a/n - Spoilers for the end of LWD. Casey-centric (and my first time writing her! Dunno what she thinks, really. Derek's boy-mind is easier to penetrate.)
She goes to all his hockey games.
(Secretly. Just to scope out all the cute guys, obviously.)
She just sits there, with a big, floppy hat on her head (a semi-effective disguise) and doesn't look at him at all. (It's just that he's so much over the place, he comes into the periphery of her vision a lot.) She doesn't understand any of it, but she goes.
She holds on to them. These moments. And pretends that Emily's with her, gazing at him with starry eyes and constantly whispering your step-brother is such a hottie in her ear. That Sam will look up from his position, and raise his hockey stick to her in mock salute, and then Derek'll hit him over the head, and then later tell her to stop distracting my players, God! Casey, don't you have some lame-o thing to go to. Memories of a time when they were reluctant stepsiblings. Sworn enemies and occasionally…not-enemies.
Not what they were now. Strangers.
(She wonders if he knows she didn't mean it quite so literally when she told him to stay away from her in college. Because - fun fact – she didn't.)
He's standing at her door. The same door that he hasn't ever stood in front of. The same door that she'd expected to see him at months ago, when she moved in and realized she was sharing residence with the hottest girl on campus. (She's not thought about it or anything. Because how lame would that be? Her wishing that he would hit on Lyra, just so she could see him again. Yeah, beyond lame.)
"We need to talk."
(They were breaking up? What, did he have some kind of treaty drawn up, absolving any kind of tie with her?)
"Do we?" she asks, and she hates her voice for betraying her. For breaking, just when she needed to be calm and collected, because she hasn't missed him. Not one bit. "I don't think so. Unfortunately, Rick is waiting for me inside. And I don't remember asking you to join us."
"Rick? You're not supposed to have a guy in here after ten, and you know that." His jaw tightens slightly and she feels a rush of…something. Because this doesn't change. Never.
"And you have, of course, been keeping to the rules like the good little boy you always were." Because she's not blind or deaf. As much as she tries to pretend he doesn't exist (or he effectively pretends she doesn't exist) she still hears and sees. Her university bathroom wall is starting to read like the bathroom wall at Thomson J. High. But this time around there's nobody to pester her for inside information because –fun fact- nobody knows she's his step-sister. Or that she knows him at all. (That was her dream universe, a life without Derek, and now she has it. Funny, she never realized you could choke on triumph.)
"Dad and Nora will flip."
"Only if you tell them."
"It's kind of my duty, don't you think? Being your brother and all."
("You're the most annoying brother." "Step-brother." "Same difference.")
She's suddenly tired. "What do you want Derek?"
She looks up at the same moment that he does and suddenly he smirks. And it's so familiar, it makes her insides clench painfully. She wants to throw her arms around him and have him push her off with that freaked look in his eyes, and reinstate his 'No Hugging Policy' or stand there silently, with a long-suffering look on his face, even as his body softens beneath hers.
"What a loaded question. Let me see, I've a lot more things added to the list since I visited 'Wet n Wild' with Krysta yesterday. Like whipped cream, and flavored cond…"
She can feel herself turn red, and curses herself. Because this is college. She's supposed to be cool, and mature. Didn't her brain get the memo? Even after four months of not talking to her, he still had the same effect on her. Complete disorientation. (And a complete breakdown of her morals.)
"Why are you here?"
"Sally's coming here."
She's genuinely confused. Was Sally one of his new conquests? "Sally…?"
"Sally Salic. Remember?"
(No she doesn't. Not at all. She doesn't remember the look in his eyes when he talked about her. She doesn't remember the song he wrote for her. She doesn't remember that he loved her. Why would she? He wasn't the center of her universe or anything; she didn't have to remember everything about him.)
And suddenly she realizes what's different about him. It isn't his hair or his clothes. It's that air of suppressed excitement, the almost wild elation in his eyes, that had made her catch her breath a little. He came to her because he needed someone to know, and she would understand. Sally was coming back.
"Wh…I mean wasn't she in Vancouver?"
"She's coming for the summer term, on a project. Something to do with Women's Rights."
"And she got Queen's?" (Inhale. Exhale. See it's that simple.)
"She chose it. There were several options."
And finally she gets it. Sally wasn't just coming back; Sally was coming back for him.
(Of course she's happy. Sally was the only person to get him to act like a remote relation of the human species. What was there not to love? She's ecstatic.)
"That's…great! When is she coming?" And she sounds like the preppie girl she used to be. Before she entered this place, and the centre of gravity of her universe shifted.
"Why are you here?" she avoids his eyes.
"I just told you, Sall…"
"No, why are you here?"
"Because you're the only one who knows her, and she's going to need a place to stay."
(Needs a place to stay. So that's why he was here. Not that she'd expected anything else, because when it came to him, she'd given up expecting a long time ago.)
"What makes you think I have space? Why don't you keep her in your dorm, that's what you want, anyway."
He was looking at her quizzically, as if trying to assess her damage. "Who are you kidding? You wanted a fourth roommate. You've done nothing but bitch about you present companions. And you know Sally. Funnily enough, the girl with a taste good enough to date me also had the bad taste to like you."
"How did you know I wanted another roommate?"
"Lizzie told Edwin."
She knows he'll hold the stare for as long as it'll take to drive her crazy.
"Fine." Because who are they kidding, what Derek Venturi wants, he gets. Some things never change.
She turns to go back inside. Being with him was always absolutely too much and yet never enough.
"Have fun with Rick." He calls from behind her, his voice sounding like he's patented sarcasm. And then he's gone.
She looks back one more time, and doesn't wonder why she never told him she'd been talking about Casablanca.