|κράτος is the (ghostofsparta) wrote in repose,|
@ 2020-01-07 16:48:00
|Entry tags:||*log, dante zaragoza, kratos spartan|
Highway: Dante & Kratos (Complete)
Who: Dante & Kratos
What: Car problems
When: Before Christmas!
Where: Road side
The call had been weird. On the other end of the line there had been some guy asking about if they had a tow truck and while they didn’t have one - something to add to the shop’s purchase list - Dante had managed to talk the guy into giving her a location and telling him she’d get one there for him. A small shop like the one her and Diego now owned? It was nothing if it didn’t have good customer service. Especially, in a small town like this where it seemed like everyone fucking knew everyone and she was the new girl in town. The last thing she fucking needed was someone getting a hair across their ass about something and the shop going under because she didn’t smile for some asshole enough.
It’d taken a couple calls and a promise for at least $100 up front from her to assure the tow driver didn’t get fucked over somehow. How that even fucking made sense she didn’t know and bleeding money like Dante felt she had been recently was a real fucking pain but… She’d gotten the guy to agree. Hell, she’d even gotten the driver to agree to come grab her and bring her out to the call location.
“There.” She’d point out to the driver as they came up on the location Dante had managed to snag. The tow truck would pull over a ways in front of the downed vehicle and she’d hop out, jogging back to - who she assumed was - the man who had called for aide.
“Hey!” A bright smile was offered before a sympathetic look was turned on his vehicle. “I’m Dante, here from the garage in Repose.” The smile turned apologetic as her gaze turned back to the man before her again.
“Wanna talk me through what happened here?” There were… Clues… But… It was better to ask.
The freeway soft shoulder was a mess of scrap, metal, and shattered chunks of glass. Three vehicles had been involved, though the lanes had now been cleared and only two vehicles were left on the side of the road: one sedan on its side with the back left door caved in in the process of being taken up by a larger tow, and the corpse of Kratos' pickup truck behind it. A semi truck had also been involved, evidenced only by a stray license plate, but it had driven away from the scene the way larger vehicles were often fortunate enough to do.
The truck had been red. Red because that was the color it had been when Kratos had bought it, second-hand, from a farmer who made good use of its many thousands of miles. Now there was more of it that was raw steel than paint, the cab twisted entirely on one side, the windshield gone, the bed splashed with cheap white paint that seemed to have been in buckets before the collision occurred. One of the fallen buckets, with its white comet tail, was lying in a ditch on the side of the road not far from where Kratos was standing, the paint still drying. The pickup still had two back wheels, which suggested it could be towed, but probably only to the nearest junkyard.
Kratos did not look like your usual vehicular collision victim. He was standing by his truck with his arms folded, looking like a lumberjack from a re-tinted turn of the century photo. He certainly checked all the boxes, plaid shirt, thick beard, scowl. Kratos had grayish skin, and were it not for his massive height and breadth, people would probably assume he was soon to die from some horrible liver disease. He scowled at Dante. (Actually, his face just appeared to be stuck like that.)
"Big truck push my truck into small car," he said, through a thick Mediterranean accent. He used his big thick hands to demonstrate a squashing effect. And then, because people kept insisting on asking, "The man in the small car, he is fine. Man in big truck. Fine. My son not in car with me, fine." He glowered at the highway. Kratos had gone through the windshield, and there was still glass in his hair. "I am fine."
The condition of the truck as she assessed it earned a frown. If there had just been a little more left to it they probably could have restored it. It would have been a challenge, taken some time, but it would have been doable… And Dante had always liked challenges. Yet in this condition? No. Not without a nearly full rebuild and a lot of metal working with a blowtorch. While that was something she knew how to do it - and do well - it wasn’t a skill she generally advertised.
Eyes searched over the scene as she listened to the man recount the story with nothing more than an occasional nod or “Mm.” to encourage him to carry on and confirm that she was indeed listening as Dante walked the scene. She’d never stray too far from him while analyzing the the truck. His speech wasn’t slurred, his eyes weren’t distant, his posture wasn’t slouched or sagging in any manner. The man’s stance didn’t seem to hold any discomfort that she could read, just…. Annoyance…? Seriously? Was she seriously reading fucking annoyance off this guy? Maybe she wasn’t… Shock? Did shock present like this? But his skin color….
‘....at least half the population isn't strictly human.’ The warning and reminder rang in her head and… It was either medical or that and considering the scene her money was going more and more towards the ‘not strictly human’ sort of idea here.
“Your truck’s trashed.” She’d offer to him bluntly, he didn’t seem the type that would want candy coating. “The axel.” She’d point to a section of the car that had been bent up. “Is probably fucked right there. Assuming all your car fluids are still where they’re supposed to be and I’m not a better, but if I was?” A hand rose with a finger pointing towards another aspect. “I’d wager your oil pan’s trash, the radiator lines might have gotten fucked and your brake lines.” Her head tilted to the side as she seemed to be trying to assess how they looked.
Why was she doing this the hard way?
Walking up to the car she’d kneel down, letting one hand rest against the body of the truck. It would only take a second before she had the codes read in her head and…
A low whistle would be let out as she stood up, removing her hand from the truck’s side and shaking her head as if she’d just seen something that was trouble.
“Yeah. Your truck’s pretty fucked.” A hand came up to rub at the back of her neck. “Honestly, you’d be better off getting another one. With the age and… I’m guessing you’re up over 100k milage?” She didn’t even wait for him to answer. “Insurance is probably going to total it.” A beat. “Do you have a car until then?” Her brain was instantly off to the races, did she know anyone who was looking to part with a truck? From the paint he’d either (1) Been off to a project, (2) Used this truck for work and/or (3) had been going home to paint his house. Either way? Guy had a truck so the guy probably needed a truck.
He sure as hell didn’t look like the type that needed to compensate for something.
Kratos worked with his hands. He always had, and probably always would. He was a fighter and a crafter, a harvester and a planter. Too many people in this world were--to his mind--a kind of merchant, and they traded things that Kratos couldn't understand or see. He got along better with the people of this world that worked as he did, the kind of people the news called blue collar. This woman was one such, and the intelligence in her eyes and quick bluntness went a very long way to soothing Kratos' temper, which was stretched far beyond what was apparent.
He finally dropped his arms from the defensive position, and he shadowed her from a respectful distance as she looked over the vehicle, his large steel toe boots crunching through the glass. "Axel," he repeated. Wagons had axels, where he came from. He understood the principle. Fluids, less. "It bled," he said, thinking perhaps this might be helpful. Engine fluid and coolant was indeed staining the concrete edge of the soft shoulder.
While ready to admit his ignorance when it came to engines and computers, going through a windshield at seventy miles per hour was something that had managed to shake his enviable calm and self-control. (He was not looking forward to discussing the use of the seatbelt with his son, a conversation in which the boy had tried to convince his father that being inside a machine that was being destroyed was better than being outside of it. Kratos did not like being wrong any more than he liked being thrown across the highway.) If the boy had also been in the truck, it was possible he would have been hurt. Kratos did not look it, but he was shaken.
He frowned. A different frown than the scowl. He had a whole thesaurus. "I do not have another. It cannot be fixed, you say." This posed problems. Kratos was not a merchant, and this world liked money. Intimidating people and pouring drinks was his most steady line of work, even if he only had time some nights and the two days ending the week. The handyman work paid even less. The boy had schooling in the Capital which required funds. Kratos frowned deeper, and made a sound like the one the axel probably made when it was twisted out of shape.
He looked at her. "You have use for the metal, maybe. You will buy?" It was a question. Kratos had a general idea of the value of junk vehicles. Not the amount, just that they had some value.
“Yeah.” She’d sigh, her face reflecting the dismay she felt. “I was worried about that.” Was how she responded to his commentary about the truck bleeding. Eyes would rest on the corpse of a truck for a long moment as she considered what could be done.
“It can be fixed but the money you’d need to spend on fixing it - parts and labor - would cost as much as another cheap truck.” The look she’d offer him was apologetic. “Work truck?” The question was direct and she did her best to hide her hopes that it wasn’t. Not having a working vehicle when that was your work? That was bad. Dante knew that from personal experience. The frown across his face caught her attention. That likely meant there was a problem and the sound he made only furthered that thought.
She’d meet his eyes at the question before sighing and turning her gaze back to the truck. She’d already lost so much money since coming here, but he really looked..
“Sure.” He needed help. She could help. “I’ll cut you a check when we get it back to the shop.” There was a pensive hum as her eyes rolled over the mangled body. “I’ll make some calls when I get back, there was a guy that strolled by, mentioned some stuff about interest in selling some cars.” It was a shop, why people always came to shops to try and sell vehicles she never fucking knew but recalled a time when Mike had their entire fucking parking lot full of shit he’d bought. That week had been a fucking nightmare but Mike knew how to turn a car for a profit like no one she’d ever seen.
“I’ll see if he has a truck he can part with.” It was only after the pensive words would her gaze turn back to the rather large man who towered over her.
Kratos was not especially expressive, and all that hair on his face didn't help. He had big hairy caterpillars for brows and if he ever cracked a smile the lumberjack beard probably concealed it handily. (He didn't.) Yet he nodded here. He understood. "Living truck," he replied. Kratos had come from a culture that didn't have baking powder or steam engines. He didn't see the need to have two different vehicles, and the expense seemed wildly unnecessary to him. He knew people did it. There were people in his neighborhood that had an entire vehicle for each person. If they all went to war, they could drive down the walls of Carthage.
Not that Carthage existed anymore. In his world or this.
Kratos knew this phrase, cut a check. It meant someone was to give him a voucher for their money, and the bank would then give it to him. While it involved a lot of pointless running around, these people didn't like to carry their money with them. They enjoyed paper and tiny numbers. He nodded again. "This is good." People could cut a check to him, but he could not take cards. He knew these phrases from repetition.
He didn't thank her. He didn't know he should thank her. He turned to look at the truck. "Now it goes on yours." He waved a big flat hand at the tow expectantly. It had a large hook, which made perfect sense to him. They would drag it away like slaves dragged off the corpses of kings. "And we trade for better."
‘Living truck’ Dante’s mind instantly went to how he had spoken of the truck bleeding earlier but that didn’t…. Oh. Oh. Oh no. She nodded her understanding but wouldn’t let the worry on her insides show as her face remained only showing minor concern. Her and her dad had been there. They’d gotten fucked over by bills for years. They….
She’d make sure he didn’t have the problems she did. Dante got having an accent, got looking different, got how that fucked you over and over for the entirity of your fucking life.
“Cool.” She’d offer in response to his agreement on being down with a check. “Yup, let’s get it moving.” Fingers went in her mouth and a loud, piercing whistle would cut through the air, the driver sticking a hand out the window looking for further instruction. “Yo!” Dante would yell while taking a few steps towards the truck and waving. “Let’s get it moving!” There was something that came from the driver - some words - nothing she cared about as the tow truck began to move and position itself to take up the truck.
“We’ll get you hooked up, don’t stress.” Finally, a bright smile would be offered to the man. “It’ll be good.” But then another thought struck and she quickly followed up. “Do you need a vehicle right now or can you wait a little bit?” There were calculations going on in her head and…
“I think my dad might be looking to get rid of his F-150 actually? I could ask him first. I’ve done most of the work on that truck for as long as he’s had it.” And she knew the full history of that truck. Hell, she’d personally taken care of it for years when Hector hadn’t felt up to doing the work himself. It was a little older but it had never gotten driven tons since they lived in the city and she’d made sure to keep the service records impeccable. “It’s a little older, but runs like a dream.” Finally she’d shift to look at the man before her mind seemed to shift again.
“I’ll give the random guy a call and my dad, see what we can get moving for you faster.” And the tow truck - with all it’s adjusting and movement - seemed to have finally settled. From here Dante moved towards the tow truck to help with the process of getting Kratos truck hooked onto the tow.
Of all the things this woman had done so far, it was the whistle that most impressed him. He watched as the tow truck driver maneuvered his vehicle around, and he strode apart from Dante to walk around the edge of the red truck. He looked at the corpse of the vehicle and thought that perhaps this was how cavalry felt about losing a horse. He had never been a mounted soldier, his people not having that kind of money and he not being that kind of a man, but there was something helpful and inherently reassuring in having a vehicle always ready to take you away. As he watched the twisted heap of metal in the shadow of the highway, Kratos thought it could be dangerous to depend on such a thing too much.
In the face of Dante's bright smile, he only nodded. There wasn't any smiles to offer, and beneath that hair and gray stoicism, it was hard to tell if he was really stressed. Or if he was stressed about anything. "If there is not a truck, I will wait for a truck." Logic.
In truth, Kratos had a certain kind of concern, but not the kind of concern that came with worrying about whether he could feed his family. Even in the dead of winter, Kratos could hunt and fish and farm. They would not starve, and they would not die. It was only a certain quality of life, and the boy's stability, that worried him. Modern men worried about electricity bills. Kratos only wondered what the boy would say when he could not go to his school, where he learnt even more languages than anyone had any right to know.
"Any truck is good. I will deal with your father, if he will sell," the big man said, now striding to the front of the vehicle and watching the large hook at the end. He thought he understood now how they would drag it away. He watched Dante pull out chains and things. He looked again at the hook, then back at the truck.
He moved over, thinking to accelerate things, and with a grunt, picked up the front of the truck with one hand. Like it was a wheelbarrow. Then he turned with it in his hand, and with an earsplitting screech of metal on pavement, he pulled the 6,000lb truck forward two feet, and lifted it up onto the slope of the tow truck one or two feet, just to get it near the hook.
“Can’t fight with that.” Dante would easily offer back to Kratos’ assessment of the situation. It wasn’t a place she wanted him to be in but at the same time it was the situation he was currently in and the only thing she could do was try to make calls faster. The quicker she got these chains out and they got the wreckage loaded up, the quicker she’d be able to start making calls, the quicker he’d get a truck, the quicker he’d be moving and living and back to not worrying about the rest of the shit in his life. That was a way better place to be.
“I’ll give him a call and get you his number once we get this back to the shop.” There would be a quick nod of her head towards the truck as she’d continue to work at setting everything up for the last could-
The ear splitting screech of metal from the guy fucking lifting the fucking truck caused her hands to drop the chains as they instantly snapped up to try to cover her ears. Holy fucking fuck had that hurt her ears. There was a moment where she’d take a long, slow inhale before letting her hands fall away from her ears - fucking body and it’s fucking weird non-human bullshit - and they were still ringing. Fuck.
Yup, most definitely not totally human.
Blinking a few times and giving her head a shake to try to clear the ringing in her ears out faster she’d fetch up one of the chains again and make short work of hooking everything up appropriately to the tow.
“We’ll have to squeeze in the cab.” A thumb would be jutted to the tow trucks cab before she’d turn to start heading that way and motioning for Kratos to follow along. “Assuming you want a ride back to Repose?” There was a quick glance cast back to check what he thought of those plans.
Kratos did not have the manners to look contrite when he turned around to find her just dropping her hands from her ears. He still had that same stone expression, or lack of expression, with only his eyes moving under the heavy brows to move ponderously from her face back to the chains. He was aware he had done something outside the norm, but it was only her here to see, the passing cars few and far between, and it wasn't as if he had lifted it over his head. He waited to see if she would make further protest about it, and when she did not he gave a short grunt and moved around to watch the rest of the work.
She was efficient about it, and his general approval of her grew the quicker the work completed and the fewer words she had about it. Her diagnosis of the truck's problems had been fast, and any facility with the barely comprehensible wires and tubing of this world earned a certain kind of appreciation from him.
Once it was all done, trussed up more securely than any hunter's prey, they both began walking toward the tow truck's cab. It was small, and Kratos made another grunt, this one faintly displeased at the prospect of jamming in there. Nothing in this world was made for a man of his size. "Yes," he replied, because he had to use a whole word and not a grunt.
He let her get in first, and then stepped up beside her to duck his head and hunch his shoulders. The door slammed and they both wedged in like two sponges in a drawer, the rough wool of Kratos' plaid a mix of male musk, recently shredded steel, exhaust from the side of the freeway, and the faint metallic of the blood drying above his left eyebrow. A couple tiny pieces of glass came out of his beard and landed on Dante's head as the truck pulled out into traffic and around back in the direction of town.