1965-10-11 - Office Hours
Summary: Vitale hears that Fjorskar was hurt in the fire at the Community Garden and rushes over to make sure Halgrim is okay.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
vitale halgrim 


Elmo just had to breathe the idea that Fjorskar had been hurt to send Vitale rushing himself to the University. He could have run around that night, banging pots to get Fjorskar's attention, but it only made sense that Vitale find Halgrim instead, because, well, healing Halgrim didn't leave Vitale with nightmares and scars. He didn't know the extent of the injuries but, just knowing that she was there, where there was a fire? That was enough. Vitale hadn't even gotten fully dressed, which means, he's not wearing a tie or a suit jacket but he's still wearing nice pinstriped pants and a shirt that looks like it's brand new but Vitale /doesn't even have it tucked/, as he all but busts down the door to Halgrim's office, doesn't bother knocking, just tries the knob to see if it's locked.

Right up until the door to Halgrim's office just opens he's passing a calm afternoon getting caught up on things he didn't get to do on the weekend due to, well, the fire, and recovering from it. He's still coughing some, and of course the burns have a good couple of weeks to go, but all in all it could be worse.

So when Vitale just opens his door he looks up with an expression of 'I know my office is a glorified broom closet but who the hell do you think you are' which quickly morphs to mildly pleased recognition, and then to concern whe he sees how haphazardly Vitale is dressed. "Vitale." He glances behind him, both to see if anyone (Elmo) has come with him, or if any other staff have noticed (fortunately, no). "Is everything alright?" His voice still sounds uncharacteristically hoarse.

"No, it's not. You're not alright, are you, Mr. Lindqvist?" Vitale says knowingly as he enters the office, granted, he had been afraid that he would be finding the man much more worse off than he was but… Halgrim was sitting down. "Elmo, he told me about the incident at the garden." Vitale pulls the door shut behind him and starts rolling up his sleeve. "I can already tell by your voice that you need to be taken care of."

Halgrim makes a low sound and shuts his eyes briefly, muttering, "Sjalvklart gjorde han det." He sighs, which turns into a brief cough, shakes his head. "Really, Vitale," he clears his throat, "I'm fine, it's nothing that won't clear up in a few days." It's a warmer day, so he's in a long-sleeved, dark blue, button down shirt and black pants, with no jacket evident on the coat rack.

"You don't /have/ to suffer a few days, Mr. Lindqvist. You have me." Vitale says and it's /sternly/ as he dares to use with the older man. He rolls up his other sleeve. "Quit cussin' at me in whatever language that was and let me take care of you. I don't know why you didn't come right to me as soon as you… woke up." He offers Halgrim his hand.

Halgrim draws back from Vitale, face tight with concern. "It's hardly suffering, I've had much worse." He pauses, realizing that might not be a useful thing to say, soldiers on anyways. "It exposes you to the injury as well, doesn't it? I can't—impose on you like that. Not, in general but especially when it's something I'll just get over." 'Impose' is absolutely a word he substituted in at the very last second, in all likelihood a replacement for 'use'.

Vitale's face pinches in confusion when Halgrim pulls away from him and no, that doesn't help Halgrim's case at all. "It isn't imposing when I came all the way here. You don't have to hurt, Mr. Lindqvist. I can take it away. I can heal it faster than you can. What takes you a few days takes me an hour. It's not just that cough, is it? That's why you're hiding your hands from me." He rounds the desk to get closer to Halgrim.

"That's still an hour," Halgrim argues, looking like he can't decide if he should, in fact, get out of his chair and put his desk between himself and Vitale, or just get this over with. Attempting to avoid him could result in an awkward debate he really doesn't need his peers overhearing. He also can't refute the logic that Vitale's the one offering therefor Halgrim's not imposing, but the larger concern persists in his mind. "Understand that you don't have to put yourself through these kinds of things for others." He doesn't, however, try to move away again.

Vitale pulls his lips across his teeth, making a clicking noise when he does so, around the garage it's translated to some form 'bah' in Italian. He shakes his head and reaches for Halgrim's hand again, but he holds both of his, palm out, so that Halgrim has to consent to the taking of his injuries. "I do so, Mr. Lindqvist. I can heal, so I will. You don't have to hurt because you know me and I can take care of you. I do so have to do this for you." He grumbles.

Defeatedand, truthfully, tired of coughing and making excuses for it and losing sleep over the pain from the burnsHalgrim sets down his pen. "Just because you can, doesn't mean you have to. You have a right to not be in pain, no matter how short it might be." This said, he rests his hands in Vitale's. He hasn't been out of the field long enough for his callouses to have faded, but they're smoother than they once were.

Vitale wraps his hands around Halgrim's own, Halgrim will feel a slight pinch where he's burnt and then, he may feel for a moment like he's missed a breath while Vitale saps the cough straight out of him and the burns from his arms. Vitale's eyebrows pull down as he tries not to cough and risk worrying Halgrim more or earning a lecture. He doesn't even wince as he pulls the burns from Halgrim, which likely means that he's had plenty of experience with burns or something like it. The mafia did like branding people who wronged them occasionally. "I do not when you.." He coughs despite himself and gives Halgrim a 'hush' look. "I do not have a right to be okay when you or anyone else I care for is not."

Halgrim frowns, but makes no objection; he's seen this before, after all. There's no regret for accepting the healing…right up until Vitale says that, at which point he plainly wishes he hadn't. "For helvete, that's not *true*," he says, but it's much too late. He runs a hand over his face, points at Vitale and looks him in the eye. "Promise me, that you won't ever heal me, *or* her, without my express permission. I don't care how hurt we are, or if I'm unconscious."

Vitale stands up straight when Halgrim tries to make him promise something and looks aghast about it. "I will do no such thing without a compromise. What if you're dying? I can't take her on, she'll just run away from me, so you needn't worry there but if you're dying?" Vitale insists. "If you're unable to consent, then you need my help, don't you?"

Halgrim raises his chin, not about to be talked out of this; in fact, he's found a flaw in his reasoning and intends to fix it. "Fair point. No healing *her*, at all. For any reason. After what happened last time, anything serious could kill you, to say nothing of what it might do to your mind if you did survive." He narrows his eyes. "The *last* thing I want to wake up to is—" He stops, looks away, takes a steadying breath. "Please. Don't ever do it if I can't say yes."

Vitale's mouth drops open and he pushes out a scoffed breath. "At all? At all?! It was a few nightmares and a scar. My leg healed in a month and I was fine. It works, I'm walking on it right now! I was never in danger of dying." Elmo might say otherwise. Vitale came home bleeding so badly from his leg that he was dizzy for the entire month while his blood replenished but that's nothing that Halgrim needs to know about. He looks distraught over what Halgrim says next. "How can you ask that of me? What, you gonna go find a nice bush and die behind it? I don't even have to take all of it but I can take enough so you won't die!"

'If I have to' is writ plain on Halgrim's face, but he has the forethought to hold that back. If nothing else, he can't afford to be seen or heard in a heated argument with a twenty-year old in his office. "Those weren't just dreams, Vitale, they were…" He thinks of the ram on the salt pan, and can't finish the sentence. He rubs at his eyes, looking miserable. "*Don't*, heal her," he reiterates, then finally relents. "But if…she says yes, and shifts back." He raises his eyebrows to see if this is an acceptable middle ground.

"Fine, fine, okay, I'll promise not to heal her. I'll yell at her until she shifts back but I won't heal her. Okay? I'll give you that." Vitale relents there. "I ain't promisin' you shit about if you're dying. If you're dying, I'm going to heal you. You don't get to fuckin' die, Halgrim, just because you don't want me to suffer when I could survive what /you/ can't. You're asking me to give you permission to just go find yourself a nice little ditch and die in it."

The mental image of anyone (but particularly Vitale) yelling at Fjorskar until she does something is almost enough to make Halgrim laugh. He can't quite manage it, given the rest of the conversation, but it's close. His voice low, he says, "I'm not asking you that at all." He looks over at one of his bookcases, which is otherwise lacking photos it would have had some years ago. "I'm asking you not to sacrifice yourself—or, to much of yourself, for me." He runs a hand over his face. "There's been enough of that already. I don't want anymore."

"I won't die, Halgrim. I'm not going to stand by and watch you die. I can't stand by and watch you die. You mean too much to Elmo. You think Elmo would ever forgive me if I promised you I would let you die?" Vitale says, leaning against the edge of Halgrim's desk. "I can promise you that if you're dying I won't take all of it, okay? If you can't consent, I'll take enough so you can and then you can tell me to fuck off when you're awake again."

"Elmo would understand why I'm saying this," Halgrim says, firm and resolute on that point. He's willing to give on the rest, though. "Yes, alright. If—it's bad, taking enough to keep me alive is acceptable." He breathes deep and even, accepting the latest installment of the odd series of agreements he has to make with people as his new normal. "And, it could be that bad some day, Vitale. After the fire…I don't know what to expect from her anymore. She could decide to get up to anything."

"Elmo would not. He would not, Mr. Lindqvist. You obviously don't know how much you mean to him, if you think he would be just fine with me letting you perish when I could do something about it. He'd never forgive me." Vitale breathes a sigh of relief when Halgrim relents. "Okay… Okay, I promise I will only take enough to keep you alive, to keep you stable. And then when you can speak to me, I'll let you tell me yes or no, okay?"

"Halgrim? I don't think you understand how much you're loved." Vitale says quietly. "Elmo isn't the only person you're important to."

Gently, Halgrim says, "He would know it was my decision, and no fault of yours." He doesn't belabor that point since they have an agreement which he's, if not precisely comfortable with, at least able to tolerate.

He ducks his head, rubs the back of his neck. "Thasnk you," he says, voice low. "That does mean a lot to me." There's a forced neutrality to his voice, like he's keeping a very tight lid on…something.

Vitale frowns and reaches for Halgrim's hand again, giving it a gentle squeeze if he's allowed. "You matter, Halgrim. To Elmo, to the little Guthrie brat, to plenty of people. That's why I can't tell you I would let you die. You are extremely well loved and maybe it ain't the way you want to be but you are. You're loved." He insists.

Halgrim returns the squeeze, draws his hand back quickly. The campus is the campus; rules are rules. "It's not about me not wanting it that way, Vitale." He hovers on the verge of saying more, shakes his head. "It's about it not being worth your own life. But, as we've agreed, we're not going to let it come to that." He raises his eyebrows.

"Yes sir, we did. We agreed. I don't like it because I /don't/, but you've got my word." Vitale says with a sigh. "Are you feeling better because I don't even feel that cough any more." He rotates his arm that he can see that the burns are gone too.

Halgrim visibly relaxes as they return to a topic he's slightly less keyed up about. "Yes," he says. He takes a deep breath, in and out, to prove it. No coughing, no wheezing, no hitched breath. He admits, "It feels good to breathe normally again," and manages a small smile when he doesn't see a burn on Vitale's arm. "Truly amazing," he murmurs. He straightens up in his chair, cutting a glance at the hallway. Thankfully it's late enough that most of the staff and faculty are gone for the day. "Thank you, Vitale."

"It's nothin' special. I just don't want you worrying over me when it was something little like that, alright? You got a cold? I can take that no problem. You got a couple little cuts or burns, I can take that too. The only thing that puts me out for more than an hour or so is a broken bone, and that'll still go away by the end of the day, I'm just going to have to take a long nap and eat my weight in food." He explains, trying to ease Halgrim's worries about coming to him for help. "I was scared you were hurt a lot worse than this with the state of the garden. That poor Flores kid."

"Although I could, I won't be," Halgrim says, almost smug. "I'm sure Elmo and JP get into enough trouble you don't need to be healing my day to day nonsense."

He grimaces, looks away at the mention of the garden. "Yes, it was—well. I don't really remember. Sometimes I have, they're almost like dreams, but I think they must be her memories when I'm not the one who's in control." He scratches his beard. "I didn't used to get them, but now I do. I remember the heat, and the smoke, and pulling someone out." And the overwhelming desire to kill the people who'd done it. But that's not something he says. He's quiet a second. Then, "I think her scales must be fire resistant in some way. Otherwise she'd have been much worse."

"Yeah, they're both a real pain in my ass. You know how often Elmo's getting cut or burnt or scraped? And don't get me started about how often he's gettin' into a damn fight. They always punch him right in the snozz too. With how big that damn thing is? If I don't heal it, he's gonna bleed out and Elmo ain't got my permission to die, ever and that's that." Vitale complains and sighs, sounding very much like an exasperated wife.

He backs away from Halgrim and sits down on the opposite side of his desk so that if someone does come by, he just looks like a student with a question. "She did. She pulled him out. Elmo told me about it. Whoever they were, they were out to murder Carson, either because he was a mutant, Hispanic or all of the above, but they targetted his shed."

Halgrim smiles at Vitale's complaints about Elmo and JP. It's reassuring, in its way, to know this is a commonplace thing for him—even if he has no intention of allowing Vitale's healing of him to be anywhere near so common.

He takes up his pen and toys with it. "Yes, that's what Carson said, that she pulled him out." A corner of his mouth twitches in a another almost-smile. "It's good to hear she's trying to be a proper citizen," he says. His expression darkens in regards to the rest, though. "Probably all of that—but especially that he's a mutant."

"I don't know so much if it's that she's a proper citizen, I think that she actually cares about them, the mutants she protects, in her own terrifying way. She's protected me too." Vitale explains and narrows his eyes too when they talk about why Carson was attacked. "I don't know why they would go after him when he's not done a damn thing wrong to anyone ever. He runs a free garden, for god's sake. Who has he ever hurt. He thinks Elmo is the Bees Knees too. He's so kind, I just… don't understand. Why not go after a mutant who actually bothers people?"

Thinking back to what he told Carson on this very subject, Halgrim says, "It's not about him at all. It's about their own fear and hatred. It's easier for them to look and act outward rather than see that the problem is internal to them, and can only be fixed by reassessing their own prejudices." A sigh that the lessons of the war have already been forgotten not two decades later.

He considers Vitale's assessement of his other face, takes to studying his desk. He doesn't ever know how to feel about this kind of information, and has to take time to examine it. Presently, he says, "That's good, then."

"Oh, I wanted to ask you, while I'm here. It's my understanding that you might be able to procure some seeds for Carson? JP and I are gathering intel on anyone and anything we might be able to get together to rebuild his garden." Vitale asks. "Specifically, vegetables and fruits because that's what he was growing there. I was thinking that flowers could be good too but not as many, maybe just the edible ones? You can eat some flowers, right?" This is not a topic that Vitale is an expert on. Few things are.

"Well, those were a specific thank you set from the Botany department for some work I did. It wasn't much, just some interesting specimens they thought I might like, which I gave to Carson for his garden." Halgrim folds his arms, drums his fingers. "I can ask them about a general donation, though. Something to, replace what was lost." He frowns; of course, will there be those sympathetic to Mutant Town in the department? He might have to feel it out. That could take some work.

"Well, could you perhaps… would you be willing to accompany me on a shopping trip for seeds and tools for gardening? I'm afraid that it isn't one of my fortes. I, quite obviously, never have needed to grow my own food. So I am not aware of much as far as gardening goes." Vitale asks, somewhat abashed. "I would pay, you wouldn't need to spend a dime, I just need assistance. I think I'm going to employ Elmo to help me shop for clothes for him. Carson seems to be close in a way to Elmo."

Halgrim blinks. The idea that someone would need help with shopping for seeds and gardening implements comes as a surprise to him, and he smiles. "Oh, of course. I know some of what he was growing there, I helped him plant some of it." He bites his lip. "I can ask Martin if he has a preferred shop he buys from, that way we can be certain to get good stock."

He gives Vitale a sideways glance as he mentions Carson and Elmo, but says nothing on that topic.

"I'm not sure what blooms when or what.. seeds he needs or what you even need for a garden. We didn't have one. I barely know how to cook. I'm a bit useless to the team on… being an adult in these aspects." Vitale catches that sideways glance. "Mmm, you know something, don't you? Which one of them is making eyes at the other, huh?"

"My family kept a garden," Halgrim says, "so I'm happy to help you with all of those things. Teach them to you, if you want." He pauses, specifies, "I mean as it relates to gardening. The only cooking I could teach you would be Swedish and the little bit of Portugese I've learned from one of my neighbors. That might or might not interest your team, but…"

He clears his throat, shakes his head. "Mmmm that's not the sort of thing I'm going to relate to you. You can ask either of them yourself," he says, firmly though not unkindly.

"Aww, you outgrew gossip, huh, Mr. Lindqvist?" Vitale teases with a wink. "Alright, alright, I'll relent on the subject. Though, I think that I would like to learn about gardening, at least enough to help plant some things for the Flores boy." As if Carson weren't two years older than Vitale. He stands up and offers his hand out for shaking. "It's a date then, a /platonic/ one. I'm the monogamous type."

Halgrim returns the handshake. "Also the 'young enough to be my son' type," he says. His tone isn't entirely without humor, but the look in his eyes as he says that is dead serious. The expression eases as he sees Vitale to the door. "I'll be happy to teach you. It's not difficult at all. Though," he glances at Vitale's hastily assembled clothes, which still cost as much as Halgrim makes in two weeks, maybe a month, "try to find something old, that you're not concerned with staining."

Vitale chuckles softly and shakes his head at Halgrim. "I think /she/ beat you to taking me in as one of your own. And… um, older men, even as handsome as you are? Not my type. I don't wanna break your hip riding you and then have to heal it, puts a real damper on my night." He teases and then winks at Halgrim, waving at him from the door way. "Will do, old enough to be my dad, will do."

Halgrim gives Vitale a saccharine smile, because of course he can't respond to that properly, not *really*. He can, however, be glad Vitale's firmly not interested in significantly older men, which is a relief. "That's quite refreshing to hear," he says. "Now, if you don't mind," he opens the door and shows Vitale out, "my office hours are between one and three, on Monday and Wednesday."

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