What you should know about the Reboot-Universe:
Casey had been able to fight the alien-queen who tried to take over the world, but her death released a virus which killed almost everyone older than twenty. Life has changed a lot for everyone who was able to survive, also for Casey & Zeke.
If you want to read the other stories first klick: here
Title: Reboot - Tiger (chapter 2)
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. Not movie conform.
Zeke aimed the gun at the tiger, still not sure if it was a good idea. He was a good shooter but would he able to kill a tiger? If he would only hurt him he would turn into an unpredictable beast. Even he wasn't fully grown, he was big and strong enough to cause serious injuries. And Zeke was not willing to risk that, not with Casey by his side.
Then everything seemed to happen in the same moment. Casey noticed the gun in his hand and grabbed for his arm to push it down.
“No, Zeke, don't!”
It was barely a whisper, but enough to alarm the tiger, every fiber of his body tensed in expectation of the danger, he crouched down, ready to attack. Zeke stopped thinking, just followed his instincts. He pushed Casey back, the boy slumped and yelped when his head hit a tree behind them. The tiger jumped, Zeke's arm shot up and he pulled the trigger … once, twice, thrice … The best he did hope for was to gain some time.
“Case, run,” he yelled at him breathless.
And Casey did. The tiger had stopped his attack, reeled for a split of a moment, took a few unsteady steps and finally collapsed. Instead of bringing as much distance as possible between himself and the still existing danger Casey rushed over to the animal, dropped onto his knees beside it. Zeke stood paralyzed, it was like a nightmare, he stared at the scenery in front of him, expecting the tiger gaining his power again, jumping up, attacking Casey … there would be no chance to escape … he could already hear him crying … death cries …
But nothing happened, no sound to hear, the world had stopped to turn around. It felt like an eternity until the slight sobbing reached his ears, Casey's shoulders were shaking violently. Still cautious Zeke stepped closer, ready to shoot once again if the animal would show any sign of life. He noticed blood coming out of a wound in his head and another, smaller one on his spine. An amazing animal, bigger than he had suspected, the paws heavy, the jaw slightly open so that he could see long, white teeth. Zeke felt relieved that the tiger didn't seem to breath anymore. Maybe they were lucky ...
Casey finally noticed him coming closer and looked up, tears his in eyes, but accusing and furious at the same time.
“Don't worry, you did a good job,” he spat.
And his relief was brushed away by anger.
“What the hell are you thinking, huh,” Zeke yelled and grabbed for his shoulder to shake him.
“You don't care about your life? Well, I do! It's a predator, Casey, he could have killed us as if it is nothing at all. Fuck, I didn't survive an alien invasion just to end as a meal for a tiger.”
Casey stayed unimpressed.
“He was still a baby. And you killed him without caring about it. Because you are still a selfish prick. You had no right to do that. He's only tried to survive, what's wrong with that?”
His hand rested on the back of the tiger almost caressing. Zeke cursed inwardly. What a little shit. He knew he had done the only right thing … so why did he feel so low?
“You know I had no choice. He actually shouldn't be here, he don't belong into this world. Never did, a tiger should be free, not born in captivity, looked up in a cage. What kind of life it this?”
Casey huffed annoyed.
“Oh! So you did him a favor when you killed him? It's that easy, isn't it? God, Zeke, you are such an asshole.”
Suddenly he jumped up, turned around and started to hurry away. Zeke frowned. What now?
“Case, wait! What are you doing?”
“Going back. To the farm. Get a shovel.”
“To bury him. At least that I can do for him!”
Zeke looked back to the animal under the tree, it would be a tough piece of work, the ground was loamy and wet, but he could understand Casey's feelings.
“Okay,” he agreed.
“I will help you!”
Casey jerked to a stop and turned back to him, still tears in his eyes but wildly resolved.
“No, thank you! You … did … kill him. You will not touch him again.”
Casey went back to the place where they had left the tiger behind together with Liz. The young woman had insisted to go with him and he finally had given in. In silence they had made their way. And when they reached the dead animal Liz stood thunderstruck.
“Good god,” she murmured.
“He looks beautiful.”
Casey smiled sadly.
“And he had no chance. It's so not fair.”
Liz looked up.
“You think it was wrong what Zeke did,” she asked.
“That there should have been another way?”
Casey shrugged. He still remembered the shock, the astonishment … and the relief … in the women's eyes when Zeke had told that the monster which had visited them since days had turned out to be a tiger … and that he had killed him. All they could think about was that the danger was over now, that they wouldn't have to leave the farm. In times like these it was so much when you did find a shelter where you could feel at home. But the thought did want to go out of Casey's mind that again he had tried to do the right thing and it ended with the death of an innocent creature. Like killing Mary Beth had caused the death of half of the population. Sometimes he was so sick of it, then he was ready to tell Zeke: Let's go home! Home, Herrington, the Merriot Hotel where his friends were waiting for him. But the voice in his head was stronger: The fate of the world depends on you.
Poundering he looked at the tiger. Was this part of the plan? Was it his fate to be in charge for the life on this world? He suddenly felt dizzy and swayed, Liz grabbed for his arm to give him some hold.
“Hey, you okay?”
Casey squeezed his eyes shut and forced himself to breath. The panic vanished. But when he opened his eyes eyes again, the tiger was still there, drying blood on his forehead, his eyes wide open but dull, dead. Slowly Casey bent down and grabbed for the shovel.
"I guess we should get over with it now."
They did finish their work without talking much, without a rest. When it was done, Liz threw a last glance at the grave of the tiger.
"I'm glad that he's dead,"she admitted.
"You are right, it's selfish, he would have deserved it to grow up, to live. But all I can think about are the children. They used to play in the nearby woods. Who knows how long he was out there … the danger was so close. And we didn't even recognize it. We felt so safe out here … but there is no safe place in the world anymore, isn't it?”
Casey kept quiet. All he wanted was to leave this place behind, to go back on the road … together with Zeke in the old Cheverolet … driving … just driving ...
They spend another night on the farm, a warm bath in a wooden tube for Casey when they did come back from the woods, another great meal in the evening though it was not half of the fun like the day before. All of them were still feeling shocked and worn out. Only the children were chatting and laughing like before, they didn't know about the danger they had been into … and others which still might wait for them.
Worst for Zeke was that Casey still refused to talk with him. He didn't look angry anymore but sad and tired. Zeke would put his life into his hands, Casey was stronger than he seemed to be, he had proofed it more then once since the Big Death had turned the world around. But be was still a caring and compassionate guy, fighting with nightmares because the things he saw and did. And Zeke knew well enough, when he was in that mood there was not much he could do to cheer him up.
Then it was time to go, the good-bye was quick but hearty, they women had insisted to give them some homemade marmalade, fruits and fresh bread as a thank you. When Casey opened the door on the passenger's side as usual an idea crossed Zeke's mind. He tossed the key over the roof of the Chevrolet.
“What do you mean? It's all packed.”
“I have a stupid headache today. It's about time that you take up your part of the driving.”
“Oh! But ...”
Casey looked dumbfounded and Zeke had a hard time to suppress a grin. At least he had been able to spark his interest. They were on the road now for over a month and it had never been a question who was the driver. Zeke wasn't even sure if Casey could actually drive. Sometimes he had considered to teach him. One could never know what would happen tomorrow. But the thought alone to take place on the passengers seat was strange. He had had his own car since he was sixteen, he had loved the GTO and no one had ever dared to put a hand onto the wheel but him.
“You can drive, don't you?”
Casey nodded, still looking confused.
„I did use the old Audi of my mom now and then. Got the license some weeks … before ...”
Zeke cringed inwardly but no way that he would back off now.
„Then better be careful. This baby has a lot more power under the hood than an Audi.”
He went over to the other side of the Chevrolet and slipped onto the passengers seat, happy to see the slight grin on Casey's face when he put the key into the ignition.