Title: Only So much

Chapter: Part 2/?

Disclaimer: still refuses to sell them to me. So yeah – Casey and Zeke aren't mine.

Summary: The second installment – a flashback chapter. Happens before the events of a href Part 1. The flip flopping between past and present will continue in the next chapter until a plot is revealed.

A/N: I promise.

A/N 2: Tell me if you like.

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"Everyone is going Casey!" Delilah explained, using her most haughty do what I say because I said it voice.

It worked every time. Casey opened his mouth to refuse only to be surprised when "I guess I can come for a little while" came out instead.

Delilah smiled, reaching over to pat his head. "That's a good boy." She pulled several books from her locker and slammed it shut. "And you will come early and stay late. God Casey - no one cameos a party of mine."

Casey sighed. He wondered dejectedly how someone could defeat higher life forms and not be able to tell his ex-girlfriend no. Outwardly he nodded his head and accepted the kiss on the cheek Delilah bestowed before running off to find more people to peer pressure.

The 8th period bell rang signaling the end to another day. The halls began to fill. Casey leaned against the wall and felt himself fall into a familiar brood. He alternated between staring at his shoes and scanning the crowd for a familiar brunette.

Zeke's last class of the day was Mrs. Cohen's Calculus. Senior lockers were on the adjacent hallway. When Zeke rounded the corner, their eyes locked. After a few seconds Casey let his eyes slide back to the floor.

Zeke stopped in front of Casey and followed his line of sight. "What are we looking at?"

Casey had been like this for weeks. Like Zeke, everyone had been confused as to why, himself included. He couldn't figure out why the prospect of Graduation didn't excite him. He wanted out of this town more than anything. "Nothing. I was just zoning."

Zeke shrugged. "You know I was just doing the same thing in Calculus."

"That's why it took you so long to graduate."

Zeke laughed, motioning for Casey to follow him to his locker. He slid his Cal book beside a stack of cds, some pens, and a collection of poems by Pablo Neruda. "I skipped Calculus last year."

"The entire year?"

"It was before lunch, primo time to leave campus and do some business over at St. Francis."

It was so Zeke, Casey had to smile. "Selling sin to the saints".

Zeke smirked. He quietly finished, giving the lock a spin and going through two thirds of the combination.

Casey loved how Zeke was always coming up with shortcuts and ways to make life easier. Everyone else he knew tried to make things harder.

"So...the Rents taking you out for steak and potatoes after Graduation?"

Casey thought Zeke knew the answer to that. Anyone who had been to the Conner house hold could observe the tension. His parents lost what little understanding they had of him after the invasion. And he in turn had grown out of his childlike need to make them proud. They never would and he never could, so as a result they didn't talk much. They would be attending the ceremony though, which was more than he could say for Zeke. "I still can't believe you aren't going to walk."

The boys began to make there way toward the exit.

Zeke pulled out his keys, pushed open the double doors that led to freedom, and pointed Casey to the left of the parking lot. "Well you should try harder. The decision is not out of character."

Casey opened his mouth to say something sarcastic but instead came up with a mousy "I wish you would."

They reached the car (even more badass than the one the aliens killed) and at Casey's confession Zeke paused. He looked as if he wanted to say something but then didn't. Pulling the messenger bag from around Casey's neck, he pushed him toward the passenger side.

Casey let the moment pass.

"So what are you doing afterwards?" Zeke asked once they were both seated inside.

Casey noticed early on in their friendship that Zeke never just came out and said what he wanted. He usually asked several questions first, in order to feel out the situation and see if it could be manipulated. Casey cringed knowing Zeke wouldn't like the answer he had to give. "Well you see... I kinda..."

"You are NOT going to the Ice Queen's party? Seriously. Case tell me I'm wrong. Tell me you aren't that pathetic. Are you?"

"I am." Casey offered bleakly.

Zeke started the engine, cranked up the volume on the radio, and to his disappointment made a right instead of left at the parking lot exit. Zeke was taking him home. "No you are not. That is what truly saddens --- you have a pair. You just refuse to use them."

Casey blushed in both embarrassment and anger (and maybe if he were being honest a third emotion that he couldn't define). He looked out the window, counting white houses to keep from thinking at all.

Zeke let him.

In five minutes they were parked behind Casey's dad's Mini Van. He reached for the door muttering an unnecessary "Thanks."

He was half way up the driveway before Zeke jumped out and called "Casey wait."

Casey turned back to see Zeke leaning on the hood, searching his pocket for a lighter. Casey dug in his bag and threw him the punk rock pink Bic he stole from Stokely two weeks ago. Zeke lit the smoke while Casey came closer and waited.

"You want some company at the bitch's party or not?"

Casey smiled. It was good to know that no matter how much time he spent with Zeke - the guy could still surprise him. "Well there is going to be like a million people there who I, don't know, quietly despise or openly hate. Yeah, there is only so much I can stand. I could use a friend."

Zeke took a long drag, finished the cigarette and let it fall to the ground.

Casey snuffed the flame with his heal.

Zeke rolled his eyes, heaving a put upon sigh and pushing off the hood. "I'll pick you up at 9."