2008-05-24: Spite For Respite

Starring:

Lee_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif Cam_icon.gif

Summary: After Cam has been absent from school for a week, he and his foster mom pop in to talk to Lee about why.

Date It Happened: May 24th, 2008

Spite for Respite


Brubaker Secondary School

Lee's class at lunchtime is empty except for him. He's eating some kind of thai-mexican-jamaican-chinese-canadian fusion wrap while he puts packets on each desk in preparation for the next period. He seems energetic, full of momentum.

Black sunglasses still situated on her face from time spent in the sunny city streets, Niki Sanders comes to stand in the doorway of Lee's classroom. She slides them up onto her head, over hair pulled back tightly in a ponytail, as she hones in on the teacher. "Mr. Jones…?" she ventures, questioning, but she's obviously purposeful — once she steps in, she shuts the door behind her. Firmly. "I need to talk to you about Cam."

Lee turns and looks at her swallowing his mouthful of lunch and nods to her. "Haven't seen him at school for a while. I assume he ran away." he says calmly, but not without sympathy. He knows Cam's history.

"No, nothing like that," Niki is quick to correct as she steps closer, but she's just as quick to give herself a confused look and add, "Well, something like that. But he's with me. He's safe." The woman looks over her shoulder the way she came, on edge, and watchful through the narrow window the classroom door has. "I know, technically, I should go to the principal or his counsellor about his absences," Niki starts to say, already shaking her head and making it completely obvious that those are not options. Not to her. "But this is— it's sensitive."

Lee says, "If he misses 10 days, the principal will call you, and his CFS worker, so…" He leans against his desk, folding his arms. "What's going on?"

Outside there's the sound of running feet, and Cam comes in the door, just a little out of breath but says to Niki, "Told you I wouldn't be long." He's carrying a couple books and a box, probably whatever he went to his locker to get. To Lee, he says, "Hi Mr. Jones."

Damnit, the CFS worker. Reminded, Niki stiffens, looking sharply away from Lee for a second or two; whatever, no problem, she'll find a way to deal with Family Services. (Not the same way they've been dealt with prior, mind you.) "It's not safe here for Cam right now," she comes out and says it as she looks back to Lee. Before she can explain, half of the hard-edged tension in the woman's body is dropping away the second Cam waltzes through the door just as unharmed as he was five minutes ago. "Got all your stuff, kiddo?" she breaks into a smile, heading to Cam's side to wrap an arm around him and jostle him good-naturedly.

Lee nods to Cam respectfully but he doesn't have his 'you're my favorite student' expression that he gets when a child does well. Didn't Cam get to school when he was living at a homeless shelter after his parents died? (Or so Lee believes.) What could be worse than that? "Hello, Cam." he says, then returns his look expectantly to Niki. "Not safe…?" he prompts.

Cam, of course, can tell at a glance this isn't going quite as well as he thought. But he smiles up to Niki and nods quickly, leaning into her half-hug slightly at the jostling, "Yep, got it all here." He looks back up to Lee and back up to Niki, waiting to see how she's going to explain it.

"Good," Niki says with a smile to Cam — a smile that disappears, now that she has to find some way to not sound like a crazy person to Lee. Tall orders. Winding around Cam, she makes sure the door is shut again before approaching Mr. Jones. Paranoid? Maybe, but you know how the cliched saying goes, and she's already been caught once. "There's someone… after me," she says slowly, high on the magnitude scale. "Someone— with powers. It wouldn't be impossible that he'd go after Cam, too. I know that it's almost the end of the school year, and I don't want him to miss more class, but…"

Lee says, "I don't see why Cam should be penalized for something that you got yourself into. I haven't had a lot of luck with the new CFS worker, but maybe you could get respite care for…" A pause. "How long before this resolves itself? Did you get a good lawyer?"

Niki shuts her eyes for a second and holds up a hand to Lee to— well, to shut him up, even if it is belated. "No, I don't— I don't need a lawyer. It's not that kind of trouble. It shouldn't be much longer, but I can't tell the future."

Lee says, "Well, then respite care sounds like the way to go. That way he can make it here for finals. We're only about 8 days away and…Cam's going to have to do summer school as it is, falling further behind won't help him. He's worked very hard for this."

Cam speaks up again, then, "Mr. Jones, you've never been on the street, so maybe you don't know. But when someone comes after you like this, law don't matter. Doesn't matter if I'm staying somewhere else, they know Niki'd protect me, and they'll figure out I'm here. They'll come get me here and use me as bait to get her. I.. I wanna get in that literature class like ya said, but not if it means they get Niki."

"Cam's right," Niki chimes in intently. "If we could just take his work home, or— if we could just figure something out. We're safe where we are now. It's not safe here, it's not safe anywhere else until this blows over. I just— we can't take any chances. Not right now."

Lee says, "If that's your decision." in a tone that leaves no doubt that he is deeply disappointed, perhaps in both of them. "I can give you home assignments but there's just no question that this is going to set things back. The literature class will be in question - you'll have to take the finals separately. Talk to the administration office about getting a leave." he says. You're on your own on this one.

Cam nods quickly and says, "It's ok. Don't mind doing extra after all this is over. Don't even mind summer school, long as the air conditioner works. Just, gotta stay outta trouble so they don't get Niki and Micah and Kory."

Niki looks over to Cam with some worry, how sincerely she agrees written all over her features. "Being set back wouldn't seem like a big deal in comparison." To the alternative, which she doesn't explain. "If you see anyone lurking around the school that you don't recognize— " she says to Lee, " —you might wanna stay away."

Lee replies, "It's not okay, Cam, but it's not your responsibility and not your decision either." He looks at Niki with a rather flat expression. "That doesn't seem to be a very likely thing for me to do." he says, struggling to keep the sarcasm from his voice. Not in front of the kids! "Where should I bring the assignments?"

Cam bites his lip but just nods a little to Lee. He goes quiet, then, letting Niki answer as he just waits, watching. He sets his books down on a table for a moment, resting his arms as he waits.

Niki holds back. Her silence turns into hesitation over how to answer Lee's question. "Nowhere," she answers eventually, decisive. "Someone'll pick them up."

Lee says, "Fine. I'll have them ready by the end of the day tomorrow." He returns his attention to his current lesson plans. "Good luck, Cam."

Cam hesitates and then picks his stuff up again and says, "Thanks." Then after a moment he adds, "You should ask Kory about this too. She won't know where we are or anything, but she might be able to explain." Then he looks up to Niki, ready to follow her out.

Lee rolls his eyes slightly at the mention of Kory. Apparently he has already spoken to her. But he makes no mention of what she said.

"Thanks." The word falls a little flat, but Niki lingers a moment— the sincerity is in her eyes, at least. Whether Lee sees it or not is another story. She squeezes Cam's shoulder and manages a grin, joking for the teenager's sake, "Well, at least she won't give us up." Quieting, she turns around to head for the door. Next stop, Administration.

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