2008-02-22: Wrapping Up The Loose Cannon


Cam_icon.gif Ian_icon.gif KeLyssa_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif

also starring Tito and Professor Neckbeard

…and in his curtain call, Leslie_icon.gif

Summary: Tito and the gang at the Lair muddle over what to do with Leslie now that they have him. Lee shows up to give his opinion of Leslie, and Professor Neckbeard finally has enough.

Date It Happened: February 22, 2008

Wrapping Up The Loose Cannon

The Secret Lair

Uncharacteristically, the Secret Lair is closed on Sunday evening. Way earlier than it normally is. This would be because of the state it's in; Tito is standing uneasy guard with an equally uneasy Professor Neckbeard over Leslie. The former alpha geek is duct taped into a chair, and Tito has turned Leslie's pants pockets inside out. Neckbeard is peering dubiously at the contents on the table. Tito jumps, nearly out of his skin, as the Lair's phone rings. He looks over at Ian, and respectfully asks, "Spell me for a minute while I get that?"

Ian offers a little salute, before settling down to straddle a folding chair. All the better to watch Leslie like a cat in front of a mousehole. Like he's just hoping for an excuse to use his zappy powers on the kidnapper again.

Leslie is silent at the moment. His mind was violated! Violated! By a pretty lady who looked like something out of a Disney movie. She stole through his memories and told the hair mop — Randall — the unworthy, yet still, somehow, the holder of Kory's heart — what he'd done. He's grimacing at Ian as he settles all gracefully into the chair, but he isn't taunting anymore.

Tito picks up the phone. "Secret Lair. This's Tito." He listens. Swallows hard. Clutches the receiver with both hands. "Oh, thank Dios, man." His expression goes relieved. But only for a minute, as whoever's on the other end keeps talking. "Aw, hell no, man. That's — yeah. Yeah, of course. I will. Thanks for calling." He hangs up, but doesn't immediately turn to face the room.

It's hard to resist the temptation to taunt….and in all honesty, Ian's not that mature. He holds up a hand, as if about to make a pinching gesture - and electricity arcs from thumb to first finger, and back again.

Possessing a key for the shop, a 'just in case' sorta thing, KeLyssa slips in, having heard what's going on. She eyes Leslie, frowning. "What're we gonna do to 'im?" She asks no one in particular, not taking her eyes off him. She's calm, emotionless, but bubbles are boiling under the surface.

Cam comes running up behind KeLyssa, slipping in before the door closes, "Hey." Perhaps not realizing the store's closed until he's inside, he then blinks. "What's going on?"

Leslie catches the sight and sound of the spark and makes a little mewling whimpery noise in his throat. His eyes, now a bit overbright, fix with alarm on Ian's face.

"She's in the hospital," Tito finally collects himself enough to say. When he turns around, his eyes are a little wet. This is Nima's best friend he's talking about. Someone he's known as long as he's worked here, who's always been kind. "She went into respiratory arrest, and is on a respirator. They are waiting to see if, after a while, she'll be able to breathe on her own, or…" and he trails off, slamming the receiver down, even though the caller has already hung up.

When KeLyssa arrives, Tito looks up, and sneers. "If it was up to me, I'd cut his balls off."

Leslie blanches. "She wouldn't want you to do that," he offers, quaveringly. Too many bullies around him in his perception. The brash attitude has gone. Possibly for good.

"She's a good person. I'm not," Ian says, simply. He spreads his fingers, and the web of electricity expands, dancing from knuckle to knuckle. Quite the light show.

KeLyssa nods a little at Tito, frowning and looking at Leslie. "Oh?" She takes a deep breath in. "Don't think she would think much of ya now, would she Leslie?" Using his real name, not a fake one. "Sure she doesn't like ya any more." She looks at Tito. "Don't think she'd mind poetic justice, eh?" She says quietly.

Leslie isn't quite to the point of crying and begging, but it won't take long. "You're a g-good person," he ventures to Ian. "If…if you weren't, she wouldn't like you as much as she does. She's…she's nice to everyone. But…" he trails off, expression gone bitter. "She'd think less of you if you burned my face off or lit me up like a Christmas tree and hung me off some flagpole." Don't give them any ideas or anything, Leslie. He seems to realize he might be doing so, and snaps his mouth shut. "I just wanted her to love me back. I …didn't mean for that to happen." He looks up, and that much is sincere truth. He had said the villain line beginning 'If I can't have her' while he was still raging and frothing, but faced with the consequence to Kory of what he's done, the horror is genuine.

Cam, with nobody even noticing him, takes in the situation a moment. It doesn't take long to figure out what's going on. He looks to Leslie and says, softly, "You took Kory?" While the others are being threatening, trying to scare Leslie, the twelve-year-old doesn't seem as hesitant. He walks forward quickly, and unless stopped, intending on giving Leslie a bad case of frostbite with no warning.

Somehow that admission has Ian's ire fading a little. He pauses, and the lightshow dies away. That isn't pity, is it? He doesn't reply, but contents himself with glaring stonily.

Tito looks at KeLyssa. "You think she'd be okay with us takin' revenge on this little prick?" he asks her, shaking his head. "Kory?" He shakes his head. "Come on. You know her. She'd give a homeless guy her lunch."

He blinks. "Hey, hey, Cam when did you —" he tries to come around the counter, but he's not going to be quick enough to stop the kid from whatever he intends to do. Ian's been showing off the Electro-Powers, but Tito isn't aware that a significant chunk of the Lair's regular clientele are empowered people.

KeLyssa turns back to see Cam. She nods firmly. "Yep. He took her. He's the one." She states simply, just staring back at Leslie. "You…she never expressed that kinda interest in you." She looks at Tito. "Yeah…I guess you're right." She says quietly. "But…somethin's gotta be done, right?"

"What were you thinking?" The way Ian asks it, it's a serious question, not merely rhetorical scolding.

Cam steps right up to Leslie and places his hand on Leslie's cheek. Probably would seem touching, except for the angry look on the boy's face, and the fact that the moisture in Leslie's skin where his hand is touching is starting to rather painfully freeze.

Leslie gasps, recoils, and screams. "Oh my god, what …what are you doing to me?" Leslie shrieks, squirming and trying to back away from Cam. But he's still duct taped to his chair, from just below the shoulder to just past the elbows, at the wrists, and at the shins and ankles. "It..it hurts. Somebody stop him! Please!"

Tito can't even manage a sarcastic retort. He's just staring in astonishment at what Cam's doing. At what Cam's capable of doing.

Ian is also reduced to staring, before he starts up from his seat to pull Cam away. "Hey, kid. No permanent damage. Yet,"

At Ian's voice, Tito shakes off his incredulous gawping. "Ian… see if he's got a key on him, will you? I turned out his pockets, but I couldn't find one. If he stole a key from the Lair, we've got to get it back or get all the locks changed. I hate to put Nima through that expense." Even if the Lair is doing well and could probably afford it comfortably. "I couldn't find anything on him, but …I'm not exactly at the top of my game just now."

KeLyssa shakes her head at Ian. "I…I don't know." She closes her eyes and takes deep breath. "I just…I…don't know." She watches as Cam walks forward and touches Leslie's face. She furrows her brow in confusion before something starts forming on Leslie's face. She watches Leslie shriek for a moment before calmly and gently pulling Cam back. "C'mon. Don't wanna hurt 'im to much. We can freeze 'im a li'l more later, 'kay?" She doesn't look surprised at all. She even looks like she was expecting it once realizing what was happening.

Cam doesn't fight as Ian and KeLyssa pull him back, his small hands going into fists as he says to Leslie, "Now ya know how I felt!" He leans in a little against KeLyssa as he tries to calm down, taking a few breaths, then says softly to Ian, "It's just frostbite. He won't even feel anything in a minute. Only hurts 'cause it happens so fast. But it'll hurt again when it warms up, too."

Leslie's eyes quaver with the threat of tears, but he just stares in horror at the kid. "…and you guys call me a monster," he breathes, tilting his frostbitten cheek toward his shoulder, as if to rub the one against the other. But he can't reach. He swallows hard. "So you all gonna just take turns watching me duct taped to a chair forever? 'Til I starve to death? And then dump me in a dumpster somewhere? You'll all be murderers if you do that." They hurt him. Even after admitting he hadn't meant to harm his goddess, his Kore, they hurt him. Fear is fading and anger is returning, manic and reckless.

"Right," Ian says, ruffling Cam's hair even as he pulls him aside. "Man, personally, I wanna beat him until candy comes out." But he's not -too- rough as he searches Leslie as well as he can, with the other man bound.

Leslie twitches and flinches as Ian searches him again, but again, there's no key found. Maybe he lost it during that crazed chase through the streets of lower Manhattan that caused a traffic accident and might've killed Randall and Ian if not for the former's almost prescient awareness. "Don't have a key," he mumbles, words slurred by the pain in his face.

KeLyssa lets her arm rest on Cam as he leans against her, squeezing a shoulder lightly. "Don'tcha worry none." She repeats to Ian. "He'll be better in no time. Trust me. I know." She says confidently. She turns back to Leslie as he speaks again, insinuating that Cam is more a monster than he is. She seethes and narrows her eyes at that. "Ya gonna wish ya didn't say that now, ya know that right?" She hardly even hears the rest of what he says. Taking her arm away from Cam, she steps forward and places both her hands on either side of his face. A small, shiny film of ice starts to cover his skin.
The ice starts to continue down his neck.

Leslie's voice rises in another scream which thins out to a helpless wail. "…ohhhhhhhgod nononono stop! Stop! Please!" He can't pull away. There's no room. All he does is try to turn his head away from her. "Somebody make her stop!"

"Lyss!" Tito gasps. "Lyss, don't! He's not worth it! He's just talkin' shit because he's scared an' he knows he's busted!" He comes the rest of his way around the counter and reaches for her elbow. "Please, hon, this isn't how Kory would handle it. I know you're mad he hurt her, but…"

Much as it galls him to, Ian's up and defending Leslie. Pulling KeLyssa away without hesitation. "Hey, hey, stand down," he says, gruffly, even as he shoots a glare at Leslie.

Cam steps back as KeLyssa goes forward, leaning a little against the wall and just biting his lip as he watches. Not objecting to what KeLyssa's doing, but no longer mad enough to cheer her on either.

KeLyssa grits her teeth for a moment, spreading the ice further and further down before she's pulled away from him by Tito and Ian. She glares at Leslie. "Be lucky…I coulda gone lots worse 'an that." She threatens, very uncharacteristic of her. She moves back to where Cam has gone and drapes an arm around him again.

"Guys," Tito says, looking at a completely stricken Neckbeard who has sunken, stunned, into a chair. The Professor takes the gap of silence into which he can speak. "Kory's not gone. He deserves your anger, but he's not a murderer. Not yet. You know the annoying cliche about the abyss. I needn't repeat it here. This is not the killing ground. This is a young man in a lot of pain, who did something … extraordinarily foolish because he was lonely. Because his life, to him, has been, without exaggeration, a living hell. And he thought he might persuade the one person who made it bearable to share it with him." He drags a hand through his thinning hair. "Unless that's something you're all very, very familiar with, you can't understand it. You don't have to understand it. But you owe it to what your friend means to you that you don't try to send him to your idea of hell. Not while she still draws breath…even assisted."

Ian concedes, dropping into a seat as well, "You're right." He sounds irritated about it, even going so far as to fold his arms over his chest like a sulky child. But he doesn't argue further.

Cam nods a little to Tito and says, "I don't wanna kill him or nothing. I… I was just mad." He looks down at his feet now, quieting again and still leaning against the wall.
KeLyssa ruffles Cam's hair a little. "What're we gonna do with'im then? I mean…seriously? We gonna turn 'im into the police or somethin'? That would make the most sense…"

"Why don't we just find a way to subdue him," Tito suggests. "Then call the police? We have proof enough what he's done." He gestures to Kory's laptop, on which the confession Leslie made earlier, screaming and taunting Randall, was recorded. "They'll take him, put him away. And if Kory can find it in her heart to forgive the little weasel, then we can take our cue from her and Randall." He looks hopefully to the assembled — three people, including a small boy, who could very easily kill him, the Professor, and Leslie, if they set their minds to it.

Cam nods quickly to that and says, "Uh-huh, send him to jail." He glances up to KeLyssa and then back to Tito, but bites his lip, and then says, "Jails lots worse than anything else anyway."
KeLyssa shakes her head. "I got the perfect way to knock 'im out." She holds up her hand. "Give 'im hypothermia an' he'll be out like a blown bulb." She, apparently, is still angry and wants to hurt him if she can. She won't if the others don't agree, but she'd prefer it.

Tito and the Professor are silent on this one. Leslie just looks between them as the ice melts on his face. His lips are blue. Which might explain his silence.

Cam looks up to KeLyssa again and shakes his head quickly, "No! Tito's right, Kory wouldn't do anything like that. He might die from that."

KeLyssa looks down at Cam, eyes turning softer. She sighs softly. "Okay…I won't. But if he steps outta line again…" She looks on up at Leslie. "I ain't gonna be so nice. Believe me." She pauses for a moment. "And by the way, if you were to tell anyone 'bout what we can do…" meaning herself and Cam, "Don't bother. No one'll believe ya. But if hear that ya did…I could very well freeze that mouth of yours shut." And idle threat, but there it is.

Leslie nods, mutely, to show he understands. These people are deadly. These people are dangerous. More dangerous than he is, clearly. He hangs his head.

"He has some powder in his pocket. Betcha it's the same stuff he gave Kory," Tito says, looking through a pile of bits and bobs on the table. "Not enough for a lethal dose, though, is it?" he asks Leslie.

Lee comes in from the back hallway. He has a key. "Hey guys, what's going on in this…YOU!" he says, spotting Leslie. "Hey dingbat, you got completely the wrong guy in your lame deathtrap! Where's Kory, is she all right? I hope someone's called the cops! This is the asshole that nearly killed me! No smart remarks, Neckbeard!" He waves his splinted arm, then winces and leans against the counter, slightly dizzy with the sudden burst of pain. He shouldn't have done that arm-waving thing. He pauses, having spotted Cam, straightening up a little. "Oh, er, hello, Cam." He's got to be Dignified For The Student. It would have helped if he hadn't immediately been set off ranting and raving.

"Lee!" Tito snaps, having no patience for the snarkmaster this evening. "Kory's in ICU, on a respirator."

Neckbeard also has no patience for Lee, it would appear. "WOULD YOU SHUT YOUR FESTERING GOB, YOU SANCTIMONIOUS PRICK?! THE NAME IS NEQUEBAARD! NEQUEBAARD!" he thunders, slamming a fist down at the table. "The situation. Is under. Control." He turns his back on the skinny, splinted man.

Leslie isn't talking. Leslie's lips are blue. Leslie has ice melting drippily off his face, and looks rather out of it. Like consciousness is just a courtesy his body has decided to pay him so he doesn't miss any of the action.

Cam looks up to Lee, blinking at the way he comes in. He gives a little wave when Lee finally notices and addresses him, and says softly, "Hi."

KeLyssa covers Cam's ears as the yelling begins. "People!" She shouts. "Please! We got a child in here! I know ya'll're angry an' all, I am too. But we gotta think of Cam. Won't anybody think've Cam?!" Well, she's thinking of Cam, anyway.

"We were just sorting out what to do with Laughing Boy here," Tito says quietly, once all the yelling has settled down again. "We wanna call the police, and get him put away." Tito raises a brow at KeLyssa. His expression indicates she should've thought of Cam before trying to freeze Leslie's head, but he's not stupid enough to give that thought voice. "But we also figure he maybe should be subdued."

Lee says, "Okay, jeez! It's not every day I come face to face with the guy that tried to murder me with sawblades. Sawblades, Lefty? Really?" He still gets Leslie's name wrong. Still, he nods slightly apologetically…to KeLyssa. "Right…sorry. Just got a bit wound up." That last to cam. He's already putting his scarf back on like he's getting ready to head right back out, then pauses. "He looks pretty frickin' subdued to me, Tito. No sarcasm. He really does." He makes a decision. "I'll call the police, I'll need to be here to identify him. How did he even get here?"

"He showed up to kill his pull list," Tito shrugs. "And, I'm guessing, to lay red herrings that he was really involved in Kory's disappearance." He pauses. "But Randall was here earlier, and Leslie saw him. Lost his shit. And ran. Randall and Ian chased him halfway across town, and dragged him back. Then we duct taped him to a chair. You've missed oh, about an hour of the evening's festivities. Sophie got him to spill his guts somehow. And then Randall and Sophie took off for the hospital when they realized the geekmaster here had poisoned our girl. And since he tried to kill you, and I have his confession on .mp3, we've got him. Dead to rights."

Cam pulls away slightly from KeLyssa, and says, "It's ok. Heard lots worse than that before. Just not from him." He looks up to Lee and says, "It's ok. When I came in, I froze his face."

KeLyssa sighs and shakes her head, giving a tiny sad smile to Cam. "I know, but still. Grown-ups really should know better." Even though she tried to freeze Leslie to high heavens earlier. "We SHOULD know how to use our words calmly with one another…and not facin' the guy who has caused lots of pain an' undue worry." She tries to explain.

"Look," she says to Tito, Lee, and the other guy she doesn't really know. "Why don't we get the officers here? The sooner the better." She looks at Leslie and says. "He's probably like that 'cause…well…I kinda froze him up more'n Cam did."

Leslie is just shivering at this point, and his eyes have finally rolled back in his head. The adrenaline ups and downs have finally stopped, leaving him crashed and dangling from his duct-tape bonds.

"Then it's settled." Tito calls 911, and tosses the phone toward Lee. "Heads up, Mr. Jones." He is the brother of the owner, and the manager? Well, she's still in a hospital, at death's door.

Lee listens. "…right." he says quietly, wearily. "I'll make the call. And I didn't see anyone freeze anyone. That's your business and you can tell the cops or not tell the cops whatever you want. Thanks, Tito." He speaks into the phone, taking a deep breath to calm himself first. His story is simple. He came in, he found the guy who was in the recording where he was nearly blown up taped to a chair. Other people here said there was some kind of fight. There was some kind of confession recorded. Please come down right away. Yes, he will stay on the line. Lee is a good citizen, and he's so used to telling police about things that involve superpowe….magical realism without mentioning the magic that he doesn't even blink.

Cam asks KeLyssa quietly once Lee's on the phone, "What time do they stop letting people visit at the hospital?" He glances over to Lee a moment then curiously, listening to his explanation. He spends most of the time until the cops show up waiting in silence.

"I'm outta here," Tito says. "I need some air." The laptop has the .mp3 on it with Leslie's confession. So he leaves whether anyone says yea or nay. This night has given him a lot to think about — little of it good. "Good night, you guys."

KeLyssa smiles a little bit down at Cam. "Usually around 6 or 7 in the evening." He says softly. "But I'm sure we can also make arrangements. Say we're family." She says with a nod, squeezing Cam's shoulder encouragingly. "Let me know when ya wanna go, okay?" And then she, too, waits in silence for the cops, looking at Leslie.

The police arrive. Actually a LOT of police arrive. Leslie blew up a building in New York and that's serious business. He's detached from the chair and hauled away quicker than quick. The police get names from everyone here, keep things calm. Two detectives enter, one a red-haired Irish-American gentleman in a long dark coat, the other a short, skinny brunette in a leather jacket. Ginger Hair takes Lee into the back storeroom for a quick Q&A, and returns a little bit after for the confession laptop. Brunette detective addresses KeLyssa and Cam. "Hi. I'm Detective Near." It's pronounced 'Nee-uh', of course. "You are…KeLyssa and Cam? Can you tell me a little bit about what went on here tonight?"

Cam looks up to the officer and gives a slight shrug, "I dunno. Just got here 'fore they called you."

KeLyssa gives a little nod to the officer. "That's right, ma'am. M'name's KeLyssa." She responds. "Well, I don't know too much. I got here after they got Leslie here. Actually…I got here at the same time as li'l Cam did, to be honest."

Detective Near says, "How did he end up being all blue? Was he in the street for a while? Do you know who roughed him up?"

Neckbeard offers that there was a scuffle when it was realized that Leslie was responsible for abducting the manager of this establishment. Leslie attempted to flee, and there was a bit of overenthusiasm in catching him.

KeLyssa lets Neckbeard to the explaining on that one. "How'd he get blue? Probably just out in the cold way to long without proper clothin'…don't know how to explain it otherwise…unless he's sick or somethin'…"

Near replies, "That would be a real shame." in a tone that indicates she doesn't actually think it would be. The guy with Lee comes out, the laptop is in an evidence bag. "Looks like it's all wrapped up for us." the male detective says. "Looks like." says Near. "We'll call you if there's anything more."

KeLyssa smiles a little at Near. "Well, feel free to. Though I don't know how much more I can help ya. Don't really know all too much." She says with a shrug. "But if ya need me, I work here at the store lots."

Neckbeard, still mortified by his unwitting part in Leslie's plan, speaks up one more time. "His …victim has been brought home safely. She's at Mount Sinai. In critical condition. I expect you'll want to take a statement from her if she survives." The fact that he had to phrae it that way hits him hard. Kory was nice to him, as well.

Near says, "We have someone at the hospital already. You don't need to worry, everything's under control. Thanks for your cooperation." The lots-of-police needed to bring in a homegrown nerd terrorist withdraw from the scene. Lee remains where he is for the moment, clearly lost in his own thoughts.

OOC: Thanks to everyone who participated in this TP. It was a great deal of fun. And if you need to borrow Leslie at any point for any of your own TPness, give a shout to Kory.

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