Author's Note: In honor of the return of LWD, I wrote this little piece. LWD was what really got me writing FanFiction. I owe that show quite a bit. Thanks to LWD, I've been on FF for six years now and have written almost 250 stories. I decided my 250th story should be the fandom that really kicked off my passion for writing FF. So here's to you, LWD!

A Lovely Shade of Blue

I hadn't seen her since we graduated. Dad and Nora threw us a huge party and before I knew it, she was packing her bags to go to some ballet school in New York. For years I had wanted her out of my house. I had dreams about it being my domain once again. But once she had finally moved out, things were suddenly very different. It was quiet. Her obnoxious chick music didn't fill the house, there wasn't any singing, the only fighting was from Lizzie and Edwin, and to be honest, I was bored.

I decided to stay here and take some courses at the community college. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Sam and Ralf stayed too. But Casey was gone. She called every Sunday to talk to everyone…but me. Nora asked me once while she was on the phone, "Don't you want to talk to Casey?" I had laughed and said, "Why'd I want to talk to Spacey?" No one asked me if I wanted to talk to her again.

But today was different – today she was coming home. It was Christmas break, and George and Norah had been running around the house frantically all week as if she was the queen or something. They acted like her coming home was this huge deal and Norah spent the day cooking Casey's favorite dinner and cleaning. So much cleaning. The vacuum cleaner was drowning out my music and I was starting to get annoyed. She wasn't even back yet, and already I was annoyed with her.

"Oh no!" Nora cried from down the hall. Great. More interruptions. But now I was curious. I cracked my bedroom door a jar to see her kneeling down in front of Marti who had just hurled chunks. Wonderful.

"Don't tell me," I knelt down next to Norah, "You ate ice cream."

"I couldn't help it," she pouted, "I love ice cream."

"Smartie…" I wanted to be mad at her – I really did. Ever since she had been proclaimed lactose intolerant, she knew better than to eat dairy. But the way her bottom lip jutted out…I couldn't be mad at her.

"Casey's plane lands in an hour," Nora sighed, pushing some of Marti's bangs back, "What am I going to do?"

"Dad can get her," I suggested, "Or you can."

"You trust your father to stay here and clean up vomit and make her some peppermint tea?" Nora raised an eyebrow. She did have a point.

"Alright, then he can go and get Casey. Problem solved."

"He called earlier to tell me he's stuck at the office. He can't get away in time to pick her up. Derek, I know this is a lot to ask of you, but can you…"

"Oh no," I held up my hands in surrender and backed away, "No, no, no, no. I am not picking Space Case up from the airport."

"Derek," Nora put her hands on her hips, and I could tell she was not in the mood, "Someone has to get Casey from the airport. Fine, you know what – you pick Casey up from the airport and I'll give you the cash in my purse."

"Really?" Now that got my attention. Maybe this wasn't going to be such a bad gig after all…

"Yes. You go and pick her up, and I will give you the money in my purse. Please Derek, someone needs to be here with Marti."

"All the money in your purse?"

"It's yours."

"Alright. I'll go get her."

Nora thanked me and I headed downstairs. I shrugged on my leather jacket and grabbed the keys to the Prince. Just my luck – I'd have to go get Spacey from the airport. Awesome. At least I was getting money out of this…but still…

I started the car and turned on the radio. As I jammed out to You Me at Six, I tried not to think about the last time I had seen Casey. She had come into my room to tell me goodbye.

"Derek?"

"What do you want?"

"My flight is early tomorrow morning. I doubt you'll be awake so I came to tell you goodbye."

"Oh."

"Yeah. Everything is all packed and ready to go. I must say…I will miss this house. There are definitely a lot of great memories here."

"Mmhmm," I rolled my eyes, not glancing up from the magazine I was looking at.

"Well…what are you going to do?"

"About?"

"Well…without me to torture, how are you going to entertain yourself? I mean…you won't have anyone to put honey in their shampoo and glue in their shoes. Oh, and what about that time you put glue in my toothpaste?"

"Good times," she had won. She got a chuckle out of me, and I put down the magazine, "I guess I'll just have to find something else to entertain myself. I am pretty sure Lizzie could kick my ass if I ever tried any of that with her."

"Oh yes," Casey laughed, and then she did something that surprised me – she sat down on the edge of my bed.

"What…what are you doing?" I demanded, scooting my legs away from her.

"Derek, I can't believe I am actually going to say this to you…"

"Are you finally going to admit that you're an escaped mental patient who has been hiding out in my house all these years? If so, let me grab the video camera – I need to record this."

"No, Derek," she laughed again, "But I feel like a mental patient for saying this…Derek…I am…I am going to miss you."

Whoa. Where did that come from? Did Space Case really just admit to me that she was going to miss me? Why would she possibly miss me? I made her life miserable here. She couldn't wait to leave – she had been saying so ever since she got accepted into that uppity school…

"Uh…why?"

"Well," was she blushing? "I just…as much as we fight…we have fun. It'll be very boring away from you."

I grunted, not really knowing what else to say, "I guess so."

"Well…I guess I should go to bed. It's an early morning for me tomorrow."

"Yeah," I nodded, "Well…I'll see you later."

"Yeah."

I stood up and walked her to my door – not really knowing why.

"Bye, Derek," she turned and gave me a little wave.

"Bye, Spacy," I decided to give her a genuine smile. It was rare, but it was possible for me to smile at her. She returned the smile and blushed when she realized we were standing there for a bit longer than necessary.

"Well…I should go."

"Good night. Get some uh…good rest before your flight," my hand flew to the nape of my neck. Was this really it? Was this really the last time I would see her before Christmas?

"Good night," she turned to leave and then stopped herself, "Derek…wait."

She turned around and stood up on her tiptoes and brushed her lips against mine. It only lasted a second before she bit her lower lip, smiled, and scurried to her bedroom. I stayed up all night thinking about that kiss. What the hell was Casey thinking – kissing me like that before she left for months? I mean honestly, who does something like that? I finally did fall asleep I guess because when I woke up and wandered out into the living room, I realized she was gone.

Damn Casey! How could she just do something like that to me and then just leave like that? And now here I was, stuck driving to go pick her up from the airport. Fantastic. What would I even say to her? Great, now my head was going crazy with all these thoughts. This was the last thing I needed. She wasn't even back yet, and here she was, driving me insane.

I parked the Prince in the parking garage and walked across the SkyBridge to go pick her up by security. I shoved my hands into my jacket pockets, and tried to think of what I was going to possibly say to her. Should I confront her about the kiss, or just ignore it and pretend it never happened? Hell, she's probably moved on and is dating some artsy type from New York.

What was taking so long? Wasn't her plane supposed to land already? Good grief – she probably got distracted by something sparkly in the gift shop or something. Just wonderful. Come on, Spacy. I don't have all day.

As I was muttering to myself (in my head – don't worry, the last thing I want is to be hauled off to the loony bin) I looked up and saw her walking towards where I was standing. She was glancing around probably looking for her mom or George. She wasn't expecting me.

When I saw her, it took me a minute to recognize her. She seemed taller, but maybe it was just the way she was carrying herself. She looked thin, but the dancer sort of thin – muscular. I winced, not believing I was standing there thinking about Casey's physique. Get it together, Venturi.

"Derek?"

I had been spotted. I eased myself up off the cinderblock wall I had been leaning on and gave her one of my classic smirks, "Hey there, Space Case."

"Hey," her smile…God that woman's smile! "Where are George and Mom?"

"Marti threw up and Dad is stuck at the office," I explained, "So lucky me – I get to pick you up from the airport. I don't have all night, Spacy. Let's go to baggage and get this show on the road."

She nodded and followed me to baggage. It was awkward quiet, so I decided to ask her about her flight, "So…did you have a good flight?"

"Yeah, I did. The weather wasn't as bad as I was expecting. It's snowing like crazy in New York right now."

"You like it there?"

"Oh yes. New York City is unlike any other place in the whole world. I can't describe it. Something about it is just so…magical."

And here we go with the Space Case talk. I tried not to roll my eyes as she continued –

"The lights and the people…it's just so wonderful. I brought back a ton of pictures to show everyone. How is everyone?"

"Good, good. Marti is sick tonight, but it should pass soon. Edwin got his first girlfriend a few months ago."

"Yeah, Lizzie mentioned something about a Marie to me once."

"Lizzie didn't take it very well," I explained, "She got like all angry. It was the weirdest thing. Like…she locked herself in her room and refused to speak to Edwin for two weeks."

"Wow."

"He and Marie broke up but Lizzie has still been kind of…weird around him."

Casey nodded like she understood perfectly. Huh...

"And Nicky?"

"Growing every day. He's crawling all over the place now."

"I can't wait to see him."

"Yeah, he's a stinker," I smiled, thinking of the little brother I was actually starting not to mind too terribly much. Sure, when he cried I wanted to duct tape his face, but other times he could be rather…endearing. There was something about him. He looked like Ed as a baby, but he had those blue eyes that Lizzie did that could set the world on fire if they wanted to. Yup, kid was definitely working his way into my heart.

"Are Mom and George doing well?" She asked as we waited for the luggage carousel to start up.

"Yup – a little too well. They are like all over each other."

Casey smiled, "Good for them. What about…what about you?" She blinked several times and said, "Are you doing well?"

"Oh…uh yeah. I'm fine. I made all Bs this semester."

"Derek, that's great!"

"It's no big deal," I shrugged, even though hearing her say that was pretty amazing. School didn't come easily to me as it did for her. I had to struggle for my grades, and sometimes I felt that it just simply wasn't worth it. But this semester had been different. This semester, I had actually tried.

"Derek, it's a huge deal! I am so proud of you! What courses are you taking?"

"Just the basics – College Algebra, political science and composition. I didn't want to take too many classes…"

"No, no that's good. Some people work better with fewer classes. They can do super well in the few classes they're taking as opposed to taking a lot and spreading themselves too thin. I'm proud of you Derek, I really am."

I don't know why, but for some reason her words really stuck with me. Casey was actually proud of me. It felt…pretty indescribable so I won't even try.

"How are your classes?" I decided to ask her. The luggage was taking forever, and to be honest, I was curious. I didn't know too much about this whole dance school thing.

"Good. I am taking a history of ballet course which is rather interesting. I also am taking a classical ballet course, a jazz course, a stretching course, and…"

"A stretching course? Seriously, Case?"

"It's like yoga," she explained, "And then of course I have to take a music class. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it. Every year there is a showcase and some of the top talent agents and casting directors for Broadway come out to it. I could catch my big break with this, Derek."

"I still can't believe you're not doing something like law…"

"Ew," Casey made a face, "You know dancing has been a huge passion of mine. I thought about majoring in English and business, but I couldn't just turn my back on my passion. The school is one of the most revered in the US. Sometimes the typical college route isn't for everyone."

"I never thought I'd hear you of all people say that," I smirked. Case always was the studious one, but her dance classes didn't sound as easy as I had thought. She was actually working hard and doing something she loved. Maybe I was a little proud of her too.

Finally a siren went off, and the baggage carousel began to spin. It was about time. I was tired and ready to get home. Also, I had to make a stop on the way.

"There's my bag," Casey pointed to a big, pink thing. I rolled my eyes and grabbed it for.

"You don't have to carry it," she pursed her lips and titled her head to the side. I was confusing her. What was I doing? I don't carry bags for anyone – much less Space Case.

"Uh…just don't say I never do anything nice for you," I rolled my eyes and headed towards the parking garage, Casey following at my heel.

"I can't wait to see everyone again. I miss you guys so much."

"Lizie has been kind of a mess since you left."

"I talk to her sometimes on Skype. She died her hair black?"

"Yeah," I winced – it was not a good look, "I think she'd going through a lot. I mean I try, but I'm not you Casey. She needs her sister."

"Thank you for trying though. That means a lot."

"She's my sister too," I said, tossing her bag into the trunk.

"Never thought I'd miss this thing," Casey smiled, running her hands along the puke-colored car, "Good ol' Prince."

"Can we make a stop on the way?" I asked, sliding into my seat, "I want to pick something up for Marti."

"Of course. I am sorry she's lactose intolerant. That must be so hard – especially on a little kid."

"She knows better than to eat diary, but she still had ice cream. That girl is going to drive me into an early grave – I swear. What…why are you looking at me like that?"

She laughed, "Oh, nothing."

We drove in silence to the Wall-Mart. I told her to sit tight and went inside to find something for Marti. She was older now, but she still loved stuffed animals. I settled on a pink hippo, purchased it, and headed back out to the car. I could hear something familiar as I neared the car and realized it was my old D-Rock CD. Where did she find that?

"Remember this?" She laughed, turning up the volume, "You said it was over, and it was not over nananananana…"

I rolled my eyes, tossed the hippo in the backseat and backed out of the parking space, "Where in the world did you find that?"

"Under one of the seats. How are Sam and Ralf?"

"Good. Uh…we got some classes together, but D-Rock kind of bit the dust."

"Too bad," Casey smiled sweetly, turning down the CD.

We were quiet the rest of the way to the house. I tried to pass off the feelings in my stomach as indigestion. She was driving me crazy. She hadn't even been back for an hour yet, and already she was driving me crazy.

When we got to the house, I handed her her bag, "I don't want anyone to think I'm suddenly nice to you or something," I mumbled.

"Understandable," she took her bag and made her way up the porch steps. She didn't even get a chance to ring the doorbell before Nora opened the door and grabbed her into a huge hug.

"Casey! Oh I've missed you! Look at you! As beautiful as ever! Oh my goodness! It's so good to see you!"

"Nora, don't suffocate her," I rolled my eyes, "Where's Smarti? I have something for her."

"She's resting now, but I am sure she'd like for you to go in and say hi."

"Casey!" Edwin ran down the stairs, taking two at a time. He rushed over to her and hugged her, "Good to see you! How are you? Listen, are you interested in making some fast cash?"

"Ed, no one is interested in your toilet paper investment," I rolled my eyes, "She just got in anyways and probably does not want to hear this right now."

"We can talk about it over dinner," Casey winked at him and I couldn't believe it. Everyone seemed enthralled with her being back home. It was just Space Case…

"Casey?"

Casey turned around and Lizzie was standing at the top of the steps. She had her hair black hair in its usual choppy style, and I don't think I'd ever get used to the metal thing jutting out just below her lip.

"Lizzie?" Casey went to the bottom of the steps and looked up at her, "How are you?"

"I missed you," Lizzie said, and I thought for a moment I could see something that resembled a tear in her eye. Was she really having that difficult of a time without Casey being here? I had tried…I really did. But I wasn't the best to go to for advice. It was bad enough I had to go to the Walgreens and get tampons once. Nope, I was definitely no good with the whole girl problem thing. Hormones – yeesh.

"I missed you too," Casey held open her arms and Lizzie ran down to hug her.

After some small talk, Nora had us all go to the table for dinner that she had made. Everyone was asking Casey a bunch of questions all during dinner. Eventually, I just tuned them out. I wasn't really interesting in hearing all of this – I was more interested in the elephant in the room: the fact that she had kissed me right before leaving.

I mean honestly, who does something like that?

"Oh, Derek - I almost forgot," Nora gabbed her purse off the kitchen counter and handed it to me, "All the cash in there is yours."

"Thanks!" I opened the purse and grabbed her wallet. I was going to be rich. Maybe getting Casey wasn't such a bad thing after all. I opened the wallet to find only two dollars inside.

"Nora, I thought you said..."

"I didn't tell you how much was in my purse, I just promised you all that was. Take it or leave it."

Hey, two dollars was two dollars. I rolled my eyes and pocketed the money.

After dinner, I went to check on Smarti and Casey went to her room to get ready for bed. I knew I needed to talk to her about that kiss, but I just didn't know how to. It'd have to wait until everyone else had gone to bed, I knew that much.

I paced around my room trying to gather my thoughts until about midnight. Then I made my way down the hall to Casey's room. I raised my hand to knock on the door, but decided against it. I didn't want her thinking that somehow everything would be different after she left. Instead, I just burst in.

"Derek," she closed the book she had been reading and glanced up at me, "Knock much?"

"For you? Never," I smirked, "You and me need to have a little chat, Spacey."

"Is that so?" She raised an eyebrow.

"Mmhmm," I folded my arms across my chest and scowled down at her, "Case, you can't just…you can't just kiss me the night before you leave and then take off for four months!"

"Derek…I don't know what to say," her eyes were flashing back and forth and I could practically hear the cogs turning in her head, "Derek…I know my timing might not have been the best…but it was something I just felt that I needed to."

"Needed to do?"

"Derek, we've lived together for four years. We've had this…this tension between us for too long. I just…I felt like it was something that I had to do. I had been wanting to do it for quite awhile, but was worried that if I didn't just do it then, then I'd miss my chance completely."

"What do you mean you wanted to do it for awhile?"

"Well…I just have always sort of felt this weird…tension between us. Maybe it's attraction of some weird sort, or maybe it's because you've finally driven me to the point of insanity – but I just felt that I needed to…before it was too late."

My brain couldn't quite process what she was saying, and I ran a hand through my hair, "What are you trying to say, Case?"

"I am saying," she sighed, exasperatedly, "That I've liked you for a long time, Derek."

"Whoa."

"Yeah," she winced, "I just…I didn't know what else to do."

"Uh…maybe tell me?"

"I didn't know how," she blushed, "I just…I don't know. It was a mistake. I shouldn't have…"

"Why did you say it was a mistake?"

"Well…because look at us. We're fighting about it."

"Case, we always fight. If you told me, 'Derek, breathe,' I'd probably hold my breath and fight with you over how I shouldn't breathe. It's what we do, Case."

"I just don't want things to be weird between us."

"Things have always been weird between us," I reminded her, sitting down at the edge of her bed, "So…you like me, huh?"

She nodded, "Please say something."

"Something."

"Derek!"

"Fine," I chuckled, deciding maybe – just maybe – I should tell her the truth too, "I kind of like you too."

"Really?"

"Yeah, Spacey. I've liked you for awhile now, to be honest."

"I am sorry I didn't tell you sooner."

"Me too," I sighed, "it would have saved us a whole lot of trouble." We didn't say anything for awhile, and I leaned forward and caught her lips in mine. We shared a kiss, and when we pulled away, I noticed something. "Your eyes are blue."

"You didn't notice before?" Her brow furrowed.

"No…I didn't. They're…beautiful."

"Thank you, Derek."

"I'm sorry I didn't notice before."

"You notice now," she smiled this soft smile, "And that's what matters, right?"

"I've missed you, Case."

"I've missed you too, Derek. A lot."

She stayed in my room the rest of the night. She ended up falling asleep in my arms, and the whole time I could only think about how much I had missed out on. I didn't even know her eyes were blue. I knew Lizzie's were, and I knew Nicky's were, but Casey's? I hadn't even paid attention. But I did now, and I knew from that point on, I would be paying attention to her a lot more.

"You're still obnoxious though," I whispered to her, kissing her temple before closing my eyes and falling asleep with her right there in my arms.

Author's Note: Cheesy as nachos, but I wanted to pay homage to LWD for my 250th. Hope you enjoyed it!