"Vergil." The 20-something Goth kid standing in-front of Dante drawled out the demons name. Almost immediately whatever cheerful mood Dante felt was washed away. The comical face he must've been making got a wry smile out of this V and something was uncomfortably familiar about it...
"Say that again?" Dante pensively leaned closer, intentionally keeping a close eye on V.
The punk let out a soft-laugh. "Come now, Dante, you're not foolish or old enough for your senses to dull. You heard quite clearly what I said."
Something about V saying that rubbed Dante the wrong way, a very specific one reserved for someone he last saw over 15 years ago... On Mallet Island... Where he died. Except not really, according to this weirdo.
"And how do you know this demon, exactly?"
Now it was V who looked like he just drank a crap brand of bourbon. For a second his dull eyes left Dante, and it took him some obvious effort to forcibly bring them back.
"He... and I... were Vergil. Two days past, our original self in an ultimate act of desperation attempted to empower himself by separating his human and demon halves. I," V gestured to himself. "And him represent the twin parts of Vergil, now cleaved from one another."
Before even asking the direct question of how the Hell could Vergil possibly split himself in-two, Dante instantly suspected the possible answer. That by itself made a rare, genuine anger swell up inside him. But he needed to hear it anyway. There was still a small part of him that didn't want to go to that place...
"Assuming you're telling the truth," Dante asked, trying to sound casual. "Prove it, tell me something only Vergil would know."
Reaching into his pocket, V pulled out the book of poetry. Dante didn't pay much attention to it earlier, or the fact he quoted William Blake. But now...
"My memories are still... messy, but I remember this well," He gently rubbed the aged cover. "We.., That is to say you and Vergil fought over most if not all things growing up, typically taking from one another even when we didn't need them. As you typically did for this book, until I marked the cover as my own for all time."
Staring at the book brought back some vague memories of them arguing but it wasn't easy. Dante and Vergil fought over lots of things even before everything went wrong and he tried not thinking about those parts. It was preferable remembering them exploring Redgrave city, vanishing for hours at a time.
V must've noticed Dante's uncertainty, he carefully looked around the office then pointed his cane at Rebellion mantled on the wall over the front desk.
"I also remember him running you through with that blade. A top a tower jutting out of this very town some... 20 years ago?"
"25," Dante huffed out, one of his suspicions confirmed. Only Vergil or in-this-case, a part of him, could possibly know that specific detail. Now, he had to see if the other much more terrible one was too... "Alright, V, I believe you. So why don't you tell my how Vergil pulled off this little splicing trick?"
Vs eyes carefully avoided his again but that wasn't the only thing. His whole posture went stiff, guarded and Dante spotted him gripping his cane a little tighter. With a clenched fist, he fiercely repeated the question. "What did you do?"
"The Yamato," He reluctantly answered. "It was used to separate the two worlds from one another. What if it could do the same for a singular man as well? This was precisely Vergil's thought process, of a rambling, breaking down man grasping at straws-"
Dante didn't waste another second listening to him. With a growl, he practically flew out of the couch and grabbed V by his shirt, hoisting him off the ground. "You piece of shit! What did you do to Nero?!"
V gasped for air, limply hanging in Dante's arms. "T-The boy had the sword in his demonic arm... Vergil had to recover it... "
With another growl, Dante threw V across the office into the opposite wall. It was like watching a little girls stuffed animal soar through the air. Landing hard enough to dent it, V just lied there, coughing and failing to get back up. Dante couldn't help himself, just imagining Vergil doing that to Nero... His brother always found a way of getting under his skin like almost no one else could. But this? This might've just been his master piece of douchebaggery.
Before he could give half-Vergil the ass whooping he deserved two familiar demons, a cat and a giant bird, showed up. One of them could be mistaken for an ordinary panther, if you didn't see it blob out of the ground. The other one stuck out thanks to the giant mandibles on the sides of its beak.
"Easy there tough guy," The bird said in a really grating voice. "Want the boss? You gotta go through us."
The cat growled in-agreement, barring its fangs. Dante couldn't help but laugh. "Yeah, I'm shakin' in my boots! What ever will I do against a couple Mallet Island rejects."
Shadow growled, taking a couple steps closer while Griffon started circling around him.
"Stop!" V shouted, laboriously getting back on his feet. "Both of you, this is not the time to fight one another."
"Tell that t'him!" Griffon squawked. "He's the one tryin' to wring your neck!"
"Y'know, you sounded a lot less annoying before."
"Be that as it may," V cut in-between them, sounding more forceful than in any other point so far. "Relax, nothing ill will happen to me."
Reluctantly, the rejects backed off. Shadow growled one last time and Griffon gave Dante a dirty look but they listened.
"Neat trick," Dante commented, his anger already going back to the usual simmer it was in all-Vergil related things.
"A mutually beneficial partnership."
"Sure," He snorted, walking to his desk. Falling gracefully into his old chair, Dante reached for the bottom right drawer where he kept something for when him and Lady felt down. Probably the only thing still worth a damn place for a good buck: Balvenie 50 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey. Something he got instead of cash for a gig. Dante usually wasn't much of a drinker but when a certain... mood took him, a couple good shots didn't hurt.
Filling a couple small glasses, Dante immediately took his down in one gulp. V coughed up a lung by the time he finished. Looking a little closer, some things from Vergil were there. His eyes, the overly serious way he talked. Then there were the Mallet Island rejects hanging around...
"What the hell happened to you after we fought?" Dante asked, his voice getting sullen.
V soundly beat his chest in the coughing fit. "Eternal oblivion... Or so that man thought. Yet his will persisted. Even after numerous defeats and mutilation at the hands of Mundus, this kept him from being completely destroyed. But... The extensive damage had been done...Yamato was lost along with much of Vergil's power. For years... Decades... He tried finding a way out, battling endlessly by whatever means necessary. Yet even a strong will can hold on for so long. The fragmented body became weaker and weaker. Soon, Vergil could not even stand up to a single one of Hell's lowest demons. Were it not for a shard of Yamato serving as his last beacon, eternal death would have claimed him."
"And now it's gonna get a whole lotta other innocent people instead," Dante sighed, shaking his head. "Goddamn it Vergil... Always making things harder than they need to be..."
"Indeed," V said with a surprising conviction. "Cut off from my demonic self... I have received a clarity I've not enjoyed in many years. I do not ask for your pity, for I do not want or deserve it. All I ask of you, brother, is a chance I surely do not deserve. A chance... To be rid of my nightmares, at last."
Nightmares. Glancing at Mom's portrait nearby, Dante knew all about those pretty well.
A/N: So, this is a break from the stories thus far in two ways. It's set during DMC5 proper instead of after and the conclusion is far optimistic than the previous ones. This second fact alone made me question if it should be part of "A Piece of Heaven" or as its own thing but for convenience sake, I opted to release it in this set.