Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Capricious Infection ❯ Act 25: If You Truly Care ( Chapter 25 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]


Capricious Infection

Act 25: If You Truly Care

By: Revamp


“Well…” Tarvos admired his reflection in the blade of his War Scythe for a moment before smiling to himself. “It's time to end this town and make a new one…In due time, of course.”

He wasn't going to wait any longer and the storm had already passed. The population would be coming out and going back to their normal, warring habits. It was the perfect time to stir them up into an even bigger chaos than they were in initially. The very thought made his blood pumping organ quiver with delight.

Dante, on the other hand sighed in exasperation. “Let's just get it over with,” he muttered in a dejected, irritated tone as if he was being forced to commit genocide, and in fact he was. It was bad enough that he was teamed with the guy who had feelings for him in the past but now he had to kill and destroy with his own hands. It was true that he had been doing so since he created the warps that brought other races to Earth, but still…he didn't want any of this and the job of Chaos was not one that he wanted.

Tarvos turned half way, looking over his shoulder at the grumpy boy. He looked a little disappointed that Dante didn't feel the thrill that he did. “Are you not excited to be doing your job? The old Diablo-“

Dante cut him off, beyond sick of him talking about his former self. “Just shut the fuck up about the old Diablo. He's gone, done, ended. So get that through your little, spongy, mucus encrusted brain…or whatever you call a brain,” he was so close to the Dius that they nearly touched noses.

Tarvos was unaffected by the boy bucking up to him in an attempt to appear intimidating. He kept his ever present, lazy smile. He seemed to have two facial expressions: looking happy and stoned, or looking demented and unstable and Dante never knew when his face would zap from one to the other.

“Have it your way, to me Diablo is Diablo-“He was cut off again.

“I'm not `Diablo', I'm Dante,” ` the boy argued, sticking to his new name.

Tarvos shrugged. “Ignoring the past doesn't erase it.”

Dante averted his eyes and clicked his tongue. ”I know, but it sucks when you can't remember your past but everyone else can.” It was like he had a secret life and secret powers that he couldn't understand and everyone else knew about it the whole time and kept bringing things up, like they were expecting the old him to come back.

Was that it? Was the reaper trying to jar his mind and make him remember the relationship they had? Or did he have deeper intentions? Dante could never tell. Tarvos was too capricious to be read most of the time. The other Dius were predictable, but he broke the mold.

How was he ever attracted to this guy?

Tarvos was nonchalant again. He merely frowned a little and looked to the side, shrugging. “It happens. Sometimes, people can help you remember. The other Dius help me remember things. We're a close bunch…Well, we were. We're divided now.”

Dante looked back to the reaper with a hardened expression. “How do I know that I'm on the right side of this anyway?” It wasn't like he was presented with the other side of this story, everyone else just assumed Oz was right and jumped on the wagon. He wondered if he was the only one who questioned the story's validity.

Tarvos turned his sights back to the shorter Dius. “You don't. If you want to change sides, then you will.” It didn't matter much to him.

Dante crossed his arms and squinted at him skeptically. “You don't seem like you care too much.” For someone who was on a side, Tarvos showed no loyalty. Maybe it was because of his sociopathic nature that he didn't.

Tarvos shrugged again. “In the end, everyone dies. Well, the ones who lose do. Then the world will be started over, according to whoever's rules are put into motion. I just go with the flow.”

Dante sighed in defeat. “Sometimes, I wonder if you have any free will at all.”

The reaper turned and smiled his signature unstable, toothy smile and his voice took on a dark edge. “More than you'd like to think.”

With that, the Dius flew into the air and looked down at his companion, throwing his arms out. “Let's get this show on the road. We can't let them wait for the darkness to fall.”

Dante sighed again. He could feel the dread rushing through his veins at the thought of what he was going to have to do. Every bit of his being protested this act, but he had no choice. `Guess I can't hold this out any longer. Here's blood on my hands.'

With that, Dante ran down towards the village.

Tarvos flew over a small suburb of closely bunched houses. At one point in time it looked as if it had been a small housing addition. He pointed his scythe at it, drawing up a dark purple energy. Tentacles of purple swirled around his legs, torso, arms and head as a white energy swirled outside of it in even bigger tentacles that rotate around the N on his weapon. Lazy blue eyes cast their apathetic gaze on his target.

“Too bad,” he said to himself and fired a large, neon purple beam through one of the houses. It exploded on contact with a loud boom that sent debris flying in all directions. Around the area, people lit up with a thunderous commotion as they fled from nearby houses and buildings, trying to desperately save their lives.

Dante stood among the chaos in the streets. People of all races screamed, let out loud sounds and ran around him wildly. He looked contemplative for a moment, before his face morphed into determination. `Don't kill the children. That's a relief, but…'

His thoughts were cut off as a loud explosion filled his ears. The building he was standing in front of detonated before him and propelled his body forward, knocking him into the dirt on his back. Dante's form crashed into the ground as the air was beaten from his form forcefully. Orange eyes opened to see the reaper flying above him.

“Whoops, sorry about that,” Tarvos called from above.

Dante pushed himself up and scowled at the reaper. “Watch what you're doing, you blind ass fuck!” He shouted, waving his fist threateningly at his so called `team mate'.

Tarvos placed his scythe over his shoulder and put one hand on his hip. “Do your job and I wouldn't have to worry about hitting you, Dante.” If he hadn't been zoned out down there, he wouldn't have been in his way to begin with.

Feeling his anger reach the boiling point, Dante clenched his pointy teeth tightly together and let out a feral growl. He'd had enough to Tarvos, enough of this war and enough of the Dius race in general. He was sick of fighting, sick of not knowing what to do and sick of being conflicted with whom he was in the past and who he is now. “You want me to destroy shit? Fine. I'll destroy shit!” He flung his arms out to their respective sides as a clear burst of energy spread out over the land, leveling anything in its path. Buildings crumbled, bodies flew through the air and trees were uprooted in one fluid motion.

Tarvos watched the carnage below, grinning from ear to ear as his clothes flapped violently in the high winds and his long, curly hair swayed. “How interesting…”

The Dius took off in another direction, floating above another section of houses. He spun around and held up his weapon laughing in joy as flames floated through the air and drew up around his body. He pointed the staff back down and the flames shot down in a ball over the structures below, lighting them ablaze.

“Great job, Dante! I always knew you had it in you.” A true wrecker of carnage after his own blood pumping organ. Such destruction reminded him of the days of old. Moments like these were truly made to be savored. Tarvos couldn't help but laugh manically at the thought.

Dante waved his weapon around angrily below him. “Just shut up and kill people, you chuckling fuck!”

Tarvos spun again, gathering the flames around him as he formed a giant cyclone of fire. With one movement of the arm, he sent it barreling across the landscape with a smile. “But, of course,” he said seductively.

Dante darted off in the other direction. He flung his scythe blade on a chain in front of him. The weapon spiraled through the air as he swung it around his head like a lasso and launched it into the frame of a building, taking out the walls. The jerked it back into a fountain and demolished it as water and shards of concrete filled the air.

He felt strange. Adrenaline rushed through his blood, and the sickening feeling of finding amusement in this destruction rose in his gut. `Something about his…I feel so pumped up, like it's an exhilarating adrenaline rush. Is this…how it used to be?”

Before he could think anymore on the subject, a bright white beam shot past him, nearly taking him out as it destroyed an entire sector of the war field with a massive crash. Immediately, Dante was pissed off. He whirled around with a look of pure hatred on his visage. “I fucking told you, you waste of time and,” he trailed the last part off awkwardly, “space?” He continued to stare at the reaper and more importantly, the huge war ship behind him. “What the fuck?”

“It was him,” Tarvos pointed to the ship in accusation.

“Him? Who the fuck is him?” Dante fumed. He demanded an explanation.

“He's Warrior King Ares.”

“Didn't Oz say something about him before we left?”

“Even if he didn't, I could tell you about Ares.” After all, Tarvos and Ares also went back a long way. Ares was a good personal friend of his.

Dante arched an eyebrow. “Do I even want to know?” Considering everything the reaper had told him about their alleged relationship, he wasn't sure he wanted any more weird, strange or romantic news pouring from his mouth.

“We have a…special relationship.”

That was exactly why he didn't want to know anything about Tarvos' relationships with people. It either was romantic or he purposely made it sound that way in order to screw with him. Either way he was having none of his bullshit.

“What is he? Your stratos or pyrex?” The Dius had one too many lovers for his taste, even if he was one now; there was no way that he was even going to consider their ridiculous love sector concept.

“We have a potential relationship,” Tarvos felt a certain way about the war god that he couldn't put into words, not that feelings were his thing. If Ares had popped the question, depending on the sector of interest, Tarvos would have agreed to take it and would have been flattered that he'd want to deepen their relationship. Especially since the reaper didn't particularly think he piqued anyone's interest.

Dante arched an eyebrow. “Does that mean you're seeing each other?” He knew that Tarvos hid things, so if they were nothing shocked him. Although he could admit that he didn't know how to feel about someone else having a special place in the reaper's heart…or whatever he called a heart.

“On and off,” Tarvos smiled suggestively at Dante, as if to tease him about something.

Dante looked a little ticked off but squinted at him in accusation. “I thought you didn't have anyone.”

“I don't…Are you jealous, Dante?” The winged one's smile became more capricious. The fact that Dante seemed desirous of Ares was quite amusing.

“What?” Dante blushed furiously. “No! Why the fuck would I be jealous? I told you, I'm not into you like that!” Despite his claims, Dante couldn't help but feel a prang deep inside of him. He didn't know why, because he honestly wasn't attracted to that idiot. There was no way that he was gay. None at all.

Tarvos flew in close to his face with a sly smile. “Then you won't mind if I go and see him.”

This only irritated Dante even more. He wasn't so much angry at the fact that Tarvos was going to see whatever sex-friend-thing he had, but it was the fact that he was abandoning the mission that set him off. Dante didn't want to be the only one left down there destroying things. “You heard Oz. This isn't a stratos-mating whatever; its destroy the world time.”

“We will be destroying the world,” the reaper flew down and grabbed his arm, slowly lifting Dante into the air.

The teen protested against the grip, squirming and flailing around. “Hey! What are you doing, you flying fucktard? Stop it!”

Tarvos smiled down at him as he gripped his hands and instinctively tried to curl into a ball. “You shouldn't squirm, or you'll fall and make a beautiful splatter on the ground. As wonderful as that may be, you'll have to make new memories for yourself.”

Dante looked at the ground as it what was left of the partially destroyed sector got smaller and smaller. He wasn't used to the altitude rising so quickly. His ears popped and he flinched. “You could at least tell me where we're going.”

“To the Death Factory.”


Did he hear him right?

“That what?” He didn't like the way that sounded and the fact that he was taking him there only made Dante feel sick to his stomach.

Tarvos' smile widened impishly. “You'll see.” He purred.

Dante immediately protested. “I don't want to see. Especially if the place has the words `death' and `factory' together.

Tarvos flew up through the mechanical areas that served as engines to keep the massive factory afloat. Dante could hear the hydraulics of the machines and pounding of large, steel pillars. In the middle of the factory was the cancer sign, glowing in bright white as billows of pitch black smoke poured ominously through the smoke stacks. He was lowered gently over a stone wall and onto a grey stone floor.

Tarvos landed before him as he looked straight in front of him and saw a taller, lean figure of what looked like a human, but he wasn't too sure, considering the way he dressed. He wore black pants and dress shoes, but over his torso there were bird wings of brilliant green, yellow and black that attached to a long tail in the back. This figure also wore a bird hat with a long bill that covered all of his face but his mouth. It had the same green, yellow and black feathers with two bulbous, void-looking yellow eyes on either side. From under the hat, two black horns spirals out, creating a loop before curling inward. They were small; only double the size of his horns. From around the lower corners of the bird mask, fringed black hair stuck out, signifying that his hair had to be at least shoulder length.

He just stood there, not saying a word and looking stock still. Dante walked up to him and looked him in those fake eyes with a scowl. “Who the fuck are you? Ares? You don't look like a Dius…you just have the horns.”

If it truly was Ares, that wasn't what he expected at all. So, this was the freak that deserved so much of the reaper's feelings? `What's so special about this guy? He doesn't even look like someone that Tarvos would like. Kind of puny looking. What's up with the bird shit, anyway? Is this little bird brain trying to be mysterious or some shit?'

“Can I help you, or would you rather stare all day?” A monotoned, young voice came from the bird suited figure.

Dante narrowed his eyes, glaring him down.

He turned his head and looked to Tarvos in recognition. “Oh, Messiah, you've come.”

Dante's face shot straight to Tarvos. “Come? What were you, expected?”

“I guess Ares wanted to see me. I actually wasn't aware of that.” Truth be told, as skeptically as Dante glared at him, he didn't know that Ares was expecting him.

The shorter Dius shot him a death glare. “Then you should keep tabs on your lovers,” he shot before his sights went back to the bird suited figure. “Who the hell is this weird kid?”

“You can call me Sawtooth,” he finally introduced himself in the same monotoned voice as before. Sawtooth spoke informatively and with all of the etiquette of a businessman.

Dante arched an eyebrow and cracked an arrogant smile. He nearly laughed. “Sawtooth? What the fuck kind of name is that? You got weird teeth or something?” It wasn't as if he could talk, his teeth looked like a serrated lade themselves.

Just then, another figure showed himself. This figure was far more intimidating than the bird kid. It was a male Dius, dressed in an Egyptian, green-scaled, tight shirt with matching straps, a red sash and white pants with sandals. He also wore a white cloak with a hood that had holes for his wicked looking horns that stuck straight out like shortened versions of the Gemsbok horns, only being about half a foot in length and of a brilliant yellow. He had short, shaggy hair, the same saw-like teeth that Dante had golden cuffs on his wrists, biceps and ankles, many golden necklaces that looked straight out of hieroglyphs around his neck and a brand of the cancer sign on his right bicep.

“What's going on here?” The Egyptian-looking Dius asked in a mature voice that was a little edgy, much like Dante's own. He stopped shortly of Dante.

“Another one?” How many of these freaks were there? Was this guess who would show up in what costume next? This was nothing but a floating factory of freaks.

“Who are you and why are you here?” The cloaked Dius crossed his arms and stared down the boy with beady, black eyes. The fact that he had the body of Atlas only added to that fact that Dante did feel himself getting smaller at his clawed feet.

`This guy could rip my face off and make me kiss my own ass. His biceps are as big as my head.' Dante's mind scrambled for something to say. “It's not like I wanted to come.” In truth, he had protested against it with all of the fight he had in his being.

Tarvos gesture to him with the wave of a hand. “That's Diablo; his new form is called Dante.”

Ares looked at him with a smirk. “That's Diablo? He's so frail-looking. Diablo used to be much taller, with a nicer physique.”

“Watch what you say, you muscle-headed dumbass,” Dante didn't like being thrown up on some flying freak factory to be ridiculed and he wasn't going to take it from some freak who came from the stone ages.

“He's definitely got the demeanor,” the Egyptian Dius remarked with amusement.

“We had to combine his body and soul to resurrect him. Now he's a Human/Dius hybrid. It's a long story, but I think I've explained most of it to you,” Tarvos tried to fill in the gaps of the original story he had discussed with his fellow Dius.

“What a pathetic sight. It's almost shameful that the glory that he's fallen. If it wasn't for you and Sawtooth, I wouldn't be in the loop at all. The only reason I'm here is for the war. I can't resist the smell of blood burning on the battlefield,” the Dius admitted with a crooked smirk.

“So, that's why the fuck factory floats around this place,” Dante made a deduction out loud as he glanced around at his cold, industrial surroundings.

“Chaos is quick to dismiss genius. Keep your opinions in your field of expertise,” Ares replied coldly. While Dante was in his domain, he would show him respect. He had ways of showing him the way out in the most gruesome way possible.

“I don't think that Dante understand what this factory does very well. Remember, his mind is pretty much blank when it comes to memories of us,” Tarvos reminded his old friend that the old Diablo's memories were reset. Due to that taking place, Dante was clueless to the Dius world and many of them.

Ares smiled wickedly. “If he keeps messing with me, I'll show him first hand. If he wants to start a war with me, he can consider himself a casualty to the cause.”

Suddenly, he felt a large, cold hand caress the side of his face, which made him instinctively put his hands up, hitting Tarvos' chest. Tarvos held a bony finger to his lips and hushed the war god. “Calm down, that's not why we're up here. I actually came with you in mind.”

“Stop embarrassing me, you stupid fuck.” A strange, gray blush flooded his cheeks as Tarvos inched in closer, nuzzling his face affectionately. It only made Ares threaten him more as he flushed awkwardly, trying to keep his composure as he wrapped an arm around the Dius, putting him in a head lock. “You son of a bitch, stop being so nice to me. So help me. I will beat your winged ass across the galaxy and back, body slam you from the top of this factory, then use your corpse in to create another war ship. Won't it be hilarious when I kill death? Ironic as fuck, right? Can't you hear it? The crowd busting into a fit of laughter at the sheer irony of that? Do you want that to happen? Do you, Messiah?

Tarvos frowned and put a hand up in the stop motion. “Okay, not in public. Although the thought of your ripping me apart is satisfying, I'll pass.”

“You have no idea. You and your fucking games,” Ares rolled his eyes and sighed as he released the reaper from his strong hold.

Tarvos threw out his hands and closed his eyes with an awkward smile that looked more half-hearted than friendly. “Would it be too irritating if I asked for a hug? I haven't seen you in a while.”

Ares glared at him and crossed his arms. “Fuck you. I've been busy…” He looked contemplative for a few moments and caved into his demand. “…but I did miss you…”

In a rare instance, Dante heard Tarvos speak with a fondness that wasn't sexual and he could have sworn that it held real emotion in it. “I missed you, too.”

Ares smiled warmly, the first time Dante had seen his face change since he first saw him. “Okay, okay, I'll give you a damned hug,” the muscular Dius wrapped his arms around Tarvos' neck and Tarvos hook his arms under Ares' and placed his hands on his friend's back as the two shared a tender embrace. Kind hearted smiles crossed their faces as they closed their eyes and nuzzled each other lovingly.

Dante and Sawtooth just stared at the warm moment going on before them. Dante crossed his arms and looked away. Something within him felt as if his heart had been flattened painfully. He couldn't explain it, but his chest burned and he felt like he was being strangled. Dante looked to Sawtooth.

“What…I don't even…” He tried to talk in an intelligible sentence but nothing came out but disjointed words.

“I've seen worse,” Sawtooth admitted, and a new sense of anger washed over the shorter Dius.

Dante was disturbed. He didn't even want to think about what the two of them had done. His fists clenched so tightly that he thought his claws were going to puncture his white flesh. `Nope. I don't want to fucking see worse. Besides, I'm not interested in Dius anatomy of any kind. Fuck that.' Boiling with anger, he decided to break up the tender moment the best way he knew how.

“Hey skanks! Does this look like a porno to you? Have some decency, you fucking sluts! I'm standing right here!”

Those words were much more rage-filled than he wanted them to be, but at least it pulled their cuddlefest apart.

Ares pulled away from Tarvos with his hands caressing the back of the Dius' head and shot Dante the death glare over his friend's shoulder. “That's it. I'm going to shove my foot up his waste chute.”

Tarvos caressed his jaw and turned back to Dante while trying to calm down his friend. “Let me handle this.”

Sawtooth even looked at Dante and gave him words of wisdom. “You really should shut up. You can't fly and falling from this height would kill you instantly.”

Dante narrowed his eyes. “You wouldn't.”

Tarvos walked up to Dante with a very unamused visage. He sighed lightly. “I'll take care of this in private. You should be happy I'm doing you a favor.”

Dante exploded with another round of anger. “What favor? Showing me your cuddlefuck sessions-“

He was cut off. “You don't want to kill them.”

The shorter Dius gave the reaper a strange look, as if trying to decipher his sentence. “So? I fucking have to-“

Tarvos frowned. “Ares and I will do it for you, but not if you keep insulting him like that. I did come up here out of selfish endeavor, but I also did it to help you…even if I don't understand your human feelings.”

Dante couldn't let those words get to him. He hardened his expression. In truth, as much as he appreciated the kind gesture, he resented what was going on around him. “Why? You think I want to see you hanging all over some assfuck? Just because you want to do me a favor? Fuck you, Tarvos.”

Tarvos closed his eyes and smiled. “If you like me, then just say so. Stop being such a pathetic wimp. There's only one place for weaklings and that's six feet under.”

If Dante's frown could deepen, it would have. “You say you didn't know what love was, but you can be so close to him like that. You act like it's so hard with me.”

The truth came out; it finally was known how he felt. Dante thought that he was making good progress with the reaper, but Tarvos didn't love him for him. Tarvos only wanted him to return to the old Diablo, and Dante had been trying so desperately to make him realize that he couldn't get that person back. In his own way, Dante wanted Tarvos to like him for him, and not for Diablo. Did he love Tarvos? He wasn't sure, but he did want to be close to him and he hated that Tarvos was so casual around Ares but so cold to him.

The reaper arched an eyebrow and opened his eyes. He leveled Dante with a serious expression. It was time to tell him how he really felt. Tarvos wasn't going to sugar coat anything for him, either. He was going to be real and true, and he didn't want any bullshit denials from him, either. “You know what? I actually did try for you back then. You don't remember, but it happened. It's torture when someone you have feelings for has a pyrexship with someone else. Anything you needed, my blood pumper wouldn't deny you. I could probably say that I was more into you than you were into me. Maybe I just didn't know how to love back then…but I don't think that's the case. Tell me, Dante, your heart sure doesn't feel like it's with me. Sometimes, I wonder if you wish I were gone. I've wondered if maybe I have it all wrong…or maybe you're gone already. Are you lonely when I'm at your side? Do you wish you were by yourself, or with someone else? I'm not going to hold you back, or slow you down. I know what it's like to feel shackled to me. Even if I don't know what love is about, I know it's not that. Who am I to you? Am I your enemy? Is it hard to be yourself in my presence? If you could love anyone, would that person be me?”

Dante was hit by a wave of emotions. He had never seen that look on Tarvos' face…No, it wasn't his face in a whole, it was in his eyes. There was something there, in those cold, blue eyes that shone. He was looking at him with some emotion. Emotion that he had not seen since they talked about him being a fragment of Oz. Still, he couldn't find the right words to say, even at such a crucial moment.


“If you hate that I'm happy with someone else, then change it, but only if you're certain that you can. I'm a pain in the ass, and I know that. I can't make someone feel what isn't there. Can I say I loved you? No, but I did feel something for you. I have reasons for the way I act around you.” Maybe it was time that Dante knew what exactly their relationship was like. Maybe it would open his eyes, since he didn't remember.

“You have more than one relationship, right?” Even if he couldn't be a pyrex, maybe he could be a stratos. At least, maybe he could try for it.

Tarvos leveled him with a cold gaze. “Don't start with me. Follow through or don't mention it. I don't want to play your games.”

What did he mean by that? Did Tarvos really think that he was playing games with him? Was he that confused? Maybe he was. Thoughts assaulted Dante at a hundred miles per hour. “I don't know…I don't know, but I'm sorry.”

“…I don't know.” This time, Tarvos wasn't exactly willing to forgive. While there were things that should have stayed in the past, he wasn't willing to let what happened between them die.

“Oh, please,” Ares interrupted in irritancy. He wasn't going to stand there and let the two of them have some kind of reconciliation.

Dante whipped around with a look of anger marring his face. Now was not the time for extra opinions. “Stay out of this, assfuck!”

The next this that came out of Ares' mouth nearly floored him. “You were such a whore back then.”

“What?” Now he was really confused.

“I'll say this once, so clean out your wax encrusted lobes,” he walked over and stood between Dante and Tarvos. “This Grand High Messiah won't stand for the bullshit anymore. All you did was sleep around. Tarvos wasn't the only Dius who liked your sorry ass. I don't even think you knew what your sectors of love even were. Supposedly, your pyrex was Pregmacia, then you went and courted Maya, then you bounced back to Pregmacia. Tarvos watched your bitch ass make dog moves to every Dius. Hell, you even were infatuated with Calypso. You probably tried to sleep with that priestess and that's why she shot your ass. You're so classless, even if you were something to me. You call me a slut, but you're the one with a million lovers. You told Tarvos you'd show him what love was back then but you strung him along. Maybe you're different now but I don't believe it because fuck you Diablo.” Those words could not have been filled with any more vengeance or chill. It was as if they froze Dante's heart instantly. Not only did he sleep around with everyone in the past, it felt like he hurt Ares just as badly. Dante could hardly believe what he had just heard. No wonder Tarvos was apprehensive towards him. Ares probably hate him as well, and it seemed like they might have had something of a relationship as well. Did he sleep with everyone back then? What kind of horrible person was he?

Dante just felt like dropping into a hole a dying.

“I was…really like that?” His voice was in as much shock as the rest of his body was.

Tarvos sighed. Even if Ares was trying to jar his memory, he did it in a very harsh way. The reaper tried to soften the blow a little. “I was fine with it, though. I knew you were. Didn't make it hurt any less though.”

“You're a miserable fuck,” Ares shot with disdain. Tarvos was just making excuses for the abomination Dante truly was. It made his blood boil that his best friend was protect that jackasses' pride.

“That was the old me. Can't you give me a chance to change?” It wasn't like he was that way now. He might have done some bad things, but they were nothing compared to what Diablo did. Dante wished he never joined back up with Diablo. Why did Tarvos do that, knowing that Diablo was such a horrible person? Was it for Oz to resurrect Chaos, or did he still love him that much?

With a huff, Ares turned around and grabbed Tarvos by the face and gave him a deep, passionate kiss. Tarvos looked completely shocked for a moment and stood there with a confounded expression before he decided to return the action. Even if it hurt Dante, it was a feeling that he was rarely shown, a feeling that he wanted to explore. Not to mention, it was uncharacteristic of Ares to do considering they had rarely kissed each other and it was even more rare when they did in this manner, so who was he not to take advantage of such a moment?

Dante turned away. He wanted to disappear. Right now, he wished he would just fall off of the factory edge and crash into the ground, but at the same time, he stood there and took it. `I guess I deserve that, or maybe the past me did…I want to make things up to him, but how can I do that now?'

In the battle of jealousy, Ares won. Ares could do the things he could not. There were so many things that Dante thought about that he should have done. Maybe he should have comforted Tarvos more after he told him that painful story about where he came from. Maybe Dante should have offered more to him. Maybe he should have stood up to Oz like Ares stood up to him. If he did that, then maybe Tarvos wouldn't have been so cold.

If he did that, then maybe Ares wouldn't be the one who held Tarvos' affection. Dante wanted to believe that they had some kind of perfect relationship in the past, but they didn't. It was the relationship from hell, and even after all of that time, Tarvos held some kind of feeling for him. Tarvos brought him back, Tarvos helped him to remember things…it was all Tarvos and until now, he didn't realize how much he cared about him until now.

Now that it was far too late to make anything up to him. All this time, Dante should have been the one repenting, but was he was too young and dumb to realize it, or question Tarvos. He didn't even try to ask him about the relationship they had, he just assumed that it was perfect and life was beautiful.

Maybe, just maybe he did love Tarvos, but he stupidly denied his feelings to protect his sexuality. Things like that didn't even matter, that's how his people were. They never cared about gender.

Why was he so stupid?


Dante shook and his eyes stung. He felt sick and dizzy, like he was having an anxiety attack, and just when he thought he couldn't hate himself anymore he did now.

Ares pulled away from the kiss, breathless for a moment and flushed. He panted a few times before he spoke. “Please, don't ever consider him. If you think about it, don't put him in a sector. It doesn't even matter if I'm in them or not, I just want you to be happy. You hurt enough on your own.”

A true smile showed itself on the reaper's face, full of affection as he looked into his friend's eyes. “How do you feel about me?”

Feeling as if he had done enough damage, and not wanting to seem like any more of an ass than he was, Ares silently took Tarvos' hand and led him into the factory, leaving the emotionally wrecked Dante outside with Sawtooth.

When they got just inside the doors, Ares shut them and frowned, taking off his cloak and looking straight into the reaper's eyes. He wanted to read whatever emotion he could find in them. Ares laced his fingers with the reapers and held both of his hands that way. “I don't want you to be hurt by Dante, Diablo, whatever his name is. Please, Tarvos, spare your feelings the heartache. Let me show you what it means to truly be cared about.”

“What are you saying?” Tarvos asked lowly, returning the gaze and letting more emotion into his voice than he had before. He actually sounded endeared by Ares' dialogue.

“I want to protect you. Let me show you the love that no one else is capable of. You mean more to me than anything, not just because you benefit my research and my death factory, but because I genuinely care about you. You're the only one who understands me.” There were many reasons Ares felt enamored by the Messiah, far more than Diablo could ever have. Far more than he could explain. They had a past together. Tarvos had done things for him that he did for no one else.

“Not because Dante is the reason you stayed away from the whole Dius race?” Tarvos asked. What kind of relationship could they both have if Ares was constantly gone? The idea and romanticism behind it intrigued him, but at the same time, Tarvos wanted someone to keep their promise. In order to do that, they would have to make a commitment. Which mean Ares could no longer run or hide away in his factory.

“He is my mortal enemy. I would kill him if I could, but I need him to function,” the war god choked back a laugh. “What a sick joke that is.” He sneered.

Tarvos smiled a little. “Fate hates you. I'm not sure if your hand is more wicked than mine or not.”

It was true, they both struck out in the luck lottery.

“Tarvos, we've been close for years.”

“Yes, more than we should. I'm surprised that it hasn't turned into anything serious.” While he was shocked that Ares kissed him like that, a part of him nearly expected it at other times. Their friendship tended to border of stratoship in a lot of instances.

“I want it to,” Ares' serious tone cut through the reaper's casual joke.

“You do?”

Ares looked at him with nothing but love in his eyes and a smile of kindness on his face. “Let's do it. Let's consummate that friendship,” he blushed again and his features turned more serious. “In exchange, I'll do whatever favor you want if you just make me the happiest man in the galaxy.”

“Do you think you can handle that kind of commitment?” While they were good friends, Tarvos was going to ask Ares the same thing he asked Dante.

“I know I can. I do not overstep myself, and I've thought about it. I know what I want our relationship to be.” Strategizing wars wasn't his only strong point, and it had taken him a long time to come to this decision. A long time and a lot of thinking. It wasn't about a sick contest between he and Diablo, Ares truly held strong affection for his friend. He genuinely wanted to see a smile on the reaper's face. Ares didn't view Tarvos like most people did. To him, as maniacal as the reaper was, his psyche was fragile. It tore him up to see Tarvos in a bad relationship with anyone. Ares knew his past, his life as an extension of time and the problems he suffered being the creation of someone's negative feelings, but at the same time Ares knew that he had a heart. He knew that Tarvos cared, he had seen the reaper go against his own element to save people rather than strike them down.

No one knew Tarvos like he did, not even Diablo.

“So then, be as manly as you look and ask me.” Whatever the sector was, Tarvos knew his answer already. He knew the sector that he wanted them to be in as well, and nothing would change that.

He just hoped Ares would agree to his demands if he refused.

“Tarvos, will you be my stratos?”

…To Be Continued