Evening, July the 7th
“Right this way Ms. Satou.” Roxie was escorting Midori down the hall.
They walked through and into the den area where Conor was sitting. On the table were several textbooks and dictionaries on the Japanese language.
He arose, “Good evenin’ Midori, thank you so much for comin’ over tonight.”
As usual these days, he was dressed in an expensive suit that he wore as comfortably as other men wore jeans and a polo shirt.
Midori gave a little bow, saying something in Japanese. “You are most welcome Conor-san.”
She herself was dressed to the, well call it the sevens. She wore a figure hugging emerald green pencil skirt, plain white sleeveless cotton tank top, and strappy platform sandals. Tonight was the jasmine perfume and the subtle makeup. Two locks of hair dangled down the sides of her face. They looked “out of place” except for the fact she had put them there deliberately, a makeup technique called Midaregami – how to have hair appear as if it were in a state of erotic disarray, an old Geisha trick.
He returned the bow, “Shall we begin? Oh, would you like somethin’ to drink?”
Roxie smiled and stepped into Conor’s path, “My Lord, I shall see to that.”
He chuckled, “Thanks Rox, you’re the best.” To which she replied with a tilted head and cute eye-blink/shrug in acknowledgement.
“Ms. Satou, we have assorted Snapple beverages if you’d like, or something could be acquired in short order.”
Midori smiled, remembering a conversation with Claret about her age. She was told that under no circumstances was she supposed to allow it to be brought up in conversation – no jokes about Conor buying her 19 year old self booze or anything like that – awkward!
“Peach or Lemon Tea please, that would be wonderful.” She bowed to Roxie as well, who turned to go.
“Before we begin Midori, these are for you.” He then nudged a small box in her direction.
She opened the container and pulled out a black business card, she looked confused as she read the metallic red and silver text. CnG Corporation, M. Satou – Executive Assistant (Japan) followed by a phone number and email address that wasn’t her own, even though it was her name.
“The phone number is a service, they’ll screen an’ forward calls that appear to be directly relevant to your cell phone. The email address can be forwarded to your own or remain a separate account, up to you.”
Conor tapped the box of business cards with a finger.
“Should circumstances require a cover story as to where your finances originate – like with your parents – feel free to use this. You’re officially on payroll as a contractor; I’ll make sure the tax side of things is squared away.”
Midori had no idea what to say, she’d been struggling with what to tell her parents since Friday’s meeting. “Conor-sama I… this is… thank you.” She bowed again.
She sat down, looking at the card. It was elegant in its simplicity – black, red, and silver – with very little clutter. “What does CnG stand for, may I ask?”
“Cuan na Gaillimhe”
She tried out the unfamiliar language, “Koo-un na ga-liv-a?” She looked at him to see if she’d butchered it, since he smiled she assumed it was acceptable. “What does it mean, Conor-sama?”
“Galway Bay. I grew up lookin’ out into its blue waters from the Connemara seaside. I remember the sound of the waves of the North Atlantic crashing into the cliffs.”
Having seen his memories that had formed his Nevernever Demesne, she could only imagine. “It sounds beautiful.”
Roxie brought the drinks (including a hot tea – Bewley’s Gold Blend of course – for Conor) and then excused herself.
Conor gestured to the card in Midori’s hands as he sat down. “If you want to change anythin’ on those just let Roxie or I know about it. This set was mainly just a proof. There will be a few more papers to sign at some point to keep the IRS out of your hair down the road, but no need to worry about that right now.”
“I understand Conor-sama. Thank you.” She bowed again and sat down as well.
For the next hour and a half, they spoke in and about Japanese. Midori had no idea how to teach a foreign language, but since Conor already spoke three wildly different languages, she was confident it wouldn’t be too terribly difficult for him. She also started him out on learning Kanji and Hirigana… no time like the present to learn to read and write.
It was during an explanation of present versus past tense suffixes, that a Hispanic family showed up to speak with Conor.
“Enrique! So glad to see you! This must be your lovely wife Gina?”
“Yes Conor, wow your home is amazing! You weren’t kidding about coming into an inheritance – way better than mowing grass eh?”
“Yes indeed, especially on 104 degree days.”
“Amen to that Conor, oh yes this is Gina, and this is my little girl, Isabella. I hope we’re not interrupting too much?”
“You’re fine Enrique, you’re fine. Always a pleasure to see you again my friend; so what brings you by tonight?”
As the pleasantries continued, Roxie came up to Midori and leaned down so that she could hear her whisper, “Shall we adjourn to another room Ms. Satou? Conor may be busy for a bit.”
Midori flushed pink, “Oh, of course.”
Conor noticed Roxie and Midori leave, heading for the kitchen out of the corner of his eye.
“Well Conor, Gina, Isabella, and me we came by to ask you an important question.”
“Oh what is that? Please, sit, can I get you all somethin’ to drink? Eat?”
“Oh no, no, Conor, thank you. No.” Enrique helped his hugely pregnant wife and daughter sit. “Conor my friend, Actually Gina and I we came by to ask two questions.”
Enrique chuckled, “First, we have found out that our second one will be a boy…”
“Congratulations! One of each!”
“Thank you thank you. Yes, we’re very excited.” They chattered on for a bit, then Enrique returned to his unfinished sentence. “We were wondering if you would be okay with us giving him Conor as his middle name? Emmanuel Conor Garcia?”
Conor was quiet for a few seconds, stunned, “I would be honored, Enrique.”
“Great, that’s great. The second matter is, would you be Conorito’s Godfather?”
The Changeling said nothing for a few moments. “Listen I… em… I haven’t taken Communion or been to Confession in a long time Enrique.”
Gina spoke up, “Well, maybe it’s time! Enrique’s told me all about your notorious womanizing ways. I mean even tonight you’ve got two…”
“GINA!” Enrique looked mortified.
Conor chuckled, “It’s alright Enrique. Maybe so, Gina, maybe so. Though I assure you the ladies you saw tonight, it’s nothin’ like that.”
By the expression on Gina’s face, she wasn’t convinced.
Conor said nothing for several heartbeats. “… Listen Enrique, Gina, don’t you worry about Emmanuel – or even Isabella if you want. I’ll go talk to a priest an’ see if I wouldn’t be offendin’ the Lord too much by standin’ in as Godfather, but either way I’ll be a witness… an’ if whoever is Godfather doesn’t step up to the plate, don’t you worry none. I’ll take care of all that just as if I was.”
“Thank you Conor, you’re a good friend. Yes, even if the priest says no, we’d love to have you there as a witness. We’ll know you’re Emmanuel’s true Godfather. No matter what.”
“Yeah, if you can’t be their Catholic Godfather, you can be like, Isabella and Conorito’s Fairy Godfather!” Gina laughed.
Conor felt like somebody had just walked on his grave. Fairy Godfather.
Gina looked anxious “Oh I’m sorry Conor, I didn’t mean fairy like…”
He chuckled, “Gina, Gina you’re fine. No offense taken. It was just an unexpected word choice is all.”
They spent the next few minutes chatting about due dates, Isabella’s school, and catching up on Enrique’s life. Roxie had brought a serving tray of tea for all, then returned to the kitchen.
Mr. Garcia talked about how he had recently acquired his GED and thanked Conor for finding (and paying for) the tutors. Then they all discussed his status with Immigration; Enrique had been brought to the USA as a young boy. It turned out that now that he’d passed his GED he qualified for the new 2 year ‘Deferred Action’ on getting deported. Having once been ‘illegal’ himself (via a 20 year overstayed tourist visa) until only recently, Conor was very interested in the topic.
When the Garcias had again left, Midori and Conor returned to his studies. They got another half hour of work in hand when they were interrupted by Conor’s stomach grumbling.
Midori giggled, “Better you than I Conor-san! I have been keeping mine quiet, it is an ancient ninja secret technique.”
He laughed, “Aye I do supposed it’s time for supper. Shall I have some food prepared or maybe somethin’ takeaway?”
She looked confused. “Takeaway?”
Conor rolled his eyes, “Sorry, Americans say take out or carry out.”
Her cheeks flushed, “Actually Conor-san, I was wondering if we could discuss our date?”
“You just let me know an’ we’ll make arrangements. Now that everythin’ else has been resolved, I’m at your disposal. I have no evenin’ plans that cannot be changed.”
After glancing at Roxie, she returned her gaze to at Conor, “Well, anytime this week would work best with my schedule.”
She pretended to be thinking; glancing up at the ceiling as she did so.
“Tomorrow night Conor-san?”
Morning, July the 8th
“I shall wait here if that is permissible, my Lord.”
Conor and Roxie were in the parking lot of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Dallas. Roxie was sitting in the vehicle, Conor was standing beside it. “I understand Rox, that’s perfectly fine. You can lock the vehicle an’ travel wherever you wish, no need to wait here either.”
“Thank you your Lordship,” Conor heard the doors lock, then she vanished from sight.
He entered the church, reflexively genuflecting and crossing himself as he did. He wandered for a minute or so until he encountered a man of the cloth. After brief introductions and an inquiry, Conor was led back to Father Köhler’s office.
“Good morning my Son. I understand you wished to speak with me?”
"Good morning Reverend Father, may I close the door? Matthew Consprite is a friend of mine, he’s spoken to me of you." Conor was in his best black suit.
“Yes of course. What is your name my son, you seem to be a man of the faith.”
“As a youth I was, Father. These days all I know for sure is that God is real.” Conor closed the door. “To know a man like Matthew is to know that God is very much an active part of our world.”
“Yes, that is so. What is your name my son?”
"Ah, I believe I have heard of you. You sang here once on for a special Saint Patrick’s Day Mass I believe."
“Aye Father, that I did – well remembered!”
“You’re a memorable young man, Conor. So, are you of man still or have you gone with your supernatural parentage?” The Reverend motioned to a chair opposite from where he sat.
“Ah so ya know about all that then.” Conor grinned as he sat down.
“Mr. O’Neill, in the circles of those with the knowledge, you’re a very powerful individual. Suffice to say that your name is known.”
“Well they say good things about me I hope.”
Conor chuckled. “As far as I know Reverend Father, my will is still my own.”
“That is good. How can I help you today my son?”
He said nothing for a few moments, simply staring at the man known to many as, The Reverend. “Would it be offensive to God or the Church for me to stand as Godparent to a child?”
Now it was The Reverend’s turn to be silent, “You’ve been asked by the parents?”
“Aye Father, I have. But it’s been many long years since I took Communion or sought the Confessional.”
“Are you living in a state of Mortal Sin?”
“Yes Father,” Conor couldn’t help but grin. If the Reverend knew of him, he already knew the answer.
“That is no laughing matter young man.”
“No Father.” He felt like he was back in school again as a boy. He was expecting a rap on the knuckles any moment.
“Would you take on the duties of the child’s patron regardless of my answer?”
Conor leaned back, “I would. The parents have already made me their children’s patrón.” He used the Spanish inflection.
“So the functional deed is already done. The parents have placed their children in your power. What do you want from me? Why are you here?”
“To know if you would stand in the way of me bein’ a Godparent within the Church to the child, assumin’ that prior to the day, I come to you for the rites of the Confessional.”
The Reverend sat back and sighed. “What are your Mortal Sins?”
“Am I confessin’ now? I’m sure I’ll sin again before that day Father… most likely tonight even.”
The Reverend just gave him an arch look, “That’s not really the point is it son? In a state of Mortal Sin your human Soul is basically dead, no time like the present to bring it back.”
Conor thought about it. “Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been twenty three years since my last Confession…”
Father Köhler turned aside so as to not look at Conor’s face directly as he listened.
“… I have committed the sins of blasphemy, great anger an’ hatred of others, drunkenness, an’ fornication. I have also taken the life of mortal men, have attended only a single Holy Day of Obligation in all that time, an’ regularly fail to keep the Sabbath.”
Conor said nothing else. The silence stretched long.
“Believe it or not young man, considering what you are and what you do… I had thought it would be worse. The men you killed, did you murder them in cold blood?”
“Two I did, rapists and murderers both.”
The Reverend rubbed the bridge of his nose with his fingers, moving his glasses aside in the process. Then he turned to look back at Conor, right in the eyes.
“All right, let’s try this another way. Do you reject Satan?”
The Fae felt himself swallow, and a Soul Gaze begin. He saw The Reverend for all his works, cares, and past duties to the faith. The saw a tired but steady servant of The White God who in his younger years was very zealous in seeking out those he perceived to be evildoers. However, he was a shepherd now, and trying very hard to be a good one.
When it ended, Conor croaked out, “I do.”
“And all his works?”
“I do.” Conor realized then that the Reverend was going through the Baptismal Renewal Promises. There was power in those words. The whole room hummed with it.
“And all his empty promises?”
“Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth?”
“I absolutely do.”
The Reverend’s faith was palpable in that room, the next words he spoke were filled with as much power as any Sonomantic spell Conor had ever experienced from Erica. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?”
“Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and Life Everlasting?”
The Reverend stared at Conor a long time. “Why do you want to be this child’s Godfather, Oh Lord of the Fae?”
Conor had been thinking about this very question. “Because Father, right now… there’s not much holding me to this mortal life. The pull of the Other Side is very strong. I just…” He looked down at the desk and sighed. “It’s hard to explain.”
Father Köhler’s expression softened. “I think I understand my son.”
Again they sat there in silence.
“I will not prevent you from standing as Godfather, Conor. The parents have made their desires clear. As one born in the faith, you know what it means, you know the duties. By allowing you to take this upon yourself, it will limit what harm the Fae side of you may do as well. Your Oaths are binding.”
Conor nodded in agreement.
The Reverend continued, “And… in most respects, you would be an excellent Godfather for any child. You’ve come before me in honesty and sincerity, and I’ve seen men defile the Sacraments of the Church and themselves in worse ways…”
He shook his head at some memory.
“No… I will not prevent you, but I cannot say that I am okay with the idea. Who you are, what you are… it tears my comfort level to shreds. However, I see you are still at your heart a good man.” The Reverend drew special emphasis on the word. “As for if it will offend God for you to do so; I do not know His mind.”
“I understand Father.”
“Any penance tasks I give you would be hollow, but I take great stock in symbols. I will say this… try to sin less my son. Try to attend at least one of the High Holy Masses a year, two would be better, all six would be best. Also, before you leave give at least a single ‘Our Father’ and think about the words as you say them… and light a candle for yourself.”
Father Köhler sighed again, finishing the words of the Baptismal Promise Renewal. “God, the All-Powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever.”
Conor made the sign of the Cross, in the Irish way, with the infamous triple tap on the heart instead of actually going out to the shoulders. “In ainm an Athar, agus an Mhic, agus an Spioraid Naoimh … Amen.”
“Go with God Conor. May He help you be more … whole … when you leave than you were when you arrived. Remember my son, the Church is a family. You are never so lost that you cannot come home.”
This story was written mainly because I’m having Conor take the Aspect “Inadvertent Godfather”
I started on this story arc to this Aspect change a while back