Honey, I'm Home


amato_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif

Scene Title Honey, I'm Home
Synopsis The Queen B returns to the hive and finds Amato still right there waiting.
Date February 1, 2009

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel - Lucrezia's Royal Suite

Fucking posh, yo.

Scouring the city for signs of possibly injured, possibly dead, and possibly elusive loved ones is never easy for those who would rather avoid the help of authorities. Although Lucrezia Benatti entered the United States with a passport, unlike Eileen Ruskin, Amato heavily doubts that either would make their way to a hospital should they have met with any disaster that fateful Wednesday afternoon.

Exhausted from a day of searching alleys and abandoned tenements - any place a rat may likely hide - that began before the sun rose, Amato lies on Lucrezia's bed in the Ritz Carlton, his good hand over his face in what is either a display of shame or an attempt to keep the sun from shining through the curtains and into his eyes.

His face has healed quite a bit in the time between his encounter with the stranger in his apartment and now, but his pale skin carries a greenish tinge - the memory of bruises. His nose is no longer taped, but it will still be several weeks before it is mended completely. Amato will just have to avoid getting punched in the face in the near future. He wears a dress shirt and pants, the former unbuttoned so that the newly applied ointment doesn't stain the silk. If he had been wearing shoes earlier, they're nowhere to be seen, leaving his feet clad only in thin dress socks.

There's a subtle and organic sort of humming to be heard that seems to emanate from every hidden crook and corner of the suite… but only when otherwise absolute stillness has set in. Like now. It's either a comfort or a horror to realize that even in the absence of the Spider Queen, her minions remain ever loyal and true, clinging to their little piece of plaster or paint, biding their time until her inevitable return.

There's the mechanical sound of a key inserted into a lock. Hasn't housekeeping already stopped in today? The flowers scattered throughout the suite are fresh. There ought be no other anticipated deliveries… except…

…the fact that Amato can hear the door unlocking ought to be a clue. It's the front door in the foyer and not the service entrance through the pantry being accessed.

He jerks upright with a breath that is strangled before it reaches his lungs. Amato swallows, forcing his neck to relax afterward to make breathing easier as he stands. His steps out of the bedroom aren't quite a stagger, but they are stiffer than any cautious man might otherwise be. Adrenaline doesn't solve everything.

Then there is the question of speaking or staying quiet. Who knows who is at the door. Maybe it's Teo. Or maybe…

Amato lingers at the door to the living room, leaning a against the molding. He stares at the door as if, on the other side, stood something as cloaked in mystery as oblivion itself.

Instead, Amato is treated to nothing more ominous nor mysterious than the arrival of an aged and broken woman. Lucrezia has, at last, returned. Her moments are stiff, shuffling, resigned. Her lush, dark hair is slightly matted and unkempt. Her immaculate, expensive clothes are dingy and soiled. She appears almost completely and utterly defeated. And yet — the world is still here, so, that means they won, right??

And survived. Surviving was the hard part.

All the breath rushes out of Amato when the door opens wide enough to reveal Lucrezia, and he makes it across the suit in record time, arms held wide to fold around her. It doesn't matter about the medicine on his chest - it's the farthest thing from his mind at the moment. "Mio Dio," he finally says when he gets air enough to speak once more, but even those words right out on a sigh. "«It is so good to see you.»"

Lucrezia's dark and soulful eyes make the agonizing journey from the floor to the face of her dear sacerdote, slowly crawling her gaze over him, every raw detail a snag to be catalogued and studied before she finally meets him eye to eye. She doesn't look very happy to be seen. The gesture to be held in an inexplicably undeniable one and she lifts her left arm to curl around the man's shoulders, trying to reminder the rules of engagement — no skin, no hair — without endangering his delicate state.

Amato is simply glad to have Lucrezia in his arms and spends no extra time looking her over before he wraps both of his arms around her, his left hand splaying wide over her shoulder. He's yet to notice the wound in her right arm, his face hovering over her unkempt hair. "«Come,»" he says after a moment. "«Come and sit.»" Still, Amato makes no move to step away from the door with the woman.

The relocated gunshot wound goes unnoticed for good reason: it's still hidden beneath her sleeve. However, when Amato enfolds her into what might otherwise be a welcomed embrace, he inadvertently puts pressure on it and provoke from Lucrezia's lips a pained cry accompanied by a vexed wince. The fingers of her left hand curl reflexively against the material of Amato's shirt as she pulls away and keeps him held literally at arm's length. "«Careful. I am… not well.»" What a thrilling understatement!

Blue eyes go wide with guilt and fear as Amato is held away, but his hands don't leave Lucrezia. They move to the collar of her coat, then slowly and carefully peel the garment away. Doing so reveals a rather nasty gunshot wound. Even Amato's, when he was shot in Sea View hospital last year, looked better than Lucrezia's stitched up and angry looking mar. It will certainly scar just as his did.

Carefully, Amato wraps his arms around Lucrezia for the second time. He turns to stand at her side and tries to lead her toward the bedroom. "«You are alive, and for that I am thankful,»" he babbles, eyes narrowed as he watches her. "«It could be worse.»" Much worse.

"«It was,»" she says stiffly, still stuck somewhere between wanting to cling to the man and wanting to shove him away. Her left hand reaches down to pull up at the hem of her untucked shirt so that she might reveal her pale but still perfect abdomen. "«It used to be here…»" Wait, what?

The suite, meanwhile, is filled to the brim with a sudden swell of buzzing wings as what remains of her bumblebee army dislodges from flower petal and curtain fold, abiding the silent biding of their human mistress — The Queen B(ennati). Her eyes flutter briefly as telepathic and slightly subliminal instructions are delivered and then she's back to clinging conversation with her human consort. "«I need to rest.»"

However, even once they've moved into the bedroom, Lucrezia has quite found the strength to relinquish her grip on Amato's shirt and so she just sort of hovers there at the edge of the bed with him until finally she says, "«I met the man who took your hand.»"

Amato isn't so foolish as to believe that Lucrezia's story is impossible. He's seen a number of people do a number of things in his day; moving a wound from a person's gut to their arm is impressive, but not all that surprising. He remains silent by her side as they move, but the news she gives him causes him to sink to the bed. His shirt stays in Lucrezia's hand, pulling it tight to his back when he moves away from her, eyes wide.

"«Did he… Was he the one who shot you?»"

Finger fail and, yes, Lucrezia let's go, at last. She allows her knees to buckle and bend in order to better facilitate her abrupt sinking down onto the corner of the mattress, perching there on the edge of the bed like so much dead weight; slightly slumped at the shoulders like a limp marionette with strings cut. "«He was.»"

More than anything other than perhaps the desire to kill this man for the pain he has brought, Amato wants to see. He wants to see what happened with his own eyes. He wants to see this man, free of the shrouds of shadow and darkness.

Slowly, Amato lifts his left hand to reach across the small void between them, aiming to place his palm on the woman's face once he has brushed her hair away. He takes a deep breath before the moment of truth, unsure of his actions or even the possibility of getting what he wants through this method.

Surely, in her efforts to redeem herself from the sins she helped commit, Lucrezia didn't transgress in some other way which would give Amato a window to look through.

It's in this moment of gentleness — this moment of discovery — that Amato experiences for the first time something other than a catalogue of relived sins. Guided by wrath and hubris but not blinded by them, he sees the events of that fateful Wednesday night now inexorably burned into Lucrezia's brain as awful memory…

Glancing down at the wasp that grazed his cheek, it's more like an annoying child tug at his sleeve rather than anything of a threat. His glance shoots to the mysterious woman for just a moment before flicking his gaze back to Kazimir. An oncoming swarm of bees, Eileen being thrown to the side like a doll. His lips pull back. Time for immediate action. The gas cap for the idling vehicle is opened with a snap of his wrist, and with another flick of motion, his grenade is shoved into the tank of gas. Leaping away from the vehicle, Rafe goes to Eileen's side, on one knee.

The heat of the sudden explosion barely affects his facial features as it engulfs the swarm of bees in flame and wrecked car parts. It also provides a good cover for Eileen. "Stay down." He murmurs.

Sorry Kain…

Back on his feet, Rafe approaches again, frowning at the appearance of Anne. Come on kids, be careful. A few bullets are let out, more to get Kazimir's attention rather than do any harm to him. "'Oy! Fucker!" The man yells as he approaches. "I 'ave something for you!" With his free hand he reaches into his coat to pull out a sullied red sack of cloth. Undoing it he throws it on the icy ground before him, sliding out is a severed hand. "Do you know whot my name is, you dumb fuck?!" He yells out, staring down the devil at the gates of hell.

"My name is Ethan fucking Holden. And I'm 'ere to tear out your bloody fucking 'eart."

…and that's all Amato can bear to see unfiltered, unedited by his own judgments. He jerks his hand away with a sharp gasp, his jaw and neck as tight as his eyes are wide.


"«My nigra anga,»" he manages to say after taking a moment to compose himself. "«My Lucrezia…I am so sorry that you…that you had to see that.»" It was bad enough to see it stale - live…Amato might not have been able to handle himself.

"«I tried,»" she utters to her knees. Looking up and reaching out, she strives to draw him close again, fingers clutching for the hem of his shirt or a stray pant leg. Closer. Come closer. She has so much to say and yet all she can let tumble out from between tired lips is: "«…I tried to kill him for you.»"

Perhaps it is the stress of the situation, or perhaps it is the sheer joy to see Lucrezia alive. Tired, yes, but alive all the same. Whatever it may be, a smile bursts onto Amato's face as he lets out a puff of a sigh and reaches for her cloth-covered arm to reassure her.

"«My lovely lady,»" he says in a voice that is soft and adoring, "«I appreciate the sentiment, but what sort of man would I be if you were to do such a thing?»"

"«Avenged.»" It's only one word, yes, but Lucrezia spits it out so emphatically it's almost as if she feared choking on it if she allowed it to remain any longer on the tip of her tongue.

"«And very lucky that I have you,»" Amato relents with a soft smile. Too afraid to actually touch her again, Amato ghosts his hand over her hair as if he were smoothing it, doing so only in his mind. "«But I fear I will not have you much longer unless you sleep.»"

To be fair, Amato's never really had Lucrezia — at least, not in the biblical sense — but that makes little difference to either of them at this particular moment in time. Instead of offering any sort of technical objection, she Widow only says, "«I feel filthy. I want a shower… then sleep.»" Her agenda now declared, she casts a tired eye to the bathroom door as it lies open not more than seven paces shy of where she is now and yet it may as well be miles out of reach. "«You won't leave…?»" she asks, somewhat rhetorically, turning her sunken and shadow-smeared bedroom eyes back up to search Amato's face for assurance.

The only reason why Amato would leave the suite is to look for Eileen in an effort to make their family complete. The fact that Ethan had been protective of the young woman in Lucrezia's memory is only cause for Amato to harbor more ire for the man. He shows none of this to his host, however, and simply smiles at her from where he sits on the bed, the expression both thankful and lazy.

"«Of course not.»"

The breath that is summarily expelled from Lucrezia's clove-cluttered lungs is one of exhausted relief and it very nearly comes complete with the shadow of a smile. She remains utterly ignorant to the man's internal motivations and, for once, there isn't a twitch of carnal desire stocking her hot-blooded heart to find out. All she longs for now is to be clean — cleansed — of old sins staining her skin and her soul.

February 1st: Work Cut Out For Us
February 2nd: A Hand Up
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