Credits to my twin brother for inspiring this.
Procrastination draft. Written while listening to Cascada's 'Every Time We Touch'.
I tried to make it cool. Did I fail? Nah, can't go wrong with Dante ;)
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Read your heart out.
"I have a job for you."
Dante lifted luminous blue eyes from the thick, neat roll of money shoved into his hand to give a curious look at a pale, jittery Lady leaning against his desk. There was something different about her - not just the jitters, but something else. Maybe she got new shades, or done her hair - he couldn't pinpoint what it was exactly, but it was disturbing. He dropped his feet onto the wood floor with a tedious thump, and made a casual gesture with the cash.
"What's the catch?" He asked suspiciously.
"I don't know if there is one." Lady said curtly. "All I know is that some powerful magic is being used to bring back the dead. Dark magic."
"It might interest you, dumbass," Lady said. "Evil is being raised from the abyss and my suspicions are that it's an army being recruited."
Dante let out an impatient sigh. "Yeah? Why would that interest me, Lady?"
"Besides the fact that you are the only one who can stop them?" Lady said and peeked over the rim of her shades at him. "Take a guess who is at the forefront of this diabolical scheme."
"Sparda." Dante said.
Lady shook her head. "Your brother."
Dante stared at her unblinkingly for a long moment, and resorted to an offhand shrug. "Sure, I'll take it." His fingers tightened around the wad of cash. "What's their location?"
Lady pushed a map across the desk at him with her fingers. "Try to make this worth the pay."
"I thought you'd be joining me." Dante said, giving the map a quick look before getting to his feet and holstering Ebony and Ivory.
"I've been through this once. I don't want to go through with it again." Lady said vaguely. "Besides, I can't join you. They've taken Kalina-Ann."
"What?" Dante balked, and scowled at her. "I knew there was something different about you today. So you want me to bring back your baby, too?"
"Without a scratch on her." Lady said with a slight nod, and a small smirk. "Not too big a job for you to handle? I could always get someone else..."
"Nah, it's cool. I've got this in the bag." Dante cut in and brushed past her toward the door.
When he found the location, it wasn't exactly what he'd expected. Dante found himself wandering down a narrow, foul dead-end alley in the settling dusk. No doors, no abandoned building, no trapdoor. They must be working in a different dimension – figures. Else he was sure he would have picked up on his brother's presence. Vergil and his perfect little vendettas against the world. Tch.
As soon as he thought it, Dante came face to face with a portal. He could barely see it in the dim light, rippling like a pool of water suspended vertically in the air in front of him. He reached over his shoulder and drew Rebellion. Feeling the secure weight of the blade in his hand, he heaved his shoulders, sucked in a breath of air, braced himself - and stepped through the portal.
The air around him crackled and buzzed, and then the water consumed him. His skin prickled and he watched himself burn away; skin peeling back like scorched paper, little sparks of ember floating away with what was once his body. His eyes ached and stung, and he forced them shut; the water forced itself up his nose and down his throat, spreading through his lungs to his stomach, searing into his bloodstream and flooding his innards. He pushed forward, and broke free of the hellish portal. His senses came rushing back by tenfold; traffic not far off and a million voices talking over one another rushed through his ears, the strong and definite aromas of pizza – and was that the loving pungent smell of strawberries? - wafted up his nose and tickled his taste buds, and sent an eager rumble up from his stomach.
Dante opened his eyes, Rebellion held ready, but what filled his vision was unlike anything he'd ever come across before. His body was changed. His skin felt warmer and looked less perfect – and real. It was hard to describe it other than that one word. Real.
And he was surrounded by kids – boys and girls, and some he couldn't tell the difference – dressed in the weirdest getups that rivalled even the Jester's attire. The second he thought it, Jester came strolling right past him with Trish linked on his side.
"Hey, Dante," Trish said, sending him a playful wink on her way past him.
Dante trailed after them a few steps and stopped to really look around him. There was Nero – two Nero's. Three. Four Arkham's. And a sea of red and blue... Dante edged forward, his grip firming on Rebellion's hilt. Was that Vergil and...and him?
His lips rounded in a disbelieving 'o'. A pudgy looking Lady bumped into him accidentally, and Dante shifted himself out of the way to weakly lean back against a wall. For the love of pizza, what the hell was this? An army of evil – an army of reject clones?
He knew Vergil was easily manipulated by demonic forces, but to think his brother would be nuts enough to succumb to a plan this unconventional and malevolent... these were just kids.
Children running around swinging swords – and there were two of them, one dressed as Vergil and the other dressed like Dante, involved in a fight. People were backing up to watch. They were going to lob each other's heads off. Dante moved forward, pushing his way through the crowd to put a stop to the madness before someone really got hurt, and picked up the pace when one shouted, "Why do you refuse to gain the power of Sparda!?"
"Because my soul is telling me it wants to stop you!" The boy in red responded.
Dante brought Rebellion down when their swords met. Both boys retreated suddenly, taken aback, staring at their mutilated swords. It took Dante a second to realize their swords were plastic coated with smooth foil. Toys.
"You guys suck!" A female voice jeered, followed by a murmur of agreement, and several opposing opinions, before the crowd around them dispersed.
"Dude, what's your problem?" the Vergil clone snapped.
"Eh...tch..." Dante muttered, sheathing Rebellion on his back awkwardly.
"We do not!" the Dante clone retorted to a petite girl, with a sea of black hair entwined with red ribbon coiled around her head and down her shoulder, and dressed in a long cream trench coat. "Like you can talk! You're not even cosplaying, so who the hell are you to judge?" The boy said ruthlessly.
"Cosplay?" Dante repeated to himself, now thoroughly lost.
The girl undid the buttons of her coat and pulled it back to reveal a skin tight, sexy black leather number. She arched her eyebrows at the guy, and whipped out a pair of pink pistols with impressive speed, aiming them at his head.
"Suck it up, Dante – you just got owned by Bayonetta," the girl said, and pulled the triggers. Water squirted in the guy's face, who sputtered and backed off quickly.
"Yeah, right," Bayonetta muttered and turned to Dante with a grin. "Nice sword. Is it real?"
"Uh, last time I checked." Dante said.
"How'd you get past security with it? Don't let them catch you with a real weapon. They'll kick you out of here faster than you can say 'let's rock'."
"I'm looking for..." Dante paused, and rubbed the back of his neck, flustered. "I'm looking for Vergil. I heard he's the brains behind this getup."
"He is?" Bayonetta's eyes grew round in surprise. "I've got no clue. There's about a hundred Vergil's running around, who are you looking for?"
"My brother." Dante shifted on the spot uneasily. Something wasn't right here.
"Right, what's his name? You could always go over to the information desk and ask them to call him over the intercom." Bayonetta said, gesturing in the direction of a white booth smack in the middle of the convention.
"His name is Vergil." Dante said, and pressed his hand to his forehead. This was going to be a blast.
"For real? That's weird." Bayonetta said. She lingered for another moment, watching him strangely, then patted his shoulder. "Want to grab some strawberry sundae with me?"
"No, I've got work to do..."
"Oh, c'mon! What kind of Dante are you if you say no to a free strawberry sundae? Dude, come on. I'll help you find your Vergil straight after, okay?"
Dante hesitated, and reluctantly caved in. "Yeah, okay."
They got takeaway ice creams – tiny ones that wouldn't even touch the pit in his stomach, a real tease.
"Is this your first time at a cosplay convention?" Bayonetta asked, studying him curiously.
"Maybe. I've seen a couple of nutters try on Sparda time and time again," Dante said as they wandered around the busy rooms. "But nothing like this."
"I thought you looked a bit nervous." Bayonetta grinned at him. "If it helps at all, I think you're the best Dante cosplay to walk the earth. Really, I mean that. You look exactly like him. Is that your natural hair colour?"
"Yeah." Dante said, giving her a sidelong glance. Were all these kids insane?
"Heh, that's funny. You know Reuben had to dye his hair to look like Dante."
"The dude that does Dante's mocap and voice over in the game. Come on, you're kidding right? You don't know who Reuben is? Reuben Langdon?" the girl prodded, and stared at him as though he was the crazy one. "You're joking!"
"What game are you talking about?"
"Devil May Cry!" Bayonetta stopped to really gape at him. "You don't even know what gaming character you're cosplaying? What is wrong with you?"
"Gaming character?" Dante repeated, and let out a long, heavy breath. "I'm a gaming character? Wonderful. This is the shit you get when you mess with alternate dimensions. Listen, babe, I've gotta find my brother so I can get the hell outta here."
"Okay." Bayonetta said thoughtfully, and turned away from him abruptly. "Well, if he was here, I'd have noticed. He's not. You might have the wrong alternate dimension."
"I knew there was a catch," Dante grumbled, and gave the girl an assessing look. "I guess that means there's no Kalina-Ann here either. Great. What a waste of time."
"As opposed to what – hibernating in your office?" Bayonetta said snidely, and smiled sweetly when his eyes flashed at her sharply.
"What would you know?"
"I know where Kalina-Ann is."
"Yeah? Fess up, lady, I don't have all day." Dante said impatiently.
"She's right there." Bayonetta pointed, and Dante followed the direction.
A line of glass display units were situated against a wall, and Dante strolled over to it. Life-size figurines were in each case. One of Vergil. One of Dante.
"Not too bad, right?" Bayonetta said next to him.
"Not bad at all," Dante said, giving the figurine of himself another one over before moving on to the next. And there she was – Kalina-Ann, in all her slick black glory, mounted up with secure blocks of wood. "There you are."
"Can I just say, run like hell when you've got it?" Bayonetta said.
"Why? Like anyone here is gonna stop me?" Dante smirked.
"You don't know the power of fangirls and fanboys united. They'd want to knock your head off, because everybody wants these, and nobody's got the cash for it. You think they'll just let you waltz out of here with that?" Bayonetta said, nodding at the rocket launcher.
"Like I said, who is gonna stop me?" Dante repeated.
"Hang on, I've got a plan. Seriously, don't touch it until I get back." Bayonetta said, and melted into the crowd. Dante watched her disappear, and turned back to the glass case in front of him. He took out Coyote-A and held the barrel an inch from the glass. Finger on the trigger – the shot fired and glass shattered, the exact instant an ear-splitting siren deafened the room. People started running, their screams muffled over the siren, and then the girl was beside him, swatting him on the head.
He faced her and got ready to tell her off, but she motioned to her ears, the fire alarm screaming, and then gestured frantically at Kalina-Ann. Get it, get out. Cool, that suited him just fine. Dante swung the rocket launcher over his shoulder, and made headway back to the portal without looking left or right. The silence the portal brought with it was soothing, and even though he felt like something had been stripped from him when he stepped back into the alley, he felt at home.
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