Note 1: This takes place during Casey and Derek's senior year; and, is slightly AU in the sense that, although Casey and Derek still bicker constantly, they're fighting has lost some of its edge. However, considering how much they've grown in less than a year of living together, I don't think it's too much of a stretch that a quasi-friendship would develop.

Note 2: I used a few ideas from a fic from another fandom I abandoned a couple of years ago. It wasn't that great and few have probably read it, but just giving you guys a heads up if sounds familiar.

Note 3: Feedback is strongly encouraged (and appreciated ;) )

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"Morning, dumbass," Casey chirped sweetly as she sauntered into the kitchen.

Derek's head immediately cocked, bemused gaze following her as she passed him. She was clad in her normal weekend morning apparel: plain tank, pastel bottoms and a snarky smirk she reserved only for him. He titled his head in greeting. "Freakette."

She offered her own head tilt before glancing at the clock. "Why are you up so early?"

"Why are you up so early?"

"I'm always up this early. To study," she said as if it were the most logical thing in the world to do. Her eyes twinkled a bit as she moved towards him and pinched his right cheek in a firm, but ginger gesture, "Remember, someone's gonna have to take care of you when your questionable charm and good looks finally fail you."

He smacked her hands from her face and smirked. "Like that'll ever happen."

"Riiight, how foolish of the peasant to suggest."

"You're pardoned. But, only this once..."

Casey offered a mini-bow before moving to open the fridge.

"Early practice," Derek finally muttered, "Playoffs are in a week."

"Well, that explains why you look like that." He was standing by the counter in his wrinkled boxer pants, hair disheveled and his face worn and grumpy. Even his pre-shave stubble looked angrier than usual.

Derek sent her a sideways glance as he buttered his toast. "What's your excuse?"

He watched closely, amused, as her head slowly reappeared from behind the fridge door. "Excuse me?"

"What? The princess can dish, but can't take?"

"The 'princess' happens to look great in the morning," Casey replied indignantly, "I moisturize."

"Oh, so that's what that gooey, green gunk is?" Derek said, feigning ignorance, "I just thought it was some sort of puss."

"The only puss in my life is you," Casey muttered as her eyes searched the fridge, now distracted by morning hunger, "Derek, where's all the milk?"

He burped proudly in reply.

"You're disgusting."

"Oh, but there is some left."

"Really?" Casey was a bit too perky as she looked up, "Where?"

"Right here," Derek said with a smirk, holding up a glass of milk. Casey's eyes narrowed as he continued, "And, soon to be in my rock hard stomach."

"Unh uh," Casey declared, moving towards him, "You've already drank like two gallons; you're not getting the last glass. And you do not have rock hard abs. Not on planet earth, anyway."

"Is this your way of asking nicely? 'Cause I'm not persuaded. Close, but not quite."

"Ugh, just—give it to me," Casey reached for the glass but Derek promptly stepped in her path, "Stop being a jerk, Derek."

But, Derek just shook his head and offered a smug grin in return. "Hey, hey: first come, first serve. At least that is what you said when you slammed the bathroom door in my face yesterday."

Casey huffed. "Well excuse me if I like to get clean before you infect everything."

"And it only takes an hour and tub of smelly bath wash to do it."

Casey glared and reached quickly for the glass, but Derek blocked her approach once more, this time holding the glass over his head. "De-rek."

"Cas-ey."

A playful struggle ensued as Derek held the milk before her and Casey reached in vain to retrieve it. She jumped up against him, and Derek's strong arm locked in her place so she couldn't grab the cup. "Someone's been working out," Casey mumbled.

"Huh—really—?"

She snatched the glass from his grasp before he could even finish. "You are so vain. Not to mention gullible."

"How can I not be when I look like this?"

"Have you seen a mirror lately?"

"Funny," he said as she took a sip of milk, "But, not as funny as me sticking my finger in that milk."

"Ah!" Casey sprayed the liquid into the sink.

"Who's gullible, now, 'sis'?" he said with a smirk.

"More like health-conscious," Casey returned, "Who knows what I could catch from you?"

"You mean like coolness, popularity…"

"…rashes?" Casey finished sweetly.

"Speaking of rashes, some guy called for you last night. Something about a wild party and test results…"

Her swing was instant and he reflexively grabbed her arm pulling him towards him and into another wrestling match. Casey grunted as she struggled for control, "You are such a pig."

"Aww, I wuv you, too, Spacey."

"Don't call me that," she spun out of his hold before placing him into a firm headlock, ruffling the top of his head in way she knew would annoy him.

"Nice move; did you learn that at cheerleading practice?"

"It's called aerobic boxing, dumbass; and yes."

"Well, I learned this in the rink," he shifted his weight under and hoisted her up unto his back in one swift move.

"Derek," she said warningly, "You know I'm afraid of heights."

He rolled his eyes. "You're like six feet off the ground."

It was her turn to roll her eyes. "Six feet? That's a little generous, don't ya think?"

"Do you want me to drop you?"

"No, I want to be on the ground—like ten seconds ago."

"What are you two doing?"

Both teens froze, eyes shooting to George and Nora as they shuffled into the kitchen. George look grumpy and Nora quizzical as they regarded them.

"Um…homework?" Derek deadpanned.

"Nice, try, Derek," George ran a tired hand through his hair, "It's too early to be horse playing. Now put Casey down, and I promise you two can finish whatever inane fight you were having afterwards."

" She took my milk" "He took my milk."

Derek and Casey looked sheepish at their parents' blank stares, and Derek promptly set her upright. " "Sorry." "

"And don't you have practice soon? You're not even dressed," George continued as he opened the fridge, "And where's all the milk?"

They both looked poised for debate and George waved a tired hand, "On second thought, I don't want to know."

"Well, there's always some of Casey's oat grain cereal. I mean, it's not helping her lose any pounds, but it's worth a shot."

"You-"

"Casey," Nora cut in, quickly seeing the fight brewing, "Could we please have just one meal in peace? A cease fire, if you will?"

Derek and Casey exchanged tight, polite smiles before going their separate ways in the kitchen.

"A short breakfast, Derek," George called from his searching of the cupboard, "You can't afford to be late again. You're captain."

Derek worked up his classic charm as he walked over to Nora, "And, this captain could really go for an omelet."

"Last time I checked he had two hands of his own," Casey muttered as she passed by him.

"I don't do cooking."

"Riight. Because cooking would involve serving others"

"Casey," Nora chided.

Derek settled for pulling a face at her and Casey replied with her own annoyed expression.

"It's so nice to see how they've matured," George muttered dryly.

Casey and Derek looked up from their mini-tug of war over the jelly jar. " "Huh?" "

George just shook his head. "Never mind."

"I'd be happy to make another omelet for you, Derek," Nora was saying from the stove, "Just, please, no more 'food puppets'."

"What? That was hilarious!"

"If you're in third grade—oh, wait, Marti was the only one to laugh," Casey snarked.

"You were laughing on the inside," Derek mumbled in her ear.

"More like dying," she whispered back.

"You totally smiled."

"It's called grimacing."

"Grimacing or grin-acing?"

"Vom-it-ing."

"Or bickering," George interjected, hand on the side of his face as he watched tiredly.

"Would you like an omelet, too, honey?"

"That'd be excellent actually…"

Nora rolled her eyes, "Not you, George. Casey. You need to watch your cholesterol."

George's frowned, shoulders slouching, and Casey called, "No, thanks."

"Right, she's got to maintain her 'girlish' figure," Derek teased.

Casey planted a quick punch on his bicep. "This from the guy with spaghetti arms."

"Firm spaghetti," he corrected, flexing a bit. The spectacle was far from unimpressive, but Casey settled for rolling her eyes and ignoring him.

"Here you go, spaghetti man," Nora quipped good-naturedly as set a full plate before him.

"Derek like," he said in deep, cave-man voice.

"I'll take that as a 'thank you'; and, you're welcome," she glanced a George and set a bowl of oatmeal before him, "George."

"Thanks," he grumbled.

Nora grabbed her own bowl and joined them. For a few glorious moments, there was silence.

"Derek!"

George let his head fall to the table with a groan and Nora rose from her seat, choosing to finish her meal elsewhere. Sighing, George soon followed.

"…are so immature," Casey was saying as they glared at each other, "Not to mention gross."

"And you have a stick the size of Quebec up stuck up your butt."

"No, I have a giant, walking, talking migraine of a step-brother."

"You said giant," Derek said, pointing smugly.

She rolled her eyes, "Figuratively, Derek."

"Still said it," he said over a mouthful of food.

Casey sighed, poised to retort when she suddenly asked, "Where'd everyone go?"

Derek glanced across the island at the two empty spots. "How should I know?"

And, with that a comfortable silence took the room as they finished their breakfast.