A/N: This is another little LWD oneshot. The title was inspired by a song by The Corrs. It's in Derek's POV, and it may be a little OOC, but I couldn't make it go away so whatsever. Hopefully this will be up as part of my massive update (including a VMars 1shot, a couple chapters to a HP fic HOMS, the rest of MWKWWM, and maybe some others). Please read & review! Thanks a bunch for having patience (refering to other story)! -Mac

Disclaimer: I don't own Life with Derek.

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

I have never been in love.

It's a simple matter: I never allowed myself to. Granted I am a teenager, I'm still in high school, and 'emotionally unavailable' as Casey puts it. She's probably right--as usual--the smart ass.

I don't let myself feel. I don't let myself get attached. I don't let myself be vulnerable. You can only be hurt if you care. So I don't let myself get close enough to care. I stay out of harm's way.

I have my process. I'm attracted to a girl. I charm her. I date her. I let it last for a while and I let her down easy, before it gets too personal. Before it gets too serious. I avoid getting hurt by any of them--but sometimes unintentionally hurt them.

Sometimes my fear of being hurt is mistaken as a fear of commitment, and in a way it is. Commiting to one person is opening yourself up for a lot of hurt, which is something I refuse to do. None of my relationships last because I end them before they get too far. That's because I don't want to get hurt, not because I don't want to commit to them.

The question now would be, why do I feel that way? Why am I so afraid? I wish I had a concrete answer to that question. It could help me a lot.

It might be because I've watched my dad in all of his relationships. I've seen all the pain and heartbreak he's suffered. I don't even want to feel that way. Then I've seen him with Nora. While I can't say I enjoy the situation their marriage put me in, I honestly feel happy that he found someone he can be happy with.

I want to be happy like that, but I don't know if it's worth the risk. I could fall for someone I find perfect for me, and get my heart broken when she decides I'm not perfect for her. It happened to my dad. I don't want that to happen to me. I'm afraid that will happen to me. In all likeliness, that would happen to me.

If I keep people at an arm's length, then they can't get close enough to get a tight enough grip on my heart to break it. So that's what I do. In all aspects but one: Casey.

You've heard the phrase "too close for comfort." Well, that's Casey for me. I was attracted to her from day one, but it wasn't a normal attraction. It was an attraction I couldn't control. You would think with all the fighting we do it would push her the farthest away from me, but no. It had quite the opposite effect really. With each new outburst, somehow, Casey only dug herself further under my skin. I can't explain it. It just won't go away. It's been driving me crazy.

The point is I could never act on it, I would never act on it. I figured with time it would fade, until it was gone. Instead, as time passed it built up, until it was overwhelming. So overwhelming, I started to do something I promised myself I would never do. I started to care.

I don't know how it happened. I don't know when it happened. I just know it did happen. And I hate myself for it. I couldn't have put myself in a worse situation. Besides the fact that it's a situation I never wanted to find myself in, it's Casey. Casey. My stepsister Casey. Grade Grubbing, Klutzilla Casey. Smart and beautiful Casey. Perfect Casey.

The-last-person-who-would-ever-be-with-me Casey.

Even if I had wanted to be with someone, really be with someone, it wouldn't be Casey. Not because I don't like her or think she's amazing, but because she would never be with me. Caring about Casey--no matter how much it snuck up on me--would wind up getting me hurt. If I opened myself up enough to get close to Casey, I would just be asking for a lot of heartache.

Falling for Casey would be the worst mistake I could ever make. If I was going to put my heart on the line--if I was going to risk it--I would at least do it for someone where I had, at the very least, the slightest chance of coming out of it without a scratch. With Casey, that chance was non-existant. She couldn't possibly feel the same. She would reject me. She would probably laugh at me.

I had to make it stop. I cared more about her than was good for me. If I didn't make it go away soon it could turn into something else, something bigger, something more.

That's what I was afraid of. After being so dead set on never falling in love, I might actually be falling for someone--who is the last person on Earth that I could truly be with. It's scaring the hell out of me. For so long I've been avoiding getting hurt and then suddenly I'm standing here and I'm and unexplicably opening myself up to the worst kind of pain there is. Unrequited love.

If it ever happened, for real, I could never tell her. How would I ever explain it to her? She would never understand and she would never feel the same. I don't know what would feel worse: telling her and being rejected, or never telling her at all.

What am I even talking about? I don't love her yet. I might never love her. I just care about her. You can care about a person and not love them. I care about Casey. I don't love her. Right?

I am so confused. Everything is just incredibly messed up. It's all because I started caring about her. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have this problem. And if I cared about her as a sister. That would be a good thing, something I could play off. Like I finally accepted her as part of the family. But I don't care about her as a sister. I don't see her as a sister. I see her as a potential girlfriend. I see her as potential a lot of things. Even when I know it will never happen.

It's a crazy feeling. I can see myself with her. I can see us happy together. I can see us having a future together. But I know it could never happen. It's scary because the future I see spans years. The future I see with other girls doesn't go past a few hours. I'm afraid that I'm going to start liking the idea of such a future--even knowing I can't have it.

I'm afraid I'm going to start wanting Casey, really wanting her, when I can't have her. And it's going to hurt. It's going to hurt a lot. Then everything I've done, all the pain I've avoided, is going to come crashing down on me all at once.

The more I think about it--and the more I think about her--the moreI think that if I had a chance at having her, even the smallest chance, I would risk it all. I would take the plunge if I had the slightest chance. I'm afraid. I'm afraid that maybe, just maybe, she's worth the risk. That small, little fact is terrifying.

I'm scared because I'm actually considering taking that risk. I'm actually considering telling her that I lo--

I'm actually considering telling her I love her. And it's scary as hell.

There's a revelation I wasn't expecting. I love her. I really love her. Man, I did not see that coming. I love Casey and I am going to get my heart broken into a gazillion pieces.

Maybe this is the time to take that risk. Maybe it's time to take a chance. For once in my life put my heart on the line for someone, for her. If I love her--which I've already decided I do--then I have to tell her. Even if she doesn't feel the same, which I'm pretty sure she doesn't, I have to give it a shot. I'm hurt either way. My mind was made up. I would have to tell her.

The decision was easy enough. It was the when, where, and hows that were giving me trouble. We had to be alone, that much I knew. I couldn't start a fight with her, that would ruing what little mood there might be. She would either not listen to me or not believe me. I would have to sound sincere, without being too sappy and pathetic or cold and unfeeling. This was going to be hard. Because I spent so much time avoiding this very situation, I never gave much thought to how I would tell someone I love them--especially someone I wasn't dating, or someone who might very well hate me.

She could really hate me. She might think I'm a horrible person. She probably does. I've done nothing to make her think otherwise. I've done everything to make her think exactly that. All we do is fight. All I do is find something to insult her about. I've done everything to drive her into hating me. Why would I be surprised if she did hate me? I wouldn't. I would be surprised if she didn't hate me. I would be surprised if she like me at all.

This is why I never wanted to fall in love. It just complicates things. It makes everything harder than it needs to be.

It took me a long time to actually tell her. Just because I said I was going to tell her, it doesn't mean I was brave enough to just come right out and say it. It took some working up to get it done. When I finally mustered up enough courage, I made it all the way to her room--through the door, which was closed, without knocking and stood right in front of her--before it drained right back out of me.

I lost count of how many times my mouth opened to say something and then closed again. Casey was looking up at me from her seat on her computer desk chair. She had her head tilted to the side as she watched me. After the third or fourth time my mouth closed, without a word, one of her eyebrows shot up in question. I was completely frozen. That was so not like me.

Apparantly giving up on my silent act, Casey replied, "Was there something you wanted? Because if there was, please say it now and stop wasting my time. Otherwise you can stay there with your mouth hanging open like an idiot, while I go back to what I was doing."

My head was sending off signals left and right saying 'Just say something, anything!' I tried to ignore them. If I said just anything it would be something mean and insulting. I just needed a moment to collect myself. I just had to get the right words together.

Casey rolled her eyes and made to turn her chair away from me. Without thinking, I just reacted. I grabbed her chair by both sides, keeping her facing me. I leaned in and kissed her. It was short, fast and sweet, or so I assumed. I pulled away and took in her reaction. I took the look of shock on her face as a bad sign and fled.

Once I was in the safety of my room I calmed down a little. What the hell had I just done? That was probably the same question Casey was asking. It was not supposed to happen like that. I was supposed to talk it out, accept my fated rejection and live with it. I was not supposed to kiss her. She is going to kill me. I probably have maybe five minutes tops before she comes in here and murders me. Probably two, I rethought as I paced the length of my room. I looked up in time to see my door fly open. Or none.

Casey was glaring at me as she stepped into my room. "What the hell was that?"

I froze with my mouth open, again. I shut it forcefully and swallowed. I was trying to think of some explanation.

"I can explain." I said almost calmly, as I walked past her to close my door. Why did I just say that? I can't explain. I'm still trying to figure out what just happened myself.

"You had better." Casey commanded, turning so she was facing me again, and stepping closer to me.

She had stalked so much toward me there was only a few feet between us--even with my back completely pressed up against my door. I had to think of something quick. Quicker than my brain could process, unfortunately.

"I'm waiting." Casey added angrily after a moment of silence.

"I'm thinking," was all I could manage.

"You're thinking? You're thinking? I'm glad your brain doesn't go to a complete waste. At least you're thinking. Were you thinking back there? Were you thinking when you kissed me?" Not giving me a chance to answer, she answered for me. "No? No. You weren't thinking. If you had been thinking you wouldn't have done it in the first place. Am I right? Of course I am. What the hell happened, Derek?"

"I don't know." I answered honestly.

"Did you think it would be funny? Did you think it was some kind of joke? Did you think it would get a rise out of me? 'Cause if you did, it sure as hell worked." Casey rambled.

"It wasn't like that."

"Then what was it like, Derek? Could you explain it to me please? Because I'm freaking out here and I don't hear any answers coming from you." Casey questioned sharply.

"I was trying to tell you something but I couldn't get it out, so I...well I kissed you." I tried to explain.

"Was it something along the lines of 'Casey, I'm going to kiss you now, so don't be surprised'?"

"No."

"Then, what was it? Because I hardly think that not being able to tell me dinner was ready would cause you to resort to kissing me. Or that there was someone on the phone for me. Or any other thing you may have had to tell me. So what was it? Huh? Come on, tell me!"

"I think it was something along the lines of...I love you." The last three words came out mumbled and incoherent.

"You, what?" Casey scowled, not able to understand me.

"I love you." I said with more confidence this time.

"What?" Casey's voice dropped. It lost it's angry tone and softened.

"I love you." I repeated myself, looking her right in the eyes.

"You...you...you lo-lo, you...me?" Casey stuttered.

"I love you." I confirmed.

"I...It's just...I don't...I can't...I..." Casey stammered and tried to form something of a sentence. Finally finding her tongue, "You can't just say you love me. You can't just say it, like it's no big deal. You can't just tell me that, out of nowhere."

"Casey, it's okay. You don't feel the same, you can say it. I get it." I replied, "I fully understand."

"No. No. I didn't say that."

"Then what did you say?" I asked.

"I don't know what I said, exactly. But I didn't say that." Casey responded.

"What about the 'It's just...'? Wasn't it an 'It's just, I don't feel the same'?"

"No it was an 'It's just so out of the blue.'" Casey corrected.

"The 'I don't...'?"

"I don't know what to say."

"'I can't'?"

"I can't believe you feel the same."

"Really? Come on...'You feel the same?' I mean, I feel the same? That means you feel the same as me, because I feel the same as you."

"I think so." Casey nodded along with me.

"Then you..." I began.

"Yes." Casey cut me off.

"But you were so angry before, I thought for sure you were going to kill me."

"I thought about it. I almost did." Casey joked, "It was just that you surprised me. I thought you were playing some kind of cruel joke. I thought maybe you had found my feelings against me. I was hurt and scared, and then angry. I never thought that maybe it was just what it was...a kiss. Just a kiss."

"No kiss from Derek Venturi is just a kiss." I smirked, suddenly feeling more comfortable with the whole situation.

"And the jerk is back." Casey nodded.

"I don't think he ever left." I responded.

"Yes he did. For a second there he did." Casey said seriously.

"Really when?"

"About the same time, you said you loved me. I kind of like it." Casey answered.

"Well, I'll have to send him away again." I joked and stepped closer to her. "I love you."

Casey smiled and took a step forward to meet me--and closed the distance between us. I murmured the three little words once more just before my lips met hers. Suddenly, all the things I had avoided, all the things I was afraid of, didn't matter anymore

I was in love.