Disclaimer: I don't own Devil May Cry.
Note: this contains novel elements. Yes, the novel was rendered AU of the games by DMC3. However, because I like the novel and like the fact we get to see Dante interacting with normal people besides Enzo, I'm using it in my fics.
So, in my ficverse, the novel happened in rough outline, but to keep it consistent with the games I'm changing a few details from the novel. In my version: the novel takes place when Dante is 16, the sword he has is Rebellion, not Force Edge, novel!Enzo is manga!Enzo's uncle, Vergil does not have Nelo Angelo's armor & I'm ignoring the epilogue.
In the actual novel, Force Edge was the sword that spoke to Dante, meaning that in the original DMCverse Sparda is indeed in Force Edge as Eva is in the amulet. I am only hoping the rest of the games do not ignore this previous canon (as well as Trish's resurrection in DMC1).
I'm sorry to anyone who was looking forward to this being Alastor's chapter. I did a draft, but it wasn't up to standards so I'm going to do the novel character chapters while my friend JaneGray and I look at/work on it.
I still need to write Eva's death in Rapture, don't I?
In any case, I'm trying to mesh Kamiya (novel and VJ) canon with manga canon here. Let me know if I didn't close all the resulting plotholes.
Rebellion had known something was wrong long before a trembling hand pulled him out from under the bed and he was clutched to his young master's chest like he had seen him, much younger, clutch a stuffed bear.
Hours ago there had been gunfire, even though it was long past morning practice. Then the house had shook as there was explosion after explosion in the yard outside. He'd heard thunderous hisses and cawings. Another demon attack.
He hadn't even had a sense of foreboding then. They had weathered demon attacks before. Unlike Yamato he had never seen Sparda's mate in combat, but he knew Sparda would never have taken a weakling as consort, even if she was a human.
There had been attacks before, houses had been wrecked before. He'd heard things falling off the shelves and the cracklings of small fires. He'd sensed the deaths of demons and been content that the young master was being protected, though he longed to be at his master's side. But no, the master was only a nestling and should be kept out of true combat. He was brave and impetuous and if he had Rebellion in his right hand he would try to aid his mother.
Then he'd sensed human death, a quick burst cut short.
He had never had the gift of foresight: Sparda's attack had taken him and his twin by surprise. He knew of gold orbs, surely she had several. One lucky shot was not the battle.
Even though there were so many of them.
Then she'd died again. And again.
He'd realized he didn't sense the young master. He'd always been better at cloaking his presence than his twin, but there had never been this total blackout. He realized he hadn't sensed him since soon after the battle started.
Sometimes there would be a spate of time in which there were no deaths, but always when he thought the battle almost over there came another. How many gold and yellow orbs did she have?
After a pause there was one more death and rebirth, though this one felt odd. It came too late, not the instantaneous resurrection of an orb.
Then the deaths stopped, and a while later he heard footsteps coming up the stairs.
He could see out from under the bed. A demon.
Searching the house.
That was when he had given up hope.
They destroyed the room, searching. One threw aside the bed and another took him, but he stabbed the demon, which died. When it did he spun away to under where the bed had fallen. After that they left him alone, laughing at the guardian's failure.
Then he sensed another death, a more distant one.
Soon after that the demons left. The only sounds were collapsing rubble and the cracklings of flames, now growing louder and louder.
An hour, another, he did not know. It was when the sky began to lighten outside that he felt it.
His young master's pain.
The nestling Sparda had entrusted him with the task of guarding was hurt and alone, and here he lay, stuck in the form of a sword. Sparda had bound him, he could not take devil form and most of his powers were sealed. That had been so when the nestlings sparred they would not get seriously hurt.
He'd fought against the seal after Sparda had disappeared, but given up. Sparda was the master of seals.
Faintly, he thought he heard sobs, broken words, pleading.
Then, after a long time, steps again, coming towards him.
The young master had clutched him and rocked, eyes now spent of tears, while the flamed grew louder. Then he had swallowed, the sound audible even over the flames, and brushed the tears away. Then he had stood up. Carried Rebellion downstairs, peering carefully around corners.
So brave. So smart, to get a weapon. Rebellion knew he was going to be needed. Possibly very soon. Why had they left when Dante was still alive? They must think he was dead or fled.
Scales and feathers lay everywhere among the wreckage: the demons' hosts? Bullet holes marred the walls.
And a body lay on the ground.
The energies in the blue orbs would have kept her fighting until she died. There had been no time for torture. The demons that had survived had taken out their rage on the dead body.
Dante clutched the sword tight and didn't whimper. His eyes were red, but he looked almost numb now. He dragged Rebellion on the ground as he picked up a pair of guns: Rebellion recognized Luce and Ombra. Dante regarded them and Rebellion realized he was glaring at them.
They had failed his mother, after all.
The tattered remains of a shawl hung from the young master's shoulders. He made it into a sling and put the guns in it.
There was a track on the ground, and Rebellion realized that he had dragged his mother's body indoors, out of the falling snow.
Dante sat down on the ground next to his mother and hugged Rebellion tight. The sniffles came again, louder, and Dante's eyes closed and his face pressed against the hilt, nuzzling Rebellion's skull face like a demon nestling seeking reassurance from a parent.
Dante would never normally do something like that. Rebellion had heard him tell his mother not to kiss him in front of people. The young master wanted to be an adult, he hated 'mushy stuff.'
The Dante Rebellion knew, moreover, would never follow demon instincts.
With Sparda gone, Eva gone, Vergil gone, Rebellion was the only protector Dante had left.
Anguish radiated off him in waves. Rebellion tried to absorb it all, trying to use the strength to break the seal. Trying to let none of it escape. What if the demons had left a watcher? Dante's silence earlier must have been at least part because of the shawl. Now he had taken it off and was doing the equivalent of shrieking to the heavens! What was he thinking, did he want to die?
Possibly he did.
The crackling of the flames grew louder and Dante hiccupped, trying not to cry, trying to at least physically hold it in. "Mommy," he whimpered, face pressed against Rebellion, eyes closed so he didn't see the body on the ground. "Mommy," he whispered again, despair in his voice. He knew he wouldn't be answered.
He squeezed Rebellion so tight he cut his already shredded clothes. He didn't even stop when the blade started to cut into his skin, blood dripping down it. He just kept shaking.
At least his torrent of pain had stopped.
Not that that was a good sign.
Nestlings that were in pain cried out to their parents. Dante had been trying to be heard when he screamed like that. But there was no one to hear him, and now he had given up even that hope.
Dante couldn't stay here. Eventually someone would come, if not demons then humans, to find out what had happened. They would find Dante, a lone nestling. Whatever sorcerer had opened up the portal to let these demons through would find out there had been a survivor.
Rebellion didn't have much grasp of where things were in the human world, but he knew the place where the half-breeds lived was a long way away. Dante would be killed before he could get there. Even if someone came to pick him up it wouldn't make any difference: he would either be killed before they got here or they would be killed as well.
Mundus' forces would be furious to find out they had been cheated. They must be celebrating, thinking they had finally destroyed all that remained of the accursed traitor Sparda.
But Dante just sat here, not noticing the blood oozing down onto the floor, curled up around Rebellion. At least he had Luce and Ombra next to him, he could fight if a demon came. At least he had that much of his mind left, to get weapons. But would he fight?
Dante was the more emotional of the two. If he fell into a berserker rage… or what if he just sat here, not caring anymore, as he was torn apart?
He had to get out of here!
"I did what you said, Mommy, I hid." Dante's eyes opened and he smiled. "I'm sorry I didn't have the things I was supposed to keep with me. I'm sorry." He sniffled again.
The fires were small, set by the explosives, Rebellion guessed. It would take them a while to spread her, especially since it was snowing. He cursed: the flames might convince Dante to get up.
Or would he want to be burnt up, in a funeral pyre? For a nestling to be all alone…
Rebellion was here, but there wasn't anything he could do.
"I've got them now, the orbs and my sword and guns. If…" he gulped. "If they come back I'll protect you." His hand gripped Rebellion's hilt, Dante shifting enough the blade quit cutting him shallowly.
Rebellion would have breathed a sigh of relief, if he could breathe.
But Dante intended to stay? No!
"I'm sorry, Mommy, I didn't protect you." Another gulp. "I'm just weak like Vergil says." Dante froze, and another burst of agony came.
Rebellion had no idea where Yamato was. Somewhere in the house? In Vergil's room? He hoped Dante would go up and find him… he hoped none of the demons had taken the blade. No, if he had managed to destroy them Yamato would be fine.
He wanted to urge Dante to go fetch him. Dante would be better off with two blades, too protectors.
Even if he was already doomed, and nothing would change that. A nestling, alone and almost untrained? No matter how good his weapons were. He didn't even know how to become a devil! Sparda's seal on the nestling's own powers still remained. It would take years to loosen.
There had to be something Rebellion could do!
"Vergil," Dante whimpered, and clutched Rebellion too tight again.
He wished he could take devil form and curl up around the nestling, protect him with his body and soothe him with his presence.
"I hate them. I hate them hate them hate them!" Dante cried, squeezing tighter. "I'm so sorry Mommy, if I hadn't been born you wouldn't be dead. No." He shook his head. "It's his fault. He died and left us all alone. Mommy…" He hiccupped.
Silence then, for a time, as it started to get a little lighter. Or was that only the fire? Humans would be waking up soon. They would see the flames, even though this house was in the far edges of their city, with few close by.
"Mommy, you said not to hate him but it's all his fault!" Dante growled, the loudest sound he had yet made, then stopped himself. He shivered. "Sorry Mommy, you said not to growl… I'm sorry." He gulped. "But it's all because of Father. I hate him!"
Then he fell silent, kept rocking. His face was hidden against Rebellion's and his shoulders shook.
"Mommy's dead and Vergil's dead, I heard them say they had killed him," Dante told no one in particular. "I should be dead! No!" He whimpered. "I'm sorry Mommy, you wanted me to not die. But I'm all alone! I'm all alone and they're going to find me and…" He gulped and squeezed Rebellion tighter.
The scent of fresh blood… Dante's clothes were soaked by now. "I'll kill them, Mommy, I promise. I'll kill them all." He looked at her again, teeth bared in a show of ferocity that faded when he saw her body again. He flinched a little.
A fly buzzed, attracted by the smell of the corpse. Dante lunged and snatched it out of the air before it could land on her. Rage filled him now.
He looked at the smashed body of the fly between his fingers and heard more buzzing. Then he fell back down into his sitting position and whimpered. "Can't protect you."
He sat there again as the flies buzzed. The sun was now well up. He didn't even move when they landed on him.
All alone, the child's soul whispered, all alone. Fear ran through him, his young master who had always been so brave, exploring the world even though nestlings his age normally never left the nest. Trusting his mother to protect him.
Despair, he wanted to curl up and die.
And he would die, if he stayed here. But the despair sapped the very strength he could have used to fight it.
He wanted to stay by his mother, his once source of protection, the person who had always made everything right again. But she was gone.
He squeezed Rebellion to his chest hard enough suddenly, and the blade rang against the stone of the amulet. Too bright and beautiful a sound for this place.
The door had been burst through, and much of the wall with it. Anyone who walked up the front path could see Dante. Of course, Dante could see them… if a human tried to take Dante away from his mother's body, he might kill them.
He didn't really understand why, but killing humans was different from killing demons, according to Sparda and his family. So Dante would be even worse than he was now if he did.
Had to get him away from here. Soon. Run! Rebellion almost screamed, though he knew the nestling was deaf and dumb to it, mostly by his own will. If they found out one of Sparda's sons was still alive they would hunt him down to the ends of the earth! There would be no safe place to rest without demons coming, there would be no chance to grow up and avenge, there would be no hope. Rebellion would fail in his duty and the nestling would die screaming. Again.
"I'm sorry, Mommy. They killed you and they're going to kill me. They hate me, everyone hates me, because of him." So he was sitting here to wait for death. "I'm not even gonna get to see you in heaven, because heaven doesn't exist, just the Underworld, and even if it did exist they wouldn't let you in, even though you're a really good person, because of him." He didn't seem to have the energy to growl anymore, head bowed. He hugged Rebellion again.
Flames were creeping up the walls but for now Dante was safe on the stone floor. Safe until the roof, which looked like wood, caught fire and caved in. Rebellion remembered burning human homes, remembered screams of children caught in the rubble. Not on his watch! But all he could do was watch, now.
"He named me Dante and I'm gonna go to hell like in the book." He sniffled. "Mommy…"
Hide that name! Blind yourself to it and run away! Rebellion put everything he had, all of Dante's pain, all of the death that still lingered here, behind that command. Even if Dante couldn't hear him, perhaps his unconscious would. Or would Sparda's wards see it as a spell and protect him against it?
Dante jerked suddenly and looked around, springing to his feet, Rebellion at the ready. Then he looked at the sword, eyes widening. Then hardening.
He picked up the makeshift bag.
Then he walked through the broken door.
The now nameless boy threaded his way through the pits on the ground, though a sharp scale cut through his shoe, the slight ouch the only side besides the occasional sniffle.
Yes! Rebellion wasn't going to question whatever miracle. He gave thanks to Sparda, that Sparda's seals knew intent and had not stopped him. He might not fail. Sparda's nestling might live.
No, it was too early for hope. Rebellion commanded himself to think, though Yamato had always been the strategist. That was why he was Sparda's favored blade. Or he had been.
They wouldn't have left unless they thought they had killed all of them. They must have mistaken one of Dante's deaths for a permanent death.
He was all alone. Father, now Mother and brother.
Rebellion strained fruitlessly against the seal as the boy started to run. If only he could take his true form! He could carry him away much faster! The boy had no proper training, he had never wielded Rebellion in battle, Rebellion could defend him much better than the young master could defend himself!
A part of him mourned for his twin, Yamato.
If Vergil hadn't found them he must be dead. Yamato had failed Sparda. Rebellion knew his own failure was inevitable.
The boy was running away from the city. He ran around the edges of the graveyard. Why, since it was the most direct route? The sniffles grew louder when he neared it. He must not want to think about death.
They ran along roads deep in the forest, with houses perhaps once in a mile. They had gone up here to spar… but Vergil was dead. There would be no more sparring. The next time the young master fought, Rebellion knew, it would be against someone trying to kill him.
Rebellion couldn't even help him become a devil.
He felt his charge close in on himself, first tightening down to focused purpose and then… nothing. Hiding himself and his soul. Though it wouldn't work at close range. Humans constantly exuded emotions, food. Dante was feeding on his, giving off nothing. If someone tried to feel him and felt nothing they would… well, some humans were like that. Humans that were called soulless. Killers.
The boy would do well to be like them. Humans would come after him now as well as demons, both those seeking Mundus' favor and those who killed demons themselves.
Though demon slayers had been dying for years now, most too busy fighting to train replacements. The world's jeopardy might be Dante's salvation. As long as he hid. As long as he gave no one any reason to look twice at him.
Rebellion almost wished the nestling had lingered for money and a change of clothes, though now he thought about it he doubted the demons had left anything intact. Humans who saw him would wonder. He was covered in blood not only where Rebellion had bit into his skin or were there was blood soaked into his hair and on the sides of his face. The center of his face was clean. As clean and unmarked as only new flesh could be, Rebellion saw now an absent arm wiped away the tear tracks. But the blood on his shirt front. He must have… he must have hugged his mother, Rebellion realized.
Though now he was into the woods.
Keep running, Rebellion urged him. Keep running. As far and as fast as you can.
He couldn't hide forever. Eventually Mundus' generals would manage to resurrect him (had it happened now? Had that been the power that had summoned so many demons?) and they would come to take this world.
The young master would fight them. It was in his blood and bone.
He needed to get stronger. He needed to fight and kill, feed. He couldn't hide in the woods forever.
Rebellion's power had been drained by that shout. He didn't think he could speak to him again. If the young master would hear now he was more deaf than ever.
The young master was intelligent. Hopefully he was thinking again now.
Hopefully he would live. There was no cowardice in running. Warriors stood and fought. Nestlings hid and waited for their parents to save them.
If Rebellion prayed he would have now.
Hopefully ambitious demon lords would oppose Mundus and make him take a long time to mount a full assault on the human world. If he thought Sparda's brood was dead, why, then he had no further need of vengeance, no urgent desire to attack the human world.
The nestling ran, and ran, faster than a human. Eventually there were roads again, and spread out houses. And cars on those roads.
He hid in the bushes instead of continuing to run. A predator's eyes watched a family leave their house, work and school, watching a long time before breaking in, stealing clothing, food and money. He wrapped Rebellion, Luce and Ombra up in the clothing and tied it with the clothesline he had chopped down.
Then he waited until all the cars were off the roads and ran again.
When he got further into the city he found a bus station and booked a bus for Los Angeles. The Angels? Angels fought demons in human superstitions, Rebellion had gathered, so that was a good place to go. If the place wasn't crawling with human demon hunters.
It was a long trip and he heard the other passengers coo over the child and let him stretch out on the whole row overnight. Dante seemed to perk up a little at that, though Rebellion doubted any smiles were true.
An old woman asked, "What's your name, Dear?"
A second's hesitation and he replied, "Tony Redgrave. I'm going to see my parents."
Rebellion hoped he wouldn't anytime soon.
Still, he was moving. And while there was life there was hope. Running bought time. Time for the nestling to grow up.
Time for Mundus to gather his strength to take this world, take the ultimate vengeance upon Sparda.
It was a race, wasn't it.
Who would win, the restored Dark Emperor or the young Dark Knight?