Devil May Cry © Capcom
Gaze Forward Without Lamenting Your Current Powerlessness
Jason M. Lee
The wetness wasn't an unfamiliar feeling, having gone through it many times since childhood. Nor were the cold bricks against his back, having leaned against them and similar hard structures throughout his teenage years.
His only companion was just a demon sword over the weeks, months, years. Hiding and dodging from other humans and demons, escaping most of the time in part because they thought it was "fun". Trying to block out their sneering taunts, their jeering and poisonous words of how weak he was by humans, and how weak his mother was by demons.
Pathetic, to had let his guard down this easily, even if it was an ambush. He's usually better than this, far more aware of his surroundings ever since discovering Nero nearly ten years ago on that infernal island. He had already swore to himself to never be caught unawares again. Yet it's happened, again. Worst, it happened with his son present.
Yamato had told him multiple times that he was not naive, simply young. ...and perhaps a bit too over confident. She gently chided him that it was a slow and insidious killer, because how else did Sparda lived for over two millennia before his disappearance.
"Dad! Get up!"
/"Make haste, Master! The current lot may have been slain, but there's no telling if there are any others lurking nearby, either attracted to the dead or your injuries!"/
A cough, wincing upon tasting blood and the pain flaring across his torso and limbs, even as his healing was struggling to work. He didn't even had enough energy to Trigger, much less create the smallest of a Summoned Sword. He had also never bothered to carry any Devil Stars or Vital Stars on his being because he had felt that he was above such usage.
Foolish of him. Another mistake, never again.
"Dad, please." A choked sob. "Get up. You gotta get up."
Vergil instinctively brought a hand up when small arms wrapped around his neck, trying to pat wet hair despite the agony. His devil was struggling to purr in an effort to comfort his nestling, even if it aggravated his broken ribs. "Nero..."
Another sob, broken by a hiccup as Nero buried his nose into his father's collar, fingers clutching at the navy blue coat, and ignoring the blood that was smearing onto his sweatshirt hoodie. "Please don't leave me, Daddy..."
The words were barely whispered out, but they cut through the downpour louder than any demon's roar.
Fire and smoke caused his eyes to tear up and lungs to be clogged. "Mother! Dante!"
Boots crunching the bits of lingering carapace and sand drew a panicked gasp from Nero, causing him to scramble to stand up. Weak as he was, Vergil could still sense that bright inferno standing before him, a familiar presence he hadn't felt in years, as well the demonic sword that was like a mirror to Yamato. Unspoken words hung heavily in the air between them as he struggled to lift his head, trying to reposition himself. Soaked white hair like his, while the garishly red long coat stood out in the gloom like a beacon. ('To attract? Or to warn?') That face, identical to his yet normally so expressive, was flat with little expression as rainwater dripped into nearly matching blue eyes.
"W-who are you?! D-don't you hurt my dad!"
/"Young Master, what are you-!"/
If it was any other situation, Vergil would've laughed at how Nero yanked Yamato out of his left hand and struggled to hold her up in what could barely pass for chuudan-no-kamae. If it was any other being, she would've either lightly shocked them (if they were human) or simply burned them on the spot (if they were demons or humans foolish enough to persist). With Nero, she recognized him as her inheritor and she rather quite liked his innocent curiosity. She was ever patient answering his questions, of how she could both talk out loud and mentally, that he didn't had to worry about her getting hungry, or that he didn't had to worry about her being lonely because she had them. Nevertheless, he made sure to keep a grip on his son. "Nero..."
The sound of the coat's tails slapping the wet sidewalk, the newcomer crouching down with one hand drumming a knee as the demonic longsword's pommel peeked over his shoulder, the tip scratching the concrete. Blinking through the rain, Vergil stared back at nearly inscrutable ice blue eyes, although he could see lips twitching as if trying not to smile at the scowling boy.
"D-don't step any closer!" Nero snarled as much as he could, fear still tinging his voice. Untrained hands and arms were trembling under Yamato's length and weight.
"Nero..." Vergil took in as shallow of a breath as he could, glad to have gotten his son's attention when Nero glanced back. Such fierce love and loyalty from his precious child held far more worth than almost all the Devil Arms and treasures in either worlds. ...and perhaps any power he sought. "He's fine."
Wide blue eyes blinked in confusion, but he didn't let go of Yamato.
/"Young Master, trust your father,"/ the demonic sword spoke softly.
"He's safe." He met his mirror's eyes head on, bloodied lips lifting crookedly. Vergil wanted to be surprised at himself for being so trusting, yet at the same time, he wasn't. "It's been a long while... Dante."
A snort, although it wasn't unkind. "Hell of a long while, Vergil. I thought you decided to take a very long vacation in the Underworld, brother. In fact, you look like you had one hell of a party."
A responding snort through the pain. "You should see the complaint I lodged to the organizers, as they were quite lacking on acceptable accommodations."
"'Brother'..." Nero squeaked in a daze, finally lowering Yamato. Realization dawned on him as he looked between the two men, noticing most of the identical features, before gawking at the man in red. "You- You're my uncle?"
"Eight ball in the pocket, kid." Dante's face softened a bit, before moving around his newfound nephew and carefully hoisting his sibling to his shoulder. "Up you get, Vergil. I have a much comfier place for you to bleed over instead."
"It had better be clean," Vergil muttered out of reflex. Relief and weariness settled in his bones, watching as Nero hurriedly struggled on sheathing Yamato back. "A tempo-"
"Nope!" Dante interrupted cheerfully with a smirk, masking the worry that laced his tone. "Don't even argue, Vergil. You know those assholes, I know those assholes. They won't stop even if you two move."
"Language, Dante." But it was a feeble admonishment, happily soaking in his brother's warmth and strength despite himself. Nero had taken shelter under his coat, practically gluing to his side, and gladly accepted the tight grip from his son in his other hand. "We'll... see about arrangements."
Due to going slow in part of Vergil's injuries and because of Nero's shorter legs, the rain had eventually let up to a light drizzle just as they finally reached what Dante called home, the bright pink neon almost like a lighthouse. The older twin hadn't expected to had been living this close to his brother's domicile, although that tugging sensation he had been feeling over the years after he had moved into his small apartment should've been obvious enough.
"'Devil May Cry'?" Nero read the sign, tilting his head in confusion. His other arm still had a death grip around Yamato's sheath. "What kind of shop name is that?"
Dante huffed in mild amusement, juggling his keys and Vergil to get the door unlocked while fighting the urge to sweep up his newfound (and adorable) nephew into a hug. "An awesome kind of name for an awesome shop like mine, kiddo."
After a whirlwind of stripping out of wet clothes and into dry ones, a pile of force-fed Vital and Devil Stars plus bandages, alongside a promise of food, and to pick up their stuff from their apartment (he didn't realized Dante had learned to pickpocket), Vergil was soon alone with Nero and Yamato in a spare room. Even without prompting, Nero immediately curled up next to his father on the bed, clutching at the borrowed pajamas and burying into the older part-devil's chest. In response, Vergil slowly and carefully wrapped a bandaged arm around his son, stroking his back.
"Are... Are we going to stay with him?" Nero bit his lip, suddenly unsure, one hand picking at the borrowed T-shirt he was wearing before rubbing the side of his nose. "...with Uncle Dante?"
A slow blink and then Vergil let out a soft chuckle, tugging his son closer and tucking the boy under his chin. As much as he wanted to deny the feelings, he couldn't escape that blossoming warmth upon hearing Nero call his brother with that title. Nor could he escape the feeling of his devil being extremely happy on reuniting with their nestmate, which surprised him, given Temen-ni-gru. He supposed that the tower was going have to come up at some point, that "pesky fatherly love" combining with the responsibility that had come along with raising Nero by himself. "If your uncle isn't against it, and if you're not against it..."
Nero shook his head vigorously. "I... I kind of like it here. It feels... safe, if that makes sense."
Vergil hummed, recognizing the same discomfort that he hadn't dare voice out loud after the first week in their small apartment. Yamato hadn't voiced her opinion, given her bond with him, other than giving off the equivalent of pointed looks from a disapproving older sister. Right now, she all but radiated smug satisfaction from the bedside. "...then we shall stay. Now, rest. It's been a long day."
More nuzzling. "Okay, Dad."
Dante considered it a miracle that he didn't make too loud of a ruckus due to being nearly buried in an avalanche of stuff from a closet when he went to check on his sleeping relatives (he made a reminder to start cleaning out before Vergil got to it), once he dropped off take-out from a local diner in his kitchen. After digging out a still-working camera and a roll of still-viable film to memorialize the cavity-inducing scene, he smiled to himself before quietly closing the door. The younger twin hadn't missed the nearly audible soft rumbling coming from Vergil, all but wrapped around an equally purring Nero.
"Happy birthday, Vergil." For the first time in a long while, Dante savored the fire from the shot of bourbon with a genuine grin once he went back downstairs to his bar, raising his tumbler in a toast. "Happy birthday to us."
A/N: Inspired by Ren's day 5 art for Dadgwil Week on Twitter, "Blood: doing whatever he can to protect", of Vergil injured while defending young Nero (Twitter handle "deviI_trigger").
Chuudan-no-kamae, or simply chuudan, "middle-level posture" is one of the five postures used in Japanese martial arts that teaches the use of swords. The posture is where the user holds the sword in front of them with hands at about waist level, sword tip pointed at their opponent that allows for thrusting, and a proper posture can hide the user's trunk and right wrist. It's one of the most basic postures in kendo (from kenjutsu), giving balance to both defense and offense. Vergil would've mostly likely learned kenjutsu, what with iaijutsu/iaido being the basis of his fighting style.
Title is from "Over the Clouds" as performed by alan, used as the opening song for the video game God Eater, with remixed versions for God Eater Burst and God Eater Resurrection.