Expectations | Dasey
Word Count: 567
Summary: Once you fall in love, you can only fall apart. Derek tries to forestall it, but maybe he’s already too late.
Notes: I have this headcanon that Derek’s failure with Casey (and really his lack of long-term relationships in general) stems from a warped view he’s developed of success/failure, and his inability to believe himself good enough for a relationship. This is a muddled first attempt at sorting through that.
Derek’s busy becoming acquainted with the intriguing clasp of the waitress’s bra when everything goes to hell.
The only sounds are the soft pants and sighs they’re emitting, the susurration of cloth on cloth as they move together, and then—
A hitching breath, choked out as soon as it starts to escape. Derek tenses and turns, and there she is, silhouetted in the dim light of the hallway, her slender curves never more alluring, the liquid edges of her hair turned golden.
Even now she is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen.
Even with her hand fisted, white-knuckled, pressed to her lips like a prayer, oh god not now not again, her eyes wide, luminous—free of tears. She shudders, just once, then goes painfully still.
"Casey," he breathes, then again, "Casey!" ripping his hands from the waitress—what was her name? he can’t remember it now, can’t recall if he ever knew it in the first place—to chase her as she flees.
He elbows his way through the bar, knocks a burly man with too many tattoos off his stool in single-minded haste, but she is lithe and slips between people easily. By the time he makes it out the door she is already off the sidewalk, holding her car keys in that same white-knuckled fist like a weapon.
"Casey." He says her name like a talisman.
"You said it wouldn’t happen again." Her voice shakes but her red-rimmed eyes are defiant. He knows the tears will spill later but she will not weep her memories away in front of him.
"Casey, please.” He steps forward but she steps back.
"I can’t do this again, Derek. I can’t trust you, I keep giving you chance after chance—"
"—and you’ve wasted me, I’ve wasted me, on waiting for you to change.”
She unlocks the doors, gets in, shuts the door, turns the car on.
He’s frozen, thinking of what he should say—I love you, it didn’t mean anything, she doesn’t mean anything, you’re the only girl for me.
The truth he’s never managed to spit out: I’m Derek Siegerson and I always will be. I drink, fight and fuck and anyone who expects differently is dreaming. You see a part of me that doesn’t exist, because I don’t do that caring bullshit. People who love teeter on a precipice where the only way down is failure and I just can’t.
And the truth about her, the part he’s barely acknowledged, secretly, in the fragile moments just before sleep. You’re the only perfect thing I’ve ever had and it’s terrifying, the bar is set so high I can’t bear to look at it, I’d rather break your heart now than break it later, because all my life I’ve only ever survived or failed and you deserve someone who will exceed all your best hopes.
She rolls the window down and leans out to look at him seriously.
"Derek—you’ll figure it out. Even after it’s too late, you will. You’ve always been able to puzzle it out in the end." She smiles then, just a quirk of the lip really, and it’s eerie on her too-pale face.
Her tires screech shrilly as she pulls out of the parking lot.
Sometime later, the sickening impact of a fist to his jaw dimly pulls him back to reality. It feels almost like a blessing.