|The City Thanks You|
|What: Michael returns to the church that had been desecrated prior to Jack Hawksmoor's being sent to Hell. Hawksmoor returns to say thank you.|
For those who might have been here to see what this place - an old church: vandalized, damaged, desecrated - looked like before, they may hopefully see something much different now.
Or, at least, the beginnings of something much different.
It is already getting late, and the light is fading. Some of the streetlamps in the immediate vicinity are damaged - still awaiting the appropriate repair-crews to fix them. The road is rough and pitted, and just outside the church itself is a pile of shattered wood, stone and metal: the remains of the pews, the pulpit, the altar... from inside.
Next to it is what appears to be an outdoor workshop - with Michael, the Fist of God... and now just a carpenter, hard at work building new pews. Clad in boots, jeans, a checkered shirt and a jacket, he is hard at work.
The building itself stands silent. Although most of the damage to the church was to the furnishings, there was some to the building itself. The broken street lamps give no light - but the sun does, what's left of it. The window closest to Michael's workshop was one of those broken in the attack...
...and the window is reforming, literally fast enough to watch. The question is whether the knight looks up in time to notice. The tracery grows back into position, the stained glass pieces slotting neatly into place...
Michael raises his head, a hand moving to his brow to wipe some hard-earned sweat away - and pauses mid-motion.
His skin tingles - at least, that is how it sometimes feels when in the presence of supernatural power... especially when it is not from his 'usual source.' "What in the name of...?" he murmurs as he stands up, arching his back, and stares at the building. "Harry..." he starts to say in a chiding voice, but he catches himself and stares at the reforming windows. A hand moves to his hip - to only find his tool belt there. No sword. "I know this feeling..." he adds a moment later, and he turns around to look.
The wall below the window ripples, and then Jack Hawksmoor steps through it. "Sorry. Was easier to see what I was doing from inside." He then turns back, puts his hand on the wall, and concentrates. The broken window is rapidly returning to its original state. And no. It's not Harry.
Michael frowns, his eyes gleaming with intrigue - and then recognition.
Both eyebrows shoot upward.
"You're the one who was trapped," he tells Hawksmoor as he walks toward the man. "In the cage. You're the Unjustly-Damned." He blinks and rakes a hand back through the greying, dark hair on his head and slowly offers it to Jack. "Thank the Lord, you're alright. I'm Michael Carpenter - you can call me Michael." His words are friendly, his smile is warm - genuine - and yet there is visible tension around his eyes and in his shoulders, particularly when he glances sidelong from Jack to the church building as it appears to... repair itself. Second by second, the tension ebbs away...
"Jack Hawksmoor," he introduces. "Second here." He lets the window reform itself before stepping away from the church and offering his hand. "Thanks. I was hoping to see my friends. I didn't expect to see a stranger." There's a warmth to his voice, right now. Appreciative.
Michael grasps the man's hand firmly, shakes it once, and releases it. "No thanks are needed - but, you're welcome."
With his hands once again on his hips, he turns his torso enough to have a better look at the old church. His lips form a thin line at the memory of what took place here, just a relatively short time ago. "I go where I'm needed," he replies in answer to the unasked question of 'what was a stranger doing there?'. "I didn't know what was going on - only that I should bring my armour. Well, Charity insisted upon that." He glances back at Hawksmoor and half-smiles.
"Charity - my wife. Wisest person I know..." As he continues to behold the external evidence of internal repairs upon the building, he blinks again. "I won't ask 'why'," he adds in a quiet voice a few moments later. "Why it all happened. The Lord knows. But... how are you doing... this?"
"Nobody told you who I am?" Once his hand is released, Jack leans against the building. "Ya should figure anyone who warranted rescuing from hell isn't normal. I talk to cities. The building remembers what form it had, tells me, and I can...nudge it back into shape, as it were. Takes a while...and a lot of energy."
Michael lifts a hand to itch at his salt-and-pepper beard, and then massages his jaw with it.
"Moon Knight gave me your name," he remarks. "But as for what I needed to know...I knew that the moment I leapt through the portal." The big man's eyes fall closed and he murmurs a faint prayer for the damned, giving a tiny shake of his head at the unpleasant memory. "Yours was the only soul that didn't deserve to be there," he explains as he opens his eyes once more. A frown of puzzlement creases his brow, then turns into a smile.
"The holy scriptures refer to Creation as 'crying out in praise', or 'weeping for the lost', or 'declaring the handiwork of the Almighty'... I suppose it's not a far cry from that, to think of cities as having some kind of personality."
He frowns again, and half-smirks.
"So, Mr. Hawksmoor... you talk to Creation - well, the cities at least - on a level I can't understand..." His lips part into a broader smile. "Not bad."
"Yeah. There was a demon possessing New York. I tried to expel it, couldn't. Tried to lure it out into a containment vessel...that didn't work either. The only good way to get rid of that kind of demon is to kill the host." He closes his eyes. "I had to pull it into me...and sacrifice my life to stop it. It dragged me down with it." He remembers falling. "And...I'm actually, believe it or not, a highly advanced cyborg. You know what they say about sufficiently advanced technology."
"The line between science and magic becomes blurred, making the one indistinguishable from the other, yes."
"I'm familiar with it. I've never heard of a demon possessing a city, though..." He sniffs and mouth-shrugs. "It would explain some places I can think of. I wonder what the Vatican would have to say about it..." The man utters a derisive snort and gives a shake of his head. He casts a rueful glance at Jack.
"That's not a question I need answered - not to do what He calls me to do..." Slowly, his expression grows more sombre and he raises his chin. "No greater hath any man than he who would lay down his life for his friends... I already knew you were not damned, Mr. Hawksmoor. Now I know why. And... thank you:" He motions with a hand to the church, leaning his body to the side so he can see within the open doors again. "For this. I'll have it finished by tonight. You didn't have to do this." He pulls a business card out of his pocket. It reads, Michael Carpenter. Carpentry and Construction. with contact details. "I doubt you'll need a builder, with your gifts," he explains. "But if you need an extra hand - or a sword - call me. I'll come."
"Depends. I can only affect things that are part of the city." He waves his hand at the pews. "Furniture doesn't qualify. But I fixed some structural damage, I have one more window to do, and then I can start working on putting the gargoyles back." He takes the card, tucks it into a pocket and then produces one of his own. Which claims he's a private investigator.
Michael accepts the card, glances at it - smiles - and puts it away.
"Good to see there's some use for carpenters, still," he remarks with a wry half-grin. "I don't like destroying; it's a necessary work to keep people safe. Given the chance, I would choose building... Speaking of which:" and he walks back to a finished pew (one of the last of them) and bends down to lift it up - a feat he manages with apparent ease. "You're an answer to prayer, Mr. Hawksmoor," he tells the city-man, peering through the pew on his shoulder. He pauses, halting his stride just before moving toward the doors. "Tell... the city 'thank you', too, for me." He bobs his eyebrows at that, chuckles, and heads inside.
"She...would actually like to thank you," Jack notes, stepping over to the broken lamp post and resting his hand on it. Apparently, lamp posts count as part of the city. "She was quite, quite glad to have me back."