started to hum. A soft, melancholy tune, slowly turning into a song.

 

When you speak I hear silence. Every word a defiance. I can hear, oh, I can hear

 

Delsin’s voice was lovely, and Dante realized he hadn’t heard him sing in quite a while. It had been a stressful time, when Vergil had arrived, but they had finally found a rhythm now.

Vergil had frozen for a moment, and now turned to watch Delsin sing. It certainly was quite the sight with Delsin’s hair softly flowing in the breeze, eyes closed as he concentrated.

 

Think I'll go where it suits me. Moving out to the country. With everyone, oh, everyone. Before we all become one.

 

He had moved back a little, to be able to properly sing for them and Vergil had leaned back against Dante’s chest to watch him. Delsin looked otherworldly like this, the rays of the sun making his hair shine, illuminating the tattoo on his arm. They watched him finish the song with a concentration he only got when he was painting, and he briefly wished he had a camera to capture this moment. But there would be many more like this, he told himself.

 

“Thank you”, Vergil whispered, reaching out to take Delsin’s hand in his after he had finished his song. “That was beautiful.”

 

“Er… you’re welcome. I don’t know why I did that.” Delsin was actually blushing a little, it was very much unlike him.

 

“Well I’m glad.” Dante stretched, bumping against his brother, who moved out of the way. “I don’t know about you, but I’m starving. Breakfast?”

 

“Sounds good”, Delsin agreed. “How about you, Vergil? We need to go shopping first, wanna come along?”

 

Vergil nodded and closed his eyes for a moment, concentrating, and for the first time Dante could see the mark on his back light up. This is what his would look like too, when he healed. It looked marvellous, but he wished his brother would not have to do it right now.

 

They all got dressed then, Delsin and Vergil both looking fantastic, the first in beach shorts and a button up shirt with a ridiculous flower print because that’s apparently what you were supposed to wear on a holiday, including sunglasses and sandals. Vergil was wearing jeans for a change, pretty tight ones, Dante noticed when he glanced at his ass, and had dragged out a Metallica band shirt from Dante’s bag. He didn’t say anything about that, only smiled and kissed him before they went out. Vergil liked to wear his shirts sometimes, just as Dante liked to wear Delsin’s, even though some of them were too small. It was comforting.

 

In the light of the new day they could finally really appreciate the amazing cottage Vergil had rented for them. It had a huge front yard, which looked almost overgrown, but even Dante could tell it was carefully maintained, so that the the plants formed an arch leading towards the front door.

 

The owner had left them a bunch of leaflets and personally written out information, which guided them to the nearest street housing a few stores. Dante realized that he did not own a bathing suit at all, but luckily the street housed a small boutique as well, where he bought the first one that fit. Which turned out to be very short swim shorts. Even Vergil snickered at them but he and Delsin agreed they brought out Dante’s best features. And they were red, Dante liked red.

 

Right next door was the small, local owned grocery store, something Delsin was very excited about. They ended up walking the store in different direction, each with their own little, what looked like, handmade baskets. This was ridiculously normal, Dante thought, and he was equally ridiculously excited about it.

 

“Oh, nice, avocadoes”, he mumbled to himself.

 

As he glanced up he could see his brother over in the breakfast cereal section, seemingly concentrating on which to buy. But then he started to slowly lift his hand, to grasp the collar of his - of Dante’s - shirt, to move it over his nose and take a deep breath. He stood like that for a moment, eyes closed, inhaling Dante’s scent. It seemed like such an intimate moment, but he was not able to look away. And then, when Vergil had adjusted himself again, he smiled. The softest of smiles, the corner of his mouth just curling up a little bit, but it was there, and it warmed Dante’s heart.

 

He would not say anything, he told himself as he couldn’t help but smile too. It would only embarrass his brother, and knowing about it was enough. Instead he just snuck up behind Vergil, to hug him and let his chin rest on his brother’s shoulder.

 

“Dante!”, Vergil said in surprise, then twisted and turned to see if there was someone else here. “Someone might see.”

 

“Who cares? We’re only here for a week anyway.”

 

“I… I suppose so…” Nevertheless he looked around the store again before pressing a quick kiss to Dante’s lips. It was enough, it was perfect.

 

“You know you look really great in that shirt”, he whispered. “You should try to be a bit more punk rock, you’ll look amazing.”

 

“Punk…rock…?” Vergil squinted and dragged out the words as if he had said them for the first time in his life. Which was probably true. “I… don’t think so.”

 

“I’m thinking”, Dante dragged out the word, thinking while he did so. “Pink hair. Eyeliner, oh yes. And… Oh a choker!”

 

“Yeah, no way!” Vergil disentangled himself from him and started to make his way down the aisle with Dante calling more suggestions after him. “Delsin!”

 

“What?” He poked his head around the corner.

 

“Dante wants to make me punk rock, please make him stop.” Vergil’s posture was so stiff, and the way he said ‘punk rock’ just made Dante crack up.

 

“That sounds like a great idea!”, Delsin replied, fully turning the corner now, hopping up and down eagerly.

 

“Oh my god I’m out of here.” Vergil took all of their baskets to the check out counter with Dante and Delsin trailing behind him, exchanging ideas about how they could make him punk rock.

 

The cashier just looked at him apologetically as she rung up their things and while Vergil tried to outpace them on their way back, there was no way he could lose them. He threw ideas back and forth with Delsin, about which outfit would suit him best, which hair color, not able to settle whether they’d want pink or blue. What they could definitely agree on were the black studded pants, which would need to be very, very tight.

 

The conversation drifted off when they were finally back at the cottage, easily falling into their usual cooking routine. Even in this new environment they could easily move past each other, going after their little jobs. In the end they decided to spread out a blanket on the veranda, making a little breakfast picnic with a view on the ocean. It was still early, and not many people were out, and right here at this part of the beach, it seemed like they were the only ones. Their perfect little world.

 

Vergil made them all wait for at least half an hour before they were allowed to go into the ocean. While he actually, honest to god, pulled up a sun shade for himself, Delsin and Dante went running into the sea. Just before they got in Dante picked his boyfriend up, carrying him bridal style into the cold water.

 

Dante didn’t even mind that it was still quite cold, ignored the shrieking man in his arms as he waded further in, because this was perfect. This was his first ever holiday! He looked back at his brother, who was waving at him, before he turned to just drop Delsin in the water.

 

“Don’t you da-”, but he was already under, spurting out water when he came back up. “Why you little!”

 

Dante started giggling uncontrollably as Delsin started to chase him through the water. Of course they were slowed down through it, and the sand below their feet, and the chase must have looked ridiculous to outsiders. They stayed in the ocean for hours, though Dante did not go in too deep, swimming was not exactly his strong suit. Delsin tried to show him a little bit, and even though he felt a little embarrassed he did make progress. It was all about practice, really.

 

Vergil had fallen asleep under his shade, and they woke him by dropping water from their hair onto him, which actually made him shriek. But they apologized by kissing him senseless, and promising to cook dinner all for him. When they got inside however, they realized just how red their boyfriend was. Vergil had actually gotten a sunburn.

 

It shouldn’t be possible, he was Nephilim, and neither Dante or Delsin had gotten one, and they had been directly in the sun. But it seemed he was still not fully back to his old, powerful self, and Dante felt guilty again. It was all his fault. Again.

 

Vergil winced as he sat on the floor, but smiled softly up at him, pressing a bottle of lotion into his hands.

 

“If you rub that on me gently, all is well”, he whispered. Was Dante really that obvious?

 

Nevertheless he sat behind him, doing just as he was told, keeping his touch featherlight, and alternating it with kisses. Vergil’s skin was so hot, searing almost, he had to be in pain. Delsin joined in front of their boyfriend, helping in spreading the soothing lotion, and of course they both  made jokes about ‘rubbing’ him.

 

Despite his pretty bad sunburn, Vergil was able to heal himself a little bit, and the next day they were off sightseeing in San Francisco. Roaming the streets, visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pier, Dante dragged them everywhere. And took lots of pictures of everything, forcing them to take ridiculous selfies with famous sights in the background.

 

His boyfriends pretended to be annoyed by all the running around, but he could tell they were having just as much fun as he was, maybe even because he was having fun. They were ridiculous like that. They cared about him.

 

When they collapsed in bed that night, Vergil did not even have a nightmare, and seemed to be relatively free of them for the rest of their holiday. Delsin finally shared his need for a night light with their boyfriend, too, and the small glowing creatures he created helped Vergil relax as well. He was fascinated by them, the graceful motion he used while making them, their soft glow, ranging from pink, over purple to blue. Delsin even let him choose which animal he would like, and Vergil softly asked for a rabbit.  

 

It was pure bliss for Dante, sleeping in, cuddling with his boyfriends before they made breakfast together, then just basking in the sun for hours, or going swimming in the ocean. Eventually even Vergil dared to go into the water, holding onto Dante’s hand as they walked further in. He pulled his brother close, leaning down to press a kiss to the scar that he was responsible for.

 

“It’s okay”, Vergil whispered.

 

“It’s not, Vergil. I’m so sorry. I almost-”

 

“But you didn’t. That’s all that matters. We need to let the past go.” He smiled sadly, there was only so much of his own past that Vergil could let go of.

 

“You’re right”, Dante said, hesitating to take a deep breath. “I release you.”

 

Vergil gasped at those words, and closed his eyes. Dante couldn’t see anything, no physical manifestation of what he just felt, of the energy rushing back into his brother. He stumbled, and Dante rushed to steady him.

 

“Thank you, Dante”, he whispered, forehead pressed to his shoulder. “Thank you.”

 

“I love you, Vergil. I trust you, and I forgive you. I… I couldn’t for a while.”

 

“I understand.” He straightened himself and smiled at him, a real, genuine smile. “Let’s- I… Let’s go to bed, okay? I want to be close.”

 

Delsin could tell something was going on with them, and was prepared to give them their space, but Vergil took his hand, and led him to the bedroom as well. He explained what just happened, that Dante had finally been able to release him from the bond that had been forced upon him. But he also explained that he wanted to stay with them, that he barely had any interest in his company left. He needed to get better first.

 

Dante was relieved. He had feared, deep down, that if he released his brother he would leave. But here he was, still with them, and snuggling up against Dante’s chest. Delsin stayed with them for a while, but he could sense they needed time to themselves, and so he pressed a kiss to both their foreheads before quietly slipping out.

 

“I love you”, Dante whispered, hugging his brother tightly. Vergil froze, however.

 

“Dante I…”

 

“You don’t have to say it, I just want you to know it.” He could understand, his brother was not open with his affections, only let himself show them here in the comfort of their private bedroom.

 

“Thank you.” He sighed, a deep, happy sigh. A sigh that promised things would be okay between them, a sigh that meant safety and happiness.


A sigh that perhaps could mean ‘I love you’.

Chapter Text

When Paul realized it had been almost a year since Vergil had vanished, he had almost wrecked his entire office. It had started with a dropped folder, and after he had smashed the first tablet he had not been able to stop until he had cut himself on the glass of a broken bottle.

 

Almost year without a word, after he had taken a supposed business trip and had simply not come back. He had still held out hope that Vergil would return on his own, but a few weeks later a lawyer had shown up. Had explained to him that he was now the temporary CEO of the company, and if Vergil would not return after five years, it would become permanent.

 

He had sunken into Vergil’s chair after that meeting, and had cried his eyes out, tugging at his own hair and completely succumbing to the helplessness he was feeling. He had done so much for Paul, had shown him what he truly was, had saved him in more than one way. But it had hit him then, that he wasn’t helpless, Vergil had shown him that too. He had power, and now with the company’s resources at his disposal he had the means to go look for him.

 

Paul had used everything. Had wandered Limbo by himself trying to find his boss, had sent out private detectives with the strict orders not to divulge anything to anyone, paying them incredible amounts to make sure of that. In the beginning, he had been confident that he would be able to find him.

 

But months passed, more and more demons pledged their allegiance to someone else, or simply drifted away. There was no show of power anymore, and that was all they cared about. No one had seen Vergil in Limbo, and even the ones who were friendly towards him could not give him any new information. It got increasingly more dangerous for Paul to roam this other world, and the protection spell on the earring Vergil had given him had long since worn off. But he kept going, he knew how to defend himself, and this was the most important person in his life.

 

He kept wearing the earring, too. It was the only thing he had left of him.

 

Paul was brushing over it when the last electronic device not broken in the room gave off a soft beep. A message. He was tired, too tired to deal with this right now. He had kept running the company, of course he did, because it was evidently what Vergil wanted. And even if he wasn’t there to see it, he would not disappoint him. But it had put a steady strain on him, suddenly there were so many responsibilities, though he knew how to run this company, doing all of it by himself was tough. He had wished for Vergil’s ability to relentlessly keep working, through entire nights, but he was only human. The added worry of not knowing where the person he cared about most was, and finding time to look for him, had almost driven him crazy.

 

His instincts took over as he stood to glance at the message though, finding it to be from an unknown sender. How had it even come through? His curiosity was piqued, and looking at it, he saw that it was encrypted. His heart skipped a beat when he realized the one person who used an encryption like this.

 

It was Vergil.

 

His heart was beating rapidly as he went to work, first trying to find out where it had been sent from. But it was impossible to determine, which only further made him think it would be from him. What if it was? It meant he was still alive, still somewhere out there, and he was reaching out to him.

 

He spent a week trying to decrypt the message, failing over and over again. Only when he copied it onto his personal tablet, the one he had smashed and painstakingly put together again, did the final piece click into place. If it really was from Vergil, he obviously hadn’t wanted the message to fall into anyone else’s hands. Of course he’d implant a failsafe, that would only make it decipherable when it was on Paul’s tablet, disconnected from the internet, and further safeties in place. Safeties that Vergil knew Paul used.

 

It was an address. In Seattle. Nothing else, no name, no confirmation that it actually was from Vergil. Could someone have played a trick on him? But the way the message had been designed… it had to be him, there was no other way. That’s what he told himself when he started packing with trembling hands. It had to be Vergil, because he wasn’t sure what to do if it was not.

 

So he rushed to Seattle, making sure not to leave a trace as to where he was going, and ended up in front of a… house. Paul wasn’t sure what he had expected, but it certainly wasn’t a place that looked straight out of the movie Up. Not that he had seen that. At least not more than once or twice, or twenty times.

 

His hand was shaking as he rang the doorbell. Was Vergil just… here? He had no idea what to do if he were, or what to do if he weren’t. A storm of confusion raged inside him, and he was about to run when the door was opened. But not by Vergil, by someone smaller than him, leaner, with caramel skin and black hair tied into a bun, streaks of it still falling into his face. He was shirtless, too, only wearing low hanging sweatpants covered in dried, and fresh paint. His dark eyes looked up at him, an openness in them Paul rarely saw on people, not the ones he worked with anyway. But that look soon turned into worry.

 

“Can I help you?”, he asked. “Hey, are you okay?”

 

“I’m sorry I-” Paul was shaking, he must look frenzied to that stranger. What had he been thinking coming here? “I just thought maybe Vergil- I… I’m sorry to have bothered you.”

 

He was about to leave when the man spoke again

 

“Oh you’re looking for Vergil?” He then stepped back to turn and yell up the staircase. “Yo, Vergil! Get your ass down here, you got a visitor!”

 

That… That could not have been meant for Vergil. No one, no one spoke to Vergil like that! Paul was stunned, but froze as he watched a figure make his way downstairs. This… this was Vergil, but it was not. He looked thinner, worried as he continued walking towards him. And he was wearing jeans and a shirt with skulls on it. This couldn’t be him and yet… Underneath that look of vulnerability, there was still a glimpse of the man he had fallen in love with.

 

And now he was right in front of him, those grey eyes piercing him, a strand of white hair falling into his face. Why was it not perfectly styled as it always was? Was no one taking care of him?

 

“M-Mr. Sparda?” Paul couldn’t stop his voice from cracking, couldn’t stop the tears from falling. Almost a year, almost an entire year during which he had thought the worst had happened to him.

 

“Please, it’s Vergil”, he whispered as he reached out to carefully let his hand rest on Paul’s arm. And that was his breaking point.

 

Paul slid down onto the veranda, not caring if his dress pants got crumpled or dirty. Vergil was here, he was alive, and he was even touching him. The tears flowed freely down his face, the sobs shaking his body and suddenly Vergil leaned in to hug him. To hold him and rub circles on his back as he cried himself out.

 

Vergil was hugging him. Despite the sex they had, this seemed like the most intimate touch they had ever shared. It was overwhelming.

 

“My, my ki-”

 

“No”, Vergil interrupted. “Not anymore. Just Vergil.”

 

“What?” Wiping away the tears he could see the sadness in his eyes. The proud way in which he had held himself, the arrogance that showed sometimes, it was all gone. He truly did not seem like a king anymore.

 

What had happened? Were these… people in the house responsible for it? Another man had shown up, one who looked remarkably like Vergil, sharing the same confused look as the one in the sweatpants. His relief was partially replaced with anger, but they were not as important as Vergil holding him right now.

 

“I… I thought you were dead”, he whispered. “You were just gone, and I couldn’t find you, no one knew, not even in Un-Town I… I was so worried.”

 

“Of course you would have found that place…” A soft smile played on his lips, and he carefully reached to cup his cheek. Paul couldn’t help but lean into the touch. This was all worth it, worth the uncertainty, the worry, if it led to this. “I’m sorry, Paul. I am so, so sorry I put you through this and… and the way I treated you, I’m sorry.”

 

Vergil, apologizing, to him?

 

“What happened?”, he breathed. Something had changed him.

 

“Let’s go inside first, okay? Maybe Delsin can make you some hot chocolate, he’s really good at that. And it helps.”

 

Paul let himself be led inside, and onto the soft couch in the living room. Vergil introduced Delsin, and Dante, his twin brother to him, all three of them eyeing each other up. It was highly unlikely Vergil had ever even mentioned him, and he was not quite sure what to think of that. He cared, Paul knew that, in his own way at least, but he had hid from him for almost a year, and hadn’t even mentioned him.

 

He didn’t touch the hot chocolate Delsin gave him, he only had eyes for Vergil. Just before he left, there had been a glimmer of hope, that there could be more between them, but now… It seemed just as far away.

 

“So, er, no offence”, Dante said. “But who are you?”

 

“Paul Evans. I am… was Vergil’s assistant. Now I’m CEO. Apparently.”

 

“I’m sorry.” There it was again. Vergil apologizing. “I… I had no idea what to do, and I knew the company would be safe with you.”

 

“It is, I just… I know it’s not my place, but I was so worried about you.”

 

“It is your place, Paul. The way I treated you was wrong, I was wrong and I…” Vergil leaned forward, ruffling his hair in frustration and messing it up even further.

 

“Maybe we should leave you two alone… you seem to have a lot to talk about”, Delsin said softly, leading Dante out of the room.

 

“We do”, Vergil agreed once they had left. “If you’re willing to listen.”

 

Of course he was. He listened patiently as Vergil explained what happened. That he tried to claim his brother, but was claimed in his stead, and had lost most of his powers. The pain in Vergil’s eyes was real, he regretted all of it. Including the way he had treated him.

 

“So you’re just… giving up?”, Paul asked.

 

“I was defeated. Twice. It is not my place to rule.”

 

“Twice?” Paul couldn’t stand thinking that he had been in physical pain.

 

“The scar on my chest… It’s from when Dante defeated me the first time.”

 

“What?” Paul stood, suddenly angry. His own brother? The scar was so close to his heart, Paul had spent countless hours thinking about how much it must have hurt, how close he must have been to death. “He did that? I’m-”

 

“No.” Vergil had stood as well, grasping his wrist ever so softly. “It’s in the past, and I deserved it.”

 

“So it’s just… all that you’ve been working for, it’s all over?”

 

Vergil hesitated, the sadness in his eyes all too clear.

 

“Yes.”

 

Paul should have been more disappointed, that his work too had been for nothing. But somehow he couldn’t be, not when Vergil was standing in front of him, alive.

 

“So what now?”, he asked softly.

 

“I… I have some problems to work through, I’m seeing a therapist now. I want to… I don’t know how yet, but I want to make it up to you, if you’ll let me.” Vergil had let go of his wrist now, and wasn’t even meeting his eyes. Something bad had happened, more than just being defeated, Paul imagined. A therapist? He had always seemed so in control of everything.

 

“Will… will you stay? At least for a little while?”, Vergil asked quietly.

 

“There’s nothing to make up for”, Paul insisted, but the hopeful yet hurt look in his former boss’ eyes made his decision clear. “But I’ll stay, of course I will. I’ll just have to put in a few hours here and there, for work.”

 

“Of course, I can help, if you like.” A soft smile curled on Vergil’s lips though, and he stepped closer to him, but did not touch him. It was clear to Paul though that this is what he wanted, their bond was still there, and he felt it now more than ever.

 

“The company’s certainly been missing your touch…” He stepped closer to Vergil, and though it went against all their relationship had ever been, he reached out to cup his cheek, finding Vergil immediately leaning into the touch. “I… I’ve missed your touch.”

 

“As much as there was…” Vergil smiled sadly at him, before he closed the distance to press his lips to Paul’s.

 

Oh god he had missed this. He could count the number of kisses they’d shared on his hands, but this… this almost made up for it. Vergil’s soft lips, mixed with a strange sense of urgency, that ended as abruptly as it had started.

 

“Shit”, Vergil muttered. “I… This isn’t all I need to tell you…”

 

“What is it?”, he asked softly. That look, everything about Vergil right now, was so unlike him. He was insecure, holding himself differently, slouched almost. What had happened to him? Would he tell him, or was he still not important enough?

 

He had asked him here, hadn’t he…?

 

“Dante and Delsin we…”, he hesitated, sighing before he continued. “We are involved. Romantically.”

 

“All… three of you?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Ah.”

 

It was not like they had ever been exclusive, like they had ever been a couple. Nevertheless, after all this time, after this… dramatic day, he had held out hope that there could be more between them. What had that kiss been about, then? Was he a toy to him, a pet? Paul wasn’t sure he’d be able to do that anymore.

 

“Paul, please don’t be mad…”, Vergil’s voice was so small, almost that of a hurt child. It hurt more than what he’d just been told. “I… I care about you so much, I know I never showed it, but I want to, now.”

 

“But you care about them, too, don’t you?”

 

“I’ll… I’ll stop being with them if it bothers you”, Vergil said hesitantly. It was clear that this was not what he wanted.

 

Despite his conservative upbringing, Paul was anything but. A polyamorous relationship, despite what others might think, could work, and besides, none of them were exactly normal. He felt it the instant he had seen Delsin, that he was not entirely human.

 

“Dante’s your twin. You belong together, I will not come between that.” Paul took his hand again, and he could visibly see Vergil relax in front of him, though he looked surprised.

 

When temporary ownership of the company had transferred to him, so did a lot of access to formerly restricted files. Including all of Vergil’s research on Nephilim culture. He had studied it intimately whenever he had the time, and now that he knew Vergil had a twin, it had made so many things clear. Why he had worked so tirelessly to get to him, to be with him. If only Vergil had talked to him, they could have worked together, and he could have perhaps convinced him that there could have been another way to reach his brother.

 

But he must have had his motivations for that, too. Nephilim were half demon, they could be violent even in otherwise intimate moments. Though Paul could remember that ritual, when Vergil had transformed before him, into a creature that should have been terrifying, but instead he had been gentle in the end.

 

“You… read the files, of course you did”, Vergil said, the smile on him brittle.

 

“Look our… relationship, so to speak, was never conventional. We’re not normal people I think… I think I can stay, for a while, and we’ll see what happens”, he suggested, earning a soft nod from the other man.

 

“I want you to meet them.”

 

And so he led Paul into the kitchen, where the two men were suspiciously trying to act as if they had not been listening in on them. Both of them were failing terribly, which made him more inclined to believe that they had not been a part of changing Vergil like this.

 

They both seemed like good people, Delsin was an artist, and though Paul had had little time to get into photography much since Vergil had vanished, the moment he heard about it he had pulled out an instant camera from a cabinet and handed it to him. He claimed it never got any use from him, and he would love to have him have it. While he was talking Paul needed all of his willpower to keep looking at his face. He was not used to having a shirtless man around him, and certainly not one as attractive as him, with extremely low hanging sweatpants. It would be rude to just keep his gaze fixed on those abs, or wander lower to that v shape…

 

Attention, Paul.

 

Dante only gave him a knowing smile, and he could feel the heat creep into his cheeks. At least Delsin was blissfully unaware of his staring. Or maybe he was just used to it, he was certainly gorgeous. And extremely nice and easy to talk to, as was Dante. But still, getting to know them did little to lessen the sadness in him. That they had been able to be with Vergil all this time, while all he had been able to do was worry. But one look into Vergil’s eyes, seeing the guilt there, made him almost forget all about it.

 

They were happy to have him stay, simply because it made Vergil happy. They even cleared some space at the kitchen table, that was now reserved just for him, so he could keep working and making sure that the company did not fall apart. For now it would be enough to work from here, but sooner or later he would need to go back to New York, or find another solution. If it meant being with Vergil, he’d move the entire company to Seattle. But he had some time to think about that, and so he focused on other things.

 

“I have to ask, who made the protection spell around the house?”

 

“Wait, what protection spell?”, Delsin asked. Today he was wearing a flannel shirt, that was barely buttoned closed. He seemed to have an aversion to wearing proper clothes inside the house, but no one here minded.

 

“Er… that was me”, Dante said meekly. “I was worried demons would come here. I tend to get attacked by them.”

 

“You told me you were safe!” Delsin looked very motherly with his hands on his hips like that, even had a stern look on him, mixed with worry.

 

“I… lied. I’m sorry, it was in the beginning and I didn’t want you to worry…”

 

“Well I do now!”

 

“No need”, he interrupted and walked to the mat by the front door. Underneath was a clumsily scratched in protection symbol, and beneath a loose floorboard, a hex bag that had long since stopped working. “I’ll fix it, then we’ll be safe. What is… Was that your first time doing this?”

 

“Er… yes.”

 

“Oh… Well for a first time that’s actually good work. Let me show you how to do it, hm…”, he hesitated. “I need supplies though.”

 

“I know just the place.” Dante’s grin was so full of pride as they drove to the hidden store at the other end of the city, just the two of them. Apparently Delsin was creeped out by the demon in the store, and leaving Vergil alone was not a good idea. An awkward silence had settled between them at that, but Paul didn’t press the matter. He knew that if he wanted to talk about it, he would approach Paul.

 

He had actually heard of the demon who ran the store, creatures in Un-Town had wondered where he had been off to. Paul was fascinated by the collection he had here, the high quality of the ingredients. He normally ordered these things, but it was amazing to just browse through an actual real life store.

 

“How do you know all this stuff?”, Dante asked, watching him curiously as he pulled out different items they would need.

 

“I’m a witch”, he said absentmindedly. “Vergil showed me, then I taught myself.”

 

“Are you Paul?”, Phineas asked in that deep voice of his, and finally he could focus on something else.

 

“How do you know that?”

 

“I still have some contacts, and they’ve been talking about a pretty young witch, walking around Un-Town as if he belonged there.” His smile showed sharp teeth, but it seemed genuine.

 

“I like that place”, he said quietly, dumping everything he had chosen onto the counter.

 

“Un-Town?”, Dante asked curiously.

 

“It’s in Limbo”, Paul replied.

 

“You… like… Limbo?” Dante’s look was halfway between horror, and admiration. It was pretty adorable.

 

“Parts of it. Come on, we have work to do.”

 

Others might have brushed Dante off as a good for nothing, with the way he dressed, his punk hair style, but Paul knew people could judge too quickly. And once he had started to teach him, Dante started to display an incredible thirst for knowledge, his eyes widening in amazement as he watched Paul infuse the hex bags with magic.

 

“Your eyes go green when you do that!”, he said excitedly.

 

“They do?”

 

“Yeah it’s gorgeous.” Dante actually blushed a little, then quickly turned to work on the next bag.

 

While Paul spend a lot of time with him and Delsin, during most of it he was close to Vergil. He craved it. Though they had made up the couch in the living room, he and Vergil tended to sleep in one bed together. For all the time he had not been allowed to be this close to him, it felt all the sweeter now. Cuddling up to him, letting his head rest on Vergil’s chest, and listening to his fluttering heartbeat, it was the sweetest way to fall asleep. And would be to wake up, if it weren’t for Vergil’s nightmares.

 

He refused to talk about them, but he at least let Paul hold him through it every night, let him help calm him down. Seeing Vergil claw at his own skin in his sleep hurt so much he could hardly bear it. But he had always been what Vergil needed him to be, and now he needed him to be there for him, to be strong for him. He could do it.

 

And though he started out working in the kitchen, soon enough it was him and Vergil in his bed, side by side going through documents, working in silence, or discussing company matters. It was almost the way it had been in New York, except now they could be close, and all Paul wanted to do was touch him, kiss him.

 

“Vergil”, he sighed one night, as his hand had snuck its way up Paul’s thigh, just resting there. “I… I need to know the new rules about… about this.”

 

Vergil closed his laptop and set it safely aside, that dull pain in his eyes by now an almost constant companion.

 

“There… there are no rules, Paul. It’s just… us.”

 

“Well in that case…” He swiftly pushed aside everything that was still on the bed. Work could be damned right now for all he cared, as he slipped into Vergil’s lap, who was resting against the head of the bed. “Is this okay?”

 

“Yes”, Vergil breathed, hands coming up to brush against his back, the softest of touches. As was the kiss they shared then, soft and gentle at first, getting hungrier when he parted his lips to let their tongues meet. But when Paul started to roll his hips, making Vergil’s breathing heavier, he abruptly pulled away.

 

“I don’t know if I…”, Vergil hesitated. “I can’t do this like we used to. I don’t know if I even…”

 

Another roll of his hips earned him a soft moan, and Vergil let his forehead rest against his chest. Slowly Paul wrapped his arms around him, continuing with his movements. He could feel Vergil getting hard underneath him, his grip on the back of Paul’s shirt tightening.

 

“Oh it… it seems that I can”, he breathed, smiling up at Paul.

 

He had been worried about not being able to get an erection? Had he… not have sex with Delsin or Dante? He felt flattered that he could do this with him.

 

“My sweet Vergil...”, he whispered, gently brushing through his hair. “My sweetheart.”

 

Never had he expected that a term of endearment could have such an effect on Vergil, making his breath hitch, making him press closer to Paul. So he kept whispering them, taking his hand to guide it up to his mark. The second he touched it, Vergil took in a sharp breath.

 

“It… it’s still there”, Vergil breathed. “I thought… I thought it might be-”

 

“Broken?”, Paul finished. “No, my darling, I’m all yours. Forever.”

 

As Vergil leaned up to kiss him desperately, he guided his hands along his back, and down to his ass, slipping them inside his borrowed sweatpants.

 

“Can you tell how much I need you?”, Paul whispered, gasping as Vergil’s fingers brushed over his entrance, pushing inside, feeling how wet he already was. He even got like this when he was merely thinking about making love to Vergil, despite what he had thought, their bond had never been broken.

 

Vergil’s touch was hesitant as he pushed a finger inside, his gaze fixed on Paul, watching him, in case he hurt him. But it was perfect like this.

 

“I… I care so much about you, Paul. I’m so sorry I never showed it.”

 

“Ah I… I knew, Vergil, I always knew.” He closed his eyes, pushing further onto Vergil’s finger. “You showed it in your own ways.”

 

Vergil just shook his head, but didn’t argue with him, so he slipped off, quickly got rid of his clothes to straddle him again. It wasn’t always necessary to say the actual words, sometimes showing he cared was enough. Paul hoped he would understand.

He reached between them, to tug on Vergil’s pants so he could pull him out, feeling him, after all this time, how hard he already was for him. His hands came to rest on Paul’s hips, lifting him effortlessly to guide him onto his cock. Merely thinking about this, for so long, he could have been disappointed, but the real thing was so much better than anything from his imagination. He just filled him up perfectly and Paul slid all the way down, until Vergil was completely buried inside him, brushing against his sweet spot in the process.

 

“Ah, Vergil”, he gasped. “I… I missed your big cock inside me.”

 

Paul had never been one for dirty talk, but he simply had missed it, and now that he was allowed to, he was going to say it as much as he could. Vergil whimpered at that, and leaned in for another kiss.

 

“I missed you”, he breathed. “I… I missed the way you were always there, always taking care of me. I couldn’t… couldn’t have survived without you.”

 

Paul hadn’t even known Vergil had realized the little things he had always done for him. But he had also never thought it had been that important, as to be called helping him survive. Vergil pressed his face to his chest, holding him close as Paul started rocking in his lap, making him brush against his sweet spot over and over again. He, too, wrapped his arms around his lover, cradling him, surprised by how passive he was being. But it didn’t matter, this was intimate, this was… making love, he realized.

 

New strings of endearments tumbled from his lips, mixed with soft, quiet moans. The rules were gone, he knew that, but being loud was not in his nature, and if he were, he would miss the whimpers coming from Vergil, beautiful little sounds. Heat kept spreading through him as he kept rolling his hips, slowly, lifting himself then, just to slide all the way down again. Feeling Vergil’s cock inside him, sliding in and out of him, was his favourite feeling in the world. Closely followed by the sweet kisses he now started to press to his lips.

 

“Feels good, doesn’t it?”, Paul whispered.

 

“Perfect.” And for the first time, Vergil’s smile seemed real. And for the first time, Vergil reached down to wrap his hand around Paul’s cock, stroking him in time with the rolling of his hips. It was overwhelming, having him so close, so attentive.

 

It didn’t take long for the heat to build up in him, to overwhelm him and he froze in his orgasm, coming over Vergil’s hand and chest. Involuntarily he tightened around Vergil, and as the mark made everything more sensitive, he could feel him spill inside him.

 

The old rules took over then, and he was about to reach for something to clean his come off Vergil, when he grasped his wrist to hold him in place.

 

“Please. Just stay like this, for a little while longer?”, Vergil asked, and the hurt look he gave Paul made him comply.

 

“Of course, my darling.” Once more he cradled him, gently brushing through his hair, feeling him go soft inside him, and slack against him. Vergil’s breathing evened out, and he was slowly but surely falling asleep.

 

So Paul gentle slipped off of him, laid him down on his back before he finally did clean both of them off, and took his place by his side. Even in his sleep Vergil cuddled up to him, head resting against his chest, and soon enough Paul followed in falling asleep.

 

Vergil did not have a nightmare that night, but smiled and blushed when they managed to wake up together. He only quietly apologized for having been so needy, falling asleep in his arms like that.

 

“There’s no need, sweetheart.” Again Vergil’s breath hitched at those words. “I always accepted whatever you could give me. But I can’t really deny that I like this even more. Being close like this.”

 

His lover got the strangest look at that, a look Paul could not place at all. But then Vergil softly pushed him onto his back and crawled up beside him to bury his face in his neck.

 

“I love you.”

 

It was so quiet, so soft that even this close, Paul had almost not heard it. It was like a secret, a treasure that he had passed to him, a treasure he would not have expected to receive in his wildest dreams. He was stunned, too shocked to reply anything at that moment, only stared at the ceiling as Vergil grew quiet.

 

“Hey, sweetheart…”, he had found his voice again after a few moments, and softly tugged on Vergil’s arm to make him look at him. He looked… scared. “I love you too. I always have.”

 

“Even… even when I treated you like that?”

 

“Even then.” When would Vergil understand that he had not treated him badly? He had given him so much, had helped him survive just as much as he had.

 

“I… I don’t deserve that, any of this… You don’t know what I’ve done, all those horrible things. You don’t know what I’m capable of.” Vergil had moved back from him now, frantically searching for his sweatpants and slipping into them. Paul did the same, albeit a little more slowly.

 

“Please, Vergil, listen to me.” He tried to get him to come closer again, but he refused, only looked at him with so much pain in his eyes. “I know you. You’re not a bad person, and I love you with all my heart.”

 

Instead of being happy with him, instead of just continuing where they had left off, Vergil tugged on his hair, rocking back and forth on the bed.

 

“I can’t… I can’t lie anymore”, he said, refusing to look at him at first, but then he took a deep breath, and turned to hold his gaze. “I killed your parents. You told me not to, but after you had left I went to look for them. I killed them, I burned the bodies and the evidence. They hurt you, so I hurt them. I… I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you.”

 

Paul should have been surprised, should have felt more about this, about the death of the people who raised him. But there was nothing but disappointment. They were gone, and he was surprisingly all right with that, but their deaths was not what bothered him.

 

He had always been good, had always done what he had been told, and went beyond that. Paul had never asked for anything in return, and the one time he had, Vergil had not respected him.

 

“I need some air”, he said softly, slipping into his regular clothes as Vergil again refused to look at him.

 

He didn’t get up to stop him, didn’t say anything else, just sat there as he left the room. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Vergil curl up on the bed, but he truly needed to get out of this place, for now. Needed to figure out how he really felt about this, if he could forgive what he had done.

 

“Hey, Paul, what happened?”, Delsin asked, frowning at him and the frantic way he walked down the stairs.

 

“I just need to leave for a bit… a while… I don’t know.”

 

“Did Vergil-”

 

“I’ll talk to you soon.”

 

He hesitated for a moment, he did like Dante and Delsin, a lot for the short time they had known each other, but right now, he just needed to be away. And he would come back again, he knew that, he loved Vergil too much to stay away. But his trust in him was broken, and it would need time to mend.  


How long, he did not know.

Chapter Text

As suddenly as Paul had entered their lives, he had left it just as quickly. After about a week of living with them, he had brushed past Delsin, telling him he needed some air. And with that he was gone for the next few days.

 

He hadn’t dared to enter Vergil’s room, and sent Dante in his stead, but couldn’t stop himself from watching through the crack in the door. Vergil was curled up on his bed, with his back to the door. Dante joined him there, sitting down in the bed’s edge to brush along his ankle.

 

“What happened?”, he asked softly.

 

“I merely told him the truth”, Vergil’s voice was as monotone as it had been when he had told Dante about his abuse, and Delsin’s stomach dropped, fingers digging into his own arms. “About what I did, about what I am. He will not be coming back and there is nothing else to talk about.”

 

“Vergil…” Dante kept brushing over his ankle, but Vergil recoiled from the touch.

 

“Please just leave me.”

 

“Okay but… Please tell us if you need anything.”

 

Vergil didn’t reply, and Dante slowly made his way out of the room, softly closing the door behind him.

 

“I suppose… we give him some space”, Dante whispered to him. “As long as he doesn’t miss his appointments… Maybe he’ll tell us what happened.”

 

“I hope so”, Delsin said, taking his boyfriend’s hand.

 

Paul didn’t seem like the kind of person to hurt someone he loved, and it was clear that he loved Vergil. So clear in the way he looked at him, the shy touches they exchanged. And he knew him, had worked with him for a long time at his company, and as his witch, which is why he had simply accepted their, and especially Dante and Vergil’s relationship.

 

He seemed like such a kind hearted person, warm, open, and now he was gone and Vergil was locked inside his room.

 

All he wanted was for Vergil to heal, and yet again he had gotten hurt.

 

At least he came out of his room the next day, but he seemed numb, like he wasn’t really there with them. And he recoiled from their touches, their kisses, but he explained that it was just not something he enjoyed all the time.

 

He was just… going through the motions, was quiet, and all the progress he seemed to have made in his time with them was seemingly lost now.

 

A few days later Delsin was about to step in again, to talk to Vergil’s therapist, or to him, to make him talk about what happened, because this couldn’t go on. But then Paul returned, and with him some of Vergil’s energy.

 

Paul immediately started apologizing, seeing how much his absence had affected Vergil, but he only told him that he had been right in leaving, that he hadn’t ever expected him to come back. Whatever had happened between them, Vergil must have confessed something that had upset his lover. Paul however, seemed to be a very forgiving person, though he didn’t completely acted the way he had around Vergil when he first arrived. He was more hesitant, a little distant towards him.

 

The first thing Delsin decided they needed to do, was to finally sit down together, and talk about their relationship. Now that Paul would stay with them at least semi permanently, it was all the more important.

 

“So er… you know that the three of us are involved, romantically. Dante and I… sexually too.” This was incredibly awkward to talk about, but it needed to be out in the open. Communication was important if this were to work. “Vergil and er… well we have not… you know.”

 

Paul and Vergil both blushed at that, pointedly not looking at each other.

 

“You… You have?”, Dante asked.

 

Delsin was torn. It meant Vergil had moved on, could be intimate with someone again, but to them Paul was still a relative stranger. He could imagine too well that Dante would have wanted to be with him first.

 

“I… I’m sorry”, Vergil whispered. “I know we should have talked first I just… I missed him so much and I felt safe and good and I could-”

 

“It’s all right, love”, Dante interrupted, his smile turning genuine. “I’m glad you could. I’m glad Paul makes you feel that way.”

 

“Thank you”, Paul and Vergil said almost at the same time, then grinned sheepishly at each other.

 

“Well… How do you feel about this, Paul?”, Delsin asked.

 

“I want to be with you, Vergil. You… you guys seem nice, but I can’t imagine being with someone else right now”, he admitted. “But I am fine with this, you have my word. Vergil, if you want to be with them, that’s okay, I’m a big boy, I can entertain myself. And well… I don’t know what will happen in the future.”

 

“You’re incredible”, Delsin said. “It took me a while to even consider this and you’re just… okay with this. It’s amazing.”

 

“Well… my life hasn’t exactly been normal, and I like it that way.”

 

Paul smiled shyly at him for a while, looking at him with those lovely blue eyes. Delsin had a feeling they would get along.

 

“I uhm…”, Vergil hesitated. “Paul if you want… I’d like to give the company to you.”

 

“What?” Paul stared at him, wide eyed. That had been quite abrupt, and Delsin was shocked too. Vergil had a way with strange gifts, all of them expensive. He either liked dropping them onto them like this, or he was simply more awkward than Delsin had previously thought. Either way, a shocked silence settled between them for a while.

 

“I have no interest in it anymore. I’d like to help out sometimes, but I know it would be in good hands with you”, Vergil finally said.

 

“Oh my god, Vergil, are you serious? I’ll take good care of it, thank you.” Paul seemed torn though, hand reaching out for Vergil but pulling back at the last second. Vergil looked sadly down at the motion.  

 

“How will you do it, isn’t it far away?”, Dante asked, trying very hard to look pleased for his brother, who had been reunited, in a way, with his lover. Delsin snuck his hand into his boyfriend’s, squeezing it gently. In time Vergil would join them again, too, but Paul was clearly important to him.

 

“Oh, I can make a permanent portal”, he said in an offhand way. “It’s not a big deal.”

 

“Sure.. of course you can”, Delsin muttered. This man was incredible. “So I suppose, if it’s all right, Dante could share my room, then you can have his? Unless you and Vergil would like to…”

 

“I… need some time”, Paul said, looking at his own hands, Vergil tensing beside him.

 

So… Vergil had fucked up? And yet Paul still returned, because he loved him but nevertheless they were not completely okay. At least that’s what Delsin could gather from the way they acted around each other.

 

The silence between them stretched, getting more awkward by the second.

 

“I’m done lying”, Vergil finally said, voice barely a whisper. “I want to tell them what I did, Paul. If it’s okay.”

 

“Are you sure?” Whatever it was that had made Paul angry, now he looked worried too. He was such a gentle and caring person, Delsin realized, probably worrying about what they would think.

 

Vergil nodded softly, and Paul gave his okay, but Delsin could never have imagined the confession coming out of their boyfriend’s mouth. He had… murdered Paul’s parents. In cold blood. How was this the same person sitting in front of him right now? Dante, however, did not seem surprised.

 

“You were a different person, back then, Vergil”, he said, but it was still baffling to Delsin.

 

The confession hung between them, in a way. And though they tried to keep going, and did, for a while it was always at the back of his mind. Though Paul also admitted, at a late hour when they were hanging out in the living room, each committed to their own task, that he had not been as sad as he should have been about his parent’s death. He looked so, so guilty at the confession, but after telling Dante and Delsin how he had grown up, what they had tone to them, it hardly seemed surprising. Still, Vergil had broken his trust, at that was something that needed time to mend.

 

As strange as it was to keep going, they managed, trying to find a new routine for all four of them. So far Paul and Vergil stayed in separate rooms, and Dante had joined Delsin in his. Paul definitely needed the space to keep managing the company, and true to his word, completed a ritual to create a portal to New York. He was powerful, incredibly so, and though Delsin wasn’t magically inclined in any way he could still feel the power emanating from this gorgeous being. And that he certainly was, so delicate and strong at the same time, his strong jaw so perfectly accented by the black earring he was still wearing every day.

 

But Delsin wasn’t going to make a move, not right away, not when there was this thing hanging between Paul and Vergil that needed to heal before he could even consider it. Flirting, however, that was just something that came natural to him, and Paul even seemed to enjoy it, the faintest of blushes on his cheeks, accompanied with a soft smile, every time he did. And the more he and Dante got to know Paul, the more they could understand why Vergil had fallen for him in the first place.

 

Paul was the sweetest, most gentle person he had ever met. So incredibly attentive, that even after the shortest time of living with them, he went out of his way to get them their favourite food, to get supplies for Delsin, and make sure they all got enough rest. Though he himself didn’t seem to think he needed it as much as them, and he found Paul talking on the phone late most nights, still working. Delsin might have thought him a pushover at the beginning, but listening to those calls quickly proved him wrong. Oh he could stand up for himself, always remained calm, and if he needed to, could deal out vicious comments that hit right where they hurt. Those were incredibly rare though, and Paul didn’t seem to enjoy them at all, only used them when he needed to defend his claim on the company.

 

A few weeks into living with them, Delsin decided to investigate just what Paul was doing still up so late at night, knocking on the door and waiting for him to give his okay to come inside. The room was an absolute mess. Documents were strewn everywhere, Paul on the bed, cross legged in sweatpants and one of Dante’s band shirts, which seemed to be quite popular between all of them. Even his usually so impeccable hair was messy, and he was chewing on a pencil, a sheet of paper in each hand.

 

“Er… are you okay?”, Delsin asked carefully, trying not to step on anything that seemed too important.

 

“I’m just… I’m looking for these holdings that I know we have, but they’re not in the database! Why are they not in the database, this is unacceptable!” The pencil had fallen from his mouth, but Paul hardly even seemed to notice it, only dropped the sheets of paper and ran his hands through his hair in frustration, messing it up even further. “Could you help me look?”

 

“Why don’t you ask Vergil?”, he asked. “He knows more about all this…”

 

“I don’t know where he is”, Paul admitted, already fishing for another folder.

 

“Isn’t he home?” Delsin had seen him leave earlier, but figured he had already gotten back by now. He tended to sometimes shut himself away like this, and though he tried to reach out to him, sometimes he got busy. Delsin made a mental note to look after him more, he needed it, but now Paul clearly needed help as well.

 

“Ah, I don’t know”, he sighed, and looked up at him with those gorgeous blue eyes. That desperate look was all Delsin needed, as he tiptoed through the room to join him on the bed. “Thank you… By the way, do you ever wear shirts inside the house?”

 

Paul glanced down at his bare chest, and Delsin proudly sat up to show it in all its glory.

 

“I’m hot”, he said, and had to giggle at the raised eyebrow Paul gave him. “No, I mean, feel me. I guess it’s because of the smoke power thing, I just run hot.”

 

He took Paul’s free hand in his, guiding it to his chest, right above his heart. In contrast to himself, he seemed so cold, or maybe it was just the way Paul was, as some people tended to get cold hands.

 

“Wow, you really are hot”, he whispered, staring fascinated at his chest.

 

“I know, you’re welcome.”

 

Paul rolled his eyes at that, but still laughed, just like Dante and Vergil always did when he made a stupid comment like that. He liked getting that reaction, but finally Paul pulled away, and they started to work. Luckily he was a very night-active person, and didn’t have trouble staying up until the early hours of the morning, when they finally had found the document they were looking for. Only then did they collapse against each other, and it suddenly hit Delsin that even his body could get tired at some point, so he almost didn’t notice the kiss Paul had pressed to his cheek, softly thanking him for his help.

 

They only woke up when Vergil opened the door, and Delsin blinked his eyes open, too sleepy to notice the look he was giving them, the sheer sadness flashing up for just a moment there.

 

“Ah, I just…”, Vergil hesitated for a moment. “There’s lunch, if you like. Sorry.”

 

And with that he was gone again, and slowly Delsin started to sit up, turning towards Paul, who had a page stuck to his cheek. Grinning, he pulled it off, holding out his hand to help him up.

 

“Morning?”, Paul looked adorably confused, an imprint on his cheek where he had been lying on his earring.

 

“Noon, I think”, Delsin replied and they started to make their way downstairs, where they found a proud looking Dante presenting a lovely meal to them. Vergil was quietly serving food onto their plates, not meeting their gaze, but Delsin was suddenly ravenous, and immediately started digging in. Paul, on the other hand, did it with a little more dignity.

 

Dante was chipper today, chatting away about his latest hunt, and how amazing he had been. Had even brought Paul a few supplies, ones that Phineas had recommended to him, since they were rare, especially when fresh. He also told them about an exhibit that would soon open up in Seattle, which didn’t seem at all like him until he also told them that it was about video games. They immediately made plans to go see it, though Vergil excused himself because of his therapy appointment. He didn’t seem too interested in the nature of the exhibit either, so Delsin didn’t think further about it.

 

For once in his life Dante was the first to get out of bed, literally jumping on it to wake Delsin up on the day of their museum visit. Along with Paul they were outside of the doors just when they opened up, so they would have enough time to try out everything. Watching his boyfriend be excited like this, running from one arcade game to another, trying out Pacman, Donkey Kong, and even Asteroids, was better than playing them himself. He forgot sometimes, that Dante barely even had a childhood, had never even been able to play these games as a kid. It became all too clear on days like this.

 

“Paul, Paul”, Dante called, running up to him to grab his wrist and pull him towards another game. “Come play this with me.”

 

Delsin followed, grinning as he watched them try to figure out the controls of the Portal 2 co op, each controlling a robot with a portal gun to solve puzzles. He might have figured that Paul wasn’t too into video games, but he was the one to explain everything to Dante, who quickly picked it up. No puzzle stood a chance against them, both had them figured out in a manner of seconds, but it still took them longer to solve them, with each trying to get the other to explode, or fall into an endless abyss.

 

“Come on, quit doing that, we’ll never get to the end like this!”, Paul scolded him.

 

“But you’re just waiting for me to keep going so you can get me in an infinite loop!”, Dante replied, nudging him.

 

“I am so not!”

 

“So are!”

 

“Okay, kids”, Delsin interrupted them. “I think it’s time to move on. If you’re good, we’ll go buy the game later.”

 

“Fine, dad”, Dante rolled his eyes at him, but complied, and they slowly made their way towards the exit.

 

“You know, this was a bad idea, I really am not into the whole daddy thing”, he fake-shuddered, making them laugh.

 

“Oh, good. I thought that was going into a weird direction”, Paul agreed. “I like some kinky things, but that’s really not up my alley. To each their own though.”

 

“Oooh”, Dante strode up to Paul, hooking his arm through his, Delsin joining on his other side. “What kind of kinky things?”

 

“I, uh, I didn’t- I mean…” Paul was going crimson, but neither of them was going to let go as they led him through the door and outside. It was a lovely day, really, and so they made their way towards the waterfront park.

 

“You know”, Delsin whispered in a conspiratory way. “Dante once fucked me while devil triggered, and wow, it was awesome…”  

 

“I’m guessing it was nothing compared to a demon form fuck…”, Paul whispered back, his blush getting even more intense.

 

“No! Vergil?”, Dante asked, and Paul nodded. “You know, about that… Can I ask you something?”

 

They had reached the park now, and made themselves comfortable on a bench there, looking out over the water. It was quite silent here today, at least for Seattle, and Delsin made a mental note to go back to the reservation soon. He missed nature, had wanted to take all three of them there again. Introduce Betty to Paul, knowing she would simply love him.

 

“What’s on your mind, Dante?”, Paul asked softly, turning to him, as did Delsin, who was curious to see why his boyfriend suddenly looked so distressed.

 

“I… I only turned into… that once”, he admitted, and Delsin remembered that transformation too well, and that it had been forced. “Is it, I mean can it be permanent? And if I’m half demon can I…”

 

He drifted off, staring at his folded hands, not quite knowing what to say. But Paul seemed to know.

 

“You have an angel form as well”, he confirmed, gently taking Dante’s hand in his, squeezing it reassuringly. “And you can always go back. Your body is under your control, no one else’s.”

 

Dante looked up at him now, and there was a sadness there that Delsin had hoped he would never see again. All he wanted to do was wrap himself around his boyfriend to physically shield him from all harm, emotional or otherwise. But he couldn’t, all he could do was be there for him, and it just never seemed to be enough.

 

“It was Vergil who made me turn into that”, he kept calling it that word, said it with such contempt, it was all to clear what he thought of this form. “I don’t even know how to do it, or how to turn back, I was unconscious when I did.”

 

“You shouldn’t be afraid of yourself, of what you are”, Paul whispered. “We can go home, and I can show you, help you. You’ll be able to turn back, I promise.”

 

“You can do that?”, he asked, staring at him for a while, and then finally nodding.

 

Dante got increasingly nervous on their way home, wringing his hands and tapping his foot, until Delsin took his hand and didn’t let go until they were in their living room. Paul worked on clearing some space, spreading out blankets so all of them could be comfortable. There was no sign of Vergil, but considering he had been the one to make Dante’s first transformation traumatic, it was perhaps better he was not here for this.

 

“Should I… go?”, Delsin asked, not quite sure about any of it either.

 

“No please don’t!” His boyfriend grasped for his hand again, looking so panicked at the thought of him not being here, that he of course promised him he’d stay.

 

Paul guided Dante to make himself comfortable on the blankets, before making sure all the windows were covered so no one could see what they were up to. It’d be harder to explain to their neighbours why they had a Nephilim in their home, than why they had all the blinds closed in the middle of the day.

 

The two of them sat down in front of Dante, each taking one of his hands, just holding it as Paul explained he would open a sort of connection between them, infuse him with energy to show Dante the mindset he needed to unlock that side of him. Even Delsin could feel the energy rush through them, a tingling sensation over his skin but it didn’t feel scary, so unlike whatever it had been that Vergil had done. This was gentle, it felt like warm summer rain, this was everything Paul was, his most inner being.

 

Dante’s eyes were closed, shuddering and softly gasping at whatever was going inside him at the moment. But he, too, did not look scared, not the way he had earlier, or back when he had turned into his demon form for the first time. He was squeezing Delsin’s hand, but he didn’t dare say anything, not even reassurances that he was there for him, afraid he’d ruin the moment, that he would stop whatever was happening. And he was glad that he hadn’t, because suddenly Dante was sighing, a relieved sigh as gorgeous white wings sprouted from his back.

 

For some reason the first thing Delsin thought of was that he was glad they had cleared some space, because his boyfriend’s wings were huge, spreading almost the entire distance of the living room. The feathers were of such a pure white, looked so silky that all Delsin wanted to do was touch, and Paul seemed to sense that, whispering into his ear to wait.

 

Dante had opened his eyes now, and they widened as he looked around, experimentally moving his wings, and knocking over the single pile of books they hadn’t gotten out of the way and flinching at the sound. From then on he moved them a little more carefully, flexing, folding them in and spreading them again, until he seemed to have gotten the hang of it. Only then did he look down at his hands, that hadn’t transformed, but there were markings there. Golden ones, swirling, beautiful patterns that travelled up his arms, eventually fading on his shoulders.

 

“You’re beautiful”, Delsin breathed, completely overwhelmed, in awe of his boyfriend. He had always known he was unique, amazing, but this… seeing him like this made him almost feel like he was not even worthy of touching him. And it struck him just how different they really were, how otherworldly Dante was.

 

“I am?”, he asked, but beamed at him, the smile infecting him as well.

 

“Oh, love, if you could see yourself. Can I… Can I touch them?” Delsin motioned to his wings, and Dante gave him a nod, pulling him close, so he could sit sideways on his lap.

 

Maybe it was his imagination, but Dante seemed to feel different, too. Brushing over the markings on his arms sent more sparks over his skin, and pressing soft kisses to them made his lips tingle, and Dante gasp. Who now moved his wings, so they were almost like a protective shell around them, each individual feather looked so perfect and soft, and Delsin could only imagine how they would look in the sunlight. Or how Dante would look while he was flying - actually flying!

 

“Go on, then”, Dante encouraged him, and he tentatively reached out, his hand shaking a little as he finally pressed it to those lovely feathers.

 

And they were even softer than he had imagined, so fluffy, and as he stroked through them, Dante shuddered.

 

“Is that bad?”, he asked, immediately pulling away.

 

“No, not at all. Keep going.”

 

So he did, brushing through those feathers, alternately looking at them, and at the way his boyfriend was gasping under his touch. Until finally, he was moaning, too. Oh, Delsin would definitely need to remember this, but as he pulled away again, Dante swayed, almost falling backwards and he had to hold him up.

 

“Are you okay?”, he asked, turning to look at Paul who had kept his distance, had only watched them. “Is he okay?”

 

“The first time can take a lot, he needs to get used to it. Dante”, he came closer, taking his hand again. “Try to calm yourself, to think of your human form. You need to rest now.”

 

Dante gave him a vague nod, and closed his eyes. Another shudder, and the markings slowly started to fade, his wings to retract until he was his normal self again. Or maybe, Delsin thought, he was his normal self the way he had been before, there was no way of knowing for him. But he couldn’t worry about it now, not when Dante finally collapsed into his arms. With Paul’s help, they carried him to the couch, gently covered him with a blanket, and Delsin brushed a strand of hair out of his face. At least he looked peaceful, and hadn’t been in pain.

 

“Thank you, Paul.” He meant it, he truly did. Making Dante happier, more comfortable with himself, it meant a lot to both of them, and he would be forever grateful.

 

“You’re welcome”, Paul whispered and pulled him into a hug. After, Delsin only slightly pulled away, arms still around his waist, looking into those bright blue eyes. Paul was so gentle, so good to all of them, he realized he had started to feel differently about him. His pupils were blown wide, they really were quite close…

 

“Shit”, Delsin muttered when his phone started to ring, scrambling to take the call before Dante woke up. Paul took a step back from him, covering his mouth with his hand, and there was a slight blush on his cheeks. “Yes, hello?”

 

He walked towards the kitchen, as Vergil’s therapist greeted him, and informed him that he hadn’t been coming to their appointments in a while now. As Delsin thought about it, it had to have been around the time he and Dante had started to spend more time with Paul. Why had he not talked to any of them? He knew how important this was.

 

“Is Vergil here, have you checked?”, Delsin asked as Paul joined him in the kitchen.

 

“No, I don’t think he is, why?”

 

“This was his therapist, he hasn’t been going to his appointments for weeks now…”, Delsin trailed off, thinking where on earth he could be. “Has he mentioned something to you?”

 

“I…”, Paul hesitated. “No, I… We haven’t talked in a while, not since… Well, you know.”

 

“Neither have I”, he admitted, looking up at him. “Shit, I think we’ve fucked up. Shit, shit… Neither of us have talked to him much, and he hasn’t been going, no one has checked up on him! I never meant to shut him out I just…”

 

“It was a big pill to swallow, I know.” Paul took his hand and gently squeezed it, but he looked just as worried as Delsin felt. “I… We need to trust him again, and it’s hard. But we should have made sure that he went, I agree. We need to find him.”

 

“Right, and how do we do that? Seattle’s not exactly small…”

 

“Well, we have this bond and I-”, Paul was cut off by Delsin getting another call, and he took it.

 

This time, it was one of their neighbours, calling from what sounded like a very busy street. Music almost completely drowned out her voice.

 

“Hey, Delsin, that white haired guy, what’s his name?”, she asked.

 

“Vergil, why? Do you know where he is?”

 

“Yeah he’s right here, just came out of a bar. He looks bad, real bad, Delsin. I think he needs help.”

 

“Text me the address, oh, and thank you! She found him, come on!”, he said the last part to Paul, and after making sure Dante was safe and didn’t need anything else, they were off to the sleazier part of town. He would need to ask their neighbour why exactly she had been there, but that was the farthest thing from his mind now.

 

A really bad, sinking feeling had snuck up on him. He had never meant to hurt Vergil, to make it seem like he didn’t care about him it had just… happened, that he and Paul got friendly, and he had figured it would be good to get to know him. But neglecting someone this vulnerable, who needed them, was unforgivable.

 

“Okay, this was where she saw him, but he left…”, Delsin trailed off, looking up and down the street for any signs of Vergil.

 

“I… I can reopen the bond”, Paul whispered, looking guilty and Delsin gave him a questioning look. “I… couldn’t stand it, after he told me, so I… shut myself off. God, I shouldn’t have… I really shouldn’t have.”

 

Delsin took his hand again, squeezing it as Paul closed his eyes, took a deep breath… and stumbled. He needed to catch him, to stop him from suddenly just hitting the pavement.

 

“Paul?”

 

“Oh god… oh god… He’s in so much pain.” He straightened himself with a lot of effort, and Delsin held on to him as he led them down the street, and into another bar. Straight through it actually, and into the bathroom, where they caught Vergil and a sleazy looking, bald stranger about to enter a stall.

 

“Vergil, stop!”, he called out, making Vergil turn and freeze in place. It was obvious what they were about to do, but Delsin just didn’t understand why. He looked miserable, eyes sunken, coat halfway hanging off his shoulders, and now he was actually starting to shake. He flinched when Paul stepped forward, but instead of turning to Vergil he pushed the stranger away, with a force Delsin had never expected from him. The guy hit the wall, and slid down, not moving but at least still breathing. As Paul turned to look at his boyfriend, his eyes were glowing green, his telltale sign of having used magic.

 

Vergil winced at how angry Paul looked, though that anger was not not meant for him, and soon dissipated. Still, he slid down the wall, shaking and trying to hide behind his arms.

 

“It’s me, Vergil, Paul. Please… I’m not here to hurt you, I’m not angry”, he said, but Vergil was unresponsive. No matter how much they talked to him, assured him that he was safe and that they only wanted to take him home, he did not move.

 

In the end they needed to carry him outside, earning a few looks from the patrons but as it turned out, Paul could look incredibly scary and authoritative if he needed to. Simply announced that he was his boyfriend, would take him home now, and it would be in their best interests to just mind their own business, which they then did. At home they carried him to his bed, got him out of his coat but still, he wouldn’t move. Vergil only stared straight ahead, barely even seemed to blink. It was horrible to watch.

 

Dante had woken up now, and they told him what they had seen. He got so angry that Delsin was glad he hadn’t been there, for fear what he would have done to that stranger who had dared to touch his brother.

 

“He sought these men out”, Paul said, still shaking from opening their bond again, and feeling what Vergil felt. “To… to punish himself, I’m not sure.”

 

“You think he’s been doing this all this time?”, Delsin asked, hugging himself. To think that Vergil had let strangers fuck him like that, after all he had been through. “We have to tell you… You need to know, Paul.”

 

“About what?”

 

Paul’s eyes widened in horror as they told him about the abuse Vergil had experienced as a teenager, over years, accompanying him into adulthood. The weight of what it meant, why he had done this, sinking in. He suddenly turned to run up the stairs, coming to a halt in front of the bed, where he knelt to look at Vergil. Still unresponsive.

 

“Oh, my darling. I’m so sorry, so…”, a sob shook his body then, tears rolling down his cheek and Dante came to kneel beside him, wrapping an arm around him. “He did this… He killed my parents because he couldn’t do that to his own. If I’d known, if, if- Oh god, I should never have slept with him.”

 

“It’s not your fault”, Dante whispered, gently stroking along his arm, but looking just as worriedly at his brother. “We all should have paid more attention.”

 

“Guys… He’s not reacting at all, what do we do?”, Delsin asked, a sense of complete and utter desperation creeping up on him. What if he didn’t snap out of it?

 

But Paul, tears still glistening on his cheeks, looked at his boyfriend with a new determination now. The fierceness which he had shown in the bar, when he had gotten Vergil home, was back.

 

“I think I have a plan.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“Okay, so what’s your plan?”, Delsin asked. He had joined Vergil on the bed now, holding him close. He looked down at him with a soft expression, so lovingly and yet so worried. Paul knew the feeling.

 

“I… I read about it”, Paul started, but Dante interrupted him.

 

“Read? So you never tried it? You’re not experimenting on my brother!”

 

Paul couldn’t fault him for snapping at him, even though they did not share the same bond he and Vergil did, he could sense the fear radiating from Dante. One look at his face was really all he needed. They weren’t just twins, they were Nephilim twins. Being apart must have been too horrible to imagine, and now that they had found each other… Things had gone so terribly wrong, and they were all responsible.

 

They had known how fragile Vergil truly was, and yet they had shut him out for things that were in the past. No matter his feelings about the broken trust between them, he should have supported him. And now Vergil was just lying there, staring into empty space, barely even blinking.

 

“Love, let him talk first”, Delsin said, softly brushing through Vergil’s hair. “Look at him. I don’t know what to do, I really don’t-”

 

He stopped himself with a sob wracking his entire body, and yet he tried so very hard not to let any tears fall. Dante finally scrambled onto the bed as well, cupping his brother’s cheeks, trying to hold his gaze but Vergil merely looked through him.

 

“Vergil, brother”, he whispered, unlike Delsin not able to hold back his own tears. He leaned down to press a soft kiss to his lips, but this wasn’t a fairy tale, Vergil wouldn’t stir from a magical kiss. “Please, please, just come back to me…”

 

“Paul?”, Delsin asked, and the two of them turned to look at him expectantly. Even Dante was getting desperate.

 

“I can… Try to enter his mind”, he said. “It shouldn’t be difficult, not when he has no resistances up. It’s dangerous, sure, for both of us. But I don’t think there’s anything else we can do.”

 

“Then do it”, Dante said quietly, backing away from his brother. He sounded so defeated, as if he had already accepted that his brother would not be coming back. But Paul wouldn’t let that happen.

 

“Are you sure?”, he asked, and Dante nodded in reply.

 

“I trust you.”  And before Paul realized what he was doing, he leaned in, cupping the back of his neck, and kissed him.

 

Dante felt so different, and yet so familiar, though Paul wasn’t sure if that kiss conveyed all these mixed emotions, or if he just wasn’t able to keep them out anymore. His lips were a little rougher than Vergil’s, but as soon as Paul relaxed into the kiss he realized just how good they felt, despite the desperate situation. Though it didn’t feel like it, the kiss was chaste and short. To Paul it had felt like time had perhaps stopped for a moment, dragging the moment out, burning it into his mind.

 

The kiss meant support, safety, trust, and so Paul smiled.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Is… is there anything you need?”, Delsin asked, making him turn and remember that he was there as well. But there was no time, and no reason to be embarrassed.

 

“I- yes, there’s a salve in my cupboard. Top shelf, far right, it’s red. It might help connect us.”

 

Delsin gently disentangled himself from Vergil to go and get it. Together with Dante they maneuvered him so he would rest against Paul’s chest, with him leaning against the head of the bed. There was still no movement from him at all, and he tried with all his might not to let the fear of losing Vergil overwhelm him. He couldn’t go inside his mind with any kind of baggage. Vergil was already so fragile, if he messed up in any way he could shatter him completely.

 

No pressure then.

 

“Here”, Delsin said as he handed him the small box, settling in next to them on the bed. He was now on his left, Dante on his right. This was as safe as they’d ever be.

 

“I have no idea how long this will take”, Paul admitted as he took off the lid of the box, started to paint the all too familiar symbols onto his and Vergil’s foreheads. “What time will be like in there. It could take hours.”

 

His hands were shaking slightly as he let them rest on his boyfriend’s forehead, already feeling the connection between them growing strong, opening wider. His heart seemed to be going at a million beats per second, and he tried desperately to control his breathing. What if he made this worse?

 

“You can do this”, Delsin said, copying Dante’s move from earlier, hand on the back of his neck, pressing a soft kiss to his lips. The warmth of his lips did seem to have a calming effect on him. “We won’t leave your side. Not for a second.”

 

Paul nodded, a fragile smile on his lips when he felt a sudden surge of energy through him and Vergil, and he slouched forward. There was a tugging sensation and then, for just a moment, darkness.

 

He hadn’t known what to expect, really, and he was little prepared in the first place. But when he opened his eyes, or, whatever projection of himself opened its eyes inside Vergil’s mind, this, he realized, was not what he’d thought he’d see, or feel. This was a red hot… it wasn’t even a room, it was an expanse as far as he could see and it was loud. Screams, deafening screams, not stopping to take a breath just shouting, always shouting. But he couldn’t make out what they were saying, not when he was staring across this vast space, which was on fire he now realized. Everything was on fire, even himself, and only now the pain hit him.

 

It was a searing pain, unlike anything he had felt before, and it brought him to his knees, clutching himself. There was wind here as well, but it wasn’t soothing, it was sharp as if the air was filled with blades. As he looked down at his form he saw that he was bloody, cuts opening on the seared skin, blistered from the fire. Paul slouched further down, hoping that if he made himself as small as possible he would hurt less but nothing worked. Only now he could hear the voices too, could make out what they were saying, enough at least for the words to cut him as deep as the wind.

 

He was worthless, he was nothing, he was a mistake that should never have come into this world. He was a disgusting piece of filth that didn’t deserve anything he had ever gotten, all his efforts had been in vain, he would never truly amount to anything. He wasn’t even worthy of being loved, whatever he had, he would lose soon enough. There was always someone better out there after all.

 

Dante had always been their favourite, hadn’t he? Stronger in every way, more beautiful even. He had always tried to be worthy of him, but how could he, when he was nothing in the end? And Paul… he had thoroughly messed that up as well, had a chance to be with someone who loved him, but these things were never meant for him. It was no surprise he left him for Dante and Delsin, they were better in every way, even the mortal. Lovely, gorgeous, powerful Delsin, who took him in even after everything he had done, after he’d tried to rip them apart. Delsin who was so patient with him, only wanted what was best for him. He didn’t deserve any of the kisses they’d shared. Didn’t deserve the patience that had been extended to him.

 

“No”, Paul whispered. These were not his thoughts. They were Vergil’s, and what he thought of himself would have made him cry if he could.

 

How long had he been on the ground, listening to this? His clothes were burned away, his flesh as well, he could even see the bone in places.

 

“Not real, not real.”

 

And yet it hurt, the pain was so real, crippling him, but he had come here for a reason, he needed to go on. He was Vergil’s only hope. He stood, what was left of his body stood, and he took a tentative step forward. This body, his form threatened to give out underneath him, but he managed another step, filled with the resolve to at least find Vergil. That next step sent a shockwave out from under him, and the ground started to crumble, give way beneath him and suddenly he was falling. Falling for what seemed like hours, but when he finally hit the floor there was no pain. For the first time since he was in here, there was no pain.

 

It was pitch black, but he could feel that his body was healed now, back to the way it was in the real world, though the memory of the pain stayed with him, and would do so for a long time. Finally, he looked up, and in the distance he could see a small patch of light. A figure sat in it, too small to be an adult, but something told him it was still Vergil.

 

Paul got up on shaky legs, taking a few moments to catch his breath. He knew it was nonsense, he didn’t need to do any of this, but he needed that moment to gather himself. This was it, he could feel it.

 

The patch of light didn’t seem to be getting any closer for a long time, and he started to worry he would never make it. That Vergil had realized he was in here, and tried to keep him away, but then the whole world shifted, and he was standing right in front of him.

 

It really was Vergil. Though he had never seen pictures of him as a young boy, he instinctively knew that it was him. Hair impeccably styled, wearing shorts and a dress shirt but his legs were pulled close to him, arms around them and his chin resting on his knees. He was staring at… dolls, dolls that looked like them. Dante, Delsin, even one of Paul. They looked fragile, expensive, and gorgeous.

 

“Who are you?” Vergil had finally noticed him, those grey eyes fixing onto him.

 

“I… I’m Paul.” At least he had noticed him. Paul tried to push the pain that flared up in him at that question away. “May I join you?”

 

“Sure. Just be careful. Don’t break them.”

 

“I won’t. They’re really beautiful”, he said as he settled in next to Vergil, sitting cross legged by his side.

 

“They are the most beautiful things in the whole wide world. And the world, it’s like… big, you know?” Vergil almost smiled at the soft chuckle that comment got out of Paul, but he quickly turned to stare at the dolls again.

 

“Why don’t you play with them?”, Paul asked.

 

“I can’t. They’re too precious, I’ll just make them dirty”, Vergil hesitated. “I’m filth. Filthy.”

 

“What? Why would you think that?” He froze as he turned to look at Vergil again. It hadn’t been there before, he was sure of it, but now those small hands were covered in dirt and… blood. This… this was how he saw himself.

 

“Daddy told me. Daddy’s always right. I need to do what he says or… or… I’ll be all alone, or… he makes me do bad things.” Vergil tensed up now, his grip on his own arms tightening, digging his fingernails into them until he was bleeding. Paul quickly took those tiny hands in his own, he didn’t mind if he got hurt, or dirty, though Vergil tried to move away at first. “You’ll get dirty!”

 

Paul rarely got angry, and never before had he been angry like this. It was an anger that threatened to overtake him, but looking at those wide, scared and innocent eyes made him focus on the task at hand. He would deal with Vergil’s foster father later.

 

“I don’t care. Listen to me, Vergil, this is very important.” Paul made sure he was looking at him, and his tiny form seemed to relax just a little bit. “He lied to you. I am so, so sorry you had to be with this person. He lied, trust me. You’re not filthy or worthless. You are loved by many wonderful people.”

 

For one moment, for just a heartbeat Vergil looked so hopeful, so ready to believe all the things he told him, but then that look was gone. Replaced only by a sad, fragile little smile, and he shook his head, but didn’t say anything.

 

“I’ll show you then”, Paul said and walked towards the dolls a little away from them. Though Vergil protested, begged him not to touch them, he gathered them up, hoping, praying that they wouldn’t break. He really hadn’t prayed in a long, long time…

 

Vergil was shaking, staring wide eyed at the dolls in Paul’s arms, even scrambled away from him when he got closer, but he couldn’t move past the patch of light, couldn’t move into the darkness beyond.

 

“Go on, take them”, Paul insisted, kneeling in front of him now, pressing the dolls into his arms. Vergil only took them because otherwise they would fall onto the floor, and his fear that they would break was too big. For a while he just stared at them in his arms, but when nothing happened to them he slowly started to relax a little.

 

“See? They don’t break, they’re not dirty.They’d really much rather like to be with you, than all the way over there”, he said.

 

“Really?” Vergil’s eyes darted from the dolls, back to him, and again to the dolls. “But…”

 

“I know that they do. They love you so very much.”

 

“He… he lied?” It was only halfway a question, and the realization made the world shift around them, made Paul stumble and fall to the floor. “Paul?”

 

He was looking straight at him now, some of the innocence gone from his eyes, making him look more like the Vergil he knew outside of all this. Before he could answer though, the world shook again violently and Paul realized he needed to just let go.

 

Both of them woke up with a jerk of their bodies, and Paul had to blink to adjust to the rays of the new sun that shone through the window. Hours must have passed… Dante and Delsin scrambled to attention now, staring at them.

 

“Vergil?”, Dante softly asked, reaching out to his brother but not quite touching him.

 

Paul had done something, that much he was sure of, though he couldn’t tell for a moment if it had worked or not. But slowly Vergil started to stir in his arms, looked around for a moment before he turned to him.

 

“Thank you”, he whispered, not meeting his eyes. “I don’t… I don’t really know what happened, but I just… I get the feeling you helped. I know you helped.”

 

So Vergil wasn’t even aware of what was going on inside his head? All of his issues… some of them he didn’t even know about himself, so of course he hadn’t been able to properly deal with them. Perhaps it was time to find someone who knew about all this, the supernatural, demons and angels, who could help Vergil. Because hiding this part of himself from his therapist had obviously not been successful.

 

“You’re welcome. We were so worried, you know.”

 

Vergil looked around the room again, hanging his head when he saw how distressed the other two were as well. There were still traces of tears on Dante’s cheeks, who now scooched closer, gently reaching out to take his brother’s hand.

 

“I’m so sorry”, Dante said, his voice dangerously close to cracking.

 

“Why are you apologizing? I’m the one who messed up”, Vergil replied, still not looking up. He practically radiated shame, Paul could feel it through their bond.

 

“Because we ignored you when you needed us. I should have been there for you, you’re my brother.” Vergil looked up at him at that, but Paul couldn’t see his expression. “Why, Vergil? Why did you do… Why did you let those men… do that to you?”

 

Paul slipped out from behind Vergil now, so they could all look at each other, but stayed close to him. He wasn’t sure if he needed space, of if he needed them to be close, so he would offer both as much as he could. Paul knew why he had done it, understood so much more about Vergil now, perhaps more than he himself did, but he needed to figure it all out for himself. If he just told him… then it wouldn’t necessarily mean he’d believe it.

 

“I just…”, Vergil trailed off, and it didn’t seem like he would continue to talk for a while. But at least he didn’t let go of Dante’s hand.

 

“Vergil”, Delsin said, and he turned his head but still refused to look at him. “You were the one who said no more lies. Please… You can talk to us about anything. I promise we’re not mad, and we won’t be.”

 

“You’re right…”, Vergil sighed, finally looking up now. His eyes were bloodshot, the skin around them irritated. He looked… defeated, as if this was the end of the line. Paul reached out to take his other hand, squeezing it gently.

 

“I… I felt like I was getting better, at first. I was so happy when you…”, and he looked at Paul. “When you were here. But with all I’ve done I had never expected you to come back you know, and then… You three just got closer, I tried to be happy but I just… It felt right, that you three would get along, would be happy together. There was no place for someone like me, someone as horrible as me. I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I have nowhere else to go.”

 

“No, Vergil, please don’t leave”, Dante whispered, looking so, so scared. Their bond was special, it transcended whatever was between the four of them. It sounded ridiculous even in his own head, but they were meant to be. “Please, I love you. Stay?”

 

“Love me?”, Vergil sounded shocked. “After… after everything I’ve done, to you… to all of you. How could I deserve that?”

 

“You’re not that person anymore”, Paul said. “You changed, and you deserve to be happy, you really do.”

 

“That doesn’t excuse what I’ve done.”

 

“Maybe not”, Delsin came closer now as well. “I admit it was hard for me to forgive you, but I did, with all my heart. And when I’m with you, when we paint or kiss or talk, it’s one of the happiest I’ve been in my entire life.”

 

Vergil just stared at him in awe and disbelief. He truly didn’t think anything of himself anymore, so different from the person he had met all those years ago.

 

“Really?”, his voice failed him at that moment, as the first tear started to roll down his cheek.

 

“Yes. And I’m sure the others feel the same way.”

 

“I do”, Dante immediately said, cupping his brother’s cheek as he turned to look at him. “Even when we bicker, especially then, it’s like we’re back home. You’re my family, my love and I… My favourite thing is just when I wake up and you look at me. I still get confused, wondering where I am, but when I see you, I just know I’m safe, that I’m home.”

 

He started crying in earnest then, and Dante pulled him close. It was good to see him relax into the touch, not recoil from him as he had seen him do before. Dante just rubbed his back, whispering sweet nothings into his ear as he let him cry it all out. After a while he motioned for Paul and Delsin to come closer, and they did. Piling up to hug Vergil from all sides, to offer their warmth, their comfort, until their boyfriend’s breathing had slowed, the tears had stopped and he could talk to them again.

 

“He neglected you a lot, didn’t he?”, Paul asked, moving back with Delsin to give him more room again, though Vergil stayed in Dante’s arms. “Your… foster father. I… what we did, not paying attention to you, it wasn’t intentional, but we’re sorry. We never meant to give you the impression that we don’t love you. I… I hope you can forgive us, one day.”

 

“Forgive… you?” Again Vergil stared at him in disbelief. “There’s nothing to forgive.”

 

“Yes, there is”, Dante whispered. “We’re not perfect you know. Although it seems Paul comes pretty close.”

 

Vergil grinned at him as heat rose into his cheeks. Where had that come from? He wasn’t anything special, really. Not Nephilim, not an incredibly powerful Conduit, and handsome one at that, he added in his mind. He was just… Paul.

 

“He is”, Vergil said softly, reaching out again to take his hand.

 

“We still have to talk about what we’re going to do though”, Delsin said, turning their attention to him. He looked sad, but he was right, they had to figure this out, now. “What you did, it’s not healthy, but I think you know that. It’s like you were trying to punish yourself, for whatever reason.”

 

Paul saw Vergil averting his gaze once more, guilt practically written all over his face. It was true, Paul knew it. He had tried to punish himself, for thinking he had failed them. Failed to please them, failed at being a good person, at being someone worthy. Now they had to teach him that he didn’t.

 

“I think we need to find someone, a therapist, who knows about all this.” Paul made a vague gesture between them. “I don’t know where to find someone like that, but there must be.”

 

“I could ask Phineas”, Dante suggested, looking down at his brother. “If you agree.”

 

Slowly, and hesitantly, Vergil nodded. At least he could see that this couldn’t go on…

 

A sudden idea formed in Paul’s mind. This world… it had done terrible things to Vergil, and he got the feeling he couldn’t truly relax, not as long as his foster father was still out there. The person responsible for so much pain in his life, someone Paul would need to take care of eventually, to make sure he could never enter his life again. But his first thought was to keep his boyfriend safe, to make sure he had time to heal, to become who he really was. Though of course Paul was fully aware that with so much pain… it was unlikely it would ever truly fade. Some things would just not be okay, but Vergil would hopefully be able to move on, go through life and be happy.

 

“I… can you give me a few hours?”, Paul asked them, seeing their confused expressions, but he kind of wanted this to be a surprise. “There’s something I want to do. You can freshen up in the meantime?”

 

He quickly leaned in to press a soft kiss to the corner of Vergil’s mouth, feeling it quirk up in a smile for a second before he dashed outside. There was a patch of the wall, behind the railing, in between his and Vergil’s room - and they had to think about that arrangement, but it was a thought for another time. That patch didn’t have any pictures, or any art on it, and Paul took a piece of chalk, imbued with his own magic, to trace the outline of a door there. He pressed his hands to it, closed his eyes and muttered a spell, one he had so far not practiced. But if there’s one thing Vergil had instilled in him, it was confidence in his magical abilities.

 

The outline of the door glowed green, the way his own magic always did, and it soon became real. A wooden door, old fashioned, with black iron adornments, and he had to smile. It kind of fit. For Vergil.

 

He was blinded as he opened the door, the sheer whiteness of the pocket dimension he had just created overwhelming him. Blindly, he set a foot inside, and noticing that it was firm ground beneath him, followed with another, and closed the door behind him. This wouldn’t do, not at all, so the first thing Paul did, was to reach out and concentrate, thinking of what he wanted to create.

 

Since he hadn’t done this before, he watched in awe as the field of sunflowers he had imagined simply came to be. In one large sweep over the landscape, they were suddenly everywhere, and with them a blue sky, with a warm, comforting sun. It seemed very artificial though, and with another thought, another wave of his hand, a warm breeze started to ruffle the sunflower’s petals, birds were flying through the sky, their songs soothing. Paul tried to think of the nice things from the town he had grown up in, to recreate them here. The sounds of nature, perhaps a few more trees were in order, a large patch of soil to be made into a garden and another large spot where he could create a house. Everything for someone who was deeply hurt to find their peace.

 

As he walked through the field he imagined a cobblestone path forming beneath his feet, he let his hand brush through the petals of the sunflowers beside him. They felt good, felt real, even their smell was just as he remembered. It made sense, of course, this was his creation, he poured all of his heart, his soul into this place to make it a place of healing, of safety.

 

The house he created was more of a cottage, really. Dark, wooden walls, a thatched roof, Paul tried to make it as cozy as possible, the interior comfortable but very clean, just as Vergil liked it. Not too much clutter, everything had its place, but he made sure that there was a fireplace, a comfortable couch and armchairs. Of course the bedroom housed a bed large enough for four people, but just to be safe he added another room with beds, knowing Vergil sometimes needed his space. The bathroom got a large tub as well, though he was soon reminded that these things might not happen for a while.

 

Paul thought back to that night he and Vergil had spent together, after he had come to Seattle. He had such a warped view on sex, had been abused so terribly… Paul couldn’t help but feel guilty, to feel that he had taken advantage of someone so vulnerable. He should have known, should have at least asked… shouldn’t he?

 

Perhaps doing this was his way of apologizing, of trying to make it right. It took a lot of his energy, he realized now. He felt himself getting weaker, stumbling against the newly made wall. But he couldn’t stop now, Vergil needed a place to paint, and so he created one, filling it with supplies, anything he might need. And if there was still something missing, he could remedy that in a heartbeat.

 

At long last he was relatively satisfied with his work, and started to make his way back into the house. The path there seemed longer now, and when he finally made it, he needed to hold himself up by the railing. The others were already waiting for him, Vergil smelling of water and peppermint as he came rushing towards him to prop him up.

 

“What did you do?”, he asked, glancing at the half open door, clearly not there before. “Did you… make a pocket dimension?”

 

Dante and Delsin looked confused at each other as Paul nodded, smiling weakly up at his boyfriend.

 

“Do you even know how much power is needed for something like this?”, Vergil asked again, eyes wide.

 

“Oh it was easy, really. But now I’m a bit sleepy…”, he trailed off, but still started to lead them to the door. “Let me show you.”

 

Paul couldn’t help but feel a bit of pride when Vergil gasped at the sight before him, his grip on Paul’s waist loosening a little. They slowly made their way along the path, Vergil stopping them here and there to inspect the flowers, to take a deep breath, and there it was again, that soft smile. He had missed that.

 

Vergil insisted that he’d sit down once inside the cottage, but he refused, knowing he would fall asleep as soon as he did that, and he wanted to see his boyfriend inspect the rooms. He wanted to know if he liked it, and so his heart skipped a beat when Vergil returned to the open living room and kitchen area. He didn’t exactly look happy.

 

“I can change whatever you don’t like”, Paul quickly said, now held up by Dante and Delsin, one on either side of him.

 

“It’s not that… I love it”, Vergil said, wringing his hands. “It’s just… Do you want to hide me away?”

 

“No! That’s not what this is!”, he stumbled out of the grip the other two had on him, towards Vergil to take his hands in his own. “I can feel… that you don’t feel safe out there. This place, it’s yours, only we can go here. Of course you could come and go as you please, and I thought I could make an exit in New York. So you can come to me if I’m working there. I want you to be able to heal, to finally be able to relax. This could be where you can do that.”

 

He could tell Vergil was close to tears again, but this time, they seemed to be of relief. He let his hands wander over Paul’s arms, grasping, then sliding higher until he was gripping the collar of his shirt. Suddenly he pulled him close, and pressed his lips to Paul’s, who couldn’t help but immediately melt into the kiss.

 

Oh he had missed this. Had missed it so much, and scolded himself again for being so damn inattentive, to hurt the person he loved so, so much.

 

“Thank you”, Vergil breathed against his lips, following up with another quick peck onto them. “I… This place feels really good.”

 

“You’ll never be alone again”, Dante had stepped up to them, he looked so serious now, so earnest. “Someone will always be here with you, especially at night, I think we can agree on that. Whether you want us in your bed or not, is up to you.”

 

“Do you want someone to stay tonight?”, Delsin asked softly, standing on tiptoe to press a kiss to Vergil’s cheek. Paul had to giggle at the sight, it was pretty adorable.

 

“Maybe… I mean”, Vergil hesitated. “If you wanted to… all of you?”

 

“Oh I’m all in”, Paul said, slouching against his boyfriend.

 

He had spent more time in here than he had initially intended to, and he reminded himself that he’d need to install a day and night cycle, get them a clock too. Otherwise it would be impossible to keep track of time in here. For now though, he was exhausted, and they led him into the bedroom, Dante and Delsin laughing at the huge bed inside. Paul had made sure to make it extra comfortable though, fluffy pillows and blankets in abundance. So they all cuddled up on it, making one huge pile of comfort and warmth, Vergil between them.

 

This… it was far from perfect, all of them knew it. But they’d made the first step, and they would do better from now on. Would make sure Vergil was safe, would be taken care of, and got the help he needed. It would be a long road, and maybe it would never be walked completely, but whatever happened, they would be here to guide him along.

 

Though he initially wasn’t interested in anyone but Vergil, as he slowly drifted off to sleep, listening to the others talk softly, he was able to admit to himself that those kisses they had shared haunted him. Not in a bad way though, thinking about it he fully realized how good they had felt, how comforting. Delsin behind him, his incredible warmth, felt just as good as the soft kiss he pressed to the top of his head as he noticed he was drifting off to sleep.

 

“Maybe we should be quiet. Look at Paul”, he whispered.

 

Paul tried to keep his eyes open, but it was difficult, and eventually he just gave up. Let his lids fall, his breathing evening out.

 

“No”, he mumbled. “Keep talking…”

 

And so they kept talking, albeit in softer voices than before. It didn’t take Paul long to finally fully fall asleep, but a different kind of warmth enveloped him as he heard Vergil laugh just before he did. The fuzzy kind, the kind that made you hopeful.

 

 

Chapter Text

Vergil woke up to a feeling of warmth and safety, and his mind wandered... when was the last time he had felt this way? He couldn't even remember.


He was pressed close to Dante, his scent, his warmth enveloping him, as did Paul's behind him, and as he glanced down, he saw Delsin's hand resting on his hip, arm slung over Paul. They were just one big pile of limbs and yet, it felt perfect. It shouldn't surprise him, that he found himself in a relationship like this. He wasn't human, and had never expected to find happiness in a regular relationship. Not that he had ever expected to find happiness.


Once that had been equal to ruling, then... It could have meant being with Paul, if only he had realized it sooner, but he messed everything up and then happiness had seemed to far out of his reach. Now... he wasn't sure what he felt right now. After the previous weeks, it was definitely an improvement, but what he had done, what he had remembered about his abuse, it would stay with him for a very long time. Forever, he thought.


For a while, before Paul had returned, it had seemed that he was doing better, that the therapy he went to, at least in the beginning, was working. But he had to hide so much of what he truly was. He couldn't talk about his brother, couldn't talk about his relationship with him, or how it impacted both of them. He mentioned that he resented his father, for separating him from his brother, but the details of it, how he had erased their memories... what human would have believed him? In the end he hid too much, buried too much inside of himself. He realized that now.


Vergil turned, ever so slowly, doing his best not to wake anyone else up, so he could look at Paul, still sleeping. He was so... beautiful wasn't even enough to describe him, Vergil thought as he let his finger run along that strong jaw, the touch featherlight. His features so sharp, and yet so soft, you only needed one look into those bright blue eyes to see that he was a good person, pure even. He'd have done anything for Vergil, still did - had created a whole damn pocket dimension, just for him. How he had squandered this gift this... love that Paul was always, always willing to give.


He shouldn't have doubted him, not ever. And yet, when he had gotten closer with Dante and Delsin, when they had seemed to get along so well, to be happy together, he hadn't been able to feel like it was meant to be. That he was not meant to be with them, that he was a burden, a broken, useless thing that they didn't need anymore. All he did was cause them trouble, cause them more work because of his constant nightmares and breakdowns, it seemed only natural that they turned to Paul. Sweet, amazing Paul...He had fallen in love with him, and so would they. By the looks on their faces, already had.


So Vergil had shut himself away, to give them their space, as they surely didn't want him around, didn't even react to him staying away from them. And so they didn't notice when he stopped going to his therapy appointments, because he didn't see the point in them anymore. He wasn't getting better, he was broken, and he needed to... vanish. First he had thought about running, about simply packing up and leaving so they could be happy without him, but it felt like he didn't have the energy to do it. Sometimes he did watch them, just talking, or cuddling, watching TV and the thought of leaving weighed heavy on his mind. After all, he was still in love with them, and an inherently selfish person, perhaps... perhaps they would have been willing to give him a few more scraps of attention, just a tiny bit. Maybe then he would have been able to leave.


But it never happened, and in a dark moment, he simply slipped out of the house. Vergil, even now, wasn't quite sure what had driven him that night, but deep down, he had wanted to punish himself. For being a burden, for making the lives of the people he loved worse, just by being in it. He didn't even get drunk in the sleazy bar he went to, only searched out the most likely person to take him, and fuck him. It wasn't hard, objectively he knew that he was handsome, his father had used that to his advantage after all. Soon enough he found himself in the equally sleazy bathroom, pressed against the wall, a stranger tugging at his clothes. It hurt, when that man pushed into him without any preparation, but it's what he had wanted after all. Even when he found someone who was willing to be gentle, Vergil insisted that they wouldn't. This was not about pleasure, not for him.


He didn't even know how many encounters there had been, spaced out over the span of weeks, but after each, he couldn't cry. All he did was lie in his bed and stare at the wall, feeling the emptiness inside him. He went numb afterward, couldn't even feel the pain anymore, and one night, with everyone asleep, he had slipped into the bathtub. Just him, no water, and a razor, wanting to feel something, anything. But no matter how deep he cut, no matter how much blood flowed from his veins, there was nothing. Vergil was convinced that he was useless, it was what his foster father had taught him after all. Couldn't make him proud, couldn't make the people he loved happy, couldn't even feel pain or, apparently, kill himself.


When he woke up his wounds had closed, and he supposed that he had only survived because he was Nephilim as the amount of blood he had lost would have killed any human. So he scrambled to get rid of the signs in the bathtub, got rid of his clothes, threw them away outside when no one was looking after he had cleaned himself up. It was still early, and he was the first one up, avoiding anyone noticing anything. At breakfast he had been convinced that it was so clear on his face, what he had done... or tried to do, but as always, he might as well have been invisible.


So he was stuck. Not able to leave, not able to vanish, all he drove himself to do was go out, and let others take advantage of him. That had been the only time his foster father had been proud of him, when he had pleased a client and earned them a deal, and he supposed now, that this was what had driven him to do it.


The longer he stared at Paul, framed by the sunlight from outside, that as far as he could remember, had never stopped, the sillier he felt, for never talking to him. He was such a sweet, gentle person, Vergil knew that whatever he had asked of him, he would have done. He had created an entire pocket dimension to keep him safe, and he didn't even realize how much sheer power that took. Vergil had severely underestimated him, and his abilities, Paul might just be the most powerful witch on the entire planet.


Vergil frowned. There was something, at the back of his mind... tugging, shouting, begging to be remembered. He had been... he couldn't quite remember what had happened after Delsin and Paul had found him, but looking at his boyfriend... There was an image, of him engulfed in darkness and a light that reminded him of that shimmer that was around Paul, and in his eyes, when he used his magic. First there had been doubt, disbelief but then... hope.


"He lied to me", Vergil whispered into the silence.


He wasn't sure where that had come from, but suddenly he just knew: His foster father had lied to him. About everything. He had neglected Vergil, had used him, had only ever given him scraps of attention, had told him he was worthless. But he had lied to him. Maybe... and he couldn't quite admit it yet, but maybe... he wasn't worthless. And for some reason, Vergil was convinced Paul had something to do with that revelation.


So he leaned in, finally, after watching his boyfriend for what felt like hours, and pressed a soft kiss to those lovely lips. That little adorable frown appeared on his forehead, and so he did it again, let the kiss linger for a few heartbeats more, and when he pulled away Paul was slowly opening his eyes.


"Vergil..."


Oh how he loved to hear his name from those lips, whether it was whispered like this, or moaned when they were in bed. He'd even take it yelled at him, as long as it came from this gorgeous creature.


"You still wear the earring", he whispered, and gently brushed over it.


"Of course I do", Paul too, kept his voice low, trying not to wake up the others. Though for a moment it seemed like they were in their own little world, Vergil was too focused on those blue eyes to notice anything else.


"But why? The charm has worn off."


"Because you gave it to me. Because I love you." He said it so matter-of-factly, as if he wanted to add 'dummy' to the end of that sentence. Vergil's heart skipped a beat at those words. After all this... he still did. And he could feel that it was true, the connection that he only now noticed had been severed between them for weeks, was there again. It felt right, it felt like a part of the void inside him had been filled. "I wish you wouldn't look so surprised when I tell you."


"I... I'm sorry", Vergil whispered, averting his gaze.


"Don't be." Paul tilted his chin up again. "I just hope that one day you'll believe it. That I'll always love you."


He wished he could say it so easily. He felt it, of course he did, but he had to motion for Paul to lean in, lifting his head so Vergil could whisper into his ear, half hidden from view and his face buried in his neck.


"I love you too."


It was barely audible, and yet Paul's breathing hitched. He waited for a moment, and when he pulled back, rested his head on the pillow again, he was beaming.


"I... I'm sorry I can't-", Vergil started, but Paul interrupted him.


"I love the way you say it. It's like... a secret, something precious just for me though...", he trailed off, glancing at Dante behind him. "I suppose it isn't quite just mine."


"Does it bother you?", he asked, suddenly nervous. Paul had given his blessing but if he didn't approve... Vergil wasn't quite sure what he'd do. He was meant to be with Dante after all.


"No, not at all." Paul apologized with a quick peck on his lips, still smiling gently. "I... I understand, what it's like, I think."


"Do you love them?" Vergil needed to know, though he wasn't sure how he'd feel about it if he did. It wasn't his place to ask Paul not to be with them, and he did want him to be happy after all.


"I'm not sure about love, not like I love you...", Paul hesitated for a moment. "At first I thought it was impossible, to love anyone the way I love you, but now... I think there could be more, but I will not act on it if it makes you uncomfortable."


Vergil averted his gaze for a moment, thinking about it. He loved them, all of them, and being together like this in a big pile it almost... seemed perfect. Who was he to deny Paul anything, and the more he thought about it he realized that it was right for them.


"It doesn't", he finally said. "I feel... good, with all of you. You... have my blessing, so to speak."


Paul giggled at that, a sweet sound, that made Delsin and Dante stir in their sleep, and he pressed a hand to his own mouth.


"Thank you", he whispered once they had stopped moving, pressing another sweet kiss to his lips.


"I want you to be happy", Vergil said. "And I can't... I can't have sex, not... after this. If you- I mean if you need... I'm sure they'd-"


"I'll see if it ever comes to that", Paul interrupted him again, smiling softly. "It's not that important, you know. Being with you is important. I... I shouldn't have taken advantage of you, when I first arrived here, I shouldn't have pushed."


"No, please." He shook his head, and took Paul's hand, pressing a kiss to its knuckles. "It felt good, you didn't take advantage, I promise. I wanted it, with all... well, my heart, if I had one."


"Your heart is bigger and sweeter than you think", Paul replied. "You are capable of so much love, and good."


Vergil wasn't so sure about this, but the way his boyfriend said it, the way he looked at him, well maybe he could just believe a fraction of it.


Slowly, behind him, he could feel Dante stirring, and almost immediately, Delsin as well. His brother pressed closer to his back, wrapping an arm around his waist and after a few minutes, Vergil felt a kiss being pressed to the back of his neck. Paul was grinning widely at him, mouthing 'adorable'.


"Did you hear that?", Vergil asked, twisting in his brother's embrace so he could face him. "Paul called you adorable."


"'M not", Dante insisted, mumbling against his chest. "Demon killer."


"Yes you are", he replied, softly patting his back. Behind him, Paul and Delsin were giggling, the latter finally awake as well.


"How do you feel?", Dante asked, now sounding a bit more serious.


"I feel better... I think. Hungry."


"Hungry is good. Do we have food in here?" He lifted his head, hair sticking in different directions as he squinted at Paul, blinking a few times to let his eyes get used to the light.


"Er, not yet. We should probably get that from the... real world, so to speak", Paul explained. "And I am also not sure if the things we take from here... if they can exist outside."


"If you use more energy, they could, but it depends", Vergil said, now lying on his back so he could look at him. Delsin had propped himself up, his chin resting on Paul's shoulder, his hair just as messy as Dante's. But his sleepy smile was just as adorable too.


"Hmm, let's go get some food, Dante", he said, slowly crawling over Paul, then Vergil, to roll onto his back between him and Dante. He was ridiculous, and yet for once Vergil wasn't annoyed, he was giggling. "And then we can have a picnic outside. I haven't seen sunflowers in so long, they are so lovely."


"Thank you", Paul beamed at him. "I'll stay here then, and we can set up."


Dante and Delsin still needed a few more minutes to properly wake up, and they had to coax each other out of bed with the promise of Starbucks and a huge cup of coffee. They promised they'd bring more food than for the picnic, since for now at least, Vergil would be staying here. For fun, Paul did try to make something edible, but it crumbled when Vergil bit into it, and it tasted like nothing at all. It hardly mattered, when the exit was so close, and yet far enough so that he did feel safe in this place, a feeling he hadn't had in a very long time.


What Paul could do though, was draw them a bath, in the tub large enough for both of them to get into, and even more. Vergil knew exactly what he had in mind when he had created it, and he grinned to himself as he got in. The hot water soon engulfed him, and he let out a sigh as he leaned back, resting against Paul's chest.


"You're not showing weakness", Paul suddenly said, fingers brushing over Vergil's chest in a soothing motion.


"What?" He turned slightly, frowning at him.


"The... bond... I can feel it. You're not weak for needing help."


It was exactly what he had been thinking. It used to be Vergil holding him, it used to be him who was in charge, and now... He was still broken, despite feeling better. He couldn't focus too long on what had happened, what he had done, as he did right now, because it made him panic, made him want to claw at his skin. Suddenly Paul turned him around, took his hands, holding them steady.


"Look at me", he said, and Vergil couldn't help but comply. Those green eyes were captivating. "Focus on me. You're not with anyone else, you're safe, you're with me."


As long as he focused on Paul, on his green eyes, as long as he did that, he would be okay. Despite the warm water, he was shivering, and let himself be pulled into a hug, sighing against his boyfriend's wet skin. He was warm, he was perfect, he was safe.


"I'm.... I'm okay", Vergil eventually managed, but he stayed in that embrace, it felt too good.


"We still have to get you help, love. I can't... I don't know how to help you move on."


"I know, you will... get me help, won't you?" He pulled away a little, so he could look at Paul pleadingly. He didn't know what else to do, he needed them to get better, to get him help.


"Of course. Dante will talk to Phineas, he will know of someone, I am sure of it. Until then I won't leave your side, I promise."


"I'm such a burden, aren't I?" Vergil averted his gaze, staring out the window at the endless field of sunflowers.


"Don't you ever think that", Paul replied, cupping his cheek to make him look into his eyes again. "You are so important, to all of us. And we'll gladly help you."


It was hard, so damn hard to trust that anyone could love him this way, to keep supporting him when he was at his worst. And yet... what he felt emanating from Paul, what he saw in his eyes, made him think it could be possible.


"Come on, let's get you dried off", Paul whispered and leaned in, pressing his lips to Vergil's. He clung to his boyfriend's neck, melting into that chaste, innocent kiss. They stayed like that for a few more moments, foreheads pressed together, breathing in each other's breath.


Paul's touch was gentle as he led him out of the bathtub, as he dried him off and managed to create the most comfortable sweatpants he had ever worn, along with a hoodie that was a bit too large, but in a way, was perfect because of it. He just knew exactly what Vergil needed, and right now it was comfort.


"It's been day since we've gotten here...", Vergil noticed as they walked outside with a large blanket, Paul creating a free space in the field as they went.


"Oh yes, I'd forgotten to do that..." He closed his eyes for a moment, took a deep breath, and though nothing happened, Vergil could feel him work his magic. "There, done. It's morning now, but the sun will move, and it'll become night too."


"You are incredible, do you know that?"


Paul blushed, and turned away, hiding his smile behind his hand.


"It's nothing, really, I just want you to be safe", he said, plopping down on the blanket that they had spread out. Vergil quickly followed.


"And that's why you are." He was still hesitant to reach out, to ask for comfort, but Paul could sense it it seemed, and pulled him close. Vergil immediately curled up in his embrace, sighing softly. "You did all this, you don't even realize how much sheer power it takes. You are so damn powerful and yet..."


He pulled away to look at Paul, who was smiling softly. His gentle, sweet smile.


"And yet I know that you would never hurt anyone with all that power. I... I wish I'd met you sooner."


Perhaps he could have learned from him sooner, how to be a better person. How to love, how to grow. There was so much Paul had taught him, and he didn't even know.


"We did meet, and that's what's important", Paul insisted, still smiling, letting a warmth flare up in Vergil. "Look, our boys have returned."


They watched as Dante and Delsin walked down the cobblestone path, bumping against each other, exchanging looks that seemed so familiar to Vergil. It was the way Paul looked at him, and though in the past he would have been jealous, now it made him smile. His brother had been through so much as well, he deserved the happiness that Delsin could give him.


"How do you feel?", Dante asked him as he and Delsin joined them on the blanket. Delsin obediently started to spread out the food they had brought: Bread, different kinds of cheeses, grapes, strawberries, cherries, it was a feast.


"Better. I think." He closed his eyes as his brother pressed a soft kiss to his lips, sighing against them as he pulled away. "Paul helped. You all did."


"I uhm...", Delsin inched closer, a small packet of cheese in his hand, his lovely black hair loosely moving in the breeze. "I brought you the smelly cheese. The one you like."


He looked at him like a small puppy who had destroyed a piece of furniture and now tried to apologize. It was... adorable, simply adorable, this little offering of something Vergil hadn't known Delsin had ever realized about him. So he sat up and took the little packet of cheese, an expensive brand he realized, and set it aside for now. Looking around at these three wonderful people, he couldn't help but feel a little hopeful.


"Thank you, Delsin", he whispered as he leaned closer. But he hesitated, slowly reaching out to grasp the hem of his shirt, but stopping himself. He wasn't quite sure if this was allowed, though they had kissed plenty of times before. Vergil was trying to get rid of the voices telling him he didn't deserve this, but it was difficult. Delsin however, seemed to realize what was going on in his mind, and guided Veril's hand to the back of his neck. Only now did he finally dare to close the distance between them, feeling those hot lips on his own, silently blessing the powers that made Delsin run hotter than the average human.


"I'm sorry", Delsin whispered, now with what Vergil assumed were unintentional puppy eyes. "I'm so sorry."


Vergil shook his head, and kissed him again, longer this time, parting his lips to let their tongues meet. The smaller man tasted like smoke, and yet so sweet, a unique taste unlike anything he had known before.


"Don't apologize anymore", he said. "I... should have trusted you."


"I'll never stop", Delsin replied with a small smile. "I'll bring you all the smelly cheese in the world. All of it."


Vergil had to laugh at that, with the others joining in, and it felt damn good to do so. Delsin was eager to unpack the little pack of cheese, spreading it on a piece of bread and feeding it to Vergil, though he scrunched up his nose at the smell.


"How can you eat this?", he asked him, still with that weirdly adorable look of disgust on his face. "It smells horrible."


"Just taste it", Vergil insisted, now it was his turn to feed Delsin. "Try not to inhale the smell too much."


Dante was very helpful in the experiment, pinching Delsin's nose so he wouldn't be able to smell the cheese. His expression didn't change when he ate it though.


"Oh it tastes good!"


"Then why do you look like that?", Paul asked, giggling behind his hand.


"Oh, right." And his expression turned from disgust to a big, dopey smile, making them all laugh again. Paul, behind Vergil, giggled so hard he slumped against his back, making them both shake with it.


Passing the day like this, so damn normal for a change, made the budding feeling of hope grow larger. All of them were so supportive, so helpful, Vergil felt like he could do this, could get better. They discussed how they would proceed, what they would like to have in this dimension, though it almost seemed perfect already. After their meal Paul created another door, leading to his office in New York, so Vergil, and the others, could visit him in a manner of minutes whenever they liked. Vergil had opened the door to the all too familiar office, stared into it, but couldn't quite bring himself to step into it.


Paul had been right, this place was safe, and he was scared of whatever was out there. Of his foster father who still had a big influence on him, of what he would do to himself if given the opportunity. He wasn't sure if this was right, hiding away like this, but for now, he could survive. He had to force himself not to think too hard about the past, had to focus on the future, to keep moving. If not, he felt he would break.


But as he stared into that office, he felt Paul slip his hand into his, then Dante took his other, and Delsin hugged him from behind.


"You're okay", Paul told him, and for now, it was true.


They led him away from that door, and Dante showed him what else they had brought for him: seeds. There was a small patch of soil outside of the cottage, and though Vergil wasn't too excited about the prospect of getting dirty, he promised he would at least try. Or figure out something else to occupy him, as he now had a lot of free time on his hands. He wasn't sure how, but Paul also managed to keep him connected to the internet, Vergil would be lost without his laptop after all.


The days, for Vergil, were fine. He did manage to distract himself, to get more into painting with Delsin's help, sparring with Dante, and eventually he did try his hand at gardening. As it turned out, nursing something, watching something grow, did wonders for him. It wasn't like writing code, it wasn't strict, plants obeyed their own rules, or lack thereof. Though Vergil stuck to the instructions at first, he failed and it frustrated him, but he wasn't one to give up easily. He had to develop a feeling for it, but once he had, it felt wonderful.


Nights, however, weren't that easy. His boyfriends kept their promise, one of them was always there, sometimes all of them too, and it was a good thing they were. The nightmares came every night, sometimes more than once, and he needed them to hold him through it. They were violent though, as he dreamt of the things his foster father had made him do, and while he couldn't struggle in his dream, he did so in his bed. At least he had superpowered boyfriends, who could shrug it off if he accidentally hurt them, though he always apologized vehemently. Hurting the ones he loved only made it worse, made him sob and shake and claw at his skin.


But Paul would take his hands, make him look into his green eyes, whispering sweet things until he calmed down. Delsin always tugged him close, despite his struggles, and sang a sweet lullaby that made him find a sort of peace for at least a few moments. With Dante... with Dante it was a little easier. Their connection, the one they should have had from the beginning, became stronger, the closer they were. When Vergil woke from his nightmares, and looked into his brother's grey eyes he knew he was safe, could physically feel it. Like a warm blanket wrapped around him, like the smell and feel of an old book, like the warm sun on his skin. And when his brother said those three words, Vergil's heart stopped beating too fast, and his brain was quiet until morning.


"I love you."


Dante made sure to say it more often to him, to remind him that it was true. And Vergil did catch himself thinking as he used to, that he wasn't loved, that he wasn't worthy of it, but every time his brother said it, that feeling went away for a while. Paul had that same effect on him, and though Delsin couldn't say it to him, or perhaps he didn't feel that way, he still showed that he cared. As hilarious as it was in a way, it was also heartwarming how he kept his cheese promise. He managed to find different and new kinds of cheeses, some with chili, or interesting herb mixtures, it was always something new. Vergil's favourite part of that little ritual of theirs, was when Delsin fed it to him, with a gentle smile and a sweet kiss, sharing the taste.


It only took Dante a few weeks to have Phineas find someone to help him, and he was extremely nervous for their first appointment. A woman, apparently, and she had agreed to come into this pocket dimension, as Vergil still didn't dare to go outside. Paul had created another free space, under a tree, creating shade, and he sat there, waiting on a chaise lounge. There was an armchair there too, and a small wooden desk with basic office supplies. In the distance he could finally see the door opening, and Dante, along with a dark haired woman, her hair short, wearing a white pantsuit, entered. They parted ways at the halfway point, Dante continued on to the cottage and the woman made her way to him. They had agreed that they would wait there, far away to give them their privacy, but close enough that they could come if Vergil needed help.


His heart was beating so fast, and he tried his mantra of counting down from ten to calm himself down. He wasn't sure what to expect, and most of all, he was scared of being judged.


"Hello", the woman's voice was light, pleasant, and only now did he realize what had looked like a pantsuit, was actually a skirt. She took off her sunglasses and set them down on the table, extending a hand for him to shake. Her skin was soft, her nails painted a pale pink, matching her lipstick. "I'm Lady."


"Lady?"


"I know", she sighed, rolling her eyes but then smiling at him. "Don't ask."


"All right, uhm... Vergil. I'm Vergil." There was something about her, a sort of honesty that made him relax a little.


"So I've heard", Lady said, making herself comfortable in the armchair, leaning back and forth and judging by her expression, she approved of its comfort level. "I also heard you've been through some tough times."


"Is... Do we just talk about this I...", he trailed off, looking away, he wasn't sure he even had the words.


"I thought today we could just get to know each other."


Where would he even start? He was Nephilim, was supposed to be powerful, elegant, superior, and yet he was only a broken shell of a man.


"You can ask about me, if you like. For some people it's easier to talk to someone they know a little better", Lady said, her smile gentle. She was calm, and patient. Vergil knew that he'd need time, for anything.


"You're a psychiatrist? How do you know about all this then?", he asked. "Angels, demons... Nephilim?"


"My father introduced me, so to speak", her smile was still there, but there was something in here eyes that was all too familiar. "He sacrificed my mother to gain demonic power, in the end I had to kill him, and well since then... I've been doing a little demon hunting on the side. But naturally I got curious, about what else is out there."


"So you know about what I am."


"I do. Read about Nephilim, to be honest. I never thought I'd meet one. It might be silly, but I feel a little honored." She indeed did seem to blush a little, and Vergil couldn't help but smile. A while back he would have agreed.


"Nothing honorable about my presence now", he said quietly, again averting his gaze.


"I'd like to make up my mind about that myself", Lady simply replied, gently but firm.


"Fair enough."


"So, I shared something, how about you?", she asked, leaning forward when he didn't answer. "It doesn't have to be something bad, I'm sure you had nice memories in your life. I would appreciate it if you could share one with me."


A good memory? He had those, sure, but none of them were very old. There were some vague, positive feelings from his childhood, but it was still hard to remember what it was like. He hated it, hated Sparda so much for separating them, for erasing their memory and robbing them of what little happiness they had had when they were kids. He briefly wondered if Dante remembered more, but Lady was still waiting.


"It was... before Paul had come, once Delsin and I had gotten closer, I...", he took a deep breath and closed his eyes, trying to recall what it had felt like.


They'd been in a roof café in Seattle, one of those experimental hipster ones that Vergil had scoffed at. There weren't regular tables or chairs, more like giant pillows that you could fall down on, with small tables carved into the wall. Though he had frowned and mocked it at first, once they'd been on that huge pillow, those comments stopped. He had never been on anything more comfortable in his entire life. And the food... Delsin had found a wonderful place, the food exotic and elegant enough so Vergil would approve of it, but not too much so that Dante would hate it. They even had a version of mac and cheese expertly arranged, making it look like a high class dish that his brother had made adorable yummy noises at.


He'd realized then, how much he cared for Delsin, and how grateful he was to him. Looking at both of them, finally realizing as well, how much he truly loved his brother, it was overwhelming for just a moment. But then they had both come to hug him, enveloping him in a coccoon of warmth and pressing kisses to his cheek, and the moment had passed.... and it felt good.


"I told Dante then, that I lo- that I..."


"It's okay, Vergil. It's an important word, not to be said lightly", Lady assured him, but he shook his head.


"It feels like... If I say it, I am vulnerable, and so I keep it a secret. I can't say it to their faces, but I can whisper it into their ears. But I do... I do..." It was so frustrating, he couldn't even say it to her. Obviously she was not the recipient, and yet he couldn't, physically couldn't. They'd shown him that showing weakness was not a bad thing, but it seemed he hadn't quite absorbed the lesson yet.


"Don't push yourself right now. Thank you, Vergil. For sharing this with me. They do seem like wonderful people. People make mistakes of course, but they try very hard, and they care for you a lot. I only had to look at them once to see that." A wistful smile curled on her lips, and from then on, they chatted away more easily.


They didn't talk about anything of substance that day, truly only got to know each other. Lady admitted he wasn't a regular client, she'd dealt with supernatural beings before, and it made things easier. He was unique, and should be treated as such.


By the end of their sessions, Vergil felt a bit of relief. He got along with this person, and felt that perhaps he could open up to her, even wondered about her past experiences. Naturally she hadn't gone into detail about her father, she couldn't seem too vulnerable, she was here to help after all. Whether it would happen or not, Vergil did feel that she could perhaps even become a friend.


"How did it go?"


All three looked at him expectantly as he entered the cottage, Dante had gotten up to greet him with a sweet kiss. As he pulled away Vergil wrapped an arm around his waist, keeping him close. His brother seemed surprised at first, but quickly relaxed into the touch, and kissed his cheek.


"She's really nice. I'm... carefully optimistic", he said, leading them to the couch.


"That's a start I suppose", Delsin said with a wide grin as he made his way to sit in his lap, hiding something behind his back. "Left or right?"


Vergil loved that mischievous little smile Delsin got when he was about to do something silly, or ridiculous. At least he told him that, but in the end, it always made Vergil smile.


"Left."


Delsin pulled out the movie 'Up' with a loud cheer and all four of them immediately started piling up pillows and blankets until it was comfortable enough for all of them to lie down on the floor. Vergil was always surprised by how they managed to end up in a tangle of limbs, a pile of boyfriends, and yet still be completely comfortable. If there was one, Vergil was always in the middle, protected, safe.


"Okay who needs tissues for the opening?", Delsin asked, fumbling to the side to pull out said tissues.


Vergil smiled at the little grimace Delsin made as the opening started. They'd seen it before, and yet they all still cried. Today, Vergil thought, it would be different though.


"Nah. I'm good."

Chapter Text

Dante was watching his brother work in his garden, the one that had started out small, but had grown larger over the course of weeks. Vergil hadn't been the biggest fan of the idea at first, he didn't particularly liked to get dirty, but once he had started, once a few of the seeds had sprouted, he had changed his mind. Now he was in it heart and soul, caring for it every day, watching it grow. No one else was allowed to be in it, and he tended to get lost in his own peaceful mind when he worked there. They needed to call out his name a few times to get his attention each time, but whenever they did, he greeted them with a smile.

It was a big relief to see him smile again, to be calm like this, at least during the day. Over the course of a few months Paul had continually tweaked this pocket dimension too, made it more realistic with each passing day. Sometimes they'd be surprised by a sudden shower of rain, sometimes it was so hot they walked around in their underwear. Dante was still amazed what he was capable of, how powerful he was and yet it said so much about him that he only used that power to create, never to destroy. Paul was a very gentle soul.

In the beginning they all stayed at Vergil's place overnight, all of them falling asleep in a big pile, but after a while real life got in the way. Delsin still had commissions to paint, Dante had to go hunt, and Paul needed to take care of an entire company. It didn't mean that they stopped coming, they simply created a schedule they lovingly called "Cuddly time", which ensured that Vergil was never alone. And if someone had free time, no one minded having an additional person in that huge bed.

Whenever it was Dante's turn, to be alone with his brother, he tended to watch him sleep for a while, thinking about how it could have been had they not been separated. This was what it was supposed to be like, they were supposed to be together. None of the shit they had been through should have happened, he shouldn't have needed to prostitute himself, shouldn't have needed to doubt his sanity and Vergil... He shouldn't have been abused by that asshole of a foster father, shouldn't have been neglected or been broken. Dante got so angry thinking about it, just wanted to go and find wherever Sparda was just to punch him in the face. Neither of them would ever completely get over what they had been through, it would always be a part of them, and while Dante was better equipped to deal with it for some reason, Vergil had a long way ahead of him.

Vergil still had nightmares regularly, and while he managed to go without them for a few days, eventually Dante would need to calm him down, gather him in his arms and rock him back and forth. His brother had admitted that it was easier when Dante was here, their connection, getting stronger by the day, helped him calm down. They usually didn't go back to sleep once they'd woken up again, neither really needing that much sleep thanks to their demonic blood. So they talked and kissed, Vergil pressed close to him, usually just flat out lying on his chest, both wanting to be as close as possible.

Dante still regretted the way they'd been together for the first time, the way he had claimed him. And though Vergil had quietly admitted that it had felt good to be taken that way, to be claimed and made his, Dante had never wanted it to be so violent. For all his brother's pretending to be in control, to be the stronger, it seemed that it was not the role he wanted, needed in his life, but had never been able to admit that to himself. He seemed to be slowly getting there though, letting Dante hold him, take care of him when he needed it.

He admittedly had to hold back when they were kissing like that, pressed so close together. He wanted to be with him of course, wanted to make love to him ever so gently, but he knew that wasn't something Vergil could do, not yet, maybe not ever again. And he would never, ever force his brother into anything.

Unfortunately he still got... excited. Which made things a little awkward for them, but by now they managed to shrug it off.

"Sorry, uhm...", Vergil mumbled as he slid off Dante, had felt his growing erection against his hip.

"I told you, it's nothing to apologize for", he said, taking his brother's hand and kissing it. "It'll go away in a bit."

"Well maybe I can help." Vergil was looking up at him, so serious all of a sudden.

"No! You don't have to do anything you're not ready for, you know that."

"I just thought... with my hand. I want to make you feel good." He sat up now, inching closer to Dante to kiss the corner of his mouth. "I know what you're thinking, and I'm sure. I want to do this."

Dante knew they couldn't quite read each other's minds, but they could definitely feel each other's emotions, if the other let it happen. And right now Vergil made a conscious choice to open that bond between them, to show that he really was ready, that he felt calm and happy.

"Okay", Dante breathed, gasping as his brother slipped his hand into his sweatpants, palming his erection, rubbing him into full hardness.

Vergil's movements were slow, careful, trying out what Dante would or wouldn't like. He had moved even closer, mere inches separating their faces but they weren't kissing, just looking into each other's eyes, Dante's breath quickening as Vergil licked his hand to make things go smoother.

"You're beautiful, Dante", he said, slowly finding a rhythm, making Dante moan when he brushed his thumb over the tip of his cock.

He reached out, cupping the back of Vergil's neck, but still only looked at him, not able to take his eyes off of him. His moans were getting louder, mouth hanging open at the sheer pleasure, the pressure building inside him. This was more than just a handjob, it was Vergil. He knew that anything with him would be more intense, would be special.

Dante stiffened when he came, his moans swallowed by Vergil finally leaning in for a kiss, as if he wanted to keep those for himself. His brother kept stroking him through his orgasm, the come hitting his own belly and dripping over Vergil's hand. This had been his first orgasm in months, hadn't been able to make love to Delsin when his brother was hurt like this. Perhaps it had put a bit of a strain on their relationship, but Delsin understood, and never pressed him.

"Feeling better?", Vergil asked with a teasing smile, one he hadn't seen in a long time.

"More than better", Dante said quietly, sagging back against the pillows.

"Stay, I'll get you cleaned up." With that his brother vanished into the bathroom for a moment, returning with a soft towel to do just that, kissing him as he finally let it drop off the side of the bed. "You know..."

Vergil looked away, suddenly looking self-conscious, shy even. Dante gently lifted his chin with one hand, gave him a reassuring smile. They could talk about anything, they were brothers after all.

"When... If... No, when I'm ready", his brother said quietly. "I want you to take me."

"Are... Are you sure?", he asked. "After the first... After what I did? Claiming you... I'm sorry, so so-"

"Stop, we've talked about this", Vergil interrupted. "It will be different, you'll be gentle, I know. I'm yours after all."

"But I..." Dante frowned, remembering that time at the beach, how relieved Vergil had been. "I released you."

"You gave me my freedom, but I chose to remain yours."

Dante felt his mouth hanging open, unable to close it after that confession, and his brother... just started to giggle.

"Don't look so surprised", he said, helpfully placing his hand under Dante's chin and closing his mouth. "I love you, always have, and I've always been yours. Look..."

He turned and lifted the hair at the back of his neck, just barely visible was the same symbol Dante had on his back, marking his brother just as he had done with Delsin. It must have been there since he had taken him, when Vergil had re-entered his life, and yet his hair had always hidden it. That was the bond that he felt between them, it had been created on that day, though he was sure that it should have happened years earlier. How different their lives would be now...

They went back to holding and kissing each other, until the sun rose and they decided to have an early breakfast. The plants in Vergil's garden weren't ready yet, but until they were Delsin and Paul would make sure Vergil had everything he needed. They took what they had to the wooden table in front of the cottage, bread, cheese and sausage, grapes and strawberries that they fed each other, grinning at the peace they both felt together.

It didn't take long for Paul to make his way through the dimension, walking up to Vergil to kiss him, then Dante before telling them he'd try to make it back for dinner.

"You better be!", Vergil called after him, watching him go through the door to New York, then addressing Dante. "I'll make a big dinner tonight, so you'll have to leave me to it. Tell Delsin to be on time, too."

"Sure thing, boss", he replied with a grin, and kissed the tip of his nose.

He could just imagine it too well, and was a little sad that he wasn't allowed to watch Vergil in the kitchen. He'd be very precise, have everything planned out to the last detail and perfectly presented. Dante would have never thought his brother to practically bloom in these domestic activities, but it seemed he loved taking care of all three in that way, making their favourite meals, just making them all feel good, plain and simple.

Delsin greeted him almost as soon as he was out of the door with a big hug, jumping on him, with Dante barely managing to catch him in time.

"I sold another one!", he called out triumphantly, phone in his hand. "And I got another commission!"

"That's amazing! I'm so proud of you, Delsin", he said, just before leaning in to kiss his boyfriend.

It had happened more and more lately, him managing to sell his art so that he could live off of it, and yet Delsin was just as excited as the very first time. Dante loved that about him, he always remained down to earth. Not right now though, as he proceeded to carry his boyfriend around the house like a child, chatting away as he took another cup of coffee from downstairs up and to the bedroom that they had been mostly sharing. Delsin didn't question when he dropped them down on the bed, glancing around the messy room for a moment. His boyfriend had really been busy, almost working non stop, and he thought that perhaps it was time for him to get a small studio, or perhaps they could turn one of the bedrooms into one. This place was getting a bit crowded, even with Vergil in his own dimension.

He was so lost in thought it took him a while to realize Delsin had been staring at him. With that look. The one that said he wanted Dante, now, if at all possible. His pupils were blown wide, and he brushed a hand through his now shoulder length hair, licking his lips. But he didn't do more than that, knew that Dante was the one who would need to take the first step.

And so he did.

Dante's hands had already been on Delsin's ass, to hold him up, but now he squeezed, and leaned in for a rough kiss. His boyfriend immediately returned it, parting his lips to deepen the kiss, both of them were suddenly so hungry for more. Eventually he fell onto his back, now being straddled by Delsin, whose hair tickled him, making him laugh.

"Go get a... band or... I don't know, get something!", Dante said, but suddenly his boyfriend grasped his wrists, and held them firmly above his head.

All laughter forgotten, he stared into those eyes full of hunger, Delsin looked so dark for a moment it quickened his breath, made him arch his back and bare his throat for him.

"Fuck me", he gasped, squirming under Delsin to get some sort of friction.

"Are you sure?", Delsin asked, making Dante smile. Of course he'd ask. It was just one of the many things Dante loved about this man.

"Yes", he said firmly, and leaned up as much as he could. "Fuck. Me."

What came out of Delsin's mouth could only be described as a growl as he let go of Dante's wrists to undress himself, and then Dante with frantic movements, before he ordered him to get on his hands and knees for him. Dante gladly obliged, shuddering as he felt his boyfriend's hands on his back, tracing the muscles, his spine and then his ass.

"I really love Nephilim bodies", Delsin mumbled, kissing his back as he pushed two fingers into Dante, who was wet and relaxed already, thinking that his boyfriend could probably fuck him right then and there, but old habits died hard.

Dante had figured that marking Delsin had been the trigger to this, that his body had always been able to do this, to make this easier, but that perhaps it was connected to a deep emotional bond. He made a mental note to ask Vergil about it later, since he was the only one who had any knowledge about Nephilim and their bodies. There was still so much Dante didn't understand, but the mental note vanished when Delsin added another finger, brushing against his prostate and making him moan.

"I said fuck me not, ah-" Dante let his head drop, grasped the sheets underneath him as his boyfriend made him moan again. "Finger me."

"Bossy today", Delsin said, but feeling that he was as impatient as Dante, he complied.

His fingers created a wet sound as he pulled them out and Dante could feel some of the wetness slide down his thigh. It had been too long, way too long. Delsin aligned his cock with his entrance, but didn't push in yet, instead leaned forward to cover his back with kisses once more.

"How much do you want me?", he asked, hot breath tickling Dante's ear.

"Ah, fuck." Dante had to bite on his lower lip to stop himself from immediately starting to beg, beg for Delsin's cock inside him. "I want you, Delsin, and I need you, need you to fuck me."

"Oh, I can tell." He could practically hear the grin in his boyfriend's voice, could definitely feel the tip of his cock pushing inside him, just barely. "You're so damn wet for me, dripping already. Turn your head, love, kiss me."

Dante obeyed, got a glance of his boyfriend's beautifully flushed face, and this time did not mind the hair that got in the way, the kiss was messy in any case, but gorgeous. And as they kissed Delsin finally, finally pushed inside. His body easily gave way for him, taking him completely, until he was filled up, but now there was no more teasing. Delsin leaned back again, grabbed Dante's hips to steady himself, and just fucked him. Deep, fast thrusts that had Dante moan incoherently and twist the sheets under him. Delsin's thrusts were merciless, Dante could practically feel him burn up, his hands almost searing, even his cock inside him warmer than usual. But he could take it, could take all of it and love it, begging for more, his brain on complete autopilot.

Delsin kept going hard and fast, hitting his sweet spot with every thrust. When he got wet like this, everything got more intense, he was so damn sensitive that he was the first to come, arching his back as he spilled onto the bed, tightening around his boyfriend.

"Keep going", Dante begged, loving the continued stimulation of Delsin fucking into him, who told him how beautiful he was, fingers digging into his hips as he spilled as well.

His boyfriend froze for a moment, let Dante feel the come inside him, before he finally let go and pulled out, the movement gentler than anything they'd done that day.

"Oh, shit", he said as Dante rolled on his back, panting and grinning up at him. "I erm... Sorry about that, does it hurt?"

"Hm?" Dante was still confused, followed Delsin's gaze to look at his hips, where there were very visible, two red handprints. Burns, actually, but Dante didn't feel any pain, he was still in that beautiful after glow and besides, he'd heal. "Oh. I like it when you mark me."

"You do, hm?" Delsin let himself drop down next to Dante, on the side that wasn't covered in come, grinning at him. "You think I can... mark you, the way you marked me?"

Dante turned and propped himself up on his elbow, reaching around Delsin to brush over the mark, just hidden by his hair. The same one Vergil had on him. Only he himself hadn't been marked by anyone, and he felt oddly left out. He wanted to belong, wanted to be theirs. Delsin would tell him that thought was silly, that he already was, but this was different, and so much more.

"I have no idea", Dante confessed. "I mean you're not Nephilim so... There's just so much I don't understand, maybe we can ask Vergil tonight. I suppose we could also ask Phineas but that seems like it would be a really awkward conversation."

"So let me guess, you don't know how this getting wet thing works either?"

"Nope. There was just... no one to tell me anything", Dante said quietly, once more thinking how different everything could have been. But he looked over at Delsin who had that worried look in his eyes, and thought that maybe ending up here wasn't so bad.

"You okay, babe?"

Dante answered with a kiss, and rolled Delsin onto his back so they could go again, this time he was riding his boyfriend, who pointedly did not touch his hips in case he'd burn up again. But Dante closed his eyes afterward, when they were in the shower, and felt energy rush through him, healing those little bruises. Delsin gasped at the way the mark on his back lit up, murmuring something about needing to draw this, which he immediately did once they were dried off.

He loved to watch his boyfriend in the zone, completely oblivious to everything around him, watched him paint Dante with his wings spread wide, the mark on his back glowing. Delsin always managed to paint him as if he were important, as if he was meant to be in this world and would change it for the better by doing so, something that he couldn't believe. But looking at these paintings always made him feel better, made him feel a little more at ease with what he was: not human.

But then none of them really was. They were two Nephilim, a Conduit, and a witch. Perhaps that's why they all got along so well, they knew what it was like to be different.

He hardly realized that almost the entire day had passed when the sun had started to set, and he tugged on Delsin's sleeve and finally told him that Vergil was expecting them for dinner. In his defense, he had been distracted. Thankfully they didn't have to clean up much, since the dinner wouldn't precisely lead them outside, so they simply stepped through the door in the hallway and walked down the cobblestone path towards the now familiar cottage.

The table outside had been set, a pristine white tablecloth covering the wooden top, four sets of plates and cutlery set on top of blue place mats, and in the middle were two silver candlesticks. It was quite the romantic atmosphere, but there was no sight of Vergil, only Paul was standing outside drinking champagne. But he set the glass aside when he saw them, and greeted them both with a sweet kiss on the lips.

Dante had to admit he sometimes got nervous in Paul's presence, complete with butterflies in his stomach. He was a gorgeous, graceful creature, and he felt like he needed to drop to his knees and worship him, but then there was his gentle nature, and Dante knew Paul wouldn't want that.

"We're not allowed inside", he told them and with a wave of his hand two more glasses came floating by and into Dante and Delsin's hands. He rarely used his magic so casually, only did it in here, but seemed to very much enjoy it. On the outside he wouldn't want to risk anyone seeing it. "I think... I have the suspicion not everything went according to plan."

As if on cue a loud noise startled them, as if something metal had just dropped on the floor, followed by a curse, clearly from Vergil's mouth. Dante inched closer to the front door, pressing his ear to it, trying to hear anything else. Vergil was rushing back and forth, there was some clattering of dishes and another curse.

"Vergil, are you okay?", he called through the door.

"Yes, just, go sit at the table! Give me five minutes."

Dante did as he was told, and the others joined him, but he was worried. Vergil wasn't supposed to stress himself like this, he was supposed to recover and get better... He hoped that nothing would set his brother off, that this would still be a nice night.

Vergil looked flushed when he came outside holding a tray covered in food, his hair in complete disarray. Dante was only momentarily distracted by the huge roast turkey in the middle, surrounded by different side dishes. Potatoes from the oven, giving off the scent of many different herbs, beans wrapped in bacon and after Vergil had rushed inside again brought out even more: Pasta in a buttery-garlic sauce and just to have a bit of something healthy in there, a Ceasar's salad. Dante's mouth was already watering, but he watched his brother go and close the door to the cottage, and finally joined them, his hands shaking a little as he started to cut the roast.

"Hey Vergil", he said, taking his hands though his brother looked a little agitated at that at first. "Sit with us for a moment, please? Come here..."

He pulled his brother down into a kiss, and slowly managed to get him to relax a little. Vergil sighed against his lips, and finally sat down, where Dante was able to wrap his arms around him, holding him like that for a moment.

"Thank you for this", Dante said, pressing a kiss to his forehead. "Is everything okay?"

Vergil sat up again and gave him a small smile.

"Yes it's just- ah no, it's nothing, everything is okay." And he started to cut up the roast again, serving them all until their plates were almost flowing over with food.

Some of his brother's tension seemed to evaporate as they started to chat away and eat, all of them complimenting Vergil because damn the food was amazing. Delsin and Dante certainly liked to cook together, but rarely was it something this elaborate, since neither of them was very patient. They kept complimenting Vergil until he was actually blushing.

"There's dessert too, so don't stuff yourself", he said quietly, but he cotinued to smile, evidently satisfied with their reaction.

Dante, however, had forgotten that they were not allowed into the cottage at the moment, for whatever mysterious reason. So when his brother started to clear the table for dessert, he followed after a while, wanting to help him. What he found in the kitchen made him freeze inside the doorway.

"Holy shit, did something explode in here?"

Vergil froze in his movements, like a deer caught in the headlights, staring at him. He was standing in the biggest mess Dante had ever seen, and he lived with Delsin. The entire kitchen was covered in something... flour here, sauce there, a stain on the floor from where Vergil had dropped a pot earlier. Evidently his brother had had other things planned, that however got ruined, all too clear from the pot of black something that was still on the stove. Recipe cards were strewn everywhere, the sink was overflowing with dirty dishes and just now smoke started to come from the oven.

That spurred Vergil into motion again, and he turned to open the door, more smoke billowing into his face. He at least remembered to use a dish rag to pull what was supposed to have been a cake out of the oven and dropping it onto the counter. It was definitely burnt.

"I... I set an alarm, I don't understand", Vergil said, looking completely, utterly miserable.

He looked so damn defeated and sad that Dante immediately rushed to him, avoiding some of the mysterious sauce stains on the floor, to wrap his arms around him once more. Vergil pressed into the touch, fingers curling in the fabric of his shirt, resting his head on Dante's shoulder.

"I just wanted to make something nice for you", his brother whispered.

"You did, babe, you did. It was delicious. Just maybe try to focus on a bit less next time?" He cupped his brother's cheeks, making him look at him. "Don't stress yourself, okay? I want you to have fun too."

"Wow", they heard Delsin's voice from the doorway, Paul standing behind him. "Do you... need help cleaning up?"

"You weren't supposed to see...", Vergil sighed, but nodded in reply to Delsin's question. "I'm usually more..."

"Neat?", Delsin finished. "Yes, you are. But when you're in the kitchen not everything goes according to plan. That's why I tend to improvise."

"Yeah, I had noticed..."

Between the four of them they managed to bring some sort of order into the chaos Vergil had created, spent a few hours bringing everything back to normal. Vergil had honestly planned to hide this all from them, to clean it all up by himself. He was still trying to keep up appearances, just as his foster parents had always wanted from him, but Dante took him aside in a quiet moment, and told him he was still perfect, messy or not. Whether his brother really got the message, he did not know, but never again would he leave these things unsaid, never again would he neglect the most important person in his life.

In the end they were all exhausted, falling into their huge bed with the strawberries that had supposed to be on top of the cake. Now they fed them to each other, teasing and giggling, and soon enough Vergil was a little more at ease again. Dante couldn't get enough of seeing him smile.

"Oh yeah I had wanted to ask", Delsin suddenly said, sitting up to look at Vergil. "What's up with the wet thing?"

"The what?", Vergil said with a chuckle.

"You know... Getting wet, like a girl. When we have sex."

"Oh, that wet thing", Vergil swallowed the last of the strawberries and settled in to tell them. Dante was just as curious as Delsin was, and Paul, judging by the look on his face, all of them now focusing on his brother. "For us, it is part of our bodies. We can chose to do it, once we know how, and it tends to happen with someone we have a close emotional bond with... If we're in love for example."

Delsin glanced over at Dante, giving him a sweet grin.

"For us it's not just the wetness, we're more sensitive overall", Vergil continued. "For you it seems it's... a sort of gift, we can bestow once we've been mated to you, which we have. You won't be more sensitive but it does make things easier. Though I am not sure if for example Paul would get wet for Dante, since he's not his mate. There isn't really a manual for this kind of stuff out there... unfortunately."

"Well you guys could try it out", Delsin said, grinning wickedly at Paul and Dante. "And if you want an audience, well, I'm just saying... I'd sacrifice myself."

"Oh I am so grateful to you", Dante replied, shoving his boyfriend so he fell onto his side. Paul however, was blushing deeply. "He's just joking, Paul."

"I know but I uhm...", Paul stammered, glancing at Vergil, who took his hand to squeeze it.

"You can, you know. If you both want to", he said. "Don't hold back because of me. I'm good, really."

Paul leaned over to kiss him, lingered for a while before he looked at Dante again, that blush in his cheeks only making him more gorgeous. He couldn't hold back then, leaned over his brother's legs to cup the back of Paul's head and kiss him too, a deeper kiss than the one with his brother, exploring each other's mouths, kissing until they were breathless.

"I... I've thought about it", Paul confessed, playing with the hem of his shirt. "I mean... if you want to... maybe... some time."

There were absolutely no words to describe how turned on Dante was just at this moment. This gorgeous creature, so beautifully flushed, the brilliant blue eyes looking at him from under long, dark lashes. Paul was so slim and pretty he would be able to just lift him up and take him right there. But perhaps that wasn't the best idea, considering Vergil was still there... Delsin, on the other hand, looked back and forth between them, mouth hanging open a little and pupils blown wide with arousal. The only thing he was missing was a bag of popcorn. Maybe letting him watch would be kind of hot...

"Just say yes already!", Delsin suddenly blurted out, after they had been staring at each other in silence.

"Oh, fuck, yes! I mean I would love to, if that's really okay."

Vergil actually laughed at that, and for some reason it didn't surprise Dante. They were all so protective of him, perhaps a little overprotective, all this back and forth, asking if things were really okay, at one point it did seem a little ridiculous. But Dante preferred it this way, instead of hurting any of them and then having to make up for it after.

"It is", Vergil said again. "Go fuck, or not, either is really okay with me."

They didn't go quite that far that night, just ended up making out, changing partners every so often, but soon enough they all fell asleep in their favourite way: one big pile. Their routine continued, Paul going to work in the mornings, Vergil meeting with Lady a few times per week, though she was slowly suggesting they could set their appointments further apart. Dante understood why, a few weeks later, when he found Vergil standing in front of the other door, the one leading to New York, and Paul's office.

Dante joined his brother in looking at it, gently slipping his arm around his waist. He loved the way Vergil always pressed into that touch. It seemed he had denied himself this affection for so long, that he was starved for it now.

"It's a pretty door", Dante said, making his brother huff.

"I was thinking about visiting him. I've been standing here for... half an hour I think." Only now did he notice that Vergil was clutching a small box, probably full of delicious food that he wanted to give Paul for his lunch. After that first chaotic dinner, his brother had started to get a lot better at organizing his cooking.

"I can come with you, but you know that you don't have to push yourself."

"But I do", Vergil replied and looked up at him. "I want to get better. I want to go out there again, if I just stay here... This can't be my life forever."

"I understand. Then let's go."

He gave his brother a little nudge, who took a deep breath, and with Dante's help, finally took a step forward. It seemed to be easier after that, Vergil was even the one to reach out to open the door, and together they stepped through it, into what looked like a lounge. Dante hadn't been in here before either, though he had always wanted to use this shortcut to explore New York. But now they were here, in a clean room with dark wooden floor, with a couch, a few chairs in it, along with a closet and a very tiny kitchen. Everything a workaholic might need to stay overnight. Another door led to the proper office, which looked very... Vergil.

It was huge and the back wall was lined with monitors, the large black desk looking very imposing, as did the chair that now turned to reveal a tiny figure in it: Paul.

"Oh my god, you're here!", he called out, immediately standing to come over to hug Vergil.

"I, uhm, I brought you lunch." Vergil's eyes flitted back and forth over the room, but once they had come to settle on Paul, some of the stiffness of his bones vanished. He still seemed nervous, but not so much that he'd run away.

"Thank you, sweetheart, thank you so much", Paul said, kissing his forehead. "We can all share, come."

Before they could go back to that first room, they were interrupted by a man who came into the office, tall, in his fifties with salt and pepper hair and a stern expression. He was holding a file, and made a beeline for Vergil, instead of Paul.

Dante's stomach dropped when he looked at his brother, all colour drained from his face, completely still and for some reason that was even more unsettling than if he were shaking. Thankfully Paul had taken the box from Vergil's hands, otherwise he was sure he would have dropped it. Who on earth was this man and why did he have this effect on his brother?

"I have a proposition", the man said, completely ignoring Dante and Paul in the room, who frowned at each other. "Sign it."

For a moment nothing happened, the tension in the room almost palpable, neither he or Paul knew how to act this was... weird. But then, Vergil took a step forward, and now with shaking hands, reached for a pen.

"Stop." Paul finally sprang into action, taking Vergil's wrist and stopping him from signing. "You haven't even looked at it. Listen..."

He looked at the taller man, and Dante saw a change come over the young witch. He seemed taller, suddenly, more authoritative than he'd ever seen him in private.

"I don't know who you are, but Vergil is no longer the CEO of this company, I am. And if you have any business propositions you will bring them to my attention, is that clear, Mr...."

"Hamilton. Howard Hamilton the Third", the man said, still looking at Vergil, who looked like he might faint at any moment. "I believe Vergil knows who I am."

"Is he your....", Dante asked, and his brother nodded. His foster father. A sudden anger flared up in him, the anger he had buried deep down because he wanted to concentrate on his brother, but now it took all of his willpower not to trigger right then and there and rip this man to shreds.

"Father, yes", Hamilton finished, just before Dante closed the distance between them and grabbed him by his collar. The guy didn't even flinch.

"You're going to pay for what you did to him", he practically growled, finding that his own voice had changed.

And then... then that guy had the gall to smile, to actually smileat him. Dante drew back his right hand, balled it into a fist but before he could hit him, felt someone else's hand on his wrist. Looking back, he saw Paul, holding him with a strength not befitting his small stature. His eyes were green now, and the anger in them was all too clear to Dante as well. He was raging, was fighting against Paul's hold, wanted to rip this man to shreds, plaster his blood and organs on the walls of this office. He wanted to do this slowly, painfully, draw his death out for as long as possible.

"Vergil", Paul said, and that was enough. One glance at his brother made him let go of this disgusting creature. He could tell that Vergil was scared, scared out of his mind in a way Dante had never seen before, and of course he would be. This was the first time he had been confronted with his abuser. The instinct to obey him was still there, and Dante feared what his brother might do.

So he walked up to his brother, wrapped an arm around his shoulder, trying to get his attention by cupping his cheek.

"Vergil, we'll go now, I'll get you out of here."

But his brother didn't look at him, his eyes were almost glazed over, and he had to take control, lead him into the back room, but not without telling his asshole of a foster father that this wasn't over.

"I don't know how you have bewitched my son", Dante heard Hamilton say, addressing Paul. "But I will not accept a damn twink as a CEO of this company, so yes, trust me, this is not over."

"Get out, right now, before I call security." There was a slight waver in Paul's voice, but Dante couldn't concentrate on that now.

He led his brother through the back room, through the door into Vergil's safe space, wanting to get him to the cottage but they didn't get that far. Vergil fell to his knees, tried to pull away from Dante but only managed to land in the grass next to the path leading to the cottage. Now on his hands and knees, he started throwing up. All his breakfast was out of him in a manner of seconds, and even then he didn't stop, kept dry heaving, scaring Dante into thinking he might not stop. He tried rubbing his back, tried talking to him, telling him he was safe but Vergil just kept going, tears streaming down his face.

It took Paul, rushing into the pocket dimension, tears in his eyes as well, to get Vergil to calm down. He cupped his boyfriend's face, who was still retching, and those blue eyes flashed green again.

"I'm sorry, Vergil, I'm so sorry, so sorry", he kept mumbling as Vergil slowly calmed down a little, and once his body had stopped convulsing, just kept crying quietly.

"V-Vergil?", Dante asked, and could finally get his brother's attention. But it looked like he was acting on instinct when he slowly moved towards him, curling up into a fetal position against him, making Dante wrap his arms around him.

He suddenly looked so small, so vulnerable, not at all the man he had been when they had once met. Dante called out his name once more, scared that again he wouldn't react at all, would get lost in his own head, but he glanced up at him, which almost seemed worse. That fear was still there, it made him look like cornered animal that had given up, that had accepted its death. He then shook his head, and just pressed closer to Dante.

Dante had gotten the message, no talking, not yet. So he simply lifted his brother, walking towards the cottage, Paul following closely behind him.

"What did he say to you?", Dante asked quietly.

"It doesn't matter, I don't care what he says to me, none of that affects me. I care what he does to Vergil." And Dante now realized that the slight shaking in Paul's voice wasn't because he was about to cry, it was sheer anger, one that he himself knew too well. Dante could feel the raw power radiating from the small witch, thinking that even after this whole pocket dimension, he was still underestimating him. "I will never, ever let him hurt Vergil again."

Dante gave him a nod, understanding the feeling too well. He then gently placed his brother into their huge bed, wrapping him in blankets and himself, hoping it would make him feel safer. Paul hesitated.

"Vergil, do you want me to get Delsin?", he asked softly, and against Dante's chest, his brother nodded. "Okay, I'll be right back."

It felt better, with all of them here, Vergil's protectors. Paul had evidently told Delsin what had happened on the way here, he had just the same mix of worry and anger on his face as they had, and slipped into bed with them. All work was damned for today, Vergil was more important than anything.

But they needed a plan. Needed to deal with his foster father, needed to call Lady because they were not fully equipped to deal with this. But that plan would have to wait until tomorrow.

Chapter Text

"I know what you want to do, and I understand, but you can't."

Lady crossed her legs, leaning forward in her chair in the living room of the small cottage. They had called her as soon as Vergil had fallen asleep, they needed her to be there when he woke up so she could talk to him, to make sure he didn't do anything drastic. But for now their boyfriend was asleep, and she glared at all three of them.

"He's still human, you can't just kill him. And yes, you could get away with it but you know that it isn't right."

Delsin shifted his weight from one leg to another. He had always avoided killing the DUP that had attacked him, had learned to stun them so they couldn't harm anyone else. But after Paul had told him what had happened, all he wanted to do was rip that Hamilton guy to shreds, to paint the walls red with his blood. He hadn't even known that a bloodlust like that was in him, but he could also feel that both Dante and Paul felt the same way. Seeing the small witch so calm but serious was scary, and made a shiver run down his spine. That man was powerful, and he was sure that he could create amounts of pain that no man could endure, if he so chose.

"You're right", Paul said after a while, his quiet rage not enough to not let him see sense. "We need to find evidence."

"Just so", Lady agreed. "Quickly, if at all possible. Being confronted with his abuser will have opened old scars, he won't feel safe. If you can get him behind bars it would help him immensely."

"How the fuck are we supposed to do that?", Dante asked, and started to pace around the small living room again. It annoyed Delsin, but he figured that if he tried to get him to keep still he would only get worse.

"Don't worry about that, I'm good at getting into places", he said, letting some smoke curl around his fingers. He had done it enough times, changing his entire body into an incorporeal form, shifting through grates to come out the other side. It left him a bit disoriented, but it wasn't a big deal. "I can let you in when he's not there."

"I'll hack into his schedule, to see where he'll be." Paul immediately went to work, there was no time to lose. The faster they did this, the faster that guy was out of Vergil's life.

Delsin had gotten so, so protective of Dante's brother. And to think what a rocky start they'd had... to think that Delsin had thought himself not capable of loving more than one person and yet he knew... Knew that he loved Vergil with a burning passion, would do anything for him, as he would for Dante, and most likely, Paul.

"We can't leave him alone though", he said, gaining everyone's attention.

"I can stay", Lady said. "We need to talk anyway. I can soothe him, and you won't be gone for very long, hopefully."

"He's not home right now", Paul suddenly said, springing up. "He's on his way to China. I can teleport us."

With a wave of his hand, a shimmering portal appeared in front of him, and again Delsin was amazed with the ease their witch used his magic. Incredible, powerful magic. But before they could all step through Dante walked up to Lady, opened his mouth, closed it again, but finally, when she had gotten up to put a hand on his arm, talked.

"Please take care of him", he whispered.

"I will. I promise."

Whenever Delsin saw the twins together, there was no doubt they belonged with one another. He may have had his doubts before, but seeing them, being one, made it all too clear. And it was just as clear how much Dante loved him, wanted to keep him safe. So Delsin took his hand, and gently guided him through the portal. He felt cold for a moment, as he stepped through, but then they found themselves on the grass outside of a huge mansion.

It was a disgustingly modern building held in black and whites, that looked like multiple cubes stacked onto each other in weird angles. He made a grimace at it as they stalked around it, the artist in him wanting to throw up, and Paul making the security cameras go on the frizz as they passed them, with only a wave of his hand. Soon enough they found what Delsin had been looking for: a small vent that he would be able to get through.

"Go to the front entrance, I'll open it up from the inside."

As the other two made their way around the house, he closed his eyes, and then... just let himself fall apart. He had to concentrate on not dissipating, keeping his smoke somewhat together, most other thoughts completely dissipating as he did. He was a being with a singular purpose now: getting through. When he reached the other side, and pulled himself back together, he had to take a deep breath, had to remind himself of who and what he was.

"Delsin. Conduit. I was uhm... Helping Vergil."

That set him into motion again, ignoring the high class bathroom he had ended up in. He snuck through the halls, just as bland as the house was from the outside, generic art hanging on the walls, that was no doubt expensive, but not interesting in the least. Maybe he should just set fire to some of the painting before they made their way out, it would certainly make him feel better. Just next to the main entrance, and through the glass door he could already see Paul and Dante, was a small panel, one that controlled the house's security system and, as he had entered through different means, was easy enough to unlock.

"Tada!", he said as he opened the door for his boyfriends, stepping to the side to let them inside.

"Any signs of the wife?", Dante asked, but Paul shook his head.

"She's on a vacation, getting some of the fat sucked out of her body, or something like that."

"We should probably start with his office, right?"

It took them a while to find it, given how huge the mansion was, and they had explored most rooms before they finally found it in the upper floor of it. Given what they knew about this man, his disgusting tendencies, it wasn't surprising that this place was so... clean. Like everything was carefully calculated, like he was trying to give off the semblance of normalcy and yet everything was just... creepy. They even found Vergil's old room, which hadn't found much use after he had left. There was nothing there that would show this room had belonged to a teenager once. No posters, no toys, nothing personal at all, it looked just like the rest of the house. In one of the closets they found a bunch of trophies that Vergil had won, most of them for scientific achievements, and yet none of them were on display. Not in his room, not in the house, no one had ever cared for them, and yet Delsin knew that there must have been hell to pay if he didn't come home with one.

There was nothing in here that Vergil might be interested in, and so they moved on until they eventually found the office. Paul had hacked into the computer in a manner of seconds, and started to go through the files as Delsin and Dante looked through any physical copies on the many shelves here. But all of it seemed to be business related, and Delsin was about to give up when Dante suddenly started to knock against the wall.

"What are you doing?", he asked him, but Dante only motioned for him to be quiet.

Another knock, further down the wall, even further, and suddenly, it sounded different.

"You gotta be shitting me, a hidden room?"

It hardly surprised Delsin, but it scared him. Scared him immensely. What would they find in there? A corpse of a young man that guy had abused? Maybe the evidence they were looking for? It now hit him that he might not want to see that after all...

With Paul's help they quickly figured out the hidden switch that would open the back wall of the office, hidden inside one of the drawers of the desk. The room they found there was lined with shelves on either side, an armchair in the middle, and a TV and DVD player at the far back. As Delsin stepped closer, he realized that the shelves were full of DVDs, all of them simply labeled with two different names, and a date. Some of them he recognized as important people in finance, and then, further down the line, there was Vergil's name. A lot.

This guy, this asshole, this piece of filth had used his own foster son to blackmail his business rivals, and then... then he kept watching the tapes and- Delsin only now saw the pack of tissues next to the armchair, and he wanted to throw up, didn't realize he was shaking until Dante wrapped an arm around his shoulder.

"Do we... should we check one of them?" Dante looked scared at the prospect, and Delsin himself wasn't sure but Paul took that choice from them.

He walked past them, took one of the DVDs randomly from the shelf to put it into the player, and for a few moments right there, on the screen, was a very, very young Vergil. Only half clothed, he was kneeling in front of an older man, and as he looked around, called for his father, he looked so, so scared. But then the man grasped his hair, pushed him towards his crotch and suddenly the picture vanished, leaving only a black screen.

Paul was still quiet. So, so quiet as he walked back out of the room, though Delsin thought there was a slight tremor to his hands. He and Dante quickly followed, but the witch held out his hand, motioning for them to stop where they are. Slowly but surely there was a change to him, a green glow around him that got stronger by the second, and while Delsin wasn't a magic user, he could still feel the sheer power radiating from this small man. And then, he let out an earth shattering scream, one that he hadn't known Paul was even capable of, and the light radiating from him got so strong that Delsin had to turn away, pressing his face into Dante's chest. The floor underneath them rumbled, and he forced himself to look at Paul again.

He looked gorgeous and terrifying at once. His feet weren't even touching the ground anymore, green streaks of light flitted around him, making it look like there was a sharp wind tugging at his hair and clothes. His eyes... those normally so gentle blue eyes were now a sharp green, full of rage but the most terrifying thing was the beam of light shooting out of him, through the office and outside. It all just happened in a manner of seconds, and when Paul sank to the floor again, sliding down onto his knees, half of the office was just... gone.

The floor came to an abrupt stop, some of it still crumbling and falling down into the kitchen that was now visible because the damn floor was gone. Outside, there was a dark streak in the grass, where that energy beam had burned everything away, and where there had been a treeline, there was another hole. It went far, way too far, so that Delsin was glad that there weren't any houses nearby because in that hole, everything was burned away, eviscerated by the sheer energy. For the first time ever, they had gotten a glimpse of what Paul was truly capable of.

And now, that powerful witch was shaking and crying on the floor.

Delsin slowly walked up to him, knelt next to him and reached out to take his hand. Paul squeezed it in return, held on to it so tightly that he prompted Delsin to hug him. As tall as he had seemed before, as powerful, he now seemed the smaller for it.

"It's not fair, it's not fair...", Paul said, his voice shaking along with his entire body.

"It's not, but listen, we have to move", Delsin said softly, helping Paul up. "That... wasn't exactly subtle, the cops will be here any minute."

"We can't let anyone see the tapes of Vergil", Dante piped up, and only now did he realize how pale his boyfriend has gotten too. "It's gonna kill him."

"What about the other boys?", Paul asked, wiping away the tears that wouldn't stop rolling down his cheeks. "We can't... Some of those tapes had that asshole's own name on it. He... he did these things too, didn't just organize them."

It was selfish of them, to only take Vergil's tapes so they wouldn't see the light of day, but they also needed that guy to be behind bars, and so did anyone who had ever gotten hurt because of him. They could only hope that none of them would leak, that the identities of the victims would be kept secret. In the end they convinced Paul, took the DVDs that had Vergil's name on them, hoping that they were all in here, and not in another hidden compartment. Once they had gathered the last, not destroying them yet, wanting to leave that to their boyfriend, they already heard the sirens.

But they didn't have a problem in getting out, used the hole Paul had created, who simply glided down along with Delsin, while Dante just jumped. The impact looked painful, but he kept running along with them, not batting an eyelash, so he assumed that everything was okay. For a moment they watched from behind some of the trees that Paul hadn't burned away, making sure that the police would find the hidden room, and they did.

It didn't take long for the incident to hit the media.

Paul of course made sure, through some not exactly illegal means, that everything went right, even managed to stop some of Hamilton's attempts to get rid of the evidence by warning the police that some of their members had been paid off by the guy. With what he had done to these boys, what he'd done to Vergil, neither of them was surprised that he would stoop so low.

Vergil stayed inside his pocket dimension for now, and would only watch TV if one of them was there with him, couldn't face his abuser on his own yet, not even on a screen. When they had shown him the DVDs they had gotten from his foster father's hidden room, had explained what they had found there, Vergil had looked... disappointed. He only sighed, and slowly dropped onto his knees, staring at the boxes in front of him, as if he hadn't expected his foster father to be worse than he was in his mind. But he also looked like he didn't have the energy to cry anymore, or to throw up, to have any kind of reaction. He simply looked tired.

"I want to burn them", he had told them, and together they'd made a little bonfire outside of his cottage, ignoring the smell of burning plastic and just watching with satisfaction as it all burned away.

It took months though, for the actual hearing to start, during which Vergil met up with Lady more often, one time even inviting the others along with him, to listen to what their boyfriend had to say. It was still hard for him, with the occasional nightmares, he was still wary of going outside and didn't attempt it yet and he was... quieter now. Lady reminded them that there would be setbacks, no recovery was a straight line, especially not after he had been confronted with his abuser so abruptly, and so it was extremely important that they kept supporting him.

Ever since regaining the memories of his abuse, Vergil had started to lose his appetite. In the beginning Delsin had barely noticed, but now they all paid close attention to it. They couldn't force him to eat more than he was capable, but they could make sure that he at least ate the minimum of what he required to live, Lady told them that his appetite might return in time. Though she also suggested not giving him any medication, as he still got the nutrients his body needed, and she hadn't yet developed any sort of meds that might actually work with Nephilim. She pointed out that human medication might not work at all, or have unexpected side effects, which no one wanted to risk. Nevertheless Delsin noticed that Vergil, compare to his brother, had gotten thinner, thinking back to when their bodies had been pretty much equal less than a year ago. It worried him, but all he could do was give his continued support, taking joy when he was able to coax Vergil into eating some more.

When the hearing finally came, Vergil was not able to attend, already got anxious thinking about the media that would be there, almost hyperventilating thinking someone could find out who he was in relation to Hamilton. So they calmed him down, spent the day in front of the TV to await the results of it, and since it wasn't public, had to wait for the press releases. After hours, many hours of agony, Vergil constantly clinging to Dante while they waited, there was finally a result.

Guilty.

As it turned out, aside from being a pedophile, an abuser and rapist, the guy had also made many, many shady business deals. Paul smiled to himself when they announced it, and Delsin could imagine too well that he had used his skills to help the investigators find evidence for that as well. It wasn't like anyone could trace him back to the pocket dimension, and besides, Delsin trusted him to not get them into any trouble. That's what he himself was here for after all.

Vergil however, was eerily silent. No sigh of relief, no smile, nothing. He let go of Dante though, to go outside and walk through the fields of sunflowers, all of them looking at each other nervously. He stayed that way for days, until they had another talk with Lady who suggested that they go to the prison, to show Vergil that he was safe now. His abuser had earned himself a lifetime in prison, and once he saw him there, it might help him move on.

Their boyfriend, however, wasn't a big fan of the idea, quite on the contrary.

"What if, what if.... what-", he started, but Delsin interrupted him.

"We will be with you every step of the way", he reassured him, squeezing his hand. "Look at us, a Nephilim, a Conduit and the most powerful witch on the planet, you think anyone could get through us?"

Vergil gave him a small smile, glanced at Paul too, who was blushing at what Delsin had called him. He went back and forth for a few days though, he evidently wanted to go, wanted to see Hamilton, but he was scared, plain and simple. In the end though, after their constant assurances, he agreed.

He had taken one of Dante's hoodies, that was now a bit too large for him, but made him feel a little safer at least. As they had promised before, they never left his side, and Paul organized a private car for them, with him driving and Dante and Delsin in the back, holding Vergil's hands. Hamilton was kept in a white collar prison in New Jersey, but a prison nonetheless, so it took them a few hours to get there, with Vergil squirming in between them, looking out the windows, looking back, as if he was close to telling them he needed to turn around right now. But he never did, he stayed strong until they had reached the prison.

They decided that he wouldn't directly confront Hamilton, they'd ask for him to be brought to a room that had a fake mirror in it. He'd knew that someone was there, but he had no idea that it was Vergil. Again, he just stared, tensing up a little at the sight of his foster father in an orange jump suit, pacing the small room on the other side of the mirror. He only let out a little gasp, when Hamilton asked why he was here, but no answer came.

"See, Vergil, he's here now, he'll never get out", Dante said, his arm around his brother's shoulder and squeezing him a little. "You're safe, you'll never have to see him again."

More silence, and Delsin had no idea what to do. Not getting any reaction from Vergil was bad, it reminded him of the time he had been completely out of it, when Paul had to enter his mind to get him to wake up again. He was so, so scared that would happen again.

"I want to go to the docks. In Seattle", Vergil suddenly said.

"O-okay..." Delsin was just as confused as the other two, but at least they had gotten a reaction, though for the next few hours, that was all they would get.

They made their way back to Paul's office, through the pocket dimension, where they then switched to Reggie's old truck to drive to the docks. It was a nice day at least, for once Seattle decided it didn't need any more rain, and as soon as they had arrived Vergil finally broke out of his brother's embrace, strode towards the edge and for a split second Delsin's heart skipped a beat, thinking he might jump. But he stopped at the railing, stood on the lowest of the iron bars, and holding on to the top one, just froze.

Vergil sighed as the breeze ruffled his hair, messing it up completely but he didn't seem to care. He only tilted his head up, soaking up the rays of the sun, for once warm and gentle on this day and he stood like that for a while, until, and Delsin could barely see at first, he smiled. Then he broke out into a small laugh, pressing a hand to his mouth after it, as if he was surprised by himself. Only then did Delsin realize he was smiling as well.

"I'm so hungry", Vergil had turned and stepped off the railing, still looking surprised. "I... I'm hungry!"

Delsin closed the distance between them, taking his hands.

"What do you want? Just tell me, I'll get you anything and everything."

"I, I...", for a moment Vergil was just stuttering, the gears in his brain visibly turning, he was still confused that he was now hungry. "Uhm, prawns and uhm, mayo and pizza and fries and mac and cheese with bacon."

He mentally made a note, trying to remember all of those requests, and then turned to reach towards the neon sign nearby, absorbing its power. Telling Vergil he would be right back, he gave him a kiss on the cheek, and made his way through all of Seattle, gathering everything that had been requested, and more. There were two other mouths to feed after all, and who knows what Vergil had come up with in the meantime. He made orders all over town, zipping back and forth between stores since some of the food took some time to make, hurrying to add even more speed to his already incredible neon powered run. He even ended up racing into a supermarket, only managed to stop halfway through, almost tripping over himself to shout: "I need mayo! Stat!". He went on like that until he had gathered a small tower of food, had even bought a backpack on one of his runs to be able to store it all. Still, it was difficult to balance everything while he was going who-knew-how-many miles per hour, rushing back to the docks.

There he found his three boyfriends, sitting on Dante's coat on the floor, Vergil leaning back on his hands, enjoying the sun on his face. Dante and Paul were mesmerized by the small smile playing on Vergil's lips, so Delsin had to announce himself.

"I have returned, Delsin, the bearer of food!", he called, and Vergil immediately jumped up, eyes going wide at the sheer amount he was carrying.

"Oh, I love you!", Vergil said as he grabbed the first few boxes, went back and forth between the coat on the ground and a perplexed Delsin who could only stare.

And he kept staring, not quite able to process what he had just said to him, watching as Vergil started to stuff himself with... everything. A fried prawn here, a piece of pizza there, then some fries stuffed into his mouth, barely able to swallow it all. Until finally Delsin managed to spur himself into motion again, breaking out into a huge grin as he sat by Vergil's side.

"Hey, Vergil."

Vergil looked at him with wide eyes, a burger still in his hand, and forced himself to swallow whatever was left in his mouth.

"Wha?", he asked, a few breadcrumbs stuck to his cheek, which Delsin gently wiped away.

"I love you too", he said, pressing a soft kiss to Vergil's lips, who now, was just as startled as Delsin had been a moment ago.

Slowly it seemed to dawn on him what he had said, as a slight blush now crept into his cheeks. He had told Delsin he loved him, had said it out loud, not in the whispered way Delsin had seen him say it to the other two. It had been casual, it had been easy, and Delsin took it as a very good sign.

The two of them had been off to a rocky start, and though they had gotten close, first through their mutual love of art, later through other things as well, Delsin hadn't expected to be able to fall in love with him. Polyamory, at first, had been a new concept after all. But now, now he realized just how fiercely he loved this man. He would never have thought of saying it first though, he was too worried that it would put additional strain on Vergil if he didn't feel the same way, and besides, it didn't mean that they couldn't kiss or hold each other.

Hearing Vergil say it so casually, so freely, was pure joy for him, for all of them, he thought as he saw Paul and Dante's delighted faces.

Ah, yes, there was the twin thing too... He'd been shocked at first, naturally, when he had been thrown into this whole other world full of angels and demons but after finding out and coming to term with it being natural for them it was a little... hot.

Delsin had never claimed to be an honorable person, because he really, really wasn't. He liked watching Dante, who now cupped his brother's cheek to pull him into a kiss, which turned into a deeper one. Oh yes, he liked watching that. Then again he also liked doing that, or watching Paul do the same. Damn, he had really lucked out in the hot boyfriend department.

Vergil now disentangled himself from his brother, and edged closer to Delsin. He still struggled with clearly asking for things he needed, so he ended up looking at his own hands, and Delsin closed what distance there was, to wrap his arm around Vergil's waist.

"What is it, babe?", he asked, and Vergil gave him a small smile.

"I do, you know. Love you", he said, barely hesitating before saying it. "That wasn't just the hunger talking."

"I know, babe", he made sure to say it again, because Vergil tended to huff but also blush at the word. "But thank you for saying it again. I love you."

They were sickening, like teenagers, and they kissed that way then too, but Delsin didn't care. After the stress of the last few weeks, Vergil was finally, finally smiling again. It was worth everything to him.

"Go on then, eat your food", Delsin reminded him. "I ran all over the city for it."

"Thank you", Vergil said, giving him a sweet peck on the lips before proceeding to stuff himself again.

It was an absolute delight watching him, all usual dignity forgotten, eating with his hands, even offering them a few morsels here and there. Delsin gladly took them from his fingers, making sure to lick them clean, which in turn made Vergil blush again. Damn, that man looked good with a blush.

In the end he was so full, Delsin offered to give him a piggyback ride, which Vergil gladly accepted. He even laughed when Delsin made a horse noise.

"I love your laugh", he said, turning his head, and Vergil leaned forward to kiss him again. "Wanna fly?"

"Fly?" Vergil tilted his head, frowning.

"I promise you'll be safe."

"Okay", he said after a moment, his grip tightening on Delsin, who started to run.

Neon powered running. Vergil yelped in surprise as he started running up a building, this time making a point of not stopping quite so abruptly, instead slowing down so his boyfriend wouldn't get hurt. Up there he switched his powers again, this time to video, relishing in the impressed little gasp Vergil let out.

"Do you trust me?", he asked him, standing on the ledge of the building.

"Yes", Vergil replied immediately, pressing a kiss to his cheek.

"Then hold on."

To Vergil's credit, he did not scream when he simply jumped off the building, not even when he let them fall for a bit. Only after a few seconds did he activate his video wings. He had practiced with them, could hold them for a longer time, long enough to comfortably glide home. And so they were soaring through the sky, Vergil laughing on his back, gingerly reaching out to touch the wings, which made them tingle, and now Delsin had to laugh too.

He loved seeing the city like this, the slowly setting sun tinting everything such a gorgeous golden colour. Sometimes he went out like this on his own, it was a sure way to get inspired if he ever had an art block.

"That was amazing!", Vergil called out, hugging him close when they were safely back on the ground outside their house. "I need to draw you like this, right now! Can I?"

"Of course, always."

Delsin was smiling the biggest smile as Vergil dragged him inside, straight into the pocket dimension and into his little studio, which he had barely touched since he had gotten it. This was a good sign, all of this was a good sign. Even when Vergil took out pastel chalk to start and draw him, it was not a medium he usually chose, tended to stick to pencils, to what he knew.

He obediently posed the way Vergil instructed him to, but he didn't have to sit still for a long time before Paul and Dante came bursting in, looking worried but quickly relieved again when they saw what their boyfriend was doing.

"Don't just run away like that again, please", Paul said, sitting down between Delsin and Vergil, Dante joining by his side. "We were so worried."

"Sh, he's in the zone", Delsin said with a grin, but straightened himself again when Vergil glared at him.

With satisfaction he had seen that Vergil had chosen pastel chalk, something he had barely touched before, the years of his traditional training so ingrained in him he hadn't even considered it at first. But now he really was into it, following his own artistic heart. All three were watching him intently, how intense, but relaxed he was as well. Paul gasped as the painting took on shape, giving Delsin a thumbs up.

He and Dante left the room from time to time, as it took Vergil about two hours to finish, not that Delsin had glanced at the clock at all... But he would gladly be stiff if it meant that his boyfriend was happy, was doing something he loved.

He was speechless when Vergil showed him what he'd drawn, and how easily he'd taken to a completely new way of doing so. Of course it was Delsin, with his video wings, which almost looked like pixel art, consisting of large, square blocks that yet seemed to form one fluid mass, as if those wings would come off the page at any moment. And between them was Delsin, with his long black hair flowing in the wind. He had something serene about him, as if he were wiser than how he actually felt in real life.

"Wow, Vergil..."

"Do you like it?", he asked nervously, the ease that had filled him when he'd drawn it now gone, some of the old Vergil was back.

"Oh silly", Delsin mumbled, and carefully set the painting aside, so he could kiss and hug him so enthusiastically that they fell backwards. Vergil, now on his back, gave him a small smile. "I love it."

And so did the others, Paul making immediate plans to have it framed, exclaiming that Vergil could easily make a career out of this, but quickly realizing he was getting ahead of himself. Vergil felt better now, yes, he looked very relieved, and that he'd eaten was a good sign, but just because his foster father was behind bars, he wasn't just magically okay. They'd made that mistake before, they would not do it again.

Still, that day, nothing would ruin their mood, not even when Dante ripped his shirt because his angelic wings had suddenly burst forth. Delsin knew that he and Vergil had a special bond, and maybe all this serenity had influenced him. He could only stare, this was a sight that he would never get used to. Actual, pristine white wings, that were so incredibly soft to the touch. Thankfully, they'd been taking a walk outside when it had happened, they were so large they would have surely destroyed half the kitchen.

Suddenly, Vergil looked like he was in a trance, stepping from Delsin's side towards his brother.

"Vergil..." That look in his eyes was familiar, but Paul held him back when he was about to reach out for him.

"Shh, look."

And so he did, watched as Dante embraced his brother for a moment, then cupped his face, smiled at him, every touch, every look so gentle, so careful. So was that kiss that Dante pressed to Vergil's lips, his brother's body visibly relaxing. He let Dante take off his shirt, let it drop to the ground and pressed closer to him again, eyes closed. Delsin couldn't quite understand what he was watching here, and perhaps he wasn't meant to, he was almost tempted to leave because the scene was so intimate. But it was also captivating, the two so lost in each other, looking so otherworldly all of a sudden. Which they were, he supposed.

Dante started to trace his brother's back, and even Delsin could see the touch was featherlight. Over the mark on his back, over his shoulderblades, making Vergil shudder, made him hold on to Dante's hips as his own set of wings started to sprout from his back. Unlike Dante's, they were a deep, pitch black, so dark that they were shining in the light from Paul's sun. He could hear him softly gasping as he stretched his wings, then sighing, as if he were finally complete.

Only when he realized that they were black, Vergil frowned, but his brother was there again, cupping his face.

"They are beautiful", he said. "You are beautiful."

And just like that, Vergil was smiling again. Once more Delsin was tempted to leave, watching them kiss for a while, completely lost in each other, and now, even Paul was about to turn. They truly belonged to each other, complete opposites, and yet the same. Yin and Yang, the poetic side of Delsin would say, perhaps there was some truth to it.

"Please stay", they heard Vergil call out, and as he and Paul turned again, they saw the two Nephilim walking up to them. "You're part of this too."

Delsin let out a breath he hadn't known he was holding, so relieved to hear those words. Yes, perhaps for a moment he'd thought that they weren't. But they stayed together, exploring those lovely wings, watching the reactions it elicited from the Nephilim, how delighted they were when he or Paul brushed over them. A little bit like overgrown cats, Delsin joked, and that otherworldly feeling he'd gotten earlier was gone, now they were just Dante and Vergil again, although with added wings, laughing and joking with them.

What a band of misfits they were, of non humans that had found together and made a home, a family. Delsin couldn't have imagined in his wildest dreams that he'd be this happy one day.

When the sun started to set, Vergil sighed, and drew their attention.

"You know... I know it's going to be a tough road still, but I think... I think I am going to be okay."

Chapter Text

"Vergil... Vergil. Come, wake up, sweetheart."

Vergil scrunched up his nose, taking a few moments to find out where he was. Those were definitely his arms under his head, and underneath... a desk, cold, hard. His neck was strained and would surely hurt for a while, but the voice that called him brought a smile to his face.

Blue eyes and a sweet smile welcomed him from his slumber, and Paul leaned down to kiss his forehead.

"You promised me you wouldn't work nights anymore", he whispered, gently but firmly helping him up and leading him out of his study.

"That's why I was sleeping", Vergil replied, making his lover chuckle and roll his eyes.

"You're not getting out of this on a technicality. Bed. Now."

"Yes, sir." Vergil was grinning widely as he obeyed, thinking how silly he used to be, wanting to be in control all the time. Paul knew what he needed, always knew, it wasn't a bad thing to relinquish control every now and then. He had learned that the hard way.

He was careful as he slipped into their very, very large bed, where Dante and Delsin were already cuddled up. A look at his alarm clock, and more importantly the date on it, made him hesitate. Vergil tensed up for a moment, oddly enough waiting for the panic to take over. But after a few moments, agonizing heartbeats, he realized that he was... okay.

"I had hoped you wouldn't notice", Paul whispered, getting on his knees in front of the bed Vergil was sitting on. "Are you okay?"

"Seven years since he- Since Howard went to prison", Vergil whispered, not because he couldn't handle saying it, but merely because he didn't want his boyfriends to wake up. "I'm... I'm good."

He suddenly burst out laughing, tears forming in the corner of his eyes as he leaned forward to hug Paul.

"I'm good, Paul. I really am."

The witch returned the hug just as passionately as he had initiated it, making them both fall backwards onto the bed, the movement finally doing what they had wanted to avoid: Waking the others up. A few confused mumbles, an explanation later, and they were all cuddled in that big pile that Vergil loved so much. There was no other place in the world where he felt as safe as right here.

They still lived in Seattle, still lived in their gorgeous little house, that granted, they had made some upgrades and changes to, and still all lived together. There hadn't really been much of an adjustment with Paul. Over time, Dante couldn't help but fall in love with the sweet little witch, and somehow, all four of them had found an easy dynamic.

Vergil had spent these seven years working very hard on himself, with Lady's help, and that of his boyfriends. When he had been growing up he hadn't been able to imagine having one, and now he had three. As odd as it was, he had finally found happiness. And somewhere along the line he had stopped questioning it. Some force in the universe had granted him a second chance, had let him reunite with the people he loved, and had even let him find more. This was a family now, the weirdest one in existence maybe, but a family nonetheless.

One day, maybe, one day in the far future, they could even have kids. Somehow that would work, Vergil was sure of it, but he wasn't ready. He still needed more time, but that was okay too. He had to laugh out loud again, feeling such a relief from these thoughts. He had changed so much.

"You're not going crazy now, are you?", Dante asked, leaning over Delsin to kiss his cheek.

"No it's just... I'm remembering how I used to be, and what I am now. How... happy I am."

"And way more chill", Delsin agreed, mirroring Dante's movement. And then suddenly they all were all over him, kissing, tickling him, and for the first time in his life he started a pillow fight.

They stayed up longer than any of them had intended, talking, laughing way through the night, as they sometimes did. So what if they were tired the next day? It was worth it. Life was worth it. Vergil had stopped wanting to die, had stopped wanting to hurt or punish himself. He had gone back to work, mostly doing so from home, and he took up a minor role in the company. But working was something he enjoyed and Paul had little to object to that reasoning.

Delsin had slowly made his way up in the art scene of Seattle, had now a steady amount of work with commissions. Mostly however, he did as he pleased, showing his work in different galleries not only in Seattle, but all over the country and was quite successful. Surprising everyone, he had stayed down to earth, preferring to stay right here in the city, where he was close enough to go visit his tribe whenever he could. He loved them dearly, returning there to teach art and generally helping wherever he could. All three of them always happily joined him there, and were welcomed, something Vergil had never experienced before. For the Akomish, it wasn't even an issue, they were treated as family right from the beginning.

Vergil always liked going there, had even learned to appreciate nature and the fresh air there, but he also liked joining Dante on his trips around the country. He was still hunting demons, freelancing or working for Phineas. It had taken Vergil quite a few years to get back to his full strength, but doing this together with his brother somehow felt natural.

It was one of those trips where Vergil had realized he was finally ready. Ready to be touched again, to be intimate with his brother, and he realized that he didn't want to be in charge anymore. He wanted Dante to take care of him, to make him feel good and loved. That was exactly what his brother had done. Together, under the stars, they had made love. Slow, gentle, Dante had known exactly how to make him come apart, and carefully picked up the pieces to bring him back together.

A lot of things had gotten easier after that. Opening up, letting others in and talking about his needs and wants. It had been such a weight off his shoulders, after the years of having to fight for every little improvement. After Howard had gone to prison he hadn't magically been okay. He knew that he would be, one day, but it had taken hard work. And more than once he had made one of his lovers cry with the way he acted. Because he had still lashed out at them, had still hurt himself for a while, something Paul could never bare to watch. Not that it stopped him or the others from helping. Vergil knew full well that without them he wouldn't be here right now.

Here. Happy.

The sun was rising when the four of them finally fell asleep, making three of them thank whatever higher power that they were working freelance. Paul on the other hand, had to rush through the portal and the pocket dimension, clothes and hair in disarray, to get to work on time. The little cottage was still there, and was still used by all of them when they needed some peace and quiet away from everyone else, and it was Paul's way to work every day. But unlike seven years ago, it was used very rarely now.

Vergil was humming when he went to take a shower, found his reflection smiling back at him in the mirror. He was looking healthier now too, had gained weight and muscle mass again, the bags under his eyes were gone now and it was clear that he was content with himself. He found himself singing as he washed, maybe even dancing a little bit although he would never admit it to anyone else. Some things at least, he would keep to himself.

He was ruffling his hair with a towel do dry it, eyes closed but when he opened them again the reflection in the mirror was not what he had expected. His hair was suddenly pink.

Eyes going wide, he took the towel that had a similar colour to his hair, and started rubbing. Again and again but the colour would not come out. His beautiful, silky, wonderful white hair was pink!

"Dante!", he yelled through the door, quickly slipped into his sweatpants and rushed down. Already he could hear movement, and giggling. "Dante come here right now so I can punch you!"

His brother however was hiding behind Delsin, out of breath as if he had just run there. Delsin just looked confused until he saw Vergil, his eyes too going wide at the sight.

"Holy shit your hair!"

"It was you, Dante, wasn't it?", Vergil asked, seething as he stalked closer to the two. His brother didn't even have the decency to look guilty.

"In my defense, you look awesome", his brother said, clinging to Delsin's shoulder.

"All you need is a great punk outfit... maybe a choker..." Delsin looked him up and down, and suddenly Vergil deflated. Because he knew that look. That look was lust.

He blushed. So far he'd only been with his brother again, but oh had he thought about being with Delsin and Paul as well. He had thought about it so much, had touched himself to the thought of them all taking him at the same time. He wanted to be theirs, completely theirs. He was ready for it too, but just hadn't gotten up the courage to ask them yet. He knew that he would be safe with them, that they wouldn't just use him. Loved, that's how he would feel.

"Okay", Vergil blurted out at Delsin's suggestion, making the two of them shut up for a moment.

"Seriously?", Dante asked, finally stepping out from behind their boyfriend.

"I mean... if you have anything like that. I'm not going out like this. It... It will wash out, right?"

"Of course it will." His brother walked closer to him now, taking his hands in his own. "I'm not that mean. You really do look amazing you know?"

Vergil turned aside to look at his hazy reflection in the window, a half stranger looking back at him. He turned his head this way and that, and ignoring the little bit of pink on his ears it did somehow suit him. A while ago this sudden change would have made him freak out, and Dante knew that. But now, he might be mad, but he was able to deal with it. Even find it funny in a way. This only showed himself how relaxed he had become. Relaxed for him at least, he still insisted that the house was spotless at all times.

Delsin now stepped up too, taking his right hand, as Dante still held on to his left, and the two of them led him upstairs where he was made to stand at the foot of their bed while Delsin started digging into the huge closet there. Vergil had his own, in the next room, and so he hadn't had any idea what kind of clothes from hell were in there. Garish colours, ripped jeans and shirts, costumes as well for some reason and yes, even leather outfits. Delsin and his brother started to hold them out, to discuss which would fit Vergil best while he was awkwardly standing there wondering where this would all lead. Saying yes suddenly didn't seem like such a good idea anymore.

"He definitely needs eyeliner", Delsin said and his brother nodded, as if it was the most natural suggestion in the world.

"What? Don't poke me in the eye!", he said, having sat down on the bed a while ago.

"That's not where eyeliner goes, it goes around it. Trust us, it'll look really hot", Dante said, leaning down to look into his eyes. There it was, that shit eating grin Vergil used to get annoyed at, but now loved. It meant he was happy, even if he was about to do something silly Vergil didn't understand.

"Okay, fine."

Once more Delsin and Dante paused, giving him a strange look. But he smiled and assured them that it was okay, and when he did, both leaned down to share sweet kisses with him. Once he had allowed himself to want it, to let himself be open to intimacy, he only needed to ask and he would receive. Most times asking wasn't even necessary, he'd developed a tell of sorts, the way he tilted his head, and looked at their lips. It was really quite obvious, but none of them teased him for it, only ever replied with sweet kisses.

Vergil trusted the two of them - and Paul - completely. So he sat back, and let them continue discuss his clothing options, watching them with a faint smile on his face. They were passionate, and how could he not love that about them. He even managed to stay still when they put eyeliner on him, and even though it was a very strange sensation he didn't flinch too much.

In the end he wasn't even wearing much at all. All black leather: A vest with metal studs and nothing underneath, as well as leather pants that were very, very tight. Delsin also pulled out a choker with spikes on it, and carefully put it around his neck.

"You don't have to. I'll make it very lose", Delsin whispered into his ear, making him shudder. "Only if you want to."

"It's okay", he whispered back, his voice shaky. "I'll look wonderful, yes?"

"Yes you will." Dante was pressed close to his side, and helped Delsin put the choker on him.

Both of them pulled him up and he turned for them, enjoying the way they stared, their mouths agape. Even though it really wasn't that much, the person looking back at him in the mirror now seemed completely different. Confident. Wild. The eyeliner did make him look amazing. He turned that way and twisted the other, admiring himself in the mirror.

"Will Paul like it?", he asked, finally tearing his gaze away from himself.

"Oh he'll come the instant he sees you", Dante said, and the look on his face wasn't even joking.

"That good?"

"Oh yeah", Delsin agreed, both stepping up to pull him back onto the bed.

They spent pretty much the rest of the day there, just kissing until their lips were red and puffy, then pausing just to do it all over again. Vergil felt safe here, when he was breathlessly gasping against his brother's lips, pressed against Delsin's side, hands all over him. He almost didn't notice when Paul finally returned from work and stood at the foot of the bed, watching them.

"Oh my..."

Paul had already thrown his jacket on the ground, followed closely by his tie, and immediately the first few buttons of his shirt came off. Already barefoot, he gladly accepted Vergil's invitation, his outstretched arm, and climbed onto the bed to join them. Settling in between Vergil's legs, chests pressed together, he sighed just before letting their lips meet, parting them to deepen the kiss.

"Whatever they did to you, I love it", Paul grinned against his lips, just before kissing him again.

Vergil could feel his growing erection, rubbing against his own which made his tight leather pants uncomfortable. Hands were roaming all over his body, and he had no idea who they belonged to. It was almost overwhelming in how good it felt, how safe it felt too, and he had to pull away from the kiss, throwing his head back he closed his eyes and moaned. Immediately everything stopped, and they all pulled away.

"No, no...", he breathed, reaching out to pull Paul back against him. "Don't stop I want to... I want to keep going."

He looked at all three through low eyelids, one after the other, silently begging them to give him what he needed.

"We'll go as far as you want to", Delsin said calmly, brushing a kiss against his cheek.

"I want to go all the way. I'm ready. I really am."

"Are you sure?", the three of them blurted out at the same time. Silence fell between them, and then, a moment later, they all laughed.

Giggled, would be more accurate. Vergil didn't care anymore what he looked like, whether this was proper. All he cared about was being happy and these three dorks did just that. One after another, he pulled them in for a kiss, and finally, guided Paul's hand to his crotch.

"Please, I'm serious", he said, his smile faltering. "I want you all to... to take me. Just feel how ready I am."

All three sat up then, smiling gently down at him. Their hands moved swiftly, undoing the leather pants and slowly pulling them down before Dante and Delsin were pressed to his side again. Just holding and kissing him, while Paul settled in between his thighs and kissed the inside of them. His own cock was hard against his belly, already leaking. He was so damn ready, he wanted this so much, to feel them inside him, to be loved by them.

Paul's gentle fingers circled around his wet entrance, once, twice, before he slipped two of them inside. He closed his eyes to just feel the sensation, those deft fingers pushing deeper into him, brushing against his prostate, the touch light, curious. He was testing whether Vergil really was okay with this.

"Please Paul, please..."

He gasped when Paul pulled out his fingers, but the touch he felt next wasn't what he had expected. Paul's tongue was lightly licking over his entrance, and he took in a sharp breath, which then came out as a moan. He opened his eyes and looked down, seeing his lover's fluffy white hair sticking out. He too had closed his eyes as he licked and kissed his entrance, driving him crazy with pleasure.

"Whoa", Dante chuckled, leaning over him to kiss Delsin sweetly, giving Vergil the perfect view of it. "Vergil, brother. You sound amazing. Keep going, my love."

Moans were freely tumbling from his lips as he held on to Dante and Delsin's hands, the pleasure threatening to overwhelm him. The two were petting and kissing him, his flushed chest, his rosy nipples. His whole body was on fire.

"I need you inside me", Vergil blurted out when he couldn't take it anymore. "I need... I need..."

"What is it, love?", Paul asked, coming up from his position and wiping his mouth.

Vergil smiled what he was pretty sure was a dopey smile, told Dante to stay where he was and finally got rid of the leather vest he was still wearing, tossing it aside. The one thing that was left now was the choker around his neck, as well as the eyeliner. All eyes were on him as he straddled his brother, back to his chest, and slowly sank down on his hard cock. When he and Delsin had lost their clothes, he wasn't quite sure but then he hadn't really been paying attention.

The gasps and loving looks made him smile as he watched Paul take off his clothes as well now, and when his brother was completely buried inside him, he leaned back against his chest. For a moment he just let himself enjoy the sensation of being full, of those kisses pressed to his neck and shoulder, Dante's hot breath against his skin. Then he reached out for Paul, pulling him closer.

"Now you too."

"What?" Paul's eyes went wide. "Are you sure I... it won't hurt?"

"No. Please, I want you to."

He reached out and Paul let himself be pulled close, let Vergil guide his cock to his entrance. As he leaned down to kiss him, Paul also pushed into him, slowly, very carefully. Vergil gasped against his lips and Paul pulled back a little so he could watch him, make sure he wasn't in pain but he only smiled. He had never felt this incredible before, this filled up, hadn't felt this kind of pleasure when Paul finally started moving, gently thrusting into him.

"Delsin..." He turned to beckon him closer, his hand immediately wrapping around his cock. "Closer."

"Oh wow...", Delsin trailed off, but did as Vergil asked.

He licked his lips, briefly grinned up at Delsin who looked as if he couldn't believe his luck, before proceeding to wrap his lips around that lovely cock. He hadn't done this in a while, so he went nice and slow, moaning around his cock as Paul and Dante still thrust up into him.

This didn't conjure up any bad memories. This wasn't him being used like a hole, this was him being loved.

He had denied himself just this for far too long, and now he just let go, trusting them completely to take care of him. Soon he was completely lost in the heat, the pleasure, every single one of his nerves on fire. Delsin gently thrusted into his mouth when he leaned back, not able to keep this position for too long. Paul sped up his thrusts in time with Dante, slick sounds filling the air around them.

Vergil only stopped when they were all one big mess, when Delsin had come in his mouth and he tasted him there, when Paul and Dante had filled him with their come, and yet they kept going. Made sure that they sent him over the edge, toes curling in pleasure as he spilled over his own belly. He blacked out for a moment, and found himself cuddled between them once more.

Breathless he blinked his eyes open, grinning at his three lovers gazing down at him with so much love.

"I love you. I love you. I love you."

He was okay. And with them by his side, he always would be.