Author’s notes: This takes place right after Part Eight and won’t make sense if you haven’t read the previous parts.

Reminder: Time period here is November 1978

Chapter Five: Abe Sapien: Sibling Rivalry: Part Nine

Hellboy, as he stormed out of his father’s office, shoved the right-hand door open with his over-sized stone hand. The door swung hard, slamming into the concrete wall of the corridor before swinging back closed.

Trevor Broom got up from his desk and examined the door and the corridor wall. Shaking his head he went to his desk and made a note to himself to tell maintenance to repair the damage that was now evident on both sides of the beautifully carved door.

He then returned to his interrupted work. After a time he felt a touch on his shoulder and looked up to see Abe standing next to his desk.

((I must apologize for my actions, Professor,)) Abe gestured, ((I never meant for things to go that far. He’s just so easy to tease.))

Broom got up from his desk and drew a second chair closer.

“Abe, please sit down,” he said as he again sat behind his desk, “Of course, I realize that you never meant to hurt him. But you have to try to understand him. He may look so large and invulnerable, but he is really quite sensitive and has never taken well to being teased by people he doesn’t know well. He both needs, and deserves, respect.”

Abe nodded. To most eyes Abe’s fish-like face looked rather expressionless, but Broom could tell that Abe was troubled by this disapproval of his actions.

“Hellboy doesn’t have a malicious bone in his entire body,” Broom continued, “But he does have a terrible temper and can be lacking in judgment at times. He doesn’t work well with people he does not respect or he believes disrespect him. It is my intention to have the two of you work together and I’m afraid you lost his respect today.”

((I am not reading his thoughts intentionally,)) Abe contested, ((He has so little mental discipline that his thoughts broadcast far and wide. It is hard to avoid picking them up.))

Broom held up his hand. “Abe, from some complaints that have come to me recently, obviously Hellboy is not the only person here whose thoughts ‘broadcast far and wide’. This is something that I had planned on addressing in due course, but today’s events brought this issue to the forefront. It is your responsibility to develop ‘mental discipline’ and not that of the others around you. Out of all of your unique attributes, the ability to read the thoughts of others is your most powerful and least controlled ability.”

Abe, who was now even more disconcerted than before, looked down. Broom reached out and touched Abe’s right hand, which was now resting on the surface of his desk.

Broom smiled when Abe looked back up; the smile widened into a grin. “Believe me, I am not angry with you. I have enough experience with the ‘powerful and uncontrolled’ to last me several lifetimes.”

He got up from his desk and gestured for Abe to follow him. He pointed out to Abe the gouges left behind on his office door by Hellboy’s earlier precipitous exit.

“Frankly, I have been spending most of the last thirty-four years of my life stressing that Hellboy not use his right hand unless necessary. He still has some trouble with it when he loses his temper. Yet, even so, I am very proud of the restraint that he has learned with great personal effort over the years; such is the true strength of that hand that he could just as easily have put it right through the door instead of leaving these few scratches on it. Controlling that hand is an ongoing battle for him, but it is one he usually wins.”

They returned back to his desk and sat down again. Broom got out a memo pad and jotted a few things down on it. “I will have the staff psychologists develop a series of exercises to help you form intentionally controlled mental shields that can be dropped as needed. I certainly do not want to completely deprive you of what could be one of your greatest assets when you start working for us as a field agent.”

He placed the memo in his urgent ‘to do’ box, along with the maintenance requisition to repair his office door. “I really need to get back to work now. But there is one further point I would like to make before I let you go. As you notice from the damage to my door, even the best of control can slip at times. Your greatest discipline will be in learning to ignore what thoughts may inadvertently slip through to you from others. If you do not learn to do this you will lose the trust of most of the people here.”

Abe got up from his chair. ((Should I try to apologize to Hellboy?))

Broom considered this, and then shook his head. “Sometimes it’s better just to let things work their course with him. If you go to him now it could just end up angering him even further and wouldn’t make this situation any better. Try to be circumspect in your dealings with him over the next few days and I hope this will all just blow over.”

Things at first seemed to work out pretty much the way Broom had expected; after several days of barely controlled hostility, Hellboy seemed to return to a more good-natured way of dealing with Abe.

Unfortunately, Broom had miscalculated the depth of Hellboy’s growing resentment of one who he was more and more beginning to look on as an intruder in his life; as one who was trying to usurp his role within the BPRD, both as the ‘son’ of the director and as it’s sole ‘unique’ agent.

This miscalculation would end up almost costing both Hellboy and Abe their lives.

More to come…

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