Title: Recuerdame
Author: the Angelic Position
Rating: PG (mild language)
Summary: A celebration of el Dia de los Muertos, and of moving on.
Archive: Fanfiction.net; all others, ask permission before reposting elsewhere.
Disclaimer: Devil May Cry and all related characters and events are the sole property of Capcom.

For M.K.: we will never forget.

- - - - -


First there are the candles, to light their way. He lights them carefully, cupping a hand around each new flame -- the pictures hanging on the wall above are old, and dry as the dust velveting their frames. In the fluttering play of light and shadow cast by the candlelight, the frozen faces seem almost alive again. From tintypes and miniatures and Polaroids and prints their eyes look out onto a place and a person they left behind long ago. He keeps his own eyes on the work at hand, for now.

Second come the flowers, yellow and orange marigolds whose scent is as sharp as their color, to call them with memories of the life of the senses. Easy to come by this time of year, with nearly every corner bodega spilling over with the annual tide of sunny gold -- he's not the only one with remembrances to make tonight. He places them in their bunches between the uneven rows of candles, their scent lingering on his fingers for a few moments afterwards.

Finally as always are the belongings of the dead, abandoned as with so much else with the flesh, and yet still holding on to some trace of the spirits long fled. The little things of daily use, ordinary and familiar as an arm or an eye; the only relics left to the living. A child's wooden practice sword, battle-scarred and dull as a spoon along the blade, a crude V emphatically gouged into the flat pommel. A rosary of pale sandalwood, its Our Fathers, medallion, and corpus in gold, the perfume of its worn beads mingling dizzyingly with the scent of marigolds. Last, his father's sword.

As he lifts the blade to lay it across the foot of the altar table, two reflections in its polished surface catch his attention: two faces, so similar to those in the pictures on the wall that they're almost reflections themselves. One of them is his own, and the other is Trish's. Dante grins in spite of himself and lowers the blade to the table.

"How long have you been standing there, stealth girl?"

She smiles, moving around to stand beside him. "Not long. I just didn't want to interrupt." Trish takes in the sight of the completed altar with an expression that's become familiar in this kind of situation, whenever she's fascinated by something new; her lips are pressed together tightly as if to hold back the barrage of questions rising to mind, but the way her eyes light up can't be suppressed so easily, if at all. He finds himself caught between admiring the way curiosity brightens her features and wondering if maybe she thinks it's a symptom of obsessive psychosis instead of a loving memorial display. Not that it couldn't be both in his case, probably. He shakes the thought off and takes the plunge.

"You like it?"

To his relief, she nods. "It's beautiful," she says softly, leaning forward a little to smell the marigolds, hair falling forward over her shoulders and perilously close to the open flames. Before he can warn her, visions of Trish en flambe leaping to his mind's eye, she straightens, nose crinkled at the unexpected strength of the flowers' scent.

"Is this something all humans do?"

"Watch out for your hair, you almost got it in that one. And some do, yeah. Actually it's a Mexican thing. I had to go to Texas this one time to do an exorcism in this little town, pretty close to the border, and it must've been around this time of year because this kid and a few of his friends got the *brilliant* idea of having a midnight Ouija board seance thing where the town gallows used to be." He rolls his eyes with a professional's contempt for the bumblings of amateurs.

"I guess one of the hanged men tried to repeal his death sentence?"

"You could say that, yeah." Idly running a hand over the flat of the blade on the table, his tone softens a little as he continues. "But all over town there were little altars like this, just kind of tucked away in all kinds of places. Like there was a really big one near the entrance to this one church, and another smaller one by the side of the road, where I guess somebody got killed in a car wreck or something." With both hands he adjusts the sword's position until its edge is perfectly parallel to the edge of the altar table. "And...I dunno, the whole time I kept seeing them I felt like...they were *right*, somehow. That that was the right thing to do, to sort of...give them a little someplace sacred. So that they can remember."

She glances at him sideways, eyebrows raised. "So *they* can remember?"

"That there are people here they loved," he says simply. "We don't ever forget that, or them...I just wonder if it's the same for them."

The air falls still for a while then, the quiet untouched save by the faint sounds of the street outside. Though neither of them seems quite willing to meet the other's eyes, it doesn't stop Trish from reaching out to take one of his hands in hers, or from moving closer to rest her cheek against his shoulder. He leans back against her a little, silently acknowledging the meaning behind her gesture, and for a while they stay that way, watching the candlelight dance across the faces in the pictures.

"...I didn't want to bother you with this earlier, but there was a call. Password and everything," she says eventually, turning her face up towards his.

"Who was it?"

"One of those cops who sort of knows what we do. He says there's some guy wandering around scaring the trick-or-treaters down on Meadowcreek Drive whose zombie costume is a little *too* good. It's probably just some drunk guy straying off from a party or something, but the cop said he'd appreciate it if we checked it out just in case."

"Shit, I hate this holiday. What time did he call?"

"Just a little before I came in here."

Dante sighs and makes for the doorway. "Well, let's get going, then. Grab the box of hollowpoints on the way out, we probably won't need 'em but you can never be too -- are you coming or not?"

She waves a hand at the altar. "You're going to leave these burning like this?"

The irritated look on his face temporarily lightens to a soft smile. "Yeah. I got a feeling they'll be okay, y'know? C'mon."

She follows him out, and with a quick glance behind that says she has less faith in the reliability of candles than he does, the dead are left alone with their memories and their silence.

- - - - -
Author's Notes: this piece was loosely inspired by Poe's "Spanish Doll", from her Haunted CD. I wouldn't call this a songfic or anything, but there are a few lines in it that could be relevant to the story.

I'm actually pretty proud of this one. It's not as melodramatic as my other two DMC stories, for one thing, and the dialogue feels fairly natural. Plus it gave me an excuse to write about the Mexican "Day of the Dead" holiday, although I did leave out quite a few of the traditional altar ofrendas. What can I say, the Sparda family doesn't strike me as the type for sugar skulls and booze...or at least the dead ones don't. I know Dante isn't Mexican, but I think devil hunting probably exposes him to a lot of different spiritual traditions, and it only makes sense that he might cobble together his personal beliefs from a hodgepodge of cultures.

I also know we have no way of knowing whether or not his mother was Catholic (although I have some ideas in that direction), but for the purposes of this story, let's pretend we do. It's a nice rosary, let the poor dead woman have *something*. :P

Wishing you an early happy Halloween and Dia de los Muertos,

P.S.: GODDAMN, I'm dumb -- apparently Dia de los Muertos is the day *after* Halloween. All that research and I forgot the date? Uh, well...we'll pretend Dante didn't know the right date either. LIKE ME, BECAUSE I'M A STUPID GRINGO.