1965-09-22 - Take Me from the Wreckage
Summary: Vitale and Halgrim help Elmo in the aftermath of Doug's visit.
Related: Half Light, Half Dark
Theme Song: None
halgrim elmo vitale 

Elmo has shattered every. Single. Lightbulb. That the garage has. Every fuse. Things are smoking. Razor shards of broken glass are on every surface. They're in his hands and his knees and his elbows, too, from when Doug tripped him headlong into them.

He shoveled a passively-resisting Doug out the damn door with a few threats to make sure the schmuck really knows he's not wanted. Since then, he's been occupied with such things as crying and trying to pull glass out of his more-messed-up left hand (that he tried to catch himself with) with his less-messed-up right hand. He's roughly cleared off a stool and a spot on a workbench to do this at, but he's not having a lot of success. Neither of his hands want to work. He's still crying, trying to swallow tears fast enough to see what he's doing. There's blood smears everywhere.

Vitale has been out, trying his hand at groceries for the first time on his own. The results were, Vitale spent twenty dollars on bread and condiments and now he was home and trying to put it all away before someone calls him out on being super bad at this and questions how he can be bad at this. When he comes into the garage and looks up, he drops his bag, which along with the thump of his bag falling down on the ground, crunches with broken glass. He looks around at the chaos and destruction, shell shocked for a moment before he hears the sobs and finds Elmo a bloody mess.

"*Elmo!*" He cries and he never calls Elmo by his name. Vitale's eyes are wide as he runs over to his friend's side. "Gèsu Cristo, quello che è successo?" He may not realize he's frantically speaking in Italian as he waves off his question. "Non importa. Ti ho preso. Ti ho preso." He wraps Elmo in a tight hug if Elmo allows and slides his hand to the back of Elmo's neck, starting to steal those wounds from him.

Elmo, who is maybe a little irrational right now, flinches away as Vitale comes to him. "Nothing, I'm fine—" instinctive denial that anything is wrong because literally everything is wrong. But he lets Vitale wrap his arms around him, hiccupping on sobs. "I'm s-sorry." Glass starts falling from his wounds. He whimpers into Vitale's shirt as the dozens of cuts he's taken begin to heal.

"Shhh, Sparks. It's just me. It's just me. You gotta let me touch you to make it better." Vitale whispers to him, afraid to be too loud. "That's it. Shhh, it's okay. Its okay. It's all gonna be okay. I got you." Vitale doesn't even flinch as he starts taking the damage. His heart is pounding because seeing all the glass and the blood and then Elmo *terrified* him. "Va bene, Sparks. Don't apologize. Just cry."

Glass falls with musical little tinks to the floor and workbench. Elmo gasps in relief, flexing his hands. They heal up, the awful swelling going away too, until he can close and open them normally. It takes a little bit; there was a lot of damage, even if most of it was superficial. Elmo groans something incomprehensible and grabs Vitale around the waist, face pressed into his chest. He's still trying to apologize. "'m sorry, *je suis désolé, c'est ma faute*."

"Are you speakin' French to me? I'm sure all of this isn't only your fault. I'm sure you didn't explode all the lights and bust your hands up for fun, Sparks." Vitale leans his head down against the top of Elmo's own and pulls him tighter. "Its *okay*, Sparks. Its okay. Nothing my money can't fix, right? We can sweep this all up in a minute, it's okay. Its gonna be okay. Just cry right now." Vitale rocks Elmo back and forth while Elmo's injuries fade from Vitale's skin. His hands still actively bleeding.

Halgrim is on a mission to obtain the right set of gloves for Jeb as a Haustblót gift, and as Elmo is the person he knows with the most knowledge about electricty and how to not let it maim you, he heads to JP and Elmo's garage in Mutant Town. He's come with beer (a 6-pack of bottles, in case anyone else is there) to trade for that information, and because that's what Elmo had suggested he do some time ago — stop by for a beer. For, with — it was all the same, right? He would just claim the translation of articles in Swedish was less precise.

As he approaches the garage, though, he sees the evidence of Doug's none-to-gentle removal from the premesis, and that's enough to put him on edge. He rushes to the door to look inside. "Elmo?" he calls, stopping when he sees Vitale and Elmo and, well, all the rest. "Are you two alright?" he asks, staring around himself at the destruction. One of his hands, the one not carrying the beers, is bandaged across the palm and between the knuckles.

What a mess it is, too. It smells like ozone and blood and motor oil in the garage. At least there weren't any cars in the bays. Elmo, hanging on Vitale, hears Halgrim and twitches in escalating panic. "No, no no no, don't let him see this!" he moans into Vitale's shirt, like Halgrim isn't well aware of the disaster. He and Vitale are both bloody now, both of them bleeding from Elmo's wounds.

Vitale grabs Elmo's hand and twines his fingers with Elmo's own, forcefully if he has to so he can press his wrist against Elmo's, sinking his pulse to a calmer state. "Shhh, it's alright." Vitale he promised, other arm still wrapped around Elmo's waist as he looks over to Halgrim. "Elmo is now. Came in a he was a bloody mess." Indicated by V's bleeding hands. The wounds are healing in front of Halgrim's eyes though. "Can you kindly tell Elmo that you haven't seen anything, you didn't bring your eyes today right?"

Absently, Halgrim says, "Yes, I left them in my office, as my hands were full carrying the beer," as he starts to pick his way through the chaos towards them with measured steps crunching on glass. He pauses to watch Vitale heal, reminded now of what happened when the same process was used on Fjorskar, continues until he's within a few feet of them. He raises his eyebrows at Vitale in a voiceless repetition of his question: what happened?

Elmo's breathing slows down as Vitale coaxes his pulse down to a regular rate. He can't help but calm down, tears fading. Swallowing, he looks up at Vitale, his face a blotchy wet mess, then at Halgrim. Then winces away, hiding again. "I didn't *mean to*. He said those things to me and then threw water on me. It just *happened*. I'm sorry, please don't tell JP, he's gonna be so mad."

"JP isn't here. No one is here but me, you and eyeless Halgrim." Vitale says gently, running his hand through Elmo's hair. "Who threw water on you, Sparks? Who came in here and hurt you?" He looks over at Halgrim and mouths back 'Fuck if I know' with a shake of the head, still rocking Elmo as he looks down at Elmo's teary face. He pulls the sleeve down on his shirt and gently starts to clean Elmo's cheeks off.

At least Halgrim knows he's not alone in his confusion. When Elmo gives them the broad strokes of what happened, he's *still* confused, but maybe Elmo's powers are more literal in the electricty sense than Halgrim's understood them to be.

If nothing else he can help with one part of this situation. "If you'd rather he not know, then we should get to work cleaning things up before he comes back. There's a lot of glass to sweep and lightbulbs to replace." He shoves some glass aside with a sweep of a boot and sets the beers down in the clean spot he's made. "Do you have a shopvac?" He looks around at the shattered light fixtures, and amends that to, "Or some brooms?"

The prospect of work manages to get Elmo a little more focused; he nods, sniffling hard. He pushes away from Vitale to stand up — steady on his feet, now that he's not suffering the death of ten thousand cuts. They're both well-blooded, though, clothes richly stained. "Brooms. Shop vac." He groans. "He's gonna know. There's no way I can repair all this before he's back. He's just…he's gonna be so mad." Almost he starts crying again, but pretends he's not and covers it with a weak cough. "Last month I blew out the lights, now this, *oy vey izt mir*, why bother waking up alive in the morning?" Shoving glass out of his path with the side of his boot, he goes to fetch the tools.

"Elmo. I have money. I can buy you a million and a half light bulbs and this wasn't your fucking fault. You were clearly attacked. You haven't said who yet. If JP gets pissed that you took out the lights so you didn't die then maybe he needs a vacation." Vitale says rolling back his sleeves. Vitale looks over at Halgrim with a completely confused look as well. He has no idea what happened. While Elmo goes to procure brooms and what not, Vitale gestures with a completely healed hand to Halgrim's wrapped one. "Give me it."

Newly focused on the task of settings thing to rights, Halgrim agrees, "We might not finish before he returns, it's true. We'll make headway, though, and he'll see that you've undertaken the task of fixing it immediately." He smiles, a little sadly. "It's true, he may be angry, but I don't think it will be anger founded in anything other than concern for you and your well-being." Which, to judge by the state of the garage, is *not* in a good place, though as this is self-evident Halgrim doesn't say that.

He trails behind Elmo, gives Vitale a sideways glance, pauses. Concern flashes over his features. "I don't — think that's a good idea," he says, haltingly. Has Elmo told him? Maybe he hasn't. Or maybe he has, and Vitale knows something Halgrim doesn't — but he's hesitant, all the same. "Really, it'll heal in a week or so, the swelling has already come down."

"I wouldn'ta died," Elmo mutters, trying to inspire some aggravation in himself to tamp down the panic and fear and self-loathing. But…he pauses, broom in hand. "I. Mighta. He picked up somethin' heavy. The look in his eye…" He shudders, shaking his head. Grabs another broom.

Vitale makes a sound by pulling his lips back against his teeth when Halgrim protests and holds his hand out again. "I healed you when you weren't you," he says with a wink. "I'll be okay. Give me it."

He looks at Elmo when he approaches, concern written hard into his features. "Sparks, pal, who is *he*? Who came in here and tried to kill ya? We need to know. So I know who to tear apart."

Torn between being able to help Elmo more effectively and injuring Vitale further, Halgrim is driven to let Vitale take his bandaged hand out of sheer need to focus on anything other than the topic which is 'who tried to kill Elmo'. If he thinks about that for more than a few minutes he's going to have a problem, and he wants to help put the shop back together, not destroy what's left.

Elmo looks at the other two nervously. Fairly obviously, he doesn't want to say. He leans a broom against a workbench, knuckles white around the one he's holding. "…Doug. But he's sick," he adds, loud and hasty, looking between them, needing them to believe him. "There's somethin *wrong* with him, his brain ain't right. He…ah, Christ." He starts sweeping with furious little jerks of the broom. "He — he — he came here and started talkin' bad about me and Jay."

Vitale takes Halgrim's bandaged hand but doesn't unwrap it, afraid to hurt Halgrim by breaking the scab or whatever lies beneath the bandage but it means their skin doesn't meet enough for Vitale to sap the wound away quickly. Halgrim will feel the pain ignite a little, like a tingling. Until Vitale unbuttons his sleeve and rolls it up. He places his hand against Halgrim's bicep, laying his own arm against the older man's. *Now* Halgrim will feel the pain ignite loudly for a moment, a second before it moves to a dull throb and then the pain is gone entirely. But Vitale's opposite hand grows wet with blood as Halgrim's wound opens on Vitale instead.

Vitale doesn't even react which might be concerning to Halgrim who has never seen this before but Vitale looks back to Elmo, easily splitting his attention. "Sparks, take it *easy* or I'm putting you to bed after I drop your pulse again." He warns in a stern tone that Elmo doesn't usually pull from V as he watches Elmo furiously sweep the floor. "About you and Jay? The hell did he say? I won't hurt him. I know you said he was real… sick in the head right now.. but I don't take too lightly to knowing he came over here with intent to hurt you. Sick or not."

Although Halgrim makes no attempt to stop Vitale, he's clearly unsure what to expect and thus is tense during the entire process, particularly when the pain increases. As the ache of the bruising and sting of the cuts fades, he relaxes, and peers under the bandages. Nothing left — no more oozing wounds needing to be cleaned regularly, no more ugly purple and yellow blotches on his knuckles and over the back of his hand. "Thank you," he says, sounding nothing short of amazed. He sees the blood on Vitale's hand, and grimaces. "Is — I hope it doesn't hurt, or, take long to heal," he says.

The distraction of all of this lets him process what Elmo says somewhat more rationally. "Doug," he repeats, wanting to be certain he's heard the right name. "The one who threatened Jeb? And…" He thinks back to what Jeb told him an earlier run-in with Doug, which seems to have been months ago now rather than just a couple of weeks past. His face goes through a few contortions as he recalls that conversation's specifics, and he abridges it to, "Who said several, hurtful things about everyone present." It's a weak shorthand of what Jeb told him, and he knows it, but there's no need to air that all out now.

Elmo completely doesn't listen to Vitale, sweeping with increasing anger. "He told me — he told — what does it fucking matter? He just wanted to get me mad. Mad enough to build up a charge. So when he startled the hell out of me, I lost it. He already saw me do that once and he knew he could get me to do it again. And he wanted to talk some *chazerai* about how I can't trust Jay because he'll cheat on me — *like I fucking care!* Jay can't cheat on me, there ain't nothin' to cheat on!" NOW he's got rolling, words pouring out of him. "Then he knocked me down, s'why my hands all fulla glass, and—" he smirks viciously, looking down at the broom while he works. "He didn't figure I had more in me."

Vitale releases Halgrim and comes over to Elmo, stepping with quick purpose because he clearly wasn't kidding. He allows Elmo to get it all the hell out though. "And he threw water on you too. So this was all for entertainment. Listen, Sparks, whatever he said it didn't goddamn matter. It probably wasn't even true. " He reaches for Elmo's arm, once again with intent to drop his pulse. "Hell yeah you do. You're a goddamn force to be reckoned with, buddy. Bet you left him real sorry."

Halgrim takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly as he processes everything Elmo is saying. He shuts his eyes, rubs them. "Elmo, I'm so sorry," he says. He looks around them again, taking in the damage once more, surprised there was anything left. He folds his sleeve back down and rebuttons it, murmurs another thanks to Vitale as he goes to Elmo.

He takes up the other broom and begins sweeping, working from one wall towards the center of the garage floor. "I have to agree with Vitale," he says. "It sounds like Doug was speaking with explicit intent to hurt you, and much of what he said may not have even been true." He starts to add, 'it was just chosen to feed on your own misgivings', thinks better of it.

"Guess he was seeing if water shorted me, but I shorted because it surprised me and I had a charge ready to go." Elmo jerks away from Vitale's reach — then regains control of himself, and lets him touch. He sighs out hard as his pulse drops, his tense face relaxing. "I know he was messing with me," he says, hesitantly. Then here come the tears again. "It don't matter," he mutters, wiping at his eyes and pulling away from Vitale. "I shocked him hard and threw him out. He ain't so smart he didn't see that coming. Thought I was a wimp, just like *everybody* thinks I'm a wimp. Said he'd tell Jay I treated him like garbage, hah, like Jay don't know I'm an asshole."

"*Rosencrantz*," Vitale almost hisses when Elmo goes to jerk away from him. He soothes Elmo's pulse back down to normal again and releases him back to go ramp the damn thing back up again. He grabs a broom and gets to work and this he seems to at least have a handle on. He'll drop Elmo's pulse later and put his feisty ass to bed later after they get the place cleaned up. "You are not a wimp. You do not treat Jay like garbage either. None of that is true. You aren't an asshole either. Doug was tryin' to piss you off."

He turns towards Halgrim. "Its already healed," he opens his palm to show him clear, if bloodstained skin. "Any time you're hurt, come to me. Especially in this form, okay? I can take everything but loss of limb." Now he changes subject. "You said he threatened Jeb too? Clearly he just wants to rile all of you up, he sounds like he's having fun hurting you, Sparks."

That Vitale's hand has already healed assuages some of Halgrim's concerns. "Ah. Well, thank you, but I'd rather not impose like that. You did plenty, when you took care of her leg. That could have easily left me limping permanently, so." He returns to sweeping, because this is an awkward conversation for another time.

His jaw works as he listens to the rest. He keeps sweeping. "Why would he think telling Jay about any of this is effective. Does he think Jay would expect you to just stand around and be abused by him? He attacked you, arguably was—" He can't finish the sentence, not without losing his composure, so forces himself to stop. Instead he shakes his head, and agrees with Vitale, saying, "That does sound likely — he's trying to distract you. Turn you on one another so you can't focus on him."

"Yeah, well, he was barkin' up the wrong Yid." Elmo stops in his tracks, eyes widening. "Which…really ain't like him. He oughta had me. I bluffed the hell out of him. Laughed at him so he wouldn't know I was gonna shock him. That's…really weird." He thinks about it, standing still, eyes flickering. "…Maybe I'm makin' too much of it. Maybe he didn't know how hard I could hit. Maybe…anything but… he shoulda known, that I was gonna fight back and I wasn't scared of him." He looks at the other men. "He oughta known."

"Gave me a really cool scar. I've never had one before." Vitale says without realizing this is precisely not what Halgrim wants to hear as he sweeps. "It takes me minutes to heal *you*. You can bring me wounds. It takes weeks to heal her wounds but that's still better than permanent limping and faster than she would have healed it."

Vitale stops sweeping for a moment to look up at Elmo when he happens upon something. "No, I think that is worth noting. Maybe you should tell the others about that. Maybe it's a clue of some sort."

It is, in fact, not what Halgrim needs to hear. He grimaces, though, and just nods at Vitale, because one thing he's taking away is 'don't let her come near him with injuries'. While he can't do a *lot* about that, maybe he can get Adam to help.

He straightens from his sweeping and leans on the broom, eyes roving about the garage as he thinks on what Elmo and Vitale have said. "Do you mean, maybe he was trying to get you to hit him as hard as you could?" He bites his lip. "Jeb, when he told me about this, said something about a…'brain virus', he caled it." He says 'brain virus' like it's a pair of words he's not sure how to use together in English, and he's hoping it hasn't come out as two *other* random terms while he tries to pronounce it. "Is it possible he was hoping you could shock him so hard it would have some effect on that? Maybe — destabilize it? Pause it?"

"Yeah, like, electroshock therapy?" Elmo's still thinking, revving all cylinders of his overpowered brain. "Maybe he could see I wasn't gonna *kill* him. I couldn't do that to him, or do that to Jay and Jeb, and anyway I can't hit that hard without any equipment, but that I was gonna let him have it." He shakes his head sharply, starts sweeping again. Billions of tiny glass shards, deadly glitter, pile up in front of his broom. "He says it's like a *computer* virus, I dunno how the hell a computer gets a virus. Said we'd learn eventually. All I can guess is it's like a real virus, breaks in to rewrite the place to suit itself. Jesus, guys, I don't know, there's so many ways it could go, and—" He shoves his face into his hands, broom in the crook of his arm. "*How can he do this to Jay!*"

Vitale sets his broom against a wall and comes over to Elmo's side, tapping his arm to let him know he's there before he just grabs him. "Hey," he says gently. "Together, all of us will figure it out, Sparks. It's really gonna be okay. I promise that to you. Everything will be okay." He isn't trying to drop Elmo's pulse now, he is just trying to soothe his fears, his anxiety, all of it. "Maybe the real Doug in there was trying to get you to give him a restart. He said rude shit to Jeb too, didn't he? Hell, if he got both of you *together*, you probably could have put him ten feet under. I don't know his motivations but… this seems like a crack in the mask."

Halgrim murmurs, "Computer virus," to himself, trying to even imagine what that could entail and coming up short. Seeing Vitale go to Elmo, he stays put, not the least because it's clear to him Elmo isn't one for excessive physical contact in the first place. He sighs, says, "It's like you've been saying, Elmo — he's ill, or at least not himself in some way. I don't think he'd be able to do these things if he wasn't." He looks away. "I know that's cold comfort, considering, but I think Vitale's right. This could mean there's still someone to save, under all of this."

Elmo really vibes as someone who is not interested in hugs, but Vitale gets to inflict this hug on him and doesn't even get swatted away or bitched out. Elmo snorts in bleak amusement, pressing his face into Vitale's shoulder. "With Jeb juicin' me up, yeah, probably could." He permits V to hold him for just a moment, before he's pulling away again. "He's gotta still be in there. Information can't be destroyed. Just…hidden. What's the word. Occulted. I kinda figure his brain must be like a machine got broken to bits and reassembled in a new way. Well, it's still the same machine, you can still put it together so it does the same stuff it used to. Okay, this doesn't really work for a virus analogy, but it's what I got." He looks around the shop, or rather the total disaster that the shop now contains. "*Oy vey*," he groans, looking miserable. "JP is gonna be so mad. I gotta figure this out. Maybe I can…can build a fuse I can't blow. Reroute everything to a grounding cable, I don't know…something. I can't keep doing this to him."

Vitale doesn't make his arms a prison, they're an option. And they leave when the answer is no. So when Elmo pulls away, Vitale steps back, goes back to work. "We can fix the shop, Elmo. Maybe he will be angry but its temporary because we can fix it. We're lucky you're okay. If he doesn't see that at first, he will later." Vitale reiterates. "Doug can be fixed too. That's probably what he is trying to tell you with all this… ridiculousness. Everything can be fixed, okay. You aren't blowing the glass up to spite JP, are you? Are you doing it on purpose to piss him off because he isn't kissin' you enough or his game in the bedroom isn't satisfying enough? Or are you doing it because you are *being attacked*?"

Halgrim resumes sweeping. "Yes — this can all be fixed, and will be. I can't imagine JP will blame you for defending yourself, any more than Jay would. It certainly doesn't sound like you could have avoided the fight." He huffs a laugh, knowing all to well the consequences of not being able to avoid fights when your outbursts are dangerous. Which brings him to another topic…

Guiding the pile of glass towards a trash bin, he says, "I do think I have to tell you what I told Jeb — don't let him catch you alone anymore. Even if he *was* seeking help from you, it was dangerous, and could have easily injured either of you much more severely — permanently — than it did." He sweeps in silence for several seconds, willing himself to not conjure four hundred nightmare scenarios in that vein. He's gathered quite the collection of glass.

Elmo waves off what both of them have to say. "That's not the point! This place is *all he has!* His home, his job, his team, it's his damn everything and he needs his *farshtoptenkopf* boyfriend wrecking it like he needs a hole in the head! …I dunno, he's gonna be upset, though. He was real upset before and that was just the shop lights. I am not looking forward to telling him how some *other* guy came by the shop to get in a fight with me." He props his broom against something to fetch a trash can and a metal dustpan. "Maybe Doug was looking for help," he mutters, crouching to start sweeping galaxies of glass splinters into the pan, "but he grabbed somethin' heavy and there is no doubt in my mind he was gonna use it on me. He mighta been an X-Man, but I went to prison. I know he was gonna hurt me. He had that look."

"Elmo, you aren't fucking wrecking it because you're being malicious. Even JP knows that and this can be *fixed*. I have money. The bulbs can be replaced and you'll work out something so you don't constantly do this but it's not like you ever asked to be attacked. You didn't *do* anything to either of these guys. You didn't." Vitale retorts, frustrated that Elmo is worked up about the damn garage when he could have died. "Its not the end of the world if JP is mad. We send him away. We fix the shop. He comes back, it blows over. That's not what matters. What matters is you're okay."

Tipping his head at Vitale in agreement, Halgrim says to Elmo, "Upset, yes. I'm sure he will be. Blame you?" He stops sweeping the glass, straightens and shakes his head. "It's alright for him to be upset, considering what happened and what this place means to him." He shifts where he's standing, trying to get Elmo to look him in the eye. "But you're a part of that. I don't think his anger will just be about the damage to the garage." He gestures around them. "If you make progress on ways to prevent it from happening like this, that will go a long way to expressing to him that you're invested in this too. That you know it means something to him." He raises his eyebrows. "The alternative was Doug doing you serious injury — he wouldn't have wanted that."

Both of his friends telling him the same thing has some effect; Elmo slows down, losing a little of that frantic edge. He takes care over getting all that glittering dust into the pan, knocks it into the trashcan. "…Yeah," he says, eyes down. "I. Guess you're right. There ain't nothin' to be so scared of. But I'm so scared." He shudders. "The look in Doug's eye. I knew I couldn't let him touch me."

"It's completely normal to be scared of Doug and it's okay to be scared of JP's reaction because you're afraid of disappointing him, but you gotta relax and see the bigger picture here and that's the fact that you're okay, that's what we should be focusing on. Hell, Sparks, what if I didn't come home tonight? What if he hurt you worse? Like… what if something fell on you? These are all things that could have happen to you that didn't. I don't… Sparks…" Vitale trails off and his voice trembles a little, clearly trying his best to hold his shit together in front of Halgrim and God. "Sparks, I don't know what we would do without you, what *I* would do without you."

Halgrim takes the dustpan next, sweeping in his collection of glass and dumping it into the trash. Reinforcing Vitale's point, he says, "We're not saying you shouldn't be scared. We're saying, try not to fixate on it. Which I know is hard," he huffs a rueful laugh, "please believe me when I say that I do. But it'll help you get through this, to remember the context of what's happened." He nods at Vitale. "Vitale was here to heal you, we're here to help you clean up, Doug didn't manage to…" He pauses, sighs. Eventually, he says, "Didn't do anything that can't be fixed."

Elmo looks at Vitale, completely appalled. Then grabs him to hug him, uncaring of their clothes wet with blood. "Take more'n that to get rid of me," he mumbles. "I got through prison, ain't no bartender with a fancy mouth gonna put me outta commission. Don't worry, Vushka, please, please don't worry." Trembling on the edge of tears again. "Look, I just…I just gotta…build somethin'. Invent some fuses I can't blow, something to regulate the power surges. I'll build that. Something to keep me grounded." Which he means literally.

Vitale wraps his arms around Elmo and maybe this is why he keeps touching Elmo today, to assure himself that Elmo is still there. "He might. He could have. Something could have fallen down on you, I might not have made it home in time. JP needs you, Sparks. I need you. The team needs you. I'm always going to worry especially now with Doug roaming around like a maniac." Vitale whispers, but his voice trembles, betraying that emotion regardless. "The garage pales in importance to you."

Halgrim continues cleaning while Vitale works on convincing Elmo, happy to keep an eye on things in the mean time. This would be an awakrd time for anyone to show up, after all.

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