Author's Note: It's been a really long time since I've written Derek and Casey, I've missed them. This jumped into my mind yesterday, and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it. Derek is bossy like that.
Disclaimer: If Derek and Casey were mine, do you really think Truman would be on your TV screen? No, no he wouldn't. I own nothing at all.
The first time Casey comes over, it's two weeks into the new semester. She knocks on his door and then pushes past him when he opens it, letting herself in and beginning to ramble in that overly excited way she has,
"Hi, I was just on my way home from class and I realized I hadn't seen your new apartment yet, so I thought I'd stop by and check it out. You know, since I hadn't seen it yet."
"Okay," he says.
"Well aren't you going to give me a tour? Offer me a drink? Kick me out? Something?" She asks, and his eyebrows raise, almost of their own accord. He doesn't know how she manages to be so completely predictable, and keep surprising him, all at once.
"Ok," he repeats after a minute, "This is my living room. Over there is the kitchen, and down the hall there is a bathroom, and my bedroom," He says, pointing as he talks, and trying his best not to raise his eyebrows at her again when he mentions his bedroom. He fails, but she doesn't seem to notice.
"Was that my tour?" She asks.
"Yep," he says, crossing his arms over his chest.
"You have to move to give a tour," she informs him, rolling her eyes.
"But you didn't actually show me anything," she says.
"Whatever. Do you want something to drink?" He asks, even though if he's going to take her suggestions, he should probably go with that whole 'kick her out,' thing.
"Yes please," she says, smiling at him for the first time since she walked in. He heads towards his little kitchen and opens the refrigerator.
"Water? Orange Juice? Gatorade? Milk? Beer?" He questions, glad he has a few more choices than he normally would.
"Water would be great. Thanks, Derek," she says from over his shoulder. He pulls the pitcher out, and then opens a cabinet to grab a glass. She gasps when he opens it, and then makes a little tsking sound. She spends the next few minutes opening every cabinet and drawer in his kitchen, shaking her head and muttering to herself as she does. He finishes pouring her water, then leans against the wall and watches her, fascinated.
"How do you live like this?" She asks him when she's finished.
"Live like what?"
"Like this! Everything is just thrown together, you have plates in with strainers, and your silverware is all mixed together, and you have bowls in four different cabinets!" She says. She keeps listing the things that are wrong with his kitchen, but after awhile he stops listening and instead focuses on the way her voice sounds as it bounces around his kitchen, and on the way her lips look as she forms the words of her rant.
The second time Casey comes over, it's two days after the first time, and she's there on a mission. She brings bags with her, and she pulls out a drawer divider and several bins, looking pleased with herself. She doesn't give him a chance to ask questions, she just sets to work organizing his kitchen. Two hours later his silverware is sorted, his spatulas and spoons are in bins on the counter, and everything else has its own shelf.
The sixth time Casey comes over, it's only two and half weeks after the first time, and Derek is starting to wonder what's going on. They haven't spent this much time together since they both lived at home, and even then, they didn't talk this much. It's not that he minds, it's actually kind of fun, having her come sit on his couch and tell him exactly why it is he's wrong about everything. He's always liked fighting with her, it's a good way to spend the afternoon, but he's not stupid. He knows there has to be a reason she's coming over so often. He almost asks, but then decides against it and says,
"You know, you could call first," instead.
The tenth time Casey comes over, she brings text books in with her. She says something about his apartment being, 'quieter' than hers, which he's pretty sure doesn't make any sense at all. She lives alone too, so he's not sure how it's possible that his apartment is any quieter than hers, but he lets her study on his couch anyway. He's not really sure why.
The fifteenth time Casey comes over, Derek invites her to stay for dinner. He's hungry, and she's in the middle of typing an essay, so he offers, and she accepts. He orders a pizza, but then hears himself promise to make her a real dinner sometime soon.
"Macaroni and cheese?" She teases, and he grins.
"I happen to be an excellent chef," he says. It's actually true. Over the years, he's learned to cook himself all sorts of things, partially because he was, and is, hungry all the time, and partially because he's found it really impresses women. He's about to inform Casey of this fact, when it occurs to him that she's the only girl he's had in his apartment all semester.
The twenty-second time Casey comes over, she falls asleep on his couch. They'd put a movie on, and she falls asleep half way through. He's not really sure what to do, but he doesn't really want to wake her up and kick her out. So he grabs one of the pillows off his bed, and one of the extra blankets out of his closet. He carefully moves her head so that it's on the pillow, and then covers her with the blanket. He sits on his chair for the rest of the movie, but he spends more time glancing over at her than he does watching the movie.
The thirtieth time Casey comes over, she brings her own pillow, and a toothbrush, with her, just in case.
The thirty-ninth time Casey comes over, he wakes up the next morning to find her on his couch, going through a photo album Marti had given him before he'd left for college.
"Morning," he says.
"Hey," she says, "This is adorable."
"Marti," he says, and she smiles,
"I know. I read the note in the front."
"Oh," he says, sitting down next to her.
"You know, you really were very pretty," she says, pointing to a picture of him during his unfortunate long haired phase.
"I think I made it work," he counters. She laughs, and keeps flipping pages, squealing over pictures of Marti as a baby, pictures of Edwin's chubby cheeks and of Derek with grass stains all over his pants. She stops and gasps over a picture of his twelfth birthday that includes Sam, Ralph and Sheldon Schlepper. A few pages later, she stops again and gasps even louder,
"It's us," she says, sounding genuinely surprised, as if it really hadn't occurred to her that she'd appear in the album.
"Yep," he confirms, smiling a little at the picture of them taken at their parents wedding; glaring at each other over a piece of cake.
"I'm in a lot of these," she says, turning the pages slowly. He nods, suddenly aware of how true that is. There seem to be about a million pictures of the two of them: fighting, hiding behind forced smiles, dressed up for school dances and plays. There are pictures of them posing before senior prom, pictures of D-rock performances, pictures of them sitting and playing with Marti, pictures of them cheering for Lizzie at her soccer finals. Then there are pictures he knows Casey took: Derek and Edwin covered in mud, the result of one of Lizzie's revenge plots, George jamming with D-rock while Derek rolled his eyes, Marti putting makeup on Derek while he slept.
Casey closes the album quickly when she gets to the last page. She pushes it off her lap and onto a nearby table.
"I should go," she says quickly, not really looking at him. She picks up her book bag and practically sprints to the door.
"Casey," he says, calling after her. He's not sure what to say, but things are weird all of the sudden, and he wants to fix them. Unfortunately, he has no idea how, so he just picks up a hair clip she's left on a side table, "You forgot this," he says lamely. She grabs it from his hand, and heads for the door without saying a word.
The fortieth time Casey comes over, it's five days after the photo album thing, and Derek is so glad to see her that he almost lets her know just how much he missed her. She comes with bags again, but this time they're filled with food.
"I thought I'd cook for you this time," she says, grinning. She makes some healthy thing, he doesn't even think she uses butter, but it's surprisingly good, and he decides he should let her cook more often. She sleeps on his couch that night, and he stays up late, flipping through the photo album again, watching her sleep, and thinking.
The forty-sixth time Casey comes over, Derek's getting ready for work. He's surprised to see her; since he was pretty sure she had his schedule memorized.
"I'm sorry," she says, "I know you have to work, and I shouldn't have come today, I just thought-" She trails off without finishing, but she doesn't have to. Her voice gives away how upset she is, and he stops what he's doing and walks over to her.
"What's wrong?" He asks.
"It's nothing, I should go, you have to work," she says. He puts his hands on her shoulders,
"Casey," he says, locking his eyes on hers, "tell me." She looks down and sighs before answering him,
"I talked to my dad today," she says, and his stomach churns and takes her hand and pulls her over to the couch.
"And he was supposed to come this weekend, we'd had it planned forever, but now he's canceling. He's got some important meeting, and I understand, but I was really looking forward to seeing him. We were supposed to spend all weekend together, and the theater groups is performing A Midsummer Night's Dream this weekend, and I love that play, and I really wanted to audition, but I didn't because I knew my dad was coming down. I didn't want him to have to sit through the show three times, you know? So I didn't audition and I planed all these things for us to do, and now he's not coming. He said he was proud of me and that he was sure I was fine, but I'm not fine and-" Casey stops and looks down, blushing.
Derek sighs, pulls out his phone, puts a hand over Casey's mouth, and fakes a stomach virus to his boss.
"You're not fine?" He repeats when he hangs up the phone, taking his hand off her mouth. She protests for a few minutes, but then she starts talking again, and he hears all about how she hates her major, how she hates every class she's taking this semester, and every person in those classes. He hears how she hates that it's taken her over two years to figure out that she doesn't really want to be an engineer- that she wants to do something creative. He hears about how she's afraid that if she switches majors now it will take her forever to graduate, and how confused she's been. She talks and worries and at one point she cries, and for the first time in his life, a girl crying doesn't make him want to run away. It makes him want to hold her, so he does, pulling her into a long hug.
"Thank you," she whispers when they break apart, and instead of pulling all the way back, she leans her head on his shoulder.
"I'd have come," he says after a minute of silence.
"To see you, in A Midsummer Night's Dream," he clarifies, "Possibly more than once."
The forty-ninth time Casey comes over, they spend the evening pouring over the English department's course listing for next semester, and he listens to her read the e-mail she's planning to send to her advisor. Somehow, he manages to say more of the right things, or least not the worst things, because she keeps nodding and smiling and by the time she leaves, she seems to be feeling more confident.
The fifty-seventh time Casey comes over, he's sore and achy from a brutal hockey practice followed directly by a grueling nine hour shift at work. He's whiny and grumpy, and he glares at Casey, even though she's making him soup and tea, and even though there's no one else he'd let see him like this. She takes care of him, rubbing his shoulders, making him finish his soup and then putting him to bed. She actually tucks him into bed, smirking and yawning as she does. He reaches out and grabs her hand before she leaves the room, before he can stop himself.
"You don't have to leave. You can sleep here," he says.
"I know, I sleep here all the time," she says.
"No," he says, opening his eyes and tugging on her hand, "you can sleep here."
"In your bed?" She asks, and under his thumb, he can feel her pulse speed up.
"Because the couch is far away," he says. He knows that's not really an answer, but he's tired, and every muscle in his body is aching, and he doesn't want her to leave. He scoots over in his bed and lifts his covers back, "Just stay here," he says. To his amazement, she does. She kicks off her shoes and crawls into his bed. He grins and puts the covers, and his arm, over her body. He falls asleep about a minute later, into the deepest, most restful sleep he's had in a really long time.
The sixty-third time Casey comes over, she brings a sheet of paper that declares she'll be an English major once the spring semester starts, and a copy of the campus newspaper, which carries her very first article. He pulls her into a giant hug, lifting her up and spinning her in circles. He doesn't let go for a very long time, and when he does, he keeps an arm around her waist.
"Thank you," she says, and he grins.
"You did it," he says.
"Yeah, but I wouldn't have done it without you. You're still one of the only people that knows about any of this," she says. She's beaming at him, and bouncing a little, and he can't help himself. He leans down and kisses her. He pulls back after a second, unsure of what her reaction will be, but she throws an arm around his neck, and pulls him back down into another kiss.
The seventieth time Casey comes over, she brings wine, and he cooks her favorite meal, and they toast to her second article in the newspaper, and to her new career path, and to the new path they're on together.
They spend the night in Derek's bed again, but it takes much longer to get to sleep this time. This time there is a lot more skin, and a lot more touching, and lot more of Casey biting back these little moans and gasps, even as Derek whispers for her to let it go, even as he lets out a few moans of his own. He keeps his eyes on her face as much as possible. Watching her skin turn pink, watching her eyes grow wide, and watching her lips as she gasps his name.
The two hundred and fifth time Casey comes over, she's not just coming over, she's coming home. Home to an apartment with both their names on the lease. Home to Derek.