Gold Dust Woman

"Derek, you have to do something!" Emily whined in his ear for the fourth time in five minutes. "Casey's locked herself in the bathroom, and with a party this size, people are forming a line." She stood, hands on hips, waiting for him to do something.

He sighed heavily and pushed the hair out of his face. The pretty blonde in front of him smiled as he kissed her cheek in apology.

"This might take awhile, babe. Don't have too much fun without me."

"You don't want to dance with me?" The girl pouted. Emily hadn't seen this blonde before, nor did she particularly care about Derek's chances to score.

"Ahem. Some of us have to pee. And unless you want me going on the floor, Derek's not dancing right now."

"Bitch, would you mind your own business?"

"Girls, girls, there's plenty of me to go around. Christy, I will be down soon, but I have to make sure the bathroom's free for use. You understand, right?" The smile upped in wattage and Christy couldn't help but back down.

"Okay, well, don't take too long."

"I promise." Christy pouted again but Emily dragged him up the stairwell. Derek frowned, annoyed by the interruption. "Why is Casey locked in the bathroom?"

"I don't know! She won't talk to me. I think she's a little drunk." Emily shrugged and knocked on the bathroom door. "Case, it's me."


It was an inopportune time for Derek to realize that throwing a party the week after Casey's eighteenth birthday, with finally legal access to alcohol, and a bad breakup only a month past, was a bad idea. However, as he heard the stubbornness in the voice on the other side of the door, he couldn't help but reflect a bit on his choices.

"Casey, come out," he demanded. "People have to pee."

"No! I'm no' gonna." He couldn't tell if it was alcohol or the wood muffling her voice.

He glanced at Emily. Her face was strained with the need to relieve herself. "Go down to Nora and dad's bathroom, but do not tell anyone. You tell anyone, your life is forfeit, got it?"

She nodded and made a mad dash for the stairs.

"Come out, Casey!" Derek began knocking with a renewed vigor.

"No, I refuse."

"Then can I come in at least?"

It was silent for a moment, then he heard the lock click. He pushed open the door, and nearly tripped over Casey's legs on the floor. His knee smacked into the toilet, and he cursed, slumping to the floor and grabbing his injury.

She raised a heavy lidded eye at her stepbrother. "You okay?"

"I'll live," he hissed through gritted teeth. "Can we get out of here now?"

"No." Casey pushed the door shut and turned the lock, then crossed her arms. "I'm not going back downstairs until that…poopyhead Noel leaves."

Derek rolled his eyes. The bad breakup had come back to haunt him. It had mystified him when Noel, a member of the slacker pothead clique, had asked his keener stepsister out, but they had dated for five months before Noel decided that she was a 'control freak nerd queen' and dumped her for Jeni, the easy lay from the cheerleading squad. The fact that both Noel and Jeni were there and making out in front of everyone had crossed his mind, but in usual Derek style, hadn't thought that it would affect his good time any.

"You know Casey; you can call him a bastard. I won't be offended."

Casey glared at him, before pointing her nose into the air. "I'm a lady, I don't use those words." She took another swig from the bottle beside her.

Derek couldn't help but smile. Her defiance was rather…cute sometimes. She'd dressed up for the party, too. Jean skirt, not too short like Christy downstairs, but short, cute pink tank top, white heels she'd borrowed from Emily. Her hair was down and wavy, which was the way he liked it best. It looked like she'd just rolled out of bed, and…he stopped himself there, squinting at her lips.

"Casey are you wearing glitter?"

"What kind of question is that?"

Derek ignored her and leaned over, swiping a finger across her lips. Her hand flew to her mouth, and she looked at him like he was crazy.

There were definitely sparkles on his finger. "Tell me you're not drinking Goldschlagger."

"What's wrong with Goldschlagger? I think it's yummy." Casey took another swig just to demonstrate how delicious she thought it was. Derek just shook his head.

"Oh, to be naïve again." He meant it as a joke, but he could tell that it made Casey think a little too hard. She went very still, and he didn't know what to say, or how to end the awkwardness.

A sob hiccupped its way past Casey's defenses, and soon she was full on crying, gasping for breath and wiping at her eyes. It was worse than the silence for Derek, because it made him want to actually do something nice for her.

"Please don't cry Casey, you know I can't stand it."

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you at my birthday party," she snapped. "Forgive me; go have fun with your friends. Get drunk. Say something nice about me when there's a toast. And don't forget to tell my ex-boyfriend that he's a goddamn asshole for showing up with that whore!"

"That's my girl!" Derek cheered as she cursed at him. "Isn't it cathartic? Try fuck. Just say it once. It'll change your life."

"Shut up, I'm trying to be upset." Casey couldn't help but smile a bit at his antics.

"Not until you say fuck. Once you start, you can't go back." He poked her shoulder.

Someone started pounding on the door, and Casey couldn't stop herself from yelling, "Go the fuck away!"

"Eh, a little hostile, but a good effort." Derek was rewarded with a quiet chuckle. "No more crying, okay? Let's get out of here and have some fun." He sprung to his feet and grabbed her hand, but she refused to move.

"No. I'm not leaving."

"Why not?" He plopped back down next to her.

"Cuz." She took another swig. "I'm ugly, and uptight, and no one likes me."

"Oh, god, this is worse than I thought," Derek groaned. "You are uptight,"

"See!" she interrupted, "I can't go out there."

"But you are not ugly, and lots of people like you."

"Hmph." She crossed her arms and turned away from him. "Then why doesn't anyone wanna date me?"

"I'm sure someone wants to date you, but you're not downstairs to meet him, so you don't know." That earned him another glare, and then a curious look.

"Would you date me if we weren't, yanno, related?"

"We're not related," Derek replied.

"I'm not leaving until you answer the question." Casey looked expectant.

"Yeah, maybe. I dunno, Casey, I'm going to assume that this is the Goldschlagger, cuz fuck, why do you care?"

"I just wanna know, alright?" she snapped, arms crossed. "Why would you wanna date me?"

Derek squirmed uncomfortably on the tile of the floor. "Can we not talk about this? There's a huge party downstairs, thrown in your honor, might I add."

"Well, too bad. I don't care about some huge party, I care about you!" Casey exclaimed. Their eyes met and Casey blushed. "I...I mean...I...nevermind," she stuttered, pushing herself unsteadily to her feet. Derek grabbed her elbow as she teetered, pulling her upright. When Casey reached for the doorknob, it was his voice that stopped her.

"I'd date you cuz you make me want to be a better person," he mumbled.

"What?" Casey's head whipped around and it was enough to make her stumble. Fortunately, Derek's arms wrapping around her waist stopped her from knocking anything over, though a towel did slide off the towel rod.

"Slow down there, tiger," he teased.

"What did you just say?" Casey crossed her arms. "And where did you put my bottle?"

Derek sighed heavily. He did not want to get dragged into this conversation with Casey, especially not in a bathroom in the middle of a party. "I said that I'd date you because you make me want to be a good guy."

Her face fell. "So you don't think I'm pretty?"

"You are impossible to please, MacDonald," he laughed, and even though he should have stopped himself, he hugged her. Confused, Casey hugged tentatively back. "If I tell you that I think you're pretty, will you stop this nonsense?"

"It's not nonsense! And you can't just tell me I'm pretty for the sake of saying it, you have to mean it! And where's my bottle?" She tried to cross her arms again, but they just bumped against his chest.

It was easy to think she was pretty when she pouted like that. Her blue eyes sparked at him, challenging him to contradict her, and her full bottom lip stuck out, practically daring him…

"I need a drink." He picked the bottle of Goldschlagger off the floor by the sink and took a swig, grimacing. Casey snatched it from his hands and took a much daintier sip.

"Casey, you're hot and you know it," Derek yielded, exasperated. They hadn't really moved, close enough that he could hug her again, if he had wanted to. Which he didn't. She held the bottle with both hands, studying it intently, the gold flakes settling to the bottom.

"Why aren't I good enough for them, Derek? All of them have left me, detached themselves…Sam never paid attention to what I wanted, Max was a jerk to me when we weren't alone, Noel was never satisfied with what I gave him…even my dad couldn't see a reason stick around, help raise me." Casey swallowed hard, trying not to cry again, just staring at the cinnamon liquor. "I'm silly, I'm sorry. Let's get out of here. Go have fun at your party."

Not knowing what to say, Derek just opened the door, and followed her out. Instead of going downstairs with her stepbrother, Casey headed for her bedroom.

The gold flakes were a little tired of the repetitive motion of being lifted repeatedly to her lips, so when they heard the door creak open they breathed a tiny sigh of relief. Casey rolled away from the door, careful to keep the bottle upright, and dabbing furiously at her mascara with wadded tissue.

"Don't worry about it, I've seen you with no makeup and lived to tell the tale."

"Why aren't you downstairs? I told you to go have fun," Casey sat up and cast a pitiful glare at Derek's lean frame.

"Since when do I ever do what I'm told? I have a reputation to maintain, woman." He ambled over to the bed and parked himself beside her, snagging the bottle and taking a quick sip.

"Well, I don't want you here, so give me back my Goldschlagger," Casey sniffled. She grabbed for the long glass neck of it, but Derek held it out of reach. He caught her by the waist and held her until she stopped struggling and just pouted.

"Take this as you will, Case, but you're going to have to do a lot more than tell me to go away to get rid of me." Their eyes met, and her lip couldn't help but tremble.

"I have a theory, and I know you're the smart one, but I think I'm really on to something here. People like you need someone like me around to keep them from freaking out and acting like drunk jackasses at their own birthday parties, and people like me need people like you…" he trailed off, distracted by the gold at the corner of her mouth.

"People like you?" she prompted, poking his chest.

"I forgot what I was going to say," he replied sheepishly, ceding the Goldschlagger. The silence fell thickly, and his arm was heavy around her waist.

"People like you," Casey piped up suddenly, "need people like me around to prove that they really can do nice things, like throw wild birthday parties."

Derek smirked. "That'll work, I guess. Not as poetic as I was expecting from the top English student in the school, but it'll do. I give it a C. Minus. A C-."

"A C-!" Casey narrowed her eyes. "People like you," she poked him again in the chest, "need people like me to make them better people. To focus their aspirations and to give them motivation to achieve their goals."

"Now, that is A material." He winced at how contrived that sounded, but Casey laid her head on his shoulder.

"Derek, take this as you will, but you're the only guy I trust not to run out on me," she confessed. She closed her eyes and another tear squeezed out. "Somehow you always see me at my worst, and decide that I'm worth something still, when no one else does."

He managed to resist kissing the top of her forehead, but he still pressed his nose into her hair, familiar already with the scent of her shampoo. "You are brilliant Casey, and I'm not the only one who thinks that. And I don't know why it matters to you that I do, when I'm selfish and juvenile and in general treat people like crap, but I think you're wonderful, and I hope that's enough." Derek prayed she wouldn't remember this in the morning, because he didn't intend on saying any of that, but it had all slipped out when her sobs had started again.

Casey wiped quickly at her cheeks, pushing her hair off of her face. "I need to amend your theory."

"Be my guest."

"People like me need people like you."

Confused, Derek lifted his head. "Because?"

"Because people like me just need people like you. That's it." Derek felt her whole body tense next to him on the bed.

"You forgot the last bit, though. And people like me just need people like you."

The room was silent again, but not uncomfortably so.

For once, Derek felt like he wasn't anticipating anything, not a fight, an insult, a glare, a sigh of disappointment. For once, he had done the right thing because he wanted to make someone happy, not to fulfill one of his own desires. For once, Casey felt safe in her own skin, content with her own disposition. For once, she stopped fighting her instincts and just snuggled in his arms, and stopped worrying so damn much about what would happen next.

The only thing they regretted in the morning was the fight over who got the toilet, and who had to vomit in the sink.

Author's Notes:

This is a cautionary tale about the evils of Goldschlagger. Do not drink more than like two shots of this stuff or there will be a bad bad hangover to contend with. I have been there and done that. Twice. NEVER AGAIN.

Otherwise, this is me taking what was originally supposed to be a wild fluffy Dasey romp and turning it into a psychoanalysis of the weirdness that is Casey. Yeah, I'm pretty damn sure she has some Daddy issues. I don't know if it's a true Dasey, as it can be construed as family love and not romantic love there at the end, but whatever. It's a story, take it, leave it, and please review it, I don't even care if you want to vilify or debate my characterizations, because I just want reactions.

It's a one shot, fyi.