Author's Note: Here's the last chapter of the story! I figured that I'd post it cuz I'm going on vacation for a few days starting tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed this story, and, of course, I've already got another LWD fic in motion ;-) So look for my next story soon and please review this one! Thanks!

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George, Nora, Lizzie, and Edwin all rushed up to the hospital that Casey was being held at. They left Marti with Emily's parents next door. When they were directed to Casey's examining room, where the hospital staff was letting her stay for now, they barged in to find Casey asleep in Derek's arms. Dried tear-tracks marred her face and she had a hard look on her face in her sleep. Her hands were clutching Derek tightly to her as if she was afraid that he'd leave her. But from the look on Derek's face as he sat there, stroking Casey's back absently as he thought, the family knew that was the farthest thing from Derek's mind.

Derek gave Nora a hard look when they all walked in. He tightened his arms around Casey protectively. "Get. Out," he spat in a low voice so as not to wake Casey up.

"Derek!" George chided, appalled by his son's behaviour.

Nora's eyes blazed. "I am her mother!"

"Then where were you all those years?" Derek demanded in a louder voice. He felt Casey stir and immediately lowered his tone, pressing a kiss to Casey's warm forehead without a thought until she stilled. "Where were you?" Derek continued then, his voice demanding, challenging.

Nora's mouth closed at that.

"She was eleven years old," Derek gave her a filthy look, shaking his head accusingly. "Where were you?"

Nora fell apart at this and George quickly gathered her into his arms. "My baby…my baby…" she kept repeating. "It's not true…It can't be true…" she continued as she sobbed.

Derek looked away from her, noticing Edwin and Lizzie for the first time. Lizzie was silently sobbing in Edwin's arms, and Edwin was standing stalk-still as he stared despondently at the sleeping Casey.

Gaining somewhat a sense of satisfaction over making Nora cry, Derek turned back to Casey, pressing his lips to her pale cheek as he began stroking her long chestnut hair.

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Casey was released when the doctors were satisfied that she was okay. Of course, they recommended intense therapy for her to help her work through everything. The culture they had taken from her showed up positive for semen and Daniel MacDonald was forced to give a sample for comparison—it was a perfect match.

A court date was set.

Nora apologised profusely to Casey, who seemed to forgive her…

Derek wasn't so quick to forgive.

When they got home from the hospital, he set up a mattress next to her bed. Casey and the rest of the family didn't question him. A few days later, while Casey was in her bed reading and Derek was lounging on the mattress, flipping through a magazine, Casey finally asked.

"How long are you going to stay here with me?"

Derek looked up from his magazine, surprised at Casey's sudden inquiry. "Why, getting sick of me?" he gave her a lop-sided smirk.

"No," Casey rolled her eyes good-naturedly at him. "I mean… why are you still here? You haven't let me out of your sight in three days."

Derek shrugged. "Do you want me to go?"

"No," Casey said quickly. The truth was that she liked having Derek there with her. She felt a lot safer knowing he was watching over her.

Derek sighed, putting down his magazine. Wordlessly he stood up and scooted over next to Casey on her bed. She waited for him to say something, since it seemed like he wanted to, but after a full moment of silence, Casey spoke.

"Thank you," she said softly, reaching over and taking his hand in hers.

Derek cocked an eyebrow at this gesture, staring down at their now entangled hands. "For what?"

"Everything," Casey said in an "isn't it obvious?" tone.

And to her complete surprise, she noticed Derek's cheeks redden. He actually blushed!

"It's nothing," he shrugged it off, not meeting her gaze.

"No, it's not nothing," Casey said in a sweet tone that made Derek finally look up into her face. And, looking deep into her blue eyes, he realised two things.

One, he had fallen in love with her. Completely and totally.

And two… she knew that he was in love with her.

All that was left was one last thing, the third thing, the final completion: Did she love him back?

"You came after me," she spoke gently, staring into his eyes as she spoke. "You saved me. You cared about me. You protected me." She reached out and brushed her fingers against his chin as she cupped her face. Derek instinctively leaned into her touch, the contact of her soft skin making him shiver.

"Thank you," she breathed again before carefully leaning in. Their noses brushed together for a second before Derek felt her lips against his. All he could do was sit there, his eyes automatically fluttering shut as she kissed him, completely entranced. And then, ever so slowly, his mind began working again and he was kissing her back.

He wrapped his arms around her and deepened the kiss, pouring out everything he had been feeling for the past week or so into the kiss—all the frustration, the fear, the pain.

The love.

And, as Casey slipped her warm, sweet tongue into his mouth in return, causing another shiver to move up his spine, he felt it—the love in return. And he closed his eyes, hoping to take all of the years of pain away from her for just that one moment. That one moment of pure love.

"I'll always be there for you," Derek breathed as their lips slowly parted from each other and their eyes met in unspoken understanding.

"Always."

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the end!