After Mass
Roleplaying Log: After Mass
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Emery and Matt meet after Sunday mass, and find they have more in common than they thought.

Other Characters Referenced: Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Foggy Nelson, Wilson Fisk
IC Date: December 09, 2018
IC Location: Holy Cross Church, Hell's Kitchen
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 09 Dec 2018 15:03
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

There's a history in Hells Kitchen. In the streets, in the rubble, in the people and its a history filled with legacy. Life, Death. Blood, Birth. Families spending all their lives here. With the still too recent death and destruction, Emery has spent quite a bit of his free time visiting those too stubborn to leave forever. Buying bread or meat from those determined not to close down and occasionally making his way to mass at the Holy Cross church.

Just about every wrinkled or wizened face, has a shimmer of a memory around it for Emery. Different decades of fashion and hairstyles. He just holds hands, kisses cheeks, feigns being the grandson of someone from the past or son of the others but now he can be found settled on the steps after a late service. He wears a stylish black suit, no tie but a crisp button down and his hair pulled back in a low bun as he takes a deep breath and idly toys with a rosary in his hands, wooden beads clicking together.
Psylocke has arrived.

Matt Murdock did not regularly attend mass before the bombings. His faith, like just about everything else in his life, was a matter of intense privacy. The close confines of a confessional was far more comfortable to him than the crowded Sunday services at the Church of the Holy Cross, and Father Lantom — the late rector, who had a hand in Matt's upbringing at adjoining St. Agnes Orphanage — had agreed to privately administer the sacrament after the Hail Marys and Our Fathers were said and done.

But that was before. After the bombings, after Father Lantom was killed by falling debris and the rest of the neighborhood was devastated, Matt began appearing at Sunday masses. Always the later — he sleeps in — but some part of him knows that his presence and participation as a member of this devastated community is every bit as important as the generous donations he made to the Church's reconstruction and relief efforts. It's what Father Lantom would have wanted, he thought. Had always wanted, in his circumspect but avuncular way — to bring Matt fully into the fold and the greater community.

And so he's here today, dressed in a dark-grey suit, slim and stylish but off the rack, and a dark burgundy necktie. The off-brand shades are gone, replaced by a pretty damn good facimile of the red-tinted, round-lensed shades that were his trademark before they, like so many other things, were lost in Wilson Fisk's fires. He's making his way back towards the church's front entrance after sharing a few words with the new rector, Father Jordan, when he hears the clicking beads, the rhythm of breath, smells the old-world and stylish clothes. "Morning, Emery," he says as he approaches the appropriate pew, affable and warm, but softly enough that few are likely to hear blind Matt Murdock 'recognize' anyone without excellent cause.

Matt Murdock did not regularly attend mass before the bombings. His faith, like just about everything else in his life, was a matter of intense privacy. The close confines of a confessional was far more comfortable to him than the crowded Sunday services at the Church of the Holy Cross, and Father Lantom — the late rector, who had a hand in Matt's upbringing at adjoining St. Agnes Orphanage — had agreed to privately administer the sacrament after the Hail Marys and Our Fathers were said and done.

But that was before. After the bombings, after Father Lantom was killed by falling debris and the rest of the neighborhood was devastated, Matt began appearing at Sunday masses. Always the later — he sleeps in — but some part of him knows that his presence and participation as a member of this devastated community is every bit as important as the generous donations he made to the Church's reconstruction and relief efforts. It's what Father Lantom would have wanted, he thought. Had always wanted, in his circumspect but avuncular way — to bring Matt fully into the fold and the greater community.

And so he's here today, dressed in a dark-grey suit, slim and stylish but off the rack, and a dark burgundy necktie. The off-brand shades are gone, replaced by a pretty damn good facsimile of the red-tinted, round-lensed shades that were his trademark before they, like so many other things, were lost in Wilson Fisk's fires. He's making his way back towards the church's front entrance after sharing a few words with the new rector, Father Jordan, when he hears the clicking beads, the rhythm of breath, smells the old-world and stylish clothes. "Morning, Emery," he says as he approaches the appropriate pew, affable and warm, but softly enough that few are likely to hear blind Matt Murdock 'recognize' anyone without excellent cause.

The Irishman always stays in the back, so where he's settled he tilts his head to the side. There's a faint smile at his lips as Matt makes his approach, the bead clacking pauses for a moment. "Master Matt." He greets softly. He scoots over in the pew a bit though, bowing his head again and taking a deep breath. Emery worries his bottom lip.

"I've been to over a thousand churches in me lifetime boyo. Only place I walk into and feel like a failure…" He nods slowly. "But only place I've ever felt like there was a reason for me life."

Emery offers Matt a seat on the bench beside him, and Matt flickers a smile in assent. He folds his walking stick and eases into the seat with more care and deliberation than he ever shows as a (continuing) guest at Danny Rand's Gramercy Park mansion. After he sits he runs a hand down his torso, smoothing out the ruffles in his jacket, shirt, and tie, and tilts his head while he listens to the butler recount his experiences in places like this.

"I basically grew up in a church," Matt offers, voice just above a murmur. "This church, actually." He cocks his head to the right, as sure a sign as any that he's taking in his surroundings in that strange way of his. The quiet conversations, the scent of lit candles and communion wine, the pungent, lingering waft of incense. They're the sense memories of his childhood.

"And yeah, it has a way of making you feel like you're coming up short…" Matt says with a roll of his shoulders, a concession that the cliche? of 'Catholic Guilt' has some bearing. "The people who live and work here would probably say that's meant to spur us to do better. Be better." Some of that quiet good humor falters as he thinks: It's what Father Lantom would say. Did say, back when he was able to say things.

"Mm. So did I. Well. Not this one but… A church ran orphanage of sort. Nuns and monks and priests and all." Emery looks up towards the ceiling, fingers still thumbing through the beads, rhythmically. His lashes flutter as he lowers his eyes for a moment, his heart rate slowing down significantly as he takes a deep breath.

But he listens and nods slowly. "When I first came back to New York. I looked up Father Lantom right away, to see how he was doing. He still…wiped the floor with me at pool. Like he always had." Then he looks over to Matt for a moment and then back forward. "I actually went to a couple of seminaries, can ye believe it?"

Emery gives Matt a lot to digest in a very short span. It's not the first allusion Emery has made to the fact that he might be older — significantly older — than he seems. But that's really the least of it. "I'm not sure which is harder to picture, you as a priest or Father Lantom hustling at a pool table." It's clearly a joke, but the latter is genuinely surprising. But why should it be? he can almost hear Lantom's voice asking. You know more than anyone that everyone has their secrets, Matthew. He puffs out a breath, juts his jaw and lowers his head.

"Some of the priests here tried to convince me on Fordham instead of Columbia, for the seminary program," Matt offers after a moment. "Not Lantom. I think he knew me a little too well for that pitch. He was — one of the few I was ever honest with, about —"

About everything.

Matt clears his throat, and then deadpans: "So, what? Celibacy was a deal breaker?"

"Probably harder to picture me as a priest. Granted priests are very good at gambling. Poker faces and the natural ability to make people confess without knowing they are." Emery replies lightly, eyebrow raising as he sighs softly and shakes his head. "He didn't deserve…" The Irishman trails off, jaw setting and head shaking as the bead clacking falters for a moment.

There's a small snicker and understanding 'hmm'. "Ye are too stubborn and argumentative to have survived seminary." He does glance over again though at that fragment of an admission but does not comment.

"I liked sex aye." He's not going to deny that. "But. The mission the Church had for me was one of blood, not of blessings. I was too angry, too horny, too damaged, and too damned."

He didn't deserve…

"No, no, he didn't," Matt whispers, the eyes behind his crimson shades briefly distant, and the hands clasped in front of him too tight to be mistaken for offering prayers or petitions. Six months later, Wilson Fisk behind bars, and the violence wreaked on his neighborhood is still an open wound.

He listens as Emery describes all the reasons he couldn't take vows, and dedicate his life to one of faithful ministry the way Paul Lantom had. Too angry. Too horny. Too damaged. Too damned.

Matt closes his eyes. "Yeah. I hear that."

He takes a swallow, musters a smile, a bit of levity. "And now you've got your own charge, so no flock for you. How's Kennis?"

A soft huff that could be an exhale but it's tinged with a wry amusement and morphs into a chuckle as he gets his rhythm back with the beads. Emery shakes his head slowly. "Maybe you're right. Sure as hell have to listen to alot of confessions." He drawls softly.

But then there is that magic word, that makes Emery's heart flutter a bit and he hmms thoughtfully. "She's okay. She's second in our age gap in fencing class. But I 'ave to keep her in the low key community or rec center leagues and such. And she's singin' in the church pageant, been practicin' all the time." A wry smile. "You all gave her the family outside of me and her nannies that she's never had. Last year this time, it was bad. Power goin' out led to so many more kidnappin' attempts but now…We have been able to stay in the same condo for longer than 5 months now, so. She's good."

Matt's eyebrows drift briefly upward when Emery makes his crack about 'listening to a lot of confessions,' a joke which could be interpreted any number of ways. But he chooses to focus instead on talk of Emery's girl, whom he speaks of which such affection and pride. "She's precocious, that's for sure," Matt says dryly. "And we all adore her." A beat, a quiet chuckle, and then: "Foggy especially.

The lawyer's fair brow knits when Emery touches again on the lengths he has to go to keep her safe, one step ahead of… whoever is hunting her. That part has never been entirely clear, and Matt's never felt it's been his place to ask point blank. "We're always here for you both. Danny'd let you stay at Gramercy in a second if you asked, I bet. And its security, plus the kinds of people who visit and stay there — hard to imagine a safer place from kidnappers."

From kidnappers. But is a house full of metas safe for anyone, these days? Matt angles his face towards Emery sidelong. "Given any more thought to what we were all talking about at Jess and Luke's?"

"I canane impose on Master Danny as long as I am still employed by Rand Industries. But, her being able to stay there when I'm workin' or otherwise occupied has been helpful." Emery idly scratches his cheek before smiling softly. "Do ye know she actually tricked her babysitter to take her to you and Master Foggy's office, because she had watched videos of ye defending the Winter Soldier? She wants to be the Queen of the Fairies and a Soliciter, so she came with her own case files when she retained your services." There's a dry laugh and sof tsking. "But he took the case. So."

Then he frowns for a moment at the reassurances of the safety. "Once upon a time it might've been the safest place. But they just painted a target on the backs of the people who could best protect me daughter." He finally admits, grinding his teeth a bit.

"I've been thinking about it. Once upon a time, I would know what to do. But now…I have Kennis." He shrugs.

"Oh my God, of course he did," Matt says with fondness and exasperation when Emery tells him that Foggy took Kennis' 'case,' right before he remembers where he is. Then he makes a brief sign of the cross. He puffs out a wry little breath and says: "A new week, and one commandment already broken."

Then Emery voices the concerns he was just inwardly reflecting on. How the 'heroes' who might protect Kennis from her pursuers are now themselves targets of the state, forced to make impossible choices between protecting themselves and protecting others. Matt nods slightly, conceding the point. "I know. It's a tough spot. Luke, Jess, and I — we can all look after ourselves, end of day. And while we all have responsibilities… parenthood is different." A long beat, and an even softer, regretful: "They'd also want her to register too. And if you two didn't, and were found out, the penalty for both omissions would rest on you. I'm not telling you to do one thing or the other — you know I'm won't be registering. But you should know the risks."

Emery takes a deep breath when he listens to what is being said, confirmations of the things he was fearing and he takes a deep breath. There's a moment before he look up towards the ceiling again, closing his eyes and murmuring softly in Latin 'You burden me without a yolk…'

But the Irishman finally, shifts slightly in his seat and pulls out his wallet, thumbing through the bills before selecting a crisp twenty putting his wallet away. The bill is carefully folded and he passes it discreetly over to Matt, towards the hand closest to him. "Here. Confidentiality right?" He quirks an eyebrow. "Because there's more than a fec-a um. A law at risk here." He waits to see if the money is going to be taken before he speaks.

Matt accepts the 'fee' for his services in deference to the requirements of law and custom, but without much mind for the currency itself. He couldn't even tell you what kind of bill it was if you asked him, modern methods of printing currency being what they are. For all Matt's unusual abilities, he's still a blind man. And at the end of the day, he's not doing this — right here — for the money.

"Confidentiality," Matt agrees quietly as he tucks the $20 into his pocket and listens to what Emery has to say, here in the hushed and largely empty nave.

The Irishman crosses himself and leans forward to rest his forearms on the pew in front of him, folding his arms as he considers what to say. Emery finally sits back a bit to rest back against his own pew. "I was born on a pew in the back of a church to a 'virgin' nun who swore I was the product of a battle between good and evil so she dedicated me to the angels but called upon the angel nobody prays to." He takes a deep breath. "I'm a servant of servants, and I work as hard as I do to serve and care for others as a butler or personal assistant because in me blood runs the grace the church was allowed to bottle to breed their own…warriors. Living embodiements of the messengers of God.

He has to sigh though as he considers how to continue. "There's nothing like me in any official registry. Maybe old books of yore but." He swallows. "Every one bred for this purpose has the Arch Angel they are? Michael, Gabriel, Raphael…but me? I'm the most dangerous of all. And I am very old, Matt. I killed me first man when I was 15 or 16. And, I pulled his soul from his body and ushered it to the afterlife far before its actual time." He stares off into space. "I give Samael life in this world, and my penance is living with remnants of the souls of everyone I have reaped. So when I sleep, those fragments, those ghosts, they get to torture me, get their revenge so I can never have peace until there is no more evil in this world." He looks over towards Matt. "That's not somethin' ye put on a registry."

Matt's never had a client intake like this one, and he's had some doozies in his day. For all that Matt is a devout Catholic, he's of the millenial, 21st century variety. Angels are for new age bookstores and Bible stories. God is real. Jesus is real. The Holy Ghost is real, if hard to fully make sense of. Angels are not.

But here Emery is, telling him that they are. That he's somehow aligned or imbued with the power of one. And even though Matt has seem some strange stuff over the past few years, he could dismiss it, privately laugh it off, were it not for the confrontation with Fisk in the abandoned subway station below City Hall. Fisk had — something — protecting him. Different than any alien or monster Matt had ever come across. A self-described angel. And Emery had… conversed with it? Parlayed?

There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Matthew Murdock.

Through all this metaphysical static and cognitive dissonance, Matt tries to focus on the details of what Emery is saying. The practical — legal — consequences of it. "You might not be the strangest story they hear…" he says after the longest of pauses. "But yeah, chances are you'd be up there."

His lips twist, as if he's tasted something sour. "As your attorney, I can't ethically counsel you to break the law." A beat. "But I can say that registering would put you and Kennis at risk. Talk about 'reaping' alone is likely to get a homicide detective on your case."

Another beat, this one shorter. "And as your… friend, I can say that if you decide not to register, we'll have your back, and keep your secrets."

Emery's lips curve into a knowing smile at the advice, after he almost holds his breath allowing Matthew to take everything in, watching his features carefully and he nods shortly. "Aye. I refuse to be the sword of anyone again. I already know that I am going to watch Kennis grow up, grow old, and die." He draws a shuddering breath. "She makes me a better person. She…is the light in me life that I'm willin' to follow because without her…" He swallows. "Well. Its not good." He wipes at his eyes and huffs out a rough chuckle.

"I'm going to try not to worry about it. I mean, considering that Kennis's birth records have redacted statements because her mother's side of the family made me sign legal documentation to never link her back to them. Ye know how royal families can be." Another small nod. "Right now, I'm Emery Papsworth, Professional Butler and Certified Personal Assistant. Known for me amazing pancakes."

Matt lips quirk when Emery waxes poetic about Kennis, and all she means to him, though he keeps his head bowed down so it's hard to really see it. To the rest he nods. "You've been pretty discreet about it all since I've met you," he tells the butler. "Just — try to stay that way. I won't tell you you'll be fine. There are no guarantees with all this. But at least you'll be a step ahead of most people."

Then an eyebrow arches upward over the rim of his spectacles as a sudden thought strikes him. "Royal families?" he asks skeptically. "You're, uh, not saying Kennis is… actually… a fairy queen, right?"

It would be an absurd question, were it not for the half-hour of conversation about angels and demons and holy weapons and soul reaping that preceded it.
Emery gives a small nod. "I 'ave alot of practice boyo. I've just never let meself get this close…to others." He reassures Emit before pocketing his rosary. Then he has to cover his mouth and cough at the question about Kennis and he flashes a grin.

"Nah, just daughter of a princess." He leaves it at that.

Although he pauses for a moment and seems to think about it. "…at least I hope not." He pulls a face and then shakes his head. "But I'm pretty sure she /will/ be one day."

I've just never let myself get close…to others.

That's far from the first thing Emery has said this morning that resonates with Matt personally this morning, and now the lawyer is struck by how much he has in common with this angelic, demonic, and potentially murderous — butler?

"I think that's true for a lot of our little crew," he says of people adjusting to, what? Having community? Family. "I hadn't been to a Thanksgiving that felt like my own since I was eight years old. I never even told my father what I could do when he was alive. It's — an adjustment. All this."

Don't worry, Emery says. Kennis isn't a fairy princess. Just an actual princess. Matt rolls his eyes behind his glasses. "I have a feeling that little girl will be anything she puts her mind to," he agrees.

He nods in his direction, towards the aisle. "Come on. Let's get out of here. There's a good diner around the corner. I'll treat you to breakfast, for once."

Emery just regards Matt quietly for a few moments, narrowing his eyes and just tsking softly. "Well then, wait til we all 'ave to wear bloody ugly sweaters as per some odd American tradition and drink egg nog and whatever…it will be an adjustment for us all."

Regarding Kennis he just nods slowly. "Aye. God help us all." But there's fondness in his voice as he rises to his voice and for appearance's sake offers an arm to Matt. "Ahh, dun get fresh with me Master Matt. We're in the house of God. Offerin' to buy me breakfast already." He teases softly before murmuring soft enough for Matt to hear. "I'll be here for ye. Fallen or not, angels look out for their own." Now. Breakfast!

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