1965-08-16 - Welcome Home Kvetching
Summary: Elmo comes back to the garage after a forced vacation from JP to Vitale cooking him Matzoh Brie and fussing at him.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
elmo vitale 


Vitale wasn't the world's most talented cook but when it came to making romantic gestures and apologies, he had learned that the team preferred him to do so in a way that wasn't just him throwing money at the situation. So, he looked up something that might help ease the friction between him and Elmo since he came home bleeding. He picks something called matzoh brei. Simple enough that even Vitale can't mess it up. It fills the garage with a wonderful smell as well. He's set up some syrup at the table and sat a plate of the fried matzoh on the table. When Elmo arrives, he'll find Vitale in a mocked up wheelchair courtesy of JP. So he /isn't/ walking when Elmo arrives so as not to stress his friend as soon as he comes home either. Vitale is behaving. A pair of mock crutches leans against the kitchen counter.

Elmo comes jogging up the stairs, knapsack over his shoulder. He actually looks refreshed- -he'd almost shorted out the entire block when JP told him to take more time off, but it undeniably did him good. The dark circles under his eyes have faded, and he's moving with his usual vigor instead of strung-out on fatigue and anxiety. There's a certain desperate ferocity he gets when he's at the end of his rope, and that's gone, too. "Vushka!" he says, glad as hell to see his teammate and best friend. "You gotta wheelchair! Hey— is…that matzoh brei?" He's caught the scent of it and looks at the table in astonishment, eyebrows up.

"Elmo! I'm so glad to see you. JP made it for me, got sick of being down here by himself and my whining so he mocked one up for me." Vitale says, rubbing his arms, somewhat nervously. "Yeah, I wanted to apologize for you know, being an asshole, getting hurt and cussing at you when you were just trying to help me. So I looked up something traditionally Jewish to make you that I couldn't mess up. This sounded like a good 'apology' meal."

"Hey, is it okay for me to give you a hug? I missed you a lot." He asks, and Vitale sounds nervous but he remembers that Elmo had asked him to ask.

Elmo tosses his knapsack into the room he shares with JP, comes over and hugs the heck out of Vitale, burying his face in the thick, wavy black hair. "You don't got nothin' to apologize for," he murmurs, warm and tickly against Vitale's scalp. "You made me matzoh brei, I kinda can't believe it." He smooches Vitale on the hair. "I'm sorry for yellin' at you and losing my shit, okay?"

Vitale wraps his arms tightly around Elmo's back. JP was definitely not the only one who misses Elmo when he isn't around. The whole team felt that hole. "I got plenty to be sorry for. I cussed at you. When I was yelling at you, it sounded a lot like my dad. I don't mean to be a stressor for you, Elmo and I don't want to be, I'll work on that." He smiles when Elmo seems to still be shocked that Vitale made him matzoh brie. "I looked up some recipes and asked around for the best apology meal. Is this one of your favorites? It sounded like a comfort food. You, by the way, you ain't got anything to apologize for. Sometimes I need to be yelled at."

Elmo pulls back, hand on Vitale's cheek just like JP does. He studies him seriously. "I hardly noticed you cussin' at me, I was kinda busy. Besides, I get cussed at every day, it don't matter none to me." His mouth quirks in a wry smile. "V, don't you change a thing. You're perfect just like you are." Elmo pats Vitale's cheek and sits down. "You know what JP told me? That you're a hero. Doin' what you can to help people, even if they're huge terrifying monsters. And he's right. You're a hero. A hero who makes matzoh brei."

Vitale smiles when Elmo pulls away from him and tells him not to change a thing. "Well, maybe change a little, JP says that there's a rule against me being this reckless, so I gotta work on not falling on every monster I see." Vitale actually blushes when Elmo tells him he's a hero and tries to wave him off. "Nah, come on, Sparks. I'm nothing special. I'm just a guy who makes his best friend matzoh brei to welcome him home. I wasn't sure what you put on top. Some say salt and pepper, some say maple syrup."

Elmo grins brilliantly at Vitale when he tries to deny it. "You're special as hell, Vushka, I won't hear ya say otherwise." He proves all of Vitale's sources right by putting salt and pepper AND syrup on the fried matzoh, like a savage. "It's kinda like oatmeal, you can put whatever you want on it. We have it every day of Passover. You can't eat regular bread at all on Passover, you eat matzoh instead." He takes a bite— he's eating without coaxing, for once—and tips his eyebrows up in satisfaction. "Tastes exactly right."

Vitale's eyes widen when Elmo seems to be satisified with the taste. He smiles, wide and bright. "I did it right! The lady who gave me the recipe said it would be almost impossible to mess it up." He says, wheeling his way to the table, where he had pulled aside a chair. "How was your vacation with Jay? You look way better, Elmo. I think we might need to make it a rule you take a vacation once a month, don't yell at me neither, okay. You don't have any rings under your eyes, you look like Jay's been feeding you and you ain't complaining about it. You look good. Real good. This was good for you."

Elmo laughs, hand to his mouth. "Great. I took him dancing. Some pricks didn't like that. Hadda straighten 'em out." From the glint in his eyes, he enjoyed that almost as much as dancing with Jay. He and JP have way too much in common, sometimes, pair of fist-first reprobates that they are. "You think I look good?" He glances down at himself as if he can confirm. "You look good, seems like JP's takin' care of you, huh? He's got a knack for it."

"Well, of course, always a bunch of pricks who don't like it. You took /him/ dancing though? Not the other way around? I didn't know that you could dance, Sparks. Somethin' tells me you probably liked shocking sense into some pricks as much as you liked taking your guy dancing." Vitale smiles knowingly at his best friend. He nods when Elmo asks if he looks good. "Yeah, hell, Elmo, your eyes are bright, you look like you've had sleep this century which you ain't looked that way in awhile. And yeah, JP been scolding me into behaving myself, making sure I eat and using his dad guilt on me when I tried to avoid it. My leg is getting better. Still can't walk on it but we're getting there. Going to have to give up my pride to let you and JP teach me to walk again."

"Sure I can dance! Jews dance all the time. JP showed me how to dance to zydeco, too." That conjures an image; flighty, shy Elmo dancing with JP to the rollicking Cajun music. He rolls his eyes as Vitale goes on about how good he's looking, but he really is, sleek and alert as a fox. "Eh, you're gonna be fine. Little wobbly at first, maybe, but you'll get used to it in no time." He quiets down to eat, which he does with way more enthusiasm than he normally has for it. Vitale guessed well.

Vitale looks so relieved to see Elmo doing so well. He hasn't touched his plate at all just yet, to enthralled with looking at Elmo apparently. "I learn something new about you everyday, Sparks." He says happily as he leans forward and makes himself a plate as well. "I give you all full permission to laugh at me when I fall on my ass the first few times."

Elmo waves that off, shaking his head, but smiling. "Nah, why would we laugh? You probably won't fall, anyway. I know you ain't used to bein' sick so you don't know what it's like, but don't worry, you'll remember real fast how to get around. You just gotta kinda get strong in your legs again. It'll happen." Spoken like someone without a healing factor. He glances up, to see Vitale looking at him like that, and promptly blushes. "Eh, what?"

"You just look really good, Elmo, better than I think I've ever seen you. I'm glad Jay could fix you up, glad that he could do that for you. I knew that Jay was a good guy but he's good /for/ you too. I'll have to thank him." Vitale says. "It's good to see you good, that's all. I don't think you know how stressed you are, Sparks. Yeah, I'm definitely going to tell JP you should do this once a month for a couple of days."

Elmo scowls, but his heart isn't in it. "Look, it ain't Jay's job to take care of me, okay? Why should I show up at his place a wreck every time? He ain't going out with me for that." He finishes the fried matzoh and gets up to take the plate to the sink.

"Well, now you're back to normal for sure, already kvetching at me. You don't have to show up a wreck if you take a fuckin' break more than once every four years, Elmo. It would be good for you to go on dates without thinking you gotta schedule it in between saving the world, that's all I'm sayin'. Christ." Vitale can't exactly walk away in a huff but he can try to dramatically wheel himself away in Italian.

Elmo grumbles in Yiddish, scrubbing off the plate. "Yeah, yeah. Fine, for cryin' out loud. I'll do it so you quit bitchin'." Which is Elmo-code for 'you're right, I'm sorry, I love you'. "Jeez, don't bite my leg off." He grabs the dishtowel, dries off the plate, sets it back on its shelf, then sits back down. "I talked to it. The monster."

"What now you wanna talk to me, thought you were fightin' with me?" Vitale says, stopping the wheel and turning himself back around to look at Elmo. He is a little hurt, that as soon as Elmo gets home they already seem to be at each other's throats. "You shouldn't have gone to talk to the monster, Elmo. What if it ate you?"

"I went prepared." Elmo doesn't seem bothered; he was just kvetching, like Vitale had said. Leaning his elbows on the table, he's looking at him with those bright black eyes. "Brought somethin' I put together, self-deploying electric fence. I kinda figured, it didn't hurt you, it didn't hurt me, so…maybe it wouldn't, but if it did, I had something I could use to keep it away. I tracked it down usin' a bit of its feather. Tuned into its frequency. Brought a present for it, too. Man, I courted that thing like it was a pretty girl. And it talked to me."

"I don't care if you didn't go unprepared, she's enormous and has a lot of teeth and claws. No, it didn't hurt me on purpose, but it could have if it wanted to! It threatened to if I was lying! God, jesus, are you insane? Are you crazy? Did you lose your goddamn mind, Elmo Rosencrantz? What the fuck are we supposed to do without you? Jesus, Elmo, you're so important to this team, jesus.. jesus!" Vitale has to lean back in the chair as his pulse hops violently. "I'm glad you're okay and I'm glad you're braver than the devil but goddamn Elmo."

Elmo's a little startled when Vitale yells at him, but he grins at him, a devil-may-care grin from the mad genius disguised as a shy Jewish boy. "V, I hadda. With the nightmares and your leg not healin'? I had to go to the source. I asked her what was goin' on. She said she didn't mean to, couldn't stop the nightmares, and when you took the hurt from her, she couldn't help what she gave back. Said she's…what was the word. Bound. And she has a name." He raises his eyebrows. "Wanna know it?"

"I'm not having the nightmares as bad anymore. Why are you smiling? I'm /mad/ at you!" Vitale hisses, seemingly angered even more by the fact that Elmo isn't yelling back at him. He takes a deep breath and nods, but irritably. "Yeah, tell me her name since you nearly gotten eaten to get it."

Elmo props his chin in his hand, enjoying Vitale mad at him, grinning at him fondly. "I'm smiling because you got the energy to be mad at me. Glad to see ya yourself again. Her name's Fjorskar." He pronounces it with precision, even giving it the hard R instead of letting his accent blur it into an 'ah'.

"Well, that's fantastic, I can't say it, so when I cuss it out because it fucking eats you, I will butcher the name real good for added insult." Vitale growls, still frowning at Elmo, fuming. If he had a fire mutation, he would for sure be smoking. "Yeah, I got half a mind to roll your ass over but I wouldn't want to spoil your good mood."

Elmo laughs. The nerve! Laughing at Vitale's fussing. "I'm happy to see you too, V. If it eats me, you can say I told ya so." He gets up so he can smooch Vitale on the forehead. "You want me to soup up them wheels? I will, just say the word."

"I will crawl in it's mouth and drag you the hell out, heal you up and then punch you straight in your teeth and then yeah, then I'll tell you I told you so and then I'm not talking to you for a week." Vitale grumbles, shaking a finger at Elmo while he fusses at him. When Elmo kisses his forehead, Vitale sighs, loudly and wraps his arms around Elmo's waist. "Missed you, fuckin' asshole. And yeah, you should. JP said we're going to teach me about fun, apparently all of it is dangerous."

"I thought I didn't know how to have fun, but you got me beat." Elmo hugs Vitale's head. "That's right. We're gonna teach ya. Hook you up to the flywheel and hoist ya to the roof. I'll take you racing, you'll love it. You don't know what you been missing, buddy. It don't all have to be dangerous, we can go dancin', you know JP loves it. Then maybe we can get in a fight with some assholes don't think queers gotta right to live. Whaddaya say?"

"Well, I know how to get into fights, Elmo, I do it for a living, remember? I would like to go racing. Maybe you two could teach me to swim too. Also something I don't know how to do. I'll work on being worried less but not about you chasing down giant monsters and nearly getting yourself eaten, I'm going to always be worried about that" He grumbles into Elmo's shoulder. "We did miss ya, around here. JP the most. He loves you a lot, Sparks."

"Mm. I know he does." Elmo says it soft, simmering with emotion. He settles back down into a chair, half draped over the back of it. "I miss you guys, too. JP told me…well, he told me a lot of things. Said I'm gonna burn myself out, though." His mouth twists; he hadn't liked hearing that. Then adds, curious, "You can't swim? Really? We'll teach ya. JP could probably swim before he could walk."

"You will if you keep going the way you're going. You keep on picking up more and more work for yourself and you're killing yourself slowly doing that, you know? You gotta relax sometimes, you can't work all the time. You gotta eat, pal, you gotta sleep, you can't save the world overnight by yourself." Vitale says gently. "So, we gotta make time for fun in between your jobs and you gotta go out sometimes with people who ain't us where you don't think about the garage or the x-ternals for awhile."

Elmo argues, but without heat, "JP doesn't do that, he barely sleeps and he works as hard as I do. Harder, 'cause he don't throw himself out of the place." He pauses. "So, you're sayin', he should. Yeah, I agree. We can't let him work himself to death, neither."

"It's his place. If any of us try to tell him what to do, he won't listen, you know he won't. He's made himself the boss. Maybe all of us could go on vacation, together, and not like when we went to Louisana to deal with stuff, a real vacation, to the beach or something." Vitale suggests, rolling himself back to the table. "Could use your 'do it for me' on him like you do with me."

Elmo tips his head, eyebrows up. "Could. It works pretty good on you." He grins again, mischievous. "Gets you to eat and everything. He'll do it if I ask him. …Maybe." Because JP is an ornery cuss and the whole team knows it, particularly Elmo. He admits, "I love him, and he takes care of me way more than he oughta."

"Yeah, it does. That and you makin' me feel guilty." Vitale grumbles a little. "Hey, shut up, you deserve to be taken care of, Elmo, you and JP both do. We all love each other here, alright? We're a family and families take care of each other and if that means we take a family vacation, then we take one. Everyone here needs to take a breather, even I do. We've had enough stress for a lifetime, don't you think? As soon as my leg is healed and we have a phone then we'll go somewhere."

"I'm a Jew, we're experts at guilt." Elmo is totally unapologetic. "If it works, I'm gonna do it, keep you healthy. God, I sound like my mother." He rubs his eyes, chagrined. "Okay, but, listen. Yeah, I think we got enough to worry about, but it's only the beginning, V. We got a long way to go if we're gonna do this town any good. So…yeah, you're right, we gotta maintain."

"I know, JP knows something about the future and it's terrifying and he's all the time worrying about how to stop it. I know nothing is going to get better over night and I know that making things better is going to take a lot of work, but we can't all believe all the time that we got to carry the world on our shoulders, okay? It's not up to us alone to save the universe. We'll get more help." Vitale insists, rubbing his hand over the arm rest on his wheelchair. "If we lose our damn minds making ourselves sick in the process, we aren't going to be any good to anyone. It's time for a vacation."

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