Title: Bad Moon Rising
Prompt: 052. Tarot Cards
Word Count: 3049
Summary: Dante goes snooping through Vergil's stuff. Dante plays with tarot cards. Vergil acts like a big, immature baby. They mock Sylvia Browne!
Spoilers/Warnings: They're really crude.
A/N: Anyone who can figure out the meaning of the cards (and no, it's not traditional) gets a cookie.
The shock of seeing his mother's shade faded quickly.
It wasn't because he was a heartless bastard, but because he had no chance to truly reflect on it with the things that followed. As if he didn't consider Vergil crazy and shifty enough, his brother, in Dante's opinion, began acting even more suspiciously, disappearing for longer and longer periods of time. It was during those times that Dante began digging for the book and the box he'd first found in Alabama once more, ready to give decoding it a second try. He figured, with the way Vergil had been acting - checking them into a hotel room for a few days at a time and then leaving for most of those days without a word - the best way to find out what exactly was going on would be that book. It wasn't like Vergil would tell him flat out, and he knew he wasn't stealthy enough to follow him to those mysterious places he left for.
And the fact that he always came back, reeking of black magic and demons, didn't help settle his nerves at all.
It was on one of these crusades that he came across a deck of tarot cards, and he snorted to himself as he dropped them on the small hotel room table anyway. He wasn't the most adept reader, and it was mostly for shits and giggles that he did it, but he figured it would kill time until Vergil returned, and keep his mind off of things it had no business obsessing over. He knew dwelling on what he'd seen in that abandoned house would do nothing but shake his mental state, and with Vergil being a weird fuck, and obviously messing around in things he didn't need to, he couldn't afford that.
The deck was shuffled, and the cards made a fluttering noise over the sounds of daytime talk show tv in the background, before he placed them gingerly on the table and cracked his knuckles. He took a swallow from the beer bottle he'd also placed on the table, well aware it was before noon; he just didn't care. Vergil wasn't there to bitch about the early hour, and the likelyhood of him coming back relatively soon was low. Dante figured it would be a day or two before he saw hide or hair of his batshit twin, and he wasn't really worried. What Vergil didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
And that was a damn shame.
He only knew a seven card layout, and even then, he sometimes had to look up the card's meaning before he could even take a stab at reading it, but it was just for fun. He read his (and Vergil's) horoscope the same way; it was with a detached amusement at how silly some people could be with wanting the answers the easy way, and how gullible they could be with that kind of thing. Most of the time it was so vague that it could apply to anyone. And he truly, honestly hoped his brother had the deck for the same reasons, or Dante would be so ashamed. He'd never stop laughing at Vergil, either.
The first card was drawn and flipped over, and he snorted at the image of the Empress before placing it in position on the table, already rolling his eyes. When he drew something like that on the first go around, there was no way in hell he could ever stay serious about it. He wondered how people who truly believed managed it.
The next card he pulled from the deck was Temperance, and while it struck him as slightly odd, it also had him snickering. A balance between two sides? How the hell that played into the Empress he'd never know. And besides, he figured, the tarot was once used as an actual card game, not to tell the future or anything like that, so in the end, he figured, he was doing little more than playing a round of solitare.
Pity he'd never been good at solitare, either.
He paused there, taking another drink from the bottle and glanced at the television, surprised to see it was late enough in the day for the Montell Williams Show. He wasn't big on tv in general, and rarely actually sat down to watch it with no other distractions, but he made a point to catch that particular show whenever he could. It was easier to do so, at that moment, with Vergil stopping for more than a day or two at the time, though it left Dante without much else. But there was a method to the madness of his sporatic television watching: He liked mocking Sylvia Browne whenever she came on. He did. She was a complete and total fucking idiot, with her 'call on Lilith' this, and 'he's just a guardian spirit' that. He'd heard she was once good at what she did, but now? She was spewing the shit he absolutely loved to make fun of. Vergil did, too, truth be told, and he would plop his fat ass on the nearest available seat (he could hear Vergil bitching in his head about being associated with doing something so ungraceful as 'plopping') and snark his crazy little head off at her ass.
Sure enough, she was on that particular episode, and he went to make his third pull from the deck, rolling his eyes. To any outside observer, he knew, it would look like he believed that shit - hook, line, and sinker - but how wrong they would be. He was a demon hunter, and not the kind who bought into the pop paranormal bullshit that seemed to be everywhere. He'd seen too much of the real thing - was the real thing - to take it seriously. But a man had to have something to mock; when it wasn't Vergil, he amused himself with bogus portants of the future and pop parapsychology. He wanted to meet Sylvia Browne, just once. Better yet, he wanted her to meet Vergil, and let her see what she thought of Hell then.
And he swore up and down that Sylvia Browne sounded like a man. Her voice, he would attest, was deeper than his own, and he was certainly not a man on the higher end of the tonal range.
The third card was the Tower, and for a moment he simply stared hard at the image printed there, wondering where in hell Vergil had gotten his deck from. He very well knew designs for the cards were done all the time, and that there were a million different decks to choose from, but he could honestly say he'd never seen the Tower represented that way at all. It looked old, and while it was stylized and no doubt idealized, as well, there was something that tugged at him about it, like a memory that just wouldn't surface.
He figured it was silly, to wonder about it, and placed it down, pondering its meaning among the two other cards already placed on the table. It wasn't making much sense, but then...Dante wasn't truly surprised by that. It never did. He even decided to look at it literally, by nothing but the images and the card names, and still there was nothing. So there was a chick that had something to do with balance, and a giant fucking tower that was most definitely compensation for a small penis. Maybe she just couldn't find a man with the right equipment? He snickered at that, reaching for the bottle once more.
Sylvia droned away on the television, and he tuned her out as he pulled the fourth card, which was Death. It was reversed, in the set up, and for a moment he frowned down at the cards, still puzzling at the meaning. He didn't even know why he was bothering, if he were to be entirely honest, and sat back in his chair, folding his arms behind his head. He figured it was because he wanted to see what everyone else saw when they read cards, and that, with his being what he was and everything, he just couldn't. It was damn annoying.
He moved to pull for the fifth, when the door opened with a soft click behind him, and he glanced over his shoulder, much like a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar, as his brother sauntered in. "Oh. Hey. I didn't think you'd be back yet." He sounded neutral enough, he figured, that he hoped Vergil wouldn't notice Dante had been plundering through his bags.
Vergil paused to remove his long jacket and hang it, raising an eyebrow, no doubt, at the neutrality there. "Are you deaf? I told you when I left I would only be gone a few hours."
Dante's answering expression said all it needed to; he hadn't listened to a damn word Vergil had said before he'd taken off for parts unknown. "I must have missed that part." It came out smoothly, regardless of what his face said to the contrary, and he moved to shove the tarot cards away. He didn't move fast enough, however, and Vergil made his way over before leaning to see what Dante had been up to with a snort, though Dante damn well felt him tense, ever so slightly, when his eyes found the cards laid out for all to see.
"Beer, tarot, and Sylvia Browne? Oh, Dante, what pitfalls of idiocy you find yourself in." There was patronization there, yes, but there was a note in Vergil's voice, underlying that, that Dante simply couldn't identify. "And tell me, little brother, what the magnificent tarot has told you today."
"Well." It was casually said, as Dante leaned back once more, against Vergil where he himself leaned against the chair, and he was honestly surprised when Vergil didn't skitter out of his reach, with how much of a touch-me-not the elder twin could be. "The way I see it, some chick's not getting laid the pipe the way she should." It ended with a grin that didn't quite reach Dante's eyes as he craned his neck, head resting against Vergil's chest, to get a good look at Vergil's expression.
That was when he felt the tenseness in Vergil's form relax. "I can say with full confidence, Dante, that you are the only person who would ever interpret the tarot that way." It was said with a distracted tone, before Vergil reached down and scattered the cards from their formation. Dante almost protested at the action, until he remembered he had gotten his hands on them digging through Vergil's belongings, and bit his tongue as Vergil gathered them and slipped them back into the deck.
If he hadn't known any better, he'd have said that Vergil didn't want him seeing anything more than he already had.
What surprised him more was the fact that Vergil didn't lash out at him for snooping, and instead moved to put the cards away. The tenseness was back, and Dante doubted anyone but a twin would have been able to see it, but it made him both curious and worried. He very well knew that Vergil was up to something underhanded - par for the course with the elder twin, really - but it was driving him insane, not knowing what. Asking got him stonewalled, because Vergil would change the subject or act as though he hadn't heard Dante's question. And Dante damn well knew the further he pushed it, the more it would back Vergil into a corner; that was when Vergil would start physically retaliating, and in all honesty, Dante was trying to avoid that, if he could.
Tarot cards stashed away, Vergil seemed to just blink away the past small bit of time, as though it had never happened. As though he were purging it from his memory, really, and Dante had to wonder if that wasn't really the case. Vergil was certainly crazy enough to have figured out how to do something like that. "What do you want for lunch." And there was that change of subject Dante had been waiting for, and he eyed Vergil a long moment over the edge of his bottle, before setting it aside, pushing his own worries and thoughts on the subject away for a while.
"I dunno. I'm not hungry."
"You're disgusting and a stick figure. You're going to eat if I have to shove it down your throat, you goddamn manorexic." Where Vergil got shit like that, Dante would never know, but Vergil's expression and tone gave no room for argument. Dante didn't doubt for a second that Vergil would do exactly that, if Dante kept protesting food. Vergil was fucking insane.
"Oh, what the fuck- Man, whatever. I don't fucking care." That was when the irritation leaked into Dante's voice, and he didn't even begin to hide it. Vergil's eyes narrowed, but he said nothing, as Sylvia let the world know there was no such thing as demons. That, at least, took the attention off of Dante and Vergil snorted, rolling his eyes at the television.
"Yes, there are no demons, which is precisely why I stand here, living and breathing, today." He moved to the chair opposite Dante and sat (Dante would have used the word 'flopped'), obviously gearing up to bitch. "Honestly, the fact that people believe that idiot woman proves they're nothing more than pitiful, mortal sheep." He knew better than to include Dante in that ranking, with all the bitching Dante had done himself about her.
"Then why don't you goddamn do something about it." A brillant idea struck Dante then, and he leaned forward on his elbows, braced against the table. "Seriously. Why don't you find that bitch and set her straight." He offered a wicked grin, purposely exposing his fangs in the action. "C'mon, it'd be fucking awesome and you know it. Bet she'd change her tune really goddamn quick."
"Because, wibbler," Vergil said, pressing two fingers of one hand against Dante's forehead and pushing him back in his chair across the table, "I simply have better things to do with my time. Besides, idiot, didn't you know she's neck deep in the demonic? She does know. She's simply in thrall to those who press her to say such idiotic things."
Of course, Vergil said that about a lot of people. Dante had begun to wonder if there wasn't some merit behind it after all, but it wasn't something he'd conceed to aloud, because it would just cause Vergil's head to swell and then Dante would have to listen to Vergil go on and on about how he was right.
"And just how do you know this shit?" Really, that was a good goddamn question. Vergil did know a lot of shit it seemed he shouldn't, and who was what where just happened to be one of those things. "Seriously, you say that about everybody. Now, I agree that Tom Cruise has lost his fucking mind from denying he's a fucking fag, but with everybody else? Yeah. How the fuck do you know this shit."
"Because, Dante," Vergil replied, patronization dripping from his voice, "I have things we in the big people world like to call connections. Who they are and where they lie are none of your concern, but rest your empty, shaggy little head with the fact that big brother knows more than you think he does." And that right there started the urge to reach across the table and slap his crazy ass silly. But Dante refrained, contenting himself with his bottle instead to keep from making a smartass remark.
Which was good, because Vergil had decided to drone on more. "And you realize, of course, it is more than just the famous. The capitol is rife with the same thing. We won't get started with the secret societies, as I fear your tiny little brain simply couldn't handle the information overload, but believe that the demonic realm has their fingers in more pots than you could ever, ever imagine."
Because Dante, obviously, had no contact with the demonic realm at all, being a demon hunter. But he kept that thought to himself, biting down on his tongue to hold it in by force. Sometimes he wondered if Vergil realized that, though Dante didn't have the book learning Vergil did, he had the exact same brain, being Vergil's identical twin, and theoretically functioned the same way, especially when it came to mental retention. He doubted it, with the way Vergil treated him like a drooling retard. But then...Dante did little to discourage him from that to begin with, so he didn't have much room to bitch. "Right. Well. Whatever. What about lunch?"
"You can wait. I want to watch the sheep." It was said with an imperious wave of Vergil's hand, as though he hadn't threatened to cram food down Dante's throat but a few minutes before. Dante gave a heavy, irritated sigh and slammed the bottle down onto the table (and earned a scathing glance from the elder twin) before swinging to his feet and making his way to the small, in-room fridge tucked away inconspicuously in one corner of the room, where he'd stashed the rest of the beer.
"Whatever you say, Cap'n Spanky." He straightened with a bottle in hand, before popping the cap off in that nifty with-the-hand trick he'd learned, just because it had always looked awesome. Who the fuck needed a bottle opener (Vergil) when they could do something awesome like that? "Just remember you're the one who brought it up."
It was answered with a finger pointed blindly in his direction. "Shut it." Vergil was simply lucky that was all Dante had to say, and he grinned around the mouth of the bottle, before shuffling in the direction of the bed.
"Oh yessuh, massah. Lemme know when it's eatin' time, massah. I'ma take me a nap, massah." He nearly choked when the pointing finger switched to the middle one and pointed skyward. That had been the last thing he'd expected Vergil to do, and for some reason that immature display of irritation set his worries at ease a bit, as he climbed onto the bed and moved on his knees to the far side. He snickered to himself over it, reaching up to wipe his face (he was going to smell like a goddamn drunk and it was all Vergil's fault), and flopped onto his back; the pillows from Vergil's side of the bed were confiscated and he used them to prop himself up, before going right back to nursing his beer.
Paranormal 25 - 052. Tarot Cards
Title: Bad Moon Rising