Title: Filja (Part 2)
Fandom: The Faculty
Characters: Casey / Zeke
Word Count: 3778
Disclaimer: not mine, of course
Notes: english is not my first language, so this might be not perfect but it's fun ;)
Zeke cursed slightly. He felt miserable in the old, used denims, it looked freshly laundered but he couldn't stop thinking about all the other guys who had worn it before … and about all the things they might have done in it. What the hell was he actually doing here? The shelter, Letty … this was so not his world. Letty seemed sincere convinced that it was okay to give up her life for homeless, tortured animals. Stupid, unselfish, almost a saint. He hated people like that. How much easier it was to deal with the bitches at school, one word, a smile, a kiss and they were putty in his hands. He was smart enough to know that this has nothing to do with real feelings. It was just a game … and mostly he was the winner. He took what he wanted and when it was over he moved on. So much easier then to set his heart on someone … never again he would be the like little boy who cried himself to sleep every night ...
When he finally left the small office he found Letty standing outside together with another guy. He narrowed his eyes. This guy looked like … Casey Connor? Without his stupid camera this time, but with the usual, much too wide jeans and the ridiculous woolen hat over his ears. He looked like the geek most people called him … though he was smart. Smarter then most of them. Zeke knew this. He had worked together with him last year. Chemistry. Mr. Furlong had begged Casey to help him. Silly idea, as if he would care about school. At the end Casey had done the whole work without complaining, not willing to risk a bad grade. Since then they had barely talked together. Sometimes he noticed him running through the halls in the hopeless try to escape Gabe and the other jocks. Or together with Delilah, since she did found out that Casey was a star photographer she showed interest in him.
Zeke was not sure what to do next. He hadn't expected to meet someone from school here. Not that he gave a damn. He didn't care much about all the rumors around him. But working together with Casey Connor … what was he doing here anyway? It was impossible that he had gotten himself into trouble and the Judge had send him here. He was mommy's good boy, he would never do anything forbidden.
Finally Letty noticed him.
„Hey, Zeke,“ she called and waved him over.
„It was about time. I'm gonna go now, the doc needs me because of the sugery. This is Casey, one of our volenteers, I guess you know him. Ask him when you still have questions. He knows how we do our stuff.“
Yeah, sure. Great. Zeke rolled his eyes, than stared at Casey menacing. Better to put things straight once and for all. Casey smiled back at him. Goddamned. No wonder that the jocks at school couldn't hold back to punch right into his face.
Letty frowned and turned to Casey.
„Call me when there are problems. Remember, you are the boss.“
„Naw, I'm sure we will get along quite well,“ Casey said and chuckled slightly.
To be honest, he was not as confident as he tried to act. Casey could read Zeke's mind all too well. He rebelled against every sort of authority and taking orders from Casey was an absolutely no-go for him. But they would have to find a way to work together. The doc and Letty had a difficult surgery ahead of them, they needed to keep a level head for that.
„Fine,“ he finally said and tried to ignore Zeke's moody face.
„I can show you around first. There is a dog, Sally, she got five puppies last week. Would you like to see them?“
Stupid, so stupid! He knew it when he noticed Zeke's incredulous eyes.
„If I wanna see animals behind bars,“ he growled.
„I will go and visit a zoo!
Once in my life I tried to do the right thing … can you see where this has led to? Just get off my back, okay? I gave a shit about the shelter and I don't intent to make friends here.”
Casey blinked. Once in my life I tried to do the right thing, he could hear him saying once again. He wondered what had happened but he knew better than to ask. Zeke wouldn't share his secrets with him. They had nothing in common, nothing! He had just made it quite clear.
Casey sighed inwardly. This was going to be a great afternoon. He almost wished to be at the Mall together with his mom. The madness there would be so much more fun than to deal with a moody Zeke Tyler. But he couldn't spend the whole time pondering about him, work needed to be done. The animals were waiting for their feed and the cages needed to be cleaned.
Finally he made decision. No broom, no shovel for Zeke like Letty had suggested, at least not today. It made no sense to make him even more angry.
“Okay, I get it. I don't care what you've done, Zeke, but the Judge send you here. It might be better for you to play along. There is a broken lock at one of the kennels and some fences need to be repaired. Think you could have a look at that?”
To his relief Zeke relaxed a bit.
“Maybe, later,” he smirked.
“First I need a smoke.”
He grabbed for his pack of cigarettes before Casey could protest.
“Wait! You can't smoke here!”
“The doc don't like it when someone is smoking at the area. Even Sim is going to Starbucks during her lunch to have a smoke. And she's already working for him for years.”
Slowly Zeke reached into his pocket and got out a lighter to lit up the cigarette. He inhaled deeply and blew the smoke right into Casey's face.
"I don't care much about rules," he said and grinned.
“But it's fun to break them.”
Suddenly Casey felt anger rising up. Why did he always act like that? The doc had offered him a chance and all he could do was talking mean about him. About Letty and the shelter. What did he actually know about them and their work? They were fighting for every injured animal. Were willing to give all when it comes to save an abused dog or cat. All the hours, days and nights they spend with their freshly operated forsterlings. And how hard it was to realize that it was impossible to save all of them. They were wonderful people, not as stupid and selfish as Zeke was. And he had no right to talk like he did.
“Fine,“ Casey snapped.
„Do whatever you want. I don't care when the doc kicks you out. I'm not the one with a foot in jail.“
For a moment Zeke stared dumbfounded but when he finally moved it happened so quickly that Casey had no chance to react. The grip didn't hurt much, he was used worse, nevertheless he felt uncomfortable while Zeke pressed him against the wall.
“No,” Zeke said, emphasizing every single word.
“You are the one with a foot in hospital.”
“Let go off me!”
Casey struggled against Zeke's hands in the hopeless try to escape.
“What are you talking about?”
Zeke laughed slightly and bent a bit closer. His eyes were sparkling. Casey bit the lips. This was … more than annoying … almost scaring. Too much nearness ...
“You should better be nice to me, Casey-boy. You know, I will leave this shit behind, no matter how. But you will have to go to this hellhole of school for still a year. Remember, you are the freak, I'm the king. I can make life sooo miserable for you ...”
“You stupid prick!”
Finally Casey was successful and jerked himself free.
“What do you think you can do what Gabe has not already tried?”
He turned round and stormed away, not caring about what Zeke was doing.
Zeke enjoyed his cigarette while thinking. Only a few steps, the GTO was within reach, he just needed to get in and step on the gas. No one would stop him. And even if this meant to end in juvi … how bad could it be? A week, or two, not more, for what he has done. He knew the Judge, he was strong but fair and this was rather meant as a last warning, to show him where his life could go to if he was not willing to change it.
Though … maybe it would be more fun to stay here. Casey. This little fucker. As if he had not always known it. At school he acted like the smart but shy geek who preferred to stay invisible. But there was so much more in him. The way he did stand up for the doc and the shelter, how angry he could get, his furious sparkling eyes while he had pressed him against the wall. It would be fun to find out how far he could go. Of course he would not hurt him seriously. He was not like Gabe and the other jocks who enjoyed to torment him merciless. It was more like a game. The girls at school made it so easy for him, it started to get boring. He wanted this new challenge ...
Zeke stubbed out his cigarette. Casey was gone in the direction of the cages. Slowly he followed him and looked around. Probably he could do some of the needed repairs and paintings during the next weeks, he didn't need to bother with the animals and their stinky kennels. Though he had to admit, this had turned out to be just a stupid prejudice. The buildings might be old but everything was clean; no excrements and other dirt on the ways. All the outdoor cages were big enough to give the animals some place to play and relax, with a small hut to protect them against too much sun and rain, there was grass and sand and trees. Everything to make the inhabitants feel as good as it was possible in a shelter.
He had almost left the kennels behind when he noticed the dog in the last one. Almost hidden behind the hut was he crouching on the ground and stared at Zeke distrustful with great, dark eyes. When he got nearer the dog started growling, barely to hear but it was obviously a warning to stay away.
Zeke stopped and frowned. This dog was not like the other animals he had seen around. All of them looked cared for and well fed. There had been some injuries, yes, a bandaged leg or the dog with the large band aid over the belly, one cat had lost its tail and another dog had a shaven head. But this one?
“Hey, boy,” he murmured.
“What's the matter with you, huh?”
But before he could step closer, Casey's voice stopped him, quietly but sharp.
“What do you think you are doing?”
He grabbed Zeke's arm and pulled him away from the cage.
“You can't sneak around here alone. You are a stranger for them, they are afraid of you.”
Zeke thought about the animals he had met. The cats who had huddled against the fence, mewing loudly, just to get a few strokes from him. The dog who did sit up and beg and finally had almost performed a dance. No, they hadn't been afraid of him. Beside of … Zeke looked back at the small cage behind them. Now, with a bit more distance between them, the dog seemed to calm down a bit, but he still didn't move. He was in such a poor state, with his dull coat and so skinny that you could see every single of his rips. Suddenly Zeke started to feel anger rising up.
“What's wrong with the doc, huh,” he spit.
“How can he waste his time with a useless surgery? Had he ever had a look at this dog? He looks like he's starving right now. Is this the way he cares for the animals?”
For a moment Casey looked as if he wanted to protest but then he slowly shook his head.
“It's not useless,” he said softly.
“It's the only way to save Pilar's life. And he tries to save Filja too. We all do our best but nothing seems to work.”
He liked the sound of the name, a russian one. It reminded him of his childhood, his grandma, she was born in Russia. The nursery rhymes she had sung to him. Of course he hadn't been able to understand the words, but he could still remember her dark, smoky voice. Could feel her strong arms when she hold him. She had always been able to calm him down.
“Letty named her like that because she's a mutt.”
Zeke was torn out of his thoughts by Casey's voice.
“ A bit of a Collie and a Dalmatian, but mostly a Samojede. That's a russian sledge dog.”
“It's a male name!”
“Filja. It's actually a male name, short form of Filip. But I guess that doesn't matter. What's going on with her? Is she sick?”
For a second, or two, Casey eyed him thoughtful.
“I hate to think about what horrible experience has made her like that,” he finally answered with a shaking voice.
“The doc says someone probably tried to beat her to death.
If you think she's in a bad state now, be thankful that you haven't seen her some weeks ago. More dead than alive. Several surgeries were needed because of internal injuries. Her wounds heal quite well, but … she still refuses to eat. Takes only a bit water mixed with milk now and then. No one can get near to her. She's aggressive, even tried to bite the doc. When he needs to look after her wounds he always has to sedate her. Than he can give her some vitamin shots and stuff … it keeps her alive … but …
I'm afraid this is not enough. The doc … he's already thinking about it to put her to sleep. He says, this might be the most human thing he can do for her. Letty has begged him to give her one more week. She refuses to give up hope but I guess she knows the truth. We are gonna lose this fight.”
Casey sniffed slightly and quickly turned away to hide his tears. Good. Zeke felt relieved, he was so not in the mood for an emotional release. The anger he felt was surprising enough. He didn't intent to care for others anymore, not after the incident with this girl and her boyfriend, which had made him end up here. He was so much better off alone. And this was just a dog … Filja … he clenched his fists while thinking about all the things which had happened to her ...
“If I could get hold of these bastards I would let them feel the same what they did to her,” he snarled.
Casey looked up when he felt the wet muzzle of the puppy at his hand and smiled. The dog had put the little ball onto the ground to his feeds and wagged his tail full of expectation
„Fine,“ he said and got up.
„Let's get your sisters. Playtime!“
While he threw the ball repeatedly and the dogs run after it he couldn't stop thinking about Zeke. He hadn't expected to still find him here when he came back from the indoor cages. Just in time. He didn't want to think about what could have happened when Zeke had tried to enter Filja's cage. She wasn't actually vicious, just scared, and when she felt cornered she did attack. No wonder, after all what had happened to her, that she didn't trust anyone. It was so sad. She was lovely, her long black and white coat, her intelligent, dark eyes … you just needed to look twice to notice it. Zeke had been right, she was indeed in a poor state.
Why of all animals she had attracted Zeke's attention was beyond him. It was so hard to see behind his mask. He always acted uncaring, but he had been so angry about Filja's story. Even if he had tried to play it down quickly. After having a look at the old tools of the shelter he had put on his usual smirk.
„What's that,“ was all he said.
Without further ado he had turned around and headed to his GTO. For a moment Casey was sure that he had changed his mind but he just opened the trunk and dug around in it. When he came back he had a great tool box with him. There was obviously nothing you couldn't find in this trunk.
Finally both of them had turned to their duties. Time was running late. Casey still needed to clean the cat's cages and Zeke started with the broken lock. They didn't talk much for the rest of the afternoon.
Monday. All what Casey got to see from Zeke that day was the flirty guy with a lot of girls around at the hall. And during lunch sneaking to the parking lot together with a junior. When the boy came back without Zeke he looked slightly nervous and tried to hide a small package under his jacket. Casey wondered what it was this time: porn magazines, condoms or even Zeke's mystery drugs? He actually should be more careful after the mess he had gotten himself into but obviously he hadn't learned much about it.
Tuesday. Zeke had decided to skip school once again, Mr. Furlong had looked angry when he noticed it. But when Casey arrived at the shelter this afternoon the GTO was already there on the parking lot.
„What a stupid dumbhead,“ he murmured. But his heart started to flutter excited.
Letty just stepped out of the door, a leash in her hand, followed by three dogs who were jumping around her, anticipating a long walk.
„Hey, Case,“ she smiled.
„Great news. Pilar is doing so much better today. My Dad says she's gonna make it.“
Casey bent down to give the dogs a heartily hello.
„So, he's still here, huh? How is he doing?“
Letty let her eyes wander to the GTO and smiled.
„Yeah. To be honest, I hadn't expected to see him again, but he showed up yesterday right after school. With a coverall this time, brand new and much too expensive. But I will admit, he looks devilishly good in it.“
„Oh no! Not you too!“
Casey rolled his eyes.
“What has he done that you changed your mind about him?”
„Don't worry, I'm not gonna fall for his shit.“
„But he's okay. Does a good job. Repaired the back fence yesterday. Today he wants to do up the office, it's long overdue. He's even brought the wall paint.“
„Better don't ask where he got it from,“ Casey groaned.
„I wonder what all this is about. There must be a reason for it that he still comes here. He don't care about the shelter.“
„The alternative is the juvi,“ Letty reminded him.
„This should be reason enough.“
But Casey was not convinced.
„You don't know him. There is not much he's interested in. It's so close that he will be suspended from school. He knows, Herrington High is his last chance to graduate. And what is he doing? He gives a shit and wrecks his life. I don't believe that it will bother him much when he finally ends up in juvi.”
“You're quite found of him, huh?”Letty smiled slightly.
“Don't worry, he knows how to put on a show, but I don't think he's that shallow.”
“I don't,” Casey snapped.
“It's his life, not mine!”
Next moment he felt sorry for it. It was not Letty's fault that he cared so much for Zeke Tyler. Which was ridiculous He had enough on his own plate and Zeke enjoyed his way of life. The last he needed was to get rebuke from Casey.
“Sorry,” he murmured.
“I didn't mean to yell at you.”
“ 's okay.”
“Yesterday I found him at Filja's cage, you know.”
Casey pulled the face.
“See! He gives a shit about what others tell him. I've told him not to get near to the animals. He scares her!”
“No, he did nothing wrong.”
Letty shook her head.
“He respected her need for distance. Just crouched there and talked to her. I don't know what he was saying, but it seemed as if it calmed her down.”
Casey looked at her skeptical
“It calmed her down?”
“She was so apathetic yesterday. I'd already started to worry if … you know. But when Zeke talked to her she started to relax. As if there was an emotional connection between them.”
Casey sighed, not knowing how to say it. He could see the hope in her eyes and it was hard to disappoint her.
“I know, you want her to be better. We all want it. But this is stupid. Zeke is not a kind of a dog whisperer. He actually don't care ...”
“Casey,” Letty interrupted him softly.
“I guess you're wrong. He cares, maybe more then he wants to admit even to himself.”
“He asked for you too!”
“He … what?”
Casey stared at her, not knowing what to think about this news.
“When I've told him that you usually don't come here on Monday's and Wednesday's because of your photo workshop, he looked quite disappointed. He didn't say anything, of course not, but it was easy to figure it out. It seems as if he cares for you too.”
Great, this talk got out of control He would not get deeper into it, no, no, no. Or he would admit things he would regret later. It was his secret, he had never talked about it before, not even with his mom. And he knew he could tell her everything. Not this, though. He himself had had a hard time to accept, that he liked Zeke Tyler much more than a guy should like another one.
“I'm sure, you did read it wrong,” he murmured.
“Hey, the dogs are becoming restless, I guess it's time for their walk.”