1965-05-12 - Murder of the Butterflies
Summary: Jebediah comes by the restaurant in search of monsters, vampires and satyrs and gets what he's looking for when he finds Adam and a new man, Halgrim with him. Adam wants to study Jebediah's plasma but Jeb is reluctant to hurt them. After Halgrim leaves, Jeb insists that Adam is not as unlovable as he believes.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
jebediah halgrim adam 


Monster Town has its own secret ways to and from the surface, and Adam has learned many of them. In his all-concealing, deeply hooded cloak, he brings Halgrim through to the cool night of topside, to Saganaki's courtyard. "Lambert's establishment," he explains to him, voice so deep and quiet that it's almost more felt than heard. "We and others are welcome here. He asks we do not fight. I told him I will hold you down if I must." So reassuring.

"Thank you," Halgrim says, quite sincerely. "Though, I've found it's safest that I simply quit an establishment if a fight's threatening. I lack an ego soft enough to be bruised by insults, anymore." He gazes around the courtyard, moves to the foundtain and then the herb garden. He lines in and takes a smell of the orange trees, and smiles. "I'd always wanted to go to Greece. With the constitutional crisis, though, and the rising unrest…I don't dare. The chances of an, incident, are much too high."

Jebediah frequents Lambert's restaurant for more than one reason, once upon a time, he only came to visit with Morbius, feeling far too shy to ask where else he might be able to find the vampire, too shy to ask for a number to call him, instead he just shows up at the restaurant in hopes that he was there, or that's what he did do. Now, Jeb shows up for hopes at a glimpse of Lambert, the satyr he was a little bit infatuated with though he'd never admit to anyone aloud and he also shows because maybe Adam will be there. He is also a big fan of Adam, though Adam had seemed quite confused by Jebediah's interest in him at their first meeting.

So when the young man skips into the courtyard today, he's delighted to find Adam there, far more overjoyed than he has any right to be. And Adam is with someone else. He remembers last time and doesn't bound over to them as much as he would like to. He approaches slowly. "Mister Adam! So nice to see you tonight!" He says, so very cheerfully, like meeting an old freind.

Adam had outright cringed away from Jeb's terrifying enthusiasm, as if he himself was the innocent young mortal. Tonight, though, he simply murmurs, "Jebediah Guthrie." He is cloaked head to foot, but as Jeb approaches, he lifts his hood up and back. Baring his huge, pale, ugly face, and his incongrously beautiful long black hair, to the night. It's a sight feared in Europe.

Halgrim watches the young man bound up to Adam with hesitation, until Adam reveals his face. If Adam's willing to do that, well, at the very least it ought to be safe to talk to the boy. He rubs an orange leaf between two fingers, sniffs the resulting fragrance, and approaches with exaggerated care.

"Ain't you know that you can just call me 'Jeb', you ain't gotta use my whole name like that." Jeb says with a shake of his head, a friendly smile on his face while he looks to the man accompanying Adam. His voice is weighed down by a heavy southern accent. "Hello, mister, Ah'm Jeb Guthrie, Ah'm a friend of Morbius' and Ah'm tryin' to be Mister Adam's friend too, what's your name?" He offers the older man a hand.

"I like saying your whole name," Adam says, simply, as if that should be obvious. "It has the rhythm and flow of music."

Halgrim gives Adam a sideways glance, all wry amusement, and takes Jeb's hand. His grip is firm and friendly. "A pleasure to meet you, Jebediah. My name is Halgrim." His accent has the upward lilt of Swedish dampened by many years of interaction with native English speakers. "I'm a recent, ah, acquaintance, of Adam's and Dr. Morbius'."

Jeb smiles brightly when Halgrim shakes his hand, he gives it a little squeeze before he releases it. "Halegrim?" He tries, butchering it the first time, as he had with Morbius' name as well. "Do you have a cool face that yer hiding like Mister Adam does? Like, maybe you do magic to keep it hidden?" He asks, waving his hands like he thinks a magician might.

"Jebediah thinks I am 'cool'," Adam explains to Halgrim, wryness for wryness. He pronounces 'cool' like a foreign word. "He does not think he should fear me, or Dr. Morbius. Rather he thinks we are beautiful. He has the courage and vision of an artist."

Halgrim 's smile turns brittle, even a little sad at Adam's explanation. "In a manner of speaking, yes," he says to Jeb. "I imagine it must be magic that is keeping it hidden. But it's not a face anyone would want to see." He clears his throat. "And what of you. Do you also have a, ah, hidden nature?" He pauses, adds, "If it's not rude to ask," in an uncertain tone.

"Yes, cool is the right word. It means 'fascinatin'' Ah guess, y'all talk like you came out of the bible, with real fancy words, Ah think you maybe even talk more eloquent than Mr. Morbius, but you ain't allowed to tell Mister Morbius that Ah said that." Jeb says rocking up on his heels before he takes a step back. "Well, Ah'm definitely not as amazing as Mister Adam or Mister Morbius but Ah got this."

When he steps back, his eyes light up with electricity, little sparks shooting out from his pupils.

Adam watches Jeb's eyes light up, a curious smile on his ugly weathered face. When he looks down at Halgrim as if checking to see what he thinks of the show, he pauses, examining his expression. Without pity, he asks him, "Do you not know you are beautiful then?"

"Amazing," Halgrim says, squinting at Jeb's light show. His features show only fascination, that is until Adam speaks, and then he straightens and blushes; fortunately, his beard hides a good deal of it, but not all. "You're…either far too kind or vastly mistaken, Adam," he says, and shakes his head. He asks Jeb, "It doesn't hurt, does it? And how do you…control it, exactly? Just by thought alone?"

"Well, personally, Mister Halgrim, Ah think you're very handsome as you are now but Ah'll bet yer even prettier in yer other form." Jeb compliments as easy as breathing, and it doesn't sound like flirting, Jeb delivers the compliments as gospel truth. "Well, see, Ah can manipulate the plasma, how much power Ah give it by just telling it in my head, Ah can manipulate how big the beam is by narrowing or widening my eyes. When Ah want it to stop, Ah blink, which can be a big issue in an actual battle because all the bad guy gotta do is make me blink and it's over. Ah can manipulate it between a light shock, a sunburn and the kind of electric charge that can blow up a car."

"I'm not mistaken. And seldom am I accused of kindness," Adam says, mild. But he doesn't argue with Halgrim over it further. He lets Jeb talk about his ability, because he's interested too, actually. "Use it on me, Jebediah." He shoves back one sleeve, baring a great tendoned forearm, which he offers to Jeb, as if Jeb was a phlebotomist. "I want to know."

"Oh you pair of flatterers," Halgrim mutters in Swedish, and sighs. He listens to Jeb's explanation, both as an escape from compliments and because he's intensely curious. Then Adam bears his arm, and Halgrim's eyes widen in alarm. "Plasmalike the sun? Adam, are you sureif it's plasma, it could do a fair amount of damage. Probably hurt like a bastard, too."

Jeb eyes Adam's exposed arm with a little trepidation but smiles when Halgrim seems concerned that Jeb might really hurt the older man. "While it could, that's only if Ah let it. Ah won't set him on fire. Ah've had a lot of practice controlling it, wanted to use it on these bullies when Ah was still in school but Ah didn't wanna kill them or nothing, just scare them." He explains.

Jebediah approaches Adam closer so he has a more clear target, when the electricity leaves his eyes and contacts Adam's skin, it will fear no more uncomfortable than a slight sunburn, like he'd been tanning for too long, not that… Adam did much of that to compare it but it would just be uncomfortable rather than painful.

Adam actually grins at Halgrim, which is not any prettier or less scary than not grinning, it turns out. Possibly more scary. When Jeb zots him, though, he looks disappointed. "I felt that less than I would a sunbeam. Hit me harder. Only do not explode my arm, if you please. It is difficult to reattach."

Halgrim's relief lasts only a moment. He seems about to argue against Adam's request, but Jeb's previous reassurances give him pause. He huffs a breath and folds his arms. "If anything does explode, I'll be sure Lambert knows who was responsible," he warns Adam.

Jeb puts his hands on his hips when Adam is disappointed in the shock he's given. "Well, excuse me, Mister Adam, Ah was just tryin' not to hurt you but if you want more, Ah'll give you more." Jebediah grouses at him, he blinks hard and then hits Adam with another beam, this one was strong enough to blister a normal human's skin, but not char it. Jeb is still trying not to hurt him too badly, but spurned into action by Adam's disappointment, he is a little rougher.

Adam only gets a splotchy green spot where Jeb eyelasers him. It doesn't blister, merely discolors a little. He doesn't flinch. "Better." Since he can't convince Jeb to really let him have it, he rolls his sleeve back down. "Thank you, Jebediah. And thank you both for your concern." He sounds sincere about it. "Not often do I hear such tenderness for my welfare. You have both done better by me than my own creator."

This time Halgrim gets to be relieved for more than a handful of seconds. "If your creator couldn't be bothered to have even that little concern for you—" He stops himself, shuts his eyes, and takes a breath. "Apologies," he says and rubs at his eyes before opening them again. "Thank you, Jebediah, for the demonstration."

"Ah don't get any joy from hurting people, Mister Adam, Ah don't want to give you too much and harm you more than you can heal from. Are you okay?" Jeb asks when Adam conceals the very slight wound. "Why would you want to be hurt worse? Ah like you, you ain't hurt me, why would Ah hurt you?" Very confused by this demonstration. He looks over at Halgrim and nods in agreement with the words he didn't say. "Why even make something if you aren't gonna care about him?"

"You'd need to strike me much harder to injure me at all." Adam is utterly blithe about it. However, he gets significantly less blithe when the other two men show him even more concern. He looks at Jeb, then Halgrim. His brow furrows and he closes his eyes, clearly pained from within in a way that Jeb could not even approach. "He was enamored of his own genius," he says, very deep and quiet. "He did not care what he made. Only that he could make it. Many—" he pauses, and swallows. "Many mortal children came about the same way. I am not so different in that."

"Unfortunately that's true," Halgrim says, gently, and stops himself short of going on. He checks his watch and sighs. "Unfortunately, I'm afraid I should get going—I've an early lecture tomorrow and an exam to oversee. I should make an attempt at getting a decent amount of sleep." He raises his eyebrows at Adam. "Think I should fetch one of the desserts to bring for the children in the, ah, Metroplis? I suppose they don't often have a chance to try such things."

Jeb frowns at the sadness clear in Adam's face, something deep within that can't quite be healed with medicine and maybe not even time. "Ah am sorry that you have had to suffer so much, Mister Adam." When Halgrim says he needs to leave, Jeb nods at him. "The Baklava, right? They will like that." He doesn't pretend to know what the metroplis is but he's sure any child would like dessert. "Thank you for talking with me, Mr. Halegrim."

Adam makes a visible effort to get a hold of himself, his thin lips twitching downwards. His enormous hands, previously relaxed, stretch, coil into fists, then open again. "You should, yes. You are kind to think of them." 'And of me,' he doesn't say. "We will talk again soon, Professor. Jebediah, stay a moment, if you can."

"Then I shall." Halgrim smiles at Jeb and offers his hand for a farewell shake. "You're very welcome, Jebediah, it was a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for showing me here, Adam. I'll stash a piece of something for you at the lean-to."

Jeb shakes Halgrim's hand when it's offered. "Absolutely sir, and any time you wanna show me your more beautiful side, Ah would love to see it." He offers kindly and then turns to Adam and nods. "Ah have nowhere to be, sir, no longer got a curfew now that Ah live all on my own, how can Ah assist you?"

Adam sits crosslegged on the ground, which brings him and Jeb much closer to equal heights. "He is too dangerous to transform for you, Jebediah Guthrie." He really does say Jeb's name with a certain musical relish. "However." Bringing out a journal, he flips it open to a particular page and hands it over. There on one page is a delicate graphite drawing of Halgrim's handsome bearded face. On the other is his monstrous form. And Adam wasn't exaggerating. It's beautiful. A wolflike creature, with a glossy ruff of raven feathers, the curling horns of a ram, and there are even sleek dragonscales among the fur and feathers. A weird patchwork, but creates a harmonious whole. Except for the eyes. The eyes are staring. Mad. Vicious.

Jeb comes over to Adam with way more enthusiasm than he's probably supposed to have, but he approaches anyway, wanting to see what Halgrim looks like when he isn't Halgrim. Jeb, unconsciously, braces one of his small hands in comparison to Adam's, on Adam's arm as he looks at the picture with thinly veiled awe, demonstrating how unafraid Jebediah really is. "Wow, so beautiful, even more beautiful than Mister Morbius /and/ my brother!" He says, voice going up an octave in his excitement.

"I agree," Adam says, with somber amusement. "He owns a beauty that is rare among our kind. But he cannot see it. I haven't shown him. He has been kind and I do not wish to further distress him with his other self." He permits Jeb to lean on him. It's like leaning on an ancient oak tree. "This form is dangerous. If you see it, you must hide, and use your power if you need. Don't be afraid of hurting him. He will kill you if he can."

"He cannot control it?" Jeb asks, hand still on Adam's arm as his brow furrows in concern. "It's like a curse, from a fairytale, huh? That's why it upsets him to talk about this other self?"

"He is two beings. The stalwart Professor, and this creature. Their interests differ." Did he make a joke? It's…sort of impossible to tell. Adam looks down, at Jeb's relatively tiny hand on his arm. He frowns. "Your heart is mighty, Jebediah Guthrie, but your form is still frail and mortal. You must take more care among such as I. There is a time in my life I would have killed you."

"You keep telling me that like you really want me to be afraid of you, that you would have killed me, that you can kill me. Why you don't want me to be friends with you, Mister Adam?" Jebediah asks as he pulls his hand away when Adam looks at it, flushed, embarassed that he had maybe been too close to Adam. "That's crazy, that he and this form, they have different goals."

Adam doesn't respond for a few minutes. His white eyes stay on his journal. Until he lifts them, slowly, to Jeb's. "You are to me as a butterfly is to you. Something bright and beautiful that can be destroyed with a touch. The butterfly knows no fear, even though it is as delicate and transient as a soap bubble. A careless brush against its stained-glass wings will ruin it. Yet it lands everywhere it wishes."

Jeb sits down slowly in front of Adam as he speaks, his words are poetic in nature, it's like he's speaking a song to him and Jeb is enraptured once more, Adam has all of his attention. "But, Ah never feel like Ah wanna kill a butterfly, Ah am not constantly afraid that when Ah see a butterfly, Ah'm gonna kill it. If it lands on me, Ah know that Ah will not hurt it, because it is pretty and it hasn't done anything wrong." Jeb answers, trying to understand. "Are you afraid that if Ah want to be your friend that you may somehow accidentally hurt me? Because Ah am little and my bones are easy to break? You have to be real careful when you touch someone else don't you?" Jeb reaches out and pats Adam's giant hand with his own. "You can't do this so easily, can you? You have to think really hard about the way you move?"

Adam lowers his great head, shining black hair draping in curtains down his chest. His pale tendoned hand is very still under Jeb's. "Perhaps you would be afraid, if once you murdered hundreds of butterflies. If you once looked at a butterfly and could only see that it is more beautiful than you, and that all love it, when they turn from you in disgust. If you hated it for that. If you killed it for that. Perhaps then, Jebediah Guthrie, you would fear that you would hurt one again."

"Mister Adam," Jebediah says, quieter now, hand still atop of Adam's as Jeb ducks his head to try and catch Adam's look again. "Mister Adam, Ah do not look at you with disgust, Ah ain't never did. This butterfly, at least, doesn't think of you as lesser. Ah think you're plenty beautiful, you're just a really big butterfly, with different colored wings is all."

Adam lifts his hand, with Jeb's atop it, and deftly twirls his wrist, coming up with Jeb's hand perched on his forefinger like a bird. He pats him, very light, in demonstration. "I am nimble in the body. It is my soul that is a crippled, clumsy thing. The murderer of butterflies." He looks away, the old monster unable to meet Jeb's eyes. "You are one of very few mortals throughout the centuries to look at me so. A select company."

Jeb wraps his hand around Adam's finger, studying it as he rubs his thumb along the strange skin, smiling when Adam pats his own hand. "Well, then maybe you should let me stick around. Ah wanna keep looking at you this way." Jeb says softly. "Mister Morbius, he has a lover. Ah think he might have more than one and he is one that you think Ah should also be very scared of. Mister Morbius is worthy of love, of being thought to be beautiful. So, you can also be worthy of being looked at the way Ah look at you."

Adam's skin is cold and tough, like untreated leather, but very flexible. He feels like a dead thing. A dead thing that is somehow, horribly, still moving and does not have the decency to know it's dead. "I could not stop you, if that is what you wish," he murmurs. "The love of mortals is a wild creature. No, a mere monster could not stop it."

"Ah wouldn't say love just yet, Mister Adam, you haven't even taken me to dinner yet." Jeb teases, releasing his finger to pat Adam's knee lightly. "But Ah can be your friend, now. It just means Ah come and Ah bother you by talking to you and spending time with you. We can talk about anythin' you want to. Doesn't gotta be the bad stuff. We can talk about my artwork if you want, or how Ah'm doin' in class when Ah start up school. We can talk about Mister Halegrim or Mister Morbius, we can talk about how you're feelin', anythin' you want, nothin' you don't want."

"That is love, not love as men call it in these times, but as the Victorians knew it." Adam stands, one long swooshing rush of cloak and effortless power. "You have graced Dr. Morbius with it, and I, and the Professor. You understand." He pulls his hood up, hiding his face in its depths. "I must go."

"Well, alright then. Well, you know where to find me, but also… Ah work at a club, called Club Atomic. You can find me there too and everyone looks different there, it's a mutant club. Some have wings, some have scales. You would be safe there. Ah would be there to make sure of it." He offers and smiles. "You have a good night, Mister Adam."

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