Author's notes: 17/8/06: This is to be the celebratory fic for when my exam is over. I look forward to posting it that oft-longed-for day. Hope you enjoy.

26/10/07: Searching for another file today, I stumbled across this and was shocked—mostly at my own forgetfulness. It's been a soddin' year. Anyway, I'm not going to waste any time in posting this. Finally. T. Axile

Summary: The shadow of a dead woman is not where Trish wants to spend the rest of her life. Trish-centric.

〉〉〉Devil May Cry:

My Own Defiance.

I cut my hair today.

It's nothing much, I know. But when I watched those long tresses that had been mine for so long fall to the ground, I was conscious, of a great relief, as though some hidden weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It is foolish, it is nonsensical, but some part of me felt that that hair had been Eva's, not mine; just as this body is hers, the eyes, the hair and the lips; save for the demon soul that lurks within.

The wind is cold on the back of my neck. It still feels strange. But I'll get used to it. I'll have to.

On my way back I stop at a shop window and look, not at the products on sale, but my reflection, pale and wavery in the glass. My face is too full without the curtain of hair. Eva's face looks back at me, and I wonder what Dante thinks every time he sees me—a dead woman's visage, his mother, from the boyish, wishful dreams of childhood.

He calls me mother sometimes, rising drowned in sleep from a nightmare, a boy again. In the night he remembers, and there are so many terrible things to remember—the first time he opened his eyes and held me until I thought my body would break. He never speaks of them, the dreams that run him ragged and haunts his eyes. He never speaks of our episodes either. We both know, and it is our confidence; there is no need to betray that dark secret knowledge that exists only in the shadows.

But it hurts me, and it should not, when he has treated me better than he should, when we have saved each other's lives more than I have cared to count. It hurts me that it is his mother he depends on to save him from the nightmares, not me, not Trish—the woman who is me. It is not his intention to do harm. But he loves his mother so much, and no matter what he says, it is his mother he sees when he looks at me—only to be disappointed, by the stranger that looks out of her eyes back at him.

But I am Trish, demon's pawn, demonsoul. As much as I want to give him his desire, I am not Eva, nor would I ever presume to be. She was a gem, a beautiful star, the glowing heart of humanity; at the Devil King's command I desecrated her body, dressed it in tawdry leathers and showed off her flesh and long legs. Now I wear modest clothes, like Dante likes; sweater, jeans—gentle and soft and quiet, like the woman I resemble. But she is not me, and I am not her, for Eva never enjoyed killing, not even the demons, but I laugh and plunge Sparda into flesh and bone with manic glee that comes from the part of me that is forever and unchangingly demon.

Sometimes when Dante is out I take the photograph of his mother that always sits on his desk, and look at it, lost in thought. She stares at me, her beautiful eyes, my eyes, warm and content, a small smile gracing her lips. She is pretty, yes, but her beauty will never be unique. Yet a demon fell in love with her, and for that love he turned against his own kind and changed himself. Just for her.

Something Dante said to me once always lingers in my mind, no matter how much I try to vanquish it. I was bleeding and broken with confusion and terror—he stood above me, bloody sword in hand—I expected to feel its bite any moment—but he turned away, contempt in his eyes, and he said—he said—

"You may look like her, but you'll never have her fire."

And at that moment, I would have preferred the sword rather than those words, those biting, hurtful words that burned a void in me, the first I would ever know. It was then I first realized I couldn't serve Mundus anymore—not any longer—when I owed you my life, and more than that, besides.

But it's not enough, is it? Not enough to give up everything you'd ever known for someone you'd just met. Not enough to sacrifice myself, to fight alongside you as your partner. Because I know what you want, and you can never get it, and I am living reminder of the fact. You can't stand it, and you hurt me, then, in small gentle ways, that pile up into one whole mess of angst and growing bitterness.

I can't stand it anymore. This is not where I want to be for the rest of my days—in the shadow of a dead woman that I can never be. I'm sorry, Dante, sorrier that you can ever realize, that I can't fill in her place no matter how much we both wish we could. There are so many things in the world beyond the horizons I wake up to see every morning, and I want to explore them, feel the thrill of life, in my human body. It's only you that keeps me tied here, and the longer I stay, the more our friendship collapses, cold and fragile, like a stacked house of cards.

If I am not Eva, the woman I look like, or the demon who so slavishly served Mundus without thought of her own freedom or happiness, then I want to find out who that woman is. Someone who can exist on her own, without anybody else to act as her crutch or her sole link to a meaningful life. This, I want to find for myself. To experience the strange, alien dreams of hope and longing. I needed you for a while, Dante, but now I've grown up enough to face the world and its new, frightening, exciting concepts.

And so, I'm going, but it's not goodbye—it won't ever be goodbye. You'll never be far from my thoughts, Dante, you can be sure of that. And I trust that over the long years you will live you will spare a second now and then to think of me, who came into your life with such a bang and left so quietly.

Perhaps, one day, I'll come back. When I've found 'fire' of my own, when I can say with confidence that I know who I am. When you will look at me and think 'Trish' instead of 'Eva.'

Until then.