Ancora Insieme


amato_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif

Scene Title Ancora Insieme
Synopsis With the combined efforts of Phoenix and the Ferrymen, Lucrezia and Amato meet up again for the first time since she sent him out for pomegranates and flowers. Much has changed since then, but Amato plants the seeds for even more. (This Vanguard reunion was brought to you without the use of paralyzing darts.)
Date May 30, 2009

The Garden

When Amato isn't volunteering at Our Lady of Good Counsel or tending to the vegetables behind the Ferrymen safe house, he's sitting in his sparsely furnished room, book in hand. But after being informed that Lucrezia Bennati was not only still alive, but planning to call, the Italian is a mess. A reddish scruff has settled in on his pale face, and his hair is mussed. Amato paces the small room, occasionally perching on the bed or windowsill, but never staying still for longer than a minute or so.

In one corner of the room, up near the ceiling, a simple gray spider spins a web. The structure is nearly complete, but due to the low evening light, the natural, lacy wonder is nearly invisible.

It had taken almost all day for travel arrangements to be made in order for one wayward traveler to be conducted discreetly from one island to another. By the time that two pairs of shoes finally find their way down the hall of the house known to ferrymen and burning birds alike as The Garden, the sun has already begun to kiss the horizon and a deceptively pleasant shade of amber dusk has been brushed onto the sky. Somewhere on the other side of a mighty river, fires rage in the heart of a once great city.

Lucrezia Bennati lingers just on the other side of the doorjamb, fingers hovering barely but an inch from the wood. He surely must know she's already there; it isn't as if her approach was made with very much stealth, especially given the half overheard conversation that took place with the proprietor not mere moments before in which the laws of the land were laid out for the new arrival. This is a sleep-over but not a slumber party.

At last, she knocks two knuckles against the frame and asks, "«May I come in?»"

It is amazing how wrapped up one can get in one's own affairs. Were it not for the hubbub of talk in the house, Amato wouldn't even know what had happened in Midtown today. As it is, when Lucrezia's knuckles rap against the door and her silky voice sweeps over the tense air of the room.

As calming as it is, Amato practically throws the door open. But rather than fling his arms around Lucrezia, Amato stands in the doorway, his blue eyes wide.

"Lucrezia," the man chokes out, jaw tightening. Though it looks like he may say more, Amato is silent, as if too many words would break this soap bubble dream.

Oh hi. Lucrezia can only imagine all of the horrible things that must have run a rut around Amato's brain in the wake of her abrupt and considerably violent departure from their shared suite in comparative paradise so many months ago. It would be an unapologetic lie to claim that his nigra anga hasn't changed; each agonizing day that has spread the gap between then and now has taken its toll upon them both — both for better and for worse — but she is, at least, still beautiful in most respects, even when hung with an awkward air of uncertainty.

Delicate fingers finally find their way up to press against the Italian man's chest as his would-be consort carefully initiates intimacy and yet uses her arms to designate the proper distance meant to be maintained between them in their greeting as she kisses the air on either side of Amato's cheeks. "«I am sorry I was gone for so long,»" she says; making a ridiculous token apology seems to be the only 'safe' thing to say for the moment.

He shudders under her touch even as he lifts his hands to rest on her shoulders, then turn into her hair. "«You don't need to apologize, anga,»" Amato sighs, finally drawing Lucrezia into his arms. He closes his eyes, dipping his head to lightly nuzzle her hair. "«You're alive, and you're here.»"

There is some measure of steel to be felt in Lucrezia's spine as the embrace becomes closer than she might have anticipated until — oh, that's right! — she recalls the breakthrough in control that Amato was able to manifest just shortly before her exit from Eden. Such a recollection results in thin fingers finding their way up from fabric to flesh, pressing delicately against the cheeks she did not just kiss in order to make a tactile inspection of the stubble found thereon. "«I am… and I've missed you. Not a day went by that I didn't wonder. I'm so sorry I didn't send word…»"

With the force that Amato cleaves to Lucrezia with, it could be presumed his purpose was to crush that steel spine rather than melt it. But when she bends to him, the ferocity of his grip only relaxes a little. "«You're here,»" Amato says after a moment. "«That is all the word I need.»" He takes a step backward, pulling Lucrezia from the doorstep. He leaves her arms to shut the door, but rather than immediately return, is stunned for another moment. A smile slowly crawls onto his scratchy face. "«You are a marvelous creation, my dear.»"

Whatever passes for modesty with Lucrezia nowadays has been worn too thin to provide much in the way of a veil to hide behind; she could not stifle the slim and yet unabashed smile that comes to her unpainted lips even if she had wanted to. Once relieved from reunion's embrace, the black widow roams her way around the room and wonders oh so casually, "«How long have you been here?»" As if the purpose of her visit was pure to provide small talk and worthless conversation.

"«Not long,»" Amato says with an audible shrug. "«It was your nephew who put me in touch with these people, but in their house in the city.»" He of course can only assume that Lucrezia has already had that reunion. Family first, after all.

Crossing the small room, Amato comes up behind his former suitemate and compatriot, lifting his hands to her arms for a much gentler, pseudo-embrace. "«I missed you, animula.»"

His own confession of emotion comes in a more dour tone of voice and with a knitting of his eyebrows. "«The world is gray and cold without you in it, and I have had enough cold and gray.»" It's a statement that, if said by anyone other than the rigid would-be-priest, may sound endearing. But from Amato, it is more like a guilt-laden, indirect command.

Ironically, there has not yet been a reunion between those bearing Bennati blood — not that Amato would have any reason to suspect otherwise, of course, but the irony in expectation is still there. The scant few inches that Lucrezia angles her chin in order to reply to the man now situated behind her suggests that the gesture is made solely for acoustic benefit and not so that she might be able to lay eyes on him again too soon. "«How long have you been here? Do they treat you well?»"

"«A month, perhaps?»" Amato's eyes close as he continues to simply hold the older woman close to him, as if he were afraid of letting her go. "«I keep to myself for the most part. You are staying someplace similar, I presume?»"

The ritual of tactile intimacy between these two particular individuals has always been one of carefully orchestrated absence and meticulously measured misses. Lucrezia still clings to something of the 'old way' if only out of habit and this is why her fingertips do not come in contact with her companion's skin but rather splay out in a very precise lattice that meshes her digits with his against the fabric of someone else's shirt worn against her arms. "«Do they let you come and go as you please? They have put me aside in an apartment in the city, though it certainly isn't anything I could call my own…»"

Amato nods, turning his head so that his nose brushes against Lucrezia's hair. Unlike her, the man once shackled by his ability revels in his newfound freedom in control. All of the slightest touches are something to be savored and cherished. Human contact is a beautiful thing.

"«I do work for a local parish,»" he explains. "«They do not worry much about me, I think. I could speak to the ladies group there to see if they have need of another set of hands.»" Anything for Lucrezia.

Lucrezia cannot honestly pretend that the thought of insinuating herself into the ladies' league at the local Catholic parish isn't somehow both sickening and hilarious. It provokes a smile that favors one side of her mouth more than the other. "«I don't—»" Think that would be a good idea in any way, shape, or form. But, that isn't what she ought to say. Instead, she starts over after a second thought and replies, "«I appreciate the offer.»" Her decline goes unspoken.

As much as Amato may wish that Lucrezia would involve herself in such things, he'd be a fool to think she'd accept the idea. Her non-decline is taken with a chuckle. Of course she wouldn't associate with Staten Island's blue-haired class. Amato releases her arms and moves to sit on the edge of the bed, patting the mattress next to him in a hopefully easier-to-accept invitation.

This is, indeed, the sort of invitation that Lucrezia can't help but to find irresistible albeit even when offered in a far more chaste manner than any of the reciprocal extensions she might have previously made. Their relocation seems somehow a much more comfortable arrangement than merely standing side by side and she even takes the opportunity to lean her head over against the man's shoulder for a brief moment or two in order to relay some sort of unspoken but weary affection. "«Look what has become of us,»" she says, sounding somehow both relieved and repulsed.

Lucrezia's simple statement does more than she could imagine to Amato. He tenses and looks away for a moment, his arms remaining stiffly at his sides while his hands wring in his lap. Yes. Look at what has become of them all. Swallowing a lump, he looks at her warily from the corner of one eye. "«How would you rather have it?»"

Hands? With Lucrezia's gaze still diverted at a downward angle thanks to the perch of her cheek on Amato's shoulder, she suddenly comes to a startling (visual) realization — her sweet sacerdot is no longer the number one candidate to play Captain Hook in his precious local parish's production of Peter Pan. Hands! He once again has both hands!! Her own fingers suddenly reach out and latch on to the magically manifested digits in question and she puts on an appropriately awed albeit questioning look. "«When did this happen?!»"

Tense, and not expecting the sudden skin-to-skin contact, Amato's guard is down when Lucrezia snatches up his right hand. For a moment, he's met with a flash of her earliest indiscretions. The shock of it makes him shake before he's able to close the proverbial door between his mind and her memory.

"«A week ago.»" Yes, Amato has been counting the days since his absolution at the hands of Abigail Beauchamp. "«Remember the southerner who wanted to heal me? Teodoro's friend? I gave her permission… with the stipulation that she do so only if she could…»" Amato pauses, his hand tightening around Lucrezia’s inspecting one. "«Only if she could forgive me. She has the purest heart I know, Lucrezia.»"

Amato's recently returned appendage has just become Lucrezia's new toy; digits duel digits while palms are pressed together and knuckles are lifted to lips. She has little concern for the beatification of Abigail Beauchamp but she cannot help but to acknowledge the astonishing ability possessed by Kazimir's murderer with an utterance of awe. "«It's amazing,»" she says with no small amount of amazement laced into her voice. "«How does it feel? Good as new?»"

Amato says, "," Amato chuckles, letting his hand be manipulated and kissed without complaint. "«It feels marvelous.»" To be healed and to be forgiven. His brows furrow slightly after a moment, and he clears his throat. "Nigra agna," Amato says, lifting his left hand to turn Lucrezia's face toward his with a gentle finger against her chin, "«You never answered me. How would you rather be?»""

"«I would rather be free…»" At first, Lucrezia offers little in the way of explanation as to how freedom might fail to apply to their current shared state of affairs. Then again, maybe it isn't as obvious for him as it might be for her. "«…free to live my life without the need to look over my shoulder constantly and wonder which night will be the last one I spend in the outside world again.»" But, perhaps this, too, requires further elucidation. "«They have a prison for people like us here in America. In the desert. That is where I have been.»" With Amato's fingers once again brought up to brush against her lips, she closes her eyes and exhales a heart-heavy sigh. "«I would rather die than go back to such a place.»"

Amato nods in understanding, his face drawn and serious. "«We could take steps to ensure this,»" he offers somewhat hesitantly. "«These people are understanding. If we thank them for their… hospitality, I doubt they would enforce it.»" No one is keeping Amato here against his will, and with Lucrezia back, there is no reason for him to stay in the Ferryman's care any longer. Not with certain others already aware of his continued existence on this earth.

At last, Lucrezia draws her head up and away from Amato's shoulder in order to hold their conversation with equilibrium enforced, eye to eye. "«What sort of steps?»"

"«We could get our own place, outside the city,»" is Amato's first thought. "«Close enough to see still those we wish to see, but far enough away that it would be on our terms.»" Who exactly these people are, Amato leaves unspecified. "«There is a parish in Yonkers that I am sure would not deny me some sort of employment.»"

Though she might be loathe to immediately confess it, the idea of settling down into something downright domestic in some pastoral parsonage with Amato Salucci is not entirely unappealing — in fact, it's damn near idyllic in light of their current situation. But, still, she hesitates. The expression that's found its way onto her face says as much before she's even opened her mouth and, yet, she cannot help but to ask a somewhat rhetorical question, "«Let me sleep on it?»"

A quiet life tucked away in the relative wilderness is what Amato longs for, and who better to share it with than Lucrezia? Even with his recent obligations, or perhaps emphasized by them, it is quite an agreeable prospect. All the same, he didn't expect her to jump at the chance, and so nods at the woman's reply.

"«Of course,»" Amato says with a smile, giving Lucrezia's hand a squeeze with his newly re-acquired right.

OOC Trivia:

  • The title, ancora insieme, is Italian for "together again."

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