Title: The pool
Fandom: The Faculty
Characters: Casey / Zeke
Word Count: 2719
Disclaimer: not mine, of course
Notes: english is not my first language, so this might be not perfect but it's fun ;)
As usual, after jogging for what felt like hours along the sport ground Zeke started to feel better. He often came here after annoying, boring hours at school to relax. The others might enjoy to shoot a few hoops, he preferred to be alone with his thoughts. Afterwards he always made at a stop at the locker room of the pool-hall to shower, at this time he usually had it all on its own.
He had just turned on the hot water and started to strip down his sweaty clothes when he heard the yelling and laughter from the swimming pool. Oh shit! Probably the swim-team of school. Zeke remembered the competition next weekend; they seemed to need a bit extra training. Great! That was the end of his extensive shower for today.
"C'mon, let's see what you're really made of."
Huh? Zeke frowned at Gabe's voice. What was he
doing here? He would have expected him to be at the football field, together with the other jocks.
"Hey fag-boy... Need some help? You sure, you know how to swim?"
"Ohhh... look at this, our great shooting star is afraid of water!"
God. Zeke rolled with the eyes. It was obvious what was going on here. Casey again. Some weeks ago he had joined the school's swim-team - something what had made Zeke wonder, because Casey was a photo geek and not a sporting ace. But he really seemed to like it, Zeke had seen him several times after school when he slipped into the pool-hall with his backpack under his arms. He preferred to be alone too. No wonder, after all he had to endure at school. Gabe and his stupid buddys never missed an opportunity to bully him. Fucking pricks they are. After all Casey had done ...
When the laughter increased even more, followed by a muffled cry, Zeke slipped back into his Demins and entered the pool-hall. Usually he kept out of it - Gabe was not exactly his friend but they got along quite well because they accepted the other's territory. But today the guilty conscience he sometimes felt toward Casey got the upper hand.
The scenery made him stand stock-still for an instant. Casey was already in the pool, not swimming or diving but failing with his arms and legs in panic. For a moment he struggled for air, then he started to sink deep and deeper. The jocks hooted and laughed again. Zeke blinked wildly. Something was going fucking wrong here. Casey didn't seem to be able to move, as if he was paralysed. Which didn't made sense, he was a member of the swim team, he shouldn't be afraid in the pool. He wondered what Gabe and the other had done to bring him into this state.
Casey had reached the ground now. It didn't look like he would ever come back onto the surface again. He would drown right there. Without thinking Zeke pushed Gabe aside and jumped into the pool. He had never been a great swimmer. His Demins absorbed the water in an instant, it felt heavy and uncomfortable now. Which made it difficult to dive down but he didn't gave in before he reached Casey. When he grabbed for his shoulder his eyes flared open, full of panic. He tried to struggle free. Zeke cursed inwardly. He was bigger and stronger then Casey, but he was almost out of air. He knew he needed to go back soon enough. Strong-willed he tried to get him under control, grabbed him tight and started to move upwards. It went much too slow, with Casey still fighting him. He started to feel dizzy but before he could panic he reached the surface. Casey was still struggling in his arms; Zeke coughed and gasped for air when suddenly a hard slap hit his left eye.
"Aw, shit," he yelled and let him go.
It was as if this finally brought Casey back on earth. He searched for hold onto the edge of the pool and stared at him.
"Zeke? What ..."
"What the hell are you doing there, Tyler?"
The loud voice of Coach Willis echoed through the pool-hall.
Zeke ignored the pain in his eye and looked up. Willis was standing beside Gabe and the others two, looking more amused then anything else. Anger was rushing through him, where had he been during the last minutes?
"Probably your job," Zeke hissed.
"Someone needed to stop these idiots from drowning others."
Slowly Willis turned round to his favorite football-players. Meat shrugged.
"It was nothing, coach. We just wanted to watch Casey's training. He jumped into the pool and suddenly he had a sort of an attack. We just wanted to help him when Zeke burst in."
Zeke already had a sharp retort on his tongue when Casey's chattering teeth ... Zeke was not sure if this still was panic or just the cold ... reminded him that it was more important to take care of him
than to start a stupid fight. He threw one last killing glance at Willis and the jocks, before he grabbed for Casey's hand.
"C'mon, let's get you out here!"
He followed him like a robot to the locker room where Zeke forced him down onto one of the small wooden benches and grabbed for a towel. He put it around Casey's shoulders before he turned to his own backpack and started to take off his wet Demins. Quickly he changed back into his sportswear, though it was crumbled and sweaty, at least it was dry and it warmed him up. Finally he turned back to Casey.
The boy hadn't moved a bit. Despite the towel around his shoulders he was still shaking like a leaf. Zeke cursed slightly. This was definitely non of his business.
"Hey, Case, change into your clothes. Then I'm gonna bring you home."
"The pool," Casey whispered and pulled the towel even closer around his body, as if he wanted to hide inside of it.
Zeke sighed. Casey obviously was still a confused mess. If he wanted to get him out here it was needed to take over the lead. He stepped closer to him and grabbed for the towel to rub him dry with firm circles. His body was slender but not as skinny as expected. No need to hide like Casey used to do. When Zeke finally forced a t-shirt over his head Casey flinched back.
"What the hell are you doing," he snapped.
Zeke felt relieved. At least he slowly seemed to find back to reality. He throw the towel into his lap.
"I guess you don't need my help for the rest?"
Casey stared at the towel as if he could barely remember what to do with it.
"Can you turn around, please," he finally begged, looking embarrassed.
Zeke couldn't help a grin.
When they left the locker room, Zeke had put his arm around Casey's shoulder to support him. He was better off than before but he still looked pale as a sheet.
The jocks were still hanging around in front of the school. When they passed them on their way to the parking lot, Steve murmured:
"Look at that, Tyler cares a lot about the fag!"
Zeke had heard it anyway. He jerked around with narrowed eyes.
"What did you say?"
"Maybe you are a fag-lover," Gabe said provocatively.
Zeke was about to grab him when he noticed out of the corner of his eyes that Casey had reached his bike and was ready to leave.
"Get off my back with this shit," he spat and ignored their triumphant grins. This would have to wait until later.
"Hey, Case," he called him.
"What are you doing?"
Casey looked up, an embarrassed smile on his face.
"I give a shit about these pricks."
Casey shook the head.
"Your eye," he murmured.
"I didn't mean to hurt you!"
Zeke carefully touched his face where Casey's elbow had met him, his left eye was indeed swollen and it twinged under the contact of his fingers.
"You hit the mark. It's long ago that someone gave me a black eye," he joked.
"I guess I should go home to put some ice on it. You coming?"
"Thank you, but I can make the rest alone."
Zeke watched him thoroughly. He felt uncomfortable at the thought to let him go home alone. What, if something happened to him? When he lost control again, who knew what stupid shit he would do then? Someone should keep an eye on him.
"I didn't save your ass just to see you end under a fucking truck," he finally said.
"Get in, I'm gonna give you a ride. Your mom is at home?"
"No, she's volunteering at a nursing home twice a week."
Great. She took care for strangers when she should be at home to look after her son. Zeke sighed. So it was all left to him.
"Make yourself comfortable," Zeke said.
"I will get some ice for my eye. And I guess you can need something so warm up."
Casey sat down onto the edge of the couch.
"I don't drink," he protested.
"Tea, Casey. Autumn spice, it's with cinnamon and vanilla. Or green tea if you prefer that."
"Oh! Autumn spice sounds good, thank you."
Only a few moments later he was back with an icepack and two mugs with hot, sweet tea. Casey was still sitting at the same spot. Zeke was not sure if he was still fighting with the aftermath of whatever had happened in the pool-hall or if he just felt uncomfortable in Zeke's house. He did only little socializing, Zeke had seen him at school hanging around with Stokes and Stan from time to time but mostly he was just by himself. He had always been a geek with his obsession for photography, but since the incident last summer it had gone even worse. Most people seemed to be convinced that Casey would end up in the psychiatry one day. Once again Zeke felt a sense of guilt ...
"Will you tell me what is happened in the pool-hall?"
Casey clasped his mug as if it would be his sheet anchor.
"The same as ever," he murmured.
"You know them."
"It was different this time. You were scared to death ... and they haven't even touched you."
A shiver run through Casey's body, he pulled his knees up and put the arms around them.
"It was ... I guess I can't stand the pool. I thought I could, but ..."
"The pool? But you are in the swim team!"
"It was the idea of my shrink. He says ... he says, I need to face up to my fears. Only then I will be able to accept, that there is no danger ... no aliens in the water, you know ..."
Suddenly Zeke started to understand.
Casey bit his lower lip and nodded.
"It ... it was okay first. I've actually started to like it. The coach, Mr. Willard, he's a nice guy. He knows about my issues. It's okay for him when I go to the pool after school.
It's easier when I'm alone, you know, without any pressure. But today ... I don't know how they came in. I tried to ignore them but they teased me anyway. The last I can remember is Gabe, he said: 'Be careful, bad aliens might watching you!'
"What a prick," murmured Zeke. He tried to ignore the tears in Casey's eyes.
"I had a black out. She was there, Zeke, I could feel her. She wanted to catch me and I knew I wouldn't be able to escape her this time."
For one moment Zeke was sure he would freak out again, but finally he gained control over his panic. He avoided to look at Zeke when he continued in a low voice.
"I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm a fucking freak!"
Zeke shook his head.
"No, you are not."
Casey laughed sadly.
"Do you think it's normal to believe in aliens no one else can remember?"
"I think it is because you were not infected. When you killed MaryBeth her brood had to die with her. I guess this caused a kind of amnesia for everyone who was infected. This is why they can't remember but you can."
Casey blinked surprised.
"You don't laugh about me?"
Zeke took a deep breath before he continued.
"I was with you that night, remember? I was not infected too!"
Casey needed a moment to understand.
"You can remember? You know that I'm telling the truth about this night?"
Zeke pulled his face.
"I do," he finally admitted.
For the first time since this incident. It felt as if all the breath was squeezed out of him.
"But I try to forget. It's easier to move on.
Just ... from time to time there are these nightmares. I wake up in the middle of the night and I can't breath anymore. My home feels much to small. I know one day one of them will come back and find me.
All I can do is to run. I get into the GTO and I drive through the night ... it didn't matter whereto ... just driving. As long as I'm driving they might not be able not catch me.
But eventually I will have to stop. I rent a room somewhere in a shabby motel and I break down. It will last some days before I'm able to go back to Herrington. And everything will be back to normal."
Casey stared at him.
"Why did you never say a word?"
"For what? See what you get from the truth? You've saved everyone's ass around. And in the best case they laugh about you. In the worst ...
You know why Gabe is bullying you as often as he can? Because he's afraid of you. Deep inside he knows that you tell the truth, but he doesn't want to know. They all don't want to know!
I won't go through this hell, Casey, I'm gonna deal with it alone."
"It's so easy, isn't it?"
Zeke startled back when Casey suddenly jumped up and started to lash out at him.
"You prick, you damned, selfish prick. It's so easy! Let them think it was just a nightmare. Let them think that freaky Casey Connor it going totally nuts now. Aliens?! What the fuck! That's so funny!
One word, Zeke, just one word, at least to me. I've started to believe that they might be right. That I'm on the best way to end up at a funny farm."
Tears were running over his face. Zeke could feel his fists meeting his chest again and again; it hurt; he had never thought that Casey would be that strong. All his fears, his anger, his desperation broke free. Zeke didn't try to defend himself. It felt as if he would deserve this. Casey was so much more courageous than he was. He didn't run away from the truth, no matter what it meant for him.
He couldn't say later how it had happened. Suddenly he held Casey's hands and bent forward. His lips found Casey's. He could taste his tears, warm and salty. He could feel his resistance when his tongue found it's way. At the end all his power seemed to leave him, he lay in Zeke's arms, would probably fall down if Zeke wouldn't have held him tight and safe. And he kissed him ... wild ... desperate ... endless ...
It seemed to last for minutes until he pushed him away, confused about himself. Realisation hit him about what he had done. Casey looked at him with great eyes, calm now.
"I should go," he whispered.
"My Mom will be back soon and she will worry when I'm not at home. She always worries about me."
Zeke turned round in silence and stepped to his desk. Then he passed a sheet of paper to Casey.
"The number of my cell-phone," he said.
"Call me whenever you need to talk. I will be there for you!"