Framed

By Kay

Disclaimer: The Faculty is too awesome to be owned by any one soul.

Author's Notes: Casey x Zeke drabble. Yes, in that order, because I am a lame rebel. I hope someone enjoys! Thank you for reading!


The smoke curls over Zeke's fingers, disappearing into the gaping, overstretched loop of his long sleeve, and Casey can't help but watch it.

There's something about Zeke that's hard not to watch. Casey once asked Stokley when they were both semi-sleepy, quiet-like drunk together, in that way they sometimes get if they both want to remember and then forget. She'd laughed at him with the back of her throat and said it was all Casey there—and then, falling into a thoughtful lull, she'd said, "But there is something, I guess. When he smiles, he doesn't mean it. You can't catch him at the lie, though, so you wait." But that isn't what Casey sees and besides, he's seen that grin that curves Zeke's mouth when something is truly ironic or amusing; it's subtle but real, the sort of plain wash of sensory information that the aliens would have subdued.

He sometimes wishes Mary Beth could still be around, so he could explain it. She hadn't made things honest, only better. There is a difference.

With Zeke, everything is see-what-you-get and yet absolutely you-can-never-see-it. When Casey watches him, it's like glimpsing a big cat in motion, all slick and grace and lazy, raw confidence. Zeke does what has to be done, in his own time, with his own space. He's got all the answers. Casey can remember, heck—when the aliens were there and everyone was freaking out, he can recall Zeke's expression at every disjointed moment, the unreadable and collected and grim.

And that's it. That's where Casey loses focus on the Zeke that everyone sees. Because while Zeke is sharp—dark and soft eyes, considering gaze, like he's weighing everything and seeing what comes out measured—there is an inherent sense of wrong about Zeke. Something too old and too young at the same time. The guy who knows how to hold a gun so the recoil doesn't knock him off his feet, but is genuinely pained to kill his lab rat. The guy who laughed at Casey when he saw the blood bubbling out of the corner of his mouth in the bathroom stall, but was the first to sling an arm around Casey after the end of it, snug and closer than anyone and god, that husky voice into his ear: "It might be good to keep sticking together until we're sure." Zeke of sarcastic replies and drugs he doesn't do, who is jaded with the world and still keeps his parents' last Post-It tacked to the fridge with a magnet (Casey had seen it, and felt small).

Zeke never walks without purpose. His hands are large, but curve too easily for someone like Zeke; they possess a softness meant for chemists who deal in dangerous substances or, perhaps, a lover.

It's those hands that Casey is staring at now, as Zeke smokes in a sprawl over the sofa in his lab. He takes up all three cushions, leaving Casey with the armchair and not quite enough air. God. It's all so messed up. It's messed up and Casey is aware of that, like he's hyper-aware of the smell of sawdust and beer, and how Zeke never really wants to talk about aliens like the others, he just wants to hang out, or so Casey imagines because he's never sure what the hell Zeke wants when he calls.

Maybe the house just gets too empty.

He wishes, with a twist to his insides that borders on painful, that he had his camera. It's the perfect shot. He'd frame it just off center, so that the window near the ceiling was in the right upper hand corner and Zeke would be blanketed in dim lighting in the bottom left, a composition in grays and blacks and skin still pale from the winter. That head tilted back, neck exposed, the trail of smoke blindly seeking its way out of a slack mouth. Zeke has ridiculous bed hair. He probably just tugs his fingers through it in the morning—those fingers, the blunt curves to the short nails, the metal ring that Zeke worries around his knuckle—

"Hey," says Zeke. "What're you thinking about now?"

Casey fucking loves to watch Zeke.