1965-02-07 - In the Machine Shop
Summary: Vic, Lambert, and Elmo hang out, then Elmo and Lambert have a heart to heart.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
lambert vic elmo 

Vic doesn't usually have to come down to the lower east side to get something fixed. Kaleb just buys another one or it was never broken in the first place (just because Kaleb does not know how to make coffee does not mean the maker doesn't work). Today, though, Vic was in the neighborhood. He's got an ice cream maker he got for a steal, only its motor doesn't work. If he could get an electric ice cream maker going, he would be unstoppable. In the medium of ice cream. So he brings the thing into Elmo's shop one day. He's dressed in nice clothes, but they're casual. His jeans are new looking, his boots only a little scuffed, and his t-shirt still quite white. Over this, a leather bomber jacket. He looks like a greaser that got cleaned up real nice.

By this point, Mr. Rosario's humble little housewares-and-repairs shop is starting to look a lot more like a showcase for repaired appliances. There's "Used" tags over fully half the stuff on display. Some of these have alternate tags such as "Loved" and "Orphaned". All of these things have a sheen of good machine health to them, even though most of them bear some interesting scar like a burn mark. Vacuum cleaners, hand mixers, blenders, toaster ovens—a variety of former patients waiting to find a new home.

Elmo, coat off and sleeves rolled to the elbow and buttoned in place, has a washing machine free of its housing in the middle of the floor. He's pushed aside a couple of endcap displays to get the room, and now he's head first in the engine. When the door jingles he mutters something savage in Yiddish.

Vic peeks, and he gives the used and loved and orphaned machines an interested look. But he's got his hopefully fixable baby tucked under one arm and looks around for someone to help him. He's drawn to the savage Yiddish, and he blinks a few times. "Oh, I'm sorry. Is this not a good time?" Words that could be sarcastic, but are painfully not.

Elmo straightens up, grabbing a rag and trying to wipe his hair away from his face with his shoulder. "It's fine," he says, cranky enough for the words to be a polite (or impolite) customer service lie. "What can I do for ya?" He sees what Vic's got and shakes his head. "We're not taking anything else for credit. The back is packed full as it is. We can't move 'em fast enough." He's got assumptions about what Vic wants, and he's also got a classic hyperlocal accent that's sharp enough to degrease one of the motors lying on the workbench.

Vic's accent is hard to place. New Yorker, not very rich, but he's moved around quite a bit betwen the boroughs from a young age. There's a little Brooklyn in there, a little Bronx. "What? Oh, no, this just needs fixed up. I'm going to make ice cream." He smiles, so happy with this prospect.

"Thank God," Elmo mutters with an expressive ceilingwards roll of the eyes. "My boss thinks we can turn all these around—" a wave with the rag at the ranks of used machines, "and I'm about to sneak in a dump truck. We should just /give/ 'em away but, so anyway, you don't wanna hear about that. Put 'er on the bench there." He motions to the workbench, which is about two thirds reduced in space because of all the other parts and motors hanging around on it.

Vic makes his way carefully to the workbench, mindful of parts and tools that might be in use on the floor. He puts the poor broken thing down, and he gives it a somewhat worried look. "They motor's shot," he says, "but I don't know enough about these things to tell you more than that. When you turn int on, there's this grinding sound."

"That ain't the best sign," Elmo says diplomatically. He gives the ice cream maker's housing a little tap, almost as if it was an animal. "Gonna take a look at ya," he says. To it. The machine. He plugs it in to one of the several outlets on the bench and flips it on. Grindgrindgrind. "Yep," he says, "it sure makes a grinding sound. Good job gettin' that far." He could be viciously sarcastic about that, but actually he's not, even going on to say, "A lotta people find it pretty tough to accurately describe whatever's going on." Now he's taking the housing off with swift, deft turns of a screwdriver.

Rap rap rap. Outside the work area, a sneaky scent starts to wind it's way inwards. Gyros with garlic sauce and there is a bright call "Hello, delivery!

Vic says, "I didn't want to go any further because I'd just break it more." He peeks over at the door, and he says, "Oh hey, it's my boss." He calls over, "I think it's open, boss." Then, to Elmo, "He makes Greek food. It's really good. I do all his handyman stuff." The vicious sarcasm just washes over him. What can he say? Elmo's not wrong.

Elmo cranes over the workbench to see the door. "Bert?" he calls, and then looks back at Vic, suddenly a lot friendlier. "You work for Bert? Yeah, I fixed that fridge a' his. Come on in," he yells at the door, resuming stripping off the ice cream maker's housing.

"Sure he does," says Lambert, stepping on in "And one of the perks is getting to use up all of the old food. And by 'old', I mean last night's." He then offers across a gyro to each, and a large paper cup of coffee to go with it. And he grins "Hello. You _did_ fix my refrigerator. We haven't even discussed…payment."

"It's working so well now," Vic says. His grammer and his accent don't quite sync up, but he's kind of living in two heads here. He's happy to take a gyro off Lambert's hands, and he waits until everyone has something to eat before he tears into it. The guy eats like he's never had a meal in his life. Like they're starving him over at that restaurant. The ice cream maker, alas. It's fixable, but whoever owned it last did a number on it. There's grit in it, it looks like at some point it got overheated. Some people just shouldn't own things.

Elmo gets kind of red, shaking his head. "Nah, Bert, you feed me all the time, and Kai. It's more than enough." Although he accepts the gyro, it's the coffee he goes after first, and has a deep slug with a grateful expression. He quirks half a grin at Vic. "Yeah, of course it does. I fixed it. I'm Elmo, by the way."

Lambert eyes the icecream maker curiously "What is that?"he asks, and as Elmo goes red, Lambert says cheerily to Vic "What do you think I should give Elmo? He's just such a nice dude, of course. I have to say, he's awful skinny. He really should be stuffed more often.

Vic chews swallows, and says, "I'm Victor. Everyone calls me Vic." He glances at Lambert, and he seems to be taking his words innocently, but it's hard to tell with him. No one can be that sincere, can they? "If anyone can do it, it's you, boss," he says. "Pay him in gyros, I think."

Elmo carefully sets down the hot coffee, then presses his knuckles against his eyes. Lambert has successfully turned him beet red in under twenty seconds. "Bert," he groans. Vic gets a /look/. "Don't encourage him."

Lambert seems to be well aware of Vic's innocence, so he just cruises along with it "Extra chilli on yours, the way you prefer it," he tells him, then adds "You missed a crazy night the other night, Vic. We're closed for a few days for repairs, now." Come to think of it, Lambert's forehead is a bit bruised, mostly around the cap that hides his little horns. He then reaches out to pat Elmo, and he says to him "Don't worry, within a little while of hanging out with me, that beautiful blush will be permanent."

Vic ducks his head at Elmo, sufficiently cowed. "I saw the wall," he tells Lambert. "I got some work done on it today. And then there's the broken beehive. What happened?" He grins then and tells Elmo, "Lambert doesn't mean anything by it. He's a pussycat."

Elmo grumbles. "Sure he doesn't." Trying to get his mind off Lambert stuffing him, he picks up the motor. It gives a loud SNAP! Elmo curses and pulls the plug. "Forgot it was still hot. Bert, yer distracting me." Despite the thing discharging in his hand, he didn't flinch and doesn't seem to be at all troubled by it. He taps it gently against the wooden work surface. Some sand trickles out. "Yeah, this ain't worth stripping for parts."

"Some hoodlums showed up chasing a friend of mine," Lambert explains to Vic "They outnumbered us a fair amount, so I threw my beehive at them." He adds "They were rather big and strong." And then he grins at Elmo and Vic both, and he says "I don't mean anything _bad_ by it. Trust me. Should I stop for a little? I should probably stop for a little. I'm just in a mood. A friend dropped…around last night, and why, she has me thinking all kinds of things." He eyes the device "Elmo, you're really good when you see energies, right? Like electricity. What do you see when you look at Vic?"

Vic eyes Lambert at the question Elmo asks. He finishes off his gyro, licks his lips, and pats his belly. It is sated, for now. "Is it dead?" he asks Elmo with a wilting look. "I knew it was a long shot. I don't know what the other guys who had it did to it, but they said all they did was drop it." He sighs quietly. Ice cream, out of reach yet again.

"Nah," Elmo says, almost cheerfully. "It's just the motor. Some little kid probably put some sand in it, pretending. Or they tried to run it at the beach. I dunno how people manage these things, but the motor just makes the paddles churn. I'll build a new one for it, no sweat. …Hoodlums, Bert? Jeez, wish I was there." At Lambert's question, he looks at Vic, thoughtful. "I can't really see 'em, exactly. More by feel. If—" yup, he's red. "If you wanted to let me touch ya, Vic, I could tell ya then." He's hunching up a little.

Lambert says to Vic "Come on. Unlike the rest of you guys, I'm one foot in one world, and one in another. I get curious! I can smell _just enough_, but oh man, not enough for curiosity!"He then says to Elmo, brightly "It's okay, I'm pretty tough! I…uh, accidentally headbutted the wall though, so it came down.

Vic holds a hand out to Elmo, still not looking like he's entirely sure what's going on, but hey, he's game. "You could just ask," he tells Lambert. "You know I'm superpowered; who else could lift those tables up with one hand?" He grins at Lambert, a dimpled and boyish grin. If touched, a trail of static electricity dances over Elmo's fingers in a blue arc, and Vic blinks a bit. "Oh, neat."

Elmo does touch, after bracing himself against the counter. He isn't afraid of discharging motors, but touching another person with one fingertip requires working up his courage. He gives Vic the briefest of taps on the hand, andzzzt. "Oh," he says, surprised. "Uh, kind of electric? But not really electricity. Butsomethin'. You a mutant, Vic?"

"He's a lot more than that," murmurs Lambert.

Vic shakes his head and says, "No, I'm… I'm pure energy. But my housemates are all mutants, and I've got family that's mutants, and they even let me go to a school for mutants." It's like he wants to be a mutant so badly. "But I'm just energy all bound up in a body. I wanted to be human, so…" He rubs the back of his neck sheepishly and glances at the floor.

Elmo considers Vic. He glances at Lambert. "Well, humans're mostly that, just a lot more meat and a lot less energy," he says, offering, like it would help Vic feel better. "…There's a school for mutants?"

"There's supposed to be," Lambert explains to Elmo "It's a place where they can get together, learn, and all of that kind of thing. Be with people like them. Maybe you should…I mean. If you are? I don't know if you are." He pauses, and then he says suddenly "…I found one for monsters.""

Vic says quietly, "Gosh, I can't really talk about the details, except to say there's places where mutants can learn stuff. They let me in because my powers are kind of like mutant powers, and I have nowhere else I fit in. I should just tell people I am; it's easier than trying to explain. I just hate lying. I'm no good at it." Clearly.

"Yeah, I am," Elmo says to Lambert. Turning his palm over, he demonstrates: a very tiny lightning bolt flickers and dances between his fingers, before discharging with a minute pop. "…It…sounds kinda nice. Eh, I'm not so good at school though. They want you to learn a bunch of stuff that nobody cares about and they get mad if you start rewiring the metal shop." He grins, self-mocking.

Lambert nods, as he sees that, and then he says "Oh, I think a school like this might be kinda different, Elmo. I mean, frankly, I prefer it if you guys actually hang around out where things like me are. I can't go to anything like that. But at the same time, guys. It's different to be…different. I mean, it's hard. I know that. And I don't think they'd be so hard on most book learnin'."

"I study history," Vic says. "It's not very useful right now, but I'm hoping I can go on to maybe teach. I study World War II history a lot. We can't let anything like that happen ever again." He watches the lightning bolts with fascination, and he offers another boyish smile, which dims as he eyes his ice cream machine. "I gotta get back to work," he says, "Old Man Petropolous runs a tight ship, but I can come pick that up soon?"

Elmo says, "You're not a thing, Bert," a little startled that Lambert would describe himself like that. "I mean. Yeah, it's hard. But ain't nobody a thing." Glancing back at Vic, his mouth twists. "It's happenin' again right now, except it's mutants instead of Jews. And it ain't all that great for Jews, either." He sighs, trying to dismiss it so he can get on with business. "Yeah, come back later tonight, I'll have it ready. Shop'll be closed, just knock. I gotta go out of town tomorrow, so get it tonight or wait."

"What do you mean 'old man'?" demands Lambert, who never the less looks a bit amused by it "Well then, double duty, I suppose. OLD MAN. At least I'm more than two years old." And then he says to Elmo "Well, not entirely. But I am a monster. Which is not too bad, I think? It's not quite the same thing as being a mutant. And I'm not all monster, either. But there's still part of me that is. You're going out of town?" He adds "Don't you get into trouble."

"We can't let it," he tells Elmo, "we just can't." There's a steadiness there in his voice. He's not naive; he's determined, maybe even a little defiant. But then he grins at Lambert. "I'm not even that," he says. "Take care, old man. You too, Elmo. It was sure nice to meet you. I'll be back tonight if I can." And then he heads out, whereupon he'll do all the handymanning the restaurant needs doing.

Elmo mutters, "Yeah, well, we're workin' on it," at Vic, but he's the one who doesn't seem convinced.

Lambert instead finds himself somewhere to sit. And he tilts his head, looking thoughtfully at Elmo.

Vic goes home.

Elmo, troubled, takes the shot motor apart with a few more insert-and-twists of his screwdriver. More sand and other mystery black stuff dribbles out, and he makes a sound of irritation and sweeps the whole mess into a big plastic trash bin. "What's up, Bert?" he asks, seeing Lambert has settled in.

"Actually, nothin' really," admits Lambert "It's gonna sound dumb, to be honest. I've never really told anyone that I was a monster before. But being what I am, I think it's more obvious."

"What, you're a thing, now you're a monster?" Elmo hikes his eyebrows, concerned. "I guess you're a monster like any mutant's a monster. More than human, yannow?" Hardly looking where he's reaching, he starts pulling mechanical bits out from various bins. "I mean, I've seen you naked, I didn't think you were so monstrous."

Lambert says "No, no, I don't think it's a very bad thing, exactly - wow, look at your hands go. You can do just about everything, can't you. I mean, with fixing things." Lambert peers in curiously, and then he says "Well, you could see that again if you wanted…heh. But I mean, no. It's not quite the same thing. There are old families - things like me. Also medusae. And werewolves. Real ones. I was thinking about it…it's just a…I think maybe because my cousin's in town and he's _way worse_ than me. I mean, I'm pretty bad, Elmo. I want to sleep with all my friends. Get %<233>m drunk. Have a huge party. But boy. He's cut a swath."

Elmo really is going to keep that blush permanently, but he grins wryly at Lambert. "I think I already got way too many guys on my dance card, Bert, but. Thanks." He ducks his head, looking down at the motor he's started assembling out of a pile of parts. Screwdriver, pliers, wire cutters, wire—they're all within reach and he applies them in their turn. "Ain't too surprised that there's werewolves and all outta that mythology book I had when I was a kid. God made a lotta people, didn't he?"

"Gods," says Lambert "My people are the children of some of them. I mean. My grandfather's a full blood satyr, about two thousand years old." As Elmo says that about dance card, his lips quirk "Oh man, I must be losing my touch, rather badly. I mean. It's not like. I…uh. You know. Expect anything. So if you want to have some romance at some point, let me know. Or. Just fun?" His ears waggle, and then he says "It isn't our shape that makes us monsters. It's our instincts. Mine says to bend you over a table. But I try not to listen. Too much."

Elmo's color had been going back to normal. Now it resumes its beetlike hue and he puts down the wire cutters to cover his face. "Oy, Bert." He's laughing behind his hands. "No, I …I like you, I just." He rubs his face and hitches a thin shoulder. "I never had guys like me before and it's. Kinda complicated. There's a lot of 'em? Including you." A shy half-smile.

Lambert admits "You have a sort of innocent charm. Plus, you're nice. I know that people make all of a palava about silly things - but nice is genuinely. Attractive." He grins "Well, if it ever stops being complicated - look. I'll be honest. I don't really do proper relationships. I can't. I don't have the willpower. But. I do fun. And I do fair and honest. So if you run into problems with your paramours? Come and talk, and we'll get it sorted out so who and them - whoever they are - can be good again. Okay? If you want someone to talk to sometime, that's all." He holds up both of his hands.

"I already got problems," Elmo admits, picking up his tools again, "but we were talkin' about you. I wanna hear more of that." The motor is taking shape swiftly, a three-dimensional puzzle that he knows by heart.

"What kind of problems?" asks Lambert, a little bit relentlessly, and then he laughs, and he interlaces his hands "There's a place where monsters can go. Like…I guess, the mutant place. I'm monster enough I can go there. So. It was kind of nice, eh? To see things a bit like me. Things that breathe in, and things, you know, that can smell stuff."

Elmo is so intrigued by that, he pauses constructing the motor and leans on his elbows, looking at Lambert. "Breathe in? Like how?"

Lambert sighs and he rubs the back of his neck "When I breathe in, I can smell you, right? I can't track you - I mean, my nose isn't that good. But I can smell that you are human, and what you kinda like. I can move to attune myself to it. I can breathe you in over my mouth. And every other one who's…human. A lot of Mutants are human too. Kai's not a human. He's an elf. But. I don't know, it's just, ehhhheh." He waves a hand "Where I grew up, amongst my family and other odd things like me."

"Wow," Elmo says, honestly impressed. "I've kinda been treating you like a mutant, because you kinda look like one, but you're not. You're really not." His gaze wanders over Lambert as if assessing him anew.

"Dude, a mutant would be way more powerful than I am," says Lambert, puzzled and amused "Look at what you can do. All I got is some genes that make me horny, right?" And he gestures upwards - at those tiny horns. And then he says "But I can't say the world like you guys can."

Elmo says ruefully, "Save the world? Cause trouble, more like." He looks at his hand, and electricity jumps to life again, sparking and fizzing around his long fingers. "Yeah, we both got somethin' extra in our genes, huh? I fix stuff, you cook and look real pretty."

"I look _what_?" says Lambert, actually dumbfounded, and he prods at his belly "Look, I'll be the first to say confidence can carry a long way, but I ain't pretty, Elmo. Mind you, I gotta admit, I kinda dig your nose. I'm about to be bad, I guess, but it's not so different from some of ours, heh. Reminds me of how hot that look is in the Mediterranean. Oh, man, we got girls like you wouldn't believe. Female satyrs, I mean. Or nymphs. I guess it can change a bit depending on who has what. The boys, we're just what we are."

Elmo waves away Lambert's protest, extinguishing the electricity in his hand in the same movement. "Eh, if you don't like pretty, how about completely adorable? You're amazing looking." He gets embarrassed over his nose getting complimented, but he braves it through. "Hey, thanks. I'm glad you like it, since it's the only one I got. …Satyr girls? Wow, there weren't no satyr girls in that book. I bet they're amazing, too." He looks a little wistful.

"Haha, they are," says Lambert, ruefully, and he adds "At least, our line tends to throw them. Some I've heard, you get nymphs instead. We get satyr girls and maenads. Maenads are scary. I mean, scary-amazing. But scary…" He grins at that and he says "I can work with adorable. Elmo, I wasn't always good with this stuff when younger. Sometimes I was…look, I was a bit of a user. Actually, I was a lot of a user. I wasn't a terrible person, but I wasn't good for anyone around me. I wanna be better than that now. So. If you've got some boy trouble - lemme know, I might be able to help. Wait. How _many_ boys?"

Both of Elmo's shoulders go up now. "Two…maybe three? I'm not real sure on the third one?" He shakes his head at himself, finding a small screw to fiddle with. "Lindon, Jay, and maybe JP, I dunno if you know him."

"Man, _Linny_," says Lambert, but it is with some fond amusement "Oh, I know Jay - he's as sweet as sugar. Okay. I really like Jay…I don't know who 'JP' is, but I don't need to know. I mean, rather, I probably shouldn't be prying, but it's kinda fun hearing about it all. Linny's sweet too, but…he's got a hard. Sort of. Life, I think. At least, people seem to do stupid stuff around him."

"Yeah, he does," Elmo says, quieter. "But he's got some good people on his side. And me, I guess." Wry look. "Jay…he's who I'm kinda…fighting with?" He tips a hand, as if not sure on that one either. "I dunno if that's exactly what we're doing. But he's real upset with me and he's right to be."

"Why, what happened?" asks Lambert, who then pulls a stick of gum, of all things out of a pocket. He offers some across "You look like you wouldn't hurt a fly - unless it maybe hurt you first."

Elmo says helplessly, "I didn't mean to do nothin'. Just, he don't like the term boyfriend and I was using it because…I dunno, because I'm stupid? He says he had a real bad experience with a guy who was usin' it for him." He shakes his head to the gum. Since he now really needs something to do with his hands, he starts tinking with the new baby motor again. Screws go here and there, wire gets wrapped around the other. "I didn't think it—I didn't think, really. I don't know /how/ to think about stuff like that, you know what I mean?"

"Totally know what you mean," says Lambert, a little quietly "Some people get okay with it - some expect it. Some got real reasons to fear it." He lifts his hands "But you don't _know_ unless he tells you, so maybe this ain't all on you? Jay's a sweetheart, and I like him a lot, but he also has to understand that you ain't a mind reader." The satyr pauses "You ain't, are you?"

Elmo laughs. "Nah. Strictly outside of heads for me." He grimaces, then. "He did tell me. But I guess I didn't understand…that sounds weird, but, it's like I /couldn't/ understand, like my brain wasn't workin' that way. And now he's real unhappy with me. Talkin' about maybe he doesn't wanna see me anymore. Don't get me wrong, I deserve it. But." He jabs something too hard, swears, and has to fish out a bit of broken wire. "I…I dunno what to do. And the thing is, Lindon wants to keep the whole 'boyfriend' between us, and I'm okay with that, and I /tried/ to tell Jay that? But he started talkin' about how I sided with Lindon against him." Dropping the wire cutters abruptly, he folds his arms on the workbench and puts his forehead on them, hiding. "I just don't think that's true," he says, muffled. "I dunno how to tell him anything."

"Maybe he's feeling a bit too…like. Intense about it. Like if it was bad, and it's an open wound, he might not be able to approach it yet," suggests Lambert, who then says "It does sound like whatever's going on, it's gotta be you and him that solve it, not you and Linny. Linny's got a whole different perspective on everything, I think sometimes because people treat him _as_ a thing. So maybe you can start with somethin' like sitting down, just paying him attention by himself. Later on, say you're sorry it went bad, don't excuse stuff, just say that. It doesn't have to be. You know. Fraught or way uncool. Just that over an icecream sundae or something." Who doesn't like icecream? Lambert pauses "…Linny's got more boyfriends than I got lovers," he adds, amused.

Elmo stays face-down in the nest of his arms for most of what Lambert says. Then he snorts, a bit wetly, and straightens up some, pulling out his hankerchief. "I swear I'm so flippin' /weepy/ these days," he mutters, angry with himself. "Yeah, Lindon's got a whole pack of us at his feet, don't he?" Despite the sardonic words, he sounds fond. "Can't complain. He needs a lotta taking care of. This way he's covered real good." He's quiet for a moment, thinking over all that advice. "That…that sounds like it'd work, maybe. He don't hate me or nothin'. I know he wants to get together again, so…yeah. I'll try that. Hope I don't screw it up too bad. It turns out I'm real lousy at this relationship stuff."

"You got a lot to think about, don't you?" says Lambert, who hesitates, then spreads his hand out and puts it on Elmo's shoulder. His temperature is warm - runs a couple of degrees higher than human normal "He does, but that's okay by me. I got a lot to give," Lambert says cheekily, and then he admits "Before I ran into his lil'group it was mostly older women. They tend to know what they want, you know? I was missing guys too…I might be easy, but what I want is affection, and that's harder. Hmm. Yeah, look, the thing is? No one starts out good, Elmo. It's a skill set, cool cat. Unless you _practice_ it, it's never gonna get better. How much practice have you had, before Jay?"

Elmo flinches, but immediately puts his hand on Lambert's, signaling that it's okay. "Well. I met Lindon in fall. We went out for the first time in December. And that's what I got. For anybody."

"Riiiight, well, let's see. I've been messing around since I was sixteen, Elmo. Sounds like you're expecting a lot of yourself - you and Jay, too. So I think all you can do is remember to be kind, an' to try not to hurt one another." Lambert adds "You can tell him all of that - he's a good egg. He should understand that it's going to be a bit freaky for you too, right? Especially what with, you know. Sodomy being illegal. People get way beat up. People get hurt."

"Yeah," Elmo murmurs. "People get hurt. Not me, though. Ain't nobody can lay a hand on me." He says it less like he's bragging and more like that's something he /does/ have experience with. "But it's scary anyway, you know? People /hate/ us." 'Us', more than mutant, more than monster, more than Jew. He takes a deep shuddery breath. "I mean, you're right. I gotta learn and it's kinda like a toddler tryin' to install a new transmission. There's just so much to learn and I'm…I'm scared of messing it up real bad."

"Why don't you tell him that, too?" suggests Lambert, and he pats Elmo, lightly, then squeezes his hand, warmly, and he sasy to him "Mostly no one wants to hurt me, and back where I came from, sure, people knew my folk were weird. But my mum was smart. She got my dad - and all of us - to help everyone during branding time, or harvest time. We could cover a lot of ground. We helped for free. Were real generous. So…yes, it's scary. Hate is scary. But there's more out there than hate…but you're right, there's a lot to learn. None of those three guys are like…like one of your machines here. You won't know what happens until you try it. You can't predict it. They're people. Not machines."

Elmo half smiles. "I look at a machine, I know what it does and what can go wrong with it. I look at Jay…" He shakes his head. "And he's a mystery. A beautiful, mindblowing mystery. Who wants to kiss me." A little shiver, then he bows his head against Lambert's for just a second. "Thanks, Bert. Hey, you're pretty good at this."

Lambert presses Elmo's forehead in turn. His own is badly bruised, but pressure like this does not seem to be causing him any trouble. This is different. He then says "Well. I may not be any good at having relationships. Myself? But I figure that being kind never really hurts you too much. Like, the worst thing that happens is maybe you feel someone didn't deserve that sweetness, but. But that's all. And I don't see Jay as that type. I mean, ugh, before I got too distracted with family stuff I was chasin' him hard. The wings. The wings are lovely."

"They /are/," Elmo agrees, almost reverent. "He's a knockout anyway, and then those wings." That's definitely a besotted sigh. "I want to be good to him. I want to be good /for/ him. Just, not real sure of anything."

"Haha, do you think he is?" says Lambert, who then leans in, and he says "No one knows any one true secret, Elmo. No one knows it. We just gotta be kind, and try what we can, until we try to fumble our way through to some kinda happiness." Then he offers his hands, again, both of them "Well, you like Linny too, this JP guy? Are those three all…like, is everyone okay with it all?"

Elmo carefully takes Lambert's offered hands, as if he's worried he'll do that wrong, too. And then he gets alarmed. "I—I dunno! Lindon, he knows about Jay, and Jay knows about Lindon, and I told Lindon about JP, but …maybe not Jay? Oy gevalt." He winces. "I don't think JP wants to, you know, /go out/, he just kind of, hell, I don't know. Ugh. So," he adds, "this is why I said everything's complicated."

"He kind of wants to have some fun, or work out what he wants," says Lambert "Which is all cool, as long as you get that, as well. You know, as long as everythin's…heh, copacetic." He then says "Okay. Work your Jay thing out with Jay. Work your Lindon thing out with Lindon. But maybe you - and Jay - and Lindon should get together sometime." He pauses "And I will think about it."

Elmo goes a little glassy-eyed, like a student observing a very tall pile of books he's expected to read. "I kinda wish I'd known any of this /before/ I decided to get involved with multiple guys. But I..I think I can do those things." Blushing again, he says, "I bet I can guess what you'll be thinking about."

Lambert rubs the back of his neck "I'll be thinkin' about the ones that got away! But…eh, it's no biggie. Honestly, that's how I can tell I'm not. As much of a satyr as the rest of my family. Honestly, you're totally cute, and I haven't had sex in like…oh, man, a _month_ or so. But. It's like a million bucks more important that people are good to one another. So I ain't gonna move on you or affect you with, you know, anythin' funny, because you got a lot of stuff to sort out. And that's okay. Psh, how would anyone know? 'Less you were lucky enough to get raised like I did!"

"I appreciate that, Bert," Elmo says, earnestly. "I'd feel real messed up about everything if you did that. Even though it'd be a whole lotta fun." He quirks a smile. "Thanks, buddy. I'll fix your fridge any time it needs it."

Lambert pats Elmo on the back "Sure thing! And yeah, I'll call you if I get any issues, okay? I'm really bad with modern technology." He says, and then he stands right up, and without a care in the world, he heads straight on out.

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