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 chapter 1 / other stories from this universe first klick: here
Title: Reboot - Fever (chapter 2 / 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.
Hard to say how long Casey was just sitting there, staring at Zeke. He seemed to regain his consciousness after some minutes, but it was not a relief; he was tossing and turning fitfully that Casey started to worry that he might hurt himself, he was coughing and choking and worst of all he didn't seem to recognize his surroundings … or Casey.
It was frightening to see him in that bad state, Zeke was the one who always kept a level head even in the most tricky situations. Casey usually just followed his instincts. But in the moment he couldn't feel anything but panic. Pictures crossed his mind, the first days after Mary Beth, when the old world was falling apart, when people collapsed just everywhere, in the houses, at work, on the streets. He hid under the porch of his house, had closed his eyes and covered his ears, to block out all the horror … until Zeke did find him …
Zeke! Casey sniffed and bit his lip until he tasted blood. Was it possible that the Big Death was back? Back then only the older ones seemed to be affected, but Zeke had warned not to be too careless because every virus could mutate.
Suddenly Zeke's head bumped against the front door and tore Casey out of his numbness. He mind started to work again. The storm had calmed down a bit, but the rain was still pouring down, impossible to set up the small tent not to mention to light a fire. But he needed to keep Zeke warm and safe. He somehow managed it to adjust the back of Zeke's seat, then he grabbed for a cushion and one of the sleeping bags they always stored on the back-seat. Zeke groaned when he carefully lifted his head, the skin felt hot and sweat-soaked.
“Don't you dare it,” Casey murmured, fighting down his tears.
“Don't you dare it to leave me alone in this mess!”
He needed to bring the fever down. Desperately he tried to remember what his mom had done when he got sick. Hot tea with honey and cold compresses, bed-rest in a darkened room. Compresses sounded good. Zeke had always insisted on some cans with boiled water, now Casey was thankful for that. He tore one of his older T-Shirts in stripes, wet them, put them around Zeke's ankles and on his forehead. The boy tried to fight him.
“Cold,” he groaned.
Casey pulled the sleeping bag back around him.
“I know,” he whispered.
“But it will get better soon.”
Though he was not sure, there was not much he could do. Water. Zeke needed to drink plenty of fluids but it seemed to be a hopeless try to make him swallow. He coughed and put up a fight when Casey hold a glass onto his dry lips, spilled most of the water. With shaking hands he was sitting beside him and he wished he could turn back the time and there would be doctors and hospitals. But this was a pipe-dream, no one would come to help Zeke, it was all up to him. He needed to figure something out.
Suddenly a small, black box caught his eyes. Stuff, they had found some weeks ago in the basement of a drugstore, not much, just some bandages, band-aid and antiseptic, some expired meds … and one-way syringes. Maybe if he could fill one of them with water and feed Zeke drop by drop?
He lost any track of time, changed the wet clothes, refilled the syringe again and again, and finally Zeke seemed to calmed down and fall into a quieter sleep. Casey wasn't sure if this was a good or a bad sign but his exhaustion gained the upper hand over the urge to take care of Zeke. He curled up on the co-driver's seat, one hand at Zeke's chest, and he drifted off.
Zeke opened his eyes and felt a dull pain in his head. He needed a moment to take in his surroundings, he was in the Chevrolet, outside it was dark, only the moon gave a dim light … and it was quiet. Too quiet. He remembered the storm, when did it calm down? He was driving … driving, endless, empty roads ... Oregon, he wanted to go to Oregon, the Calapooya Mountains where they wanted to start with their search.
He licked his dry lips and slowly sit up. A dark figure was crouching beside him. Casey. Casey? He reached out and touched him. With an outcry the boy jumped up.
“Sorry,” Zeke murmured.
“Didn't mean to wake you up.”
Casey sleepy voice turned into panic.
“Oh no, I was asleep.”
“That's okay, I guess.”
Zeke was still no sure what had happened.
“Where are we? The storm … the last I can remember ... before … what?”
“You got sick.”
“And I didn't know what to do.”
Zeke dropped his head back into the cushion.
“How long ...”
“A day and a half,” Casey answered with a still shaking voice.
“You suddenly broke down, high fever, and you didn't even recognize me. I was all alone but I knew I needed to keep a clear hear. There was not much I could do though.”
Zeke closed his eyes again, slowly the pieces started to fall back into its place. The exhausting drive, his eyes had started to hurt, his head hammered wildly. Then … nothing. But he knew what had happened, it was not the first time. The breakdown had been in coming for quiet a while but stubborn as he was he had ignored the obvious signs instead of looking for a sheltered place to await the end of the storm.
He could barely remember, had lost a day and a half, good god. Only broken bits and he couldn't even be sure what was true and what just a feverish figment. Cold. Heat. Shaking. Someone had taken care of him, he could remember cold compresses and someone covered him into thick blankets. He had felt like a child again, inwardly yelling for his mom, but she was not there, only a nanny did take care of him. But she had never been that loving, tender, he was just a job for her. Casey! His home was long gone, like the world was gone. He was on the road together with Casey, in the old Chevrolet.
It was quiet an effort to re-opened his eyes.
“I guess, I could need some water.”
A flashlight was switched on, the batteries almost flat, it hardly gave off any light. But the relief on Casey's face was immense, when he grabbed for a glass, filled it and hold it onto Zeke's lips. First he tried to protest, but then he noticed the weakness of his body, every move was like a struggle against pain and tiredness. Finally Casey pulled the glass away.
“That should be enough,” he said, still beaming.
“You are better!”
Zeke smiled wearily.
“I'm fine,” he murmured.
Casey chuckled slightly.
“I was so scared,” he admitted.
“that … it might be ...”
“... the virus. That you ...”
Zeke shook his head.
“Sorry. I should have known better. A kind of stress attack. Never thought I would have to go through this again. It's ages ago since the last time.”
“The last time?”
Casey looked confused.
“I was ten years old, my birthday, and my parents were on their way to a cruise in Australia. I felt sick all day. My dad got angry, thought I was just faking illness because I didn't want them to leave. In the night I broke down, crying, shaking all over. The nanny called the doc and he gave me some meds. Next day it was over.
But it happened again, migraine, high fever, sometimes I lost consciousness. No one could say were it did come from. Some times later our family doc suggested to visit a shrink.”
Zeke kept quiet for a moment, to talk was very tiring, but Casey deserved an explanation. He took another sip of water, then he continued.
“He was good. Helped me to find out what was wrong with me. Since I can remember I've tried to win the love of my parents. Probably they would have been better off without me. I was just a part of their perfect future plans but they weren't prepared for a permanent crying baby.
The doc told me, that this is probably the beginning of all my problems. Even then I could already feel their rejection. He did show me that there was only one way for me to move on: to let them go. To accept it that my parents gave a shit about me.”
Zeke could see the pity on Casey's face and forced a smile on his lips.
“It did work. I took my life into my own hands … and I never had an attack again.”
“Until now. What is happened, Zeke? Is it … my fault? Do I stress you out like … your parents?”
Zeke pulled the face and forced himself up.
“Case, not this again,” he said.
“It's time to get over it. Not all what happened in the world is your fault. And you are so not like my parents. They were uncaring and selfish. You try to save the world for the umpteenth time.”
“But it's my task, not yours.”
“You shouldn't be here at all. Without me you would still be in Herrington and this is a great better deal than being on the road for weeks. During a stupid storm. Looking for a place you don't even believe it exists.”
“I don't want to be in Herrington,” Zeke said gently.
“Not without you. You are what I've always missed, someone I can trust, I can talk and laugh with, someone who takes care for me when I get sick.
It didn't matter for me if it lasts a month or a year, the time on the road, together with you, is the best of my life.”
Casey still looked unsure, Zeke smiled.
He reached out for Casey.
“You are shaking like a leave! Take some rest now. I will be fine again."
It was not very comfortable when he pulled the thick sleeping bag around the two of them but they couldn't care less. Casey snuggled closer. Then their lips met, their first kiss was soft and comforting, no more words needed.