[Log] Dante & Rey - Complete! Who: Dante Zaragoza & Rey Smith What: Rey's ancient beater needs a repair When: Sometime late April in the early evening Where: D&D automotive shop Warnings: It's Dante, so swearing
Rey really didn't like the way her ancient hatchback was handling and the light on the dashboard was bad news. She was supposed to be doing errands after work, but instead, she turned the car toward Dante's mechanic shop and hoped that she'd be able to find out what was wrong with the car. Maybe it would come back before Rey had to spend an arm and a leg on getting round town by Uber.
She rolled up to the repair shop before the car gave out, and left the car in park with the engine still running on the off chance it might not start again. If Dante wasn't in, Rey wasn't sure what she was going to do. Google the engine light on her phone, for a start.
It wouldn’t take long for Dante to register another car pulling up towards the shop. Were they due to take another appointment? She could have sworn all the called in issues were already here but that didn’t mean that someone wasn’t driving up. Though something felt… Off… About the mechanical movement aspects of what was going on. Grinding? Was something grinding? It wasn’t moving right but Dante wasn’t quite sure it was grinding.... She could feel it not moving right though. That never felt good. Made her skin crawl a little. Reminded her of…. No. When she could feel the mechanical pieces before she could feel a computer though that likely meant… Oh no.
A shop towel was wiped over and between hands thoroughly to remove any grime she could get off as eyes peered off towards the freshly parked car to see… Rey? Dante couldn’t help but blink and tilt her head slightly off to one side in curiosity towards her friend approaching. The shop towel was tossed over her right shoulder without much thought as the item she was working on was glanced at - it was okay to walk away from for a moment - before starting to head out of the large garage shop doors.
“Hey, everything okay?” Dante’s face had scrunched up a little, clear concern for why Rey was suddenly showing up out of the blue.
"I'm fine. Not sure about the car," Rey said over the doorframe as she got out. The car was properly in park but still running. "There's a light on I don't recognize and she's handling funny. I thought I ought to bring her in and let you have a look at her. I can get home if you're busy--doesn't need to be right now--but I don't want to drive her and get out to the lake and find out she won't start."
Rey was by no means great with mechanics, but it was more of a lack of training than anything else. She'd had to learn enough to keep Uncle Luke's ancient car running as they traveled in Europe, so she had her hands round the basics of things like changing oil and changing tires. But part of her skill set was knowing when she was over her head and going to an actual mechanic. This was one of those moments.
‘Oh’ Dante mouthed the word without sound when Rey voiced concern about her car. No computer, issue in the movement of the mechanical pieces that Dante could feel without even touching the car? Yeah, this probably wasn’t going to turn out well for Rey.
“I can make the time.” There was no hesitation or question in her voice and there was a determination in the words that would discourage any potential argument that Rey might try to make off the bat. They were technically booked through the day today but there was a good chance… Wait. Scratch that.
“You got somewhere you need to be tonight? I can def get you and your baby in but I gotta get this one car out of the dock first. Can you let me finish up quick and then we’ll get yours up on the lift and can get a good look at her insides?” If Rey had the time, Dante didn’t want to make her wait. “If you don’t, come back in a couple hours when the shop’s closed and we’ll take a look at it together.” While Rey lived in a mansion and could get nice clothes and things there was something about how Rey lived - cheap car, baggy clothes - that said something else was going on there to Dante and she hadn’t figured out quite what yet.
"Oh, Dante, don't put yourself out. I've got nowhere to be and I've got my phone, so there's always something to read. There's no rush. If I need to, I could walk back up to the house. It's not that far." Rey had done a lot of pushing herself physically when she'd trained, and she did try to keep herself in decent shape. It was a bit harder in Repose with two jobs and an actual social life. But still, she was confident about her ability to get home unmolested, even if she got rained on in the process.
Rey didn't think it was going to rain, though.
"I can just wait and you can tell me what's wrong and how much it's going to be." The car was old and Rey loved it, but she was under no illusion about repairs. She might not have all the fancy gadgets that came with a newer model that required regular reprogramming and replacement, but that meant when something fell apart, it was expensive.
“Not put out.” The words were given with a smile and her tone remained friendly. It wasn’t much of an issue to take a look really. “Just gotta shuffle the cars.” And that was really the crux of it. “Give me twenty and we’ll get her up.” Something in the feeling of mechanical movements said it was near the engine to her and that was even more concerning, hopefully once Dante could get eyes on it she’d be proven wrong but… She didn’t want to take the chance of letting that wait longer than they needed to.
“Feel free to grab a stool.” Dante would gesture towards some stools lined up near the back of the shop - away from the cars and near the tool racks - as she was one of the last one's in tonight. There was a thought to scoff at Rey’s commentary on cost but at the same time businesses didn’t keep their doors open by comping however many of her friend’s repair costs. “We’ll figure it out.” Dante offered back without much thought otherwise and moved back into the shop through the large garage doors.
Moving back to the car she’d been finishing up Dante shifted underneath it after grabbing a wrench and an oil filter to replace the old one she’d taken out.
“How’s today going for you? Aside from the car.” It was easy to talk and work when it was something that was almost done anyway.
Rey found a stool and made a face as she settled onto it. "Other than the car and the headaches I've had from quote-unquote Repose fuckery, I'm good. How are you holding up? Did it shove a bunch of memories into your head as well, or were you lucky enough to escape this one?"
It was a good thing she'd grabbed a snack before she'd headed home and noticed whatever was wrong with the car, or she'd be hungry as well. Hunger led people to make bad financial decisions. Rey knew Dante would play square with her financially but still, it was good practice to eat before you bought or paid for something. Rey just hoped whatever was wrong with the car could be fixed.
The ‘quote-unquote Repose fuckery’ earned an uneasy laugh of agreement. Fuck did she know that one. Though the follow-up question to it? Dante felt her internal brakes slam to the floor. Did she want to answer that honestly? No, that was a stupid question, of course, she was going to answer it honestly. It was just which branch of honesty she wanted to give Rey today and… There would be a glance stolen of the other woman as she had settled onto a stool and Dante tried to assess before turning her gaze back to the car she was working on, brows furrowing as hands moved to finish up the last pieces of the oil change. Always with the fucking oil changes. Not that she minded them really, they were good, it meant people were taking care of their cars, but it would be nice to do some different things too.
“Nope.” Came the abrupt and short answer to Rey’s inquiry. “Luck didn’t hold out.” Engaging Honesty was apparently the line of honesty they were going down tonight instead of Dismissive Honesty - ‘I’d rather not talk about that’ would have been the Dismissive Honesty option - and Dante hoped she was ready for the ride they were both about to take.
“Take headaches mean you got fucked too, huh?” And Dante was reaching for a shop rag to clean her hands. Now she’d just need to get this car down before they could get Rey’s in and up on the lift.
"Ugh, I wish we were all let to keep our memories where they belonged, safely in our own minds. I'm pretty sure I got one of Ren's, which is the last thing he'd want in the world." Rey made a face. "And I know what's been on my mind lately so I dread to think what memories of mine it might have borrowed. I like to think of Repose as having a spirit, a genius loci as it were, like the Romans or the Shinto spirits in Japan. Usually, it's friendly but some of that was downright hostile. Bad for those whose memories it took and bad for those who received them."
Rey scrounged around in the pockets of her hoodie and found the last of the fruit chews in their bag, which she pulled out and offered to Dante. Not exactly headache relief, but at least something sweet.
“Fucking hear that.” Dante tossed on to the end of Rey’s sentiment about keeping your own memories to yourself. “Never been into dubious consent shit and this sure as fuck doesn’t even get near that.” The implication that all of this was non-consensual was obvious and something that clearly held a great deal of disdain from the mechanic. Though the follow-through, the commentary about what had been on Rey’s mind earned another furrowing of brow. There was a low thoughtful hum given as she finished wiping off her hands and moved to control the lift to lower the car.
The offer from Rey would earn a smile and a brief ‘No thanks’ as the other car lowered down to the ground to finally rest on its own wheels. Thoughts stirred in her brain about the concept of good and bad spirits for the moment. Maybe she’d have more thoughts on that soon.
“You wanna talk about what’s up?” A beat as Dante tossed Rey a look as she moved to retrieve the car’s keys so that she could drive it out of the shop doors. “Got ears and don’t mind listening.” The last sentence was given with a bit of warmth. It was true. Dante liked Rey and if she was struggling with something that could be alleviated by a listening ear? That was undoubtedly something Dante could give.
"It's just--unpleasant. The whole thing. Even apart from seeing something that Ren probably didn't want me to see." Rey popped a fruit jelly into her mouth, and tried not to think of any of the memories she'd seen. "I hope all the memories people shared, or had shared for them, weren't as awful or just flat out embarrassing." The implication of lack of consent was also clear to Rey, and as someone with telempathy gifts, she found the whole thing abhorrent.
And she knew that there were dark practitioners out there who also did the same thing to individuals. While Rey didn't think this was quite the same--she imagined it would have hurt a lot more to use telempathy to rip memories from the number of minds that inhabited Repose--it was still, to her way of thinking, Dark. And something she looked askance at, even though she hadn't found most of the so-called Repose fuckery as frightening or upsetting as some of the other locals had.
“Yeah.” Dante would agree with that. The memories she’d gotten hadn’t been fucking fun at all and there was some nagging little piece of her brain that told her she ought to have been thankful it hadn’t been worse but at the same fucking time it was bullshit that all of this had happened at all. “From what I heard there was a pretty big variation in what people got.” From her father to Georgia to herself to Hugh to… To the people on the network that after seeing them talk she was pretty certain they’d gotten one of her memories too and her brain still raced at what to do with that information. Should she… Should she try to reach out to them…? As Inferno? Tell them what they saw would never hurt anyone else again and that she’d made sure the victim’s story was told. Dante made sure that Danica Jonhson’s story - the girl in the video - had been told and that her story wasn’t tarnished and that…
She’d have to think on that more later. Her brain just hurt - without hurting - all at once right now.
“You got your keys on you?” Dante gestured towards the car she was about to pull out of the garage. “Gonna have room for yours soon as I park this one out in the lot.” A thumb jutted over her shoulder. “You’re welcome to bring your baby in as soon as I pull this one out. You good lining up to put it on the lift? Or you want me to handle that?” A wave of hand gestured towards the lift that the car she had just been working on to indicate her plans to move this car out so that Rey could move hers in.
“And don’t think you’re getting off just saying it’s uncomfortable. You wouldn’t be sitting here looking distressed and half talking around yourself if there wasn’t more on your mind with this than that.” Maybe it was a push too far, maybe Rey would clam up and shut down from talking now, but if Dante didn’t say something well. It wouldn’t be said, and if it wasn’t said then how could Rey know? Either way, Dante held up the keys for the car she was going to move out.
“But we can get there in a few.” With that, she’d open the door of the car and slip into the driver’s seat - which had been covered with plastic and paper coatings to protect the inside of the car from grease or other issues - before backing the car out of the garage to be parked out in the shop’s lot.
Rey fished out her keys to hand to Dante while Dante was moving the other car into the parking lot, pondering how much she could say. She could hardly explain why it bothered her so much to see the town's spirit, if you wanted to call it that, taking memories in that way unless she talked about her own experiences and abilities.
And while Rey was willing to use her gifts, her abilities, to help people, the idea of talking about them on a theoretical basis to someone who didn't know--that was a risk, one Rey was loath to take. She liked Dante, a lot, but hello, I'm the last survivor of a mystical order that stands against people who do that was also a lot.
She and Luke had never formally practiced anything so vile, but she knew the basics and how to resist them. She'd never been tested more seriously in life by anything than the occasional reach from Ben. Luke had pressed her much harder in training, but he would never have hurt her. Rey wasn't so confident of anyone else.
It was quick and easy to take the keys from Rey, move the first car out of the garage, and then move over to Rey’s car to drive it into the garage and onto the lift. Putting the car into park and turning the engine off the mechanic would climb out as she pulled the hood release lever.
“Alright, so, car issues and your issues.” Dante tossed a sympathetic smile at Rey, one that she tried to craft to be supportive, caring, but comfortable with whatever Rey would want to do. Accepting, Dante was trying to go for accepting as it was often what people tended to be missing the most in their lives. “Welcome to D&D Automotive, your one stop shop for all your needs.” There was a wink tossed to Rey with another smile, this one a bit more filled with humor as she’d move to retrieve the code reader and then pause as she looked at the car.
“What year is your baby?”
"Ninety-eight? Ninety-nine? Really old, anyroad. Old enough that I can do most of the oil changes and such myself. I taught myself how to change the oil and basic things like that from YouTube videos." Rey was embarrassed to admit to someone who knew how to repair cars how ignorant she was. "I mean, I like to learn that kind of thing--I like to learn all kinds of things, so I do that a lot, YouTube and podcasts and the like--but this doesn't sound like basic maintenance. It didn't feel right either."
Dante would nod along while thinking through the numbers and what it would mean for parts and repairs and electronics and - Yup. They were gonna have to do this the hard way. Dante couldn’t help letting out a low whistle at the age of the car. The fact that it was still running while being that old meant Rey really kept a good eye on it, which Dante appreciated. There was something about people who really cared for their cars and really tried hard to do it right that always touched a soft spot in Dante. Sure, cars were pretty tough and most people who had them needed them to get around but when someone really cared for their car? It showed. It showed in the way Rey’s old car still drove 21 years after release and in the fact that Rey brought it into Dante quick as she likely could and to Dante? That said something about who Rey was as much as it did about how well the car was cared for.
The admission that Rey had learned from Youtube caused a grin to break over Dante’s face. “You know, I actually really love that videos and education and the sharing of knowledge has gotten to a point that we can literally sit in front of a computer and learn just about anything we want, or order a book and bam. The mysteries of the universe explained.” The last sentence held a bit of humor as Dante gave an easy shrug and the code reader was placed down while she moved around to the front of the car to prop the hood open.
“Com’mere.” Dante gestured for Rey to come over and look at the opened engine compartment with her. “Let’s figure out what’s going on here.”
Rey discarded her things, except her phone since she might want photos, and came to join Dante at the front of the car. Rey did like her car, and she tried to take good care of it. Not just from affection for the mechanical, but also because she'd been poor in the way that said you didn't just throw things out. You cared for them and maintained them, and reused and recycled, and then you took whatever it was to pieces for scrap when it couldn't be used anymore.
She was the same way about her clothing: she mended and patched and darned and glued, and when she could afford nice things (new things, instead of the second-hand she usually bought) with her own money, she was more likely to buy something that would last for years than something fashionable.
Of course, she took care of the car. Leah and Hans would have bought her something fancy if she'd wanted, if she'd hinted, but Rey couldn't accept that. Instead, she'd bought a used car with the money she'd earned from her student work and made it last.
“So,” Dante would start as eyes combed through the engine compartment. “Since it’s so old the OBD2 code reader probably isn’t going to be a ton of help. If it was just a couple years younger, you’d have been fine and we’d have a quick answer. ‘Cause it’s older though…” Dante couldn’t help the half frown that apologetically spread across her face. “We’re out of luck there.” A beat as her brow would furrow and she’d consider the contents of the engine compartment. It was kept relatively clean considering the age and wear and-
“Did you stop anywhere and get gas today?” It may seem like an odd question but… Maybe they’d luck out and the check engine light would just be a loose gas cap.
Rey shook her head in the negative, then, realizing Dante wasn't looking in her direction, answered, "No, sorry. She's about half full. I filled her up about a week ago." Whatever Dante was looking for was clearly the simple answer, one that would solve Rey's problems. She only wished it was that easy.
"I think it's the engine but I suppose it could also be the brakes. But that would be bad, right?"
“Just cuts out a possible easy fix.” Was the response as Rey confirmed the fact that she hadn’t touched anything to do with gas for a bit. “Sometimes the gas cap getting left off can trigger the light.” A finger pointed absently towards where the dash would be. Though Rey clearly knew her car and the assessment earned a furrowing of brow. She could feel through the mechanical pieces of the car easily enough but that would look suspicious and…. She really was going to have to do this the hard way.
“Well if it’s the brakes you’d be hearing squeaking, squealing and or possible grinding. Same for the ball bearings. They get crunchy when they go and generally only when you turn.” The language used was intentionally humorous and she’d offer a smile. “Worst case scenario I’d say is you got a crack in the cylinder head that’s losing pressure in the engine and best case? A cap fell off of something that we can plug back up and you’ll be good as new.” There was a gentle smile offered here, she remembered the days when a bad car bill would mean there wasn’t money for food or bills. Though Hector had always managed to pull through somehow to get food in the house. “Even if it’s losing pressure in a cylinder there’s options. I’d probably start with trying a sealant to see if we can plug the leak but it’s only a good a solution as long as the sealant lasts.” As she spoke Dante would begin to move, selecting tools and picking out small meters to help her test pressure readings. That was probably the best place to start.
“We’ll run a few tests, it’ll be good.” Because there was no way in hell Dante was letting a friend walk away in a bad spot.
"I trust you," Rey said, which--she didn't distrust a lot of people but she'd certainly had run-ins with repair shops where her sense was that dishonesty was the norm. She'd never actually done anything to ensure the work was good and honestly done, but she'd had to walk away a couple of times, and at least once she'd seriously considered instilling a compulsion for the shop owner to be more honest.
But this was Dante, her friend who took her dancing and had her over for parties, and while Rey didn't read her formally, Dante had never exhibited any behaviour or felt like she was lying to Rey. Trust was easy. "If it is bad, we'll get around it. I have--I'm lucky; I have backstops now." She'd call Hans and Leah if it was a big repair. Dante's labour was worth the money. Rey would pay them back.
There was a soft, understanding smile offered at the ‘I’m lucky; I have backstops now’ comment. Dante was glad Rey had that but it didn’t mean it had to be used here tonight.
“So we’re going to have to do a car inspection and some systems pressure tests. It will probably take a few hours, but I think if you help, we can cut it down to one or two.” It was from here - if Rey agreed - that Dante would begin leading them through a full car inspection, teaching Rey how to check her brake system and car fluids and air pressure and filters and basic systems that most anyone could check, along with a couple tricks that the average home mechanic might not know. Once finished with the full basic inspection they’d move to connect various tools and meters and tubes into the car’s various ports, intakes, and valves to test the pressure being sent through and retained in each section of the car. With four hands instead of two the work would be cut through and Rey would get a crash course in engine removal for her car.
It would take them into the night as engine removal simply took time but any protest or complaint from Rey would earn an easy ‘don’t worry about it’ from Dante as she continued to work and before terribly long they’d get the entire engine out - Dante showing just a touch that she was stronger than most might expect of her - and set up on a proper staging area to begin testing its ability to hold pressure.
“If it’s not the engine at this point” Dante said with a slight pant in her speech from getting the engine out. “You’re gonna have to come back tomorrow.” A beat. “You might have to come back tomorrow anyway, I can give you a ride home if needed but if it’s the engine I’m going to recommend trying the sealant first and that’s gotta sit overnight.” There was a look cast to Rey to confirm that she’d heard as Dante reached for a shop towel to wipe her hands.
Rey, too, was stronger than one might have expected, or at least things seemed a little easier than they might have otherwise. If there was a touch of the Force making sure nothing fell the wrong way, that the lift seemed to have more power than it usually did, there was nothing obvious to point to a cause or a culprit.
Dante's instructions and explanations were easy to follow; Rey nodded along and asked questions where it seemed appropriate, demonstrating basic knowledge of car care but nothing beyond that. Tricks of the trade were new to Rey. She drank them up for future use.
"I'll be fine getting home. It'd be great if I could get a ride but if I have to Uber or whatever, I'll manage, thanks." Rey made a show of exhaling. The Force helped but the work was still work! "But if you take me, you can come in and I can fix something. Or we can stop for something on the way home, my treat. It's the least I can do. "
“I can totally give you a ride.” Dante would confirm without hesitation. A ride was a simple favor and it’d give her a chance to put her eyes on her friends' houses. After the talks with Leena about the lake Dante had been on alert ever since.
It was with the engine out that Dante would nod. “So basically we’re just going to cover various valves and compartments and leave other valves open and check for the amount of pressure displaced. If it falls below the threshold we want we’ll know it’s that valve or cylinder.” From here Dante would hand over things they’d need and point out what and where Rey should move and what she should do while Dante handled checking the pressure holds. Neither one of them would be getting home early tonight but that was okay, it wasn’t like Dante had anywhere else to be.
“So while we’re running these tests let’s circle back.” Dante moved to attach a hose with which they’d be forcing pressure into the engine to make it work through the various plugs and tweaks.
Rey listened to Dante's instructions carefully and nodded at each of the important parts, repeating some of them back to be sure she understood them. She had a knack for memorizing verbal instructions after all her years with Luke, so lessons taken this way had a good chance of sticking.
"Circle back to which part?" Rey asked as she followed Dante's directions, ignoring grease and fluids and just plain dirt to make sure all the hoses were connected properly and that they had good readings.
Gloves and a protective smock would be handed over with the instructions as they worked. “No need to get yourself a mess.” Dante would offer in passing without much thought. However, at Rey’s inquiry regarding the circling back?
“You were saying you were having some problems with the memory stuff? You alright with that? Wanna talk about it?” There was a grunt that followed the words as Dante forced a hose on over a vent.
Rey donned the smock and gloves, talking as she did so. "I got one of Ren's, like I said, and he got one of mine, which was--the deathbed of a relative--" Rey didn't really know how to talk about feeling Luke die, his departure from his body in the Force, and the complications that presented for both Ren and Rey "--and that was messy. And, I hate to complain when I got this as a kind of dream thing and someone lived it but--" she stopped buttoning the smock to look at Dante and sighed.
"There was someone who was remembering being, I guess like they'd call it in SF books, cyberspace. Like, without a body, almost, where they could make themselves look the way they wanted because their body was all a function of what they wanted it to look like. Digital appearance, not practical, not physical. A metaphor. And they were doing things and looking in on people. And Dante, it was so sad. So awful. They were alone, and they had nobody to touch, to sense, to feel. They must have been so lonely, even if they weren't scared. I hope they're okay and I wish I could do something to help." Rey finished pulling the second glove on and moved to help Dante.
There was something in her that… Something in Dante’s brain that caught the mention of ‘deathbed of a relative’ and made her blood run cold. There… She had to take a moment, pause in what she was doing with a puzzled look for a moment, trying to focus on what was in front of her, try to make it look like she was thinking about something else but the knee-jerk gut-wrenching power of the punch ultimately won out.
“That was you?” It came out abruptly and Dante turned her gaze up to look at Rey with both shock, confusion and surprise. It had made sense that people got each other’s memories or some shit and she’d pieced together that maybe she’d gotten… That wasn’t what was here and Rey had said something else about a digital world too before she’d spoken and her brain finally caught up with everything and-
What. The. Fuck.
And as her brain processed the rest, Rey’s sympathy, her commiseration of the loneliness endured by the cyberspace individual who watched others but never was able to interact… The isolation of being alone like that. The pain-
Dante’s jaw worked as she simply stared at Rey, wanting words but finding none as her mouth opened and closed, and then opened and closed again until finally she’d let out of a huff of air but no other sound. Distracted from their work for the time Dante’s face twisted and the confusion of thoughts streaked across her face nakedly as she… She tried to process the thought of someone not thinking of her like some kind of freak but actually fucking sympathizing with how her life sucked and…. And….
What did she do now?
Swallowing her brain laid out a plan.
“I, uh. I think I might’ve got yours.” How the fuck many memories of dying relatives were there floating around after all?
Rey couldn't help but see Dante's changing expression. Reliving that memory, or living it for the first time as Ren had, had to be bad enough. If you didn't understand what you were seeing, if you didn't know about the Force, it had to be confusing and frightening. "I'm so sorry," she said, bowing her head a little. "I can imagine it was difficult. And very strange. I'm sorry Repose forced you to see that."
Dante had never shared with intention to shame or upset. In fact, she hadn’t entirely meant to share at all but the words just… Well, they were out now and…
“It’s okay.” She adjusted her tone and volume as an attempt to sound soothing. No one had done this on purpose from what she could manage to piece together. There was a moment of consideration, a pensive few seconds of reading Rey’s features, the room, calculating the variables and potential risk.
“‘Cause I think you got mine too.”
Rey made a noise that sounded like "ohhhhhhhhh" and coloured. It occurred to her that this was twice people had exchanged memories that she knew of, and was that enough to make a trend? She'd have to ask Ren whether it had happened to him with anyone else.
"I'm sorry if what I said was--wrong--or patronising--I didn't mean--I mean, for me that seemed very lonely but if you're all right with it, I don't want to criticise. I just--it did seem sad to me and I reacted very strongly. If I presumed wrongly and hurt you, I am very sorry for that."
“Seriously, it’s cool. Don’t think any of us were tryin’ for that shit.” Or at least she hadn’t found a reasonable suspect yet. In fact, she was beginning to wonder if there was any logic or greater purpose to the shit that happened around here at all. It was almost like the town was someone’s personal playbox to look into and go ‘hrm, why not make their lives harder by completely unconnected and pointless traumatic events? SURE! WHY THE HELL NOT!?’ when they weren’t occupied with their own personal toys enough.
It was… Endearing in a very strange sense that Rey’s immediate response was to apologize.
“I- “ What did one even say in a situation like this? “It’s cool.” Was offered again even if it felt like a drastic understatement and a personal communication failing on her own part.
“It’s… Isolating.” A beat. “Yeah.” These words were a bit quieter. “What you went through was pretty rough too.” Because it was always easier to talk about someone else.
Rey pulled off the glove that she'd barely finished putting on to take Dante's hand. "You're not alone. You don't have to be. You have friends. You have me, if you want my help, however you need it."
The instant shifting of posturing and movement - she had to be careful, people were unpredictable and she was an alien in their space, Rey lived here before her - was rapidly read and assessed as ‘not a threat’. Which was fucking great as Rey went reaching for a hand and-
A squeeze of Rey’s hand would be given and a bit of a sad smiled offered.
“Sometimes the things that make us different, make us really different.” It felt like a pitiful attempt at explaining but they were the only words that came to mind. “It’s not like either of us can openly talk about that shit.” Because Rey had felt something and Dante knew that, the knowing would reflect itself across her face and in her tone easily. Something more than just grief. Dante knew grief, she’d known it since she was eight years old when her mother - one of the light’s of her life - had died.
And what Rey had gone through? That wasn’t just grief.
"What you saw--what you felt--that was--it's not usually like that for me. I've been around death before, but he was--that was my foster-father. My teacher. And most people don't--do that--when they die. It's complicated.
"What I saw about you, especially since I know who it is, I'll keep my mouth shut. I've been warned that there are people who look for those of us with special abilities. Magic, if you will, or technology, or some combination of the two. When I talked about all that before, it wasn't really hypothetical, you see," Rey admitted.
“I get it.” Dante offered as an attempt at soothing Rey’s attempt at explaining. “I know grief.” There was another sad smile offered. “My mother passed. When I was young. She meant the world to me. Her and my dad both did.” It was an attempt to commiserate, an attempt to offer, a mutual experience of understanding loss. It was also an attempt to subtly say she understood that Rey had powers too and the look she’d give the other woman would say that all. Dante’s brain flicked through the shop cameras, re-writing the entire recording to cover both her own and Rey’s metaphorical tracks.
“I’ll do the same for you.” A pause couldn’t be helped as she considered. “If you do really value my life, I would ask you to never speak of this outside of private spaces and probably not with others.” It was dangerous to have abilities, it was extra dangerous when you were a woman and another level of danger was added by not being white. The government probably wouldn’t think of her as anything more than an animal.
“It’s safer for us both with that military base not so far out.”
"Yeah, that place on the edge of town that nobody talks about even if they know anything about it," Rey agreed. "Of course I'll respect your personal privacy as well." She pronounced that last word in the British way, with the short vowel sound. "But without going into detail and naming names, I can tell you that we're not alone in our--differences. This town draws in the strange and the different. Perhaps it's an effect of something going on at the base, or maybe it's the other way round: the base is here because of the town bringing people. But you're really not alone, even if it's not always something you can tell."
Rey wasn't actually reading Dante's mind, certainly not deliberately, but she was very open at the moment and a lot of the secondary meanings in Dante's looks and gestures were clear to Rey. To the extent that Dante was telegraphing her thoughts, Rey's openness allowed her to receive them more easily than a person without Rey's grasp of the Force. If she actually meant to read Dante's mind, she would have asked. Just because Rey could read minds didn't mean she should, or would.
“I know.” Dante offered a sort of agreement, a secret sharing between the two that they were both in on the secrets of the other residents of the town as well. “I… Know a few.” The smile offered was a little tight. “I’m… Learning there’s quite a few people in town that are worth having know that too.” With those words there was another look, a look that would express that perhaps Dante was starting to view Rey as one of the people who deserved to be 'in the know’ in her world as well. A somewhat nervous wetting of lips was taken then before another tight smile.
“Let’s just say if you have any problems with tech? I’m your girl and anyone you trust that needs help with that?” Did she go further? “Even if it’s dark.” No further than that though. “I’m your girl.” The seriousness of the statements, the air between them, would be palpable. A thickness one could cut with a knife.
“But.. For tonight? Let’s get your engine tested and sealed up, yeah?” The seriousness, the potential darkness and worry of their shared knowledge and lives, would fall away with a smile. Almost like the conversation they’d just had didn’t exist as she reached to hand Rey another set of gloves and pull on a pair of her own.