1965-07-14 - Foolishness
Summary: Jeb comes with flowers to apologize for trying to pet Halgrim's beast form and also to reassure Halgrim that he's very deserving of all the adoration Jeb gives him.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
jebediah halgrim 


.~{:--------------:}~.


The courtyard, with it's fountain and olive tree, is a cool oasis from the heat of summer, and Halgrim has taken refuge there. He's looking a little more rested than he has the last few days, and instead of wine he's drinking sweet mint tea with oregano. No papers, this time; in front of him is a set of field notes and a small, leather-bound notebook that he's referring to as he goes through the drawings and descriptions. His clothes seem very new and a grade above his usual attire. Someone has bought him a new outfit, or convinced him to get one, maybe.

In addition to the tea, there's the remains of a plate of dolmades and chicken souvlaki, and a small serving of galaktoboureko that has maybe one bite left.


Jebediah comes to the courtyard with a bouquet of flowers, purple hyancinths and white tulips in one arm, the other he's got in a sling, but with Jebediah, nearly nothing looks like an inconvenience to him, not even an injured arm. He's got a little bit of limp, but it's miniscule enough to go unnoticed. He knew that they meant, in essence, 'I'm sorry' in flower language which was something he thought that maybe Halgrim might know. He knew that he was the one who should be sorry and not Halgrim. He spots the other man and approaches slowly. "Hey, Mister Halgrim, sir." He says to announce himself. "Can Ah sit with you?"


Halgrim is slow to react, glancing up at the sound of Jeb's voice and then doing a hard double-take at the sight of the boy's injuries. He freezes for a handful of seconds, then his expression breaks into a mix of anger and remorse. He mutters, "Den fula fitta," under his breath and gets up out of his chair immediately. "Jebediah you look like you should be resting, not—not coming here with…" He seems at a loss about the flowers. Flustered now, he sighs. "Yes, of course, if you feel…safe, but please, at least sit down." He pulls out a chair. "I can have them bring you water or, whatever you'd like to drink."


"Ah don't know what sleepin' is gonna do for my arm that the doctor didn't already, sir." He hands the flowers to Halgrim. "These are for you, everythin' was my fault, Mister Halgrim, it really was. It wasn't yours." He takes the seat offered him anyway because Halgrim had told him to sit down. "Of course Ah feel safe, Mister Halgrim. It wasn't you who hurt me. It wasn't even your beast. It was Adam… and really, my own stupidity that hurt me. Please don't be mad at yourself, Mister Halgrim."


It's a lot to process—flowers, the fault being Jeb's, Adam somehow being the one who hurt Jeb and *not* the beast, Jeb actually sitting as he's been asked to. For a moment Halgrim stands there, holding the flowers, confused. He breaks out of whatever fugue this has put him in, sighs heavily, rubs at his eyes. "I think I very much don't understand," he says, and goes to sit. A young waiter comes in, and Halgrim sends him away again to bring water and more of the tea, and a plate of hummus and pita.

He carefully places the flowers to one side where there's no risk of crushing them. He says, "Thank you for these," and takes a drink of tea. "But I'm not entirely clear on how it was Adam who injured you and not my…houseguest." He grimaces, says, "He told me you tried to, ah, pet it."


"He… uh.. yeah, Adam picked me up and threw me so that your houseguest ain't eat my whole gol'damn arm off because Ah mean, it was really beautiful, your houseguest and he was actin' innocent, stuck his nose up and stopped growling so Ah thought maybe it was safe…" Jeb says, looking down at the table, embarassed. "If Adam hadn't thrown me, he would have definitely took my arm off because Ah was a big dumbass. So none of this," He gestures at his arm, "was your fault."


Halgrim listens, his face a variety of shades of miserable. He says nothing, just looks at Jeb's arm in the sling, until the waiter returns with the water and appetizer. In an eyeblink Halgrim is courtesy and gratitude, and sends the waiter on his way so he doesn't have to keep up the pretense. He pours Jeb a glass from the pitcher they've received, and gestures at the hummus. He clears his throat, says, "Please, help yourself," and sits back in his chair. He toys with his beard, looking thoughtfdul and morose.

Presently, he says, "The injuries you took may not have been a direct result of action by my other self," his voice low. "But Adam would not have needed to do what he did, if I'd not lost control in the first place. For that, Jebediah, I hope you can forgive me. I keep wanting to live a normal life, but it seems more and more that…I am no longer allowed to."


"Forgive you? For what. You ain't done anythin' wrong. If it weren't for the fact that Ah'm a goddamn idiot then Adam wouldn't have had to throw me! It weren't your fault, it weren't even your fault you turned, it was those assholes at the park callin' us… you know… that's whose fault it was. Nothin' is your fault, Halgrim! Nothing! Not any of this!" Jeb insists, vehemently, clearly more upset that Halgrim thinks he needs to be forgiven than having gotten hurt in the first place. "If other people would stop being giant assholes then you could. You still can. Maybe Mister Morbius and his friend can help separate you from him or learn to communicate with him. You can't lose faith."


Halgrim's sadness fades, and he grunts with reluctant resignation, looking out over the courtyard. After thinking on Jeb's words, he says, "Well then. If I'm not to give up hope, I think it's within my rights to remind you that we made an agreement you weren't to call yourself things like 'stupid' or 'dumb'. I can allow 'foolish' or 'thoughtless', if pressed." He helps himself to a slice of pita with hummus, and raises his eyebrows at Jeb.


At that, Jeb looks down at the table, like a properly chastised child. "But Ah was an idiot, Mister Halgrim, and because Ah was you're mad at yourself. So Ah'm a big gol'damn dumb ass, Mister Halgrim." He says quietly, voice breaking a little. "Well, maybe not big, Ah'm rather short, but.. Ah'm definitely a dumbass."


Halgrim toys with his glass of tea, takes a sip. "The reason I'd prefer you call yourself foolish, Jebedeiah, is everyone is capable of a foolish act. It's not a matter of learning, to act foolishly. It's merely a lack of forethought, and that's something we're all capable of at any time, given the right environment." He takes a proper drink now and sits back in his chair. Comforting Jeb is, at least, taking his mind on his own part in all of this.

"Thinking of yourself as 'stupid' is a way of shortchanging yourself, and it plants the idea that if you were to just learn more you'd never make such a mistake again." He smiles, wry and a little regretful. "I can tell you from personal experience that's simply not true. No amount of learning can fully eradicate foolishness. You have to look inward, and examine your mistakes. Once you accept how they came about, then you can begin the work of preventing foolish decisions."


Jeb looks up at Halgrim as he explains making this a teaching moment and really doing well with this dad role that Jeb thrust upon him. He doesn't smile in return but he doesn't call himself stupid again. "Alright, then tryin' to pet your houseguest was foolish. Ah guess Ah ain't an idiot. Ah still am sorry that Ah did something so stu… foolish. Ah don't want you to be angry with yourself. Can you forgive me, Mister Halgrim? Ah'm real sorry. Can Ah still be around you if Ah promise next time Ah'll run away?"


Halgrim nods and sighs. "I do forgive you—for putting yourself in such danger," he taps the tableas he says that, to bring the point home that Halgrim's own anger at himself for his own issues isn't up for debate, "and, yes, if you can remember to flee as quickly as you can if I start to turn, I welcome your company." He gestures at the pitas and hummus. "Eat, hm? Your body will need food to heal itself."


"Ah ain't had an appetite, Ah was worried about you, Mister Halgrim. Does it hurt? When you come back?" Jeb asks. He puts down the water and reaches across the table for Halgrim's hand. "It was supposed to be a nice night, Halgrim. Ah really wanted it to be, Ah wanted to show you somethin' Ah loved and it just turned rotten." Jeb bites the inside of his cheek but then takes a it of the bread, dipping it in the hummus. "Ah'm sorry about that too. Ah'll find better places to take you, places they won't be rude to you or Adam or Ah'll light them up."


Halgrim accept's Jeb's hand and squeezes it gently. "It *was* a lovely night, Jebediah. Apart from, well, the ending. You shared a wonderful and amazing thing with Adam and I, which I assure you with both appreciated. Please don't regret that. You can't be blamed for the ugliness in the world." He grimaces. "Particularly not that kind, as it's aimed directly at you, in part." He sets to finishing off the last of his souvlaki and dolmades. "No, I don't feel anything, in fact, because I'm not really conscious. It only hurts if the beast has been injured—like that time I woke up burned. I come to wherever it's left me, which thankfully that ngiht was the Metroplis." With a sigh, he adds, "Covered with sewage, naturally, but there's a small bathing structure there, which I made considerable use of."


"Well, Ah want you to have a nice night with me that doesn't end badly, you don't sound like you've had a lot of good nights, Mister Halgrim and for that reason, Ah wanna show you lots of them. Ah wanna take you and Adam places to do fun things and experience fun stuff without having to add them to your long list of nights you wish ain't ever happen. Ah wanna… Ah dunno. Ah wanna just.. take care of the both of you. Ah don't want you to be this unhappy all the time because you got an big fuzzy asshole livin' in you and because Adam is the product of some other asshole and he had to do awful things to survive. You been in a war. Listen, Ah want your good memories to weigh out your bad, Ah want to help make that happen." Jeb explains, nearly not taking a breath between words as the boy spills his heart to Halgrim. "Also, do you need more clothes? Ah'm betting you lose yours when that fuzzy jerk takes over, right? Ah can make you more, when you got a billion brothers and sisters like Ah do, you learn a few things about making clothes if you want anything new."


For a moment Halgrim is quiet and overcome with emotion. It takes him several seconds, but he masters himself and clears his throat. "Jebediah, I don't know what I've done to have earned that amount of good will from you, but I'm grateful for it. Thank you," he says, and gives Jeb's hand another squeeze. "I…am alright for clothing now, thanks to Adam, but your offer is very appreciated, and I'll keep it in mind. I'm planning to go see that sorcerer soon; maybe he'll be able to come up with, well. Something, and then I won't need to impose on any of you so much." He finishes off his tea, and pours himself some water.

"I wasn't…in the war, the way most others my age were. Sweden was neutral, you see, so it wasn't allowed, and anyways I was young when the real fighting began. But I helped with the Norwegian Resistance where I could, and while in school I focused my work on returning cultural artifacts to the other Scandanavian countries which were overrun." He pauses, looking down at the table. "I did, see, and experience things. But it's not the same for me as it was for those who faced the Blitzkreig or fought at Dunkirk and Normandy. Just the same, I thank you for your efforts on my behalf, and Adam's."


"You aren't imposing on me, you ain't never made me feel imposed upon, Mister Halgrim. Ah adore you and Ah want to do anything Ah can to make you feel better and safer and more like you belong in this world because you do. You think you shouldn't be around people but Ah adore havin' you around. You are real important to me, Halgrim." He rolls his thumb along the side of Halgrim's hand. "You were just you, that's what you did to deserve it." He cocks his head to the side and smiles slightly. "Can Ah give you a hug, Mister Halgrim? Ah think you might be needin' one."


Halgrim gives Jeb a look that's both fond and sad. "I'll be sure to remain worthy of such considerations, Jebediah." He sighs softly and nods in agreement to the offer of a hug. "Have a care with your adoration, though—I'll have to be more of a father to you now."


Jeb gets up to round the table and give Halgrim a one armed hug. "You always warn me of that. That you'll be more of a father to me like I should be afraid of it. I don't think it's so scary. Unless you're gonna start inventing more rules Ah gotta follow." He teases, holding Halgrim as tight as he can in this position. "Ah'm not gonna have a care about nothin', you deserve all the adoration."


Halgrim accepts the hug, gently and gratefully. "Ah yesmore rules, I nearly forgot." He scratches his beard in mock thoughtfulness. "We've already established there's to be no calling yourself stupid or dumb, and that when Ior Adam, I'd like to add—tell you to run from me you're to do so without question. Surely we've forgotten *something*…"


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