A/N: Lookit me, uploading something new instead of updating a story...sorry about not updating any of my open stories lately you guys. Lack of updates can be blamed on the fact that, as you all should know, F.3.A.R. was released recently and I've been replaying the first two F.E.A.R. games, so my mind is kind of in that world. Maybe I'll write something for that in the near future...we'll see.
In the meantime, I have this. I'm trying to get back into my DMC groove. I haven't really written anything solidly DxN in a while. I have two possible stories, both with the same theme that you'll see down below, but I'm not sure if I should go with this theme. I figure, I'll let you guys read what I have here and have you decide if it's worth continuing or if I should take it down and try something else. If you guys DO want me to continue it, it'll be edited, extended, and renamed to have a proper title before I add to it. Or it could live as it's own disjoined oneshot.
So reviews are even more appreciated here you guys!
Disclaimer: Devil May Cry and its characters belong to Capcom.
It was over.
Nero knew that. It was a plain and simple fact. A fact that had been clear for months now…almost a full year. And yet there he stood once again, staring up at that garish neon sign with its flickering 'D' feeling a sickening mixture of dread, false hope, and resignation. Once again he was standing on the stoop of Devil May Cry, and once again he was questioning his own sanity at being there. Yes, he'd lived here for a time. He didn't anymore. Not really. He didn't want to be back living here either. Or maybe he did….
No. Definitely not.
If it's so obviously over, then why do I keep coming here? Nero thought, gritting his teeth in frustration; frustration that was directed mostly at himself; because though Dante had his faults, the half-devil who owned this business had nothing to do with why Nero kept torturing himself by returning.
The young man raked his gloved right hand through his hair, tousling the white strands further. He found himself looking around a bit anxiously; as if afraid someone would see him so hesitant. Or worse, just notice that he was here yet again. As usual, there was really no one on the deserted side street. In the distance he could clearly hear people moving about, talking, cars driving past, smell the thick smog of pollution in the city air, nothing at all like the sweet salt in the ocean air of Fortuna. How Nero wished he hadn't left. He'd managed to stay there the first time he left Capulet city, and Devil May Cry, for a whole four months before he found himself inevitably drawn back. He always ended up leaving after a week or so, but the gaps in between his returns home were growing shorter and the time he stayed here inevitably drawing out longer.
Nero always told himself it was just because after being trained to fight and having demon blood in him, the excitement from hunting devils called to him. Fortuna, for all its faults, was a peaceful place now. Unfortunately, that also meant it was mind-numbingly boring. The demons around there were few and far between. What was left of the Order's guards could easily handle them.
That had been the appeal of coming to find Dante in the first place. Nero remembered just needing a change, needing excitement back in his life. The thrill of the hunt, the adrenaline that pumped through his veins, letting go of his control and throwing his all into a no-holds barred fight…it was a strange bliss. He knew Kyrie hadn't fully understood, but she knew he needed to leave, and she'd let him. That first time Nero had gone to find some kind of adventure, and consequently ended up staying with Dante, the songstress had smiled at him from the doorstep, waving and saying she'd wait for him to return. She'd had such faith in him. So much patience for the rebellion that was in his very blood.
And though he never told her all of what had transpired between him and the infamous Son of Sparda during that following year, Kyrie had sensed the change in him the instant she'd opened the door upon his return to Fortuna. Nero didn't have to say anything for her to somehow just know. He could see the dawning realization in her eyes after the first couple of days. She saw how distant he'd been, how restless. How hurt…
She figured out for herself that whatever potential for a blossoming relationship between them was gone.
Because Nero had fallen in love with someone else.
Perhaps 'love' wasn't the right word, Nero amended his thoughts. He wasn't sure he'd ever been in love with Dante. In lust maybe. While at one time the young devil hunter might have thought the two of them had a relationship, in the end all it came down to was sex.
Nero heaved a tired sigh and turned his back to the double doors he'd yet to approach any closer than a step. Instead of entering, he slid his duffle bag off his shoulder and let it fall to the street with a heavy thump before seating himself on the bottom step of the stoop leading up to those looming doors. He sighed again as he rested his elbow on his knee, chin laying in the palm of his human hand while the still gloved devil bringer tapped out a listless rhythm on his thigh.
If he could think of anywhere else to go, Nero would gladly go there. Any other place but back here. He knew how it would play out. He would walk in; Dante would probably be napping behind his desk. Either the older man would wake up or not, but either way, he would just acknowledge Nero's return presence as something inevitable. They would pretty much ignore each other for a few days, and then eventually fall back into a satisfying rhythm of hunting demons. And they did make a great team, Nero admitted that. When they were on a mission, their history together was a benefit. They could practically read each other's minds and move accordingly. They were swift and efficient together, and it worked for them.
Sadly, that same connection they had on the battlefield translated into the more domestic setting as well. Once the battles were over and they returned to this shop, their history completely flipped around and became the worst possible thing they shared.
It must have been some form of a pack mentality that made him come back here, Nero decided. Because even though his demon side drove him to find some way to alleviate the burning desire to hunt, it didn't want to do it alone. He would end up coming back here to Dante, the host of the only other devil in the world he trusted.
The arrangement would work fine if it weren't for one other pressing fact.
Dante and Nero couldn't stand each other.
First few days were always the best. They got along by ignoring each other. Once they started hunting together, though, they would be forced to speak or interact closely in some way and for some reason that just made them fight. Their demon sides may still be at peace with each other, but their human halves couldn't dislike the other more.
Nero looked up at the gray sky as it darkened further and the ominous rumble of thunder warned of incoming rain. He remembered that when it rained here, streets tended to flood. Particularly Slum Avenue. Either he sat here and brooded and got wet, or he gathered his things and went inside. Where the inevitable would repeat itself like it always had. And always would.
Before he could make a decision one way or the other, Nero internally groaned as he heard one of the heavy doors behind him open. He didn't have to look over his shoulder to know who it was peeking out at him. Just like he didn't have to wait long for who it was to speak.
"You going to come in, or just sit out there and pout?" Dante asked. Even his voice was always the same. That mild baritone carrying the underlying note of airy exasperation, like it was a chore to even bother speaking because whatever he said or asked was always rhetorical. Unless he was trying to get someone to leave him alone. Only then was he really direct.
Nero sat up straight and rolled his shoulders. The temptation was great to just get up and leave…but where was he going to go? Back to Fortuna? He was always called back to Capulet by some masochistic force inside of him, but in all honesty, he didn't want to be in Fortuna anymore. After things fell apart between him and Kyrie, she'd settled with someone else. She obviously wasn't as happy as she was with Nero, but she and her new husband seemed satisfied with each other. Nero always felt like he was an interloper on their little circle. The proverbial fifth wheel, or rather, third wheel in this case. Neither told him he wasn't welcome. They always kept his room unoccupied. But Nero knew they felt just as awkward as he did staying for long periods of time.
Fate was just determined to make him have to tolerate Dante.
"Well are you coming in or not, kid?"
Nero clenched his jaw as he grabbed the straps of his duffel and turned to walk up the three steps leading to the double doors. Though Dante stepped back to let him in, Nero purposefully chose to use the other door, keeping as much space between them as possible.
"So it's going to be like that, is it?" Dante asked, again in that same tone that implied he already knew the answer.
The younger man scowled and sent the half-devil a dark look. In that one second he could tell that in the few weeks he'd been gone, Dante hadn't changed a bit. His pale hair was still a mess, piercing blue eyes half-lidded and unsurprised to see Nero again. And damned if the young hunter didn't still find him attractive. Nero let himself seethe over that fact before he dismissed Dante completely and went straight for the stairs, jogging up them to the spare room. Just like with Kyrie and her husband, Dante kept the room open for him. Because he knew Nero would always be back.
Unlike with them though, Nero thought as he tossed his bag on the floor and flopped onto the narrow bed, staring up at the dark ceiling as the first drops of rain began to patter on the roof, I feel like I'm supposed to be here.