1965-10-07 - Ashes
Summary: Carson and Halgrim talk in the ruins of the garden.
Related: Punks in the Garden
Theme Song: None
halgrim carson 

Carson's arms are covered in bandages, as well as his left hand, thick ones, the ones they charge you 75 dollars for at the hospital. He smells far too much like antiseptic and latex for his own liking. The clothes he is wearing are definitely not his own but they look like they aren't much bigger than he is, so he's probably borrowing them from whoever he has been staying with and it certainly wasn't his father. He doesn't look like anyone who should be down in the dirt for sure which is… where he is, if it could be called dirt at this point, it's mostly ash, deadened and burnt leaves. He shouldn't have those bandages down in the dirt at least.. and he does, cupping his good hand full of dirt. If anyone had come by in the past couple of days, the pieces of what once Carson's shed, lie in ruins. The frame of the little cot he had in there still exists, the sink and the toilet still stand, all of the metal things, they still exist. So the metallic ends of his tools lie buried in the ash and dirt as well, just without their wooden handles… or with very little of their wooden handles.

Carson currently is digging somewhere in the center of the garden, desperately looking for something, only using his good hand but tossing dirt all over his bandage covered arms, with clearly no regard for them just as he had had little regard for his own safety that night, he was on some kind of a mission here. His clothes are covered in dirt and ash, face smudged with it. He's been here awhile. He's made a pile of salvageable things off to one side of what remains of his garden. He may or may not be crying.

Halgrim approaches the ruins of the community garden slowly, trying to reconcile the destruction with the vague, dreamlike memories he woke up with and his more concrete knowledge of what it used to be. He stops at the boundary, surveys the wreckage. He looks pale and exhausted, like he hasn't slept yet here he is with his workbag, dressed in clothes meant to be sacrificed to a messy ordeal: an old, black, long sleeved henley, almost gray with age, and old, frayed denim jeans. "Usch, vad hemskt," he mutters under his breath, and makes his way through the ashes towards Carson. He doesn't say anything, just takes slow and steady steps, making sure to produce enough noise that he won't be sneaking up.

Carson hears him approaching but he waits until Halgrim is almost up on him to make any acknowledgement of having heard him, he turns his head slightly towards Halgrim and yes, those are definitely tear tracks running down his tanned cheeks through the ash. "Hello, Halgrim," He says, voice quiet and hoarse, like he's been crying for awhile. He makes an 'aha!' noise that is unexpectedly happy amidst all the dismalness that has set over what remains of the garden. He pulls out one of the metallic ravens that Halgrim gave him. "Oh thank goodness, you're okay."

Halgrim comes to kneel next to Carson, shouldering off his workbag and settling himself in the ash and dirt. He winces when he does so, adjusts his weight with a small shift, and sighs. "Carson I'm so sorry," he says, scannig the wasteland around them. He can't remember hardly any of it, except the smoke, and the fire, and the anger. Yes, that he remembers quite well. But he used to remember nothing, so that's a change.

He smiles, small and sad, at the sight of the raven. "I'm sure we'll find his brother in here somewhere. I'll help you look."

Carson finds himself leaning towards Halgrim when he kneels beside him, taking in the wince, perking up to look at Halgrim. "Halgrim? Are you hurt?" It's easy for him to turn his attention on Halgrim. He shuffles his knees through the ash to about a foot to the left to start searching for the other raven, still giving Halgrim a look of concern. "I've named them Huginn and Muninn, I thought you might like that a lot."

Somewhat automatically, Halgrim says, "I'm fine," realizes how perfunctory that sounds, and adds, "I just tripped, this morning, and gave myself some scrapes and bruises. Nothing major. The only serious injury was to my ego." He provides a warm, solid form to lean against in the dreary afternoon; thankfully it doesn't seem to be likely to rain, but the leaden overcast does nothing to lift the spirit.

"I do like that," he says, and pulls two pairs of gloves out of his bag—his usual pair, and what looks like a newer pair, which he offers to Carson. They're a little large, but not so much so that they won't keep his hands clean. "We can't let you get those injuries dirty," he says. "I've had burns get infected. It's nothing you want to experience."

"Tripping and giving yourself a bruise might not be a worrisome thing, scrapes and bruises plural? That's a little more worrisome. Are you quite sure that you're alright?" Carson asks again, looking back to the older man with only *more* worry now. "Are you feeling well? Under the weather? Vertigo can be a symptom for many worse problems, have you considered seeing a doctor?"

Carson looks down at his bandages, already caked with dirt and ash, smiling at Halgrim as he offers the gloves but his mouth does a funny thing, like his lips intend to quiver. He takes the gloves from Halgrim's hands and then throws his arms around Halgrim's neck, gloves in hand, hugging the other man tight suddenly.

Halgrim stifles a laugh at Carson's litany of concerns. "It's my sad duty to tell you that as you get older you're going to find numerous things which didn't leave a mark when you were younger suddenly do. Such as tripping on some stairs." He clears his throat. "I'll be fine."

He accepts Carson's hug, letting out a slow breath and wrapping an arm around him. There's a bandaged burn hiding under that shirt sleeve; his expression tightens as the movement and pressure jostle it. "We'll sort this out. We'll find Muninn and," he looks around at what little is left, "get everything cleaned up. I'll see if the Horticultural Society has anything to donate. And the Botany department might be willing to part with more seeds."

"I'm sorry," Carson whispers when it's clear that he's hurt Halgrim somehow by hugging him and then the dam breaks and Carson just starts to sob, acting like he might try to pull away from Halgrim to not hurt him any more. "I heard them all die, all of their screams, all that I built, burnt to ash and I couldn't stop it. I couldn't end their suffering, I couldn't save them. And someone… they wanted to kill me. Why would they want to kill me? I haven't hurt anyone Halgrim, my plants never hurt anyone.. they help people." He rambles between tears.

Halgrim doesn't allow Carson to pull away; his grip with his aching arm remains firm. "Nothing to be sorry for," he murmurs. He listens to Carson, jaw set; is it any wonder the overwhelming emotion he felt when he woke up was rage? She must have been utterly furious, watching all of it burn. But there's no place for that now. Carson needs stability and sympathy, not anger. Fortunately, Fjorskar lies dormant, having exhausted herself hunting in the park to get the lingering fury out of her system.

He thinks of the war, because that's where the answer is (unfortunately). "Because they're full of hatred and fear, and it's easier to blame another person than to consider their own part in the things which are making them angry and afraid. No one blames themselves when they can blame others."

Carson, submitting to Halgrim's hold, melts against the older man and buries his curly into Halgrim's chest, and cries, cries hard, letting his arms fall down to Halgrim's waist. The normally cheerful, if strange young man, just breaks down in Halgrim's arms and he clearly needs it with the way his sobs shake them both. It takes him a long while to pull himself somewhat back together. "Plan-Planting a garden is a n-natural stress reliever. So in rebuilding, we can help you find some peace." He whispers, voice a little shaky. He seems unwilling just yet to release Halgrim. "We can help the community find peace but importantly, you."

Halgrim strokes Carson's hair, laughs softly. "Help *me* find peace?" he says, and shakes his head. "I think you're the one we should be concerned with right now, Carson. I can't imagine what this was like for you. It must have been pure torture. I'm sorry there…" He stops, wondering if she could have done anything different, something which would have stopped it. Why was she even there? (Why is she ever anywhere, though.) Of course he's not totally sure what she did at all. He'll have to ask someone.

After a pause to consider all of that, he resumes, "I'm sorry there's nothing I can do except help you clean up." He frowns at the dirt on Carson's bandages. "Speaking of which. We should see to those. I can find you a long-sleeved shirt to work in, so they won't get dirty. That's also why I brought you some new gloves. Clean ones."

"It did not tickle, that much I can assure you. They.. I told you I can communicate with them, my plants, so I heard them all dying, *felt* them all dying, all at once, all their screams for help. I tried to do all I could to stop it. That's how I burnt my hand." He holds up the hand in question, wrapped in gauze and what have you. He hates the way it sticks against his skin, how it smells. He's incredibly uncomfortable in it and that much is obvious. "They will need to be changed. Again. I.. don't like them, did you know that honey actually protects from most all bacteria? That would.. smell infinitely better." He looks up at Halgrim and sighs. "There was this… giant… well, I'm going to sound insane, I'm sure, but a chimera… that pulled me from the flames after I turned on the hose."

"That sounds horrible, Carson." Halgrim strokes his hair again. "I can't imagine what that was like." He shuts his eyes a moment, glad that Fjorskar is, in fact, worn out and not present. He's not sure he'd be safe to be around otherwise. When he can trust himself to speak in a steady voice again, he says, "That's interesting. You might see if someone can make you a salve that's not as…well, that's not from the hospital, I mean. There might be someone who can do that. It takes a special skillset, to know what to mix and how much, but I can't imagine a place like New York City lacks for people who can prepare such things." He can't bring himself to say 'druid' or 'witch', because that might be a bit much for Carson, but it's what he's thinking.

Then Carson is, well, telling him what he was doing, and he takes in a steadying breath. "Pulled you out?" he echoes.

"I woke up and my shed was on fire but I wasn't thinking clearly or about myself because the garden was shrieking. I was only thinking about how to save it. And then, this chimera? She tore a hole in the side of my shed when I threw my chair through the window. I'm pretty sure she had wanted me to go out that way, where there was less chance of me dying but I crawled right through the window because I wanted to get to my hose.." Carson explains, and in doing so, his breathing starts to settle, his hold on Halgrim loosens a little. "I turned it on and she.. she yelled at me and grabbed me, dragged me out of the fire, out of the garden. Didn't hurt me."

"That's good," Halgrim says, quietly. The burning in his lungs is now explained; smoke inhalation, no doubt. That's quite a normal ailment and one which will improve in time, he just can't overextend himself for a few days. So she wasn't exposed to anything strange and terrible he has to worry about long term, at least. "I'm glad that someone got you out of there. I know your garden is important to you, but, you're important too." He clears his throat. "We wouldn't be able to rebuild it without you. As painful as it is to say it's better she stopped you from trying to save them."

Carson finally releases Halgrim, squeezing his hand with his good one. "While you, I suppose, are correct, I was unable to make coherent decisions. There was too much pain. For me. For my plants. It was already like I was burning. Elmo came too… nearly beat one of their faces right… off of their face.. because I could have died…. because they wanted me to die." He slips on the gloves and starts to sift through what remains of his garden looking for the other raven. "The ravens have survived though. I will… rebuild.. I will make it larger."

Halgrim can't help his amused huff at Elmo's actions; it's a desparate sound, because of course it's not funny and he's not happy to hear it, yet it's precisely what he could expect of Elmo under the circumstances. Of her, even, and he has to wonder how any of them made it out of Mutant Town alive. Even if Elmo had been able to stop himself, she'd have had no such compunctions.

"We most certainly will," he agrees, releasing Carson in turn. A burn on his leg protests the movement, he grimaces. "I suppose you might need to consider some better security for it, though. Not sure what would be best…" He looks around them at the double-wide lot, thoughtful. "Maybe some plants which are good at preventing fires from spreading, if there are such things?"

"I will work with them to make them resistant to flames. I will teach them to bite. I will not let harm come to them again. I will put trees in the front and teach them to fight. They will be safe." Carson nearly growls as he continues to dig. "I heard you huff, just now, Halgrim. Do I suspect Elmo has a lecture in his future because if so, I did not see a thing. He was a model citizen. He called the cops and asked everyone to politely leave."

Carson abandons his search to rise from his knees, coming to help Halgrim up. "Please. You are hurt. Badly it seems." Carson says, concern written into his features.

Halgrim stubbornly stays where he is, but spies an opportunity. "Only if we get those bandages of yours cleaned up first," he says, raising an eyebrow. "I'm fine, but I'll happily accompany you back to the club, and we'll clean you up. That will involve me getting some rest, which is all I really need."

Carson makes a face at his arms like a child being told he has to take medicine or get a shot. He grumbles something in Spanish and nods. "I'm a very bad patient, I should probably warn you." He still offers his hand out to Halgrim but if it makes you rest then fi-" Carson takes a step back and nearly trips over something.

He kneels to pick it up and it's the other raven which he promptly hugs. "Muninn!"

Halgrim tries to grab Carson, lest he fall, but fortunately it's not necessary. And even more fortunately the offending object is what they've been looking for. "Ah, there you are," he says, and now gets to his feet. "Do you want to bring them to the club, for safe-keeping?" He reaches out to dust some of the ash and dirt off Muninn's beak. "We can clean them up. Unless," he considers the ash- and dirt-marred piece, "you want to leave them looking like this, as a reminder."

"Yes, to bringing them to the club, but no to leaving them like this. They don't have to wear the scars of the past because I can heal them. Only I have to wear the scars of what happened. I will heal my garden, I will clean my ravens. I'll build a new shed, a new home. Everything but myself, can be fixed." He leans down to pick up the other raven, cuddling them both to his chest as he leans against Halgrim's chest once more once the man is on his feet. "Thank you, Halgrim, for coming."

"It's not always about being fixed," Halgrim says. He tightens an arm around Carson—his uninjured one, so there's no flinching. "Sometimes it's just about recovering. Don't expect more of yourself than is reasonable. That's no help at all. You'll heal in your own time." He lets go and takes up his workbag, stuffing his gloves inside it. "Come, then. Let's get you, and them, cleaned up."

Carson rotates the ravens so that he can carry them both in one arm the other arm he wraps around Halgrim's uninjured one to help him walk. "I have to worry about the garden more than I need to worry about myself. It was a source of food for many mutants. I have to get it back up and running and for that reason, I have to be okay." Halgrim was cursed with young men who work too hard fixing things for others and forget to take care of themselves.

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