Changing The Present


f_april_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif

Scene Title Changing The Present
Synopsis Gabriel is looking for Tyler Case, and finds April Silver instead.
Date May 18, 2009

Calvary Cemetery - The Grave of Elisabeth Case

Graveyards get a little creepy after dark. Even when it's before curfew and there are still lights on in the rest of Queens, traffic on the streets, people going about their business as usual. The bustle is starting to thin, more and more people going home for dinner, closing their doors and drawing curtains over windows, retreating to personal and private spaces for the night.

Calvary Cemetery is none of these things — not busy, nor well-lit, nor private. The fading colors of sunset and dim illumination from nearby streets do less than a few scattered lanterns to brighten the stone-strewn grass.

She came here by relayed request, to meet someone who never showed; regretted coming even before her arrival, and lingered for more reasons than one. April Silver pauses before the marker emblazoned for Elisabeth Case, if the hesitation of a single step can be called a pause; moves on past it, hands tucked into the pockets of her denim coat, hazel eyes turned towards a space currently unoccupied, a stretch of grass undisturbed by granite lump.

It's not usually the empty spaces that attract notice in a graveyard.

He's spent time here before. The rows of graves range from elaborate statues and crypts through to simplistic standings of rock as featureless as teeth. The grass is wet, the sky is dark, and it's been quiet and lonely for a while now, but Gabriel has a way of demonstrating extreme moments of patience. If you want something enough…

Gabriel unfolds his legs from where he'd been seated casually on damp ground with his back against the squarish base of an angel statue. Knees stiff, moving quietly. He's been watching the grave of Tyler Case's sister for the past few nights, because if he knows anything about anyone, it's that sentimentality transcends. Staten Island had also yielded nothing. No luck, though. Not until now, the dubious fortune of a woman he doesn't recognise stalking near the cross shaped carving of stone.

Virginia Gray's name is carved somewhere nearby. He didn't stop to look, not tonight.

He should follow her, but if he knows his luck, he'd follow her towards yet another dead end. The sidearm is heavy in his pocket but it's nothing he extracts as Gabriel plants a foot atop a sunken, tilted grave and steps over it, onto the stretch of grass April is walking, her back to him, but the scrape of shoe sole against granite is graceless, as is the sound of boots landing on soft earth.

In the stagnant silence of death, the susurrus of the city a distant backdrop, such sounds seem harshly abrupt. The woman turns, right hand lifting in an unmistakably defensive gesture, although it holds nothing. Except, perhaps, a flicker of silver — a flicker that disappears even as it formed, and perhaps was not truly seen at all.

His hands are empty, and hers fails to fall. April stands with her weight on the balls of her feet, poised to move, to act, to react; not the look of a deer caught in headlights, quite, but suspicious and wary. Then again, she is alone in a dark cemetery after-hours with a stranger. It's not unreasonable to be wary.

April doesn't break the resumed silence, at least not yet.

He could easily be a mugger. A cut throat. A rapist. Had he been one of those things, likely he might underestimate that flicker of silver, something it's unclear if Gabriel even notices, but he's none of those anyway. What he wants is far less easy to obtain. He doesn't let his hands gravitate to his pockets, keeps them free as he lets his eyes go up and down her body with its defensive stance, then swivel on over towards the grave - the one she had stopped at for a moment, the one near identical to its neighbours and its neighbours' neighbours.

Unspecial. His eyes narrow to read the faint bare inscription. "It's disappointing," he says. As if they were mid-conversation. Gabriel's hand comes up to scratch his jaw, skin faintly unshaven. "That after everything, after we finally give up and we give out, what's left to remember us by— cold granite. A name, a date."

A step forward to catch the details as if he hadn't read it before, carefully, to check that it was the right one, before his dark eyes track back on over to April. "Elisabeth Case, April 1st, 1978, November 6th, 2006. Sounds like a bad joke if those dates were switched."

He doesn't move; neither does she. Not, at any rate, aside from a puzzled tilt of her head at Gabriel's sudden foray into conversation. April's eyes narrow, considering the dark silhouette before her. Her gaze flicks to the tombstone; back towards the patch of grass which is now behind her, unmarked, unadorned. Even less than unspecial.

"Disappointing." She echoes his word, turning back to the strange conversationalist. "Would you rather there was nothing left at all?" As for April 1st being a bad joke… April doesn't comment.

"If you have nothing else to show for yourself," Gabriel says, blandly, looking back at the uneventful grave, "then why have a marker at all?" Presumably, he isn't here to just talk, but it's what he does. His options have been massively limited, which is why he's here at all.

The wind rustles the bare twigs of the elm tree nearby, smaller green leaves sprouting on its limbs, that even now manages to cast vein-shadows in the stranger light of distant streetlamps, the moon, and whatever light pollution reflects down from the cloud cover. Reverent serenity has him talking quietly, despite his choice of words. "Nothing shows that she was anyone's daughter, anyone's mother. Anyone's sister. Just a name, identical to however many more Elisabeth Cases are out there."

An angle of a glance as he asks, "How many do you know?"

That — that's an easy answer. She's known it ever since James — her James — died. "Because the marker isn't for you, no matter what people say." And they say a lot of things.

April's gaze falls to the tombstone in question, the granite memorial to a woman she never met. She could lie. Spin a story. Say — anything at all. But so many things have turned to ashes, and… what does she owe them, in the end? Very, very little.

"I don't," April replies.

Gabriel's eyebrow lifts at her answer, as if he hadn't completely thought of that. His mind flashes to a small gathering of pebbles, a few hills worth of them. For remembrance, respect. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad. Better to him than an anonymous hunk of granite to be stepped over, perched up by the disrespectful, glanced at in passing.

"Me neither," he admits, the toe of his boot digging restlessly into soft ground. "Not even sure the guy who does even cares, or remembers. He's going around calling himself John." Somewhere along that line of conversation, his stance had grown stiffer; still casual but as if, much like her posture when she'd turned around, ready to spring into some form of action.

Likely running away. "But I know his real name. We have a few things in common."

Just as Gabriel stiffens with the shift away from casual, almost meaningless, beating-around-the-bush conversation, tension also creeps into April's frame. More than there already was, anyway. Her hand lifts just slightly, fingers curving loosely inwards; not closing, quite.

Nothing happens. She doesn't bolt, doesn't attack; watches him, gauging, assessing. Who are you? What do you want?

"Is that so?" April asks.

"That is so," Gabriel states, a little flatly. He doesn't take the step forward he might have, simply stands his ground, and his eyes go to that hand she lifts. If anyone would, Gabriel knows such gestures, and he wonders what would go flying at him (or if he would go flying) should it lift all the way to do this woman's bidding. "You could tell me about yourself. Who are you to him?"

Now, he braves a step forward, grass crunching wetly underfoot. It's casual as you please, and a shrug ripples movement through his heavy coat. "Or you could tell me where to find him. I just want to talk. There are things he ought to know."

"I wouldn't know where to find him." More or less true; April does know where she might look. He's bound to come back to the textile factory eventually… maybe. "I don't want to find him. I hope he never comes back." Quieter, but truer words. Her hand falls; she tucks both into her pockets, looking down at the bent grass beside her feet. Not to be mistaken for a state of truce — but tolerance, perhaps. Or the beginnings thereof.

The woman draws in a breath, her gaze going to the distant horizon; not much of one to be seen, in the darkness. "What sort of things?" No, she's not going to tell Gabriel about herself.

Gabriel's eyebrows lift a little at April's words, but doesn't chase them down for further meaning, not yet. Another step, two steps, until they are more or less within a conversational distance unless April chooses to back up, settle more space between them. "Things between himself and I. Advice, about what he hopes to do here. He's trying to change things."

Or so Gabriel can guess. Filtered knowledge means Gabriel has only the scraps to work with, but he's always been resourceful. "Or run from them. Pretend you wanted to find him. Badly. Pretend the fate of the world rested on it. Where might he be?" His words are a little dry, cracked with weary sarcasm, but he's upped the intensity of his stare as if trying to pin April in place with it.

Ultimately, she needs very little space between them; though she can't be said to be easy with it, April doesn't react to his approach. She looks back at Gabriel, and her lips draw up in a wry, almost bitter smile. "The fate of the world rests on a lot of things, I guess. He 'wants to change things'," she echoes. "Apparently so do you. You're not giving me any good reasons to side with your version of fate." Whomever he is.

"If that's what it would take to convince you to introduce us…" Gabriel says, trailing off with a step back, as if about to walk away and leave it there. Instead, he continues on with, "Let's say that he took an ability from me. One that let me see the future. Perhaps to stop whatever it is he and Edward Ray— " it's nice to have friends of friends that know such things— "are doing being discovered by the wrong people. Gosh knows I would be."

He studies her for a moment, before continuing with, "I'm not interested in changing the future, but I am interested in doing whatever it might take to get my powers back. And I will do it. What John and Ray and whoever else is with them will have to decide is if they want me taking it back by force or if there's a deal we can strike. I like making friends."

It just keeps getting more complicated. April presses a hand against her forehead; although her initial reaction is murmured, in this environment it is still apt to be comprehensible to mundane ears, if muffled. "Fucking Edward."

Probably a sentiment Gabriel himself can agree with.

April turns away, walks away; not as if departing, but in the restless pace that reflects indecision, thoughts running around their own little invisible hamster wheel. How far do they have to go? How far do they really have to go?

She stops, looking up at the dark sky.

"We don't exactly — talk," the woman says softly. "I don't know why Edward does… anything. But if you would stop…"

If the strained non-smile that April's first two words get is to be of any indication, Gabriel does agree. Fucking Edward. And likely quite a few others too.

Gabriel follows her progress of pacing with his eyes, standing still in contrast with his head slightly tilted. He knows what it is to deal with more wheels turning than you could originally count on, now more so than ever without the benefit of a blue print memory to assist. "But you could talk," he says. "If you really wanted to. Would I stop?"

She looks back over her shoulder at Gabriel. "If he fails, we're all lost. We may be anyway, but…" The woman shakes her head. "You're right. We all have something we want to change. I don't agree with them — but I'm not prepared to give up on that. Not yet."

April shifts slightly, as if to more squarely face Gabriel — but she doesn't complete the motion. This is a leavetaking, not a resurgence of conversation. "I won't help you. If that makes us enemies—" Bittersweet smile. She doesn't say it — but she doesn't expect to survive anyway. What's one more on the opposite side?

April turns away, resumes motion, her steps this time deliberate and directed; departure.

"But I won't tell anyone you're coming after them, either."

That's something. And approximately, it puts Gabriel— exactly where he started. He says nothing to April's retreating back, and now more than ever does his gun feel heavy in his pocket. If there were a difference he could make now—

But she wasn't the target. His gaze wanders back to the grave of Elisabeth Case, and in the next moment it's discarded as well with the turn of his shoulder and brisk steps that leave shallow marks in the soft ground as he strides away for the evening.

If he returns, he might even leave flowers. Someone has to.

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