DISCLAIMER: Not mine. None of the quotes either. Much thanks to unoriginal-elizabeth from who's story 'still the sea is salt', I got the inspiration for the title. :)

Note: Watch kthxilyxxx's LWD voice-over spoofs on YouTube. This - http: // www . youtube . com/watch?v=hUo94k5Skys&feature = channel_page - especially, was epic.

A/N: Watch : http : // www . youtube . com / watch?v = Wrjyo1dc4AY&feature = related --- fits the mood of the story.

They always talk about s i g n s.


There's supposed to be a rainbow. A butterfly on the casket. The sun bursting out from behind the clouds, illuminating the sky in a song of hope. A sign to tell you that there's a world beyond. That somewhere there's an until-we-meet-again tacked onto that goodbye that you never got to say.

They're all looking out for that bright star that's supposed to announce his arrival in the other world.

(There's torrential rain, and all the arrangements are destroyed. The profound speeches it had taken so much time to write are swarming in blue ink. His ex-girlfriends' expensive dresses are ruined beyond repair.

She takes it as the sign.)

A s h e s to ashes, dust to dust.


They're discussing what a fine, upstanding boy he was.

And they stare at her as she snorts, and she can almost feel him right there next to her, smirking and even when he's not here she's still thinking about him and it's not fair. He probably did it just to spite her. To win their power game that they'd been playing since years and he left her without a move and he had the last word and she hateshateshates him.

She trips over her own feet and drags half the food on the table down with her. There's a general murmur of shock, and nobody's quite sure how to maintain decorum while simultaneously trying not to trip over the cream lining the floor.

In the end it's her entire family along with her dad and Abby who try to lift her up and pick up the mess. Inadvertently each gaze slips to his photograph hanging high above them (his mouth is drawn into a half smirk and he's wearing devil-horns and this was actually the most suitable picture they had) and she swears she hears it, so close she can almost feel his breath on her neck. It makes her shiver a little.

"De-rek," she whispers.

Edwin looks at her, "He just called you Klutzilla, didn't he?"

She allows a small grin to escape her.

She can hear his ex-girlfriends whispering, slightly scandalized, about how she's not crying and did they hate each other so much she's unwilling to even pretend like he mattered?

Down on my k n e e s in front of you.


They've all gone and the fam is still inside, clearing up the mess and she's here, in front of an open casket. Kneeling. And he would have loved this. He always loved making her beg and now she's down on her knees in front of him voluntarily.

Her bare legs are wet and sink in the mud and then she's whispering to him. "The car's mine now, Derek. And I'll decorate it with pink-and-red heart stickers and listen to angry-girl-music in that wonderful stereo that you paid for. I'll have both the couch and the remote. And your room? It always was bigger than mine, and really you didn't deserve it. I'm going to fumigate it (god knows what you did in there) and throw out all your posters. Your posters, Derek."

He's not saying anything and doesn't he understand? She's going to take his room. Goddamn you, say something.

"Are you crying?"

She even looks around because that's how big a fool she is. And nonono she's not crying and he's dead (deadfuckyouyou'redead) and he's not allowed to do this any longer.

So she answers to the wind, "No way, Derek. Cry for you? Did you finally lose that little bit of sanity you had left at the first glimpse of those hells' angels with their double-D cups?"

"But you are!" And she can feel his smile growing against her bones, those eyes reading her like a freaking book (she was the only thing he ever read) "You're crying for me. Casey, Casey, Casey, how many times do I have to tell you, you can't lie to the Lord of The Lies himself."

(And then it hits her. She can pretend her way through life now. Stay on the safe side, and never take chances. Never live dangerously. Settle for something less. There'd be nobody to call her on it. Nobody ever noticed before him and nobody's going to ever notice again.)

And maybe she's crying, but it's raining so she can still pretend and she'll nevernever let him hold that over her, because he hadn't cared and now ohfuckhe'sgone. And she's hurting and it's not fair.

They find her much later, and she's soaked to the bone, her red party dress clinging to her frame, ("Red satin to a funeral? I'm so proud of you, Case. Maybe in a few years you might even give up the 'Loser of London' tag") her body almost draped around him and see Derek you can't avoid it now. Dennis tries to lift her up. "We're going home, Princess."

And he's whispering gently but it's a physical blow to her gut and she's kneeling down and fuck it's sososo hard to breathe. No.

She was only his princess. Onlyhisgoddamnyouonlyhis.

Some say the world will end in f i r e.


(It wasn't supposed to be like this.

She should have been first. He didn't deserve to be ahead of her in anything.)


She sends him emails. Because she wants him to understand. (And what are the chances he'd understand a proper letter with non-abbreviated words.) Snarky e-mails asking whether he's able to handle all the heat.

(She really hates him for leaving her all alone while he's off seducing un-earthly women in tight leather. And she wishes he ends up in heaven by some technical mistake. She'd love to see his expression when he realized he couldn't charm his way around those angels of purity. Are there cameras in heaven?)

Eventually his mailbox starts rejecting them and she's angrier than ever before. Because he's messed up big this time, and unless he's planning on a road-trip down the rainbow back to their old house to grovel at her feet, she's never going to forgive him. He didn't give her a single chance to say all that she'd wanted to (sofuckingmuch). She'd thought she had forever and now he's gone. He cheated.

She was the first to complete her projects and submit them (while he was still off stealing money from Edwin to pay Edwin.) She was the first one to fall in love (while he still insisted that 'love' was a made-up word and gifted her a dictionary with an entire page blacked-out for her birthday.) She was the first one to be accepted to college (by about two seconds, but it counted surely.)

What gave him the right to be the first one to die?

And now t o m o r r o w ' s here without you.


He'd have probably slept through them. These family counseling sessions to deal with the pain of loss and overwhelming grief.

That man droning on is starting to annoy her. "Don't fight the memories. Bring them out. His triumphs, his habits, what made him so special in your lives. Let your grief flow like water, so it's washed away."

(Is the dude serious?)

Lizzie clears her throat, "He was...Derek. He probably used up half the earth's resources. His carbon footprint was the size of an elephant. He left the T.V. on and used the geyser even when it was hot and actually owned a hairdryer."

The psychiatrist gives her a strained smile, "That's…interesting. But I meant more along the lines of…"

"He ordered me around all the time," Edwin interrupts. "And do you know what he wrote on his will. 'No Ed, you can't have my room. Can you believe that? The dude's bossing me around from up there...or down there, you know."

The smile is more along the lines of a grimace now.

"And can you imagine him with all those beautiful angels?" (She's going to kick his ass when she gets up there.) "He's probably teaching them immoral sex games and telling them it's the fastest way of achieving nirvana or something."

"I meant...what would he have said. His last words, if he'd...known..."

"That's easy," chips in Marti (and it's all in the eyes. Don't listen to a word they're saying, it's all in the eyes) "He'd have asked whether hockey sticks were allowed in heaven, and if they weren't, what was the shortest route underground."

George and Nora don't even reprimand them and Derek's left so much of him behind.

The next would-be session, they sit at home and play Babe Raider.

We're only made of w a t e r, sand and stone.


Marti sneaks into her bed sometimes.

"You know," she says one day (and her eyes are still full of hurt and do you see what you did, Derek? How are you going to make this up to her?) "It's like being with Smerek. Because he loved you so much and you smell like him." (She's wearing his shirt to bed, and he probably has so many innuendos for that, she's glad they haven't developed any sort of communication between the worlds yet.)

"Yes," she says, except she can't breathe and it hurtshurtshurts, "But less than he loves you, Marti." (And she's still talking in present tense, someone alert the Grammar Police.)

Marti stares up at the glow-in-the-dark constellations on her ceiling, (he'd given them to her as a birthday present, moron) "But in a very different way. He loved you, you know."

"We were family." (And fuck they'd been family.)


And it's the way she says it, matter-of-fact. Like everybody had always known and it wasn't wrongwrongwrong. Like someday he'd have tossed her a ring and told her she had just won the biggest lottery the earth had to offer. Like someday she would have been screaming at him for taking his-her (they were too stubborn to ever be a them really) five-year-old daughter to a hockey game, when she had her first school interview the next day.

And he'd taken it all away.

"I know," she whispers back, "I know, Smarti."

They both look out the window in her room and wait for shooting stars.

I think I made you up i n s i d e my head.


(She's so afraid he hadn't known. That he'd gone without knowing what she'd never said. But he had to have known. He hadtohadtohadto. He could read her eyes like no one else. And her eyes.

They never lied)


"He loved you, you know."

She's stirring her coffee mug and fuckthisisridiculous. Had she really talked so much about him that there was only one 'he' even now?

"We were family, Paul." (And wow, this sounds familiar.)

"And he knew you loved him." He continues like she hasn't said anything.

She's suddenly clutching the end of Paul's table and it's almost like she never left this place at all. She's a pathetic mess and he's so going to pay for it. It wasn't fair. He'd forced her hand. And now he knew she needed him ohgodsofuckingmuch and he'd probably hold it against her for all of eternity.

"How…how do you know?" And she doesn't even deny it like she wouldshould have. Because all that her denials had gotten her to was here. With nobody to call her Space Case and tell her that she almost didn't look like a freak when she wore red.

"It was the way he used to look at you," Paul says and he's smiling slightly, as if their foolishness had given him endless hours of personal amusement. "In that try-all-you-want-she'll-always-come-back-to-me sort of a way. It used to piss-off all those guys whom you dated, because they couldn't say anything." (And Paul just used the phrase piss-off. Derek would have killed her for not capturing it on video-cam. If he hadn't been dead himself.)

"Because it was true?"

"Because it was true."

Let there be l i g h t.


"Are you sure", Nora asks. "You have your writing, and your own life and it's not going to be easy." And she hesitates for a minute but then ("You always were afraid of taking chances, Case.")

"I'm sure."


She has messy brown hair which just never settles. Her brown eyes cut through everybody and finally settle on her. "Are you going to be my new mommy?"

She's barely breathing and his laughter is so clear in her ear she almost kneels down at the sound of it. ("Conceived without original sin. Now you can pretend you actually are a paradigm of chastity and virtue. Although I wouldn't have minded committing a few sins myself…") and she's blushing. That voice in her head is too much like him.

"Yes." She whispers looking into those brown eyes that had captured her at first glance. His eyes.

"You're going to cry." The little girl says imperiously.

(And she knows, just like he would have.)

_ _

The adoption centre isn't too happy about her status as an unmarried single woman. She doesn't know what Nora and George feed them but it works. And finally they're all home (and he's there too, she's sure of it.)

Marti adores her and tries to hide her excitement at being called Aunt Marti. The rest of the fam spoils her with all sorts of ludicrous gifts till she's forced to call it a night before they can buy out the entire chain of 'Toys-R-Us.'

It's what shouldcould have been.

And w o r d s are all I have.


She's standing in front of the mirror at night, her head barely visible in the glass. "Who's he?"

She looks up, "That's you, sweetie."

The girl barely acknowledges her foolish remark. "No, him. Who's he." Her finger points through the mirror, at the picture hanging high above her.

She draws closer. "He…he's…he was my stepbrother."

The girl looks at him critically, "He's pretty. Did he have lots of girlfriends?"

She smiles, her face breaking, but in a longtime her eyes remain whole, "Millions. He used to make me very jealous. A new girl everyday and I couldn't say anything." (And fuck she's explaining to a four-year-old.)

"Did you love him?"

(And he's there. Refusing hugs but slinging his arm around her shoulder. Getting her into trouble and then miraculously out of it. Insulting her and standing up for her because "Nobody treats my stepsis like that...except me." Doing ridiculously, insanely nice things and then pretending he had no idea what she was talking about. Fighting and never making up. goddamnalive.) "Very much." (sofuckingmuch)

"Who took the picture?"

She looks up again, that familiar half-smirk that had always tied up her stomach in hard knots and left her slightly breathless. "I did."

"Then," said the girl drawing a breath of immense satisfaction, "He loved you too. See his eyes?"

She kneels down behind her, their (maybe there could have been a 'them') daughter, her eyes still locked with his. "You know he'd never have said it. And I never said it either."

"But you both knew, right? You didn't let him go without telling him?" Her eyes widen, lower lip trembling slightly, with that childish fear of non-happy endings

She draws a deep breath and her smile lights up the dark room. It feels a little like relief. Comfort. A little like him. "I was stupid and he was even more stupid. And he went away without letting me say anything. But I'll say it now because I was always the more mature one."

And she probably doesn't even understand. Her four-year-old ears unused to words like mature. ("Hey, did you just call me immature, Princess?") But it doesn't matter, really. Sometimes it's okay to take chances.

"I love you, Derek." And his smile almost seems to widen, "I love you."

There's a part of y o u that's left inside of m e.

Le Fin