Author's Note: Once again, thank you all so much for reading and reviewing, it makes my whole day. This chapter is a little different from the other ones, but I hope you guys like it. I'm a bit afraid it might be too sappy, but hopefully not. This is from Marti's PoV, and its set 6 years from the end of the last chapter. This is also the end of the story. I'm sad to see it end, I've had a lot of fun with this fic. :-)
Disclaimer: Nope. 8 chapters later, I still don't own Life With Derek.
By the time Marti was in high school, they'd become something of an urban legend. Those step-siblings that had fallen in love. Their story had been retold so many times that no one new their names anymore and Marti was glad. She loved Casey and Derek, and was happy for them, but she would rather not deal with the comments she was sure would come if people connected her to them. (Too bad your step-mom didn't have a son your age; you'd never have to date!) It was the kind of thing people whispered about, getting the details wrong, and exaggerating facts but never making it unrecognizable.
Sometimes, the teller would find it all very romantic.
"They fell in love despite those odds. I mean they were step-siblings. Society looked down on them, and they stayed together. I've heard they used to fight all the time, because the unresolved tension was just that bad. It's so sweet really."
Sometimes the teller would find it appalling.
"I mean, dude, she was his step-sister. They say he was total stud too, could have any girl in the school, and he ended up with his step sister. How screwed up is that?"
Sometimes, it would be used as an anecdote.
"Your new boyfriend thinks he might be gay? That's hard, but remember, it could be worse, he could be sleeping with his step-sister."
But it was always, unmistakably Derek and Casey.
"I heard that teachers used to find them in closets all over the school, just going at it. They couldn't keep their hands off each other."
Marti couldn't blame people. When she was a little girl, she hadn't understood what the big deal was. If they liked each other, they should be together. When you're ten, it's hard to see beyond that, no matter the circumstance. Now, at fifteen, she could see why it was so scandalous. She understood why Lizzie and Edwin had warned her to keep it quiet around her Dad and Nora. Not that they didn't find out eventually, but it took and amazingly long time.
They had never been the most observant parents in the world, and maybe, in their defense, they hadn't wanted to see what was between Derek and Casey, but it took months for them to notice a thing. At night, when everyone else heard the tell tale opening of doors and footsteps, (Marti had been too young to understand then, but Lizzie and Edwin assured her this was very, very good), George wondered aloud at breakfast if the house had mice. When Derek and Casey's fights became a playful banter, loosing most of the intensity they had once had (except for a few blowouts here and there, Marti overheard a particularly nasty one once over some sort of testing, and trust. She hadn't understood it then, and even now, when she had inkling of what it might mean, she choose to ignore it. Derek was her brother after all, her Smerek.), George and Nora smiled at them finally getting along. When Derek stopped having girls over and Casey turned down every guy that asked her out, Nora mused that maybe Derek was growing up, and Casey, well Casey must not be over Sam.
Finally, Derek and Casey had decided they had to come clean. Derek later told Marti that at first, they still hadn't gotten it. Derek had marched into the kitchen, Casey by his side, and announced they were going to prom together, and Nora had started to gush about how sweet it was, family sticking together like that. Casey had to cut her mom off, and explain that it wasn't a family thing; it was couple thing, a her and Derek thing. At first they'd been furious. There were lectures on morality, and incest even talks of taking Derek and Casey to a therapist, but eventually, they'd accepted it.
Amazingly, Casey and Derek were still together. After that day in the closet, they were inseparable. When Paul, Lizzie, Edwin, Sam and Emily had confessed their plot, Derek and Casey pretended to be mad, but it was obvious they were so thrilled to finally be together, that they didn't really care how it had happened. There were occasional jokes about it,
"Is this a real question Smarti or are you plotting something?"
"Don't mess with Lizzie; she'll lock you in the closet."
"Wait, is this being recorded? Is Edwin sitting outside the door?"
But for the most part, they took it surprisingly well, considering they both had a tendency to be a bit, high strung. It was like admitting their feelings had mellowed them. Casey started going to see Paul less and less, and by spring, she stopped going all together. He still worked at the high school and sometimes he'd stop Marti and ask her how Derek and Casey were doing.
They were doing fine. They'd made it through university, and were living in a small apartment in Toronto. Where Casey taught high school English and Derek worked in an advertising agency and played hockey on the weekends. Marti saw them once a month or so. Some people, like Sam, had been expecting Derek and Casey to fizzle. All that tension transferring to something real and lasting didn't seem likely to them, but it had.
In fact, Derek had called Marti just last week, and confessed he planned to ask Casey to marry him, and asked her if she would help him pick out the ring. She'd agreed of course. She'd been wondering when they'd get engaged. She had to admit, it was a little strange, since she was already related to Casey, but she didn't really let it bother her. Derek and Casey were happy, they just seemed to understand each other, and that was good enough for Marti.
So when the stories circulated the halls, when people alluded to "those step-siblings," Marti just smiled. They didn't know the real story just little snippets, little pieces that didn't form a complete picture of Derek and Casey. The urban legend was a good story, but as is the case with so many things in life, the truth was so much better than the fiction.