St Francis Xavier Church*, New York, January 14 2018 (Poe's POV)
Poe Dameron comes into the small parish completely aware that he's got some pretty big shoes to fill. Father Obi-Wan Kenobi was a legend in his own right and everyone will compare him to the now deceased priest whose position he will assume. Despite the gothic scenery the parish is comfortable but small, it has a homey feel that seeps in a pleasant sensation. Kinda like a bowl of hot soup on a rainy day. Maybe that's why old Kenobi turned the offer to accept the bishop-hood of Missouri they'd offered him back in the 70s. It had been one of the most questionable moments of the man's life but if the way those hundreds of people acted at the old priest's funeral (which he insisted on holding at nighttime, quite aggressively if his long-time friend and fellow activist Reverend Mother Tano of Covenant House is to be believed) it was a decision nobody in Brooklyn was disappointed with when he turned down the offer. 'He was a father of the Church and a father to us all', said the liberal priest Quinlan Vos who'd been among the radical Catholic clergy growing marijuana in the 60s at Obi-Wan's service. Poe knows a good father would never leave his children behind.
For a split second at the funeral Poe thought he saw one of the men sitting at the service zoom like the Flash (Yes, he watches Flash and legends of Tomorrow in CW. Poe's pretty sure he's allowed to chill every now and then. it's actually mean of people to assume that all he and his fellow clergymen are allowed to watch is re-runs of Cecil B Demille's* movies. Even if they are good quality films he wouldn't want to just see them for 50-60 years) and kiss the old priest's head before Poe laid the body to rest. But when he turned around the blonde man was still in his seat, as if nothing transpired. Though an older man next to him knocked the blonde on the back of his head for some reason, Poe figures it was probably a father-son bashing done in good nature since the two men had seemed pretty close, like they'd known each other their whole lives and the older woman beside them was probably the blonde's mother since she held his hand in the most maternal way possible. She looked feisty, Poe imagines that she was a real firecracker in her younger days.
He still can't understand why old Kenobi chose him, the novice with a stint in jail for protesting in 2015 and a slew of 'controversial' tendencies; Poe Dameron was keen on reform yet still thought Mass was more appropriate in Latin so he was a bit of an outcast on both sides. Poe was nobody's first choice for this job and he knew it, Father Dameron was the 258th priest to be interviewed by the old priest who had to keep a notebook of his days now that the Alzheimer's effect was growing. Obi-Wan had done hundreds of these interviews searching for a 'worthy keeper of the flame' as he called it. Dameron thought the elder must have run out of decent options if he was considering Poe to inherit his legacy or maybe the degenerative brain disease clouded his logic early. Father Kenobi never asked the same questions twice which meant nobody knew the correct answer to his interview. The elder asked him a jumble of odd questions but the one that stuck with Poe was 'How would you react to a being who by definition is supposedly irredeemable?' He took a risk and answered that no one is irredeemable 'by definition' as he so called it. At least not in this branch of Christianity. The Catholic Church didn't promote predestination, anyone could be saved if they GENUINELY worked to make amends for their sins and delivered their soul to God and if the old coot didn't know that then he wasn't as wise as everybody believed him to be. Apparently that was the right answer cause two days later they called him to say he'd been selected as Obi-Wan's successor once he died.
The old priest managed to die 'in the lucky state' as the nurses called it, when he could still remember who he was and how to eat and breathe, though he'd been stuck in the past most hours and kept asking for people who were dead long before Poe was born. Doctor Shaak Ti said the old priest was worried about 'his boy' in the last days and tried to sneak out of the hospital to find this person several times in broad daylight, claiming he needed to help him. (Probably a man he knew in WWII or Korea, the old priest was a war veteran in a time where PTSD wasn't recognized and the Alzheimer's probably brought him back to the same battle-shocked mind state of his youth). When Poe inquired how they managed to abate that run-away instinct at nighttime the woman claimed that Father Kenobi was always very calm at nighttime, always giddy to receive his grandson who was such a sweet young man and came every day after his long day workhours were finished without fail and made the old priest's eyes shine, this caused Shaak Ti to complain about her good-for nothing niece Barriss who couldn't even be bothered to see her mother Luminara when she was getting a kidney transplant once. That confused Poe: Obi-wan had no children, he was the role model for celibacy in modern times. If it were Quinlan Vos then sure, Poe wouldn't be surprised to learn the hippie priest had a kid but Obi-Wan who never looked at a person below the face? It didn't make sense then, it still doesn't make sense now after Poe searched through the federal files and found Obi-Wan had no blood relatives whatsoever. The fact Obi-Wan specifically asked for his 'grandson's' visits to be erased from the nursing home tapes after his death only made the whole thing even more confusing. How many secrets did the old man take with him to the grave? No use asking that, what matters now is following Father Kenobi's last coherent wish.
Like everything regarding the old priest, his wish had been shrouded in mystery. Father Kenobi left him a series of instructions for nightly confessions that he was only to open after reading- What was it the old man's note said? Oh right:
'My dearest friend to whom I have served as confessor since I was 38 and whom I beseech you not to judge for the affliction that ails him. For he is the purest of his kind and long has he brought me hope for humanity. He only takes nighttime confessions so make sure you get proper rest on the days he comes to prevent your over-exertion. Expect him around nine o clock, don't worry about keeping the doors open cause locks are rendered powerless under my friend. Should you allow it he will aid you to the best of his abilities. Please listen to him as I have listened to him, my parting will only increase his sorrows. I love the boy like a son and will be eternally grateful to you if you extend a hand in friendship to him as I heretofore desire.'
Huh, even when his memories were being slowly fried into a crisp Old Kenobi still managed to talk and write like he was part of some Shakespearean drama actor in a epic monologue. Still making the rest of us look bad without even trying but being so courteous in the way he achieved it that he couldn't be hated or even disliked. No wonder the drug cartels tried to kill him five times for meddling in their affairs (famously turning Assaj Ventress from drug dealer to Catholic Nun after she confessed her crimes and did 12 years in jail, leading the FBI to shut down a fifth of New York's drug cartels and earning Obi-Wan his nickname of the Negotiator) if this is how he convinced people at his weakest point then the man must have been savagely brutal back in his glory days. He wonders what the old man meant by 'affliction' and if this son in all save blood has anything to do with the 'boy' he kept trying to find in his episodes.
There's a good chance 'affliction' is just a euphemism for drug use. Father Kenobi spent decades working with the folks at Covenant House to provide those society abandoned with shelter and in far more cases than they'd like rehabilitation. Obi-Wan was probably helping some poor street kid that ended up using drugs to escape the harsh reality around him but is fully aware of the stigma people have on addiction, how they treat it like a crime instead of a public health issue. Probably learned how to pick a lock to steal food from a foster parent that put keys and chains on the fridge. A sad tale repeated far too many times with far too little time in between the next person who tells that lachrymose story. What doesn't add up is the 'since I was 38' part of the note. Kenobi was 98 years old when he died and yet he still referred to Poe's confessor as a boy when he should be at least 40-80 years old if the timeline's correct. Poe chalks it down to the Alzheimer's confusing him even earlier than everyone thought, causing old Kenobi to mix up this current boy with another youth he helped decades ago using the same methods or with the boy he was probably forced to leave behind in some bloodied battlefield that haunted him till the end of his days.
Past blending in a sick brain or not there's still a troubled young lad out there who needs his help so Poe prepares blankets, organizes a box of non perishable food and buys some one size fits all sweaters just in case the person is homeless and/or hungry. He's seen other, less dogmatic members of the clergy offer food and drink to ease people in before confessing with good results. He hopes the poor kid opens up to him, grief has a way of making you want to ignore the world. Poe barely talked to anyone except his father when he lost his mother and that was the reaction of a boy with a comfortable lifestyle and a good support system. Most of the 'street rats' Poe's encountered are running away from abusive homes or simply got tossed away like yesterday's garbage by those who should have protected them from the world, all of them good kids that deserve better. Just in case he brings Obi-Wan's note so the kid sees he can be trusted.
At 8:45 pm Father Poe Dameron lies in wait for the promised visitor, box not far if he needs to hand it over to the young lad. He reads Obi-Wan's work file from Covenant House to see if he can narrow down the possibilities for this elusive visitor but sadly there's far too much ambiguity in the old man's note for him to link this boy whom Poe'll give confession to in fifteen minutes if he arrives on time. Was it so difficult to place the name of this kid in a piece of paper? How's he supposed to get a read on him if he's diving blind into the situation. Deciding he's done enough contemplating over the lack of identity of Obi-wan's last mission Poe tends to the candles near the large organ built in 1899 that serves as a decoration and an instrument at the same time. He's tempted the play the large musical treasure. Well, two or three notes won't kill anyone and the church is empty until the kid comes....
Seeing as today marks the last day of octavas* Poe decides to find out what one of his native Puerto Rican songs would sound like in this baroque-style organ that definitely didn't have a single parranda tune in mind when they built this baby. He'd like to see the look on the architect's face if it were possible to laugh at their shock-ridden open mouths open finding out that their haughty masterpiece is going to play a 'bean-eater' Christmas carol.
de la montaña
de mi cabaña
que alegre está,
y a mis amigos
les traigo flores
de las mejores
de mi rosal.
y a mis amigos
les traigo flores
de las mejores
de mi rosal."*
Poe hears a voice laughing. "And here I thought Obi-wan was going to send me a priest, looks like he sent a singer instead." That can't be him already, my clock says it's 8:50 pm and I would've heard the large mahogany doors being opened. Though this doesn't sound like a kid, more like someone in his early 20s. That shouldn't surprise me: at 98 everyone was a baby next to Father Kenobi, now let me turn around and see what this friend of Obi-Wan looks like.
The sight before him is nothing even remotely close to what he expected. Instead of a malnourished kid who's had a rough break the 'visitor' in question is lean, well-dressed in black, athletically built and worst of all making the young priest who's sworn to abstinence very much aware of the fact that his sexual orientation is bisexuality with those enchanting blue eyes and that lovely shade of blonde hair- Wait a minute: I've seen this guy before, this is the same blonde that zoomed at Obi-Wan's funeral. That proves he cared about the old man at least but I don't understand what I'm supposed to help this guy with. Is he some rich kid struggling with bulimia or something? Cause really Poe doesn't see what's wrong with him.
"You're confused, aren't you kid?"
"Is it that obvious. Also don't call me kid, I'm 29 years old. You're the kid, don't look a day over 23."
The blonde standing at the edge of the balcony laughs and it's the hollow chuckle of one carrying an invisible burden. Poe walks over to take a closer look at the youth's eyes, trying to assess him and discovers that while this mysterious youth may bear the face of someone in his early twenties his eyes are those of an old man. Filled with experience and tribulations and what may or may not be the silent plea for someone to save him from a personal hell that his life has slowly but surely carved out for him. Also, there's an air about him- a sort of ethereal yet simultaneously sensual and dangerous quality that transcends time and space, like-like old and powerful magic. No, this man is not in his twenties. This man might not even be a man at all. Whatever this man is scares him.
"Clever boy. Didn't take you long to figure it out. Do me a favor and lose the smell of fear, it doesn't suit you."
Saying he can smell fear didn't exactly help.
"Who are you? What are you? What's your name?"
"We're all so much more complicated than our names. Don't you agree Benny Goodman?"
If that's his idea of a joke then it's not funny, Poe didn't even know who the guy is.
"Tell me who you are or I'll call the police."
Oh, great: he was laughing again..."To spare you the embarrassment of explaining to the cops while trying not to look crazy, I'll answer: My name is Luke Skywalker. I was born in 1919 Germany to Anakin Skywalker and Padme Naberrie-"
"Impossible: you'd be 99 years old."
"98 actually, I'm turning 99 in three days."
"And what are you?"
"Talamaur,Nosferatu, Vrykolakas, Vampir. Take your pick on what you wanna call me."
Ay Dios Mio... There's a vampire in front of him!! Poe can practically hear his old school friend Jessika saying 'I told you so'. Where's the holy water? Oh, wait it's on the first floor. Was this punishment for goofing around In Theology Class when he already knew the material cause no offense God, but he don't think that merits him getting his blood sucked off by a monster!!! In a panicked mode the young priest struggles to unhook his rosary from his belt and exorcise the demonic being. As a result he falls off the balcony. Poe waits for the sound of his bones cracking once he hits the floor and hopes the vampire kills him in the 50s movie style instead of that weird film about vampires in Alaska where it was messy and painful-Wait, what happened? How am I standing on the first floor instead of nursing a broken leg until my blood's sucked? Someone's holding me-
"Now that you got that out of your system, are you going to behave like a priest or are you going to try and reach for the holy water, which by the way doesn't work on me."
The vampire slowly releases Poe from his grasp. "You saved my life?"
"Oh good, you can be taught."
"Aren't you gonna suck my blood or something?"
"No, for three simple reasons: the first being your blood smells like junk food which is a horrifying stench if there ever was one. Two, you seem like a nice kid and three: I'm trying to hold on to my humanity, draining you dry doesn't exactly help that goal."
A being who by definition is supposedly irredeemable, a vampire that can enter Church with no repercussions and just saved his life...So that's what the old bastard meant. He could have given Poe a little more warning!!!! Something like: Oh and by the way my 'dear friend' is a vampire, hope you don't mind!' Poe is still fuming over the old priest's lack of clarification when he places his hand on his belt and finds his rosary's gone. He looks around the floor, searching for the religious artifact until common (or perhaps crazy) sense compels him to walk over to the vam- to the man, Luke was it? Yeah that was his name, it's a good name, an evangelist name, who is now seated at one of the long wooden pews near the altar of Christ. Man, Poe's been a jerk. Here the guy is trying to be a good man and a good Christian against all odds and what did I do? Try to exorcise him. He softly approaches Luke, not knowing how to apologize. But the guy doesn't look at him like he expects an exorcism as Poe sat next to him so there was a good start.