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For Nosebleeds! Nothing else!

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“Yo Space Case! Come on!! We’re gonna be late to the party and I don’t wanna miss all the good drinks!” Derek Venturi banged on his step-sister/housemate/party date’s room.

“Hold on! I just need to finish my makeup!” Casey called from her room.

“If I end up having to drink NattyLight I will end you Casey!”

 

The door swung up to reveal Casey McDonald in a sparkly light purple, she probably called lavender, tank top with a low scoop neckline that accentuated her collar bones. Derek let his eyes wander freely to the short skirt with a light plaid pattern, down her strong dancer’s legs.

“You sure you wanna wear those heels, Klutzilla?” Derek coughed out, trying to keep his voice even.

“I guess I’ll just have to fall into the arms of a hot guy. I wonder if they’ll be any hot guys there?” Casey pretended to ponder. Her eyes accentuated by shimmery blue eyeshadow and the pouty lips covered in shiny gloss.

“Very funny, Case.” Derek rolled his eyes. “Seriously though, you look good.” He smiled and reached an arm to scratch the back of his head and subtly stretch, wearing a binder sometimes was a pain.

“You do too.” Casey blushed softly. “Are we ready?”

“Yeah! Let’s get going! We might make it before all the Bud’s are taken!” Derek cheered as they went down stairs and he put on his patented leather jacket, and helped Casey put on her’s.

“You better be kidding. We’re too young to drink!” Casey chided.

“Yeah well I guess you’ll see then! And hey, Case, lighten up and have fun! Okay?”

“Okay. I’ll try. On ONE condition,” Casey grabbed Derek's jacket collar and pulled him down to make direct eye contact.

Derek gulped waiting for the answer.

“If we get caught. By any adult. At any point even after the party. You have to take all of the blame. You will say you forced me to go. This will not affect my future, do you understand Derek Venturi?” Casey looked deathly serious and slightly threatening.

“Yes, ma’am.” Derek breathed out. Sometimes he was glad he didn’t have dick, because it would be so hard right then.

“Okay then!” Casey smiled letting go of Derek’s collar and she grabbed her purse and walked out the door. Derek stated after her for a second before quickly following.

***

“Derek!” “Yo! D-vent!” “D, what’d good!?” A cacophony of voices greeted him as he entered the host’s house. The house was filled with Thompson High royalty. Most of the sports teams seem to be represented, the cheerleaders, everyone.

Casey hid behind Derek as he said hello to all his friends.

“Hey Casey!” a voice called out. “What’re you doing here? Care for a drink?” The voice came from a tallish guy with dark hair and a long face.

“No. I’m fine thank you.” Casey answered curtly.

“Oh c’mon Case! Just one!”

“Please don’t call me that.” Casey told the boy.

“C’mon!” The guy continued to pressure Casey and she leaned into Derek. She normally would have no problem telling him to shove off, except this time it was -

“Truman!” Derek turned to face the guy, wrapping a protective arm around Casey. “What’s goin’ on?” Derek spoke confidently.

“Oh hi Derek! I was just offering a drink to your sister.” Truman answered, trying to keep the peace.

“Step.” Derek corrected harshly. “And she said no. So move along. Preferable out of the party. Leave.” Derek glared darkly at him, pulling Casey to his side.

“It’s not your party. You can’t kick me out.”

Derek stepped towards Truman and spoke lowly, so that only Truman could hear, and said, “if you so much as look at Casey again I will personally beat you until your face and ass are even more indistinguishable from each other. Get. Out.”

“Like I’d listen to the threats of some bitch.” Truman said with an edge to his voice that shook Derek to his core.

“What did you call me?” Derek demanded. The party goers were starting to congregate around the three.

“You heard me,” Truman raised his voice. “Bitch. What kind of guy needs to get a tampon from his sister in the middle of school? No wonder girls find you so attractive you’re one of them!” Truman ranted.

“DEREK!” Casey shouted after he swung his fist at Truman’s nose.

“I am a guy! You fucking close minded fucking asshole rat face slime ball! You fucking cheating rape-y ass sleeze!” Derek shouted as he continued to hit Truman, who struggled to fight back.

“Derek!” Casey shouted again. “Derek please! Get off him and let’s just go home! Please!” she continued screaming from the side of the fight.

Sam and Ralph ran to the fight to pull Derek off of Truman. Derek’s face hot and red tear tracks running down his cheeks. He started to calm down and wiped his nose with his sleeve.

“This isn’t over. Delilah!” Truman shouted as he was escorted out of the party. Derek tried to lunge at him again but was held back by Sam and Ralph. Casey put herself in front of Derek and put her hand on his shoulder.

“Derek, please.” Her voice quivered. “Please. Let’s just go home.”

Derek looked down to see Casey’s face wet with tears, dark lines running down her face from her makeup.

The party was silent. Derek pulled Casey to him tightly and sniffed his tears back, even as they were hot and stinging at the corners of his eyes.

“Yeah. Okay.” He nodded. Sam tried to stop him by grabbing his shoulder, most likely to ask questions.

“Just come over tomorrow.” Derek told Sam and Ralph. He couldn’t deal with it right now but he also couldn’t keep it a secret from them anymore. Not if Truman somehow knows. How the fuck did that bastard know?

The walk home was quiet. Derek kept Casey close to his side, but didn’t say anything until they got home.

“Are you okay?”

“I should be asking you, Derek! You’re the one that got into a fight!” Casey lectured in a shaky voice as she held a pack of frozen peas to Derek’s face, Truman got a few hits in himself.

“Don’t worry about me. I told Daniel not let Truman there. I told him, I’m so sorry you had to see him again after all that he did to you.”

“It’s fine Derek. I’m worried about you though. Truman… does Truman know? He called you ‘Delilah?’”

Derek flinched at the name.

“Don’t call me that. Don’t even say that name. It’s dead to me.” Derek looked steely at Casey.

“Okay.” Casey nodded in understanding. “What do we do?”

“Fuck Case. I don’t know.” The hot tears threatened to spill over again. “I hate this.”

Derek was sitting on a stool at the kitchen island. She was standing trying to perform first aid. She removed the peas and set them on the counter and cupped his face with her newly free hand. He leaned into the touch. All the old barriers of not getting close to avoid falling in love down, all pretences of animosity gone, it was an honest moment of connection. Her soft hands gave him all the comfort he could ask for in that moment. The pain in his eye meant nothing.

“Casey.” He whispered.

“Hmm?” Casey hummed at him as she leaned her head to rest on his.

“Thank you.”

“Derek?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m here.” Casey whispered. “No matter what happens next. Okay?”

Derek nodded softly. Casey stood straight and gave him a soft kiss on his forehead. “Thank you, by the way.”

“For what?”

“Defending me. At the beginning. I hated feeling so weak when I couldn’t tell him to back off myself. So, thanks.”

“Casey. Don’t feel bad for it. Okay? He hurt you. I know we weren’t at this level when it happened but, damn Casey. I will always fight for you. I would have even if we weren’t. Whatever we are. I just want to make absolutely sure you know that.”

“I know that.” Casey smiled. “You’re going to have a nice shiner right there.” Casey gently kissed the space below his eye. “Maybe a kiss will make it better.” She blushed.

“Yeah.” Derek blushed, as well. “Maybe. I think I’m going to bed. Goodnight, Casey.” Derek stood up and went up stairs and changed, taking off his tee shirt, binder, and jeans and throwing on a pair of basketball shorts and a hoodie. He sort of missed the feeling of Case next to him that had felt the night before. But his dad and Nora, and the kids, would be home tomorrow, and he just knew that he couldn’t keep that up. Fuck. He would have to tell Nora and Lizzie about his story. Because it would be so much worse if they heard it from the rumor mill.

He turned to his side and laid his arm out wondering if asking Casey to stay the night with him one last time would be such a terrible idea. He slept so well last night.

“Derek.” A small, sleepy, voice whispered into the dark. “Um..”

“Same.” Derek answered the unasked question as he moved his body to offer and opening for Casey to lay next to him.

Just one more night wouldn’t be such a bad thing.