a/n- I think exam-time spurs on my creativity. Truman + Vicky = Tricky (fitting!)

Disclaimer: Heh. Ya think?


Scene One. Act One:

It starts like this: They're fighting.

(That's a given. Any Casey/Derek scenario not involving a major fight is implausible, and he's a good director so he knows these things.)

She looks like she wants to kill him with her bare hands, and he's passing snarky comments on her…well everything, because he knows how much she hates it.

This isn't about you Derek. (Yeah, it kind of is. Anything involving her usually turns out to be about him.)

She's ranting and raving about how you shouldn't have hit Truman. None of your business. How dare yo…and he's not listening. Because how she's screaming at him for punching the guy who kissed her cousin? There's irony in there somewhere and he's pretty sure he's the only one that got that memo.

So he smirks and soaks in his own stereotype, because hell he didn't do it for her, he did it because "Cousin Vicky" is a potential future girlfriend and he doesn't like arrogant jerks ('guy like us' he sometimes remembers for no particular reason, and 'you're a good guy, Derek Venturi') spoiling his game plan.

He's standing there, watching her work herself up in a frenzy of anger, her hair almost standing up, her mouth forming insults and it's like a revelation: he could watch this every night.

(This wasn't supposed to happen. Why hasn't someone yelled cut already? )

...

Scene Two. Act Five :

"Cousin Vicky" is no longer just a potential future girlfriend.

Truman has been forgiven (by Casey, of course, because McSucker is her real last name, the one she lives up to with excruciating finesse and Truman's Last Chance is a stuck record in her player.)

The four of them are one big happy, fucked-up family these days. And Vicky (don't call me Vicky, it's Victoria) and Truman (Frenching every girl in sight) are actually friends (somebody obviously forgot to give them the 'Break-up for Dummies -101' manual) so there's a lot of double dating.

(It just took him half an hour to convince Vic…toria of the idea. That obviously means she wanted it, he was just reading her mind. He's almost a model boyfriend these days, Ca...sual acquaintances would be proud.)

And they're just sitting in their booth at Smelly Nelly's. Vic…toria and Truman are getting along famously, till he almost begins to feel that he's on the date with the other cousin (Yeah. That one. His stepsister. It's all relative. Relative, geddit? Ha ha. There's only one stand up dude among the McDonald-Venturis and it definitely isn't Edwin.)

She's refusing to look at him, trying instead to catch Trollman's attention, when he's obviously moved on to greener, more luscious, not-complicated pastures.

So he's caught by surprise when her foot nudges his. But she's still looking at Trollman, so apparently it's a mistake. Probably one that the laugh-track is supposed to highlight.

(Wait. Casey actually plays footsie? Who re-worked the characterization while he was busy directing?)

And he's bored. Really, really bored. Like split-through-his-brain bored. So he nudges back. Because, did he mention he's bored?

Her eyes widen as the realization colors them, and she withdraws her foot faster than he can say stepsiblings. That's an appropriate thing to say of course. Cue, laugh track. He knows these things, he has practice in this profession after all.

He glances at her instead, the challenge so clear; it's practically radiating its own light and creating a giant rationality-sucking black hole around her which is his contribution to humanity and the world of science, you're welcome. Her mouth sets into a grim line, (and he loses his train of thought) and suddenly her foot is on his again.

As their legs tango together, it's all heat and sparks, and someone call the fire department already. And for a brief moment he wonders what it could be like. Bodies, and clothes being shed, and hands and mouths and that smell of Vanilla-mixed-with-something that the bathroom always smells of when she's finished with her shower and her.

Only for a very brief moment.

(It doesn't even keep him awake at night. Obviously.)

...

Scene Eight. Act- who-the-hell-cares-he's-obviously-not-running-this-show-now :

It's the biggest cliché. Ever.

It's Christmas and mistletoe and the scriptwriter really, really needs to be replaced.

So he's standing there and she's standing there, and the whole room is so silent he can invent an entirely new similie out of it. All his-her friends are staring at them, and he can't make out their expressions (mainly because he isn't looking at them, but, technicalities.)

But she's looking at him, and her expression is so shocked and wrong and her eyes so wide and he realizes she's terrified. Of him.

(That sound? Like something breaking? It was his stomach heaving at the thought of putting his mouth anywhere near hers.)

So he smirks and moves away, and mentions something about how he'll be forgiven for breaking tradition because damn, he's willing to form a new religion than be part of something that requires any contact with Casey-parts without the aid of a twenty-foot pole.

(And pretends the hurt in her eyes doesn't get to him at all. Not one bit. It doesn't even make his insides feel like they're not so inside anymore.)

He is in fact so busy with Vic…toria that he doesn't even notice when Trollman catches hold of Casey and lives up to his surname.

He throws up in Sam's bathroom, but then he's always been a lightweight (shhh.)

Later that night he sits propped against the wall, next to the heat vent, and listens to the utter silence, straining to hear her breathing.

(This is something that won't make the final cut.)

...

Scene 28473. Act-he's-just-the-sidekick-why-ask-him?

It's almost five years later. They're back for Christmas break, and he's had almost as much of happy-families as he can bear (His love for Casey was always so familial and brotherly, it's at the top of his list of things to be grateful for at Thanksgiving because he's always been such a giving-his-thanks sort of a guy.)

Later that night he goes into her room (without knocking, because his character is not completely out of character just yet. Not a complete rewrite. Just...a downgrading for the worse to fit an obvious plot point. Anything involving him wanting to involve Casey is an automatic character fail of course, but, blame the scriptwriter.)

She's sleeping, and for a moment he watches her, and his chest feels like Max and The Fridge (why does he remember them, again?) just used it as their goal-post for fling-flong. He isn't going to be looking the dictionary anytime soon to check what the feeling is.

"Derek." Her eyes, still hazy, are open now. "What are you doing here?"

(When were she and Trollman going to go ring shopping, again?)

"I hate you," he says.

She looks at him, confused, "And this couldn't have waited until the morning because...?"

He keeps forgetting. Are they past the charade? He had thought so, but sometimes he felt he had to hold on to his illusions that no, no she doesn't make him feel…she doesn't make him feel.

Her hand reaches out automatically, "Derek, what is it? Why do you look so…like this?"

For answer he rests his head on her knees, and takes her hand in his and he's such a fucking girl. He feels her stiffen under him. The last five years have been absolute hell, so he had to press the rewind button, and find out where the plot digressed from what was always going to be the unplanned, unstated dénouement.

And tonight...tonight he's going to set it right because hey, he knows his audience and the tragic, unrequited...whatever, isn't going to cut it.

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a mass of green and red. Her frown widens, "What the…"

He puts it over her head, and leans in, breath ghosting her lips, "Its tradition. Nobody breaks tradition." And then finally.

(Maybe it's the apocalypse come early, because he can feel the night grow white-hot and split apart. These days his character is quite poetic. It appeals to both the classes and the masses. He knows these things even though he can't write her and she slips out of his narratives and refuses to be directed by him because it's Casey McDonald and that's always been explanation enough for anyone with the slighest idea of consistency in characterization.)

And he whispers I hate you again (and it sounds way too much like another four letter word that he can't quite place) and maybe, maybe she gets it because he thinks she just said I hate you too.

...

The thing to know about him is; he's always been clueless. Like that movie Casey likes so much. The one in which those step-siblings get together. And he's always never wondered whether that was supposed to imply something.

It took eight years and the editing of a previous scene, but turns out, maybe it was.

Because when he's with her, it's like that corny fountain moment (Oh my God, I love Josh). And since he's not the director anymore, he's totally not responsible. He's just an actor now, and what rights do they have in the actual making of the films anyway. He's just parroting lines somebody else wrote.

The female lead?

Blame the casting director.

...

Scene 10000001. Act-sorry-did-he-look-like-he-cared?

It ends like this: They're fighting.

(Like he said. Duh.)

She's burning bright, and he's barely listening. She's screaming at him how could you have been so rude to Truman and Vicky. I'm their daughter'sgodmother remember?

She's still in her bridal wear in their newly made marriage bed. And god it's so insanely hot.

He's standing there, watching her work herself up in a frenzy of anger, her hair almost standing up, her mouth forming insults and it's like a revelation: he's going to watch this every night.

(Cut)

...

The End