Title: Another Mistletoe Story

Rated T

Summary: It started off as a quiet tradition, one that was totally expected yet also unexpected at the same time. Missing scene from my fanfic :Hello Beautiful: Dasey one-shot.

Disclaimer: I don't own Life with Derek

A/N: Okay guys, here's the deal. I remembered adding a mention of mistletoe in "Hello Beautiful" and decided to write a full take on that mention in time for the holidays. You really don't have to go back to read "Hello Beautiful" to understand this as it was just a mention and not actually based off the story. The only thing you really need to know is that Derek and Casey developed a friendship before this takes place and are attending separate colleges. Since I wrote "Hello Beautiful" before some of season four aired, that also means this is a TU (Truman-less Universe). I hope everyone enjoys this one-shot. Please review if you can!

It started off as a quiet tradition, one that was totally expected yet also unexpected at the same time.

"I'm so excited that you're coming in for the holidays, Casey!"

Casey McDonald smiled at her mother's enthusiasm as she paced back and forth in her living room. "I am too," She admitted. "It'll be nice to get away from this apartment for awhile."

"Oh, this will be a great Christmas," Nora continued. "You and Derek are coming home from college for a visit, Edwin and Lizzie made straight A's on their finals this semester and we'll be able to celebrate the holiday season right this year. No one is going anywhere, it'll be really fun!"

Casey nodded even though she knew that her mother couldn't see it. She indeed was excited that she was coming home for Christmas this year. She'd get to spend some time with Derek and the others. Only, she was looking forward to Derek's company especially. She missed their usual, daily phone calls. Studying had always been her number one priority and even though she was attending Juilliard on a dancing scholarship, she had to maintain a high GPA. Casey also found it amusing that Derek was taking college seriously. If someone had asked her in high school, she would have said that he'd for sure be a drop out within a couple of weeks.

The new friendship she shared with her step-brother still surprised her but…in a good way. Casey could never bring herself up to hate this surprise.

"We've already talked to Derek," Nora's voice brought Casey out of her thoughts. "He sounds really excited to see you again. I can't believe that you've been right this whole entire time. You and Derek get along so much better now that you're both living apart!"

"Yeah, I guess so." Casey glanced over at the clock that hung in the kitchen and held back a sigh. It wasn't that she didn't like talking to her Mom, it was just now that exams were over and done with she sort of wanted to just relax that evening instead of hearing Nora gush about how great the holidays were going to be.

On the other end of the phone, she heard her mom squeal. "You have no idea how happy it is to know that this Christmas you guys won't be fighting. Perhaps this Christmas will bring you two even more closer together as a family."

At the word family, Casey couldn't hold back a cringe. She was thankful that her mother wasn't able to witness her change in facial expressions. Although she and Derek had this new friendship to hold onto, she was almost positive that even he thought that they weren't anywhere near brother-sister close yet. In fact, Casey wasn't sure she even wanted to be brother-sister close with him. Brothers and sisters fought, meaning their friendship would be ruined again. Derek would go back to being the bane of her existence. Casey didn't want that.

She also didn't want her Mom to compare their friendship to family relationships. It was awkward enough that Casey was feeling butterflies when she and Derek talked, no, flirted on the phone. Brothers and sisters never flirt.

Step-brothers and sisters on the other hand…

"Well, Case, I'm going to let you go," She heard her Mom say; Casey's eyes lit up happily. "I'll keep in touch." Nora continued. " I can't wait to see you again!"

"Mom, I've only been gone a few months." Casey grinned.

"Yes, but it feels like years." Nora protested.

"Tell Lizzie and everyone else I said hi."

"Will do. Love you."

"Love you too."

Alone at last. When Casey placed her phone back on the charger, she stared at it for a moment. Derek was probably done with exams too, but he hadn't called her yet to let her know. He was probably busy, she decided. From the stories he told her during their talk sessions, Derek was still as social as ever. He had bragged to her about how he already had three seniors come up to him on his first day in hopes for his number. Of course Derek had added a flirtatious/mocking "Jealous?" after her own disappointed "Oh."

So, when it all came down to it the idea of a relationship had indeed come up in her thoughts and daydreams. Although, that's where the idea would probably stay. Casey sighed. She had spoken to her best friend Emily about the matter, and now Em was determined to help them get together. She even made up a couple name for them, like some celebrities had. Dasey. It sounded so weird when Emily said it but when Casey first spoke the word, it rolled off her tongue so easily she smiled.

Maybe her mother was right. Only, instead of Christmas bringing them together closer as a family Casey was secretly hoping the holiday season would help her and Derek grow an even closer relationship.

"So, what did Sally say?"

Derek rolled his eyes at his little brother's curious nature. "She supports it, and she even says it makes sense," Derek informed him, pacing around his own apartment. He heard Edwin laugh on the other end of the phone.

"How on earth does it make sense?" Edwin argued. "It's completely random."

"Not completely," Derek protested. There was truth in his words. Derek's awareness of his feelings had awoken months before the holiday season. In fact, he had realized his true feelings towards Casey only days after she left. Those days were the hardest. He was so used to getting up and seeing her at the breakfast table, adorned in ridiculous pajamas or one of her cute outfits. Though they had a new friendship, Derek still knew ways to get under her skin in hopes to hear his favorite "De-rek!"

He felt obligated to inform Sally of these feelings. Derek still got along with his ex-girlfriend swimmingly but he had no intention of leading her on to a possible relationship in the future between them. He cared for her yes, but once he came out of denial about Casey, he felt that Sally was one of the obstacles that would prevent them from ever getting together like he wanted. Sally had indeed been supportive, claiming that she was only controlling with him back when they first started going out because she had picked up signals of Derek liking another girl. At first, Sally had told him, she had no idea who it was but after hearing Casey gush about how awesome it would be for Sally to get away from her "annoying boyfriend" it clicked.

"So, what's the plan D?" Edwin asked, smirking. "Are you going to confess when you guys visit for Christmas?"

"I was thinking about it," Derek muttered. The idea of talking about his feelings to Casey still made him nervous. He'd have to get a lot of rehearsal in before he actually said anything.

"Well, look on the bright side," Edwin continued. "If Casey rejects you, you'll always have Kendra."

At this Derek cringed and rolled his eyes. He had to remind himself later to place something disgusting under Edwin's pillow for that one.

"Aw, Liz I'm proud of you!" Casey said happily as she glanced over her little sister's grades. Lizzie beamed as she stood beside her older sister.

"The math was kind of hard," Lizzie assured Casey modestly. "And I was sure I was going to bomb Biology but the results turned out way better than I had expected."

"It would seem so." Casey agreed. She and Liz were currently in the McDonald-Venturi living room. By the time Casey had arrived in London, the living room itself had been decorated for Christmas. George and Edwin had picked up a real Christmas tree this year and it had been decorated with dozens of colorful lights. Nora was currently in the kitchen preparing dinner since George was still stuck up at his office and everyone was waiting eagerly for Derek's anticipating arrival.

"Well, the study sessions Edwin and I had together sure paid off." Lizzie nodded, taking her grades from Casey so she could put them back in her room. As Lizzie exited, Marti entered, Sir Monks-A-Lot tucked under one arm and a sprig of mistletoe clasped in her hand.

"Casey, where should I put this?" The ten year-old asked, climbing onto the couch to show Casey her plant. Casey winced at the mistletoe, knowing fully well the tradition that came with it.

"Um, Marti are you sure you want to put mistletoe up this year?" Casey asked slowly. "I'm sure no one wants…"
"Don't be silly!" Marti interrupted. "Nora's the one who told me to hang up the mistletoe in the first place. She says it's tradition to put it up but I can't think of anywhere to hang it."

"How about your bedroom door?" Casey suggested, hopefully knowing the haunting plant wouldn't bother her in that location. Marti made a face.

"Nora said to hang it downstairs." She insisted.

"Well, I'm not sure Marti." Casey admitted. "Why don't you ask Lizzie or Edwin where to hang it."

"Or we could just put it here," Nora said from the kitchen entrance. She pointed up and Marti grinned.

"Okay! That's a good place! That way someone's bound to step underneath it!"

"Aw, don't worry Case," Her mother smiled. "We're keeping this tradition strictly G rated. Only cheek kisses allowed."

Casey returned Nora's smile for this relaxed her. Outside, she could hear a car noisily pull up to the curb.

"Smerek's here! Smerek's here!" Marti cheered, abandoning the mistletoe so she could run to greet her older brother. Casey exchanged an amused grin with Nora as Marti yanked the front door opened just as Derek Venturi had placed his hand on the doorknob.

"Hey, how's my Smarti?" Derek dropped his suitcase and scooped his little sister up into his arms.

"Welcome home, Derek," Nora smiled as Derek put his Marti down to give her a hug.

"Great to see you again, Nora. I can't believe I'm saying this but I've really missed your cooking."

"Glad to hear it," Nora rolled her eyes.

"Derek!" Lizzie and Edwin unanimously shouted as they raced down the stairs.

"It's great to see you!"
"Hey, bro!"

"Hey, you two." Derek allowed Lizzie to give him a hug whereas he just pulled Edwin under his arm to give him a noogie. Casey waited patiently in the background for her turn.
"Hey, New York. You made it home in one piece. I'm impressed." Derek grinned as he walked over to her. Casey rolled her eyes, but couldn't help smiling.

"I've missed you." She told him as he pulled her into a warm embrace. Their hug, she noticed, lasted longer than any other hug Derek had given the rest of the clan. She caught Lizzie exchange knowing smirks with Nora and pulled away, embarrassed.

"Missed you too." Derek told her honestly. "Sorry about not calling lately. I've been caught up with finals."
"Understandable." Casey took this excuse. Derek grinned at her and threw his arm over her shoulders, pulling her close.

"Edwin, bags." He commanded.

"Aw, come on. You're kidding right?"

"Does it look like I'm kidding?" Derek asked, raising an eyebrow. Casey swatted him in his stomach to show her disapproval and tried to push Derek's arm off of her but he kept it tight around her.

"Fine." Edwin grumbled, as he picked up the heavy suitcase and began to trudge up the stairs. Nora rolled her eyes.

"So, are you hungry?" She asked her step-son. "Dinner should be ready soon and your dad should be on his way home."

"I was wondering why he wasn't here," Derek mused. "And to answer your question, I'm starved." He kissed the side of Casey's head affectionately before removing his arm. "I'm going to go up to make sure Edwin hasn't done anything to my room."

"We'll call you when dinner's ready!" Nora assured him as he walked up the stairs, Marti following after him happily. Casey on the other hand was slightly stunned. Not quite in shock but still surprised that Derek had actually shown her that he was no longer afraid of PDA. Sure it was just a light kiss. It probably didn't mean anything. Although it was still nice to be that close to him again, his arm around her protectively. It felt right.

"What was that all about?" Lizzie asked finally once she made sure that Derek was out of earshot. Casey snapped out of her own thoughts.

"What? What was what all about?" She feigned innocence. Her younger sister rolled her eyes.

"Oh come on, Casey. Even I caught that kiss. Since when are you and Derek all snuggly-snuggly?"

"Is snuggly even a word?" Casey demanded, determined to step away from the subject that was probably going to make her blush.

Lizzie laughed. "So, are you going to tell him?" She asked, with a smug expression. At this, Casey did manage to blush. She averted her eyes to the floor.

"Not sure," She finally said. "Maybe I should wait until New Years?" She added. Lizzie frowned at her, and Casey sighed a defeated sigh. Her little sister was right, and she knew. She had to tell Derek about her real feelings that holiday season. Not telling him was going to end up killing her.

"I wouldn't worry so much about rejection," Lizzie assured her smoothly. "A little birdie told me that Derek's working up the courage to tell you something."

Casey looked over at her, eyebrow raised. "Really, what?"

"The little birdie didn't say."

"Could this "little birdie" be Edwin perhaps?" Casey scoffed, rolling her eyes.

Lizzie just shrugged. "Might be." She supplied. "But then again Derek tells Marti some secrets also."

Casey just shook her head and smiled. She knew it the birdie was Edwin for Lizzie and Derek's younger brother talked about practically everything. Over the years of living together under the same roof the two tweens had become pretty much inseparable.

"Oh Casey, Emily called," Nora informed her from the kitchen over the faucet water. "I think it was when you were taking a shower earlier so I told her you'd call back."

"Thanks, Mom." Casey called over to her. Lizzie grinned at her before heading up the stairs again to see what Edwin and Derek were doing while Casey whipped out her cell phone to call her best friend. Emily would be more than pleased to know that there would be some new stuff to add to the "Dasey" section in her notebook.

"Daddy, I don't want to go Christmas caroling!" Marti whined. "It's snowing and cold!"

"But sweetie, it's Christmas eve," George protested, holding out her coat. "We used to go out caroling every Christmas eve. And it's not even snowing hard."

"Um, George maybe Marti has a good point," Nora cut in. "The last thing we need around this house are sick kids when their supposed to be on vacation."

Casey smirked as she glanced over from her place on the couch, sipping hot chocolate. Derek was settled in his favorite chair with his own mug in hand. Dinner had been eaten and now everyone was relaxing. Lizzie and Edwin were playing checkers over on the dining room table while Derek had (as usual) a hockey game on. This time, however Casey wasn't paying attention to what was on television for she was currently immersed in a new book. George sighed and went to hang Marti's jacket back up on the rack.

"Hey Case, come with me to the kitchen?" Derek asked. "I want to talk to you about something…plus, I just ran out of hot chocolate."

Casey rolled her eyes, smiling, but then remembered something.
"Um, sure but you go first." She whispered quietly so only Derek could hear. Derek gave her a weird look but shrugged it off as he got up from his chair. Marti automatically rushed to snatch the chair for herself and picked up the remote.
"Some Christmas specials are on." She informed Casey, changing the channel. Nora and George retreated to their bedroom as everyone else went about their own business. When Casey felt it was safe, she got up from her own comfortable seat and followed Derek into the kitchen avoiding the look Lizzie was giving her as she walked past.

"So, what's up?" Casey wondered. Derek was busy pouring more milk into his mug so he could heat it up in the microwave.

"Just curious," He said finally. "You and that Noel guy…what's up between you two?"

The question startled Casey; she felt as if Noel's name had come out of nowhere.

"Nothing," She assured him. "He's just a really good friend."
"So you guys don't hang out during school now?" Derek questioned, his tone accusing. Noel had also received a scholarship to Juilliard and had traveled to New York with Casey who was more than happy to have someone she actually knew from high school at Freshman Orientation.

"We're both busy," Casey shrugged. "Once in a while we'll have lunch together but we both have different classes and I think he's seeing someone." Casey looked confused as Derek let out what seemed to be a sigh of relief.

"Derek, do you have a problem with Noel?" She asked, hesitantly.

Derek opened his mouth to answer but closed it when the microwave beeped. He busied himself by pouring in the hot chocolate mix and stirring.

"Derek, there will never be anything going on with me and Noel. He's just a good friend," Casey said with a frown. "But now I have a question: Since when do you care who I date?"

"I don't care," Derek protested, irritated. Casey's frowned deepened. Derek was starting to act like he did back when they were fighting constantly. He slammed the spoon down. "Look, I just don't like the guy okay?"

"Why not?" Casey demanded. "What has he ever done to you?"

"Just forget it," Derek declared as he started walking out of the kitchen. He paused at the entrance to the living room only when Casey followed him and held him back.

"I'm not going to just forget it. I want to know why you don't like Noel and why you're against me dating him if I ever did?"

"Look," Derek began. "It's-"

"Yay! Mistletoe!" Both turned to see Marti glancing at them as she watched the show from the couch. Lizzie started giggling which made Casey and Derek look up. Stupid plant.

"You guys, we're kind of in the middle of a discussion," Casey tried reasoning her way out of the tradition.

"Don't care!" Marti cheered. "You've got to kiss Smerek now Casey. It's tradition!"

"Yeah, Case." Edwin grinned. "It's tradition."

Casey made a face at him and turned to Derek who looked apprehensive. "Let's just get it over with," She said with a sigh, leaning up to kiss Derek on his cheek.

Her lips didn't make contact with his cheek.

Her lips made contact with his own lips.

Casey braced herself so she wouldn't stumble back in surprise as Derek pulled her close with his arm. She noticed that her own eyes were closed. That she was responding. Her arms went around his neck instinctively, deepening the kiss with just the slightest amount of vigor and passion. She heard Marti's distant "Aw!" along with Lizzie's distant "About time." Casey barely paid attention though. She was simply focusing on her own pleasure.


Although, Casey did hear this loud and clear and she and Derek broke apart as they faced Nora and George, blushing. George looked baffled but Nora's own expression seemed smug, as if she knew she would catch them in the act that very moment.

"Mind explaining?" George asked, crossing his arms.

"Well, um you see…"

"Dad, Casey's my new girlfriend." Derek announced, unafraid as he put his arm around her once again. Casey blinked and glanced over at him. First the surprise kiss and now girlfriend? It was happening so fast, but strangely enough she didn't find herself protesting against this.

"I see," George said, raising his eyebrow in amusement. Nora smiled at her now blushing daughter.

"Casey, we've always figured there was something going on between you two," She informed her. "Why else did you think I'd have Marti put up the mistletoe this year?"
"Wait, so…"Casey began, confused as she looked over at Marti, who was now beaming. "Are you saying that you planned this to happen?" She looked over at Derek who looked just as bemused.

"No, not planned," Nora corrected. "Encouraged. Yes, the relationship is somewhat unconventional but so long as you both follow our ground house rules while you're here on vacation I really don't find a problem with it…"

"But Mom, what about all that stuff you said on the phone?" Casey protested. "You know, how you were so sure that Christmas this year was going bring Derek and I closer together as a family?" She felt Derek shift uncomfortably at the word, as she had previously.

"Case, I did say that but you've got to understand even though I used the word family I didn't necessarily use it in the way that you were thinking," Nora informed her.

"So, you two are seriously okay with us being together?" Derek asked hesitantly, pulling Casey closer to him as he anticipated the answer.

George looked conflicted for a moment before sighing. "If Nora's okay with it, I'm okay with it." He answered. "But I still find it random."
"Told you so," Edwin chided. Lizzie shut him up by throwing a checker piece at him from across the table.

"Random or not," Nora continued. "Like I mentioned before we're going to have rules with you two while you're here. Rule number one…"

Never let us catch you sleeping together in the same room.

Casey sighed with pleasure as she comfortably maneuvered herself even closer to Derek under the blankets. Derek himself had smiled and kissed her forehead softly, persuading her to close her eyes for the night. As usual Derek already found his way around the new rules. His alarm was set for six in the morning so Casey could safely make her way to her bed before Nora came up to check at seven. She felt so right in his arms, so right against his frame. Finally, after months of yearning…she was his.

Casey found it ironic that she had fallen for the mistletoe cliché. Even though she willed herself away from the plant it found a way to draw her in. All her worries had fled that evening. She felt no stress, no pressure when in Derek's embrace. She felt only promises of love as he kissed her sweetly in the dark. As she faded from consciousness for the night her thoughts filled with dreams of mistletoe and Derek and she knew very well that Nora would most likely put up the mistletoe in the same spot next Christmas. After all, it was in fact tradition.


A/N: For those who are patiently waiting for the next installment of "Casey's Code of Chivalry" I promise I will have it up soon. With finals this week and my birthday today I've only just now had time to type this holiday one-shot out so I could post it up. Thank you so much for reading everyone! Until next time! And happy holidays!
"Never let go of the one you truly love."