A Man's Requirements


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Scene Title A Man's Requirements
Synopsis Through all hopes that keep us brave, / Farther off or nigher, / Love me for the house and grave, / And for something higher. / Thus, if thou wilt prove me, Dear, / Woman's love no fable, / I will love thee — half a year — / As a man is able. — Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Date May 8, 2011

Calvary Cemetery

A massive, sprawling collection of gravestones, all as unique from each other as the names and dates printed upon their faces. There is a chaotic feel to this place, overcrowded with those that have passed away; a jungle of crosses, statues, tombs, domes and headstones as simple as jutting teeth. Winding pathways lead several different tours through the plain, and there is a kind of anxious peace to this place, and its visitors are few and scattered. There is an awe-inspiring view of the wrecked skyline of Manhattan, reminding those that don't need to be reminded of how fast life can be snatched away.

Sunday isn't the best day for public transportation in New York City, especially when relying on it on a special occasion. The ferry is running on a skeleton schedule and the busses are late, it took Delia two hours just to get to Brooklyn from Staten, normally the trip takes a little less than an hour. Already, she'd walked more than she has since coming out of her coma. She's exhausted and thanks to a few texts, she's close to reaching her goal.

Huddled against Nick on the back of his motorcycle, she has her eyes squeezed shut as he leans the bike to make necessary turns. She's not the best passenger, especially while wearing a sundress. It's tucked tight against her legs, exposing them to passing bugs, lucky she's got a cardigan on or else she'd be freezing. The redhead feels the bike slowing as they pass through the gates. She hears the crunch of the gravel against the wheels when they slow and stop. She's got a bear grip on him though, it's quite possible that she's never been so scared and excited in her entire life.

"We're here?"

It's not his idea for a 'date,' if dating is what they're doing, but since he's making an effort to 'make her happy,' he isn't about to say no. As he leans the bike to the side to kick the kickstand into place, Nick glances over his shoulder, pushing the visor up so he can speak to her. "Yeah, you can open your eyes," he says playfully.

It wasn't his idea to take the motorcycle either.

Reaching down he takes her hands in his to extricate himself from her grip, swinging his injured leg off the bike and then tugging her to follow. He moves to the back of his bike to get the flowers from the cargo containers there. Pale eyes cast their gaze out onto the green lawns, his expression a bit grim.

Right around the location of Mary Ryans' gravestone, there is already someone crouched there. Wearing a long sleeve henley, with an unbuttoned shirt over it and jeans. Not the best clothing for visiting the dead. It's a tall figure folded down smaller… lower. It allows him to place a pair of roses, a rich cream in color and just starting to unfold silky petals from the buds. He wishes it could be more, but his current situation doesn't allow him to buy a dozen.

"Hello Mary," he murmurs softly, the words rumble and carry a little.

He heard the motorcycle, but ignored it for letting his bright blue gaze roam over the carved letters over her stone. Ben reaches out to touch the cool stone and sighs softly. He wasn't lying to Nicole when he told her that the death about destroyed him. Even now it hurts to sit here, even if she was going to leave him. He had loved her. Still did.

The heart knows what it wants.

Yet, it wasn't the crushing feeling it once was. Something that made him want to just lay down on on the ground and will himself dead. That surprised him. Now… He brushes a thumb against the inner corner of his eye. Now it just made him feel sad.

One hand moves to flatten the wrinkles in the white sundress she wears. The cardigan is buttoned up but Nick saw what was underneath before Delia even got on the bike. Stark white with tatting on the edges, pearlescent spaghetti straps, cotton so soft that it must have been worn and washed a hundred times; it's the dress she always wears in her dreams.

The one stolen from her mother's closet post mortem.

"Thanks for the ride," she says quietly as he moves to retrieve the flowers. A selection of roses, half bought, half cut from the garden that she's started at home. "I don't think I would have made it here before dark if you hadn't picked me up. Uhm. You're going to be okay? I promise she won't bite— I mean— " Delia's not one for making light of where her mother resides but she's trying too. "If she did, we' have bigger problems to worry about, right?" Lacing her fingers with his, she begins the slow climb over the hill leading to Mary's grave.

The figure there catches her by surprise and she pauses. Delia's been attached to her father for so long that it's almost a sixth sense in identifying him. The way his shoulders curve when he's sullen or angry, the way his knees crack when he stands— like rice crispies, she used to joke— and the way he holds his chin when he's trying not to let any emotion out. It's not that she didn't expect her father to be there but… she didn't expect her father to be there. "Daddy," she whispers, her grip on Nick's hand tightening.

Nick's shoulder rises and falls. "I'm fine," he says quietly, lips curving a little at her joke. "If you want me to wait here, I can, too," he offers, but her gaze has drifted to where Ryans kneels at the grave.

His hand jerks a little in hers, as if he might pull free from it to hide the evidence that he's with Delia. A soft breath huffs out and he shakes his head. The coincidences of timing in his life never cease to amaze him. "You didn't plan this, did you?" he says lightly to her. He gives a nod toward Ryans, and then to her. "You should… I should prob'ly let you two…"

But that's the easy way out. His hand squeezes hers back. "Lemme know if you want a moment," he says a little more certainly, while taking a step forward from gravel and asphalt onto grass. If she doesn't tell him to stay at the bike, he'll accompany her.

He doesn't look back, Benjamin is focused on the tombstone with his wife's name on it. His thum brushes along the M, feeling the way the stone was cut away to carve it there. He's aware they are there or at least someone is approaching.

There is a tensing of his shoulders and his head turns a little, but he doesn't fully turn around until he's on his feet completely. By the way, his knees do pop.

Ben isn't surprised to see his little girl there, but he is surprised to see Nick. So when he looks at the younger man, a brow ticks upward with curiosity. Then the eyes narrowing in that same way it did on the roof of the castle, especially at the sight of them holding hands. "Delia…. Nick."

The most innocent of expressions is on the face of Benjamin's youngest (second youngest?) daughter as she pivots a glance between her father and her escort. Then she focuses completely on the older man, still holding fast to Nick's hand. She takes a few steps forward, dragging the younger man along behind her as she nears the gravestone. The old operative's reaction to her raven haired escort's presence causes her a bit of confusion.

"Nick was nice enough to give me a ride when I got stuck in Brooklyn," she comments idly, not mentioning that they had been riding a motorcycle. There's just some things a daughter is too intelligent to mention. "We brought roses," she adds in a quieter voice. "The little ones are from my rose bushes, from my garden."

He may not be the best at his actual profession, but Nick is astute enough to pick up on Ryan's narrowed gaze, on the inflection of his name on the older man's lips. He gives a nod to Ryans and lets Delia lead him, though he doesn't balk or hang back once it's clear that Delia wants him to approach the grave.

As he gets closer, Nick's blue eyes meet Ryans' before he gives a nod, a respectful "Sir" uttered. His eyes drop down to the gravestone, brows knitting as he reads its inscription; a muscle twitches in his jaw before he glances back up. "I don't mean to interrupt. I can wait," he tells Ryans; Delia may want him there for her moment with the dead, but that doesn't mean he's welcome in Ryans' moment of mourning and respect.

Now here Delia surprises Ben, his gaze snapping to the roses she's holding and then up to his daughter. He looks surprised. Especially since he still remembers the chaos that was his garden, laid to waste by her hand. "You're fine." He offers it to Nick gruffly, glancing at the younger man out of the corner of his eye. "I'm only here for a short visit."

But he doesn't neglect his daughters words either, "They look lovely. Your mother would be proud." Ben gives her a small smile to show that he does mean those words and steps aside to give her access to the tombstone where his two little roses, bound by a red ribbon lay.

It's hard to say if Mary would be proud at the bundle of roses laid down next to the two finer ones already there. The smaller ones are sickly in color and composition, no prize winners but definitely a labor of love where the young redhead is concerned. Nick is released for the time it takes Delia to kneel down and present them to the rock that marks her mother's resting place. She doesn't whisper as he did, saving her own thoughts and well wishes for the day that she would have spent with the woman lying underground.

When she rises again, she backpeddles away from the grassy earth a little quicker than she should, almost running into Nick. She gives Ben a nervous tick of a smile before lowering her head to gaze at the dates on the stone. "She'd be glad you're here," she begins quietly. She finally raises her eyes to give a swift glance at their surroundings, half expecting her older sister to make an appearance. "Have you seen Lu yet? Was she here before?" Given there aren't any extra flowers there, Delia doesn't expect a positive answer to her question. Still, a hopeful expression is passed to the older man.

Nick stands still; when Delia releases his hand, it goes into the pocket of his leather jacket, and he fixes his gaze on the grass rather than watch Delia pay her respects or rather than try to make small talk with Ryans. He doesn't do small talk well, and this isn't the place for it — he thinks. Despite his close relationship with Death, cemeteries are not that familiar to him.

His ghosts are all still alive, as far as he knows.

When Delia returns, nearly bumping into him, his hand comes out of his pocket to touch her shoulder lightly before dropping again.

He watches Delia silently, sadness etching the lines deeper in his face. Sad that they have to do this at all. "Like I would miss a year." He chides softly, hand moving to touch the top edge of the granite, resting there. "Lately, it feels more important that I should.

"Mainly, cause I wonder if there is a time I stop." It worries him a little that he might get to that point in his life, where he neglects the woman he loved so dearly. "If after…" He trails off, looking down at the grave as if she might be listening. It seems rude to speak of future spouses in front of the dead one.

When Nick's hand drops, Delia turns her head to give him a glance from the corner of her eye before looking back at her father. "Something new doesn't have to replace what used to be," she says in a low tone, eying the hand on the monument before lifting it to his face. "Hearts have a way of making room, they grow."

One shoulder lifts in a shrug, mirroring the one that Nick gave her father minutes before as her fingers reach down to the dress to pinch at the soft cotton. Apparently a little too nervous to reach for the young man's hand again but not nervous enough to stay a few paces away from him. "But… I guess that'll be something you decide for yourself if the time ever comes." Meaning, she'll make the effort to be here year after year.

Nick's eyes rise from their spot on the ground and he offers a half smile toward the older man. "The grieving's for the living from what I understand. You do what you need to, what feels right for you, what feels like needs t'be done. One day it might not feel as important, and you'll know," he offers, voice quiet and a little uncertain.

His eyes dart to Delia and then back to Ryans. "I don't think there's any shoulds or shouldn'ts when it comes to mourning. Not that anyone else has the right to decide for you, anyway." His eyes drop again, and he offers that one-shouldered shrug again. "I wouldn't know. Just my opinion."

"Maybe," Ben says softly, running his hand over the rough surface, before taking a step back from it. Distancing himself a little. "I can't help but wonder still. It's hard to know the future, even with a glimpse of one gone." Hands tuck in his pockets, thumbs hooking on the outside of them.

Ryans looks at the pair for a long moment, before saying. "I saw Ingrid the other day, while I was picking up some seeds, with Nicole." That might surprise Delia or not. "She didn't react all that well to us knowing who she is. I think she would have rathered us not." Which is a little sad in itself. Not great grave site talk, but when would he see Delia again?

"I haven't seen her since I was staying at their apartment," Delia says sullenly, wrapping her arms around her thin frame to hug herself. "I have a picture to give back to her. There's one of you too, Dad, it's with you and some old guy that I had a dream about, Raith? There's a few kids in it with you… The Others." Considering Nick met their daughter, she's assuming that Benji told the council already, so she doesn't explain further.

"She's probably coming to terms with never being born," she says, skipping back to the previous topic. "Kincaid is dealing with it too— I think he's a little more, I don't know, at peace with it. As long as Brad's happy."

The mention of Ingrid has Nick cocking a brow curiously, but then he looks away and down, jaw twitching at the ensuing conversation. Benji clearly hadn't wanted to speak to Nick, a fact Nick is sure Ryans hadn't missed.

"Let me know when you're done," he says suddenly and tersely to Delia, giving another nod toward Ryans before he begins to stride toward the motorcycle. Discussing a future where he's apparently a horrible father to Ben Ryans' grandson is not a conversation he wants to be in.

That Nick is suddenly leaving grabs Ryans interest, returning the nod with a stiff incline of his head. Curious he watches the younger man walk away. To Delia he states softly, "Guessing his meeting with Benji didn't do so well either." It's a guess really.

A little louder he adds, "Good to see you again Nick." Then Ben's attention is on Delia. "I shouldn't dawdle here." He is after all a wanted man. That thought prompts another glace around, as he adds. "But I am glad I got to see you." Blue eyes turning back to this current youngest daughter. "I do miss you girls… though it's probably a good thing you are not out there. I did start them planting a garden out there." There is a touch of amusement as he reminds her of his last one.

"Been thinking about you girls, a lot lately. Even Ingrid." He studies his daughter for a long moment and moves to pull her against his side, intent on walking her away from Mary's grave, just a short distance. "Either way, I need to head out. I'll leave you and Nick to your mother. You can tell her all about this craziness… just… maybe not Ingrid's mother." As silly as it sounds, he feels uncomfortable at the thought of his possible second marriage coming up.

"He's hurting," Delia says softly in explanation of Nick's disposition. She watches the younger man's back as he stalks away from them, not fighting her father as he begins to lead her away from the grave. Neither does she attempt to argue Ben's apparent happiness that she and her sister aren't with him, she just shrugs one shoulder. "It's good to see you too, out here. Didn't think you'd want to see me." Not that she fled at first sight of him anyway.

Finally she turns a weak smile up to her father and wraps an arm around his side. "I shouldn't torture Nick with cemetery time, it's a little too creepy for me.." Given that the redhead's first mention of her dreams was untouched, she doesn't venture another. "Uhm… I told Kincaid that Lu didn't have a place to stay, I think he was going to offer her a place with him. If you're looking for her, she'd probably like to see you." It's something like a goodbye, or at least a farewell, as she pulls away from his side to stand next to the motorbike.

Her smile gains strength as she looks up at Nick, reaching for his hand to tangle her fingers with his. "I promised we'd only be here a few minutes, cemeteries have always sort of given me the willies anyway." It's a lie, more of a recent development.

At Delia's return, Nick hands her the helmet, then releases her hand to pull his own on. He gives Ryans a two-fingered wave, then pushes his visor up as he gets on the bike, wincing as his injured leg takes his weight for a moment, then turns back to raise a brow at her.

"You sure you're ready to go? Don't hurry for me. It's nice of you to visit your mum and all. Sorry I didn't pay my respects much," he says gruffly; while offering to stay longer, he starts the engine to the motorcycle; clearly, he's eager to leave, even if he's willing to stay.

"I may." It's not a promise that he'll look for Lucille right away, but it's not like he won't. "It's good to know that family means something even now." There is some relief to knowing that his oldest daughter is getting some help from… well… something like family.

"Do me a favor, Lia. If you ever talk to Russo. Don't mention anything about Nicole and I? Since she was" is? "engaged to him." That would be all sorts of awkward as situations go. Benjamin takes a step back as the engine starts, moving to clear the way for them.

Though he does leave his daughter with food for thought, raising his voice just enough to be heard over the rev of the engine, "Especially, since she and I have a date." And that said he leaves them to get on with their day.

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