Fandom: The Faculty
Characters: Casey / Zeke
Word Count: 2550
Disclaimer: not mine, of course
Notes 1: english is not my first language, so this might be not perfect but it's fun
Notes 2: this story is originally written as a birthday fic for mews1945
"Mom, have I really need to go?"
Mrs. Connor sighed secretly and threw a look at her son. Today he looked ultra small and vulnerable to her. She hated the idea to bring him to the day-care, but there was no other way.
"Honey, I'm sorry. You know, I need to go to work. And Mrs. June can't take care of you for a few weeks because she's in the hospital."
Casey was fighting with tears.
"I'm a big boy," he murmured.
"Yes, are you!"
Mrs. Connor smiled slightly.
"And because of this you will understand that we have to go now, right? We are running late.
Don't worry, I'm sure you will have a lot fun in the day-care. All the other children you can play with ..."
Finally Casey got up and let her help him into his jacket and shoes. He was old enough to understand that he couldn't stay at home alone. But the thought of the other children was rather scaring. He liked to be alone.
Mrs. Miller was nice. She had welcomed him friendly.
"So, you are Casey, right? Nice to have you here."
While he had hung up his jacket his Mom was still standing there, feeling a bit uneasy. Mrs. Miller had smiled at her reassuring and finally had taken Casey's hand.
"So, c'mon in. What do you like to do? We have crayons and play-doh. Or maybe you want to do a puzzle?"
Later he sat alone at a table a bit apart from the others, a finished puzzle in front of him. Now and again someone glanced over, but until now no one has talked to him. But he didn't mind. What should they have talked about anyway?
The girl with the long hair and the glasses - she looked pretty, Casey thought, especially when she smiled. But right now she rolled her eyes and snatched a doll out of the hands from another girl.
"You did it wrong, Stokely," she said in a huffy voice which Casey didn't like in the slightest.
"This is a girl-doll. She needs to wear a nice dress and you must comb her hair. She wants to look pretty!"
Stokely glared back.
"But she is an astronaut. She is flying to Mars soon and she will fight against aliens ..."
The other girl sighed deeply.
"There are no aliens, says my Mom. People who believe in it, are silly."
Casey's looked over to the two boys who where sitting at the other side of the room. They were big and strong. He was sure that it was better to stay out of their way.
"My Dad takes me to a Football game this weekend," told one of them.
"I like the Giants. You?"
"The Green Bay Packers. One day I will play for them."
"Pfft, the Packers. They did so poorly in their last game."
"Sure, because Brett was sick. He's the best Quarterback ever."
Casey pulled a face. Pretty dolls. And Football. He was not interested in all this. Well, maybe Mars. It remembered him of his Dad. Every evening when he came home from work he had told him stories. About the sun and the stars, far, far away.
Casey had listened to him with great eyes.
"I would love to go there," he had said.
And his dad had smiled.
"You would need hundreds of years to get there. But who knows, Casey, maybe one day we will be able to visit them!"
Suddenly he felt tears pricking in his eyes. Everything had changed last year. His Dad became sick, an ambulance had taken him to the hospital ... and he never came back. Casey sniffed a few times. But he would not cry. He did this only secretly in his bed. In the end he pushed the puzzle aside and reached into his backpack. The album which he pulled out was thick and heavy.
Mrs. Miller smiled, standing beside his table.
"What are you doing?"
Casey looked up.
"Oh, this is my photo album," he explained.
"My Mom said, I can take it with my. But if this is not allowed, I can put it away."
Mrs. Miller took place on one of the small chairs beside him.
"This is okay. So, you like to take pictures?"
"My grandpa gave me his old camera. And when I'm grown up, I will go to New York and become a famous photographer."
"Oh, I can see this. Your pictures are really interesting!"
Mrs. Miller got up again and extended her hand.
"Tell you what. It's lunch time now. But after lunch we usually sit in a circle. If you want, you could tell us a bit about your hobby."
Casey hesitated for a moment. The other children still scared him a bit, but some of them seemed to be nice and he liked to talk about his pictures. Finally he nodded.
"Fine. C'mon then. You can sit beside Stokely."
It was then that he discovered another boy. He was sitting near the window with a book and didn't bother to look up though all the other children were already sitting at the large table for lunch. Mrs. Miller followed his eyes and sighed softly.
"Oh. I guess I need to go over and talk to him! Stokes? This is Casey. You could take care of him a bit, will you?"
The girl turned to him and smiled.
Casey smiled back. But then he got distracted by Mrs. Miller. She was talking to the boy at the window. He barely looked up from his book, shook his head when she pointed over to the table.
"Who is that," Casey asked.
Stokely followed his gaze.
"Oh, this is Zeke. Don't worry about him!"
"But he looks so lonely!"
"He's always like that. He doesn't like talking much."
And Casey's curiosity was woken up. When the boy finally got up and trotted over to the table, he followed him with his eyes. There was only one free seat left, almost toward Casey. Before he could turn away the boy had already noticed him. He frowned.
"What," he hissed.
"Something wrong with my nose?"
"Zeke, be nice," Mrs. Miller warned him and Casey directed his attention to the plate in front of him.
It was so much more fun to have lunch together than Casey had expected. He didn't talk much, but Stokely was really nice to him. And the spaghetti were almost as good as his moms, not to mention the jelly-o. Casey loved jelly-o. After dinner it was time for the circle. All of them were sitting down on old mattresses. It looked really comfortable.
"Yesterday my mom took me to the mall," the girl with the long hair and the glasses started at once.
"There was this pretty dress ..."
"I'm sure, this dress was great, Delilah," Mrs. Miller interrupted her softly.
"But I think, today we will give Casey the chance to tell us about his hobby. He likes to take pictures and he has brought us his album."
Delilah looked slightly annoyed. Some of the boys turned away and started to chatter about the last baseball game. Zeke was just looking out of the window, obviously bored about everything around him. And Casey suddenly felt nervous. He didn't like it much to stand in the center. But then it ran better than expected. Some of the other children were really interested in his pictures and Casey relaxed more and more. Even Delilah finally gave in and joined them.
"Tomorrow is Friday," she suddenly said.
"On Fridays we are allowed to bring a toy from home. Will you bring your camera?"
Casey wanted to protest. His camera was not a toy. He didn't want the other children to play around with it.
"I don't know if this is a good idea. You know, I don't take much pics. My Grandpa always says, I should select the motives, so that the pics are something special."
"But you can make pics of me," Delilah suggested.
"My Mom says, I'm very photogenic."
"Well, maybe I could ask my mom," he murmured - and he knew that he wouldn't do that. He never did pics from other people beside his mom and his grandpa. Because it scared him a lot.
It was Stokely who him saved. Almost ...
"Don't worry," she whispered.
"Del thinks, the whole world turns around her and her dresses and hairstyles," she whispered.
Then she pointed at one picture in his photo album.
"What's this? It almost looks like an UFO!"
Some of the others giggled, some groaned. Casey smiled.
"No, of course not. It's a lid of an old pan from my mom. I've experimented a bit with light effects and different angles ..."
Casey didn't bother to look up. He knew exactly who had just said this. And there was Mrs. Miller's voice, a bit more strict than usual.
"E - ze - kiel! We've already talked about the use of these words last week, didn't we?"
"Yes, we did!"
"But I'm right, or not? How silly is this, to make a pic of a lid?"
For a moment Casey felt hurt. Mrs. Miller frowned.
"Well, Zeke, I'm sure Casey has had a good reason for it. He tries hard to learn more about photography. Maybe you should talk with your Mom about it. She can tell you how difficult it is to become a good photographer."
"My mom ... never did pics of a lid," Zeke said.
"May I get up? I need to go for a pee!"
Mrs. Miller nodded.
"Sure, go ahead. Our circletime is almost over anyway!"
Casey was playing cards with Stokely and a boy named Stan but he couldn't stop looking to the window where Zeke was sitting, alone again. Though Zeke hadn't been very nice, Casey felt sympathy for him. In a way Zeke seemed to be more lonely than he was. And he was not too shy, he was just ... different.
When their game was over - Casey had won, he was good with cards - he made a decision.
"Hey," he murmured when he reached the other side of the room.
Zeke didn't even look up from his book.
"Stokes has told me that your mom is a photographer," Casey said.
"Is this true?"
"Photo reporter! She works for a great magazine."
Casey was surprised to get at least an answer. He smiled. This was a beginning ...
"That's so cool! I'm sure, you're proud of her!"
Casey himself was proud of his mom, though she just had a job in the nearby supermarket. But to have a mom with such a great job ...
Zeke looked up.
"What do you want, huh?"
Okay, it was not going that easy. Zeke was obviously not in the mood to talk. But Casey was not ready to give up.
"I bet, you are one of her favorite photo subjects," he said.
Zeke narrowed his eyes.
"Did you listen to me? She is just doing her job! She's jetting around the world to interview celebrities and to take pictures of them. Last week she was in Hollywood. Tomorrow she's going to Paris. Do you really believe that she has the time to take pictures of me?"
Casey swallowed. He tried hard to imagine this. A Mom who was rarely at home. And even if she was she had no time for him. His Mom had started to work when his Dad died last year. But every evening she came home and they always had a bit time together. She sat beside his bed, they talked about his day and she read to him. On sundays, her day off, they always did something special, went to a movie or visited the zoo. Who did all this with Zeke?
"Well, at least your Dad is at home," he finally said.
"Never had one. He's left my mom before I was born!"
Casey stared at him, feeling outright shocked now. No Mom and no Dad? How could this be? The day-care closed at five. And Zeke was much too young to stay at home alone overnight.
"Shut up," Zeke suddenly snapped.
"You are such a curious shit!"
Casey flinched and looked around. Luckily Mrs. Miller was talking to three girls at the other side of the room.
"You shouldn't use this word. Or you will get into trouble," he murmured.
"And what? Will you go and cry on Mrs. Miller's shoulder?"
"No, of course not!"
Casey shook the head
"Do I look like a tattletale?".
Zeke turned away and reached for his book again.
"I just wonder ..."
Casey hesitated and bit his lips. Maybe he should better leave him alone by now?
"I just wonder ... who's taking care for you when your Mom is not at home?"
"I have a Nanny ... And an Au pair! Are you ready now?"
Casey nodded quickly. Even if this raised still more questions.
"And what are you doing here? If you have a Nanny, you don't need to go to a day-care."
"Tell me about it! But my shrink is of another opinion."
"What is this ... a shrink?"
"A doctor, stupid! He's told my mom that I need a few friends. So she's sent me here ... As if anyone here cares about me."
Casey swallowed. This sounded sad. But on the other hand...
"Well, if you would try to be at least a bit more nice, I'm sure, the others would like you better," he said.
Zeke stared at him speechless. Casey blushed, turned around and run away. Why he had said this - even if it was the truth - was beyond him.
Casey ran towards his mother when she came to pick him up. He was glad to see her. There was so much to tell.
"Hey, one step at a time," she laughed when he threw his arms around her.
"So, how was your day?"
"It was okay," he said and smiled wide.
"We have had spaghetti for lunch. And jell-o. I got a red one.
And Mrs. Miller allowed me to tell the others about my pics. That was great."
His mom smiled back, feeling relieved that he was fine. Casey had been alone much too often. The day-care was obviously good for him.
"I've already found some friends. Stokely is really nice," he told her.
"We played cards with Stan ... and I've won. Three times! Stan likes football, you know. One day he wants to play for the ... for the ... I can't remember the name of the team, something with green ... And ..."
"Zeke, hurry up. We need to go home!"
The annoyed voice of a young woman silenced Casey. He looked to Zeke who was still searching around in his backpack as if this would be the most important thing of the world. When he looked up his eyes met Casey's. He grinned wide.
"Hey, Snoopy, see you tomorrow," he called.
Some of the others stared at him surprised, but Casey giggled hilariously. Suddenly he felt even better than a moment before.