As promised, today the second chapter of the sequel I've written for naemis wonderful story - make sure that you did read it first.
Title: Sparks of hope (2/2) = sequel to Rehabilitation by naemi (make sure that you did read this first)
And here is the Link to chapter one
And here is the Link to chapter one
Fandom: The Faculty
Character: Casey, Zeke
Disclaimer: as ever, I don't own The Faculty, neither the boys or any other person from the movie
When Casey had finally settled down onto the bed again, the old man started to talk.
"When they finally came to bring you to the auction they only found your corpse. It wasn't difficult to find out what had happened, Zeke didn't even make a try to deny it. The amusement-dealer who runs the house demanded repetition. You're a pretty boy, Casey, I guess he had ... special plans with you, which would have created a lot of wealth for him. More than an ordinary slave."
"Zeke told you about it?"
"Not much. But enough to know that this is not a place where you would like to go."
The old man kept quiet for a moment.
"Nevertheless, he chose this way when he decided to save you. And I guess he knew that it would happen."
Casey's eyes widened, for a moment he refused to understand the meaning of these words.
"Zeke is ... the dealer sent him into the arena instead of me?"
"No, not him. He is actually living in a no-man's-land between the slaves and the privileged. The slaves fear and hate him, the privileged use him but he will never be one of them. Zeke is the son of Aaron Tyler, one of the most privileged people on earth. They have the power, they have the money, they make the rules. He has made the decision to send Zeke into the arena, with some of his best soldiers. It was not the usual game, it was a show of force."
Casey needed to close his eyes, he forced himself to breathe, in and out, in and out, to fight the dull feeling in his head. So, Zeke was dead, because his own father had sent him into the arena to fight and he, Casey, was still alive?
Suddenly he did remember the days and nights they had spent in their room of the prep-house. Zeke had never been very talkative, but his presence was somehow comforting. Secretly he had always taken care of him, now Casey realized that. The day Zeke had taken him to this secret place, when he had tried to convince him to betray others just to save himself. The look in his eyes, when Casey had told him that this was not an option; that he would never be able to move on after demolishing other people's life ... And now ... Zeke was dead because of him.
Desperately he forced his tears back, knowing that he would probably never be able to stop crying again as soon as it had started. Then he opened his eyes again. The old man was eyeing him apprehensively.
"Why did you save me," Casey asked, his voice still shaky.
"Tell me, how can I live with that?"
A long pause followed before he got an answer.
"He didn't die in the arena."
Casey stared at him in disbelief, not sure if he had gotten his words right.
"But how can that be? Zeke told me ... he said, that it is almost impossible to survive the arena."
"This is right," agreed the old man in a low voice.
"When you end up there as a slave, it's very unlikely that you will get out there as a freeman. I know only one, a good guy before, but after the arena, he never was himself again. No one leaves the arena unharmed."
Casey blinked, not sure if he was ready to hear more. But the guy already continued.
"For Zeke, though, it was different. It was not the first time that he was in the arena."
The lump in his throat seemed to swell up even more.
"How do you mean that?"
"Like I said, he is the son of Aaron Tyler. Not only rich and powerful, he is the cruelest one when it comes to using his slaves. Their life means nothing to him. He humiliates them, he tortures them, he kills them ... all to his own pleasure.
Zeke is grown up in this world, he was one of them. He already was in the arena ... only on the other side. "
Memories crossed Casey's mind. The things I've seen … what I've been part of … I could never tell you, Zeke had told him. You would hate me even more than I already hate myself. He just had refused to listen. Zeke was a slave with no future, just like he was. A friend, a confidant. Now he was forced to see the cruel truth: Zeke on the other side of the society, the privileged, the hunter who tortured and killed slaves. He could even picture him enjoying every moment of it. And he could see his triumphant smile when he came off as the winner. Casey slowly shook his head in the hopeless try to wipe out these thoughts again.
"Zeke is not a monster," he whispered.
"No, he isn't," the man agreed.
"He's just a victim of the circumstances. When he started to question the system it was much too late for him. All the things he has done, I'm afraid he will never be able to forgive himself. I don't know if we did him a favor with saving his life. He was ready to die."
"But he did fight!"
"Not for survival. Only against his father. He had had the control over his life, he didn't want him to control also his death. When we found him he was rather dead than alive. We took him here to ease at least his pain, but I was sure that he wouldn't make through the night."
It felt as if an electric shock was running through Casey's body, he could barely hide his trembling.
"Wait. You did take him here? And he is ...?"
The guy nodded.
"For the moment he is stable. His body is strong, despite all his injuries, he is still fighting. Maybe he could recover. His soul, though ... well, we can't force him to live."
Casey's heart was up to his mouth when the old man finally stopped in front of a steel door and pulled it open. He shifted uncomfortable in the old wheelchair. 'At the end of the 20th century all hospitals used these', the man had told him, when Casey had stared at the strange vehicle bewildered. 'To transport sick persons who weren't able to walk on their own.' Nowadays there were band-conveyer and transporting capsules in the hospitals ... not for Casey and the other unprivileged population, though. Like almost everything which could make life bearable.
First he had tried to protest, but the old man had insisted, to lift him into the wheelchair and roll him to Zeke's room.
"It's either that, or you'll have to wait a few more days until you can see him. We are much too glad to have you back and I'm not willing to risk this."
So he had finally given in. To wait for some days was not an option, not when Zeke was ready to give himself up.
Casey gasped shocked when his eyes fall onto the single bed in the room. Despite the warning of the old man, he wasn't prepared for that. There were two IV's standing beside the bed, one to give Zeke, at least, some fluidity, because he refused to eat or even to drink; the other one with meds to ease his pain. A bucket on the floor, with a flexible tube in it. Drop ... drop ... drop again, every time when a blob of a bloody-looking liquid fall into the bucket. That was all they could still do for him with their scares medical resources.
One leg of Zeke was put into an extension bandage, one arm in a cast, his head was covered with a large bandage too, his nose swollen and black, the eyes ... Casey felt tears welling up and turned his head away. Thankful, that a light cover did hide the rest of Zeke's body. He wasn't sure if he would endure more.
The man wheeled him closer to the bed, then he put his hand onto his shoulder.
"I'm there when you need me," he said, before leaving him alone with Zeke.
For a long while, Casey was just sitting there, staring at Zeke, who didn't show any sign of life. Hesitating he put a finger onto his lips, wondrously almost unharmed, soft and warm, these lips which had kissed him ...
A light sigh tore him out of his thoughts and when he looked up he noticed that Zeke stared at him with cloudy eyes. Suddenly he started to tremble, not able to say a word, the mixture of shock, relief, pain and hope was almost too much.
"Not ... real."
Zeke lips barely moved when he talked.
Casey grabbed for his unbandaged hand.
"I'm still alive," he whispered.
"Like you are."
Zeke narrowed his eyes and turned the head aside.
"No, it's not," Casey assured him.
"I'm glad that I'm still here. That you did save me from ... the arena ... and all ... I can't say how much ..."
Zeke shook his head barely visible.
"I failed," he whispered.
"I wanted ... give you ... peace. No more ... hunger ... pain ... Never ..."
His eyes met Casey's again, clearer now.
"I didn't want you to sell yourself again ... that's not a good life."
"Not long ago I would have agreed with you," Casey said.
"After my parents death, our farm burned down, I left behind alone. I couldn't see anything good in this world. And I didn't care much about it if I would live or die.
But it has changed now. You have changed it. Because of you, I'm still here. And I can see a spark of hope at the horizon."
To his surprise suddenly a faint smile sneaked onto Zeke's lips ... and he realized that he had never seen him smiling before.
"Still the stupid, little boy," he murmured.
"Still hoping to turn into a sparkling hero who can fights all evil with one hit of the sword."
"And what if? I'd given up all my dreams, but now ... The Resistance is real. Even my parents did believe in it, that there is still a chance. Only a small one, I know, it will last a lifetime, or longer, to change something. But if we don't make the first step, the world will turn into one big arena one day."
Zeke pulled the face and groaned slightly.
Obviously, a painful effort to keep talking, but he was fighting for every word.
"Already is ... controlled ... all of them ... monsters. I know ... one of them ... No chance to win, Casey, just pain, too much pain. Don't do it, please."
Finally exhausted he gasped for air, desperate, ragged breaths. Casey felt tears burning in his eyes again.
"No, you are not a monster" he protested.
"Your father tried to make you be one, but he failed. No matter what you have done before, finally, you realized that it is wrong. And you stood up against the system. No monster would do what you have done ... for me."
His fingers closed around Zeke's, he squeezed them slightly. No reaction, Zeke's eyes were still open but Casey wasn't sure if he was still listening.
"You can't give up now. Do you hear me? If you just sneak away like a fucking coward, it will make them think that they defeated you. And I will not let this happen, because ... I care for you."
There was a dark glimpse in Zeke's eyes while he watched Casey in silence.
"Better ... not," he murmured after a long while.
"No one ... cares about me."
His eyes rolled back and fall shut when he finally drifted off into a fitful sleep. His fingers still entwined with Casey's as if they were his last lifeline.