2008-01-31: Sausage and Eggs with Catch Up


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Summary: Over breakfast, Kory and Lee get each other back up to speed on what's been going on in their lives.

Date It Happened: January 31, 2008

Sausage and Eggs with Catch Up

Lee Jones' Apartment over The Secret Lair

Lee, this morning, is focusing intently on the freeware video editing software that he's using to put together his plan to get fired. The smell of coffee and breakfast percolates downstairs. The apartment is warm and the clutter of the family's musical junk makes it seem like Nima's still here and will come bouncing out of the back room with a new action figure at any moment.

Kory does her usual circuit of the Lair before opening. It's still early enough that's not a concern just yet, so she comes up to the apartment above and tap-tap-taps at the door, following the smell of breakfast wafting through the airvents. "Nima? Did you drop in to surprise us?" Surely Lee didn't cook, did he?

Lee calls out, "Come in…hey, Kory, no, she's not here. I've been up all night working on this video thing." Well, technically not all night, he didn't get home from Joule's until three or so. "You want any breakfast? I've got some eggs and sausage left over…" He's smiling, happy to see her.

"Lee, good morning!" Kory beams, twirling a poppy on a stem between her fingers dreamily. "I'd love a bite of breakfast. I'm starved." She drifts over to give him a kiss on his cheek. "What're you working on, hon? Looks like a major project."

Lee says, "Music video, and it's got to do two things at once. First, teach the state achievement civics test, and second, draw attention to the fact that I've been ordered to teach the test." He says, "You look psyched. What's with the poppy, did Randall send you flowers?" He rises and pads over to the kitchen. Lee is working in slippers, robe, shirt, and pajama pants, that's how you know he's a real artist.

"You're doing a music video as a class lesson?" Kory stares, but she's smiling. "That's devious. That's clever." A pause. "That's going to get you fired, isn't it?" She finds the shoebox full of herbal tea and sets the kettle on, in lieu of coffee, and turns back to look at Lee, sausage in her free hand. "I did get flowers, but not from Randall. We're on 'a break'." Poppy and sausage rise together as she makes air quotes with her fingers. The cheery expression vanishes from her face for the split second it takes her to make them, and it's another sentence before it returns. "At least, that's the term he's using for it. The flowers are from Leslie."

Lee says, "'On a break'? That sucks, Kory, sorry to hear it. I know you were really… Leslie…wait, is he the one that always smells like old cold cuts?" A pause. "Oh…uh…well, the flowers are thoughtful." he lamely amends, realizing she actually likes them.

"No, that's not the one," Kory sighs, rolling her eyes. "He actually showers. I think Nick is the one you're thinking of. And dude, the bouquet is beautiful. Of of course I like it. It's thoughtful." She shrugs, and tries not to look miserable as she attempts to sidestep his comments about her and Randall.

Lee says, "Oh. Well, they do all run together after a while." For Lee, that is as graceful a mea culpa as they come for the inhabitants of the Lair. "So long as you landed on your feet, that's the main thing. Do you, uh, want to talk about it? Does Randall have, like, a hole in his head? Someone hit him with a stupid stick? Normally those are the two maladies guys get to get themselves into that situation."

Kory thins her lips around an attempt not to laugh, given people have asked her the exact same question about Lee and his never having noticed Kory. "Kind of, yes," she says, when she's certain she's able to answer the question with a straight face. "He doesn't like what I can do with what I can do."

Lee tilts his head. "I thought he was cool with it and that was one of the things that brought the two of you together." It certainly kept Lee and Kory apart for a while. "I mean, he seemed like he had a lot less baggage about it than I did. Do. Still do."

"Yeah, so did I," Kory says, quietly. "But he thinks I'm needlessly flinging myself into danger using my ability to help people. He's as much a comic guy as I am and he has a problem with this. It's why I got my degree." She sinks into the sofa, miserable.

Lee is not completely horrible. He pours her tea. He puts some toast on a plate. He sits next to her on the couch, close. "Protectiveness is one thing but helping people out is part of who you are. He's got to grasp that or he'll never appreciate you." he says comfortingly. "When I came back from California…Nima and I were so lost, I needed you as a friend more than I needed you any other way. And you never took advantage of me - you could have, but you didn't." It's rare to see a guy admit his emotional vulnerability, clearly Lee has thought about this a lot, or he figures she was there for so many horrific late nights and frustratingly tender moments that it's not so much an admission as a reminder. "… but you never did anything but help take care of us, help us stay on our feet and not…drown. I'll never forget that, not ever. Someday someone is going to see that in you the way I see it and it'll blow them away. You take that to the bank, they'll write you a check on it, that's how much a sure thing it is."

Kory blinks at Lee. Take advantage? She looks at him as if he'd just sprouted a third eye in the middle of his forehead. "You're my best friends in the world, and you needed it. What else was I supposed to do? What else could I have done?" Kory asks, shaking her head. Though she is very touched by the admission from Lee. She would never have presumed to put a move on him then, even if she weren't cripplingly shy. "Sweet of you to say, though. I'm trying to make my peace with it. Because there aren't that many people who can cope with stuff outside their comfort zone. You know it. I know it."

Lee says, "You could have taken advantage of it. Some people would have, even their best friends." and leaves it at that. "It's not going to be an issue forever." he says confidently. "Eventually it'll come out, there'll be a big controversy about it for a year or so and then it'll be back to business as usual. Pundits will talk about it on Sunday morning news shows. Insurance adjusters will sigh heavily and adjust their tables. Life will go on."

Kory shrugs, and shakes her head, disbelieving. Even though, deep down, her innocence has had a lot of serious hits lately, and she knows better. "It will, hon," she says softly. "The world is not meant to know about people like us. It doesn't work out well when they do."

Lee practically scoffs. "Well," he says, "it's going to come out. This kind of thing always does, always. So everyone's got to do what they can to make it work when it does. Like you've done with the Lair re-organization, like I'm doing with my class. Just treading water and trying to cover things up is not going to get anyone anywhere in the long term." 'The end.' should probably be on the end of that sentence, by his tone. "Eventually, mark my words, it'll be no more an issue when you're seeing someone than having frizzy hair. My constant insistence on talking about La Comedie Humaine will be more of a relationship-killer."

"Well, we'll see," Kory shrugs. "The timejumper I spoke to says it never works out well. A bit too Days of Future Past." She looks at the poppy. "So I guess I don't mind Leslie being sweet to me. And I'll just have the sense to keep my mouth shut this time, so I don't scare anybody else off."

Lee says, defending her, "It wasn't you, Kory, it was his overprotectiveness that did it. You could have been a cop or a firefighter and his problem would have been the same. Hell, it probably would have had a lot more weight to it. It's not like you go into a dangerous dream every night." At least Lee instinctively realizes there must be some reasonable danger to what she does. "If he can't handle what you want to do, it doesn't matter how you do it, not in the least." Ah, Lee, he'll always come around to 'and therefore powers don't matter' eventually.

"You think?" she asks, hopefully. "There's only a couple weeks before I find out if he's decided he can cope or not." The morose tone indicates Kory expects 'or not'. "Leslie, at least, treats me like I'm more than just the cute girl at the comic shop." Then again, she doesn't know he's aware she's got a gift of some kind. "Maybe I should just give up on the relationship thing for a while. I can't seem to make a good pick."

Lee says, encouragingly: "Kory, you're going to get the 'cute girl at the comic shop' thing no matter what. You're gorgeous, and you really really like working downstairs. You're gonna have to give in to that a tiny bit at the very least." he says with a smile. Then, more seriously: "…the fact that you're so disappointed by what Randall did tells me the time is right for you, that you are ready for a relationship, even if he's not. But if you think there's a chance it could work out again in a couple of weeks, if Randall can get over it, if he can be cool with it? Don't take a chance with Leslie."

Kory listens to Lee. It's rare that he sets aside the snark enough to be all wise like this. "I'd love to believe he can. And I did tell Leslie we were only going out the once as friends. I …I guess I should put a halt to things. At least for two weeks. Until I see where things are gonna go with Randall." She sighs, and puts the poppy down on the coffee table. "This relationship thing is almost more trouble than it's worth. You and the crumpet woman doing all right, though?" She's clearly tired of talking about herself for the moment.

Lee says, "We had a big fight over a dumbass move I made, but made up. Seriously, it was the first time I've ever been in a fight where I was worried the neighbors were going to call the police." He thinks about it: "It's not my usual thing at all. It's like no other relationship I've ever been in. It's unbelievably great and I have no idea where it's going at any given second." he says with a crooked grin.

Kory blinks, and goes wide-eyed. "What? The police? Did she hit you?" Her hands go to her mouth, in horror. Lee in an abusive relationship?! Okay, she's wanted to hit him a time or two, and has, even, but still! He sounds happy, though. Really happy. Too happy for it to be what it sounds like. "It sounds like you're on an out of control trolley, Lee. That's sort of scary."

Lee says, "She threw some plates. She knows what I can do so I'm pretty sure on some level she knew they wouldn't hit me. It is scary. I promise I'll stay safe. But really, for right where I am right now? Being too safe is the last thing I need. That lets me fall back into what I was doing before." He nods to the computer as if the video he's working on is proof of that. "If I don't put myself out there, who the hell am I to have such a superior attitude? Therefore, to keep the snotty attitude, I have to take risks." he teases.

Kory giggles at Lee's 'logic'. "You better stay safe. Nima would never forgive me if I let some crazy English woman turn you into black pudding." She peers at the video. "So let's see it, then? Are you playing electric violin?" It's been awhile since she's seen him play.

Lee says, "I'm mostly doing synth - I got a real fiddle player to play a real fiddle, a Yale lawyer to play guitar and Crumpet Lass to do drums and, uh, dancing. C'mere, it's great." The base video so far is very simple - footage of the band playing the song, which seems to be some Schoolhouse Rock-y civics thing, with a snarky undertone of 'I've been ordered to say these exact words to you'. The 'produced' part is a lot more fun to watch, with political cartoons and maps and charts popping up and demonstrating what the catchy lyrics are saying. Of course he only has about thirty seconds of that done so far. Joule's dancing and outfit will ensure the teenaged boys are jaw-droppingly interested.

"Well. The teenagers are gonna like it," Kory concedes. "It's hella catchy." She pokes Lee in the shoulder. "And if I'm singing it tomorrow, I'm blaming you." She laughs, though, and adds, "Seriously. Good luck. I hope it goes over as planned."

Lee says, "The plan is to release it, fake a complaint about it so that the press picks it up and hopefully it'll go viral. That'll piss off the administration and get them to suspend or maybe even fire me, which will give the story legs. Then either they'll capitulate and let me teach civics in my civics class - what a concept - or get hammered over and over. The only danger is that the administration will get pissed off faster than the video spreads." He's clearly thought about this. "Which is one reason I've socked away some extra money just in case I'm casting around for temporary work while the teacher's union handles my firing."

"That's awfully risky," Kory says, worriedly. "But getting it viral shouldn't be too hard. A post on YouTube, a post on Google video." She wrinkles her nose, going pensive. "There has to be somebody in the list downstairs who knows somebody in radio or who does podcasts…"

Lee says, "I'll take any help I can get - yes, even from Professor Neckbeard, if it comes to that. Don't use this to torment me or I take back all the nice things I just said about you!" he teases.

"I wouldn't torment you about this," Kory assures him. "I know how much school has meant to you in the past few months. I want you to succeed. And I'm sure Nima wouldn't want you losing your job. And she counts on me to look after you."

Lee grins. "Thanks. I know things will turn around for you too, Kory."

Kory leans over and kisses Lee. "Thanks, hon. That means a lot to me, coming from you." Thus reassured, she finally turns to dig into her breakfast, spirits buoyed a little if not completely lifted. The poppy is left to sit on the coffee table when she finally makes her way back downstairs to open up the Lair for the day.

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