My lovelies! This. Is. It. I'm actually really sad to see this story go, I really enjoyed writing it since it has a lot more deeper meaning and lessons than my others. I am a true believer in love conquers all and has no limits.

I'm going to further explain my reasoning for this story at the end, so for now, enjoy reading :)

Just want to thank you guys for all the reviews! Last chapter was great, so glad you guys didn't hate the fact that I made him get better, even though its pretty unrealistic.

I do not own Life with Derek.


LEAP OF FAITH

Casey stared into his equally tearful eyes, unable to believe her ears.

She couldn't have heard him right. No, there's no way. Did the doctors not just say that it would take years to get feeling back? That if he did, it would be gradual, not this all-at-once phenomenon? Casey had been the firmest believer behind Derek's condition getting better but even she couldn't believe that it would happen this fast.

They simply stared at each other, then quickly looked down at his legs, then back up to each other, not really sure what to do.

"Really?" Casey finally asked, before bursting into tears of joy.

Derek rubbed her shoulders comfortingly, at a loss for words. Was he imagining things? Could he really feel her knee digging into his thigh, his sock loose on his foot? What if it was only temporary? What if it was just a brief moment?

"Derek, try to move your legs." she urged, but Derek shook his head quickly like a child, too frightened to lose this feeling. He had been robbed of it for so long he wasn't giving it up again easily.

Casey's voice grew more tender. "Derek, try to move your legs."

He inhaled deeply and nodded. Casey backed away as he shut his eyes closed tight in anticipation and instructed his legs to move.

They did.

They extended. They bent. They wiggled and locked and his feet flexed and pointed. They did everything they were supposed to do.

Both teens stared at each other, tears pouring down both of their faces. Casey threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly, crying into his neck in pure happiness.

It was out of this world. There was no way this could be happening. Derek pinched himself over and over again, waiting to wake up from the cruel dream but to no avail.

He pulled Casey's mouth to his, kissing her urgently. He wasn't sure what exactly the emotion he was filling was. Elation. Relief. Gratitude. Euphoria. Every positive emotion in the world and then some. He felt like he was losing his mind he was so overwhelmed with feelings.

There were no words to describe the feelings blossoming from his chest, warming his heart to lava level and flying him past cloud nine, all the way to cloud ninety-nine or higher.

Casey pulled back and was beaming, wiping her face quickly.

"I'm so happy for you. This is amazing." she said, giggling with giddiness.

"What if it's only temporary?" Derek asked in a small voice, far too vulnerable in front of her for his liking but knowing that she had seen him in much worse states so he didn't really care.

She caressed his cheek and looked him straight in the eyes with a determined smile. "Then you'll just have to make it worthwhile."

Derek pondered this for a moment before suddenly flipping her over and beginning to kiss her again, his hands immediately sliding under her shirt.

"Der-ek." she giggled, but his passion was already working its magic and her voice trailed away into his eager mouth.

He pulled back for a moment. "Casey, if this only lasts five minutes, I want to spend every second of those five minutes making love to you like I've been waiting to do for almost four years now." He paused. "Only if you want to though. I'm not trying to pressure you into anything-"

She cut him off with her mouth, slipping her shirt off easily, the fire burning in her blue eyes when she pulled back from a kiss that left him breathless. "I love you. For once in your life, just shut up." she instructed amusedly, leaping back up to meet their lips again.

Derek took five seconds to mentally thank Jake for his thoughtful birthday present before pulling his lover closer once more.


After several long discussions about it, Casey and Derek decided that they would keep the news quiet for a while. Derek wanted to check with the doctors to make sure this was here to stay. He didn't want to get anyone's hopes up. His were already skyrocketing to another dimension as were his girlfriend's; but he didn't think it was fair to do to everyone.

Dr. McCallum, for one, was flabbergasted. He ran multiple tests, both bewildered and elated at the results.

"Derek, never in all of my years of work in the medical field have I ever seen a miracle like this!" he finally said, laughing giddily.

Casey squeezed Derek's arm excitedly, beaming.

Dr. McCallum ran a hand over his face, shaking his head in disbelief. "I honestly don't know how you guys did it. You overcame all the odds. All the statistics, all the studies, all the research. Your spinal cord is in perfect condition. It's as if there was never an accident at all."


Patricia was less professional about it. When Derek wheeled up to her and kicked at her playfully, she started crying and hugging the both of them. She had become really close to Derek, something that wasn't exactly encouraged in the medical community but it happened all the time.

She got a hold of herself and grinned at the two of them. "I knew it. I knew you two could do it. I knew you guys had something special. I've always been a believer in love is a miracle maker and you guys are a shining example. Miracles do exist."

Casey smiled gratefully at her, leaning her head against Derek's shoulder, her arm linked with his as she sat on a stool next to his chair.

Patricia corrected her throat, going back to professional manner. "Well. Regardless of how awesome this is, the battle isn't done yet. We've been building your muscles up in your back and trying to keep your leg muscles as well toned as possible but they'll still be weak to begin with. I'm assuming you haven't tried walking yet."

Derek shook his head. He had done some leg exercises at home, but it had only been twenty-four hours since the miracle happened. He hadn't wanted to injure himself and he was too afraid of another accident happening.

Casey went to the cafeteria to get a drink while Derek had his session with Patricia.

Patricia dished out her instructions and began setting up for the exercise when she eyed him slyly.

He raised an eyebrow at her when he noticed. "What?"

"If I know you at all… I'd bet after the initial shock of having feeling back in your legs, you and Casey hooked up." she teased.

Derek wouldn't have blushed so red if she hadn't been so accurate. He was completely comfortable with Patricia; she was almost like a cool older cousin or something. He had talked to her a lot over their few months together, and because of his position it was always highly personal. So it was more being caught off guard than embarrassment that caused his cheeks to burn a little more crimson than normal.

He snatched up one of the headrests and hit her with it. She laughed, understanding what the action confirmed.

She pulled him into a side hug and kissed his cheek. "I couldn't be more happy for you, sweetie."

He smiled gratefully at her.

"Now let's see you do fifty!" she demanded and he groaned, smirking at her as he acquiesced.


It was almost impossible to keep such an incredible thing quiet from his family and best friends, let alone be cautious not to use his lower half unconsciously to do something. But Derek had a plan. He wanted to make a true comeback, in his Triple D way. And he had the perfect idea how to do it.

The final game of the season came and the coach invited Derek to sit with the rest of the team in the box. The rest of the McDonald-Venturis came, along with Emily, and found themselves experiencing the irony. After all, Derek's accident occurred on the FIRST game of the season and, as it coincidentally turned out, against the same team.

This made the energy from Derek's team fire right up. The guy who had attacked Derek had been kicked off the team, but it was just the principle of the thing. They wanted to beat them. Make them pay in the competitive sports type way.

The rest of the team seemed incredibly happy to have Derek suited up in full hockey gear (minus skates) next to them, despite the fact that they knew he wouldn't be playing. The excited energy was present in the entire stadium. With it being the final game, it was to be expected. The team had struggled without their star player, but they were a solid team regardless.

Derek's eyes didn't leave once the game started. Before he had come, he figured seeing the exact stadium and teams and all that would bring back so many unwanted memories that he wouldn't be able to stay. That despite the fact that a miracle had happened, the underlying fear was still threatening to suffocate him. Being paralyzed had taught him so many things about himself and the world around him, but he would never wish it on anyone. Not even the guy who did it to him in the first place.

Thankfully, he didn't see any part of this place that way. He still watched hockey as an avid fan. Especially when it involved his own team.


After the first period, Casey and Emily came down to visit the boys.

Both chatted animatedly with Derek and Sam, and soon joined by Jake. Without realizing, Casey and Derek's hands intertwined while they were talking and he squeezed hers affectionately before she left.

She cast a loving smile at him over her shoulder as she walked back up the row stairs to their family.

One of his buddies hit him in the arm. "D, since when have you been dating Casey?"

Derek felt the blood drain out of his face. He hadn't meant to be so cutesy and couple-y. Heck, their parents were only a few rows up. But would everyone be grossed out? It was perfectly legal but he could understand why people would get weirded out… hence the reason why their parents were still in the dark.

"Since when HASN'T he been dating Casey?" another one, Mike, reminded him.

"Yeah, I'd say they've been dating since Casey moved in." someone at the end of the row inputted.

"I assumed they were when Casey showed up to school wearing Derek's clothes. That was only about a week after she moved in." Kevin said with a shrug.

"Didn't they get 'locked in' a bathroom together at their party? Who believed that lie for a second…" Isaac teased as the others all laughed in agreement.

Both Sam and Jake were losing it, as Derek sat in bewilderment.

"I probably still have the bruises from when I started dating Casey." Sam added, raising his eyebrows at Derek, as if asking him to deny his reaction to the whole ordeal. Derek chuckled at that one while the others roared with more laughter.

"That was your own fault, Sammyboy. You should've known better." Jake reminded him.

"What about the D-Rock performance? Casey basically did it all for Derek. They were flirting hardcore on stage the entire time."

"OR that time they won that dance competition."

"Or when Casey saved Derek from being pummeled by the Fridge."

"I thought no one knew about that." Derek hissed at Sam, who chuckled, shaking his head in amusement and shrugging his shoulders.

The recalling of stories continued, but Derek intervened.

"OKAY. I know it's not like my feelings have been very subtle. I get it. We're obviously into each other."

The others laughed at his expense, knowing Derek did not like being put on the spot about feelings of all things.

Thankfully for him the break ended and the game restarted.


They were nearing the end, only ten minutes of the game left. It had been an intense and competitive game so far, leaving the scores tied and both teams pushing themselves harder than ever. Sam's goal blocking was superb but they were getting harder and harder to stop.

The coaches both took a timeout to discuss final strategy with the teams.

Derek stayed towards the back, smiling to himself, preparing for his plan to follow through. No one else knew of it and he wasn't sure if he would get in trouble for it, but he felt like it was the best way to show everyone the good news.

His coach was talking in a low voice to his team, despite the fact that the other team was on the other side of the rink. "We need a surprise factor, something that will catch them off guard. Peters, I want you working forward. Lexington, block number seventeen. I worry about him. He's been doing too well the last half of this game…"

Finally they separated and headed back onto the ice. Derek silently strapped up skates, everyone too enraptured in what was going on the ice to notice him. As he expected, Adam took a fall and swept over to tag a different teammate so he could get his wind back. Before Mike got to his feet, Derek dove out in front of him.

"Venturi!" the coach yelled, then stopped, not understanding what was happening. He was thinking his player wasn't listening to his coach but he realized that Derek wasn't here to play. And then he remembered why.

The entire stadium went silent, all the players of both teams stopped moving as Derek skated past them with fierce determination. He couldn't lie; he had missed the ice.

He shot with a perfect arc into the net of the almost motionless goalie. Reflexes caught up with him and he attempted to block it, but his delayed reaction allowed Derek to score the winning goal.

A beat passed before the hundreds of people erupted into the loudest cheering Derek had ever heard. His eardrums popped as he laughed in relief and joy, his team surrounding him and tackling him in a huge hug.

"DER-EK! DER-EK! DER-EK!" the crowd chanted amongst the screaming. It was like that time he almost got kicked out of school and Casey rallied everyone to beg the new principal for him to stay; only about a million times better.

The other team raced over to pat him on the back and congratulate him on his recovery, rather than the game. The result of the game was the last thing on everyone's mind at the moment.

Derek spotted his family rushing down from the stands, all of them crying, even Casey. Because Casey was always crying. He hadn't even told her of his plan but he was so glad it was a surprise for everyone. It left him feeling exhilarated.

"Why didn't you tell us?" Sam asked, ruffling his hair after his helmet was removed and man-hugging him, shortly followed by Jake.

"My present came in handy, didn't it." Jake teased in his ear, winking at him. Derek hooked an arm around his neck to noogie him, but then hugged him in thanks, the grin never leaving his face.

The coach passed Derek the announcer's microphone and everyone finally shut up long enough to hear what he had to say.

"I'm assuming most of you know of what happened here in this stadium a few months ago. I was tackled and ended up fracturing my spine, leaving me paralyzed from the waist down. It was the most traumatic thing to ever happen to me and there were times where I thought I wouldn't get through it. Times where I wanted to give up and say 'screw the world'. But I didn't. I fought through it. Thanks to a wonderful family and some of the most fantastic friends I could ask for." he said, his voice echoing around the large arena.

He winked at Emily in the stands, who smiled gratefully back.

"The doctors told me it was unlikely I would ever get better. Paralysis isn't something that goes away after time. It's permanent. But besides the others that pushed me through, there is one person who is the reason I am STANDING here today. Casey McDonald not only was my biggest supporter through my tough times, but she literally saved my LIFE. She is my miracle worker. The fact that I am walking and back to normal, is classified as an absolute miracle to the health professionals. I know the reason. It's Casey. I am a firm believer in true love conquering all, but I never thought it could do this much."

"I guess what I'm saying is… you'll go through some crazy stuff in this world. But you just need to remember about how blessed you are. Appreciate what you have and who is in your life. You never know how fast this world will change. My life got turned upside down but I was the happiest I had ever been even before I got feeling back in my legs. So hang in there guys, I promise it's worth it when you find your own Casey."

Derek hated how frigging sappy he sounded, but Casey strode across the ice determinedly, somehow not slipping and pulled him into a passionate kiss right in front of the hundreds of people.

The stadium erupted again, plenty of 'Finally!'s heard amongst the craziness.

Derek blindly passed the microphone back to the coach as he wrapped his arms around her, not caring about anything else but her at the moment as they made out in the middle of the rink.

She finally pulled back, eyes glistening like always, and she giggled.

"I think our parents know about us now. You certainly know how to deliver a finale."

Derek grinned, looking past her to see their parents and siblings cheering louder than the rest, bright smiles on their faces, and he knew everything was okay.

Despite all the craziness of the last few months, beating all the odds in every aspect of his life, he felt amazing. But regardless of all of that, he knew what he was truly grateful for. He vowed never to take things for granted again as he hugged Casey to his side, standing proudly.


The End


FINAL A/N:

Alright. So explanations? Sure.

I know its cheesy as hell. Seriously. I'm not a complete moron. It's fluffy and corny and just what I was going for. Sometimes you need that cheesiness to help see the message loud and clear. Also, why does Casey cry so much? Sheesh. She's emotional. I see Casey sorta like I am. I'm an emotional person, who cries both in happy times and sad, because we feel with our entire hearts. And when it involves someone we care about, its that much greater of a reaction.

I deeply considered leaving Derek paralyzed. Honestly. When I started this story, I wrote it planning on not making him remain that way. But once I really got into it, I started to almost teach myself the lesson ? I realized that Derek was learning all of these wonderful things about himself and he was seeing who his real friends were and that he had a future despite what had happened to him. He was moving on, not letting it ruin his life, and doing better despite it all. And I felt like that was a really important lesson, which is why I wrote the story to begin with. But I worried that healing him was taking away from the meaning. So I really hope you all could see that.

Seeing as I sound like a teacher trying to force thoughts and opinions into your head in the above paragraph, I should also say that I hope you ENJOYED reading it and that it was both sad and realistic as well as upbeat and heartfelt. Decent stories have you feeling a rollercoaster of emotions, becoming emotionally invested in the characters and their going-ons. I hope that happened for at least most of you :)

Also, I know there are better Dasey moments that could have been recalled with the hockey boys but I had to choose ones that happened at school or with fellow students at parties and such since a lot of the Dasey moments occur at home, or with just the family or themselves which they wouldnt know about. And since I wrote this as their final year of high school, I had to write out Sally and Truman completely so no mention of Trumans Last Chance episode SIGH (best Dasey episode ever).

Flames are always welcomed, and reviews are definitely encouraged whole-heartedly. I seriously love you guys and I know this story finishing was a long time coming, but I hope it was worth all the waiting.

Final apology for this story taking me SO incredibly long to finish. You all are amazing for sticking it out with me. Thank you to the ones who have been here since the beginning, and to those who are only reading this for the first time now. My appreciation cannot be put into words. So much love to all of you. Thank you for taking this rollercoaster with me. xo