Devil May Cry © Capcom
It's All Right, Let's Go Back
Jason M. Lee
Dante tilted his head back with a groan and closed his eyes, disappointed at getting no closer to solving on how to send Mary home and bringing Lady back. Yamato hadn't definitively said one way or another about the time slip, only that she could sense faint traces but needed more time ('Heh.') properly locating the origin around the statue. Even Vergil had looked frustrated, having dove back into his research with frightening zeal in the past three days when there weren't any jobs. It was rather amazing at how the three of them - together without arguing - easily came to the probability of some sort of time travel being involved.
By some unspoken agreement, his two brothers and Trish had dumped that responsibility of him watching over the younger version of his mate, not that he really mind. Really, she was adorable to be around with once she had gotten over her mistrust of the twins and V, soon questioning almost everything, be it their hair color, why Griffon was so different, and could she also play darts with the dead Empusa pretty please. (Mary was no where near the adults' accuracy, but her decent grouping on the abdomen made his devil rumble rather happily.)
Sometimes, Mary would talk about what she did with her mother and her fa- Arkham, how Arkham told her tales of Sparda and other demons that had interacted with humanity over the millennia. Mary also chattered away other things, like her favorite things and dislikes, how the other children reacted to her eyes, and what she had been learning in school lately. He wondered how would Lady react if - when - she knew of him learning parts of her childhood that she hadn't shared yet as an adult. (Mary's delight when reenacting her fa- Arkham brought a twinge to him.)
/'I miss Mommy, Daddy.'/ Durante's jeweled pommel had been a dull red glow ever since Lady's disappearance, the impression of hugging his knees while trying not to cry. Dante had felt that it wouldn't be fair for his sword to be kept inside him in this situation, and thus had hung Durante where Force Edge once was behind his desk. Tactfully, the large sword didn't speak out loud with the adults, sticking with only mental speech. /'I hope Uncle Vergil and Big Sis can find a way to bring her home soon, and that we could send Mary home soon.'/
His inner devil had been almost whining nonstop in his head, like a sad dog missing their owner who still hasn't returned from a long trip. A large Hellhound, if Dante had to compare. (Lady had commented how he was more like a lazy cat at times, what with his sprawling about - Vergil was the stuck-up cat who would ignore everyone unless the person was deemed worthy of attention.)
/'Me, too, DJ. Me, too.'/
Feeling a small body climb next to him on the sofa and slight tugging on his ponytail, Dante peeked one eye open.
Mary glanced at him up and down several times, kicking her legs while fiddling with her vest. "Why do you look so sad, Mr. Dante?"
He smiled wistfully, gently fluffing her hair and chuckling at her pout and face pinking. "Because you remind me of someone very special to me, and I miss her."
"Like..." Mary cutely scrunched up her eyebrows, not knowing how it made Dante's heart flutter and ache at the same time. "...like how Mama is special to Papa?"
Durante mentally muttered several choice words that Dante had no idea where his sword even heard from (and he's heard plenty of interesting swears over the years), but it definitely wasn't suitable in present company. On the flip side, the half-devil couldn't argue with his Devil Arm's sentiments regarding Arkham, Durante drawing from his memories.
"Yeah, I guess."
"Oh." Mary still wasn't quite sure on what to make of Mr. Dante, who was so weird on how he acted. One moment, he'd be acting silly that'd make Mr. Vergil and Mr. V and Miss Trish scold him, the next moment he'd be quiet and gentle with her. Silliness aside, she liked his quiet and gentle moments, like how his chest would rumble just like some of an auntie's cats when they were happy. "Can you tell me about her?"
It felt weird to speak of Lady in broad strokes to her younger self, keenly aware of how she herself might change the past without realizing it, even if Vergil had also noted the possibility that she might come from an alternate timeline where things might be different from their own. Yet at the same time, as Mary snuggled close to him, bi-colored eyes wide, it felt comforting.
The last three days had been a bit of a daze for her. Being quizzed by Sparda almost non-stop - from where she was at when the slip occurred, to what she had been doing, to what day AND time it had been - had been a bit surreal. Even spending time with Eva felt a bit dreamlike, primarily talking shop and her learning new hunting tips from the older woman. Both had forbidden her of even talking anything major regarding her present, their possible future. Lady was glad to have been spared doing that - some things human and devils weren't meant to know. Sighing, Lady covered her face with her arms, head tilted back while slumped on the Ottoman couch.
Lady didn't mind young Dante eagerly trailing after her as she roamed their estate, nor young Vergil tagging along with his suspicious frown that was ridiculously adorable. She's compared the twins to cats before, Dante a lazy one who loved to lounge about or drape himself over other people, while Vergil was the prissy cat who'd hiss at people and would only approach under his own terms. Yet the younger twins here were like a mix of both kitten and puppy - Vergil an ever curious kitten on questioning her (more like attempted interrogating), and Dante ever the playful puppy who wanted to learn more on how to shoot with both hands.
(She wasn't sure whether to be surprised or not when neither parents brought any objections to her giving out pointers. Then again, Eva had spoken of her time as a devil hunter and was glad to have another adult drilling in gun safety lessons into the boys.)
There was also the sense of being a bit discombobulated from receiving what felt like approval, going by Sparda and Eva's secretive smiles as they chatted over meals. While the older couple had requested that she not tell them too much of the future, there were times where their questions tended to result in her going into unprompted rants that lead to extra teasing and the occasional unexpected warmth that she missed from her own mother. To meet her in-laws this way... Lady wondered how would Dante react if - when - he knew.
Feeling a small body plop itself next to her, she wasn't surprised to see her "shadow" when she peeked under an arm.
"Why do you look so glum, Miss Lady?"
She smiled ruefully, gently ruffling his hair and tittering at his grumble and cheeks flushing. "Because you remind me of someone very important to me, and I miss him."
"Like..." Dante cocked his head, not knowing how it made Lady's heart skip and twinge at the same time. "...like how Mother and Father are important to each other?"
"There was one time during our courtship where Sparda tried to obtain a tank," Eva commented blithely as she and Lady were cleaning their guns.
The younger woman almost dropped the brush that she had been using on cleaning the barrel of her SMG. "...a tank."
"Mm-hm," the older woman hummed, now checking the rifling of her shotgun. "An M24 light tank, in fact. I was a bit surprised he was able to locate someone who had one in working condition."
"Working and pristine condition, milady," Sparda's baritone rumbled in mild amusement while chopping away a veritable pile of vegetables at the kitchen island. "Weaponry that were not blades on able to pierce through organic armor has changed quite a bit, and I had been hoping to supplement Eva's armory."
"Like I've already told you, there would've been no way for either me or my former group to be able to obtain the proper permits for that Sherman you also kept badgering about!" Eva tossed back, laughter dancing in her eyes. "And that's not even getting into giving consideration for the road maintenance workers!"
Lady was internally very glad that Dante had stuck with the promised weapons bench as his courtship gift.
"Yeah, I suppose."
"Oh." For all that he thought of the strange lady to be as awesome as his mother, he still wasn't quite sure on what to make of Miss Lady. One moment, she'd be grumbling about something silly someone she knew did, the next moment she'd be sighing sadly while looking out the window, or how she'd sometimes stare at him and Vergil. It wasn't like the other mean stares from the other kids or their neighbors, but more like as if she was thinking of something else. "Could you tell me about him?"
It felt strange to speak of Dante in broad strokes to his younger self, highly aware of how he himself might change this present without realizing it, even if those science-fiction stories had also noted the possibility that this might be an alternate timeline where things might be different from her own. Yet at the same time, as young Dante snuggled close to her, blue eyes enraptured, it felt soothing.
Or was it coincidence?
Either way, Dante nor Lady cared afterwards.
He had taken Mary to the park at her request, Vergil and Yamato following.
She had followed after Sparda at his request, young Dante tagging along.
Dante only had to take his eyes off of the younger version of his mate for a brief moment before sensing that twinge he had described to Vergil and Yamato earlier happening again at the statue of the rider and his horse.
Lady only had to briefly glance about a smaller Red Grave while half-listening to the younger version of her partner before feeling that chill of the portal she had gone through earlier and described to her father-in-law, the three of near a memorial statue.
Startled by the appearance of the indigo-edged hole opening right in front of her, Mary had tripped through the fluctuating portal with a surprised shriek.
The huntress barely let out an indignant yell at being suddenly and gently pushed through, just catching a soft smile from Sparda and the alarmed cry from young Dante.
As Dante caught a cursing Lady in his arms, he and Vergil had just enough time to spot the still gentle smile on the face of the devil whom they hadn't seen since childhood. Words caught in their throats, words that they wanted to say over the years, but it felt like their tongues were heavily weighed down and they just couldn't. Spotting the twins, Sparda, now cradling a near panicking Mary and holding back a struggling young Dante, his gentle smile simply became a bit sadder before the portal sealed shut, once more cutting off father from sons.
Ignoring how his younger brother now tightly cradled his sister-in-law as if afraid she was going to disappear again (and in all honesty, the older Son of Sparda couldn't blame Dante), Vergil mutely stared at the spot where the hole that had briefly connected to the past, leaves whipping through the area courtesy of a short breeze. Many emotions that he hadn't quite felt in years bubbled up again, a mix of grief, anger, and perhaps regret to name a few. A long and looming shadow he had once chased during his teenage years out of some sense of inferiority and inadequacy, he now felt nothing except what could amount to relief. Feeling something on his face, Vergil blinked at the moisture that glistened on his fingertips.
'True devils never cry. Yet perhaps even a devil may cry for reaching some closure regarding a loved one.' A melancholic chuckle escaped him, now understanding his whimsical brother's shop name.
The sadness wasn't just his. /'You knew this would happen, didn't you.'/
Yamato gave the equivalent of a wistful sigh. /'An extremely slim possibility, Master. Before he disappeared, Father told me that there was a chance of something like this happening, but that it also might not come to pass given how fluid future events is, or are. Time, and perhaps as well Fate, are fickle mistresses, far beyond even Mundus' keen, for all of his lauding. I may have been forged to be able to cut through anything - with caveats - yet fully over time is something that is beyond my capabilities.'/
/'...I see.'/ Him being able to pluck the strings so as to perform Judgement Cut End, Nero with Ragtime, Dante with Quicksilver, and their Geryon timesteeds' control were small usages in the larger scale.
/'I am... relieved to see that he appears well.'/ Another sigh, this time out of relief as Yamato directed her attention to Lady and Dante now touching their foreheads together, affection practically shining in their eyes. /'Whatever will be, will be. Lady Eva once said that "even if the mirage far away from us may reflect our future, we should proceed towards it despite our fear."'/
Even beyond the grave, still a drop of wisdom from his mother that brought a familiar warmth within his chest, similar yet different from what Nero could evoke in him. /'Truly, she did loved us... Then, we shall head towards it.'/
A/N: For DantexLady Week 2019 over at dxlpartyboat's Tumblr, "homecoming".
Title is from Kantai Collection - KanColle - Season 1 anime opening song, "Miiro". There's also a reference to the song "Oblivious from Kara no Kyoukai's first movie ending song, written by Yuki Kajiura and sung by the group Kalafina.
Conclusion to "If My Whole Self Disappears into the Past". Follows "Pattern Welding and Annealing".
Inspiration by super-jump's art of Dante with young Mary and Lady with young Dante on their Tumblr.
The ending of Mary and Lady switching back... I suppose from a Western story-telling perspective, it would be a cop out. However, from a Japanese story-telling perspective, it's... different, I suppose. YouTuber Gab Smolders, who lived in Japan for several years, noted after her play-through of "The Day of Atonement: Trains Running Parallel at Dusk" that a lot of Japanese lore tends to fall in the "wrong place, wrong time" aspect, horror in particular. Compare how with most Western lore where those involved kind of fall in the "deserving" aspect (granted, there is overlap when it comes to revenge stories, but the cultural differences are still there). In this case, both Mary and Lady were simply in the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time for their switch to occur - Sparda's the only one to have a very good idea of what may/had happen.