I don't believe in destiny or the guiding hand of fate
I don't believe in forever, or love as a mystical state
I don't believe in the stars or the planets
or angels watching from above
But I believe there's a ghost of a chance
we can find someone to love
and make it last.
Rush "Ghost Of A Chance"

It was too loud.

After all, the job at hand required full concentration. He could hardly be expected to appreciate the true beauty of the female form (that all his magazines were kind enough to showcase) with that earsplitting music blasting from her room.

Sure, she'd broken up with Max that day. But the fact that he'd gone out with her at all was a bigger surprise. After all Max was the original 'wham-bam, thank you ma'am' guy, and Casey I'm-going-to-have-a-white-wedding MacDonald, was hardly his type.

So he went to her room. Because you know, what Derek wants, he gets. And he wanted the music switched off. (And Polly Preppie Pants out of his house, but he'd settle for the music right now.)

He opened the door, without knocking, and shut off the stereo. He would have gone without a backward glance, but he realized that Casey hadn't yet spoken. And plain curiosity made him turn around.

'You look like shit,' he began conversationally. She looked worse. She looked like the poster child for Is-Your-Child-Suffering-From-Depression ads. Her hair was all over the place, her eyes and nose had more than a tinge of red around them, and she looked like she would start crying again. Not that he'd be around long enough for that. As much as he'd enjoy the show, Derek Venturi didn't do tears.

'Derek…' her voice was barely above a whisper, he wasn't even sure whether she'd actually spoken.


'Please…make love to me…"

And everything went straight to hell.

It was almost as if the force of their emotions had communicated itself to the elements above. At that precise moment rain began to fall. Standing near the open window, he could feel the raindrops, could smell that crazy smell of the first rain. Could almost taste it, in fact. It was a heady feeling. The sharp silver needles numbed his arm.

Too bad they didn't numb the rest of him too.

He couldn't trust himself to speak. Turned out he didn't need to. She filled in the blanks.

"You know why Max broke up with me? He only dates girls with experience, he said. Not virgins. "

She spat out the word. Like it symbolized exactly opposite of the purity that it was supposed to represent.

He didn't know when his feelings had taken 180 degrees turn. From amusement now he felt an almost corrosive hatred. It was always about Max, wasn't it? His biggest rival. And now he'd managed to do the one thing that even Derek hadn't, hadn't even thought possible in fact –

Break Casey.

She was ready to give up what she'd always prized above all her possessions. To him. Derek.

Derek had no illusions as to his hierarchy in Casey's world. He came slightly above having all her teeth pulled out…without anesthetic. And yet she was ready to go the whole way with him, just so she could go back to Max. And Derek would finally have had the girl he'd never otherwise have allowed himself to want.

Not that he would've wanted her. He didn't. She was his annoying, preppie stepsister. 'A recent accident by marriage' as he'd once told Sam. If he'd wanted her, he'd have had her. What Derek wants, Derek gets.

Derek had always been the one to play the traditional role in his 'relationships.' All the girls he dated were willing to go to any lengths for him. Any limits that had to be set were set by him. Like no PDA. He hated that. And whatever reputation he might have developed, he had the satisfaction of knowing that none of his girlfriends had ever left unfulfilled.

Why should Casey be different? She was just another girl, just one more to add to the list that he would never bother to make, because it'd be more time-consuming than it was worth. Sure, she was his stepsister.

But then eternal damnation wasn't something Derek Venturi gave much thought to.

So he'd never understand why the words that escaped him were, "I have a girlfriend."

He had three. She knew that. She could hardly help hearing the constant juggling with dates that he did on the phone. And the sickening fact was that even if they ever found out, they would continue going out with him, without so much as a confrontation. They didn't resent being used by him; they spent their lives wishing for it. She had thought she was a feminist. That she would never allow a guy to treat her like that.

And she was just about to join that club. She would soon be one of Derek Venturi's 'women'.

She was terrified, but she'd go through it. She could still hear Max's derisive voice ringing in her ears. His scornful "I don't generally seduce innocent virgins. It's not my style. I didn't know you..."

In the warring maelstrom of emotions that she was caught between, there was only one clear thought. She didn't want to be a virgin any longer. Somehow it made her less of a woman.

Derek was the best candidate to teach her. If the girls' bathroom wall at school was any indication, he'd had more than his fair share of experience. So why should he refuse her? Sure, she was his stepsister.

But somehow, she didn't think eternal damnation was something he gave much thought to.

She also had another selfish reason for it. This was Derek. She'd be in no danger of developing any 'feelings' for him, no matter what they did. If he refused her too, she'd be broken. But she wouldn't be his girlfriend, no matter what. She wasn't a masochist. She'd rather not stray down Heartbreak Lane if she could help it.

So she blurted out, almost horrified, "I know, I don't want to be your girlfriend, not now. Not ever. It wouldn't work out."

"Then why," he asked silkily, his voice contrasting his expression, "are you asking me to sleep with you."

Her reply needed a deep breath. But if she took it, he would know she wasn't being truthful.

"Because I fancy you like mad. I'll be your," her voice faltered, "…mistress, if you want me to. But I'm not going to be your girlfriend."

Was that even true? What had she just said? She was past caring. The complete silence that greeted her statement almost made her lose her nerve. Why was he making this so hard? Was she so unattractive that even Derek wouldn't want her?

His fingers bit into her shoulder, he lifted her chin till her eyes were looking into his. He looked like he would love to kill her, his eyes ice, as they stared at her.

"Say that again," he said, his voice low, "Look me in the eyes and say it."

His obvious anger frightened her. But she was too far gone. Her voice was almost inaudible. She had to repeat herself twice. "I said I want to sleep with you. But I want nothing more."

"If that's what you want, that's what you're going to have." He promised. Without warning, his mouth was on hers. She could tell he was kissing with the aim of hurting. Taking out his anger at her words. And even that couldn't disguise the sensuality of his kiss. He was experienced all right.

And in control. Ever since he could remember, Derek never once closed his eyes fully while kissing. No girl he'd kissed had ever felt him losing his command over the situation. That would imply weakness. He wasn't weak.

Outside, the rain fell relentlessly, ever attuned to their own private universe of tangled feelings. The thunder roared, the flashes of lightning went with her mood of absolute uncertainty. She had come in knowing what was right, and now after a taste of wrong, she wasn't sure which was which any longer. It was just the right kind of wrong.

He bit down on her lip, causing her to pull away.

"You're hurting me." She said, scarcely aware of what she was saying.

He was still much too close. Still so much in control, when it seemed she couldn't keep hers for much longer.

"Girlfriends get tenderness and respect, Casey," he said, lingeringly, "This is what's left. Do you want to change your mind?"

She knew that he could hurt her, and would enjoy it. The fact that she was doing it for Max had not hurt him, for he didn't lo…like her, but it had struck at his pride, and for that he would humiliate her. But she couldn't back down now.

So she said "No." and he laughed. The harsh sound, cutting through the air like a knife. And let her go. The threatening fury of a moment ago replaced by an impassive mask, that was even more frightening in its intensity.

"My room", he said, turning his head towards the door.


He lifted his eyebrow, and smiled in cold derision. "Now. Mistresses are obedient, you know. They have to be ready when their lover is."

It was hell walking before him, to his room. The familiar 'Keep Out' sign mocking her. But she did it, even turning to face him inside.

"Take off my shirt." He commanded.

Her hands trembled, as her fingers fumbled with the buttons of his shirt. Shame crawled up her skin in icy waves. She was unnerved by the appearance of this new Derek. So different from the boy who'd called her father back because he couldn't bear her crying, who in typical Derek-style has shown her that her wonder- boy Scott was a four-timing jerk, who'd not given in her name to the Principal, even when he was on the point of suspension for a prank that (for once) he hadn't played. The Derek who'd given up his most profitable venture to save her from getting into trouble. The Derek who'd saved her aunt's marriage from being a total disaster. The Derek whom Marti had christened the 'World's Best Big Brother.'

The Derek she had come to (deep, deep, deep down inside) sort of like.

Her skin crimsoned as she removed the shirt from his shoulders. But she clenched her hands at her side and lifted her chin defiantly.

'Very nice", he drawled, "A little stiff, but then you're not used to being a mistress, are you? Never mind, by the time I've finished with you, you'll be well broken in. Suitable for any rider."

The school boyish double meaning almost broke her resolve. But Casey, even when locked in a kind of trance of horror, was still Casey. She wasn't going to leave until she'd got what she wanted.

"Now get into the bed."

She got in the bed, his bed. At the first touch of his lips, she automatically closed her eyes.

"Look at me."

The harshness of his voice startled her. Her eyes flew open. His expression for a moment reminded her of the old Derek, but within a nanosecond the mask was back unsteadily in place.

For the first time that night, he looked like he was about to lose control.

The thunderstorm went on. Like giving accompaniment to his words, the brightest flash of lightning yet streaked across the night sky. Illuminating the world in an unearthly glow. She could see his face clearly. The agony etched so visibly, that all she wanted to do was to close his eyes with her hand. If she could help it, she wouldn't be the reason for that forsaken look in his eyes ever again.

His voice when he spoke was rough.

"I'm not going to let you close your eyes. When I kiss you, touch you, I'm not going to let you imagine that I'm Max, or Sam or anybody but Derek Venturi. "

"Whenever you're about to kiss any other guy, you'll be comparing him to me. Not Max, me. Whenever Max touches you, it'll be me you'll be wishing for. You'll never scream again at the highest point of pleasure, because it'll be my name you'll want to scream out. The memory of this night will be with you as surely as if it was branded onto your skin. How will it feel, Casey? To be with the guy of your dreams and to be wishing that he was your stepbrother?"

"And don't think that tonight'll be the end of this. We live together, remember. This won't be a one-night proposition. After tonight I won't let us get back to purely platonic. You to your bed, and I to mine. Because I won't forget...and neither will you.

I'll teach you what you so desperately want to learn. But I won't let you go to anyone else.

Tonight onwards you'll be mine. And mine alone. No other guy will be able to satisfy you. Ever. You'll belong to me."

"If you give yourself up to me tonight," his voice was dangerously low, "I'll keep you."

Her blue eyes were wide. She couldn't dispute his words. She'd been a fool to think that she'd be immune. That out of all the other girls, she'd be the one whose heart would be safe from his potent allure, which he used almost as a weapon. God…what a fool she was.

The pain she felt at Max's not having wanted her would be no comparison to the torture she would go through, when Derek stopped wanting her. And he would, because he didn't love her. And he never would. She would just be the klutzy, grade-grubbing, control-freakish princess who was also his stepsister.

Nothing more.

She turned and ran.

For the first time in his life, Derek Venturi had done the 'right' thing. (Or was it the second? Exposing Scotty-Boy counted surely.)

He'd not taken advantage of his step-sister, (odd how he always felt the need for that step before sister. If he'd been that kind of guy he'd have done some soul-searching. But thankfully he wasn't that guy) when she was in an obviously vulnerable state.

If he hadn't been so 'good' (the word itself was nauseating) then she would have lived to regret it every single day of her life.

Hell, maybe even in the afterlife, she was Casey after all.

George would be so proud.

Outside his window, the pitter-patter of rain finally stopped.

It was the morning after of the night before they never had.

She was sitting on a chair, lost in thought. His chair. Like she'd forgotten that it was off-limits.

"Get up. It's mine."

She started at his voice. Her head shot up so fast, she must have cricked her neck. He waited for the color to flood her cheeks. It didn't.

Was she…laughing? What was this, attack of the pod people? An alternate universe that he'd woken into, without realizing? Was Edwin going to come in any second, with a string of girls behind him?


Her eyes widened at the loudness of his voice, but her lips didn't stop trembling, with mirth this time. "Sorry. But could you sound any more like a two-year-old? This is minnne." She mimicked him.

He was sure his mouth was going to fall open. Had he dreamt the entire incident last night?

"Last night it didn't feel to me like you thought I was two."

He clamped his mouth shut, as fast as the words escaped. He would've given her the remote for a month (during hockey season) just to be able to take back his words.

Her eyes were tearing up. He took a step back in horror. Derek Venturi didn't do tears. "I'm so…sor…sorr…" He just couldn't get the word out. Force of habit.

She almost smiled. It was so derekally Derek.

"It's-all right," she managed, "What you did yesterday…was wonderful. Marti's right. You're the best brother ever.

'Step-brother." It was so automatic that he was probably never realized that he'd said anything at all.

She forced herself to go the window. She wouldn't let him know how she'd stayed awake the entire night, and Max hadn't crossed her thoughts once. Wondering whether Derek was doing the 'right' thing, or he had never really wanted her at all, and was sparing her feelings.

And what did it say about her, if even Derek would rather force himself to do the right thing (equivalent to death in his vocabulary) rather than spend one night with her.

"You didn't want me, did you." It was a statement. She could've bitten her tongue. How could she have said something so stupid? She was Casey MacDonald, she didn't do stupid. That was Derek's forte.

When he didn't reply, she felt a glimmer of hope. She's said it almost under her breath, maybe he hadn't heard.

"How are we going to meet Kendra tomorrow?" She still stood with her back to him; her voice louder than usual.

"By car", he said "George's dropping us." His voice was closer now.

"That'll be nice," she answered, "I'm looking forward to it."

"Turn around, Casey," he said.

"No…I want to look out the window. It's so beautiful isn't it? So peaceful, and quiet…and…and serene. And so many trees."

"Casey," he said again, his voice velvet, "turn around." And then he turned her around himself.

She blinked and gave him a lovely smile, and said very brightly, "Don't you like the view--" She faltered, seeing his expression. She was keeping herself rigidly under control and he mustn't make it difficult for her like that. "The—the trees—"

"Yes," he whispered, "The view. It's beautiful…"

But he wasn't looking out of the window.

As their lips met, Derek Venturi, for the first time in his life, broke his own golden rule, and closed his eyes.

And outside their own private world, the rain started beating a steady rhythm on the windowpane.

First LWD Fic!

Le Fin