A/N: hey LWD fandom! Do you still exist, or is this a party of one? I hope there's someone reading this. If you are, it's post Vacation With Derek, and has spoilers for that. It didn't really turn out the way that I wanted, but Derek was begging me to write it and just like Casey, I'm pretty incapable of saying no to him when it counts. Hopefully the fandom isn't dead though... I mean, Sparzelli and Whenlighteningstrikes just updated/posted. Revival, anyone?

He needs her to go to Queens with him.

He realizes that dancing in New York would be good for her. Exciting, dangerous, her finally breaking the mold she'd always set out for herself. But, god, he went through too much trouble manipulating her to choose Queens, waiting until the last minute to admit that's where he was going too, and she's just going to toss that away? Derek putting so much effort into something is a sure sign of insanity, and she should appreciate the sacrifices he's willing to make for her.

And if she's not there, who's going to make sure he studies? Who is going to make him flash cards and songs about physics… who's going to make sure he doesn't throw his life away?

Besides, she'd kill herself in New York without her family (without Derek) to keep her from over doing it. He's really sure that Jesse wouldn't have the first idea of how to get her to chill out. And besides, yeah, she loves dancing, but she loves hi- school more. Academics, that's her passion. He needs her to go to Queens because that is what's best for her, (for them).

(He needs her to go to Queens because at Queens, people will only know what they tell them. Because with a baby on the way (that little tidbit being one of the things they wouldn't tell them), the family needs to save money in any way they can, having Casey and Derek share an apartment being one of them. Because he knows he can get her to loosen up and party with him and if you're just the right level of intoxicated (they would be) and just the right amount devious (he always is) then you can slur so that kill as in "God, I could just kill you" sounds like kiss ("God, I could just kiss you.") and he needs her to go to Queens. He just needs her to.)

So, Derek decides to do what he does best. Manipulate Casey.

X

It's one in the morning and it's late and he knows that Casey's in the kitchen because he heard her door open through the thin wall of his room separating hers (but even if he hadn't heard, he'd still know) and he waits a few minutes and then follows because now is time to put his plan into action.

She's sitting at the counter and there's just one light above their head and it reminds him of that night a few months ago with "same difference" (and he's not even mad about that anymore. As he pulled her away while her lips were attached to Jesse and she didn't even glance back at him, he was sure that the difference was not the same).

"What do you want, Derek?" she says when she sees him. But there's no venom, he can tell that she actually wants him to be there, which in Casey Land means she wants to tell him something.

"Just decided to spend some time with my favorite step-sis." He says (another hint it wasn't the same difference: they never did end up dropping that important "step".) "What are you doing up so late? Don't you have to get your eight hours so that you can arise bright and early at seven in the morning?"

"I'm not doing anything, Derek." She says tiredly. "Just… thinking."

"About your decision?" She nods. "Have you decided?" She nods again. "Let's hear it, then."

She pauses. He knows her, and knows she's going for the dramatic effect but honestly he wants her to just spit it out already and then she does.

"I've decided to go to New York."

He curses inwardly. Yes, he's prepared, but it'd be even easier if he didn't have to be. Jesus, Casey, why couldn't she just go along with the script in his head titled 'wishful thinking'? (He has some nice blocking written in there, displaying beautiful direction on his part, involving removal of clothes and meeting of lips. Don't worry; despite being a director, he'd be willing to take some of her ideas into consideration as well.)

He nods, says "Cool." And waits…

"That's it?" She questions incredulously. Bingo. He's said it before but it's worth repeating, he knows her too well. (Read: better than anyone else)

"What do you mean?" He asks, a look displaying the perfect amount of innocence & indifference. They call him 'lord of the lies' for a reason.

"Just… aren't you going to say that I've exceeded your expectations? I mean I'm… I'm turning my back on school. Aren't you going to say you never expected it from a keener like me? That you're… you're proud of me for living dangerously?" Her voice goes shrill at the end of her tirade and he has to resist the urge to cackle evilly. She is playing right into his plans.

"I mean… I could say I'm surprised, but I'm really not. I've always known you liked to play safe, Case."

She looks at him like he's an idiot and you're probably thinking the same thing, but don't worry, he knows where he's going with this. He usually flies by the seat of his pants (yes, he got that phrase from her, if it wasn't obvious), but as far as Casey's concerned, that's the one and only time he plans ahead.

"Wh-what? Derek, I'm going to perform as a dancer. In New York. What about that is possibly playing it safe?" She shrieks, and he doesn't think he'll ever get tired of getting her all riled up.

"Exactly, Case." He says, and now he's rounding the counter, invading her personal space, and he reigns in his smirk when he sees her pupils dilate at his proximity. "If you fail at this, no one will judge you. They'll be proud of you for trying, and it's not expected you'll succeed anyway. But if you fail at school, the one area of your life that you've always been perfect at, than you'll really have screwed up. You're scared of that, so you'd rather fail at something hard than something you've always deemed as easy."

She pouts and puts her head down, and yeah he's manipulating her, but there's nothing that he just said that isn't true. She thinks she'll fail either way, so she's picking the one that won't make her any less 'perfect' and it's crazy but it's Casey and he understands. He always understands her.

But suddenly her head's back up and she's smirking at him, and she has a lot of expressions that manage to make him breathless, but when did she add this to her arsenal? And it's clear that he miscalculated because yeah, he knows her, but he forgot she knows him just as well.

"I know what you're doing, Derek." She says with that smirk still set on her lips. She's advancing towards him, and when did he lose the upper hand in this situation? "If you want me to go to Queens, just say so."

There's a poignant pause in which he plans his next move. Finally, he licks his lips (her eyes trace the movement) and clears his throat. "I don't want you at Queens, Casey." (but, maybe he can't lie as well as he thought because the look across her face isn't hurt, just one of disbelief) "But, uh… I don't not want you there."

She grins, nods, and leaves the kitchen.

He knows he'll have to do more someday. (He's sure that "I don't not love you" would not go over very well with her.) But, the fact that that's enough for now, probably says something about where her heart really was in the first place.

a/n: Did you enjoy it? I would REALLY appreciate a review. Not just because I adore reviews, (even though I do) but because I really would like to know if anyone is still actually reading. Because I have a few more dasey fics rolling around in my head but i'm not sure if i'll post if i'm the only one who'll ever see it. So, please review, if it's not too much trouble. Oh, and if you're a dasey reader, go ahead and become a dasey writer, please? Because, I'm pretty sure i've read every good dasey fic out there.