Past The Mission


amato_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif

Scene Title Past the Mission
Synopsis Faith and fidelity are put to the test by an unexpected first and unforeseen confessions.
Date January 16, 2008

Manhattan - Church of St. Andrew - Sanctuary

The last time that Amato Salucci was in this particular chapel inside the Church of St. Andrew, it was for a much different reason. He stands against the wall opposite the side door rather than sit in a pew, his hands in the pockets of his thick coat. As the evening sky wraps it's purplish black cloak a bit tighter around itself, the majority of the relatively few parishioners in the church are in the man sanctuary, making the chapel a much more private setting.

Arguably, when meeting with Lucrezia, Amato doesn't have much to worry about in regards to what will get back to Kazimir Volken. But there are plenty of underlings who would snap at the chance to reveal Amato as a Judas of the Vanguard, in hopes of reaping some benefit in outing one so close to the Master.

By all accounts, while few people could ever accuse Lucrezia of being a religious woman she has, at the very least, always been faithful. To the Priest, at the very least, if not to the Faith itself. Her religious experience with Amato Salucci this evening comes, for once, at his insistence instead of hers. When she finally arrives, it's in proper form; dressed in black, observing the widow's walk, and clutching her precious rosary in a fishnet-gloved hand. High heels on hard floors herald her impending approach and high eyes hidden away in dark corners direct her precisely to where she needs to go without the necessity of asking anyone for directions.

The dark angel — his nigra anga — has come to darken the threshold of his sanctuary. Quite literally.

It is only once the door closes that Amato speaks, his eyes on Lucrezia but somehow focused elsewhere. "I trust you've found ways to busy yourself," he comments idly, not really wanting to touch on the subject of the widow's guest. Amato pulls his hands from his pockets only to fold his arms across his chest. "«Have you learned anything interesting?»" It's rare that the Conscience ever openly welcomes small talk when he's called a meeting for business purposes, but here he is - prompting that very thing, even in its odd form, his tone as dry as it would be if the topic were the weather.

"«More than you might want to know,»" says the spider slyly to the fly, slinking slowly forward until she's just out of arm's length but close enough to breathe in her expensive (but not overpowering) perfume even without effort. Lucrezia, as ever, has perfected the concept of subconscious manipulation of men into both an art and a science; Amato, however, has always ever been the only one immune to her graces. Now is no exception. "«Shall I show you?»" she asks, hands uplifted and extended, as if offering the man an invisible sword by which she intends for him to hoist himself upon voluntarily.

When Amato finally looks at Lucrezia rather than in her general direction, he narrows his eyes like a disappointed teacher. "«Do you realize that should I accept that route as a means of fulfilling my curiosity, I will see every sinful thing you have done or thought since I last touched you?»" It needn't be said exactly how long that'd been, but even if it had only been a week ago, Amato would be sure that Lucrezia would have plenty to display.

There is silence for a moment as Amato deliberates with himself. Finally, he pulls one hand from the folds of his arms and holds it out to her, ungloved, as if in a begrudging gesture of gentlemanliness. The sigh helps too.

Even with all of that raven-black hair pulled back prim and proper into a bun nestled at the nape of her neck, Lucrezia still looks wanton without trying; she's all perfect and pale throat, offered and exposed. Amato's extended hand is taken up between gloved fingers, only to be repositioned and replaced on her hip. "Non." She's not here to hold hands. But, before any further objection might be made, she's violating his personal space with practiced precision and daring to share the same breath — his sucked in sharply, her exhaled heavy — in anticipation before she damns them both with a tactile confession delivered when her lips greet his oh-so-lightly.

Insert every torrid tangling of the sheets she's had with Alexander… every angry or envious glare she's ever leveled at Eileen in the company of bees… every prideful notion she's ever had in regards to her perfect Teodoro… every sin unfolded and counted and ready to be weighed in the hands of her beloved sacerdote.

Don't forget to breathe.

In. Out.

It takes a moment for Amato to remember how to breathe. It is a lot to see through Lucrezia's eyes - it's been years since Amato heard confession from this particular member of the Volken flock. If she had taken his hand, he would have simply gripped it firmly as the visions went on and on.

Lucrezia's chosen form of revelation causes some problems, though if she had done the same upon her initial arrival to the city, Amato's reactions would have been markedly different. As it is, his hand on her hip curls to her back, pulling her closer rather than pushing her away. His other hand moves in the small space still between them to her upper arm, gripping her shoulder for an additional 'foothold' in the physical world. Lucrezia, though he, in a way, is wearing her like a mask, also serves to keep him rooted in the present. Every ounce of pressure exerted by both his own hands on her and her lips on his is distracting enough to keep him from losing himself in the onslaught. In other cases with other people, the feeling of a chair beneath him, background noise, or any other sensory input does this same job, but here…

Here Amato senses purely Lucrezia.

Unabashed. That's what Lucrezia is — an unabashed creature who tastes too sweetly of lust, too sourly of envy, too bitterly of wrath — possessing the unique and uncanny ability to revel in every deadly sin without becoming consumed by the sinner's taint. Confession — this sweet release — unburdens her heavy soul and allows her lungs to feel as though they are filled with something other than smoke for the first time in such a very long time.

She isn't just showing Amato her sins… she's giving them to him.

What has transpired between them will ever remain indescribable — though, Lucrezia cannot help but wonder if the priest considers her clean… or just that much dirtier now. Amato's opinion of her matters, possibly more than he may rightly realize. She waits, breathless, for reprieve and absolution.

There is always a haze after a confession via Amato - a trance-like state that the man needs to shake himself out of even once the physical connection with whatever biological bit did the communication has been broken. This time, that is paired with a similar transcendence that comes from… well.

If Amato could see his own face, he'd likely slap it for it's childishness. He can't help but wear a small yet sheepish smile, his eyes once again focused, but not on Lucrezia. They're set somewhere past her for some reason or another. But it doesn't last long.

Regaining a scrap of composure, Amato clears his throat and goes about adjusting his tie. Ahem. "«So you… you haven't located those whom our Master wished to eradicate. Those who brought about the death of our fiery revolutionary.»"

With one foot carefully placed behind the other, Lucrezia increases the space between them and reluctantly relinquishes her temporary carnal control over the man in order to allow him conversation without inadvertent threat of tactile intimidation. "Non," she says, ever unabashed and without any follow up in the form of an excuse or dismissal of duty. She knows what she was asked to do. She just hasn't done it yet. And, maybe, she doesn't ever intend to — at least, that might be what that hard look she's wearing suggests.

"«Have you?»"

"«I have not.»" This is something that Amato understands, and therefore feels much more comfortable with. And yet, the unknown is not without its temptation. He clears his throat once more, but softer, before he takes a deep breath and reasserts himself. Yes.

Lacing his fingers together, Amato turns his pale gaze back on the dark woman. "«Given the fact that our Master plans to bring about Armageddon for those in the populace who possess certain talents, and assuming these people had the opportunity and ability to do what they did because of such talents, do you see it as necessary?»"

"«Not particularly. Which isn't to say that I don't appreciate the gesture but…»" There's always a 'but'. "«…you and I both know wherein the real threat to the Work lies.»" Such a statement is ever-filled with double-entendre and innuendo and yet somehow Lucrezia manages to deliver it without any undermining hint of sarcasm or dark comedy. The Widow is serious as death itself — she is death itself — and her bedroom eyes smolder beneath painted lids and blackened lashes.

It is assumption such as this that tie knots in what might otherwise be a well crafted web - and Amato is not a fan of tangles. "«Do we? Please be specific, Lucrezia. No one can do any good in the event of miscommunication."

Come, come. Lucrezia's chin inclines in favor of her breast and she looks askance at Amato now through the veil of her long lashes. Is it not Freyja who weaves the web of the what the future holds? Is it not she who watches the watchmen? "«You had her curled up at your feet. How could you not know?»" Her. Eileen. Munin. Lucrezia is calling forth the secondhand report of beesitters for that little piece of vivid imagery. "«But… you aren't the only one willing to die for her.»" And somehow, deep down, that almost literally pains Lucrezia when she compares what blind adoration she might be able to muster in her own name. Vanity. Those who might be willing to sacrifice themselves for the spider queen out of some genuine motivation other than lust are few and far between — if they even exist at all.

"«The damage is done.»" Is that her final answer?

"«That is where you are wrong, my nigra anga,»" Amato retorts with what can only be described as a small, smug sort of smile. "«I will not die. And neither shall she. Nor you."

He pauses, swallowing in the moment. "«Did you know,»" he continues, becoming strangely, if not uncomfortably, nostalgic, "«I once saw myself as more than human? Not just… possessing a gift from the Almighty, but fallen from the very Heavenly Host to do some great work here on earth? Or else, perhaps born of man through some greater purpose - like Noah, Joseph, or Christ himself - to live a life of significance?»" Amato chuckles, embarrassed at his own words which, until now, were fanciful notions of a younger version of himself that were entertained in the silent sanctum of his mind alone.

What, precisely, it the proper response to a personal revelation like that? Even a woman as complexly self-delusional as Lucrezia has a hard time reconciling any response — serious or sarcastic — to the glimpse of Amato's old, discarded soul laid bare. She can think of only one thing to do: quirk an expertly-curved eyebrow and keep quiet.

A strange sort of smile cracks through Amato's crumbling mask, and he makes no effort to hide it as it shows itself, heralded by a bemused chuckle. "«What I fool I was,»" he sighs, shaking his head with the sort of exasperation one might show toward a disobedient by still adorable child. "«We are all mortal, Lucrezia,»" he continues, his tone and expression shifting back to something much more somber. "«And so we are called to do no more than the other mortals with whom we share this earth. We are not angelic agents of the Lord God, and neither are those Volken wishes to destroy demonic beasts. We're all the children of God, and we have bickered for far too long.»"

Dark eyes reflect a dark gaze. Lucrezia regards her sacerdote with the same sort of awe and wonder with which one might behold a building about to implode; it's as if she's doing her rightful best to burn this frenetic and fanciful moment into her precious memory for, in the blink of an eye, there may very well be nothing left. But, before he goes, it seems a sermon's come over his tongue and so she plays the part of the faithful parishioner, heeding his words uninterrupted until she can no longer quietly contain the 'Hallelujah' on her tongue. Not yet. Not yet.

Despite the prelude to what would have been priestly training that Amato received in his youth, the look Lucrezia gives him is enough to worry the man. He squints at her, then reaches to place a hand on each of her arms, gripping her near her shoulders. Once his hold is firm enough for his liking, Amato's pale blue eyes search the dark ones before him.

"«We are not going to die, agna,»" Amato repeats in whispered earnest. "«God will cleanse the earth with fire when he sees fit - we cannot do it for him. To presume we had such power is…proud. Too proud.»"

He's… touching her. Voluntarily. Was one confessing kiss all it took to provoke Amato into this unusually bold and unabashed self-destruction? Did she break him?! Because this… is… heresy. Heresy to his own ideals; to the very concepts and plans and Work that he helped to conceive and create. Or, maybe… wait

This is a trick. She's being tested.

"«Yes, we can. That is what we do. That is what you and he declared MUST be done. And we will.»" However, despite her consummate ability to beguile and deceive, she does not sound convinced of her own lie. This forceful proximity is her undoing. Her eyes betray her.

It's that glimmer of doubt - of hope - that gives Amato the strength to continue. Without realizing it, he digs his fingers in to the woman's arms as he inhales sharply, steadying his almost shaky self. "«Lucrezia,»" he pleads, eyes narrowing not with scrutiny but placation, "«Do you believe that Kazimir Volken is God?»"

Lucrezia's lush lips part, giving birth naught but to bated breath as Amato's grip grow stronger. It's as if he's willing the words to tumble off her tongue against any sort of better judgment; this is the sort of affect that she is meant to have on those in her thrall, not vise versa. Every simple syllable of her verbalized confession comes forth whether she wants it to or not: "«I… no. No. He is not God. Nor was he ever…

…he is the Devil. He must be stopped.»"

There is a silent rush of relief that courses through Amato like new blood. His eyes brighten with the vigor of it, and his smile becomes one of tight-lipped yet sweet victory.

Then, taking a deep breath in preparation, he plants a kiss on the woman's forehead.

January 16th: Past The Mission
January 16th: Not A Special Snowflake
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