2008-06-29: Starve the Guilt, Feed the Survivor

Starring:

Cam_icon.gif Ian_icon.gif KeLyssa_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif Sophie_icon.gif

Summary: Six hours later, Kory is trying to recover and cope…and more people her grief touched come by to look in on her.

Date It Happened: June 29, 2008

Starve the Guilt, Feed The Survivor


(Previously on HEROESMush … The Guardians of Forever, Bad Dreams, Carrying On)

and now …

The Deveaux Building - Kory's apartment

Six hours or so after the events of predawn, Kory is alone again. She's clean now. Hair washed. Clothes fresh and soft. The burns on her hands are bandaged, and the band-aids on her knees changed. She's sitting at the dining room table, a thin plastic craft surface unrolled before her. On the board is her little bundle from the night before — the one that Randall had to convince her to let go of. And beside it, a sizeable lump of neutral Sculpey. She regards the two pensively for a long moment, then sighs and gets up to walk to her picture window and stare out at the city.

Sophie has waited, and tried to get some sleep. But it isn't easy, what with dozens of messages all whirling around in her head. She finally putters around her kitchen, then arrives at Kory's apartment, tapping on, well, the doorframe.

Cam comes out of the stairwell and stepping around towards Kory's apartment just as Sophie knocks. He pulls up short, but then greets, "Hi. She home?" He has a worried look.

The door is sort of back to normal now. Sort of. The frame still has some post-Niki damage, but there's a lock on it now. It closes. Thanks to Randall calling Kory's brother and the pair of them working out, bickering the whole time, the most secure locks for the door. And how to repair the door itself, even.

Kory looks up at the knock, and calls, "Just a minute." She is still stiff and sore from the exertions of the previous night — both pleasant and miserable — so she is moving without her usual nimble, manic quickness.

Click. Klatch. TCH-CHAK. SHRIKK. Snik. Clink-clink. SHUK. CHK-CHK-CHK. Apparently six locks are now seven.

Kory opens the door, listlessly, glances up and down to see who it is. "Sophie. Cam. Hi." She lets go of the doorknob and takes a couple steps backward to allow them room to come in.

Sophie is holding a couple of casserole dishes, both covered with aluminum foil. There's steam coming from them, that smells, well, like cheese, spices. She says, "Hey there." softly. Then explains, "I kind of, well, I cook when I'm anxious. Its a spanish omelet casserole and some cheesy hashbrowns. I hope that's alright."

Cam steps in as Kory lets them in, but instead of continuing in he grabs Kory in a hug. "You're ok! I thought.. I had this dream…" He trails off looking a bit sheepish.

Kory manages a wan, thin smile. She still hasn't slept. She looks — well, not tired. That's not accurate. She looks wrung out. Emotionally exhausted though her body requires little to no sleep. Randall managed to get her to take a long shower, very hot. Followed by a cup of hot milk and a back rub with baby oil, but she only managed maybe 45 minutes.

She blinks, startled, as Cam hugs her. "Oh, honey, I'm sorry. I didn't do it on purpose. I was upset, and it got away from me." She kisses the top of his head. She barely needs to bend anymore; he's growing like a weed, she realizes. "I didn't even know I'd done it until I saw everybody here this morning."

To Sophie, she blinks. "Oh. That's nice of you. Thank you. Um, please, you know where everything is." Sophie has helped her get settled in and everything.

Sophie takes one look at Kory, but Cam seems to have hugging duties handled, as she says, "Maybe some chamomile tea, with lemon too." she decides. She says, softly, "How are you holding up?" as she starts to put the dishes out, making sure to give Kory a healthy helping.

"I just had a cup…somewhere," Kory murmurs distantly, waving an arm around, and wincing when it makes her ache. "But I probably should have another. I could use a Tylenol." She glances at Sophie. "I'm not dead," she murmurs, mind sparked by her words into an idea. Her eyes widen. "We should have a little wake for him. Everybody sharing what little nice memories we might. Raising a glass to his memory." As she says this, she finds a white candle on one of the bookcases, and lights it, leaving it beside the window. She told him he would always be welcome here; even as a haunt, that's true.

Cam takes a step back and says, "You must've been really upset. What happened?" Then he blinks at the words 'dead' and 'wake', "What happened? Who…" He trails off, looking between the two adults.
Sophie says, softly, 'I do think that is a good idea. Though it would have to be just people who.. understand. He was a good man, and we can hope to carry on what he wanted us to do, to make sure that the future we create is one where, I suppose, he won't have to become.. what he did."

Kory turns to regard Cam in silence for a moment, walking away from her white candle. "Remember the conversation we had a month or two back about the List, and how Peter came from the future to give it to me?" Presuming on a yes because Cam's a sharp kid, and because Lee probably rides him hard to pay attention (to say nothing of his less than legal mind skills), she continues, "Peter from the future died last night." She closes her eyes for a long moment and sways. It isn't getting easier with repeat tellings. "He was …he was…protecting me." She bites hard on her lower lip and visibly concentrates on holding the tears back. She also has a pitcher of water around here somewhere. But she's still wandering around in a semi-shocked state.

Cam nods to Kory at the question about the conversation, "Sure I remember. Fighting Pinehearst's the whole reason I'm stuck in this building. Still think Mr. Jone's not being fair, being mad I'm not going to school in all this." Then, the actual story of what's happened comes out, and he blinks again, "Oh. Wow." He's perceptive enough, at least, to seem to know not to ask what happened. He just steps to give Kory another hug.

Sophie quits her puttering around, really just caretaking, to walks over and join in the hug, of both. Her eyes are tearfilled. "I wish I could've known that Peter, really, both of the, better."

Kory lets her friends hug her and gently hugs them back as hard as she can in her somewhat diminished state. "You'll still have your chance with the other Peter. He's still here. Somewhere. I've visited his dreams…just…just…not lately." Because the pain's too fresh, and how do you explain to a friend who's still alive that you saw him die, and felt his body go slack in your arms? "Soon, though, I hope."

Cam steps back a bit after a moment and says, "Still glad you're ok." He glances up to Sophie and back to Kory, looking at a bit of a loss as to what to say next.

Sophie nods and she closes her eyes, "I can't imagine.. I mean, nothing in life can prepare you for something like that."

The early afternoon sunlight streams into the apartment through the windows. Kory is dressed in a simple, soft, long linen dress with a light linen jacket over it. To cover the bruises. Her hands are both banadaged. She steps away from the hug she was just engaging in with Cam and Sophie to drift toward the kitchen, but she stops and regards the craft surface on her dining room table. there's a torn, bloody, sooty tied-up cloth with something in it sitting beside a good size lump of Sculpey. She shakes her head, though, and continues into the kitchen. "No. Not really. Now I know how Demi Moore's character felt in 'Ghost'." Well, not quite. It was Peter, not Randall, lying dead in her arms, but still.

He doesn't exactly have an instinct for trouble. But Ian's shown up, looking surprisingly corporate for him. In that he's wearing a polo and black slacks. Who are you and what have you done with my goth boy? He even has his earrings taken out, and is wearing a rather puppyish expression of worry, as he knocks on the door. There's a box of donuts in hand. Maybe they'll help?

Cam still looks a bit lost on what to say, though he stays standing near Kory for the moment. There is a flash of confusion on his face at the mention of the movie he's obviously never heard of, but still, for the moment he stays quiet.

Sophie does understand the reference, and nods. "Yeah, like that." She turns toward the door, and she pauses, "Are you expecting anyone else?'

"No," Kory answers, drifting toward the door on bare feet. "But considering you guys turned up this morning…I'm not sure how far that dreamflash reached." She opens the door and blinks. "…Ian…?" Another blink. How … nonsequitous. "Ian's …brother? Ian's …good twin?" This fresh-faced preppie looks like Ian but the clothing is a different personality altogether. Kory can't help but laugh, even if the edge of it is a little brittle, too close to the verge of hysteria.

Ian immediately offers one of those brilliant grins, though it falls into that look of doggish worry again almost immediately after. He steps in. "I had a bad dream about you," he says, as if that alone might be reason enough for showing up. Perhaps it is. "I know, I look weird. I….I had to deal with my grandad. He's an awesome guy, but he's a judge, so I kinna clean up when he appears. Just for the sake of peace in the family."

Cam looks towards the door as Kory opens it. On seeing Ian, it takes him just a moment to recognize him, but then he gives a wave, "Hey." He nods to the mention of the dream.

Sophie offers a nod and she says, "I made some casserole, if you're hungry." softly. "Would you like a plate? I'm making tea, too."

"You look cute," Kory assures him, "Very wholesome." She then winces slightly, unable to let his reason for the visit go unremarked. "Yeah, Ian, sorry, about the dream…that's my fault," Kory admits with a wry twist to her lips. He can see she hasn't had the best night. Both her hands are bandaged, after all, and she's moving like she's sore. "Please, come on in. We were about to have brunch, or something like it. Well, Cam and Sophie were. I just want a couple Tylenol and some tea. Oh, sorry, my manners. Cam, Ian. Ian, Cam. Sophie, of course, you met last time you were by. Randall's at work." Loathe though he was to leave the shaken and shocky Kory, she insisted that he not endanger his livelihood by calling out sick on no notice. "Sophie …I nicknamed you Mnemosyne, hon. Not Alfred." She's grateful, really, but she feels awkward and guilty with her friends kind of waiting on her like that.

"You look like….you don't feel good," Ian, clearly censoring himself. He offers a salute to the others, and that uneven smile. "Good. It fools grandpa, or at least preserves appearances. I brought donuts, figured they never go amiss. What happened?" He asks, indicating the wounded hands with a nod.
Cam nods quickly to the introductions, "We met before. A few times. He was there the time I gave Leslie frostbite." He glances up to Sophie curiously too, grinning a bit at Kory's words.

Sophie blushes a bit and she says, "I'm sorry.. I was always the one helping out like that back home."

"No flies on you, Ian," Kory says, wryly. "I had a rough night. Like I said, that bad dream? It was actually something that happened to me. Our founder — the guy who gave me the list? He's gone." She leans back against the wall beside the kitchen door. "Peter from the future. Timeline reminded us that we couldn't keep both. He's…" She swallows, hard. "Dead." When will it get easier to say that? her expression wonders bleakly.

Ian makes the upset muppet face - lips curled in, dark eyes suddenly huge. "Wha- what?" he says, trying to get the words out past a large lump that's just appeared in his throat. "What do you mean? I don't understand."

Cam bites his lip, looking between the three adults, but after Ian's question he speaks up again. "He saved her. He died a hero."

Sophie nods as she says, "From what she said, yes he did. Future or present, he is a good man." softly.

Kory has finally made it to the kitchen, and pauses to bask like a cat in the sun coming in the window. She moves as if she's hurting, and the light summer dress and duster she wears offer full coverage. The bandages on her hands indicate there may be more hidden under the cottony fabric. She's determined to not let the experience cripple her, though. She has gone for the kettle since it's merrily whistling that it's boiling. She looks back. "Please, everybody, sit down. I'm not gonna fall over…" and more softly, "…even though I look like I might."

Ian doesn't look as if he's going to fall over, but he does look as if he'd like to consider the idea. He seats himself with surprising delicacy, that furrow still etched between his brows. Not a happy camper. But it doesn't hurt his appetite, clearly - he absent mindedly sneaks a donut out of the box, takes a bite.

KeLyssa, like a few others that she doesn't know of just yet, got the impression sent from Kory. Upon waking, she remembered it quite clearly, with it leaving her slightly disturbed. That wasn't like Kory to just do that. So, as such, she figured something was wrong. Instantly, she figured baking a pie. It was the best she knew how to do when Kory wasn't feeling happy at all. Other than listening, of course. So it's with that, she made an apple pie. Keeping it in a container to keep it warm on the way to Kory's apartment, she's made her way there via public transit. It's with that, she made her way into the apartment building as people were leaving. There's a knock, then, at Kory's door.

Sophie takes a seat, as asked. Then she turns toward the door, again, brows going up.

Cam moves to find a spot to sit down at Kory's words, and says, "Yeah, I know. Just… never…" Then there's the knock at the door, and he hops up, moving to answer it, opening. He gives KeLyssa a smile, if not as bright as usual, "Hi." He steps back to let her in.

Kory calls from the kitchen. "Hello. Welcome to Grand Central Station." It's a weak, weak joke. But she's at least trying. "Um…" she pokes her head out. "KeLyssa. thank you for visiting. Sorry about the nightmare." She vanishes back into the kitchen. "Omelette casserole, hashbrown casserole, donuts, or pizza?" Randall had to eat something before work!

Casserole? Where? Ian's immediately helping himself to some, and getting coffee. Not really playing waiter, per se, but sniffing around to be useful.

KeLyssa is surprised by Cam answering the door for her. She smiles at him. "Hey! Long time no see, hon." She glances at Kory as she peeks around the corner. "Kory, sug, don'tcha worry 'bout it. I prefer yer nightmares." She holds up pie. "I thought ya might need some comfort food. I hope ya'll like apple pie." She closes the door behind her, and wraps her free arm around Cam. "How're you doin', Cam?"

Lee was going to bring food, but he called ahead, and therefore knows that Kory's set for the near future. Nevertheless, he brings ready-to-bake homemade cinnamon rolls the size of her head, wrapped in plastic wrap and covering a baking sheet. He stops KeLyssa from closing the door with his foot and appears apologetic. "Crumpet Lass insisted." he says to Kory as he comes in. "For tomorrow morning. I know you said not to bring anything." He looks around the room and nods to those there. Cam's presence makes him stand up a little straighter. Got to look dignified for the youngster. "I thought you were on the run or something." he says to Cam like he just caught him at the video arcade.

Cam leans a little against KeLyssa's side and answers, "I'm alright. Sorry I haven't visited, not really been allowed to go out much lately." He glances towards the kitchen and then adds softer to KeLyssa, "Kory's really upset. Don't know what to say." Then Lee's coming in and he blinks, waving a little. "In hiding, not on the run. And told you Kory knows all about it."

"Oh. Wow. Lee. Thank you." Kory is beyond stunned at the outpouring of friendship, affection, and oh my god, all the comfort food. "Lee, I think you know everybody here." She is carefully cradling a thermos cup of tea, bandaged fingers curled around a pair of Tylenol 3. "Thank you all for coming, it's so kind of you, really." She shrugs, crookedly. "I'm …I'm doing okay. I just have to ride out the survivor's guilt, I guess."

KeLyssa rubs Cam's arm slightly. "I know, hon. I know. It's good that you came 'round though. It's important to know people care when ya ain't feelin' the greatest, though. It's real good that ya dropped by." She looks back at Lee. "Oh, hey there. Ain't really seen ya in a while, eh." She returns her attention to Kory. "So, sug, what did happen. I…if ya don't mind recountin' the story of course. I mean, it's not every night we hear from ya in our dreams. Ya got me real worried, Boss Lady."

Kory's pet Sithling is all cleaned up to deal with the super-conservative grandparents. Which is to say, Ian is sans earrings or any other overt piercings, dressed in black chinos and a blue polo shirt, and generally doing his impression of a cleancut young man. He's also dumping an unholy amount of sugar into his coffee.

Sophie is sitting to the side. Having brought food, she is busy, well, processing some newly released mental information.

Lee mms noncommittally at Cam's statement. "You're welcome." he says to Kory. "I see you're well situated with everyone here…" He nods to KeLyssa, "I've been teaching summer courses to make a little extra do-re-mi. Paying rent su…is terrible, but living in my parents' old place is a lot worse." No, Lee is not even going to say that something related to his parents sucks in front of Cam and grieving-Kory.

Thank god, something else to talk about other than what happened. Until KeLysa asks. One deep breath, and she says, quietly, but evenly, "Long story short, three guys jumped us in the street. Peter fought them. He didn't make it."

Then she frowns at Sophie. "Is…is there anything we can do to help you? What he left with you? Can we help you carry it?" Desperation to not be the center of attention, along with genuine, sincere concern for her friend is writ large in her features as she kneels carefully at Sophie's feet.

Cam blinks, looking towards Sophie curiously at Kory's words, "Peter gave ya something? Something to do with the l…" He catches himself before he says any more, glancing up to Lee and back to the others.

KeLyssa takes a sharp breath in. "Oh, goodness….oh my." She leaves Cam's side for the moment, drops the pie down somewhere, and automatically moves in to give Kory a hug if she'll let her. "I'm sorry, hon."

Lee frowns as Kory relates the story. He hadn't heard it either. He has to fill in some of the gaps, but in the end he shakes his head rather disgustedly. What a waste.

Sophie looks up, just a little dazed. She says, softly, "Let's just say.. he knew that his time was limited, one way or another. Honestly, as he explained it to me, his success would basically leave him nowhere to go home to. So, he left some.. messages for people." she smiles appreciatively at Kory, "Thank you. It doesn't hurt, it is only.. taking a little time to adjust to all the new information. As I deliver messages, it'll be, well, less overwhelming." she offers.

"Wait, what? Peter…..Peter….." And Ian suddenly looks at the others, whom he's not sure are Evolved, or not, and bites his lip. "I thought there was nothing he couldn't handle," he settles on, finally.

"It's okay, Cam," Kory says, looking over at him. "we're all Listies. Every one of us." Kory winces slightly from the unseen bruises as KeLyssa hugs her, but she leans into the gesture, because it reminds her she's alive. It reminds her that she's got a job to do, and that she must not give in to despair if she's going to do it. And do it she will. She must. Because Peter will have died in vain if they fail.

Lee still hasn't heard it all, because what he stopped them from doing — Kory can't quite bring herself to say it. Even if she has admitted to the survivor's guilt. "You tell me what you need. And we'll get it for you." She reaches up to pat Sophie's knee, then looks around the room. "As for me — just give me today to finish processing it all, okay, gang? And then we have to take the fight to Pinehearst. And rescue Cass. Unravel their plans. And make the future Peter came to see us create."

She looks at Ian uncomprehendingly for a moment, then pulls a taut smile. "That's a different Peter, hon. The one I'm speaking of? He was from the future. And for a while, there was nothing he couldn't handle either. But the timeline reminded us who's boss. We couldn't keep them both, and only one belonged here, after all." The pain darkens her face again, making her seem a little older, but at least there are no more tears. "And if he had to die, he at least died on his own terms. Fighting the dark, and with a friend beside him."

Lee doesn't start cheering at the prospect, but he's not going to be a cold bucket of water on Kory today. "Okay…well, just, you know, checking in. If there's anything else you need at all, call me on my cell, all right? I've got the GED thing tonight but after eight-thirty I'm out."

Sophie listens, and she nods, "I wasn't even going to think about delivering those messages for, well, maybe a day or two. Some names I have.. I don't think I ever met them."

Cam bites his lip again at Kory's words, and nods a bit. "Ok. I'm gonna go back, will visit again later. Was just worried, didn't know if you were ok or not."

"I'm fine," Kory assures Lee, with a wave of her hand. "I just need to find my…my Tae-Bo DVDs or something." Because she froze and whimpered like a stupid…little…victim! … and if she'd only fought…maybe Peter might've lived. Or maybe she'd have died too and not gone on to feel so terrible that he fought to protect her and lost his life doing it.

"We'll figure it out, Sophie," Kory tells her friend, still in that reassuring voice. "Tell your mother I'm okay, Cam. Tell her I'm having a key to the place cut for her." Another little joke.

Kory glances down at her bandaged hands, remembering what's in them; she finally tosses back the T-3s and slucks back a long gulp of tea. "I probably have about half an hour before these make me too loopy to continue conversing in anything resembling English," she warns.

"What can I do?" asks Ian, bluntly. He's even forgotten to finish the donut, in his apparent distress.
KeLyssa nods a little bit. "Future Peter…the one that…sent us on this thing to Pinehearst?" She furrows her brow and shakes her head. Her gaze turns for a moment to Cam. "Cam? Come o'er to my place soon, I'd like to visit ya, an' see how yer comin' along in life an' all."

Sophie says, "Anything I can do to help with Pinehearst, just let me know, please, too. I want to make sure that Peter.. the future one, that he accomplished what he came to do."

"You can run a war council?" Kory asks Ian. "Me, I'm no good unless people are sleeping. And that's doable now. We have Benjamin Winters." Kory bites her lip, remembering she has to take the dream tweak off him now that they're on the same side. "He makes people sleep. Which means I can get the layout of the place and our Mnemosyne here— " that's Sophie, Kory tilts her head to illustrate " —can make sure we all get on the same page. Literally. Because by now, the Pinehearst guys probably have more than one person on the payroll who have abilities of their own. If the formula works like they hope it does, they might even have gotten to pick and choose what powers their folks end up with. So a little intelligence gathering first, before we take it to the mat, I think. Cam and KeLyssa can cause hypothermia in anyone they encounter, which will humanely take people off the board if we have to. Because even though we have to stop them? What we have to remember is …we're. NOT. them."

Cam nods quickly to Kory and says, "Ok, I will." To KeLyssa he nods quickly again and says, "Sure! Soon as I can." He waves to everybody and then slips out the door.

Cam opens the door and leaves the apartment. The door swings shut after him.

Lee replies, "Maybe I'll come over and we'll watch them together. They asked me to be an assistant baseball coach next year and, well…running the bases was all right but I got way too skinny and mopey last year, my arms hurt after one batting practice." He pauses. "Wait, you mean to physically attack the place? I thought you wanted to stop what they were getting up to?" In Lee's mind, the two are very different things. Perhaps even contradictory things. Of course Peter's advice to him was to keep doing what he's doing. Telling Lee not to change is pretty easy.

Ian is quiet, listening to this. "Me?" he says, finally. "What exactly are we going up against?"

KeLyssa looks up at Kory. "I'm gonna try to work with Cam a li'l more, see what he's capable of since I last worked with 'em. We don't wan' 'im losin' control. Though if he does, which I'm sure he won't, but if he does…I kin try'n counter-act anythin' he does, make'm feel less cold an' icy."

Sophie nods, listening. "I'll work, tomorrow, on sending out the messages." she says softly. "I guess I kind of have to stay out of range, so my information remains safe."

Kory does sway dangerously this time. She did warn she had limited time before the pain meds made her loopy. Apparently she miscalculated, what with the fact that her metabolism is trying to recover from burns and bruises, and on no sleep. "Good plan, Soph," she nods. "Soph. Sophie. Philosophy. Sophmore. More soph. More wisdom. More sophie. No more …what was I saying?" A hand goes to her head. "Maybe we should save the Tae Bo for tomorrow, Lee…" Yeah. Definitely a good plan. Save the strenous videos for when she's not loopy on Canadian medication.

Lee grins. "Definitely. And the Napoleon complex for next Thursday." he says comfortingly.

Ian can't help but smirk at Lee in return, through his dislike.

Sophie smiles a bit, "I was named for the Hagia Sophia, which does mean wisdom. Too bad that didn't rub off. But I think that maybe its time for a little sleep."

KeLyssa stands and coughs slightly. "Yeah, well…I gotta get goin', all. I'm openin' the shop up in the mornin', gotta get my sleep. See ya'll later."

Lee catches Kory as she half-collapses. For all that he just complained about his arms, he gets under her with uncanny expertise, like catching punch-drunk women is a hobby. Maybe a calling. "Ohhh kay! That's all for today. Going to get her back to her room." he says. He also shepherds those out who are leaving, and keeps those who are staying occupied while Kory slumbers. Concussion monitoring is a team effort, after all.

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