|The Casey Crisis
Author: midnightquaffles PM
Struggling with finding her place in the family and unable to face the reality of Casey getting seriously injured, Lizzie runs away to her old home while Derek is in charge. A Derek and Lizzie sibling-bonding fic.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Hurt/Comfort/Family - Lizzie M. & Derek V. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 10,348 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 11 - Updated: 05-03-13 - Published: 01-21-12 - id: 7762465
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It started out like any other Saturday with a fight between Derek and Casey. This time Derek had been trying to break his record for how many times he could piss Casey off before the end of breakfast, counting by the number of times "De-rek!" was screeched. He only got up to seven before Casey was annoyed enough to throw a banana at his head. With his quick reflexes, Derek ducked and the banana hit his stepmother Nora in the face as she entered the kitchen.
"Enough!" Nora shouted as she picked up the banana and slammed it on the counter, accidentally squishing it. Trying to end the incessant fighting, Nora suggested Casey accompany her food-shopping while Derek cleaned up the smushed banana and watched the kids.
It was such a mundane, everyday routine that none of the kids even glanced up to say goodbye to Nora and Casey. Marti was off in her imaginary world upstairs. Lizzie and Edwin were too preoccupied fighting over the remote in a Derek-and-Casey-like fashion—a fight which soon ended as Derek ordered Edwin to clean the kitchen counter and grabbed the remote from Lizzie's hand before settling into his recliner to watch the latest hockey game.
Sighing, Lizzie found herself looking out the window behind the television, watching the gentle fall of snowflakes. It was late January, one of the coldest and snowiest months of the year.
A few hours later, Lizzie was starting to get worried. Her mom and Casey were always very good at food shopping—they always had a list of not just what they needed but which brands to get based on what was on sale and they expertly navigated the supermarket without ever giving into impulse purchases. So what could be taking so long? Sighing, Lizzie shrugged it off, figuring maybe Casey conned their mom into some special shopping spree to avoid coming home and being tormented by Derek, and went to join Edwin in their latest spying adventure to uncover exactly what goes on in Marti's imaginary world.
Lizzie and Edwin's latest spying venture did not last too long before they both got roped into playing tea party with Marti and Marti's imaginary friend Daphne. When Marti turned around to invite her favorite stuffed monkey to the party, Edwin hissed to Lizzie, "Do we really have to do this?"
"Would you rather go downstairs and be Derek's personal valet?" Lizzie replied in a whisper, "Besides, it's something to do before Mom and Casey come home with some food."
"Food? What kind of tea party would this be without food?" Marti squealed as she served them imaginary ice-cream cones. Marti then proceeded to admonish Daphne for throwing her ice cream at Edwin's face while Edwin and Lizzie sighed, impatient for someone to come rescue them.
After half-heartedly participating in Marti's tea party, Lizzie and Edwin rushed downstairs at the sound of the front door opening and closing. They had assumed it would be Nora and Casey, returning from their grocery shopping and in need of help bringing in bags of food. However, George Venturi stormed in, hours before he typically came home from work.
"Dad, what's up?" Derek asked with an eyebrow raised, confused at his father's sudden appearance. It was only the early afternoon, what would he be doing home? Mentally, Derek ran through a checklist of what he could have possibly done to warrant his dad being so mad he had to come home from work early but couldn't think of anything that bad. Lizzie and Edwin paused on the stairs, just as confused as Derek.
George ran his fingers through his hair and closed his eyes for a moment before clearing his throat.
"Guys," George sighed, "There's been accident. I got the call at work that Nora and Casey are in the hospital. I don't know all the details, only that the roads got icy and a car skidded into theirs. I have to go to the hospital to see how they're doing and fill out some paperwork. Derek, you're in charge, and today is not the day to blow your chance at being responsible."
Derek merely scowled at his father before returning his attention to the hockey game. Edwin mumbled something about telling Marti. Lizzie felt like the only one besides George who was in a state of panic.
"W-what do you mean you don't know the details?" Lizzie asked, "Are they going to be okay? Are they even—"
"Lizzie," George gently interrupted, "all I know is that they survived the accident. I don't know how hurt they are, but I promise I'll call as soon as I find out."
Lizzie just nodded, looking down at the floor, thinking about what this could mean. What if they didn't make it? What would she do without them? Where would she go without them?
After George left, Lizzie looked around the living room. She noted the mess of Marti's toys strewn everywhere, chips and crumbs covering the coffee table, Derek's control over the television… The whole house was still utterly Venturi. Lizzie remembered how Casey tried and failed to feminize the house when they first moved in. The guys had taken it to be a feminine brainwashing ritual and Casey seemed to act like it was a war against the boys, specifically Derek. But for Lizzie it was all about making it their home, too. However, the only thing that made the Venturi house feel like home was the presence of her mom and sister. Without them…
Afraid she was about to cry (and no one cries in the same room as Derek Venturi), Lizzie slowly walked to her room, thinking about what life would be like without her mom and sister. She found it hard to imagine, but she pictured the Venturi's going back to whatever disgusting state they were in before the McDonald's moved in. Without her mom or Casey to nag the boys, the house would never be clean or even remotely organized. The house would only ever have junk food or take-out with George left to do all the food-shopping. Derek would be the sole oldest sibling and things would be quieter without him fighting with Casey, but he would also treat the rest of them like slaves. Edwin would go back to spending all his time being Derek's personal servant, as without Casey there would be a lot less spying to do and no hunts to find her diary or an offer for him to change sides. Without Casey, there was no Team-McDonald for him to switch to and no one to challenge Derek's dominance. And Marti… well, Marti would continue being the baby and probably a total princess without drama-queen Casey taking up all the princess-spotlight. And Lizzie… Lizzie imagined herself being the invisible girl living in a gross boy-ruled world. After all, she had no status in their family as it was.
She used to be the cute little sister, but then Marti took that job when they moved in with the Venturi's. Now she was just a middle-kid along with Edwin. But at least Edwin has Derek, she thought. Edwin and Derek had that special brotherly bond, like Lizzie had her sisterly bond with Casey. But if Casey didn't make it through this, what would her status be in this household?
The more Lizzie thought about it, the closer she came to the conclusion that without her mom and sister, she had no place in this family. After all, the only reason she and Casey were part of the family was because her mom married George and couldn't exactly abandon her daughters the same way she abandoned most of their old furniture, old house, old job, and old life in Toronto.
Lizzie suddenly longed to return to Toronto, to go home. She couldn't stand just sitting around watching Derek boss Edwin around or have one more argument with Marti over her imaginary friend or just do nothing waiting around for George to call, possibly to get them ready to say their goodbyes. Unable to bear it, Lizzie grabbed her backpack and dumped out its school-related contents onto her floor, creating a mess her mother would scold her for. But her mother wasn't there, so Lizzie grabbed some clothes and money and began packing.
"Hey, Liz!" Edwin poked his head in, looking confused at the mess in Lizzie's normally spotless room, "Uh, what're you doing?"
"Going home," Lizzie mumbled as she struggled to close the zipper on her packed backpack.
"Uh, you do know you live here, right?" Edwin questioned, "And that we're supposed to forage through the house to find food to make lunch for us, Derek and Marti?"
Lizzie didn't respond.
"Lizzie? You okay?" Edwin asked, starting to get worried about his favorite step-sister/best friend.
Lizzie was far from okay, but she was hatching a plan to get a bus to Toronto—the last thing she needed was Edwin prying into her not-yet-fully-formed-plan. So Lizzie clenched her jaw and tried to sound normal when she said, "Yeah, I'm okay. I just need some space to deal with all this."
Edwin took the hint and left and Lizzie finished packing. Now came the hard part: sneaking out.
Although at this point Lizzie was certain none of the Venturi's would notice or care that she was leaving, Derek was in charge and Lizzie wasn't sure if this meant sneaking out would be easier or harder. He usually didn't care what she did as long as it didn't involve bothering him. On the other hand, today he was in charge and if he caught her sneaking out, he might try to stop her just so he wouldn't get in trouble for not "being responsible" and "watching the kids." Lizzie almost snorted to herself at that thought, knowing full well that the only thing Derek was watching was the television.
She stealthily made her way down the hall and peered over the banister to see if the coast to the front door was clear. The TV was still on, but the recliner was unoccupied and Lizzie could faintly hear Derek and Marti opening and closing cupboards in the kitchen and someone mentioning something about take-out. So Lizzie seized her chance and headed out the door.
She made it all the way to the bus stop before noticing how cold it was and wishing she had on a warmer coat. But it was too late to go back now—she had already stepped on the bus, ready go back to Toronto. Back to her home.
Back at the Venturi house, Derek could find nothing to eat but Nora and Casey's health-crap and decided on ordering Chinese food. Marti was already there so he just called Edwin and Lizzie down. Edwin came quickly at the mention of food, but Lizzie was a no show.
Annoyed, Derek yelled, "Lizzie, if you don't come down here and tell me what food you want, I'm ordering for you and feeding it to Marti's imaginary friend!"
"Her name is Daphne!" Marti scoffed.
"Uh, Derek, I think Lizzie's really upset..." Edwin told him.
Derek smirked and replied, "Too upset for food? Now that is just ridiculous," His smirk faded as he realized that Edwin was really worried. "Ed, go find out what she wants from the Chinese place," he ordered.
Five minutes later, Edwin yelled "DEREK!" from upstairs and came rushing down.
"Where's the fire, smokey?" Derek teased with a bemused smirk on his face.
"I can't find Lizzie!"
Immediately Derek's smirk disappeared and he began ordering his younger siblings to look in every hiding spot in the house they could think of. Marti obediently went downstairs to check the basement, but Edwin stayed put.
"I already looked, Derek, and I when I went to check on Lizzie earlier it looked like she was packing," Edwin said.
"Packing? Interesting. Did she say anything about what she was doing?" Derek questioned, trying to think of anywhere his younger step-sister might be.
"She said she was going home…that she needed space to deal…" Edwin said quietly.
Derek did not like the sound of that. For one, it confused the hell out him, as it did with Edwin. If Marti or Edwin had gone AWAL leaving a cryptic message, Derek would be able to decipher it within seconds. But he didn't know Lizzie as well as his blood-siblings and had no idea what she meant. Secondly, it was making him want to panic because he was in charge during a family emergency and his dad would kill him if he found out he lost his kid step-sister.
"You don't think she could have meant back to where they used to live before Dad married Nora, do you?" Edwin asked.
Derek snapped his head up, "Good job, Scooby, I think you might have solved the first clue. Next question: do you know where they used to live?"
Edwin shrugged, "Toronto?"
Derek sighed, "That's a huge city and it's nearly two hours away… How does a twelve year old get all the way to Toronto anyway?"
"Maybe she took a bus?"
Derek groaned, "I'll go check the bus station to see if she's there, if not I guess I'll have to go to Toronto. Watch Marti and if dad calls the house phone, make something up to cover. Dad cannot find out about this or he'll never let me take that road trip with Sam and Ralph over March Break."
Derek reached for the car keys and his cell phone off the kitchen counter when an idea struck him.
"Ed, does Liz have a cell phone?" he asked.
"Oh, yeah! I forgot she got one for her birthday!" Edwin gave Derek the number to no avail. Lizzie didn't answer.
"Okay, back to square one," Derek announced, "I'll go look for Lizzie, you watch Marti, cover for us if Dad calls and see if you can reach Lizzie's cell. And if you do get a hold of her, let her know she is so dead. And find out where she is and let me know so I can kill her myself."
Lizzie finally arrived in Toronto and was excited to be back home. However, her excitement soon vanished as she began to walk and realized just how much the city had changed since she had moved. Her favorite pizza place had been renamed. The video rental store her mom always took her and Casey to on weekends was closed. Even her old elementary school had a new playground.
Disgruntled at all the changes in her hometown, Lizzie walked the still-familiar streets to her old home. She didn't quite understand it, but she just needed to go home. The home where she and Casey grew up, where she truly felt like she belonged.
However, as she turned onto her old street and saw the condo that was formerly her home with an unfamiliar car in the driveway and ugly lawn gnomes strewn about the yard, Lizzie began to wonder why she came all the way to Toronto to begin with. She had expected the condo to be exactly as they left it, with all their old furniture inside, and scribbles of her and Casey's heights still on the walls… her own home filled with memories of her mother and sister. She hadn't even considered that someone else may have moved in.
Now, Lizzie wasn't sure where to go. She was cold and tired and her feet hurt but she kept wandering because she didn't know what else to do. She wound up finding a bench to sit on at her favorite park. At first she looked over at the slides, noticing how much bigger they seemed to be when she was younger. Lizzie tried to fill her head with happy thoughts of all the times she and Casey played at the park when they were younger, but she couldn't keep her mind from wandering to her mother and sister in their present state, wondering how hurt they were, or if they had died in the hospital, or what in the world would she do without them…
Already, Lizzie felt completely lost with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. All she had was her backpack with some clothes, the remainder of her birthday money, the box of good cereal she had been saving in her room so Marti wouldn't steal all the marshmallows, and her cell phone. Hungry, Lizzie opened her bag to reach for some cereal and found her cell phone vibrating. One glance at the caller ID revealed it was Derek.
"H-hello?" Lizzie answered, her voice cracking a bit. She just realized she had been crying.
"Lizzie? Finally! Where the hell are you? Me and Edwin have been trying to reach you forever!"
So much for me being so invisible they wouldn't notice I had left, Lizzie thought.
"I'm in Toronto," Lizzie mumbled so quietly she wasn't sure if he could hear her.
"Yeah, we figured that," Derek snapped, "Where in Toronto?"
Lizzie whispered the name of the park and Derek pressed her for directions.
"Wait- you're here?" Lizzie asked.
"Yeah, someone has to drag you back home. I'm almost there, just stay put and I'll come get you," Derek told her in that authoritative tone he usually reserved for bossing around Edwin before hanging up.
Great, Lizzie sarcastically thought. She was a little relieved to know she was about to be rescued from her hellish predicament, but also a little scared and a lot nervous. Derek had never sounded so angry with her before and she couldn't get herself to stop crying from worrying if her mom and Casey were okay, feeling like she had no place in the Venturi home, and now she had to stress over Derek seeing her cry and make fun of her for acting like such a baby. And if Derek was going to drag her home, then she would have to see her mother and sister hurt or dead and Lizzie wasn't sure if she could handle that. She knew they had to be really hurt, George wouldn't have left work to rush home and to the hospital otherwise. Lizzie was scared to know just how hurt they were. Cold and scared, Lizzie pulled her feet up on the bench and buried her head on her knees, trying to get herself to stop thinking and stop crying.
Suddenly Lizzie felt a hand on her shoulder, causing her to jump and pick her head up.
"Woah, Liz, it's just me," Derek said as he sat next to her, warily eyeing the tear stains on her face, "So… what are we doing here?"
Lizzie shrugged, unsure what she should tell him because she could no longer even remember why she came there in the first place other than the overwhelming urge to return to a home she no longer had.
"So you made me drive all the way out here because you felt like going to a park in the middle of winter and turning into a human ice sculpture?"
Lizzie was in no mood for his teasing sarcasm. "I just wanted to go home, okay?" she mumbled.
"Well, then, you're a little lost. Home's two hours that-a-way," Derek said pointing behind him, "and we better get back there before my Dad does. Let's go."
Derek stood up and started walking toward the prince, motioning for Lizzie to follow him. He knew Lizzie needed one of those girly feel-good-family-moments Casey would give her and was determined to avoid such a thing at all costs. Derek did not do things like talk about "feelings," it pained him to even think of doing such a thing. The only way he would make an exception was if—Oh shit. Derek had turned around to find Lizzie reluctantly following him and he caught sight of tears silently escaping her eyes. Under normal circumstances, Derek would flee from the scene and tell Casey to go talk to her. However, he couldn't call Casey, nor could he leave Lizzie stranded in Toronto. And he certainly would not tolerate two hours trapped in a car with a crying step-sister.
Left with no other alternative, Derek sighed.
"Alright, Lizzie, what do you have against me that you had to run away to Toronto while I'm in charge and jeopardize my weekend plans?"
Lizzie shrugged, thinking to herself, Leave it to Derek to make a major crisis of Casey proportions all about him.
"How can you be so sarcastic and egotistical at a time like this? Aren't you the least bit worried about my mom or Casey?" she asked him pleadingly.
"No," Derek replied simply, "And you know why?"
Lizzie shook her head as they arrived at the Prince and got in. Derek started the car and cranked the heat up but instead of putting the car in drive, he turned to his stepsister, bracing himself for the dreaded girly talk of "feelings."
"I'm not worried about Nora because Edwin called me while I was on my way over here. Dad called and told us how they were doing," Derek now had Lizzie's full attention as she picked her head up and seemed to hang on every word he said, "Nora has a couple broken bones and a concussion but she'll be fine."
"She's in an induced coma," Derek told Lizzie quietly, fearing for her reaction and praying there would be no more tears.
Lizzie's eyes went wide. She's heard about comas. How people can stay in them for years and years like a vegetable until someone finally pulls the plug and lets them die. So her worst fears might be coming true after all… Casey could really…
"Lizzie calm down," Derek gently ordered as he awkwardly put a hand on her shoulder, not knowing what else to do. He wasn't really good at the whole "comfort" thing, but this time he couldn't pass the job along to anyone else so putting all sarcastic remarks aside, he tried his best.
"I told you I'm not worried about Casey and you shouldn't be either," he told her, "Before you guys moved in I thought I was the most stubborn person on the planet, but Case is about as stubborn, if not more stubborn than me. Definitely stubborn enough to pull through this. Besides, if Casey never snaps out of the coma, then she'll be leaving me as the one and only oldest and lose the battle between the McDonald's and Venturi's for good. Do you really think Casey would let that happen?"
"I guess not," Lizzie admitted.
"See? You have nothing to worry about. Plus, Casey's in an induced coma and if they can put her in a coma, they can pull her out of it. So they're both going to be fine," Derek told her as he considered his mission of comfort-Lizzie accomplished and started driving. Derek didn't know anything about medically-induced comas, but he figured what he said had to be true and even if it wasn't, if it calmed Lizzie down that's all that matters.
"But what if they weren't?" Lizzie asked. Although she felt better in the warmth of the Prince with Derek assuring her that her mom and sister would be alright, she still had to know if her reasons for running away to Toronto were well-founded. What would happen if Derek was wrong and her mom and sister weren't okay?
"Weren't what?" Derek asked, puzzled as he was focused on the road.
"What if they weren't going to be fine? What if the worst happened? What if they… Derek, what would happen to me if they d-died?" Lizzie finally asked him.
"Woah, so that's why you came all the way out here?" Derek asked, "You think that if Nora and Casey were gone we'd just throw you out into the street? Look, Liz, I don't wanna play the 'what if' game—"
"But what if-?"
"No, Lizzie," Derek said sternly, "We're not playing that game."
They stopped at a red light and Derek glanced at his stepsister. She still seemed fairly upset. Derek still didn't understand why he had to go get her from Toronto. He supposed he should have figured out earlier that it was about the accident, but from Lizzie's 'what if' game it seemed deeper with that. What is it with girls having to think so deeply into everything anyway? Derek wondered, Isn't it enough for her to know that things'll be okay? Why does she have to think about crap that's not even happening?
"Look, Liz," he began as the light turned green, "I'm not gonna play the 'what if' game with you because it's pointless, but no matter what does or doesn't happen, remember what I told you when I was coaching you in hockey…"
"Hockey's about winning?"
"No. Well, that too, but you're a Venturi now. And you can't quit being a Venturi. No matter what."
Lizzie remembered the words "Sort of" being part of his little speech, but she didn't press him on it. It was rare for Derek to be so nice (or nice at all for that matter). He seemed dead-set against talking about what could happen other than her mom and sister being fine and Lizzie didn't want to make him mad.
When they were nearing London, Derek's phone vibrated. He took one hand off the wheel to check it, swearing under his breath.
"What?" Lizzie asked.
"Edwin just texted me. Dad's on his way home. He and Marti are covering for us, but Ed's not the best with cover stories and Marti still hasn't gotten the whole lying concept," he told her.
"So what do we do?"
Derek pressed his foot on the gas pedal a little harder and answered, "We don't get caught."
They arrived at their street to find George's car parked in the street in front of their house. Derek parked the Prince in the garage as he told Lizzie, "Okay, here's the plan. Dad parked in the street so he doesn't know we took the car. Take your jacket off and leave it and your backpack in here in case he catches us. I'll sneak them in later. I'll text Ed to see if the coast is clear to get in through the mud room and find out what our story is."
Lizzie shrugged off her coat and placed it and her backpack on the floor of the Prince before getting out of the car and shutting the door as quietly as she could. Derek shortly joined her, after texting Ed and removing his own jacket.
"Okay, Marti's holding Dad prisoner asking him twenty questions, you're supposed to be in Casey's room. Let's go," Derek said as he quietly led the way through the mud room. Lizzie followed suit, admiring his tact as he paused to listen for any sounds before peering around corners and finally tiptoeing into the living room. He quickly but stealthily made his way across the room, motioning for Lizzie to follow. She followed up the stairs in equal silence, her heart starting to thump in anxiety as she could hear Marti and George's voices coming from Marti's room. Derek motioned for her to hurry up. They had just reached the corner with the doors to the rooms of Derek, Casey, and herself. Lizzie heard George's footsteps nearing and was about to go to her room when she felt Derek lightly shove her into Casey's room and close the door.
Alone in Casey's room, Lizzie pressed her ear against the door to hear George ask Derek what he was doing.
"Just checking on Lizzie. She's been freaking out ever since you told us about the accident, locked herself in Casey's room and everything," Derek told his father.
"Yeah, Edwin told me she was upset," George responded, "Marti doesn't seem to be taking it too well either. I just went to check on her and she kept me in there for a good half hour asking me all these questions—everything from how are Nora and Casey to what happens to people when they die to why can't hospitals have purple walls."
Lizzie could hear someone sigh and then George spoke.
"So nothing's broken, kids are relatively alright… Thanks for taking care of things here, Derek."
"No problamo," Derek assured him, "It was like they weren't even here. So any news on Nora and Casey?"
For a moment, there was silence.
Then Lizzie could hear George mumble something about staying at the hospital overnight and telling the kids after dinner.
Seeing that she wasn't going to hear anything new, Lizzie backed away from the door and collapsed on her sister's bed.
Inhaling the scent of Casey's vanilla perfume, Lizzie prayed for her mom and sister's recovery. Although Derek had been kinder than expected and she did feel better knowing her mom was going to be okay, she still couldn't imagine life without Casey. She thought it would be hard enough having Casey leave for college in a couple years and have her only visit on weekends or holidays. Lizzie just couldn't deal with her sister being absent from her life completely. She wasn't ready.
A/N: As much as love Dasey, there just aren't enough Lizzie-central fics and there really wasn't enough Derek/Lizzie bonding in the series. I know the car accident scenario is overdone, but I hope this was a unique spin on it. Review?