1965-09-21 - Half Light, Half Dark
Summary: Virused Doug comes to have a little chat with his boyfriend's boyfriend.
Related: None
Theme Song: https://youtu.be/UzrTCEhLtr8 Pentatonix - Cracked
elmo douglas 

Closing time on a Friday afternoon, and Elmo is sweeping up in the shop. The bay doors are still open, but nobody is around except for him, the rest of the team off on their own errands. The garage is ruthlessly tidy and organized, even though it's got the usual layer of grime that a mechanic shop always has. Elmo sweeps with absent precision, his mind elsewhere while his hands work without his direct input.

There is a noise, from upstairs - but there shouldn't be anybody upstairs, because nobody went up to the flat. Right? Except the door is unlocked. Somebody came up the back… snuck up the back, and into the flat.

Somebody, or rather the somebody in question, is sitting at the kitchen table, with his feet propped up on another chair, taking small sips from a squeeze bottle while reading a grimy car manual and absent-mindedly picking at a large slice of kugel he swiped from the fridge.

"The kugel's not bad," He says, "But Kitty's mom made better."

Elmo picks his head up, refocusing back from wherever his mind was taking him. He frowns up the stairs. Leans the broom against the wall and goes to investigate, already telling himself it's nothing, it's Severin having slipped in as a cat, or maybe it's the possum JP insists on keeping around.

So when he sees Doug with his feet up at the kitchen table it gives him a nasty start. Electricity pops with a smell of ozone as Elmo stares at him.

"…That was for Shabbos, yannow," is what he eventually says.

"Yeah, I know." Doug says. He tilts his head at Elmo, and says, "You know, I don't think we've ever had a conversation. Just…" He thinks, "You, and I." He puts his feet down, and pushes the kugel away, before he sloshes the contents of that bottle side-to-side in his hand. "How does it feel, being the man on the side, Elmo? Does it feel good?" He taps his fingers on the table, absently, while he waits for an answer.

Elmo narrows his eyes at Doug. He walks past him to the kitchen. "Guess you're not here for coffee, then." His body language is going wild; he's fighting to suppress terror and instead show Doug the tough-guy attitude that's his go-to defense mechanism. "Why you askin' me? Ain'tcha know I'm a moron about people? You're the one's got the mutation."

Doug rolls his eyes, and then he says, "Oh, spare me. You know, I played it down when you first showed up, but eventually I realized, Jay never overtly goes after something if he can get it passively. Oh, you just kind of happened to him. Gee… is it okay, Dougie?" He taps his chin. "What was I supposed to do, say no? I mean, I suppose I could've gone out and taken up with somebody else…" He looks around, and says, "…And I suppose that I didn't."

"So let me ask you another question, Elmo. Why. Why would you, being a fundamentaly decent man, as I believe you are, go for it? Go for a partner who you will never have in their entirety? I mean - neither of us WOULD, the lion's share of his heart is still buried with Julia Cabot in Cumberland. But STILL. My question stands."

Elmo leans on the counter, facing away from Doug. His big, scarred hands tremble on the Formica. Oh, he's frightened, and Doug is succeeding in getting him angry, too. "Yeah, actually, you coulda said no. Don't blame Jay because you didn't." He snorts, at that last question. "Please, look at me." He gestures brusquely down at himself: short, skinny, weird proportions - not, as it's usually counted, a good looking guy. "None a my partners ever are all for me. Why should they be? Jay's got you, JP's got half of New York, Lindon had that too. Just how often you think a guy like Jay comes along for a schmuck like me?" His shoulders quiver - he hadn't meant to say quite that much, and his jaw clenches.

Doug grins a little bit. "So you went for it." He says. He is utterly relaxed, composed, and in control, though there is something nasty lurking behind his eyes. "Tell me the TRUTH, Elmo…" He leans in, and his eyebrows go up. "Wouldn't you like to nudge me out of the picture and have him all to yourself? Wouldn't some small part of you really, really want that… in those quiet moments? You could treat him so much better than me. Give him the *affection* that I *never* did."

Elmo shakes his head, reflexively denying it. Then growls, "You know damn well I do," and turns to glare at Doug. "So what. So. WHAT. He's in love with you. It ain't about what I want. It's about what he wants. He wants you. He adores you. You can read everything everyone's thinking and you don't know that? Don't you fuckin' lie to me and say you don't know. If you didn't know he loved you, you wouldn'ta done that nasty trick with the gun." Referring to when Doug pulled the trigger on an empty gun pointed at his head. "You wanted to hurt him, I ain't so stupid I can't see that. Why? Why on God's earth would you want to hurt him?"

"And so I don't have the RIGHT - " Doug slams his hand down on the table, "To be angry? I have to be SAINT FUCKING DOUGLAS? I can't get upset or JEALOUS or HAVE MY FEELINGS HURT!?" He gets to his feet. "*Fuck you*, Elmo. I bite my tongue every goddamn day because I see the little lies people tell, they might as well be written on people's foreheads in black marker. Yes… I know how he feels." Doug says. "What I sat on was how *I* felt. Good Doug, NICE Doug, agreeable Doug, fuckin' DOORMAT Doug, who everybody leaves and who winds up sitting out on his own front fucking stoop unless he gets with the program and lets some GREASEMONKEY schtup the one person who gives him the time of day." He clenches his hand into a fist. "…Fuck you, Elmo. Fuck you for holding me to some high standard, and then crawling under it like a rat."

"Go ta hell!" Elmo snarls, whipping around. His hands don't clench into fists. They spread wide, long fingers fanned out, and it's more threatening than fists. From him, that's a warning sign like a hissing lizard. "You said you liked me! If you didn't it's your own fershtunken fault for not SAYING SO! How can you be some master communicator and not talk to yer own boyfriend? DOUG HE WON'T EVEN LET ME CALL HIM MY BOYFRIEND!" Elmo's voice cracks as he screams it at Doug.

And that's when Doug raises the squirt bottle and squeezes down on it with both hands, spraying Elmo with it. It's just water.

Water being sprayed at a man who's built up a powerful electric charge.

*POW!* Lightning leaps at Doug - more specifically, his squirt bottle. The water boils instantly and bursts the bottle. Elmo grabs for it, too late. Electricity is loose and it grounds on everything metal in sight. Lightbulbs start exploding, pop pop pop pop! Glass and sparks shower everywhere. Elmo snarls a curse at Doug, half Yiddish, half English, all hatred, and launches himself at him bodily. NOW he's got fists and now they're coming for Doug's face.

Neat trick! As soon as that flash happens, Doug throws the bottle, and as chaos is going on all around them, Elmo is coming at his face but Doug, who has admittedly come to cause chaos and boy has he, turns to step *into* Elmo and pull him into a trip. Doug's hair is standing on end, and he's lost his glasses. "Knew I should've just brought a bucket!" he rasps.

That works real well, Elmo is just not a physical street scrapper like the rest of his team. He trips over Doug and stumbles, skidding on glass and water and falling with a thud. Ohh, on all that shattered glass - his coveralls and his palms get shredded. Blood on the floor now, too. He doesn't seem to notice, lunging to his feet, lips curled away from his teeth in a snarl. He doesn't come after Doug immediately, panting heavily. Then… bizarrely…he laughs. Silent at first, like Jay. Then escalating until he's cackling and hanging on the counter, barely able to keep standing.

Doug on the other hand, has gone reaching for something heavy to use as a bludegon - he found a skillet with an insulated handle. He wipes a trickle of blood from his nose, and then says, as he begins to advance, "What's so goddamn funny?"

"You - " Elmo wheezes, laughing so hard tears are running down his face, "you, this is your supervillain act? Fightin' because you're jealous that some dorky schlub got his dick in your hot boyfriend? Shit! What's your next trick, gonna refuse to help some old lady cross the street?" Savage mockery in the best Jewish tradition, Elmo sneers at Doug with glass in his hands and blood running down his arms. "THIS is you gone bad? HAH!" And lightning springs from every shattered light socket, striking straight at Doug, faster than thought. "GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY GARAGE!"

Which is when Doug takes that hit - Brzrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt! He gets shocked, and winds up flying backward against the counter - he hits it, and collapses to the ground, where he lays stone-still.

Elmo's still laughing, staggering and hanging on the counter, more than a little crazy. Apparently Kaleb and Doug aren't the only candidates for the junior supervillain league. Where does Jay find them? "We're gonna rewrite your brain, Ramsey! Your virus ain't stand a chance! We're gonna get in your fuckin' head and rip you apart! Get up and GET OUT!"

Doug just lies still on the floor, in a heap.

Elmo manages to slow down to mere maniac grinning, teeth clenched. He considers the problem: Doug, out on his floor. Him, hands full of glass. When the adrenaline cooks off, that is going to hurt real bad. "You fucked up comin' for me on my turf," he mutters, through the grin, looking around. He wants to check Doug's pulse, but Doug already caught him out once today and he's not eager to repeat it. So he finds a broom, wrangling it clamped under his arm, sticks the bristles under Doug, and shoves him to move him along the floor.

Which is when Doug cracks one eye, and says, in a raw voice, with a smile on his face, "Go ahead." he says. "Dump me on the street like trash. I'll lie there, even wait for the ambulance to take me to the hospital. …'Course, then I'll make sure Jay knew his sweet, compassionate side-man threw someone out on the street like a trashbag. Maybe…" He laughs, and then winces, holding his side, "Maybe I was wrong about you, Elmo. Maybe you really are just a worthless piece of shit - "

"Sure. Thought I was a wimp." Elmo mutters it while shoveling Doug along like a curling stone. "They thought I was a wimp in prison, too. Guess what happened to the guy who tried to make me blow him?" He muscles Doug out the door, helping him along with a boot. "If you didn't figure that out, you ain't half as smart as everybody thinks you are. So maybe we actually got a chance to help you." He leans over Doug, eyes narrow and sharp. "Because we are gonna help you. *I* am gonna help you. You're a good man when you're sane. Jay loves you. And you love him. We both love him. And frankly, Ramsey? We're gonna need you when the real trouble shows up in the future. We are gonna need you. Now be a good schmuck and wait for your ride to the hospital."

Doug looks up, and then he begins to struggle to his feet. "Get bent. I neither want - nor need your help." He clings to the counter, and leans into it, heavily. "I meant every word I said. You all treated me like I didn't have the right to my own feelings… and Jay's as guilty of it as you. And you know what?" He laughs, and then spits a bloody wad at Elmo's feet, "I have the right - the fucking RIGHT - to be mad at you both."

Elmo bares his teeth at Doug, an atavistic stress response. "Yeah. Ya do. Every fucking right." He wipes his forehead - and flinches as it reminds him of his hand full of broken glass. "Now get off my block. I see ya here again, I call my boys and we break that smart mouth a yours."

Doug looks up, and then he sets his jaw, before he musters up the will to walk out. "Whatever, Elmo." He wipes the blood out from under his nose with the back of a hand. "Hope you two are real happy together. You can trust each other… right?"

Elmo snorts. He looks exhausted, dark bags under his eyes, his thin frame starting to shake with pain and a brutal adrenaline comedown. "You, at least you got the excuse that you're sick. What excuse do I got?" He looks down at the mess of his hands, his face struggling not to collapse. "Ah, Christ. Fuck you, Ramsey." And he kicks the door shut in Doug's face, before he can really start crying in earnest.

Doug on the other hand, wipes the blood from a cut lip, and laughs. "There's no excuse for you, Elmo. No excuse at all." He limps away… apparently pretty pleased with himself.

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