Fuyuko: Well, apparently I can be motivated to write.
Sparda: Motivation, what moves us, it can be something as simple as a glance at the sky, and yet, so few of us find it easily.
Eva: I'm fairly certain she can be motivated to keep us halfway in character easily.
Sparda: Fair lady, please don't resort to excessive violence. She is a human, and although you have not my vow, I know you are a kind enough soul not to hurt a deranged person.
Fuyuko: What he said. Don't hurt the innocent author until after she's mutilated your great characters. I seriously shouldn't be trying this, neither of you goes around angsting properly, you're too resilient. Maybe I should break you, that would work…Disclaimer-Bot, will you take over for a bit while I'm, er, busy?
Disclaimer-Bot: Certainly. I hereby disclaim the author chick's rights to Sparda, Eva, and DMC. I also disclaim her right to wreak havoc on the emotions of any being, though I myself do not understand why this is important. My understanding of these emotions is limited to the data my external analyzers transmit to my circuits.
Fuyuko: Defeated by robot logic. Ouchie.
What We Do (There Is No Need for Why)
"One day, he took a path he'd been told not to, only seeking a glimpse of what was forbidden down its length. On that day, he took a look in the mirror of the river of life's water, and sought to change what he saw. Only after his day of discovery could others see the light, be offered new ideas of what it meant to live. One day, we were saved by him, for we were part of the light and could see truth through its bright ray, and offered thanks to him who we knew was different. On that day, he too saw what the light showed us, saw that all was not as simple as the law of the mightiest, and still owing his own strength to his people, he wished only for them to escape the darkness, to offer them the gift of the light."
There was a slight breeze stirring the grounds around the desolate grave marker, but as the blonde woman stood over it, she was still a bit too put off to notice the crisp fall wind brushing around her form. It played with the braided ends of her red shawl, homespun but hardy; it had been made to endure more than just the average rain shower. Like herself.
She wasn't a product of the modern era, and she wasn't a proper lady of earlier years either. She was her own support, she was tough, and she did what had to be done, because it was all she had left. 'What's being a proper lady worth anyway? What's the point in being modern if you still aren't you? I'm only doing this because it's what I do. There isn't a why.' Her green eyes betrayed the rough manner in which she lived, the brusque clarity with which she saw the truth of what lurked in the dark.
She'd forgotten exactly why she'd come onto this path; probably saw too much, just like they were always telling her. But she had never been able to forget herself, even though she knew her life had changed.
Once, long ago, she could remember a voice telling her that to kill was wrong, that the only light of justice was through God. On this day, she found herself wondering if that voice had been right, if she'd ever get peace for herself and her losses by vengeance. Off in the distance, away from the grave marker she stood over, an opulent mansion was still burning, taking to the ground with it the remains of another opportunity for vigilante justice.
The young woman who went by Eva walked away from the old marker of death, wrapping her blood-colored shawl tighter around her shoulders to keep out the chill. There really hadn't been anything here for her this time either, besides the government paycheck she'd get for taking out a big city mob's smuggling site.
That, and a cryptic epitaph that had made no sense or relation to her whatsoever. Why had Redgrave said she'd find clues here? Unless she was missing out on some hidden code, the grave's message had clearly not been useful, and nothing in the mob mansion had turned up evidence either. Besides, he'd said she would need to look for a grave, and this had been the only one around for miles.
And she doubted the person the headstone was dedicated to could tell her anything, he was dead, after all. Last time she checked, grave markers that intricate only went up when someone with money croaked, like the old mob boss the guy had probably been. Sparda, yeah, that sounded like a weird mafia codename. Short and bastardized form of Spartacus, how quaint. She bet the real Spartacus rolled in his grave over that irony.
"I'm out of here. Redgrave has clearly lost his marbles when it comes to supplying good information anymore."
Ignoring the acrid stench of burning paint, glass, and wood, Eva made her way back by the building she'd wreaked and to her motorcycle hidden in the trees near the long gravel drive. She had a long ride back into the city, and she wanted to get back to the agency to collect her paycheck before the evening closing. Bounty hunters had to keep good finances too, these days, even if they still lived on the edge otherwise.
The blonde young woman cranked her motorcycle, its red paint dull with age, and spun a one hundred eighty degree turn and roared off. Gravel spray fell slowly to earth in her wake, emulating the timbers now crashing to the ground from the flame engulfed manor. She'd been nicknamed 'Evacuator' once, an attempt by another bounty hunter to smother her popularity, but the barb had only escalated her in the eyes of unscrupulous employers who wanted nothing left at their job sites.
Funny that, she'd left nothing behind her for years now, not since that horrifying time. Maybe it was some sick twist of fate, that she'd never have a past behind her anymore, that she wouldn't leave a lasting mark on the world besides one of emptiness and destruction. Was that Redgrave's clue? Was he trying to make her see how dead-end her current bounty hunter life was, trying to get her to move on after all these years of hard work and even companionship?
'He could try it, I guess, but nobody's ever been able to control me or tell me what to do. Not even those freaks could break me', she thought with a dull smile as her faded red bike roared out onto the country road. Roar being the best word nowadays, as its throaty engine purr had long since gone by the wayside, having been driven way beyond recommended mileage and through muck that wasn't good for even a machine's health.
Yeah, she'd seen a lot of crap in the past few years, but that kind of came with the territory she'd selected post-mortem. Not that she was dead or anything, unless you went by the records the feds kept. Not exactly like she minded that record either, it made it easy to put her past behind her, to become the new person she had needed to be to survive in the hunting field.
Trouble was, it was one of those jobs you could never walk away from, something that would control the rest of her life. At the time, it had seemed like a good idea, she'd only wanted to finish what was started, but now…
Whatever. She hadn't gone back or backed down from anything before, she wouldn't start now. Even if her mentor thought otherwise. He didn't control her life, he knew that, she knew that, not much left to be done but have a difference of opinions.
Reaching one of those indiscriminate suburbs all cities had, Eva stopped for gas, regretting that having an old, well-cherished motorcycle also meant having an outdated, undersized fuel tank. On the way in to pay for her gas, she bumped into an elderly gentleman, who wasn't as feeble as most his age were, as she nearly fell down from the run-in. She braced for the concrete impact with her elbows, even years of tough gunfights and bruising missions didn't make the pain of a fall less.
Amazingly, she didn't fall, although she wasn't sure how she didn't, because good balance only helped before you stumbled. Intending to just shrug it off with a simple "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't see", Eva's words fell flat and fumbling as the white-haired gentleman – 'Because who the heck else wears a leisure suit like that to a gas station?' – bowed to her, left arm bent at the waist and feet together. It looked like way too formal, maybe even uncomfortable. How many people could bend a perfect ninety degrees at the waist with their feet and legs held so stiffly together like that?
"My dear lady, you have my sincerest apologies. I was preoccupied, however, that is no excuse for me to have bumped you so rudely and roughly. Are you all right?" The blonde woman tried not to gawk at him, tried not to wonder how his face looked so smooth and young when his hair was obviously that of someone damn near ancient.
"I'm fine. You…you're not hurt, either?" Why was she concerned like this? Nobody really got injured from bumping into someone else, even if that someone else was twice their size, which wasn't the case here at all. Maybe her dead parents had been right about courtesy being contagious. At any right, this was weird.
"I am fine, my dear. It certainly helps to see such good manners from one of your age as well." He was standing upright now, and the more she thought about it, the less he looked like a feeble old man. Maybe the white hair was a dye-job? People did funny things these days…but then, he acted and spoke like an old-fashioned gentleman, calling her a dear and referring to her as part of the youth.
She really could not pinpoint this guy, and somewhere, in her hunter's mind, that set off alarms. Years of needing to tag people immediately made it unnerving to be unable to do it now, even if it was just some harmless civilian guy with eccentric characteristics. She nodded, managed a smile she thought could be called soft, and they parted, him turning away to what she presumed was his car in the station lot, her heading inside the convenience store to pay for her gas.
Eva thought she'd managed to shake off the encounter by the time she'd gotten back on her motorcycle; she'd seen stranger people in her line of work, and hell if she was one to judge someone on their behavior or dress. She'd be a hypocrite if she tried it, and there were enough hypocrites in the world already.
What she couldn't shake was how the rest of her trip to the city seemed mundane all of a sudden, without any reason for it to be so. Couldn't have been him, he wasn't bad, but he wasn't what girls would have called mind-blowing either, and even if he had been, she'd never been the type to go gaga over a gorgeous face. Eva, and who she'd been before, wasn't a woman at the mercy of her hormones, at least in her opinion. She looked, she admired, but she didn't sink into a pretty person, even if they had good manners to go with it.
Grasping her paycheck from the agency teller and walking out, Eva had the disturbing realization that maybe she wasn't over her encounter with the white-haired man. Great. This might ruin her image at the local information hub if she didn't get the stars out of her eyes, and fast. 'The last thing I need is to lose face with those idiots. Redgrave seeing me like this I could handle, but anyone else, and I may as well kiss my bounty hunting blood money good-bye', she thought sourly as she walked out of the agency.
It was an inconspicuous building set on the outskirts of the downtown strip, out of the bad neighborhoods, but not encroaching on the ritzy ones either. When Redgrave had first taken her there, she'd been confused, thinking it illogical for a guild of bounty hunters to be based near the hubbub of the city, but after her first few jobs, she'd understood it to be the best locale. It was easy to reference to out-of-towners, and it was central to most of those who were permanent. Besides, not many outsiders to the field would find it suspicious, which probably cut down on backlash coming directly to the headquarters for all the local bounty hunters.
Still at a bit of a loss and, she admitted, frustrated with her current lack of a solid poker face, Eva headed to the little townhouse she called home. Her bank had an ATM with deposit functions within four blocks of home, so she took the slightly longer route and dropped off her 'dirty money', as her type jokingly called it, twirling a pistol in her right hand as she entered the poorer neighborhood.
Nobody had the guts to come after her these days, not in this branch of the city, but it never hurt to give out reminders. Really, that incident with those weed dealing thugs a year or so back had made her a local hero of sorts to the destitute trying to hold down normal lives near here, even if her batty old landlady hadn't gotten any less stringent with the rules for their shared townhouse after it. She hadn't gotten evicted yet either, so it must mean the lady had some respect for her, as the word was she had some paranoia about keeping the same tenant for more than three years, and should have kicked Eva out long ago.
Setting most of her arsenal down just inside her bedroom's doorway when she got back, a glance in her old and dusty mirror had her green eyes telling her how tired she really was. Deciding she wasn't really hungry enough to go back out for food, and that what she had in the fridge was probably bad, Eva tucked one of her loaded pistols under her saggy pillow and kicked off her outdoor boots. They'd been the most rugged and tough thing she'd bought over time, trying to find practical shoes for her job, but even they had flaws, and she'd have loved something a bit more orthopedic after a long day like this one.
Then, she flopped back onto her bed, liking the creak its metal frame made as she curled into the sheets, fully clothed. This was home, this was normal, sleeping with one eye open and everything, she wouldn't trade it for the world, and she hoped it never changed. Screw Redgrave's confusing clues and advice, she knew who she was and what she did. That really was all there was to it, all that she needed.
'Screw that white-haired guy, too, I don't need that either', she thought fuzzily as her eyes slid closed. Just before her mind completely blanked, though, she couldn't help but be bothered by the thought that maybe that wasn't all there was to it. Maybe, like someone had once told her, an unusual change like that was going to change everything. It had happened before, after all. Her whole world had been up-ended then, why did she not expect it to happen now?
Fuyuko: That wasn't so bad, after I got to typing it. Unfortunately, it seems to want to be more than a one-shot. I do not exactly need another chapter fic.
Eva: It's DMC, you can't help but be drawn in by its plot and characters, wonderful ones like me.
Fuyuko: No, actually I think it's just the lack of my ability to be concise. Anyways, this is a gift-fic for Laryna6, I hope she enjoys it. Sorry if they're OOC, or details aren't correct, and for this being last minute and basically inconclusive. Hopefully I can finish it with one more part. Review if you feel like it, it's always welcomed.