Devil May Cry © Capcom
Jason M. Lee
Lady had just barely touched the handle before ducking reflexively when gunshots and a distressed eagle shriek sounded off from inside the shop. Staying low, she warily unlocked the front door, nudged it open with the barrel and cautiously peeked in. At the sight before her, the huntress sighed exasperatedly, standing up and reholstering her gun while locking the door behind her. "Do I want to know, dear brother-in-law?"
A pinched brow on V's face, stroking a trembling Griffon in an attempt to reassure the thunderbird, who was trying his best to burrow into the half-devil's stomach. The scattered paperwork on the desk indicated he had apparently been working on some bills. "Only if you really want the answer, dear sister-in-law."
Several blue Summoned Swords and violet-tinged Summoned Canes stuck out of a sheepishly grinning Dante like a pin cushion, Ebony and Ivory in hand. Behind him from the kitchen was Vergil, wiping wet hands on an apron with a slight frown that Lady had learned to be the equivalent of a scowl. Playing on the TV was what looked like a documentary of the Wild West, a newer one going by the smaller cameras and smartphones spotted in the background of the footage. And there were several new bullet holes decorating the walls.
"Trick shooting?" She pinched the bridge of her nose just as a segment showed a cowgirl demonstrating with two revolvers shooting at tossed mock silver dollars.
"Trick shooting," Vergil and V echoed in stereo.
"Aw, c'mon! Me and Verge still have our Geryon horses, I've got guns, my chaps are just hiding somewhere, so why not?" Dante pouted, not even blinking as the summoned constructs disappeared.
"Except it's normally done with revolvers or rifles of that time period, not with modern day pistols-" Lady started, pulling out a rag and tiptoeing up to wipe away at the blood trickling down his head.
"-and trick shooting is typically done at outdoor gun ranges or places with low chances of accidental ricocheting-" V followed, giving Griffon a treat before letting the Hellbird go fly up to one of his perches.
"-as well we do not need to give our neighbors more excuses to have the police cite us for disturbing the peace," Vergil finished, already moving to the closet holding supplies for small household repairs. The bucket designated for wall plaster was thrust into Dante's hand before the older twin did an about-face back to the kitchen. "Now, your mess, your repairs."
Dante let out an exaggerated sigh as he removed his coat. "Fine, fine..."
"Guess you shoulda reconsidered before you went full cowboy, eh, cowboy?" Griffon snickered from his perch mounted in front of the window.
"Quiet, you!" A fist shook mockingly. "Before I'm tempted use Ifirt or Agni to see how good Hell-chicken fried steak tastes like!"
An indignant squawk before readjusting his feathers, indigo sparks dancing. Dante was internally pleased at the slight smile creeping up on V's face.
Lady couldn't help chuckling. "Really, trick shooting? Don't you already do that with every other firearm at your disposal?"
A crooked smile as he pulled out the tools and set about his task. He was rather glad on having listened to a building repairs contractor air her grievances during one job, recounting many silly mistakes home owners did when attempting repairs, like not using the right drywall fillers or using the wrong pipe material. "Like you said, most of my firearms are modern-day and since I don't have Artemis anymore, I'll have to bust out Nightmare-Beta for a bit of practice."
At the mention of Artemis, Lady tried to squash down the feeling of guilt, but she couldn't quite hide her shudder at the hazy memories of her month-long imprisonment as the demonic weapon's core. The Devil Arm might not had been like Alastor or Yamato with actual cognizance, but she could still vaguely recall the tantalizing whispers of the power she had access to, of how well they matched in part of their preferred combat style. Unconsciously, she gripped her arm tightly.
Noticing her reaction, his face softened and tugged her close, bending down a bit to nuzzle their foreheads. "Hey. I'm not mad about losing Artemis, Lady."
"It's just..." She sighed, leaning into his reassuring warmth. "Trish and I lost you a good Devil Arm because we were overconfident. One of your older ones, at that."
"Devil Arms come and go any time of the week, be they kickass ones like Cavaliere or crazy ones like Pandora. But you and Trish?" He smiled gently, looking into her eyes. "Worth a hell lot more than the coolest or coveted of them all. Even if you two still charge those high-taste invoices to my name - you know V hates that."
"Rightly spoken," V piped up, waving one of said bills.
Lady couldn't help letting out an amused huff, a smile also tugging on her lips. A whimsical dork her partner may be most of the time, but moments like these balanced it out. "So if I dropped another invoice on you, would you complain?"
Dante briefly paused on filling in the bullet holes, wondering where she was going. "Depends. If it's another ammo run, that's fine. If it's another shopping spree at the fashion district..."
She chuckled, digging into her jacket and unfolding a colorful flyer. "Would a trip to a Western expo starting the day after tomorrow in the next county over be complaint worthy?"
It was like seeing a child being granted their most heartfelt wish on the morning of Winter Sol. "All expenses paid?"
"All paid. One of the clerks at the bounty office has a sister who works behind the scenes for this show and had extra passes. There's also cash prizes for participating in some of the shooting competitions, period weapons only. So how about it, cowboy?" Lady winked, patting his cheek before moving to store away her gear and wash up. "Perfect opportunity to strut your stuff, both trick shooting and chaps, not to mention Dr. Faust. You could also see if you could bring along Destroyinator."
V didn't think it was possible for Dante to complete a patch job that fast, but the younger twin finished the repairs before dinner was complete, even actually tidying up the main room. Griffon's snarky comment about motivation resulted in a red Summoned Sword landing right in front of his beak, causing additional cursing from him.
Three days later, V had to stifle his laughter upon feeling Vergil's non-visible yet barely palpable annoyance at the large bull skull encircled by a wreath made of intertwined rattlesnake skin, rope, feathers, and bullets decorating the spot where Devil Sword Sparda used to hang from. However, there was a quiet thoughtfulness from Vergil upon receiving the blue-beaded dreamcatcher that was his souvenir gift, something that echoed within V as he studied his own violet-beaded dreamcatcher.
A/N: For DantexLady Week 2019 over at dxlpartyboat's Tumblr, "Western".
The dreamcatchers, a round hoop with string tied like a spider web, originated with the Ojibwe that lived in/around all five Great Lakes, used as a form of protection for children (and not necessarily connected to dreams). It later became adopted as a symbol of unity between the various US Native American cultures in the 1960s and 1970s.
Destroyinator being Dante's Geryon horse from childhood is a reference to creepyscritches' Tumblr art AU of Dante and Vergil getting Geryon colts when they were kids, and a comic of Dante and Nero encountering the same adult Geryon stallions post DMC5. To which I wrote "No Need for Tack" and the follow-up "Picking Out the Feet".