A/N - So here's the first season done. This was at times both much harder and much easier than I thought it would be. As I go forward (because I will be going forward), I'm going to start writing these in the production order of the episodes, rather than the order in which they aired. I ran into some continuity difficulty while writing these and writing them in the order in which they were intended to air would eliminate a lot of that. I can't promise to finish the whole series, but I do have ideas for episodes in the 4th season, so it's a very real possibility.

I'd also like to thank everyone who has been commenting: EvertonAngel, , EreshkigalGirl, s girl, xxoppisitesXattractxx, mimibear, lanter, hushhushyou, rumoredreader, CharryBlossom, -Epitome of Bold, Leaf25, Ghostwriter, Frogster, Cupcakeslam23, kthxilyxx, kmr04. I don't write to get feedback, I do it because I love it, but getting sweet feedback like yours makes me love it all the more. Thank you.

Male Code Blue

He still doesn't know why he let Sam walk up those stairs. Here was his opportunity both to make Casey miserable and save Sammy from the popularity black hole known as his stepsister, and he let it pass him by.

But then, it seemed like Sam didn't really appreciate Derek's attempts to save him from himself. He wrestled him for God's sake. Sam hadn't wrestled Derek for anything since they were eight and they came across Ashley Jenkins' lost tabby on the way home from school. Ashley had promised a kiss to any boy who returned it and, as she was the queen bee of the third graders, those were highly coveted lips. That time, though, their wrestling scared the cat off and if Derek remembered correctly it was Schlepper who ended up getting the coveted kiss.

When he finally let Sam go up the stairs, part of him wanted to spy on them from the stairwell. But that was the small masochistic part of Derek that he rarely listened to. So, instead, he went into the living room and was forced to imagine what was going on. Would they hug? Kiss? Would Casey take Sam by the hand and lead him into her room? Derek gave himself a shake. No, thankfully Casey wasn't like that, and what was probably happening was some bad rip-off of one of those teen romance novels that Casey pretended she didn't read but everyone knew she was addicted to.

Later, after the three of them sat at the table and Derek grudgingly gave his consent, watching the two of them moon over each other and feeling two pairs of feet playfully nudge his own, he sat in the living room alone in the dark, trying to figure things out. He supposed he should be happy for Sam. The truth was, Sammy wasn't a player like Derek was, and his experience with girls was pretty limited. And, he knew his friend better than anyone and he could see how happy being with Casey made him. So if Derek was really as good a friend as he claimed to be, shouldn't that make him happy, too?

And with Casey, he supposed maybe he felt a little jealous because here she was, taking over yet another aspect of his life. Sam was his, dammit. He knew everything about Sam, he'd seen him through his first unrequited crush, the six months that his parents separated, a broken arm when they were twelve, and the disastrous hair cut that had him wearing toques for the entire year.

But he didn't feel happy for Sam and he didn't feel jealous of Casey. For Sam, all he really felt is betrayed. Like his best friend had just punched him in the gut. And it wasn't fair to Sam, because he really hadn't done anything wrong except get a crush on a girl.

And as for Casey, she had him feeling guilty again. The look on her face after he tricked Sam into lying about his real feelings for her… Derek thought the triumph would be sweet, and, for a minute it was. But then he saw her face fall and the dejected slump of her shoulders. There was nothing sweet about victory then.

So, he let them be happy. It was the least he could do, right? And he figured, maybe if Casey was happy, she'd loosen up a bit and he wouldn't have to deal with shrieks of "De-rek!" every time he did something that didn't have the Casey seal of approval.

Besides, there was this thing nagging at him, this story of Marti's that she loved to have Derek read to her before bed. A little girl had made a pet of a wild bird, but the bird was miserable in the cage and even though the little girl wanted to keep the bird, it hurt her to see it so sad. So she let the bird out of the cage and the girl's grandfather told her not to worry. That if you really loved something, you had to set it free, but that if it loved you, someday it would come back.

It didn't make any sense, but Derek couldn't get that little girl and her bird out of his mind that night. The book just ended with the bird flying away and he couldn't help but wonder if it ever flew back to the little girl. He hoped that it did.