2007-12-08: Adventures On Ice

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif Cam_icon.gif Felicity_icon.gif Benjamin_icon.gif

Summary: Niki takes Cam out for a fun day doing something she thinks he might like, and they run into Felicity and Benjamin there at the skating rink.

Date It Happened: December 8th, 2007

Adventures On Ice


Central Park, New York

Niki hasn't told Cam what, exactly, they're doing today save for going to Central Park — which is where they are now, strolling down a lane in the crisp December air underneath the bright sky. People in winter scarves, hats and mittens are out in full force, and Niki is no exception; a black coat with faux fur trim on the hood over more than one sweater, plus a red knit scarf and gloves, this desert import is layered like whoa against the cold. Why couldn't she be like Cam and not mind so much? "I figured to celebrate you feeling all better," she says, upbeat as they turn a corner in the park that brings them to a larger crowd, "We could go somewhere fun. I dunno if you've ever done it before, but…" Tada! They arrive at the infamous Wollman Skating Rink. "It … has ice?"

Rinks usually have ice, yes. And in this instance they also have people, including Felicity. She's skating about out there and it looks for all the world that she was made to be on skates. She's not doing anything ostentatious like pirouettes or dangerous flips (nobody wants razor skates near their face after all!) but she is testing her limits. She keeps zooming at high speeds then changing direction. going backwards a lot of the time and generally being that really annoying person at the rink who is GOOD at it, making people who come for a laugh look a bit stupid.

Cam walks along with Niki, just enjoying the outdoors. He's dressed lighter… not as light as he could, but his coat is open and he lacks gloves and scarf. Enough winter clothes to pass for normal while light enough to keep himself cool. He blinks as they arrive at the rink, and grins, "Awesome! Thanks!" He shakes his head, saying, "I never been skating before. Wanted to for a long time, though." He looks out and grins on seeing Felicity, waving should she look in his direction.

As the blonde mom winds her way towards the rink with Cam, her not-quite-son, she half winces on seeing the woman out on the ice with the amazing moves — because she's one of the people who came for a laugh. "You know her? She's pretty good." Niki laughs a little. "This is all new to me, too. If we team up, maybe we won't fall down," she grins good-naturedly. "C'mon, let's go." And it's off to get past admission-and get do important things like put ice skates on.

Felicity sees the wave, as chance would have it, and in doing a return wave narrowly misses someone on the ice, but recovers and slides smoothly off towards the middle to do a quick half turn. That achieved she skates somewhat slower and lurks over near the entrance so she can at least say hello to her young friend when he makes it to the skating part of this adventure.

Cam nods quickly to Niki's question as he follows her along to get the skates. "Met her yesterday. She works at the university, doing stuff like genetics and evolution and stuff." He waits while she gets them skates, and then sits on a bench to kick off his shoes and start pulling them on. "This part's easy, at least," he jokes.

"Uh huh." Sitting beside Cam, Niki laces suitably slender white skates to her feet. She finds herself looking up at the approaching woman, sounding mildly surprised and a touch curious — genetics and evolution, not something she would have blinked at once, but now… "Really?" She bends down to help Cam with his laces if he needs it, though hers are only half done, and offers a polite smile up to Felicity.

Felicity twirls to a stop and grins. She then says, with a voice that is a travesty of normal human speech, "Cam! Hi! I didn't expect to see you here today. I love this spot, it's a great way to let off steam. I never got to skate as a kid, this is a bit of a diversion for me." She then looks at Niki and adds "Hi. I'm Flick." Her hand goes out. Flick. Not any other word that sounds similar, though her odd voice might for a second sound like it.

Cam does, indeed, need help with his laces. Not so much because of the laces, of course, as he ties shoes every day. The problem is the awkard angle that the skates put his feet compared to when he usually ties them up. Once they're ties, he stands, taking a few moments while Niki finishes tying her own skates to get a sense of balance. He grins up to Felicity and says, "Hi. Didn't know I'd be coming either. This is Niki, my foster-mom," he introduces.

There, nice and secure — now for her own skates. "Flick?" Niki repeats with a mild lift of her brows, looking up from tying laces. "It's nice to meet you. I saw you out there, you're amazing," she says, full of friendliness and politeness for the athletic stranger, flashing a snow-white smile. She gets to her feet and steps onto the rink, a hand on Cam's shoulder. Niki may be more used to sand than ice, but she's usually pretty agile. She's fit, she has good balance— the ice looks a little daunting, but this shouldn't be too tricky, right?

Felicity moves aside as she stands on the ice of the rink and winks at Cam. "Thank you…Niki. I'm just getting used to it. I've only skated a couple of times. Started this year and I rather got hooked. It's a lot more fun than the jogging I do to keep in shape. Although - the foot blisters are a little more pronounced and I wouldn't want to fall. The ice looks painful." She then skates a way a bit and waves "Bet you can't catch me Cam!" She gives a rather mischievous wink and slides skillfully past a few less adept individuals.
Cam grins to Felicity. The challenge is enough to get him past any initial nervousness getting on the ice. Of course, having never skated before, he tries to go too fast and slips his first moment on the ice. If Niki doesn't catch him, he's hitting the ground.

Benjamin is being given some downtime from work following the lengthy mission that had him in Australia and injuries sustained. His right arm is in a sling, worn over his coat. In his left hand is a shopping bag from an upscale shop. Being away for awhile, and he's behind in his Christmas shopping. His walk through Central Park takes him by the ice skating rink. Seeing the skaters out and enjoying themselves, his steps slow to a halt so that he can watch them at play. The only familiar face in the crowd is Niki, and he hasn't spotted her yet.

She just started? Niki stares after Felicity incredulously — and still is, when Cam starts to slip. "Careful," she cautions, swiftly looping a stabilizing arm around the front of the boy to block his fall. Of course, the movement has her sliding a bit unsteadily on her own skates. "Maybe racing's a bit too advanced," she ventures, though she's smiling all the same. She reaches to take Cam's hand in her red-gloved one. "Let's start out slow." She urges out further onto the ice with tiny glides.

Felicity slides to the middle and stands on the skates with considerable ease. She puts her hands on her hips and watches with a smile. "Remember not to push backwards. Push to the side with your foot to go forwards. I don't know why but it works." And she demonstrates by sliding straight over to where they stand, swishing on the ice.
Cam grabs hold of Niki's arm as she stops him from falling, eyes a little wide, but then he's grinning again, nodding. "Yeah, slow." He takes hold of her hand, following her carefully out onto the ice. After Felicity's advice, he tries, gaining a little more movement but still keeping a tight grip of Niki's hand. "This is harder than I thought."

Benjamin walks up to the railing around the rink. He sets his bag down by his feet and leans his good arm against the rail as he watches people having fun. He glances over towards the blonde, and another woman helping the boy with skating, then breaks into a smile, recognizing the blonde as Niki. He remains standing where he is, quietly, not interrupting yet.

The naturally graceful blonde is getting the hang of this quickly, but she's a far cry from the sudden expertise of Flick up ahead — whose advice makes things easier. She keeps her grip on Cam's hand firm, stabilizing at every slip and turn. "It is," she says through a light laugh. "But you're doing good!" It's at that moment that Niki double-takes over Cam's head off to her far right. A familiar face. Dangerous though it is to take her eyes away from absolute concentration on the ice, she flashes a smile the former accountant's way and waves with her free hand.

Felicity cocks one foot so she is standing much like the ice skaters on television at rest. Her expression is one of eager encouragement. "You're doing fine. just remember that you push to the side and going slow is difficult. If you go a little faster you'll find that the momentum helps keep you balanced." Her voice certainly mangles the words, giving air to such sounds as 'mumunmum' and 'diffiu' - but this disability doesn't change her skill on the skates, as she is off again with a deliberately impish backwards glide.

Cam smiles at Niki's praise, though he's still slow and nervous until Felicity's next advice. He glances back up to Niki and says, "Should we try going faster?" Then, on seeing Niki wave, asks curiously, "Who's that?"

Benjamin raises his left arm and waves at Niki when she smiles his way. He picks up his bag and walks around the rink to get closer to where the trio are on the ice. The man looks over at Felicity, watching her skate backwards. It's a temptation, to get out on the ice too. But his doctors would beat him over the head repeatedly.

"Looks like we came at the right time," Niki comments to Cam as she watches Felicity, who turns out to be a timely teacher. "That's a friend of mine," she explains. "Okay, hold on tight! Let's go say hi." Sure to not skate too closely to Cam so that they have room, but still holding his hand, she follows Felicity's advice and speeds up toward Benjamin, using longer strides across the rink's slippery surface.

Felicity watches and then skates a little closer. She has yet to mention that stopping once you get going is an entirely different matter, but she's a busy academic and parts of her mind are busy with other matters. However she calls "Looking good!" and gives a thumbs up.

Cam grins and nods quickly to Niki, and as soon as she starts to move, pushes off to skate faster after her. Sure enough, he seems to have a much easier time staying upright now. He keeps a grip on Niki's hand, using it to help himself stay in the right direction.

Benjamin stops along the edge of the rink, seeing Niki skating his way with Cam in tow. "Hey Niki, who's your new friend?," he asks, smiling at the two. If Micah's not here and in school, Cam looks like he should be in a classroom, but he's not going to press. He probably should, but it's not in him at the moment.

Of course they'll stop! There's a small railing to make sure that happens. Niki's idea of stopping causes ice to shred underfoot, and her hip bumps into the rail in front of Benjamin (hi, Benjamin), but there's a minimal dose of clumsiness. Her focus is on Cam and making sure he doesn't topple — or run into the rail like she did, which is why she holds onto him to be sure. "Hey," she says to Benjamin, smiling and rosy-cheeked from the cold air. "Awesome, bud," she tells the This is Cam. He's— I'm looking after him for awhile. Cam, this is my friend Benjamin."

Felicity chooses not to intrude, and just hangs back, skating back and forth…forth and back. She keeps her distance but watches the group talk with keen eyes, picking out what they say despite her movements. Sometimes being a fluent lipreader definitely has it's uses. Except when she can't see lips of course…

It takes a slight tug on Niki's arm for Cam to stop himself before hitting the railing, but he gets stopped. As he's introduced, he gives a slight wave with his free hand, smiling, "Hi."

Benjamin laughs a little at Niki's greeting. "Hey yourself. You two look like you're having fun. I'm telling Micah on you," he teases a little before smiling at Cam, "Nice to meet you Cam. You're lucky to have Niki looking after you. She's a good lady." Who has a tendency to snap into multiple personalities, but we won't talk about that.

Niki glances at Benjamin's sling in concern and spins about to lean against the rail beside him — in doing, she smiles at Felicity again. "Micah's not lucky enough to have the afternoon off school," she answers with a slightly teasing tone herself. "Are you okay? Every time I see you, you have something else in a bandage." Is accounting really that dangerous?

Felicity tries to catch Cam's eye and says as she swishes past. "Hope you're having fun. I wish this place was a little closer to my apartment. I'd probably live on it!" She then winks and mouths "Watch," as she does so. And that done she heads to a relatively empty spot at the far side of the rink. She gathers speed then leaps, and does one of those whirling dervish-esque multiple airbourne pirouettes, lifts her legs quickly and touches her toes, then lands to carry on her way on one foot. The right one. The left is extended behind her along with the same arm as she glides on her way. Much to the apparent astonishment of the nearby skaters. And judging by her face which seems surprised she landed and didn’t break an ankle, herself.

Cam grins and nods in agreement with Niki, "My whole school's off today. Teachers party day," he says, joking. As Niki and Benjamin talk, he looks back to Felicity, and his eyes widen at her performance. "Wow…"

"Playing sick, I see. Definitely lucky then that Niki lets you play hooky," Ben says, directing words at Cam after Niki's explanation. "Yeah, I'm okay. Just a little accident while I was away on business." No need to get into detailed explanations. "Hey, your friend out there is pretty good." He's no pro, but he is a thinker, and she looks pretty agile out there.

"This is completely legal hooky." Niki gives a smirk to Benjamin— then, before she can say another word, it's hard not to watch the spectacle that is Felicity. The woman's remarkable skill on the ice brings a sincerely awe-filled smile to Niki's face, but her words, mumbled to Benjamin, are more cynical. "No way she's just done this a couple times."

Felicity finally comes to a swishy stop near the group, sending a little powdery ice spray up from her skates. "I always wanted to try that. I saw it at the Winter Games in Alaska one year when I went in my sophomore year. It's not as difficult as it looks." She then grins at Benjamin and extends a hand "Flick Rutherford. You may not remember, we ran into each other over the summer. More or less literally, I think I almost crashed into you when I was jogging. Sorry about that. I get a bit distracted when I am in the zone."

Cam grins at Niki's soft words, and comments, "Bet she has!" He then looks up to Benjamin and says, "No, I was sick all last week. Today was just a bonus." He looks back up to Felicity as she returns, "You were awesome!"

"Well that changes everything then!" Ben says about the explanation for Cam being out of school. "I'm sorry to hear that you were sick last week, I'm glad to see you're feeling better." He shakes his head at Niki, too polite to call Felicity on her claims. Either she's had a lot of practice or something else is at play. When the woman in question skates over, he holds out his left hand to shake Felicity's offered one, "Oh yeah, we did! I'm so sorry, I try not to forget a face. It's just been a really weird year for me, and that's okay. I tend to get run over anyway. But, it's nice to meet you again Miss Rutherford. You're pretty good out there on the ice."

"Seriously, you were great." Pro or no, the facts don't change! Niki tucks a strand of blonde hair that escaped at some point from her ponytail behind her ear. "I think Cam and I have a long way to go." Most of her spins are… not on the ice.

Felicity shakes the hand firmly and shrugs all this off "I really only just started but I have a huge amount of experience as a gymnast and I used to rollerskate a lot when I was a kid. It all just fits together like a jigsaw. Except if you get a jigsaw wrong you end up with an odd picture. I guess if I got that wrong I'd be on my way to the emergency room round about now." She grins widely. "I am sorry, I don't mean to interrupt you. Just wanted to say hi to cam and so forth. Also, I have been digging around my shelves. I have a couple of books you can have, if you want them, Cam. Relating to the subject we discussed. One on masse extinctions, the other on Darwin. If you'd like them."

Cam shrugs a bit up to Benjamin and says, "It's ok. Feeling better now." He smiles again. Then he's looking to Felicity again and blinks at the offer, though nods a little. "Sure, thanks. That'd be great."

"Yeah, I can see how it all fits together," Benjamin says after he thinks about it for a moment. "You didn't interrupt," he says insistently at Felicity, as he sees himself as the intruder. He looks between Felicity and Cam, brows raising just a little at the subject matter of the books and the child's age. He's still green, but he's been with the Company long enough and has been through enough training to know that he should be paying attention to this.

"It's no problem," Niki tells Flick after Benjamin expresses the same sentiments. The other woman's words prompt her to look down at the twelve-year-old curiously as she holds on to the rail behind her. "I didn't know you were interested in that kinda stuff, Cam."

Felicity looks sheepish "My fault. I lecture on genetics and biology at NYU. Cam asked me what I did and we got talking and …well. I sort of foisted my subject onto him. He's not to blame. I just get too enthusiastic when I think I've found someone else I can geek at."

Cam shrugs a bit up to Niki at her comment, "I like science. Only knew what's been in X-Men 'fore last night, but sounds really cool. Bet it'll take me forever to figure any of it out, though."

Benjamin looks impressed, "Athletic, intelligent and nice looking, you're just perfect!" Then his ears go a little red, or it could be the cold. "I don't think there's any shame in it. I think it's a good thing that Cam here is interested. There's nothing wrong with wanting to learn." He glances to Cam and says, "Hey, you have a lot of time to read and learn more."

Niki should be the one looking sheepish; the one genetics book she has is being used as little more than a glorified coaster and should probably be given back to Cass. Instead, she just smiles and pats Cam on the shoulder a bit. "That's right, it's good you like science. I hope that made it not so boring when you were stuck in those labs."

Felicity looks at Benjamin and starts to go a little pink "I..I u…er…" She then clears her throat and says "That's sweet of you to say so. But hardly perfect." her mangled voice is a sure sign of that, at least. "Anyway, Cam. You know where I work? If you drop by the office for the books, I'll let you have them. Unless you want me to call round and drop them off when I finish work one day." She looks to Niki "They're not really technical. Cam is intelligent, I am sure they'll be fine. And I wouldn't want to impose, so if you don't want me to come over that's fine. I can always mail them."

Cam looks up to Benjamin and grins, "Maybe in summer I will. My teachers really love giving homework." He then looks up to Niki and shrugs a bit, "Maybe woulda, but Cass was too busy to talk much." He looks up to Felicity and back to Niki, and says, "Maybe I could ask Monica to pick 'em up?"

"How have you been Niki? I feel out of the loop after being away for so long." Benjamin glances down towards Cam, then briefly over at Felicity. "Oh shoot, I need to go see Cass," he says when Cam mentions her name. The man's been a little out of it since returning.

"Yeah, my cousin goes to NYU — it shouldn't be a problem to get them," Niki answers, not seeming to mind, but liking that idea better than the stranger coming by even if she seems nice and upstanding. On Benjamin's well-meaning question, she hesitates as she usually does; there's a glance down to the ice they're not skating on, and her smile falters before brightening and gaining confidence. "I've been okay. You said something about a business trip?"

Felicity grins tightly "That's fine. Dr Rutherford, Huxley Building, Department of Biology, Floor Ten, Room 5c. It's a cubby hole really, but I'm only a senior researcher. I don't get a proper office till I land me a professorship, and I don't get one with a proper view until I get tenure. Check back with me when I am about fifty. My research is too cutting edge for them to really give me that now. they never take on cutting edge researchers in case we're wrong and it makes the university look bad. And also if we're right we get promoted over the heads of the existing guys. Either way it's a bum deal until I publish."

Cam looks up to Benjamin and asks, "You know Cass too?" Then he's looking back to Felicity at her description of University politics, and says, "That doesn't sound fair."

Benjamin's smile doesn't quite meet his eyes, "Yeah, it was a bit of a disaster." He nods his head to the right to indicate his arm. "Accountants and alcohol don't mix. Someone set out pencils that weren't number 2's, and well, things got out of hand." He's joking though, to cover up the even bigger lie he's living. "I'm glad to hear you've been okay," even if he's not convinced that all is sunshine and lollipops. "Let me know if you need more tax help, I'm on some downtime for another week or two…. and now I feel stupid for calling you Miss instead of Doctor!" His train of thought derails as he addresses Felicity. (Hey, some people are touchy about their titles.) "I do know Cass, she's a very nice lady too, and a good person to know," he says as he turns his smile to Cam. Again, it's not really reaching his eyes.

Niki starts to smile at Benjamin's joke, and she's listening to Felicity, she really is. Or is that was? She glances away at one point or other and a distant look overtakes her eyes. Moments later, she seems to forget she's on skates and how, exactly, she ought to be standing to stay upright — she slips, but easily catches herself when she finds the rail behind her, and the little ordeal only lasts a few seconds.

Felicity notices the slip and comments "Yes…they can be a bit tricky if you forget about them. they're very hard on the ankles." She then smiles down to Cam "It isn't fair but it has always been that way. Junior and as yet un-exalted academics always get treated badly. I've published a lot, mark you, but nothing that rates me as the next Einstein or someone of that status. I'll get there in time. I dream of going back to Berkeley and having my own nice little research fund so i can potter along without anyone bothering me. These days I spend half the time producing reports to justify my budget."

Cam blinks, gripping Niki's hand tighter… as if he stood half a chance of holding her up if she was going to fall when he can barely stay standing himself. "You ok?" His worry about the woman keeps him from answering Felicity right away.

Benjamin's training is helping to improve his perception, so when Niki starts slipping, he moves to reach for her with his left hand, "Easy there," he says then backs off once he sees Niki's stable. Ben gives her a slightly wary look, but she is on the ice after all. He ignores the throb of pain his movement caused. Felicity's words may be meant for Cam, but he's hearing it all and comments, "Sounds like you've got a full plate there and a tough field."

Niki gives the researcher a vaguely uncomprehending look at the advice, but even more to the conversation. She reaffirms her grip on Cam's hand with a squeeze. "I'm fine. I just slipped," she says softly, one moment before she glances down at her arm instinctively, remembering the grip on it belatedly now that it's gone. She looks along her shoulder at Benjamin and appears slightly surprised to see him there. "…Benjamin?"

Felicity seems a little unsure of how to react to Niki's sudden state of apparent disorientation, and while she is a doctor, she's not a medical doctor. "Tough..er…Yes!" she looks at Benjamin and explains, "Research into cutting edge genetics is like any field - except those lucky swine at MIT have about a hundred times more funding than we do at NYU so if we're to have any chance of making a breakthrough in the genome project we have GOT to work that much harder. But I still have time to skate and chat. Otherwise I'd go mad."

Cam nods a little to Niki, trusting her comment that she's fine, at least at first. "Cool." He looks up to Felicity then and says, "Isn't there some rich person out there that wants to learn about… what you do," he's quick to censor himself, before going on, "One that could pay you lots of money to figure things out?" Then, Niki's surprised to see Benjamin there, and he's looking up to her with concern again.

Felicity's words have Benjamin grinning a bit. "Or if you have generous benefactors who don't mind funding." Not that he knows or works for anyone like that. Interested in genetics and things more specific about the subject. His eyes narrow slightly at Niki, not at her saying his name, but at the expression. "It's me Niki, are you sure you're okay?"

Felicity wrinkles her nose "I only wish so. i don't know of any individual who wants to fund things that I do. There are organisations - pharmaceutical companies are always after it but I don't like their idea of genetic manipulation. Charities of course, but they lack the real academic backing. Private or government bodies…if one of them gave me the right offer, sure I'd consider it. But honestly Cam, you know what I told you about my research topic. Do YOU see anyone really wanting to give me money? More likely, steal my data."

Nearly everything of what Felicity says about research, MIT, genome project and pharmaceutical companies is lost on Niki, who focuses on Benjamin with that same unsure expression. "I uhm…" She looks down at Cam, swings their hands and smiles. Subject change! "Look at us standing around talking when we're supposed to be out there having fun. You ready to hit the ice again?"

Benjamin's training kicks in, and he finds himself mentally filing away what Felicity is saying for future reference. Niki's got most of his attention right now, and he looks concerned for his friend. The only people he knows to call for help for Niki are the Company doctors. It's tempting to put in a call. "If you say you're okay.." He might even try calling Micah if he has to.

Cam asks Niki softly, though Felicity of course would still be able to read his lips and Benjamin just might hear anyway, "You didn't mix up pills again, did you?" Still, at the mention of going back onto the ice he nods a little, "If you're ok, yep."

"No, honey," Niki replies quietly to Cam, he smile tinged with sadness that he has to ask, but he has every right to. "I'm perfect, let's go. I don't know about you, but I'm gonna find some hot chocolate later." She looks back to Benjamin. "It was good … seeing you," she tells him with blue eyes narrowing ever-so-slightly, as if she's just throwing a guess out into the waters with her words. "Nice to meet you," she adds for Flick's sake as she starts to push away from the rail on the blades of her skates.

Felicity nods to Niki and winks to Cam then says to Benjamin, "I guess we should let them have fun. You want to sit and chat for a while? I think I already did my party piece here."

Cam nods, reassured by Niki's words and smiling as he follows her back out onto the ice. He still keeps a grip on her hand, but he starts to take more risky moves as he starts to skate again, grinning.

Benjamin frowns slightly in Niki's direction, watching her with concern. "It was good seeing you again Niki." It's a distracted look he turns to Felicity, "I should probably get going, I have a checkup.. but hey, if Niki looks like she needs some help, call me." Awkwardly, he reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a business card. It's handed to Felicity and the card itself is pretty generic. Describing Ben as a CPA consultant, no affiliation with a firm, and there's a cell number.

Laughing and smiling out on the rink with Cam, Niki lets herself get caught in the moment — today was supposed to be a fun day for Cam, and it will be. She braves a glide around in front of the boy to take both of his hands and spin around. There's no slipping out a grip like hers, anyway! Nothing out-of-the-ordinary to see her, ladies and gentlemen.

Felicity takes the card and says "Sure. And if you do want a coffee, page me. I can't use a phone." She taps her ear "I'm deaf." Which explains her weird voice, at least. "It's been good to meet you, Benjamin. I hope we can meet again soon."

Momentary worries forgotten, Cam's having fun once again, laughing as Niki spins him around. It helps that he's starting to get the hang of skating too, There's just enough fear left to make the whole thing thrilling.

"Oh, I.. sorry.. I should have realized.. Text is good, that's a cell number." Benjamin says, looking a little sheepish that he didn't realize Felicity was deaf. "It was good meeting you again," he says, smiling a little. Another glance is made towards Niki and Cam before he walks off.

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