Legal tissue paper: Capcom owns Devil May Cry and all related names, characters, and other identifiable traits.

Many have pondered why Devil May Cry 2 is so different from its predecessor. Many questions spring to mind: What happened to Trish during the second game? Why was Dante so uncharacteristically silent before battles, when you couldn't get him to shut up in the first game? Are Dante and Trish romantically involved, or is their relationship strictly genetic? Where the heck did Lucia come from, anyway? What follows started as a flippant conversation between myself and a friend, and kept rolling until it became a story in its own right.

Devils Never Cry – But They Do Get Laryngitis

Or, What Really Happened At The End Of Devil May Cry 2

Lucia watched the coin spinning, twirling weightless in the air before it dropped back toward her hand. She caught it and flipped it again, mesmerized by the neon light flashing across its polished surface, the flickering silhouette that hovered ghostlike above the metal, the outline of a woman wielding two guns. Outside, the sign over the door buzzed in the rain, flashing "Devil Never Cry" to an empty street.

My job is hunting devils. Again and again, his words echoed in her mind. Devils never cry. Had he meant that as a reprimand for her weakness, or was he trying to direct her here, to a place where she could wait for him? Lucia's eyes wandered to the grotesque trophies pinned to the walls of the office. Dante was an enigma; at times, he seemed so unconcerned, so flippant, so unforgivably arrogant – and yet he was completely dedicated, devoting his life to the unsavory and dangerous pursuit of demon hunting. He sacrificed whatever chance for happiness he may have had to protect the ignorant humans of this world, as his immortal father had done. I know, Dante had said. He did the same thing. Dante was resigned to his life as a hunter. Did he put on the macho façade to distance himself from others, knowing that one day his mission would claim his life?

Tears burned Lucia's eyes, and she blinked them away. Devils never cry, he had told her. If – no, not if, when – Dante returned, she didn't want him to see her crying. She had seen the truth in his eyes when he'd entered the portal to the demon world; he'd had no intention of returning to this plane. Just like his father…

"But Sparda came back," Lucia whispered, staring at the coin again. She had to believe Dante would return. Hadn't he left her this memento, this collateral held in trust? He would win his battle, he would open another portal to this world, and he would come back to her. He would carelessly toss the white hair out of his eyes, the way he always did. He would make facetious remarks, and mock his enemies, and be as arrogant as ever. Wasn't he the Son of Sparda, the one the prophecy had foretold would save her people?

Lucia squeezed her eyes shut. A few tears dangled on her lashes, threatening to betray her. Dante would return. She would trust in his strength.

Gradually she became aware of a distant roar. The sound intruded on the intermittent buzzing of the neon lights and the spatter of rain on the windows. Lucia listened and waited, recognizing the rumble of the motorcycle's engine. The bike neared the office, dropped out of gear – and then the engine cut out entirely. With a gasp of relief and joy, Lucia bolted for the door, ignoring the tears that now streamed freely down her face. Dante's coin fell to the floor, forgotten.

Outside, the rain pounded the street mercilessly, shrouding the dark figure and the motorcycle with a veil of neon-lit mist. Lucia halted abruptly in the doorway, squinting through the downpour to see the man for whom she had waited. She shivered in the cold rain, but couldn't move back inside until she had welcomed him.

The figure dismounted from the bike, pulling up the collar of a heavy coat to block the rain. Lucia frowned into the mist. Something wasn't right. This person didn't move quite like Dante ought to. Could he have been injured in his fight? She started forward, about to call his name – and the figure turned abruptly, leveling a pistol at her. Lucia jumped back, hands grasping instinctively for her daggers—

"Don't."

Lucia shivered, a chill that had nothing to do with the rain, and lifted her hands cautiously in front of her. The voice was stern, commanding – and very definitely female. The woman gestured with the weapon. "Inside," she ordered, and Lucia obeyed.

The interior of the building seemed warm and welcoming after the cold rain, despite the unnerving impression that the disembodied heads on the wall were watching her movements. Lucia kept her hands in the open and made her movements slow and obvious. She didn't want to start any trouble here, particularly against an unknown enemy.

The woman eyed Lucia for a long moment before stepping behind the desk and setting down the gun. She shook the excess water from the coat and slipped it off her shoulders, revealing a slim body barely clad in a bustier and low-slung pants. Lucia eyed the low décolletage enviously. This woman had the grace and trim physique of a fighter, but how she could fight efficiently in such a costume was a mystery.

Lucia stood in silence, watching as the other woman poured a drink and seated herself on the desk. Finally, the woman shook her long honey-colored hair behind her with a familiar toss of the head and faced Lucia.

"Let's not waste words. Who are you, and what are you doing in my office?" She took a sip of her drink, but her eyes never left Lucia's.

Lucia blinked at that. Her office? Still, the woman seemed perfectly at home here; perhaps it would be best to bring things out in the open at once.

"I'm waiting for Dante," Lucia said simply. "My name is Lucia. He asked me to keep this for him…" She searched around for the coin, found it on the floor, and picked it up slowly, displaying it flat on her palm.

The woman beckoned with her free hand, and Lucia tossed the coin to her. She examined the double-sided coin briefly, then chuckled. "All right, I buy your story. Why were you with Dante?"

Lucia cleared her throat. "If I may ask, you are…?"

The woman tossed her hair back again, and Lucia realized that it was the same habitual gesture she'd seen Dante use many times. "You can call me Trish," she said. "I'm Dante's… partner, more or less. We run this place together." She swept her hand to encompass the interior of Devil Never Cry, and shifted position on the desk. "You were telling me about Dante."

Lucia looked down at her hands. "It was on a mission," she began. "He was helping Matier, but I was defeated by Arius and he came to save me, and then Arius merged with the demon Argosax, and he had to fight… You see, long ago, my people were given a prophecy…"

Trish, her face blank, held up a hand to stop the story. "Skip the prophecy for a minute. Do you know where Dante is now?"

Lucia nodded, and felt her face burning again. "He went through the portal into the demon world. He said – he said it was his job to hunt devils. He said his father did the same thing." She looked away.

Trish blew through pursed lips, her features a model of supreme annoyance. "Yeah, that sounds exactly like something he'd say," she muttered, drumming her fingers on her glass. Her expression turned thoughtful, and she rifled through items on the desk until she found a small telephone directory. She flipped through the book, whispering to herself. "Pager… pager… Aha!" Trish brought out a small mobile phone – Lucia saw the name "Kanzaki" on the side – and punched in a series of numbers, then set the book and phone on the desk and waited.

Lucia hesitated. "He will return, though – he will come back from the demon world?"

Trish started to answer, but was interrupted by the shrill of the telephone. She slid the mobile into a cradle on the desk, then punched a button to activate the speaker.

"Dante. Where in hell are you?" Trish demanded.

"Yes."

"Very funny."

"Not really. I can see why Sparda moved out. Hell of a place to visit, though." Dante's voice was hoarse with fatigue, and cracked when he spoke.

Trish rolled her eyes. "You sound worse than your puns."

"I just beat down half the demons of the underworld, and their king. I'm a little tired."

"You and your father…" Trish sighed and shook her head. "How's your throat?"

"That is the least of my problems at the moment, Trish."

Trish gave the phone a withering look. "You don't know the half of them yet. I leave for a weekend and come back to find the place deserted, the Rebellion gone, you missing in another realm and some drenched redhead lounging in our office, without so much as an 'I'll be home Tuesday' from you…"

"I had a job. You weren't here to play secretary…"

"It doesn't take a secretary to write a note that says, 'Gone to fight Argosax, back next week.' How many centuries ago did you learn to write?"

"Sorry, but I'm not used to leaving a trail of bread crumbs for people to find me."

"I'm not 'people,' Dante. We've discussed this. What am I supposed to tell our clients when you disappear like this?"

Dante gave a wicked chuckle. "Tell 'em to come and join me here."

Trish deliberately unclenched her fist and began tapping her nails on the desk. "You could at least leave your phone turned on, so I can reach you."

"Oh, that would be terrific." Dante's tired voice was thick with sarcasm. "I can see it now. Right in the middle of a battle, the phone rings. 'Excuse me, Mr. Despair Embodied, can you stop slashing me for a moment? There's a telemarketer on the line.'"

Trish ground her teeth; evidently this was not a new argument. "From now on," she said at last, fighting to keep her voice even, "I would appreciate it if you would let me know where you're going when you leave for a mission."

"Yes, mother," Dante muttered.

"Don't you 'yes, mother' me. You get your bad-assed self back in this realm now, or there will be considerably more than hell to pay."

Dante sighed, defeated. "All right, I'll come back. Give me ten minutes."

"Five minutes."

"Fine." There was a soft beep as he disconnected.

Trish put away the mobile telephone, satisfied. Lucia listened to the exchange in some shock; she had never imagined Dante capable of backing down from a fight, and certainly not from someone like the woman before her. She gazed at Trish with newfound admiration. Still, something from the conversation puzzled her.

"His throat?" Lucia asked, frowning.

Trish shook her head, a sardonic smile on her lips. "The guy thinks he's immortal – and, well, he is – but he keeps forgetting that he's still half human. He picked up a nasty bug in a fight a couple of weeks ago… ended up with a pretty severe infection in his throat. It hurt, not that he would admit it, and it kept him from talking for a few days. Which, in some ways, was a blessing." Trish hopped off the desk and went around to refill her drink. "Can I get you something?"

Lucia declined and leaned back against the wall, feeling overwhelmed. The rain had stopped, and now the neon light flashed on the wet streets in an abstract dance of colors. In the distance, the roar of a motorcycle could just be heard above the buzzing of the sign. Lucia closed her eyes and sighed.