Be Alive


ezra_icon.gif libby_icon.gif

Scene Title Be Alive
Synopsis Ezra Grimes goes to see Libby Case following her brother's capture by the Company.
Date March 16, 2009

Calvary Cemetery

"You know where to meet me," Ezra said. He didn't sound happy.

It's been a day since their first meeting — half of one since everything went pear-shaped. It's the cemetery, again, not far from Elizabeth Case's grave. Ezra sits under a tree, one of the few dead, bony-looking things that pokes its head up hereabouts. There's a pile of cigarettes in the dirt all around him.

He got here early. He had to burn some stress. And some tobacco, apparently.

At least it's a nice day to burn. The weather has been fortunately warm for the last couple of days, more so today than others. While the cometary still has that crispness about it that makes it feel perpetually trapped in Autumn, the patches of snow clinging to the cold ground have melted away further, and the sight of birds perched on mausoleum rooftops are a sure sign that spring is around the corner. At least nature is willing to cut the world a break, even if the human race refuses to.

All this seasonal introspection is cut short when Ezra spots the same woman from before slowly coming up the paved walkway through the plots of headstones. Notably, Libby Case is still dressed in the same clothing she was the day before, though slightly more wrinkled and dirty, especially her worn out looking jeans and sneakers.

Distracted looking as ever, Libby stops in mid stride having already passed the tree Ezra is seated beneath. She turns, looking over her shoulder with one hand holding back locks of dark hair that the wind keeps trying to shove in her face. There's no smile, no "hello", no real form of a greeting at all — given what happened to Tyler, it's all too likely that she doesn't much feel in the mood to be social.

Her hesitation is brief, and eventually she treads off of thew walkway, muddy sneakers becoming muddier as they track across soggy grass and over patches of unmelted snow, coming to stand beneath the stick-bare bough of the tree Ezra sits under. Her brows tense, eyes settled on the Detective, and after an awkward moment she affords him the first sign of real acknowledgement. "I didn't… expect to hear from you again."

"I solved the case," Ezra says. "All I had to do was get my hand destroyed to get that last little piece into place." He shakes his head, looking at his shoes. "I'm sorry. I didn't plan on just running into Tyler… but I learned a few things. Well, other than the missing piece of that crime scene. That's not important."

"Someone wants your brother, and it's not the Chinese mafia and it's not us. I thought it was Homeland Security, at first, but something's… something's up. I can't put my finger on it, but something's off. I can feel it. Do you know why your brother's so special?"

Closing her eyes, Libby looks away as Ezra speaks. Her lips press together tightly, brows knitting into a furrow of frustration followed by an exasperated sigh. "I don't — " She brings a hand up to cover her face, rubbing over her eyes as she turns partiaslly away from the Detective, affording him her profile only, " — It's hard to — " her hand covers her face, words mumbled against her palm. "God, Ty… God damnit." Libby's shoulders curl forward, teeth clenching together as she strains out one ragged and emotional sound before pulling herself back together.

Sniffling, she wipes at her reddened eyes, looking back to Ezra from where she had tried to keep her focus on the headstones of her family. Her eyes peer at Ezra for a long time, unfocused in that thousand-yard stare that veteran soldiers often afford the world. "I — I died."

Excuse me?
"I don't really get into the business of sentiment. I solve cases. I finish puzzles. It's what I do. But there are pieces missing from this one. And I promised—…" Ezra pauses for a few seconds, and just sort of buries his face in his palm.

"Son of a bitch."

Swallowing tensely, Libby looks away, turning her back on the detective without another word. "I — I shouldn't have come, I — I'm sorry. It — Tyler's — " Her head shakes back and forth again, fingers curling into the fabric of her hooded sweatshirt as she takes a few steps beyond where the cigarette butts were deposited. "If Tyler knew what he did, I — If he…" Libby tenses up again, hanging her head, "he doesn't need that guilt."

"What he needs is to get out of the hole that Homeland Security has him in. It's bigger than you or him, now. They're going to weaponize him, don't you get it? He's one of a kind. He's a game-changer. Do you understand what he can do? I'm not quitting until the case is over, and it's still wide open. You can either help me… or live with not helping me."

"He — " Libby turns around sharply, clearly with the intent of shouting at Ezra, but the virtol leaves her words before the spill out, sounding half-heartedly frustrated. "Ty's — gifted he just — " Closing her eyes, she sighs loudly, rubbing one hand over her mouth repeatedly. "What the hell do you think I can even do? I — I can't — I'm nobody." Libby takes a half-step back, staring at Tyler before turning her head away from him, looking in the direction of the graves beyond, the ones of her family.

"Detective I — " Libby swallows noisily, "I'm — I can't do anything for him, I mean — what do you expect me to do, for either of us to do? You don't live on the streets like I do, you haven't seen — there's — " One hand waves frantically towards Ezra, then at the city. "A bunch of us who were living in Jersey got attacked, hunted for fucking sport or — I — fuck I don't know. I've — some of my friends staying on Staten Island just up and vanished, people — it — this is bigger than both of us, because it's our fucked up world!" Despite her defeatist words, she's winding herself up, getting upset, angry. "What… the fuck do you think I can do about the world?" Shamefully, she closes her eyes, trying to hide the fact that she got herself so emotionally charged over something — ultimately — she feels she can't change.

"… yeah. Guess so," Ezra says. "Listen, because of what he can do — because you're his sister — they're going to come after you, too. Or they will if they find out you're not dead. Get out of town. Keep your head down. Live your life," Ezra says, resignment in his voice. "Leave me some way to contact you. I'm not giving up on your brother," he says. "Or on all of that mess," he says, saving a cigarette towards the looming shape of the Empire State Building in the distance.

Libby croaks out a laugh, turning on her heels to look out towards Manhattan's jagged skyline in the distance, then back to Ezra. "I— you think I want to be in this shithole of a city? I— I have nothing. No money, no job, no car, no friends or family I can contact. I — I'm legally dead, I can't work a legal job, I can't — if I revealed myself to the police, just up and said hey I'm alive I — Tyler would," She snorts loudly, realizing that where he is now, he'd likely never hear. But, consideration dawns on her features, "If what you're saying's right, I'd be fucked anyway."

Her eyes scan up and down the detective, "I'm stuck here like everyone else living in this rotten shithole. I don't have anywhere else to go." As if it were an afterthought, she asks in a hushed voice, "why— do you give such a shit about my brother and me anyway? I — I don't even know you."

"Ah, hell," Ezra mutters — and momentarily puts on a Humphrey Bogart impression. "This is why I hate dames," he adds, before dropping it. He sounds pretty tired. "And, you know what? I don't really know why I give a damn. It's not the badge, that's for sure. Nobody gets into this job because they want to protect and serve aside from the nutjobs, and they get snatched up by Homeland Security in a heartbeat."

It's kind of bothering him.

"Shit. Well, I haven't put your name on any reports yet." Ezra halfway keels over, rubbing the back of his head in thought. He's thinking. Finally, he shakes his head. "Hell. You're really screwed, huh?" Can't leave town. Can't make it on her own anyways. Son of a bitch.

"You promised—Remember, you promised," says Tyler Case, in the back of Ezra's head.

Ezra digs around in his pockets, rooting around for something. After a couple of moments he tosses his keys at her. "You're my ex from college. I don't know, make up a fucking name. You're staying at my place because your neighborhood's gotten too shitty. Dye your hair and stay the fuck away from Chinatown."

Jerking her head to the side with a surprised expression, Libby stares blankly at Ezra, and then practically jumps out of her skin when she catches the keys shortly before they strike her in the chest. They feel heavier than they should wound in cold fingers. Her eyes dart from the keys, to Ezra, then back down to the keys again, "J-Jesus Christ I — " she shakes her head, forcibly holding the keys back out again. "I — I can't, I mean you — " One face in a city of thousands, and one face that nobody is looking for. The deal, in all truths, is a sweet one, and it gets her off of the streets before it gets colder.

Libby remains tense, looking at the keys for a long time before letting her eyes focus up to Ezra. "I'm not… human, not — I mean — " It's a confession, Ezra recognizes the body-language and posture. "Tyler changed me, he — he gave me this — this — I don't know. I don't know how he did it, and — and he doesn't — " Libby's hand clutched around the keys tightly. "I'm a freak," she adds in a hushed voice, the words strained through her teeth.

"Does…" She holds the keys out, "that change things?"
Ezra just sort of rolls his eyes and bites his thumb. No, literally — he just chomps into the thing until he draws blood. He doesn't look too thrilled about it. The cop holds his thumb out… and the wound shuts like it got zippered close. "Oh, hey. There's an ulterior motive. I need your deadbeat fucking brother to fix whatever the hell he did or I'm gonna have some real problems, real soon." There. Now he can tell himself he's not doing anything unnecessary.

"You couldn't surprise me even if you said you turned into Godzilla, but for the sake of argument — /how/ did he change you?" Ezra asks, wiping the blood off on his shirt. He really should have planned that out, brought some napkins. And, shit. Now he's hungry.

Watching with wide-eyed wonder at the sight of Ezra's wound sealing shut, Libby's mouth hangs open, her brows quivering between tense and relaxed as a wave of conflicting emotions washes over her. "He…" she looks down to the keys when she's about to be avoidant, hastily changing her dismissive tone to something bordering on rueful or — perish the thought — thankful. "He let me live again… but it — life isn't free." Her fingers close tightly around the keys, and she tucks them away in the pouch at the front of her hooded sweatshirt.

"I don't… really understand what I can do, I just… it's dangerous." Her eyes downcast, and Libby initially moves to pull away from the conversation, then hesitates and looks back to Ezra. "I— I'm not dangerous, so — so don't go getting, I mean — " Libby's head shakes, sending those ringlets of chestnut colored hair swaying from side to side. "This… means a lot to me, what you're doing for Tyler, and… what you're doing for me. I didn't think decent people still lived in New York City." Her eyes are transfixed on Ezra's thumb, more so than anything else, still fascinated by Tyler's ability.
"If you keep talking like that I'm going to kick you out on your ass," Ezra says, in regards to decency and New York City. "… and give me my keys back, I need to make copies."

Dramatic gesture and all notwithstanding. "C'mon. We're getting out of here. No more sittin' around empty graves."

Libby snorts out a laugh at Ezra, and for the first time since he saw her here at her own grave, Ezra spots a smile creeping up on her lips. She reaches out, dangling the keys in front of him, then flips them through the air towards the Detective. As he starts to move, Libby's eyes scan over towards the empty grave markers where all but one member of her family lays to rest in name only. She shoves her hands into her pockets, eyes going distant for a moment.

My name is Libby Case…

She shakes her head, turning to follow after Ezra with her back turned to the grave markers, even as the sun begins to peek out from behind the clouds dappling the sky. As she walks, her shadow continues to stretch out behind her, continuously reaching for the graves she leaves in her wake.

…I've lived a pretty rough life…

Hustling to catch up to Ezra, she rolls her shoulders forward and gives the detective a scrutinizing stare, one that wordlessly implis the confusion over her new predicament, and the almost child-like wonder she feels at having something of a fresh start in a city where hopelessness and despair are the currency of the day.

…but I like to think that I've made as much of it as I can…

As Detective Ezra Grimes, and Elisabeth Case make their way out of Calvary Cemetary, the sun begins to set down on the end of one day, leading to the dark night that will bring both of them towards a new beginning, and something unpredictable and unusual.

Sure, I've made some mistakes — everyone has. But I like to think that I can turn things around…

In a city of several million disperate souls all clamboring to find a place for themselves, the odds of two individuals united by something so strange as this entire case has been seems almost impossible. But here is living, breathing proof that no matter where you go, and no matter how dark things seem to be getting, there is always a chance to start over again.

…that I can make something of myself…

Be it in this life, or the next.

…and be somebody.

March 16th: Just Be...

Previously in this storyline…
Just Be...

This concludes the 'Becoming Nobody storyline.

March 16th: Just A Man
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