Re: Casey/Dennis Slice of Life AU - FILL (1/2)

Date: 2017-03-03 05:09 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
  It’s mid-afternoon when Casey makes her way to the library again the next day. The halls are busy and noisy and she feels dread mixed with faint agitation when she peers through the glass doors of the library to see that it’s crowded today. She purses her lips and thinks for a moment before turning away and walking towards the exit. Even though it’s only September there’s already a faint chill beginning to settle in the air and the entire atmosphere seems like it’s changed, welcoming autumn. It’s much quieter outside and Casey sits down at one of the few tables that are lined up along the side of the school building, setting her bag down beside her feet and pulling out her phone. She doesn’t really have any work to do or really much to study for today, but there’s no point in heading straight home just yet. Her phone buzzes quietly in her palm and her eyes glance down to see a text from her uncle.
  
   ”Hey, car’s busted again. Will be late to pick you up, sorry.” The notification on her screen displays the text and her eyes linger on it until her screen dims again and she breathes in deeply. The weather was nice and she had all the time in the world to wait as far as she was concerned. Casey sets her elbow on the table, resting her chin on the palm of her hand as she looked upwards at the sky. This time of year, the transition from late summer into fall was always special. Every year around this time she still manages to feel the nostalgic prickle of excitement, October marking the beginning of deer season. Once her father died, Casey quickly lost her interest in hunting. Perhaps it wasn’t so much a loss of interest, but her lack of desire to go on extended trips into the forest with uncle John. But still, her internal clock still ticks quietly and gives a faint reminder every fall, an echo in the back of her mind. The wind gusts quietly and sends leaves stirring in a lazy circle where they’ve gathered in the corner of the brick walls, drawing her attention to the present moment.
  
  The warmth of the sun fades slowly from her back as one of the many puffy clouds in the sky rolls across it and she looks up to notice someone familiar. She recognizes Dennis, once again clad in his neatly pressed work uniform. Broom in one hand and the long handle of a dustpan in his other, his concentration is centered on a stray can that rolls a few lazy inches with the gentle push of the breeze. Casey doesn’t say anything to him, simply watches as he clinically sweeps the can into the dustpan and inspects a little further up the sidewalk. She briefly recalls his obsession with order and cleanliness and thinks it’s almost a little interesting to see it in action. When he looks up and catches her eye he almost appears startled like he didn’t realize she had been sitting there. The silence quickly becomes awkward but not unbearable. “You’re alone again?” Dennis finally speaks and the words that come out surprise Casey. It wasn’t too unusual to see people sitting by themselves and minding their own business and there were certainly other students who were usually by themselves as well.
  
  Casey quietly nods her head, tucking a strand of dark brown hair back behind her ear where it had fallen from. “Um, yeah. I guess so.” She said, the toes of her shoes scuffling idly on the concrete. “No ones... Giving you trouble are they?” Dennis asks her and Casey has to stop herself from snorting with amusement. “No, nothing like that. I just really don’t mind being by myself, honestly.” Casey assures him, finding it strange that he’s even concerned about it in the first place. She wonders if he’s overheard teachers discussing her. It wasn’t that she wasn’t intelligent, she just didn’t care for any of her classes or anyone in it. Getting into trouble just gave her more time to be by herself, despite the reputation that came with it. Dennis wasn’t the only one people gossiped about. He nods slowly and runs a hand across the top of his shaven head before letting it fall to his side. “Um.. I’m Dennis.” He introduces himself despite the fact he’s wearing an embroidered name patch over his left breast, and extends his hand to her. She hesitates for only a moment before she lets a thin smile cross her lips then takes his hand in her much smaller one, shaking it gently. “Casey.” She says quietly. It’s odd, suddenly finding yourself talking to the schools anti-social maintenance man, let alone becoming his acquaintance
  
  “You must get good grades if you’re always staying late to study.” Dennis comments, shifting his weight uneasily from one leg to the next. “Not really.. I only study if I really need to pass something.” Casey speaks carefully. “And there’s not much of a reason to go home.” She adds, straightening her shoulders momentarily to stretch her back before slumping again, elbows resting on the table. Dennis seems to absorb her last words, brow twitching. “I... Can understand that.” His voice is quiet and he seems to pick and choose his words. She smiles politely yet again when he empathizes with her and part of Casey almost looks down on him. Casey knew most people couldn’t empathize with her. It wasn’t a matter of being an ungrateful kid and not giving a hell about your parents who bent over backwards for you, it was because home was a muddy, slippery pit that she had to return to every night. Memories of home and childhood were a cross she had to bear that many wouldn’t understand. She’d run away several times, but never made it very far and the consequences were too much for her to ever attempt again and she had simply settled on waiting until she had a way out.
  
  But another part of Casey wondered if maybe he really could understand. She wasn’t dense enough to believe that she was the only person who had ever suffered any kind of anguish in her life, but it was easy enough to shrug your shoulders and tell someone you knew how they feel. Something about Dennis made her indecisive, curious almost. She would have made up some excuse to walk away from anyone else after this sort of conversation and yet she was still here, staring back into his eyes as he stood before her wondering if he really did understand. She glances at her phone to check and see if her uncle has texted her again and sighs quietly when she sees nothing on her screen. “If you want, I can wait out here with you.” Dennis breaks the silence she hadn’t realized had fallen on them once again. When she glances back at him he almost looks anxious, like he was instantly regretting the offer. “It’s just- It’s getting darker earlier and I wouldn’t feel comfortable... Leaving you out here in the dark and all.” He adds quickly, looking away and habitually rubs the back of his neck. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have asked you.” Dennis clears his throat and turns to walk away. “No-” Casey blurts out. Dennis pauses, slowly turning back to face her with tense shoulders, left hand gripping the handle of the broom and dustpan with bright white knuckles. “I would like that.” She stammers, nodding her head.
  
  Dennis has a faint look of genuine surprise across his stoic features and Casey shifts a little, the grid pattern of the table’s seat becoming uncomfortable. “It’s nice to have someone to wait with once in a while.” Casey speaks again like she’s almost trying to reassure him and he slowly takes a seat beside her. He’s not unbearably close, and carefully leans the dustpan and broom against the table before knitting his fingers together and letting them fall between his knees. It’s suddenly quiet between them again and Casey feels like kicking herself in the head. She could have easily just blown him off and found somewhere else to wait and now she’s forced herself into this situation. Casey bites her lip gently before turning to face him. She had to deal with it, she guessed. “It must suck having to clean up after highschoolers all day.” She shuffles her feet quietly, clawing for any subject to talk about. He glances momentarily at her and nods subtly. “It’s not so bad. I’m... used to cleaning a lot.” Dennis elaborates, eyes drifting from Casey across the table and to the ground. “There’s worse habits, I guess.” Casey says casually before tucking the same strand of hair back behind her ear. A faint smile, or what looks like one, pulls at the corners of Dennis’ mouth and he adjusts his glasses. “What did you do before you came here?” Casey is straining to keep the conversation going, but she is genuinely curious about where he had been before here. His muscular build and shaved head makes her wonder if he had been in the military at one point or another. “Same job, just at the zoo.” He answers quietly. “The pay is a little better here.” Dennis adds to answer what would be a potential next question. “That must have been nice. I would love to work with animals.” Casey feels like she sounds stupid, like some sort of middle school kid rambling about how bad she wants to grow up and be a vet or something. She’d thought about it before. “I’m better with fixing machines.” Dennis presses his thumbs together, idly fidgeting.
  
  He’s really strange, there’s no doubt in Casey’s mind, but she really cant help the fact that she finds herself enjoying his company. She’s hung out with a couple of girls from her class before and it wasn’t like she thought they were bad people, but it just felt they were on a completely different plane of existence like that. She often felt like an alien, coming down to everyone’s strange planet to make awkward contact whenever she made attempts to befriend other kids from the school. And suddenly there was a man, probably double her age, sitting beside her having a painfully awkward conversation with her and she felt like she’d met someone from her own planet, in a way. It was weird. He was weird. Casey herself felt like that was okay, she was a little weird too. Headlights suddenly come into view as the calm, familiar rumble of her uncles truck purrs into earshot. Casey grabs her book bag and heaves the strap across her shoulder before turning to Dennis. “That’s my ride, I have to get going now...” She pauses, brown eyes fixated on Dennis’ blue ones. “It was nice to meet you Dennis. Thanks for waiting with me.” She adds, the corners of her mouth twitching slightly upwards and he nods. “Mmhmm. Goodnight.” He says, also rising from his seat and grabbing his broom. A surprising amount of time had passed with their encounter and it was about time for him to start locking up anyways, her uncle had made good timing. Casey makes her way to the old Ford and the hinges on the door squeal stubbornly as she climbs in. “Hey Casey-bear.” Her uncle greets her normally and she says nothing as she buckles herself in, resting her elbow on the ledge on the door. “Sorry I’m late, I really need to get this thing traded in for something better.” Casey only half listens as he speaks, the truck growling away down the parking lot. “Yeah.” She offers a half-hearted answer, her gaze turning out the window.
  
  Rows of pine trees speed past the window as they turn out onto the main road and she rests her head against the thin pane of glass, eyes slipping shut. She thinks about Dennis, muscular and strange, conscientious and focused. Peculiar Dennis who offered to sit with her while the sky turned from blue to duskier bruised colors. It feels silly thinking this much about someone who she had just met, and barely knew. She internally chastises herself for looking too deeply into it, but it was refreshing. It was refreshing for someone to want to look out for you instead of wanting to hurt you. Part of her wonders if he’s thinking as much as she’s thinking about him. It’s doubtful, he probably goes home to a wife and kids every evening and has probably already forgotten about the late afternoon’s events. She sits up straight in her chair, pulling away from the window and pulls her thoughts away from Dennis.



i've posted this on AO3 by the way! http://archiveofourown.org/works/9946223

Re: Casey/Dennis Slice of Life AU - FILL (1/2)

Date: 2017-03-03 05:09 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
whoops. meant to make that (2/?) oh well haha.

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