Disclaimer: I do not own Devil May Cry.
A/N - Sorry for the delay! Hope you enjoy this chapter!
MISSION 5 – CONFUSION
"Mary, there you are. I was getting worried about you." Kate ran up to meet her. "Look at your clothes! Mary, have you been fighting?"
"You could say that." The women replied uncomfortably.
"With that man?"
"Man?" Lady, seemingly in a daze, drew her eyes back up to meet her friend's concerned look.
"The one with the white hair, the handsome one."
"Dante?" She sighed. "No, not with him. I could do with a coffee, how about you?"
"Sure, but are you sure you're okay?"
In truth, Lady was fine, at least physically anyway. But on the way back to meeting her friend she'd found her thoughts dwelling on Dante, completely by accident mind you. She'd thought about what he'd said, about all the dates he'd been on, about all the money he spent on women who didn't deserve his attention. She'd been buried in all of these thoughts when she'd realised – much to her horror – that she was acting like a jealous ex and she'd never even been his girlfriend!
It was then that she'd recalled her friend's words, the signs that you were falling in love with a man.
It was true that she thought about Dante a lot. She worried about him, worried about what trouble he was getting himself into, worried that he'd underestimate a foe and end up getting lanced through the heart.
And then, when he'd brushed her face with his hand, her whole body had come alive. Her skin had tingled, grown warm and she'd ended up blushing like an idiot. That was one of the signs too! And come to think of it, Dante's rare touch upon her hand or shoulder had always left her feeling all cosy and warm inside.
Then when he looked at her with those fantastic eyes she'd find herself sinking. Such gloriously beautiful, deep eyes. Eyes that she could practically drown in for eternity. She lost herself in those eyes almost every time he looked at her. She'd blamed it on the fact that they were so contrasting to his pale skin, his white hair. But the truth was; she adored those eyes. They were so expressive, so easy to read, even when the rest of him wasn't. She'd learned what each shade of blue meant and it was rare that he could deceive her with a charming grin if he wasn't actually very happy.
Okay, so she didn't exactly picture a future with him. But Lady had never been one to plan ahead. She tended to live for the moment, living each day as it came. Being in her line of work meant that thinking of the future was a dangerous thing. Besides that, neither Dante nor she were ones for settling down. Marriage was laughable and the thought of children, in all honesty, scared Lady. She wasn't a motherly sort and she certainly didn't think that her way of life would be suited for motherhood. No, in that she was selfish. She wasn't prepared to give up demon-slaying for anything. Though who knew, maybe if she found herself in that situation she'd realise there were things more important than killing demons.
However, she'd come to realise today that his annoying little quirks were becoming rather 'cute'. She'd begun to notice more and more frequently that he tried to wind her up just so that she'd get angry and he could fight with her. It was almost like he got some sort of perverse pleasure out of doing it.
She didn't always find it cute, however. It all depended on what sort of mood she was in at the time. If she was in a good mood she'd play the game, if not then she'd just get angry and end up wanting to throttle him.
"Mary? Mary, what's wrong?"
"Nothing. I'm just tired, that's all."
Kate pushed open the door to a little café and they took a seat by the window.
"I know you've never been one to open up much to anyone, Mary, but…"
The devil hunter looked up, her mismatched eyes flaring. She wished Kate would stop calling her that, but what could she say? That she'd adopted a new name given to her by the son of a devil? People just didn't change their names. She sighed deeply.
"So what was all that about back there? A thief?"
"To be honest, I don't know. I wasn't quick enough to find out. Had to crawl across a rooftop to get close enough but by then it was too late."
"Don't apologise, I've got plenty of other clothes." Lady forced a smile.
"Is it because of what I said earlier? I'm sorry if I was being too forceful. It's been a long time since I've had any single friends to hook up." She smiled apologetically.
The waitress interrupted them, smiling helpfully.
"Yes, two coffees, strong." Kate ordered, fishing around in her purse for some money.
"Kate, what you were saying earlier, about how you know when you're in love…"
"Were you just making all of that up?"
"Of course not. Have you never sat and read any romance novels? So many authors writing the same things and so many similarities with my own feelings. Not all those people can be wrong."
"Mary." Kate smiled widely. "Are you telling me you do have some guy in mind, after all that fuss you made?"
Her face flushed. "No, no of course not."
"You can tell me. Is it that tall, white-haired man?"
"Kate! Seriously. I was just curious, that's all." Lady took the cup of coffee from the waitress and took a gulp, wincing as it burned her tongue. Great, not only did she have to battle with these confusing thoughts, she also had to convince Kate that she wasn't in love with the 'white-haired man'. She wasn't even sure if she could convince herself of that.
Kate smiled. "Okay, but if you ever need me to play matchmaker again, be sure to call me, okay?"
Lady choked on her coffee and sent her a look that had Kate laughing.
"Listen, I'm going to church tomorrow morning, but how about I come and see you again before I go, alright?"
"That'd be nice." Lady replied.
She said goodbye to Kate and headed back home, feeling tired and confused. It wasn't only her feelings she had to worry about either. She also had to worry about her rent. She'd not had a decent paying job in the last couple of weeks and almost all her money had been spent on food, fuel for the motorbike and repairing her weapons.
She found her bike parked outside of the café and started it up. The bike's purr turned into a terrific roar as she revved the engine and wearily she guided it through the streets back home.
By the time she got home she barely had enough energy to roll into bed. Her eyes closed and within a few minutes she was asleep.
And when she woke in the morning she could remember vague dreams of Dante seducing her, flattering her and…
She splashed water on her face, rubbed fingers roughly through her hair and pulled back the blind to peer out across the street. Rain. Wonderful. Like humans, demons didn't seem to like rain that much, maybe because there were less people to kill out on the streets. Either way, things weren't looking up. However, Lady wasn't one to try and give up and within half an hour she was out scouring the neighbourhood for any rumours.
Dante, on the other hand, was still fast asleep; his face buried in the pillow, snoring lightly. Not even the sound of an argument across the street disturbed him from his tranquillity. In fact, he probably wouldn't have moved at all if hunger hadn't got the better of him. Eventually the pains in his empty stomach shifted him from his sleep and had him padding bleary-eyed across the room.
"Okay, so what's for breakfast today?" He pulled the fridge open and peered inside. It was practically empty. Empty apart from some milk that was well past its use by date and some vegetables that Lady had put there to encourage his diet a few weeks back. He hadn't even given them a glance and he didn't intend to now.
"Looks like I'm going shopping." He grunted.
Dante wasn't one for shopping. He tended to prefer take-aways just for the fact that cooking wasn't his strong point. But breakfast he could usually manage. Bacon was easily fried and eggs easily boiled. They were foods created for men like him.
He was crossing the street by the church when he heard someone calling his name.
"Dante? It is Dante, right?"
The devil turned and glanced down through bangs of straggly hair. "Do I know you?"
"No, but I've heard about you." She smiled prettily.
"Oh really?" Dante, interest perked, put on his charming smile.
"Yes, you know my friend Mary, right?"
Again, confusion struck the devil. Mary? He didn't know anyone called Mary. Then again, if he pretended he did, he might get a chance at a date with this pretty blonde. "Sure I do."
"My name's Kate, she might have told you about me? I went to school with her. I met with her yesterday, in fact I'm planning to meet her in a moment if you want to tag along? I'm sure she wouldn't mind."
"Oh, sure." His hunger was forgotten, still not making the connection.
"So who was that villain you were chasing yesterday, the one with the hat and cloak? Mary said she didn't get there in time to find out. He did look awfully mean."
The realisation who Mary was hit Dante then. It hit him like a ton of bricks, rendering him utterly speechless. Was this woman actually talking about his Lady? Of course she was! It had been so long since he'd heard anyone call Lady anything but the name she had adopted that he'd all but forgotten there had been a time when she'd lived so differently. A time when she had been a normal child with parents and friends. He understood that loss well. Too well.
"Uh, no, I didn't find out much, really. Hey, so you knew La—uh, Mary at school, huh? Got any embarrassing stories to tell?"
Kate laughed. "I don't think she'd be wanting me to tell you anything like that."
"Of course not, that's why you have to tell me."
"No, she'd never forgive me."
"She wouldn't find out, come on, I can keep a secret."
"Sorry you'll have to ask her yourself. Oh, there she is, Come on." She tugged persistently on his sleeve.
"Uh…no, sorry, I can't. I've really gotta go grab a bite to eat."
Kate gave him a suspicious look and then a smile crept up onto her face. "Okay, be that way, but before you go, can I give you some advice?"
"What's that?" He stirred, impatient to get going, not wanting Lady to see him talking with her friend and getting the wrong idea.
"She may act tough but she isn't, you know. Not really. Be careful with her, okay, that cold exterior is just a disguise."
"Yeah, I know."
"Then give her a smile or a kind word every now and then. It's not too hard, right?"
"You try living with her mood swings day in and day out." He smirked. "See yah." And then he was off, away before Lady could turn and see him.
Kate watched him go, admired the swagger of his step, the shining brilliance of his hair and the comforting smell of leather and soap. There was a dangerous but intriguing aura about him and she saw exactly what Lady must see in him. Yes, they didn't know it now, but they were obviously made for one another.
"How did it go?" He didn't look up from the television as Lady pushed the door to Devil May Cry wide open and let it close behind her.
She sat beside him, sighing deeply. She didn't know why but she felt a little down. Maybe because seeing Kate again had brought back old memories. Maybe because she realised how much she had missed out on, how luxurious a normal life seemed.
She stared into the television screen, not seeing the images past her dismal thoughts.
"So I guess you aren't going to elaborate?"
"Well you certainly are cheery today." He took a gulp of beer and licked the froth from his lips. "I would have thought you'd have been happy to see your friend again before she left."
"I was, but now she's gone and nothing's changed."
Dante stayed silent but the noise of the television filled the gap between them.
"Actually something has changed. I realised today just how much life sucks." She stood, crossed the room to the fridge and without asking, popped a can of beer and took a gulp. Lady had never really enjoyed drinking all that much. She liked to keep her wits about her, liked to be able to think and act clearly and quickly. Alcohol would leave her vulnerable so she avoided it at all costs…
…Unless she was feeling particularly depressed or she felt comfortable enough to let her guard down somewhat.
Dante made a mock-angry face. "Hey, what do you think you're doing, rooting through my fridge and helping yourself to stuff that I brought with my precious money?"
"I see you never ate those vegetables I brought for you."
He pushed himself off of the couch and strode towards her, shaking a mocking finger. "I'm on a strict high-calorie diet. Always have been."
"Oh please, don't give me that. Someone needs to show you how to cook proper meals for a change."
He slipped the beer from her hand and drank.
"And someone needs to show you how to relax. Seriously babe."
She snatched the beer back and gave him a wry smile. "Relax? When is there time to relax? Do you realise how bad work has gotten lately? My rent is due tomorrow and I've got nothing. Every day is spent looking for work, chasing up opportunities. People don't realise how lucky they are living their normal lives."
"Nothing is stopping you from living a normal life if it's what you want."
She shrugged. "I don't know what I want." She took another drink. "What are you watching anyway?" She hoped he wouldn't notice the change of topic.
"Dunno, a drama or something."
"Not really, but it passes the time, right?"
She sat back on the couch and he slumped beside her. "So am I right in assuming you're hanging here to avoid paying your rent?"
"Mainly." She replied. It was better agreeing to that than admitting that she just didn't want to be alone and that he was the only person she could turn to.
So, together they sat and drank the evening away, depleting Dante's newly purchased store and leaving them both slightly drunk, Lady more so than the devil. She barely even cast a look at him, but he found himself staring at her. Her face was lit by the television screen, flickering bright and then dull. Her head was bobbing as she fought back sleep, her eyes glossy from the alcohol.
He smiled, devilishly. Should he? Should he really?
"Hm?" Her eyes turned towards him, heavily lidded.
"If you're thinking about staying, I've only got the one bed. I mean, I don't mind if you want to share...but the temptation…"
"So you'd take advantage of my current state of mind? How nice of you." She sighed. "Look, I'll head home and save myself a whole night of teasing."
"Woah, woah, where are you going?" Drunk as he was, he suddenly realised that what he'd meant as a playful joke had somehow been taken completely wrong. He should have noticed that there was something off about her. But he didn't, not until it was too late. Now she was leaving.
"If you want a woman in your bed then go get yourself a whore, Dante." She slammed the door and headed out into the cold.
She definitely wasn't in the mood for playing along with his games.
But no sooner had she stepped outside then she was being grabbed by a pair of strong, cold hands. She tried to struggle, tried to scream but her head was fuzzy and her throat thick. She let her head loll back, looked up into a pasty face, into pale eyes tucked beneath a dark hat.
She gave a dry smile. "I wondered when you'd be back." And, despite herself a tear slid down her face. This was all Dante's fault, allowing her to drink so much and then treating her like some object that he could use for a night. If he'd just kept his mouth shut then she'd still be there, comfortable and warm.
Instead she was out here, waiting for death.
"I suppose I should congratulate you for being so smart." She managed to slur.
The demon, of course, said nothing. He just smiled his quiet smile, the stitches in his mouth covered in blood from their last battle.
"Hey, it's nice of you to help out a vulnerable woman, but that's my job, right?"
Her heart did a little flip. Dante!
The demon dropped her to the ground, whirling around to face his new opponent. He found himself looking down the barrel of a black pistol.
The bullet shattered through the demon's skull and in the next second he was nothing more than a spray of ash scattered to the winds.
"I changed my mind." Dante said as he helped Lady to her feet. "I think I can resist temptation for one night." He winked, offering her one of his most 'charming' smiles.
Usually those smiles didn't work on her, but either the alcohol had worn down her defences or she was just submitting to the fact that actually she did want to stay.
"Fine, but try anything funny and I'll see to it that you'll never get it up again."
"Ouch. That's a little harsh considering I just saved your life."
"I never asked you to." She remarked as he led her back through the doorway.
To be continued...