Seeing Innocence


amato_icon.gif mala_icon.gif nora_icon.gif lh_paul_icon.gif

Scene Title Seeing Innocence
Synopsis Mala and Paul take Nora to see the two, unnamed lambs that were born on Christmas Day. Amato happily receives them, but grows concerned about Nora.
Date December 28, 2010

Pollepel Island

"Noooora, they are so cute and wait til you see— er, touch them, they're super soft and tiny and sooo cute!"

Mala and Paul are Nora's guides today as they each take a hand to guide the girl down to see the baby lambs. "Hailey's already been down to see them like a buncha times but she's sick and has to stay in bed, and that's making her really, really mad," Joe explains — for all their exuberance, they're not bad guides, watching for anything Nora's feet might trip up on, and explaining everything they see along the way. Their approach will be heard with ample warning for Amato to prepare for the visit. Nora's been a bit scraped up, it would seem, since the last time he saw her — her hands bare many small nicks, with one larger cut on her cheekbone.

The children and Nora are greeted in turn with the heads of Holofernes and Dinah sticking out over the makeshift barrier constructed to keep the sheep inside the barn when the door is open. The secondary portal is simple a series of two-by-fours nailed together into a gate that's slid across the entrance and secured by the weight of two bales of hay. Holofernes bleats, and the hoarse cry is echoed by the older sheep, who stands on the far side of the barn with the two baby lambs jostling for position at her udder.

Stocking-capped and bristled from days without shaving in order to spend most of his time here with the lambs to make sure they aren't too cold, Amato steps out from around the building just as the mares trot across the small clearing made into a sort of pasture. Animals, like children, can't be kept cooped up forever, even when it's cold and snowy. He smiles at the approaching throng, small though it is, and moves to meet the children and Nora at the gate. It's not hard to guess what they've come for, anyway.

"Hello, Mala, Paul," he says, the smile on his face evident in his warm greeting. "Hello, Nora." He pauses as he surveys the cut on her cheek, but he does nothing more than study it for that brief moment before he rests a hand on the gate. "Come to see our new additions?"

"They're sooo cute," Mala says again, moving closer to watch them with rapt attention. Paul, for his part, gives them a roll of his eyes, but he grins too and joins Mala to peer at them, equally charmed even if he can't show it — on account of being a male.

"Something like that," Nora says with a shrug. "They wanted to show them to me is probably more accurate." There's a certain aloofness that comes with the teen years, though Nora is usually kind enough, and then there's the fact that baby animals she can't see are probably not as exciting as they might be for someone else.

"More not-Greek names for them?"

"Not yet," Amato assures Nora, letting her young eyes take it all in. He watches them for a moment, then excuses himself as he swings a long leg over the gate and the tops of the older lambs/younger sheep's heads. He makes sweet, encouraging noises to the ewe as she pulls hay from a flake, watching her caretaker carefully as he approaches.

And when one of the lambs takes a break from nursing to allow her sister more room, Amato swoops in with careful arms, curling them around the animal's chest and hindquarters, pinning long ungangly limbs in his elbows. The lamb doesn't seem to mind too terribly, as it isn't the first time she's been picked up in this fashion in the short span of her life. Still making those placating sounds to the ewe, who has taken more of an interest, even if it is still a passing one, in the man who has one of her newborns.

"Here," he says as he nears the gate again, gently shoving Holofernes and Dinah out of the way. He'd reach for Nora's hand himself, but he's busy holding the new lamb. "Help her, Paul," he directs.

When his steps near the gate, Nora takes a step back, brows knitting together slightly. Paul takes her gloved hand and brings it to the lamb's head, drawing it back over the small creature's head as he looks up into Nora's face.

Her fingers curl in the wool, scritching it lightly for a moment, smiling as it bleats a little and stepping back to push her hands into her pockets. "I'm glad they were born healthy," she tells Amato. "I mean, I am guessing they're healthy. I don't feel like three heads or anything, but I could be wrong."
ORDER: It is now your pose.

Amato's smile suffers slightly at Nora's reaction to the lamb. "They're a little small," he says slowly, turning to place the lamb back on the straw once the children have had a chance to pet the animal as well. "But that's to be expected with twins.

"As far as names go," he continues, looking to the children again, "I was hoping to get some help. The last time I had to name two, it was Holofernes and Dinah. It took me nearly a month."

Nora chews on her lip thoughtfully. "What are they? Boys, girls?" she asks, shrugging her hands deeper into pockets and dipping her nose into the scarf around her neck. The children are much more enthused about petting the baby than she is, cooing and murmuring to the baby before it's taken away to lie back on its bedding.

"Maybe something like Holly and Ivy, or Noel and Navidad or some sort of silliness like that."

Her mouth quirks up at one corner. "Fig and Pudding?"

The kids start chiming in with their own duos: "Batman and Robin!"

"Pebbles and Bam Bam!"

"Brad and Angelina?"

All Amato can do is chuckle, but as the names grow more and more ridiculous, it grows into a full blown laugh. "They're both girls," he says, if only to staunch the flood of whimsy. "Holly and Ivy is fitting," he muses, "given the season. If there had been three, it would be much easier." Though he doesn't say why.

"Either the names of the three magi or the names of the gifts — Goldie, Murray and Frankie?" Nora says a little playfully. "Snowflake and Snowball are probably a bit cheesy for your tastes, I'd imagine."

The children giggle a little and Paul sighs. "I like Batman and Robin," he says, but Mala retorts, "Those are dumb names for sheep! How can a sheep be a bat or a man?"

Nora sighs and shakes her head. "Kids," is muttered under her breath.

"A bit," Amato agrees with remnant of his previous laughter. "And perhaps more appropriate if they were born in any other winter month." But Christmas lambs need Christmassy names. To Paul, Amato smiles and shrugs. "Perhaps if there is ever a set of twin foals, hm?" Not that he thinks Eileen would ever think to breed either of the mares. There's no need to, but it will at the very least give the young boy hope.

"But yes, were they triplets, and rams, the names of the Magi. Though the odds of that happening were rather slim." He pauses, then takes a moment to swing back over the gate, reaching to touch Nora's elbow with two fingers. "Are you alright?" he asks in a lower tone.

When she hears Amato coming back over the gate, Nora's already taking a step backward, though her face stays neutral, as if just trying to get out of his way — except of course she isn't sure where he's heading.

Fingers on her coat make her tense, and she nods, biting her lip as she takes another step back. "My head hurts," she says quickly. "From my eyes."

She turns her head toward the children. "Paul. Come, help me get back inside, all right?" She reaches out for him with a gloved hand. "Thanks for showing us the lambs, Mr. Amato," she adds as Paul comes to take her outstretched hand and Mala follows, the two children flanking her quickly. The thank you is said with a certain weight to it, a hint for the younger children to thank the man as well, and they follow suit in unison.

"No trouble at all. I will see you later," Amato says by rote, giving the children a faint smile before looking to Nora again. Studying her. Her response concerns him as much as the mysterious truth does - enough that his own restrictions don't seem to matter.

There are ways of finding out what might be troubling the blind girl.

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