1965-08-28 - Silver Bullet
Summary: A somewhat less difficult conversation in an office, with promises.
Related: Debridement, Chain Reaction, Blood of the Covenant
Theme Song: None
halgrim elmo 


It's early evening at the university, and though pre-fall activities are in full swing it's relatively quiet in the Archaeology department's offices. Halgrim's door is propped open and the light is on, and there's sounds of a conversation in German going on inside; a glance in the open door will reveal he's on the phone, writing as he talks with them.


Elmo shows up, not coming in yet, hanging on the doorframe. One oversized hand leaning over his head, he quirks his eyebrows at Halgrim, silently asking him if it's okay to come in. He looks, actually, less tired than he has, but his expression is sober.


Halgrim has leaned forward, elbows on his desk, rubbing his forehead with one hand and holding the handset with the other. It takes him a moment to notice Elmo, and when he does, his expression goes from casual disinterest to wariness. "Otto, kann ich dich zurück rufen? Vielleicht eine Stunde? Danke." He hangs up and sits back, surveying Elmo, noting his lack of injuries. "It's, ah, good to see you," he says, carefully. He gestures at one of the small visitor's chairs. "Please, have a seat, if you like."


Elmo unpeels himself from the doorframe and comes on in, sitting down and crossing his legs, ankle propped on knee. "Hey." He gestures to his nose, which is once again in its original splendor. "Vitale healed me up. So, uh." Uncomfortable, he glances away. "So, listen. I don't blame ya, okay? That was all Jeb. He don't like me none. I guess. I thought we were making friends, but." A shrug of one thin shoulder. "Been tutoring him in math, yannow. I let him blow stuff up when he does good. Anyway." Elmo clears his throat. "Ain't the first time he punched me. Proooobably won't be the last. Okay, so, I talked it over with JP. We agree, you oughta stick around the M.T., and come around the shop whenever you like."

He looks at Halgrim and leans forward, eyes on his. He really wants Halgrim to understand this part. "You're dangerous. We get that. But hell, so am I, you saw what I did to the lights and that was just me gettin' surprised and hurt. So's everyone on our team. So's half the people in Mutant Town. You're good people, Grim. You're exactly the kind of guy we're trying to help. You're also exactly the kind of guy we need around, for when things get worse." Sitting back, Elmo spreads his hands in a little flourish. "Whaddaya say?"


Halgrim is amused yet unsurprised at the revelation that this isn't the first time Jeb's fist and Elmo's face have been at loggerheads, though the humor doesn't reach his eyes. He meets Elmo's gaze as Elmo renders the decision, looks away when he's done, nodding. "Alright." He doesn't actually seem relieved, however; his posture and his expression remain guarded. "And…what about you?"


Elmo sighs and rubs his neck as if it's aching. "Well, yer pal scared me. Can't pretend she didn't. Eh, so what, yannow? I do the same thing when I'm tryin' to make somebody think twice about messing with me." He holds his big, calloused hands up, and a tiny lightning bolt leaps between them, crackling and flickering. Its harsh light sends every shadow dancing. "Schmucks wanna pick on me because I'm short and the way I dress, I give 'em a taste of this." The electricity dissipates abruptly as Elmo lets it go, leaving only a sharp scent of ozone and green tracks in the vision. Static is making strands of his long hair float up; he runs a hand over it casually and flicks a discharge off his fingers. *pop!* "I like ya, Grim. I wouldn'ta asked you about that stuff if I didn't. So, I'm…okay. I think. Mostly." He offers Halgrim a wry, lopsided smile. "I'm here, ain't I? I coulda called or made Vitale come. I'm here 'cause I felt like I owed it to ya."


Quietly, Halgrim says, "As the world's foremost authority on what she's capable of, I don't blame you." He watches the electricity with fascination, the subject forgotten at the light dances between Elmo's fingers. "That will never not be amazing," he says. Display ended, he's back to the topic at hand. "I'm glad you didn't send someone else, or just call. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid of exactly that. Your, friendship means a great deal to me, and I'm exhausted with losing things to this situation." He picks up his pens and fiddles with it. "But before I can agree to set foot in that garage again you have to promise me something."


Elmo's smile turns cocky. "Yeah, it's not bad." With typical Yiddish understatement about stuff that's awesome. His eyebrows tip up, at Halgrim saying his friendship is important. He's touched by that. It's clear on his mobile face. "Aw, Grim. Back atcha, buddy. …Okay, what is it?"


Halgrim smiles for a moment, then says, very carefully, "If she ever gets out of control, or any of you are at risk—if you can't get away from her…" He pauses there, wondering how likely that really is, shrugs and sets it aside. It's not hypothetical when it's already happened once. "Promise me you'll do you what you have to, to stop her." It's his turn to be the one holding Elmo's gaze.


Elmo grimaces, glancing away. He has to think about that, jiggling his booted foot. Long fingers rap on the underside of the chair.

"She's tough," he says, musing, after a couple of minutes. "But she ain't that tough. If a bear trap could hurt her like that, I can tune her up good." There's a sudden hum of static, a tension in the air, before it drops away again. Looking back to meet Halgrim's eyes, he adds, frowning, "But Grim. Ain't it gonna hurt you too? I don't know nothin' about werewolves but in the movies, you shoot one with a silver bullet and the guy part of 'em got shot, too."


"I suspect that's the case," Halgrim admits. He doesn't exactly look pleased by the prospect. "She tangled with someone who burned her, or so I assume, a couple months back." He clears his throat, shifts in his chair at the memory. "That was a difficult few days," he gestures at his hair, "lost a couple of inches of my hair, in fact." A wry smile for the unfortunate fate of his longer hair, then he sobers.

"There's already been close calls. Jeb was one of them. And maybe that's all there will be, maybe Strange will sort something out." He folds his hands, looks down at his desk. "But maybe he won't. This could be what I am, for the rest of my life." He manages a small, half-hearted laugh. "I'm too selfish to avoid all of you if you don't ask me to,and if I'm being completely honest, I need your friendship too much. So I think it has to be this." He loks Elmo in the eye again. "Don't hesitate to protect yourselves from her, no matter what you have to do. No matter what it might mean for me."


Elmo rubs his mouth, still thinking. Behind his eyes a lot is going on, intellect churning like a gigantic machine. "Grim," he says, and pauses, tilting his head with a quick wince. "I just want you to remember. She didn't hurt me, and she coulda. She didn't hurt Diz, or JP, or Vitale, and she coulda just as easy. She went after the guy needed hurtin'. She scares the piss outta me, but I don't think she's so bad." He spreads his hands. "That said… okay, boss. That's how you want it, that's how you got it."

Then he's offering Halgrim one of those calloused hands, eyebrows quirking up.


Halgrim takes Elmo's hand in both of his; they're not as calloused as they once were, but the memory of all that hard work remains in the grooves and bumps and seams. He grips Elmo's hand, firmly. "I hope for my sake as well as yours that you're right. But I also can't forget what's come before. I never will, if I live to be two hundred years old. So." He gives Elmo's hand a small shake. "I'm sorry, to put this kind of burden on you, but I also feel you're one of the few people I could trust with it. You'd do anything for them, for Vitale, and Jay, and JP—" he pauses, laughs, "even Jeb, I expect. And I think that includes this. So. Thank you."


"Feh," Elmo says, grinning crookedly. "Yeah, you're right, but you don't gotta say so. I got a reputation to maintain." He squeezes Halgrim's hands, and lets go. "We okay, buddy?" Concerned, focusing on Halgrim now instead of his own inner dialogue.


"Yes," Halgrim says, answering that last squeeze with on of his own. He sits up, and gestures at the maelstrom of books and paper which is his current work habitat. "Though, I might be scarce until the semester settles in. I did too well last year, and since no good deed goes unpunished, my course load is twice what it was. I apologize if I'm hard to find."


Elmo nods, eyebrows up like he knows what that's like. To be fair, the guy with five jobs probably does know what it's like. He gets up. "I'll let ya get back to work." In the doorway, though, he pauses and looks back. "Come around for a beer when you're free, yeah?" He flashes Halgrim a grin, and he's off.


Halgrim returns the grin with one of his own. "I will," he promises, then picks up his handset and calls Otto back, resuming his attempts to convince him to loan out an altarpiece.

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