Disclaimer: I don't own Devil May Cry.

Novel fic. Yet another attempt at getting myself into shape to finish off Angel Halo. I've been wanting to do this for awhile.

It's implied in the novel that the ghosts of Nell and Grue help Dante beat Vergil.

-

"Damn that kid." Grue wished for some beer. Too late for that now.

"You don't really mean that." Nell rolled her eyes, watching the kid in question do his best to get drunk with Enzo the informer. He'd brought her business a few times, as long as someone paid him.

Grue sighed. "No, I don't."

They sat in a booth, watching the two who had survived, one because he hadn't been there, and the other because, well. They were sitting on opposite sides of the booth, and were aware of the irony that they hadn't known each other in life but seemed to be joined at the hip now in death.

"He reminded me of my son," Nell said, and that was explanation enough.

"I never had a son." He had three daughters, one of whom was now dead.

Nell didn't need Grue to translate, that Tony (Dante) was the son he had never had.

"Look, I didn't exactly choose this. But you? Why the hell did you stay in that place when it was burning down around you, just to make a couple guns for some kid we…" he trailed off, about to say 'barely knew,' but he'd been the closest thing either of them had to a friend for quite some time. Even if they hadn't known the truth about him.

Grue wanted to blame him, he really did, but it wasn't like the kid had lied to them.

Well, not anymore than he had lied to himself.

Nell shrugged. "Wasn't like I had anything better to do." Husband divorced ages ago, only son dead, she'd just been marking time until he came along.

"Well, the least he could have done was managed to kill the bastard." The bastard who had killed him, who had damned his daughter to torture. Grue didn't care about the slaughter of his fellow mercenaries, it was Jessica he cared about. And Tony, as his presence here proclaimed as much as his gruff manner denied it.

"He tried." Nell shrugged. "He didn't even recognize his own family." Sad.

They weren't the only ones in the place watching the pair of men. There was a woman in the booth across from them who glanced at the boy, or sometimes stared past the two ghosts out the window. She hadn't been served yet, Grue noticed, automatically cataloguing and dismissing her as a threat before his attention drifted back to To-Dante.

"I wonder what will happen to him now?" Nell wondered.

Grue shrugged. "Are you going to stick around and find out?"

Nell exhaled slowly. "I've got my own son to find. I just feel kind of bad, moving on and leaving him here." A moment of silence. "We were his family, you know."

"What?"

"I'm pretty sure… he didn't remember his parents, anyway." She shook her head. "He built himself a new family. You, me, your daughters… I think that's why Gilver hated us so much."

"Nell, psychos like that don't need a reason." Not even the human ones. Grue rolled his eyes.

"I know psychos, Grue. I've built enough guns for them." Nell gave him a look. "He was scary, but mostly sane. Just a few cracks."

"You're saying if Tony had just recognized him none of this would have happened?"

"It's not like he made it easy for Tony." Nell shrugged.

"You don't even hate him, do you?"

"Hey, I helped blast him just like you did, didn't I?" Nell frowned. "He knew I would stay there."

"What?"

"He knew I would stay in my shop and finish those guns instead of calling 911. He said something about setting the stage, how if I was going to pretend to be her I would die for him like she had." Another sigh. "Fucked up kids."

The woman was staring in their direction now, head leaning back against the wall. She still hadn't been served. The waitress was being monopolized by the raucous To-Dante. Grue wondered for a moment if she could actually see them, then dismissed the idea. Dante couldn't, and he knew Dante could see things others couldn't, like Tony had told him he'd seen the demons coming out of those corpses…

"What are you going to do?" Nell finally asked Grue, after the silence had gone on long enough.

"I've got two daughters left to look after."

"Tony will look after them."

"You think?"

"I know he will."

"He will," the woman said, causing both pairs of ghostly eyes to fix on her and notice, finally, that they could just barely see the red leather-covered seats of the booth through her red shawl and black dress.

"Who are you?" Grue asked, suspicious. She didn't look like a demon, but there were enough of them floating around bodiless that he and Nell were both very glad they were packing the ghosts of their favored weapons.

The woman just raised an eyebrow.

"His mother," Nell knew.

She nodded. "Eva is, or was, my name." She glanced over at Tony again.

"What happened?" Nell asked.

"It's a long story." She shrugged.

"We're dead, don't have much but time," Grue pointed out.

"Girl meets boy, boy turns out to be a devil in disguise, boy saves girl's life, they fall in love, get married, have kids, his enemies kill him, then come after her: she dies, kids escape, grow up alone and fucked up," Eva said succinctly.

"There, that wasn't too long," Nell told her. "I'm guessing the devil was Sparda?"

Eva nodded, not looking away from Dante.

"Can you actually do anything for him?" Grue asked.

"I brought him back to life, but that was mostly the amulet, not me." Eva shrugged again. "The amulet's what I'm haunting."

"I'm going, then." Grue stood up.

"Why?" Nell asked.

"If I can't do anything for my living girls, I'm going to go find Jessica." After what had happened, she was going to need her father.

"Good luck."

"Thanks." Grue paused, automatically reaching for the door but his hand unable to move the knob. "He's a good kid."

"I know. Thank you."

"You're welcome. I just hope someone takes in my kids." But the words had no sting to them.

Nell sighed and stood up. "I'd better go, make sure he doesn't get into any more trouble." She looked over at Eva. "He gave me a reason to live, and he was a pretty good reason to die."

"Thank you," Eva said, and it was entirely inadequate.

"You're welcome." Nell glanced over at the silver-haired boy, Eva following her gaze. "He's a good kid."

"I know, he always was. When he wasn't…" Eva shook her head. "Good luck finding your son."

"Good luck with yours." And she meant both.

Eva smiled wryly as Dante finished off another sundae. "I'll need it." And she resumed her vigil as Nell walked out the door, content to leave behind her newest son in the knowledge that someone was, and always would be, watching out for him.