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May 22nd, 2012 (07:15 pm)

This idea smacked me in the face and wouldn't stop 'til it was done. I considered posting it for Dad's Day, but ehhh... I have other ideas for that. So. Yea.

Title: Just Like You
Pairing: C/Z
Genre: AU, fluff-laden-H/C, future!fic
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Don't own!
Synopsis: Casey doesn't fit in the puzzle--or so he thinks.

Sometimes, Casey wonders if he's a terrible person or if he's justified in his frustration. Basing this extremely important, life-altering decision on a stupid bet ate him alive nowadays. The reasons behind that create even more guilt, sometimes so overwhelming that he hates himself. Yet he can't help but think of how different it would've been...

After Zeke won that hand of cards with a flush against Casey's two-pair, he'd gone off with Stokely for a 'date'. No sex was involved, of course; just a stupid turkey baster. Stan and Casey stayed behind to watch TV while Joshua, Stan and Stokely's two-year old boy, played with blocks.

“You really don't mind, huh?”

“If I did, I never woulda said 'sure', right?”

The couple's generosity knew no bounds. Three months later, Stokely dropped by, pregnancy test with the two-lined goal in its little window in hand. Turkey basters worked, apparently, and they went out that night to celebrate Casey and Zeke's future fatherhood. After getting home, Zeke had a moment of humble insecurity in his saying, “He's gonna be your kid, too, just as much as mine.”

“Hah, 'he'? Counting chickens, ain't we?”

“I'm serious. We're in this shit together, 'k?”

Casey had done a good job, hiding his disappointment, but in that moment, that disappointment died completely; never mind the betting. Zeke's gene pool was solid, even with the behavior issues. He came from a healthy family, he was strong and 'dominant', the dark hair and eyes eclipsing Casey's light brown and blues. With Joshua having been born at a hefty ten pounds and two ounces, already grasping at language through the many board-books the kid adored, Stokely's bloodline ran strong, as well. It was assured that the baby-gift to the boys would be fantastic.

And it HAD been. As predicted, Stokely had finished baking a gorgeous baby boy on August 22nd, two days before the actual due date. The easygoing, no-problems delivery had made Casey's mother tell her, “God, I hate you,” with a smile while holding her grandson. As a 'consolation prize' of sorts, Casey's middle name had been passed on to the boy, staking his claim as the second father. Torrin—let no one say his parents were unoriginal.

When Mr. Connor had joked, “Better hope he's not the teenager ZEKE was when he gets to that age,” Casey had rolled his eyes and jabbed him with his elbow, hard. Zeke had done a one-eighty since high school—since they'd started dating, really, deciding he didn't want to be known as the Class of '99's eternal fuck-up. At their class' ten year reunion, however, their former classmates knew him as three things: a professional, high-paid chemist, Casey's husband of six years and the father of a four-year old. It took a move to Connecticut for that, and like hell Ohio recognized their exchange of vows when they'd visit, but it was all worth it. Still, he had to 'live it down' when it came to Casey's father, who'd carried skepticism over how good he'd be for Casey, for longer than what had been warranted.

They were coming up on their twentieth class reunion, now. At thirty-eight, Casey still looked like a college student, instead of the college professor that he was. Zeke's looks had changed more; his lanky body had filled out, his hair wasn't sticking out everywhere and he showed just a titch of age when he smiled, the corners of his lips making adorable-dents around them. He still had it, no matter how old he was; twenty-something girls would stare when he'd walk by, probably thinking he was around their age and they had a chance.

Torrin had been graced with those good looks—dark hair and brown, almond-shaped eyes, as safely predicted. Casey hadn't ever realized how Zeke and Stokely could have passed as fraternal twins until Torrin's eighth birthday, when Casey watched him open his Xbox present and smile like a loon at them. Both Zeke and Stokely were in him, a perfect mix. Casey had excused himself to the bathroom, locked himself in and stared in the mirror for a good five minutes. Blue eyes, lighter hair, pale skin. Still thin and short. Torrin reached Casey's height at thirteen, and in the matter of one year, he was tall enough to see the top of Casey's head. The boy was a wild, overgrown weed, gangly but athletic.

He adored sports, basketball in particular. On this day, he'd gone out to the park with friends for a few games, promising to be home by supper. When six-thirty came and went, Zeke had tried the boy's cell. No answer. Seven-thirty, another few tries—nothing. By the time eight-thirty rolled around, Zeke was angry and hopping in the car to go to the park himself to drag him home. If Torrin had called to ask if he could come home later, it wouldn't have been a problem, and he'd known that. A grounding was in order, signed, sealed and delivered the moment Zeke got him home.

The problem was, Zeke hadn't. Mere minutes after Zeke had shot down the road, Torrin showed up, the first thing he said being, “Sorry, lost track of time,” in a casual, careless tone as he passed Casey on the way to the kitchen. Casey had crossed his arms, steeled his jaw and followed.

It'd been the usual, only worse.

“You father is out looking for you—for god's sake, we CALLED you on the cell!”

“I had the sound off and didn't know it, I SAID I was sorry!”

“Yea, what a 'sorry' it was.”

“Look, my curfew's at ten-thirty, it's not like I'm late!”

“That doesn't matter! You said you'd be home by dinner--”

“Really, lay the hell off.”

The disrespect, the rolling eyes... Casey had felt and seen it one too many times. He'd exploded in a rage, letting Torrin know that he was not to be such a rude, little brat—that he was always a rude little brat to him, “Your father!”, to which the boy turned on his heels, slammed his can of cola down and yelled,

“You're NOT my father though, are you??”


Both of them had jumped and turned to the back door. Neither of them had heard it open, nor seen Zeke stepping in. Torrin had stared his father's way, looking afraid—Zeke presence did that. Not Casey's.

“Get your ass upstairs and get ready for the talk of a lifetime, boy,” Zeke said in his signature 'You're In Deep, Deep Shit' voice that always got Torrin swallowing with anxiety. Sure enough, the boy scampered off, head hung low as he climbed the stairs to his room.

It was silent for a few moments, the only sound being the muted drip-drip of the sink Zeke had promised to fix two months before. Casey stared at the drops falling as Zeke took a deep breath. “He didn't mean it--”

“He did. He did,” Casey had interrupted. A sad smile tickled his lips. “He's been saying that for years now.”

“When? You've never...”

“In his actions, not words, Zeke. And he's right.” Casey sniffed and stalked to the back door. As he threw his sandals on, he said, “I'm not, am I?”

“Bullshit. Total bullshit,” Zeke angrily replied.

Casey rubbed his eyes then turned to give Zeke a teary look. “He's just like you,” he said before jetting off to the driveway.

In the present, Casey was staring at his own image in the mirror of the McDonald's he'd stopped at along his long, long drive. Nothing but a dangerous mix of jealousy, anger and guilt was there in the blue, blue eyes—the recessive to Zeke's dominant, what hadn't had a shot in being created in their son. Zeke's son. Those eyes filled and snapped shut in an instant. 'Stop,' Casey told his thoughts and feelings.

He's just like you. Going by the split-second glimpse of Zeke's face Casey had gotten before escaping, he couldn't have said anything worse. Even more worse was Casey's meaning it.


It was past midnight when Casey returned home, too tired to keep driving. He walked into the house in slow steps, body numb from all the crying and gas-pedal-punching. The sandals were kicked off listlessly amongst the neat rows of boots and shoes in the mudroom before padding into the kitchen. It was dead silent, making Casey wonder if they'd gone to bed... or simply gone.


Casey snapped his eyes up to the archway leading to the living room; Zeke stood there, a tired and concerned expression on his face. All Casey did was raise his eyebrows and turn to the fridge, where a beer waited for him.

“I tried calling your cell, about an hour ago,” Zeke said.

“I turned it off.”

“Yea. Went straight to voicemail, so...” Zeke let out a groan while rubbing the side of his face. “Me and Torrin—we had a long, fucking, talk.”

“That's good,” Casey mumbled in reply.

“I'm calling a counselor in the morning. He needs it,” Zeke said.

“That's good.”


“No, I said 'that's good', and it is. Really,” Casey said.

Zeke stared at him for a few moments before looking away and leaning on the fridge. “It's not just the whole 'whose sperm was whose' crap. He's getting shit at school,” he confided. “That idiot... the kid there, Jack? He's been on Torrin's ass for the last few months about having two dads and--”

“Well, I'm NOT his dad, he can just tell them th--”

“CASEY.” It was Zeke's turn to interrupt, angrily. “Stop. The dramatics.”

“It's what he SAID, Zeke! All right? It's what he said! So excuse me if I'm not lil' Mr. Pollyanna right now, I'm a bit fucked-up over this... 'k??” Casey retorted with as much force as Zeke had used. Problem was, Zeke held his resolve much better, actually meaning his sternness. It was proven in Casey's eyes filling, yet again; he put his beer down and covered his face. “This. Fucking. Hurts. And you have no idea, you don't know what it's like...”

“No, I don't,” Zeke said.

“I changed just as many diapers, made just as many meals—fuck, almost every one, laundry, school meetings, whatever... the hell else.” Casey took a deep, shaky breath and uncovered his face to look Zeke in the eye. “And never mind what he said. What do they all say when we're out together, even in 'yay for gay' spots?”

“Case, please...”

“'Who's his father?'” Casey said in a spit. “Then we say 'both of us, why?', and they say, 'well, I meant who's the biological.' Know what happens to me, every time I have to deal with that?”

Zeke's nostrils flared as Casey punched a fist against his chest, over his heart. “You think I like that?”

“No one cares if you like it or not,” Casey said.

Again, silence reigned. Zeke uncrossed his arms and let them hang limply for a minute, then lifted one up to shove his hand into his pocket. He drew out a few folded papers. “He wrote you a letter,” he said, holding the pages out to Casey. “I dunno what he said in it. It's just for you.”

Casey stared at the offering; he wanted to refuse it, to say he didn't want it, but he did... more than anything.



I'm not writing this cuz dad told me to. He gave me a huge talk, but I did it on my own after he left me in my room and grounded me for two weeks. I'm not bad with words, even if English isn't my fave subject in school. I just wanted you to know that I'm sorry for the crap I said when I got home, cuz you didn't deserve it. You are my dad, I was just angry and knew how to hurt your feelings, cuz I see it all the time when people act like a-holes when they meet us.

I told dad I was having trouble at school, and why. It IS cuz I have two dads, but its worse than all that. We had that open house last week, and the next day I had Jack riding my a** about it, but mostly cuz of you. He said you “looked like a fag” and you were the “girl” in my dads' relationship. I was so pi**sed off, I almost got up and beat him up, and not cuz I was embarrassed. I was mad for YOU. I didn't get in his face though, cuz you're always telling me to go to teachers or whatev. It doesn't work, just like it didn't work for you when you were in school.

Casey paused in his reading Torrin's letter to close his eyes. How many times had he told Torrin about the torment he'd received in school, how worried he was that Torrin would somehow, magically 'inherit' that from him? He'd been told from an early age how their family-life could do that... Casey cleared his throat, sank further into his desk chair and kept reading.

Even if it doesn't happen all the time or the kids I hang with are cool with it, just one stupid comment gets me so ticked off I can barely breathe. And it's NOT cuz I'm ashamed like I said, its cuz I know what bullcrap it all is. Nothing's wrong with you and dad being my dads. You're always cool with me going out with my friends, not being as strict with curfews like Pop-Pop and Gram were with you. As long as I call and let you know what's going on, even if I'm gonna be a little late, you don't get on me about it. You've even said that you don't want me drinking and stuff, but if I DO make that mistake you'll come pick me and my friends up instead of us trying to drive our drunk-butts home. “You'll get the grounding of a lifetime, but we'll have more respect for you if you use your head in those situations” you said. That's why I DON'T drink and do stupid stuff like that, cuz you trust me.

I ruined that tonight, I really did. I said what I said cuz I knew it'd make you cry. You try to hide it and say you cut onions or sneezed a lot or whatever, but it ain't true. I'm not stupid, dad...

'I know that,' Casey thought. He was just like Zeke, in the good ways—brilliant and owning it.

...Dad says I'm gonna start counseling and stuff, and I'm good with it. I don't wanna hurt your feelings, I really, really, really don't. You ARE my dad. You go to all my games, make dinner HOMEMADE all the time and stand up for our family when people turn into dickheads (I'm just gonna say it instead of putting a bunch of ***s in, let's not make out like you and dad censor yourselves lol)... Casey paused to chuckle. 'We'll let it slide...' I'm proud of that. There are tons of kids I know who's parents fight all the time or are divorced, and its like, I got two dads that love each other and aren't gonna break up. They can't say shit-all (sorry again lol) about US when their parents are so crappy. Right?

I know I'm in trouble, I'm grounded, ect ect, and I'm mature enough to know I earned it. THIS time. :) But I love you, and you ARE my dad. I just wanted you to know that. When you get home from work tomorrow, I'M gonna make dinner for you and dad. It won't be your awesome rice-crispy chicken, but I promise I won't make something that'll make you barf.



Casey's throat felt swollen, the emotion damned-near crippling. Torrin meant this, had written him this letter straight from his heart—his mind. Casey looked out the door into the hallway, knowing Zeke was fast asleep.

'He's just like you,' he thought Zeke's way.

Before he could fold the letter, he heard a loud thump! He blinked furiously, put the pages down on the desk and grinned. If there was one thing that young man knew how to do, and do well, it was dump his sleeping ass off the bed and onto the floor. It was as if he would practice his famous slam-dunks in his dreams. Sighing softly, Casey wandered down the hall, opened Torrin's door and tiptoed in. Sure enough, his long, gangly body was sprawled on the floor and he was moaning in confusion. “Hey,” Casey murmured in the dark as he went to Torrin's side. He patted the boy's arm before taking it in his hand.

“Ugh-huh... Dad?”

“Fell outta bed, again.”

More groaning came while Casey helped hoist him up to his knees and help him crawl back into bed. It was a treat, getting to fluff the sheets and blankets back to let Torrin in under them then cover him up. Casey tucked the boy in, leaned down and kissed his forehead. “'Night,” he whispered. After a long look and smile, Casey left the room, yawning. He, too, was ready for a good night's sleep.

But he had a fit of chuckles in getting to his and Zeke's room; there his man was, one half of his body hanging off the bed. Casey shook his head, went to the tipping-over side and gave him gentle shoves to the middle. He shimmied into the man tight, threw the covers over them and closed his eyes. “He's just like you,” he murmured as he kissed Zeke's cheek. It elicited a hard snore, an arm coming around Casey's waist then back to silent, blissful rest, for both of them.


Posted by: m O i T (moit)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)

Baby, I love love fucking loved this fic. Fucking loved it. It almost made me cry, but made me laugh in the end. </p>

I would BEG (blackmail and/or trade) you for more of this.

Posted by: honeyandvinegar (honeyandvinegar)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 01:38 am (UTC)

Ooh, a trade? I'll tell you, I've got a writing bug going on. I can get sumfin done, veddy soon. Earliest being tonight, latest being tomorrah afternoon (love weekdays off :D).

Not expecting it back quick with your bizzinesses, the move, etc., but... traaaaade! :D

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Posted by: addie71 (addie71)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
Zeke's Hand

Oh, Honey, I love, Love, LOVE this! Torrin's letter to Casey is so sweet and loving. *sniff* He really is just like his Zeke-dad.

You made me happy all over with this. :)

Posted by: honeyandvinegar (honeyandvinegar)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)

Inorite? I went into FLUFF OVERLOAD here. Lots of angst, but OMG MARRIEDC&ZWITHAKID!!! :O:O:O Lol! Thanks, hunny!

Posted by: verangel (verangel)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 11:29 am (UTC)

Turkey Baster!!! I kept trying to imagine the logistics of this. LOL Honey...I can't tell you how freaking wonderful this was. I LOVED Torrin and loved the whole psych into this issue. Casey does look so different than Zeke that it is easy to see how he would feel left out a bit. When he would go in the bathroom and just stare at himself my heart broke. I really wish they had done a couple of turkey basters. Couldn't you imagine a blue eyed girl Casey? When Casey went off after Torrin said those horrible words my heart broke and tears misted my eyes. But then that calm in coming home and the hurt so strong but also, the love between Zeke and Casey still there. I knew Zeke's heart was breaking for his Casey. The letter was so special. It is hard for Torrin also because he does love them so mmuch. Having someone ask if Casey was the girl (he can't help he is so pretty) in his parents relationship was hurtful and hard for a kid to deal with...but he does. You crippled my emotions in sad way and then in the love and happy. I am one big pile of happy mush and I love this family. You breath real life in them. Love you honey xooxoxo hugs you tons and more

Posted by: honeyandvinegar (honeyandvinegar)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC)

I've got a slight addiction to this idea, now. I wrote and posted MORE. Oh dear. Like I'm not writing enough. LOLZ! Thank you, bunny... as stated, I'm in the groove here. Imagining them as 'rents is kinda neat. I'm so glad I pulled it off for YOU, too! *squashy-squish*

Posted by: ואם לא עכשו אימתי (karin_woywod)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)

I think I need a bit of fluff from time to time, and this was just sweet (after the turning point in the plot) !

Thank you !


- Karin.

Posted by: honeyandvinegar (honeyandvinegar)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)

Yes, PLENTY o' angst (ah, my bliss, lol!) but fluffy all 'round. Thanks hun!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: honeyandvinegar (honeyandvinegar)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)

There are always going to be issues, in ANY fam, never mind one that's different from the others. Thrilled that you got into it, hun--sometimes I worry with these types of AUs! :)

Posted by: lireeli (lireeli)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)

So sad...
I'm really happy this little boy has seen the damages and has fixed it.

Posted by: honeyandvinegar (honeyandvinegar)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)

We all love a good parent, and Casey's that. Torrin couldn't deny it, no matter his angsties! *squish*!

Posted by: aliensouldream (aliensouldream)
Posted at: May 28th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC)

Awwwww, FLUFF MONSTERER!!!! Totally happy-making goodness. Glad I've started the catch up with this. Instant family adorableness and a new classic :-)))

Posted by: Bex (wiccabex)
Posted at: May 29th, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC)

oh sweetie... this is just unbelievable. You have such a gift

Posted by: layne (layne67)
Posted at: June 4th, 2012 05:20 am (UTC)

I'm glad that I found this, because I love kid!fics :))

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