Let's have some fun (or some drama ;) ) with the boys. Today's story is written for comment_fic, but it also fills a prompt of my Gen Bingo 11.
Title: Only a lab rat
Fandom: The Faculty
Characters: Casey / Zeke / Delilah
Prompt comment_fic: Any, Any, Death of a (canon) pet.
Prompt Bingo: terrible
Word Count: 1695
Disclaimer: not mine, of course
Annoyed Deliah stared at her boyfriend.
„Casey, stop ruining this weekend, will you,“ she hissed.
The boy cringed visibly at her harsh voice.
„I don't get it how you can think about a party,“ he murmured.
„We should go and look after Zeke. He wasn't at school for the last three days.“
Delilah rolled her eyes as she did so often lately. The time where she had been all smiles and happiness around him obviously was over. Deep inside Casey knew that this shouldn't surprise him so much. Del had always been like that and even the alien incident half a year ago hadn't changed her much.
Yes, she talked about love and a future together often lately, but actually, he had known it all the time that she didn't mean him. She had always dated the most popular boys at school. The President of Student's Council, later the quarterback from the team. For Casey she had never had an eye, he was a photo geek and a loser.
Until he had saved the world. He couldn't even say how this had happened. Like all the others he had just wanted to survive. And when no one had been left anymore but him he had done what needed to be done. He would never have called himself a hero because he wasn't one.
But a lot of others did. Like Delilah. She kissed him right in front of a camera and next day they were on the cover of the 'Times' and gave interviews for the 'Newsweek.' The hero and the beautiful cheerleader. The boy who did fight an alien queen to save the girl he loved.
He hadn't had the power to fight for longer and had just given in.
„We should go and look after Zeke. He wasn't at school for the last three days.“
„For sure we won't change our plans because of him.“
She snorted scornfully.
„He is such a loser. Instead of making the most out of all the attention he gets he crawls off and hides in his garage all day long, lamenting the loss of a stupid lab rat.“
„Oscar was not a lab rat,“ Casey protested.
„Not for Zeke. He was like a good friend.“
Deliah rolled her eyes.
„God, Casey! Face it, a rat is not a pet. That's so pathetic.“
Usually, Casey would give in now, he hated discussions like this, which, he knew this all too well, would go nowhere. But he couldn't get Zeke's eyes out of his head. The way he held the little, white rat in his hands when he infected it with the alien spawn. His hands were trembling slightly while he watched Oscar dying. They all had felt shocked and terrified, but the flickering in Zeke's eyes told about something else: a deep sadness as if he had lost his best friend and didn't know how to move on without him. And for a split of a second Casey had been sure that Zeke would just give up. Let the aliens win, let them take over the world.
But the moment passed by and thanks to Oscar's death they had been able to find a way to kill the alien queen and to save the world. Casey was not willing to forget this.
„You should be a bit more thankful,“ he answered, his voice tensed.
„This stupid rat, like you call him, actually saved your life.“
„You are still a geek, Casey,“ Delilah sighed.
„Don't waste your time with ideas like this! The party today is very important for your future. I've heard that even some profs from Harvard will be there. So, I would suggest that you finally get dressed and put on a more pleasant face. I won't let it happen that you ruin this evening after all the effort I've put into to get an invitation.“
Casey blinked wildly and suddenly he knew what he had to do. It was so easy, wasn't it? He couldn't understand anymore why he hadn't done this ages ago. Delilah was right: he had wasted his time … with her.
„Sorry, Del,“ he said.
„But I won't go to the party tonight.“
She stared at him.
„What do you mean?“
„I don't go to the party,“ he repeated as calm as he had never felt before in her presence.
„I don't go to any party anymore. Because I hate this shit. I'm not a party guy, never was. I'm not a hero. And I won't give interviews anymore, no photo shoots, or anything.
It's over, Del, face it. All I want is a normal life. I want to graduate and go to art school later. I don't need Harvard to be a nature photographer one day. Probably it won't make me that rich but for sure happier.“
„You … you can't be serious.“
Never before he had seen her so churned up; pale, her eyes wide open.
„After all … after all I did for you? Don't you dare it, Casey, don't you dare it to treat me like that.“
„What did you do for me, Delilah,“ he asked.
„All you did, you only did for yourself. You are like that since I can remember. You use everyone to get what you want most. Fame. To stand in the center of every interest. You discovered your love for me when the media decided to call me a hero.
But that's not me, Del. I'm just the photo geek … and I don't want to play the role of a hero any longer.“
He even managed it to smile.
„Maybe one day you can forgive me. Maybe one day you will understand that fame and richness are not all. At least I hope so ... for you."
„You are such an idiot,“ she spat before she rushed out of the room, banging the door shut behind her.
Hesitating Casey stopped in front of the big house in the Sunrise Aveneau. Zeke's GTO was standing in the driveway, so he had to be at home. He clutched the small box tightly with both hands, suddenly not sure anymore if it had been a good idea.
He turned around, and there he was. Zeke was standing in front of his garage, the garage where everything had started, the garage, Delilah had crashed under the influence of an alien which had taken over her body. Obviously, Zeke had begun to fix it again: the windows were glazed, the door was repaired and freshly painted. Next to the garage, a half filled container with the debris of Zeke's lab, old shelves, a broken guitar …
Zeke stepped closer, worn out jeans and an old shirt, a hammer in his hand. He eyed Casey with slightly narrowed eyes.
„What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be on the way to the big party?“
„Not going,“ he said.
„No. Delilah and me.“
Zeke put the hammer down and scratched his head.
„Get it. After all, this bitch decided that you are not good enough? Why didn't this surprise me?“
„Well, actually it was more the other way around. I did break up with her.“
„Hm. That's a reason to celebrate, I guess. Want a beer?"
„Oh, stop that, Zeke. Stop making fun out of just everything.“
„Del … not all that happened was her fault. After this incident at school, I thought it might be a good idea to look forward. To change my life. And Del has … well, she was ...“
„She did what she always does,“ Zeke finished the sentence.
„She used you.“
„I know. And I did let it happen. It's not that what bothered me. It's the way she treats others. The way she talked about you this afternoon.“
Zeke pulled the face.
„No need to worry about that, though. I give a shit.“
„But I care!“
Casey's eyes sparkled surprisingly angry.
„She has no right to talk like that. I know what you've done. You killed Oscar because it was the only way to save all of us. You sacrificed a friend, Zeke. I don't know if I would have been strong enough to make such a terrible decision.“
Zeke's eyes turned dark.
„Nothing big. It was just a rat.“
His tense voice told something different. But he wasn't willing to talk about it. Zeke had built a thick shell around him already before the alien incident when he still had been the king at school. After the event he had withdrawn even more; he had hated all the media spectacle, and for all the hero stories around Casey he had shown nothing but deepest contempt. It had been a pretty stupid idea to think that he would want to open up to him, accept his comfort.
„I guess it's time to go home,“ Casey murmured, looking over at the garage.
„Seems as if you have still a lot to do.“
But when he put the small box back into the basket on his rack, Zeke stepped closer to block his way.
„Case, what's all this about?“
With slightly narrowed eyes he stared at the box.
„It's … nothing.“
„Doesn't look like nothing.“
Zeke grabbed for it before Casey could stop him.
„Pet Smart Easton, huh?“
Carefully he opened the lid. Casey nervously took a deep breath when the small agouti-colored, variegated hooded rat with black eyes curiously looked up at them. A smile sneaked on Zeke's face while he stretched out his finger to stroke her; his body relaxed visibly.
„You got a rat,“ he asked.
"Hey, pretty guy."
„Well, actually it's not mine. My mom doesn't like pets in the house.“
Casey bit his lower lip.
„But when I crossed the pet shop there was this cage with all the rats in the window and … I thought about you and Oscar and …“
„You bought him for me?“
Casey sighed, feeling helpless.
„Sorry. I guess it was a stupid idea.“
Zeke finally had taken the rat in his hand, it wasn't shy in the slightest, started to crawl up his arm, sniffled at his neck, tried to get under his shirt. Zeke laughed slightly and grabbed for it.
„It's a female rat,“ he said after a short examination.
„ I guess I will call her Carina. That means the Beauty.“
Casey blinked wildly.
„So, you are not angry? You will keep her?“
„It was not a stupid idea, Casey.“
Zeke's voice was surprisingly calm, his smile warm and open.
„But it's long ago that someone has done something that nice for me.