Ever After


f_april_icon.gif silver_icon.gif

Scene Title Ever After
Synopsis April and Silver have a second chance to aim for 'ever after', however it comes out — happily or not.
Date July 13, 2010

On Either End of a Phone Line

Bare feet scuff on the carpeting as April walks over to set coffee and a bowl of oatmeal on the table. It's about seven-thirty at night, and time for breakfast; a little early, at that, compared to her normal routine. She's already dressed for work, even, tan pants and a cream-colored blouse; just lacking the socks and shoes. That kind of thing happens when one wakes up early and fails to go back to sleep.

Sleeping was hard enough the first time around, because she hasn't been able to get yesterday out of her head. Yesterday's aborted phone call, to be precise. Detouring to the dresser, April picks up the phone in question and brings it to join the dishes on the table. She sinks down to sit at the nearer end of the couch, neglecting the oatmeal in favor of the coffee, looking at neither.

It seems as if Silver never leaves the office at a decent hour. Of course, the argument for that is that he doesn't really have anything else to do. No social life to speak of and really his life has been entrenched in everything legal. He keeps telling himself and the others that pester him about it that one day, he'll do it. On his own time. There was that speedster that he at least attempted to ask out. That should count for something, right?

Tonight however, James Silver is already in a cab, heading towards his favorite Mexican restaurant to pick up his dinner and head home for a night of enchiladas, wine and his laptop as he tries to find himself a precendent for a case he's involved with. As the cab rolls through the city, the neon lights flashing by him advertising each store's wares, he takes a deep breath. At least he preordered his meal, so he won't have to wait for it when he gets there.

One deep drink; two; three; then the mug is returned to the table, thunking quietly against its surface. April takes a deep breath, gathering her nerve, courage, audacity — or just squashing apprehension down to a permissive level. She leans forward, picks up the phone… and hesitates, looking down at its front for a long moment.

She can do this. She really can.

A flick of the woman's thumb opens the phone cover, and this time, the motions that dial Silver's number are quick and sure — even if the person dialing is not. She can pretend, and hope pretense is enough. Hope that everything will work out… somehow.

This time, when April presses call, she doesn't immediately snap the cover shut, although it is a very close thing.

The cab ride to food is fairly short and as it pulls up, Silver asks him to wait. He'd be right back and he could get home. The driver agrees, happy for hte extra fare.

James is inside the restaurant by the time the call comes. He's got the meter running on the cab and he's got his wallet out paying for it. They know him well here, since he is by at least once a week and as they say goodbye and he picks up the bag, he reaches into his pocket for his nagging phone, hitting the answer button and bringing it up to his ear, "Silver."

He starts to walk towards the door, unaware that his entire life is about to change.

She hadn't, quite, expected an answer. Hadn't been prepared for hearing him speak, although she'd believed she was. Silence stretches just a beat too long, April swallowing against the sudden lump in her throat, reaching up to dash welling water from her eyes.

She'd thought she knew what she was doing — but now that it's right here, she doesn't have a clue. The time-traveler forgets everything she thought she was going to say, and speaks exactly two words instead in a breathlessly quiet voice too heartachingly familiar for Silver to mistake.

"Hi, James."

It's one of those moments when you lose yourself in the disbelief of what's right in front of you. Everything seems to go into slow motion and you see it all clearly.

"Hi, James." echoes through his brain for what has to seem like an eternity before the recognition hits. His hand loses the grip on the paper brown bag that carries his dinner and it falls to the floor, spilling onto its side and as the bag begins to soak up the spanish juices that begin to leak through. The knot tightens in his stomach and he feels as if he's going to be sick, as he slowly sinks to the ground in front of the door to this restaurant, the knees of his slacks finding the red liquid mess that begins to meld into the fabric and touch his skin.

His eyes begin to look around as if trying to find someone to help him undestand this voice in his ear. There's no mistaking that voice he's heard for years, and in the past year it haunted him still. He finally finds his voice, just barely as he whispers out now:


She can't see where he is, what he's doing, the mess he's in — but she can hear his disbelief permeating that single word, her own name. He can't see the fragile smile that tugs at her lips, or the way she closes her eyes — but he can hear the shuddering indrawn breath that isn't quite a sob. "I— " He can hear her hesitation, the fumble for words that are horribly inadequate to express anything right now. "It's… complicated," April replies, the words not much louder than his whisper.

There's a pause; then worry and nerves, along with a hope she doesn't quite dare believe in, spill over in a sudden deluge of words. "Which is a lousy answer, I know. I— I haven't yet, ever, come up with a… a… a good way to say anything. And I — so I didn't say anything. But I—"

Another pause, and another shuddering inhale. "Not exactly, James," April finally murmurs. That is, at root, exactly what she's afraid of.

Activity commences around him suddenly as the owner sees the spill and barks to someone to prepare another meal, while another begins to clean up the mess. Silver is helped to his feet, even as he cradles that phone to his ear and he is led over to a table to sit. Spanish music plays quietly over the speakers, but James isn't hearing any of it.

Reality is tugged back and forth from belief and desire to disbelief and anger, then the mixure of all them combined. "I… I don't understand. I don't… How…?"

He can't stifle the sob that comes, just one choking sob before he finds control from God knows where. How is he ever supposed to make sense of any of this? Then disbelief hits him again and all he can manage to say to that, all he can dare ask is:


God, please let this be real. Please.

April draws in another deep breath, but the repeated query of her name breaks the fraying threads of her control regardless; it takes several moments for the woman to recover her voice, silence punctuated by quiet, muffled crying. She's had weeks, months, a full year and more to prepare for this, imagine this conversation — and none of it gains her anything in that regard.

"I want…" she finally replies, "I have… a lot to… explain. But not — not over the phone." April swallows, and that statement hangs in the air between them for a moment. "Will you — can I, we…"

Her voice breaks, fails; the words to finish that sentence abruptly desert her.

He doesn't trust his own voice to speak as he sets his elbow on the table and leans his head against it. Tears are starting to roll down his face and fall like raindrops on the tablecloth. A glass of water is set in front of him as the owner looks concerned for his customer's well being, but doesn't linger.

What he's waiting for, even he isn't sure as he can't even bring himself to speak without breaking down completely.

Another bag is ready for him at the counter, but he doesn't see it, doesn't give one damn about it. Can we..? Of course, we can. There's no question about that. There's only one question James Silver needs to ask, and it's the only word he can manage to utter without losing it entirely.


"Whenever you want," April replies, almost easily; she can say that, because there's no vulnerability in that offer, the way there was in the question. "Tomorrow. Tonight. I —" She curls up in the corner of the couch, plastic phone case creaking under the tight grip of her fingers. "I don't care where, but… maybe somewhere… neutral…"


It comes out before he can even think about it. He can't even imagine going another night without seeing her. Touching her. God, he can't imagine going home and having to wait a day or more. He'd go crazy. Just to be sure she heard it, he says it again.

"Tonight," this time more choked than the last. His vision is blurred and he can't seem a goddamn thing, for the tears that roll down his face and he sniffs into the phone, reaching up to brush the sleeve of his suit jacket over his face. When he is able to string a few words together without losing it completely, he says:

"Just tell me where."

Where? April blanks completely as she's confronted with the demand for a decision; if she'd had any idea of where before, it's completely gone now.

"The cathedral," she says, unthinkingly. She pauses a moment to reflect on that statement, brushing the tears from her cheeks. Green eyes force the alarm clock into focus, dragging the red blur of numbers into coherence. "St. John's — the gardens. By the fountain." It isn't even eight yet; there's still enough light. Outside will work. "I can…" Public transportation schedules always require mental juggling — but it's a Monday, the cross-Midtown buses run often even in the evening. "I can be there in twenty minutes."

He knows exactly where that is. He nods, then realizes she can't hear that and manages to get out an, "Ok." He'll catch a cab, hopefully. "I…" he starts, then almost chokes again before he shakes his head, "I'll be there." Silver can do nothing more than hang up the phone before breaking down completely. He pushes himself up to his feet and wipes at his eyes again before he staggers out to the street to wave down a cab. Leaving his paid-for food behind. He'll not be able to eat it anyway.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Late evening dims the colors of the gardens outside the Cathedral of St. John, an overcast sky shading everything in gray. It's a little warm, very humid; it rained not too long ago, and everything is still damp. There are a few people to be seen on the streets, but not so many now that the going-home rush is largely done with. Only one in the little garden, at present, sitting on a bench, facing the angel of the Peace Fountain sculpture but watching all the paths in turn, very obviously waiting for someone to join her. Her posture is familiar, down to the way she anxiously fiddles with her phone; her thick, dark hair is wavy, in the way that April Bradley's became when she didn't straighten it every morning. She wears tan pants, a cream-colored blouse, and black shoes that seem in keeping with April's tastes; and of course, her features match April's in nearly every particular. Except where they don't, being a little more worn, a little more weary; she's some years older than the April of Silver's memory.

But she's spot on for the April of his premonition.

The cab ride over was hell for him. The tears that spilled from his eyes continue to come in small doses and the sleeve of his jacket is starting to soak through. After getting into the cab, Silver loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top button of his dress shirt so he can breathe a little easier, though even then it's hard. He is mulling over that vision he had. The one he told everyone was the reason those could not possibly come true.

Now, however, with a single phone call, he's suddenly a believer. The impossible has become the possible.

The cab ride over was slow and when it pulls up to the catherdral, he doesn't get out right away and the cabbie has to look back, "Your stop, buddy." Looking out of the window, he doesn't see her, so he nods and pays the man for his time and slips out of the cab, with his briefcase in tow. He moves slower, trying to compose himself a little bfore he finds her, his eyes swollen and red as he rounds the corner and sees the fountain and then…


He'd know her anywhere, and it stops Silver in his tracks. The urge to run to her is held at bay as he takes another moment to take a deep breath and then he starts to walk towards her. Never has the butterflies attacked his stomach as they are right now, not in any courtroom or before any judge. As each step takes him closer to her, the worse they get as he nears the fountain.

Motion at the edge of her vision redirects April's attention, the sound of footsteps on the path noticed only as an afterthought. She scrambles up off the bench, nearly dropping the phone in her nervous haste; ducks her head slightly as she fusses over tucking it away in the purse at her side, the manufactured pause nowhere near sufficient for regaining any measure of composure.

Looking back up to Silver, the woman smiles, shakily hesitant with tension and nerves but sincere in its warmth. Her skin is as marked with evaporating tear-tracks, no surprise after the way her voice sounded over the phone; it sounds the same now, around the lump that refuses to dislodge from her throat. "James." One foot skids forward a half-step, unsure whether to approach or to wait. To see how he reacts when the differences start to sink in. April shakes her hair back, then reaches up to tuck the dark strands behind her ears, because she has to fidget with something. "I—"

When she stands, Silver balks, stopping in his tracks for a moment, unsure of what he'll see when she turns around. He doesn't realize he's even holding his breath as her face comes into view and he has to breathe again. She starts to speak and his words complete her sentence, or at least attempt to.

"— know."

The next thing he recalls is he's standing within an arm's length from her and his hand lifts up, purely of its own accord to touch her on the cheek, or at least attempt to.

"I had that… But I didn't… I mean, I wanted… but… I saw you… and… " If anything he says makes any sense, he doesn't know but right now there's nothing that makes sense so it's all par for the course. Blue eyes blink across from her and she's older and she's different, but not. None of it matters. Eyes begin to fill once again with tears, when he finally asks the most important question:


She shakes her head as he completes the sentence; disagreement, yes, because he can't know. Mostly disbelief, because — because for all that she's been in this timeline for a year now, knowing he was alive, James has also been dead to the older woman for nearly eleven years. April closes her eyes, leaning her head into his hand, a tear sliding down to puddle minutely between his fingers. "I don't — you're here," she whispers. "You're really here."

Her step forward is unconcious; there's no thought in folding of her arms about Silver or burying her face against his shoulder, her cheekbone just beneath the angle of his jaw. She doesn't answer at first, but lets the moment sink into bones and memory; if April's learned anything, it's that these moments never last. "It's a long story," she says quietly, stepping back. Just far enough to look into his face. At this close range, one other detail becomes visible — a round scar perhaps the size of a nickel, under the right side of April's jaw. "I — briefly, I'm… from a different timeline, I guess. A different… future," she concludes, wincing slightly. It's a tremendously inelegant explanation that doesn't even scratch the surface. But — it's a start.

His arms are around her, as if they'd never left. There's no difference in the way she feels against him.

It's as if she was never gone.

But she was. His cheek rests against her hair and he inhales her scent. "I'm here. But, I'm supposed to be here, right?" His voice soft, tender. When she moves to step back, he almost doesn't let her go, but there's so much he can't justify or reconcile and until he does — this all may as well be a fairy tale. Here now, but can it last?

He lets her step back, though his fingers trail down her arm and his hands slip over hers, not letting her get too far away from him. He notices the scar, but he's noticing quite a bit and if he has his way, he'll have all the time in the world to ask his questions.

The discussion of a different timeline causes him to reflect back to the conversation with Cat. It isn't until now that he suspects that she knew all along that April was here. Those are feelings he'll have to deal with another time for now, April has his full attention when he asks, "How far in the future? You look…" Let's not eat your foot here, James. "… different. Still beautiful. Still."

She curls her fingers around his hands, content not to go far. Silver's verbal stumble, and a recovery that she surely can't take offense at, elicits a giggle that surprises even April — and a smile far, far less shaky than her earlier attempt. She ducks her head slightly, a lock of dark hair sliding forward to fall over her face; ten years almost seem to disappear, except that they never will. For one, they're the very thing he just asked about. "2019," the woman answers quietly. "Though I've — well, I'm 35 now." Way older than he. Let's just gloss over the fact that she's been here for a year already — just a little bit longer, at least. Looking over at him, her lips press together slightly; she pulls one hand free to brush her fingers against his hair, down along the side of his face. "I — you were dead," she whispers, trying not to break into tears again. Failing. "You were —"

Not there.

He blinks his eyes as he feels her hand at his hair, his face. 10 years, 20 years, none of that matters. He's reaching for that stray lock as she looks back up at him and he tucks it back. Little touches that he used to do, she used to do, all coming back. So familiar and almost instinctual in nature. Silver almost laughs, catching it with a choke and shaking his head. "You don't look ten years older. Eight and a half, at best," he teases, eyes shimmering with moisture and a twinkle as he can't seem to take them off of her.

He's dead. She's dead. Right here. Right now, neither of them are dead and the fingers curled around his prove that. Whatever the gods of the timelines have decided is that they were still destined to be together, bridging the unbridgable gap to bring them back together. He can tell she's trying to hold it together and his fingers trace down from where he tucks that hair behind her ear to her cheek and then on her lips to silence her.

"I'm not. You're not. Not anymore." Dead.

His fingers slide off of her lips, brushing against her chin as he closes the gap between them just slightly with a small shuffle of a foot towards her.

Caught between the impulse to laugh and the competing weight of unshed tears, April makes a breathless sound that isn't quite either. Eight and a half, so precise. He inches closer, and she instinctively does the same; folds herself against his body, drawing reassurance from his living warmth and solidity, the uniquely personal scent that the woman hadn't realized she remembered so well, or even that it carried such weight, that that alone could bring so much back.

"Not anymore," April whispers on the exhalation of a quiet sigh, closing her eyes. She'd imagined this reunion a thousand times, in dozens of permutations, but never quite dared to hope for this much acceptance. Feared he'd greet her appearance with anything but. And yet — here they are. They're both here, and every worry she ever had pales into insignificance.

The future can do what it will; it already did, once. She has right now, and April couldn't imagine anything more she'd ask for.

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