When Cam saw the curling smoke looming above in the distance as she crested the hill, she'd dialled 911. She lives, about two doors down in a much more modest quarters from the ostentatious old house that Dr. Atticus Nevins lives in. Crotchety smarmy man but who grunted a greeting to her on more than one occasion. As she's running toward the site she crosses a woman sprinting away but she doesn't have time for that. She can hear the sirens, but they're not here yet.
And Atticus Nevins car is still in the driveway.
Camila O is an alternative model, yes. But she was training to become a fire fighter before she changed lanes. She doesn't have the gear but the front door is still open. She vaults over the fallen beam in the foyer and runs down the hall, ducking low, pulling her shirt up over her face as she calls for him.
"Mr. Nevins!" the alarm inside continues to blare and she darts down the hall feeling sweat bead up on her skin. "Nevins!" she coughs, staggering against the wall, she hunts in her bag for her water, grabs for the towel she keeps in there when she's at the gym and douses it before holding up to her mouth so she can breathe. She takes a few breaths and continues struggling on. This was stupid Cam. She thinks belatedly. This same stupid hero instinct is why she left to begin with. Because she's reckless with her heroism. They'd expelled her for carelessness. Because they knew you'd get yourself killed in field and didn't want that liability. She curses as she draws closer and pokes her head into a room that is thick with smoke and flame. "Damn it." She looks for the opening, a sliver, and shucks her bag before she makes the bare leap through the flames, rolling onto the floor next to his unconscious and still body.
The flames are leaping higher and Cam tugs helplessly on his still form.
"Come on!" she urges, turning his head and then feels her hand is wet. When she withdraws it comes away with blood. For a room on fire, Cam suddenly feels very cold. Chilled to the core. She has a moment to peer around where her hand touched to see that his ear, what is left of it is bloody and torn. She drops her head to his chest, remembering herself and checks for a heartbeat.
Well at least you didn't come in here for nothing. She assures herself as she wrenches him up, damn heavy for man of his stature and flings him over a shoulder. She lets survival instincts and adrenaline take over as she begins hunting down the halls for a way out. She emerges just to the left of the doorway she just used but that hall way his blazing fiercely and that means her options are to go further, deeper into the house.
Which is stupid.
But if she can keep them away from suffocating, by them some time, it might be worth it. There's still smoke, the crackle whoosh of flames and another malicious roar as she hobbles along with him. She looks desperately for a window, a door----and catches her foot and staggers, both of them falling. She rolls over on her back, checking her ankle and then glimpses it. A handle. She glances around along enough to notice there's a rug that's been flung off of this portion of flooring. There's a cut out square here, too. Ahead of them, flames begin to lick towards her and unconscious Nevins.
And this is why you have no business trying to help anyone, she lectures as she grasps the handle, insanely hoping for--- "The hell." she mutters as it swings open and there's a stair well. "Question later" she reasons. She reaches around back for Nevins and latching him on to her as best she can begins down the stairs, struggling to turn around she grabs for the handle swinging the trapdoor---"Orion's going to get a kick out of that when I visit tomorrow"---she grunts as she continues down in the sterilized metallic corridor. It branches off in a number of directions but stays straight ahead, thinking that direction must take her furthest from the house. Nevins bobs on her shoulders and keeps chattering to him. "Stay awake Mr. Nevins. stay awake" she thinks she hears him groan and moves faster until she hits a stairwell at the end and gratefully begins to ascend. But when she pushes on the door overhead, a sliver of tile coming into view the door slams back down. She pushes harder with all her might and feels the opposing force on the other end. "Let us out!" she screams and then the door flies open and there's a gun pointed in her face. The room is too dark and she can't make out who's holding it save for an amber eyed gaze glaring down at her, and around his shoes, the tile, in its distinctive diagonal pattern feels vaguely familiar. She can make out, just barely the silver bolted feet of a bed somewhere in the background.
It's a mans voice. Rumbling dark and deadly.
"There was a fire," She breathes, shocked. "I was trying to---"
"He was meant to die. And now you will too."
The gun goes off and she shouts, hissing in pain from where it went in her shoulder. She loses her grip on Nevins and her balance on the stairs. Tumbling back down and smacking her head. Above the door slams shut with absolute finality. She whimpers with the pain.
"Oh my God." she grimaces trying to understand how her day took such a turn. She visited her brother, went to the gym, tried to rescue her neighbour and now she's been shot. "Oh my God"
"Back." the voice croaks.
"Back, and go left." he moans.
Cam takes a deep breath, removes her hand and feels her stomach threaten to revolt. That's her blood on her own hands. "Oh my God."
She gathers herself, now supremely weakened and struggles again to get Nevins up hobbling with him on her uninjured arm.
"Left" he insists when they backtrack to another branch of hallways. She takes his instruction and finds the other stair well.
"Please no psychos out there." she mutters, gasping in pain as she pushes and sighs relief when sunlights streams in. They emerge in an office. A clinic.
"Wrap," he mumbles, eyes half dazed. She glances around for gauze in the examination room they've found themselves in. Limps to the tap, shocked a fresh with the burning sensation she feels. She tries to clean her wound, wraps herself up and then turns to bandage Nevins still bleeding head. Her phone was in her bag, but the office has a phone which she hurriedly picks up and dials. Frantic, she tries to detail what's happened. In minutes she's assured that an ambulance is on the way. She slumps over, trying to breathe, keeping an eye on Nevins who's eyes have fluttered closed where he leans against the wall.
Cam blinks at him. "Excuse me?"
"I saved you."
"Stupid"he grumbles again. "Risking your life"
"Thank you would suffice." she grimaces. "Who did this to you? Why?"
"Mm mmm" Nevins declines.
At last she hears sirens outside the clinic, Nevins practice, she realizes when she looks back getting into the ambulance.
Frank bites his lips together, eyebrow raised in disbelief. The fire was finally out, nearly half an hour later from where it started. House doesn't and won't ever look the same. Frank had cursed when he'd heard it was Nevins place. It seemed too much a coincidence. Whoever had done this, he was sure he'd been in contact with them in the last 48 hours. And that was either Harmon Odesu or Lori Mills. "You trying to tell me someone clearly lit the place on fire and there's blood in there but you can't find a body? nothing?"
The fire fighter shakes his head and Frank curses again as he sees Morale's striding out of a car looking irritated with the world around.
"What happened here?"
"Nevins place." Frank says. "Torched. Looks like arson."
Frank shrugs. "Forensics are in there, there's blood but no body."
Luke pales. "Blood?"
"They haven't finished combing the place yet, where you coming from?"
"Interrogations of Ichabod Crane and Abraham Van Brunt." Frank raises a skeptic brow.
"And? Was Crane guilty?"
Luke glares and chews the inside of his cheek. "I let him go. I couldn't find a reason to hold him---but Van Brunt admitted to it. They both named Nevins to Mills"
"You did not use those girls for your case." Frank reprimands.
"It's the law Frank. I need to catch my man. Personal relationships or no"
"Yeah well looks like someone else done caught him."
Luke kicks gravel and runs a hand angrily through his hair. "Shit"
Nevins comes to with a doctor looming over him. "Doctor Lena Reyes. You're very lucky Mr. Nevins" she chimes.
"Say that again?" he calls.
The doctor frowns. "Your ear was badly damaged…..here" and turns over a chart for him to glance over. Well, looks like old lefties gonna retire early. He reaches up a hand experimentally to the side of his head but feels only the gauze.
"How'd I get here" his memory now is hazy, everything after the gun went off flame and fog and he half thinks he imagined a woman saving him.
"Young lady named Camila O. Brave, if foolish."
"Damn stupid." he snaps.
The doctor looks him over sternly. "That saved your life, Atticus Nevins. She's fine by the way. Extracted the bullet, no nerve damage. Police are going to be in soon for you to give a statement."
Police? "Fuck" Nevins hisses and the doctor peers at the intravenous, thinking Nevins is in need of more pain medication. Which isn't a bad idea, if he's too loopy they can't admit anything he says, yet anyway, before he gets his lies straight. He grimaces and howls.
"Scale of one to ten?" the doctor asks.
Just as she reaches for the drip foot falls round the corner.
"If you could hold off on that for a minute, Doctor, Agent Luke Morales, I have some questions for Doctor Nevins." a badge is flashed and Nevins groans.
Reyes glances between her patient and the man. "Go easy on him, Agent"
Luke nods his head respectfully and waits for Reyes to wander off, checking on other patients.
"I was coming up to visit you today you know." Luke confides. "But looks like you already had company, you gonna tell me what about?"
Harmon closes the passageway, locking it tight. Washes his hands, pockets the gloves he'd been wearing. He'll dispose of those later. He cringes at the sunlight as he strides outside from the tattoo parlour, trying to rattle the image of the young scared woman trying to claw her way out of the tunnels with Nevins on her shoulder. Before he'd pulled the trigger and slammed it down, hard.
He'll have to get someone down there to clean it up, discard of their bodies. Scrub evidence they'd been down there. But, right at this minute, he's got to concentrate on playing it cool. Laying low, for a bit. He'll have to take a moment, figure out where he can go in the meantime, if Pandora might consider going with him. But he walks out straighter.
Nevins and all his ill got ties to HO, gone up in flames.
And the innocent woman playing hero.
But Harmon hasn't gotten where he is being sympathetic.
"You're an idiot." Orion grumbles, eyes still closed, when they wheel his sister's bed in next to him, other side of the curtain.
"Shut up. I got shot today."
"Being an idiot." he reiterates.
"Orion." Cam groans, because she's in pain and he's annoying her.
"I couldn't let him burn up in there."
"Remember how theres this thing called the fire department? that you were training for but got kicked out of?"
"You're really lucky you're concussed or I'd let you have it."
"You're right handed."
"That's your good arm and you were shot in it. So----" Orion blinks his eyes open at the ceiling and sighs. "I'm glad you're okay sis. That's all."
Cam turns her head at the same time that Orion turns his. She traces the planes of his face, the sharp cheek bones they both have, the amber eyed gaze they get from their father, but the similarities end there. Her dark where he is pale, a vague brown gold tint to his skin when in the right light. Short spiky black hair where hers is curls and coils. But siblings, none the less. Some shared strain of DNA binds them. And she's grateful for that, for a brother who looks out for her when he's so bad at looking out for himself.
"You of all people are the last person who should warning me about being careful. You fight people for a living," she smiles.
"And you went from, wanting to fight fires, to rock climbing, to sky diving, to modelling, to alt modelling,to being a wounded hero so, I guess we got the dare devil reckless gene from our father."
Cam chuckles, wincing as she feels her shoulder throb from the soreness. "They're going to come in to interview me," she says. "Might even be on tv."
Orion gives a bark of laughter. "Well, that ought to help your modelling career, eh?"
"Am I intruding---Cam!" Katrina exclaims. She's visiting earlier today, she tries and fails to hide the bagged lunch she brought for Orion. "Cam what happened to you?"
"Long story." Cam groans and turns her head the other way, being deliberately inhospitable so the pair can visit together without trying to include her too. Truth be told, if she can catch a nap before the feds come up, she might be better off.
"Witch," Orion drawls affectionately, a smile tugging the corner of his mouth as Katrina draws near, pulling up a chair. She smiles back at him briefly before her gaze flits back over to the other bed.
"What happened to her?"
"Cam's a hero. That's all. I'm sure we'll all be hearing about it soon." he nods towards her hands. "So what you got there for me?"
Jenny didn't want to talk after they left the station. Saying she needed to clear her head, maybe see if Joe would be willing to go a few rounds, let off some steam. They'd be keeping Abraham. They let them see him for a brief moment before they left, although the reception Crane had given had been particularly frosty. Jenny and Crane are both cross with him, and rightfully so.
He's a grown man, who should have suspected, should have known better.
But this is also a competitive sport. And you're supposed to trust your doctor. He's supposed to be on your team. Your daddy trusted Nevins, after all. Abbie concludes sadly. She knows her father fought more than once before he died, ailing from recent injuries, but went in hopped up on pain killers---and maybe something else. Looking back on it, no doubt Nevin's had always been tweaking those reports and clearances before the matches. Only time anyone had ever suspected, ever hinted that Ezra had been doping was after he was already dead.
Abbie watches Jenny clamber in her truck, slamming the door and blazing down the road. She turns back to Crane, with his tight set jaw and bruised face, looking ramshackle having been so hurriedly stuffed back into his clothes. She touches his arm lightly. "Babe?"
"Hmm?" he glances down at her, giving her the barest smile, which could easily approximate a wince. "Sweetness?"
Crane barks a laugh, scrubbing a hand across his face. "I must admit I'm at a loss, love. Of all the things for that oaf to fall for, I never expected him to make such easy prey. To be such a damn bloody fool."
"He's damned us all now." He continues, growing agitated. "No doubt they'll want to deport him. And he was my only reason to be here, legally, in terms of employment until citizen ship went through---he's----he's fucked it all up."
Abbie stills because she's never heard Crane swear. Never seen him this frazzled and angry. "Baby---"
"How did I miss it?" he turns to her, eyes wide and searching. "I live with the man I'm his best friend, I…..love I approved Nevins. I….I did this to him!"
"Nonsense, Crane---"she interjects.
"I did, I invited that insidious, worm of a threat into our lives and, I'm his manager, Abbie. I'm supposed to look out for him, his best interests, and I didn't do that. I…I was so distracted, so caught up….."Before he finishes his thought he realizes he's almost said.
"Me." Abbie summarizes. "You were busy being caught up with me."
Tears begin to well up in her eyes. "Do you blame me? Is that it Crane? Well I never asked you to come after me but you did. I never asked you to want me but you did. You made me want you back. I never wanted, asked, to fall in love because I don't wanna lose people close to me the way I lost my father. So I didn't want any of that, but that's what I got, with you. And now I guess, serves me right, I should have known getting tangled up in, in, in all of this, shit---I'd have to lose you too."
Panic flits through his eyes. "Abbie, no, that's not" he reaches to grasp her hand but she flings him off.
"Leave me alone." She calls over her shoulder as she gets in the car. His heart crumples watching her struggle to maintain her facade as she turns the key.
"Abbie please," he begs.
She meets his gaze. "Time Out"