Disclaimer: I don't own DMC, nor do I make money.
Here it is: the last chapter.
Neither heaven nor the expected hell: was she in limbo? She roused three times, both when she felt the souls of those who were kin in some way, somehow connected to her, though she recognized only the first (Dante, no, not Dante, you can't die! I won't let you!), draw near to her.
She wasn't aware enough to question, or blame this on Sparda.
That changed when she found herself to be alive.
Dante, Vergil, clearly them, and in her hands that amulet Sparda had given her to give to the children.
They were so, so old. Thirties at least, perhaps more if they aged slowly. They were so changed: their faces were not lined by pain, but she could feel… why could she feel this?!
"Mother?" Dante asked carefully, kneeling down next to her.
"Dante?" She reached out and touched his face. Grown, clearly a warrior, and still human enough?
"Mother!" And he hugged her with the enthusiasm she had loved, and she knew he was still her son.
"How is it that I am here?"
"Your soul was haunting the amulet," Dante told her, puzzled. "You didn't know?"
"I was… yes, I was worried about you, I wanted you to live so much…" Or was this something Sparda had done? The jewel was his gift…
Why hadn't Vergil joined them. "Vergil?" She reached out.
Guilt, on his face and swamping her senses. He had sinned, oh he had sinned. But he truly repented. She smiled. "It's okay, Vergil. Come here and let me hug you."
Slowly, he came, and knelt beside Dante: she put her arms around them both, squeezed them. "What… you must tell me all about your adventures."
A second chance, a chance at life? Was this Sparda's gift? He had always said he was unhappy that he had stolen her life away, taken it out of her hands and into his own. She could, she could become a nun, find another husband, travel… anything she wanted.
"Well, to make a long story short, we killed Mundus." Ah, Dante. He was grinning.
She grinned back. "I knew you would, my brave strong boys!" Another squeeze.
Wait, if they could revive her, then… Sparda had said it was possible to revive him from his sword. Her blood ran cold.
They both looked at her, concerned. Had they grown into that same sense Sparda had and she now had? She was a demon. If Sparda had anything to do with this so help her she would kill him again.
"It's nothing, boys. Just old thoughts."
"Mother, I'd like you to meet Trish," Dante informed her.
"Who?" she asked. Had he gotten married?
"Trish!" he called, turning to face the door of the room.
The door opened, and in walked herself. Though she would never wear clothes like that.
"This is Trish. Mundus made her to look like you, she helped me kick his ass," Dante explained.
"I know you!" Eva exclaimed. "You were… you drew near me, I think you were dying…"
"You brought me back to life." Trish bowed her head. "Thank you."
"Helping my son is repayment enough," she assured her doppelganger. A demon version of herself, it would have been chilling before, but she didn't have the time to feel that, not when she was holding back rising panic about her own nature. Couldn't let the boys think (know) she hated all demons, they would think she hated them, and she couldn't do that. "Why do I suddenly sense emotions?"
"The amulet," Dante explained. "It's what Dad used to seal the underworld, it's very seriously magic. It kind of… interacted with your spirit, put power into it, since it was supposed to protect humans. Luckily, you seem to be sane. Humans who try to become devils usually end up completely nuts."
"It's very disconcerting. Is there any way to remove it?" Please, please, please let there be!
Dante frowned. "I'm not sure. All the research has been about how to do the transition the other way."
Why was Dante doing all the talking?
He went on: "Still, Mom, it's not so bad. Try it out, okay? I mean, we turned out fine. You're still mostly human, more than us."
Mostly human. Oh dear. "I will, Dante, but this feels very…" What was a good reason to reject what Sparda had told her sorcerers spent their lives questing for, killing innocents to attain power, strength, a longer life… How to do it without revealing she hated, absolutely hated, the thought of becoming a part-devil like they were? "It doesn't feel like me."
"I will see what I can find," Vergil promised her. "Perhaps something could be done about nullifying the demonic energies mixed with yours. It might be possible to do so without killing you." But clearly he didn't think it was that likely.
"Thank you, Vergil." She kissed his forehead. "I know you'll do your best, and I'm sure that will be enough." If there was no alternative, then she would take the option of death. She wanted that, but how could she? They were so happy she was alive, they had already mourned her once, she didn't want them to have to do so again, to think she loved them so little that she wanted to abandon them, choose death over life with them.
They loved her, oh they loved her so much, they were capable of love, she could taste it, and they were so happy she loved them back. "Vergil, Dante…" Her eyes were wet, and she raised a hand to wipe away a tear.
Dante took her hand, held it away as the tear trickled down. "Devils never cry," he reminded her, and she realized he knew that she wasn't happy about her new nature, that he had once hated what he was as well, and understood. She kissed his forehead, feeling immensely better, though the tears kept coming, slow but sure. Tears of happiness, almost pure, now.
Trish was standing at the entrance of the room, feeling a third wheel, wanting to be welcomed into the embrace. She felt… there was some human in her as well, Eva was sure. She reached out. "Come here, Trish. I'd like to get to know you." Had she had a mother, created in the demon world? "You look like the daughter I never had."
A smile, so bright, and though she was clearly no innocent she was capable of joy. "I would like that very much."
"Is," she had to ask, "is Sparda here?"
"No," Dante shook his head.
Vergil explained, "We just needed a spell to make a new body and put you in it, since Dante knew your soul was there. Father is incredibly weak after giving every scrap of power he had to fuel the seal. I'm not sure how much is left of his mind." He bowed his head.
"It's not your fault, Vergil," she assured him.
"We're going to try to revive him soon. We waited to raise you until we were pretty sure we could do him too," Dante told her.
"That was very kind of you," she replied, and Dante was the only one that seemed to feel something was off, just as before.
She listened to their stories, and oh, oh her poor Vergil. She cried for him, holding him: of course she forgave him, she would never stop loving him, not her poor baby. She was so, so sorry. She should have taught him better, it was her fault.
Their home had been restored, none of the damage from the attack left. The spell to revive Sparda took place in the dining room: they didn't seem to have found his ritual chambers. She stood near the door. What if he was deranged? What if he recognized her, thought she was his mate in the devil way? She couldn't count on her sons holding him off, they would be too shocked and horrified. What a terrible way to find out, but she couldn't tell them to soften the blow: she wanted them to never find out.
She took deep breaths to calm herself, and she was sure that Dante noticed. Eva looked away when he looked at her, then realized that was far too suspicious. She turned back to him. "I'm just nervous," she explained. That was natural, he would think she was nervous that it would fail.
"It should work," he assured her, though his eyes regarded her: he knew there was more.
She looked down at her hands. "Thank you, Dante."
She had never seen the sword: it looked like a devil's sword much more than Rebellion and Yamato did. Made of flesh and bone, red lightening crackling over it sometimes, raw red muscle and other things seeming to pulse… It disgusted her, she abhorred it for its shape as well as who was inside.
She had been free of him for so long… perhaps they could pretend they had fallen out of love, get a divorce? Mundus was dead, the world was safe now for her. Save the little matter of how long she had been dead.
The children would be unhappy and Catholics weren't supposed to divorce, but they had never been married in the first place, so it wasn't a sin.
She could do anything, so why did she feel like the noose was tightening around her as Dante and Vergil worked?
Then, the sword turned into that same purple light that had come from Sparda's corpse: it glowed blindingly and then when it faded he lay there. Perfect as ever.
His eyes opened, blinked, she could feel him reaching out, and this was the other person she had sensed.
And he loved her, he truly did, and he was sorry, and… she should forgive him, really she should, since he truly repented. Though, was she capable of it?
If he loved her, he would let her go. She felt herself relax as Dante drew him to his feet, as he hugged his sons, told them he loved them, and she felt more wordless communication she couldn't understand.
She should go over there, act glad to see him, she told herself firmly. On the count of three.
Gently, the boys were pushed aside, and they stood there. "Eva." He bowed low.
"Sparda. I'm glad you're alive again." She smiled, and truly she was. He might be able to escape damnation now, redeem himself. It relieved her that she truly didn't want him to go to hell.
"Vergil, Dante, I'm sorry, but I need to have a private talk with your mother. I have things I must say. I have apologized to you for abandoning you, but…" he told them, and it was not an outright lie, though the truth was obscured.
"Of course, Father," Vergil answered.
He led her away to an old sitting room: neutral ground. When they were settled on two chair he asked her, "What do you wish?"
"Well, I want to spend time with my children, first."
"Do you want me to find some excuse to leave, then?" He was reluctant to leave his beloved children, but he would do it for her.
"No, that would make them suspicious." She shook her head. "I think I can stand your presence. And I don't begrudge you time with them. I had them longer than you did, after all."
"I am so sorry." He bowed his head.
"They said you did all you could to keep the seal up."
"No, well yes, for that as well, but…"
"I know, I can feel it." She frowned. "You're going to help Vergil look into finding a cure for this." She raised an eyebrow at him. "You want to say something. Say it."
"It's nothing, truly."
"It's simply that… you're beautiful like this." He looked away, ashamed. He hadn't wanted to scare her. He'd still done so, however.
"Well, you're beautiful." It doesn't matter either way. "I think, at least for now, we'll have to stay together, for the children." Just like before.
Perhaps it was the time that had passed, but he simply didn't scare her as much, now. She felt sorry for him, more than anything. He had wanted to be heartless, to do what had to be done and then clean up the traces, let her return to her life with minimal damage, but he'd fallen in love and she'd refused to act out his script. Nothing had gone right.
She was simply tired now, and she hated seeing people hurt: the wall of hate was gone.
He'd gotten what he had wanted, the world was saved, he had told the truth. Her unwilling sacrifice had saved the world like the priestess' had.
In a war, innocents suffered. In the final war, good against evil, all but the innocents would suffer. The war had been coming, the trumpets had sounded calling all to arms, unleashing evil…
She understood why he had done it. So… was it her fault, that she had not believed him, had thought an honest devil was lying? Had she brought her suffering on herself? He had tried to bring her willingly.
"I don't hate you," she told him.
That was all she could say for now. She wouldn't lie to him.
His happiness was as bright as the sun.