Title: Moving on
Fandom: The Faculty
Character: Zeke / Casey
Disclaimer: of course, I don't own The Faculty nor the characters - just borrowing them for some fun
Zeke was waiting for Casey near the school bus station. He could see him wincing when he suddenly stepped into his way, but he relaxed again when he recognized Zeke.
"Is it true," Zeke asked.
Casey looked at him confused.
"What is true?"
"You will not come back to Herrington High after summer?"
"Yeah, that's true. I'll go to Lane Technical High. It's in Chicago."
Zeke took a deep breath, that was worse than he had expected. It was understandable that Casey wanted to leave this hellhole of school behind when one came to think about everything he had to endure every day. The bruises, the black eye and the sprained arm, not to mention all the teasing and insults. He was the favored victim of the Jocks. And no one, not even the teachers, thought about it to step in, the Team was the flagship of the school and the stars among the players enjoyed all possible advantages.
Casey was a brilliant mind, but small and skinny, no chance to stand up against the jocks and to fight back. So he tried to stay out of their way as best as possible, the darkroom was his refuge, Casey loved photography. Like he loved science … and boys.
At least this was what Zeke suspected. He had observed him all over the year, he didn't show any interest in the girls, never risked a secret glance at tits or asses, never went to the cheerleader's training. The only girl he used to talk with now and then was Stokely … and she didn't count, she was actually even geekier than Casey.
Suddenly Zeke noticed Casey's eyes still resting on him. He cleared his throat.
"Chicago," he repeated.
"What the hell are you going to do there?"
"It's not that there is much of a choice," said Casey.
"My dad will take over the new office of his company in Chicago, so we are moving."
He shrugged and smirked.
"Well, could be worse, I guess. Chicago is an interesting town. A lot of museums and exhibitions. And Mr. Furlong says Lane Technical High is a good choice. When I graduate there I will find open doors at almost every College. Maybe even MIT or Cal Tech.”
"You've talked about this with Furlong," Zeke asked dumbfounded.
"That's strange. I thought he would do anything to keep you here in Herrington. You always were his golden boy."
"Maybe you take over this place now?"
"Me? With my grades? I'm not even sure if I actually want to graduate."
"But you should!”
Casey frowned, almost looking annoyed now.
“You're much too smart to waste all your talent. Last month, our lab project, maybe you remember. We were a great team."
Of course, he did. It had been one of Mr. Furlong's strange ideas to bring them together, the class geek and the bad boy at school. Usually Zeke didn't care much about rules, homework and projects and anyone else he would have told to leave him the fuck alone. But it was difficult to say 'no' to Casey. The boy stubbornly followed him for two days. A bit wary first, Zeke had never bullied him but it was understandable the Casey trusted no one easily. But he was wildly resolved to get this science project behind him, as always.
Finally Zeke had given in. For almost three weeks they met every day after school in his garage, discussing and researching, building and rejecting theories. Once Casey overstayed, they ordered a pizza and watched a cheesy movie. The boy loved Science-Fiction-Comedies and Zeke enjoyed to watch him. It was amazing how much Casey had changed, he opened up, chatted, laughed. As if they were best friends. But finally the project was finished and the door of the garage closed behind Casey for the last time.
Zeke had missed him more than he wanted to admit, his life had always been like one neverending party, but suddenly it felt shallow and empty. He started to make plans for summer, maybe he could do some trips with Casey, the boy was a photographer with all his heart and Zeke knew some secret places ... But then, out of the blue, the rumors had reached him.
Casey would leave Herrington, move to Chicago. There would never be another science project, they would never share the bleachers at lunch again. He would never see Casey hurrying to the darkroom with his camera around his neck again. And, of course, no trips over summer.
"I guess I should hurry now."
Casey's voice tore him out of his thoughts.
"We need to clear out the house till next Monday, a lot of stuff, for sure my mom could need some help."
Zeke stared into two unique blue eyes, the stupid checkered shirt ... and at the hand Casey held out to him. Suddenly he felt a lump in his throat and didn't know what to say. What could he say? Nothing would hold Casey back.
Finally he grabbed his hand and forced his grin on his face.
"Good luck, geek boy," he said.
"And maybe one day you will come back here?!”
Casey huffed slightly.
"Very unlikely. I don't think that anyone will miss me."
Casey stopped and glanced at the white buildings in front of him, the big trees, the archaic arcades and once again he felt attracted by the mixture of old and new architecture, down-to-earth science and a natural beauty. This place was like heaven for every photographer and scientist. It had been a good decision to go to Pasadena, to Cal Tech and not to MIT though Boston was so much closer to Chicago.
His parents had supported him in every possible way though it was hard for them to let him go so far from home. But they knew how hard he had worked for it to graduate as one of the best. The last year had been a good one, in Chicago no one had tormented him, his fellow students were nice and he had made some friends. Jennifer, a girl from his art course, had even flirted with him for a while, which had made him slightly uncomfortable. He liked her and for sure he didn't want to hurt her. But they could never be more than just friends.
One day he had told her the truth, with a wildly throbbing heart, he had never talked about it before, but she deserved to know the reason why he couldn't answer her feelings. Luckily she didn't freak out and they stayed close friends despite his secret.
Zeke. He was just a memory he had left behind in Herrington. And this was good because there never had been a chance that Zeke would return his feelings. Better to look forward. Casey had learned to keep himself busy during the days to get him out of his head, but in the nights Zeke still sneaked into his dreams, even now, almost two years later and 2000 miles away from Ohio.
Nevertheless, Casey felt happier than ever before. He was living at one of the most wonderful places of the world, was visiting a famous College, studying Geological & Planetary Science, he had managed to find a student's job at a small photo studio nearby where he earned enough money to afford some extras now and then, a Chinese dinner at Saturday, some comics or a cinema ticket. And he discovered that there was a small but active gay community around the college. Not that he was ready to come out and join them, but it was a good feeling to know that he was not as alone as he had always thought.
"Interesting building, huh," a voice from behind tore him out of his thoughts. He couldn't help it but wince visibly.
"And pretty confusing. I'm wondering if I will ever be able to be at the right place in time. This morning I tried to find the stupid library for about half an hour before I gave up."
"There are student guides for the beginners," Casey answered automatically while he tried to suppress a shiver. This voice, it was so familiar.
"Go to the office at the first floor. Just take the main door and follow the green arrows. You can't miss it."
He was daydreaming, wasn't he? Before he turned around he squeezed his eyes shut for a second to enjoy his dream a little longer. When he opened them again he looked right into two hazel brown eyes, a slightly amused smile on oh-so-seducing lips. The hair looked more decent than the last time he had seen it, so it's owner didn't seem to cut it himself any longer.
Casey's heart beat faster. It was him. Zeke.
"Holy shit," he murmured.
The smile turned into a grin.
"What ... what are you doing here?"
"Physics and Mathematics."
Casey stared at him and he wasn't sure if he had gotten it right.
"At Cal Tech? You did graduate?"
Zeke chuckled slightly.
"You know, once someone told me that I'm wasting my talent. So I decided to give it a try. I did graduate. With a B, not bad, though not good enough to get accepted at one of the great Colleges."
Casey felt the disappointment rushing through his body. So Zeke wouldn't stay here?
As if he could read his mind Zeke continued.
"Mr. Furlong wrote me a recommendation letter for the Community College in Columbus and told me not to give up so easy. You know, there are these projects every year, contests between the colleges. It's unusual for a Community College to participate, but I could convince them that one day I will be a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Physics."
Zeke grinned mischievously.
"Some weeks later I got a letter from Cal Tech. They asked me ... hm, no, they begged me ... to change college. Hard decision, to leave Ohio and move to California. But then I thought by myself when you are going to Cal Tech it can't be a bad College."
"Now I'm here for about a week. Still fighting with the huge campus and everything around. It's like another world."
Casey smiled. He could understand what Zeke was talking about. When you were grown up in a small town in Ohio Pasadena and Cal Tech were like a big maze for you at first.
"Maybe I can help you to get along."
The words were said before he had thought about it. Casey could feel his mouth getting dry. That was ridiculous. Zeke would laugh about him. He was the geek and Zeke was the king and ...
"Cool. That's what I was hoping for."
Zeke's eyes sparkled while he grabbed his backpack.
"Maybe we can start right and you can show me the way to this stupid library?"