2007-10-18: Millenium Cleaning

Starring:

Cam_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif Portia_icon.gif

Summary: Kory and Lee return to the Lair intent on cleaning the back room, only to find Cam waiting for them. (Shortly after Two Strangers, Same School.)

Date It Happened: October 18th, 2007

Millenium Cleaning


East Village, NYC - The Secret Lair

Cam is sitting reading a comic in the reading area, his one arm resting at his side and barely moving. He seems maybe a bit pale, too, though not bad.

Lee enters with Kory, carrying a huge pile of flattened boxes and box lids under each arm and balanced in his hands precariously. "You'd think if they cared so much about what was in their alleyway they wouldn't dump it in the alleyway." Lee says, his tone arch, but his smile broad. They got what they wanted when they were out there - boxes, apparently.

"Some people's kids," Kory agrees, chirpily. She's smiling as well, despite the fact that they're both a touch dirty and sweaty. Scrounging boxes isn't neat work. "What'd we need all these for, again?" These boxes can't be used for comics! They're not even acid-free!

Cam blinks, hearing the voices. Smiling immediately, he stands up quickly, making his way over to that area of the store. "Hi Kory! Mr. Jones!" His one arm is moving quite stiffly, but he waves with his other.

Lee says, "I've got a pile of junk in the back of the classroom that needs to be boxed up and handled, and you've got all that garbage in the…Cam, hello!" He's pleased to see his student (despite reading material), and he says, noticing immediately: "What…did you hurt your arm?"

"I've got all that garbage—" Kory repeats, mock-indignant. She's in an excellent mood, and it's practically Disney Girl cheerful as she greets Cam. "Hi, Cam!" Short-lived, though, as Lee speaks what she's just noticed herself, and pauses to frown at him worriedly. "What happened to your quarters?" she asks, in a voice almost low enough to whisper.

Cam bites his lip at the questions and says, "I was at the magic show the other day, the one that got attacked. I got burned." To Kory he says, "Wasn't no payphone at the magic show, and I… kinda got too scared after and forgot, the hospital was so busy and it hurt so much… but I'm ok! Really. Gonna have an awesome scar and everything. Gotta take a bunch of pills every day and stuff, though."

Lee says, "I saw the article in the paper…" It was pretty cagey. "What happened?" He puts the boxes down and approaches. "Did you see anything? Did the police talk to you?"

"Magic show?" Kory repeats, looking in a bewildered-kitten manner from Lee to Cam. She falls silent, as Lee seems already to be asking the questions she'd be asking.

Cam bites his lip again, nodding then shaking his head to Lee's questions. "Amazing Magma, Kory. The show was really awesome, like a big hologram in the sky. Then… she just died. This lady was going through the crowd, touching people and… it's like acid. She touched my shoulder, but just a bit. There was other stuff happening too, but couldn't see good. One lady got me out of the crowd, then ran back in, guess to help people or something. The lights exploded and I got scared and ran and was *totally* lost. But then Niki, another lady, found me and got me outta there, took me to the hospital and everything. I'm staying with her for a bit now. She's got a son, Micah, he comes in here a bunch too he said." He's almost getting too scared as he tells the story, but calms again as he gets to the rescue.

Lee sort of remembers Micah, but the acid touch thing, he looks…skeptical? No, not exactly skeptical. Weary. "Why would she do that to the crowd, that's insane? It's a good thing that you found someone who could help you out. You should talk to the police, give them a description of what you saw. It might help find whoever's responsible." he advises, gently but with a firmness to his tone.

The color drains out of Kory's face as Cam describes a woman with a touch like acid. She doesn't look skeptical or wearly. She looks — haunted. And her expression remains that way as Cam goes on to describe Niki and Micah. "I'm…I'm just glad you're okay," she murmurs, walking over to carefully hug him, giving his wounded arm space. "I'll go with you to the police if you want."

Lee nods in agreement with Kory. "I know some officers in the neighborhood, they will come to you, you won't have to go to the station or anything." Of course Kory knows an actual real-life detective.

Cam hesitates at that and says, "I dunno…" He hugs Kory back, though, biting his lip, and then at Lee's additional offer he says, "Ok. And you'll be there, to make sure they don't try to make me go to a foster home or nothing."

Lee says, with reassuring amusement, "You live at a shelter, Cam, if an adult wanted to put you in a foster home, they'd have done it by now. We're not idiots /most/ of the time, only every so often."

"Cross my heart, Cam," Kory promises, using her free hand to punctuate the gesture properly. "We'll make sure all you have to do is tell people what the woman looked like." The haunted expression in her eyes solidifies into something more closely approximating determination. "And Lee's right. Grownups aren't always useless."

Cam nods, but grins a bit again, "Yeah, grownups aren't. Cops? They usually are. Bet ya the cop won't even believe me when I say what happened." But he seems reassured at Kory's promise too.

Lee says, "Was it the woman that actually attacked the stage, or was she just in the crowd?" curiously. "It sounds like a lot of things happening at once." He doesn't like to jump to conclusions in front of the kids.

Kory leaves Lee to ask the questions. Cam may detect a faint tremble from her as she lets go of him and returns to haul the boxes out of the way before customers come in and see the mess. "Or like a trick went wrong," she suggests in a flat voice that doesn't sound like she believes that in the slightest.

Cam blinks as he feels that trembling, "What's wrong? I'm ok, really. With the pills they gave me it hardly hurts now, 'less I move it much." Then he looks back to Lee and answers, "I dunno. I… don't remember much 'cept her eyes starin' up. But wasn't just the acid lady either. Some of the people in the hospital, they looked like they got cut with swords. And Micah, dunno what happened but he had blood all over him."

Lee says, "Swords. Well, I guess it's going to be another 'round up the usual LARPers' cases for the cops." He addresses Cam. "Glad you're doing all right. Are you going to be in school on Monday, or are you going to recuperate a day? I can bring you your work if you think you're going to be out of it…"

Kory doesn't answer Cam. She listens for a moment, then murmurs a shaken, shaky "'Scuse me," and dashes for the rest room at top speed.

Cam nods quickly to Lee and says, "Think I'll be there. Long as I take my pills and stuff, I think." He starts to say more, but then Kory runs off, leaving him blinking.

Lee says, "Definitely do what the doctors tell you." He eyes Kory's quick retreat, looks rather befuddled. "We didn't even /have/ any Indian food when we were out boxhunting…" He goes to gather up his own, school-related boxes and starts to ferry them upstairs.

Cam stares after Kory a moment, and then says, "Think she'll be ok?" As Lee starts to move upstairs, though, he just leans against the counter, biting his lip.

Lee comes back down for another armload, "Uh…I think so. Give her a couple of minutes." he suggests, though not unsympathetically. Clearly he realizes Cam has connected to his friend the store manager. "The important thing about talking to the police is not to worry about what they will or what they won't believe. It's important just to give the information as you have it, and they'll decide what happened. Everyone can perceive things a different way." he says, reassuring Cam on a different point.

After a few minutes, Kory walks out of the rest room, face still a bit wet from having washed her face. "Sorry…" Kory says, sheepishly, though perhaps not quite convincingly, "I should know better than to eat at Papaya King." She smiles at Cam. "You just let me know when you're ready, okay?"

Cam nods a bit to Lee, and then again at his reassurance. "Ok." It's clear though that the boy doesn't like cops. He looks back up to Kory when she comes out, smiling again back to her, and nods quickly. "Um.. ready to talk to the cops? Guess I can do that whenever. But wanna be back 'fore too late. Niki's got all my pills." It's more than that, though. He speaks of Niki much like he does of Kory. He likes her enough not to want to just run off.

Lee says, "We can make time after school sometime this week." He doesn't buy Kory's 'I'm okay' for one half second, but doesn't talk about it in front of Cam. "So, do you really want my help cleaning out that back room?" he asks Kory with a sour look on his face. "You know that if there's product back there that I can't tell you whether it's worth keeping or not." Product, that's what Lee thinks of what he's surrounded by - it's just product. By-product, maybe.

"We don't have to rush," Kory tells Cam, "But we do want to get there before you start forgetting the details." She clasps the shoulder attached to the unhurt arm. "Think you can wait 'til Lee's finished helping me?" She smirks at Lee. "I can tell you what's worth keeping, and no, you're not off the hook."

Cam hesitates and says, "Kinda forget already." Then he looks up to Lee and nods again to the suggestion of doing it after school and says, "Ok." He looks back to Kory, nodding a bit, "I can get back ok on my own… but ok, I'll wait."

Lee says, looking to Kory as if it's her decision: "I can get started if you want to go now. Even I can sort comics by number and date."

"Well, whatever you think is best," Kory tells Cam, affectionately. She jerks her chin toward the back room as a gesture at Lee. "If Cam's cool with waiting, I got no problem. You think I'm gonna let you sort through comics unattended? I'll come back to find a coffee ring on a copy of X-Men #125 or something. " She winks at Cam as she jibes gently at Lee.

Lee snorts. "You underestimate my fear of my sister." he says in that same arch, snooty tone.

Cam smiles back to Kory, and then laughs at Kory's comments to Lee, and his response. He doesn't say anything himself, though. He follows them towards the back, though won't go any farther than the door to the back room yet.

The back room is a disaster area of piles of old boxes, shelf after shelf stuffed with semi-worthless memorabilia and piles of business records and receipts. Several large boxes of Adventures of Amazonia comics are stacked in one corner. Lee wades into the junk on the shelves with energy but a clear sense of disquietude. "Looks like…electric bills from 1997 in this envelope…" he grumps.

"We better call your sister before we dig into this, then," Kory says, pausing visibly. "Last thing I want is to disturb some arcane filing system of hers." She leans in the doorway to wait.

Cam peeks past Kory into the back room, and his eyes widen, "Wow! That's gonna take ya hours and hours to fix, ain't it?" Then he looks back up to Kory at her statement, and back past her to Lee.

Lee says, "She never got further than that side of the room. See where it's all tidy and well-labelled? That's Nima. This, all of this, from that shelf there all the way back to the pipes? That's all mom and dad."

"Okay, then." Kory makes a show of pushing up her sleeves, and cracking her knuckles. "This won't take that long," she assures Cam. "Anything Lee can't identify, or that is older than five years, and hasn't got a CBG value? Out it goes." She comes out to pull a big black trash bag from under the counter, before flapping it open and hanging it off the doorknob.

Lee chucks the envelope away with an expression of joy. Not a bad flip shot, either. Right in the bag. "I can't believe the Knicks haven't called." Lee quips.

Cam looks a bit skeptical even at Kory's assurance this time, but grins again at Lee's throw and joke. He stands back to be out of the way, though stays to watch still.

"Not enough room on the team for you and your ego," Kory ripostes, rifling quickly through a shelf, and nimbly sorting stuff into a pile of stuff to keep and a pile to be examined more closely later. She ends up kicking up a little dust, and sneezing. "Gah. I should've picked up a dust mask! Or …Hazmat gear, maybe."

Lee collects a pile of comics and offers them to Cam. "Look these up in the CBGB?" he suggests, getting the acronym mixed up with something an actual hipster would know. He also coughs a little, moves down the row. "Three Battlestar 1980 lunchboxes…do you think these would go for anything on eBay?" A small wooden shelf in the back of the room attracts Kory's attention, being full of what look like actual comic longboxes, and, out-of-place (?) a bust of Shakespeare.

Cam nods quickly, though laughs at the mixup. "I'll look in the right book," he says…then pauses. "Um… you got one somewhere, Kory?" Then he blinks, "Battlestar 1980? That got somethin' to do with Galactica?"

Kory rolls her eyes, but doesn't bother correcting Lee on the acronym. "The lunchboxes probably would, given the popularity of the new show. Yeah, Cam. Galactica is kind of the new version. And the CBG is over under the counter. Ask Tito to give it to you." And to Lee, she tells him of the lunchboxes, "Stick 'em over there." She frowns quizzically at the bust of Shakespeare, and jokes, "If this thing's head opens up and leads to some sort of Jones-type-Batcave, I am never forgiving you."

Lee obediently takes the lunchboxes over to where Kory is putting the semi-valuable stuff…and sure enough, the Shakespeare bust does seem to have a bit of a seam on it, and inside is a little red switch! Clearly a lovingly made fan replica, it does not have any labels or anything on it. "Yeah, right." Lee scoffs. "That would be so trite. A secret room, like…" Like their secret life. He suddenly freezes. Closes his eyes as if feeling a pain in his whole head, from chin to hair.

"Uh…" Kory does flip the head back. "Oh, this is nice work. Somebody must've given it to your folks." She flips the switch, now more amused than dubious. "To the batpoles, Robin!"

Cam nods quickly, carrying the comics over to get the guide from Tito, and brings them back. He sits outside the door to the back room, starting to look the comics up. Though, at the talk of a batcave, he looks back in curiously. "Did it open something?"

There's a CLACK from behind the shelf, a mechanical spring sprung, and it swings slightly into the wall. It's small, but…yes. The shelf is a secret door. Lee doesn't even turn around to look, he just stands there with his eyes shut.

Kory whirls around, and stares. "Lee," she says, very calmly, "I am never forgiving you." She waves her hand back and forth to clear the dust away, then steps forward, too curious to let this go by.

Cam blinks, then grins as he hears Kory say that. He leaves comics and guide there (within view of the door still), climbing back up (a bit stiffly with his injured arm, of course), moving to see too.

About this time, the door to the front opens, and Portia wanders in. She chews on her lip a little, seeming not in the best of moods. She peers about, though, hearing sounds towards the back. "Hello..?"

Lee says, "What?! I didn't have anything to do with this!" That denial is pretty worthless because the first thing visible in the dark of the room is a picture of Lee. Several pictures of Lee and Nima, at ages between infancy and 4, in chronological order, carefully tacked to the wall. The space is tiny, cramped, only one at a time can get into the entranceway, and Lee moves to - slightly subtly - cut Cam off from getting inside. The room wraps around the brick wall that has the hot water heater behind it, so it is humid and dusty. A dangling bare bulb from above has a pull-chain that glistens in the reflected light from the front room. "Go see who that is." Lee suggests to Cam.

Tito's still out front, and gives Portia a polite greeting. "Hi there. Manager's in the back. You need something?" Lee's yelp is audible from the back as well.

Kory leans against the wall, having taken up Lee's cue as he moved to block Cam. "And see if you can find me a bandanna or something for all this dust, would you, Cam?"

Cam looks a bit disappointed at not being able to see inside the secret room, but nods to both and says, "Ok." He wanders back out of the back room, heading towards the front. On seeing Portia, he grins, waving, "Hi." Then he looks up to Tito, "There a bandanna or something out here? Kory wants one, for the dust."

Portia waves to Cam a little, but glances over to Tito for a moment. "Oh, no.. I mean, that's alright.. I was just going to look for something." She glances to Cam. "Spring cleaning?"

Lee peers over Kory's shoulder, his eyes widening. "What the hell is all this…" he mutters under his breath. Deep in the darkness the glisten of glass bottles can be seen, the curve of an old pre-digital TV. The smell of paper, paper and ink. Lee looks… frightened, then closes his eyes, gathering himself. "The kids…they shouldn't see this stuff. Remember what I told you about their obsession, what if this is related?!" He's not thinking clearly, his hands tremble.

"Okay." Kory leans into the bookshelf and pushes until she can hear it click shut. She flips down the head of the Shakespeare bust too. "Guess Cam couldn't find me a bandanna. I think we better put this off 'til another time unless you want the place closed down for three days while I cough up my lungs." This, she makes sound convincing. "Plus, you don't look so good either. Why don't I send Tito out for some pizza and sodas?" She heads out of the back room, brushing and patting dust out of her hair and off her clothes.

Cam grins back to Portia and says, "Millenia cleaning's more like it, with the dust back there." He doesn't mention the secret room, though. As he hears them coming back out, he looks back.

Lee doesn't come out from the back room right away. He spends some time composing himself, trembling, looking at the Shakespeare bust with a mixture of anger and fear, squeezing his eyes shut, opening them, the absurd logic of it washing over him. "Of course they would do this. Of course they would." he mutters.

"Sounds terribly exciting." Portia glances around for a moment. "I was thinking about stopping back in to see if there was anything new. I was actually on the way to go do some practicing." She pats the guitar in its soft case strapped to her back.

Tito and Kory have a quick conference over pizza and soda, before Kory returns to the back room to quietly place her hands on Lee's shoulders. "It's okay," she whispers into his ear, "We'll get it sorted out later. It's just the past. And you're not letting the past hurt you anymore, right?"

"Oh, you play?" Tito asks Portia, completely forgetting about ordering pizza as she says this. "What sort of music?" A reminder from Cam will get him back on task.

Lee says, focusing: "Right, I mean. It's just like the rest of this garbage. That's all it is." He says this as much to put on a mask of normalcy as to return to normal - and it's successful. He emerges from the back room /with/ Kory this time, and he looks like himself. "Oh, hello Portia." he says with a quirky half-smile. "Don't tell me you like this junk too?" This is virtually inviting an elbow from Kory. It's like he painted an elbow-shaped target on his midsection.

Cam blinks, and asks, curiously, "Oh… you in a band or something?" Music obviously isn't his thing, not very excited as he asks, but he seems curious nonetheless. He brightens at the initial prospect of pizza, but when Tito doesn't order he asks, "Gonna order now, right?" Then he's looking back to Lee and Kory as both come out. He says immediately, "It ain't junk, Mr. Jones. It's… modern mythology."

Glancing over as Lee emerges, Portia smiles. "Well, I'm a bit of a secret nerd." Though at the comments about music, the girl lights up. "I do play. And all sorts of music. I write some of my own, too." She glances to Cam. "Not in a band or anything, just play with myself…"

"Oh. Right." Tito smacks his forehead and goes back to the phone.

Kory must be feeling charitable toward Lee, because he gets more of a shoulder-shove than an elbow. "What Cam said," she says, faux-haughtily. "You're just too much of a snob to appreciate it." She always teases him; teasing is normal. She glances curiously at Portia, though Tito seems to have all that in hand, once the ordering of the pizza is over with. "Since Lee has no manners, nice to meet you. I'm Kory. Portia, was it?"

Lee replies to Cam in a non-argumentative tone: "Mm-hmm. We'll continue this discussion after you take Literature next year." He has high expectations for Cam, to be able to get into that class after falling so far behind. He addresses Portia in a 'very-creditable!-10-points-for-gryffindor!' manner: "I'm working on some music myself. My sister and I are in a band…well, 'were' in a band, I suppose, since she's moved away and we haven't practiced in months. Yes, I'm sorry, Kory, this is Portia, Portia's one of my students, she is in my fifth period civics class. Portia, this is Kory, she's the manager of the shop while my sister's away."

"Yeah, it's Portia." Portia smiles and nods to Kory. "It's nice to meet you Kory." She glances back to Lee again. "Really? I'd love to hear you play sometime. I'm thinking I might try and get into Julliard if I practice a lot. Jane suggested it."

"Hi," Kory grins at the girl. "Always glad to meet another of Lee's students. 'Scuse me a second." She turns around and locks the back room, the better to definitively mark the whole task for later. "Wow. Julliard. Go for it."

Cam blinks at Lee's words, eyes widening a little. "Next year?" He nods a bit, though, biting his lip. He looks back to Portia, saying, "Cool. Hope ya do." Though it's just as obvious he's never heard of Julliard. He's at least trying to show interest.

Lee says, "Absolutely. I'd be happy to bring my electric violin to school sometime…excellent choice, Julliard is a brilliant school. Have you visited there yet?" He expects her to start going there /now/?!? He does not reassure Cam - Lee wants him to be a little apprehensive about making it into Literature so that Cam doesn't think it will be easy to live up to that expectation.

Ah, but Portia's actually been thinking about this a bit. "Visited it? No, not yet. I've heard they have some classes before college that you can take, but I don't know how much they cost.. and I don't really know if I should bug my mom about that. But electric violin? That's really cool."

"You should hear him play," Kory enthuses, genuinely. "I keep telling him he should let me have a track or two for when I spin on the weekends." She grins crookedly at Lee. "One of these days you'll give in."

Cam is getting a bit lost in the conversation… or maybe something else is distracting him. He's moving his bad shoulder a bit more, as if trying to find a position for it, but from the look on his face it isn't comfortable any way. Painkillers wearing off.

Lee says, "Maybe someday I will." To Portia: "I'll make some calls and see what I can find out. At the very least you should visit the campus and talk to an admissions counsellor. Your mother can come too." Oh, because THAT would really help her chances of getting in. He - with great inner strength - refrains from blithering about how great it is to finally meet someone who recognizes the genius of the electric violin, and merely says, "Thanks. Well, I had better get to work on next week's lesson plans…Portia, Cam, it was good to see you, Kory…thank you." It's a genuine, heartfelt thank-you. She did him a good turn today.

"Anytime," Kory tells Lee, also sincerely. For all they jibe at each other, she does care for him. "I'll make sure Tito sends you up some pizza so you actually eat something tonight." She glances at Cam, and her brow knits with worry. "Hey there. Looks like it's about time for you to go back to Niki's place, huh?" She apparently paid close attention with regard to the kid's meds. "… you want me to come with, so you don't conk out on the subway?"

Giving a nod, Portia glances back to Lee. "Okay. I might have to do that. But be sure to play sometime. I'd love to hear you play." She glances back between Cam and Kory.

Cam nods a little, for once not even objecting to the escort jokingly. He says, "Please?" He looks back to Portia and Lee, giving a little wave, saying to Portia, "Bye. Um… see ya Monday."

"You got it." Kory points Cam at the door, but she springs for a cab instead, since he's obviously not feeling well.

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