Disclaimer: I own neither DMC (if I did, I wouldn't be borrowing 3), or Dunbar's poetry.
Set in my fic-verse, 'during' Where You Are (Trish is Eva's reincarnation).
At a masquerade ball, everyone takes off their masks, traditionally of monstrous beasts, at midnight.
As the latest client slammed the door on her way into her now demon-free home, Trish whacked Dante on the head.
"Ow! What was that for?" He said as they walked back to their bikes.
"Why do you have to piss off everyone we run into? She was a nice person; you didn't have to come across like a macho sexist pig! I know you aren't like that, Dante, yet you try to make every guy we run into feel like an inadequate weakling and every woman like a sex object! Do you like making them hate you!" Trish hissed quietly, making sure they couldn't be heard, if anyone was poking a head out a window now that the all-clear had sounded.
"I like keeping them alive, Trish. Think about it." He said, walking quickly ahead, outpacing her, yet when she was about to hurry to catch up he arrived at… a red motorcycle.
"Oh." She whispered.
"Exactly." Dante said firmly. "Now, let's get back to the shop. It's Monday, that's usually when the nine-to-fivers decide to snap and try to destroy the world. I hate Amateur Night. You never know what in Hell you're gonna run into."
Trish tried to laugh. "The world's best black-power user doesn't fear the second-best…" She paraphrased.
"He fears the worst, because he doesn't know what the idiot'll do." Dante laughed. It didn't sound fake, at least not any more so than usual.
She thought about it on the ride home. They seemed to be taking the long way, which didn't mean an indirect route; it just meant driving the whole way instead of portalling when out of sight. What he'd said, about being in a hurry… or he could just be trying to conserve magic for later…
Humans considered fear, hate anger, to be weaknesses. To Hellspawn, who were creatures more of mind then body, that was utter foolishness. They fed on emotion, their own and their prey. They crafted physical forms from humanity's worst nightmares to reap a greater harvest of that strength, killed their family in front of them, taunted and enraged them and sought to create a 'Hell on Earth' to tap the power of that misery.
Too allow another to make you feel gave them control over a source of your power.
To cry, to release emotion, for another, was spilling your lifeblood. That was why devils never cried.
They kept that strength, the power of that misery, and horded it. Used it, tamed it to harness to gain the power to destroy what had dared make them feel that black despair, and by doing so sought to control them.
Humans, however, who barely ruled their bodies, let alone their minds, could rarely tame that power, had to let it out lest it crush them.
Dante had forged the knife of his agony at being forced to fight his brother perhaps to the death, though she doubted it, into the chain that re-bound the amulets, which re-claimed the Sword of Sparda. She'd felt such joy then, here was one who could truly defeat Mundus, and yet… something more…
He had cried for her, to give her those tears, that power, to aid in her revival and to let her break free from Mundus' control, she thought, but… why had she caused such power? What in her could invoke an emotion as strong as that for his brother?
He'd changed the shop name to Devil Never Cry and told her it was for a vision, but why had he looked at the calendar until a day circled in red arrived, and changed it back? When he had made this year's calendar, that day wasn't circled again, but a blue day was again and a black day was only half-circled…
Devil May Cry.
A reference to devil-may-care, reckless pursuit of a desire, for vengeance here obviously, or was it more?
That he could cry. That he was capable of such a human act… was the sign claiming his humanity?
That he could spare such power. That he was such a powerful devil… was it a boast?
Was it a warning, that the devil who had destroyed his family would suffer despair and loss at his hands so deep that the power would crush them unless released in such a weak, such a human way?
Was it a remembrance, of what he had lost?
Of the tears held inside, that for some reason he didn't have to hold back anymore?
She rode the rest of the way one-handed, her left hand resting on the hilt of the Sparda.
Dante's metabolism is so fast, like a lot of hunters, that he digests alcohol (which is itself ½ digested sugar) instead of getting drunk. So alcohol isn't a depressant for him, and she doesn't have to worry about the half-bottle of whiskey he's downed that he normally just keeps around for the benefit of those who need a stiff drink to settle their nerves. And for the impression it gives.
He only drinks for what it symbolizes: the escape he has to deny himself. But he can pretend. He makes a very believable drunk.
Sometimes she wonders whatever happened to the careless little boy that used to leave his toys out of their box, strewn across his bedroom floor, just because he liked to look at them and make up stories. She'd… she bet his mother had had to scold him for that.
Now, the girlie poster, the whiskey… he's living in a story.
She wonders if he still knows what it's like not to pretend.
"Her name was Amy Madison, or at least she said it was. I'm pretty sure she just called herself that because it sounded cool or she didn't want her family to find out." He says, out of the blue they all seem to be sunk in.
Why won't the phone ring?
"Who?" She asks, but she knows.
"The poster girl. She, or her manager anyways, was one of my first clients. One of her rivals put a pretty nasty hex on her, easy money and I was still pretending to be poor then. The manager knew a guy who knew a guy… she managed to get a hold of my address, and showed up with the poster, made me promise to keep it around, show off that I had helped her when she became a supermodel… girl had bad timing. Bad, bad timing." He shook his head.
Trish kept silent.
"I got this place later. Didn't tell anyone the address, got an 800 number, you can only see the sign from the alley that only goes to this warehouse complex, which I own all of… the old place had gotten trashed even before I opened it, nice old building but I wasn't that good at repairing architecture back then and I couldn't let anyone know it had been trashed unless I wanted to pay through the nose money I had to say I didn't have. Nice old place, but I kept worrying about it falling down around my ears. And I couldn't manage to convince myself I'd gotten rid of the smell of blood."
But the smile returned after only a moment. "Hey, you know the weirdest thing? When I went through my old man's papers, because I had to find the identifier for the bank vault with the… long story, I not only found the original hunter's manual, with the all the orb spells and how to convert demonic energy to something humans could use mostly safely, and a bunch of letters to mom, I'll show them to you sometimes, I found his kinda journal? Not dates or anything, devils don't care about time except that one thing happens after another what with being able to control its rate of flow, like with the Quicksilver Technique I never use because I don't want 'em to know I got it, but just notebooks with things he thought were interesting. There was this one poem…"
'We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes---
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!'
"By a black guy, talking about he had to live among a foreign 'race.' Of course, race really means species, so black and white people are all the human race, but it's kinda ironic, isn't it? His Legendaryness, liking poetry. Made the guy a little more human, although I kinda gave up hating his guts after that whole thing with getting Force Edge…"
"Oh my poor little…" She started towards him.
And thank… whatever goodness could exist in worlds like these that the phone rang just then, and he did his tap thing with his leg and grabbed the phone as it flew toward him.
She looked at the clock as he answered with his usual cockyness back in place. 12:01. A long, long time left till dawn.
Devils might cry, humans might cry, and he had all the rights of both, but he couldn't cry. Not her little boy. Not over her dead body. Not again.