Title: Changes (Part
Rating: PG-13 - R (language, suggestive situations including stepsiblings, nothing graphic)
Summary: Where "Futuritis" left off.
Disclaimer: Life With Derek sadly enough doesn't belong to me, sorry.
Author's note: SPOILERS FOR THE SERIES FINALE AND THE END OF SEASON 4 OF LIFE WITH DEREK.
I haven't abandoned my
50ficlets yet, I just need to type some of them up and they'll
hopefully also be posted soon. Oh, the joys of finals, by the way.
Special thanks to jesterdalafordasey over at YouTube for uploading the episodes. I would not have been able to watch this without her!
This was written in kind of a rush, and I'll probably hate it in the morning, but here it is. While I love the last few minutes of the season finale, I don't especially like how certain other things turned out. Here's my take on how to remedy it. Pretty sure most things are according to canon, but let me know.
Also (I know, almost done), I don't go to university in Canada, so some of the facts might be...off. Feel free to educate me!
Casey plans for the worst possible situations. She couldn't have prepared herself for this.
Here's the situation: One dorm room, six other family members, and one uncomfortable looking roommate edging her way out the door. In other words, goodbye.
"Oh, Casey," says her mother, looking at her with a mixture of pride and sadness and fear and some sort of 'oh God don't cry too hard'. That gets everyone started, and soon Casey doesn't even know who she's hugging, only that the entire family is surrounding her and Derek and she can't breathe for more than one reason. Her eyes are filling with tears and she really can't believe it's come to this. She briefly wonders how hard it would be to transfer to university back in London, but then she hears someone say, "We're so proud of you."
She's doing this. She's really doing this.
The rest of the goodbye is a blur (not only because her vision's blurry) and she somehow finds herself standing alone in her dorm room with Derek. They take a second to glance at each other. She's never felt so terrified and lonely in her life.
"What now?" she asks him.
She expects him to say something about checking out the other girls on the floor, portraying himself as the sweet, sensitive stepbrother of one Casey McDonald and he would be around if any of them needed anything. But he shrugs, and says, "Lunch?"
Everything was changing.
Well, not everything.
Casey talks for two hours to her family before she goes to bed that night. The tears come again, and she hasn't cried this hard since Truman cheated on her (even though he's such a different person now, she reminds herself). But then, when she hangs up, there's complete, utter silence. She lies on her bed, dressed in her most comfortable pajamas and tries to fall asleep, but it just won't come. She calls the only person she can think of.
"Trouble already?" Derek mumbles, his voice slightly incoherent. She looks at her clock. 3 AM. Whoops.
"I can't fall asleep," she says, trying her hardest not to sound too pathetic.
"Not my problem."
"Der-ek." She hears him sigh.
"I can't cure insomnia, Spacey. Maybe after I get a degree."
"Derek..." She trails off, and rolls over onto her side, curling up and holding her knees protectively to her chest. "I...I really need someone that I know here right now. Can you come over?" She hates it when her voice is that small.
There's a second of silence. "No," he says. "It's 3 AM, Case. Just because you can't fall asleep doesn't mean that the rest of us are having any trouble."
"How can you sleep? Don't you miss them? I thought you weren't ever going to let go of Marti earlier today. How can you forget all that?" There's silence on the other end. "Just...can you just stay on the phone with me? Just for a little while?"
"Isn't this what you have a boyfriend for?"
(Lots of people thought he was heartless, but here's the thing: if he had gone over that night, she would've wanted him over the next night, and the night after that, and she never would've adjusted. Also, he's pretty sure that even if she had, he wouldn't have been able to leave.)
The next day is easily one of the worst days of Casey's life. She doesn't fit in with anyone and doesn't have anyone to eat dinner with. She glances out of the corner of her eye as she picks at her ravioli and sees Derek walking in with a bunch of tough looking guys and simpering girls. Great. Just like high school.
She throws away the rest of her food and leaves before he can see her.
Things get a little better. She calls Truman and he makes her laugh (not Emily so much anymore. Not after the past summer, at least). Her roommate, Rebecca, happens to be majoring in women's studies and Casey finally has someone to connect to. Together, they form a small but tight group of friends that she can talk to about some things. Most things. They think Truman is adorable and can't wait to meet him. She shows them pictures of her family and one girl in the group, Jen, says, "Who's that hottie?" when she sees Derek.
Casey snatches the picture back. "My disgusting stepbrother," she says. "Trust me. You do not want to meet him."
"Another egotistical spawn of the patriarchal society?" Rebecca comments.
She doesn't mention that he goes here. She still sees him almost every day. They don't have classes together, but somehow, their paths cross. They chat and catch up really quickly, and sometimes he steals her books and she has to run around campus trying to tackle him, but she's trying out this whole life away from home thing and isn't trying to depend on him too much. At least, not after her pathetic phone call to him the first night.
"I don't know what you're talking about, but you let me know when he's coming to visit," Jen says, winking at Casey.
Casey doesn't like Jen, she realizes when she goes back to her room with Rebecca. She can't quite put her finger on it, but she definitely doesn't like her.
"I'm sorry, Derek, but I've got midterms, and--"
"Who said I even wanted you at my first hockey game?"
Three years ago, that might have hurt her, but now she can hear the twinge of bitterness in his voice. "You know I would be there if I could, but I've just got so much to do. You understand, right?"
"Whatever. Go study."
"There'll be other games, Case."
"Gotta go." Dial tone.
She wishes she could have taken a picture of his face and how it lit up when he looked up in the stands and saw her sitting there, a sign proclaiming her support and everything. She smiles back and gives him a thumbs up. When he's not on the ice, she's furiously studying her notecards (The Casey Condensation Method, which she should really get patented so no one else steals it, works just as well in college. There's just quite a bit more to condense). When he's on the ice, she cheers along with the rest of the crowd, even though she doesn't really know what's going on.
A guy sitting a few rows behind her joins her. They start chatting it up and she forgets her notecards for a second, because he's really nice and is pointing out the finer intricacies of the game to her.
Derek looks up and sees her with him, and his eyes narrow. He loses some of the glow he had earlier. After the game, the guy, Jake, asks her out. She says no. They do make plans to see the next game together (not together, she makes it quite clear – after Noel, she's constantly making that clear).
(When he asks her out, the first face that pops in her head is a dejected looking Derek. It isn't until later that she remembers Truman. That's not cheating, though. Not like he did. Right?)
She waits for Derek after Jake leaves. He pretends not to see her and brushes right past, but she grabs his wrist.
"Oh, sorry, Spacey, didn't see you there," he says, trying to keep his voice light. She knows he's mad.
"You just won, why are you so mad?"
"What, you want a gigantic thank you for showing up? Because I never asked you to."
"Just because you didn't ask me doesn't mean you didn't want me here."
By now they're tucked into a dark hallway, a little bit apart from the rest of the crowd. "Well, was it too much to ask that if you were here, you could actually pay attention to me instead of some deadbeat that goes to games just to pick up girls?"
"Oh, what, you think you deserve my unwavering attention for an entire hockey game? I guess it should be expected from someone who thinks he deserves an entire holiday devoted to him."
"This isn't about what I deserve, it's about what I want."
And there he is, invading her personal space. She can feel his breath on her upper lip, still cold from the arena. His proximity is making her skin warm up a lot faster than normal, though, and even though part of her wants to turn away, she stands her ground, glaring at him.
His eyes flicker down to her lips, and he starts to take a half a step closer, but she says bitterly, "I know all about what you want," and steps away from him.
She reenters the chaos that is the lobby of the arena and manages to escape out the front door and into the night before he can grab her wrist. She doesn't turn around, but she can feel him glaring after her.
They don't talk for three days. Emily calls her, in tears, and she learns that he dumped her. Over the phone. She feels a wave of anger wash over her. "There's some other girl, I know there is!" Emily wails. "I thought we could do long distance! What changed?"
"Things just change, Em," Casey tells her. "Tell me there's not even one guy on your entire campus that you've thought about dating."
Emily sniffles. "Only three."
They exchange a giggle and suddenly, something tries to click back into place. It's not quite the same as it was pre-Derek, but at least they were on speaking terms again.
"Em," Casey asks before they hang up, "what makes you think there's some other girl?"
"Because," she says. "It's Derek."
They run into each other on campus. He's looking down and trying to avoid her, but she grabs him anyway. "Hey," she says as a way of an apology.
"I heard. Emily called me. You OK?"
He frowns a bit. "I dumped her."
"Yeah, but...still, don't you feel something?"
"I never feel anything," he says automatically.
"Gotta go, class," he says, escaping her grasp. "I've got a cute blonde to steal notes from."
"So there is another girl?" she calls after him, accusingly.
He turns back, and his eyes are closed in frustration. "I didn't cheat on Emily. I don't cheat on anyone," he says. She believes him. She can tell when he's lying now. "Not like Truman cheated on you."
Her eyes flash. That was something that they Did Not Talk About. She shoves him so hard that he nearly topples over, and stalks off.
Right before he gets out of earshot, she yells back, "For someone who tried so hard to get us back together, you sure can hold a grudge!"
"For someone who claims to have so much self-respect, you sure are dating an asshole!" he yells back. Her eyes narrow.
They don't talk for weeks.
She hates when she's wrong, but even more so, she hates when he's right.
She's with Jake when it happens. They're watching a movie together in her dorm (Rebecca's home for the weekend, and a few people were over earlier, but they've all left. She would ask Jake to leave, but something about him is comforting to her, so he stays.), and it's around one AM when her phone rings.
"Truman," she says, and answers it. Jake smiles and turns to give her a little privacy. She knows he still kind of likes her, but he's at least content to be friends with her without expecting anything more.
The voice on the other line? It definitely isn't Truman.
"Casey?" says a giggling voice. A female voice.
She freezes. "Is Truman there?"
"He left," she says. Her words are slurring together and, oh God, oh God no... "I just think it's so cool how you two have an open relationship, you know? Not a lot of girls would agree to that."
"Open..." Casey's throat clenches up. The tears come again.
"Sandra? Sandra, what're you doing with..." A male voice. More giggling. This time it's definitely Truman. "What? Who're you...Casey?"
His voice turns more frantic. "Casey, I can explain. No, listen to me, it's not what you--"
Her phone drops in her lap. She fell for it. Every damn bit of it. Again.
"Casey? Case, what's wrong?" Jake asks, concerned. He tries to brush the tears away from her face, but she swats his hands away.
"Don't call me Case," she says, her voice cracking. "I need to go."
Jake calls after her, trying to figure out what was wrong, but she runs through the night air until he's long behind her. She ends up in front of Derek's dorm, although she doesn't know if she meant to be there or not.
She charges in with a group of students just getting back in past security and before she knows it, her knuckles are almost bleeding from knocking on his door so hard.
"I know you're in there, Derek, open up!" she yells.
The door flies open, and his roommate stands there with wide eyes. "He's not here," he says, his voice nervous.
"Well, where is he, then?!" she asks, her voice an octave higher than usual.
"He was with some girl, I think they went back to her place..." he says, trailing off. He winces, as if expecting her to attack him.
She pauses, and, her breathing slows slightly. Something inside of her drops into her stomach. She suddenly felt completely alone.
"Just tell him I came by," she says, her voice calmer. The roommate nods. "Hey," she adds, before he shuts the door. "Did he ever...did he ever have any girls here before a few weeks ago? Or go to any other girl's places? You know..." she trails off.
Roommate shakes his head. "No, he had that girlfriend...Emily? He seemed pretty, you know, dedicated to her, as far as I know."
She nods. The tears threaten to overflow again, so she quickly says, "Sorry for disturbing you!" and leaves.
She doesn't get much farther than the door outside of his building when she collapses on a bench, pulling her knees to her chest and trying to hide from the rest of the world.
She wakes up to Derek shoving her. She blinks. It's still dark out, but there's enough light to show on his face that he is fucking terrified.
"Der..." she whispers, trying to get adjusted to her surroundings. She feels her back hurt, and she tries to stretch. Oh, right. Bench.
"Jesus, Casey," he says, helping her sit up. He immediately sits on the other side of the bench. "Are you OK?"
She blinks, then feels the back of her head. Ow. "Yeah."
"Then what the fuck were you thinking?!"
She looks at him, confused. "Wait, what?"
"I get a call from Kevin (Kevin? Oh right, the roommate. Derek's roommate. Oh, no, it's all coming back...) saying that you were banging on our door ready to fucking kill someone, and then you just got all creepy and calm and just left. I looked everywhere for you, I went to your place, and I called you a million times, and Rebecca and Jen and I even called Jake (he says the name with disgust), and just when I think you've finally gone and jumped off a bridge, you're lying on a bench in the middle of fucking November! Were you trying to kill yourself? Jesus, Casey!"
This is a new one. She's seen him angry, depressed, happy, anxious, and every other emotion she could name. She's seen him scared, but only once or twice. This is way beyond scared.
Oh, wait. Truman.
"You were right," she says simply.
OK, make that way beyond scared now mixed with a healthy dose of confused. He's so confused that his jaw drops a little bit and he's not even the slightest bit ecstatic that she, for the first time ever, said that he's right.
"Truman's an asshole. Once a cheater, always a cheater, right?" Realization starts to cross his features, and it quickly turns to anger. "I mean, of course you were right, right? Because far be it for Casey to choose a guy that isn't a piece of crap. So, Venturi, you were right, and I came over here to tell you that, because...because...God, I don't know why, but there you go, I've told you, and now you can gloat about it right in my face that you were right and I'm completely alone, again! Go on, Venturi!" She doesn't know where she found the strength for this little rant, because she's so completely exhausted, but just looking at his face made her feel angry.
"No, go on! Tell me that I'm such a stupid idiot for taking him back! I mean, what changed from the first time? He didn't change. He gave me a stupid little sob story at prom that I took hook, line, and sinker, and even though you said that you wanted us to get back together, even for more than just wanting to spend prom with Emily, and where the hell did that come from, anyway?, you knew the whole time that it was a big mistake. And you let me make it, anyway! What, did you want me to end up heartbroken on some bench in the middle of November?"
She sniffs a little bit, and even though her heart's broken, looking at him breaks it a little more. He looks like shit, complete and total shit.
"Come on, I'll take you home."
"You'll take me to my dorm, you mean."
He looks at her and she bites her lip. "Come on."
He half carries her back. They walk in silence and pass by people who are out too late. She closes her eyes for just a second and lets him lead her, and before she knows it, she's back in her room, and Derek's laying her on her bed.
"My phone," she gestures, pointing to the ground where she had left it. He picks it up and hands it to her. Twenty-seven missed calls from Derek. Six from Jake. Two from Truman.
"You can ignore the voice mails I left you," he says, suddenly embarrassed. "I was...kind of..."
He can't say it, but she already knows.
"Would you think I was lame and pathetic if I asked you to stay over?" she asks. "I just need...family right now."
He blinks. "Yeah," he says, taking off his coat and starting to lie down on the floor. "Toss me a pillow?"
"Yeah," she says. Seconds pass. "I don't blame you."
Silence. "We'll kill him tomorrow," he offers. She lets out a giggle, and she can almost feel him smiling in response in the darkness. "I'm serious. We're just going to grab the Prince and drive the fifteen hours to Halifax and we'll murder him."
"And then make a narrow yet dashing escape?" she asks.
"Of course," he says. "In style, too."
"And then we'll have to go on the run?"
"Yeah, definitely. We'll have to ditch the Prince because the police'll be tracking it, but we'll hitchhike our way around the country. Maybe go all the way down to South America. How's your Spanish?"
She can't answer because she's laughing too hard. He joins her and they stay like that for awhile until the laughter dies down.
"I honest to God wouldn't want to hitchhike to South America with anyone but you. And Truman's an idiot."
That was when things really started to change.
(Here's the other thing: lots of people think he's mean to Casey, and he guesses he does cross the line once in awhile, but the thing is, he's the one there when her whole world comes crashing down on her. Now, knowing Casey, this happens at least three times a day to the little drama queen, but when things get really bad? He's there. Every single time.)