Warnings: Nothing new… hm… petite chapter?
Do I really have to say again that D and Dante are not mine? (Those ingrates are glad of it! But they will pay, my precious… oh yes, they will…)
=^_^ = Tons of love to my regular and dearest readers, and of course I also thanks the anonymous ones (get and account so I can pester you, ehem, I mean: to thank you properly!).
Special thanks to my dear friend Zophiel-Lagaze, for the never-ending parade of horrible ancient roman (and other cultures) names, which inspired the end of this chapter.
The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence,
rather a condition of it.
Vergil came out of the dressing room, a smug smile gracing his arrogant and serious face. Dante admitted he looked good (he had to: they were identical twins); and while his now happy and chic snob of a brother asked Albert for some other things, D came out.
Heavenly beautiful, AND well dressed… That should be taboo.
And he did not look comfortable, although maybe just Lefty and Dante were able to tell it. Dante thought it was because now he knew the signals (after all he had made the dhampir VERY uncomfortable once; and he would do it again, if only D would cooperate). Or perhaps it was due to the great amount of time he had devoted to look at him (he just could not get enough, and there wasn't TV in the Frontier).
- You look good —said the Demon Hunter, grinning at the lovely sight, and D almost looked at him with contempt and frowned… almost.
He was wearing black pants that looked like they were painted on him (nothing new there), but that almost lacked purpose being covered as they were to half the thigh by a godsend pair of equally black boots. The vest was black too, long-sleeved and made of at least two different fabrics, giving it a nice contrast; it also had elegant details made in silver at the front and in the tall mao style neck, matching the grey of the soft and very classy scarf. The belt, of course, matched the boots with a lot of black leather and metal as a final touch to accomplish a look of "wild but aristocratic", and oh so sexy even with the armor parts on, all thanks to Albert, who had refused to sacrifice style for security.
Dante felt like telling D to change again: how was he supposed to stay away from him looking so yummy? Albert looked like a horde of vampires could rip him apart right there, and still he would die a happy man. Vergil was reciting a silent mantra (don't look at his buttocks, do not look at… DON´T do it, you idiot!), while at the same time trying to look cool and disinterested.
He didn't manage it, and cursed the excellent cut of the tight pants.
For his part, D felt manipulated and just a little insecure, which was so terrible new that he didn't know what to do exactly (blushing was not an option); that demonic smile seemed to steal away his willpower. And what was a small change of clothing in exchange for being the subject of such a smile? Little, really, but he didn't want to put much thought into that, especially about the why he cared to see that smile or not directed at him… So, D chose to ignore it to the best of his abilities, as usually.
Lefty sighed, resigned. Truly, D could be a child sometimes, but there was no way to explain colors to the blind… Dracula-senior had made a real number on his son, no doubt about that. The carbuncle also chose to remain silent about it: if he dared to talk in that moment, D would change clothes quicker than a striper could take them off… And he had lived too damn enough with a bad dressed host.
The gorgeous (and now fashionably dressed) dhampir put on his hat, covering that lustrous and long cascade of dark dreams that was his hair, and, as always, the wide thing shadowed his face; then he did the same with his old coat. Albert's eye twitched, and Dante suppressed a laugh, but thought it inevitable: D seemed to truly love that hat, and even more the weathered coat and its mysterious contents.
More clothes later (Albert insisted in the need of a change of clothes for his peace of mind, on his pocket's treat) the trio was outside with a considerable bunch of bags.
- Hmmm, all that shopping made me hungry —declared Dante, and he directed his steps to the restaurant where he had ate the first time.
Vergil didn't protest (he was hungry too, and Dante had saved him the trouble of announcing it). The dhampir did not like the reminder of his own hunger, but maybe —he thought—, some solid food would help. When they turned around, D knew he would find the exact moment in which the sun disappeared on the horizon: he could always feel it, like an ache leaving his entire being, reminding him he belonged to the darkness…
Vergil Sparda didn't cry, but he took in the scene with some genuine delight. He also noticed something that before his freedom had just being a vague feeling. He searched for the right word, and promptly found it: Desolation. Dante noticed right away the look in his twin's eyes and change in demeanor, and it didn't surprise him; he had had similar thoughts two years ago. That land just did not feel like home; not even like planet Earth. It was a barren place, with jaded and callous people, always on the bad edge of life… and the air itself was full of it.
They walked in silence, but then Vergil spoke, in a serious and flat tone, looking sideways at the dhampir at his brother's right:
- How did it come to this…?
Vergil loved to study the history of humankind; he used analyze with true passion the actions and consequences of the great personages of each era; how they had shaped the course of their world and the destinies of millions. It had been in that same passion that he had started to hate humanity… those weak creatures should not be the heirs of the Earth, or at least that was what he thought some years ago. He had truly had believed that demons were the rightful masters of the planet, but now…
As if they were connected, Dante also looked at D, and the prince of the vampires felt trapped between equally icy stares. But what could he tell them? My father is an asshole? That would be a good summary, but he didn't think it was enough.
Suddenly they were in front of the restaurant, and Dante talked, carefree as usual:
- I have been told that vampires are to blame for everything wrong in this hellhole; if you have something to add-up, we'll ask for dessert.
D almost smiled, but his firm lips stopped in time. Was it so wrong to feel comfortable with that pair of very human like monsters? He should have urged them to re-stock for the travel and the battle ahead, but instead they were calmly entering a restaurant… to eat and have an unpleasant chat: two of his least favorites things to do.
He admitted he wasn't in a hurry to destroy Valcua again… Was he lacking off, after more than five thousand years of devoted death, destruction and infinite solitude? Was he capable of emotional exhaustion? Was the fact that he refused to answer himself an indisputable proof of the former questions?
Maybe Dante was to blame. It was easier to ignore the loneliness that was devouring his hearth when he didn't have anything to compare to…
The place of our final battle still flows in a place beyond your reach.
You should continue your journey, D...
Your spirit is strong, but too soft. And that is why…
D cursed his father, redirecting the guilt to him, as always. He wished more than anything to exterminate him, but it looked like an impossible task. Enduring six thousand years of tests and unimaginable hardships and horrors had not gotten him closer to his goal, so…
- This is not the first time I had suggested it —said Lefty, interrupting his thoughts, audible just for the dhampir's sensible ears—. But you should take a break —his voice took a lecherous tone when adding—: Preferably in one of those new pleasure centers of the Capital. Do you have an idea of what we could do in there with your stash of gold?
- Shut up —was the nonchalant retort, as they closed to a table in the farthest zone of the place.
- You really have to update your retorts —grinned Lefty, although his host truly had him preoccupied... He, most than anyone, saw the cracks; he just hoped D never truly broke.
That world did not need another Valcua.
The owner of the place had his third commotion in a row when seeing that unbelievable trio sitting in one table as if it were normal currency. Dante looked as what he was: an unusual Hunter, very attractive, and so sure of himself that few knew how to react to him. Much later, Vergil passed in the town's gossip as a mysterious politic of the Capital, and so everyone treat him with deference.
D, as always, caused more than one case of dry eyes, but it was obvious that people didn't know what to do with him, more than ever. Lagoon had told them that he was his guest, so they could not start to sharpen the stakes and cry: Noble! Lefty almost laughed; after so many years, he had forgotten one of the reasons D never dressed decently (besides his awful taste in fashion): it just made ridiculously obvious his aristocratic appearance.
And, as every human born in the Frontier knew, a profane beauty + stylish attire + too pale skin= vampire.
Vergil almost cursed his new resolution of embracing his humanity, but he restrained himself at the looks and increasingly louder murmurs of those impudent humans. The blue clad twin gave them his second best icy look, and the gossipers felt silent almost instantly. Satisfied, Vergil returned his attention to the nervous waiter.
Dante (ignoring all but the menu), asked for his usual triple order. Vergil chose something healthy and easy for his stomach, and D was looking at the said menu as if he couldn't read it. The last time human food had touched his lips was more than five years ago, and 50 since Doris Lang and her dumb idea of offering solid food and sex to a dhampir…
- In doubt, dessert! —declared Dante, awfully happy. He was in a good mood, and he didn't give much importance to the fact that it was because D looked adorable while staring at the menu (or that he wasn't wearing those hideous clothes anymore).
- Don't be a child, Dante —said Vergil, all seriousness—. In accordance to our next mission, proteins and carbohydrates are the right choice.
The darkness given human form did something he usually never did: he gave up.
- You pick something —said D to the parasite, with all the might of his indifferent countenance.
- Hmmm… —Lefty almost licked his lips in anticipation—. It is a shame I can't order a juicy steak… I hate your stomach!
- And why is that? —wanted to know Dante; Vergil also gave him his attention, but D only offered two succinct words:
- Dead blood.
Lefty —after much whining—, ordered soup, a salad and something that sounded suspiciously like lots of sugar and carbohydrates. His host didn't notice, and Dante decided not to denounce the parasite (he also loved candy).
The waiter left, and Vergil picked up the ugly topic of the current sad state of the Earth. D seemed to be contemplating the answer: it was complicated and long, but at last he spoke, looking from one to another pair of gelid blue eyes:
- Vampires had existed since the times of the Babel Tower, and since those days they have had one King: He —the dhampir pronounced the word like a curse—, is the one called the Sacred Ancestor.
- Dracula —said Dante, just to enlighten his brother of what he had come to know from the chatty carbuncle. He never expected to see a glimpse of fury passing D's grey eyes, turning them even colder…
He is the son of Dracula, but never ever said that aloud again
if you don't want all Hell to break loose…
Dante cursed himself and waited for, well, all Hell to break loose…
And nothing happened.
D decided to control his temperament, just this once, and continued talking as if he had not just heard THAT accursed, hateful and despicable name:
- Having been born as a human, He —again the emphasis, almost a warning—, ordered vampires to hide among mankind until the chosen day. He knew human race would ultimately come to destroy itself, and it did: in the year of 1999.
Vergil took this news as a bad hit to his recent convictions, and almost without wanting to, he turned to see his twin: Dante didn't looked shaken, and that cheered him up a little. D continued in the same soft and unemotional tone:
- Someone pushed the button and launched the full-scale nuclear war that the human race had been warned about for so long. Thousands of ICBMs and MIRVs flew in disarray, reducing one major city after another to a white-hot inferno —D made a pause. He had read it from the archives of his father, in Castle Dracul; but it was weird telling the story to a pair of guys who came from a time before said story—. The survivors barely made it. Their numbers totally insignificant, they shunned the surface world and its toxic atmosphere and were left with no choice but to live in underground shelters for the next few years. After a thousand years, civilization itself plunged back to the level of the Middle Ages; it was then that vampires, who had kept themselves hidden from the eyes of man and lived on in the shadows, arose. They remembered a civilization the human race could not, and they knew exactly how to rebuild it. They had a hidden superpower source that they'd secretly developed in fallout shelters of their own design, along with the absolute minimum machinery required to reconstruct civilization after the absolute worst came to pass —D felt like he had never before talked so much, and it was really weird, but now he had to finish it—: And so, civilization was rebuilt and the tables were turned for vampires and humans. They gave the world a sprawling civilization driven by super-science and sorcery, dubbed themselves the "Nobility", and subjugated humanity. The automated city with its electronic brain and ghostly will, interstellar spaceships, weather controllers, methods of creating endless quantities of materials through matter-conversion—all this came into being through the thoughts and deeds of them and them alone.
It was too much to digest, but Dante wanted to know just one more thing at the moment:
- And how is it that they are not still running things?
- The golden age of vampire dominance lasted for just five short millennia —answered D—. It took them another 5 thousand years to decline as a species, and now they serve no other purpose than to terrorize humans and head to extinction.
Vergil shook away his partial numbness in light of these almost casual words. He once had thought demons could —and should— inherit Earth… But here, now, someone was telling him it has not worked for the vampires (which, for him at least, were very much like demons).
- Why? —Vergil needed to know; it felt like a matter of life and dead, and he totally forgot to be haughty and cool when asking this.
- Nobody knows —was the very disappointing answer. At seeing the identical pair of frustrated faces, D felt he owned a little more, and added against his nature—: Vampires belong to Death… they don't posses the same spark that humans, and so…
His own words tasted bitter in his mouth. He had know it for a long time, but to say it aloud was not pleasant…
- And where is Dracula?
Lefty barely restrained a "shhhhhhhh!", and then waited for the explosion… he hadn't heard that name in millenniums; those twins didn't know what they were doing…
- He is not of your concern —the dhampir spoke very lowly, and Vergil immediately thought of T. S Elliot: "This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper." Even so, he wanted his answer, so he insisted—:
- Not of my concern? Dracula orchestrated the apocalypse of MY home; and Valcua kept repeating that name, but now I don't know if he was talking about your father, or if he was referring to you; because, obviously, "D." is not a name.
Lefty could have run in circles, hysterical in his hideout, but the place lacked the proper elements; he was just glad he had went in there in time to avoid the worst squeezed of his career.
He was not sure the older twin could survive it…
This time it was more than a glimpse of emotion in that moon face. D's expression was ablaze with white-hot fury, and Vergil was stricken with a sincere and immediate fear; he, who had despised and laughed at Mundus, Lord of Hell… but that ghastly aura was directed solely at him, and it was like a sure promise of something worst than dead.
The only reason the place was not wracked in havoc by then, was because the dhampir still made and effort to control his temper. Vergil, who had never before surrendered to fear and, of course, wasn't going to start now, pretended to say more…
And suddenly, faster than lighting, there was a broccoli in his mouth.
D blinked, his anger nearly forgotten at the comic and absurd sight. Vergil coughed out the offensive vegetable, and turned irate (and blushing equally furiously) to look at his twin. Dante shrugged and said, with no remorse whatsoever:
- Really, man: you don't know when to shut your mouth. Wouldn't you be upset if your name were Dracula Jr.?
Lefty started to cough violently.
D felt as if Hell had frozen, melted and then poured over him… He looked befuddled at Dante, not knowing if he wanted to laugh or to dig out his heart with a conveniently close spoon…
- What? —the youngest twin asked, trying not to laugh—. There are worst names, like: Pánfilo, Filemón, Hajenobarbus, Ulpino, Anacleto, Longo, Vergil… As Murphy says: it can always get worse.
R! E! V! I! E! W!
(And now imagine the Sparda twins on cheerleader uniforms!)
** The laaaarge explanation of "how the boring Frontier came to be" was almost textually copied from Book 1 of VHD (starting with "Someone pushed the button..."). I thought it would be nice to put it there, for those who are not familiar with the novels (and for those who are not familiar with the series at all ^^).