We will wear your face when we kill your son.
Up until they mocked him, Dante didn’t know if they were going to win. But right then, he truly hoped the Demiurge enjoyed its victory on Ruk, because that was going to be the last victory they would have.
And it was.
And that felt fucking fantastic.
Watching that monstrosity plummet to the ground, and the loud relieved silence that followed, everyone probably thinking the same thing. “We did it.” Dante thought about shooting it again just for good measure.
When everyone left he went straight to Shooter.
Shooter’s protest was on his face before he even spoke.”You have the look, don’t-“
Dante pulled his son into a tight hug. He knew Shooter would make it through the battle. He truly believed he would. But that didn’t make Dante any less terrorfied for him through the whole thing. When everyone said their goodbyes and left the battlefield, he went with Shooter back to his place, along with Anerin for dinner. He stayed a little longer than he normally has in the past, making absolutely sure everyone was indeed okay before going home. Anerin wanted to spend the night with Shooter, probably for the same for reasons.
The neighborhood Dante lived in looked like it wasn’t exempt from the attack. It looked like there were smaller skirmishes that took place here and there. Dante’s house had some minor exterior damage, but nothing compared to some of the other places he passed by on his way here. He was pleasantly surprised that the lights in the house were on when he opened the door. He did not take the electricity for granted and went straight for the shower where he would spend almost an hour. Letting the scalding hot water wash away the intrusive Demiurge he could still feel on him.
He put on a black hoodie, dark gray sweatpants, and the fluffiest of socks and went to his couch where he read mission reports on his phone, wanting to stay updated through the lasting chaos. Dante knew they won, he felt it, felt the rush of relief when that corrupted giant fell but…maybe it was leftover adrenaline because he still felt…Alert?
He was about to open another report when a knock at the door almost made him drop his phone.
“Fuck, there it is, there’s the catch.”
Dante stood up from the couch, took a deep breath, prepared for maybe bad news, and opened up the door.
Arya stood there. She was still in the suit she’d worn during the battle. Her hands were folded in front of her. Gloves still to cover up the robotic steel that went up to her elbow.
“Hello. I… would have brought something but it occured to me I don’t have the things you people normally use to buy things and I didn’t want to… you know…” she fluttered her fingers by her temple. “And it also occured to me that I would like to build a home somewhere but I don’t have one yet. So.”
See, what Dante expected when he opened the door was an SVT Agent saying sike, we didn’t actually kill the demiurge, another titan rose up. But from lava this time. So he felt quite relieved seeing Arya…something he ‘never’ thought he’d remotely feel. Weird.
He listened with a small smile. Only just realizing that she wouldn’t have basic human stuff, like identification, credit, etc after being a prisoner. He opened the door wider for her. “Come in.” Before walking back into the kitchen. “Oh, don’t worry about the top lock. Michael broke it.”
Arya walked in, shutting the door behind her. She moved into his living room, studying his apartment with curiosity.
Finally she sat down. Very straight back. Hands in lap.
“I… don’t know what to do next. Freedom is… interesting. I remember it of course but living it is… very different.”
Dante noticed this has been a trend lately. People who come into his house who look like they could use a strong drink. Having the spooky basement lady in his house solidified for him that he just needs a liquor cabinet in his house for guests. Dante opened up a cabinet and retrieved two wine glasses, placing them on the kitchen island. He poured, not wine, but grape juice into each glass while he listened and slid one of them to Arya. “Fuck, I’m terrible at advice. Is this my purpose in this life? Get better at words?” He sat down across from her, clearing his throat before finally speaking.
“I’ve um…never been a good planner. So anything I do next has always been very… in the moment, instead of in the future. You were saying you wanted to build a home? That could be your ‘next’ to focus on. And maybe during or after that, you’ll find other things to fill your freedom with.”
Arya was quiet. The silence stretched longer than was probably comfortable. She would look at Dante intently through the stretch. Away. A look that suggested she was perhaps silently talking to herself. Back at Dante.
“Yes. Yes. That. You will help me.” She paused. Made a face. Sighed. “Shit. Right. Dante. Will you help me build my house?”
He couldn’t help the light chuckle. Watching her change social mannerisms was amusing to say the least. “Yes, Arya. I will help you build your house. In addition, you’ll be receiving free entertainment because I don’t know much about houses.” He took a sip of his juice. “For instance, in this house, the heater has been broken for a couple of weeks and I haven’t figured out how to fix it.”
Arya’s brows rose. She made a hmmm sound before she plucked up her wine glass full of juice and searched his house for the box. She spoke to herself, sometimes about the task, other times it seemed she might be caught in a memory of some sort. The difference being now, not all those memories were bad. She went searching for his tools. She laughed out loud and hard, perhaps harder than the situation called for when she discovered said toolbox unopened and pristine.
It took her 30 minutes to fix it. When she was finished, she left the tools in the area and took a shower.
“She didn’t watch a tutorial, she just…” Dante tested the heat on the thermostat and when it started warming the house he just stared at it. Admittedly he didn’t try too hard to fix it, but he could have if he wanted to. (At least that’s what he told himself)
He stayed in the kitchen for a little while after. Still reading reports, convincing himself that everything was indeed fine. He washed out his wine glass when he finished and finally convinced himself to go upstairs and settle in for the night.
When Dante came upstairs he would find her in his bed. In the chaos that was her mind she hung up her suit jacket. Left her gloves strew this way and that, along with her shirt. The pants were folded up neatly military style, along with her high heels, which she had polished. She’d also raided his closet, found one of his shirts, put it on, and was now sound asleep.
Dante hadn’t even stepped through the threshold of his room when he noticed. “She knows there’s a guest room, right? Maybe she didn’t? But this is very obviously my bedroom. Should I go to the guest room? No, no. She made this decision. Didn’t she want to be alone? Did she want the company? Maybe she’s also jittery from the fight. The Demiurge undoubtedly taunted her too.” Dante quietly walked across his room to the bed, carefully sliding himself in. “God what’s Anerin going to say? I’ll never hear the end of it. Oh London can never know. How would she? It’s fine.” He briefly looked at Arya’s sleeping form and he thought for a moment. For one, this felt so weird for him, but not bad. Just weird. Then he thought about how far everyone has come since awaking in that chamber in Seteri with bloodied fists. And he…felt okay. Maybe he shouldn’t. He wasn’t sure, maybe that was another thing he could ‘talk’ about at the Angel Temple. Dante internally grimaced at the thought. “Nothing is wrong with my soul.” He reached behind him at a shelf attached to the bed frame, retrieving an old Polish book that was so boring it always put him to sleep. He used it for nights like these, when he wasn’t sure he could sleep.
Dante ended up falling asleep with it fallen on his chest.
The next couple of weeks were…pleasant? Interesting? Definitely not boring. Having Arya has a roommate was ‘something’ all by it’s self, the Angel Temple helped him and he was so deeply bitter about it because he knows when Michael asks about it she’s going to have ‘that look’. That all-knowing look.
And now, ever since that photoshoot Angela dragged them too, Dante has more ‘fans’ coming up to him. Some not even for him, but for London. Some of them even found out where he lives. Dante was walking to the firing range when yet another excitable extrovert approached him trying to figure how to contact London. When he got away from them he immediately got his phone out and started texting London.
“Come and control your people.”
“Um. Last I checked I didn’t have people. That’s for🤮 sex symbols like yourself and Michael. Are we still on for lunch next week?”
“Well, your ‘fans’ can’t figure out where you live so they’re coming to me. NOW THEY KNOW WHERE I LIVE.”
½ ~ “That is problematic, I suppose. No idea how you’re going to solve that issue. There are perks to not living in a populated urban environment, but I guess some people can’t live without their overpriced, burned coffee drinks.”
2/2 ~“Seriously, I’ll take care of it later. Now about building Arya’s house… Have you considered just letting her stay with you and Anarin?”
“😒 I like that everything is walking distance. It helps me get my steps in. Do you have that cool step tracker thing? It’s really helpful. It makes a beep sound every mile. But anyway.”
“I don’t mind her being here, but she told me she wants to build a house. The most helpful thing I’ve done so far with that is I found a blueprint app. Who built your place?”
1/2~ “I designed it, just a bit of a back of the napkin sort of thing. But It was whomever SVT hired to do construction. I’m pretty sure it was Pegasus. Even adjusting for the height and overall random..”
2/2~ “.. reinforcements for weight and whatnot. I can with some certainty recommend them if she actually prefers something not based in a city center. She deserves as much peace and quiet as she can stand.”
“I am unsure if she has chosen a location or not, but I will ask if Pegasus is still in business. Give her options. Thank you…I guess.”
“Oh and yes to lunch, you can also come over for dinner later if you want.”
“That would be excellent. Also, I have already made an appointment for the consultation as well as given them a heads up on the delicate nature of the potential client. All you have to do is be supportive. The rest of the legwork I did already.”
“Dinner sounds awesome. Enjoy looking at paint samples. You can always text me if you can’t tell the difference between the shades.”
“I am the very symbol of supportive. I do appreciate your help as much as it pains me to say. I’m much better at designing. I’m trying out making curry, dinner is at 6. Don’t be late.”
“I think the word you’re looking for is ‘Snitch.” I know they start with the same letter. Super confusing for you.”
“I think it’s cute that you’re finally going to focus on Arya this lifetime and not Ella’s toxic ass. Glad to be your friend. Shut up.”
“I…ugh. Yeah, you’re kinda nice too. Whatever. See you.”
“She’s terrible, why is she my friend?” Dante asked his phone like it would answer him. He signed like his soul left him and continued walking to the firing range. “I have so much to work out at that stupid temple.”