Disclaimer: Don't own DMC, or anything else mentioned in this fic. Kudos to anyone who catches the references. Something nice (suggestions welcomed) will be given to anyone who catches them all.

Notes: 3 takes place around 1991: Dante is around 18. 1 is in 2001, I'm pretty sure I saw somewhere. So, Dante and Virgil were born around 1973: Sparda died when they were young enough that Dante has no memories of him and only knows him through the stories Eva told him, so between conception and 1975 or so, and Eva died around 1981 due to the mention of 20 years in 1, Virgil running off soon after. They had been meeting to fight a long time before 3, due to Dante's comment about how the last time he saw Virgil was a year ago and he was clearly used to being his enemy.

In the artbook, Sparda's and Dante's guns are inscribed: For Tony Redgrave.

We have no canon information on Eva other than that she was Sparda's only lover, she raised Dante and Virgil after his death, she wore red and black (the photo), and Dante reveres her despite her being human.

Canon, Devils are smarter than humans. Also, given that Sparda was at least 2000 and probably more like 5 times that, he'd had a long time to acquire wisdom. So, to be able to converse with him as an equal, she had to be highly intelligent. Also, we know she was killed 'by evil.' It makes sense that after whatever killed Sparda, old enemies, demons and cultists alike, would come after his family. Also, she raised two boys who were certainly incredibly strong and smart without them becoming contemptuous of her: to keep them alive and to keep any authority in her house, she must have been incredibly tough.

Given that she was therefore someone tough in an era with very few woman fighters, and she had the skills to fight demons, she had to have been a demon hunter. A woman in a 'man's job' in the middle of the era of feminism, dealing with men who would have wanted in her pants (she was very hot.)

Also, demon hunter isn't something you get careers counseling about. She must have had a lot of hate to dedicate her life to killing things, even to save lives.

I was going to do research on the time, but there's just too much. Forgive me. There's only a little time placement. Set in 1966, upstate New York.

Oh, and in the DMC1 intro cutscene, Dante keeps the motorcycle in midair. I'm assuming anything Dante can do, Sparda can do better.

St. Lucian was a sorcerer who converted, and Jude Thaddeus was an exorcist, among other things, who became the patron of lost causes due to being confused with Judas and hence not revered: his reputation was a lost cause.

A Korean translation of this chapter is on the translator's website. There is a link on my author page (bio).

- - - - - -

The job hadn't started well, and it didn't look like things were going to look up anytime soon.

First, Don Bonanno's sleazy nephew had decided to be the one to come inform her of the job. DiGregorio knew better than to piss her off, but the Bonanno guy thinks he's on the top of the world since he's come back. She hoped someone'd off him soon.

Kid was high when he came in: sampling the merch. Tried to get her to take some. Like she'd hit 24 in this line of work by being stupid? Get her rep, and they start trying to take you out deliberate. Get tipsy or high and you could kiss your ass goodbye.

And she definitely wasn't going to take anything from some punk after her ass. Standard job, standard rate. The farms and resorts back in the boonies were big business for the mob: and what with all the new cults springing up, a lot of them decided to get themselves places out in the country, near the city.

Not that she was against Wicca and the new stuff: at least it was better than Christianity, and it made it easier to get supplies, but they didn't know anything about anything.

She'd picked up some Satanist books at the occult shop she went to for Rowan wood and so on and nearly burst a gut laughing. You had to wonder though. The truth wasn't that hard to dig up. She'd figured out a lot of stuff just by doing research, before she'd managed to track down Redgrave and make him give her pointers.

The Sparda legend was told all over the world, like the flood myth. Sure, the only legend that actually called him a name was the Roman one, but the demon stories were ancient in the Americas way before Columbus.

Demons were real, and if you showed them a cross, they wouldn't even know what it was, most of them.

But the books all had the Christian bullshit. Son of Morning, yadda yadda yadda. Holy water. Crosses, standing around chanting… you'd get vivisected; you stayed still for more than a second around a demon.

Now, if you mixed powered silver and iron and a few other things and magic and tossed it at them, that'd use up a lot of their healing powers. Hunters called the mix Holy Water as a joke. But calling on god did you no good at all.

But given how easy the real stories, the real rites, were to dig up, you'd think someone writing a book would give you something approaching the real scoop. Unless it was a cover up.

But given it was so easy, every so often the cults managed to call up something real, something that wasn't interested in souls, just flesh, and laughed at their protections. So you'd get bands of rampaging demons slaughtering people. Bad for business. So she got called in.

Give her the info, give her the money, and get the hell out of the way. That was how it went. But this idiot?

Cased her joint, walked around as if he owned the place. Wanted to check out the bedroom. Like you could have a bedroom and a training room in New York. Wanted to take her out to a bar. Wanted to 'negotiate.' Asked to 'see her skills' before deciding her fee. Promised a 'little extra.'

Didn't even have the goddamn cash on him, when she pulled out one of her guns. Ran off threatening to tell his uncle on her, how the previous Dons had been idiots, sending a whore to do a man's job.

Her usual guy came the night after next.

So, she got up to a resort place in the area, illegal gambling, all expense paid. She'd gone down to the bar: people who'd had encounters, seen things, usually wanted to get drunk right away and spilled things. The bartender had been told to make nice.

But she couldn't get him alone; he kept getting dragged off to make specialty drinks. Like this one bozo with an ego the size of Manhattan who wanted his martini 'shaken, not stirred.' It made a difference how? She decided to win some cash and wait for things to settle down, but she ended up next to this redhead with bad teeth who wanted to 'shag' her. Couldn't play cards either.

And that guy with the eye patch, the white fur muff and the redhead kept giving the two other bozos double entendres instead of playing baccarat. She tried to tell the dealer they were all palming cards, but he was took the Cyclops's word over hers. 'Little lady' indeed. The Swiss gent in the out of date ensemble decided to back her up. Like she needed help.

So she went the hell with it and kidnapped the bartender.

Shit. This wasn't a single loose Imp or something. She was going to charge extra for the bozos not telling her. Apparently the nephew had gotten yelled at for pissing her off and tried to save face by bringing up his posse.

The bodies weren't ravaged enough, and someone had tried to make it look like an accident.

Shit.

Demons didn't take orders unless there was one of the higher-ups involved.

Shit. Not looking good.

-

Rented a horse, grabbed a dowsing rod. The eye patch guy's rental estate. Why was she not surprised?

Ran into the bozos hiding in the bushes. Tried to charm her. She'd had to act all demure. Which was a waste of time. Pulling a gun wasn't. Plus, they'd tried to fight. Always a bonus.

A cultist with good enough results that the British government would send two separate 'top agents' after the guy. Peachy. She'd hauled them back to the resort: idiot civilians always just got in the way. Tried to act all macho, get disemboweled. Redgrave called 'em 'decoys,' regular gunmen who thought they could take demons. Good word.

Gotten way too short a nap, grabbed her Chief cycle, fixed a few things. Thank goodness for her coat. Couldn't have enough space-time pocket space. Just had to remember which finger twists got which weapons. And thank whoever for Redgrave's instant reload spell. As long as her coat had enough ammo, she was good to go. She'd almost gotten killed tons of times early on, having to stop to reload.

-

Too late. Too fucking late. She'd gotten there too late. They always looked the same, sacrifices: standing there, grimy and bloody in white, huddling together and looking at her beseechingly with desperate hope and why did they expect her to save them? They didn't, they shouldn't, she couldn't even save her own sister... And now the guy had a goddamn horde and whatever those gold thingies were were holding open a portal for his boss. Shit, shit, shit. Bangbangbangbang but they just kept coming and coming and she'd used up her holy waters, her Sapphire Orbs were mostly full from the energy they absorbed but Dark Runes never transformed the demon energy to something usable fast enough… she wasn't going to be able to get to the bastard in time, his shields deflected her bullets and she couldn't charge in: if they boxed her in she was dead…

"Cease this. Now." And everything stopped.

What? The Swiss guy? Who the fuck did he think he was, standing at the edge of the clearing with his hands at his sides? He was still dressed like an old nobleman. Did he actually think he could act like a goddamn knight in shining armor? In this day and age?

"How dare you! Insolent fool, you shall be the first to perish, with the power my Master Beelzebub shall grant me for unleashing him upon this foul world!"

Typical. Monologuing. Dropped his shields. Too bad the bullet only pissed him off.

"Bring me the wench and the fool who think they can oppose me!"

Oh shit… there was, she reflected as she switched to the automatics, a big difference between being held off and them giving a damn. One of the reasons women lasted longer in this business, being underestimated. Also better leg strength and less likely to act macho and try melee combat. But there wasn't anywhere to run…

Man, the guy could fight. Bonanno would try to gyp her if he heard about this… 45s? A Japanese sword? Doing melee… impressive. Looks like a fop, but has to have some serious muscle to be able to block blows and make much of a dent in this type's armored hide. Who the fuck is this guy? Redgrave said there were other hunters…

And then it was over.

She released the girls, who flocked over to the guy and chattered at him. Typical. At least he was destroying the circle while basking in the glory. Well, he was hot. Just because she had to stay a virgin to do anything useful didn't mean she couldn't look… nice le…

Oh bloody hell.

"Run!" She fired warning shots, she couldn't hit him, they were too close… "Get the hell away from here, all of you! It's not over yet!"

They looked at her stupidly, still in shock. She fired again, closer to them. "Run!" This time they did, thank god. But one of them tried to cling to the demon as though he would protect her… she probably did think that… couldn't be more than eight…

"Go on, Miss Anna." The demon pushed her gently away. "It's fine, go with the others and stay together. I'll see you get home as soon as this lady and I finish up here."

"But, Mister…" She shivered and clung tighter.

"Don't worry. It's perfectly all right, you're safe now. I give you my word." He knelt down and looked her in the eye as he said it.

"All right…" And she slowly backed away before turning and running to the other girls at the edge of the clearing.

"Good act, demon." She held her Berettas pointed at him. "But what are you trying to act for? Your boss not friendly with this guy's?"

He raised an eyebrow. "Well, this is an improvement."

"What's an improvement, bastard? And give me one good reason not to start shooting."

"That's the improvement. Usually Hunters I haven't been introduced to start shooting immediately. You're actually asking questions, and you got the young ladies out of the line of fire. Very commendable." He bowed, clicking his heels formally.

She fired. Shit. The bullets were deflected and lodged in the barrels. These guns were out of commission, she rapidly figured out. Shit. She did the twist that was supposed to send the guns back into her coat and bring out a new pair… shit. Not working? Who was this guy?

"As for the good reason, these young ladies have had a rough night as it is. Perhaps we could get them to someplace safe before continuing this discussion." He continued as though nothing had occurred, bowing at the end.

"Who the hell are you?"

He bowed again, clicking his heels. "Ritter Lucian Thaddeus von Schwärzung is the succinct version. I have rather an accumulation of titles. Might I ask your name, milady?"

"If you think I'm crazy enough to tell a demon my name, you've got another think coming, bastard." Run? But that would involve leaving all those poor girls…

He raised an eyebrow. "As you wish. Is there anything else? Given that it is almost winter, and a storm is approaching, I would prefer if we could get the children under cover."

He waited a second, but there was really nothing she could say. Her weapons were disabled, she couldn't even summon items, if she had any left, she certainly didn't have enough magic to do anything useful… and if he was pretending to be a human, he wouldn't slaughter girls at a resort, but out in the wilderness…

Taking her silence for acquiescence, he began to walk to where the girls stood. When she didn't follow, he turned questioningly.

"… don't go anywhere near them." She growled, and followed, staying well behind. Perhaps she could find a branch or something under the trees: it wouldn't help but she refused to go down without a fight…

He sighed. "If that is what is required to avoid you attacking me in front of them and scaring them further, then as you wish, milady. I'd be happy to speak to you as soon as they are taken care of." He turned and bowed.

"I'm not your goddamn lady."

"Well, I do have to call you something. Is there something you would prefer?"

"I'd like you to call me your death, demon." She growled under her breath.

He laughed for only a second. "Very well, Miss Tod."

"What the fuck?" She snapped.

"Tod is German for death. Is it acceptable?"

"Ms. Todd to you."

"Is it safe, Mister?" One of the girls called from the trees.

"It should be fine, Miss." He called back. "But just in case, I'll go on ahead to scout and Ms. Tod will stay with you. There is a hotel not that far away, I'll see to it that you all get something to eat and we'll call your parents. Don't worry."

"Thank you very much, Mister…?" She said.

"Sir Lucian." He bowed again. "I'm glad I could be of assistance."

The girl blushed.

What in hell was this guy?

-

He kept his word, calling the parents while she roused the staff to prepare food. She wasn't going to let the demon anywhere near anything she and those kids were going to eat. She almost sicced the bartender on him, to keep on eye on him, but it wasn't like it would do any good.

She kept thinking, trying to figure out what was going on.

Shadows hid, they didn't reveal. She'd seen him walk through brush, he wasn't as big as the shadow portrayed and he certainly didn't have wings. Currently, anyway. So, the shadow was a deliberate illusion. Why make such a clue to his real nature if he was aping humanity?

And if that was his true form, he was a shapeshifter. Only the really powerful ones could shapeshift, and that was confirmed by how easily he had managed to deflect her bullets so precisely and lock her coat. Only she should have been able to deactivate those spells: if a demon could cut off her access to her weaponry she was screwed.

What was a demon that powerful doing on earth without an invasion force? Scouting? What was all that about titles? …she couldn't handle this.

…she needed to use the phone.

-

"Redgrove Industries. Custom Weapon Manufacturing since 1821. How may I help you?"

"This is Eva Williams. May I please speak to Mr. Tony Redgrove Sr?"

"One second… you're on the list. Is it urgent?" An expectant pause.

"Indubitably."

A sigh of relief. "I'll forward you. Please hold." More of the cheery music.

"Redgrave Industries. Dealing death since 827. This is Wilma, whad'dya want?"

"This is a Hunter. I need to speak to the old man. It's big."

"He's in the middle of a two-hour chanting session on a Sword of Paradox. It's big enough?"

"It's that big."

A sigh. "Hold on a sec."

-

Tony sighed. "Let me get this straight. Swiss, white hair, monocle, freaky shadow, saved the day?"

"…yeah." Eva said, ticked off. What was so funny?

"I gotta go before the copper congeals. Ask to see his guns, kid. He's legit. Buh-bye."

"What the…" Disconnected.

She headed for the dining hall. There he was, drinking tea and nodding sympathetically. Oh, no. The demon did not just pat that girl on the shoulder. Fucking bastard. She clenched her teeth. Not here. They fought here, those kids were fodder.

He glanced up, then back down and said something to the girls, who made sounds of dismay. He bowed again, said something, then stood up and walked over to her.

"Would you like to have that conversation now, Ms. Tod? I'm quite willing, but I would prefer that we have it someplace private, preferably out of earshot if you wish me to unlock your weaponry."

"You'd better believe I want my weapons back, demon. And until I get them, I want yours."

He sighed. "The Yamato is… temperamental. It would not be safe. And Lux and Umbra wouldn't work for you, but you may have them if it would make you feel better." He gestured, and two guns appeared as they walked out the glass doors of the dining room. He handed them over at her nod.

"…For Tony Redgrave?! What the hell?!" She yelled, stopping.

He perked up. "Oh. Do you know him? Well, not him, he's passed on, but his son?"

"Who. The. Hell. Are. You." She said quietly and sternly, keeping from growling by sheer force of will. "And none of that Sir Lucifer crap."

"Well… my actual name can't be heard by human ears, and it doesn't translate very well…" He half laughed, half sighed. Then he shrugged. "The first name I was given by humans was Dux Atrum, the Dark Commander, approximately. When I was asked what I wanted to be called…" He turned and started walking fast, saying over his shoulder, "Let's get a little farther, shall we?"

"Tell me now." She said, hurrying to catch up.

…'Dark General?' Why did that sound familiar? There was a black horseman in the book of Revelations, but she refused to believe the bible got anything right…

"This should be far enough." He stopped. The resort was hidden behind a ridge. He sighed. "You're probably not going to believe this…"

"I don't believe any of this. A demon, looking after little girls? Fighting his own kind? Who's ever heard of such a…" She froze.

"Ah." He laughed. "Indeed. Rather like a wolf being a vegetarian, isn't it?"

"But… he became human, didn't he? He died a long time ago! You can't be… it's gotta be some kind of…"

"Oh, the legend. Legends are stories, Ms.Tod. They survive by being told, and after a while no one believes them, and if it is just a story, than it can be altered as one pleases. Bards needed to eat too, you realize. Did you know that the character of Sir Lancelot was made up out of whole cloth after the Norman Invasion, to suit the new ruling class? In the earlier version, Artos' wife had nothing to do with his downfall, well, except for not being able to give him a heir. It's rather a shame, the poor woman being vilified for a medical condition, don't you agree?"

"Male chauvinist pigs." She said automatically, her mind a million miles away. And two thousand years.

"Your coat has been fixed. Might I have my guns back?" He said, trying to change the subject.

"Say it."

"Well… you've guessed… Sparda. It's rather a pun," he said to fill the ensuing silence. "Espada for one of the dialects' word for sword; Sparta for a city of cruel warriors; Spadus, meaning eunuch, a 'man that is not a man'…"

"Spartacus."

"Well, you weren't all completely enslaved…"

"The Legendary Dark Knight. There was a movie. An old black and white one. I saw it several times. There was a woman, and they got married, and he gave up his powers to became human and ruled…"

"Well, it doesn't make much sense to save people from being conquered just to take them over yourself, does it? And there was a senior Vestal Virgin who helped me with a certain seal, but she was chaste. Hence the virgin part. And, well… they'd just fought a rather long and bloody war with my kind. They were grateful, but… there were few who hadn't lost family… and if I lost my powers, the seal I set that makes it quite difficult for my kind to enter this world without human aid would collapse…I say, are you all right?"

"I'm fine."

"No, you're much too pale… oh dear. Here." He held out a thermos. "Don't worry, it's just tea. How long has it been since you've eaten? And that was a rather difficult battle for you, I'm sorry I took so long, I had been trying to seal the portal with magic before starting a battle, and you were doing rather well up till that point…"

"You have tea?"

"I find it helps calm people down. It is rather a symbol of comfort and rationality, hot tea, don't you agree?"

"…Yes."

"I find it does help people."

"Yes, I really shouldn't have taken this job."

"Well, in an ideal world none of this would be necessary… I really do hope they come to their senses. Going down in history is all well and good, but not enough to justify subjugating an entire race… You really would feel better if you drank the tea."

"I'm not drinking anything that has been anywhere near a demon."

"…Probably a wise policy. And it's devil, actually."

"…Just give me the tea."

"You're welcome." He smiled.