NOTES: ...not my usual - so it might not work for you. Apologies if that's the case. Comments and criticism are very welcome, though.

Also, this is rated M (as you can see from the...M rating) - I suck at figuring out ratings, but definitely there are references to sexual situations, so I'm giving an extra 'heads up' if that's not your thing.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own LWD - this is done for fun not profit.

Plot summary: it's him and Casey, during the second week of college, (more than) making out on a total stranger's bed.

If this was a movie, right about now the critics would be sharpening their knives and sniffing about the lack of foreshadowing in the third act twist. Because...him and Casey? For real? What he means is, the build up makes sense – since his dad and Nora Brady-Bunched it up, his whole life (dates, grades, friends...everything) has felt like a giant game of Six Degrees of Casey McDonald. Ultimately, no matter how normal (read: 'not about Casey') things start out, they always seem to loop back to Her Lameness. So it's not a huge surprise to find her at Some Guy's house party. And because Casey is...Casey, it makes total sense that, having conquered London, she's taking the opportunity to try out for Loser of Toronto, as she has a Casey-fit over...something and ends up barricading herself in the bathroom.

This affects Derek, because it affects Derek's date (and some other people too). In the absence of an Emily to talk Casey out of being crazy, it's up to him to step up to the plate. The queue for the bathroom is noticeably longer by the time he insults Casey into opening the door, but there's genuine gratitude underneath the sarcastic applause when she emerges. Of course, that almost causes Casey to bolt back inside, so he cements his reputation as the hero of the hour, and argues her into the bedroom where she left her coat.

The set-up is solid, is what he's driving at. He just has no idea how they got from –

"I feel so humiliated – I thought he really liked me" –

"Yeaaah – he obviously didn't. Crazy girls are so last season." (She can't feel more humiliated than that guy who couldn't wait and had to use the window).

– to them being horizontal with both his hands up her shirt, feeling her up through the thin fabric of her bra. He gets the feeling a couple of frames have been skipped. But the only sound louder than her breathing, harsh in his ear, is the thumping of his heart – and really, at this particular moment? He's less concerned with the weirdness of the plot twist, and more concerned with the... narrative climax. So to speak.

Because he's never (seriously) thought about Casey in this particular scenario, but now that he has, he feels like he's going to explode if he can't follow through on the possibility. And for once, Casey is down with the program, running her hands up his back then down to his waistband and...

Casey...knows how to grope? He'd always pictured her dates as chaste hand-holding, let's look up at the stars, and oh, by the way, if you want to kiss me, I'm going to need dental records, proof of earnings and a five-year relationship plan written out in longhand – kind of affairs.

He's not complaining.

That said – it pretty much follows his imagined script for how more-than-making-out-(technically)-less-than-sex with Casey would go (if he'd ever imagined it). It's this completely awkward, graceless fumble. His hands are shaky and clumsy, and there's just no way to be smooth when he's yanking his fingers out of tangles (jeez, Casey, ever heard of conditioner?) and spitting out a mouthful of her hair at the same time. It's not a perfect first time – it's closer to a perfect disaster.

It's also the hottest experience of his life to date.

"That girl over there keeps looking at you," says his date (different to the girl at the house-party – hey, it's been a few days, he's Derek Venturi, and it's not like anything major has happened that would cause him to change his habits).

He glances over his shoulder, and there's Casey at the bar.

"Is she an ex, or something?"

"Yeah, she's an ex-something," he agrees absently. Casey looks – like Casey. There's this underlying Casey-ness that prevents him from appreciating her objectively. Or...appreciating her at all, come to think of it. (He's not avoiding answering the question if no-one's asked it).

He notices that his date's glass is empty – and hey, looks like all Casey's definitions of 'courteous', and 'mannerly' and 'chivalrous' must have sunk in somewhere, because he heads for the bar. Casey whirls around immediately. Subtle.

"Oh, perfect," she mutters, when he squeezes in next to her.

"Born that way," he says and ignores her disbelieving snort. He watches her fingers tapping on the bar and when his drinks arrive, he jerks his head in her direction and says, "She's paying."

And what do you know - that makes her chase him all the way back to his table. Where things are supposed to follow their entirely predictable course (he insults Casey, Casey insults him, occasionally guest-starring Kendra/Sally/Emily/Random Girl of the Week). Except that this time, the guest star throws a tantrum –

"...talked and resolved the situation. Mature people use words to solve problems – but that's a little advanced for you. Not to worry, though – one day, when you know all your letters" –

He's just about to reply to that when his date scoops her purse off the table, and hey – when did she put on her coat?

"Why don't you two just get a room?" she hisses, slinging her purse over her shoulder and stalking away, and Derek – Derek's going to follow her, really he is, it's just that his eyes have snapped onto Casey's (he hopes he doesn't look as stupid with shock), and he hadn't realized how close they were and...

(He can't speak for Casey, but he's suddenly back there, in that room, the suffocating heat making his skin prickle and Casey underneath him, nipples hard under his thumbs, and her leg in just the right position for him to rub against. Until of course someone bangs against the door. It's not a 'prelude-to-opening-a-door' kind of bang, more a 'hey!-my-coordination-is-shot-is-that-a-door?' bang, but it's enough to make Casey scrabble backwards on the bed, wide-eyed and panicky looking, and...)

"We could," he blurts, because they could, they could get a room, because Casey almost let him –

"What?" she says.

So obviously, he's the only one thinking about it – that's not a big deal. Just because he hasn't been able to get it out of his mind – well, that doesn't necessarily mean it was a good experience. It could be because he was deeply traumatized by it.

"I should go," her eyes connect squarely with his – shoulder. "I should – friend!...I should find my friend!"

"That's the spirit – keep looking, and someday, I'm sure you'll find one," he manages as she scurries away.

The only reason this hasn't gone according to plan, is because he totally didn't have a plan.

In the end, it all comes down to responsibility. The idea of him and Casey (sex with Casey), it's like an annoying song that gets stuck in his head. And the volume's cranked as high as it can's so loud he can hardly hear anything else.

It's interfering with his ability to concentrate. His room-mate makes cracks about English obviously not being his first language, and he has to ask the girl who sits in front of him in Media Studies for her notes. (Even though she's physically nothing like Casey, here's something Casey-esque in the way she takes everything down, frowning intently). He flirts with two girls, but he's just going through the motions (usually, he loves the motions). It's like Casey's spaceyness is a transmittable disease, passed on mouth-to-mouth.

Logic dictates that this can't go on.

And, see – thinking it through, logically, he sees where he's been going wrong...he's been treating the incident as if it's special. As if almost-nakedness and potential-sex makes the situation unique. But if it were any other girl, it wouldn't be a problem (it would be a possibility). And even when he replaces 'any other girl' with 'Casey', does it really make things that different? Casey has something he wants – that's happened before. That this time the 'something' is her body - okay, that's embarrassing, but...Ralph owns an ABBA CD. Wanting Casey has to rank at least a little lower on the embarrassment scale than that. (He's not protesting too much – he's protesting just the right amount).

Okay – Casey has something he wants. He takes it. That's how it works – and why mess with the system if the system works?

So, really, deciding to pursue Casey is a sensible, responsible decision motivated almost entirely by factors other than that soft sound she made that still makes his stomach twist when he remembers it. Factors like – his ability to pass classes, maintain conversations with other people...not get run over by oncoming traffic...

Really, he's being incredibly mature.

Anyway, he's pretty sure that the reason the crazy insane (hot) idea of him and Casey is stuck on repeat in his mind, is because they left it unfinished. Incomplete. Like a cliffhanger – it needs resolution. It's really got (almost) nothing to do with Casey at all.

(He can't even spell 'justification' – what are the chances he can provide an accurate definition?)

If it's just like every other game they've ever played (and it totally, totally is), someone has to make the first move. Derek thinks very hard and then does nothing for four days.

He's rewarded when Casey shows up at his door, glowering, holding her cell phone to her ear. "Yeah, I tracked him down," she says, "And he's not dead or injured or sick – but I'm sure he has a really good excuse for not answering his phone for the last four days, Marti."

She extends the cell phone and narrows her eyes at him. He winces (it was necessary, but he's not looking forward to this) and takes it.

"Hey there, Smarti," he tries.

No answer.

"How are things?"


"Cat got your tongue?"

Okay, so that one didn't deserve an answer.

"Let me guess – you're mad at me."


"I get it. This is payback for the not calling and not answering my phone thing." He waits, then sighs. "I'm sorry, okay?"

Not okay, obviously, since no matter what else he says, he still has to endure ten more minutes of silence. Marti's good – by the end of it, his voice is nearly cracking from the tension and he's ready to spill (almost) all his secrets.

Then it's his dad's turn, and Derek takes the opportunity to wander bedroomwards while his dad shuffles words like, "...take you're not...want you to promise...try harder..." and puts them in order. He's heard it before, and the part that interests him the most is when he turns around and finds Casey standing in his doorway, arms folded.

He snaps her cell phone shut and puts it on the dresser, and Casey takes two steps into his room.

"That was really inconsiderate of you, Derek," she says. "You promised everyone" –

It's not like he feels good about it – and he's just had this talk, so he cuts her off with, "Yeah, okay, message received."

But Casey's never met a point she didn't like to beat into the ground, so she just keeps talking, "...need to be more responsible" –

And her inability to let things go actually...kind of works for him. His stomach flips, but he forces himself to move towards her like this is just a normal fight, no endgame in sight.

"You can shut up, anytime."

" ...mean, what were you thinking – not answering your phone! Marti was really worried about you" –

Okay – he didn't pick up his cell phone once or's really not that big a deal. He's standing in front of her now.

"Seriously, don't feel like you have to keep talking." See – he's given her the option. If she's too Casey to take it, well, then...perfect.

"And why is that? Because Derek Venturi can't take being faced with the fact that his actions have consequences. You can't handle the" –

He goes for it. His hands shoot out and grab her shoulders, and he kisses her.

It only lasts a second before she wrenches away. She just stands for a moment, mouth opening and closing, and he's almost sorry that this isn't a regular fight, because if it was, he would really be enjoying the look on her face. But it's not a regular fight, so instead of enjoying it, his palms are starting to sweat.

"What" – she starts, then clears her throat. She sounds very careful (and a hair away from a full blown Casey freak out) as she asks, "What was that?"

She says 'that' like it's a bug that crawled in front of her, instead of a kiss. He digs his hands into the pockets of his jeans and (casual – he has to seem casual):

"A new way of asking you to shut up. Since you seemed to have problems understanding the old one."

"Derek – that's can't" –

He kisses her again. This time, she backs into the doorway and nearly hits her head on the frame. (Really, this is hilarious. He doesn't get why he's not laughing).

"You did it again!"

"You didn't shut up," he points out.

"I want you to stop doing that!"

"And yet you keep talking." And for once in his life, he doesn't want her to stop.

She stops.

(The important thing to remember – is that it doesn't matter. It's just some stupid game)

They stare at each other for a long moment (and that's the beauty of his 'put up or shut up' idea. Even if Casey doesn't want to – and her lips are pressed together tightly, which means...Anyway, she still has to shut up. So, he totally wins. Go him).

Finally, Casey blinks, and he can't help it, his eyes are fixed on her mouth as she takes a breath.

"Um..." she says, and that counts, right? It has to, because his hands are suddenly out of his pockets and cupping her jaw and he's kissing her hard. Then his hands are on her waist, and his tongue is in her mouth and he's definitely being way too intense about something he's trying to pass off as a 'you're so annoying, look at the lengths I'm willing to go to just to shut you up' tactic – but who cares when the third time is definitely the charm, and she's kissing him back, pressing right up against him, and that's just...yes.

Of course it's not exactly that simple. It's Casey – her name is practically a five letter word for 'bad timing', which she helpfully demonstrates ten minutes later by gasping out, "What are we doing?"

They're on the bed, and he's on top, working diligently on clothing removal. He shifts back a very little and says –

"Wow. This is awkward." (By the way, he's not panting).

"Yes!" she agrees quickly, relieved. "It really" –

"I mean," he continues, "I always figured a super-keener such as yourself would have memorized the biology textbook." He sighs, like 'great, another chore', and his hands creep back to the bottom of her t-shirt, "You start by removing this" –

"Derek!" she squawks, but his fingers are tracing the skin of her stomach and she takes a sharp breath in, and he's going to get what he wants, he knows it, because Casey wants it too.

He's been sort of focused on the 'him wanting Casey' part of the equation – flipping it around to 'Casey wanting him' (even if it is inevitably flavored with 'But I am Casey, and must make everything complicated!') – makes him feel...'invincible' is probably the word that comes closest, but that's not entirely it. He's winning, and oddly, for once, it doesn't make him want to gloat. Instead, (and it's almost like he's acting without his own consent) he leans down, and kisses her softly.

When he draws back, Casey just looks at him for a long moment, very serious. He stares back at her, and he has no clue what she's seeing (not that he's scared or anything). Then her hands are reaching up and pulling him down again.

(He's won before – trophies, hockey games, arguments. It's funny though– he doesn't remember victory ever feeling like this).

Afterwards, it's weird again. There's this moment of toe-curling dread when she looks at him, half-panicked, half-expectant, and he figures he's supposed to do something, or say something. Maybe she and Noel sang duets about the power of love every time she let him kiss her, or something.

In the silence he can hear her breathing coming fast. Faster. Before she arrives at hyperventilation, he says, quickly, "So, that – wasn't a big deal, or anything."

It's not (quite) a question.

She swallows, then, "No," she agrees. (Sorry, did he fall into the twilight zone at some point? Because since when does Casey EVER agree with him?). "No, it's – really – not."

"Just one of those things," he tries (the buzzer's about to go – is that really your final answer?).

"Not a big deal," she says again, in a strained voice.

(Strange – he'd kind of thought it was).

Later, after Casey's hustled out of his place, smacking into his returning room-mate in the process (maybe this hasn't been a 'big deal', but it's been a good night for physical comedy), he has time to think.

The thing is...whatever happened between him and Casey (leaving the big deal/not a big deal thing completely out of it), it's like – a surprise summer blockbuster. There's this unexpectedly...good...thing – naturally, there are going to be demands for a follow up. A sequel.

He walks over to his dresser, and picks up Casey's cell phone. As he slips it into his pocket, he can practically see 'To be continued' floating in front of his eyes.

(Not that it's a big deal or anything).