“Honey, I’m home!”
Enzo enters his home with a bottle of wine in his hand. Closing the door, he calls for his wife again. No answer came, not even from his children who normally run up and greet him like playful puppies. He wonders where they are. Setting the wine bottle on the end table, he picks up a letter from his wife reminding him of the planned dinner with her mother in two hours. Enzo rolls his eyes and curses. He takes off and places his coat in the nearby pantry before returning to the bottle of wine. He removes it from the bag and opens it with s pop. Lifting the bottle, he takes a swig and then lets out a loathsome sigh over the inevitable, and unavoidable, dinner with his mother-in-law.
“What a day,” Enzo says before raising the bottle to his lips again.
“You’re telling me.”
The suddenly sound of another voice startles Enzo, making his spit out the mouthful of wine before he could swallow it. His instincts draw him to a dark corner of the living room where the light on a lavish end table clicks on. A familiar silver-haired man is seated comfortably in the expensive Italian style chair.
“Jesus Tony, you damn near gave me a heart attack,” Enzo snapped at him, breathing heavily with his hand on his chest.
“Don’t you have to have a heart first?” Dante quipped. He takes a swig from a bottle of beer he pilfered from Enzo’s refrigerator. “Looks like you didn’t get wiser with age; I don’t go by that name anymore.”
Before he became a Devil Hunter, Dante lived the life of a mercenary-for-hire under the name Tony Redgrave. He was known for only taking high risk jobs for large amounts of money. The alias was to hide himself from the dark forces that killed his mother when he was young. During that time, Dante had nearly forgotten his true identity until a tragic event similar to what happened to his mother occurred that forced him to take up his name and true identity again. Enzo was one of several middle men who brought jobs to the mercenaries. However, he reserved tough jobs for Tony simply because the other mercenaries weren’t crazy enough to take them. The danger level of those jobs insured only certain death. Yet Tony Redgrave and the only mercenary crazy enough to deal with him always returned with barely a scratch on them. Soon, Tony’s forgotten past life caught up with him and, in the end, demons had killed all his fellow mercenaries including his friend. Afterward, Dante decided to start his own business. Enzo was still his middle man until Dante fired him over a disagreement with his pay cut.
“Whatever,” says Enzo. He sips more wine and then asks, “Anyway, whaddya doin’ here, Ton—Dante?”
“Well, maybe you can help me out,” Dante said. He downs the rest of the beer and places the bottle on the table. Then he stands and approaches Enzo who looks back at him with worry in his eyes. “See, I have this rat problem,” he says.
“Y-Yeah, what kind of problem?” Enzo said with a hard swallow. He has seen Dante upset like this before—when he asked for a bigger pay cut. Dante caught the middle man skimming from his earnings which led to his abrupt termination. Looking at Dante, Enzo has a hunch why the former mercenary is piercing him with his eyes.
“Oh nothing special, just a bit of a…rat problem.”
“Yeah, seems like a certain someone told an attractive, hot looking witch information that I thought I made clear that said person should not speak of after I canned their stealing good-for-nothing ass.”
“D-Dante, listen—whoa!” Enzo stumbles back over the first step in the front foyer leading to the second floor and lands seated on the second. The wine bottle clanks on the floor and rolls a couple inches, spilling its contents along the way. “Listen, I-I told her about what you said! I told her I couldn’t tell her about you cuz you said so! But she’s too stubborn; she wouldn’t listen!” Enzo nervously explained with his hands held in surrender. Dante loomed over Enzo. His tall frame contrasts with the middle man’s stoutness. “Ya gotta believe me, Dante! I wouldn’t have told her otherwise but she rung me out for it!”
Dante doesn’t respond right away. Instead, he whips out Ivory and aims it at Enzo.
Enzo recoils, fearful as he stared down the barrel of Dante’s ivory colored handgun. “GAHH!! Dante, I’m sorry!! I swear it won’t happen again!!” the middle man said, pleading for his life.
“You’re right. It won’t.” Dante’s voice is laced with a cold, emotionless tone. Casting a piercing gaze, he cocks the gun.
“Dante!! Wait, Dante!!” Enzo pleaded.
Ivory spews forth a few rounds of gunfire before Dante releases the trigger. He then returns Ivory to its holster and steps past Enzo, who checks himself over and breathes a sigh of relief that he is still intact. The informant looks over his shoulder at the safe embedded in the wall behind an expensive portrait. Dante has blasted the painting to pieces and then destroyed the lock of the safe. He’s been in Enzo’s house enough times before and knew exactly where the safe was. Standing in front of the safe, he gives the wall a sharp tap with his foot. The battered door creaks open. Dante stoically pockets a few wads of cash, taking all the money except for one bundle. Afterward, he heads for the front door.
“Hey, what gives?! Ya nearly cleaned out my stash!” Enzo shot at him after looking in the safe. Having a gun shoved at the end of his nose is not enough come between him and money, especially cash he had hidden away for a rainy day, which usually means a round of drinks and a round of strippers.
“What, I left you enough for a couple hours at Kitty’s Den,” Dante said back with his usual flare. Kitty’s Den is a gentlemen’s club in town that Enzo frequents. Dante knows his former middle man is still their best customer.
“Dat ain’t the point!” Enzo snapped at first before whimpering, “Now how am I gonna entertain the ladies?”
“Guess you’ll have to hang out with the missus tonight instead of Miss Information,” Dante cleverly shot at him, remembering a certain exotic dancer who dressed as a sexy professor. “By the way, you can owe me the rest in a couple days,” he says, reminding Enzo of the money he owed him from years back. The money Dante took was part of his cut for a job he completed but never got paid for cause Enzo spent both their cuts on booze and women, which led to Dante working alone and Enzo taking lower rated jobs for mercenaries because there is no one of Dante’s caliber who can handle the tough jobs.
“A couple days?!” shot Enzo, knowing full well he will not be able to cover the money he owes to Dante in two days.
Dante opens the door and looks back at Enzo. “Hey, it was good seeing you, Enzo,” he says. Enzo just stares back in bewilderment. “Tell the family I said hi,” he says as he slides out the door. “Later.”
Enzo is left in a state of shock after the door closes. He hasn’t seen nor heard anything from Dante for so long and tonight, the Devil Hunter visited him harboring an old grudge. Mixed feelings ran through him as he tried to piece together what had happened. Part of him was glad to see Dante. Part of him was glad to see Dante leave. All in all, Enzo knows Dante wouldn’t change. He still the same brash, sarcastic person he knew from the days when they both lived the mercenary life. He also knows Dante will be expecting the rest of the money he owes him. Realizing this, Enzo quickly grabs his coat and rushes out the door.
It has been a few weeks since Dante waltzed with the witch. He’s been beside himself wondering if he’ll ever have that kind of entertainment again. He sits in his chair behind the large mahogany desk which he was finally able to pay off now that Enzo has paid his debt. Things with Enzo are back on track. The informant brings him jobs no one else will complete. As a result, Dante is less in debt. He even paid for a pizza for the first time ever. The stunned look on the delivery driver’s face was priceless when Dante handed him the money and even let him keep the change as a tip. Lady and Trish have been off doing odd jobs so they haven’t been running up his tab with local clothing stores. All seemed well for the Son of Sparda except…
Dante leans back in his chair. His long legs form a bridge to the desk. He recalls the battle with the Umbra Witch remembering the excitement, the joy, the passion he felt then. His battle with the King of the Underworld Mundus and his twin brother Vergil were the last times he has felt such elation. It’ll be a while after that before he would face a worthy opponent. No even the jobs that Enzo brings him come close in comparison to that epic clash. Still, they keep the lights on and the water running. And for once, he may end up out of debt.
The phone rings. Lost in thought, Dante lets it go a few times before answering. “Devil May Cry,” he says. After listening to the conversation, he hangs the phone up and settles back into his chair. The grandfather clock in the corner to his right ticks loudly throughout the deathly silent room. The lone ceiling fan high above him rotates slowly, pushed by a windless breeze. Its tiny gears squeak like a church mouse. Dante sighs contently and relaxes further in the soft cushioning.
Then, cracking a wide smile, he swings his legs off the desk and pops himself to his feet in one motion. He picks up Ebony and Ivory, gives them a flashy twirl and slaps them into their holsters before taking his trench coat of the rack and flipping it over his shoulder. Grabbing Rebellion, Dante strolls toward the door, dragging the sword lazily behind him and leaving a trench in the wooden floor.
“So, let’s see what else you got…Witchy Lady,” he says. Dante raises a leg and thrusts it forward.
“Is it over? Heh…”
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