2008-04-20: World Saving Secrets


Niki_icon.gif Cam_icon.gif

Summary: In light of Kory's visit, Cam has some questions for his guardian mom.

Date It Happened: April 20th, 2008

World-Saving Secrets

Queens, New York City

It's a school morning — that means everyone has to be an early bird. Not this early, though. Although the sun has been up for a little while over the city of New York, it's still a good deal earlier than anyone in this household is meant to stir. Nevertheless, there's at least one person around.

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Niki is not, but she's at the small kitchen table, a lavender-coloured robe thrown on and her hair pulled back; she either hasn't been up for long, by the looks of it, or she hasn't slept much at all. Best morning ever? Not so much. She has coffee in a #1 Mom cup and the morning's newspaper in front of her; as she stares down at an article with a vague reference to firefighters stopping a near-blaze in Brooklyn relevant to nothing at all, it's enough to set her off. She obviously doesn't expect anyone to be awake as she sends the newspaper flying off the table with a choked sound in her throat and shoves her head down into one hand.

Cam is just stepping into the kitchen, obviously fresh from bed as he's still in t-shirt and underwear. He blinks, pulling up short as the paper goes to the floor, and he asks a little timidly, "What's wrong?"

Niki looks up suddenly, at first underneath her hand. "…um," she says, voice tired, quiet, caught a little off-guard. She sits up much straighter than the hunched-over pose she'd drooped to a moment ago, running a hand over her head. "I didn't see you there. Nothing, I'm… I didn't sleep well." Niki gives Cam a quick smile.

Cam ohs, nodding quickly, "Me either." He picks up the paper from the floor and offers it back to Niki before he hops into a seat at the table. Then he asks, "Do you still work at Pinehearst?"

Niki gives Cam a vague smile of thanks that can only be described as sheepish when he picks up the paper. She takes it, folding it over, although she's interrupted by the somewhat unexpected question — rather, it's the very name 'Pinehearst' that jars her. "Uhm— " Never the beginning to a clear answer. Still a little out of sorts, she hesitates, sounding unsure when she manages to answer. "Yeah. For— a little while longer." Regarding Cam curiously, she goes on, "Mostly I work for the Senator— why d'you ask?"

Cam can be very subtle when he tries… but, he doesn't try this morning. The fact it's so early in the morning and he's tired probably plays into it, but also probably how much he trusts Niki. He has to ask, but he expects he knows the answer. "If you had to pick between siding with Pinehearst and Peter, which'd you pick?"

Niki starts to stare with some alarm at Cam. Wariness skirts her tire blue eyes and, starting to smile unsurely, her stare only becomes more intent. "Cam…" She says the boy's name questioningly, leaning closer to the table's edge, her hesitant smile disappearing, suddenly all serious. "What's this about?"

Cam bites his lip, and then says, "We gotta save the world from Pinehearst. Kory came to see me yesterday. She said Peter wants us all, you, me, Micah, Monica, to help stop Pinehearst from making something that'll give everybody powers."

This news — such as it is — prompts an incredulous brand of surprise that expresses itself on the face of the mom completely transparently. It takes her several seconds of gaping and processing before she says, with a subtle bitter undertone, "…does he now." Niki stands up from the kitchen table, walking to the counter, the sink, without purpose — but suddenly, she certainly seems restless. "I need to talk to Kory."

Cam blinks at Niki's reaction, and immediately says, "It's true! Know it sounds kinda weird, but Kory wouldn't lie about this stuff." Then he adds, "I wasn't supposed to tell you right away, until Kory figured out if you'd side with Pinehearst or not, but knew you wouldn't."

Niki leans into the counter with the palms of her hands, but the strained repose only lasts a few seconds before she whirls around again. "I know. I know it's true," she reassures. "I uhm." She presses her eyes shut, lines wrinkling her forehead in a moment of stress. "I've been working… for Pinehearst… to stop them. I've been working with— " Peter. " —some others. Peter… told Kory to find us?"

Cam blinks at that, eyes widening a little, "Really? Awesome. No wonder you're working for them then." Then he nods quickly and says, "Uh-huh. I'm just supposed to listen for the word on the street, but Kory wants Micah to setup someway for everybody involved to talk without getting caught. I haven't talked to him yet," he adds.

Niki flattens a hand against her brow as if she has a serious migraine — but no, she's just trying to work through everything in her head. She moistens her lips as she thinks it through. "Okay." She slowly walks back to the table and sits down again, every motion slower than before. "Micah… Micah's been helping me." Kory certainly came to the right household, it would seem. "I told him to keep it secret. This thing with Pinehearst, it's … telling anyone is a risk." For her, for them. She watches Cam closely, wanting to make sure he understands the gravity. "But I guess now I don't have much of a choice."

Just for a moment, there's a flash of hurt on Cam's face. He's feeling left out. "And he didn't tell me?" But he either pushes it aside or hides it pretty quickly, and he says, "You know I can keep a secret. Especially one this important. The cops would've come after dad years before they did if I couldn't."

Niki wraps one hand around her coffee cup, drawing it closer, although she makes no move to actually drink from it. Her other hand reaches out across the table for Cam, for his hand. "I know you can," she says, her expression softening into the familiar affection, a worried smile finding its way out for the boy. "It's just that… there are… some people you can't keep secrets from. People— with power. I've… had to be really careful." One thing's for sure. She knows too much. Her time behind Pinehearst's walls is going to be even more severely cut off.

Cam grips Niki's hand, and bites his lip again. "You mean telepaths? I've only ever heard of one, if you don't count Kory's dreamwalking, and she's wanting to find him to get his help on this too. There others out there?"

"Yeah. Mind-readers. Whatever. There's— definitely more," Niki confirms with a quietly cynical bent. She squeezes Cam's hand. "Like— " She hesitates, giving him a careful, studying look. "… Like the head of Pinehearst." She lets that sink in. The reason she's kept her secrets — and everyone else's — was a good one.

Cam's eyes widen a little again and he says, "Woah. How do you work for them and against them at the same time with that?" Then he adds, "Hope I won't have to meet him then. Or her, I guess."

"By being careful, like I said— and… luck," Niki says with a flash of a smile. Granted, she's not normally the luckiest person in the world… "I'm not gonna be working for them much longer, it's too risky. I have to… get out. And you're not going anywhere near the building." She pats Cam's hand and brings her back, fingers intertwining around her cup. "I can't believe Peter— …" She says under her breath, glancing away with a dark look at the cupboards.

Cam nods a little bit to that and says, "Don't think he wants me going near the building either. Kory said I'm mainly supposed to listen to people who don't notice I'm there. I figure at the building I'd be pretty noticible."

Niki seems distant, for a moment, glaring as she is away from Cam. Despite his best intentions, this conversation is leaving her looking all the more tired and vexed. She tries to perk up for his sake, however. "I think this is enough talk about saving the world before breakfast. Speaking of, I'm going to make breakfast and you get first dibs. What's it gonna be?"

Cam grins again and asks hopefully, sitting up a little straighter, "Grilled cheese?" Not exactly a proper breakfast, but not as bad as he *could* have asked for.

Niki tilts her head to the side, raising an eyebrow at Cam before a good-natured smirk spreads across her lips. "…okay, I can swing that." She slides out of her seat, taking a sip of coffee as she stands, and squeezes Cam on the shoulder before heading further into the kitchen. "Go get dressed and haul Micah out of bed. Tell him he's having grilled cheese for breakfast." He shouldn't complain about the early rousing. Niki makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich.

Cam grins again and nods quickly, "Ok. Thanks." He hops to his feet, and runs off to the bedroom. He calls to Micah even before he gets to the room, saying as he disappears inside, "Time to get up, grilled cheese for breakfast."

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