This was originally a roleplay starter I began typing out for someone, but I do like it as its own piece -- even if it doesn't lead anywhere in this format. Note: I roleplay as Vergil from Devil May Cry with extended canon. The premise is that Vergil works for Abstergo Industries as a killer for hire and has been tasked to take out a certain Poison Ivy.
Spoiler ShowMake her hurt.
The words were matte on gloss. When he ran his fingertips over them, he could feel the rough contrast between the black ink and the sheen of the bone-white paper. They had been typed in a larger and more demanding font.
Make her hurt.
“Are you done?” The devil’s golden irides lifted from the dossier, iridescent behind the gentle flicker of his silver lashes. Cohen regarded him heavily before he steepled his wrinkled hands beneath his chin. He was getting old; the other man, however, was as perfectly preserved as he ever was.
“Yeah,” replied the devil. His voice was deep and smooth. British tongue, Italian lilt. “I’m done.”
It had been over a decade since that mess with the Black woman, and Cohen had not quite trusted the man ever since. He popped open a silver case decorated with fading stars-and-stripes, and pulled out a fat cigar. Their eyes met with some degree of discomfort as the devil watched him clip the end. “You do realise,” said Cohen lightly after a brief moment’s silence, “that you’re still returning your debt? Those kids of yours were over twenty-two million apiece. A lot of people had to be—”
“I know.” The devil didn’t want to talk about it. His expression set hard, unreadable for a few seconds, and then he rose to his feet swiftly and tossed the folder into the fireplace where it hissed and spat yellow flame. “I’ll get it done.”
The car was dark except for the soft glow of the iPhone sat in the dock by the dashboard. A soft, gentle voice filled the quiet space, drowning out the low and quiet thrum of the engine. There were tears in there, tender whining, but Vergil was already too far away to turn back. He kept his eyes on the road as he listened to the soft crying of his child-bride.
“Please come back, I promise I’ll be good, I’m sorry, you always do this, I hate you¸ why do you always do this, I hate you—”
The sign for Gotham was visible some mile down the long stretch of road. Other motorists wouldn’t yet notice it, but Vergil knew he only had a few more miles to go. He’d have to store the car somewhere safe, even if the thing was reinforced and bulletproof through-and-through—not for his own protection, of course, but for the ring kept hidden in the glove compartment. He wet his lips as he overtook other drivers.
Before him, Gotham rose. What beauty and terror were locked in those cold black buildings, all manner of superhuman freaks wagging their tongues and laying ruin deep beneath ground level. He was entering a monster’s paradise. He couldn’t afford to hold the line much longer.
“I have to go,” he said. The line crackled with more whining, more desperate pleas for him to come back, but it was just clockwork. Beg, shut the phone off, complete the job, return home. Feed and diddly hard. Go back to work. At rare moments he felt… something bad for enjoying the insanity his job afforded. It wasn’t quite guilt since he had no human conscious, but he did remember to sneak in quiet I love you whenever his gut got that feeling. “I’ll see you soon.”
He pressed the call to an end, and held the power button before it could ring with a call back. The screen went black after he swiped it across, and he stuffed that in the glove compartment as well. By now, Gotham was swallowing him up with its wall of glass and steel; the crackle of inhumanity made the skin on the back of his neck stand up. Cohen knew what he was sending me into. If a human man in a bat costume can keep this filth at bay, he should have given this job to someone else.
But he couldn’t afford to give up jobs anymore. Money wasn’t the issue; if it was, he would have handed over his credit card to Cohen himself. Wipe away the debt. Wipe away the debris of his mess. His fingers drummed on the wheel as he steered around the city. Cohen had said Abstergo had a little complex down in Gotham, tucked well into the shadows of other corporations. Said it was more of a drop-in office, really. He rolled up to the security gate where an armed figure stopped him, looked at him hard and demanded identification. He held out his finger where the soldier pricked it and ran it through a tiny machine to confirm him as a part of their company. “All right,” he said, “you’re good to go. Past the back lot over there and down the ramp. We keep vaults for more valuable company officials. Your car is in good hands.”
It better be. He drove up to the small parking lot at the back which was filled with nondescript vehicles. Nothing about them declared them to have any affiliation with Abstergo; that explained the vaults. Down the ramp and past another security officer there was the cool underbelly of the building. A single, heavy vault door received him, leading him down further into a dank, poorly-lit chamber—here there was yet another line of security, and another and another until, finally, seven security doors later, he was shown into a pale room with visible tire marks. He parked up, slipped out, and locked it, handing the keys to the guard on standby.
Time to dress up.
The guard watched him awkwardly as he slipped his clothes off, dropping them into a box located in the trunk. He hadn’t been dressed too fancy, just jeans, a shirt, his favourite blue jacket, but it was too recognisable and tell-tale. He slipped on a pair of skinny jeans, wondering how on Earth even women breathed in them, but they were flexible enough for him to move comfortably. He accompanied them with a worn shirt of some old metal band topped by a torn denim jacket and some faded, scuffed boots. He studied himself in a mirror as he gathered up his hair in a hand, and pressed a black beanie over it to leave some poking out around his ears and his nape. He looked… not bad, like a young father who had never quite been able to give up his streak of youth, perhaps.
“How do I look?” he asked as he leaned in to blink at the colour of his own eyes. Far too golden. He didn’t blend in well in human crowds, and any supernatural beasties lurking around would be sure to smell him out—but for the more oblivious, it was better to don as best a disguise as possible. “Actually, get me some contacts.” He saw the guard raise a brow behind his plastic visor, but he punched a code into the door on the right and exited through it, leaving Vergil alone to file through some more of the props he had brought with him. He shoved an old phone into his pocket and a crumpled pack of cigarettes into the breast of his denim jacket.
He felt odd as he watched himself in the mirror. He had never been too great at feeling comfortable in his own skin, a sad product of his hatred for his halfbred nature, always falling around with some man or woman to comfort himself in the fact that despite his shortcomings, he had always been very beautiful. Beautiful not in a feminine sense, for his features were definitely strong and masculine, but beautiful in the sense that he owned some feline quality about him, slight despite his large build, subtle despite his odd colouration.
A pale statue if he stood still, like angels mourning sombrely at gravesides.
And he wore it well, he couldn’t deny. He had no signs of ageing, no crow’s feet, no lines in his forehead, no quirk about the corners of his mouth. His hands were supple and elastic, the skin stretched tight over his knuckles but still smooth enough that a caress could be gentle and persuasive. He was forever on the brink of thirty. Perfectly preserved until some ill thing befell him, immune to disease and sickness, his immune system pristine, everything about his body perfect and without fault.
Impossibly gorgeous, but still a savage beast beneath his flesh. The hunger brought it out in him. He had made sure to feed before coming here as he did with every job, knowing full well that Cohen had it out for him. How much of a shame would it be were one of the Elite to go missing? To fall on the front line, as it were? His spot would be sealed over silently, and another aspiring murderer slotted into his space. His absence would not matter; Cohen was forever reminding him that there were candidates aplenty looking for some niche in their business, and Vergil was unreliable enough as it was, disappearing for months at a time, calling in favours…
He bowed his head as he leaned against the worktop. Didn’t matter. The damage was done. It was just a debt. He was paying it off rather fast, ever artistic in his methods of execution. His last job had been a doozy, killed the old man without even being there. Filthy rich, some oil magnate psychopath addicted to a quick rush; all it took was changing the tea that he took nightly, a rather harmless belladonna tea from deadly nightshade, followed by a shot of epinephrine. He had been dead within minutes.
Get in, get out, leave as little trace as possible and go home. Someone else would take the fall. At least that fact was written safely into his contract. Legal systems could not touch him. He didn’t even exist on the books, making it easier to lie his way through life. Who are you? Nobody you need to know. Give me a name, sugar. Michele di Santi, I’m Italian. What’s with the hair? Albinism, I colour my brows and lashes.
And this time he was Francesco Strazzabosco, half-human cousin to Italian ice hockey player Michele Strazzabosco. He might not even need to throw in the half-human lie, but the file on the target was explicit: Volatile and dangerous. Of preternatural influence. Approach with caution. He hadn’t really a good grasp on which ‘preternatural influence’ she was under, but word was that Gotham was crawling with all sorts of freaks. Crazed clown men and supersized crocodiles, cat burglars and psychopath harlequins.
And, of course, the Bat—but if a human man, albeit with extensive technology, could take out a great number of these offenders, Vergil instantly had the upper hand with his devil abilities. The trick was to mask it just enough. Or perhaps he could flaunt it to this plant-woman, shape himself to be an enemy of the Bat. Form some sort of alliance and then gut her when she wasn’t expecting it. First things were first: Reconnaissance, and then he’d see.
The guard came back with a tiny box containing contacts. When he slipped them in, it took a good, long minute to force his eyes to stop focusing on what was laid atop his eyeballs, but he found that they were a dark brown, lightened by the intensity of his natural gold. The resulting chocolate tone was warm and affectionate; if he smiled instead of his usual indifference, he looked carefree—friendly, almost. Good for building a rapport.
“All right,” he breathed. The building’s sterile, clinical air was salted across his tongue unpleasantly, a chemical taste to his sensitive palate. Mental note to not breathe again. He slammed the trunk closed and fobbed the keys to the guard, pointing to the passenger side as he did. “Touch the car and I’ll skin you alive. If I’m not back within a week…” he patted the spoiler, and turned to leave “…you know what to do.”