A/N: Sorry it's taken me so long, and I appreciate all of your patience and replies to my a/n. My first year away at school got to me quite a bit. Soccer, homework, friends, boys… yeah, it was a lot and I got side tracked. Anyway, this chapter was particularly difficult to write. I couldn't figure out how I wanted Ryan to be told, or even if I wanted her to be told. Then, there came the issue of Derek finding out and all of that. There's a lot of OOCness I think, especially when it comes to Nora, but that will be explained in the next part. I actually started writing this after I wrote the last update, and I haven't finished it until now. There have been a lot of rough drafts and I still don't know if I like it. But, I couldn't leave ya'll hanging anymore. Sorry if it's a bit wordy and whatnot, I'm incredibly rusty.

Summary: Back from her third year of college, Casey McDonald is facing a summer of dealing with a decision she made (along with her mother and George) long ago. But as things get harder to handle, someone else returns home to make it that much harder.

Disclaimer: I own Jack, last name Shit. Maybe you've heard of him?


Chapter 11: The Universe Sucks

Derek entered the house after driving around for the better part of four hours to the sound of silence. He was in a shitty mood and all he wanted to do was lock himself in his room and blast his music. Actually, what he really wanted to do was connect his fist into someone's jaw. He left that morning with every intention of kicking Sam's ass into next week, however, rationality stopped him (yes, Derek can be rational). He couldn't go over and beat up his old best friend just because he fathered a child with a woman he once had strong feelings for, it wasn't fair to Sam. He didn't even know that Derek and Casey had hooked up that one time. It wasn't his fault that Casey was a bed hopper. It wasn't his fault that they both fell for the same girl. No, it was all the work of an even bigger evil. Something more sinister than either of the two men could ever fathom. Something that had an outward beauty that could deceive even the smartest of men; the work of a queen among sirens known as Casey McDonald. Yes, Derek had now turned all of his anger and hatred towards the one he felt deserved it most.

Shutting the door with an enthusiastic slam, Derek stepped further into the house, kicked off his shoes, and was about to begin an angry march up the stairs when a small body started to make its way down.

"Derek!!!" Ryan screamed out, with tears running down her face, arms outstretched to him.

Derek turned his body to her, taking in her appearance. Immediately, concern took the place of his anger as he opened his arms to let the sobbing toddler in.

"Shhhh…." He whispered, comfortingly into her ear as he held her tightly to his chest, "It's okay, Monkey. I've got you."

"She- she-" She sobbed, trying to speak between her heavy breaths.

"Shhhh…" Derek repeated, as he just continued to rock the small child, trying to calm her down. He knew that getting her breathing under control was vital, he could get an explanation later. When her sobs quieted to mere sniffles a couple minutes later, he relaxed his hold on her and pulled back to peer at her tear-stained face. "You okay now?" He asked, his voice slightly above a whisper. Ryan's reply was a silent shake of her head. "No? Could you tell me what's wrong? Maybe I can fix it."

Ryan took a shaky breath before answering, "M-mommy a-and T-tasey are… are l-liars."

Derek's brow furrowed at the dicey reply, before realization dawned on him: Casey had finally decided that she wanted Ryan to be hers again, everyone else and their feelings be damned. His earlier anger rose back up in him, and he felt an overwhelming need to lash out at her. However, one look at the pain and confusion etched into the glorious, innocent pools of blue made him push his anger aside. Ryan was all that mattered here. Casey was a selfish bitch, he knew that, but Ryan was too young to be this hurt and confused and she was what mattered. He wanted nothing more than for Casey to feel the repercussions of her actions, he wanted her to feel the pain that she has caused everyone else, but not at the expense of his little girl… Well, Sam's little girl, he thought with a snarl. It didn't matter her parentage, though, Ryan Venturi (or whatever the fuck her name really was) had his heart, and he would do anything in the world to mend her broken one… even if it did also benefit the satanic concubine.

He shook his head and let out a sigh as he brought himself and Ryan into the living room and sat in his recliner. "Ryan, I know what Nora and Casey did seems mean," he started, as he adjusted Ryan on his lap.

"It was mean!!" She cried, cutting the older man off. "They're liars and I hate them!"

The last few words that fell from the little girl's innocent mouth made Derek's head snap, "Hey!" He reprimanded, though not harshly, "I know that they lied to you and that you're upset, but you do not hate them."

"Yes I do!" Came the stubborn reply.

Derek's tone softened, "No, you don't, Ry. Wanna know how I know that?" He waited for the small, imperceptible nod before he continued, "I know that you don't hate them because you love them."

Ryan shook her head with enthusiastic denial at his remark, "No, I don't."

Derek smirked, "Yes, you do." He told her, while using his index finger to still the child's head and direct her gaze to his own. "And I also know, that you know that they love you, too."

"No they don't." Ryan said, her eyes falling and a look of sadness clouding her features.

Derek sighed, "They don't?" The young tot shook her head morosely. "I think you're wrong. In fact, I know you're wrong."

"How?" She asked, lifting her head to look up at the man with a glimmer of hope peaking through her sadness.

Derek hugged her to him with a gentle squeeze, "Because, they would do anything to make sure you were okay." He told her, and she just raised her brow, waiting for him to continue. "Well… Last night, you remember how Casey took care of you? She sat by your bed all night long, making sure you're fever didn't get too high, and sang you songs and stuff to make you feel better."

"Yeah… So?" He smiled as her face scrunched up, waiting for him to make a little more sense to her.

"So…" he said, jokingly stressing the word as he gave her a little jiggle in his arms, trying (not in vain) to make the child laugh. "She did all those things because she loves you."

Ryan stopped her giggling, her face taking on a look of seriousness, "Really?" She asked, and he nodded his answer. A look of contemplation slowly covered her features as she nibbled her lip, "Then why did she lie?"

Hmmmm…. Derek thought, maybe because she's a cold-hearted bitch who only thinks about herself? Of course, he couldn't tell her that, so he turned Ryan to face him and told her something a little bit nicer, "Ry, she didn't want to lie to you, but she thought it was the best thing to do at the time. All she wanted was what was best for you, she still does, and if she would've known at the time that you would hurt like this, she never would've done it. She loves you more than anything. I'm willing to bet that, right now, knowing that she hurt you with this lie is killing her. And if she knew that you hated her, she would be devastated."

Ryan looked a little guilty at his words, "Would she try?" She asked innocently.

Derek nodded, "I'm sure she would cry."

"I don't want Tasey to try!" The little girl yelled, appalled by the possibility of her favorite woman crying because of her.

"I know you don't, but she would. She loves you so much, that it would hurt to know that you don't love her, too." Derek told her, though inside he was thinking that Casey deserved to hurt.

"But I do love her!" Ryan cried.

Derek nodded, "I know you do. But I'm not the one you should tell that to."

Immediately, Ryan jumped off of his lap and began running towards the stairs, "I gotta tell her!!" She yelled, but then stopped suddenly and turned back around. Derek raised an eyebrow at her as she climbed back up onto his lap, "I love you, too, Derek." She told him, giving him a quick peck on the cheek before running back up the stairs, zooming right passed Nora and out of sight.

Watching the little one disappear and not noticing the woman at the top of the stairs, Derek slouched back into the recliner with an audible sigh.

"That was really sweet of you, Derek." Nora said, causing Derek to jump slightly.

Derek quickly composed himself and sent his stepmother a sarcastic smile, "That's me," he growled out, with a sarcastic, saccharine smile in place, "I'm as sweet as fucking sugar."

Nora bristled slightly at his language, but let it slide, "Well, I'm sure Casey appreciates it, as do I."

Derek rolled his eyes with a grimace, growling out between his teeth, "I didn't do it for fucking Casey. I don't give a fuck what that lying bitch appreciates or not. I did it for Ryan. Case doesn't deserve that little girl, but Ryan doesn't deserve to hurt."

The middle aged woman fumed, and if it had been a cartoon, there would've been steam seeping out of her ears as she snapped at the younger man, "You don't know what you're talking about, Derek."

Derek let out a sardonic laugh, "Hmmm… Well, maybe if your daughter and you weren't constantly lying, I'd have a fucking clue." He stood up to go to the kitchen, sending a glare towards Nora, "You both act like you're all innocent, deciding who deserves to be loved by you and who doesn't, giving and taking away, all to suit your needs. Casey has the baby, then decides she doesn't want her, then decides that she does. She decides she loves someone, only to take away the love. She's a fucking bitch, and apparently so are you, for allowing your daughter to do shit like that."

SMACK!! He hadn't realized that Nora had followed him on his quest to the kitchen until he felt the familiar sting on his cheek. "I don't care what you say to me, or about me, because I know I deserve every name in the book, but don't you say a word about Casey. I don't know what you have against her, but I know that she has been through Hell these past few years, and if you would've taken your head out of your own ass for one second these past couple of weeks, you would've seen the pain she has been in."

Derek, with his hand cupping his aching jaw, sent Nora a look that would send Charles Manson running scared, "Head out of my own ass, huh? Why thanks, Nora, I didn't know you cared that much. If Casey was in so much pain, maybe she should've thought a little bit before she decided to play Spin the Wheel for the Mommy."

Nora just shook her head with disgust, "You know what, Derek? You don't know what you're talking about. You don't know what happened, and it's not like you've even listened to anything that didn't suit you're picture of how things are according to Derek. So, I'm done." She said, turning her back on him to grab her purse and keys to head out the door. "Oh," she stated, halting midway through the entryway, "and if you ever use that language with me again, you will regret it. I don't care how old you are."

Derek just stood there with a glare as she walked out the door, "Whatever." he muttered, and then marched up the stairs, slamming his bedroom door as he disappeared into his room.


Casey sat on her bed with tears in her eyes, thinking about what had just occurred not even ten minutes ago.


"When do you plan on telling her?"

Casey's face fell, and confliction was obvious as she chewed nervously on her lip, "I don't know." She finally answered, after a second of silence, "I'm afraid to tell her."

"I know that you're a little scared, Honey, but Ryan deserves to know that you're her mother." Nora said gently, not knowing that she had just let the cat out of the bag.

"Tasey's my mommy?" A little voice rang through the hallway, the innocent question filling the ears of the two shocked adults.

"Uh…" Nora stuttered, turning her stunned gaze to the child standing just outside of her bedroom door.

Ryan's face was scrunched in confusion, "But you're my mommy."

Casey paled, she wasn't ready for this. Just hearing the painful confusion in her daughter's voice was too hard, how could she explain this? "Ryan, why don't we go sit on Casey's bed and talk?" She heard her mother say gently, but the toddler wanted nothing to do with that suggestion.

"No! I wanna know now!" Ryan was normally sweet and charming, but she could be extremely stubborn with a temper to boot, and she could throw the biggest tantrum if she felt a situation warranted it. She was not one to be confused, and she hated feeling left out, and at this moment, she was definitely feeling both. "Is Tasey my mommy?"

Nora looked at Casey, who stood paralyzed beside her, "Casey…"

"Tasey?!?!" The toddler's shriek shook Casey from her trance.

"Ry," She said quietly, kneeling down to the child's level and reaching out her hand for her to take.

Ryan took Casey's hand and stood in front of her, tears welling up in her eyes, "Are you?"

The small, quiet voice, so confused, scared, and hurt, that trickled from the tiny brunette's lips made Casey's heart break. She knew that she had to tell the truth, her daughter didn't deserve these lies anymore, "Yes." She stated simply.

Ryan's eyes widened like giant, blue saucers, not expecting that answer, and not fully understanding its implications, "But, mommy is my mommy." She said, turning her gaze to Nora.

"No, I'm not, Sweetie." Nora said, weakly.

"B- but…" The little girl began to stutter, pulling away from Casey's grasp, as she stared up at Nora. "You said you were my mommy…"

"I know, and I was wrong to do that." Nora's voice was laced with guilt.

"You lied?" The question was simple, and seemed even simpler coming from the mouth of an almost four year old little girl. But the phrase and its (true) allegations packed one hell of a punch. A punch that hit straight into the guilt that grew in both of the women's guts, causing an internal rupture, making the acid-like feeling bleed through their bodies, burning away at every crevice, through their souls, and oozing out of ever orifice, until every part of them ached. There was no escaping it: they were liars.

Casey, guilt-ridden and intent on telling her daughter the whole truth, nodded her head, "Yes, we did. But, Ryan…"

"Liars!!" The tiny person screeched, making a sound that would make any dog within a five mile radius go mad. "You guys are liars!"

"Ryan…" Casey tried again, but there was no reaching the girl. Ryan now had her hands covering her ears and was chanting, "Liars! Liars! Liars!" At the top of her lungs with tears streaming down her cheeks. Casey sucked in a deep breath, willing her tears not to fall just yet.

Nora wanted this all to stop, she knew that everyone was hurting and she wanted to fix it. She took a step towards the screaming child, placing her hands on the her shoulders to try and get her to focus, but Ryan threw her hands up to ward the grandmother off. "NO!" She yelled, "I want my daddy!!" With that said, she took off down the hall and down the stairs. Casey and Nora were about to go after her when they were instantly stilled by the child's cry, "Derek!"

Silence engulfed the duo for half a minute, as they tried to register what had just taken place. Snapping to, Nora turned to her daughter who's tears were finally released into steady rivers down her face, "Casey, it's going to be okay. She just needs to calm down. She's only about four years old, she doesn't understand, and the best way she knows how to cope is by throwing a tantrum." Casey just nodded, not bothering to acknowledge her mother in any other way, as she just continued to stare down the path that Ryan had just taken.

"Derek will get her to calm down a little bit, and then you can talk to her and try and help her understand. Okay?" Again, she only nodded. "Okay, well, I have to get to work. I'm really late for this meeting." Nora just waited for any other sign from Casey to know that she will be okay, but she received none. "I could call in. If you need me here, I can stay. It wouldn't be a problem." Nora suggested, her concern coming through with each word.

"No." Casey answered, in a voice completely void of emotion. Still, Nora sighed with relief. At least she was still talking.

"You sure?" She asked, and again, Casey just nodded, but the gesture was also paired with extra motion, as she turned her body and walked right into her room.

End Flashback

Sitting in her bed, the irony of the fact that Ryan said that she wanted her daddy and then found her way into Derek's arms was not lost on Casey. In fact, she was pretty sure that the whole day was just the universe's way of giving her the finger. Why would she have thought that she could actually have a peaceful day with her daughter? Why would she think that she could actually be happy and have her family? Ryan was probably sitting in Derek's lap, right at that moment, and together they are sharing about how much they hate her. Casey wiped another tear from her cheek as she thought that. They both hated her now, and she was left with absolutely nothing. Maybe she should just leave and head back to school, there was nothing keeping her in the house any longer.

Just then, Casey heard the light tapping of little footsteps enter her room, "Tasey?" Ryan asked, hesitantly walking further into the neat room.

Casey looked up, quickly wiping away her tears before she met the child's blue gaze with her own, "Ryan," she breathed out, relief slowly flowing through her body, as more tears began to fill her eyes. Maybe she wasn't going to be alone…. Unless, she's here to kick her while she's down. That would be the Derek in her.

Ryan gently smiled at her newly revealed mother, making her way to stand in front of her on the bed, "Were you trying?" She asked, her face scrunching into a frown as she fingered away a tear from Casey's blotchy, tear-stained cheek.

"Yeah, I was, Babygirl." Casey answered.

Suddenly, Ryan threw her hands around Casey's neck in a hug, "I love you. Please don't try anymore. I don't want you to try."

Hearing those words stem from her daughter's mouth made a whole other water gate open as relief flooded through her system and she squeezed the girl tighter to her, "Oh, Babygirl, I love you, too. So much. I am so sorry for lying to you."

Ryan pulled back, "I know," she told her, "but no more."

Casey smiled, "No more lying. I promise."

"Pinky?" The little girl asked seriously, holding out her tiny pinky finger.

"Pinky promise," Casey agreed, entwining her smallest finger with the toddler's.

A smile broke out on Ryan's face, and she pulled Casey back into a hug, "Good."

Together, they sat holding each other for a few minutes, content to just be, until Ryan pulled away once more. "How are you my mommy?" She asked, contorting her features to display her confusion.

Casey stood up, "Well…" she said, walking over to her book shelf and pulling down a photo album, before sitting back down next to Ryan on her bed.

Ryan looked down at the photo book, more precisely, at the picture that Casey was showing her. "What's this?"

Casey looked at the picture fondly, "That's me."

Ryan just raised her eyebrow, "But you're fat."

"Silly girl, that's you." She chuckled pointing at her enlarged pregnant belly in the picture.

Ryan's eyes practically popped out of her head, "You ate me?!?"

Laughter spewed from the older woman's mouth, "No, no, no." she laughed, "I didn't eat you. That's where you grew before you were born. In my belly."

"Oh," Ryan said, relieved, before confusion took over again, "How did I get in there?"

Uhhhh… Casey panicked to herself, "Your daddy put you in there." She said, before instantly kicking herself in the butt. Way to go, now she's going to ask about her daddy and I can't lie to her, and then she's going to tell Derek and then Derek is going to kill me and then….

"How did he do that?" Came the response, cutting off Casey's inner ramble.

Now, Casey had never been a big believer in the whole God thing, but she figured that she didn't have to push all of her beliefs on her daughter, "Well… When two people love each other a whole bunch, sometimes God grants them a gift. So he goes to the daddy in the daddy's dream and gives him a little seed and tells the daddy to give the seed to the mommy the next night before bed. When the mommy takes the seed, she gets a baby in her stomach to grow, before the baby comes out and becomes a little boy or girl." She tried to explain.

"Okay." Ryan said, accepting her answer before thinking of a new one, "But daddy loves mommy… well… my old mommy. How did daddy give you the seed? Did God make a 'stake?"

"Oh, Honey. God didn't make a mistake giving me the seed," Casey said, before broaching the hard subject, "You know how your old mommy isn't really your mommy but is your Nana Nora?" She asked Ryan, who nodded her head, "Well, George is your Grandpa, not your daddy."

Ryan frowned at this for a second, and Casey braced herself for the question that she was sure was going to follow. She wasn't going to lie to her daughter anymore, so she would tell her about Derek and then deal with him when she needed to. However, the question never came. "Okay." Ryan said with acceptance, "Tan we make fresh toast, now?" She asked, with innocence.

Casey blinked in disbelief, wow, kids really are resilient. "Of course, Babygirl." She agreed, "And if your tummy is up for it, maybe we'll bake cookies later."

"Yay!!!" Went the loud reply, as Ryan hurled herself from the bed and began pulling Casey out of the room, "Let's go! My tummy wants tookies!"

Casey shook her head happily, allowing herself to be dragged to the kitchen, "Not until after breakfast."

"Fine," Ryan sighed, and then turned around and wrapping her arms around Casey legs abruptly. "I love you."

Casey looked into Ryan's deep ocean eyes as she heard the words that melted her heart, "I love you, too." She said, affectionately running her hands through the girl's thick curls before leaving a gentle kiss on her forehead, "But there's still no cookies until after you eat breakfast." She said, with a smile. Maybe the universe didn't hate her as much as she thought. She has her daughter now, and that was WAY better than nothing at all. No contest.

A/N: So, that was chapter 11. I hope it wasn't too bad. This was actually a lot longer, with an actual Dasey fight, but it was getting WAY too long. So, you guys will have to wait for next chapter… If you want to read a next chapter. Tell me what you think. I can take it. Thanks for reading.