Disclaimer: I don't own Devil May Cry. I also don't own that very unoriginal disclaimer. The disclaimer is probably public domain by now, though. I also don't own the bank named Sparda, which actually does exist.

An attempt at a humor entry for the Holiday Fanfiction Contest. Lady stole it out from under me.

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Lady didn't know why she'd driven all the way up here. She'd just been here recently, for the movie night (important research, she told herself), and it was Advent.

Yet another busy season. People hating all the cheer wanting to bring darkness before the dawn. She should be getting some sleep. It would be another busy night. She'd brought her cell phone with her, just in case.

Yet here she was, pulling up to Devil May Cry.

Dante grew on you, that was the thing about him. He'd been a total jerk, and then she'd found out he was a demon, but, well… he was a cute jerk, and it wasn't really his fault he'd gone from place to place as a child, always running, always pursued, after his mom had died. Although he could have picked better company than that immature jerk Enzo and the people at that Love Planet place.

One of the many regrets of her life she tried not to think about was being so harsh on him. He'd tried to kiss her. He'd really cared, so, so much. She'd turned her head away and let her disgust that he would even think she kiss him show. And he'd turned away and the hurt in his voice had been piled on top of other old hurts.

They were a lot alike, really. He'd saved her, she'd been just an amateur back then, the only reason she'd made it so far that Arkham and Jester had wanted her alive.

She owed him her life. He'd always caught her when she fell. But she still couldn't do what his mother had done. He was a kind demon, but he was still a demon. He was her friend, she owed him that at least, she trusted him… but she was still afraid of him. When he moved too quick, did something casually like pick up a couch to move it that showed he just wasn't human…

He'd done so much for her, the least she could do was keep an ear out for news of Vergil (not that she'd ever heard any) and at least visit, just every so often.

She'd just come by, though. So why was she here with a sack slung over her back containing a few CDs she'd listened to at a store and tried to think of what he might like? She usually just mailed him a bottle of something.

Christmas was a time for friends and family.

She wasn't that good a friend: she'd never spent it with him when they were both alone in the world.

She rang the doorbell.

"Come in, Lady!"

She smiled. "I'm still the only one who rings the doorbell? Funny, I thought you'd have started shooting people who just barged in by now."

"I'm not the one who shoots people with next to no provocation." He was digging through a huge pile of… presents?

"Wow, where did you get all those? Grateful customers? Fifteen years in the business and I still only get homemade cookies, not huge gift baskets."

"Nevan brought them by. They're bribes."

"Bribes?"

"You know Pops ran a bank and I inherited it? People with money send gifts for goodwill. Though I don't get as many as I would if I ever showed my face. Still, we'll be living on cookies, chocolate and fruit for the next few months."

That still creeped her out. Money was as much a source of power as guns. A demon, with all that wealth and clout… "Got any orange Milanos?"

He waved her over. "Go ahead, dig through it. Nevan already grabbed the cherry and dark chocolate stuff. I'm looking for caramels."

She put the bag down and joined him in rummaging through the pile. It was weird to be looking for something without any urgency to it. "Marmalade chocolate crèmes?"

"I don't know what half this stuff is. Ooh, moose mix. Anyways, grab them if you want them."

She nodded, though he couldn't see because the pile was in the way, and put them in her bag. "I came by to give you your present."

"I'm sorry, already sent yours off. Haven't you gotten it yet?"

She shook her head, peering over the pile.

"Damn mail. If they've been searching my packages again I'm going to have a word with someone. Or it could just be normal incompetence."

"I left getting yours a little late, so I thought I'd run it over." That had been her excuse. She didn't think about how she'd kept putting off and putting off getting something for him, even though she'd kept telling herself she would have to deliver it if it got too late. She didn't want him to think she'd forgotten him.

Dante stepped back from the pile, putting one last thing in the pockets of his trenchcoat. "Thanks, Lady. Want to go put it under the tree?"

"You have a tree?" She was surprised. He'd always given her presents this time of year (the first time it had arrived out of the blue, and she hadn't had anything to give back), but a demon celebrating Christmas?

"We always had a tree growing up, even though Mom didn't believe in it. She said knowing the difference between reality and fantasy shouldn't preclude getting presents. Want to see it?"

She nodded. She didn't have a tree. Hadn't had one since her mother had been murdered. There had always been a tree before then.

"I don't deliver presents since this Don's brat Enzo was babysitting called me Santa and nagged me into letting him sit on my lap. That was before I met you, though. Enzo used to be my agent, but he didn't do background checks. I ended up working for a demon once."

Lady laughed. "You wear red and have white hair."

"You remember what my abs 're like, I certainly don't have a round belly." He laughed.

He definitely didn't, Lady knew.

The tree's decorations looked like normal balls and stars until her brain stopped seeing what she expected to see and looked at reality. "Orbs and Stars?" Some of them glowed prettily, or reflected the light in a way that was oddly appropriate for a Christmas tree, even though they were artifacts of demonic power.

Dante shrugged. "Tradition." There were also electric lights, red and blue and purple and gold, hooked up to a rechargeable battery.

She put her present under the tree, in with a pile of others. "For… Alastor? You give your demons Christmas presents?"

He shrugged. "Why not? You're giving me one."

"Why not?" She echoed. "I'm sorry, I don't have one for Trish," she realized, and felt worse.

"That's fine, you barely know her."

"What… what do you give them?" And she hoped that wasn't a… let's face it, a racist question.

"Alastor, usually skateboarding gear, and papers saying that he can pick a day for me to wield him. Beowulf goes through punching bags like tissue paper. Cerberus, real bones-not human-and papers saying he can pick a few days to get pizza. Ebony and Ivory usually make it very clear what shoot-'em-up game they want… Nevan usually wants me to show up for at least a few business dinners so they know I'm not dead…"

Dates, Lady thought, and thought she should probably be happy for them. They were both demons, right? But his father had married a human…

She'd seen what happened when the seal broke. The Sparda blood couldn't get any more watered down. Not that Dante was weak even though he was half human…

"…Ifrit wants different woods to burn, Agni and Rudra are getting new matching red and blue practice outfits this year, Rebellion I just worked on to make it stronger, and Trish's getting a motorcycle repair kit in hopes she'll take the hint. Matier and Lucia and so on gave me theirs around Halloween. I'm not going to tell you what I got you, so don't ask." He winked.

He always gave her weaponry. Not demonic, but enchanted, and better than she could get on her own. "I won't. And they get you stuff too?"

Dante shrugged. "They spend the whole year saving my neck, I think that's enough. But yeah, they usually still get me something."

"Wow." Just like people, she didn't say, and felt horrible for even thinking it.

Dante nodded. "Yeah… I sort of used to think all demons were… you know, demonic and evil, even my old man." Even himself. "But… they're loyal, and they don't lie. Most demons don't lie, they'll trick you but they're honest about what they are. My mom used to tell me my old man made it so easy to guess what he was…" He shrugged. "They're people too. They're not all utter bastards. Though the scary thing is, they see people as things."

Lady nodded.

"Even each other. They don't treat other demons any different than they treat us…" Us, he said. As though he considered himself human. Why couldn't she? "Which is the really scary thing. They think being 'sweet' or giving a damn about others, is a fatal weakness." He shrugged. "But you know all that."

"No, I mean, I knew it, but not really in that way… what was different about Sparda?"

Dante laughed. "If you'd asked me that back then… apparently he decided we were all nuts."

Lady blinked. "What?"

"See, demons have this whole… honor system, social code, or whatever. Might makes right. It works for them, they mostly have something resembling peace even though they're all killing machines. It's all logical. You know they're smarter than us. But humans don't work that way. That's what he figured out."

"You know, that makes sense. We are all crazy." Lady grinned. "I know you are."

Dante grinned back. "Absolutely."

And she'd dropped off her gift, but she really didn't want to leave, even though he was making her think like he always did. About how she didn't measure up to what he wanted of her, how she wasn't really the person he'd gone into hell to save the world for… but he knew that, didn't he?

Did he know how she felt? He hadn't seemed to back then, but he was getting… different, as he got older. Maybe he had just been hoping, back then.

If those grins were partly at her she was going to kill him.

He was still just that same kid, wasn't he? Okay, a little more mature, but really… he was and he wasn't. He was hurting less than that kid had been.

And it was these demons that had helped him do that, helped him stop hating himself.

Not her. She'd just made him feel worse. "You said you were getting a motorcycle repair kit for Trish? What, is she as bad as you?"

"The first time we met, she used mine, mine, to crash down my door and then she threw it at me. I had to shoot it to pieces."

Lady laughed. "The first time we met you destroyed my bike."

"Are you ever going to drop that?"

"Not on your life."

"Now, my life expectancy isn't anything to swear by." He wagged a finger at her.

"You'll probably trip over Rebellion and impale yourself next time you go out on a mission. Klutz."

"Sweet little girl."

"Oh, now that's going too far."

"Bite me."

"You'd get off on it, you sick demonic bastard." And she wasn't going to think about how that idea made her feel.

"I resent that, my parents were married."

"So were mine, but I'm still a bitch."

"Now, son of a bitch I would accept."

"I'm not trying to compliment you here."

"I could tell by the way you brought up the fact I always get impaled. Always. I lose a motorcycle and I get impaled, every time something significant happens. It's how I can tell the fate of the world's at stake. It's embarrassing."

"Do I look like a ball? I always get kicked, batted… life sucks."

"And then you die and get stuck in an enchanted weapon."

"If you do, I'll hunt yours down and do something really embarrassing to it."

"Oh, like what?"

"I'll think of something."

"Sure you will, don't strain that pretty little head of yours."

"Die."

"Where's the point in that? You see that tree with all the Yellow Orbs right there."

"Good, that means I can kill you again. Get ready…" She quick-drew a gun, spun it around her hand a few times, pointed it at his head and said, "Bang!"

They both laughed.

"Never grow up, Dante. Promise me that."

That same old grin. "I will… Lady."

They laughed again, and she remembered the old promise, and dear god in heaven she loved him for it. Same old Dante.

She wouldn't want him to change. But he'd still grown up a lot.