Title: I'm strong only together with you
Fandoms: The Faculty / Criminal Minds
Characters: Casey Connor, Zeke Tyler
Length: 1033 words
Promptfan_flashworks: Challenge 182 - together
Prompt Gen_bingo: angst
Disclaimer: of course, I don't own 'The Faculty' nor 'Criminal Minds' nor the characters
When Zeke opened the door to the apartment, he could hear the TV running. For a split of a second, he allowed himself to feel relief; he had learned to live with the always existing danger of Casey's job without thinking too much about it, but it was always good to know that he was back in one piece.
„Hey, babe,“ he called and dropped down his backpack on the kitchen counter before entering the living room.
Casey was sitting on the comfortable couch, knees up, a blanket pulled over him. A bowl of popcorn and a glass of soda in front of him on the table. A Youtube video was flickering over the screen, about baby pandas and their mothers.
Oh, cute animals, it was that bad. Inwardly Zeke cringed while he bent down and kissed Casey gently on the cheek. He knew well enough that he wouldn't endure more at the moment.
A weak smile sneaked on Casey's lips.
„Hey. I've missed you.“
Zeke dropped down onto the couch beside him, putting an arm around his shoulder.
Finally, Casey turned his head to face him; he was pale, dark rims around his eyes. For sure he hadn't slept much during the last days.
„I will be,“ he murmured and rested his head on Zeke's shoulder.
„Now, where you are here. Just hold me for a minute.“
Half an hour later in the bathroom. Zeke had managed it to convince Casey, that a hot bath and a massage might be a good idea before he would have a light meal and then go to bed early.
„This okay,“ he asked while his hands were kneading Casey's hard, tensed up muscles.
„Tell me when it hurts too much.“
„You can't hurt me,“ Casey murmured, his eyes closed.
„Do you wanna talk about it,“ Zeke asked, though he wasn't sure if he wanted to hear more. It always was hard to endure and to think that Casey could only tell him bits of the truth had already caused him more than just one nightmare.
„I will never get used to it when children are involved in the case,“ was all Casey said.
Zeke swallowed. Pictures were crossing his mind. Horrible picture Casey had taken. Because this was his job as a member of a special force from the FBI. Profiler; they only got the cruelest cases where most of the others had already given up. Since about two years Casey was already working for them as a photographer.
Zeke hadn't been able to understand his decision at first.
„FBI,“ he had asked, feeling flabbergasted.
„You can't be serious.“
„What's wrong with it?“
Casey had huffed annoyed.
„It's an important job. The BAU is very successful for years already, and they want a good photographer in their team. I'm brilliant.“
„Jetting around the world from one murder to the other? Hunting psychopaths? That's not you!“
„So, what do you expect me to do? Jetting around the world for a traveling magazine? That I do photo shoots of celebrities?“
He had looked at Zeke with tears in his eyes; begging for understanding.
„That's not me, Zeke. It would be a waste of my talent. I have the chance to make the world to a bit better place. How can I say 'no' to that?“
And Zeke had pulled him into his arms and had accepted it that Casey had to do what he had to do. For two years he was a part of the team now. The team. Hotch, the team leader. Derek, a smart and funny guy. Rossi, he had taken Casey under his wings at first, like a father. J.J. The only one in the team with an ideal relationship; she even had a baby. Reid, the youngest, besides of Casey. Brilliant mind, he had three doctor's degrees. Or were it already four? Penelope Garcia. A computer genie, the good soul of the team. Casey loved her, of course, she was a geek as he was.
At first, Zeke had felt some kind of jealousy when he had noticed that they welcomed Casey heartily as the new member of their selected company. He seemed to spend more time together with them than at home; there were secrets Casey would never share with him. And Zeke had felt left behind; alone and afraid that he would lose Casey. Today he knew better; Casey's job hadn't come between them, it had brought them even closer together.
„I love everyone in the team,“ Casey had told him one day.
„We are family. Only when we stand together, we are able to do this job. We can trust us blindly. We know what the other is thinking even without words.“
He had paused and chuckled slightly.
„Well, they know, they are the profiler. I'm just the photographer. But I'm a part of the family, and I'm proud of it.
But, Zeke ...“
Slowly he grabbed for Zeke's hand, entwined their fingers.
„Without you, I wouldn't be able to do all this. You make me strong enough for every new case. You don't blame me when I have to leave in the middle of the night head over heals; you helps me packing and drives me to the airport. You never complain because of missed anniversaries or canceled weekend trips. You even go to Herrington for my mother's birthday because I'm not around.
But most important for me is to know that you will be there when I come back home. That's what keeps me going, no matter how hard the circumstances of the case are.
I know, it's not always easy for you and I can't thank you enough for not giving up.“
Zeke had pulled the face; too many emotions to deal with it.
„Shut up, geek boy,“ he had snarled.
"Just shut up."
Casey had smiled.
„I love you!“
Finally, Zeke ended the massage.
„Water is getting cold,“ he said.
„Get dressed. A salad with toast is already waiting for you in the kitchen. And then: bed. You need some sleep; at least 10 hours. I will take care of it that no one disturbs you.“