Working on it – LWD
Summary: Set after the movie. Pairings: Derek/Lizzie, Derek/Casey, Lizzie/Edwin, Edwin/OC
Disclaimer: Ummm… I only own the plot bunnies hopping in my head.
She replayed it again: "I might be able to forgive you for throwing away your future, but if you don't get your ass up here for this… Case, I'll never forgive you."
Harsh much? Casey thought so. But from her step-brother, she wouldn't expect much less. And it was why she was in an airport taxi at midnight on a Friday on the way to the hospital after her performance and a three hour flight from New York to Ontario. She had barely spared the time to go back to her dorm to change into jeans and pack a few things before leaving.
After her post-rehearsal high around four-thirty that afternoon, she had turned her phone back on and had been immediately bombarded with twelve messages from George, Lizzie, and Edwin saying that Nora had gone into labor. Casey called George back and he reassured her that things were going well – albeit slowly, and told her that he would keep her posted before letting her speak briefly to Nora. Her mother insisted that she finish her evening as usual and check back in at the end of the night.
Best brother and sister that they were, Lizzie and Edwin made sure to update her hourly via text message. They weren't giving her the silent treatment. Neither was Marti for that matter – they talked at least twice a week when Casey finished her conversation with Nora. That just left Derek. He had barely spoken her since she had decided to defer college and go to New York with Jesse. And he hadn't contacted her at all since she had left – something she was justly peeved about.
Casey sighed internally as the taxi pulled up to the hospital lobby entrance. She had gotten Derek's message only a few minutes after she had gotten backstage at the end of the performance, and had nearly dropped her phone in shock. Her dorm mate Chloe had given her a strange look, "You okay, girly? You look kind of pale."
"I need to go", Casey said suddenly, not really answering the query. "My mom's in labor – I need to get back to Canada."
"Tonight?" Chloe demanded incredulously. "Are you crazy?"
"So you'll take me to the airport?" Casey asked as she shoved her make-up and jacket into her workout bag. Chloe was one of the few people Casey had met in New York who actually owned a car – she had to keep it in a garage and pay half a million dollars a month for parking, but she had it. It was sad to say that Casey actually missed The Prince.
Chloe pulled her long black hair from the tight bun it had been in for the show. "Of course", she chuckled. "But you have to tell Jesse why you're missing the after party."
"Jesse's met my family, Chloe", Casey said raising an eyebrow, "He knows they're important to me."
Chloe nodded slowly, sort of confused at the defensiveness in her friend's tone. "Just go tell him we're leaving while I get us a cab back to the dorms", she said before heading for her own station to get her cell phone from her bag – and Casey went to find Jesse.
Now Casey was getting out of the cab in front of the hospital, slinging her duffle over her shoulder as she tossed money at the cab driver before heading towards the main lobby. "McDonald-Venturi", she threw at the tired looking receptionist. She didn't bother looking at the woman's nametag.
"Just a moment", the blonde woman said blandly turning to the keyboard. Casey drummed her fingers on the marble irritatedly as she waited for no more than ten seconds, her anxiety and frustration on the forefront. "Room 812", she said after double-checking the screen. "She's still having contractions."
"Oh, thank god", Casey muttered before stalking determinedly towards the elevators. She only waited a moment before one opened and she stepped in and hit the eighth button. The elevator stopped three times and Casey nearly got off in favor of the stairs at floor six.
Casey walked around the reception desk towards the waiting area to see Lizzie, Edwin, and Marti playing Uno… and Derek pacing back and forth in a way Casey could only say was nervousness. Casey thanked the heavens that no one else occupied the waiting room. "Guys", she murmured quietly, stepping forward slowly. Four heads whipped around to look at her in shock.
Lizzie and Edwin stood up as Marti shot at her and attached herself to Casey's side. "Casey! You made it!" Lizzie said grinning as they headed over and they both promptly squished her and Marti in a sandwich hug.
"I can't breathe", Marti mumbled against Casey's stomach. Edwin let go and backed up in amusement. He chanced a look over at his absent brother only to have Derek suddenly pretend he was busy… picking at his nails. What? Edwin turned back around with an amused shake of the head.
"Me either", Casey squeaked finally before Lizzie let go of her death grip her and Marti finally ran back to Derek. Casey looked over her sibling's heads to glance cautiously at Derek. He looked slightly incredulous at the sight of her – but he was definitely frowning. Did he really think she wouldn't have wanted to be here for her own mother? Did he really think she could honestly be that selfish? Casey shook her head ridding unnecessary thoughts and turned back to her siblings. She could deal with Derek later – hopefully much later. "I've really missed you guys", she said finally.
"Nice to see ya, Sis. Are you staying for a few days?" Edwin asked quietly, taking in the bag over her shoulder.
Casey bit her bottom lip, "Is that going to be a problem? I had my show tonight – I can stay for about a week."
"Not unless you mind sharing your room with me", Lizzie shrugged. "Mom said she was going to tell you…"
"Tell me what?" Casey prompted.
"They rearranged the rooms, Case", Edwin stated plainly.
"Oh, right – I forgot", she murmured. "So my room is full of baby stuff?"
Lizzie shook her head, grinning, "No, mine is. I got your room because it's bigger. It's still your mattress though, so we'll have plenty of room. Unless you want to share with Derek", she teased quietly. "He's the only other one with a double bed."
Casey gave her sister a glare, "Not funny. How's the wall sharing going?"
Lizzie shrugged, "No big – Casey, he's been at school for nearly three weeks… And he wasn't really home a lot after you left. And they might be moving his stuff to the basement so they can take his room to be closer to the baby."
Casey looked over at Edwin for an explanation about the first part, but he just shrugged. "How long is he staying?" she asked softly.
"It's Wednesday", Edwin muttered thoughtfully, "Probably until Sunday afternoon. You mind filling us in as to what all the drama was about?" he asked pointedly.
Casey rolled her eyes, but didn't bother to play stupid. "Trust me, if I knew, I wouldn't still be over here hiding", she murmured quietly. That was a partial lie – she did know. It's was why she was hiding.
Edwin snorted, "My sister the chicken, great."
"No time like the present", Lizzie insisted, looping her arm through Casey's.
Casey pulled the three of them to a brief stop to say warningly, "If and when I speak to Derek, it will be privately – and you two had better not be eavesdropping."
"Whatever, Case", Lizzie said lightly. "Do you think the two of you can manage to get through the current situation in tact first?"
"No promises", Casey muttered as they dragged her towards Derek and Marti. Unseen, Edwin pinched her side lightly and she whacked the back of his head in lightning quick retaliation.
"Well, we know who to keep the baby away from", Derek muttered under his breath.
"…if you don't get your ass up here for this… Case, I'll never forgive you."
Casey forced an eye roll as Edwin snickered and moved past her to resume Uno with Marti. Lizzie gave her another side hug and followed. "Nice to see you too, Derek", Casey murmured sarcastically as she flopped into a chair across from near the table their siblings were playing cards at, setting her bag on an empty seat next to her.
She heard Edwin from a few feet away, whispering to Lizzie, "Round one – ding." Casey restrained herself from throwing a torn up magazine at him and took out of her phone to text George that she was here before sending the same to Chloe even though it was after midnight.
Casey didn't look up when Derek took a seat directly across from her. She was well into a Brennifer tabloid magazine when he began staring her down – yeah, it was that old.
"Ooh, the freeze-out", Lizzie sighed quietly. "Casey really sucks at that game."
"Why is Casey mad at Derek?" Marti asked in what she thought was a whisper.
Casey groaned and whirled around, "Marti, I'm not mad at Derek – yet. Lizzie, Edwin, stop being commentators", she snapped.
"Please tell me you have Midol packed in that bag of yours", Edwin grumbled. The nurse walking by laughed.
"Edwin!" Casey exclaimed exasperatedly. "Do yourself a favor and tape your mouth shut."
Edwin gave her a one-fingered salute that got him a glare from Derek – unseen by Casey. And Casey giggled. "Sorry, point taken", she chuckled. "But seriously, can we not go there tonight?"
"Alright", Edwin said exaggeratedly and spreading his arms out, "No one bother Casey – or she'll kill us."
"Edwin, do you know the meaning of 'shut it'?" Lizzie demanded, kicking him under the table.
"I do now", he grumbled, reaching down to rub his shin. Marti giggled and called, "Uno!"
Casey coughed over a laugh and dug in her bag for her iPod. As she straightened to put in her ear buds, she was startled to find Derek occupying the previously empty chair next to her. "God, could you announce yourself?" she complained.
"Nice of you to show up", he said under his breath.
She rolled her eyes, but said nothing, only putting in her ear buds and turning up the volume.
A few seconds later they were pulled out of her ears, and Derek was forcibly turning her towards him, "Hey", he growled, "What? Are you ignoring me now?"
"Oh, please", Casey said sarcastically. "No one could ignore you even if they tried. You, however, are the king of freeze-outs. I hope you're proud of yourself. Congratulations, Derek, you've gotten your point across."
He dropped her arm. "Don't do that, Casey. You just don't know-"
"The problem, D, is that I do know, okay? I'm not that freaking stupid. I'm not doing this with you tonight." Casey stood up and walked toward the table, "I'm going to get a drink – and maybe something pretzel from the vending machine. Anybody want something?"
"Something caffeinated", Edwin nodded.
"M&Ms", Lizzie added.
"Animal crackers and water?" Marti asked.
Casey gave the girl a strange look but nodded, "Okay, I'll be back in a few minutes." Then she headed down the hall, fully aware she was being followed.
Derek waited until they got to the vending machines before he spoke to her again. "Since when do you do that?" he demanded.
She sighed as she fed the machine dollar bills and punched buttons, giving in, "Do what?"
"This, for example", he hissed angrily. "When the hell have you ever avoided confrontation? Never with me, that's for sure."
She faltered momentarily. With me. "Derek, you've been trying to get me to shut up since we were fifteen", she said finally. "Now that I am, you don't get to complain about it."
"Quit avoiding, Casey", he said flatly.
"You haven't spoken to me since I left three months ago – I'm pretty sure the avoidance award goes to you", she returned in a low, even tone.
He groaned. "Casey-"
She held up a hand to shut him up. "Derek, I had to make a decision, okay? I had to do something for me – for once. You have to understand that. Yes, I left. For once in my life I acted on impulse and acted selfishly. But don't you dare accuse me of being irresponsible and throwing my future away. This one time – I acted like you, alright? Please just accept that for tonight."
"Casey, you worked your ass off during high school just to get into a good college. That stupid prancing guy comes along and tells you that you're an amazing dancer – something you should be more than aware of by now – and you go gallivanting off to New York. That just doesn't add up for me", he said shaking his head.
"Derek, every time you say 'gallivanting', it really weirds me out", Casey murmured. "Jesse doesn't prance", she added as an afterthought. "And you can't honestly tell me that if you were recruited by the Maple Leafs at the end of senior year that you wouldn't have jumped on the chance."
Derek studied her momentarily; jaw tight, before finally visibly relaxing. "At least you didn't sleep with him", he said under his breath.
Casey's mouth dropped open involuntarily, "Excuse me?" she hissed. "How would you even- Derek, ewww!"
He chuckled, but it sounded bitter, even to his own ears. "You think that after all these years I can't read you like a book?"
"Well, no, but that's just… it's none of your business", she said finally recovering slightly, "And completely inappropriate right now –or ever." She turned to stalk off with her vending machine goodies and a handful of drinks when he grabbed her arm, forcing her to stop or drop everything.
"Look, I don't want to hear about your sex life…like ever", he grimaced, "But we need to talk, Casey."
She closed her eyes momentarily, "Not now", she said finally. He just nodded and followed her back to the waiting area. When they got there, George was taking a minor break chatting with the kids.
Casey doled out the snacks quickly and went to give him a hug. "How's Mom?"
"She's a trooper", George grinned. "And she wants to see you." He just pointed down the hallway, knowing better than to stand in the way of a McDonald on a mission, and she shot off in the direction of his finger.
She approached the door and went in quickly, "Mom!" she exclaimed in quiet excitement. She had never been away from her mother for more than two weeks at a time, and the past few months would have been more difficult if she hadn't been so busy. She really was incredibly homesick though.
Nora looked up to see her oldest daughter sit on the edge of the bed cautiously and Nora reached up to smooth back her long bangs that Casey hadn't bothered to control before she left New York. "Hey, Miss Case", she murmured softly.
"Are you alright?" Casey asked worriedly leaning in for a hug. "I mean-"
"Yeah, honey, I'm okay", Nora said reassuringly. "I'm glad you made it", she nodded. "Maybe now this little guy will come out", she joked.
"Are they sure it's not a girl?" Casey muttered. "We really don't need the boys getting any more leeway with voting majority", she grumbled.
Nora chuckled, "Sorry to burst your bubble, sweetheart. Derek getting on your nerves?" she asked knowingly.
Casey sighed, "Not exactly… he's just a little ticked off with me right now."
"With you?" Nora raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
"It's nothing to worry about", Casey said forcing a shrug. "We'll sort it out."
"Is he being an ass?" Nora asked rolling her eyes.
Case laughed, "Mom", she said incredulously. "I'm telling Derek you said the 'ass' word."
"I'm forty-five and in labor", Nora declared with a raised eyebrow, in typical mom-fashion, "I can say the 'ass' word if I want to."
Casey snickered, "You're such a Venturi. Maybe Marti's been rubbing off on you", she teased.
"I have been partial to purple and sparkles lately", Nora trailed off lightly. "Keep in mind later that this was probably the drugs talking."
"Will do. I hear Liz got my room", Casey said chuckling.
"You mind?" Nora asked quietly. "I forgot to tell you earlier."
Casey shook her head with a smile, "No. I don't mind. It's funny – after all the fighting that got me that room…"
Nora crossed her eyes, "It was not funny", she argued. "What dimension were you on? God, those days – I don't miss all that drama."
Casey shrugged, "At least Ed and Liz get along."
"They were young enough to accept the brother/sister dynamic. It wasn't your fault that you and Derek weren't, not really", Nora said thoughtfully. "I did hope that you two could at least be friends by now, though."
"We're… friendly", Casey said unconvincingly.
"Like a lion and a mouse", Nora laughed.
"Wait, am I the mouse? I don't want to be the mouse", Casey frowned.
"Then don't be the mouse", Nora said, like that would answer all her questions. And incidentally, it did.
George poked his head in then. He had a hand playfully covering his eyes, "Everything okay? Anyone… crying?" he gave a fake shudder.
Casey laughed, "That's Derek's line", she reminded.
"Oh, right", George said coming into the room. "I can handle f-f-f-feelings ."
"Georgie", Nora scolded in amusement.
"Ready to go back to work?" George asked coming to sit in the chair on the other side of the bed.
Nora groaned, "No."
Casey leaned over to kiss her mom on the forehead, "You can do it, Mom. Kick ass", she chuckled. "I love you."
"Love you too, sweetie", Nora said smiling. "See you soon."
"Don't worry, I've got about a week before I need to get back", Casey said standing up. "Keep us posted, George."
"Will do, Case."
She was bombarded again by her siblings when she got back, and the all spoke at once.
"Is she okay?" Lizzie asked.
"Is she having a puppy?" Marti demanded sleepily chewing on a lion's head.
"What's going on?" Edwin asked.
"She's fine", Casey laughed. "Derek, she asked me if you were being an ass", she grinned.
"Nora said the 'ass' word?" he asked incredulously.
"That's what I said!" Casey said with a nod. "She told me she'd be blaming it on the drugs later."
Finally, around three in the morning, Simon arrived. Marti had fallen asleep against Derek's side and she was still half asleep when George came to get them. They followed George, Derek carrying her back to see Nora with the rest of his siblings behind him. They visited for a few minutes, but then George insisted that Derek took everyone else home and that he would stay the night at the hospital with Nora and be home sometime around breakfast in the morning. Lizzie and Casey went upstairs into the room they would now share whenever Casey came for a visit.
"Alright, Liz, dish", Casey commanded as the door closed, a preemptive strike against her own impending interrogation.
"Case, I'm beat, can we just go to bed?" Lizzie grumbled as they changed into pajamas.
"You've got news – spill it", Casey insisted, "Just the cliffs notes for tonight."
"Fine, but no squealing", she huffed sternly. "I've been dating this guy Matt from the soccer team. He's pretty cool."
"And?" Casey pressed, diving onto the bed.
"And, Derek wants to punch him because he saw us making out on the porch the other night when he got home", Lizzie finished exasperatedly.
Casey snorted out a laugh. "Uh-oh", she sang playfully, "Big brother on the loose."
"I'm nearly sixteen, Case, I don't need him dropping by at random to scare off my dates", she complained. "Can't you talk to him – get him to lay off?"
"Lizzie, I have my own beef with Derek right now. If you want to tell him to bugger off, go right ahead – but I won't get involved this time, okay?" Casey sighed. Then she rolled off the bed to her feet and went to wait in line for the bathroom.
"Dumb older sisters go to New York for a few months and then forget they live for fighting with Derek", Lizzie rambled under her breath, "Absolutely crazy."
Derek woke up a little after five-thirty and went downstairs intending to raid the refrigerator. Everything was dark except the light coming from the back porch. He groaned internally, hoping it wasn't Casey. He wasn't thinking clearly enough for that kind of discussion right now. He walked through the utility area and found the door unlocked. He stepped out and looked to his right, around the door towards the creaking swing. Not Casey.
"What're you doin' out here, Liz?" he asked curiously.
"Hey, Derek", she said quietly.
He crossed the porch and took a seat on the opposite end. He eyed the bottle in her hand incredulously. "Is that beer? Nora would murder you."
She smirked slightly. "Shows what you know."
"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked suspiciously.
"Mom and George decided that Edwin and I could have a drink every now and then, as long as it was at the house and Marti didn't see us", Lizzie said calmly. She leaned away, dodging his hand that stretched out to grab the half-empty bottle. "Go get your own."
He made an annoyed face. "Where the hell was this rule when I was in high school?" he complained.
She snorted incredulously. "Derek, do you remember what you were like in high school?" she laughed. "You would have tried to throw a kegger in our backyard."
His mouth twitched in amusement and he nodded in concession. "Yeah, alright, point taken. It's still weird seeing you drink though."
"We all gotta grow up sometime", she said quietly, staring into the backyard.
"Don't try to grow up too fast", Derek said seriously, his big brother senses kicking in. "Everything alright, Liz?"
She grimaced. "It's been a really long week", she said finally. "And tonight- sorry, never mind. I'm just tired. You don't need to listen to be bitch and moan about all this."
"Liz", he sighed. His second try was successful at taking the bottle from her. "I think you've had enough of this." He downed the rest of it in two swallows, ignoring her mild protest. "Whatever you're trying to drown in booze… it can't be worth it. You McDonald girls-" Derek stood up and started pacing the porch. "I don't understand why you guys don't realize that you can do anything you want! It drives me crazy!"
Lizzie raised her eyebrows. "Uh… Derek? Is everything alright?" she asked cautiously.
"Oh, sure! Everything's perfect! Casey throws her life away because a guy tells her she can dance; you're out here choking down booze like it's going off shelves-"
"Derek!" she protested.
"-for who knows why, and nobody listens to me!"
"Whoa, I think you need to calm down-"
"Don't tell me to calm down- and I just nearly pulled a Casey", he muttered exasperatedly.
Lizzie snorted. Her step-brother was losing it. "D, I think you need to go back to sleep", she suggested.
"Can't sleep", he complained, "Wide freaking awake."
She squeezed his shoulder. "Alright, come on. I'm making coffee."
"You could go back to bed, you know", Derek pointed out.
"After today? Yeah right", she murmured sarcastically, standing up.
"Okay, what's the matter with you?" he sighed exasperatedly.
Lizzie turned on him with a glare. "You are not the only one of us with issues, ya know." Then she looked at the cement. "There's blood now. Ed and I may be best friends, Derek… but we aren't siblings." She headed into the house without another word, only pausing to make sure the door didn't slam.
Derek stared at the door in confusion after her. Seconds later when it dawned on him, he swore under his breath. He stayed outside for a few minutes, listening to the quiet noises from the kitchen, and finally made himself go inside. She was rummaging through the cupboards when he turned from locking the door.
She cut him off immediately. "I hadn't intended to say that to anyone – especially you. I don't need you to say anything, okay? Edwin is with Heather, and I'm with Matt. Just forget I said anything."
"You get that obsessive need for denial from your sister, you know", he pointed out teasingly as he caught the coffee cup she pushed down the island towards him.
"Hey, don't knock the system. And do I really have to remind you about what happened with Sally?" she smirked.
"Okay, truce", he grumbled. "Venturi blackmail isn't nice, Lizzie."
"I learned it from you", she chuckled and grabbed the coffee pot once it was full, hitting the 'off' switch.
"Why didn't I know?" he asked curiously.
"Not your business", she said easily, filling her cup and then handing the pot over. "Besides, you haven't really noticed anything but Casey since we moved in here, not that I was advertising." Her tone was wry amusement, not accusing him of anything.
"Sorry, Liz", he said quietly.
She let out a bark of laughter. "Was that an apology? Where's Edwin's camera when I need it?" He rolled his eyes. The drink of coffee made him grimace. Lizzie grinned. "You forgot sugar."
A/N: Okay! First chapter. I haven't written this fandom for a while, so I'm trying to get back into the groove. A lot going on in this chapter already – those of you who've read my other stories know I can't write short chapters, lol. Review and let me know how it went over. Thank for reading!