This time, it's a two-chapter-story, based on a ficlet naemi did write for me. I love her story so much and her ending is perfect like it is. Nevertheless, this story was not willing to vanish out of my mind. It outright cried for a sequel ... as impossible as this seems to be ;) (when you did read the original story you will know what I'm talking about). So I finally gave in and asked her for permission to play around a bit with her story. Here is what I finally have made out of it.
Title: Sparks of hope (1/2) = sequel to Rehabilitation by naemi (make sure that you did read this first)
Fandom: The Faculty
Character: Casey, mention of Zeke
Disclaimer: as ever, I don't own The Faculty, neither the boys or any other person from the movie
Reluctantly Casey opened his eyes and squeezed them shut again. The light around him was almost blinding, his head was hammering wild and he felt miserable.
A soft voice reached his ears like through a thick haze.
"Can you open your eyes for a moment? Let me check them."
Casey groaned and tried to follow the instruction. He could recognize his surroundings only blurred. A large hall, gray walls, the ceiling far, far away. Someone bent over him, a dazzling light met his eyes painfully, he cried and tried to turn his head away. All in vain, he was fixed. Panic rushed through him while he tried to figure out what was going on. Fragments of memories hit him.
He was dead!
Zeke had killed him!
He shivered. Cold. So cold!
A blanket was pulled over his body, the voice again, far distant.
"I know you feel uncomfortable. It will take some time until you be quite all here again. But you're safe, don't worry, we will take care of you."
Then a sting in his arm and the world went dark again.
The next time he woke up he felt better. The world had finally stopped turning around, his head ached only slightly and he didn't feel the urge to vomit anymore.
Someone was talking to him. Frowning he tried to remember if he had heard this voice before. Hesitating he turned his head, remembering a strange fixation, but this time, he succeeded.
An old man who was standing beside his small bed, very old, al least 60 years. Most people didn't reach this age anymore unless they belonged to the few privileged people who could buy just everything. Natural food, fresh water, drugs to extend your life and slaves who did all the hard work for you, in the colonies, where the air was poisoned and the sun burning hot.
"What's your name?"
He licked his dry lips before answering.
"Casey. Casey Connor."
"How old are you?"
"Seven ... teen?!"
"Good," the man said. Suddenly he held a glass with a clear liquid in his hand and brought it up to Casey's lips.
"It's a medical supplement that will help to get your strength back. Just a sip at the beginning, your body needs to get used to it to work on his own again."
Compliantly Casey lifted his head a bit and sipped carefully, it was cool and tasteless, but he could feel the liquid running through his esophagus up into his stomach, where it spread a pleasant warmth. He sank back onto the cushion, tried to sort things out. All in vain, nothing seemed to make any sense.
"Is this ... heaven?" he finally asked.
"No, rather the opposite. We are deep under the earth, an old bunker, long forgotten. No need to worry, though. You are alive."
Casey sighed and closed his eyes again, while the memories came back, too many pictures at once. How he had tried to survive after the death of his parents, too small, too weak, he couldn't find any work and was forced to live from what he found on the streets. It was not enough. Finally, he had done the step his parents had always warned him about: he had sold himself as a slave, a sex slave.
The prep-house had been like a paradise, a comfortable bed, food as much as he could eat, and Zeke. The other slave he shared the room with. Zeke was not very entertaining, a good looking, brody young guy. But slowly they had gotten closer. Zeke knew a lot about the future which was lying ahead of them, a lot more than he was supposed to know. He also had told him about the arena. Casey shivered at the thought of it; he had known instinctively that maybe be could survive as a slave, but that he would never be able to get out of the arena alive. Zeke had strongly advised him to stay in the background, hoping that the potential buyers wouldn't notice him. But to be honest: The thought to die wasn't very scaring, after he had lost his parents, life on earth actually was not longer worth living.
Then the last evening, only half an hour until the beginning of the slave sale. Zeke had organized some Whiskey. What Casey hadn't known was that he had mixed some drugs into his drink ... some drugs to kill him ... to save him from worse. Then he had kissed him and in this last moment, Casey had known that he wanted a chance to live, to love ... But the darkness came much too fast.
So, what was he doing here? Why was he laying in a bed, in a bunker deep under the earth? Why could he feel and think and talk? He was supposed to be dead. Reluctantly he opened his eyes again, tried to sit up, but the old man held him back.
"Careful. Don't overdue it. I know you have many questions, but one step after the other. It was close, the drugs were almost too long in your body."
"It killed me," whispered he.
"I guess, that was the plan, yes. But the drug actually only puts you into a deathlike state. There is an antidote, only a handful people know about it. When you get it within two days, the effect can get nullified. It took a while, though, to find your body and to get you out of the prep-house."
Casey shuddered again. He felt like falling into a profound abyss, not knowing what was happening to him. He was dead ... he was not dead ... Zeke had killed him ... but now he was back. He couldn't think about this for longer, or he would lose his mind. Questioningly he looked back to the old man.
"Why did you do that? I'm just ... a slave."
"You are not. No one is supposed to be a slave. Beside of that, we owned your parents."
Casey blinked confusedly.
"My parents? They always tried their best to stay out of reach of the system. We had a little farm outside the town, in the forgotten landings, not much, but enough to survive. Until ..."
He paused and swallowed. It was still hard to talk about that night. How soldiers had burned the house, his father had tried to stop them ... the shot ... his mom crying and throwing her body over his own to keep him safe. They had dragged her away, ignoring him, though.
The old man put a hand onto his shoulder.
"I know," he said.
"They got killed because they tried to help us."
"Help you? With what?"
"We are the last hope of the earth," the man answered.
"It's only a glimpse, but with every day, we are getting stronger. Your parents never belonged to us, but they were close confidants. They never gave up hope that you, or, at least, your children, will live in a better world one day."
Casey had listened stunned, this couldn't be, could it?
"The ... the Resistance? But .. these are only rumors. My dad ... my dad always told my that I better should learn how to repair a reaper and not spend my time with daydreaming."
"He wanted you to be safe as long as possible. Only a touch of a suspicion is enough and in the best case you will end in the mine or at a colony on Jupiter."
Too much information. Casey's head was buzzing again, exhausted he wished to be able to slip back into the darkness, with nothing but silence around ... silence ... silence ...
"I guess, this was enough talk for today. You need to rest now."
Was the voice in his head real or not? He couldn't say, he started to fall, deeper and deeper ... Stop! This was not the time to slip away into a comforting dream again. There was something he needed to know. If he could only remember what it was.
His outcry echoed in the big, silent hall. He forced his eyes open again and stared at the old man.
"Zeke," he repeated quieter this time.
"The guy who gave me the drug. He was a slave like me. Do you know what happened to him?"
The man's eyes seemed to darken.
"Casey, we can talk about this later."
Panic rose up inside him. After his parents death, when he lived on the streets on his own, he had learned quickly to trust his instincts. This man did hide something. He shook up his dizziness and sat up, forced down the re-occurring urge to vomit.
"I need to know. Zeke did save my life."
Silence for a moment. Then the answer.
"Well, I'm actually not sure if this was what he had in mind when he gave you the drugs."
The shock needed a while to ebb away. But finally, Casey pushed the shabby blanket aside, determined to get up, to leave this strange place behind. Even if he actually didn't know where to go or what to do next.
The old man put a hand onto his shoulder to stop him.
"Don't do this, Casey, please, your body isn't strong enough yet. You risk a total breakdown and I don't know if we would be able to bring you back once again."
His eyes were sparkling stubbornly when he answered.
"Well, I don't care! All I want to know is what's going on with Zeke. You can tell me, or I will find out by myself."
For a second the man kept quite surprised, finally a slight smile crossed his face.
"You are stronger than you seem to be," he said.
"Strong enough to deal with the truth."
The guy nodded slowly and pulled a wooden chair beside the bed.
"Please, lay down again, and I will tell you what I know."
End of Part one. Part two here