100 Theme Writing Challenge
Fandom/Universe: Devil May Cry
Dante only realized after the glass cracked and webbed beneath his thumb that he had been crushing the small picture frame he clutched in one hand. A stinging smidgen of pain prompted the devil hunter to lift his thumb, and he watched a fat drop of blood leak from the slit the glass had left behind, spattering onto the broken pane. He smeared it across the surface, uncovering Vergil's somber face. Dante couldn't remember a smile ever being on his brother's face, and he had to wonder if Vergil was ever truly happy. Dante supposed he wasn't; neither of them was. After their mother was killed by demons, the twins were forced to fend for themselves on the streets. Dante remembered many nights of hiding in condemned buildings and huddling together so they wouldn't freeze to death. No matter what either of them did to lighten the mood, both were always aware of their situation, effectively eliminating any chance of happiness.
Even so, Vergil always made sacrifices when it came to Dante and vice versa. They became absolutely dedicated to one another because they really had nothing else to dedicate themselves to. Dante remembered with a sickness in his gut the various tasks they were forced to endure to gather even a small portion of money or food. Eva had raised her twins to know stealing was wrong, and the first time Dante had to steal food, he was utterly paranoid for the following few weeks that big men in uniforms with handcuffs and guns would come to drag him off to prison. Vergil had always possessed a survivalist mindset, knowing he either stole or died. He had tried to explain that to Dante on several occasions, but Dante always felt that accepting theft as a part of life was just letting his mother down. However, the first time a burly man drug him into an alleyway, used him like a dirty sock and pressed some bills into his hand, he had prayed every single day that he could steal his food instead. Of course, his prayers were never answered. Dante had turned his back on the entire concept of God when he was only twelve, for every time one of his prayers went unanswered, the only questions in his mind were, "What have I done to deserve this? Why are you punishing me?"
However, where a nonexistent god left a void in his life, Vergil was always there to fill it back in with hope. Hope that they would find their mother alive, hope that they would find a home someday, and, when those dreams fell through, hope that they simply wouldn't starve to death. No matter what he was hoping for, there was never a time that Dante felt hopeless for long, and he knew he had to thank Vergil for every second he wasn't wishing something would come along to put a quick end to his suffering. Dante used to get furious, enraged with his brother because he thought Vergil wasn't pulling enough weight as he should. However, in retrospect, Vergil had carried just as heavy a burden on his shoulders as Dante, if not heavier.
When Dante was out breaking into someone's home to rifle through their cabinets or selling himself for meager pay, Vergil was trying to keep them both happy, facing the horrible world they inhabited with an unbreakable, rigid constitution. Dante couldn't count how many nights he had spent sobbing into his brother's shoulder until he was exhausted enough to sleep, but one thing he could never remember doing was holding Vergil while he cried. Vergil had never cried, not even once, and considering the circumstances, that was more than could be said about even a grown man when reduced to living like a worthless animal. Dante gripped the fabric covering his chest right over the cavity where his heart ached with every throb. He could only imagine the heaviness Vergil had held in his heart, and, yet, even after all the strength he had to use up to keep himself from falling apart, his brother was still out there doing those same horrible things that no one, let alone mere children, should ever have to endure.
A teardrop washed a trail through the blood drying on the glass. Dante knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that Vergil had loved him then. It wasn't possible for a person to subject themselves to such demeaning, excruciating and numbing things without loving the one they were doing it for. Yet, despite how close they had been as children, Vergil had cast Dante off like an old, disheveled and stained chapter in his life when he began his pursuit of the power of their father, Sparda. To Vergil, such power was far more important than family ever could be.
When he was young and naïve, Dante believed that it would always be just him and his brother. No matter where they went in life, Dante knew they would go and leave together. He didn't have his dearest mother, but he still had his brother, and Dante never imagined that he would one day lose Vergil, too. And, yet, when a sympathetic devil hunter took them in off the streets, it was Vergil who had snuck away one night without saying "goodbye", leaving Dante all alone in the world. Somehow, Vergil's death wasn't nearly as painful as having his brother turn his back on him completely. From then on, they had become rivals, and Dante still couldn't figure out how it had come to that. Even though Vergil was dead, slain by Dante's own hands, the hunter still asked one question every single day: where had all the love gone?