Devil May Cry © Capcom

Artful Teazing

Jason M. Lee

Lady breathed deeply through her nose, straining her hearing for the slightest sounds of her target. A quick glance at her watch showed that it had already been over seven hours since the pursuit started, and she was starting to regret not bringing at least several power bars (even if they tasted horrible). While trying to control her breathing to make as little sound as possible, Lady wondered if she could get away with strangling the broker who had offered this job. Getting dirty was part of the package, but becoming exhausted could be life-ending for human hunters like her - the longest record of a human hunter going after a demon was two consecutive months of tracking between a temperate forest and the nearby city, and that hunter had the benefit of being a former member of the special forces with survival training for that kind of terrain.

'"It'll be easy," he freaking said. "Quick job, in and out," he freaking said. Next time I see that git, I'm showing him how "easy" it is with these kinds of offers,' she bitingly thought. More than once she's had to brush away cobwebs from blocking her view, never mind being grateful on staying up to date with her shots after seeing a lot of rusted parts. 'How the hell did he even come up with this...'

Claws softly clicking on the wooden floor caused her to almost freeze, but Lady gripped her pistol tightly. A quick peek around a dusty desk showed her target prowling about, back turned towards her as red and black scutes flickered in between the abandoned furniture, barely visible in the already dimming daylight. Carefully, she slowly crab-walked around several dilapidated chairs for a better view.

'Almost... Almost...' The huntress was sure that she was close enough they could literally sense each other, if not smell her. 'Got yo-!' The floorboard underneath her left foot shattered with a loud crack. "SHI-!"

The brief few seconds of free-fall would've been far more heart-stopping if it wasn't for black claws grabbing her wrist, and familiar scaly arms wrapping themselves protectively around her. The snap of red wings flaring was barely enough to slow their descent, and even the armored body curling around her didn't prevent her from losing her breath as they fell from the fourth floor. Concrete cracked underneath scutes at the first bounce before they rolled several times until crashing against a column, her lying on top of warm leather.

For several moments, the two of them breathed harshly, occasionally coughing and sneezing at the dust sent flying.

"Well... At least we know that we can go all out on the place and not worried about getting deducted too much. Place was red tagged anyways," Dante wheezed, voice distorted due to still being Triggered. "Think we could get extra joining demolitions?"

Lady sighed exasperatedly but with a slightly fond smile. "We'd need different licenses for that, and don't forget about certain types of training. And the only thing that's getting demolished is part of your cut. Really, this was Enzo's idea of a night out for us?"

The fanged grin would've been more scary if it wasn't for the cheekiness practically glowing from his eyes in the dim warehouse. "Hey, I'm not covered in blood and there aren't any other demons around at the moment."

"Hm, true. While I did enjoy the show, you forgot one thing..." She brushed her nose against where his would be. " didn't include a nice dinner."

A deep purr as he nuzzled back, reverting back to his human form in a flash of red sparks. "As milady wishes, she may demolish part of my cut for the meal that is rightfully hers."

Squeaking from several rats that hadn't left shifted into menacing growls alongside bones cracking, claws raking concrete.

Two pairs of guns fired away, Dante easily rolling them up to standing before they were shooting at the rat demons back to back.

"On the other hand, I think we should demolish Enzo's fees instead!" Lady shouted over the hail of gunfire with a smirk. "How does beef sound tonight?"

"Read my mind, Lady!" He grinned, fangs glinting again. "Just say where!"

"That fancy steakhouse that's been promoting their new wagyu prime ribs!" A bicycle kick her had back-flipping over Dante's back, heterochromatic eyes glittering gleefully. "And their seasonal liquor right now is made with strawberries!"

Dante dropped a quick kiss on her lips before pirouetting to punch out a rat demon with Beowulf. "Truly, a lady after my heart!"

Elsewhere, Enzo hurriedly checked over the many wards covering his office when a chill ran down his spine, suddenly feeling worried for his checkbook.

A/N: For DantexLady Week 2019 over at dxlpartyboat's Tumblr, "chase".

"Artful teazing" is from William Blake's "The Voice of the Ancient Bard".

Wagyu is so expensive, yet so delicious.