amato_icon.gif munin_icon.gif

Scene Title Confessions
Synopsis During an early morning, long-time-in-coming session of suplication and confession, Amato is overheard by the subject of his pains and pleadings.
Date November 8, 2008

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine

The largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine remains partially unfinished to this day, despite its construction having begun in 1892 - true to form for buildings of its type. Nonetheless, it is a grand and imposing sight; possessing the characteristic grand arches, pointed spires, and beautiful stained glass windows, including a large and striking Rose window. Where the walls aren't covered with old and meticulously preserved tapestries, they are often ornamented.

Guided tours are offered six days out of the week. Services are open to all. Since the bomb, the main nave is open at all but the latest hours, though the smaller subject-specific chapels close in the evening. The cathedral is also a site for major workshops, speakers, and musical events - most especially the free New Year's Eve concert, which has been held without fail each year since the bomb.

St. John's has long been a center for public outreach and civic service events, but since the bomb, those have become an even greater part of its daily affairs. Services include a men's shelter, a twice-weekly soup kitchen, walk-in counseling, and other programs besides. These are open to everyone - non-Evolved, unregistered Evolved, registered Evolved… the philosophy is that they're all children of God, and that's what matters.

It's a trick of the light that breaks through the stained glass windows of the old church, interrupted by God only knows what shadow-casting bits of the architecture. The light itself is only that cast by street lamps, and the glow of windows from across the street, but it is enough to create the effect of two arcs of shadow flowing from the single present, pious parishioner's back, like two large, ashen wings half-spread, as if this out of place and grimy angel had just landed or were about to take flight again. The vision is a fleeting one, visible only for a moment before it's gone. The light and shadow are teasing things, playing with the mind's eye and what one expects to see versus what one wants to see.

Priests have an uncanny way of knowing which people who come so late to pray within the cathedral's sanctuary want counsel and which would prefer to remain solitary, conversing solely with unseen partners, be they saints or the Creator. The man of the cloth supervising the cathedral this evening has deemed his sole visitor one of the latter type.

This is a good call. While Amato would merely wave off or ignore any attempt the priest may have made to speak with him, he is subconsciously grateful for his solitude. Tears streak the man's pale face as he holds his head pressed against the chair in front of him, his weight borne by his knees on the padded genuflecting rail. Still, that flash of short, golden hair is visible, and paired with the dark red scarf and the crisp, shaking lines of his wool coat, Amato is quite recognizable.

Amato's prayer begins in muffled, emotional Italian that is only audible within a few feet (or a row or two), but with English so prevalent in his day-to-day conversing, it soon takes root. "…I have missed the mark, failing You and myself. Failing… Dishonoring

"Lord, forgive my sin."

Not everyone who sets foot in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine ascribes to the church's teachings — some people are just looking for a place to get out of the rain until the weather improves and the blustery nighttime winds die down with the rising of the sun. If Munin knew Amato was seeking solace beneath this roof, she would have looked elsewhere for a place to dry off — unfortunately, as she steps into the cathedral and lowers the scarf from her face, she fails to recognize the back of Salucci's head. Mistaking him for just another wayward soul, she makes her way down the aisle, the ballet flats on her feet making scarcely a whisper as they scuff against the church's stone floor. It helps that she's so light, being the mere slip of a girl she is; only someone with a superhuman sense of hearing would be able to detect Munin's approach, and Sylar isn't here right now.

If Amato were capable of hearing Munin's approach, it is doubtful he would react much to it. If he knew it was her, on the other hand…well, he might brave the weather just to find another house of God to do his praying in. As it is, Amato keeps his head bowed and his eyes firmly shut. Unlike the picturesque parishioners, Amato's gloved hands are not clasped in prayer, but gripping his arms tightly, as if releasing the hold his thin arms have on his own chest would result in the man breaking in two.

"Forgive her, Lord," he chokes out in his accented whisper, biting back tears that well up behind his eyelids. "She is innocent of this crime against You. It is mine alone. Forgive me my weakness in…in fighting this battle. I beg You, make me pure in order to do Your Will, your Work here. Only do not take her from me."

Ultimately, it's the familiar sound of Amato's voice that alerts Munin to the stranger's true identity. Stopped in her tracks, she hugs her arms close to her body, perhaps in an attempt to fend off the sudden chill she feels creeping up her spine.

It isn't from the cold.

Green eyes narrow to slits, her gaze firmly affixed to Amato's head as he speaks and she strains to listen…

"She is a blessing," continues Amato's fervent whisper. If any man, even a man who saw himself an angel among men, thought he might plead so passionatley with God…

"Of all which You have made, what is as innately pure of heart as she is? Her sins are not her own but what the result of man's /havoc/ wreaked upon her. Do You, even You blame the child who steals in order to feed himself and his siblings, robbed of their parents by mindless war?"

There is a pause in Amato's quiet yet intense prayer, and the man's thin frame shivers, his teeth grinding together for a moment. "Father…Lord, it is my sin. Coveting this creature who belongs to You. Distracting myself from Your Work…but I beg You not to remove this distraction. Only give me the strength to…" Overcome? Rise above? Defeat? "…give me the strength to give the whole of my heart to You."

Hearing Amato lay himself bare has a profound affect on Munin. Her grip on her arms tightens, nails digging into her coat with such force that she can feel the skin beneath beginning to bruise under the pressure. She lets out a slow, shaky breath through her nose, her body seeming to deflate as the blond man's shudders. The expression on her face — pale, gaunt and slick with sweat and rain — is one of abject terror. She's always known he was a believer, as much a servant to God as he is a servant to Kazimir, but in all the years they've been together — she never knew just how deep his convictions went.

Until today.

Perhaps, no, definitely unbeknowst to Munin, and all save for maybe the only other being listening to Amato's words, the words that cross Amato's dry lips are not only difficult to utter but also lack the sincerity held in even those stated just before them. After all, where would the world, the human race be if Adam and Eve had not been tempted and fallen?

For his part, Amato shakes again as another swell of sorrow surges within him. "Per favore, mio Dio, per favore," is his muffled, soft sob. "Lascilo prego avere entrambi."

Munin has to physically shake herself free off the horrified stupor that's keeping her rooted to the spot. She takes one step back, followed by another, toe-to-heel, before she tears away from the spectacle in front of her and bolts from the cathedral like a panicked colt — a forward tumble of motion led by long, skinny legs, running so fast that when she collides with the door and slams both her hands into it on the way out, the sound she produces booms through the church and continues to echo long in the rafters after she's gone.

It is a sound that snaps Amato from his prayer with a jolt, much like the banging of a gavel does to a shocked and stupified defendant. The look on his strained and tear-stained face as he finally fixes his pale eyes on the distant crucifix is one of silent, pleading anguish even as that judgemental boom echoes about him.

The last words we (and Munin) hear of Amato's prayer are in Italian, and translate as the following:

"Please, my God, please. Please let me have both."

That is, of course, if one can trust Babelfish.

November 8th: Bugger
November 8th: The Reason for the Name
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