2007-11-04: Bullies Before Breakfast


Cam_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: Cam is worried of what might happen at school after he snitched.

Date It Happened: November 4th, 2007

Bullies Before Breakfast

Sanders-Dawson-Hawkins Residence

Queens, New York City

It's early morning, not too long before Cam's due to be out on the way to school. Normally, by now, he's already eaten breakfast, and in the shower by this point. Not today. Today, he's moving extra-slow, having just now coming out for breakfast.

The two kids in this household are more than capable of getting ready for school themselves, but Niki makes an effort to always be up to make sure they get out the door and to their schools smoothly anyway. For a few days earlier in the week, that wasn't so much the case, but this morning is more like normal… on the surface, anyway. At the table, finishing coffee from a wide-brimmed dull pink mug, Niki is about to pick up the cordless phone sitting in front of her when Cam walks in. "There you are," she says with a smile that's too bright for this early in the AM. It's a mom skill. "I was two minutes away from checking on you, mister. You better get some breakfast fast or you're gonna be late for school."

Cam moves to get the breakfast, sitting at a chair at the table, but still moving slow. "I'm not feeling good today, do I have to go?" Given how eager he usually is for school, this isn't exactly a normal occurrence.

Concern instantly sparked, Niki looks across at Cam with little fret lines marring her forehead. "You're not feeling well?" She slides out of her seat, leaving the phone —- and coffee - on the table. "Of course you don't have to go if you're sick," she assures him, touching the boy's cheek with the back of a few knuckles and watching him carefully. Cam may not be her son, but Niki has Mom Sense. There's a 'but' to her reassurance — and here it comes, "But you look okay. What's the matter?"

Cam feels alright too, no trace of a fever. (If he was anybody else, in fact, he'd probably be in hypothermia, at the moment.) He looks down at that, not meeting Niki's eyes, and says, "I… my stomach feels weird." Even though normally a good liar, he's never been very good at lying to Niki. After all she's done for him, from saving him to taking him in to not judging his parents on being wanted by the FBI, lying to her makes him too guilty to manage as well as he normally would.

Frown. Niki's hand lingers thoughtfully, trailing down Cam's unfeverish face. She can tell something's wrong. "Hey," she says gently before pulling out a chair and sinking down onto it in front of Cam. Leaning over on her knees to look up at him, a tactic to try to catch his gaze this way, is pretty much instinctual. "You sure that's all it is?"

It works. Cam looks back to Niki, and he just hesitates. Then his shoulders slump a little, his defensiveness and secretiveness disappearing in the face of Niki's concern, "You… you promise you won't freak?"

The fact that Cam has to ask her not to "freak" makes Niki wonder all the more what it is that's on his mind — and, of course, makes her more concerned. It shows, and she gives him a soft smile. "I won't freak. You can tell me."

Cam takes a breath at that and nods. He then says, "There… there's this gang at school. They do stuff like runnin' drugs. They… they pay me to be a lookout sometimes, when people're buying stuff. Yesterday, though, when I was being a lookout, they… they started beating Jakey up. With a baseball bat. I… I hadta tell. Jakey mighta died if I didn't…"

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Niki's dark blonde brows creepy up the more Cam speaks, but in the end, she just smiles and gives her head a little shake. "You did the right thing, Cam. Are you scared those stupid guys are gonna give you trouble?"

Cam looks just a little relieved at Niki's words, but at her last question he nods emphatically. "Mr. Jones, he's the one I told, he told me to stay away from them until he deals with it, but… dunno if I can. And if they wanna beat me up with fists, I can fight back, but can't freeze a baseball bat."

"…And it'd probably be best if you don't show anyone at school…" Niki chooses her words carefully, "that… you can do things that're special. Mr. Jones sounds like a smart guy. He's one of your teachers? I bet they've been suspended already — or they sure should be." Beating a kid up with a baseball bat? Cue a flash of anger in Niki's eyes at the very thought. "How about I call your school and make sure they got what's coming to them? If they're suspended, they won't be allowed on school grounds. And I'll be there before and after to make sure they don't try'n be sneaky."

Cam nods a little again at the first advice, "I don't, normally, but…" Self-defense is something different. Still, he brightens immediately at Niki's offer, "You will? Thanks!" That seems to reassure him quite a bit.

It's not the first time Niki's had to deal with things like this. Micah hasn't exactly glided through school trouble-free. "Of course," she answers with a big smile, standing up and squeezing Cam's (good!) shoulder. "I'm here to watch out for you, Cam. I'll call the school right now. You better get some breakfast in you. We'll be a little late, but it's okay."

Cam nods quickly, suddenly much more energetic, "Ok!" The breakfast that had just been sitting there since he got it, he now starts on quickly, trying to get done in time.

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