Its Own Sort of Elegance


Summary: Kyrie deals with grief, thinks about the Devil Bringer, and begins anew.

For the first time since the downfall of the Order, Nero was home when Kyrie woke up in the morning.

He had been hugely busy in the days following the destruction of the Savior, fighting demons almost constantly from the time the sun rose until late into the night. He had beaten back the demons when no one else had been able to. Most of the other Hunters of the former Order had all been too injured or shell-shocked to put up any resistance, so Nero had gathered as many as could still fight (and there had been pitifully few for a town that had prided itself in its demon-slaying prowess) and defended Fortuna's remains. For more than a week, Kyrie had only caught glimpses of him when he returned to the city's fortified center to eat, and she'd heard many whispered rumors that he no longer slept because he was Devil-touched.

Kyrie knew that he slept because she would find his bed sheets rumpled when she checked his room every morning.

She made his bed as well as her own daily, one of many chores she had come up with to keep her distracted from what had happened. Her entire life had been upended and a third of her family had been lost and she was still too close to the pain. If she let herself think, she knew that she would become mired in her own grief, and that was something that she didn't want. So she kept herself busy, cleaning the house that was now shared by one less person, cooking for the people who weren't lucky enough to have a house to return to (even though half of these people would gladly murder her remaining family), and tending to the injured people who had no one else to look after them.

In those early days, Kyrie came home later and more exhausted than she ever did when she had sung for Order. She only had the energy to eat a small dinner before she fell into sweet, dreamless sleep.

But now, over a week later, Nero was home past sunrise. Kyrie had thought that conditions had been improving, and Nero's presence confirmed it even if he was unresponsive and deeply asleep.

Kyrie entered the room quietly, as was her habit. Mornings had always been quiet, even before the Order fell. Nero wasn't a morning person, Credo had always been consistently stoic throughout the day, and Kyrie had favored peaceful mornings. Keeping her mornings quiet and peaceful was one way Kyrie held onto the past, when her family was whole.

Nero was sprawled on his back on top of his rumpled sheets. He was greatly different in his sleep from how he behaved while awake. His entire body was relaxed in a way that he never was while conscious and his breathing was slow and even.

But, Kyrie noted with a degree of sadness, even asleep Nero was ready to spring to action. The Red Queen was propped against the wall near his bed, the Blue Rose laid within easy reach on his nightstand, and, even though his limbs were splayed wildly, he would not become tangled in his sheets if he needed to suddenly jump out of his bed.

The Devil Bringer stuck out over the edge of the bed, parallel to the floor, the orientation of the elbow joint keeping it from dangling down perpendicularly.

Kyrie wasn't sure how she felt about Nero's changed arm. She was fairly sure it had changed somehow during his conflict with the Order, but other than that she knew almost nothing about it. In a way the arm was a symbol of everything that had gone wrong in her life. Once it had appeared, Nero had begun fighting the Order, fighting Credo, and Kyrie's peaceful life had fallen down around her. But the Devil Bringer had also come to mean something good as well, it was what had kept Sanctus from his twisted goals and what continued to keep the people of Fortuna safe. It was what had allowed Nero to save her.

And the Devil Bringer was beautiful in its own way, Kyrie thought as she looked it over, even if the sight of it made some primitive, instinctive part of her want to run screaming. Nero had done his best to keep it hidden from her and the rest of Fortuna in the few times she'd seen him, but now, for the first time, she could get a good look at it.

It was about the same size as his other arm, and didn't look like what Kyrie imagined a Demon arm would look like. Before the Order's fall, if she had been asked to imagine the Devil Bringer, Kyrie would have thought of a misshapen, diseased arm, large and out of proportion to its owner. Instead the Devil Bringer had its own sort of elegance.

The Devil Bringer was slightly bulkier than Nero's still human arm with its burgundy armor. Kyrie wasn't quite sure of exactly what the armor was; it was nothing like the carapace of an insect or the scales of a reptile. The closest analogue she knew of was the scutes of alligators and crocodiles, but even then it wasn't quite the same. For one thing, both alligators and crocodiles lacked the protective extension of armor that covered Nero's elbow.

But despite its glaring and obvious differences, the Devil Bringer still bore similarities to the arm it had changed. The basic shape and size remained unchanged as did (thankfully) the number and positioning of fingers. And the similarities ran farther than that, like a human arm, the Devil Bringer's flesh was thinner and less armored on the inner side of the arm (more obviously, the less armored area was deep blue in color).

And then there was the hand. Now, Nero's clawed hand was limp, his fingers loosely curled, and the pale blue glow had dimmed and was barely noticeable in the morning light. Without the constant bright glow it looked more real.

On an impulse, Kyrie reached out and slipped her hand into Nero's. She noticed, with some surprise, that his hand was cool to the touch, the opposite of how it had been when they'd stood together in the ruins of the church's courtyard. Kyrie was suddenly reminded of how different the Devil Bringer was. She wondered how Nero felt, having this inhuman limb, and she wondered if he would ever tell her.

She gripped his clawed hand more tightly, and Nero had sat up, his human hand halfway to Blue Rose, before he realized where he was and who he was with.

For a moment he caught her eyes, but then looked aside. Before Nero could pull it away, Kyrie gripped the Devil Bringer with both hands. She knew he could have easily pulled away, but he didn't.

"You're home." She said with a soft smile.

"Yeah." Nero agreed; tired, confused, and hopeful.

He sighed and there were a few moments of comfortable silence before Kyrie spoke again.

"It's getting better, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it is."

A/N: My second venture into the DMC fandom, I would love some criticism on this. Mainly it was just an excuse to have a detailed description of the Devil Bringer, but grieving and that bit of dialogue at the end worked its way in. I think Kyrie's growing on me...