Title: Reboot - A mysterious man
Fandoms: Crossover - The Faculty / Jeremiah
Summery: about the downfall from the old world and the start of a new one
Disclaimer: Neither The Faculty nor Jeremiah are mine, of course ;)
Author's Note: This is a story from my AU crossover universe 'Reboot'. You don't need to know anything about Jeremiah nor The Faculty to read these stories, but if you do some elements will be quite familiar for you.
You can find all the stories of this universe here
Zeke stopped in front of the great doors which lead into the biggest restaurant of the hotel … the Mensa, like they called it now. It was almost empty, like it should be in the moment, everyone has some work to do. Work which did help them to survive.
It was almost eight month now after the 'Big Death' … a virus, left behind from a dying alien queen, had killed most of the population of Ohio, maybe even the whole world. But surprisingly life did move on for some of them. In the meantime there were around one hundred people living in the Merriott Hotel in Herrington under the leadership of Gabe and two of his former football buddies. Someone needed to pull the strings, needed to organize their new life. There was still enough tinned food and they could find fresh fruits and vegetables in the gardens nearby. But fresh water started to be a problem. The electricity supply was broken down. They still had the emergency generator of the hotel, which was working with diesel but Gabe had restricted the use of it severely
Zeke had never given much about rules but he was smart enough to know that some of them were necessary now when they wanted to survive the next winter. And Casey should know this too.
Slowly he entered the Mensa and went over to the table at the other side of the room where his friend was sitting together with an unknown man. With his worn out clothes, much too light for the rainy, stormy autumn weather in Ohio, and the big, old backpack beside him it was obvious that he had been on the road for quiet a long time. Like many others nowadays.
"Hey,” Zeke said.
Casey looked up and smiled wide.
Zeke groaned inwardly. He knew how this would go.
"Can we talk? Alone!”
Casey put on his best stubborn face.
"He is sick, Zeke! It's freezing cold outside during the nights. He needs a place to rest at least for some time. And he is hungry."
Zeke eyed the little man who was cowering on his chair. Indeed, he did look as if he could need some help. But a lot of people did. For a good reason Gabe had decided some weeks ago that they couldn't take in even more people. It was difficult enough to ensure the survival of all of them. Impossible to help everyone out there.
But Casey refused to accept this. Not a big surprise. Zeke shook his head and sighed.
"Case! You know what Gabe will say when he notices him?”
His face darkened.
“I give a shit about his rules.”
“I know, it's kinda hard. But he put them on for a good reason.”
“Gabe acts like a dictator. I wish you would have taken over the leadership before he did. You would not let it happen that we send people away who need our help.”
“No, thanks, I'm happy with what I do. Who else could organize all the things we need if not me? And Gabe is doing quite a good job. The world has changed, Casey, we can't ignore it any longer that no one will come to help us. If we want to survive we need to start thinking about our self first.”
Thoughtfully he looked at the man who was still sitting there motionless, his hands around the mug of tea Casey had given him. Zeke was not sure if he even knew where he was and what was going on around him. No, he didn't look dangerous but nevertheless he didn't trust him.
“And what do you expect me to do,” Casey tore him out of his thought.
“Kick him out into the rain where he could die? You can't be serious, Zeke!”
Suddenly the man lifted his head and stared at Casey.
“He's told me to come here,” he murmured with a tired voice.
Zeke frowned but Casey smiled reassuring.
“And that's okay. You can stay as long as you want.”
When Zeke came back into the Mensa the man was still sitting there, a plate of hot soup in front of him now, silently chatting with Casey. Zeke sighed. Probably it was a mistake, but he couldn't help it. He knew all to well, Casey still had a hard time with all his guilty feelings. This was his way to make up for what he thought was his fault.
“I guess, you can stay for a night, or two,” he said and pushed a key over the table.
“But that's all we can do for you. And you better stay in the third floor. Not everyone here trust strangers as much as Casey does.”
The man looked up, his green-brown eyes dark and unreadable, impossible to find out what was going on in his head.
“This will be enough, thank you. As soon as I've fulfilled my duty I'm gonna leave.”
Zeke observed him how he put the spoon beside the now empty plate, how he carefully grabbed for his backpack and slowly got up. How he turned to Casey and smiled slightly, more open for a split of a second, then his eyes darkened again, he looked sad, lost. Casey's smile was wide and sincere. The reason why he did what he did … despite the ringing alarm clocks in his head.
When they finally were alone in the Mensa, Casey turned to Zeke.
“Thank you,” he said.
“Case, you need to stop this,” he sighed.
“You shouldn't take in every stranger you meet. Too much maniacs out there.”
Zeke knew what he was talking about. He did met them … on the roads, in the bigger towns around. He was the one with good connections. At Herrington High he had been the number one when it came to special wishes. He still was. He was able to find almost everything they needed to survive. No one ever asked what he had do for it. Better that way.
“He's not dangerous,” Casey insisted.
“He's kinda weird!”
“Not more than most of us. He's all alone, Zeke, always on the road. No place were he can stay. He says he doesn't know where he belongs to. No wonder that he tries to escape in his phantasies. He thinks he's a messenger.”
“What kind of messenger?”
“God did send him here with an important message.”
“Oh shit. A religious nut!”
Zeke sniffed annoyed.
“And what kind of message can this be? God did all this because the world had turned into a hotbed of sin? But he decided to spare some chosen ones. Shall we be thankful now and praise his grace?”
The anger against these odd man raised even more. How could he dare it? How could he dare it to come here and talk about God, after all what had happened? A God Zeke had never believed in anyway. His mom went to church almost every day … and did it help her? Or him? His dad had been a workaholic … and after work the booze was his best friend. He didn't care about his son nor his wife. They had to follow his rules, otherwise ... Annoyed about himself Zeke shook his head … It was over. He was dead. A virus had finally done what he had wanted to do for years. His mom was dead too. He couldn't even morn about her. He had loved her … he had hated her …
“I don't think it's something like that,” Casey says. Thankfully Zeke focused on him again.
“He says, God gave him the order without explanation but when the time is right for it, he will tell him. He always does.”
Zeke pulled the face.
“This is barking bullshit,” he murmured.
“It's not that I do believe in it,” he admitted.
“But he does. And if it helps him to move on … it's nothing wrong with it, isn't it? We all need something to believe in.”
“Two days,” Zeke said.
“I will give him two days to find out what he's actually doing here. Then I will chuck him out on his ears. And you should better stay away from him. Just to be sure, okay?”
“Sure, I'm gonna be careful,” Casey said and his eyes sparkled.
“But first I need to look for some warm blankets. Did you notice his worn out coat? No wonder that he got sick.”
Two days later. Casey was standing in the backdoor of the hotel together with the stranger. Zeke noticed the dark thick coat strapped on the heavy backpack and he knew Casey had helped him out not only with a warm blanket.
"So, you are leaving us," he asked.
The guy turned around to him and nodded.
"Yeah. My job is done. I shouldn't stay any longer.”
Zeke watched him grabbing for his backpack. A short glance at Casey, not a 'Good bye' or a 'Thank you'. Just, almost unhearable: “I'm sorry!” And he started to walk down the road without looking back. Zeke sniffed slightly. What an asshole! After all Casey had done for him.
He put a hand onto his shoulder and felt him cringe.
Reluctantly Casey looked up, the face pale, his eyes wide open.
“Let's get in, it's getting cold.”
Zeke cursed slightly. It was a fine, warm autumn day, the rain had finally stopped, the sun was shining. And it was obvious that Casey tried to hide something. He hadn't been like that for weeks now.
“What has he done,” he wanted to know.
“Really, Zeke, it's nothing!”
Casey shook his head and forced a smile onto his face. As if this would fool him.
“I know I shouldn't take it so serious. He's just … babbling.”
“What did he say?”
“It's kinda stupid. He says … I will have to leave Herrington soon enough.”
Zeke was not sure what to think about this … but he would find out. He would beat the shit out of this scum. Without thinking he run after the guy who already had gotten quite a distance away.
“Hey,” he yelled and grabbed the collar of his coat.
“Hey. Stop, I say! What the hell do you want from him? He saved your fucking ass and this is your way to thank him?”
The guy didn't try to jerk free, he didn't even look terrified, despite Zeke's clenched fist, his enraged words. He was just standing there, almost two heads smaller than he was, ready to accept everything without a word of protest. Zeke took a deep breath, inwardly trembling … whatever he had done to Casey, he would pay for it ...
Suddenly Casey was there beside them. He hadn't noticed him coming closer.
“Don't hurt him! It's not his fault.”
Hesitating Zeke let his fist fall down, loosened his grip enough to give him at least a bit room to breath. The guy coughed twice but still didn't move.
“So, what is all this about,” Zeke asked.
“You'd better have a good excuse!”
“I'm just the messenger. God did send me here. He says: The fate of the humankind won't be solved here. He needs to go to Thunder Mountain. Only then the world can be saved.”
Under other circumstances Zeke would have laughed out loud. But one glance at Casey and he knew what was going on inside him. Despite his words he did take it all to serious what this guy was talking about. Seething with rage Zeke stuck him a blow, he lost his balance and went down to the ground. Without having even an eye for him Zeke put his arms around Casey's shoulder. He could feel him trembling.
“Don't listen to him,” he said reassuring.
“This is bullshit. You will go no where.”
The guy looked up to them.
“He can't escape his fate,” he murmured.
“No one can. We are all part of his plan.”
Suddenly he stiffened and cocked his head. As if he listened to someone no one else was able to hear. Weird. Zeke had already seen a lot but this guy definitely gave him the creeps. All he wanted was to bring Casey away from him, back into the hotel. He could only hope that all this would not throw him back into the bad state he had been right after the incident with MaryBeth.
“You are the one. You did it. You killed her. She was not from this world and when she died she left the Big Death.”
Zeke did hear Casey's cry like through a haze. He caught him when he collapsed.