A/N: Take the following with a grain of salt.

Disclaimer: Sure, why not?


"Don't you ever long for the good old days?"

Emily stopped staring dreamily at her crush and refocused her attention on Casey, so surprised she was to actually have heard her friend speak. Casey had been stewing in silence all day, which was just, well, plain weird. Yeah, Casey stewed. Casey was known for her stewing, but this was the first time Emily had ever known her to be silent about it. Actually, she was usually quite vocal.

And, as curious as Emily was for some insight into why her friend had been clammed up all day, she really didn't know what the hell Casey was talking about. So, unsure of how exactly she was expected to respond to the question, she murmured, "Mmm," and waiting for Casey to elaborate.

Casey didn't disappoint. And, really, Emily didn't know why she was surprised, how long could she have really stayed quiet? The girl had probably already broken her own record for silence.

"The good old days," Casey repeated, and Emily could actually hear the longing in her voice. "When whores lived on the other side of the train tracks; when they had to wear scarves and big sunglasses when they went out in public; when…"

Casey kept right on going, and Emily was confused for about all of one minute—that is, until she followed Casey's gaze across the room and found the source of her "longing".

Okay, so if Kelsey Kint, had her double D's all over her boyfriend, Emily probably would've been shitty too. But that didn't stop her from saying, "Umm, jealous much?"

"No," Casey insisted, voice taut. "I just wish publicly stoning people would come back in style."

Emily had to laugh at that. The last person she'd heard mention "stoning" had been her Sunday school teacher, when she was seven.

"Publicly stoning people, or publicly stoning Kelsey?"

Finally, Casey's gaze swiveled away from Derek and Kelsey, and she looked at her friend and frowned. "What do you think?"

"I think," Emily paused, steeling herself—she knew Casey wasn't going to react well to what she was about to say, but, really, it needed to be said, "that you need to either do something about it, or quit complaining."

"Excuse me?"

"Oh, come on," Emily said, fighting the urge to roll her eyes. "We both know why Derek's doing this; he's waiting for you to stake your claim, or whatever."

At least, that's what Emily thought. Derek kept glancing their way, either daring or begging Casey to do something. She didn't know how Casey was missing it; but, the boy was obviously waiting on something.

"I've staked it," Casey snapped. "And I've been staking it every night for the past—

"Whoa," Emily interrupted, gesturing wildly, "TMI."

Huffing, Casey let her own eyes roll—before that moment, she hadn't been aware that there was a such thing as "TMI" as far as Emily was concerned.

"I'm just saying, the claim's been staked. I'm building a house on it; I'm practically Pa Ingalls, it's been—"

"Okay," Emily interrupted again, "I get it. The question is though, does Kelsey?"

Casey's gaze slide back to Kelsey, who was currently giving off very strong "come and get it" waves in Derek's direction. "Apparently not."

"So go explain it to her." She paused, and then added, "I'll help." Emily hadn't liked Kelsey since the 'finger painting' incident back in first grade. 'Her hand slipped, my ass.'

Casey seemed to really consider that for a minute, but she still ended up murmuring a pathetic little, "I can't."

"Ugh; why not?" Emily wanted to know.

"Can you imagine the fallout?" Casey whispered, sounding on the verge of hysteria.

Yes, as a matter of fact Emily could. Popular boyfriend? Check. Being elevated from a klutzy-keener-loser, to Derek Venturi's personal klutzy-keener-loser? Check. Being able to walk the halls wearing a certain leather jacket? Check. Hmm…she really wasn't seeing the downside.

"I mean, really," Casey continued, scandalized, "what would people say?"

"It's about time?" Emily guessed.

Casey couldn't have looked more shocked if Emily had just flashed her. "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that we can all see a lot more than you give us credit for," she said, sounding both ambiguous and annoyed. "People know, they just don't know. And, yeah, there may be a bit of a 'fallout', but it'll mostly be from jealous whores," she smiled, "and other idiots." Casey looked poised to retort, but Emily held up a hand and kept going. "And, okay, your parents would probably pitch a bitch if they knew, but I'm not suggesting that you go tell them. I'm suggesting that you get off your ass and go tell Kelsey to get her tits out your man's face."

"And, what, just give in to Derek?"


"Why should I be staking all the claims, huh?" Casey continued, with a huff. "There are plenty of claims that need staking right here."

"I'm confused." Emily didn't look confused though, just annoyed. "Now, are we not snatching Kelsey bald because of the possible fallout, or because you're trying not to give in to Derek?"

'A little of both,' Casey thought to herself; she sure wasn't about to admit that though. So, in typical Casey fashion, she chose instead to answer a question with a question. "Ugh," she uttered, both sounding and looking disgusted. "Since when does he want public displays of affection anyway?"

Okay… Suzie-miss-the-point. "Umm, apparently since he started dating you," Emily said obviously, and gave Casey a pointed look. "Doesn't that tell you something?"

Well… shit. She'd never quite looked at it that way before. And now that she did, Derek's new Take-Me-I'm-Your's/Pull-A-Romantic-Comedy attitude seemed less fruity and annoying, and more, well, sweet.

Emily stayed silent a moment, watching Casey closely as the full weight of her statement began to sink in. And when she saw the grin begin to slowly spread across Casey's face, she relaxed and gave a smile of her own.

"Alright," Casey said, pushing her chair back and standing. "Let's go save that ho."

Emily really, really wanted to laugh, but Casey looked so serious that she fought the urge, and adopted a grave expression of her own.

"Of course," she murmured, and stood up too.

As they made their way over to the cool side of the cafeteria, Emily noticed quite a few heads turning their way. She figured they were either anticipating another typical Casey/Derek throw down, or, in the case of the more observant students, a Casey/Kelsey throw down. Either way, Emily was sure that none of their audience would be disappointed—something gossip worthy was bound to happen.

When they got to Derek's table, his gaze shot right to Casey, watching her intently. But, she simply ignored him, and reached over to tap Kelsey on the shoulder.

When the other girl turned around she looked both annoyed and put out.

"Can I help you, grubby?"

Casey smirked; how original. "No," she said, answering the question. "But I think I can help you." Now, threats and catty remarks weren't really her thing when it came to anyone but Derek, but since she was pretty sure that Kelsey wouldn't respond well to "Pretty please, with sugar on top, would you leave my boyfriend alone," she knew she had to step outside her "nice" box.

"See, you've been trying to work your way into my boyfriend's lap for, oh, I don't know, since the doors opened this morning."

The room had kind of taken a collective gasp when Casey dropped her bomb, but Casey kept right on going like she hadn't noticed. And maybe she hadn't; she did kind of seem to be in the zone.

"And the way I see it," she continued, "you've got about thirty seconds before I," she paused, then added delicately, "well, I'm sure a smart girl like you can imagine what I'll do."

Kelsey looked dumfounded… and pissed. "I know," she gave a sharp laugh; "you don't think I'm afraid of you, Klutzilla."

"Thirty, twenty-nine, twenty-eight, twenty-seven…"

Emily sounded too happy while she was counting, and, come to think of it, with her eyes narrowed and her fists clenched at her sides, Casey did kind of look scary…

"…seventeen, sixteen, fifteen…"

"Fine," Kelsey snapped, as she stood up. "Whatever; I don't fight over boys," she mumbled, before stalking off.

The silence that followed her exit was awkward, to say the least. And Derek made it even more awkward by reaching for Casey and pulling her onto his lap.

"That," he said, loud enough for the room's stunned occupants, "was hot."

There went what was left of her annoyance.

"Yeah," she smiled, "it kind of was, wasn't it?"


A/N: Don't ask. This was me trying to switch things up. I hope it was at least somewhat entertaining.