Life with Derek: Brotherly…Something?

Summary: After spending their first year of college apart, they are home for summer vacation. A night of revealed secrets might change everything.

Disclaimer: I don't own Life with Derek; I can barely afford my car. I only own LWD in my imagination. (I have an over-active imagination… but that's why you love my stories, right??

Chapter 1

May 25, 2011

It was 9:00am as a 19 year-old Casey McDonald walked briskly through the busy airport, wheeling her bags behind her, to catch a taxi to her mother and step-father's home in London, Ontario. She had spent just under four years inhabiting the house after her mother remarried. Those years were filled with many memories, both good and bad. Memories that mostly centered on her step-brother Derek.

Derek. Those who knew him understood that saying that he did something Derek-like explained everything. And just the mention of his name evoked thoughts in her that she had hoped were put at rest long ago.

Spending a year on her own had done wonders for Casey; this was not to say that she did not miss her rambunctious family, however. She approached a cab, handing over her two bags to be put into the trunk, though she kept her purse with her. Climbing into the car, she gave the driver the address and sat quietly, remembering the days before she left and contemplating her return.

August 24, 2010

Casey had spent the past three weeks packing and getting herself ready to leave for college. She had been thrilled with her acceptance at NYU, but as the days flew by, she became more and more anxious. She had been closing the last of her boxes when Derek barged into her room without knocking – as usual.

"Hey, Case –"he stopped when he saw her sitting on the floor in the middle of her almost packed room. "Whoa, you know that you don't have to leave for four more days, right?"

Casey surveyed the room somewhat sadly. "Yeah, I know." She controlled her features when she realized he was watching her, before looking up."Did you want something?" she asked tiredly.

He watched her for a moment, as if deciding to say something else before replying, "Nora wanted me to come get you for dinner."

Her head quirked to the side in confusion, eliciting a quiet laugh from Derek before he addressed her silent confusion, "Looks like the keener lost track of time", he stated with amusement.

"Well", Casey said, "I did pretty much finish packing though I guess. I should be so surprised that so much time has gone by-". Her diatribe was cut off by Derek.

"Case, stop rambling." He over-dramatically motioned for her to shut her still opened mouth. She groaned but shut her mouth anyway. "C'mon, I'm hungry", Derek stated impatiently, before holding his hand out to her, only to wiggle his fingers when she did nothing but stare. She took his hand, slightly surprised, but let him pull her up onto her feet.

When she was finally steady on her feet, she realized their proximity. The only times they were this close was when they were too busy fighting to care that they were breathing on each other. Normally this was grounds for an all-out war. Casey had always insisted that Derek needed to respect her "personal bubble". This usually just insured that Derek did everything in his power to "pop" said bubble.

Before Casey opened her mouth to say anything, Derek was half-way down the hallway. She still hadn't moved when Derek turned to look over his shoulder. He sighed when he saw she wasn't following him. He walked purposefully towards her only saying, "What part of 'I'm hungry' don't you understand?" before he grabbed her and tossed her over his left shoulder like a sack of potatoes, causing her to shriek with surprise and anger as he tromped quickly down the stairs.

When Derek hit the bottom step and still hadn't set her down, she hit his back with a clenched fist. "Der-ek, put me down!"

"No can do, Princess. Left to your own devices-" this time Casey interrupted Derek.

"I work very efficiently", she said in a saccharine voice.

"No", he contradicted, "you take too long."

"Well, what if, what if I wasn't hungry?" she sputtered.

"Then you should have said so. And, besides, you weigh, what? Thirty pounds? Eat something", he declared, succinctly, setting her down next to her chair. He walked around the table like nothing unusual happened, as he ignored her glare and they both sat.

Derek began shoveling lasagna onto his plate as Casey grabbed a dinner roll from the basket, both studiously ignoring the looks from the rest of the family. For, even though it was normal for Derek and Casey to argue during the entire, it wasn't normal for Derek to have carried Casey to dinner.

George and Nora were giving each other looks that were probably supposed to be discreet, but were nothing of the kind. They battle back and forth. You ask them. No, you ask them. No, you.

Casey and Derek pretended to ignore the indiscreet conversation, while Lizzie and Edwin watch the ping pong match between their parents with unashamed interest. Marti was in her own world trying to make a smiley face out of her dinner.

The battle was finally over with a pointed glare from Nora and George cleared his throat before looking at Nora again. Do I really have to ask them? His face seemed to say. Nora rolled her eyes in defeat before looking at the two-headed monster that was Derek and Casey.

"Casey, Derek", she started, "what in the world was that?"

They looked at each other before glancing between the parents, while feigning ignorance. Casey finally spoke up. "What was what, Mom?"

Nora looked at her normally honest daughter in disbelief. "Casey, do you really think that we are so oblivious to think that Derek carrying you to dinner is a normal occurrence?"

"It had better not become a normal occurrence", Casey muttered under her breath.

Derek looked up at her and smirked before returning to his dinner.

George finally found his bearings and said, "I hate to even ask", he paused to take a breath, like it was the last breath he would take, before continuing, "but, why did Derek carrying Casey to dinner?"

His question was indirect, but he wasn't really sure if he wanted the answer at all, much less who he wanted the answer from. This just gave license for the teens to speak at the same time.

And just as if a switch was pulled, Derek said,"I was hungry and Casey was taking too long" at the same time that Casey said, "Derek was acting like an immature cave-man!"

Nora buried her head in her hands, clearly wondering why she had felt the need to ask. Of course it would start a fight; everything and anything could start a fight between them.

Derek grinned at Casey, making her breath catch slightly before she looked at him suspiciously. "Casey thinks I'm a man, good to see you're finally coming to your senses, Case. I was worried for a while."

She groaned, shaking her head at him."You would twist my words to make yourself feel better, wouldn't you? Isn't your ego big enough?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?"He asked with a raised eyebrow.

She looked at him with wide eyes before shaking her head.

"Aw, what's the matter, Princess? Did I 'pop your personal bubble'?"

"You wish", she replied, somewhat cheekily.

Her reply caused Derek to choke a little bit on his water.

Casey gave him a small grin, before returning to her dinner, appearing to be quite pleased with herself.

Lizzie and Edwin looked at each other wide-eyed. They were now fifteen, and both fully aware of the meaning behind those seemingly innocent statements, and were both grateful at the cluelessness of their parents. They watched Nora motion to George to let it go, and they proceeded to eat the rest of dinner in a semi-quiet fashion. At least it was quiet until Marti came out of her food art world at proceeded to tell in great detail, everything about her day at Dimi's.

9:45 am

Casey was brought out of her reverie by the jolt of the now parked car. She looked out the dirty window of the cab to see that the house looked exactly the same as it had when she had been here in the spring, except now there were no remnants of snow or mud. The lawn was green and it beckoned her to just lay on it, basking in the sun. She didn't follow through with the whim however. She brought her luggage to the door and rang the bell. She still had her house key, but she felt awkward using it after being gone for so long.

Moments later the door flew open, revealing an excited but sleepy Lizzie still in her pajamas, with Edwin behind her. Lizzie's shriek brought Nora and George to the living room, and Casey was pulled into the house and was quickly having oxygen squeezed out of her by the family.

"Guys", she laughed, "Oxygen is becoming an issue."

The family backed off just in time for eleven year old Marti, who still wore purple pajamas, to fly down the stairs and plow into her, taking her breath away again.

"Casey!" she cried in delight. "We missed you! Smerek came home three days ago! You should have been here!"

"Aw, Marti, I missed you too. I would have came sooner but one of our finals got pushed back and made everything crazy", she stated.

"Well, we're glad you're here now", Nora said.

Casey smiled, but before she could reply, Marti went to the bottom of the stairs and screeched, "Smerek, get your but out of bed and come down here to see Casey!"

Casey's eyes went wide with horror. "Marti", she hissed, "I don't think-"

But before she could finish the statement that everyone was thinking, she heard from the top of the stairs, "Geez, Case, I know it's been awhile, but got to stop setting yourself up to be insulted. Besides, I thought the 'not thinking' was my job. I cannot be replaced by a keener. It's just not right." He was now standing in front of a wide-eyed Casey, smirking like he had a secret.

Suddenly he grabbed her left wrist, and she started before realizing he was only looking at her watch. The thought made her flinch, wondering what he would say about being woken up before noon at the start of summer vacation because of her.

He just shook his head, saying, "Only you would get a flight before noon. Well at least we know you're still crazy. But now I am in desperate need of coffee. But first", he stopped himself and pulled Casey to him and hugged her just long enough for her to respond and then pulled back and went into the kitchen like nothing had happened.

The family just stood there staring at each other, speechless. And Casey was completely bewildered.