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For Nosebleeds! Nothing else!

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Derek Venturi was lucky. He was a starter on his high school hockey team, on track to be team captain by his 11th year. He was taller than average. Strong and athletic. Popular with the ladies. And probably most importantly, stealth. With his mom being a science minded doctoral candidate and his dad a well educated lawyer his childhood was pretty easy, minus the divorce.. and fights… and bullies… but Derek was lucky.

When Derek was 5 years old he told his mother and father in no uncertain terms that he was a boy and they would have to deal. Of course, “just dealing” didn't happen. But George and Abby, his amazing and educated parents quickly signed the kid up for therapy to try and make sure that he was right.

Derek Venturi was lucky. He got a therapist who confirmed he was who he said he was and parents who did everything they could to make sure that he was allowed to be his truest self. Of course he started Kindergarten as “Delilah Venturi” and it wasn’t until the second grade that he had been allowed to change his name through the school to “Derek”. He got the name from a few Hockey stars he heard talked about on the news.

Derek Venturi was lucky. He had amazing parents and an amazing medical team that he didn’t understand yet. Derek Venturi was 7 years old when he was asked by a classmate “why do you dress like a boy?”

Derek was confused. “I am a boy.”

“My mom says you’re just a confused little girl.” The classmate went on. The teacher did not step in.

“I’m a boy.” Derek stated more firmly, his small fist clenched to his side.

“Yeah? Then why did the teacher call you “Delilah last year! You’re just a stupid icky girl!” The other second grader continued to taunt. “Delilah is a girl pretending to be a boy! She’s so stupid!”

“My name is Derek!” Derek yelled as he lunged at the other student. He pulled his arm back to swing a punch, “and I’m a boy!” Derek hit his classmate. He was suspended for one week.

He never went back to that school.

George and Abby decided it would be best to transfer schools and start fresh, where no one would know who Derek used to be known as.

Derek excitedly agreed.

Derek’s new school had an awesome Hockey program anyway. He wouldn’t be able to play yet. That was only for 5th graders and up. But he was more than ready.

“They’re awesome aren’t they?” A blonde kid about Derek’s age stood next to Derek as they looked at the rink to see the high school team practice. “I’m Sam, and you are?” The kid asked.

“I’m Derek.” He smiled in return.

“Are you starting at our school Monday? I heard we were getting a new student and I’ve never seen you before.” Sam asked.

“Yeah.” Derek answered.

“Do you know who your teacher is going to be?”

“Mrs. Wilson.”

“Oh that’s my teacher too! Awesome! She’s super nice! Well I can’t wait for new friends! See ya man!” Sam exclaimed as he trotted to meet his mom to leave.

Derek smiled ear to ear. He wasn’t even questioned. It felt amazing to have his classmates know who he is from the start.

And so Derek started his new school. Sam quickly became his best friend. Time passed.

At 10 years old, he gained a new little sister to his family of Mom, Dad, and brother. Marti. Derek suggested they name her something more gender neutral in case she’s like him. His parents smiled in agreement.

At 12 years old, his parents got a divorce. He blamed himself. He thought his existence caused it. Derek was sent into a deep depression and refused to do anything besides eat, sleep, and play hockey. George, while worried about him, was preoccupied with his own pain and taking care of the younger of the two children. He barely noticed the secrets Derek began keeping.

Derek and his therapists and doctors had been discussing hormones and options before the divorce, they had decided that he would need to wait until he was 14 to start T. Derek wasn’t too upset with that. He knew that meant he would probably have to deal with some “female” puberty stuff but if he could hide it he’d be fine.

Derek could totally deal with this.

When Derek was 15 years old, his dad married a woman named Nora McDonald. His family now included his dad, a brother, his baby sister, and his new step mom, and step sisters.

Great. He had begged his dad to not tell Nora or her daughters about who “he used to be”. George agreed, but told him that because they’d be living here that they may end up finding out and it would probably be better that he told them himself.

Derek Venturi was lucky. He was safely stealth. He was a ladies man. He was the king of the school. He was Derek.

He also was a trans man who sometimes got periods. He started getting them at 13, one year before starting T. He was able to deal with it. The one time Sam found he had tampons in his bag he was able to explain it away. Hockey is a dangerous game. Nothing stops a nosebleed like a tampon. His dad told him about it. Etc. etc.

He was always prepared. Until he started T. He stopped getting his period. Mostly.

Three months after moving into the Venturi house, after fighting over bedrooms and throwing the worst party ever, Casey and Derek had settled into a begrudgingly tolerant relationship. Derek couldn’t help but think that Casey was the most attractive person he’d ever seen. And he could never handle himself well on his days after T-shots. He would get angry and push her away.

One day he was angry and didn’t understand why, his next T-shot wasn’t until next week. And yet he was snapping at Casey more than usual. And fuck his stomach hurt. He couldn’t understand why. Maybe he was just tired. School had been extremely rough that day. And he had hockey practice early that morning. Maybe his abs just hurt from all the laps.

“Yo! Der! Did you sit in ketchup?” Sam called to him.

“What?” Derek replied.

“There’s Ketchup all over your jeans bro.”

Fuck. Fuck.

Derek started chuckling “damn. Must have been my Keener step sister trying to prank me back. Probably paint. I’m going to go have a word with her.” Derek laughed it off and hurried to his locked where he grabbed his sweats he wore to practice that morning and to see if he had any supplies.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Casey. She’s got to have some.

Fuck. This meant he’d have to come out to her. He couldn’t go to the nurse and risk being caught.

He could try and break into her locker. Yes! That’d work then if he got caught he could say he was pranking her. Derek made his way to Casey’s locker. She was standing right in front of it. Derek Venturi is not lucky.

“Casey. Walk with me.” He said as he pulled her away from her conversation with Emily into an empty hallway. “I need a pad.” Derek hushedly spoke.

“What?” Casey asked confused.

“A pad. Or a tampon preferably. Do you have one?”

“Why?” Casey raised an eyebrow, suspicious of Derek’s odd request.

“Look at my pants.”

Casey listened. And her eyes widened at the realization. She was still so confused.

“What? I thought you were…” she trailed off.

“I am a guy. I’m just a guy… dealing with shit. I promise I’ll explain when we get home. Just please get me some supplies.”

Casey nodded and went to her locker and got the requested supplies. “Here. And a tide pen and bag for your pants.”

“Thank you Casey!” Derek exclaimed and kissed her on the cheek before running off to the nearest bathroom. Thank god for free class right after lunch.

Casey was more than ready for that conversation when they got home.

Chapter Text

Derek went straight home after school that day and stomped up to his room and flopped on the bed. Groaning into his mattress. This sucked.

Derek knew Casey would want answers to everything when she got home. And he was concerned she’d tell Emily about the weirdness at school. And the kiss on the cheek. His stomach hurt too much for this. He decided to put on some junk clothes and go get some pain medication.

Derek changed boxers and switched his pants into an old tattered pair of sweatpants so he would ruin the decent pair he had on at school. Casey was going to be home any time now. He tossed on an oversized hoodie and opened his bedroom door to see an overly perky Casey standing with her fist raised about to knock.

“Casey. I know I told you I’d explain but I need to get some Tylenol first. Move.”

“I… I actually brought some up with me.” Casey responded holding up a small pill bottle. “I wasn’t sure… but I figured you might need it.”

“Uhhh.. thanks Case.” Derek stood slack jawed.

“Can I come in?”

“Right. Yeah. I’ll be right back. Just wait here.”

Derek watched as Casey sat politely on the edge of his bed and fiddled with the blanket corner. She looked so… soft. Derek didn’t want to think about it. So he walked out of the room to the bathroom across the hall. He used the paper cups next to the sink to take the Tylenol and dealt with some other annoying shit. He didn’t notice until he was reaching for the bathroom handle that he was shaking. He suddenly found it hard to breath and his vision was distorted and fuzzy. It didn’t take long before he was sitting on the floor clutching his knees to his chest.

“Derek?” Casey called and knocked on the bathroom door. “Derek are you in there? I’ve been waiting for like 10 minutes! Come on!” The door knob jiggled but was locked. “Derek. Come on!”

Derek reached toward the door to unlock it. He didn’t want Casey to see him like this but his therapist had told him that it’s important not to isolate during panic attacks. And Casey understood panic attacks. Hell, she had like one a week.

Casey opened the door to see Derek with tears streaming down his face sitting on the floor like a scared kid.

“Der?” Casey addressed as she stopped down to sit across from him. “Are you okay?”

“Of course I’m not fucking okay! I’m a guy having a fucking panic attack like some chick.” Derek said as he wiped his face with his sleeve. “I fucking hate this. I didn’t want anyone to fucking know. And then at school… and then you’re just here. And you’re being so fucking nice… I hate it. I hate it! I don’t want to fucking deal with this! I also hate that you have no clue! You’re being so fucking nice and have no clue! Why?” Derek made eye contact with Casey setting his jaw in resolution.

“I don’t know. I have no clue what’s going on. But you clearly need someone to listen. I want to understand. Today at school, I was really confused. I don’t know why you needed a tampon…. But something told me to just do it. Then I get home and you’re clearly not okay. And I know it’s no fun to feel out of control and I guess I just want to be here for you. You’re my brother after all.” Casey put a big, seemingly forced, smile on after that last sentence.

“Step.” Derek corrected.

“Step. brother.” Casey agreed. “So do you want to sit here or go back to your room? Do you want me to stay with you? Or what? I expect answers eventually though Derek Venturi.”

“Yeah. You deserve em.” Derek stated flatly. “Let’s go back to my room. I’ll explain. Promise. But I think I need a nap first. And some chicken nuggets.”

Casey giggled. Food is always the answer to Derek’s problems.

“Chicken nuggets sound amazing!” Casey agreed.

Casey hopped up and reached down to help up
Derek, she smiled brightly at him. Her long brown hair was tied up neatly and her face was dusted pink. Derek was taller than Casey by a few inches and a lot bigger as far as muscle mass. When he stood up, he leaned over her and tried to be threatening but ended up blushing at the proximity.

“I’m going to sleep.” He stated as he left the bathroom to go to his room. He shut and locked the door before Casey could follow.

Derek woke up about half an hour later to the small of processed chicken wafting up to his room.

She really made Chicken Nuggets. Derek smiled to himself as he got up from bed, his head pounding from the panic attack earlier.

He made his way downstairs to see Casey McDonald dancing around the kitchen to some sugar coated boy band song. She grabbed an oven mitt and continued dancing as she got the nuggets out of the oven, not noticing Derek was watching.

Derek wondered where the rest of the family was before remembering that George and Nora said they were going away for the weekend and the kids went to stay with George’s parents. Casey and Derek were given permission to stay home alone because Derek had hockey and Casey had stated she had a big project due Monday and would enjoy the weekend of relative peace.

So it was just Casey and Derek. This would have been more interesting if Derek wasn’t cramping and faced with a complicated discussion up ahead. He could have planned so many pranks.

Casey was still oblivious to Derek’s presence, and he tried not to look at her ass as she danced to -was it Backstreet Boys or N’Sync?

“Ah! You scared me!” Casey yelped as she turned around with the tray of chicken nuggets. “I made nuggets. When you mentioned them earlier it made me want them too!”

“Did you make enough for you too?” Derek asked.

“These are mine Derek! But I did make extra for you.”

“Ah well as long as I get some.” Derek laughed as he grabbed a nugget from the tray and took a bite aggressively ripping it in half and regretting it because “hot! Hot!”

“Well duh! They just came out of the oven. Honestly, Derek, how did you even survive before me and my family moved in. You’re an animal.” Casey laughed as she handed him a glass of water.

“Shut up, Keener.” Derek finished his nugget and made himself a plate and sat across the island from Casey. “So.. do you want me to answer your questions now?”

“If you want to now.” Casey replied as she sat down with her own plate and poured honey over her nuggets.

“I don’t want to ever. But I will. And that's disgusting.”

“It’s delicious.” Casey snootily replied. “You’re just uncultured!” She laughed and shifted uncomfortably. “So. Why did you need period stuff today? And what was on your pants?”

“You didn’t recognize period blood? Geeze Case.. I knew you were oblivious but I figured someone who dealt with the devil’s waterfall would know what was going on.” Derek laughed but then fell serious. “I’m trans. I was born as a girl. But it was just wrong. I’m a guy. I’ve always been a guy. I am always going to be a guy. I’ve been socially transitioned since I was 7. I started testosterone when I was 14. I started getting periods at 13. I haven’t had one in like 6months. I thought they’d stopped. But I was wrong.”

Casey fiddled with her chicken nuggets and honey as she processed the information.

“So, you’re a guy. But you’ve got the biology of a girl?” Casey pondered.

“Does anyone in school know?”

“No. I transferred in 2nd grade. No one knows the old me here. I am 100% stealth. Which means you are the first person other than my mom and dad and siblings to know. And Edwin and Marti don’t know much. You probably know more than them now.”

“Okay. I’m glad I didn’t talk to Emily about what happened at school. When she asked what was going on… I don’t know why but I just told her that you were trying to get answers from the latest math homework.” Casey smiled softly, happy in the knowledge she didn’t ruin his secret.

Derek sighed in relief.

“Thank god. I actually was worried about that. But I’m better than you at math, so that was a horrible lie as usual.”

“Shut up.” Casey huffed. “So why didn’t you want me and my family to know? Does my mom know?”

“I guess I didn’t want you all to know about it. I wanted to just be Lizzie’s new brother and Nora’s step son. I didn’t want to risk being seen as anything but a guy.”

“What about me?” Casey asked at her exclusion.

“I… I didn’t want you to have blackmail material.” Derek covered.

“I see.” Casey paused. “Does this make me gay? Or bi?” She whispered under her breath trying.

“I’m a guy.” Derek responded a bit annoyed. “I’m just as much a guy as Sam or Ralph.”

“Wait. Why would you even say that?” Derek questioned.

“What are you talking about?” Casey defended.

“You asked if it made you gay or bi? Why would me being trans have shit all to do with that?”

Realizing what had happened Casey face turned beat red and she tried to back track.

“I know you’re a guy. You are obviously very much a guy.” Casey said gesturing to his body. “I don’t know why I said anything. My brain is just playing catch-up.”

“Casey McDonald, are you attracted to me?” Derek asked, putting on a sly smile.

“What?” Casey feigned innocence.

“It’s okay if you are. I’m very attractive.” Derek jeered. “I won’t tell anyone. Scouts honor.” Derek held one hand in a Boy Scout style salute with a chicken nugget between his index finger and thumb and the other on his chest.

“You don’t have any honor Derek!” Casey was almost a purple shade of red. Derek dropped his arms and leaned down against the kitchen island.

“Don’t tell anyone about this?” Derek’s tone dropped from the jesting nature to a more somber mood. “Promise me?”

“I promise. And you can’t either.” Casey looked steadfast into his brown eyes.

“Deal.” Derek smirked and winked at Casey before quickly finishing his chicken nuggets and heading back upstairs and leaving Casey to do the dishes.

A whole weekend ahead. Alone in the house with Casey. Who is accepting of who he is… and who he just found out likes him back. Derek laid in bed, his arms folded behind his head and stared at the ceiling, his face split into a shit eating grin before falling to sleep.

Chapter Text

Derek Venturi could sleep through a tornado, usually, but that Friday night he woke up quickly to the sound of crying from the room next to his. He got up quickly and gently knocked on Casey’s door. No answer, he quickly opened the unlocked door and saw Casey McDonald tossing and turning in her bed. A nightmare.

“Casey!” Derek spoke to try and wake her from her dream. She didn’t seem to notice.

“Der… get away from… der..” Casey mumbled in her sleep.

“Casey! Wake up! You’re having a nightmare.” Derek crossed the room to her bedside. He noticed her laptop open to a news article about hate crimes toward transgender people. He felt his heart melt. He knew the stats, he knew the struggles. He knew that he was lucky. He was a trans guy, the girls had it worse, and he was successfully stealth in his daily life. But Casey… this is a new world to her.

“No!” Casey screamed out in her sleep. “Get away from him! He’s Derek! Leave him alone!”

Derek felt tears welling up in his eyes, Casey defending him in her dream world.

“Casey!” Derek called again shaking her awake. “Wake up!!”

Casey stilled and slowly opened her eyes.

“Derek?” She spoke softly. “Derek!” She called happily and reached around to hug him.

“Hey now!” Derek yelped pulling Casey off of him, but holding on to her hands. “You were having a nightmare and it woke me up. I just came to get you to shut up.” Derek softly turned a choked up cough into a chuckle.

“I’m sorry.” Casey responded by hanging her head in a bit of shame. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Ah it’s fine. Are you okay? Do you want to talk about it?” Derek offered awkwardly.

“Can we?”

“Yeah.” Derek sat on the edge of Casey’s bed as she sat up, pulling the covers up to her chin.

“They were hurting you.” Casey whispered. “I was looking up what I can do to help you and how to be a good ally and I saw all these stories of people getting hurt and hurting themselves. And I guess it got to me in my sleep. I’m sorry, I mean I’m sure you already know all of this. It’s just all new to me and I guess I didn’t do well at the thought of you getting hurt.” Casey rambled.

“No one is going to hurt me Case.” Derek stated calmly. “Sam and Ralph may not know, but one of Sam’s sisters is gay, and Ralph loves everyone. So if I can’t beat them up you know I have backup.” He laughed at himself. “Besides. I could take anyone. I mean look at these muscles!” Derek flexed grinning at her.

Casey giggled. “Promise me? No one will hurt you? Not even...not even you?” Her voice dropping to a near whisper. “In my dream,” she lifted her head to look Derek in the eyes, “it was you trying to hurt you. It was like you were two people. And one you was trying to get the other you.” Casey’s eyes teared up and she quickly looked down. Derek felt his own eyes stinging and instinctively pulled Casey to him in a hug.

“Casey. I promise. I will not do that. I’m happy with myself. I am. I won’t do that Casey. I promise.” Derek was filled with strange emotions. He was so happy that Casey cared so much, he was sad and angry she had to think all those things, annoyed that she thought he would, and exhausted from it being the middle of the night.

“Derek?” Casey spoke from her place in Derek’s right embrace.

“Yeah Case?”

“Can… you stay here tonight? Please? So I know you're safe.”

“Sure, Case. Scooch over.” Derek laid next to Casey in her bed and held her protectively. This isn’t how brothers act with sisters, he thought, but maybe this is okay. It certainly felt okay. They drifted off to sleep, Casey softly snoring in his arms. He softly kissed the top of her head. “I will never hurt myself, again.” Derek whispered barely audible to himself, and fell softly to sleep.

***

“Derek. Wake up.” Casey nudged him.

“What?” He grumbled with his face in a frilly purple pillow.

“Do you want chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast?” Casey chirped. Always the morning bird.

“You making them?” Derek asked.

“Of course! You always burn them!”

“I don’t not!” Derek defended, lifting his head to make eye contact. “But if you’re making them then I can sleep for a few more minutes. Goodnight Case.” Derek flopped his head back down and started loading snoring.

A few minutes later the smell of chocolate chip pancakes... and was that…. bacon? filled the house. Derek got up and trudged down stairs.

“Bacon too?” Derek smiled.

“Turkey bacon!” Casey corrected.

Derek’s smile dropped and he looked aghast at Casey.

“Turkey bacon is NOT bacon. How dare you?”

“More for me then!” Casey cheered, making herself a plate and going standing at the island looking over her day planner.

“What’s the plans for today? Some nerdy project like you told the parentals?”

“Yeah. I’ve got an extra credit science project due Monday.”

“Extra credit? Meaning not required? Wow. You really are a keener.”

“Shut up, Derek! Some of us actually care about our grades! Unlike some people!”

“I care! Just not as much! I have other things to worry about. Like a social life. And hockey!” Derek jeered, happy to have some normal banter back and not the heavy conversations from the last few days. “A being attractive.” He added winking at Casey. He didn’t say he wouldn’t flirt some though.

Casey's face turned beet red as she tried to think of a retort. “Yeah? Well…some of us are just naturally attractive and it doesn’t take any effort.”

“Says the girl who spends an hour in the bathroom every morning putting on makeup to look like that!” Derek remarked.

“Ugh! Derek! I look amazing!” Casey huffed as she turned to get some juice from the fridge.

“I didn’t say you didn’t.” Derek stated as she filled her glass. The glass ended up on the ground, the juice spilling everywhere. “Return of Klutzilla! Oh what I wouldn’t give for Sam to have seen that!” Derek howled in laughter.

“DER-EK! You caused this! You can clean it up!!” Casey yelled annoyed. “I have to go change now!” She gestured at her now juice soaked shirt.

Casey left Derek to clean up the mess to go change shirts. When she came back down stairs she was wearing a thin blue tank top that made Derek have to stop and catch his breath. She grabbed her planner and waltzed confidently over to his chair.

This means war.

“Out of my chair.”

“No.”

“Get out of my chair Casey!”

“Why should I?”

“Because it’s my chair!”

“It doesn’t have your name on it?” Casey smirked and pretended to look all around for a name.

“Casey. McDonald.” Derek leaned down onto the chair with his arms on either side of Casey, his face inches from hers. “Get out of my chair.”

Casey, staring resolutely in Derek’s eyes. “Make. Me.”

Derek almost came undone. The knowledge that she found him even a little bit attractive added a new layer to their arguments.

“Fine.” He set his jaw and picked her up and spun so he was sitting in the chair and she was on top of him. He was honestly expecting her to move, but she stayed there. On his lap.

This was quickly turning into a game of attraction chicken. And he wasn’t sure who was winning.

Derek grabbed the remote and turned on Hockey. Casey, still in his lap, didn’t complain. She just sat there, eventually she found herself leaning on his chest.

Derek has had girlfriends before but he was always in a binder when they may have touched his chest and his “no pda” rule kept them from being so close in general so they never were able to notice a difference. This was the first time a girl was touching his unbound chest. Or sitting on his lap like this. He figured it’s make him dysphoric. But honestly, he didn’t mind much.

“Derek?” Casey mumbled. “How do you get your chest so flat during school. And how have I have never noticed it’s not flat at home?”

“I wear a binder. I’m also pretty flat chested anyway, thank god, so hoodies are enough to cover visually. And because I play hockey all the padding means no one notices.” Derek responded, it felt nice to be able to discuss this all with someone who wasn’t his dad, or mom, or medical professional.

“Does it bother you that I’m here? You seem fine with it but… do you want me to move?” Casey asked.

“No. I don’t mind.” Derek confessed. “Honestly. Please don’t move.”

Casey smiled and rested her head on his shoulder. Laying on him as he kicked up the recliner.

“Hey Case. I quit.”

“What?” Casey raised her head to look at Derek, confused.

“I quit the game. I know you find me attractive. I find you attractive. I know we’re supposed to be siblings or whatever…”

“Step.” Casey interrupted.

“Exactly. Step siblings. But I don’t think I’ll ever see you as a sister. Step or otherwise.”

“I feel the same. I mean. You’re loud, gross, and obnoxious… like I suppose a brother would be… but you’re also different.” Casey stated.

“Casey… also … I lied to you.”

“What?”

“I said I didn’t want you to know I’m trans because I didn’t want you to have blackmail material, and while that was sort of true, I more just wanted you to think of me as a guy. I thought you were so attractive when I first saw you… I didn’t…”

“Oh my god! Derek Venturi!” Casey pushed herself up to look down at Derek. “You liked me first!” Casey laughed at some imaginary victory.

“Yeah maybe.” Derek conceded. He flipped his head down to half hang off the edge of the chair.

“So what’s this mean?” Casey asked. Of course she did.

“I don’t know. Want to go to a party tonight?” Derek offered with a large smile.

“What time?” Casey asked, her large blue eyes staring deep into his.

“Later. We can stay like this for a while longer. If you want.” Derek assured her.

“Okay. I can’t wait to go to a party with the Derek Venturi.” Casey smiled and winked at him before settling down and sneakily grabbing the remote to change it to some fashion design show.

“Casey!” Derek groaned at the change of station but made no effort to change it back.

Chapter Text

“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.

Chapter Text

Derek woke up to a buzzing sound from his bedside table.

“Hello?” Derek whispered groggily into the cell receiver, he didn’t want to wake the girl next to him who was curled in a ball.

“Hey D! Can we come over and talk about all that’s going on?” Sam asked from the other end of the line.

“Not now. It’s too fucking early. Come over around…what time are Dad and Nora getting home..” he spoke to himself. “Around 2. I’ll be up by then. I’m going back to sleep.”

Derek hung up the phone and plopped his head down on the bed, pulling a sleeping Casey toward him. The sun may be up, but he wasn’t ready to deal with the day. Casey snuggled against him in her sleep, Derek smiled softly at her before falling back into a peaceful rest, the morning view blocking most of the memories from last night. And 5 minutes ago when Sam called. Casey’s peace gave him enough to fall back into a tender sleep.

 

“Der. Wake up.” Casey nudged him. “It’s 10am. You need a shower. You smell like sweat and beer. C’mon!” She grabbed his arm and tried to lift the dead weight. “How are you so heavy?”

“It’s the bro juice.” Derek chucked as he pulled his arm back causing Casey to fall onto him. “Can’t we stay like this forever?” He groaned.

“No. You stink!” Casey whined as she pushed herself off of him. “Besides Mom and George will be home in like an hour.”

Oh. Right. Derek had forgotten about the return of the parents. And now he has to have the talk with Nora and Lizzie. He knew it would be worse for them to learn about his identity from an outsider than from him. And with Truman… Derek shuddered at the thought.

“Fine.” Derek groaned. “Can you do me a favor, Case?”

Casey responded by looking at him with big doe eyes and turning her head slightly. She was so cute like that.

“Make me some of those chocolate chip pancakes for when I’m done?” Derek smiled up at her with a shit eating grin.

“I’m not your personal chef Derek!” Casey responded. “Now go take a shower!”

Derek begrudgingly got up to take a shower. He grabbed his boxers, some clean-ish pajama pants and decided to wear his binder because it helped with some of the anxiety he would be feeling. As Derek took his shower and let the hot water roll over him he felt his anxiety start to build. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to come out to Nora. He was Derek and was always just Derek to her. She was the best mother figure he could ask for. And Lizzie always knew Derek as her new step-brother. Not anything else. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to ruin that, but Truman had left him no choice.

Derek’s anxiety turned to anger. He was angry at Truman, angry at his body, angry that Casey was being so kind.. he was just angry. He scrubbed furiously at his skin, as if angry at it’s existence.

When he got out of the shower he was so angry he didn’t even properly dry off. He started getting dressed when he realized his mistake.

“Casey!” Derek shouted. Thankful at least to know she was there.

“Casey!” He called again.

“Derek?” Casey responses from the other side of the bathroom door.

“Casey. I need help.” Derek sighed.

“What? What’s wrong?” Casey’s voiced raised with worry.

“My goddamn fucking binder is fucking stuck!” Derek cursed as he thrashed around trying to get it to fix itself. “I need you to come and help me.”

“Are you sure?” Casey’s voice was high.

“Yes. Just. Close your eyes.”

“Okay.” Casey opened the door with her eyes screwed shut and held her arms out in front of her. “Okay what do you need me to do?”

“Okay grab..not there.. yes there! Okay! Pull that down. Yup! Okay! ...uhh.. just…” Derek tried to give instructions to the self-blinded Casey and they fumbled around trying to get the binder on. “Fuck it! Case just open your eyes.” Derek finally caved.

“Are you sure?” Casey asked.

“Yeah. It’d be better than staying like this.” Derek conceded.

Casey opened her eyes and helped Derek. When the binder was properly on they were both out of breath and their eyes met, Casey’s fingers lingered on the bottom edge of the binder top.

“Casey?” Derek whispered. “Would you hate me if I kissed you?” He asked as he leaned down until he could feed her breath tickling his lips.

Casey shook her head every so slightly and met Derek’s lips with hers.

Derek knew Casey was different from the moment they met, but he didn’t know just how amazing she was. Someone who accepted him as he was, flaws and all, who wanted the best for him even if they fought and disagreed. Casey was amazing. He truly didn’t deserve her. He kissed her passionately letting out all the anger he’s held in over the years, and especially in the last few days, into that kiss. He let Casey into his world and wants her to know that she is welcome here. He could feel Casey’s love pour through that kiss. When they pulled away, Derek held Casey close to him for just a moment longer, resting his chin on her head.

“Derek?” Casey whispered.

“Yeah Case?”

“That was a really good kiss.” Casey giggled.

“Yeah it really was.” Derek laughed.

“Do we have to tell the rents about it?”

“No, I think one bombshell will be enough for the day.” Derek said. “What’s for breakfast?” He added.

“Der-ek! Is all you ever think about food?” Casey admonished pulling back and slapping him in the arm.

“Well. Mostly, yeah.” Derek shrugged. “And of course what you’d look like in nothing but my hockey jersey..” Derek trailed off wistfully at the thought, before receiving another smack in the arm.

“Men are disgusting.” Casey rolled her eyes as she turned on her heel and left the bathroom.

Derek’s face split into the biggest smile. As he slipped on his hoodie and jogged out of the bathroom and down the stairs.

“How much longer until the rents get here?” Derek asked as he grabbed himself some breakfast, cereal since Casey refused to make pancakes again.

“About half an hour. Mom called while you were in the shower and said they’d be picking up the kids and would be here soon.” Casey answered. “Do you know how you’re going to tell them? Do you want me to stay with you? Or do you want to do it alone?”

Derek’s grip on his spoon tightened and he could feel his eyes sting as tears threaded to spill out. He set his jaw in an attempt to lock them in.

“I don’t know.” Derek responded and looked at Casey in a silent beg for an out, an escape, any reason not to do this today.

“I think you should talk to Nora and Lizzie together. And then if they have questions we’ll go from there?” Casey reached to grab Derek’s free hand that was clenched in a tight fist. She gently rubbed the back of his hand until it relaxed.

“Yeah. Okay.” Derek choked out. “And please. Stay with me.” Derek stated daggers into Casey’s eyes.

“Okay, Der.”

 

******

“We’re home!” George called as the family entered the room. Derek and Casey were sitting watching TV, Derek in his chair and Casey in the spot on the couch closest to him.

“Well everything appears to be in one piece…” Nora stated as she looked around the house. “It seems you two had a pretty calm weekend!”

Derek let out a huff of air. “Not exactly.”

“Oh?” George questioned.

“Whaddya do? Have a fight with Casey over the remote? Through a midnight rager and get hit with a hockey puck?” Edwin chided and referenced Derek’s darkened eye.

“Derek! What happened to your face?” Lizzie asked.

“Smerek! Are you okay?” Marti yelled as she ran towards her brother.

“I’m good Smarti. But I’ve gotta talk with Nora and Dad before they get mad at me.” Derek have Marti a huge hug and sent her to her playroom.

Edwin silently left, not wanting to be dragged into whatever was going down. Lizzie was about to leave as well when Casey called her over.

“Dad.” Derek looked at George and then at Casey before landing her eyes on the floor.

“What happened Derek?! Did you get into a fight again? You know you can’t keep doing this!” George scolded.

“Now Georgie, let’s hear what he has to say.” Nora spoke.

“I…” Derek tried to speak.

“We went to a party Saturday, and Truman was there and wouldn’t leave us alone. So, Derek protected me.” Casey filled in the reason for the fight.

“Derek is that true?” George demand.

“Yes sir.” Derek nodded. “There’s another thing.”

“I don’t see why I’m still here?” Lizzie questioned.

“Shhhh.. just sit here for a minute.” Casey responded patting to the seat next to her.

“Casey knows.” Derek stated looking at his dad. George nodded knowing the conversation that was about to take place. “Nora. Lizzie. There’s something….” Derek could feel the breath getting caught in his chest. “There’s something I need to tell you. Because you need to hear it from me.”

Casey reached to touch Derek’s forearm and give him reassurance.

“I’m trans.” Derek blurted out.

“What does that mean?” Lizzie asked puzzled.

“It means I was born wrong. I was born as a girl. I take medicine to let me be who I really am. All the matters is that I am a guy. And anyone who says otherwise is wrong.” Derek answered. It was easier to explain than he thought it would be.

“Oh! Okay! So nothing changes?” Lizzie asked.

“Not really.” Derek shrugged.

“Is that all? Because I need to go change my clothes.”

“Run along!” Derek laughed.

“Derek. I want you to know you’ll always be Derek. I don’t know why you didn’t tell us before, but like you said, nothing changed. You have always been and always will be Derek. My step-son.” Nora stated calmly.

George smiled as he wrapped an arm around his wife. Derek let out a breath he didn’t realize he was still holding. And Casey smiled knowing that it was okay in the house. At least that was over.

Derek knew the only obstacle left would really be telling Sam and Ralph, but he wasn’t too worried about them. He just hoped they wouldn’t be mad at him for keeping it a secret.

Chapter Text

“Hey guys.” Derek answered the front door to greet his best friends, his free hand sheepishly scratching the back of his neck. “Uh, come on in.” Derek moved to gesture Sam and Ralph into the front room.

“What’s going on with you Derek?” Sam demanded. “That party was crazy! You got into a fight with Truman, which is valid, but then you left so quickly… Truman sent out a mass text telling everyone you’re really a girl. And most people just assume he’s crazy but dude, what the hell is going on?”

“Uhm..” Derek spun his leather bracelet around his wrist and focused on breathing slowly, keeping the stinging of tears behind his eyes. “Shit.” He whispered to himself.

“Derek? Bro, you know you can tell us anything right? I know you like to be big and macho but something is clearly bothering you.” Ralph offered up to fill the silence.

Derek definitely regretted telling Casey that he would be fine to handle these two on his own. She went with Nora, Lizzie, and Marti, for a girls day at the mall…

“I’m not a girl.” Derek finally stated.

“Well no shit!” Sam laughed, “You’re obviously a guy. I’ve known you since second grade bro.”

“Yeah. But, Truman also isn’t totally wrong.” Derek’s voice barely registered in Sam and Ralph’s ears. “I was technically born a girl, and it does technically have a big F on my birth certificate.” Derek felt his chest tighten under his binder as his breath caught in his throat.

“What?”

“I’m....” Derek trailed off.

“Derek, bro, are you trans?” Ralph asked.

“Y-yeah.” Derek huffed out.

“Oh. Okay.” Sam nodded curtly.

“Bro! That’s awesome!” Ralph announced clapping his hands!

“Do you even know what trans is?” Derek asked, a little confused at his friend’s enthusiasm.

“Yeah! My cousin came out as trans like a year ago.” Ralph’s face dropped. “I haven’t seen her since then… we used to hang out all the time…” Ralph shook his head as if his head were an etch-a-sketch needed erased.

“Oh. Yeah. So, I was born as a girl, but I’m a guy. I mean, that’s why I moved to this school district, so I could be seen as who I am.”

“So…” Sam paused to wrap his mind his next statement. “You’re a guy? But with the body of a girl?”

“I mean.. I’m a guy, so my body is a guy’s body… but it’s more like what a girls body would typically look like…” Derek answered a bit shyly.

“Ah.” Sam answered.

“So, are you gay then?” Sam asked.

“No. I’m attracted to girls, and I am a guy, so I’m straight.” Derek answered. He hated Coming-Out Question Roulette.
“Oh okay.” an uncomfortable silence settled among the three guys. “Oh shit.” Sam’s hand flew to his mouth. “I’m so fucking sorry.”

“For what?” Derek raised an eyebrow.

“7th Grade.” Sam answered. “When your hair got long and I called you “Dereka” that must have been so hard for you! No wonder you looked like you were in so much pain! I’m so sorry!” Sam rambled.

“Yeah, it did suck. I got really dysphoric that year. Hell, I even shaved my head that summer, remember? But like, you didn’t know. I didn’t tell you. I was never mad at you for it.”

“I’m really sorry.”

“It’s fine.”

The silence returned.

A digital beeping sound startled the boys.

“That’s me.” Ralph said as he pulled out his cell phone. “Ugh. It’s my mom.”

“Do not tell her.” Derek glared.

“Hey mom.” “Yeah, I’m at Derek’s.” “Who said that?” “What?” “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” “Yeah, yeah, I’ll be home in an hour.” “Bye mom.” Ralph hung up the phone and slinked back into the Venturi-McDonald’s couch.

“Ralphie?” Sam coaxed.

“That was my mom. She said that I had to come with her to church tonight.” Ralph sighed. “Apparently ‘the devil is in town.’”

“What?” Derek and Sam spoke in unison.

“Apparently her church group got wind of the rumor that there is a trans kid at Thompson.” Ralph said with sincerity. “Wonder who that could be.”

“Dude?!” Derek chuckled, gesturing at himself. “Seriously.”

“Oh right! Don’t worry dude, I won’t tell her it’s you!”

“You better fucking not!” Derek confirmed.

“He won’t.” Sam reassured. “If he does, he knows what will happen.”

Ralph gulped and chuckled nervously.

“Yeah. Well I’ve gotta go. I don’t wanna make her worry or suspicious.” Ralph stated. “I love you bro.” Ralph pulled Derek into a bro hug. “Let me know if you need anything!”

“Thanks.” Derek smiled.

He was really relieved that Ralph and Sam seemed to understand and support him.

“Be safe Ralphie.” Derek bid goodbye to his buddy.

Sam and Derek sat alone in the living room for a bit longer.

“Hey. Um. Not to put you on the spot any more but, uh, do you have any resources so that I can learn more on how to like be there for you?” Sam asked.

“Uh. Not really. I mean Casey has done a shit ton of research, I’m sure she can hook you up with that. I honestly just need ya to keep things the same as much as possible to be honest.” Derek shrugged. “Hell, maybe your sister that’s studying Gender Studies at uni will have some too.”

“Oh! Good idea! Can I tell her why I want the resources? Or would you rather I keep it vague?”

“Uhm. She’s where? Nova Scotia? Tell her.” Derek answered.

“Yeah. Okay.” Sam nodded.

“Wanna play Babe Raider?” Derek asked.

“Yeah sounds good. Don’t think I’ll let you win just because you came out!” Sam teased.

“I’ll win regardless because I’m the best!” Derek laughed, happy that his friends are still his friends.

Chapter Text

Moday’s. The actual worst day of the week. Especially this week. Derek definitely considered playing hooky, after all he had valid reasons to want to avoid the school - rumors, Truman, and not to mention he was still on his godforsaken shark week - but Derek also knew that if he didn’t show up it would only be worse for him in the long run.

“Derek. You up?” Casey’s sweet and concerned voice danced in from the other side of his poster covered wall.

“Yeah.” He groaned, rubbing his face with his hands, they were growing rougher from hockey practice and testosterone. “You can come in, Case.”

Casey softly opened the door to her step-brother’s room and stood awkwardly in the frame. She was already dolled up for school. She was so good at that. Always being prepared. She was wearing a pair of jeans with a long tank top and a cropped frilly thing on top. She looked beautiful - as always to Derek.

“Wow.” he breathed out.

“What?” Casey whispered a blush floating to her cheeks.

“You look -” Derek paused as he saw Edwin walk behind Casey “- really stupid.” he covered and threw a pillow at Casey.
“Der-ek!” Casey shrieked, chucking the pillow back at Derek’s face. “You’re one to talk! Get ready for school - we’re going to be late!” She huffed, ever so dramatically, and turned to head back downstairs to get breakfast.

Derek chuckled and flopped his back against his bed before groaning and getting ready for school. He knew that by know everyone would know that he's transgender and it made it hard to not want to pick out a hoodie and sweats and slum it for the day. He knew that Casey would chew him out for not being as normal as possible so he put on his favorite outfit - a brown tee shirt with white long sleeves stitched in and dark wash jeans with a chain hanging from his hip. A simple outfit that screamed “Derek Venturi - King of Thompson High” with every stitch.

The ride to school with Casey was tense, full of nervous energy from both of them.

“Der -” Casey began and then stopped.

“What’s it, Case?”

“If someone asks… about Truman and the rumors and about you…” Casey trailed off for a second collecting her thoughts. “What should I tell them?”

“Just…” Derek took a deep breath. “Just tell them the truth, Case. You’re a terrible liar.” Derek smiled halfheartedly at her. “Just - don’t offer information. Okay?”

“Of course not!” Casey answered. “Derek… I’m scared.” She added.

“Of what Case?” Derek asked confused, she wasn’t the one with a highschool career ending situation floating around.

“Truman.” Casey stated looking down at the Prince’s floorboards. “I’m scared he’ll try to talk to me… or maybe…” She trailed off as a tear tempted to spill over her eyelid.

“Casey -” Derek spoke in a confident and assured voice, “He will not lay a hand on you or even speak to you. Hell, if he even looks your way then Sam or Ralph or I will personally make sure he never sees anything again.” Derek parked the car at Thompson High and grabbed Casey’s hand and put it softly to his lips.

“Which do you think will cause more drama ‘Thompson High Hockey Star Comes Out as Transgender’ or ‘Step Siblings To Become Next Power Couple?’” Derek smiled before adding, “Because the first one will definitely be a headline on this week’s ‘Thompson Gazette.’ How do you feel about the second one?”

Casey chuckled, “Let them battle over the front page, either way we’ll be on it!”

Casey and Derek got out of the car and Derek threw his leather jack clad arm around Casey’s shoulders before whispering in her ear “Since our life is about to go to hell.” and walked her into the school building. Casey threw her head back in laughter at the Twilight reference, she forced him to watch it the night before and it seemed apt to the situation in some odd way. Casey was glad that she could be there for Derek. Especially now.