2007-11-14: Assurances


Cam_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: Cam tells Niki what happened at school.

Date It Happened: November 14th, 2007


Brubaker Secondary School

New York City

It's after school, and Cam's not quite as on time as he usually is. When he finally comes walking out of the school, it's pretty obvious that something unusual's happened. Probably the most noticible thing would be the fact that he's soaking wet, at least the front of him, head to toe. Also, it's obvious he has been crying, but he isn't anymore. A lot more subdued than usual, he just gets into the car quietly, and a little stiffly.

The parking lot at Brubaker is becoming familiar. Niki was prepared to wait awhile, she's early, but when Cam started going past the few minutes it usually takes him to emerge, she started watching out her car window with some concern. That's exactly what she's doing as he comes into sight — only amp up that concern times one hundred. "Cam," she says, looking up and down his sodden frame and twisting in her seat, against the seatbelt strap that's still locked in place, as she does so. "You're soaking wet, are you okay?" And he's been crying. She can tell. "What on earth happened?"

Cam, rather than buckling up, pulls his knees up to his chest. He nods a little and says softly, "I'm ok." Then, after a moment's hesitation, explains, "Marshall caught me." Well, not much of an explanation. <re>

Niki doesn't say anything - no questions - at first; she just reaches across the distance between the two seats to lay a hand on Cam's closest shoulder. It's a few moments later, wherein she watches the young student closely, searchingly, before she does. "What happened?" she prompts simply.

Cam bites his lip, looking down, quiet for a long moment, unsure if he should say, and maybe a bit embarassed. Finally, though, he says, "They pulled me into a closet. Marshall started hitting me with a phone book, sayin' I hadta tell them Jakey fell. I froze the arm of the kid who was holding me, but… then I fell, and Marshall kept hitting me until I said I'd say it. He said if I don't, he'll find me again."

"Damnit," Niki murmurs under her breath, lapsing with the whole not swearing in front of children rule, but no doubt Cam's heard much worse on the streets. "This is ridiculous. Those jerks shouldn't even still be at that school." The woman's jaw tenses, and she looks from Cam toward the outside walls of the nearby Brubaker Secondary. "Cam," she says, focusing on him again. "Did anyone else at school see you use your powers? It's really important."

Cam nods a tiny bit at the question, looking at the floor. "Marshall, when he opened the closet door to go, saw all the ice around me. That part was an accident," he adds quickly. Then he adds, "Mr. Church, he's a guidance counsellor, I saw him the other day, he's gonna try to get rid of them, but…" He shrugs a bit, looking down.

But? Niki watches Cam's face for a moment, wondering, but says, "Let me talk to your guidance counsellor. Mr. Church? Maybe I can help." There are no maybes implied in her voice — on the contrary, she sounds confidently determined that these boys messing with Cam will be stopped.

Cam apparently just doesn't have confidence that the gang can be stopped. He glances back up to Niki, though, at her offer, and smiles just a little bit, "Ok." He lets his feet drop back to the floor then, and finally buckles up.

"First, let's get you home and into some dry clothes." Niki offers the twelve-year-old a warm, reassuring smile, squeezing that damp shoulder of his before turning the key in the ignition. "You must be freezing," she says, no pun intended — until she realizes it and pauses, half-looking over at Cam. "Do you even get cold?"

Cam smiles a bit more, relaxing a little. At the question, he nods a little, "Just… um.. takes a bit more than normal for me, is all. I don't even really need to wear this," he indicates his sweatshirt, "Until it gets super-cold. Unless I'm sick."

"Niki quirks a brow, and a smile, as she backs up the car and looks over at Cam again. "Really," she says in a sort of curious wonder. "Huh. I almost wish we could trade," she jokes. "I kinda hate New York winters."

Cam grins a bit, cheering up now, but shaking his head emphatically, "No ya don't! 'Cause, if we did, you'd hate summers. I get hot 'fore anybody else." He leans his head back, glancing out the window but then looking back to Niki.

"Then Nevada definitely wouldn't be the place for you." Niki smiles again, more at seeing Cam cheer up than the topic of conversation. She pulls out of the Brubaker lot into the uptown street. "It's all desert. Maybe you oughta visit Alaska some day, huh?"

Cam blinks at the description of Nevada, and shakes his head quickly in agreement, "I'd probably die! Well, maybe not, but I got kinda sick last summer here even. *Felt* sick anyway." Then he nods quickly at the last suggestion, grinning, "Yeah, that'd be great! 'Course, everybody there'd be asking me why I don't wear a coat too probably. That's why I wear this shirt, people don't worry as much."

"That's smart," Niki commends the boy matter-of-factly. "The fewer people who know about what you can do, the better. It's not safe out there." She only means to be partially ambiguous, but there you have it.

Cam nods quickly, and says, "This guy in the park told me that there's people out there who kidnap people like us, lock us up and make us do stuff for them. Don't want 'em to catch me!"

"A guy in the park told you that?" Niki looks away from the road — not a huge risk, considering they're currently moving at a snail's pace behind a yellow taxi — and quickly to Cam. "It's a little more complicated than that. But whoever he is, he had good advice."

Cam nods quickly, and says, "He never said his name, but he saw me use my power and told me to be careful. That was way before the magic show in the park that day."

"Sounds like you have a lot of people looking out for you." Niki sounds grateful for that fact. "Speaking of which," she says, lips curving into another smile, casual and upbeat to mask the real reasons for her suggestion, "I still have to meet your friend Kory."

Cam nods quickly to that again and says, "Yeah! Um.. wanna go by the Lair tonight?" Then a pause and adds, a little sheepishly, "After I change?"

Into the Lair

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