anne_icon.gif ben_icon.gif grace_icon.gif

Scene Title Volunteering
Synopsis Anne and Ben show up to volunteer at the soup kitchen. Grace helps with the conversation.
Date December 21, 2008

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 Sunday, early afternoon, and Anne has headed into the church to light a candle and think for a while. There's some people walking around in here, preparing for the soup kitchen, others talking to the priest, people still here since the mass earlier. But it's still a place you can go to to find some peace. Anne helps out in the soup kitchen sometimes, but today that's not why she's here. She's here for entirely personal reasons. She stands by one of the icons just holding the candle for a while, before placing it in the appropriate place and carefully, with a slightly shaking hand, lighting it aflame. A candle can't do much in reality, but sometimes the flickering flame helps one focus one's thoughts when other things won't.

Ben enters the church with the intent to volunteer for the soup kitchen. He pulls his hands from his pockets — no gloves — and unzips his jacket while looking about for someone official-looking. He finds Anne instead, who is perhaps not official-looking, but at least familiar. He heads that way. "Hey."

St. John's Cathedral is known in the grapevine as a place to find help; quietly, as a place Evolved can go to get away from the city's troubles. It's a stop on the Ferry, a hideout of the 'cattle rustlers', and while 'business' seems to have quieted in the month since Rickham's election — perhaps because of cold weather and impending holidays — Grace still has plenty of excuses for dropping by. The young woman enters the main hall from a side door, consequence of her familiarity with the cathedral's interior in all its Gothic detail; a familiar face at one of the votive altars draws her over, Grace taking up a candle of her own and lighting it in-hand, holding and looking at the lit votive for the moment rather than placing it on the rack. She says nothing; no pressure, just company.

"Hey there, Ben." Anne says with a bit of a smile, if one that's a little distant. "You seem to run into me when I'm most lost in thought. How're you? Work treated you nicely, I hope." When Grace comes up to join them, she nods her head a little to the other woman as well, but doesn't say anything. If she didn't speak up, it might be because she has many things on her mind as well, and Anne doesn't want to intrude.

"Work's good," Ben agrees with a faint smile of his own. "I didn't mean to intrude. I was just wondering if you'd gone to Alley Cat yet." He looks to Grace, still smiling a little, and nods a greeting. While he's there, he may as well light a candle, so he turns to do so.

Acknowledged by both of the others, Grace smiles amiably in return, a subtle expression more implied than overt. She sets her own candle in one of the niches provided to hold them, watching Ben light a votive of his own. The woman looks curiously to Anne at Ben's question, a silently polite query what her business at the Alley Cat would be.

Anne shakes her head a little bit in reply. "No.. I haven't. Thought I'd stop by tomorrow, though, see what's going on. We'll see how it turns out." She rolls her shoulder back in a slow circle. "So.. what brings the pair of you here?" Lighting candles, possibly, but that might not be the entire point of the experiment, after all. You never did know
Ben opts to offer his free hand to Grace. "Ben," he introduces himself. And then he says, "Uh, soup kitchen. Good place to meet people, too."

"Grace," the woman offers in return as she shakes Ben's hand, that rasping, ruined voice at utter odds with the name it speaks. A hint of mischief accompanies the statement; she knows the juxtaposition well. "Business," Grace continues, glancing at Anne with a small smile because she'll know just what that word refers to. "Indirectly, you could say I'm also here for the soup kitchen," she elaborates for Ben's sake, that smile still present. "I help with some of the more behind-the-scenes preparations."

And the exact nature of those preparations just aren't as important to know, are they. "I help out around here sometimes, myself, though I actually just came for the sake of myself this time. A little selfish, perhaps." He smile suggests that she doesn't agree with her own words there. "But I hear that's good sometimes too. If nothing else, love your neighbour as yourself means you have to love yourself too." So there.

Ben settles his candle in place with the others, nodding vaguely. Grace's voice gains her a second look, one of curiosity; but thusly armed, he nods to the both of them. "I don't really think going to church is selfish, somehow. You guys work behind the scenes? Awesome. Maybe you can point me the right way."

Grace chuckles at Anne's words, the sound resembling grating gravel. "Excellent argument," is all she says in reply. She looks to Ben instead, and nods once. "Certainly. I can also show it to you, if you want. By now, I know this building better than the back of my hand," the woman concludes with mock exasperation.

"Showing tends to work better'n telling." Anne agrees with a nod of her head. "Mind if I play the role of company? I think my buissness here is done, for the most part." The candle was lit and her son was remembered. She just needed to tend to his grave tomorrow. It wouldn't do to let it be completely buried in snow. His mother still remembered him well.

Ben flashes a grin, nodding at the two of them. "Much obliged. Lead the way." He starts shrugging out of his coat so he can fold it over one arm. It's warm in here. "Have you two been doing this long?"

"Not at all," Grace replies to Anne, smiling again. She steps away from the votive altar, leading her companions back the direction she came in, towards that little side door. "Kinda-sorta," she informs Ben. "Got shipped out here after the explosion; been rattling around since. Something like a year I've been helping here." She grins a bit, glancing sidelong at the EMT. "Long enough, but I'm a newbie compared to the real old hands."

"Shipped here?" Ben repeats curiously, squinting an eye briefly. "I'm a pretty recent arrival. What is it you do for a living?" He walks along with her toward the side door, giving her another curious look. It's the voice.

"Shipped, reassigned, tasked, ditched, whatever verb you care to apply," Grace explains with another slight grin, raven's voice almost as good-humored as her expression. "I was Air Force until about a year ago. Computer tech, now." A lucky one, or a good one, to be employed in post-explosion Manhattan. The side door delivers them to a corridor, which Grace walks down with the casual nonchalance of familiarity. "What about you?"

"I'm working as an EMT now," Ben tells Grace as they walk down the corridor; he glances about as they go, looking at the posted notices and the like as they pass them. "Came from Boston. Wanted a new start, and New York has a lot of work for people like me." People who are medically trained, people who help the Evolved, whatever.

"That it does," Grace agrees. Her harsh voice fails at subtleties of tone, but her expression implies some element of regret for that fact. "You attached to a hospital, one of the departments— " Meaning fire or police. "— or a company?" the woman asks curiously, as she detours down a set of stairs and into the large basement room set up as something of a cafeteria.

"St. Luke's," Ben tells Grace with a faint smile, walking quietly despite his boots. "Where do you do tech work, Grace?"

People are busy bustling around the room, employees and volunteers alike — many more of the latter — setting up for the day's guests. Several of them pause long enough to give Grace a smile, or a wave, or once a spoken greeting. "Bit by Bit. It's a consulting company that contracts with all sorts of businesses." She peers over at the other end of the room, trying to spot someone in particular. When she does catch his eye, Grace waves. "Hey, Stephen!"

"St. Luke's?" Anne says with a bit of interest. "I know someone else who works there as an EMT as well.. and who helps out at one of the other soup kitchens in town." They sounded somewhat similar, though personality wise she could tell they were quite different none the less. It's a small world, none the less. Anne has been keeping quiet for a bit, until now, just listening to the other two talk.

"Yeah?" Ben grins. Could be to either Anne or Grace. He looks over toward Stephen and offers an amiable nod before looking back to Anne. "What's his name? Or her name. Maybe I've met them."

"I know a Juliet Davies that works there, but she's a nurse, not an EMT," Grace supplies. "Also volunteers here, which is how we met. I guess a lot of Luke's staff do — it being so close, and all."

Meanwhile, Stephen extricates himself from the undoubtely exaggeratedly critical issue he's dealing with and works his way over to meet them.

"James." Anne says, providing a name for the mystery EMT. "And… I'm pretty sure he's an EMT. Saw him in costume and all." The nametag really helps with that kind of stuff, you know. When Stephen comes up to join them she offers him a warm smile and a nod. "Hey there, Stephen. Hope all is well with you," A gesture of her hand is made to encompass the whole room. "And this place."

Ben leans a little to offer his hand to Stephen. "Hi. I'm Ben, I'm interested in volunteering today." To the others, he notes, "Juliet and James. I'll try to remember that, thanks."

"Pretty sure?" Grace echoes, inflection and a raised eyebrow making the words into a question. She grins as the woman continues, looking over at Stephen.

"Thanks, Anne," he replies, with a weary-but-pleased smile. "Blessings on all of you. We're doing well, but— " He nods to Ben. "— more hands are always appreciated. Stephen," added unnecessarily as the offered hand is shaken. "I can get you started if you're ready, or you can just join us at the tables whenever you're done here."

"Just a matter of how you put your words." Anne replies to Grace with a half smile, before nodding to Stephen. "I'll come over and give you guys a hand in a little while, but I am glad things are okay." For the most part, anyway. But entirely fantastic would probably be just a little bit too much to ask, all things considered.

Ben glances from Stephen to the other two, then nods to the man. "I'm ready to start. Anne, Grace, thank you both for the help." He grins again with a little wave and goes to follow Stephen.

"No problem," Grace replies, shaking her head a bit. Stephen moves off, with Ben in tow, and she turns her attention to Anne, smiling slightly. "I should be moving on myself; let you get to work."

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