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Pattern Welding and Annealing

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Things were boring, just a little, but being carried by the Young Master instead of being in that dreadful containment unit was far preferable, even if his forms still needed a lot of work. So many things had changed over the years since she had been last in the Human World, it was nice noting the changes and experiencing the new ones through his memories. And the nestlings were rather adorable to listen to, all the more amusing at how Nero would ease off his brashness when tending to them, or how soft he'd become when around his precious. ('Not mate yet,' she picked that up easily from his own devil, much to her amusement and his devil's still slight disappointment, the silly fledgling.)

And yet, she'd be lying to herself if she didn't miss her time with her previous master.

To think that a Devil Arm such as her caliber to be wistful. Some of the converted ones, transformed due to defeat in combat, would mock her for it, while those created like her and her siblings would've been confused. Yet if this was something unique to her and her sister, then it was all the more treasured given their bearers, a cherished gift from Father.

Then...

"You, uh, you need something?"

...familiarity, but something was off.

"What the hell? You a demon?"

It was her previous wielder, but... nononoNONONO.

"Kyrie, get back inside, now!"

If she could vocalize, she'd be howling at the sudden disconnect from him, her pain echoing his as blood splattered the floor. While her bond to Nero wasn't as solid as her old one, it was still there, comforting, and to have that suddenly severed away-

"I'm running out of time..."

Her pain was mercifully short-lived, but that didn't stop the new growing sensation she was starting to feel: despair.

The sensation of passing through the boundaries did little to move her, still in shock.

However, feeling the echoes of a lingering and fading power had her stirring a bit, before realizing that she and her Master were back in a highly familiar location. Feeling herself leave her saya, and her Master turning around, horror dawned when she realized how he was grasping her tsuka.

"'...heavy chain, that does freeze my bones around!'"

/"NO, DON'T-!"/

A demonic roar overshadowed a weak human gasping for breath.

Not for the first time, she wished she could scream out loud as blackness crept over her consciousness like sharp crystals.

-3-1-2-4-5-

/'What the He- YAMATO?!'/

/'Re... bel... lion... help... us...'/ Being in that red crystal form made it hard to focus, as things kept getting refracted and bounced around.

/'Shit! Red and spiky is SO not your style! Just- Geeze, hang on, Yams! Dante's got it! We're gonna kick that garbage god's ass and get you out! Crap, where's Lady and Trish?!'/

/'Defeated... too... powerful...'/

/'Snap out of it, Sis! Uh-oh, that's gonna leave a mark-'/

Seeing Dante knocked out made Yamato almost drop into further despair, and even seeing Nero come in with his Red Queen didn't give her much hope either when the roots stabbed him before one of fireballs sent him flying back.

/'That stung, mothertrucker! And... Nero?! You idiotic fledgling! You're down an arm, you're gonna be a dead weight! Frag it all! I hope you like the taste of Damascus-style ste-'/

For the first time since her forging and living in the Human World, Yamato envied for the human tears that Dante, Nero, and their family - family - could shed upon hearing the pain-filled shriek as Rebellion shattered under the enormous fist.

/'So... sorry... Rebel... lion... so... sorry...'/

/'Gonna... you... out... jesh... wait... Yama... to...'/

Blissful darkness as crystals overtook her again.

-3-1-2-4-5-

All Rebellion could focus through the constant haze of brokenness and agony was that it truly, utterly, and completely sucked.

Down to her hilt and ricasso, she almost didn't want to think about what had happened to the shattered blade pieces of her. About the only thing she was glad was that her secrets could be only unlocked with the right intent, right understanding, and she didn't had her sister's reputation of cutting through anything.

/'Yamato...'/

One month of her bearer being in a coma was nothing compared to the millennia she had been wielded by Sparda until he tied her into becoming the physical manifestation of Dante's power after his birth. It had felt strange, having carried a part of Sparda's power for so long until she was left behind with Dante. Sure, Vergil stabbing her into Dante to awaken his own demon powers and to partially reawaken herself was par for the course demon-wise, but really, she liked the Human World of thinking outside the box - so much more fun.

"Holy shit... Can't believe any of this is still standing..."

/'Holy crap... amazed... any of this... still standing...'/

/'Yeah...'/

She wondered if it could be called a miracle that the family portrait was still clinging above the fireplace, damages aside.

Oh yeah, the echo of that chicken.

"I always wondered... Why did my father give me Rebellion?"

/'Pops... wanted... to teach... lesson... you to survive...'/

/'Why am I not surprised. Father always did like the harder puzzles.'/

/'You... no... idea...'/

"Okay, what are you muttering?" Griffon asked, impatient curiosity in his voice.

"Over the years, I've been stabbed and jabbed by a number of things." Dante snorted bitterly, looking at what was left of his beloved sword since childhood. "But who would've ever guessed..."

The taste of blood again. This time, it felt different.

"Have you lost your mind!?" Griffon shrieked, nearly falling to the ground out of shock. "There's a demon to destroy! Kill yourself later! I'll help!"

"If the Yamato can separate man from devil..." Dante grunted, not letting go of her grip. "Then what about the Rebellion?"

Pain, but this time, not as bad. Strangely, it was comforting.

/'Sorry 'bout this, Rebby.'/

/'Heh...'/ Too bad she didn't had a human form. Would've been nice to - what was it - have one last smoke, but alas.

Dante got the mental impression of the top half of a biker chick's body slumped against a wall, blood trickling over a bruised face with one eye shut from a blooming black-eye and her hair a total mess, biker leathers shredded beyond repair. Her lower half was basically gone, hidden by shadows. While the power and presence of Devil Sword Sparda wasn't like his sisters, both of them could also feel that sense of regret and the passing of hope before fading and changing.

For a brief moment, Rebellion regained her sense of lucidity. A fanged grin of defiance that was as cocky as his despite missing some teeth, that mischievous gleam in her visible indigo-colored eye above a growing bruise on her cheek. One hand in fingerless motorcycle gloves formed into a thumbs-up.

/'Guess it's time... for me to... check out, eh. Been... one Hell... of a party.'/

/'My bad on running out of refreshments, Rebby.'/

She could feel herself now slipping, as well feel the forming of a new Devil Arm. Young and eager. Perfect timing.

/'Kick... his ass... for me, Dante, lil' bro.'/

/'One serving of ass whoopin', coming right up.'/

-3-1-2-4-5-

Feeling the attempted bite of metal against her crystal prison, Yamato was able to work through the refractions to make out that familiar touch of Red Queen, now improved. Human-made this nestling of a blade may be, but Yamato couldn't deny the care Nero treated his blade with and how well Red Queen served her wielder. She supposed that if Red Queen was crafted as a Devil Arm similar to her or Artemis, then the young sword would be roaring as loud as the engine installed on her with flames surrounding her. This time, Yamato could feel the crystals chipping away a bit more than the previous time, slow it may be.

Yet she dared not believe too much, the constant excruciating haze reminding her of her situation.

That distasteful feeling of despair crept up as soon as two roots wrapped themselves around Nero, and she could feel her shingane almost cracking upon hearing Nero's tortured yelling.

She almost didn't recognize Dante in his new devil form.

"Dante... You dare approach me in that form!?"

That cocky laughter, familiar even if distorted. "You're one to talk! Do you know what you look like now?"

The new Devil Arm that Dante carried was truly new and, to her sheer surprise, ridiculously young. The few times the giant blade crashed against her prison, she could sense Rebellion and her brother Devil Sword Sparda's energies, but neither of their selves. As soon as grief ('Such a human emotion... Yet, appropriate.') was about to etch its mark on her, something from the new blade called.

It felt... child-like, to use the human term, as if taunting her for giving up so easily. Not so much in words yet, but the emotions were there.

It reminded her of how Rebellion used to needle her.

Yamato didn't know whether to consider it good fortune when Urizen recalled her physical self back, as well the usurper disappearing into the Qliphoth's roots instead of battling Dante again.

And yet...

Just for a moment, she held on to that small fragment glimmering in the darkness that surrounded her. For the second time, she wanted to cry, out of hope.

-3-1-2-4-5-

The illusion of the Masters' childhood home disgusted her, although Yamato knew there were better words. She had heard how the Qliphoth created an illusion of the "paradise" for the one who desired its fruit, as if to tempt the demon that it was something they could regain back. If anything, it was akin to what she remembered of Father's recollections, on how Mundus could create worlds that weren't completely true. How... fitting.

"Yup, this is where it all started. That day mother saved me and... left you behind." Dante paced about, staring at the recreation, the Qliphoth roots, and Urizen. "The thing you don't know is, she tried to save you, too. She kept searching and searching... Until it killed her."

Oh, yes, definitely fitting.

"I have no recollection of this tale, or this place. It's all an illusion, created by this extraordinary fruit. It's power, you see, is all I ever wanted." Scarred claws yanked the dripping apple. "And with this..."

"No..." Dante wasn't going to make it.

"I will have everything!"

Yamato could almost - almost - hear that /"Oh SHIT!"/ from Rebellion when the surroundings cracked like glass. At least, she was glad that the usurper didn't bring her out to fight Dante this time.

(She was still intrigued by the new sword he was using. She could also feel the reciprocated interest from the young blade as well, like a curious nestling investigating something new for the first time.)

"How... How are you so powerful!? You never lost anything!" Urizen howled in rage, struggling to catch Dante.

"It's not about loss... Strength is a choice. Fighting like hell to protect what's important," the devil hunter snarled back, Air Tricking before using his Summoned Swords to gain some more height. "You threw away everything you ever had... No wonder you have no true power!"

'Never have truer words been spoken,' she mused grimly.

And then, a fallen usurper.

Steps staggered. "Do not struggle. For if you can't even defeat me, then you've already lost."

Ah... V.

"'While thy branches mix with mine, and our roots together join.'"

She clung on to that shard of hope tightly as the crystal finally shattered alongside the illusion.

Strange... It didn't feel as foolish as she thought it would in the first place.

-3-1-2-4-5-

"That day, if our positions switched... Would our fates be different? Would I have your life, and you mine?"

Yamato could sense the changes in him, ignoring her own relief of being back to her proper shape. Far more settled, not as angry, but that drive... It felt bent. As if sabering after quenching.

There was also that sense of a calm other in Vergil, one she gladly welcomed.

/"Foolish as ever, Master Vergil,"/ she whispered. She, too, had been changed from this reforging.

"Perhaps..." Vergil felt the sense of long sleeves fluttering as if being primly rearranged. "Let's settle this... Dante."

Neither had to wait long.

"Time to finish this, Vergil! Once and for all."

Their edges sang as they cut through the thin air, humming as respective Summoned Swords formed and then disappeared after either making contact or being used. Fire, ice, and lightning clashed against slashing into the void. Parts of the Qliphoth's branches were both destroyed and sometimes kicked or tossed as impromptu projectiles. She almost laughed at the audacity of Dante tossing a rose that exploded upon contact. The ferocity was far more intense than what she remembered from Temen-ni-gru, and for the first time, Yamato was unsure of the outcome.

/"Sissy got a message for you."/

That's right, there was still her new... sibling, she supposed at this point. /"And what would that message be... little brother?"/

/"M'not little! Me big and strong like Daddy!"/ A childish pout, before seriousness took over. /"Sissy says she's sorry that she couldn't be there for round three, and that she hopes to see you at the next party, Big Sis. Also, that you should try to keep Uncle Vergil from doing any future stupid things. Well, more stupider than usual."/

A horned skull grinning from the back of a black leather jacket with red highlights, her ever messy hair dancing in the breeze, and a two-fingered farewell salute.

Yamato's desire for tears - this time of relief - had never been stronger than ever when Nero showed up and finally stopped the twins.

-3-1-2-4-5-

/"Ah, this is nice..."/

Now, Vergil felt far more settled, properly quenched with no sabering, tempered and honed.

"Score for Dante! I'm up one," came the cheeky crow.

/"Yay! We up one!"/

Disbelief in Vergil. "Where did you learn to count!? We're even."

What was that gesture she had sometimes seen Nero do? Ah, facepalming. /"...will no one rid me of these ridiculous idiots."/

A smirk on Vergil as he set about skewering several Pyrobats with his Summoned Swords. "Come now, it's been over twenty years for me. I believe I am allowed to... cut loose a little."

/"I beg that you do not start with puns, Master Vergil. Master Dante is bad enough as it is."/

"Hey, I'm not THAT bad, Yams!" Gunfire erupted from Ebony and Ivory that took out the Green Empusas. "I haven't really lost my edge one bit!"

Excited bouncing. /"Yeah, Big Sis! Daddy's funny!"/

An exasperated sigh. /"Foolishness, all of you. Foolishness..."/

Another horde, another round interrupted.

The instincts of older siblings. /"Don't you dare say it-!"/

Cheerful glee of younger siblings. /"Jackpot!"/

-3-1-2-4-5-

15 August - 10:03 PM

/'You know what, Sis...'/

/'Hm?'/

Yamato had been half-listening to the low talking between Vergil and Nero as the vehicle rumbled along the road. Dante was snoring away on the small couch while the jukebox played a slow song in the background. Up in the front seats, Lady and Nico were softly discussing about the details of the upcoming job. It sounded big, as well needing to cover a lot of ground on investigating the root of the problem according to Morrison's description.

/'I like the Human World a lot. The Demon World might let me kick demon ass all the time, but...'/

If she could, she'd pat her little brother on the head. /'The Human World is far more interesting, isn't it, Dante. With things that don't exist in the Underworld.'/

A large grin as the faint sound of wolves howling in the air drifted in through an open window. /'Yup! I can't wait to see about this new job!'/