Title: Degrees of Separation
Author: Britani Gael (sterlingsylver at lj)
Fandom: Devil May Cry 3
Summary: AU. What if Vergil had won the final fight in the Underworld, instead of Dante? What if he'd lost to Mundus anyway? Seven years after Devil May Cry 3, Vergil returns to the human world – and bring all sorts of problems, demons, and enemies with him.
Chapter One: Different Fates
Vergil was losing.
For a moment, the weight of the Force Edge was more than he could handle; he fell to his knees, and then his hands. "Am I… being defeated?" He nearly choked on the words, and the blood that was filling his mouth.
Defeated by his brother, of all people. "What's wrong? Is that all you got?" Dante took a few swaggering steps forward, try to sound cocky, though his obvious exhaustion sucked the confidence out of his voice. "Come on, get up. You can do better than that."
He'd never lost to Dante, not once. Not when he was fighting fair, anyway.
The rage that filled him was tangible. He snarled, willing that rage into the strength to stand. His balance was shaky, his breathing was ragged – and the shaking of the ground nearly brought him back to his knees.
He looked around, but he knew what was happening. "The portal to the human world is closing, Dante," he said. "Because the amulets have been separated." He knew what that meant to Dante. His brother would be literally and figuratively trapped in hell.
But Dante ignored him. "Let's finish this, Vergil." He stared at Vergil, his eyes reflecting not anger but determination, and something else as well. "I have to stop you," he said. "Even if that means killing you."
As if that hadn't even been an option before.
Seeing his little brother so serious, it almost made him smile. But then he raised the Force Edge, swung it over his head and behind him. Dante wasn't the only one fighting for something beyond his own amusement.
With a wordless yell, Vergil charged.
Dante hesitated, then he hefted Rebellion and started running. The distance between them was closing rapidly. This was going to be the final blow of their final fight.
You aren't going to kill me, Dante.
He swung his sword.
And then he swung it again, again, and again.
It'd been hours.
Her father was dead by her hands, her mother finally avenged, and still her mission was far from over. Demons and devils shrieked into the wind, echoing off the walls of Temen-Ni-Gru.
She was going to have to kill all of them, sooner rather than later, and she would appreciate help. Not to mention how strangely naked she felt without the weight of Kalina Ann on her back. She'd made her way back to the library, wandered the strangely empty halls of the tower, picked her way through the passages and found her way outside, where she was currently waiting.
She wasn't waiting for him. She was just… waiting.
She'd circled the base of the tower twice, wondering if anything could be done to get rid of it. Was this going to be her father's legacy? An eyesore in the middle of a major city? But those demons weren't going to kill themselves. She turned back to the entrance, and she saw a figure stumbling over the rubble there.
She saw a flash of silver hair, and it was irritating how relieved she felt.
"Dante!" she called, starting to walk towards the figure, when she realized what she was seeing. Two heads of silver hair – and two coats, one red, the other blue.
The figure in red was leaning heavily on his brother. The man who had worked with her father for more than a year, who had caused his entire mess in the first place. Vergil.
His head turned at the sound of her voice, as if in slow motion. He shifted Dante on his shoulder awkwardly, and started walking towards her.
Lady narrowed her eyes and pointed her weapons. She knew shooting him would be useless – the bullets had never harmed Dante any, so surely they wouldn't hurt his brother. She was also running low on ammunition.
Still, she kept her fingers on the triggers as he approached.
Vergil was walking with a limp, a bad one, obviously struggling under the weight of his brother; blood pattered on the ground with every step. Whatever had happened to them – and it had probably been each other – had clearly nearly killed them. She wasn't even certain Dante was still breathing. His face was deathly pale.
Vergil didn't say a word.
She let him within ten feet of her, marveled at how his pace didn't waver a fraction, and then she fired several warning shots into the ground. "What do you want?"
He stopped. And then he let Dante slide off his shoulder and crash soundlessly to the ground. "You care about him," he said. Not a question. "Then he's your problem now."
She lowered her weapons slowly, trying to keep her eyes on Vergil. But her gaze fell on the demon on the ground, and the puddle of blood that was growing beneath him.
Vergil must have noticed her hesitation, because he took several steps back, his expression completely blank. That distance wasn't near enough to guarantee her safety, she knew, but she understood the sentiment.
Holstering her weapons, she covered the distance to Dante's still form and knelt next to it.
"Dante?" She shook his shoulder, and wasn't surprised when she got no response. She looked back up at Vergil, but she still couldn't read anything on his face. Then she pulled Dante up by his shoulders and rolled him over.
Lady had never seen so much blood in her life, not from a single person. His entire torso was coated in it, sliced in so many places. Delicately cut to ribbons. She could see his ribs through his wounds, muscles and tendons, blood was running freely from his mouth and nose and ears, pooling on the ground beneath him. He was dying. He had to be dying.
But she'd shot him in the head and it hadn't killed him. Surely he could… She found his hand and grabbed it, hoping to feel his fingers squeeze her back, but his skin was slick with blood and he was as responsive as a corpse. Damnit, just when she was starting to like him, he was going to go and die on her?
Her head snapped up. "You did this."
Vergil met her gaze, his fingers curling around the hilt of the katana he held at his side. It was as good as an agreement.
"If you were trying to kill him, why bring him back?" she demanded.
"I don't have to explain myself to you." His voice was so cold, inflectionless, so different from his brother's. "He is a son of Sparda. He'll survive."
"Son of Sparda…" Yes, that's what Dante had said. A demon with a father and a brother. She only knew the legends, but she could hope that the power those stories spoke of would be enough to save her friend. Even if it seemed impossible.
Vergil turned back towards the tower.
"Where are you going?" she asked. She didn't care, but if Dante ever woke up he might.
He paused. "I'm going to claim what's mine."
Lady knew what he meant, but she couldn't stop him. She wasn't even sure she wanted to. He started walking again, his pace brisk.
He disappeared into the tower just as Dante's eyes snapped open. They roamed around in his head sightlessly, his mouth weakly trying to form words. She could hear blood bubbling in his throat.
Lady held his hand tighter. "Dante, don't—"
"…ergil? 'sat you, Vergil?" His whole body twitched, and suddenly his fingers closed around her hand hard enough to break bones.
She tried to jerk back, but against that kind of strength she didn't have a chance. He was a demon, not a person, why did she keep forgetting?
"…you okay, Vergil?" She could barely hear his voice. "Is Mom okay?"
His chilling words had barely left his lips when he lost consciousness, his head rolling to the side.
Lady pulled her hand back quickly, rubbing the fingers and joints to make sure they were all still working. She was relieved to see that his chest was still moving, faint as though the motions were. He was still alive. She could almost believe that Vergil was right, and that Dante just might pull through.
Except Vergil had been trying to convince himself, just like she was trying to convince herself now.
She sat back on the ground. Already, Dante's blood was drying on her hands.
For the second time today, she felt tears slide down her cheeks.