Title: Perfectly Imperfect

Summary: Casey learns that it is sometimes o.k not to be perfect all the time.

A/N: I do not own LWD.

She was perfect, it was obvious. She never had a hair out of place, her make always looked one-hundred-percent natural, her blue eyes never looked worn, her clothes were always crisp and ironed to a starched perfection. Her grades were equally perfect – it would be a disgrace for her to ever make anything below a ninety-five on any assignment. She was beautiful, smart, talented, and perfectly unavailable. It wasn't as if she had a boyfriend but rather she could never find a guy that would fit her perfect standards which impossible unless you were Hugh Grant or Rex Harrison. It was just impossible for any guy her age to date her. She could never allow it. So he tried to ignore her, tried to pretend she was just some meaningless annoyance in his life which was very difficult considering the fact that they lived together.

They were siblings – stepsiblings so no relation by blood or genes. Unfortunately, her mom had married his dad and just when they started thinking that they'd be out of each other's lives for good, their parents decided to buy them both an apartment – one apartment to share while away at university. One two-bedroom, one bath apartment with a tiny kitchen and even tinier living room. There were days with both he and she just wanted to commit murder against one another but neither did. Arguments ensued as well as fights and dishes hurled at each other's heads along with words of stinging hate. Both he and she knew that nothing they said out of anger was true so both continued to live their lives fighting or ignoring each other – ignoring the obvious.

It was one day right before Winter Holiday that changed that forever.

She had been studying for her chemistry exam for weeks. It was one of her hardest classes and she just had to make an A. No, not an A, a ninety-six, at least. Nothing less than a ninety-five, that was her standard. He came in one evening from getting a few beers with his friends to find her sitting at the coffee tables, books, papers, and notebooks scattered around her. Her hair was falling out of her messy bun and she wasn't wearing any makeup. A coffee mug sat next to her, nearly empty. It was the first time he had seen her look so…imperfect. It was a nice change. For once, he felt like she had lowered herself to his level, that she wasn't as quite out of reach as she had once been.

"Hey," he nodded towards her. She didn't even bother to look up from her books, "Looks like you're almost out of coffee," he noted, "Do you want me to fix you another cup?" It worked. She looked up from the table, her blue eyes even rounded than usual. She blinked at him, confused. Even an act as simple as refilling her coffee was a great act of generosity coming from a guy like Derek Venturi.

"Uh…sure," she finally answered, "Yeah, coffee would be great."

He took her cup from her and went to the kitchen. Just as he had figured, there was a pot by the stove, filled halfway with the brown liquid. He rolled his eyes, not understanding how anyone could possibly like the stuff before adding a single packet of sugar and a splash of milk to the mug. He almost felt bad for her, working so hard. Heaven forbid she actually get a B for once in her life!

"Here's your coffee," he handed her the mug.

"Thank you."

"So, chemistry, huh?"

"Yeah," she nodded, pushing a book away from her so she'd have room for the mug, "It's driving me crazy!"

"Hey, go easy on the chem., will ya? It's not like it was a far drive anyways," he grinned at her and to his surprise, she let a glimpse of smile show through her haggard disposition. "God, Case," he rolled his eyes again, "I can't believe I can still get you to crack a smile with that."

She shrugged, "Edwin's a funny guy. Though, you really should be more original with your jokes."

"Hey, don't fix what isn't broken. So, how's this coming?" He asked, indicating the numerous texts.

"Terrible, Derek!" she cried before throwing her head against the couch cushion he was sitting on, "I don't understand any of this! I hate science. It's just so…aggravating! I've been studying this for weeks and I still don't feel like I know any of it!"

"Sure ya do," he tried to sound encouraging, "So what if you don't get higher than a ninety-five. Hell, I'd be impressed if you made a B. I heard it's almost impossible to pass Professor Daniels' class. If you get a B, you'll be doin' a lot better than most of the other students…"

"But I need an A!"

"Oh my God, Case! Just for five seconds, try not to be so…perfect!"

"Perfect?" Casey looked up at him from her position of leaning her head against his cushion.

"Yeah. I mean, nothing can ever be good enough for you…"

"A ninety-six is good enough for me."

"Case, I don't even know why I bother! If you want to run yourself into the ground for this stupid A, be my guest."

She bit her lower lip and contemplated what he had just said. She wasn't that much of a perfectionist…was she? Maybe he was right for once. Maybe he had a point…

"What do you do instead of studying?" She asked.

"I relax. Here's my philosophy – if you are so uptight about exams, you'll do badly. If you look over your stuff a few times before taking it and just relaxing, you'll do fine. I pass with Cs and Bs with my method."

"But Cs and Bs aren't As."

"Why is it so important that you get an A?" He asked.

"I-I don't know," and she honestly didn't, "All my life I've striven for the best. I guess it's just how I'm wired."

"You're wired to be a nut job! Look, this is what we're gonna do – I'm gonna make us some popcorn while you put all this stuff away for tonight and we'll sit down and watch a movie and not even mention the word exam all night…"

"But I have my test tomorrow!"

"Do you trust me?" He asked, looking at her, his eyes wide. Neither of them ever questioned trust. Ever.

"What?" She looked at him, trying to comprehend.

"Do you trust me?"

"Yes," she admitted for the first time, "I…trust you."

He smirked before retreating to the kitchen to fix the popcorn. As he was doing that, she began to pack up her books. Maybe he was right. It was worth a shot, after all. What could it hurt? They sky wouldn't crumble down on her if she made an eighty-nine now, would it?

"Popcorn's ready!"

"Me too. What do you want to watch," she asked.

"I don't know," he sighed, "Titanic?"

"Titanic? Since when do you want to watch Titanic with me?" She asked, confused.

"Since I know you're stressed out and you need some time to just sit back, relax, and fantasize about Leonardo."

"I do not 'fantasize…' "

"Uh-huh," he smirked before sitting down on the couch beside her, popcorn bowl separating them.

"I just think he is artistically…gifted."

"Artistically gifted?" He gagged, "Just shut up and watch the movie."

"Thank you, Derek. For this."

"Sure thing."

They sat in silence for a few more minutes before Derek finally broke the silence.

"You know, you don't have to be so perfect all the time."

"I know. It's just that…"

"Case, look at you!" He exclaimed, "You're hair is a mess, you have no makeup on, and you are sitting here home alone eating popcorn with me. Honestly, I've never seen you more beautiful."

"Thank…you," she replied, unsure of how to reply to that remark.

"Don't mention it. Can't have my reputation of hating you being ruined."

"Oh heaven forbid!"

--

"Derek!" She shouted as she ran into the apartment, waving a paper in the air.

"What?" He called, appearing from the kitchen, "Where's the fire?"

"I got my exam grades in!"

"What did you make?"

"All As except for an eighty-nine in chem.."

"Good job, Case," he smiled, throwing his arm casually over his shoulder like he had done for years.

"For what? It's not an A."

"Case, not everything in your life has to be perfect."

"I know," she smirked, "That's why I'm letting myself do this," she stood up on her tiptoes and gave him a light kiss on the cheek.

"What was that for?" He asked, stunned.

"For being, and allowing me to be, perfectly imperfect."