Third installment of the RT!Twins. Underground churches, possessed skeletons, and nitwit twins, oh my!
He certainly didn't want to get accused of being a baby that was afraid of the dark. Because that wasn't it. He just didn't want Vergil to get them /lost/, and he really didn't see that as being whiny or a baby. He just doubted Vergil's navigational skills. He doubted them a lot. And who wouldn't? Vergil was fucking insane.
However, there he sat in the passenger seat, with a bottle of Mountain Dew (he was staying awake, dammit) and some gummy bears, peering out of the passenger window, trying to see where the fuck they were. Unfortunately, there was nothing but trees beyond, blotting out the sky except for a small sliver above them, and the night was starless and moonless, which made him even less comfortable. The headlights revealed nothing but endless dirt road, and for a moment, he opened his mouth to say something, but after a second thought better of it and closed his mouth again, resting his head against the window.
Which left Vergil to start conversation, the first in a few hours, and that was never a good thing. "Tell me, Dante." Dante leaned up a bit to cut him a look, one brow arching. He knew it was going to be bad. It always was, if Vergil had that snide tone. "Have you ever heard stories of cults in this area?" At Dante's incredulous snort, Vergil waved a hand, before returning it to the steering wheel, two o' clock and ten o' clock, which was why he sucked on a manual. He couldn't drive, at least not well, without both hands on the wheel. "Oh, denounce it all you want. Of course, there are no true demon worshipping cults here now, but two hundred years ago, up until...Oh, one could wager it was the late thirties, they were incredibly active in this area."
"Uh huh." Dante sat up, running a hand through his hair. Fucking lunatic. "And I'm the fucking queen of Egypt."
"Then pleased to make your acquaintance, Hatshepsut." He smirked at the dark scowl Dante sent him, before continuing. Dante, while realizing it was rare that Vergil divulged information like that, couldn't help it. It meant something bad was going to happen, and that Dante was getting dragged into something he didn't want to be involved in. Oh, he knew his brother. He knew his brother too well. "Of course it seems a bit odd, to peg this place with such a history, but long ago, my shaggy sheepdog of a brother, this was a lawless and forbidding place-"
"You mean it's still not?" It was said on a laugh, as Dante rolled his eyes.
"Shut up and listen to your betters." Dante wasn't phased by the look he was given, and went to digging for a red gummy bear, snickering to himself.
"Dude, I was scared I was going to get assraped Deliverance-style in that gas station back there."
"Well, can't help you have a purdy mouth, boy." It was said with an affected drawl, which made Dante visibly shudder. Tormenting Dante over with, Vergil returned to his original point, reaching across the seat and clapping a hand to Dante's mouth when Dante opened his mouth to speak again. "It was a lawless and forbidding place, and man, as you and I very well know, are weak against that which they fear. We are less so, blessed purely by the genetics of our father to temper that which shakes the human soul, for we are far, far from human."
At that, Dante did give him a look, over where his hand was still clapped against his face. The last thing he wanted was a fucking lecture about how they were 'different' from humans; or, in actuality, because it came from Vergil, how they were better. He was very aware of how different they were; he'd dispute the better part. And in the end, it would end up a bloody mess, which was why he didn't try to say anything, letting Vergil ramble as he would.
"Man, of course, faced with the darkness, will naturally turn to it for comfort." Dante was tempted to ask what Vergil's excuse was, but bit his tongue. "And so, this area had a secret underground of cults, faced by small, local churches. Oh, there are those here now that play at worshipping the devil, but it's simply for shock value. Really, someone needs to come along and show them who the 'devil' really is."
Vergil's look was significant, which had Dante straightening in his seat and prying Vergil's hand from his mouth. "Ayeah, no, I'm not in on that shit. Drop me off back in town if that's what you're gonna do. Fuck that, Vergil. I got better shit to do with my time than scaring a bunch of pussy ass greasy goth teens."
"Oh, please, as if I would be that petty." He popped Dante in the forehead before replacing his hand once more on the steering wheel, taking a turn into an even more remote stretch of dirt road, this one far more narrow, and looking far less used. It was all made of that red Georgia clay, and Dante secretly thanked everything he held sacred that it wasn't raining, because he just knew with Vergil's driving they'd end up in a ditch, or something equally as stupid, because clay was slippery when it was wet. "No, brother, what you are about to see within the next small frame of time is simply one of the better kept secrets of the south."
"What, they really do rape pigs and shit? Hell, Vergil, I knew that." Vergil would be that fucking petty, and Dante wasn't sure he wanted to see what Vergil was there for. He truly wasn't. Because...True enough, Dante had no idea as to what Vergil did when he'd disappear for days or weeks on end, and he really didn't want to, because he positively reeked of demons and magic when he returned. He probably thought Dante couldn't smell it, but then...Vergil was good about underestimating his little brother. It was him, after all, that actually did the demon hunting. Not Vergil, not often.
But this was seriously giving Dante the creeps. "Seriously. And just what is this amazing and wonderous sight you're showing me? What, some hillbilly altar to the devil? C'mon, Verg. If I wanted to see shit like that, I'd go to New Orleans." Not like he hadn't been there before and gotten neck deep in trouble with a local voodoo priestess once. As Vergil would have very well remembered, considering he was the one that bailed Dante out.
"Oh, I think you'll be surprised." It was there, in the middle of the road, that Vergil shifted into park, before glancing at Dante, eyes narrowed in sadistic mirth. And he honestly had no idea how much that creeped Dante out. "Make sure you're armed."
With that, he cut the lights and the engine, before shouldering the driver side door open and stepping out, giving a stretch with his hands braced at the small of his back. His voice was soft and quiet, as Dante exited the car himself, and on some instinct, Dante slipped the door closed instead of slamming it, not in the slightest surprised when Vergil did the same. "Take a moment, little brother, and use what you've been given and see what it is you see."
"Feels like a fucking bad horror movie, that's fucking what," Dante grumbled, adjusting his guns where he tucked them against his back, under his shirt. "Oh yeah, asshole, you tell me to come armed and you don't bring shit?"
Vergil gave him a slitted, heavy-lidded look. "Oh, but I'm never unarmed, ickle Dante. Come along."
"You brought me out here to rape me." At that, Vergil gave Dante the clearest 'excuse me?' look that probably had ever been managed in the history of...Everything. "Look, babydoll, I know I'm sexy and all, but no. Bad touch."
"Stop being retarded." And as an afterthought, "And a flaming fag. You disease-ridden monkey." He started off of the road, hopping across the ditch that separated the flat of the road from the incline of a hill, before glancing back. "Stop dawdling. There are things I want done, and soon, and the longer you stand there playing with yourself, the longer I'll make you stay."
"Now see." It was said as Dante started to follow, scowling deeply at Vergil's back. "It's shit like that that makes me want to put a bullet in the back of your head. Keep it up, Sparky. You keep that shit up. You wish you were lucky enough to catch me playing pocket pool." He grumbled as his boot got caught in some undergrowth, yanking it free and picking up in a jog to catch up with Vergil. "I ain't even dressed for this shit."
"No, that's right. You're not. You're not flapping around like some giant, red, mechanical bat with the wings broken. Which is exactly why we're here /now/," Vergil snapped, as Dante took up pace next to him. "Yes, Dante, because obviously the thing you need to do while walking into a situation blind is to attract as much attention as possible. Bravo."
Dante huffed as Vergil increased his own pace, leaving Dante to follow a few steps behind. "Yeah? Fuck you, too. I know how to handle myself, asshole."
"Of course you do. Which was exactly why you called me naught two months ago from New Orleans, wibbling about a voodoo priestess." And there Dante had been hoping Vergil wouldn't say anything about that.
"Please, I don't feel shit out here." Which was true enough. The air felt /dead/, which was more disturbing than if there was some underlying demonic activity, just out of his line of vision. "Whatever was here, baby, it's long gone now."
"...Is that so." It was said distractedly, as they stepped out of the treeline into a narrow, overgrown patch of land with not a tree on it, and Vergil started to move a bit slower, keeping his eyes trained to the ground. "And that's your problem exactly, Dante. You're so simplistic. An absence of feeling should set you on alert just as much as if you could feel them breathing down your neck." He paused, stomping at the ground a moment. "Hn. It's farther in than I remember."
"So you're telling me you've been here before?" Dante made a noise, folding his arms behind his head as he casually loped along behind Vergil, watching the idiot stare at the ground like some kind of retard. "Gee. Can't say that makes me feel a whole lot better about being stuck here with you, brother o' mind."
"Good. Familiarity breeds irrational comfort. Irrational comfort breeds weakness. And weakness offers only death." And despite that it was all that crazy talk Vergil did, he sounded distracted. They were moving deeper out into the open, completely exposed, but Vergil didn't seem to notice that at all. So much for all this talk about who was what about attracting attention. Dante wasn't the one stomping on the ground like a loony.
Silence fell between them for several long moments, before Vergil stepped over a patch of ground that, even to Dante, sounded distinctly hollow, and they both paused, before Vergil dropped to a crouch, clearing away the growth and dirt. "Or perhaps it was closer to the treeline than I was thinking." Soon enough, what had seemed like solid ground revealed a hidden trap door type deal, like Dante had seen in the midwest next to old houses.
"Hey, uh, did a house used to be here?" It seemed logical, at any rate.
"The foundation still is. But what was here isn't important." The cover was lifted, and a dark splotch, indicating an opening, was revealed. "Now, we hope the stairs will support us."
"Huh? No." Dante shook his head emphathetically, backing away. "No fucking way, no fucking how. I'm not going down there."
"Fine." There was a bounce of humor in Vergil's voice, as he tested the first step, which held his weight fine. "Then I'll leave you here alone. You have heard tales of the nasty, oogie things that haunt countrysides at night, correct, bestest little brother in the world? Not to mention we're smack-dab in the middle of hillbilly country. I'd hate for my precious little brother to be spirited away while I'm occupied by a group of sweaty, inbred farmers, because he's 'pretty'." And yes. He did make the finger quotes.
Dante hated Vergil. Hated him with every fiber of his being and then some. There weren't enough words to describe how much he hated him. He hated him, because he was hitting all of his nerves with a fucking sledgehammer. "You fucking owe me. You fucking owe me /big time/. I better be getting, like...Real food or some shit out of this."
"Uh huh." Dante was tempted to kick him in the back of the head, as Vergil started down the stairs. He truly was. "Come along, Dante. It will be worth your sacrifice, I promise." When Dante started down the stairs behind him, gingerly, he added over his shoulder, "If you're a good boy, I might be generous and feed you. But only if you behave."
Fucker. He was just lucky Dante was willing to comply, if only because he didn't want to get assraped by either demon or inbred yokel. And that was it. "Yeah, this better be a-fucking-mazing, or I'm kicking your ass and I'm taking your credit card." He would try, too. Of course, there weren't any guarantees he'd succeed, but he'd put up a /damn good fight/.
"Oh, stop whining." One of Vergil's hand trailed along the wall, as, with the deeper they descended, the harder it was for even the two of them to see, before his hand found what it was looking for. A switch was flipped, and lights, at sparse intervals, flared to life, leaving Dante blinking at its sudden appearance.
"What the fuck. How the fuck does this place have fucking power?"
"Not everything is run by mortals, Dante. For everything man has achieved that has been worth having, demons discovered it aeons before. And those that proved themselves loyal to demonkind received this knowledge as a gift." Dante didn't see it, but for a moment the hand that dropped from the switch rested fleetingly at the spot on his chest where his amulet lay under his shirt. He knew the secret about that, and it wasn't something Dante needed to know. A key to Hell. How fitting they both should wear them like crosses around their necks.
"Okay." Dante didn't give a shit. He truly didn't. He was weirded out, but as they passed deeper into the steeply sloped passage, he was becoming more curious by the second. The roughly hewn walls gave way to, at first, simplistic carvings in the stone underlying the clay and soil, and they grew more intricate, the deeper they descended. "Who the fuck built this?"
"People. Humans. Those who wished to gain the power that demons are innately born with. They revered creatures like you and I, thought it's doubtful any of them ever saw one with their own eyes. We, my brother, are a rare breed in this day and age." Vergil reached the last few steps, and ducked under a low, overhanging arc, out into whatever lay beyond it, until Dante emerged after him, going a bit wide-eyed.
It was a large cavern, arching above them, no doubt not all that far from the surface, though...By Dante's estimates they'd come a long way underground. It was...Cathedral-style, in its construction, but Dante was sure no cathedral looked that way on the inside. The supports of the high roof were studded with what looked like human skulls, and from the way those closest to the ground had deteriorated, he was pretty sure they were real. The orangish glow thrown from the light only added to the eeriness, as he stepped a little further into the room, looking up to the ceiling.
It was arched, with a slightly pointed dome, the internal battlements far, far above them. "This shit is fucking trippy as hell." A closer inspection of the wall revealed bodies -some mummfied, some nothing more than skeleton- lining them in what almost seemed a decorative pattern. Men and women both, from the clothing that still clung to most of them, though the colors had long since faded. "Is this some kinda...Tomb or some shit?"
"Yes." It was said as Vergil walked away, leaving Dante to gawk at the scenery, toward a small alter to the north, if Dante guessed correctly. "And no. The dead are here. They're watching...Every. Move. We make." It was said, stilted, as Vergil turned on his heel to face Dante once more. "However, we are what they worshipped. We're not in a bit of danger."
"No danger, huh?" Dante wandered away, to another side of the wide, open space, first inspecting one of the lights, then a skeleton, knocked jumbledy-peg against the wall, obviously having no place among the others hanging above it. "Well, well. Wonder what you did to not get to hang." He reached out and touched it, expecting it to crumble under his fingers, but was shocked to find it amazingly resiliant. Closer inspection led him to believe it was 'fresh', as there were still tendons holding the bone together.
"Hey, Verg. /Somebody/'s been down here. This one ain't been dead that long." He glanced back, and Vergil waved him off, picking up a book from the altar and flipping it open. "Tch. Fucking figures." It was said under his breath, before he turned back to the skeleton. "How the hell am I supposed to have any fun, huh? All he does is stick his fucking nose in a book. Fucking nerd."
He took the skeleton by the shoulders and lifted, a bit amused it still held together at the action, before snorting. "Yeah, I feel like dancing, too. Fuck Vergil. Let him jack off all over that fucking book. You musta been a looker when you were alive, babe." Not that he knew, or cared, really. Humming to himself, he put one bony head on his shoulder, before supporting it with his other other. Whoever she had been had been petite in life, as the feet dangled well above his boots. But that was fine. At least he wasn't dragging it.
"Now don't go losing parts. I can't stick 'em back on." With that, he hummed (surprisingly) a little waltz, pulling from his memory the times their mother had tried to teach them how to properly do so. It wasn't like he had the coordination for it, especially then, with how he'd grown, and the skeleton, honestly, weighed nothing at all, so it was easy to take the big, sweeping steps, humming all the while to himself, right past where Vergil was scanning the pages of the book.
"Honestly, Dante, and you say I don't have respect for the dead." Not that he moved to stop Dante, in any size, shape, or form, and instead, turned another page. "Enjoying yourself?"
"You're just jealous you don't have such a hot date." He grinned as he spun, when he faced Vergil again. "Ask me real pretty, baby, and I might let you dance with me, too."
"Aheh." A finger was run down the page, before Vergil glanced up. "That's it exactly, Dante. It's rude, however, to not reserve a dance when a gentleman has requested. Remember that."
"I dunno. You didn't ask pretty." It was all said while Dante continued to dance around the open area with the skeleton. "What are you doing, anyway?" He craned his neck as he swung past again, trying to get a look at the pages. Pity for him he couldn't see it clearly.
"Refreshing my memory."
"Then why don't you just take the fucking book?" Really, that made sense to Dante. Otherwise he wouldn't be there, dancing with a skeleton. But far be it for Vergil to do the logical thing, in any situation. It was one of those rhetorical questions, anyway, because Dante never expected the sane thing from Vergil. Ever.
"It's warded so I can't. I'm afraid, little brother, I tried to do that the last time I came here. Things...Well." He found the page he was looking for, and fell silent, reading, and Dante took to humming again, twirling with the clanking mess of bones. He was counting steps in his head, just like his mother had when he was small outloud, though she had always led then. Dante had never gotten very good at it, and before he had, their mother had...Well. He pushed those thoughts away. Then was not the time to dwell on things that couldn't be changed.
So into it, did he get, he didn't hear Vergil close the book and replace it, and hadn't been aware he'd even come closer, until he almost slammed into him.
"That's enough. Let's get going. We're still being watched."
"So soon?" With an overblown, tragic sigh, Dante took one last spin, before dipping the skeleton, grinning to himself. "I guess, if we gotta. Yeah, babe, I know." He grabbed the other hand and tossed it over his shoulder, in a mock embrace, using his own that had been holding it to tilt the jaw upward. "I know. But, I'm telling ya, babe, I'm not the settle-down kinda guy. It's better if we end this now before you get too attached. Parting is such sweet sorrow, and all that faggy shit, you know?"
He hadn't been aware, and neither had Vergil, when the bony claw of a hand slipped up to Dante's hair, before the tips of the fingers raked across his cheek in something that was most certainly not an accident, leaving behind long, angry, and deep scratches. For a moment, Dante stayed where he was, too stunned to speak, before a shrill, echoing voice most certainly came from the skeleton, as the finger tips dug in deeper, the other hand clamping like a vice around his neck.
"Oh, but won't you stay, handsome?" It errupted in a mad, bubbling laugh, and Dante jerked backward, trying to get himself away, only lodging the bones deeper into his flesh.
Vergil had been on his way out once more, on the other side of the low arch, when he heard both the eerie voice, and Dante's, full of panic. "Goddammit." And there he was, without Yamato. Well, he hadn't lied. He wasn't totally unarmed, in more ways than one, as he ducked back under, to find Dante struggling to pry the thing from him, where it laughed and laughed. "Goddamn possession. I loathe body possessions, even if the body's dead."
"Just get this goddamn thing offa me." There was no denying the panicked note in Dante's voice then. And who wouldn't be? The skeleton had latched on fiercely, and there Dante was, his hands around its wrists, struggling.
"Turn her this way. I have a parting gift." He didn't give Dante time to answer, as several pinpoints of cerulean light surrounded him, before shaping themselves into ghostly swords. "Just stay out of the damn way. I don't want to hear you whine." And with that, he let the first go, where it slammed into the ribs of the thing and shattered.
It let out a shriek of pain, as though it happened to be nothing but bones, the demon within was very real. And it most certainly felt that, because it dropped its hands from Dante to turn on its attacker, only to receive another phantom sword to the face. "Don't just stand there and sputter, Dante. /Shoot it/."
Another sword was released, taking out a knee. "And this is why we don't possess skeletons for shock value, ladies and gentlemen." The thing gave a snarl, though it was teetering on its one usable leg, and for a moment looked as though it were going to pounce, before three shots rang out, reducing the skull to powder. And that was the only concession Vergil would give over Dante's guns: If nothing else, they obliterated things.
The skeleton teetered there, short one leg and headless, and for a moment they both wondered if was going to just keep coming, before with a creak, and the snapping of bones, it collapsed into a useless pile. Dante stood there a moment, before slowly moving to tuck away his gun and reach up and wipe at his cheek.
"Well. That, uh, gives a new meaning to clingy bitch, huh?" It was shakey, the slight laugh he offered, before he shook his head and made his way over to Vergil on slightly wobbly knees. "You know." He draped an arm casually around Vergil's shoulders, fully expecting to be shrugged away, only hoping to steady himself for a moment. "I'll be honest. That scared the shit outta me."
"Uh huh." Vergil inwardly rolled his arms, before bracing an arm around Dante's waist, tugging him toward the arch. "Let's get out of here before the rest of them decide they want us as houseguests." Once on the otherside, he snorted loudly. "You know, brother, I'd say be careful or your hair will turn white...But that seems to be a moot point."
"Smartass." God, Vergil was never going to let him live that down. Dante could feel it in his...Bones. "I played good. I want food."
"We'll see." And that was all Vergil was going to offer on the matter. Well, of course he was going to feed the shaggy mutt...As soon as he looked like he could hold it down. "First, we leave, and get back to where there are people. Though I'm afraid at this time of night, what you get will be rather slim choosings."
"Yeah, yeah." Awkward? Awkward. But that was okay. Dante reached up with his free hand once more to finger the scratches and gouges in his cheek, huffing to himself. "Stupid fucking...Thing. That shit hurts."
"Hm. No doubt there's some toxin in it." At Dante's wide-eyed look, he physically rolled his eyes. "Oh, like you won't reject it. Suck it up like a big boy, Dante. That's, no doubt, why you can't walk on your own. And why we do not play with bottomfeeders."
"I didn't know!" Dante hadn't, and that was the point. "She looked dead to me." But that was okay! It was. "Whatever, can we just go now?" He didn't receive an answer, as they started up the stairs, and he was somewhat glad of that. The last thing he wanted was for Vergil to bitch away at him. He just honestly hoped nothing else like that happened in the near future. Between demons attacking hotels, Vergil axing families for books of magic, and attacking skeletons, Dante figured by the end of it, he'd be as insane as Vergil, before the stupid fucking trip was over.