1965-02-20 - Art and Design
Summary: Jay hands a birthday gift off to Elmo.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
elmo jay 

Early during the day on some day in February, not particularly special to many people, Jay finds himself barely able to suppress his grin as he meanders his way down to the shop he knows Elmo works at. A tube wrapped in news paper tucked under his arm while he cranes his head forward, already searching for the bright-plumage, er, brightly-dressed young man.

Elmo's indeed at the housewares store, not elbow-deep in a motor for once, instead sweeping and tidying up in the already stringently-clean shop. Mr. Rosario is there, too, and they're chatting in a liberal blend of English and Spanish while the older man takes inventory. Mr. Rosario, always on a sharp lookout for a customer, spies Jay and waves to him enthusiastically. He likes Jay, such a nice young man. Elmo looks up and smiles brilliantly.

"Oh-Lah Mister Rosario," Jay says hello in the worst souther accented 'hola' anyone's ever heard. Though to his credit, he didn't pronounce the 'h', so maybe it's the second worst accented 'hola'. "Oh, um, mah momma told me that Ah should give this to you?" He meanders forward and pulls a large card from his pocket, handing it out to the owner. It's an index card, and neatly written on it is a recipe for cornbread. "She wanted me to thank you fer lettin' us borrow Elmo t'help keep Max and his madness in line." His green eyes flicking in Elmo's direction, smiling smally, then straightening his posture to address the elder in the room. A recipe from a southern momma? That's high gratitude there.

"Hola, Jay," Mr. Rosario says, always amused by the attempt. "Thank you, and thank your mother." He squints at the card but tucks it in a pocket. He's not the one who does the cooking. "Elmo is such a smart boy, but shy. He needs more friends like you," he confides, while Elmo, leaning against a counter with his arms folded, rolls his eyes. However, he's smiling, almost fond. It's taken him quite a while to warm up to the old man, but it's happening, inevitably.

"Hi, Jay," Elmo offers, shy again in front of his boss. "What's up?"

"Ah'll make sure to tell mah momma. It's mah pleasure to make sure he gets outta the house from time to time, sir," Jay responds casually. Utterly truthful, but also holding notes of extra fondness while he smiles and waits for the older man in the room to be done with him before moving on to his friend. "Hey, El." Excited, a ripple of motion whispers through his feathers as he quickly makes way beside Elmo. "Well now, Ah know that you didn't really say a whole lot of anything about it to me except in passin', but…" Taking the tube out from under his arm, he holds it out with a bright grin, full of sunshine. "Happy birthday."

Elmo's eyebrows shoot up and he pushes off from the counter to accept the parcel. "You got me a birthday present? …You remembered my birthday?" He's surprised as heck, and pleased. He opens it while Mr. Rosario praises Jay, "How thoughtful, what a surprise!" The wings don't mean nothin' to the old guy, at least, they don't anymore.

Jay is used to any number of responses to his obvious mutation, so when he wasn't immediately turned out on his ass upon meeting Mr. Rosario, he promised himself to remain patient. Be the change you want in the world, right? So he moved at a slow pace of southern hospitality to make sure that he stayed in the man's good graces.

Still bright eyed and bushy…feathered, Jay's expression takes on a quieter degree of joy as he nods. "Of course Ah remembered. Birthdays are important. That's the day folks get to tell ya how glad they are that you were born. An' Ah am."

The tube turns out to be just that, a cardboard tube with a cap on each end. Jay's cheek hollows while he watches Elmo open it up with a little bit of anxiousness to it. Inside are three rolled up sheets of paper, rather large and a bit thicker than normal paper. More coarse as well. Blueprint paper. On them are three patent diagram duplicates of electrical apparatuses. Nikola Tesla's art of transmitting electrical energy through the natural medium, Davis and Conrad's electric arc lamp, and Smith and Cary's electrical measuring aparatus.

Elmo unrolls the sheaf enough to get a glimpse. Then he bolts to the workbench, clearing it off rapidly while Mr. Rosario peers after him in confusion. Elmo unrolls the blueprints, one after another, weighing down their corners with the tabletop bins full of parts. "Jayl," he says, the Yiddish endearment coming out without his realizing it.

"Que es?" Mr. Rosario looks at the blueprints, but can't figure them out.

"It'sthey're" Elmo can't get enough words out about what exactly the blueprints are, they're all bottlenecked up. "They're /awesome/." He traces Tesla's schematic with a fingertip. Turning back to Jay, he suddenly doesn't know what to do. What he'd /like/ to do is probably clear, to Jay. What he /can/ do is something different, and he gives Jay that brilliant, unshadowed smile again. "Jeez, Jay, I dunno what to say. Thank you, I love 'em."

Jay looks nervous when Elmo looks at the sheaf of papers. His feathers twitch and whisper behind him as he turns to follow Elmo around like a lost and eager puppy, holding his silence, eyes shining with eager and anxious warmth.

Clearly they're reporductions because the paper feels newer, but someone's hand did actually draw them.

The Yiddish nickname makes Jay smile, and flush with a bit of color around the edges of his face. Looking to Mr. Rosario, he murmurs. "They're reproductions from patent plans for important electrical machines and theories. Ah got the idea because Ah was watchin' mah best friend draw up some plans. He's an architect." Letting Mr. Rosario in on those details, though most of his attention turns toward Elmo, along with that softly resonating smile. Yeah. He gets an idea of what he wants to do, but Jay understands and is okay. "Mah friend wanted to know what Ah thought of his design an' lookin' at the sketch it just struck me as somethin' really beautiful. The art an' science in the whole world we've built up is sincerely one of the most amazin' things, you know? Like they say that there's math in music and art in science, we've built up all these amazin' things so…when Ah heard that Elmo's birthday was comin' up, Ah found an artist down at Washington Square, an' these books with old patent pictures in them, and asked him to commission them fer me." Smiling brightly at Elmo. "Ah didn't know if you liked art at all but…Ah mean…Ah know you like machines." His brows perk up gently. Hopefully.

Mr. Rosario hums, nodding along with the explanation. "True, it's very true. Beauty in all things. Even here—" he stabs a finger up at the ceiling, indicating his little shop. "Here, there is beauty. Elmo is a cynic. You must convince him." He beams at Jay, eyes crinkling. "Elmo, take the afternoon off. Let your friend help you learn."

Elmo can't decide whether to admire the blueprints, or admire Jay. He makes the right choice and his eyes linger on Jay while Mr. Rosario isn't looking. Then looks at his boss, eyebrows raised. "Well, sure, twist my arm." With great care he rolls the blueprints up and tucks them back into the tube.

"Elmo's a realist," Jay smiles back to Mr. Rosario, defending his friend to his boss. "He keeps me grounded since Ah'm the idealist." The guy with the angel wings stuck on him is an idealist? Whaaaat? He smiles at Mr. Rosario and looks surprised. "Oh, yer too kind, sir. Thank you."

He looks at Elmo, beaming with brilliant smile when he rolls up his new gift. Full of that warmth while he preps to leave work early. "C'mon, you got some good learnin' to do." Whispering a laugh, he leans in like he might jostle Elmo, but he doesn't touch him.

Elmo doesn't dare reply in words, but slides Jay a mischievous glance as he gets everything squared away. Mr. Rosario waves them off, as proud as if they were his own sons, and goes to finish up the sweeping himself.

As they walk away from the shop, Elmo looks up at Jay, lit up with delight. "Jayl, I mean it, they're amazing. You /remembered/ my /birthday/." This is a really impressive cognitive feat to him. "I don't remember yours," he admits, with a laugh. "It's close to mine, that's all I know. Probably I oughta remember."

"Of /course/ Ah remembered yer birthday," Jay gushes softly, a note of tenderness wound in a golden ring of genuine truth and honesty. "Yer important. Folks are worth time an' effort if you feel like they're worth bein' with. It's just somethin' Ah hold mahself to. Those little things are important, you know? Grand gestures are real easy to do. The big productions an' the romantic stuff is textbook, but it always seemed to me that all the little things in between the big stuff…that's what life /is/, you know? The little gestures and thoughtfulness and happenings that really make what yer life is composed of. It's not one big vacation, or a giant party, or big sweeping gestures, it's who makes breakfast every mornin', or leans across the passenger seat to unlock yer car door before you get there. You know?" He shrugs a shoulder and smiles, shaking his head at Elmo. "It's okay. Yeah, it's next month."

"To be real honest, this seems plenty romantic to me," Elmo says, smiling back. "Maybe a grand gesture, even. I dunno, maybe it ain't by those standards, but it sure feels like it. Feels huge." He's cradling the cardboard tube. "Now I gotta think of something great, too. The bar's too high!" he teases Jay. Lowering his voice, he adds, "I'm dyin' to kiss you," glance flicking down briefly, then back up.

Jay smiles softly in Elmo's direction, bowing his head a titch when Elmo calls his gesture romantic and grand. "Ah dunno, man. You get birthday gifts fer yer cousins and momma and stuff. It's just thoughtful. You remember people, not jus' when it's convenient fer you and yer gonna get somethin' out of it. This is yer day. An'…Ah'm really glad Ah know you." Tilting his head to Elmo, flashing a smile. "Ah'd love a kiss. That's what you can get me fer mah birthday. Ah want a kiss. A real nice one."

"Yeah, but." Elmo rubs a thumb over the cardboard tube. "Not gifts like this, usually. Ain't nobody gave me art before. That's amazing. You're amazing." A sentiment he often offers to Jay, but he's sincere about it every time. Jay amazes him. Jay is amazing. "A real nice one, huh? I'll have to practice a lot, so I get it just right."

The remaining smile hovering on Jay's mouth is soft and warm, kicked up from the serene curvature that he normally wears. This one hovers with the gentled glow of fondness while he simply accepts Elmo's counterpoint, not about to argue something that comes so naturally to him. Elmo's gratitude is enough. He's not going to stomp on it. "Ah'm just happy that you like 'em. An' you got nearly a whole month to be practicin'." He winks quickly at Elmo.

Elmo tries to play it cool and like the flirting isn't totally making him want to drag Jay off to bed immediately. "So, uh, do you maybe wanna go to Saganaki?" he asks, hopefully. "I wanna spend time with you, and if we go to your place, it's obvious how we're gonna spend it."

Jay smiles broadly for a flashing moment when Elmo says it's obvious how they're going to spend their time if they're in private. "Sure. Ah mean, y'ain't wrong." He has to admit, pushing his hand through his hair until it scatters into an effortless coif. "Ah like spendin' time with you however Ah can get it. Though, now that Ah think about it, Ah got no idea where you live. Ah always just find ya at the shop."

Elmo winces a little and turns his hand over in a quarter-shrug. "That's 'cause where I live ain't fit for company. And that's my workshop. By which I mean, it's a garage that belongs to this WWII vet and I'm renting it from him and it's full of stuff I'm working on." He rolls his eyes up at Jay, comically doleful. "Now you know my most shameful secret." They've reached his truck, an old but flawlessly maintained pickup in sunny yellow. He unlocks the door for Jay, first. Maybe he's thinking of that 'it's the little things' speech.

Brows arch upward and that smile expands. "/That/ is yer most shameful secret?" A flash of pearly white teeth and that elusive dimple in his left cheek. "If that's yer most shameful secret, then you really are jus' a really, really good guy, huh, El?" Leaning in, that hand goes for Elmo's shoulder, but restrains himself. Inhaling a deep breath and letting it back out. "Yaknow, it's hard not to touch ya more an' more. Gosh." Chuckling in a whisper, he smiles kindly to Elmo and carefully hops into the sunny truck, instantly leaning over to pop up the pull up the lock in Elmo's door so he doesn't have to mess with his keys. Little things indeed.

"Since I started needin' a place to take someone back to, anyway," Elmo concedes, wryly, as he gets in. He tucks the cardboard tube under the long bench seat. "I was sorta figuring on never doing that. So I didn't think about what might happen if I did. Live an' learn, huh?" He grins that half-grin of his at Jay. "You can touch me," he offers, a little bashful suddenly. "It's okay."

"Life's got a way of throwin' things atcha that you sure don't expect, that's true," Jay smiles ruefully back to Elmo. "Mah momma thought things couldn't get any crazier than havin' ten kids t'look after on her own. Well, then we started turning up with powers an' stuff? Lord. Just goes to show, Ah guess you jus' gotta…go with it sometimes." He shrugs and smiles, reaching over to squeeze Elmo's knee warmly. "Ah'm so pleased you liked all that. Ah didn't know if it'd be, you know, borin' or somethin'. Yer an electrician an' stuff, but Ah didn't know if you'd be annoyed at bein' sorta pigeon holed, yaknow?"

Elmo doesn't get the key into the ignition on the first try, when Jay touches his knee. He has to give it another go. "It's okay," he assures Jay quickly. "Just like it kinda too much." He's reddening, but starts up and heads for Saganaki, determined not to get sidetracked. "Jeez, ten kids. JP's family's like that, with mutants, too. What's it like, growing up like that?" Glancing over, he grins. "Nah, how could I be annoyed?"

Jay smiles and chuckles softly, squeezing Elmo again. "Like when Ah had mah arms 'round you and held on super tight, sorta?" Trying to guess the common thread there and what he likes about it.

"JP? Bonaventure?" Jay asks curiously, his brows arching upward slightly. "Yeah, Sam an' Ah were jokin' that they're like th' Guthries of Lose'anna. We were sayin' we can't dig too deep or we might find out we're like seventh cousins, removed." He chuckles mildly and inhales a deep breath. "Ah don't know. It's. Busy. An' loud. But never lonely." He nods slowly, watching the road while they go. "Ah don't know. A lotta folks got so many other interests that jus' because they do somethin' fer a livin' don't mean they actually like it or feel passionate fer it."

"Kinda?" Elmo says, like he's not sure himself. "No…I think this is just turnin' me on." He gives Jay a sheepish look. "That did too, but more because I was, yannow, right up close to you. The feeling was different." He hitches a shrug. "Yeah, JP and that brother a' his, Sev. I'm on their team. The X-ternals. I gotta lot to tell you about that, actually! …That's fair," he says, about not loving what one does for a living. "I do like it, though. So you don't gotta worry about that. I'm never gonna get mad because you think I'm an electrician."

"Ah'm just touchin' yer knee," Jay points out, half shocked, half amused as he stares at Elmo with wonder. Then slides his fingers around his kneecap with a teases.

"Oh yeah? Ah didn't realize they got a team. That's really neat," Jay hums thoughtfully, then squeezes Elmo's knee again, smiling warmly. "Lookit you. On a /team/ an' stuff. Doin' things. That's excitin' stuff, and a heck of a long way from the guy who told me he don't really do nothin'." Getting excited for Elmo and his progression. "Mah brother an' Ah helped him an' his brother robin hood a buncha toys fer some under privileged kids." Jay dips his head bashfully at the admission. Probably the most scandelous thing he's ever done, but he's proud of it.

Elmo, embarrassed, says, "Yeah, I, uh, I guess I just feel stuff like that." He drops a hand from the wheel on to Jay's hand, caressing, and his eyes seem for a second like they might close. Nope, he keeps 'em on the road. He laughs. "I guess so, huh? It's what comes of havin' friends, you do stuff." And then he shoots Jay an impressed look. "You were part of that? Oh, man. I wish I coulda been there. But I'm sure there's lots more robins to hood."

Jay passes Elmo an abashed smile and nods. "Mm hmm. It was Sam's doin'. Ah guess he knows JP from way back or somethin'? Ah don't know Ah wasn't too clear on that." From prison, probably. "He didn't tell me too many details, then all the sudden we're gettin' a buncha toys." He shrugs and chuckles softly. "Made Christmas real happy for some families. It felt good. Real good." He squeezes Elmo's hand instead when it's offered. "Ah'm proud of ya. Gettin' out there more."

"That's what we're tryin' to be about. Getting for mutants what we don't get given. Uplifting the downtrodden. Comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable. You know, the usual." Elmo's poking fun at himself again, as he circles around for a place to park. Curb space is at a premium. He wedges his pickup into an improbably tiny space between a Lincoln and a VW. After shutting off the engine, he looks at Jay for a long moment, holding his hand. "Yeah?" he says softly. "Thanks."

Jay twists in the bench seat, watching as Elmo expertly maneuvers into that spot. "Like a glove." Turning back around to smile at the driver. "Yeah. Course Ah am. Ah know it's sorta hard fer you to get out to places. An' if all that's true, then yer tryin' to do good things. So. Yeah. Why wouldn't Ah be proud of ya?"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License