A/N: I don't think Max has a last name, so I made one up: Mitchell.

Disclaimer: Like anyone thinks I own LWD. Puhleassse!

OOOOOOOO

Finally the day had come when she could get some answers. Casey had been waiting seven long days for this: a moment when everyone would be gone from the house except her and Derek. Usually she wouldn't have a problem venting her anger at Derek in front of her family, but she had a feeling that this time their argument would be different. And if their conversation did end up going the way she suspected it would she didn't want anyone to witness it. Bottom line was: Casey was pissed, and, for once, Derek was going to have to answer for his actions.

Coming out of her bedroom with a grim determination, Casey headed downstairs to find her stepbrother. Seeing Derek sitting on his throne, Pepsi in one hand, and the remote control in the other as he lazily flipped through the channels, didn't do anything to improve Casey's mood—it only enraged her further. Why should he get to be all relaxed when she had been upset and agitated for the past week?

When she stepped in front of the television, Derek didn't bat an eye. When she turned off the TV, he rolled his eyes and switched it back on. But, when Casey turned off the television for a second time and folded her arms across her chest, Derek sighed and sat down the remote.

"Fine!" he snapped. "Say whatever it is you have to say."

Taking in his harsh tone, Casey narrowed her eyes in anger. "Oh, so that's how you want to do this?"

"No, actually, I don't want to do this at all. I want to go back to minding my own business, feel free to do the same."

Derek was a lot of things, but an idiot wasn't one of them—he knew why Casey wanted to have this little powwow. He wasn't surprised that she wanted to talk—she always wanted to talk—and he wasn't ignorant to the fact that she was probably expecting an apology. The talk he could handle, but the apology, as deserved as it may have been, was never going to happen. Derek was so far from being sorry for his actions that if he could, he would do that same thing that had gotten Casey so worked up, everyday for the rest of his life. Yep, it had felt that good.

"For somebody so keen on minding their own business, you sure have a habit of dipping into my life all the time."

'Touché,' Derek thought.

Casey sighed. This was not the way she wanted their conversation to go down. Yes, she was upset with Derek, but if her suspicions about the reason he had done what he had were correct, then she really didn't want to pick a fight with him. He had actually been being sweet, albeit in a totally backwards ass sort of way.

"Derek, I don't want to argue about this. On some level I even think what you did was kinda sweet, but"—she paused, choosing her next words carefully—"what you did was out of line and unnecessary, and quite frankly it was embarrassing."

Derek was still stuck on the "sweet" part. Squinting up at her, he gave her a look she couldn't exactly decipher when he asked, "Why exactly do you think I kicked Max's ass?"

Casey's eyebrows rose slightly. She, along with half of her schoolmates, had witnessed the fight, and it hadn't looked to her like Max had gotten his ass kicked. Sure, Derek had won the fight, but it wasn't like he didn't have his share of bruises too; Max wasn't exactly a lightweight.

However, she chose not to debate the technicalities of the fight when she answered Derek. "Despite our mutual dislike fore each other, you do have the habit of slipping into this big brother mode. And I know that it is only natural for a brother to want to protect his younger sister, but you have really got to stop interfering in my relationships. As a result of your violent and aggressive behavior towards Sam, Trevor, Scott—

"Scott was a prick who deserved what he got," he said, nonchalantly, interrupting her.

Casey couldn't help but dip her head in agreement, but she continued speaking as though he had never cut her off. "—And now Max, pretty soon boys are going to be afraid to ask me out for fear of incurring the wrath of my crazy brother."

There were so many inaccuracies in her line of thinking that Derek was tempted to laugh out loud at her, but instead he just gave her a smirk and rolled his eyes. "You honestly think that I beat up Max because I felt honor bound to protect you?" he asked, incredulously.

He made the idea seem so ridiculous that she felt stupid for ever having thought it was true.

"Well, why did you do it then?" she asked, genuinely confused. "I was there, so don't lie and tell me that he had it coming. All we were doing was waiting on class to start, talking and laughing …" her voice trailed off as a light bulb came on in her head.

"That's why, isn't it?"

Derek began to panic from the look of realization upon her face. "I-I-I," was all he could stutter out before Casey interrupted him with a noise somewhere between a growl and a moan.

"You really must hate me," she said, voice flat.

Derek blinked. 'Okay, maybe she doesn't know why I did it.'

"You just can't stand for me to be happy, huh? Do you really dislike me so much that you'd try to sabotage my relationship like that?" she asked, hands upon hips.

"Casey, that's not—

"Shut-up," she said, sharply, "I'm talking now!"

Derek looked totally taken aback at her harsh tone, but he complied with her order.

"I take a lot of shit from you—pranks, insults, and everything else under the sun. But it never occurred to me that when you were hiding my clothes or flushing my makeup down the toilet that it was your way of telling me that you hated me."

Her voice was low and melancholy, and Derek's heart clenched just listening to her—she didn't understand at all.

"I don't," he began, but one look from Casey had his lips clamping together in a grim line.

Casey stood glaring at Derek a moment, before pasting a huge fake smile on her face and clapping mockingly. "Well congratulations Derek, you've finally gotten your point across."

She stopped clapping abruptly though, when she locked eyes with a seemingly confused Derek. Shaking her head in disgust, Casey began walking towards the stairs—she was more than ready to be alone.

When she felt Derek's gaze burning a hole in the back of her head midway up the stairs, she stopped, turned, and regarded him coolly.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she apologized, sarcasm fairly dripping from her voice, "you probably want to know if your little plan succeeded in making me miserable, huh?" She marched determinedly down the stairs, grabbed Max's letterman's jacket off its coat hook, and threw it at Derek, hitting him across the face. "When Max comes by, give him that for me."

Derek gave a grin, not a smirk, but an actual grin. "He dumped you?"

Casey was so outdone by Derek's blatant happiness at her misery that she couldn't do anything except stomp up to her room, mumbling obscenities and plotting ways to kill him along the way.

Derek grinned after her happily. In fact, he hadn't been this happy in a long time. Hell, if he had known that all it would take for Max to leave Casey was a few punches, he would have mopped the floor with him months ago. It wasn't like he really hated Max or anything—they attended the same parties, hung out with the same people, and had even palled around a few times—but Max made Casey happy, and for that he had to pay dearly. Derek didn't long to see Casey miserable; he just couldn't stand for the source of her happiness to be somebody who wasn't him.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang, and Derek got up to answer it, smiling in anticipation.

When he opened the door and saw Max, Derek's grin could have rivaled the grinch's.

"Hey Max, long time no foot in ass," he fairly chirped.

Max closed his eyes and took a deep breath, apparently trying to put a clamp on his anger. "Look, I just came to see Casey, so could you go get her, please." The 'please' sounded like he had to pry it from his lips.

"There's no need," Derek gestured to the jacket he was holding, "she asked me to give it to you, so here," he said, holding the item out to Max.

"I don't want that"—he gestured to the jacket as if it were garbage—"I want to see Casey," he said, sounding heated.

"Too bad, that's not how break-ups work." Derek was starting to sound annoyed. "See," he began, smartly, "you take your crap back," he demonstrated his point by tossing the jacket into the front yard, "and stay away from Casey—that's how a break-up works."

Max's jaw clenched. "Not that it's any of your business, but I was mad when I spoke to Casey earlier." He sighed, wondering why he was even telling Derek this. "I didn't mean it when I said I wanted to call things off."

Derek scrunched up his nose in mock confusion. "I'm sorry, do I have to explain how a break-up works again?" he questioned, in a tone one might use when talking to a five year old.

"Go. Get. Casey," Max snapped, his patience wearing thin.

"Umm… no," Derek said, shrugging. "If you were stupid enough to walk away from a good thing—

"Hmm, I may be smarter than you think," Max said, grinning suddenly, like the cat who ate the canary. If Derek wanted to fight dirty, well, then he could fight dirty too.

"Huh?" Derek said, genuinely perplexed by Max's smug demeanor.

"I know the real reason you picked a fight with me—the real reason you sabotage all of Casey's relationships. And I know it has nothing to do with Casey's absurd notion that you were just looking out for your 'sister'," he said, using air quotes.

"Well, I'm glad you know, 'cause I don't know what the hell you're talking about," he said, voice adamant. But he had a terrible feeling that he knew exactly what Max was getting at.

"You can play dumb all you want, but that won't change the fact that during all the time I spent here I came to be a very, very observant person."

Derek still wasn't convinced that Max wasn't just bluffing, trying to dig up some dirt—so far he hadn't been anything but vague. So Derek decided to push further.

"And that means what exactly?"

Max's eyes twinkled, he was so giddy at being able to one up his nemesis that he was about two seconds away from jumping up and clicking his heels together.

"I saw it all, Derek. The longing glances, the unnecessary touches, the thinly veiled aggression towards me—I saw it all. You want Casey," he said simply, "and it was killing you to see her with another guy."

Derek didn't even bother to deny Max's accusations—he could see it in Max's eyes that he knew the truth. Instead, he pulled up the front door, closing it, and joined Max outside.

"What do you want?"

It was Max's turn to feign ignorance. "Huh?"

Derek rolled his eyes, resisting the urge to wipe the grin off Max's face.

"Cut the crap, Mitchell," Derek snapped, "we both know you want something from me, otherwise you would've told half the school by now." There's no reason anybody would sit on a juicy piece of gossip like that if they weren't preparing to do some serious blackmailing.

"It's simple really." Max dropped the smile from his face; it was time to get down to business. "I just want you to step aside."

"Come again? I've been aside—it's not like I've been trying to get with Casey, so why would I start now?"

Max shook his head. "That's not what I meant. We both you know you won't ever make a move on Casey, and we both know why."

"I'm not sure I know; why don't you enlighten me." Derek couldn't help it; he really wanted to know just how well Max had pieced everything together.

"You're popular," Max said, simply. "You're already a legend and you haven't even graduated yet"—Max paused a moment, before continuing—"but if you started dating your sister—

"Step-sister," he mumbled, reflexively.

"—it'd all be gone like that." He snapped his fingers.

'Okay, so he's smarter than he looks.'

Derek sighed. "So what did you mean then?"

"When Casey takes me back—

"Wait- how do you know she'll even take you back?" Derek was just messing with him then; Casey really liked Max, she'd take him back, no doubt.

"Please, it's me we're talking about here." He gave a small chuckle, and Derek nearly threw up.

'His looks don't give away how much of a jackass he is either.'

"Anyways, when Casey and I get back together I don't want you all in her ear."

"Huh?"

"Casey would never admit it, but she really does listen when you talk. And if you're constantly bad mouthing me to her… look, just don't, okay."

"That's it?" This all seemed way too easy to Derek.

"Yup. Just stay out of our business, and it wouldn't hurt if you didn't pick anymore fights with me—it doesn't look good for me to get beat up by someone so scrawny—

"I wasn't too scrawny to kick your ass."

Max pretended not to hear him, and continued speaking. "And I'll never tell a soul that you have some sort of Cruel Intentions fantasy about your sister."

"Did you really just reference Cruel Intentions?" Derek shook his head. "You are such a girl."

Max refused to be baited. "Hey, you can get in your digs, just as long as you realize that I'll be getting Casey."

Walking over to where Derek had tossed his jack, Max bent down and picked it up.

"Now if you'll excuse me," he said, walking back over to Derek, "I've got some making up to do." He winked at Derek, letting him know just what kind of "making up" he was planning on doing with Casey.

That did it. Derek punched him, sending Max crashing to the floor.

"Dude?" Max was clutching his eye.

Derek shrugged. "Fuck my reputation. I'd rather be less popular than Tinker, than see Casey with a prick like you."

Derek kicked him in the stomach, just for the hell of it, and went back in his house. He'd worry about the repercussions of what he'd done and what he was about to do later, but right then he had a princess to find.

The End!

Reviews Are Always Welcome!

A/N: I couldn't help myself with the CI reference; I've always wanted to do that. Let me know what you thought!