Jonathan Carmichael's Sins


amato_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Jordan Carmichael's Sins
Synopsis In lurid technicolor, for the psychometrist to see. Phoenix doesn't get everything it needs, but there's a Hell of a start.
Date February 20, 2009

The Ritz-Carlton: Lucrezia's Suite

Friday night and Teodoro is on his way to the top floor of the Ritz-Carlton, which is somewhat less titillating than one might imagine for a young man with reasonable good looks and excellent health. He's carrying a package inside a green messenger bag.

His face, familiar now to the flow of traffic through the hotel's expansive lobby, provides enough identification that he's waved on through after three words' exchange with the concierge, and his boots are tick-tocking across the cold stone, and into the etched glass elevator. He leans his butt on the silver railing. Tries not to look like he's glowering at the fat men and thin ladies that totter in. It's difficult, given his shaven head and bristly jacket, but not impossible. They're too thoroughly lubricated by champaigne to notice, anyway.

Knock knock. That same coincidentally thuggish portrait slides into focus next through the peephole of Lucrezia Bennati's suite door. Hands in pockets, bag over shoulder, he keeps his tension and impatience constrained behind lines of posture stiff as much from cold as from care. They'd talked about this. He hopes Amato hadn't changed his mind.

The turn of the knob should indicate otherwise. Amato is revealed in all his suspendered lack-of-glory when the door is opened a crack, but as soon as he recognizes Teo, it is swung wider to allow the younger man entrance.

"What did you bring?" he asks, keeping his voice tense and low. From deeper within the suite, a shower runs, presumably with Lucrezia beneath it. The floor is still scattered with bags and boxes emblazoned with designer labels, some of which are spilling their contents onto furniture or the floor. From the looks of it, Amato was in the process of dealing with the mess.

"Coffee cup," Teo replies, stepping in through the splayed doorway. He looks down across the tumbled array of boxes and wrappings and his eyes narrow, fractionally, before his head jerks sharply toward the sound of running water and his gaze swivels back to Amato. His expression softens the next instant, tacitly apologetic for an accusation, suspicion, or paranoia that barely made it to discernible behavior. He's protective of her. It's his curse, if not his failing. "The mark was drinking out of it. Less than twelve hours ago."

Amato's eyes narrow at the perceived accusation, but he merely shakes his head. "Has it been overly touched, or dried?" He moves to shut the door behind Teo, then takes a seat on the couch. Despite the piece's overstuffed nature, the once would-be priest keeps a rigid posture as he perches on the end of the cushion, as if he were to rise imminently.

There's a slight shake of Teo's head, and he picks his way carefully around tissue and glossy boxes. Winds up crouched at the coffee table, unfastening the bag, unzipping it. "The operative who went and collected this is pretty good at her job." His fingers wind up spidered, stretched, braced awkwardly around the contours of the package he had wedged into it. After a moment, he pries it out. The tape seal had already been broken once before.

He extricates a cup sealed up in clear plastic. Falters, momentarily, looking up. "«The man who owns this. The one we're trying to get information about. He's— a dangerous man.»"

"«You forget what I have seen, Teodoro.»" Amato's face and tone are deadpan as he watches his suitemate's nephew for a moment, ignoring the offered mug longer than perhaps he should. He does eventually move his eyes to the ceramic, lifting his hand to take it from the bottom rather than pluck it from Teo's grasp.

He holds the more innocent surfaces for a moment, then brushes his thumb to the rim, letting his eyes slide shut while tensing his jaw, neck, and shoulders in anticipation.

He is going to see sin. Amato knows it, and he dwells upon it.

He expects.

Sins. By now, Teo knows that there are limitations, slants, if not biases which frame Amato's ability like there are finite parameters to those of every Evolved he knows.

Al couldn't grasp a semi-corporeal body and got himself shot for it. Hel's weather-witchcraft so often lacks precision, and Anne can only teleport so many people before she starts recreating them turned inside out or with their arms and intestines turned around, and Felix's relies so heavily on adrenaline it sort of turns off his brain. Hana, well—

But Hana is Hana. And her Padawan, not so blessed, is left with his imagination and what remain of his wits, squatting at the edge of the furniture. He looks up at Amato with vestiges of apology and concern obfuscating his features. As if sincerity is proved by eagerness, he mumbles first instead of later: "Thank you."

The younger man is as pale as his older counterpart despite rich light of the suite. "The ones he took mean very much to me."


Automatic gunfire, sand, screams, explosions. So many dead.

Plumes of choking black smoke and flames rising up out of the flat badlands. Children running to follow soldiers.


A tall black man in desert camouflage holding a rifle, face covered in blood. A body laying in the sand, looking like it had been run through a blender, clothing, gun and all, a disorganized mess of misshapen parts.

Old friends, brothers in arms. Two soldiers joined by a secret kept, of life taken and inhuman power. Roger and Jonathan.

A woman, so beautiful and young, torn between two brothers; Rupert and Jonathan. Guilt, betrayal, and life's time passing.

A pact made with a blood-sealed handshake, Roger and Jonathan's agreement. An emblem, a double-helix, an old man laying in a bed with a tube plugged into his throat, dying.

A tall and stately japanese man, old and weathered, his hair still dark.

The face of Matt Parkman, emotions of admiration.

An enormous prison in the middle of a desert, surrounded by high fences and miles of badlands.

A young man in a long black coat, one hand extended, fingers touching your forehead, feeling your emotions, reading your thoughts. A struggle, desire to hide the truth, an impulse, a psychic backlash and the young man falls unconscious.



Snow falling on warehouses, gunfire, Vanguard Soldiers. A flash of white-hot fire burning something in the snow — a brunette woman running away into flurries.

Brin Fulk's face.

The tall, dark man — Roger — standing by a window. Frustration, an agreement.

We'll pull each other up from the bottom, Jon.

A young blonde woman and a redhaired man with three scars over one eye, unloaded off of a helicopter, injected below the chin, imprisoned. Hunter orange jumpsuits.

A man with a scar cutting across his face, in chains.

You and I. We'll rise to the top, and take over. We'll change everything, the country, the world.

A knife splitting through a dark-haired young man's cheek, cutting him from mouth to ear. Pain. Searing hot pain.

A glass window, looking into a cell, and a small man with circular lensed glasses and slouched posture.

Let's change the world, Jon.

The images and sounds that flicker through Amato's mind are random and scattered as he tries to concentrate and ignore the sounds of the shower elsewhere in the suite and Teo's voice. He grits his teeth, his nostrils flaring. It's confusing, like piecing together a puzzle when all you want is to know what one corner of the picture looks like.

In the meantime, the younger Italian is more knots even than he had been a moment ago, his brow inundated by the magnitude of the possibilities flickering through Amato's mind and the exaggerated passage of time. Impatience threatens to make Teo speak out of turn, to ask, but the awareness of his aunt's proximity is difficult to ignore when he's in the middle of her silk and craquelature kingdom — and she wouldn't abide such rudeness or stupidity.

Instead, there's a sharp intake of breath behind his teeth and he curls his cold, rough hands, tilts his weight back on his heels. Sets his chin down on his knees like an unaccountably miserable Puck. He stares at the older man, his eyes empty and bright and colorless as a poured out glass.

The mug is dropped that short distance from Amato's hand to his lap with a gasp of air, as if the man were breaking the surface of brackish water. He takes a moment to regain himself, hand clutching the edge of the cushion he sits on, his eyes still shut. It is another minute or so before he speaks again, his voice scratchy and low.

"These friends. They were at that dinner, were they?"

"Yyesi," Teo replies, his spine jack-knifing straight underneath the folds if his jacket. He studies the older man through flat, pale eyes for a protracted moment. "I…

"The one that Abigail prepared to introduce you and Lucrezia to everybody. Si. Up in the Bronx." It's hard to think about, that last snapshot of memory he had stolen through the slice between doorjamb and doorframe before he turned away to follow the Vanguard's elite back to this very suite. He shuts up with an audible clack of his teeth, like a plastic skeleton from a high school biology classroom smacked upside the head. "Three.

"Alexander, Helena, and Brian."

The first two are easily recognizable by their names, and Amato nods, but the third makes him squint. "«I saw three. Two - the man who…your friend. And the woman. They are prisoners in a desert. Like the Hebrews in Babylon.»"

Amato shuts his eyes tightly again, leaning back into the couch like the lazy teenager he never was, rubbing the heel of his hand against his brow. "«The other… I do not know. There was so much.»" The last is said with a disgruntled and tired sigh.

The line of Teo's mouth tightens, goes white, pulls so tight that his teeth make subtle ridges through his skin. "Brian «is a man. Blond curls, face defaults to a pout, strong kid — younger than me but not by a lot. If you saw a man who fit that description, it was probably him.»" Younger than me, but not by a lot. They're all fucking children.

Giant fucking children, and the middle one seems lost to the man's vision, contrary to Catherine's speculation. Chagrin burns Teo's eyes; he closes them briefly, squeezes, opens them again. Desert. That reminds him of Moab, but he isn't sure; can't be sure. "«Thank you. That's something. Would… if it isn't too painful, would you take some time, over the next few days? Write it down? As much of it as you can think of.»"

"«He is no better than» Kazimir," Amato blurts out with a half-garbled sort of growl, his face hidden beneath his palm and spider-like fingers over his features. A few fingers lift in some vaguely affirmative gesture; yes, he will try again. But it doesn't look like the man wants to do much at all at the moment.

It is only in that telling moment that the absence of otherwise unnoteworthy white noise might become apparent; a shower being had behind two closed doors has ended. How long ago it came to an end is hard to say, especially given that the woman who was previously partaking in it is now leaned against the doorframe of the suite's master bedroom clad in a lush white robe with her coffee black hair hidden within the confines of a tightly-wrapped towel. Er, make that one closed door. Lucrezia lingers silently, expression neutralized and somewhat unreadable, though she has her arms crossed tightly over her terricloth-clad chest.

Kazimir isn't a name anybody in this room would invoke lightly. It brings Teo to a blanched silence, a searching glance for the priest's face between the lattice of his fingers, before guilt inevitably marrs his expression with shadows, his head falling briefly, turning this over in his head. No better than Kazimir. They sent a bastard as awful as the megalomaniacal terrorist Phoenix fought off to take his friends away. It's unbelievable. "Grazie," he repeats, breathing oddly. "«Thank you so much.» Lucrezia." It is obvious, that instant he notices his aunt's presence above the tumbled horizon of gift wrappings and pried-open boxes.

Teo rises instantly — maybe a little too quick, given the sting and momentary give, flinch of one knee. He closes the distance to her quickly and stops, half an arm's length away, unsure of whether to reassure her or offer a nonchalant greeting. He doesn't know how much she heard, can't tell what she thinks.

There is a lot - too much - going through Amato's mind at the moment, so much that the added presence of Lucrezia doesn't phase him much. He doesn't move from where he has fallen on the couch, the mug still in his lap and pressing slightly against his abdomen. He shifts his eyes upward when Teo recognizes and moves to great her, but Amato does not rise.

Don't just stand there; give your zietta a hug! That's what Lucrezia's body language subtly suggests after Teo's approach provokes a tilt of her head and a waning in her desire to remain off-limits to affection behind crossed arms. Once she has him possessed within her literal clutches, she murmurs next to his ear before bestowing a kiss, "«What are you doing here, tesoro?»" Either she's feigning ignorance for the sake of initiating some unspoken test in truthfulness or she she genuinely isn't aware that the real reason her nephew has come to call isn't entirely for the sake of strengthening the bonds of familial affection. "«If I'd known you were coming…»"

"«I needed his help. To find Al and the others,»" comes the murmur in Luca's ear, rich and rough as the leather that's still zipped up around the breadth of his shoulders. Her nephew's arm are tight around her, linked on the other side of her waist with all of the strength that her frame can bear. "«He was very generous. With his time, among other things. I should put the kettle on, if you have anything good for the spirits. Tea? Cocoa?»" He presses his mouth briefly against her cheek and turns back around, the shape of his face all gratitude and contrition, eyes steady on the older man to whom he is accumulating so much debt.

Whispered words never bode well, and so Amato takes them as his cue to right himself, to some degree. "Aurea agna," he calls to her, lifting his left hand and turning his head slightly to peer over his shoulder. "«Come. Let the boy be. He has done no harm. Come and sit with me.»"

Lucrezia's long, unpainted fingernails momentarily curl against the scruff of Teo's neck, demanding he remain close for just one moment more before she turns him loose with a good-natured but rough shove. "«Go make us some tea, Teodoro,»" comes the slightly more formal dismissal from the room. Unwound from the arms of her sister's son, the Widow wanders with slow and lazy stroll over to the couch that serves as Amato's very own extended throne and takes a seat near enough to be considered by his side. The look she uses to inspect the far fairer of the pair of them is askance and wondering and several other unspeakable things all at the same time; those eyes were never easy to gaze into lightly.

Obedient as the cuffed cub, Teo allows himself to be pushed away. The long axis of his body catches on one back-stepped foot, and he turns with a smile that's all sincerity and little mirth. This isn't really the time for laughing. "«Tea,»" he agrees, aloud so that the priest can hear, prepare himself, perhaps voice his preferred flavor of herb.

In the meantime, the younger man makes his way over the carpet, his socked feet suddenly soundless on plush fibers, as if the weight of Amato's words — and negative space, what the psychometer couldn't or didn't tell — had fallen off at the prick of Lucrezia's fingers. It isn't the case, of course, or not exactly, but he remembers even better with her than with others. He's supposed to protect his own, and he'll have help.

There's a gurgle of faucet, and then kettle meets iron with an audible clank, reverberating through the cool air of the kitchen, and then Teodoro's voice follows, lucent in the low golden light that permeates every inch of the parlor, embroidered or mirrored. Sometimes he is a good boy. "«I'll help you clean up, too.»" It sounds like a promise. It is.

February 20th: Spiral
February 20th: Be Unrepentant
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