Fandom: The Faculty
Character: Casey & Zeke
Word Count: 1715
Disclaimer: of course, I don't own The Faculty nor the characters - just borrowing them for some fun
originally written for fffc challenge 15.21 (kids)
When the door to their apartment was opened Casey sighed and closed his book. It was 16h10, the plane to Paris would take off in twenty minutes and they would not sit in it. He had already suspected it when Zeke had gotten the call some hours ago.
"I'll be back in time," he had promised, searching for his car keys.
"It's an emergency."
"You have two weeks off," Casey had reminded him halfhearted, because he knew that Zeke needed to go and find out what was so important. If he didn't he wouldn't stop thinking about it for the next two weeks, picturing the worst scenarios. He was a social worker with all his heart, he cared for his fosterlings, children and teenager coming from problem families, neglected, abused, alcohol and drugs belonged to their daily life as well as violence and crime. It was a hard fight sometimes and Zeke couldn't save all of them, but he was not willing to give up even the most problematic cases because he did believe that everyone deserved at least a fair chance.
Casey knew the reason for it. It wasn't that long ago and Zeke had been one of them, his parents didn't care in the slightest about what he was doing and he was on the best way to throw away his life, his future. He always said that Casey was the one who had saved him, with his stubbornness and his love. Casey and his parents who didn't ask, didn't judge. For the first time in his live people accepted him like he was, they encouraged him, they believed in him. Finally he graduated at Highschool as one of the best, a lot good colleges would have gladly accepted him because he was a brilliant scientist but he decided to take a different path.
A good decision, Zeke was born to be a social worker. Like Casey was a photographer with all his heart. A year ago they did move into their first own apartment in Columbus though living together wasn't always easy, they were both pretty busy with the jobs but they had learned to make the best out of the little time they had left.
Casey sighed deeply. How long that they had spent a whole week together? The trip to Europe had been a birthday present from Zeke, he knew that Casey had dreamed about it since Highschool to go to Paris, Rome, London ... and now it seemed as if all their wonderful plans would fall through.
"I'm back, Caze," Zeke said and Casey could tell that he was stressed out and tired. He tried hard to fight his disappointment and not to bother him with a volley of approaches. But it wasn't easy this time, he could feel tears pricking in his eyes, it was not fair. Not fair. He didn't ask for too much, right, just two weeks of vacation, fourteen days together with the guy he loved. The child-welfare-office could survive some time without Zeke, couldn't they? So, why did they call him? And why Zeke hadn't been able to tell them: 'No, I can't come in today, I'm on the way to Paris together with my boyfriend.'
When Zeke finally entered the living area he barely looked at Casey, just went over to the little bar and poured himself a double shot of whiskey without any words.
Casey frowned. That was disconcerting, Zeke liked a good whiskey in the evening, yes, but it was early in the afternoon and there were things to talk about.
“Everything okay,” he asked more sharply than planned.
Zeke dropped down onto the couch, the filled glass and the bottle still in his hands and pulled the face.
“I'm sorry, Caze,” he said tiredly.
“Maybe we can re-book the flight and go next week. We will, promised."
But it didn't sound as if he really meant it, for the moment he had lost every interest in the trip. Casey felt ready to burst with disappointment and anger … which would make it even worse. He forced himself to took a deep breath, to calm down.
“Do you wanna talk about it,” he asked.
Zeke gulped down half of the whiskey and looked at him over the rim of his glass.
“I don't get it,” he said.
“Why children are born when their parents actually don't want them.”
This sounded familiar, did remind him of Zeke's own story. Casey bit his lower lip, Zeke had seen a lot as a social worker and he usually was able to fight his anger down and concentrate on the children who needed help but when it came to parents who treated their children like ballast he almost felt helpless and unsure about what to do. Compassion started to replace his anger.
“Tell me more,” he demanded, knowing that it usually did help Zeke to sort out his feelings when he could talk about it.
Zeke put the glass on the table and finally looked at him.
“It was an accident,” he sighed.
“An elderly woman, 69 years old, she was on her way back home from the K-Mart. Had an heart-attack or something, lost control over the car, crashed into a tree.”
“That was it. The car was a wreck, it was needed to cut her out. But all help for her was too late.”
“That's sad,” Casey murmured, knowing that this was only a part of the story, no child involved so far.
“Yeah. Her grand-child was with her, 6 years old boy, Andy. It's like a wonder that nothing serious happened to him, beside of a cut in his arm, but he bumped his head severely so he lost concussion. I guess we can be thankful for that, when he wakes up tomorrow he will hopefully remember only blurred, not the cruel details.”
He paused, his face darkened when he continued.
“His life is fucked up anyway. His grandma was the only one who ever cared about him. The attempts of the police to contact his parents were in vain, but finally they managed to reach a neighbor. They told them that Andy was living with his grandma for about three years, his parents are working for a big company in Asia, they rarely are around.
That's why they finally decided to call the child care, someone need to make decisions for the next days. And obviously his parents are not interested to come home.”
“Does they know about the accident?”
“Yeah, an officer went to the house of Andy's grandma, found a number of an exclusive hotel-complex in Hongkong. Could only reach the reception though and left a note for the Setterthwaits ... Andy's parents. A guy, a clerk or something, called back some time later, told them that there are important negotiations for the next two weeks which can't get interrupted without causing a big financial loss for the company. But that he will take care of everything necessary.”
Zeke huffed annoyed and grabbed for the bottle of whiskey to fill his glass anew.
“At least he asked for the number of the hospital but as long as I was there his parents didn't call to find out more about his state of health. Well, it was around midnight in Hongkong, I guess they were too busy.”
Casey put a hand onto his shoulder, started to massage his stiff neck slightly.
“This is not fair,” he agreed.
“How is he acutally doing?”
“He seems okay so far. The cut is not deep, needed only a few stitches. And he did wake up out of the unconsciousness, still slightly disoriented. The doc says, that's not unusual after a shock, he gave him some calmative drugs; when I left him he was sleeping again. I don't think that he knows what is happened … not yet.”
“Poor boy. And there is no one where he can stay until his parents come back?”
“When they bother to come home,” Zeke said bitterly.
“It's much easier to send a check and leave it to others to take care of your children. Hire a nanny, send them to a boarding school, look for a shrink when they turn into problematic children. But they won't come home to give them what they need most.
No, no there is no one, it was just him and his grandma. He's six year old, Casey, and no one is there who cares about him. How shall he ever be able to understand and to move on? His life is shattered in pieces.”
When he grabbed for the whiskey again Casey stopped him, put the glass back onto the table and pulled him into his arms. He could feel him trembling, like always when his past came back to him. It hadn't been a grandmother but a nanny, and she didn't die but his mother had kicked her out of the house when she noticed that his father showed much too deep interest in her. But it had left a desperate, confused, lonely, five year old, little boy behind …
“You will be there for him,” Casey murmured reassuring.
“He will not be alone.”
Zeke took a deep breath.
“I've left a notice at the office, someone else need to take over his case. I've two weeks off. When we will come back from Europe he will probably already be in a children's home. Not what he needs but all we can do for the moment.”
Casey kept quiet for a moment.
“You still want to go to Paris?”
“Sure, why not?”
Zeke tried to sound unheedingly but Casey knew better and it wasn't difficult to make the right decision.
“Because … “
He kissed him slightly.
“Paris will not run away. We could go next year? For the moment it's more important that Andy gets every possible help. Who if not you can understand his feelings? You will find the right words to reach him, I know this.
But for now he's in good hands in the hospital.”
He got up from the couch, pulling Zeke with him.
“Rest a bit. You are so tensed, I guess a hot bath and a good massage could help. Tomorrow we can think about it what you can do for him.”
A slight smile sneaked on Zeke's lips when he followed him upstairs to the bathroom without complaining.
“I love you, Caze,” he murmured.
“More than I can say.”