Notes: For ninja butterfliie, who is now seventeen. I think. I'm shamelessly wooing her with lots of sexy times, duh.

Attack of the Body Snatchers

Casey had an odd look on her face. One that suggested she might just throw herself infront of a freight train. Emily looked woefully at her spoils from the vending machines, and then stuffed her best friend's hands with candy bars. "Case? What's up?"

"I have a—" Casey trailed off and stared at her candy bar in pitiful confusion. Emily sent several very nasty looks at the group of sniggering sophomores listening in on their conversation, and then gently peeled off the wrapper.

Casey stared blankly at the wall, her head cocked just slightly to the side. Emily patted her cheek, with no response. "Casey. Casey, hello? Do you read me?"

"I don't get it," Casey said mournfully, and started ripping her chocolate bar into little, crumbly pieces absently. Emily removed it from her immediate vicinity. Casey kneaded at the air for a moment, still looking a little lost, and then abrupt snapped around to face Emily, the full force of her concentration turned up to maximum intensity. It made Emily feel a little awkward.

"I think something's in the air," she said lowly and swiftly, shooting surreptitious glances over her shoulders before bending in nearer. Emily didn't realize she had flattened herself against the lockers until the nasty sophomores started laughing again. She looked at them poisonously. Casey was still talking, "Because, because I mean—it's like it's one of those body snatcher alien movies where people start acting weird and—"

Casey abruptly went rigid as a hand tugged on her shoulder from behind. Emily studied her friend's expression of total dread with some interest, before following the hand on her shoulder back to its owner.

Derek sure looked a little twitchy. Not to the casual observer, of course, but she'd practically aced the class on him, considering how much studying she did. "Casey, Em," he smiled very widely. Casey was retreating as fast as she could. "I was just. Can I carry your books or something?"

It took Emily a moment to realize he was talking to Casey and not her. Casey was on the verge of hyperventilating, judging by how tightly she drew her text books to her chest, narrowing her eyes at Derek in deep suspicion. Emily thought her brain might be breaking.

"Sure you can," she found herself saying, and shoved her textbooks at Derek, who stared at them stupidly for a moment, before taking them limply and striding off, slowing pointedly when Casey did not immediately rush to his side.

Emily wondered what those sophomores would do if she started slamming her head into the wall.

When the got to the classroom, Derek rushed to open the door for them. Casey drew back in repulsion, and Emily was fighting down hysterical laughter. After a moment she walked past him, with Casey edging past in her wake, looking, for lack of a better word, terrified.

Emily believed in confronting problems. Which is why she went to Sam.

"Did you drug Derek?" she asked him bluntly, and held the candy bar in front of his nose. He licked his lips. She raised her eyebrows and drew it away pointedly, his eyes tracking it's progress.

"Dude, no. He's trying to flirt with Casey."

Emily narrowed her eyes and held the candy over the trashcan threateningly. It didn't work. Sam looked like he'd probably just dig it out anyways, and so she took a rather menacing bite instead. "He's been flirting with Casey for years."

"Changed his tactic," Sam said, as though in deep pain, and after a moment, Emily held out her hand. He snatched the candy away and squirreled over it, obviously pleased.

"Derek hasn't been possessed by aliens," Emily told Casey later. Casey didn't look all that convinced, so Emily added, "He's just really stupid."

Casey didn't seem to have a problem with the latter statement. "I think he wants my stereo," she confided shiftily, and darted another look down the hallway. Emily looked at her in disbelief.

"Oh, no. That's not it at all."

"Here," Derek popped up over Casey's shoulder, and Emily briefly admired his ability to stifle Casey's mad shriek. He sort of threw a bouquet of flowers at her, and Emily thought Casey's wide eyed horror was sort of unfair. They were a very lovely orange.

"Never," Casey hissed, and shook the mound of tiger lilies in his face, before stomping away. She took the flowers. Derek looked entirely too smug. Emily stared at him knowingly.

"What?" he asked defensively. Emily continued to stare, until he threw up his hands in exasperation. "Hey, I've seen the crap she reads. She likes it. I'm being romantic." He gagged a little. "I was thinking about writing her poetry next."

Emily shuddered. "Oh, god, please don't."

Emily wasn't all that surprised when Casey called her later that night, whispering, and so obviously hiding in the game's closet. "Emily. Your parents are lawyers, right? I need your help taking out a restraining order."

Emily massaged her forehead. "Uh-huh. What'd he do?"

"He tried to hold my hand." Casey said, dripping with disgust. "Actually, he sort of did. I was watching a movie, so I didn't really notice for like…an hour."

"Casey, you can't take a restraining order out on someone for holding your hand. You live in the same house. It wouldn't work."

"We can buy off the judge!"

"Go to sleep." Emily ordered, "I'll take care of it."

She hung up, and scrolled through contacts. He picked up on the fourth ring. "Hey." He sounded kind of dreamy. Emily was briefly nauseated.

"How's everything working out for you?" she asked tiredly. Derek cackled.

"Brilliant. She won't even know we're going out until we're at the three month anniversary."

"Oh, good god," Emily snarled, and hung up.