AN : Well guys...this is it! Ready?

Disclaimer : I do not own Life With Derek or any of the characters associated.

Stalking Casey

part 13 – That's So Punk Rock


"Edwin!" Derek snapped as he jerked Casey behind him, "Get Casey out of here! You guys need to call the cops!"

"I"m not leaving you!" Casey screamed, grasping his arm more hard than she ever had before.

The wolf was coming. Like they really had time for a quarrel now.

"Casey." Derek tried to sound calm. This incredible rush was coursing through his veins. "You need to go. Go with Edwin, you guys need to get help! We could still save Emily!"

He whipped his head around. Why had the wolf stopped descending? It was tilting its head back and forth at them, as if listening to what they were saying. Derek couldn't believe that the time had finally come.

"Would someone please tell me what the hell is going on?!" Edwin snapped in a frustrated manner. He was beyond annoyed. How long had they kept him in the dark? What was really going on? Had that wolf really just killed Emily? This would definately explain their wierd behavior as of lately.

"Later Ed, GO!" Derek shoved both him and Casey towards the opened front door, and watched them stumble at the door frame before turning his glare on the wolf. This fight was his.

But the wolf was gone. What the hell? Where could he have possibly gone to for the split second he hadn't been looking? "Where did it go?" Derek glared back at Casey and Edwin, who were frozen on the spot. Gone? It couldn't be. They hadn't even heard it.

Derek stormed up the stairs hoping it'd retreated, and at the same time, hoping he'd catch it. "NOEL YOU MOTHER FUCKER!" he screamed as he tore upwards and disappeared into the upper hallway, leaping over Emily's crumpled body that laid in a heap at the top. His heart cringed as the flash of Emily's motionless body entered his mind. He couldn't let it stop him though. Not now. Not when he was so close.

Casey took a few steps back inside the house. What the hell did Derek think he was doing? He was going to get himself killed! She spun around to Edwin, and took him by the shoulders. She looked like she wanted to say something to him, but she was struggling immensely with saying anything at all.

Edwin raised an eyebrow, all the while his eyes darting in every direction. He didn't know what was going on, but he knew it wasn't good. For some reason, his stomach was twisting and turning in ways it'd never had before. Well, maybe the sight of his current crush had some kind of similar effect. But that was more of a blissful heart pounding. It was a good feeling. This, was not. Should he be afraid for his life?

Casey felt tears coming to her eyes, as she struggled to think of a safe place to send Edwin. The wolf had disappeared. If she sent him running to a friend's or even next door to the Davis', he could be intercepted. At the same time, if he stood where he was, he could be attacked at any given time. Obviously, she was an unsafe person to hang around with. It was even dangerous to associate with her. And if he came with Casey to find Derek…well…

Nowhere was safe. She couldn't keep him safe, and it was more than upsetting. Still, she couldn't just stand there. She had to get to Derek. She needed to be by his side. This whole situation had started with her – and yet, Derek was the one looking for the wolf. He was putting his life in danger, and it really wasn't even his place to do so. "Edwin?"

Her voice was shaking. Edwin wasn't used to hearing this terrified Casey. He was used to the annoyed-by-Derek, super confident Casey. "Yeah." He said, more so than asked, his eyes still darting around the scenery.

They could still hear Derek yelling obscenities every few seconds. They heard the sounds of slamming doors as he was opening closets and rooms up to find the wolf.

"I need you to be brave, and…" Casey paused, and almost choked out her next words, "Please keep yourself alive. I have to help Derek." She stopped again, as a horrible thought raced through her mind. If she left Edwin here alone, would it be the last time she seen him? "We need help. You have to call the police, and-"

Her sentence was cut short as the entire house went black. She felt her stomach completely drop. It was pitch black. As if on instinct her hand shot out and gripped Edwin's shirt sleeve. He jumped upon impact – but it wasn't like his heart hadn't already started standing still as soon as the lights had went out. Both of them darted their glances towards the front door, which was still standing open. They'd managed to walk a few feet inside from it, and quite frankly, they didn't know whether to shut it and lock it – or keep it open as it was providing their only bit of light by the moon.

Casey was panicked, "DEREK!!" she shouted. "Derek please come back down here!"

No response.

"DEREK!"

"Ow! My ears!"

"Sorry Edwin." Casey apologized in a strained breath. She was too concerned about the fact that she didn't know where Derek was, she couldn't see a thing, and the wolf could be anywhere at this point. She glanced wearily towards the front door again.

"Casey." Edwin began, "As scared as I am to go anywhere, I think we should go get the flashlight. I'd rather see something than nothing at all."

Casey didn't answer him, and he knew why. He could feel her eyes were still glued towards the upstairs. He tugged on her sleeve briefly, hoping he'd gotten her attention because he couldn't see her face, "Trust me, I'm worried about my brother too, but lets-"

He was cut short as he felt a sharp searing pain go through his ribs. He coughed and sputtered, and wheezed.

Casey had heard it. She just didn't want to look. She was too terrified to look. She felt Edwin's warm presence beside her slowly fade, and heard his body slide to the floor. The wolf had managed to sneak up on them again. Forget walking anywhere and it not being safe. They hadn't even been safe standing where they were.

She heard the sound of heavy breathing behind her, and a body come against her backside. It was hoarsely breathing on her neck. Chills shot up and down her spine, and 5 sharp claws touched her shoulder, "Casey…I've waited so long for you…"

The next thing she knew she'd darted faster than she ever had before up the dark stairs. As knowingly clumsy as she'd always been, for once, she didn't miss a single step.

She heard it laughing as she screamed for Derek. It hadn't made any attempt to chase her. She didn't know what to do. She couldn't think straight. She needed to breathe. She needed to find her cell phone. She needed Derek. She needed him now.

It was in her house. It had come to her house for Christ's sakes. Now she understood. Now she knew why those scary movies, were in fact very real. That the bimbo girl and the jock boyfriend always did die. Fear was the most paralyzing feeling in the world. You couldn't think straight. You couldn't breathe. The only thing you wanted to do was curl into a ball and die, let alone use a phone to call the cops. Let alone try to run away.

Her thoughts came to a screeching halt when she ran into something rock hard, and almost fell backwards. Luckily whatever it was, had a strong enough arm that caught her, and a strong enough hand that covered her mouth, or else, she'd have busted someone's eardrums. Thankfully, her eyes were now adjusted to the darkness to where she could see tints of colors around her.

"Are you insane Casey? You're screaming will only tell him exactly where you are!" came the sound of Derek's lecturing voice, "Why do you think I stopped cursing loudly? I think it jumped out your bedroom window. It was open."

He released her, though not completely, he kept a slight grip on her arm. Which served no purpose when she plunged herself in the depths of his arms. "I told you to leave the house!" he paused for a moment, noting that someone was missing, "Where's Edwin?"

Not a second later, she was a crying mess.

And that was enough of an answer for Derek. He took her by the shoulders suddenly, ripping her out of the hug, "Casey look at me!"

She sobbed uncontrollably for a few more seconds, but complied to Derek's request as fast as she could. She could see hurt, and confusion in his eyes. He looked like he could cry again at any given moment.

"I want you to go into my room. Lock the door. I've just been in there and checked it out, it's safe. I have to go find this fucker. This has to be over." Derek was trying to talk her into it, but about halfway through his sentence she'd started shaking her head. She still was.

"No Derek. No I'm staying by your side. I'm never going to leave it!" Casey snapped, not caring who or what heard her. The wolf could bring itself and its entire pack up there and she could not have cared less at this point.

Derek sighed, and formed a firm glint in his eyes, "Casey-"

"No! Nothing you can say will change my mind right now!" Casey cried, "Stop acting like you can take on the world by yourself!"

Derek was taken aback by her reaction. For once, he didn't have a witty comeback. His gaze immediately softened, and she looked like she needed to say more, so he remained quiet, so she could do just that.

"I realize that this is dangerous, and that one of us…" she paused and looked deeply into his eyes, "…or both of us…could…" she paused again, and decided to dismiss the horrid thoughts that were running through her head and get back to the point, "Don't you understand that I'd do anything for you?"

Her heart began to pound. What was she saying? She was sputtering some kind of foreign language out of her mouth yet, she couldn't stop herself either.

"I'd do this 1,000 more times Derek." She had begun lowering her voice slightly, "I'd face 1,000 more secret admirers, and stalkers, and wolves, and dogs in mailboxes."

She noticed that Derek was now wearing the expression that clearly read 'You're more insane than I thought Space Case.' Still, she continued on.

"I'd do it all over again if it meant that I could stay by your side like this."

And it was the truth. At that moment she could have cared less if she was told tomorrow it was going to start over again. And 1,000 death notes later she was 1,000 times more fearful than she was now. As long as he was with her, she was willing. Willing to take on the world.

The look he was wearing on his face was indescribable. The Derek Venturi had been stunned into silence. Casey had been seeing a lot of reactions out of him lately she had a feeling she'd never get the chance to see again.

"You once told me that I was your light." Casey said softly, catching his eye contact again. "But I can't shine for you if you don't let me."

Derek stood silent still, for a few moments. What the hell was this mushy gushy attitude about? There was a crazed freak in the house, and all Derek wanted to do was end whom ever's life it was for causing so much crap for them the past week. Yet here's Casey. Being all adorable.

But he wasn't going to lie. Although it was mushy, and gushy, and he could barely stand it, it was also taking great amounts of strength not to let himself flash her a big goofy smile. There was just no time for him to get mushy in return. He had to keep his focus on what was going on. And…he supposed maybe having her by his side wouldn't be so bad.

"Fine." He mumbled, "But when I tell you to leave, do it. When I tell you to run, do it. You should never question what I say." He urged her back towards the stairs with his arm as he walked.

"I told you I don't give a damn what you have to say." Casey snapped back.

She was quite upset over how easily Derek had destroyed that moment. She'd become vulnerable and expressed strong feelings. What did he do? Tell her not to question him. Typical.

"Did you just curse at me?" Derek asked attentively, almost not believing that it had come from Casey, but loving the fact that it had all at once.

"Like that's really what you should be getting excited over right now." Casey scoffed, "Did you even hear what I said back there?"

"Of course." Derek couldn't help it, he was smirking now. "But you just cursed at me."

"You know what I don't even know why I bother with you. I should just hook up with the wolf." Casey huffed at him.

So she wanted to play this game, did she?

"You know what? You want to hook up with the wolf, go for it." Derek said with a bitter tone, "Just don't come complaining to me when he's ripped you to shreds."

Derek Venturi would be damned if he was sucked into some kind of scheme in which Casey was trying to make him feel guilty for anything. He heard her huff beside him, and a split second later, the power flickered back on. They stood, silent for a moment, listening intently at any noise they might have been lucky to hear in the house. But…nothing. Just silence. Until…

"DEREK! CASEY! HE'S GOING TO KILL ME!"

The scream pierced the air, and they heard someone barreling into their living room downstairs. "OH MY GOD! EDWIN!"

"Ralph." Derek whispered, as his eyes stayed glued to her.

She didn't say anything back, and Derek's hand shot out and instinctively grasped hers tightly, as he took off down the stairs. "Ralph we're coming buddy!"

Derek was prepared for the worst. Had Ralph been injured? The way he'd come barreling in seemed that way. Seemed like something had scared the living hell out of him too.

As the two of them flew down the stairs, hand in hand, they seen Ralph crouched down over Edwin.

"Are you okay?" Casey bounded over towards him, breaking the grasp with Derek's hand as he slid to Edwin's side.

Derek took his brother in his arms, and hugged him tightly, burying his face in his chest, "Edwin buddy, I'm so sorry." He whispered mournfully, "You're a Venturi damn it, and you'd better survive." He heard Ralph and Casey muttering frantic things to each other, but he wasn't concerned with that right now.

Now more than ever, with what Casey had said to him upstairs, and now his younger brother, injured and lying in his arms, killing this psycho had never been such a strong longing for him.

Ralph glanced up at Casey, leaning over onto his knees, gasping for breath. He'd been running awfully fast, and hard. His face was beat red, and he felt overheated. "Casey…you…you're not going to believe this, but it's Noel. He tried to kill me. The dude had claws!"

Of course, Derek had already known it was Noel, but Casey…this was just confirming everything she hadn't wanted to believe. She wore a concerned look on her face, in hopes that Ralph would find a way to get the airflow going or he'd pass out. At the same time, she felt hurt, angry, confused. Why had Noel done this? To her friends? Derek's friends? To her?

He'd always been quiet and soft spoken. A loner in a sense. A poet. But he had been her friend. And now he had turned into a cold hearted stranger. He'd taken away their friends, and hopefully not taken away Edwin. Wait. No. She wouldn't believe it. Even if all the evidence pointed towards him.

A thought struck her, "Did you see his face, Ralph? Are you sure it was Noel?"

Ralph gazed at her for a moment, his breathing finally coming into alignment, and he glanced over at Derek, who was still crouching over Edwin, a look of sheer sadness on his face, before looking at Casey again. "Yeah dude…of course I'm sure…why wouldn't I be?"

"Because she's in denial." Derek was finally standing up to his feet, an angry look in his eyes, "She still doesn't want to believe her precious Noel would do such a thing. Right Casey?"

"Are you in love with him or something?" Ralph asked, sounding more like himself for the first time since he'd come in.

"Yeah Casey." Derek folded his arms over his chest and gave her a pointed stare, "Are you?"

Casey felt the intensity underneath both of their gazes, and immediately snapped, "Have you guys gone crazy?! Who I love is not important right now!" She held her hand over to Derek, "Edwin needs help!" She directed her hand up towards the stairs, "Emily needs help!" She directed her hand then towards the open door, "Not to mention we could have just lost Ralph! And all you can think about is if I'm in love with Noel? All I wanted to know was if Ralph was really sure it was him or not!"

Their conversation was brought to a screeching halt by another figure stumbling through their open doorway. He was sputtering and mumbling things, and Derek was growing rather tired of just anyone walking through their front door. His eyes never did detour to the person that'd come through the doorway. He still had them transfixed on Casey. She'd set his heart on fire. And he was loving the way it felt. He felt he could take on the entire world's worst serial killer list on his own, and not fall victim to anyone of them, no matter how good they were, or what kind of weapon they were wielding.

At the same time he felt sad. His little brother was lying on the floor unconscious, and he was bickering with Casey like he always did – ignoring everything else around him. Granted, that's what they did, but he knew for a fact that now was not the time for a pointless dispute. Noel was a masked, crazed killer, now even Ralph knew it for sure, and it was like he wanted the entire world to freeze momentarily so he could bicker with Casey. And he knew why.

He was afraid.

Yes, he was admitting it to himself. He was afraid that this would be the last time he'd get to bicker with her. The last time he'd get to see her cute face. The last time he'd get to hear her voice.

He'd never felt like this before. And he didn't want to lose it.

He was going to make damn sure he wouldn't lose it.

The three of them, jumped, startled, when Noel plopped onto their floor through the front doorway, coughing and sputtering. He was dripping with sweat, and holding his shoulder, which looked to be injured. It was bleeding profusely as he had a hand held over it.

He writhed around on the floor and as he managed to attempt standing, they noticed that his stomach area looked pretty damaged too. Bloody and gruesome as it was, Derek wasted no time whatsoever in rushing over towards Noel.

"Derek wait!" Casey called after him, but he ignored it.

"Took off that stupid mask, did you?" Derek seethed, and walked right over to Noel, yanking him off the floor, throwing him into the wall. The angry look in his eyes had never burned into someone quite as much as they did Noel in that moment.

Casey's mind was running itself ragged. Thoughts were rapidly beating through her head. Something about this wasn't right. It wasn't right at all. The look in Derek's eyes, looked like he was about to kill Noel, and she knew he would, if he was given half the chance. She watched Derek slam Noel into the wall again. She clutched her head in her hands. No. Something was really really wrong. It couldn't be Noel. There was no way. She didn't realize she'd began to pace the floor.

A split second later, she was leaping onto Derek's back, hoping to stop him from literally beating Noel into more of a bloody pulp than he already had been by the scuffle caused between him and Ralph. At least, she was assuming that's where those injuries had come from.

It just wasn't in Noel's nature to be a stalker. To kill so many people, so heartlessly. Well, okay, so maybe it kind of was, given his personality type, but there was no way in hell he'd ever do it.

"STOP IT DEREK!" Casey screamed.

To her surprise, he did stop. He completely stopped.

When he whirled around to face her, his eyes were watered up and red. He was so angry, that tears were threatening to ruin his reputation again. My God.

Casey reached out and took his arm in her hands, leaning onto it, "If he really is guilty, we'll let the police handle it."

"If? IF?!" Ralph finally piped in, coming up behind the two of them, "I seen it with my own eyes! He's the one!"

"Okay Ralph. We believe you man, but this is over." Derek replied, trying to calm the frantic Ralph down.

"Where's Sam at Derek?! HUH?!" Ralph forced Derek and Casey apart, as he took Derek by the collar.

Derek would usually have already pounded the shit out of anyone who attempted to handle him in such a manner. But given the circumstances…well…

He did shake off Ralph's grip, and replaced it with his own hands on his shoulders, as he glanced at the ground. "He's dead." He answered in a sullen, sad, tone.

"He's dead." Ralph replied in a very dramatic way, "And I tell you who is responsible for it! Responsible for killing Emily too, and probably Edwin, and yet you're just going to stand here, and say the police will handle it?!"

Casey shot a confused glance towards Ralph. Is this really the kind of effect trauma had on someone? He was acting…angry…

"That's not very punk rock, man." Ralph finished, wiping some sweat off his forehead stressfully.

Noel coughed and sputtered from the floor, and Casey knelt down to his side. She had barely began to reach out to touch him on the shoulder, when Derek ripped her off the floor.

"Are you crazy?!" he snapped at her, clearly very upset she'd even do something of that sort in front of him.

"He doesn't deserve to lie there and bleed to death, Derek!" Casey spat, "But of course you have no heart, so…"

Derek almost felt hurt by this, and was about to retort, when Noel managed to join the conversation.

"I didn't kill anyone!" He choked out, attempting to stand to his feet again.

"That's bullshit man!" Ralph screamed, kicking Noel hard in the ribs.

Noel doubled over in pain onto his back. His vision was becoming blurry. Was this what it was like? Being so close to death? If so…he didn't want to focus any of his thoughts on anyone but…

Her face came into view. Casey…

She looked so worried…

So confused…


So beautiful…

She was clinging to his arm.

Just what did she see in him anyway? He watched her turn her face towards Derek. A look of love in her eyes, though she also seemed upset with him.

All he had ever wanted was to love her. To be with her.

But she had chosen another path.


She had chosen Derek.

And it wasn't fair.

"Ralph. You need to calm down." Derek was trying to see reason with Ralph on the subject matter of Noel. "Trust me, I want to kill him. Oh you have no idea how much I want to kill him for what he's caused Casey."

For a moment, Derek had a crazed look in his eyes.

"But I can't. I won't. Because if I kill him, I get taken away." Derek glared into Ralph's semi-calm eyes now, "And I don't want that. Because…"

Casey had kneeled to Noel's side. "Noel, you're going to be alright."

It was confirmed. No way Noel could have done it. The look in his eyes were way too innocent. And hurt. And full of sorrow.

"Casey…" Noel whispered, gazing at her, his eyes beaming.

She glanced over her shoulder at Derek and Ralph, who were busy in their own conversation, and when she was sure they weren't watching, she slipped her hand into Noel's. Tears began to fill her eyes, as she watched his chest heaving, struggling to take a breath.

"I would never hurt you…" he choked, reaching up to place his hand on her cheek gently. "I would never do anything to hurt you."

Casey nodded under his touch, though unfortunately she felt nothing from it. She wasn't going to lie to herself anymore. Derek was the only person that could make her feel anything from a simple touch. Over this past week, she had learned what it meant to feel static when someone special in your heart made physical contact with you. She'd always told Emily she didn't believe that sparks really would fly the first time you kissed the one you were meant to share the rest of your life with. And it still may have not been true. But there was something very unique between Derek and her. Something she couldn't explain.

Still though, Noel was one of her dearest friends. Always had been. They shared something special too.

"Noel, just…please don't strain yourself. We're going to get you to the hospital." Casey whispered, untangling her fingers from his and standing up to confront the two squabbling boys behind her.

Derek had never seen Ralph so wound about something in his life. He swore up and down that they had every right to end Noel's life with their own hands. He was babbling on something about Sam, and Derek had decided to just listen. Let the guy vent. Obviously it's what he had needed.

He felt Casey's hand slip into his, and Derek tilted his head slightly towards her. Enough to cause Ralph to completely stop talking.

"I'm still listening, man." Derek sighed, and watched as Ralph blinked hard a few times, before stuttering at his next words.

"And Sam…" Ralph paused again, rubbing some more sweat from his brow. "It's hot in here, isn't it?"

Derek raised an eyebrow, and Casey once again was glancing at him with that confused look on her face. They watched as Ralph tugged at his shirt collar a bit.

He glanced up at them again, "Sorry I just, I must still be feeling the burn from running so fast from that fucker."

Well that made sense. Derek thought. "Alright." He said, deciding to break the silence, "It's time to call the police." He reached for the phone on the edge of the counter, and Casey edged closer into his side, his other hand now sitting cozily in both of hers.

Ralph blinked rapidly, "Oh, I don't feel so well." He looked to Derek and Casey. They were standing awfully close, looks of pure concern in their expressions.

"Casey…" came a whispered voice from the floor.

Derek rolled his eyes, placing the phone back on the counter before he'd even attempted to call the police. Seriously, Noel was like a curse he couldn't manage to get rid of. Even now, all he cared about was getting HIS girl's attention.

Or maybe Derek had finally learned a hard lesson. Jealousy was a real bitch. Of course he'd never admit to being jealous when it came to Casey and other guys. That'd just be out of character.

"Casey…it's…it's him…." Noel managed, before he lifted his pointed finger weakly.

He took his last breath.

"Noel!" Casey was by his side again in a few short seconds. This was so unfair. Why him?

And what was that he had managed to say to her? It's him? And he'd pointed. But to whom? The only people here were Ralph and…Derek. She turned to glance back at the two boys, her eyes filling with tears.

She remained where she was, unsure of whether or not she should get closer to either of them right now. But she caved under the craving for Derek's hand in hers. She reached for him, and he took her hand. There was no way either of them could be harmful. Maybe Noel hadn't known what was going on in his last moments.

"It's over Casey. He's gone." Derek whispered into her ear. "It's finally over. He can never hurt you, me, or anyone else again."

But Casey didn't feel that it was over. In fact, the nervous feeling that she hated so much, had returned to her. It was the same one she usually got when something horrible and awful was about to happen.

She burrowed herself into Derek's arms, and allowed him to hold her.

Derek was relieved as ever. They could call the cops now, and they wouldn't be laughed at, or called stupid, or be accused of being drunk or on drugs. Finally they'd have their proof. Noel was done. His reign of terror had ended. There was hope for Edwin, and Emily too. And he had the girl of his dreams resting in his arms. They'd made it. They'd finally made it.

"Oh you two make me so fucking sick!"

Derek felt a searing jab of pain shoot through his side. Casey immediately glanced up, because his body had made an unexpected jump. She gazed at him, and tried to find out what his eyes were saying to her, but they weren't saying anything. He wasn't speaking anything out of his mouth either. What was going on? What was wrong?

She felt his arms slowly fall down from around her, and he glanced down to his side, where a handful of sharp claws had just been plunged into him.

Casey stared on in horror, her jaw dropped open, her head shaking back and forth. No. This couldn't be happening. No one else was in the house with them…unless…

Derek completely dropped onto the floor, and he took the claws with him, leaving Ralph bare handed, yet satisfied that their sickening display of affection had been stopped.

Ralph snapped his glare at Casey, who took a few steps backward, shaking her head still. "Do you honestly have any idea how unfair it was for you two to be acting like that in front of me? That's not very punk rock, Casey."

Casey spent the next minute, backing away from him, trying to figure out how to speak, shaking uncontrollably, and damn near crying because of what'd happened to Derek. The shock of it all was too much. As if it hadn't been enough already. But Derek's voice was echoing through her head –

'You're my light, Casey McDonald. So I expect you to shine for me like you know you should.'

She slammed her hand down on the counter, and glared angrily over at Ralph, "It's you?"

Ralph raised an eyebrow at her and folded his arms across his chest.

"All along it's been you?!" Casey questioned, her eyes narrowing more and more. "You…you killed…"

Ralph rolled his eyes, "Yeah yeah, let's skip that part, and get to the real point here." He held out his hands, a giant goofy smile coming to his face, "We can finally be alone! Just me and you!" he paused, before giving her a thumbs up, "By the way...nice shoes."

Casey held a hand to her stomach. She didn't feel so hot at all. In fact, she was so overwhelmed by the situation at hand, and all the blood all over the floor, she had to bend over and empty the contents of her stomach into the kitchen trashcan.

"Don't you understand that I did this all for you?" Ralph continued.

She could hear his voice getting closer and she quickly whipped her head up from the trashcan, backing up still, "Stay away from me Ralph."

"Oh why?" Ralph asked, throwing his hands out to his sides, "You were always complaining! Always 'I hate Derek!' or 'I don't understand how Max can be so mean sometimes!'"

"Well just because we get tired of people sometimes doesn't mean we can take their lives away! It's not that simple!" Casey snapped, still clutching her stomach to try and stop the sick feeling from coming back.

They'd been circling the island in the kitchen as they talked. Casey felt herself becoming more and more light headed the more and more she caught so much as a glimpse of Derek lying on the floor.

"And Sam…and…how could you Ralph?" Casey asked in a strained voice, tears coursing down her cheeks like a river.

Ralph stopped pacing, and sighed, glancing at the floor, "I'll admit, I miss Sam." He looked at her again, "But when you love someone you have to make sacrifices!"

Casey glared over at him, a look of disapproval all over her face.

"Look, I'll lay it out for you." Ralph began, "See, I was watching Degrassi, and-"

"I hate you."

Ralph stopped, dead in the middle of the sentence. What had she just said? He peered over at her, "Huh?"

"I said I hate you." Casey seethed, "You've taken everyone I love from me! You're nothing but a monster Ralph. I told you from the beginning you should have just talked to me! Just asked me! Instead you wanted to play around like some freak dressed as a wolf and scaring the living daylights out of me constantly. You've caused so much pain, and anger, and fear, and grief."

Ralph was still just standing there. His jaw was hanging open. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. All this time he really had thought he was doing her a favor. And it was true. His mind had become so obsessed and corrupt, that killing had just been another bump in the road. Nothing that serious. Plus it was so metal. You couldn't be a true rocker until you'd spilled someone's blood. Right? He began to get defensive, "Well what about Derek, huh? What about Derek! He's cruel, and mean, and downright awful to everyone who gives him a sideways glance!"

"You know what Ralph?" Casey snapped, pointing an accusing finger towards him, "Derek may be a self centered, pompous jerk, who only gives a damn about himself most of the time, and doesn't care whose feelings he has to squash to uphold his tough guy rep." she noted that the glint in Ralph's eyes was looking more and more unhappy. "When he holds me in his arms, I feel like I can fly." She then added, "He's my step-brother. My shoulder to cry on. My rock. My soulmate. And I think…" she paused, "I think I'm in love with him."

Ralph shook his head back and forth, and pounded his hand to it, "Oh blah blah blah!" He spat at her, before gearing closer, so now they were standing on either side of the island. He slapped his fist down on it and gave her a dark glare.

Casey didn't know how to react to him. He had definitely blown a gasket somewhere in the head to be acting this way. What had happened to the cute and funny Ralph? Derek and Sam's best friend? The one who always had harmlessly flirted with her, who bought her ice cream at the mall and carried her bags?

She just couldn't stand the fact that this was the boy who'd killed so many people she loved and cared about. That Derek loved and cared about. She had been a friend of Ralph's, in a sense. Well, so much for that.

Before she could blink he had swiftly leaped over the island, and wrapped a strong arm around her shoulder, pulling her snuggly against him. He was wearing that smirk on his face.

That smirk used to make her laugh. Now it felt cold, and terrifying.

"Casey Casey Casey!" Ralph exclaimed, "You used to be in love with Derek. Obviously you can't love someone who is dead, right?" he asked her, as he had walked her around the side of the island so that they were glancing down at the motionless Derek on the floor.

"It's all about us now." Ralph continued, pulling her even more tightly to him, "Forbidden lovers, soul mates the whole time, people who stood in the way." He rambled, "But now…" he released her and clapped his hands together, rubbing them. He emitted an awful laugh, "Those things are no longer obstacles! We've defied them all! Isn't it romantic?" he paused, and glanced at her with a strange expression, "Well…in a punk rock kind of way?"

He was babbling nonsense. He was making no sense whatsoever. He really truly, was mental.

"No it's not romantic at all." Casey said, taking her chance to step away from him quickly, "Not one bit punk rock."

He had obviously been watching too much Degrassi.

Still, his words were echoing through her head. They were already haunting her. She couldn't stand it.

'You used to be in love with Derek. Obviously you can't love someone who is dead, right?'

'No.' She thought to herself. No he wasn't dead. She could still feel him there. There was no way…was there? Her eyes were glued to him. Lying there on the floor. She brought her hands up to cover her mouth, her eyes reddened, and it only took one blink, for tears to start flowing down her cheeks again.

"Why you little…" Ralph roared, as he lunged towards her again, grasping her by the shoulders. He threw her so hard into the wall, that it took her breath away.

She didn't even have a chance to recover either, before he'd forced her to look at him. She coughed and fought to catch her breath, but he just wouldn't let her.

"You ungrateful little bitch!" Ralph screamed into her tear streaked face, "I did all of this for you! All of it!" He shook her so roughly by the shoulders, she had to squeeze her eyes shut. "You're awful you know that?! Everyone's always said you were such a sweet, kind girl! And all this time I've know you, I've thought the same! But you show me no thanks for what I've done for you!"

"Stop it!" she screamed back, "Just stop it!"

"Stop it?" Ralph replied, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.

He watched her meaningfully for a few more seconds, before placing both arms on either side of her. His head hung down towards the floor momentarily, and he laughed quietly, before looking up at her again, "Obviously my acts of chivalry…my poetic awakening…the blood I've spilled isn't good enough for you."

Casey managed to glance up at him. What the hell?

"No!" Ralph threw his hands up in the air, freeing the space beside her, but he didn't move away, so her means of escaping the situation were still on hold. "You don't want to love me!"

Another split second passed by and he had changed his expression to a glare once again. "I don't know what to tell you then, Casey." He shook his head, and reached into his back pocket.

Casey's eyes widened as she watched him pull a clawed glove into view.

"If I can't have you after I've sacrificed my entire life-" He cut himself off, "Well…my entire sanity…that is…" he corrected before continuing, "Then why should anyone else?"

Casey was shaking at this point. Not only has his entire expression just changed, but so had his eyes. They were serious. And they were deadly.

He had slipped the clawed glove over his hand, and he leaned in to whisper in her ear, "Just tell me one more thing…"

Casey closed her eyes shut tight again. This couldn't be it, could it? She was sure he was going to kill her now. Stupid! Why hadn't she just agreed to his insane charade? If only the police would show up. Speaking of police, they still hadn't managed to make that call, had they?

It was seeming more hopeless than ever now. She partially blamed herself. She could have easily lied to Ralph, and played along. But no. She had to have morals, and honesty, and all the other irritating quirks that got under Derek's skin.

Oh Derek. Her rock…

"Are you afraid of the big bad wolf?" He laughed manically as he raised his hand.

Casey kept her eyes closed. Any second now.

She felt a rapid gust of wind blow across her face. She thought for sure she'd been stabbed. Her body was just in shock. That's just how it happened, right?

"Doesn't feel very good, does it?"

That voice! She knew that voice! It was…

Her eyes shot open. There he was. The boy she loved. He was standing behind Ralph, with one hand clutching his side, the other was launched into Ralph's back, who was currently hunched over in pain, sputtering.

His eyes lifted to meet hers, and changed from the angry expression to a firm, strict one, as he motioned her to hurry and get out.

Before she could, Ralph had reared around, ripping the glove off Derek's hand in the process. One of his arms had flown into Casey, shoving her so hard that she fell into the corner of the island, smacking her head at such a rough impact the entire room started jumping around. She had noticed though, that the glove was still stuck in him. Its claws had sank themselves almost completely into his lower back. She dropped down to the floor. She had suddenly become extremely tired.

Still she was fighting the good fight. She just needed to shut her eyes for a few moments.

Ralph emitted a frustrated growl and launched himself on top of Derek, sending them both to the floor, and also sending his claws into Derek's stomach. "You! You're still trying to take her away from me!"

"Ahh fuck!" Derek yelled painfully, as his body went into shock again.

Ralph ripped the claws out of Derek's gut and lifted it again, preparing to plunge them in again, when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

He raised an eyebrow, and turned around, only to be met with a strong fist in the jaw.

This fist must have had the fire of 1,000 suns behind it, because it sent him rolling off of Derek and across the floor. He shook his head, trying to regain his senses. A searing pain was coursing through his jaw. It was clearly broken.

Casey opened her eyes slightly. Everything was still blurry, but had stopped bouncing around so much. She reached a shaky hand up to her head. She was bleeding profusely from where her head had connected with the corner of the island.

She made out a blurry figure, moving across the kitchen, but that was all she could take before she sunk onto the floor again and closed her eyes.

Ralph shakily put a hand to his jaw as he struggled to get up. That blow had really knocked him for a loop. He steadied himself on the counter, but not before whom ever had hit him the first time, hit him again. He fell against the counter, this time, his nose gushing. Well…at least they'd knocked his vision straight. He turned to see who his attacker had been, and needless to say, it infuriated him even more. "Why can't you just die?!"

Another searing pain sunk into his stomach. He grunted, and coughed, blood spattering the floor and counter.

The person wearing the claws this time, stumbled a little in their own weakness. They'd been injured severely, and Ralph's weight was pressing downward, as his body was giving out.

A second later, Ralph had collapsed onto the floor, where he lay, taking his last few breaths.

"Because…" the voice finally replied to his question, as he peered down at him, "I'm a Venturi, bitch. Losing isn't in our nature."

Ralph sputtered out a bloody laugh, "Dude….Edwin…." he paused, straining for breath, "That's so…punk…rock…"

And with that, Ralph had exhaled for the last time. Spoken his last words.

And for Edwin, all went black again.

XOXO

Derek awoke to the shrill voice of a hysteric nurse.

"DOCTOR!"

His vision adjusted only to see the figure of a nurse walking out of a large, dark room.

He glanced around for a moment, feeling a deep pain in his side and stomach.

"Ugh…" He lifted his hand to his head. He sure had a huge migraine.

He discovered quickly that he was in a hospital, as the whirring sound of a heart monitor machine stood beside his bed.

What…was going on?

Suddenly he jolted into a sitting position, his eyes darting around in all directions. Ralph! Was he here too? What had happened? What day was it? So many questions flooded his mind, but when his eyes fell upon the scene at edge of his bed, all other thoughts left.

She was so beautiful.

The nurse rushed back in with a man following behind her.

"She won't stay in her own room, I just don't know what to do! Everytime I come to check, she's in here at his bedside!"

"Calm yourself Norrine." The doctor sighed, "Her injuries weren't enough for her to be bed ridden. Though we will have the address the issue that it is important that this young man gets his rest, and that she will need to leave him be in the meanti-Oh!" the doctor paused as his eyes fell to the very alert and awake Derek.

Derek folded his arms over his chest and glared at them both. Seriously. Trying to take his Casey away from him? They had another thing coming.

"Mr. Venturi." The doctor addressed, "You're awake."

"What day is it?" Derek asked him bluntly.

"Sunday." The doctor replied, "Mr. Venturi I must advise you that the position in which you're sitting isn't good for your recovery-"

"Don't really care doc." Derek cut him off, and almost wanted to laugh at the doctor's shocked expression. "Has my family been here?"

The doctor nodded in response, "Yes, they've been here since early Saturday morning. Came as soon as we made the call to them. Said they'd been away on a business trip. Let me tell you, you both are right lucky. If the police hadn't been called…"

The doctor's voice trailed off in Derek's head. The police? Someone had finally managed to alert the police?

At this point, Casey was stirring at the foot of Derek's bed, and he watched as her two eyes slowly opened. She stretched slightly, before sitting up off the bed, and glancing around.

Derek was waiting to catch her eyes, and when he finally did, she rushed up to his side, grasping his hand in hers, and damn near barreling the doctor over.

"Derek!" she began frantically, "You're awake! I was so worried!"

"Miss!" the nurse stepped forward and snapped, "Miss, come on, back to your room immediately!"

"Oh! But-" Casey began to protest.

"Come now or I'm going to call-"

"With all do respect." Derek interrupted, causing the nurse's attention to be turned back towards him. He had a smug smirk plastered across his face, and he gave Casey's hand a slight squeeze, "The only one in this room who needs to leave is you. Because all of your pointless screeching is giving me a headache."

The nurse's jaw dropped momentarily and she looked at the doctor, who turned to Derek again. "Mr. Venturi, I must press on you the urgency of your recov-"

"The longer it takes for you both to leave, the longer it takes for me to recover." Derek snapped, "Because this girl…" he glanced down at Casey, who turned her head to face his. Their eyes locked into a gaze.

It took every inch of self control for Derek to rip his attention away from her again, as he looked at the doctor and nurse again, "This girl is my real healing. And I need her."

The doctor sighed, and the nurse folded her arms and let out a grunt.

Never the less, she was disappointed when the doctor said the girl could remain in his room for a half hour, and that they would leave.

Derek watched the nurse stormed out, a smirk plastered on his face, "She wants me."

"Derek Venturi!" Casey snapped, causing him to glare at her. "How could you deny yourself proper rest and recovery!" she shouted more than asked.

Derek rolled his eyes. "Here we go."

"I would have gladly left the room! Though…maybe I didn't really want to, that's besides the point! The nurse was right after all! You do need to rest, and if they believe that I'm actually prolonging that, than how could I stay in here with you!" she stood to her feet, breaking the grasp of their hands, and holding her hand to her head, where a bandage covered a small square area, "I must still be suffering the trauma of my own injuries to be…"

She turned her back to him, as her rambling trailed off in Derek's mind. Well, he could see she hadn't changed much. His attention directed to her head. What had happened? He still did have so many questions going through his brain, but right now, none of that mattered to him.

Waking up in the hospital was the 2nd to best thing that had ever happened to him. Not only had he survived, and made it through the hardest week of his life, but so had she. He had woken up to seeing her peaceful, beautiful face. Which led up to the 1st best thing that had ever happened to him. Falling in love with her.

"And another thing that just makes me simply furious-" Casey had still been going but she was cut off as a strong grip fastened itself around her wrist, pulling her down gently.

She whipped her head around to see Derek smirking at her, smugly. "Do you always have to be running that obnoxious flap of yours?"

Casey's jaw dropped open, and she was about to respond, but didn't get a chance.

She immediately plunged into a blissful world where no wolves existed. A world where no pain was possible. A world where her heart was always beating as rapidly fast as it was now.

And if Derek Venturi's kisses always made her feel this way from now on? She was sure she believed sparks could really fly.

XOXO

A soft tapping woke Edwin. He inhaled deeply, and sat up in his bed. He'd been awake already a few times that weekend, only when needing more medication for the awful stinging in his side. Thankfully, his dad had said when he came to see him, 'the blood of a Venturi will only spill for someone worth it'.

Unlike Derek, Edwin was fully aware of what day and time it was, and where he was at. He also already knew the full story of his injuries, which had luckily not caused any permanent damage other than a ruptured nerve, and a scraped rib.

His dad and Nora had been buzzing in and out of his room left and right, only leaving when they needed to go check on Marti at the sitter's, and eat, shower, and sleep. Some of the sleeping, Nora had done there anyway. She was so upset and in hysterics when she first had come. After the doctor had obviously informed them of the situation at hand, they'd done nothing but talk about it. And Edwin had made a mental note to firmly tell them, that he'd rather never talk about the big bad wolf again.

"Come in." He said, loudly enough for whomever was standing on the other side of the door to hear him.

The door cracked, and Lizzie poked her head in, "Feel like having a visitor?"

A smile graced his features, "Of course!"

Lizzie smiled in return and walked in, shutting the door behind her. She pulled a chair to his bedside and sat down in it. "How are you feeling?"

He shot her a look of indecisiveness. "I've definitely felt better."

Lizzie smiled again, "I was really worried about you."

"Really?" Edwin exclaimed, sitting up straighter, causing himself a slight streak of sharp pain.

Lizzie immediately recognized that he had gone and strained himself, and scolded him for it. So, after Lizzie had gotten onto him, and Edwin had returned to his resting posture in the bed, he asked again. "You were really worried about me?"

"Of course!" Lizzie snapped, almost as if the question had offended her, "The doctors were telling us they didn't know if Derek would survive, and that Casey was on the verge of a coma, and…and you!"

She began pacing the floor as if she were stressed beyond the max. After a few seconds of her carrying on the behavior, she plopped into her seat again.

Edwin raised an eyebrow. Was that a glint of…a tear in her eye?

"I don't even want to talk about what they were saying about you." She muttered, her voice cracking.

"But, Liz, I-"

"About how you had…been injured severely in the side, and how if you're ruptured nerve hadn't clotted, that you'd have bled to death, and…and…" Lizzie continued struggling to talk with him about it. "Oh Edwin!"

She buried her head down onto his hospital bed.

Obviously this subject was as painful for her to talk about as it had been for him to experience.

"Lizzie, haven't I taught you anything? Doctor's exaggerate." Edwin said, in a very Derek like manner. He wasn't one to be that smug, but he had to cheer her up somehow, right?

Lizzie lifted her head, and glared at him through tears.

Edwin immediately added an, "But who am I to know how serious it really was?" He threw his hands up in the air.

She smiled softly.

"Oh good." Edwin said, "You're smiling. It stresses me out when you're upset. I don't know how to make it better."

"Well you're a lot better at it than you think." Lizzie replied, standing from her chair.

Edwin's smile faded, "Where are you going?"

"Oh. I told mom I'd be down at the car in 10 minutes." Lizzie explained, "I'll be back! But we have a lot of cleaning up at the house to do before you guys are released."

Edwin sighed, and nodded. He watched as she gave him another smile and a slight wave. She spun on her heel, and Edwin plunged himself into a mental struggle.

If he was going to do it, he needed to do it now.

"Hey Lizzie?"

"Yeah?" Lizzie responded quickly, and was immediately at his bedside again.

"Um." Edwin began. When he noticed the questioning glance on his face, he lost all the words he had wanted to say to her. So instead, he reached behind his pillow, and pulled out a small, folded up piece of paper.

Lizzie watched as he extended it to her, and she took it slowly, "What is it Edwin?"

"Just…" he paused, thinking he should explain, but there really was nothing to explain. It was all in the letter he'd just handed her, "Just read it."

Lizzie felt the urge to ask more questions, but found herself nodding instead. She left the hospital room with a smile, holding the note tightly in her hands.

XOXO

(EPILOGUE)

3 months later…

Hey journal, it's Derek.

Really this is so stupid and pointless. Writing in a journal? Well…it's what the therapist told me I should do. I'd rather do this than keep attending weekly sessions, listening to the idiot blare at me with his monotone voice, so, hey, might as well make the best of it.

It's been 3 months today since the week from hell ended.

Needless to say, a lot has happened since then. For one, I thought Nora and dad were going to up and kill Edwin, Casey, and I ourselves after we'd healed from our injuries. They were pissed when they found out from us that this had been going on an entire week. Nora went into a long lecture about lying and how she couldn't believe I'd had the nerve to tell her everything was okay during the nights she'd called, when they really weren't.

Of course, Edwin himself was pretty pissed when he found out he'd been kept in the dark too until that very last night.

They've finally calmed down a little. Wait, who am I kidding they've become obsessively protective! Especially Nora. Casey and I barely get any time to ourselves alone without one of them bursting in asking us if we're okay and what kind of dark secrets we could possibly be hiding now.

I'm really glad, that during these past few months, Smarti had been sent to stay with my mom. Even though I miss her like crazy, even I agree she's too young to be around this. I'm not even completely myself or back to normal yet. Who would have thought something like this could be so hard to recover from? We're expecting Smarti home in 2 weeks.

Lizzie's gotten to stay. Because she's older, and Casey confides in her.

Apparantly now so does Edwin. If I'd have know the little punks 'crush' had been Lizzie all along, I'd have advised him to grow some balls and just call her. Go figure, he worked his magic through a letter idea Casey recommended to him. I yelled at him for that. Venturi boys do not write letters. They just don't. And he'll do well to remember it next time.

Lizzie's been good for him though. I don't think he'd be in such light spirits without her around. She felt the need to read this so-called romantic letter to me completely. Something along the lines of 'blah blah blah you mean a lot to me. Blah blah blah, I've liked you for a long time. Then, get this, she blurts out that she loved it so much she had went back to the hospital the night he'd given it to her, and kissed him. I mean, what the hell! If I'd have gotten a letter from him, I'd have thrown it in the trashcan. Guess Lizzie's heart is easy to sway. If that's true, he'll need those heroic, punching fists of his for high school. I'd hate to think what would happen the first time she got all giggly over a guy who merely winks at her. Seriously the entire situation makes me sick.

Casey's recovery has been slow. She has nightmares almost every night. She'll wake me up screaming, or in tears. A couple times I've even woken up because the blood flow in my arm has stopped. Because she'll have been gripping it so tightly in her sleep.

Yes. She sleeps in my bed now.

I convinced Nora and George it would be better for her if she could wake up with someone next to her that knew how to talk to her and calm her down. Of course, they quizzed me about that subject, saying they didn't understand because we've always hated each other.

Boy have they missed a lot. They still don't know.

She still goes twice a week to a therapist, and attempts to talk about what she suffered. I overheard Nora on the phone with the guy the other day. He says she's making progress. I guess that's a good thing. Never known a doctor to actually be good for something. But if he's making progress with Casey, it's good enough for me.

We talk a lot. About that week. To each other. We've come to the conclusion that somehow our lives hit a black hole and suddenly sent us to the 9th circle of hell. We still have problems talking about the fact that it was Ralph.

The strangest part of it all is when the police questioned his mom, she said she'd had no clue what he was doing. They searched his room. Not one single thing they looked through led them to suspect he'd have ever had something wrong with him. Or that he'd been the one doing this.

Alot of things are still left unexplained, but I guess sometimes it's for the best.

We bring up Emily often. Who didn't make it by the way. She had suffered too much internal bleeding, and her body eventually gave up. She fought the good fight, and may I add that she ended up being the real hero. I overheard Nora talking to her parents on the phone. Said that she'd been found with her cell phone in her hand, the number to 911 had been dialed. Her body had managed to scrounge up what little life was left in it and make the call before she left us.

Sheldon has been a real mess about it, but he's been getting better over the last couple weeks. Tomorrow we're going to the cemetery together. Sheldon, Casey, and I – to pay our respects to our lost loved ones.


I miss Sam so much. And Sally and Kendra.


Casey mourns over Noel and Max, which…somehow even though they're gone still makes me jealous. But setting all that aside, R.I.P. dudes. You were both responsible for making Casey smile at times. You have my respect for those moments.

We both know they're all shining down on us from wherever they are up there. Probably laughed at me yesterday when I fell down the stairs. I know Sam and Emily were. I just want to shake my fist at the sky sometimes. I just know they're laughing.

As for me?

Well…not much to say but that I hate myself for becoming such a love struck, jackass.

Seriously, if I could go back to the moment when my heart decided to fall so hard for her, I'd do anything in my power to…

No. I'm just trying to kid myself. I wouldn't change a thing.

I'm very in love with Casey McDonald.

Who knew once you found the light that it would shine so brightly?

But that's just between you and me. I have a rep to up hold.

END.


Final AN : I hope you guys have enjoyed the journey as much as I've enjoyed writing about it. When I started Stalking Casey - I'd have never dreamed for it to turn into what it has. EACH.AND.EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.OF.YOU have made this an amazing experience for me, and you have my eternal thanks for the encouraging reviews and compliments you've left me over the course of the story.

A HUGE thanks to MIRANDA aka LADY AZURA who has become one of my greatest friends, and my partner in crime through the length of the story. She's been such an inspiration to me - and if it weren't for her - Stalking Casey would have simply remained a beautiful idea.

Another thanks to PinkJelly - for urging me to expand my horizons here - otherwise the story might never have made it here.

And of course...one more huge thanks, perhaps the largest thanks of them all goes to ALL OF YOU - for reading it. For giving it a chance. And for sticking by Derek and Casey's sides until the very end.

Until next time - Stephanie (stephluvvsyou).