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A Devil's Cacophony

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"...The end."

Various sounds of awe, disappointment and more softly arose from his audience as they finally moved from their mostly statue-esque positions. Dante's storytelling inadvertently became a weekend-long event, with a good portion of the audience staying for the two nights of the three days, whereas the rest left and returned the next day. Some new faces had even joined: Morrison, Lady, and, surprisingly, Jeanne, Enzo and even Hallen. They hadn't known of Dante telling his story; when they had individually arrived, he just decided to give into fate and invite them to listen as well. After all, it wasn't as if they weren't family in each of their own rights...some more than others...

Murmurs of thanks and other such things reached his ears as he sat there, awaiting some sort of reaction. But nothing...quite happened the way he had expected...

Quite shortly after he finished speaking, the aforementioned, sans Hallen, were immediately brought up to speed on what they missed by...young Julius, of all people...along with his father with his mother listening in. Lady and Trish wordlessly began to assist Patty with cleaning up the pizza boxes, discarded paper towels, and soda and alcohol bottles, talking quietly amongst each other as they did. Vergil was the only one missing, knowing the story, and was on a mission that came in the day before. In many ways, and to his personal, quiet disappointment and/or embarrassment, Dante so wished his silent, nigh-unflappable brother was there...

Trish looked over to him, handing her share of the mess to Patty, who took it without complaint or comment. "...What a story, Dante," the demoness said to him, standing from the second couch and slowly approaching the desk. "Hard to believe some parts of it really happened..."

Cracking his neck, the half-devil simply gave her a brief glance. "Mm hm..."

She watched him as he stretched in the chair, quite frankly ignoring her. It took a second for her to realize he was...uncomfortable. He had, after all, told of some extremely unsavory things his younger self had done...but that part of the story was told yesterday (and was also where the alcohol bottles came from). Or was it just the fact that she hinted to those events in her sentence...?

She considered him, seeing him differently, yes, but not in the way one would probably think. He was her first and oldest friend, like a younger brother to her, and for the first time in many years, he seemed even more like a younger sibling in her eyes...

Smiling softly, she walked by the desk after Patty and Lady in the kitchen, but not before chancing it and ruffling his hair. As she moved away, she saw him looking at her in bewilderment, looking confused and...just the way he appeared when she first considered him as a younger brother.

Her smile grew, confusing him further. "I'll be in the back if you need me, Dante," she said casually before disappearing around the staircase.

Dante blinked after her, running his fingers through his hair. She hadn't done that in...decades. And...she acted as if nothing had happened...

He glanced about the room, full of bodies and chatter, and realized, in fact, most of everyone there seemed quite neutral. Enzo was helping Nero and Julius tell Morrison and Jeanne the parts they missed, and Cereza was further informing Kyrie of the Crows, Umbra Witches, and Lumen Sages...whereas Hallen...

His eyes met with his older daughter's, blue to identical blue. She was the only one who was alone. Somehow, she ended up on the other side of the room, standing near the door to the bathroom, and simply stared at him, her arms crossed. She seemed so tired...so worn...conflicted...confused. He wished, in that moment, that he could just stroll over to her and give her the hug she so very well deserved and needed, but...

There was no unrelenting emotion in any part of her being, so he spared himself the guilt trip and broke eye contact, lowering his gaze and looking forward. Would he ever be able to make amends with her...?

"Dante."

He grunted in response to his nephew, not looking up.

"What are you going to call the story?" Nero asked, walking to the desk. Behind him, Julius was still chatting away at the story with Enzo to wide-eyed and deeply engrossed Morrison and Jeanne. They seemed to be at the part where he was broken out of the asylum by Azvorel...and had a ways to go...

"Already gave it a name," he responded, sighing heavily. He was mentally burnt out from worrying over nothing...It was still surprising that he had worried over, and was still anxious over, what everyone's reaction would be to his story...

Nero had taken notice of his uncle's sudden tense body language once he reached the end of the story. Not having any plans to just brush off what he had heard, he sighed before saying, "...I don't see you any differently, Uncle."

The use of his nephew's affectionate childhood name, as always, brought Dante's attention to the forefront, and their gazes met as he looked up.

"...If anything, my respect for you went up a few notches," Nero continued, glancing away as he rubbed his nose.

A small smile slowly broke out on the older man's face. "...Flattery'll get you nowhere, kid," he taunted. "And I can't believe you still do that nose-rubbing thing when you're embarrassed. It's so cute."

Though he glared back, Nero smiled. "...Shut up," he murmured, and then shook his head in realization at, now that he knew, how alike their relationship was to his uncle's younger self and Azvorel. Chuckling to himself, he turned back and walked towards the door, where Kyrie was now only lightly conversing with Cereza. "Anyways, old man, I should get going back to Fortuna. I'll bet everyone thinks we died or something..."

"Nero," Kyrie gently berated.

Smiling, he lowered to plant a kiss on her cheek before looking to his son. "C'mon, Julius. Let the fat man tell the rest of the story."

Enzo only gave him a look, but then glanced at Julius, who was frowning. "Hey, don't look at me, kid."

Though he grumbled, the boy stood from the couch and ran to Dante, glomming him. "Bye, Unca Dante," he said, face-first in his shirt. "Thank you for telling us your story."

Lowering his feet from the desk, Dante returned the embrace, ruffling the wild white hair. "...It wasn't too much for you?" he asked, truly interested in what the sponge-like mind had collected from the previous day. Though there was no need to explain everything in graphic detail, be it he told it as a story instead of personal experience, added with the fact that the more intense moments of the story were saved for when the children were asleep...Julius and Patty were remarkably clever. Patty, in fact, probably knew exactly what had happened during the moments in the story before she was sent to bed each night...

The four-year-old moved back to look his granduncle in the eye, expression innocent, but stern in a way. "It's okay, Uncle. You're a good person, even back then, really," he said. At the dubious face flashed at him, he nodded vigorously, brows furrowing. "You were forced to be bad, Uncle, an' you were really little! But you were a nice boy!" He gave his granduncle another, desperate hug. "Don't hate yourself, Unca D, please."

Expression softening, Dante broke into a smile, and lifted his small grandnephew into his arms to give an enveloping embrace. "...Thank you, Julius. I'll try to remember that," he murmured, and then slightly moved him away to part his bangs and plant a kiss upon his forehead. "See you, little man. Take care of your mom, since your dad does such a bad job."

"OH..."

"Nero, we have to go," Kyrie reminded with a smile, holding Nero's glowing arm as he began to take steps back into the room.

Patty, hiding around the corner, took that opportunity to give her older cousin and his wife a hug, laughing. The boy, too, snickered, squirming in his granduncle's grasp before he was let go, and gave Cereza a brief hug before glomming Patty. He then whispered something into her hear, causing them both to giggle almost conspiratorially. One of Dante and Nero's eyes both twitched at the thought of what they could quite literally be conspiring, but their smiles remained on their faces, to Kyrie and Cereza's amusement. Julius then raced back to his father, who he immediately jumped on.

Repositioning his son so he was carrying him on his back, Nero continued glaring into the room as Kyrie gave goodbyes. "I'll get you for that next time, old man!" he promised, shaking a fist.

Snorting, Dante waved the young family off. "Love you guys!"

"Yeah, yeah. Say bye to Dad for me!" Nero called as they opened the doors. Turning around, he took Kyrie's hand and proceeded down the stairs, the doors closing behind them.

Smiling fondly, Dante sighed in contentment. He never thought Nero would get married so young...especially since he was still a punk...

He briefly glanced at Hallen, who was still in the same position as before, though not glaring at him, and sighed quietly to himself.

His attention then focused on Morrison and Enzo, who began to walk towards the door. "Leaving, too?"

"Yeah, good ol' Morrison here's gonna give me a ride back since someone still owes me for wreckin' my car," Enzo coughed.

Cereza, lounging on the couch, gave a glance, but was too satisfied with her lollipop to give much attention. Her sister shook her head with a scoff, standing beside the couch at her side.

Behind Enzo, Morrison chuckled, putting on his hat from the coat tree. "He's going to finish telling me the parts I missed. But it was good to see you again, Dante," he said.

Giving a two-fingered wave, Dante nodded. "Come by whenever. Especially you, Enzo. Feelin' kind of...ah...forgotten since you moved to the east," he hinted not-so conspicuously.

"What, so I can kick your ass again at poker?" Throwing down his hands as they both broke into laughter, Enzo looked back to Morrison, who slowly nodded in agreement, before looking at Dante again, who was no longer laughing. "...What?"

"Come over next time and we'll see whose ass is kicked."

Adjusting his coat, Enzo grinned. "Oh, ho ho! Sounds like a challenge! Well, I look forward to lining my pockets...AGAIN!" Once more, he belted out into laughter, and then waved off as Morrison opened the doors. "Yeah, I've got to come by again, don't I? We go back, Dante! Far back! Take care, old buddy!"

Chuckling, Dante shook his head at the loud man's antics as he headed out the door. "You, too, Enzo."

After the door closed, that left him in the room with...four women; five counting Trish in the back of the house. He had completely forgotten about Lady, who had entered the room when Nero's family left, sitting on the end of the couch, and was watching him behind thick sunglasses.

And now that he realized she was looking at him, he hated how he suddenly felt self-conscious. "...What?"

"You're lacking your usual vigor," she said with casual observance.

Closing his eyes, he rested his hands behind his head, placing his feet on the desk. "I'm surprised you're here," he murmured, ignoring her remark. "You even let Vergil take the only mission that's come since you've been here..."

Sighing, she stood and slowly walked over. "Dante...of all things, I never thought you to be the type to care of what others think of you," she said softly, almost gently, an unusual tone for her.

Blinking, he took notice this was the second woman who was being very nice to him and the third person who had said anything about the story. He briefly glanced at her before letting his eyes wonder away. "...Of all things? Of all, including what you know of me now?" he asked quietly.

"That's not a Dante I'm familiar with," she countered smoothly, though carefully. "You're not that person anymore, nothing even remotely like that person. I've known you for a while, now, Dante, and I see no reason to treat you any differently just because of your...abhorrent past."

...And now he just felt awkward. Lady? Being this nice to him? "...You're beginning to freak me out, Lady."

She slapped his feet off the table, causing him to grin and look up at her. "You owe me a lot of money for this," she reminded, turning on her heels and towards the door.

Throwing up his hands, he laughed. "Wha...? How? What did I do to cause you to lose money? No one told you to stay; blame Vergil! Or something! Why me?...Lady?"

She opened the front door, giving him a look. "See you, Dante~" she called, and then slipped out.

Resting his arms on the desk, he scoffed. "Never look a gift horse in the mouth," he murmured with a smile to himself.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jeanne take Patty out of the room, moving back around to the kitchen. The silver-haired Witch gave him a particular glance out of the corner of her eye before disappearing...He then glanced over at his older daughter, who was now near the jukebox in the right corner of the room, poking at it. Now that he thought about it, she seemed to be waiting for everyone to leave...

A skintight, dark midnight suit suddenly moved before his vision. He focused, realizing he was looking at her navel... "...Cerez..." he whistled lowly.

Lithe fingers slid into his hair, caressing his scalp, and he emitted a low groan. Her fingers felt fantastic in his hair...which slowly slipped away all too soon. He grumbled lowly, and she made a playful hum, then turned around, showing off the curves of her generous backside. His eyes narrowed, and he slowly reached over to trail his fingertips along her hips.

"Oh, dear. I forgot all about you, young one," she said to Hallen. "If you want to speak with him, you may as well do it now..." she trailed off, slowly gyrating against his fingers, "...before the adults have a talk."

His devil side, which for days now had been as silent as death, sprung to rapt attention at her promise for mating. He growled gutturally, but softly, eliciting a pleased sound from his mate.

He sensed Hallen's sudden hesitance, probably to approach Cereza; her fear, likely because she, too, sensed his more demonic side awaken; and...her disgust. The latter was enough to shake him out of his lust-induced lapse and he softly sighed, briefly closing his eyes.

"...If you want to talk, I'm open for conversation," he said, leaning back in his chair. Cereza moved out of his view, allowing him to see his daughter facing them, eyes narrowed and body as tense as a whipped dog. "What is it you want to talk about?"

Her eyes narrowed impossibly greater, then she glanced from Cereza to him. Before he could open his mouth, the witch placed her hand on her hip, scoffing. "As if I'm going to let you be alone with him. You've already tried, and nearly succeeded, in killing him once," she said, a steady fierceness in her voice that had him wanting her even more...

She then turned to him, leaning over the desk to reach and caress his coarse jawline. However, he focused on her eyes, which, like Vergil's, expressed her distrust in the young part-devil. Having been through this scenario once before, he didn't brush off her concern. Instead, he leaned forward to capture her lips in a rather chaste kiss, at least in comparison to their normal ones. She granted him entry into her mouth, where their tongues danced only once, causing him to groan softly at the taste of her strawberry lollipop, before she broke away. She then slipped her pop back into her mouth and gallivanted over to the bar, hips swaying...

Licking his lips, he forced his eyes away from her and back to his daughter, who...hadn't moved an inch or made any other expression. Interestingly, she was his equivalent of Nero; she was more like Vergil, whereas Nero was more like him...

He massaged his temples. "...Hallen. Talk."

"Don't say my name," she hissed, taking a step forward.

"But it got you to talk," he countered tiredly, so used to this by now.

She went quiet, pursing her lips and frowning deeply. Her eyes lowered. "...You were worse than I thought, when you were younger," she murmured. "...You really were a devil..."

Closing his eyes, he placed a hand on the desk and clenched his teeth, but said nothing. If she was going to go this route before getting whatever it was off her chest...

"...I'll admit, you've changed much since then...haven't you..." Trailing off, she glanced at her unclaimed sword resting on the wall behind him, along with Rebellion and Sparda. Her eyes then snapped to his, and she snarled, "But I don't believe that other side of you is dead. How can I, when I've gone for all these decades looking for that side of you?"

"So, what are you trying to say? You'll stick around until that side resurfaces?" he demanded, tired of trying, and failing, to make her believe him.

Her face lit up, something he hadn't seen since...

"You admit it's still there!" she exclaimed, taking another step forward as she pointed at him.

His hand atop the table tightened into a fist as he stood, growling, "No. That side of me is gone. What the hell do I have to do to make you believe me? To free me of this guilt I've carried with me for two centuries?"

An almost maniacal look came into her eyes. "That's easy!" she laughed, holding out her hands to her sides. "You're free when I'm free! If you go away, you'll rid us both of this unbearable pain!"

That look. It haunted him, ate at his core. He had no idea what it looked like, but instinctively knew that was the same look that he must have worn when he was young, during that time he was a true devil. It was the look of one who was disturbed, destroyed inside. It should not be on the face of his daughter as well, not after what that face had meant for him.

"Hallen," he said as he came around the table, beginning to approach her with an outstretched hand, but she backed away, "Hallen, please. I don't want you to have to keep going on like this. You shouldn't have to."

She only shook her head, continuing to back away with a look of distrust, disgust, spite clouding her face.

"Here you have family," he continued, trying to reason, pleading to reason, with something within her, "cousins, an uncle, a..." —he swallowed, briefly closing his eyes—" a sister...a father, if you let him try to be one to you. Please...give me a chance." Instead of continuing to approach her, he kept his and outstretched, reaching for her with his palm up.

For just a moment, she looked as if she was going to cry. Her expression turned...almost frightened, and she quickly dashed to the door.

"Wait, Hallen!" he called, moving faster to make it to the exit before her. This took her by surprise, and then she threw herself at him.

He had a split second to see the weapon aiming for his chest, and suddenly he was on the floor in front of his desk, Cereza hovering over him. He looked to the door just in time to see Hallen dash out of it, and just like that, she was gone.

"...Hallen..." he murmured, suddenly feeling lethargic. He glanced to his chest to see a weapon literally attempting to dig into his heart, but Cereza kept it still with her magic. It was a clearly demonic weapon, one he had only seen a few times. It looked almost like a spearhead; if it went in much deeper, it would show its true form and eat its way into him.

He grunted softly as it was taken from out of him, and then burned to cinders by a spell Cereza quickly chanted. Placing his hand over his heart, he closed his eyes. "...Thanks...Cerez..."

Her ungloved hand caressed his cheek. "Don't thank me yet, you fool. Something is wrong..."

"Yeah...my old wound...it stings..." he gasped, clenching his chest as the pain quickly grew.

"...Is it even possible she had the matching artifact to that demonic one?" Cereza asked as she removed his hand and unbuckled the belts across his chest.

"...How...did she get...these..."  His head suddenly went limp as he lost conscious.

Swearing harshly, she unzipped his shirt and opened it, revealing a steadily growing black mark in the center of the faded, reddish ring over his chest. Quickly, she summoned a tome into her hands and flipped it open. Belel Curse, Belel Curse...remove! She skimmed over the words, and then swore yet again.

"Where the hell is Vergil when you need him...?"

The tome disappeared, and she dug into Dante's pockets for his cell phone. Just her luck, it rang just as she found it. It was Vergil, likely calling because he sensed something wrong with his brother. She flipped it open.

"Get your arse over here, now! That little bitch attacked him again and he has the second half of the curse upon him. He needs your blood!" she ordered, and then promptly hung up to do what she could to tend to a rapidly paling Dante.


Vergil swore. He swore as if the words were a prayer as he drove back to his brother's house. It wasn't surprising that she would at least attack him once...but twice? After all he had done, after holding no ill will towards her, going so far as to trusting her to stay in his own home?

He uttered another curse, this one an actual hex, but caught himself before finishing. He knew why Dante did what he did, and understood it to its entirety. That guilt, that guilt so deep it was enough for him to be suicidal at the worst of times...He would do anything to try to make amends, even if it meant putting himself in harm's way...again.

Unlike his younger twin, Vergil had also hoped that hearing the story of his brother's life would ease the young part-devil's hatred...

For the umpteenth time since speaking to, or more so hearing from, Cereza, he swore.

Fortunately, he was not far from the city during the time he called, and so it took less than thirty minutes for him to arrive. He just had the mind to turn the car off before jumping out to the double doors, barging in and expecting the worst.

Dante was unconscious, lying on the couch with his shirt removed to show his torso was completely black, along with his arms to his elbows. His lips were turning black as well as the curse traveled up his neck.

"Good, you're here," Trish breathed, standing over the younger twin apprehensively.

Cereza was looking over the tome on the floor beside the couch, fretting over something.

"What's wrong?" Vergil asked her, cutting his bared wrist with a claw. "If it's just blood he needs, this will be over in moments, yes?"

"Curses are never that simple," she muttered, reading and rereading passages. "Can this curse really be so easy...?"

"If it were other demons or humans, consider the possibility of them being able to find a blood relation in less than an hour," Trish said in an attempt to placate the witch. "We are fortunate Vergil was near...or here at all..."

Vocalizing his agreement, Vergil stood beside the bed, near Trish. This was the second time seeing his brother near death since he returned from Hell. And all by the same woman...

"You can administer the blood through his mouth," Cereza said, pushing up her glasses as she stood. "He has to swallow it, however, and it will take some time to enter his system.

"Why blood?" Trish murmured.

"Something about strength of a bloodline..."

As Vergil kneeled, he placed his bleeding wrist to his brother's slightly parted mouth. If there was anything conscious within him, it would be his demonic instinct.

And in moments, after a few muscle twitches and the flaring of nostrils at the smell of blood, Vergil grunted in discomfort as a mouthful of sharp teeth bit into his wrist. A tongue flicked against his slowly healing wound, and then Dante began to suck from it.

Trish glanced to Cereza. "Strength of a bloodline...?" she repeated softly.

The witch slowly nodded. "It is just what you're thinking, yet not. A strong bloodline would mean the curse may lift easier, but it is also the strength of the individuals involved. If the one cursed does not have a strong bond with the relative giving their blood, the curse may not lift," she explained just as softly.

Both women glanced between the twins.

Vergil softly scoffed at their worry. "We are the twin Sons of Sparda, who have recently rekindled our close bond. You doubt the curse will lift?" he asked rhetorically, almost daring them to say otherwise by his tone of voice.

"...Well, when you put it like that..."

The words died in her throat as Dante suddenly went still. His lockjaw-grip on his brother's wrist slackened, and he ceased to drink. The curse, now at his jawline, ceased its infectious movement, but did not ebb.

Not moving his eyes from his brother's still form, Vergil demanded, "...Cereza, what's happening?"

"Wait."

Three sets of eyes watched the prone form intently, breaths bated in anxiousness. Then Dante briefly grimaced, exhaling deeply as if he were unable to breathe beforehand, and slightly moved as if in slumber while his expression evened.

His caretakers, too, exhaled in relief. With their advanced eyesight, they could see the curse slowly, almost painfully so, receding and dispersing. Vergil stood, his expression grave, and then turned around to walk towards the door. The tome disappeared from Cereza's hands, then she lifted Dante's legs to sit on the couch and replaced his legs on her lap.

"Where are you going, Vergil?" Trish asked, keeping her position near the younger twin's head.

"To bring back my psychotic niece," the older Son of Sparda proclaimed, grasping Yamato in his hand. "This time, I will not let her get away with attempted murder."

It pained her to say it, but it had to be said: "Don't hurt her," she murmured, glancing to and placing her hand on Dante's forehead.

Stopping, Vergil glanced back to her, and then to his unconscious brother. Dante really wouldn't want him to hurt her, despite what she did...Briefly closing his eyes, Vergil pushed the doors open. "No promises."


The moment he realized he was asleep was the same moment he heard a distant calling. Slowly, he forced himself to consciousness, and the voice became louder, familiar. It was a feminine voice...and near.

"Wake up, sleepyhead...I know you're coming to..."

His brows furrowed. "...Cere...za...?" he mumbled, disoriented. His head felt unusually heavy, and it was difficult to speak.

"Who else~?"

He groaned softly, fighting to open his eyes, which felt heavier than his head. A cool hand brushed against his forehead, and he softly moaned, attempting to lift his head to press into that comfortingly cool palm. "...Cerez..."

"The curse was lifted, but it's still affecting you, I see," she observed sternly, pressing her hand completely against his warm skin, causing him to sigh. "How do you feel?"

He didn't answer, slowly shaking his head instead. The sound of movement reached his ears, and a body lay beside him.

"Rest, love," she whispered into his ear, her voice taking on the rare tone she ever used, the one of a caring and gentle lover.

A small smile spread on his lips, which were then rewarded by a chaste kiss. He only had the chance to slightly part his mouth as the lips pulled away before sleep overcame him again.

-:AD'sC:-

The second time he awoke, he blinked up to the dark ceiling of his room. It was night. The lights were off, his door closed, though the light from beyond could be seen from between the door's cracks. Exhaling deeply, he slowly sat upright, testing his body. Nothing seemed off, his body felt normal, and he looked over his bare chest to see he wasn't sporting any new scars. His eyes lingered on the ring around his heart, however...

Tearing his gaze away, he looked over the body asleep on the bed beside him, smiling. He then moved over, lowering his head to skim his nose and mouth over the bare skin, taking in the scent of his mate. She was completely nude, her hair splayed beneath her as she slept on her side.

"...Cereza..." he murmured, "you stayed with me all this time...?" If she had, it meant she was truly worrying about him. Realizing this, he raised his head and frowned to himself.

This was the second time he had nearly died in less than a month. Even he could see how it would appear as if he was trying to get himself killed by his estranged daughter, taking such careless risks as he had. But...he was merely desperate. Maybe too much so...

Sighing, he moved away, turning to lower his feet to the floor from his side of the bed. He sensed Trish in the house, as well as Vergil...and...

His eyes widened. Hallen was in the house.

He nearly lost all thought, jumping to his feet, but then stopped and forced himself to sit back down. Shutting his eyes, he placed his hands over his face. What was going to happen this time? Should he treat her like an enemy? Should he try another futile attempt to reason with her...? It wasn't that he didn't acknowledge her shattered mental condition, but he had no intentions to treat her like a psychopath, and not just because she was his daughter...

...He very well remembered what it was like to be treated that way...

"Dante?"

He grunted noncommittally in response, not moving from his position.

Slender fingers combed into his hair, a body pressing against his backside and an arm around his chest. "...Vergil brought her in a few hours ago," she murmured to him. "Neither were in the best of moods...I'm surprised the commotion didn't wake you."

Lowering his hands, he wearily asked, "He didn't hurt her, did he?"

"...He tried not to, but it was difficult. It...upset her that you were still alive..."

"...At least he tried," he muttered, mentally exhausted. He leaned against his mate, slanting his eyes open. "...I really don't feel like facing her right now..."

"What do you feel like doing...?" The arm around his chest lowered, skillful fingers brushing over his nipples teasingly.

He moaned softly. "...You promised to talk with me," he then growled, glancing back at her with slightly red eyes.


Vergil glanced up the stairs as he entered the basement, sensing the rise of his brother's demonic instinct. He then closed his eyes, continuing in.

The basement was a marvelous place, he had to admit, arguably his favorite place in the entire house. This was where his brother's remarkable and admirable collection of Devil Arms was stored, along with other demonic artifacts and miscellaneous collections. Unlike the storage room, the basement was surprisingly well organized and completely clean, giving Vergil the thought that there was hope for his younger sibling yet.

He walked by shelves of Devil Arms and more mounted on the wall, where some of them greeted him.

"Hello, Master Vergil," said Agni.

"Yes, hello, Master Vergil," Rudra chorused. "The young devil has...strangely stopped her incessant screeching."

Vergil hummed at this, and then continued on to the furthest room within the basement Dante kept as a room for interrogation, or...other such unsavory things...

His daughter was one of them.

The moment he entered the room, he side-stepped to miss a spat of saliva.

"He's fucking that witch, isn't he?" she hissed, lips curled over her teeth in a snarl. She sat in the corner of the room, bound by a spell he fashioned himself. "Have you realized the majority of the women he killed were quiet, meek and harmless? Almost as if he took some sick, twisted pleasure in ruining the chastity of those who aren't loose like that bitch."

Vergil ignored her, but had to admit he was surprised she could sense anything of her father at all. From what he was aware, she would have to be close to him to even have a chance to do such a thing...

"It is not a surprise that he doesn't want to see you," he commented, aware she would speak if he so goaded her. "Despite his attempt at affection, you have tried to kill him twice, now."

Her face twisted in disgust. "Affection," she spat, as if the word were a curse. "He's stupid, that's what he is, letting his enemy get so close to him and keeping his guard down."

Closing his eyes again, he sat on the only piece of furniture in the empty room, a chair at the furthest wall from her. "While I do not agree with his methods, yes, that is his form of affection, girl. He doesn't see you as an enemy. You've no idea how deeply he desires to make amends with you."

"It doesn't matter."

"Do you even understand that were you not his daughter you would be dead by now?"

"...What do you mean?"

"There is no possible way, during normal circumstances, that Dante would be as careless as he has been since you arrived," he explained calmly. "He is so blind by his want to right his wrongs, he's regressing to a mental status that hasn't surfaced since after losing your grandmother and me."

Her brows furrowed at this, and she made no attempt to comment.

"...Remember, Dante once lost himself to revenge and self-loathing, far greater than you have," he murmured, eyes slightly slanting open to stare at the floor as he began to reminisce. The emotions of his younger brother he felt during their meld overcame him, and for a moment, he nearly swayed in the chair. "...He doesn't want you to end up that way as well. You know his story. You know why. Yet how can that still change nothing of your loathing him?"

Her eyes flashed red. "HE RUINED MY LIFE!" she screamed, fighting against her bonds.

"And you're still alive!" he countered, meeting her furious gaze with his own. "This is the time to start over with the father you've never had, who hadn't even known of your existence for nigh a hundred years, with the family you never knew you had. Now you are aware what he would have done had he known of you. Would that have made a difference as to how you came to be?"

She opened her mouth to speak, but could find no comeback to the question. "...I...don't know," she said miserably, sitting back and lowering her head.

Observing her carefully, he quietly asked, "Do you want a parent?"

She shut her eyes, looking away.

"...Do not once think he doesn't mourn the loss of your twin. Do not once think he isn't haunted by what he did to your mother...I've had to watch him relive that night, and many others, in his nightmares, reducing that haughty, self-assured idiot brother of mine to a screaming, tearful mess..."

She opened her eyes as he approached her, but didn't move as she listened to him.

In one last attempt to reason with his estranged niece, Vergil stood before her, and then kneeled so they were at eye level. For a moment, he took in her features...Her eyes, of course, were rebellious and full of passion, like her father's, even though he shared the same eyes. He could see some of his mother in her femininity, and her nose was angular and narrow, a feature all Sparda's descendants seemed to share as much as their eye and hair color...

...She was family, whether he admitted it or not.

Briefly closing his eyes, he removed the spell, causing her to focus on him with wide eyes as she could suddenly move. He held her gaze. "Both you and my brother are hurting," he said softly, "but neither of you need to suffer alone."