Warnings: Daddy!Dante, Son!Nero, Annoying/Sweet!Patty, Maternal!Trish (to both, as in no romance), Cursing, Gore, Violence, Death, spoilers for DMC1, 2, 3 and 4 as well as the anime. Foul, Foul language.

Unbeta-ed currently. (Like seriously, unbeta-ed until Jason gets a hold of it, beware!)

I fixed the fanart info for the last chapter.

Last Time: Disney made an appearance, Nero won ice cream and homework was left to the last moment.


Like Father, Like Son

Session 8

Inheritance

The sound coming from his own mouth could hardly be recognized as human. From where he was chained, Credo arched violently against his restraints, body a perfect 'c' as he desperately tried to escape the burning within his own body. The pain was incredible. Never, in all of his years, did the seventeen year old think such pain was even possible. The teenager had no idea what they were doing to him; except that he was sure it was killing him.

Agnus – the bane of his existence – jotting notes down furiously from where he stood safely ensconced behind safety glass. There was sizzling sound and Credo was only just lucid enough to make out the smoke that seemed to be pouring out of his skin. Not for the first time the Faith Traitor wished he would just die. Die so he could finally sleep and escape the never ending pain.

This…this…whatever the hell they had been doing to him had been going on for months, ever since they'd caught Credo trying to escape to Port Black. The brunette sagged, the manacles around his wrists the only thing keeping him vertical. Credo let out a groan, ignoring the way the metal bit into his flesh as let his body go completely limp. The pain had ebbed till it was only a whisper of the hell it had been before.

For a moment – one desperate, crushing moment – he thought they were done for the day. How could they not? How could they possible surpass the hell he had just experienced? But Credo's hopes were dashed at the all too familiar pink-scrap-shhhhhhhh of the metal door of his prison being pushed open.

A single eye, unnatural in both its amber color and glowing brightness, snapped up to stare at the approaching scientist. He recognized the man as Josiah Wisk, a colleague of his father. Credo had gone to school with his twin daughters. His eye locked immediately onto the large, 100mL TCLP syringe full of disgusting, slothfully swishing sludge that glowed a repulsive khaki color, before locking on the greying man's composed face.

There was a spike of coolness against the side of his neck as an alcohol pad was swiped against it. Credo stared at the man, silently begging Wisk to remember the many after-service dinners the two families had shared. To remember that he had dated the elder twin Hanna for a short time. To remember that he was once Ezra St. Claire's best friend.

There was a flash of something in those brown eyes before Wisk dropped his desperate stare, a flush on his cheeks as a tongue darted out to wet dry lips, a nearly silent exhale of 'I'm sorry' that the brunette could only just hear. Then there was the uncomfortable sensation of pressure breaking against his skin as the injection was issued and Credo let his head hang loosely against his chest in defeat. The teenager winced as he felt the awful feeling of something that had the consistency of peanut butter being pushed into his blood stream.

Credo closed his eyes, lips quivering as he forced himself to recall better times.

A breezy summer day when his family had been happy and whole and full of love. The feel of Kyrie's little hand in his own as he walked her home from school. His father's proud smile when he'd made Knight Junior Grade. The cool touch of his mother when he'd been struck ill years past. The warm weight of Nero's lissome frame against his own, limp and so trusting as Credo put him to bed.

He tried – so very hard – to hold on to those images as the pain began again.


"Dante!" A shrill voice cut through the music blaring throughout the shop. "Neroooooo!"

From where he was attempting to finish his math homework, Nero looked up and grinned as Patty came rocketing into the shop, all poofy blonde hair and smiles. Dante chuckled as his kid let out a laugh as the smaller girl tackled him. The little girl had spent the last three months abroad with her mother while Nero would never admit it, the half-devil knew the preteen had missed her. Dante smirked as his kid hugged her back tightly, the red dusting his checks visible from where he was methodically cleaning and reassembling Lucifer. He shared an amused look with Trish from where she lounged. At their exchange, Nero blushed harder and gruffly pushed the girl off him, ignoring her howls of protest.

The hunter gave the blonde a cheerful wave. "How ya been, Patty?"

Dante received a prattle of happy answers. He watched, amused as his kid looked the blonde up in down in confusion before interrupting the stream midsentence.

"What the hell are you wearing?"

From the couch, Trish choked on her wine, turning into a cough to cover her snickers. Patty wore a simple long-sleeved grey dress, paired with high knee socks of the same color and simple black flats. The outfit was devoid of the frills or glitter or lace or anything that usually made it into Patty's wardrobe. Even her hair was in a simple braid with no ornament or snappy hat.

"Huh?" Patty glanced down, her hands pulling her skirt out wide, "You don't like? I have to wear it because I'm in training."

There was a shit ton of warning in her tone, paired with a withering glare, but Nero was…well…a soon to be eleven year old boy and completely missed the signs.

"Training?" Nero wrinkled his nose in disbelief. "You're too dumb for training."

Patty's eyes flashed – the air around them bustling with barely suppressed power. "Hey!"

Trish gave him a long look and the hunter rolled his eyes in acknowledgement at the threat, making his way over to the two an whacking his kid on the back of the head even as he placed a placating hand on the petite blonde's shoulder.

"Don't be an asshole, Nero." Dante said, "Patty's in training to be a priestess, like her Mom, right?"

"Yep!" Instantly, the teen year old's spirit seemed to be restored, the power dissipating as if it had never been there. "This uniform had been worn by trainees forever!"

Nero looked ready to object – because it was Patty, Patty who was as graceful as a stick and spent all of her time watching day soaps – but Dante sent him a warning glance that silenced his protests. The last thing the half devil wanted was to deal with a pissed off mini-priestess going off on his kid.

"How long you in town for, Patty?" Trish asked, gliding her way over to them and giving the girl a one armed hug.

"Only for the weekend," the blonde said sadly, "so I was kinda hoping I could stay here while my mom does her research."

Both hunters perked up.

"What kind of research is she doing, sweetie?" The blonde demoness asked smoothly as she played with the lengthy braid.

"Well, I'm not really sure, but she said the stars have been crazy for the last month. 'Specially over the skies of Fortuna Island."

At the name Nero had gone completely stiff, cornflower blue eyes widening before narrowing. "Yeah, well your mom doesn't know shit."

"What?" Patty sputtered, staring at the boy like he'd grown a second head.

The smaller half devil just glowered at her, turning abruptly and storming from the room, the back door banging loudly behind him. Icy azure eyes followed his retreat in minor annoyance. His kid had been an absolute nightmare lately. Trouble at school, rude to customers – hell, even to Trish, which practically equated a death sentence, the preteen had been seriously pushing all of his established limits. It clearly had something to do with his old life, and it wouldn't piss him off so much if Nero would just tell Dante what the hell was upsetting him. Instead, the kid had been throwing tantrums left and right.

As it was, it was getting to the point that Dante was about ready to Have A Conversation.

Patty stared after him in hurt confusion. "Nero…? Did I say something wrong?"

"Of course you can stay here, honey." Trish smoothly redirected, pushing the girl towards the phone. "Why don't you call your mother and tell her it's alright?"

Dante shot his longtime friend a look of thanks before slipping out after his kid.

There wasn't a backyard, really, as much as there was a narrow strip of cobblestone with a cheap six foot fence that separated it from the alleyway behind the shop. The fence door was unlatched and open and Dante slipped out into the alleyway just in time to see Nero navigate around his convertible and head towards the street mouth. The hunter let out a sharp whistle and his kid froze mid-step, glaring over his shoulder.

"Where do you think you're going?"

"I needed some fresh air."

Dante snorted. "Try another. Get your butt over here and tell me what's going on with you. You've been acting squirrely all week."

Nero's eyes narrowed. "I'm going for a walk, Patty's being annoying."

Blue eyes flashed warningly, gloved fingers snapping before pointing roughly at the spot in front of him. "Get over here."

A scuffed sneaker took a single step backwards. "…no."

Dante growled warningly, a finger pointed threateningly at his kid. "Not another step, I mean it, kid." Another, less hesitant step. "Don't you dare –Nero!"

The preteen was a blur of blue as he shot out of the alleyway mouth. He only made it a few steps before Dante had yanked him backwards by his shirt. Nero let out a snarl and swirled, a clawed hand digging into flesh as he attempted to escape the iron-clad grip. The hunter hissed, tossing Nero bodily behind him. The kid skidded on the pavement and rolled, using the momentum of the throw to leap to his feet and shot off to the other end of the alleyway.

With a roar, Dante tackled the small frame, grabbing Nero by the scruff and shoving him against the back wall of the shop. With pitiful ease the older half devil immobilized Nero against the brick, one large hand wrapped threateningly (though lightly) about the back of his neck while the other held his arm twisted roughly backwards. He yanked the kid around until he was pinned with his back against the wall, Dante's hand still pressing around his throat.

"Get off me, you son of-" The half devil snarled, aware that his eyes had bled scarlet and Nero – showing the first sign of common sense since he'd left the shop – immediately dropped his gaze, going utterly limp against in his father's grip.

"I don't know what the hell is going on with you, kid, but just because your upset doesn't mean you get to treat people like shit." Dante yanked him forward by the front of his shirt and pushed him towards the back door. "Go apologize to Patty – then get your ass in your room and stay there until I can look at you without wanting to kick your ass."

Nero grumbled but disappeared inside. From where he was standing, Dante let out a harsh breath, running a frustrated hand through his hair.

"Did ya get a good show?" The hunter asked seemingly to empty air.

From where he was perched on the roofline, Modeus shrugged and hopped easily down. "I suppose."

"Tch. How the hunt go?"

"Well." There was a pause. "You handled that correctly, Dante."

"Did I?" The half devil said with more than a measure of annoyance, eyes still glowing an angry scarlet. "I still have no idea what he's upset about. I mean, what the fuck was that about?"

Modeus gave him an amused grin.

"Puberty."

"Excuse me?"

His friend gave a short laugh, patting the hunter on the back. "It starts younger for us then humans – and lasts longer. He'll be challenging you more often the older he gets. What happened just now had nothing to do with what was upsetting him."

The hunter just stared at the dark demon mournfully. "You're telling me he's going to be like this for years?"

"You were considered a nightmare until your thirties, were you not?"

"Damn't." Dante ran a frustrated hand through his hair. "I could not have been that bad."

"Have you seen your juvenile record? Because apparently Trish has, and the stories-"

"Shut up." The hunter said darkly. "Look – I can handle snark, alright? I promise you, Nero ain't got nothing that can piss me off sarcasm wise. But he's clearly upset about something. Why won't he just talk to me instead of exploding all over the place?"

Modeus gave him a small smile, "Youth is an odd thing, milord. Go, talk to him, perhaps he will apologize."

"My ass he will, little punk."

The dark demon laughed. "Think of it this way, at least he is comfortable enough to act out."

"Yeah." Dante said flatly. "What a victory."


For a moment Credo almost couldn't believe it. He stared at the angry red welts around his naked wrists in shock. He was free. From where he was standing, Wisk looked just as shocked as Credo, the key in the scientist's hand still posed as if unlocking something. An amber eye glowed as it slowly turned to stare at the startled man and Wisk visibly shuddered under the intensity of his gaze.

- tear him apart for what he has done to us! Rip and shred and –

The teenager took a heavy step forward, the metal plating underneath his plate vibrating with the sound. A low rumbling was echoing from his chest and with no small amount of alarm Credo realized he was growling. The force of the realization caused him to tare his glare away from the shaking man, single eye narrowing in distaste. Credo let out a huff of irritation, shaking his head as if he could somehow shake out the wrathful voice that had become a constant in the back of his mind.

Shut up, damn you!

There was a heartbeat of silence and then the voice began again, through lower and slower as if a petulant child. Ever since that final night…the night where they'd taken him to the White Room, everything had changed. There were no more injections, no more experiments. They had finally reached the plateau of perfection they had been searching for. Agnus had called it an 'Ascension Ceremony,' the final step into ascending to an Angel.

Credo, however, recognized it as what it was.

How could he not, when the teenager had spent the majority of his youth hunting them? The Faith Traitor did not know how, but they had made him into a demon. Everything had become so much sharper – all of his senses. He healed at an astonishing rate. And Credo craved bloodshed in a way he had never thought possible.

From what his enhanced hearing had been able to pick up from the conversations on the other side of the observing window, Ascension was the sole reason why Credo had not been killed. They had experimented on him every way possible and now that they had achieved their success, Credo would be killed, dissected for scientific propriety, and top-pier Knights were already undergoing Ascension with a success ratio of three to one.

The exile had almost accepted his fate. What was life now that he was some artificial creature? But then, startlingly, Wisk had come and freed him. Some sort of guilt to his father, Credo was sure, but he accepted it nonetheless. The Faith Traitor gave the quaking man a sharp nod of thanks, before crossing the small room in three large steps. The metal doorknob crumbled like an aluminum can under his grasp and Credo pulled his hand away, brows furled as he stared at the damage before shaking his head and pulling the door open.

He stepped out into the abandoned hallway, eye blinking against the fluorescent lights, before making his way to up a short flight of stairs out into a small, poorly decorated elevator lobby. A guard was longing in a chair, booted feet propped up on a desk. His neck made a sickening crack as Credo snapped it, watching in disinterest as the man slid from the chair. The exile pulled the chair the rest of the way back, causing the body to collapse completely. The adult male was just a bit taller and wider than his lanky frame, but Credo stripped him nonetheless, wincing in distaste as the clean clothing stuck and tugged on the dirty stickiness that seemed to coat his body.

Wisk made his appearance shortly after Credo finished tying on slightly too large boots. He gave the horrified man a glance. "You should most likely leave this place while you still can, Mr. Wisk."

The scientist nodded, his eyes locked on the dead guard, only looking up when Credo pulled the discarded Order trench coat up with two hands. With his strange new strength, the teenager easily pulled off a strip, tying a makeshift eye patch to cover his mutilated eye before pulling the jacket it on.

"The weapons my father were working on, they are still down here?"

The scientist jumped a foot in the air before nodding. "T-Through the last door to the right, third door on the left and first on the right. It should, uh, be abandoned at this time of the night."

"Thank you, Mr. Wisk. I think it best if you are gone before I return."

Credo made short work of the distance – long legs moving at a pace a beat faster than he had ever done before. His father's workshop was just as he remembered it and for a moment Credo could only stand in the doorway, glancing about the space as his heart ached. But time was of the essence and somehow the teenager managed to make his grief-stricken limbs move again.

Black King rested proudly alone on the weapon rack, the black and grey metal shining even in the dim light. It was a Great Durandal, with an Exceed system unlike any other sword currently made save its unfinished sister sword. It was highly complicated work and Credo was somewhat surprised to see it had been completed after his father's death. Reverently, the brunette brought Black King down, running his hands over its blade edge, watching curiously as it did not slit his skin as it should have, before sliding it into its frog, the sword hanging heavy from his slim waist.

The teenager could almost hear his father's excitement as he showed the blueprints to Credo on the dinner table, much to his mother's ire.

Ezra, who had made his fame first as a diligent researcher and then a complex engine-weapons designer, had been commissioned to make weapon sets for the Vicar's Right Hand, the Commander of the Holy Knights, Elam Rolands and his Left Hand, his Holiness private bodyguard, Alvah Thames.

One set – the set his father had been the furthest along with had been completed, while the second had been left unfinished. Most likely because they did not know how to complete them with it being so far from being finished. Red Queen, the sister sword, lay incomplete. Credo snorted at the Order's incompetence before sliding the unfinished blade on his back.

By the time he returned to the lobby, Wisk was wisely gone.

The elevator ride was a short one but Credo used it as a moment to center himself. He loosened Black King from its frog and rested his hand on the hilt, gaining comfort from it. The doors slid open and the newly made devil stepped out. The Junior Grade sitting behind the desk gave him a double take before slamming his hand against a button under his desk.

Credo winced at the overly-loud wails of the alarm system. He moved towards swiftly towards the door, knowing as well as anyone else in the Order that once the alarm sounded it would take the Knighthood less than a minute to converge on its target. Credo had participated in the drills after all. The Junior Grade side stepped into view, Durandal level with Credo's face.

"Don't move, demon!"

The brunette stared from the fear-bleached face down to the shaking sword tip pointed at him before sighing. It took him only a moment to put a name with the familiar face. Jeremiah Anders. He was an age-mate of Nero, only a few years older. His younger sister had been a playmate of Kyrie. Their mother had had Credo watch over them when they were all too young to play outside alone. "I do not wish to harm you, Jeremiah."

The Junior Grade paled even further before spitting at Credo's feet. "How dare you use my name, traitor!"

There was the sound of pounding feet on marble and the brunette felt his shoulders sink slightly at the sound. "I will not warn you again, remove yourself from my presence, boy!"

"I will not!"

The lobby was slowly filling white hoods, angry faces, false bravado and hidden fear.

"A hard fight to get out of here." The Faith Traitor mumbled to himself, single eye trailing over the twenty or so Knights that had filled the atrium. The majority of them were Junior Grades, though, and most were barely over the age of twenty, placed on the unpopular night shift.

We can take them.

Credo hesitated – he knew almost all of these men. Had trained with them, had fought (beaten) most of them. Many the teen had once called friends. Could he…could he really bring himself to kill the men he'd once hoped to serve with? The ones he had dreamed of leading?

They betrayed us! Remember our sister! Our brother!

That's right, Credo thought, his grip tightening, I still have to find Nero. But…they're my friends. How can I-

In front of him, Jeremiah sneered, finding his courage in numbers. "You've brought this on yourself, Credo! Always so high and mighty, always preaching! So much better than everyone else – look at you now!" The teenager was heaving, eyes burning with years old jealousy, seeming unaware of the mixed looks he was receiving from his fellows, "They'll put you down like the dog you are – and then your stupid, freak of a brother too!"

As soon as the words left the Junior Grade's mouth, he seemed to realize he made a mistake. But it was too late. The smell of rotten eggs seemed to billow out from where the silent exile stood, his right hand twitching on the mammoth Durandal's handle.

"That," Credo ground out, a crimson eye snapping to stare at the frozen teenager, "was not wise."


Cool blue eyes drifted lazily around to take in the slumbering contents of his living room. Lady was curled like a kitten in his leather recliner. The recliner was Dante's – a Christmas gift (and the first gift) from Nero. No one ever sat in it but him. Except when Lady was over. She was such a sadistic bitch. Patty was sprawled across the huntress' lap, her face nestled against a large breast. Dante – god help him – had only just managed to keep a comment from escaping that would have gotten himself smacked by one of the girls or even Nero, who seemed to have a low tolerance for the hunter's perversions. Across from her, Modeus and Trish were out on the couch, the blonde woman comfortably snuggled up against the dark demon's side.

Nero was completely pliant against his side, one thin arm tucked in the small space between Dante's body and the couch cushion, the other still haphazardly grasping a half-eaten container of Chinese food. The kid had been on his best behavior since his outburst on Friday, even apologizing to Dante when they'd gone off to get food together. He still wouldn't tell the older hunter what was troubling him so much, but the half devil didn't need to mention 'Fortuna' to know it would send his kid into another moody tail spin. Honestly, Dante figured it had to do with the revelation a month ago about his heritage.

In the background, the sounds of a cheap horror movie (Nero's favorite kind) filled the quiet of the room comfortably. The smell of Chinese drifted from the container loosely held in his kid's demonic hand. The night air was cool, cool enough that the hunter had turned off the air conditioning and left the windows open.

There was no danger of theft – no one in this neighborhood was that stupid.

The hunter had known Nero for almost a full year. Fall was approaching again and with it the kid's eleventh birthday and the anniversary of their meeting. It seemed impossible that what he felt for the little bastard had only had a year to develop. Dante couldn't imagine the level of possession if he would have felt if had the kid for the full ten.

But fuck, the hunter still wish he'd had the chance to find out.

Dante carded a hand through hair so much like his own, and wondered if the intense love that he felt for his son didn't have a bit to do with his own vanity. The kid was a spitting image of himself, after all. A breeze cut easily through the open house, carrying the smells of the city with it, and Dante watched in fascination as goose bumps rose up along the length of his son's exposed arm. Next to him Nero let out a little sound, more of an exhale than anything else, and rolled, flopping his arm over top Dante's stomach as the container tumbled over the couch edge. It was at that moment it that it fully hit the half-devil.

Dante was happy.

Like, honest-to-god happy.

…That was kind of a big deal for him.

There was a soft grunt from next to him and Dante's eyes flickered over to the opposite couch. Modeus was awakening, black eyes doing a quick, calculated sweep of the room before carefully rearranging the sleeping blonde between his legs as he sat up.

That whole development was…strange. To say the least. The hunter shuddered as he recalled the conversation that had christened his awareness of the affection between the two demons.

"Dante, may I have a word?"

Dante glanced up from his parts magazine to find a (nervous?) looking Modeus standing before him. Trish was standing a few paces behind him, looking way too interested in her nails to appear as indifferent as she probably hoped. From where he sat on the couch next to him, Nero had stopped watching his cartoons, glancing up at the dark demon in interest.

Right.

Nothing suspicious about this at all.

"…yeah?"

"I would like permission to court Trish."

The hunter blinked at the devil as he felt his stomach flip in something that felt uncomfortably like horror.

Modeus was interested in mating with Trish. Who, from her blush (had he ever seen Trish blush?) seemed more then amenable to the idea. He wanted to…with Trish…who looked like his mother. Oh for the love of – the mental images! Dante couldn't help it, he shuddered. Next to him, Nero sniggered at his discomfort.

Dante took a swig of beer, desperately hoping when the beer bottle was done blocking his view he'd realize this was some sort of horrible nightmare. But alas, Modeus was still staring at him, eyebrow cocked.

Oh crap, he actually had to respond.

"And just why did you think you had to ask me for permission?"

"I have sworn fidelity to you and your house. Thus I must ask for you, as your line's head, for permission before I court. Besides that," A pale hand gestured to where the family tree poster board was resting against a nearby wall, "You have claimed Trish as a sister, no? Demonic ritual demands that I parley for breeding-"

"Stop! Just, yes, alright. And please, next time just assume you have my permission on these kinds of things, yeah?"

Damn Modeus for looking so damn amused. "So I take it you do not want us to seek your blessing if we decide to mate?"

Unbidden, images of the two of them coupling bloomed into his mind only to almost immediately morph into images of his parents and –

"Most definitely not."

Modeus gave a short bow, the dark haired demon still looking tickled at Dante's discomfort. He turned, taking a still blushing Trish by the elbow and lead her from the room.

"Hey, pops?"

"I don't want to talk about what just happened, kid."

"Hey-"

"I mean it. That was traumatizing enough."

"It's about homework, I swear!"

"Alright, what is it?"

"Should I add Modeus' name in next to Trish? I mean, now that they're doing the hot and dirty –" Nero let out a screech, desperately trying to scramble away as Dante launched himself across the couch, fingers instantly digging into the soft skin of his son' sides.

"You just wait until you have a girlfriend, pal," Dante warned his hysterically laughing son, "I'm gonna make you pay for that."

Nero had been insufferable, focusing on the hunter's awkwardness about the whole affair like the vicious predator he was and constantly making jib little comments. Dante had been forced to accept the development quickly for within a week Trish had been claimed – the heady smell of Modeus' power overwhelming the fading scent mark he'd placed years ago.

"Have I missed much?"

Dante shrugged, giving the dark haired demon a quick overview of the movie. "-so now they're trying to find a way to kill Santa Claus and save the children."

Dark brows furrowed. "I was under the impression that St. Nicolas was well beloved to the children of the mortal realm."

The hunter chuckled softly, his hand still gently stroking his sleeping kid as he explained to the confused man that Hollywood was pretty much running out of ideas. Modeus had (somehow) become a close friend. At first the two had been stand-offish. It was hard not to, with the dark demon's god-like worship of Sparda and Dante's own daddy issues. But after what had happened with Nero in hell…

Besides, he was a good guy. The demon Knight had quickly climbed in Dante's respect in the months he'd spent around the shop and participated in hunts. Deadly capable, honest to a fault, loyal to the point of irrationality, and utterly devoted to the continuance of the line of Sparda, the half devil had found in Modeus something that he had not even been aware he had been missing desperately – a male friend.

The fact that Dante knew he could leave Nero in Modeus' care and know that no harm would come to his unlucky kid short of Mundus himself storming the shop spoke volume of how much he'd come to respect and trust the devil. Nothing short of Modeus' death would lead to him allowing harm to come to either one the remaining Alighieri.

How could Dante not enjoy such blind fidelity?

Coal black eyes were currently roving over the slack face of his kid, thin lips pulled slightly in a smile. "I am happy to see the little one so comfortable at last."

"Yeah." The hunter agreed just as softly. "It's taken us a hell of a long time to get here, though."

There was a definitely ache of regret in his voice there. Dante struggled, sometimes daily, with the fact that his son had been separated from him so long. Again, the white haired man didn't know if it was a human or demonic (maybe both?) emotion. Modeus watch him carefully for a moment before a gentle laugh, sounding sweeter than a devil should have been capable of, filled the room. It was followed by a stare of affection that made the half devil almost uncomfortable. "The best things in life are hard won, are they not?"

Dante nodded in agreement, unable to hold that tender look and turned back to the television. There were moments, more in frequency now that they had become closer, where he was almost…unnerved was not quite the right word for what the hunter felt but it was close.

There were moments when Modeus looked at him and all Dante could think of was his father.

He wasn't quite sure how he felt about the fact that the Knight felt paternal towards him. It wasn't…it wasn't horrible though. Modeus was a wealth of information about the demon world, teaching him things about his heritage that Sparda hadn't ever had the time to impart to the hunter. Dante had found himself going to the dark haired devil for counsel more often then he'd like to admit; particular about Nero.

The half devil would never admit it, even in the safety of his own mind, that he may even enjoy the way Modeus acted towards him.

"He is a strong child, more than worthy of his grandfather's blessing."

Dante frowned at that, taking a full swallow of beer before letting his eyes flicker back over to the demon. "You believe it was Sparda he met then?"

There was a long silence and he was once again the subject of the devil's stare. Modeus cocked his head to the side, a look on his face that the half devil didn't quite know how to decipher. The stare down continued and Dante had to beat down his devil, chastising its snarls and demands for dominance.

Modeus was no threat to him.

The dark haired demon averted his eyes and instantly the brute in the back of his head was silent.

"There is no way I could know without having been there, milord. But from how Nero spoke of the encounter, I believe it so."

"So what, my father is wandering around hell as a ghost?" That was a depressing thought. Dante may not be overly fond of his old man but in his heart of hearts, the hunter had always hoped he'd found peace in death.

Black eyes flickered up to glance at him once more before dropping. "No, I do not believe that is the case. Tell me, Dante, what do you know of your father's devil arms?"

Blinking at the seemingly random question, the hunter felt his brows furl, not quick sure where this conversation was going. "I was under the impression that he never needed anything other than his swords."

"This is true," Modeus answered carefully, as if he was picking each word, a clawed fingers gently threading through lengthy blonde hair, "Lord Sparda's blades were beyond legendary. I was there when he forged Rebellion and Yamato." The older demon's face took a faraway look, eyes distant as he became lost in memories. "It was an awe-inspiring event to witness. But your father was already feared as a mighty enforcer of Mundus long before he had made even his blades. Before Force Edge, before Rebellion and Yamato he was feared for his Devil Bringer."

Dante startled attention fully on the older demon, eyes wide as excitement bloomed. "My father had another sword?"

He was practically salivating at the thought of a new Devil Arm.

"No," Modeus said slowly, "the Devil Bringer was not a sword. I have never seen it myself, your father had Force Edge for as long as I knew him. It was passed from heir to heir down through your father's line since before Mundus' rise to power. It was said that even the Dark Emperor was jealous of the Bringer's power and coveted it as his own. To this day, the only Arm more lusted after – above even Yamato – in the demonic realm is the Devil Bringer. The greedy search for it still."

"What has that got to do with Nero seeing my old man?"

That earned him a chastising glance before Modeus carried on. "The Bringer was a weapon of great power – so great that only devils of enormous strength could control it properly. If the inheritor proved too weak for such power the Bringer consumed them."

"What – you mean it ate them or something?"

The dark devil looked uncomfortable. "I am not sure. Like I said, I never saw the weapon myself."

"That's one hell of risk."

"There is more, I am afraid. If chosen, the Bringer bonded with them on a level never before seen in a Devil Arm. Like a parasite, it became so entwined with the one who held it that the only way to separate the two was through death.The Bringer was said to steal parts of its wielders very soul."

"That's…intense." Blue eyes narrowed, searching the thoughtful face for any sign of misdirection, "but I'm still not quite following you on why you think it had anything to do what I asked."

Modeus looked troubled, the hand petting Trish stilling. For a moment the devil seemed to be faltering, as if second guessing himself, his patrician features slanted with indecision. Well, Dante decided with a wry frown, that probably isn't a good sign.

"Modeus?"

"Lord Sparda once told me that shortly after he had inherited the Devil Bringer and had yet to fully bond with it, he was gravely injured in battle. As he lay there dying, certain that death was upon him an image of the previous barer – your grandfather, the Great Lord AureliusMarius, appeared to him."

"I have a –" Dante just barely managed to stop himself from finishing that incredibly stupid sentence, "– wait, like, as a ghost?"

A stiff nod. Some odd foreboding was crawling its way up Dante's spine, making the hair on the back of his hair stand up. He was suddenly aware, in a way that one was rarely aware in such moments, that his life was about to change. Radically.

"The shade destroyed the villains around your Lord father, charged him with keeping the line and faded away, never to be seen again. The Lord Sparda believed there to be a portion of his father's soul that still remained within the unbonded Devil Bringer, that in his great need Aurelius managed to materialize a form but in doing so, burned the cache from within the Bringer."

…wait. Wait a fucking minute. There was no way – he couldn't be implying –

"What the hell are you saying?"

Dark eyes flickered down to his waist. Dread had pooled itself, thick and heavy, in his stomach as Dante followed the glance to stare at the glowing appendage. His breath caught harshly as the full extent of what Modeus was implying sunk in.

"I have seen the growth on Nero's arm only once before-"

No.

"-in your Lord father's devil from."

The hunter's grip tightened on the sleeping boy so much that Nero let out a grunt of annoyance, the sharp tips of his claws pricking easily through Dante's shirt and against his side warningly.

"Dante,"

No.

"When it reaches full power,"

No, no, no.

"-if it does not kill him-"

- kill him?! -

"-they will come for it."


Next Time: There is (yet again) paranoia all around, Dante demonic side has some major feelings of neglect, and a Traitor takes his first steps on a foreign land.

So yeah, both boys have sorta gotten an inheritance, though perhaps Credo isn't really thrilled about his. He was being tested to find the process which makes the demons we see in the game and the Devil Bringer/Sparda's appearance is sort of explained. Expect more later.