1965-02-07 - Un-Breaking Bethy
Summary: A man with a sick little girl was convinced to change sides as Elmo promied him they could find his daughter real medical help for a fellow Mutant. Enter Vitale and the X-Ternals with a solution that may actually help where science has failed
Related: Desperation & Desperation II
Theme Song: None
vitale elmo jp 

Mutant Town — Community Center — Back alley

Elmo made a call in advance to JP to get Medico online that he needed help on someone's behalf. JP promised he'd make the connections and to be around back of the Community Center in Mutant Town at 7:30 and he'd take care of the rest. The rest entailed him picking up Vitale and dragging him to at least two lots to get his thoughts on garages with 'storage space' because no one knows how to make stash rooms optimized quite like the Italians. Life experiences, man, never know when they will come in handy.



James "Jim" Yancy was with Elmo and had the green Lincoln that Elmo knew from when they met. Bethy was curled up in the back seat with her well-loved rag doll that had three button eyes. Her breathing was shallow and she whimpered a bit wrapped in the blanket to keep the cold off of her. Her dad assured, "It's okay pumpkin, we're gonna find a guy that can help." He looked to Elmo riding shotgun and was putting all his faith in the young man. He had a couple blocks to go and as far as they could discern, were not followed.

Elmo couldn't resist kicking the Lincoln's tires, but has refrained from actually popping the hood. He can tune it up after Bethy is helped—and he hopes with everything he's got that Vitale can help. Yancy looking at him reminds him to check the rear views again. Morbius would scoff, but he's doing what he can. Bethy's condition has damn near broken his heart. Did doctors look at that third eye and decide she couldn't be helped, or worse, she would be better off dead?

Vitale is always more than happy to help JP or Elmo, no matter the time of day or night. He's here for them. So when JP wants his advice on stash rooms, he's there, being toited to different lots to find the best one for the garage. And when Elmo needs him, he's there as well. "What's going on? Is someone hurt?" Since JP handled the call and not him, he knew what was shaking down. "They didn't break out in bullets the way you did, right?"

JP finished his cig with a shrug. "Spark-plug didn' say other than kid's sick and regular doctors can' fix it." He gave Vitale a flat look, "Shit even round my area doctors are known t'charge double in case we're catching." He rolled his eyes and perched on the hood of his car. with Vitale. Hey it was efficient. The heat off the cooling engine was keeping his ass warm in the cold. JP wasn't much to get worked up over much of anything and could generally be entirely reliable for being as ridiculous as necessary to keep the panic down. Well… at least until a fight broke in where he took a first in last out approach to that. THat was often it's own problem. Finally he promised VItale, "well if there is a bullet in a kid I promise you we ain' playin darts after this." Because someone was goin skunk hunting if that were the case.


Bethy's three eyes were lidded. She was tired and sick with… something. Jim seemed healthy enough though so maybe it wasn't catching? "Lizzy's…not happy about the move. I told her it's for Beathy's health which is true and… Look again I'm really sorry about everything. Thank you. For this. For helping her have a chance." Jim was a man of emotion, and while pulled together, it showed in the way he squint at the road. They pulled up in the alley behind the community Center. Lights from the Lincoln bathed Vitale, JP, and Jeanne d'Arc (JP's '64 GTO). Jim looked uncertain to Elmo, "Are… are these your people?" He blinked and had that look of concern. He was clearly expecting a shiny clinic and maybe a guy in a lab coat, not a Greaser and a natty Italian in an alley. Elmo, this was your show.

Elmo grips Jim's shoulder. He is so touchy with this guy, it's probably astounding to those who know how little touching he does in general. "Buddy, they were twistin' your arm. And if—" he lowers his voice, leaning in a little so Bethy can't hear, "if this don't work, I know a couple of other guys, too."

When the headlights fall on his team, he sits up, now eager. Alert tension leaps to the fore. "These are my guys." He notices Jim's look, and offers his half-smile. "We don't exactly work in hospitals. Come on, let's go say hi. Let Bethy stay outta the cold for now." He bounces out. "JP! Vitale! This is Jim."

"It's a /child/?" Vitale says and oh, his eyes bathe the world in red. That was one thing that Vitale absolutely couldn't tolerate. A kid getting caught up in this world of evil. He combs fingers through his hair in irritation, for something to do to keep from yanking it out. "Whatever happened to the kid, we're taking them for ice cream first, capisce? Then we'll go find the sick bastard that hurt em and beat em within an inch of their life, I'll heal them and then we'll do it again."

Vitale and JP didn't look like world class medical officers, no, and granted, behind this building, bathed in light, they might look a little scary but Vitale's smile upon seeing Elmo doesn't look scary at all as he comes over to the other car. "Hey, Jim! I'm Vitale. I can fix your kid up, no problem. What's going on? I just need to see them. Won't take long at all." Vitale isn't even waiting for Jim to tell him what happened. He wants to get this kid healed /now/, so much that he almost forgets to offer Jim his hand to shake.

JP shrugged to Vitale, "Heard as much. Dunno what the situation is though." Which is fair as Vitale brought up bullets, JP didn't. He just said she needed a doctor and the time seemed a mite bit flexible. JP flicked the butt of his cig off into the darkness in a spiraling pinwheel. When Vitale made war plans JP looked at him calmly murmuring, "Now ain't the time t'tell me sweet nothings, V." Which was JP for, fuck yes I'm on board. Poetic justice was music to his damn ears. It really was the heartbeat of the X-Ternals as a whole: inelegant, bloody knuckled poetic justice. The Cajun greeted the guys as they got out of the car hopping off the hood of his. "Bonsoir, Spark-plug… Jim."

Jim turned around in his seat when Bethy spoke, she was tired and as brave as a 6 year old kid could really be. She was trying to be brave and being scared and exhausted made that just an uphill climb. "Daddy? No more shots?" Jim patiently watched his kiddo and had clearly, literally, been trying everything what they could afford. "Not tonight, Pumpkin. Hang in there. Who's my brave girl?" She smiled showing two small sharp teeth pointing to herself, "I am." James smiled and reached back there to run his hand over her too-warm forehead. He left the car running though he killed the headlamps and got out. He was 28 years old and looked just what you'd expect a clerk to look like. Nebbish. Nervous. Eager in spite of it. "Hi. Thank you for um… for helping us out. We don't have a lot to off-" He was cut off by JP holding up a hand to suggest 'zip it. We ain't interested in your money.'

Elmo, Sparkplug as JP has bestowed upon him, smirks just a little at JP's brisk yet eloquent motion. "Jim," he says to the nervous mutant, "we don't want nothin' from you. We just wanna help. That's JP, and Vitale here. They're my partners." In this era, 'partners' doesn't carry the connotation it will in the future. He means business partners, or partners in crime, or maybe both. "I trust 'em with my life." Now that one is literal, even if Jim doesn't know it.

"No money. Take me to your kiddo?" Vitale asks, knowing that if he just rounds the car himself to the kid, it might make the father more nervous but he's eager to cure her ailing. "Nothing I'm going to do is even going to hurt them, promise. Over in a second." He's the only one that's going to get hurt, but he's not going to tell the father that either, it usually scares them or worries them.

JP snap-pointed to Elmo who ow had a name on JP's say so cause… telling JP no is a lot like telling a cat, 'no don't stick your face in there'. For the most part he was quiet and he watched Vitale hop to work. He was incredibly quiet taking the small details in and looking to Elmo, "Glad you said somethin'. You a'ight?" He looked Elmo over who was, in his own subtle way, nervous as a tick on a rhino.


Jim was nervous but nodded to Vitale. "Yea-yeah. Here." He walked to the back door of the green Lincoln. Inside there was the girl in her blanket. He collected her, blanket and all and scooped her up. She was small, long limbed and when the blanket was moved there looked like there was more movement than she had limbs for. Jim told her, "Shhhh it's okay. They're like us." Us. Apparently Jim was stealthing. At the assurance a second set of arms came out from holes in the side of her sweater to hug her father with four skinny limbs. That'll cause people to blink twice.

"Fine," Elmo replies to JP, lying with some degree of smoothness. He's jittery. That's normal. The dark circles under his eyes are normal. But he's deeply troubled, and hiding it fairly successfully. His hands are in his pockets, fidgeting.

The little girl has extra arms to go with her extra eyes. Without meaning to, Elmo says, "Aww," in a tone that's part sympathetic and part encouraging. Extra arms, how cool is that? What enterprising mad engineer couldn't use an extra pair or so?

Vitale has never been around a child in his life, he's the youngest in his family and so far, his brothers have been careful to not have any little brats of their own and his sisters were both recently married to mobsters who are likely out making kids with anyone but their wives. It doesn't mean he doesn't like them or doesn't know how to deal with them. So when Jim brings his daughter out, extra arms or not, Vitale approaches her slow and then squats down so that he's eye level with her, doesn't matter how many eyes she's got either, there's no trace of disgust on Vitale's face, the man radiates warmth instead. "Hey beautiful." He says with a big smile. "My name's Vitale. You can call me 'V' if you want. I heard you got a real big ouchie, huh? Well, I'm gonna make it all go away, I promise."

He offers her his hand. "All you gotta do is let me kiss your hand and it'll all be better, but you gotta close your eyes for it to work, okay? Then when I tell you to open them, it'll all be gone. It's a magic trick." He doesn't want to scare her if she sees his reaction to taking her pain away. "So just give me your hand and close your eyes, alright, honey?"

JP kept one eye on Elmo and nodded. There was a lot that didn't need to be said. He was picking up what Spark-plug was putting down. His tongue ran across his lower lip while Vitale was getting a look over of the kiddo. He put a hand on the back door of the community center and though it had no handle and was locked, opened for him…because he was Gearhead and things just worked that way for him. He disappeared bringing back two thin cans of OJ and what looked like a pink music box. The cans were set on the hood of his car. He offered to the kid casual as he always was, "Allo, Bethy. I'm JP. This' Elmo. We Mutants too. So's m' lil brother. He'd be so jealous of you, chere. all like shit my lil brother's got a tail. He'd be so jealous of you cause I bet you give great hugs. You can't monkey butt-hug people." He boggled and assured her, "People look at you funny when you do that."


Jim assured the brave, worn out rugrat, "It's olright. I'm not goin anywhere." She smiled tiredly and said to Vitale, "You're nice." Kids, they don't lie. "Will…will it hurt?" SHe looked at him dubiously letting him explain the process. At least he didn't have the bedside manner of a robot. Finally she nodded holding on to her father with three arms and letting Vitale have the fourth. Her head turned to watch Elmo and JP instead. They were talking to her like a person. She didn't answer them leaving her face half buried in her dad's shoulder shyly, but the comment about the tail drew a grin from her with a giggle. Monkey butts , at any age, were funny.

Elmo isn't a charmer like his pals. So when Bethy looks at him, he offers her half a smile and some encouragement. "You're doin' great, pupik." The smile grows as JP rattles on with his nonsense, but fades again as he anxiously flicks a glance at Vitale. He still hasn't seen him in action and he doesn't know exactly what's going to happen.

"That's right, sweetheart. Watch JP and Elmo. JP's real funny lookin' isn't he?" Vitale encourages as he takes her hand and brings it up to his lips. It's the chest pain he feels first, internal bleeding is a kicker. He swallows a cough, so as not to draw any attention to himself, but Beth would feel the pain in her chest leave, her ability to breathe instantly easier, completely normal. Her chest can expand, pull in all that lovely oxygen without hindrance. She'll no longer feel hot, the fever? That's something that Vitale can nearly instantly erase. He doesn't even have the fever long enough to break a sweat, the congestion too, he keeps it long enough to feel a little extra mucus-y but then it's gone. It's his lungs that stay awhile. "His brother, he can turn into a real big kitty!" He tells her of Severin. "That's his favorite but he can turn into any animal he likes too." He turns his head away from the little girl to hide a wince, just in case she looks back but when he feels nothing else pull off of her, he releases her hand with one more little kiss.

"How you feelin', princess?" He asks her, still squatted down, hiding his pain well but christ it hurts. He sways a little from the place he's crouched in.

JP was, for all his faults, pretty damn good with kids. Staying calm was a bit part of it, and keeping them engaged instead of condescended to was also important. With a squint of one eye he offered to her, "V there patch' me up too. Got a big boo-boo too. He real good at it ain' he? Hey you're doin' great. Proud a' you." He looked over to Vitale and yeaaaaahup that's what he was waitin for. JP picked up the cans of OJ and tapped Elmo on the arm with it with a faint wave of eyebrows. That was for Elmo to get to Vitale. Blood sugar was gonna be a thing.


Bethy listened to the story, all three eyes blinking together. Her eyes squint shut and there was a groaning whine from her as the enfeeblement left her body. The healing though,, in spite of JP remaining calm, and her dad remaining calm, let to a coughing fit. Her eyes watered and she might just run out of air, and then? The first deep breath she's really had in months. That little kid was gulping air like a diver come back up from being crushed. This was, apparently, a good thing. Jim just hugged his little girl with his face wet with tear. Her words were all he needed and she sounded so good as Vitale didn't exactly look. "Daddy, I can breathe!" Jim's eyes though, once opened, found Elmo with a look of sheer gratitude and relief. "Bethy it's gonna be alright, see?" She looked to Vitale when he asked her how she was. She asked him instead, "Are you okay?" The perceptions of a child, and with extra eyes, could not be beat.

Elmo pops the pull-tab on the way to Vitale, crouches down alongside him to put a steadying hand on his back. "You okay?" he asks, very quietly, handing over the juice. Then—the miracle. His eyes get real big as Bethy starts to breathe, really breathe, deep and regular. He looks up at Jim with that wild expression, and gives him a brilliant grin and a thumbs-up.

Vitale puts on a brave face and swallows another cough and maybe a little blood and smiles big at Beth. "Sure, sugar. I'm fantastic. I got to kiss the hand of the most beautiful little princess in the world. I'm going to tell all my friends, but don't tell JP's little brother alright? He might get jealous." Vitale teases, telling a few little white lies to the little girl about his status of 'okayness'.

He looks up to Elmo when he puts a hand on his back offering him the juice. "I'm fine." He lies again but stiffer to Elmo, someone who isn't going to be frightened to know that he's hurting. He takes the juice, but seems to have a little difficulty swallowing as he fights back another rising cough.

Jim looked at them not quiet knowing what to say. "I-… this is incredible. Thank you so so much. I wish I knew how to repay you."

Without missing a beat JP cut in smoothly, "Non-sequential tens and twenties…" He blinked stone-faced shaking his head, "Pal, I'm entirely jokin'. Like Elmo said, Mutant' gotta help one another out man. I got a kid too. We get it. Somethin comes back? Ring us up."

Jim was turning back to the with Bethy who waved with both left hands to them. At the last moment she squirmed to be put down when they got to the car. She grabbed something and ran back over to Vitale and stood in front of him, paused, and wrapped all four arms around him in a quick hug. Two hands presented her worn three-eyed doll to him. She said, very knowledgeably in the way only 6 year olds can be the authority on all things, "This is Samantha. She wants to stay to look after you."

It was at that JP took a step back, the back of his hand to his mouth and he fell back to just go dig around in his car for the lighter in teh dash. Noooothin to see here.

Elmo suddenly, impulsively hugs Vitale when the Yancys are headed back to their car. "You're a treasure, pal," he says, exuberant, and smooches him on the cheek. For Elmo this is an unprecedented display. He backs off in time for Bethy to run back, and watches her offer Vitale the doll with undisguised delight.

A kid? JP had a kid? Vitale had never seen one hanging around with them. He feels like JP would have toted them along at least once. When the little girl digs in the car, Vitale stays squatted down because she seemed to be on a mission and was returning to him. When she gives Vitale a hug, he hugs her back, careful not to squeeze too hard. "Your dolly, sweetheart? Are you sure? I'll take real good care of her." He promises taking the doll in his hands, reaching up to rub a thumb over her cheek and then leaning forward to give her forehead a kiss, then he rises and looks to JP who has gone in the car, surprised by Elmo suddenly attacking him with that hug and a kiss as well.

He rubs a hand over Elmo's back and then returns the hug and any pain Elmo might have been suffering eases away once more. "I.. no… I'm just me." He promises, not knowing what to do with the compliment, not used to it. He is looking to JP, though. "JP. Bud. C'mere."

Jim and Bethy piled into the car to go home and let her enjoy the first good night sleep in 17 months, and in the morning? Emergency pack to GTFO and let Lamont go place them at some upstate residence in some magical witness protection.

JP was chillin out in Jeanne d'Arc, that wonder of a muscle car that went with him everywhere. It popped, the red coil glowing as he lit his cig before putting it back in its socket. He let one leg sprawl half out of the car. When Vitale came back over he was composed commending, "You guys did good. That" He pointed with the cig still pinched between middle finger and thumb at the green Lincoln driving away, "is the type of shit I was talkin 'bout." Dark brown eyes looked up at Vitale, then to Elmo, and back. He modded to V, "Medico, es-tu bien?" You good man?

Elmo slides in on Jeanne's passenger side, and then inflicts hugging on JP, too. It lasts a while longer than he made Vitale tolerate. Maybe he's feeling some emotions too. Emotions are stupid and someone must pay, and that someone is JP and he's paying in hugs. "You did good too," he says against JP's collar.

"I'm gonna be fine. Hurts a little but are you gonna be fine?" Elmo slides into the passenger side and inflicts hugging on JP and Vitale mentally thanks him on blocking JP's only available exit from ComfortBroVille, USA. Vitale drops down, and attacks JP from the other side with a hug too, pushing the doll into JP's hand instead of his own. "I'm thinking maybe this here doll needs to watch over you more'n me." He says, hugging JP tight, the cajun caught in a big group hug.

JP was just taking in his thoughts when he was assailed by his team and was then just trying not to burn or ash on Vitale coming at him from the driver side door. "Gaaaaaah, yeah yeah I'm fine." He would be confused but he got it. His free hand patted at the back of Elmo's shoulder and he pinched the cig in his lips murmuring around it, "So we di' good? Is a start." He took the doll and sat her down in the middle console. Taking the long way around the discussion they weren't having he shared, "When we go back," To New Orleans, "I wan' you guys t'meet her." Presumably his kid in question. "In the meantime? We got us a mascot. We'come t'the team, Samantha."

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