A/N : Well, second last chapter! This one should be titled 'That In Which The McDonald-Venturis Send Executive Class Tickets To Call Derek Back From His Extended Egyptian Vacation.'
Someday I will get tired of using 'Clueless' references in LWD. Today is not that day.
This chapter documents two of my favorite LWD relationships, so I hope you like it! You all leave such insightful reviews and actually have theories of your own (which btw I'm shamelessly using) and that helps a lot. So thanks! :)
It was an explosion. A dissolution, an absolution. A scream, a whisper. A prayer, a promise. An answer. It was.
You told yourself years ago
You'd never let your feelings show
The obligation that you made
For the title that they gave
Baby, I'd love you to want me
The way that I want you
The way that it should be
Baby, you'd love me to want you
The way that I want to
If you'd only let it be
I'd Love You To Want Me- Lobo
He was sixteen at the time.
Sally had left for Vancouver, and everything seemed…duller. Like she'd dimmed the colors somehow, and he wasn't feeling a hell lot. And somehow it was having this strange effect on him; the electrons were more…electric than ever, without the distraction that Sally's presence had offered.
He'd been wandering aimlessly in the house, when the strange sound from the games closet had made him stop. In retrospect, he shouldn't have opened the door. He should have walked past it, ignored the sound, and gone to his room.
Simple. (Of course he opened the door.)
Curiosity killed the cat (and he's starting to wonder just exactly how many damn lives he has).
It was like an alternate reality.
She stiffened as he shut the door behind him. He switched on the light and both of them stared at each other for a split second.
"Go away Derek."
But he was struck by panic at the sight of her tear-stained face. Her eyes were red-rimmed and slightly swollen. He didn't know why, but this was different. Lizzie never cried. She liked hockey and football and wore basketball shorts. Somehow she didn't seem capable of tears. Seeing her sitting there, looking so much like a girl he found he couldn't move.
(There are firsts for everything. He'd broken his 'No Tears' rule for Sally just the day before. So technically it didn't count for anything anymore. He'd lost once again.)
"What…" he cleared his throat, "What…uh…happened?"
"What part," she said, coldly (and yes, he totally sees the family resemblance here) "Of 'g-o a-w-a-y' is too hard for you to comprehend?"
"The part where you're sitting in a dark closet, crying your eyes out." He snapped back. "I have places to be, okay, so make this quick." (He considered suing his brain for non-support. And his tongue. This was definitely not the best way to deal with…t…t…tears.)
Maybe it was the familiarity of his tone, or the fact that he was still standing there (he was going to mention his legs in the lawsuit too) when he obviously wanted to be anywhere but.
"Jamie." She'd replied, dully, refusing to look up at him.
"What about him?"
"He said," she choked again, and he stood there awkwardly (yes, he's slowly remembering the reasons why he has the 'No Tears' policy in the first place) "He said, I looked like…like…a girl."
(Was there some deep profound thought behind this that he was completely and utterly missing?) "You…are a girl?
She glared at the obvious question in his tone. "That's not what I meant" she said in her best 'you're-such-an-idiot' voice (and the resemblance just keeps getting stronger). "He said that I was just like every single other girl, dressing to please and hoping to catch everybody's attention. And he'd thought I was different, but I'd just turned out to be a…a…well-disguised carbon-copy.
She'd started crying again and maybe it was the fact that it was Lizzie (soccer loving, cool-headed Lizzie) or maybe it was the fact that he was just a sucker and needed to be put into a mental asylum before he could become even more of a girl. But whatever it was, he was suddenly sitting down beside her (while she was crying. Was it even legal for his mind to leave without the required two-week-notice?)
She looked up, surprised "What?"
"How many guys asked you out today or complimented you?"
He could see the inner battle in her mind, between being modest or telling him the truth. "Some." She conceded finally.
(Twelve-year-old boys were so easy to see through. He was sure he'd never been one.)
"So, he was jealous, you know, that you'd like one of them better than him. That…" he waved vaguely at her new look, "you'd done this for some…other guy."
"But I hadn't! I just wanted to look pretty. Like a girl. Like…Casey. But guess someone in the family has to have the loser genes."
"Casey has them." He assured her (because that was what he did. Always. An incontrovertible fact. Like… gravity...or existence of electrons or something.)
She ignored him. "Are you sure…about Jamie?"
"Positive." He said, "Jamie reminds me of myse…Ralph. When he was young…and stupid."
It worked, she almost laughed. "De-rek." (This wasn't fair payback. De-rek had a tendency to make him lose his train of thought.)
He'd gotten up, "Well as much fun as this hasn't been, I really should be going."
"Thanks." She didn't look up at him.
He opened the door and then turned back. "You didn't…uh…need to do this to look pretty," he rubbed the back of his neck, like he always did when he felt awkward, "you were, like, you know, pretty… or whatever even in the hockey shirts."
She'd already tackled him for a hug. And maybe (maybe) he slipped his arm around the younger girl, effectively breaking his other stone rule (but there were no witnesses so it wouldn't ever hold water in a court of law. He's going to deny his Casey-fication till the end of time.)
Mutual Inductance is the phenomena by which current flowing in one body induces a magnetic field in another body placed close to it.
- Henry's Law
He knows what's wrong with him.
It's chapter six of his physics books. Magnetism. (He hadn't looked up mutual-inductance and self-inductance because it'd sounded kind of…kinky. And no one can prove otherwise. So there.)
But he's glad he did, because it totally helped him understand how deep the rabbit-hole goes (right down to middle of the earth). He already has enough material for a thesis on how laws of physics can completely screw up your life.
So Casey has a lot of these current-producing-electrons (no wonder his skin burns whenever he touches her) and the Universal Law of Gravitation is still applicable (and that's why he just can't stay the hell away from her). So you have current flowing and a body placed close to it, and now this means that she induces a magnetic pull in him. Like two opposite ends of a magnet. So not only is he always near her, he can't even go anywhere else; think about anything else because she's always pulling him back.
(He hates Einstein.)
"You wanna watch a movie with us. We'll…" Edwin's voice trails off. "What are you doing?"
He doesn't look up. "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm making a sandwich."
Edwin sounds terrified, "You're…making your own sandwich? Dude, did you hit your head? You might even have concussion. I'm gonna call dad and Nora. We'll get you through this, bro."
He looks up (apparently the drama-queen genes are not exclusive to the McDonald family) and he can hear Edwin take a sharp breath (and yes there was a reason he wasn't looking up. He's too tired to mask the look in his eyes.)
(Because it's…senior prom. And everybody knows senior prom is the time to…and fuck it's Noel…and Casey. And touching…and she's wearing that underwear set that he'd mistaken for a shoe-polishing cloth. And then she'd gone and brought one exactly like it. And Noel.
"What are you watching?" (Lord of the Lies.)
"Clueless," says Lizzie coming in, "It's a rom-com. It's really good."
(He's going to sit at home on his prom night watching a rom-com. He's up for the Schlepper Scholarship for Proficiency in Ultra Lameness.)
(And his brain seems to have short-circuited in between somewhere, because this cannot possibly be what he thinks it is.)
"That was so sweet. Josh and Cher were just so cute together." Maybe if Lizzie could stop looking at him every two seconds in between gushing about the brilliance of the movie, his stomach could get some time to settle a little. And this is Lizzie. She never gushes. But she is, and that in itself is enough to make him sick.
"Yeah, that Josh guy was kinda cool. He handled his job thing with his stepdad pretty well. And man, his stepsister was hot." (He's going to have to teach Edwin the fine art of subtlety some time.)
And now they're both staring at him like (fuck) he's supposed to say something. And there was nothing he could've said anyway. Because there's nothing to say. It's just a movie and it's not real. (Not real.) And he can't say anything because his throat seems to have closed up and it's enough that he's still breathing.
(And she's still at the prom. With him.)
"If you tell anyone that I actually watched a movie with you two, your chances of living long enough to see another one seem pretty slim to me." (Standard. He always goes for the standard stuff.)
They both look a little…off. Like they'd expected something and anticipated and it hadn't happened. (Yeah, he knows the feeling.)
He's takes to the stairs two at a time.
He looks down.
"How's Egypt this time of the year? The river keeps the temperature pretty even, I suppose."
And that has to be the singularly most stupid question he's ever been asked in his life. He knows he's bet on the weather with Edwin before. But Egypt? Seriously, how would he know?
He's lying on his bed. Wide awake. Because (Promdressherkisshimwrongright) he's probably failed that last exam and he's not getting into Queens. (Because he's karma's favorite screw-up.)
"What's the matter Smarti?" He shifts slightly, so she can get in with him. She's wearing her longest nightgown, carrying Sir Monks-a-Lot and she looks...heartbreakingly young.
"Smerek, Daphne has a problem."
He racks his head, trying to remember which of her friends Daphne was. (Mostly all he did was avoided stepping on the midgets. Was he supposed to remember names?)
"You remember," she looks at him through half-lidded eyes, "my imaginary friend?"
(Oh. Right. Daphne.)
"What problem do you…does Daphne have, Smarti?"
"Her daddy just got married again. And now her mommy lives somewhere else. And…"
He pulls her closer, wrapping his arms around her, because he can't stop her missing Abby, but he's going to try. "Is that it? She's just not there. But Mommy still loves her very much."
Marti glares at him. "I know that, Smerek. That's not the problem."
(He never said Mind Reading was one of his guaranteed services.)
"There's this boy. And he always teases her and makes fun of her but he's nice sometimes and she really doesn't like him. But then she likes him. And Sir Monks-a-lot thinks that he's makes fun of her because he likes her. But why would you make fun of someone you like?"
He smiles a little. Pigtail pulling used to be his favorite hobby...before he learned how those bra clasps worked. (But Marti has a crush?)
"Boys do stupid things when they like someone. So Daphne should stay away from him till she's older." (She's his baby sister. She's not allowed to date till…she's sixty. Or he's thrown himself in front of a car. Whichever comes first.)
She fixes him with the famous Venturi Stare.
He caves, "When boys like someone they want to get their attention. And when you tease someone it gets them to notice you."
Her face grows pensive again. "But her stepbrother…"
He laughs, "Her stepbrother makes fun of her? He's just jealous he'll never get anyone as wonderful as her." (Edwin was going to get it.)
"No, the boy she likes is her new stepbrother."
They have the same eyes. And they're locked together now. (Because he got it wrong. Just like everything else in his fucking existence. This isn't about Abby. Or Dimi. And yes he gets it, okay, he fucking gets it.)
She looks at him and her eyes are heartbreakingly old. "Why is it wrong Derek?"
"Because…" (Because fuck they're family) "He's a part of her family. Like you and me."
"No," she says quietly, "Daphne likes him. Likes him as not family. And she's sad because she thinks it's wrong."
"It is wrong Smarti." He says again, just as quietly (because yes he gets it, but when it comes down to it, he's a fucking coward.)
"No Smerek," she says. "I love Daphne. And she's very sad. I don't want her to be sad. Because when you love someone and they're sad it hurts you. It hurts me here." She puts her fist to her chest, right in the middle. (And yes, it hurts him there too.)
"So, then..." he closes his eyes (because she's too young and her eyes are too old, and he's hurting her) "...Daphne should go...talk to him. Scold him for teasing her."
She wraps her arms around his neck again, "Because it's not wrong, right? It makes her happy. And things which make you happy are good for you, Smerek. Really. Casey says so...like ice-cream. And purple. And love. And stars."
He knows what's wrong with him.
And it has nothing to do with physics.
I just can't resist Derek/Lizzie and Derek/Marti bonding! Who'd have thunk it? It'd take Marti's word-play to get him out of denial! :) I think this was the fam's incredibly unsubtle, completely overdone way (Clueless, really Lizwin, how original) of telling him that it's okay. But then when have they NOT been dysfunctional?
Also, the memory references 'Happy New Schoolyear' and Lizzie's girly look. I swear to you, I opened the physics book more for this fic than I did for my exams. Man, Derek's theories nearly killed me! And the song at the beginning, I have no idea what Lobo was referring to in "obligation that you made for the title that they gave" but THANK YOU for making it fit the step-sibling thing so well!