R-rated Zeke/Casey slash, this happened when I re-read Hope's essay about the Faculty one slow day. Many thanks to Hanarobi for an incredibly helpful beta-reading to ensure it makes some kind of twisted sense.

 

Gather Ye Rosebuds
by Laura Mason

 

Casey was just sitting there, not doing anything, when Delilah wrapped her arms around him from behind, licking the side of his face, then planting a kiss on his lips that lasted so long he saw spots.

She pulled away with a wicked smile.

"I wish you wouldn't," he whined, moving a textbook to cover his lap.

"Just warding off some unwanted interest, Casey," she replied, touching the side of his face in what must look like a loving gesture from across the quad, where the mousy blonde who'd been staring at him was still sitting.

"It's not unwanted," he groused.

"Yes, it is. Remember that and you won't get hurt." That was the real Delilah, peering out for just a second before she smiled the cheerleader smile and walked away, her hips swaying in a way he would have found seductive, once.

With no physical contact, his erection quickly subsided. He managed to get inside without seeing one of the others, and was seated in the trig classroom before Stokes came to check up on him.

"Why are you doing this to me?"

"You know why, Casey."

"It's just a theory! Zeke takes a film class and my life is over?"

"You're the one who insisted, that day. You said the movies have it right."

"I.." But what's he going to say, that he wouldn't have theorized if he'd known it was going to come back and bite him on the ass?

"It's not about hormones anymore, it's about the fate of the world. If they come back, we know how to fight. And we'll need you."

"Stokes..."

"If we can get started, class," Mr. Reinier glared at Casey as Stokely slipped out the door. Great. Now he was gonna flunk on top of everything else.

Stan was waiting when class ended and walked beside him to his next class, an arm possessively slung over Casey's shoulder. Oh, yeah. Fighting aliens together made them such good buddies that Casey shouldn't notice anyone else trying to speak to him, flirt with him, smile at him... Except he does notice, because the only thing worse than walking with Stan would be actually paying attention to Stan's idiotic chatter.

Stan had been assigned a job and by God he was doing it -- but he had nothing to say to Casey, just like Before. So they walked, Stan performed his monologue, and Casey saw the shy students by their lockers, the jocks who'd still like to push him into a wall, the ones who were afraid of the alien-killer and the ones who were intrigued.

But he couldn't do a damn thing about any of it, could he? This was the "freedom" he'd fought to keep. What a joke it would be, if it wasn't happening to him.

Zeke was waiting at the door after Casey's final class session. "Are we going to the dark room today or shall I drive you home?"

"Zeke--" But Zeke's eyes were so fierce Casey gave up the plea. "I need to make a quick stop in the dark room."

"Great." Zeke was the best at keeping unwelcome attention away from Casey, even better at it than Delilah. Since he'd quit the football team in such a spectacular manner, most people were avoiding Zeke. That was Casey's fault, too.

He'd heard Zeke's theory days before getting caught with Dirk Brownlee in the back of the shower room, but he hadn't thought Zeke was serious. How could he believe that any of them were serious?

Dirk's broken bones were proof enough. Now Zeke had an even bigger bad-ass reputation and Casey had permanently blue balls.

He stood by the processing tray, his hands automatically performing the right motions. Once, the dark room had been Casey's retreat, the place where he'd fantasized as Delilah's face materialized in the bath. Now it was torture to be reminded of how he used to dream of her kisses, before Delilah became one of his jailers. The other students thought he'd gotten what he wished for, but Casey knew every touch was a hollow mockery.

"You're shaking. What's wrong?" Zeke, close behind him, tall and -- oh, he wanted Zeke. Still wanted him, as he had since that night when everything changed. Casey tried to lean back and Zeke quickly sidestepped. "You know we can't. I won't let you."

"Zeke, please. I want my life back. I'm not some immaculate--"

"But you are. You're our hero, the only one we've got. Our only weapon if more of them come to Herrington." Zeke had his hands up in front of him protectively. Afraid of Casey Connor, because Zeke wanted it, too. Casey hadn't imagined the way Zeke had grabbed him when he'd finally followed Stokes out of the equipment cage. If he closed his eyes, Casey could still feel full lips and the slightest scratch of beard, and the way Zeke's tongue had invaded his mouth.

"I'm not going to live the next forty years this way, Zeke."

"You will as long as we're around, Casey. And we're not going anywhere. It's working."

"Is it?" He was close enough to feel the heat of Zeke's body, the hands pressing down on his shoulders. He ignored them, stepping forward again and reaching for Zeke's face. Strong hands clamped on his wrists, pushing them down, but Casey let momentum carry him forward, let his mouth latch on to Zeke's neck and savor the scent of him.

"Case, no," Zeke said, but it was more of a plea than an order. Casey writhed against him, triumphantly feeling the response in Zeke's body, ignoring the pain in his wrists. "I.. I don't want this."

"Sure you do." Casey spoke slowly, words delayed while his mouth traced Zeke's collarbone and sucked on his neck. "You beat the shit out of Dirk because you wanted to be the one touching me. The whole school knows it, Zeke. If you listen, you can hear them whispering." Zeke was twisting as if he was the one being held immobile, his eyes locked with Casey's. "You drive me home every night, and back every morning..."

He saw the surrender before the mouth crushed his, knew Zeke would release his wrists just long enough to wrap long arms around him and squeeze away his breath. They were silent, mouths busy with each other and just enough air for gasps and moans.

"Where's the victory?" Casey scrabbled at the fly of Zeke's jeans with both hands. "We're both miserable--" The zipper gave way and Casey's hands plunged inside, feeling warm skin and rough hair. He fell backwards when Zeke pulled away, slamming hard into the table.

Casey looked up and witnessed a fight for self-control that was amazing. No one in Herrington would believe Zeke could be so restrained, would they? Casey wished they were right. Zeke's hands were shaking so hard he could barely manage to zip up.

"Zeke--" It was a whisper, but Zeke heard him. Casey couldn't say anything more when he saw the torment in Zeke's eyes.

"Casey? Zeke?" The doorknob rattled. "C'mon, guys, it's time to go."

Mary Beth must have won, and Casey had only been dreaming he was free. How else did Stokes and Delilah always know the right moment to come after them, to call or knock or stop by?

"Yeah, we're ready." Zeke unlocked the door and cracked it open. "One second, ok?" He slammed it again, not bothering with the lock, and moved toward Casey, hauling him onto his feet. Casey clung to him for just a moment. Zeke shuddered and bent his head to kiss Casey again, smashing him into the wall, hot and hard and toe-curling. Casey would live on it for months.

Zeke flung the door wide open and dragged Casey out into the world where he would never be alone, never have privacy, and definitely never lose his virginity.

 

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