2008-09-11: The Importance of Family


Niki_icon.gif Cam_icon.gif Micah_icon.gif

Summary: At the Sanders-Hawkins-Reynolds apartment, Cam receives some surprising news.

Date It Happened: September 11th, 2008

The Importance of Family

Deveaux Building

Upper West Side, NYC

On a normal day, Niki would tell the boys to keep the noise down. The neighbours in this particular building tend to like their peace and quiet. Today, though, she's letting the TV rage with the volume cranked, screw their fancy neighbours. While Micah sits in his room at his computer with the door ajar, his mom tries desperately to beat Cam at being a rockstar this afternoon: in ROCK HEROES, the video game. Niki stands at in front of the couch, an expression of extreme concentration on her face as she holds the plastic guitar, a rocked out version of Pachelbel's Canon blaring from the TV. "Oh my God," she says, laughing, "I suck at this."

Cam is standing with the 'bass guitar' instrument for this one, tapping the buttons in time with the prompts on the screen and keeping beat with the music. He laughs at Niki's frustration and says, "You're getting better! But this is a tricky song, wanna try something easier?"

"Are you sure you don't want to put Micah's zombie game in?" Niki says, a warm laugh to her voice even as she clings to the colourful faux guitar and tries (and fails) to keep up with the notes flying by on the screen. "I'm better at shooting things. That I can do." In the real world, too, but let's… forget about that. She'd rather stick to digital zombies from now on.

The song winds to a close, the video game crowd cheering for Cam. On the screen, the top score still lists MICAH at number one.

"But first," Niki unslings the guitar and sits down on the edge of the couch, the video game instrument falling off her arm onto the cushions. There's a beaming smile on her face, a sparkle in her eye. She pats the cushion in front of her. "I have some good news. If Micah hasn't already told you," she briefly eyes Micah in his room, but the chastising look is good-natured.

Cam grins, and says, "Ok, but after this song!" He gives a cheer at the end of the song when his score comes out higher than his own personal record. He doesn't seem bothered at all that he really has no hope of beating Micah's score. That, he's used to. He puts down the bass and says, "Good news?" He plops down in the indicated spot as he looks up to niki curiously. "No, Micah hasn't told me anything."

"Well," Niki's smile grows even bigger and brighter, shining with rare optimism. Crossing her jean-clad legs, she stretches sideways to grab a leatherbound folder from the coffee table. It's been hanging around ever since she and D.L. got back from errands earlier this afternoon. She hangs onto it tightly, leaning over it on her lap as she talks to Cam. It's precious cargo, whatever it is. "How… would you like to make summer vacation last longer? Now, I know you like going to school at Brubaker— but," Niki flips open the folder. "D.L. and I, we signed some forms today to finalize getting a new house. There's a private school close-by. It starts later, and— it has really good programs. I talked to the dean and I think we can get you and Micah in."

While Niki and Cam talk, there's a sharp beep! from Micah's room. Through the ajar door, the boy can be seen furrowing his brow and leaning in close to his computer screen.

Cam grins at the mention of vacation lasting longer, "Hey, that'd be cool." He then blinks at exactly how. He leans over to look at the folder curiously. "Micah and me in the same school? Where is it? What's it like? Do they have good air conditioning?" Very curious, excited even, and not at all upset at the idea. But then, besides a couple of the staff (Lee and Church specifically), it's not like Cam had a lot of friends at Brubaker. And he did have lots of enemies. He's so curious he doesn't even really notice the beep from Micah's room.

Niki doesn't notice the beep, either - or at least pay it any mind. It's probably a game or one of the five zillion computer programs Micah has. She laughs, lighting up at how Cam is taking the news. "I think they have good A/C. It's upstate," she says, sliding a paper from the folder; underneath seems to be all legal forms, but the one she hands Cam features a picture of a house. It's simple in design, but nice all-around. A real family home. "Really far upstate. It's perfect."

Cam takes the sheet, looking over the house. "Oh, wow, cool. This'll be great!" He pauses and says, "We'll still come visit Kory sometimes, right?" That, at least, seems to be his only worry at present about moving. He looks back down to the sheet a moment more before handing it back up to Niki.

"Sure," Niki reassures, tucking the picture back in the folder. "It's close enough that we can roadtrip to NYC if we want to." She leans over to slide the house info back onto the coffee table, still all smiles, when a flurry of movement in Micah's room catches her eye.

"Cam!" Micah is at the door of his room, looking out at Niki and Cam with wide eyes. It's obvious: something's up. Something big. "It's your parents!" But what could be a happy, or at least exciting revelation, is toned down by a decidedly serious tone in the young teenager, given the nature of Cam's parents and their past. "They're coming to New York. Or maybe they're already here — they know you're here! They contacted one of the e-mail addresses I sent out on the 'net."

Cam grins and says, "It'll be cool going to a school where I'm not known as a snitch." He might say more, but then Micah comes out with his revelation, and he blinks, "What?" So caught off guard, it takes him a moment to process, "They're coming? When?"

Niki's bright smile has already been banished by Micah's appearance, recognizing the look on his face, but it's the news he brings that really makes it take a highspeed downturn. She angles a worried look at Cam, biting her lip for an instant. At a loss for words herself, at least so far, and looking decidedly unsettled by this turn of events, she instinctively lays a hand on Cam's shoulder and squeezes.

"… Now!" Micah exclaims. "…I'm waiting on details. Once they send them, they want us to meet them at the airport."

A whole bunch of different emotions go through Cam. On one hand, he's happy now, happier than he was even with his own parents. On the other… they *are* his parents, and he wants to see them! In the end, the latter wins out, and with a smile he jumps up, "I'll go get changed!" He makes to run to the bedroom.

Niki opens her mouth as if to say something to stop Cam from running off so fast, some words of warning, anything, but he's off in a flash. She looks away, her smooth brow knitting as she runs a nervous hand over her ponytail. After a bit, she hurries to her feet and heads to Micah, whose back she touches as she leads him back toward his computer. "I have a bad feeling about this. Maybe it's because I'm scared of them taking Cam, but I can feel it right in the pit of my stomach. "

"Yeah. Me too," Micah says, moseying back to his computer chair to check messages. "I just hope they don't let him down." Not that Micah would know anything about being let down by parents…

Even in that short amount of time, there's been news; Niki, both hands on the back of Micah's chair, leans over her son's shoulder to read the computer screen. She reaches out to gesture Cam over, wrapping an arm around him.

"Not 'til tomorrow morning," Micah pipes up, twisting the laptop toward Cam. On the screen is an exchange of succinct e-mail messages. "They're flying in from Hong Kong. They'll be in New York at seven forty-five AM."

"Cam…" Niki says carefully, the expression in her blue eyes soft. "We don't know what's gonna happen when you see them again."

Cam blinks, looking to the screen at Micah's answer, "Oh." Disappointed, he steps back a little again, "Guess I didn't need to change yet after all." Then he blinks, looking up to Niki at her words, "What do you mean?"

"I just mean…" Niki moves away from Micah's computer chair, though she doesn't go far; she just drifts away, Cam in tow, and looks down at him with motherly hands on both of his shoulders. "You haven't seen them for a long time. I know they're your parents, and— I'm glad, that they finally got in touch, but…" Her head tipped to one side, the smile the woman gives Cam manages to be as sad as it is encouraging. "I don't want you to get your hopes up, that's all."

Cam follows where Niki leads, looking up to her. He nods and says, "It's only been so long because they didn't know where I was. I ran away. They're coming all this way to find me, what'd be wrong?" Then, though, a worry seems to hit him. "I've gotta tell them about my powers still, though. How do I do that without them freaking out?"

Niki simply looks down at Cam, her face slowly melting into an even gentler picture of sentiment. "…I dunno, babe. Maybe we can help you, you know, try to explain it. One step at a time, okay?" she draws Cam in for a hug, looking over at Micah with that same, worried expression.

"Yeah," Micah, twisted around in his chair to watch the other two, says. He sounds more upbeat than his mom. "We'll help you so they don't freak out."

Cam nods a little, returning Niki's hug and holding it for just a few moments before stepping back. "Ok." He looks back to Micah and smiles again, "Thanks." Then he looks between the two, and says, "You know I don't wanna leave, right? It's just… they're my mom and dad." He can't explain any better than that.

"I know. Family… is important." Niki is quick to smile, understanding. Even though there's nothing but sincerity in her intent, part of her smile is forced — it's obvious that she doesn't want Cam to leave, either. "You're a part of this family too. You know that all I want is the best for you guys. If that winds up meaning you have to go back to your real mom 'n' dad, Cam, then… that's the way it's gotta be."

Cam nods quickly, smiling as Niki seems to understand. Though, he looks to Micah for that same understanding. Micah's his best friend, after all, as much as brother in Cam's view. "If they gotta take me outta the country, gonna make sure we always go somewhere with net access."

Micah is nothing but encouraging to his best friend — his smile lights up as bright as both of his parents are capable of on the best of days. "As long as you don't move to the Sahara— or Antartica," he laughs, certain of himself, "I think I'll be able to find you."

"I don't want you worrying all day about what tomorrow's gonna be like," Niki says with a boosted smile. Granted, she could just as easily be talking about herself. She glances from Cam to Micah. "Your dad should be back soon. Maybe we can all go to a movie or something."

Cam grins back at Micah's words and says, "Awesome." He looks back up to Niki again at the suggestion of the movie, nodding quickly, "That'd be great!" Yeah, a lot better than thinking and worrying all day.

"And I get to spend the day with my favourite boys." Niki gives both of the growing boys a quick kiss on the top of the head — first Cam, then the curlier head of Micah. "I'll go call and see where D.L. is."

"Okay!" Micah calls out. When his mom has left the room completely, he turns back to the computer. "Here, I'll set this up so any new messages from your mom and dad go right to my phone incase they call while we're out."

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