Hello! Welcome back to the wonderful world of Dawnwind. I know this story has been declared 'complete', but reflecting on how much this story meant to me, and how it came to be, I knew I couldn't allow the original ending to sit. As I thought about the original ending, I noticed how short and rushed it actually was. 'Ew', I thought to myself, and thus the extended ending was born!
This year, after all, is about putting my best foot forward.
Note: This isn't a new ending. This is an extended version of the original ending.
Warning: Boy/boy ness, Hope falling for someone that's a bit older than he is...oh, and did I mention boy/boy ness?
Things just weren't the same.
Of course, some things hadn't changed. He still had his ferris wheel hanging from the ceiling, failing to provide any kind of cool breeze. His two co-workers were pitting their wits against each other in a game of pool, calmly handling their weapons of choice. Pizza boxes slept in the corners, only occupied by crumbs and pepperoni stains. Some things hadn't changed, but for the most part, things were unbearably different.
Flipping through the pages of a magazine, he reflected on the ever-changing spheres of his life. It had been two weeks since the downfall of Vergil's latest artwork. He had erased all memories of those present for the finale, save for the memories of his brother and his three teammates. Snow, Serah and his original comrades were the only ones cleansed of their harrowing trauma, and wouldn't be able to recall any of it if their lives depended on it. In erasing their memories, he also restored Hope Estheim's life, the life of Snow's closest friend, and Lebreau's arm. So much had been lost in the overwhelming battle against Vergil's minions, and they hadn't even been able to glance at Gibraltar.
Pages of scantily clad women no longer interested him. With a sigh, he propped his feet onto the desktop before him, listlessly flipping through lifeless pages. Devil May Cry was quiet on that day, as it had been for the last couple of days. Silencing Gibraltar and shoving Vergil off his stage might have been great for the world, but it was bad for business. In defeating the world's latest threats, Dante single-handedly defeated his own business.
Bleugh. Things couldn't have been any worse. Periodically, he wondered if Nero was bothered by his decision to erase a few sets of memories, but his young pupil showed no signs of frustration or anger. He accepted Dante's decision with a great deal of reluctance, all on Dante's behalf.
At least Nero was unbothered by losing his first admirer, Hope.
Three o'clock in the afternoon. Uncomfortable with slow, tedious environments, and equally uncomfortable with his superior's lack of energy, Nero tossed himself out of the shop. The young one was taking a stroll around Fortuna, while Dante resigned himself to tapping his desktop. A magazine was cast out of a bored customer's hands, forever fated to sleep on the floor.
Ah well. At least someone was happy. Surely he was already married, or planning the wedding. The master slayer was able to make the ending he wanted, so could he really complain?
"Hey, dreamy eyes! Pay attention!"
He returned to reality with a gasp, instantly jumping to attention. "What's up?" the master hunter asked, folding his arms. His young team mate sighed, rolling his eyes. Evidently his stroll around Fortuna had come to an end, and he felt the need to return to the shop.
"We've got a customer at the door! Has the password too. Might want to stop by and have a chat."
"All right, all right. About time we end up with a bite. Every graveyard on Earth has been more festive than this place."
Up from the chair Dante rose, heading towards the entrance of his shop. Nero observed him with a smile, plopping himself in his superior's seat. Emotionless, the master slayer opened the door to his shop, and-
His heart instantly plunged beyond the bottom of his stomach.
Snow stood several feet in front of him, breathless and ragged. The ivory white coat, the blonde bangs, the hat...it was all there, but all of it had been dragged through sleepless nights. The prisms of relief, pain and happiness danced in his blue eyes, while his heart throbbed viciously against his chest. He had obviously gone through night after night, wondering, thinking, trying to put pieces of a puzzle together.
The final piece of his puzzle stood before him.
Either time was sucked into a vacuum, he was sucked into a vacuum, or he fell onto a different dimension. In any case, he couldn't fathom what was going on. His insides were churning, his heart was boiling in a pit of fire-
What to say? What to do? How could he even breathe? He thought he had taken care of Snow! He should be happily married to Serah, off romping through the fields of flowery, matrimony bliss!
"You're here. So glad you're here."
"Yeah, but what are you doing here? Where's Little Miss Villiers? A little too early for an affair, isn't it?"
Snow smiled. The beautiful, kind-hearted Snow smiled. "I already told you," he said, his voice weary yet full of warmth. "I love you. You're the one I love. Serah's my friend. My sister."
Something new and strange blossomed inside of Dante's heart, and over his face. It was in the form of scalding hot, crimson red flames, and it was commonly known as-
"What happened? How did you-"
The blonde stallion chuckled, eyes twinkling the light of the moon. "I knew things weren't right," he said, his voice filled with regret and relief. "I knew my life was missing a few pieces, one particularly big piece. Every minute of my life, I tried so hard to recapture those pieces. I let Serah in on everything, too. We spent every minute trying to figure out what had happened, what I had lost. Then, all of a sudden, everything returned to me. And I ended up here."
Dante just stared. He stared at the panting, overjoyed Snow. He stared at the one that had worked so hard, so diligently, to recover their memories. Snow just smiled at him, eyes singing of rapture. He set out to accomplish a mission, and that mission had been accomplished.
He had found the missing piece to his heart.
"She wants to meet you," the Villiers said breathlessly, chest heaving. "She can't wait to meet you. The whole gang's with me, as a matter of fact. I set them all up at a hotel."
Dante tilted his head inquisitively. "So they're all back in the ring too?"
"That's right," Snow said, nodding. "Hope can't wait to see Nero again."
"Wow," the master slayer said, rubbing his chin. "Kinky. The kid's a small fry, but he's already got his game on. The two of them will make a pretty impressive picture, walking down the street."
Chuckles bloomed between the two of them, bright and bubbling with sunshine. "They'll be just fine," the blonde stallion said, beaming. "The only problem I see is Hope's father, but the guy's sweeter than apple pie."
"Really? That's funny. That's how I always saw you."
For a moment in time, silence burst into a golden field of flowers. A blushing Snow smiled at a beaming Dante, overflowing with the greatest joy. "You know," the Villiers said. "things wouldn't have been this difficult if you had just listened to me."
"I listened to you, all right. I just wanted you to change your tune. My life isn't exactly a tea party, babe."
"And neither is mine. But if I can share my life with you, I'll be all right. We'll be all right."
The devil slayer wrapped his arms around the other. "Don't say I didn't warn you," he said, his voice warm and velvety. Sunshine erupted inside of him as Snow completed their embrace.
"I'm not going to say anything," the Villiers said, his voice dropping to a sweet murmur. Their faces met, their noses touched, and then, for the very first time, their lips met. The two men melted into each other for a glorious, sun-strewn age, caressing and glowing underneath a newborn sky. Ten minutes passed before they broke out of their first round of kissing. Snow spoke with the brightest, warmest smile.
"I reserved a suite."
"Aw, babe," Dante said, face falling. "what a waste. Why did you reserve such a huge room for us, when all we're going to look at is the ceiling?"
"It'll make everything much more special," Snow purred. hands cupping the other male's face. Not another word was shared between the two of them.
After all, no one could speak while their mouth was entangled in kisses.