Author’s notes: This follows after Part Fourteen and we’re going to find out what’s up with Abe. For this to make sense read at least the parts after Part Nine. For those who have been following this: many thanks.

P.S. Please forgive me for the rather ‘Abeless’ sections recently. I usually don’t plan what I’m going to write ahead of time and all this stuff about Hellboy’s reaction to the recent crisis just came out. Sometimes I end up editing out stuff that gets too expansive, but these recent bits insisted on staying in.

Hellboy is still the main character of this fic and if I spend a little extra time on him, I believe that this focus is important. Frankly, the ‘Hellboy’ here is not exactly the ‘Hellboy’ of the movie; this ‘Hellboy’ is almost half the age of the character in the film and I feel it important to establish his personality and motivations. More Abe coming, I promise!!

Chapter Five: Abe Sapien: Sibling Rivalry: Part Fifteen

Sunday Morning, November 26, 1978

Trevor Broom and Hellboy prepared to depart the Boston facility to return to BPRD headquarters in Newark. They were to be transported to a nearby military base where a special plane awaited them.

Hellboy held his left hand out to Dr. Robert Patterson. “Bob, I once thanked you for saving my father’s life; now I have to thank you for saving mine. I just wish Father Ed could have stayed around long enough for me to thank him too. I hope he has a good trip to Czechoslovakia.”

Dr. Patterson shook Hellboy’s hand and then pulled the big guy in for a hug. “Martha and I should be coming to see you in Newark sometime soon. We would love to spend some time with you and Trevor that’s not filled with constant crisis. We are both looking forward to meeting this Abe that Trevor has told us so much about. He sounds so interesting.”

Hellboy grinned ruefully. “He’s certainly interesting, Bob. I’m glad there’s something left of him for you to meet. I still can’t believe I shot him while he was trying to save me from my own stupidity.”

Hellboy turned toward Martha Wilson. “Just one more hug for the road, huh, Marty?” He swept her up into his arms so that her feet left the floor. He kissed her cheek and whispered into her ear, “Thanks for everything and I really mean everything, not just this past week. You’ve always been there when I needed you.” He held on to the now speechless Martha for a very long time.

Broom placed a hand on Hellboy’s shoulder. “Son, we need to depart soon. Robert, Martha, I can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for us.”

When they had arrived back to Newark, Hellboy was amazed that it had only been a week since they had left to go to Springfield, Massachusetts; it seemed more like a century.

Some of his memories of that fateful Sunday were starting to become less hazy. Other memories he now realized would always remain blurry or totally blank. He had never been possessed by a demon before and never realized how much this kind of thing could scramble your brains. He had been more than relieved when he found out that his immense stupidity in not listening to Abe’s warning that day cost neither Abe his life nor the lives of the boys he had been trying to rescue.

The only thing on his mind as he descended down into the BPRD’s underground headquarters was how Abe was faring. He still could not believe that he had shot him. Whether he had been under the influence of that possessing entity or not, he just could not forgive himself for this.

As they entered into Section 51, Hellboy was desperate for information about Abe and wanted to make directly for the Medical Wing. But Trevor Broom stopped him from rushing immediately to the containment facility where Abe was now located; instead he ushered him into his office and made him sit down.

Broom drew up a chair and sat near Hellboy. “Son, I was so concerned this past week about your own status, that I failed to keep up as closely as I should have with Abe’s condition. Certainly, when I last saw him he did not seem to be in critical condition and early contact with the medical personnel here seemed encouraging. I also spoke with Abe since his arrival here and he sounded quite well. But I would like to check on his current status before you go hastening in to see him.”

Hellboy lowered his eyes, “You mean you want to find out if Abe wants to see me.”

Broom reached out and touched Hellboy’s knee, “No, I do not mean that; I mean that I wish to ascertain his current physical status to see if he is up to having a certain well meaning, but sometimes excitable, individual visiting him.” Broom smiled as Hellboy looked up again.

“I am certain,” Broom continued, “from Abe’s own actions and words after this incident, that he harbors no ill-will toward you. He may have made certain jokes about your poor aim, but he has made it clear to me that he believes you had no idea what you were shooting at. I myself was blocked from seeing anything that was going on at the time, but I believe, along with Abe, the fact that you hit nothing vital is of great importance in understanding your actions in this event.”

Broom squeezed Hellboy’s knee affectionately, but then became more serious. “However, there is another topic that I believe needs to be addressed before you see Abe again. When we were in Boston, I felt it was the wrong time for unpleasant topics to be broached; now that your health is more stable, I believe we need to have a very serious talk about certain resentments you seem to have developed about Abe and his relationship with me.”

Hellboy looked into Broom’s face, which still had some bandages on the right cheek, and then lowered his eyes again, “Not now, Father; not yet,” he almost whispered. “I’m not ready for this.”

He looked up again at Broom and sighed. When he had been very small it had seemed a lot less frightening to receive the ‘serious talk’ while seated in Broom’s lap being held in his arms; this was always such a reassurance that no matter how furious Broom was he still loved him.

Over the years Broom had proven to Hellboy time and again the depth of his love for his adopted son; losing Broom’s love was no longer the issue. What now panicked Hellboy at times like this was the idea that his father still loved him but was disappointed in him; no matter how much older he became he could never deal with the possibility of this disappointment.

Broom waited; he did not force the issue. Hellboy got up and walked over to the round, open fireplace that was in the center of Broom’s office and stared at the flames. He often found the warmth of this fireplace comforting, but not this time; this time the flames made him think of the place where he was supposed to have come from.

Even more disconsolate than before, Hellboy returned to Trevor Broom who was quietly waiting for Hellboy to allow him to continue. He did not look at Broom, nor did he resume his seat.

In an unexpected move, Hellboy turned away from Broom and sat on the floor with his back to him just to the left of his feet. Sitting cross-legged and scrunching down, Hellboy tucked his over-size right hand around his father’s ankles and leaned his head against his knees.

“I’m ready now, Father,” he said in a low voice.

Broom was incredibly moved by this; the only other time Hellboy had ever sat this way was when they lived in the small house in Washington, D.C. He had been due for a serious lecture about playing around in Broom’s office and carelessly smashing one of his more important relics. He was only around six years old, but had by that time grown taller than Broom himself and had come to the reluctant realization that he would never be able to sit in Broom’s lap for one of these talks again.

Now, some twenty-eight years later, as the seven-foot giant that his adopted son had become sat dejectedly at his feet, all of the stern lecture that Broom was planning whisked out of his head. Instead of speaking, he reached down with his left hand and massaged the back of Hellboy’s neck, eventually feeling the tension that he had found there ease up.

“Son,” Broom finally said, “jealousy is never a pretty emotion. The fact that you were harboring this emotion was something the entity possessing you was able to exploit, driving you into actions that you would never have performed when in your right mind. This time no permanent damage was done to any of us; the next time we may not be so lucky. Remember this; I have enough room in my heart to love you as much as I ever did and yet still care for another.”

Broom still had his hand on the back of Hellboy’s neck and felt him nod.

“On the other hand,” Broom continued, “I realize that I have much to blame myself for in this. I now believe that I, no matter how inadvertently, began to spend too much time with Abe leaving you feeling left out. I also made the mistaken assumption that what resentment I had noticed would eventually pass away without my having to address it. I must beg your forgiveness for all of this. Let’s continue developing our relationship with Abe, having learned something from this unfortunate series of events. We may find that our small family here is strengthened by the addition of another rather than weakened by it.”

Hellboy nodded again.

“Good,” Broom said squeezing Hellboy’s left shoulder, “Let’s go check on Abe.”

They entered into the Medical Wing and made their way to the special containment facility that had been installed for any special care needed by Abe. It was a good thing that Broom had anticipated the possibility of the need for a facility like this. It made the sudden emergency care needed by Abe on November 19th a lot less confounding.

But as Broom and Hellboy found out upon their arrival to this facility, this did not necessarily make the medical care needed by Abe easy. There was just so much that they had yet to learn about this unique life form, Icthyo Sapien.

Hellboy had yet to see Abe’s containment facility. Broom had seen it when it was originally installed and immediately noted the presence of several pieces of new equipment.

This included the tank that Abe was now floating in. It had two vertical green LED displays on either side with arcane symbols and numbers scrolling up. Hellboy walked up to this and looked at Abe who was all bandaged and wired up. He overheard Dr. Cobb speaking with Broom.

“I am sorry for all this extra expense, Professor, but we discovered rather quickly that the tank that was originally installed here was not adequate for keeping track of the chemical balance of the water, especially not the pH balance.”

Broom moved to stand next to Hellboy and examined Abe while Dr. Cobb continued, “I do have to say that the emergency technicians who cared for him did an admirable job, but none of the bandages they used were waterproof. Until we could replace all of the bandages we had to keep him out of the water. He did not react well to this.”

Broom turned back to Dr. Cobb, “Why is he unconscious now? I understand that his care may have been difficult, but he did not seem in this bad a shape when I last saw him.”

“He is not exactly unconscious, but seems to have entered into a kind of hibernation to further the healing process. However, this hibernation is nothing like so deep as the suspended animation he was in when you first found him. I am sure that in some way he is very much aware that you are both here with him. The only thing we can do now is wait.”

Broom turned toward Hellboy, “Son, it might be better if we left now. I am sure that Dr. Cobb will inform us when there is any change in Abe’s condition.”

Hellboy was still looking at Abe in the tank. “Father, I’d like to stay a little longer if it’s OK with Dr. Cobb. I’ll be really quiet and try not to be in the way.”

Broom smiled slightly, “Well, if it’s fine with Dr. Cobb, it’s fine with me.”

Unlike Dr. Roddel, Dr. Cobb liked Hellboy well enough and realized from what information he had gathered that Hellboy was not really responsible for his own actions when he shot Abe. He could also tell that the big guy felt plenty guilty about the whole thing.

He turned toward Hellboy, “You can stay as long as you want as long as things stay quiet.”

“Thanks, Cobb,” Hellboy said, still watching Abe closely. Broom nodded at Dr. Cobb and exited the containment facility.

After Broom left, Hellboy moved closer to Abe’s special medical tank and placed his left hand on the glass. He stood for a long time not moving. Dr. Cobb went around checking status monitors.

After around an hour Hellboy sat down on the floor next to the tank, leaned his head against it, and closed his eyes. Dr. Cobb originally thought that Hellboy had gone to sleep, but then he could hear him muttering under his breath and realized that he was praying.

At first Dr. Cobb was surprised by this. He then recalled that Broom had raised Hellboy Catholic, even if the thirty-four year old monster hunter seldom overtly demonstrated any religious upbringing. Dr. Cobb moved away to give him more space.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

If Hellboy had muttered this prayer once, he must have muttered it fifty times. He was just planning on reciting it again when a voice inside his head interrupted him. “Very nice sentiment, but don’t you know any other prayers?”

Hellboy, surprised, opened his eyes. “Abe?” he whispered. He looked up into the tank at the slender blue-gray figure floating there, still appearing unconscious.

“Who else do you think it would be, you big red monkey?”

“Didn’t know you could talk like this.” Hellboy stood up from the floor.

“It does take some effort, but I have had an immense amount of time to practice my mental exercises recently. You are the first that I have contacted quite so directly.”

By this time Dr. Cobb had begun to realize that Hellboy was no longer praying, but seeming to talk to himself; it then came to him that Hellboy was conversing with the still unconscious Abe.

“Look, Abe,” Hellboy continued, “I should’ve listened to you; won’t make that mistake again. But you; you could’ve gotten yourself killed by running in that room after me. You should’ve just let the thing take me. It’s as much as I would’ve deserved, anyway.”

“You big red oaf, don’t you understand that I care too much to let you get killed or taken? I have never forgotten you breaking me out of the research facility, or that first meal we had together. I just allowed myself to become jealous of you and…”

“Jealous of me?” Hellboy interrupted Abe in surprise, “Since when were you jealous of me? I thought I was the one being idiotic, not you.”

“I must admit to feeling envious of your relationship with the Professor. It just seems so special and I felt a little left out. So I made myself feel superior by needling and teasing you.”

Hellboy again pressed his left hand to the glass. “Pop has suggested that we just start all over again and I agree with him; let’s be friends, huh, Blue?” “No, not friends, Red; brothers.” To Hellboy’s surprise Abe opened his eyes, floated closer to the glass front of the tank and placed his hand over his own.

“Good, works for me,” Hellboy said and then walked out to tell Broom that Abe was awake again.

More to come...

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