undivinecomedy: ([D] wink)
[personal profile] undivinecomedy
Cold pizza was the best way to start the day. I knew not everyone agreed with me, but depending on where you ordered it from, some pies just got better after sitting overnight in the fridge. The grease-stained box sat to my right on the desk, only three pieces left. Number four was hanging from my mouth, bobbing up and down as I chewed it slowly. Barbeque Chicken was particularly good cold, so don't let anyone tell you differently.

I'd slept in until about 11 o'clock when I realized I should probably have dragged my ass into work. That was the best part about being my own boss, though--who was there to complain? I could give myself a raise any time I felt like it, the shop hours where whenever I wanted them to be, and the dress code was whatever I managed to throw on in the morning. Now, despite how that might have sounded, I did keep relatively regular hours. The store being closed for a few days without notice wasn't really that strange, though.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering just what it was I did for a living. If I told you, I'd have to kill you.

Always wanted to say that.

I rented out a warehouse by the water for my pawn shop--the best in the area, if anyone asked me--which they never did. I'd wracked up quite a collection over the years. It was finding the balance between buying things in and selling them out that left me in a constant limbo. Occasionally I'd bring something really nice out of the back, but I generally preferred to let the business run itself. From PlayStations to Grandma's Earrings--you'd find everything you were looking for and more things you weren't when you stopped by Devil May Cry.

I'd been meaning to fix that sign, too. Neon lights were fun, but it felt like there was always at least one part that was flickering and threatening to give me the finger on the way out.

My desk blocked the stairway to the loft, where I kept my most expensive collection pieces. Having only rolled out of bed just an hour before, I wasn't really feeling up to dealing with a bunch of customers yet. I'd acquired a nice, high-backed and old, but perfectly lived-in leather chair about two years prior--I would have brought it to my apartment if there was room. I lived in the shop half the time, anyway, so I guessed it didn't matter much. Leaning into the chair, my back to the desk, I had my feet propped up on a cabinet that sat against the wall as I finished off that piece of pizza, nibbling on the crust. Reaching lazily to the side, I padded around on the desk for another slice.

The bell that hung over the door rang. I didn't turn around.

"We're closed for lunch," I said, finally finding the slice and shoving that into my mouth as well. "If you gotta use the bathroom, it's in the back." I jerked my thumb toward the other side of the stairs. Whoever it was seemed at a loss, maybe from the fact I had a full-leather Batman suit a few feet from my desk, or maybe they just found the sound of my voice to be awe-inspiring. Either way, it was a little creepy. The silence was almost painful, and just as I was about to kick them out, I heard,

"What are you doing here?"

It was my turn to instigate the awkward silence then. That voice was all too familiar and one I'd heard one too many times over the past 24 hours. My feet dropped to the floor as I spun around in the swivel chair, pizza still hanging from my mouth.

And there he was, looking infinitely more cranky than he had the night before.

"What are you doing here?" I turned the question rightfully back at Vergil, speaking around the slice. Taking a bite, I frowned. "Are you stalking me or something? Not very police-esque behavior."

His mouth turned downward a notch. "Actually when it's official police business it's called surveillance, but let's not split hairs." Despite the fact I most definitely did not invite him in, he came toward my desk. I put my hands up in the air like I was under arrest all over again.

"Hey, this is private property, officer. I told you I'm closed." I had spent part of the night in jail after coming into contact with my long-lost brother. Said brother put me there, and the fight at my apartment hadn't helped much either. Needless to say, I really wasn't ready for round two.

Vergil held up a folded wad of blue papers; I felt my stomach sink just a bit. I knew what those were--it was a search warrant. I hated to admit I was familiar with the process, but when you run a business like mine, people were always trying to sell off incriminating weaponry and whatnot in order to avoid prosecution. As unfriendly as I was towards the police, I never sunk that low. I knew the record for my shop was clean.

His cute partner was still standing in the doorway, looking a little confused. The news would have been infinitely nicer to hear from her.

"Here's what I'm doing here." He tossed the warrant onto my desk. It landed just next to my pizza box, and he folded his arms. "Your turn."

I sent him a glare and stuck the pizza back into my mouth before reaching for the warrant. I half expected it to burst into flames when I touched it, waiting to see if he had somehow set all this up. But considering he had given me back my girls the night before, I was a little unsure of just what to expect from him.

I tapped the papers out of the open envelope onto the desk. Thankfully the law required these guys to state exactly what they were looking for. I glanced over it quickly before tossing it back down.

"Don't have any custom .357 or 9-milimeters. That kinda thing is illegal, you know."

Vergil didn't seem nearly as amused at the irony as I was. "Yes, I know. You know what else is illegal?" Oh boy, a history lesson.

"Enlighten me," I said, leaning back and propping my feet up on my desk.

"Owning unregistered custom .50 Caliber Colts, let alone without a permit, but that didn't stop you." He picked up the discarded warrant and waved it at me. "Besides, we're not here for you, anyway. You really have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Dante." That was the first thing he'd said that I agreed with. He glanced at his partner, and so did I. She was pretty cute. Didn't really take her for a wallflower down at the precinct, though. I ignored my brother for a moment and waved her over.

"Gonna catch a cold standing in the doorway like that, babe."

"I have a very strong immune system, but thanks for the consideration," she replied, taking a step into the shop. I offered her a grin, Vergil promptly moved to stand in my line of vision. Business as always.

"We're looking for the guy who owns this place, Giovanni Ru--" He paused, giving me a pointed look before glancing around. I lifted my brow. "Dammit, Dante how many names do you have?"

"Why tell you now and ruin the surprise?" I pulled a piece of pepperoni off and took a moment to enjoy it. "You're doing pretty good so far."

His partner stepped forward, finally away from the door, to come and stand next to my increasingly grumpy brother. They locked eyes for a moment; she tilted her head slightly, he didn't even flinch. I watched, resting both hands on my chest, waiting for the loser to run back in shame. Said loser ended up being Vergil, who rolled his eyes in defeat, giving a grunt as he folded his arms again. Cutie turned her attention back to where it should have been.

"Funny, you don't look much like a Giovanni to me. I always figured somebody with that name would be a mob boss or something... you know, rings on his fingers, wearing a three-piece suit." She grinned. I smirked. "I think Dante suits you much better."

"Call me whatever you want," I said, making a sweeping gesture, giving her a wink. "It's where you say it that's important."

Vergil rolled his eyes again, giving a low sound that could only mean disgust. Batman seemed to be more interesting than we were. I couldn't imagine why, considering Miss Cop had her top half-open. She folded her arms and tilted her head toward him.

"Not so identical on less tangible fields, are you?"

I had to chuckle at that. "The only thing we have in common is DNA, babe. If you're looking for a party, don't bother asking the guy in the waistcoat." I reclined again, practically making myself open for the invitation.

My brother piped up again, voice low but not really angry. "Is... this a bust of George Clooney?"

I gave a stilted laugh, scratching the back of my head. "Funny--that thing's been here forever and hasn't sold. Here I thought he was still a pretty popular guy."

"Could have something to do with the fact that he's made of marble. Nobody gives you a cold shoulder quite like a statue." Okay, I laughed. I liked this lady already.

"So, if you're Giovanni Russo--" Well, looked like she and Vergil worked together for a reason. "--and you don't have what we're looking for in this shop, then where did those weapons go?" She sat on the edge of my desk, her skirt riding up and showing much more of her thigh than I figured would be considered professional. Interesting. "Did you sell them?"

It took a little effort to tear my eyes away from her skirt-line. What were we talking about again? Oh, right. I sighed, dropping my feet to the floor. Leaning forward, I pointed at her with my half-eaten pizza.

"Being that you're a cop, I'm sure you know how popular .357s and Nines are around here. Everyone wants a concealable semi-automatic, babe. You expect me to remember just two of them?"

George must have been a boring conversation partner--though I thought that he and Vergil would have gotten along splendidly--because my brother turned around again, eyes narrowing at me. "All right, so we'll put the guns aside for a moment."

I waved my hands. Fine by me. In all honesty, if I was going to get pinned on some gang weapons, I wanted to go out with a bang. He should have seen the assault rifle I had in the back room.

"How many of the things missing from the house in the Hamptons have you sold here?"

I had one of those mental record scratch moments right then. I'm pretty sure my face showed it, too. Now that seemed like a completely different investigation. I frowned, gesturing to the warrant.

"The paper says you're looking for guns, bro'. I don't remember Mom ever hanging around with a Glock." Vergil rolled his eyes, but his girlfriend looked just as confused as I was right then. I'd already established at the apartment I didn't want him in my business, but he had also said he was trying to figure out what happened to our parents.

I hated to admit what was missing from the house was because of me.

He grabbed the warrant, stuffing it into his coat pocket, and made a point of showing me his open palms. "Fine, off the record, then." He leaned over the desk, hands gripping the edge as he gave me a piercing look. I didn't back down, instead stuffing the rest of my pizza into my mouth all at once.

"You remember those amulets mother gave us when we were children, I'm sure..."

Oh. Oops.

"Yeah," I said, mouth full. Even if I'd wanted to lie, I was pretty bad at it. I was nice enough to swallow before I continued. "Why?" There was a lot I wanted to ask, but despite how talkative I could be, family business was just that--family business, and as cute as she was, Vergil's partner was decidedly not my family.

"Because mine's gone." Heh heh. "I went back to the house earlier to look for it, and it was nowhere I would have left it." He paused, glancing at his partner. "Would you excuse us for a moment?"

She quirked a brow, but slid off the desk a few seconds later. Looked like Batman was going to get some extra special attention. We both watched her saunter over to the suit, meeting eyes again almost on the same beat.

"Perhaps a little more privacy would behoove this conversation." He gestured up to the stairs with his chin. I glanced upwards, then nodded. Without a word, I pushed myself back from the desk. Just as we were about to ascend the stairs, though, I turned to the girl. She arched a brow as I leaned in.

"Just remember, babe--you break it, you bought it."

She did a pretty good impression of my brother right then, looking thoroughly unamused. "Thanks for the warning; I'll stick to breaking hearts."

Oh, feisty.

I smiled, turning to hike up the single flight of stairs. A set of heavy chains hung across the pathway about half-way up, but I just stepped over them. They weren't really to keep people out, just to slow them down. The loft was where I kept all my expensive stuff, after all--I didn't want just anyone running around up there.

The door nudged open easily with a push from my elbow; I'd left it unlocked after I did my daily check to make sure everything was still accounted for. I didn't really keep a written inventory, half because I was lazy, and half because it would be incriminating. Besides, I happened to be pretty good at keeping my organized chaos in check.

I left the door open just long enough so Vergil could slip inside behind me before kicking it shut with my foot. Funny how just a few minutes prior he'd been threatening me with a search warrant. As angry as I still was with him, and confused by his random bout of compassion concerning my girls. If it had something to do with his quest to put our parents to rest, I'd be a lot more accommodating. He probably knew that.

The loft was a lot neater than the rest of the shop; most items were kept locked behind glass or bars, meaning only I had access. The larger weapons and some old paintings hung on the wall. I took to leaning back against the door, crossing my arms. Vergil took a moment to glance around, for once not looking completely appalled at the way I kept my space.

"You really didn't know this place was mine, huh?" I didn't believe that for a second. He turned to face me again, sigh.

"No, I really didn't know." The distance between us closed, but stayed respectable enough. He looked me straight in the eye. "Come on, I'm a better liar than you are, but you could always tell when I wasn't being truthful--I didn't know. I don't care about your shop, all right?" I still didn't believe him. He spread his arms wide, gesturing about vaguely at my assortment of goods in the cases that surrounded us. "You can sell all the illegal junk you want in here and it's really none of my damn business. I didn't come here to arrest you again--you're enough of a pain in the ass when you're not in my hair--" I snorted. His fault for finding me, wasn't it? "--I was sent here on a lead after Wesker, not you."

Okay, that made me laugh. "You really expect me to believe that?" Yeah, he said the world didn't revolve around me, and I'd give him that--most of the time, anyway--but I'd have to be an idiot to think he'd catch me twice in 24 hours on coincidence alone. "You would've known the second you saw my name printed on that warrant of yours." My eyes narrowed. "Or did you forget it's the same one my apartment is listed under?"

I have to say, Vergil actually looked embarrassed for a second. He pressed his thumb to the ridge of his eyebrow, for a moment seeming to forget we were in the same room together. Yeah, I knew it would have been too easy, otherwise.

"I didn't forget." Yeah, that much was obvious. He finally met my eyes again, folding his hands behind his back. Maybe he never noticed it, but our dad always did the exact same thing when he was resigned to a discussion. "I didn't know that was the name on the apartment; that's not how I found you."

Ah, there was the admission. I nodded. I knew it couldn't have just been--

Wait, what?

How could he not have known? Giovanni Russo was a common name around here, yeah, and that was the idea, but how else could he have found me? Typing 'Dante' into Google sure as hell wasn't going to give him directions, either, not even from my Eco Footprint. I frowned, half expecting the answer to just come out of his mouth, and half not believing that he really didn't know that was my name. The only person who knew that it was Dante, not Giovanni, that lived there was--

Oh, dammit.

I threw my arms to the side. "Trish!" Oh, blow me. It had to have been her. It all suddenly made sense--I'd thought it was weird that she responded so quickly to me being in jail. News traveled fast, but not that fast, even about a guy as devilishly handsome and popular as me. Vergil had told her. And in return she had led him to my place. I believed a serious heart to heart was in order. Rule one; don't invite estranged relatives to my place. He had cleaned everything and I couldn't find a damn thing the next morning.

"Look, I don't know how you found Trish," I started, my hands as animated as the anger I felt rising up, "but next time, try knocking first, will ya?"

"Beatrice's new name was relatively easy to trace, and for the record I didn't go to her with finding you in mind. She offered me your address, and I accepted." He let a small grin slide over his face. "It's just as well, really. Those guns never would have survived the evidence room, after all. Two of the junior officers were already eyeing them."

No, blow him. While I appreciated him bringing Ebony and Ivory back, I wasn't about to bow down to that entitled smile he was showing. Oh, no.

"I suppose you're expecting me to be grateful, right?" I was, honestly. I mean, I was still pissed and that urge to punch him was resurfacing, but I was glad to have my guns again.

"Why would I expect your gratitude? You've set no precedent for that."

I snorted. "Well, thanks." That still didn't mean he was invited over, though.

I turned my back to him, hands gripping the edge of one of the glass counters. Inside were various pieces of old, polished jewelry. Most were too pricey for the average customer, but the right people knew where to look. Turning just to the left was a tall case full of various custom weapons. Looking at that actually calmed me down a bit.

"Did you know," I started, straightening up as I left the counter, "that Dad wasn't all goody-goody either?"

"What are you on about? I never said I thought our father was perfect." 'Might as well have,' was what I didn't say, but I heard the sound of his boots on the wood flooring as he followed me. He paused in front of a shirasaya sitting unused in the next case over--figured, he had always liked Japanese swords.

Pulling a set of keys from my back pocket, I flipped through them--sometimes I felt like a high school janitor with the amount that I had--jamming the right one into the keyhole. I was more careful when I opened the door--it was glass, after all. "Sure, he got your standard issue SIG P226, but..."

I could hear the irritation in his voice when he spoke. "I know he used handguns as well--he taught us both how to fire them, remember? So whatever you're getting at, it's completely unnecessa--"

I pulled out two custom pistols that, in all honesty, didn't seem too far off from my own. I turned around, flipping both around my fingers for a bit before pointing them forward at my brother. They weren't loaded. I made a point by ejecting a cartridge that wasn't there.

"He was also packing these." That shut him up. "Luce and Ombra," I said, introducing the new guns. He didn't really look afraid, more like very interested and surprised. He reached out for Ombra--the left-handed one, I noticed with a small grin to myself. We had played around a bit with the guns dad had been issued for work when we were kids, against mom's wishes. He had always shot left-handed.

"These are a lot like yours," he mused. True. They were a little more battle-worn and not as sexy, but pretty close. When I found them, I knew I wanted some too. Of course I wasn't just going to take my dad's old guns--I didn't want any handouts from him, even post-mortem--so I had some made for myself Luce and Ombra were nice guns, for sure, but Ebony and Ivory would always be my babies.

He tested Ombra's weight in his hand before giving me a demonstration of his pistol prowess, spinning it on his finger and pointing it sideways at me when she came to a stop. If anyone had walked in right then, it probably looked like were going to blow each other's heads off. So, he wasn't washed up, just stuck up. That seemed fitting.

"They're modified Colts, too, aren't they?" He spun the gun again and shook his head. "I wish you'd bothered to read the letters I sent you from England." Taking hold of her barrel, he turned Ombra back around to me. I took her grip, giving him a curious look over. "It seems Father kept more than just customized assault weapons a secret from us over the years."

"Letters?" I asked, giving the girls one last turn before putting them back safely in the display cabinet. They weren't for sale. After fixing the lock back up, I lifted a brow as I faced him. "What letters?"

Vergil had an awesome Disappointed Parent Look that he seemed to like to throw out a lot those days. "Dante, I wrote home every two weeks after I left. It was a nice touch, piling them all up in front of the doorway so that I would come home to find the stack, by the way. Really added to the 'my brother's dead' effect."


I was having a lot of those 'oh' moments since he showed up again. Never really cared for those.

"Hey." I was up in his face, and as usual he didn't back down. He simply looked irritated to have me in his personal space, leaning back just a tad to give him more room. "Two days after you left, so did I."

It had been over a month prior that I decided I was leaving too; even with Trish, the house was too big and too empty. I couldn't take it, especially knowing that he was going to be gone for a good four years or so, if he didn't decide to stay over there permanently. I wasn't stupid--Europe was the kind of place that really suited him.

"And I never went back."

That was a lie, or a partial one. I never stepped inside again, yes, but there were a few nights, especially towards the beginning, that I sat on the doorstep for a good few hours, trying to convince myself that going in was taking a step backwards in my own life. Trish had collected me the first few times, but only when I called. Guess I always needed someone around.

"Stop trying to pull this whole 'death' thing on me--that was your conclusion, not mine." A sucky one, but still not my intention. "I'm not that much of a jackass to fake my own death."

"That doesn't change the fact that it looked that way." He didn't raise his voice. I gave up. Throwing my hands in the air, I backed off instead, showing him my back once again.

"Whatever." It didn't matter, anyway--he was going to think whatever he wanted. How was I supposed to know what it looked like? I had cut that part out of my life, supposedly for good, and look where it got me. I heard him sigh and saw his reflection on the glass case in the middle of the room as he leaned against it, his arms folded.

"Well, what you would know if you'd kept in touch is that I tried doing a little detective work on my own in Europe before I ever went to the academy. You know Father was secretive about the life he left behind in Italy, but I figured that someone as influential and wealthy as he'd apparently been would likely still have some ties overseas." That actually got my attention. I circled the other side of the case, allowing it to put some space between us. Dad had never wanted to talk about family over there--he said all we needed was what we had. It had been a little frustrating, but I had been happy, so why would I care? Vergil had always been the one who demanded more information.

"And?" I asked, tired of the pause. He would never admit it, but my brother had his own flair for dramatics when he wanted.

"There was nothing."

Well-placed dramatics at that.

"Nothing?" My eyebrows knit together. I'd wanted to disappear, too, and had done a pretty good job of it, apparently. But our dad? To completely erase him in another country...that was weird. "Maybe you didn't look hard enough," I offered, not really caring how it may have sounded. It just didn't seem possible, considering how much weight Dad had been able to throw around once moving to New York.

He turned to face me as well, giving me another patented glare--I was getting tired of that look. "I assure you, I looked plenty hard. I spent an entire summer in Italy, just going through public archives and birth and death records on microfilm." He suddenly looked like he'd drank too much of that coffee his precinct had given me--served him right. "Have you ever tried to read microfilm in another language? It's bad enough in English."

What the hell was microfilm?

"Zavattoni's not exactly a common name, but I couldn't find one person in Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice, even Milan, with that surname. Not a single address or phone listing. So I dug a little deeper."

This time I gave him an impatient look--what was with these dramatic pauses?

"There were no records of any Zavattonis in the national archives, Dante. No one by that name had ever lived, ever been married, or ever died in the entire country of Italy."

I didn't bother schooling my expressions right then. I frowned, locking my jaw. I almost stupidly suggested that maybe the name wasn't Italian, but thought better of it. What else could it be? I rested my elbows on the counter.

"Maybe it's a fake name?" I suggested, scraping the bottom of the barrel at that point. Dad could have made it up, couldn't he have? But that just begged the question why. "There's no way an entire family just stopped existing."

Vergil shook his head. "There are a few Zavattonis here in the states--even a few here in New York. However none of them could be traced back any further than arrival in the United States--there were absolutely no ties to any addresses or family connections overseas."

Well. Damn.

I had no idea what to say for a while, letting it sink all in. I had never really given much thought to our extended family--all I really knew were our grandparents on our mother's side, and I'd lost contact with them when I left home. They were on the other side of the country, anyway, some truck stop in northwestern Washington state. Only once were we ever exposed to dad's life before he immigrated, and that was an unexpected visit in itself. Apparently we had an uncle, Uncle Enzo, who arrived just a day before mom was murdered. He left just as quickly as he came--I partially blamed him for it, like somehow he was supposed to have been sent to protect her when I couldn't.

Vergil should have at least found him over there, right? It made the past feel like a ghost; half of me wondered how much was real.

I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. All I could do was sigh and scratch the back of my head.

"Man..." I finally said after a long moment. "...What the hell does that mean?"

For once, my brother wasn't looking his best; he didn't look cool or confident. He was pretty flustered himself, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand. "I... don't know what that means. I tried again the following summer, I looked for our uncle--Enzo, you remember." I nodded--I guessed our thought processes weren't so off all the time. He shook his head again. "No sign of him, either. Plenty of Enzos, but no Zavattoni. I even looked up a few of the Enzos I ran across, but they were never him." That got a brow raise from me--good job not being a creep, bro.

"So you hit a brick wall head on going 80," I said, straightening up. "And you came here expecting me to know something?" This was all news to me, really, and he knew that.

He shook his head again, eyes with some mild contempt. "No, I came here because I was given a warrant to search the pawn shop of Giovanni Russo." He gestured absently to the various weapons around us--all unregistered and most illegal either way. The look he gave me was a little too suspicious for my taste. He clicked his tongue, but that was it, and shoved his hands into his pockets and leaned back on the counter, a posture that I rarely saw on him. Just what kind of crap was he trying to pull, huh?

...He wasn't going to take my stash, was he? His warrant was for those two types of pistols, which I had only a few in stock, but they were mostly legal.

Then he smiled. Rather, he almost smiled if you knew where to look.

"But obviously he doesn't have what we're looking for. Back to the drawing board."

What a dick. That definitely wasn't genetic.

"Remind me to punch you again sometime." It was a lame threat, but a threat still, and that was the point. I huffed, crossing my arms, and made my way to the door. "We done here? Chicken gets weird when it's sitting at room temperature."

He looked a little confused for a moment. I sure as hell hoped he didn't think he was getting any of my hard-earned breakfast, what with the wonderful coffee he had to look forward to once he left. I shook my head, reaching for the handle when his hand found my forearm. His grip wasn't tight, but it was still unwanted. I guessed we weren't finished.

My hand paused on the knob when he spoke. "My amulet. You know where it is, don't you?" It wasn't a question.

"Uh..." Well, in a manner of speaking... "No?"

He didn't miss a beat.

"'No' as in no you haven't seen it since we were kids or 'no', you don't know where it is because it's somewhere in your controlled tornado downstairs?" I felt his fingers tighten on my arm. I yanked it free.

"It isn't downstairs. You think I'd keep something like that next to George Clooney?" Even though he hadn't hurt me, old habits died hard, and being the little brother, I had to rub my wrist like he had. Sure, there were no parents to scold him for being mean, but the sentiment was the same. He rolled his eyes.

"I don't know, it's hard to tell what you do and don't keep down there. So is it up here, then?" Uh. "Is there another room?" Not with an amulet. "I want that amulet back, Dante; I know you must have taken it from my room when you left." Maybe. "Return it to me at once." Damn.

Well, that had turned awkward in half a second. Ignoring the non-existent pain in my wrist, I rubbed the back of my neck, unable to make eye contact. I said I was a poor liar and I meant it.

"Look--" This was decidedly more difficult than telling him to get out of my life. It was a lot easier to feel like he'd wronged me, it pained me to admit I may have done the same to him. "--I don't really...have it. I don't know where it is, now."

He looked curious for a second, confused, unsure, and then angry all at once. He was just a box full of emotion that day.

"You don't know where it is... now. You sold it?" he asked through clenched teeth.

I had to try and explain myself. "It was--"

"How could you sell that?" he interrupted.

"--look, I took it a long time ago--"

"Our mother gave us those amulets, Dante--"

"Yeah, I know. That's why I--"

"--they're not just paltry costume jewelry for you to hawk to pay for your weekend boozing hobby."

I sneered. "Stop putting words into my m--"

"Who did you sell it to?"

We both stopped for a moment, eyes locking. Neither one of us refused to look away and, for a moment, I forgot how to blink. How could I try and explain myself? Yeah, I had screwed up--I shouldn't have done it. I would have been just as pissed, if not more than he was, if he had done the same thing to me. My reasoning was messed, but it was still there; Vergil had left the country and didn't even think to bring Mom's most precious keepsake with him. It obviously didn't mean nearly as much, so I took it.

Yeah, the logic of a 17 year-old was hard to compete with. Hindsight was always twenty-twenty.

"I don't know," I admitted, shoulders slumping just a tad.

There was a heavy silence that fell between us. Even if I didn't already know I deserved it, his disappointment wasn't easy to take right away.

"You... don't know." Vergil looked away, rubbing his temples. I felt like I was eight all over again. Vergil was replaced by my dad and I had that large sword sitting behind me, even though we weren't supposed to touch it. I never really listened.

"I suppose I shouldn't ask whether or not you keep record of your sales, I think I already know the answer." He was right--I only took cash, anyway, and not keeping track of my transactions was just a way to save myself in the end when less than amiable previous owners came knocking. That, and I was kind of lazy.

Another moment passed. I clenched and unclenched my fingers, unsure of exactly what to do. I was still upset, still not sure how it was that five years had gone and how I was suddenly back into the same groove with my estranged brother. I really wasn't sure how I felt about that. This was the part of my life I had wanted to never deal with again, wasn't it?

Now what?

"Get it back." Anger turned to urgency at a pin drop. I frowned, bringing my attention back to Vergil. "No one can have that amulet, Dante. It's mine. It belongs to a son of Sparda." He jabbed his finger into my shoulder--a little harder than necessary, if you asked me. "And it wasn't yours to sell."

I hated it when he was right.

I knocked his finger away from me, but still held my hands up in surrender. "Alright, alright." I had no idea what I was going to do. "I'll see what I can do, okay?" Really, what else was there? "It was just a week ago, I think, so maybe the guy's still around." At least I thought it was a week ago. Sometimes they tended to blur together depending on if I was, as he so eloquently put it, indulging in my weekend boozing hobby.

"See to it that you do," he said with finality. It wasn't helping my mood or the cause, but I was sure it made him feel better.

"Just be careful where you point that thing," I said, jamming my own finger into his shoulder for emphasis. "You could put someone's eye out." He narrowed his eyes before rolling them. I was glad to at least have the final word. Yanking the door back open, we left the loft, once again hopping over the chains in the way (they were pretty easy to trip on, but if he did it was his own damn fault).

Over the railing I spotted Vergil's partner sitting on the edge of my desk again, holding a small picture frame in her hands. That made me stop mid-descent, causing my brother to nearly bump into me. The only photo I ever kept on my desk was of my mom, and honestly, I didn't appreciate people touching it, even cute girls. It bothered me, yeah, but I tried not to let it show. She glanced up when she heard our footsteps cease, placing the picture back down where it belonged.

"You boys get all your personal business attended to?" she asked, uncrossing and recrossing her legs in the other direction, nice legs that they were. I offered her a grin and a lazy shrug of my shoulders, starting back down the stairs.

"We're still here, aren't we?" Implying that, of course, all of our personal business was probably never going to resurface. But I preferred it that way, some scabs should have remained unpicked. I didn't bother looking over to my brother once we hit the main floor, instead just reaching into my pizza box and grabbing another slice.

"See anything you like?" I asked, making a motion with the pizza towards the shop at whole.

She lifted her chin a bit and straightened out one of her legs, gesturing to the Batman suit and bust display with the tip of her boot. "I'm rather taken with George, I gotta say."

"He's free this weekend, you know." I raised a brow.

She raised one back. "He charges the rest of the week?"

I grinned. "Touché." Plopping down in my chair again, I spun it around so that it faced the desk. Turning to my brother, I gave him a nod. "I like this one."

Vergil looked right past me towards his partner. "Don't feel special; he likes anything with legs and breasts." Always ruining my fun. That was why he had never gotten laid in high school.

She grinned--to him, not me. "If that includes fried chicken, it might be love." I really liked this one.

He just rolled his eyes. "Please don't encourage him..."

In all honesty, I didn't need encouragement. He probably knew that, too. Giving a toast with my pizza, I took a bite, idly casting my eyes to the warrant that he had left on the opposite side of my desk. Throwing my feet up beside his partner, I asked, mouth half-full, "So, the hunt for your guns goes elsewhere, huh?" I scratched the tip of my nose, swallowing. "They the murder weapons or something? Seems kind of like a lame death for a big important police captain."

I thought I saw something flash in her eyes--anger, maybe?--as she slid off the desk, holding her chin high. "That big important police captain was stabbed, not shot. The guns are just another nail in Wesker's coffin."

Prosecuting for a longer sentence, even about a different charge. I saw where that was going; it just showed how messed up the justice system had become that you couldn't hold a guy on murder but you could for selling some kids candy on the street corner. I was biased, I knew, but considering there had never been a single lead or reason for my mom's death, and before then my dad's, what did you really expect? Jaded and worn by the world--that was me. I thought it fit the image pretty well.

"Must have a pretty weak case if you guys are scrounging off illegal weapons possessions." Maybe I shouldn't have tried to push my luck on that front, but considering the fact that Vergil--for whatever reason--had returned my guns to me, I felt home free. "Wesker never seemed like a guy to kill indiscriminately, though--maybe that boss of yours was sticking his nose in too deep. You guys do that from time to time."

I thought I saw Vergil's face go a little pale for a second. I cast him curious look, but was interrupted by a whirlwind of breasts and suddenly a finger a few inches from my face. It was better than the barrel of a gun, I supposed, but somehow it felt twice as deadly. I was waiting for some sharp, undeserved words to come with it, but her arm fell only seconds later. She narrowed her eyes at me and shook her head.

"It was that boss of ours' dying wish that Wesker pay for what he'd done. We're going to see to it that he does pay for it. All of it." She glared. "I don't expect you to understand." With that, she stomped off towards the door.

I was becoming quite popular with the awkward silences crowd over the past day. It took Vergil clearing his throat to break it as his partner moved to grab the door handle.

"I see you still really have a way with the ladies, Dante."

I ignored him, dropping my feet to the floor and leaned over my desk. "Hey, wait up!" I'd been turned down by women before, but I usually had an idea of why. "I didn't even catch your name."

She just yanked the door open, but paused, her fingers tightening more than they should have on the old metal. I was glad she wasn't sort of femmebot, because the glare she shot me then would have incinerated me on the spot.

"I don't have a name."

Where did my cute new girlfriend go? "Well then, what should I call you?

She huffed, turning around. "I don't care, whatever you want."

I gave up. "Whatever, Lady."


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f i v e l u m i n o u s m i n u t e s

November 2012

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