It’s been a while. Well, I’ve been BUSY, if you haven’t noticed!
Muse for chapter: Over and Over – Three Days Grace.
Warning: general annoyance, typical fangirlism, disturbing obsessive behaviour.
Dante woozily wobbled across the street in the dead of night. The pink neon sign of his shop was shifting in and out of focus as he approached it unsteadily. He sank down heavily on the stone step outside his front door with a loud sigh, and pressed his hand against his forehead in a futile bid to keep his head from spinning.
“There you are!”
His head whipped up at the familiar voice – the sudden motion made him feel off balance, as though he was going to fall in the same direction of his head. A minute later, he did lean back on his elbows, and blinked hard at the person who had appeared beside him. Just a girl – a kid, from what he could guess – with shoulder length ice blonde hair and slit black eyes that looked back at him innocently.
“You look like crap,” the girl added, and Dante shook his head. Was he seeing things? He could have sworn that voice belonged to the black haired, leather clothed minx with that annoying British accent that had been pestering him all day. He closed his eyes and held his breath, counting to ten.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. He released his breath. Five. Wait, did I already count five? Damn, I lost count –
“Are you drunk?” He was poked in the ribs, and his eyes snapped open to glare at the girl.
“You’re still here,” Dante groaned.
“Of course I am. Where else would I be?”
“It was Bayonetta.”
“Whatever,” Dante snapped, slowly sitting back up to look her right in the face. “I don’t want you in my shop. I don’t want you near me.”
“So get a restraining order, moron.”
Dante stared back at her angrily. “I don’t have time for this.”
“Well what do you want me to do? I’m stuck here in your world, and I can’t find my way back home. And since it’s your fault I’m here at all, you should take responsibility and take me in.”
“Bull****,” Dante retorted, and the girl flinched away from him. Good, she was scared of him. That could work in his favour. “I didn’t drag you here against your will.”
“That’s what you’d like to think, isn’t it?”
“Listen, Bayonic lady...”
“Okay, just call me Claire, will you?” The girl sighed impatiently.
Dante paused and scowled at her. “I thought you said your name is Bayonetta.”
“Do I look like Bayonetta?”
“Lady, I don’t even know who the hell Bayonetta is,” Dante muttered, grabbing hold of the stair rail and pulling himself up off the ground.
“Can I come in, please?” Claire asked, scrambling to her feet.
“No.” Dante said, slamming the door shut behind him and dragging over to the couch. He collapsed onto it and lazily tried to kick off his boots, keeping his eyes closed. He wasn’t sure when he’d dozed off, only that he couldn’t have been out for more than a minute before a loud bang jerked him awake.
He sat up quickly and did a slow scan of his office. What the hell was that?
The door slammed shut. Dante looked at it sharply, and scowled deeply. A beat. Then the door opened a jar, and banged shut loudly. Again. And again. And again. And ag–
Dante had crossed the distance to the door in the blink of an eye and threw it open. “Stop that!”
“Let me in and I will!” Claire retorted evenly. “It’s cold out here, and it looks like it’s gonna start rain–“
Dante shut the door, cutting off her sentence. He locked it this time, and with a sigh of satisfaction, started toward the stairs. He shrugged out of his coat when he reached his room and sank heavily onto his bed. He’d just closed his eyes when he heard glass shatter. He lay still, staring up at the dark ceiling, overwhelmed with disbelief and frustration. He heard doors open and shut downstairs.
A few minutes later, the door to his room opened. He propped himself up on one elbow and had Coyote-A aimed at the figure in an instant. “Trespassing is a crime, lady.”
There was fumbling and then the light flicked on. He watched the girl’s face go white when she saw the barrel pointed at her, and then flush a bright pink. “Go ahead, shoot me.”
He fired a calculated shot at her feet, missing her toes by less than a fraction. She leaped back with a shriek, and stared at him with wide eyes. “What the hell is wrong with you?!”
“Get out of my home,” Dante growled, and fired another shot at her feet.
Her hands flew up to cover her ears as she backed into the wall, flustered and clearly terrified out of her mind.
“Right now, or the next shot won’t miss,” Dante threatened.
Claire stared back at him wildly. “Put that thing away!”
“I’ll give you to the count of three,” Dante fired back, “Or there are gonna be consequences. One.”
“But I have nowhere else to go!”
“Please... d-don’t... kill... me!” Claire wailed hysterically.
“I have a family!” Claire cried, throwing her arms around her head and curling into a ball. Dante wasn’t sure how she figured she was going to dodge a bullet that way, unless she was made of bulletproof metal. He watched her trembling helplessly, obviously waiting for the final blow, and lowered the gun with an angry sigh.
“Then maybe you should get back to them, don’t you think?” Dante relented his harsh tone.
Dante grimaced at her response, and gave her a cold look when she peeked up at him from her arm-and-leg constructed cocoon. “Look, kid...”
“I’ll only end up reading about you, writing about you, and watching you, and playing you and daydreaming about you if I do go back. I’d rather stay here. With you.”
“You need to... what?” Dante paused when her words registered in his somewhat alcohol induced mind. “You need to get a hobby, lady.”
“You are my hobby.”
“Get another one!” Dante said through his teeth. “You can’t stay here.”
“Because I don’t want you here!”
“But you don’t even know me!”
“Exactly!” Dante snarled, his temper rising to breaking point as the girl uncurled from the floor and cautiously got to her feet, watching him tensely.
“Well will you show a little chivalry and let me stay here at least until I can find my way back?” Claire demanded icily. “Really, I didn’t think you’d be this rude.”
“And I thought you were a fan,” Dante mocked, giving her a tight smile.
His smile faded when he saw her eyes fill, and he shook his head at her. “Fine. But you get the couch.”
“And stay out of my room.”
“And don’t touch anything,” he added, waving the gun at her warningly.
She looked back at him, pursing her lips for a second before whispering, “Okay.”
“Here,” he tossed a blanket from his bed at her. “Now get out.”
Claire obeyed quickly, flicking off the light on her way out. He listened to her descend the stairs and then there was silence. Dante lay on his bed for a long time, trying to fall asleep, and finding in groggy realization that he couldn’t. His mind kept drifting worrisomely to the girl sleeping in the room below him.
With a disgruntled “****”, Dante rolled off the bed and wrenched his door open angrily. He peered downstairs, and felt his hackles rise when he saw the girl wasn’t on either of his couches. Spitting the fiery language of devils under his breath, he marched down the stairs to give her a piece of his mind. He nearly knocked her over when she came around the corner suddenly, a glass of water in hand.
“Fudge! You didn’t change your mind and decide to come finish me off, did you?” She backtracked from him quickly, startled.
Dante glanced from the glass in her hand to her, and finally stepped away. “No. I’m just checking.”
“Checking what?” She asked with a frown.
Dante stared down at her, and then gestured to his office. “Where’s your friend?”
“Trishy? Erm...” Claire paused, and then shrugged. “I don’t know. I think she had things to attend to.”
“Is she trying to find a way back home? Where is she?”
“Yeah! Yeah, that’s exactly what she’s doing!” Claire quipped, heading over to the couch.
“Yeah?” Dante said sceptically. “So why aren’t you with her?”
“Beecausssse...it’s a one man job. I’d just slow down the process if I had to tag along.” Claire said thoughtfully and made herself comfortable on the couch.
“Well,” Dante rubbed the back of his neck and unwound behind his desk.
Claire stared back at him, disconcerted. “Are you waiting for a call?”
“No.” Dante sighed. “Can’t sleep.”
Dante leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes tiredly. A frustrated sigh emanated from Claire.
“Don’t you ever think about investing in a maid? Your place smells funky.”
“Shut up and go to sleep,” Dante said, peeking at her through one eye.
Claire was on her stomach, watching him, but flopped over onto her back and pulled the blanket tightly over her at his response. “Sometimes, I really like Nero more than I like you.”
“You know Nero?”
There was a long, pleasant silence. Dante thought he might actually get some sleep in after all, until she started talking again – and didn’t stop.
“Always wondered what Sparda was like. He’s my favourite, by the way, because he can take you and Vergil down...”
“Nero’s just too emo-ish. I mean, his only line that he’s most famous for is KYRIEEEEE! So what are they going to do if they take Kyrie out of the equation? NO KYRIEEEE? He’s gotta have something to go emo about. What about DANTEEEEE? No...wait, that’s just gay...”
“I don’t know why everyone wants to hook you up with Lady and Trish. The Vergil and Lady pairings just don’t do it for me either. But then I wonder, why do they want to pair him up with Lady and never Trish? I’ve never seen anyone try to pair him up with Trish. Yeah, okay, so maybe she tortured him and stuff, but Lady’s a pretty mean bitch to you as well, so I just don’t see the romance blossoming...”
“Going to do a painting of Vergil for a friend. A nude one. Or I’m going to try, at least, you know it might help if you stripped down and showed me what you’re made of, Dante, since you guys are identical twins and all...”
“Will you shut up?” Dante finally exploded.
“Or not. I can use my imagination...”
“Enough already!” Dante growled, getting up from his desk. He hauled the surprised girl up off the couch and took a step toward the door, intent on coldly ejecting her out on the street, but then an even better idea made him change direction.
“What are you doing?” Claire yelped, helplessly dragged behind him.
“I want you to meet some friends of mine. I’m sure they’ll love your company.” Dante said, and opened the back door that led to his storage room.
He forcibly plopped her down in front of a set of swords. “Claire, meet Agni and Rudra.”
“Hi!” Claire grinned uncertainly.
“Not another one,” Agni said.
“A new friend? How delightful!” Rudra said.
Dante shut the door on the conversation, and very pleased with himself, made his way back to bed. It was easy to drop off into the sweet dreams of fine women and...well, fine women. When he woke up, it was to the tranquillity of silence.
He slipped on his coat, pulled on his boots, and hoisted the black guitar case in which he kept Rebellion onto his back before setting out to the diner down the street. There weren’t many customers, and he got to enjoy his breakfast undisturbed.
It was only on his walk back to Devil May Cry, when his office had come into sight, that he remembered the girl he’d locked in the storage room. He jogged up the steps and burst into the store, and crossed the length to the storage door within a second. He unlocked it and wrenched it open.
“...shouldn’t be so dependent on each other. I’m just saying, maybe if you spent some time apart, you’ll be able to explore your powers more closely. You’re just distracting one another with all your idle chatting, you know. I mean, it worked for Dante and Vergil, they’re two completely different people because they were separated long enough for them to really learn to know themselves...”
“Are you psychoanalysing my Devil Arms?” Dante asked after a breath of disbelief.
“She has a point,” Rudra said.
“I don’t like the idea,” Agni contested.
“Don’t be unreasonable, brother,” Rudra said.
“I am not. She is driving us apart.”
“Don’t make this about her. This will do us good.”
“It will not!”
“Yes it will!”
“****, you got them to argue now?” Dante exploded.
Claire turned to him with tired eyes and an annoyed expression. “Do you mind not butting in on our conversation?”
“Get out!”Dante snapped, nearly hurling the girl out of the storage room. He pointed a warning finger at the now verbal smashing swords. “Shut up or I’m going to kill your ability to speak at all!”
The swords fell silent, glowing furiously in the dim room. Dante closed the door securely behind him and gave Claire a contemptuous glare. “What the hell were you doing?”
“You said I’m not allowed to touch anything, and I didn’t. I don’t know what you’re getting all huffy about,” Claire said hotly. “And I don’t appreciate being man-handled it either, not even by you, butthole.”
Dante growled in response and physically picked her up and planted her firmly on the couch. “Stay here and don’t move, or I’m kicking you out.”
He started for his desk, but her voice caught him mid-stride. “Dante?”
“Urgh!” Dante muttered. “So?”
“So go get me some food!”
“You go get it yourself!”
“Nah-ah, you just said I’m not allowed to move from this couch. What, you’re contradicting yourself now? How am I supposed to take you seriously if you can’t even...”
“Shut it. I’ll go get you some breakfast. If I come back and you’ve moved an inch, I’ll know, and I’ll dump you on the street. And I’ll make sure you don’t come back in, got it?”
It took him five minutes to grab a pack of bagels from the dairy on the corner of the street. He stomped back into his office, somehow knowing that she wouldn’t be where he’d left her. Indeed, she wasn’t. Dante nearly dropped the box in his hands when he saw exactly what she was doing.
Reclining behind his desk, her bare feet propped up and one arm comfortably tucked in behind her head. His antique phone was ringing, and he was thoroughly confused when she kept lifting her legs and slamming her heels back on the sturdy table. He strolled toward her, and scowled angrily when she snatched the phone away when he reached for it.
“Devil may cry,” Claire drawled into the phone.
“Oh, hell no,” Dante gritted his teeth and leaned over the table to grab the phone from her. “Gimme that!”
“Do you have the password?” Claire asked in a bitchy voice, dodging his hands and circling the table when he leapt across it at her.
“Now!” Dante raised his voice, something he didn’t do very often, but this girl was really yanking his chain. He closed the distance between them in one swift stride. He had the phone fly smack into his face as result, and he manage to catch it, keep the profanities shut behind his lips, and get her arm in a death grip at the same time.
He cleared his throat, glaring daggers down at her, and said into the phone, “Password?”
“What password?” Lady’s voice came back at him angrily. “And who the hell was that?”
“Aih,” Dante let his breath out. “I’m gonna have to call you back.”
“But you never ca –“
Dante hung up the phone and yanked Claire closer to stare her down. “What did I say about touching?”
“I... forgot...” Claire quipped with a frown. “Besides, it was just Lady. No big deal.”
Dante had to lean down quite a bit to look her right in the eye. He thrust his face in hers angrily. “I’m gonna teach you a little lesson about respecting people’s requests.”
“Erm...eep?” Claire said, half-mocking, half-unsure. “Wait, wait, wait...it doesn’t involve bullets or blood, does it?” she yelped out when he started dragging her toward the back of his office.
“No. That would be me being easy on you. You’re going to have to learn the hard way,” Dante said – and opened The Door.