I'm going to go ahead and make it perfectly clear that this fic is a Train Wreck. I worked on it for three days and it's still nowhere near what I'd intended it to be, what I'd wanted it to be, but I've thrown in the towel as far as trying to fix it goes. Too damn frustrating to do anything else. (For a full report, see the quick AN at the end.)

Meanwhile.

I am officially obsessed with LwD. (Just thought I'd get that out there.)

Also.

I'm gonna go ahead and dedicate this to unoriginal-elizabeth (whose fics I've been blitzkrieg-ing [??] through in between trying to strangulate this fic into cooperating with me), because she's brilliant. And I can. So there. (Incidentally, if you haven't read her stories yet then get the hell away from here and go Do That. Immediately.)

And.

This is future-fic --takes place a couple months after they get to university. And that's the only context I'm offering.

That is all.

(Except: If I owned it, there'd be a lot more contrived sex and a lot less Everything Else.)


PB & Casey

:: in which Derek has a(n inexcusably drawn-out) peanut butter-induced epiphany/temporary psychosis and then lots of Inexplicable Things happen::

"I'm going to have sex tonight." She declares like tomorrow is Finals, and he's afraid he's slipping when it takes him a full couple of heartbeats before he remembers to cringe like he can't think of anything in the world that disgusts him more. The plastic spatula he's got wedged into the peanut butter jar snaps in half loudly and unexpectedly all the same (right smack dab in the middle of the affected silence that follows her proclamation), as if to defy him, as if it means to undermine his implacability.

He slants a meaningful glare straight into the creamy depths and vows silent reprisal as soon as they're alone.

Meanwhile, Casey's sitting beside him on the sofa, hands fisted in the fabric of her skirt, bunching it (white-knuckled) at her knees while her eyes bounce restlessly from the coffee table to the egg chair in the corner to the television (which is off only because it hasn't been working since yesterday when Rachel put a stiletto through the screen on her way out; he can't decide if, in the immediate aftermath of the 'well-I-had-a-great-night, have-a-nice-life' farewell speech he prefers the violence to his One True Love over the tears) and back again. She's waiting for him to say something, say anything, he can feel it, and he wonders if it would be insensitive of him to ask her some of the burning questions her (frankly rather shocking) announcement has inspired (things like, 'who am I going to have to publicly humiliate and possibly murder for giving you a copy of the key to my place?' and maybe, 'can I borrow fifteen dollars before we decide not to have this conversation?' and his personal favorite: 'when are you leaving?').

Instead, however, he chooses to let the silence stretch out between them, focusing the whole of his (truly astonishing) mental faculties on willing Casey to do that highly-amusing Nervous Tic thing she does when she's facing high-stress situations such as these. (He has a working theory –which he's been having Edwin observe and document whenever she stops by the ol' homestead—that she's really a cyborg sent from the future to annoy him to death and prevent him from becoming the Greatest, Sexiest Hockey Player of All Time, and if they just push her far enough, she'll short-circuit and explode.)

They're almost four minutes into the lull when he decides he's about twelve seconds away from implementing 'Operation: Remove Casey' (a spontaneous though inspired scheme involving him frog-marching her out the front door), maybe with a few well-placed, scathing remarks (for old-times' sake) and a swift kick to her self-esteem, so that she'll feel bad enough about herself that maybe she'll swear off sex altogether.

Not that he cares if one of her picture-perfect, spineless, boring boyfriends wants to paw clumsily at her in the dark, where they won't have to see the angry boils she has craftily concealed beneath her clothing. He just prefers not to have this conversation –now or ever, and especially not with Casey. You know, because it would be disgusting. (Gross, gag, yuck, and ewwww-disgusting.) And because it looks like maybe part of her really wants it, and his stomach knots uncomfortably at the insight. Probably because, as a matter of general principle, he has issues with letting Casey have anything she wants, but he also has suspicions about the peanut butter conspiring with its expiration date to destroy his digestive tract—

"De-rek," she says, finally, and he mentally pencils in another point for himself as his eyes flicker briefly toward the clock (five minutes on the dot for her to crack and start wheedling).

"I would definitely rather discuss the latest Hugh Frank movie."

"Hugh Grant. And...what?"

"Look, as much as I usually enjoy talking about subjects that absolutely repulse me, I actually prefer the game when none of the options concern you."

"Game?" She wonders, her face scrunching even as her fists loosen their death grip on her skirt. He's almost disappointed that she's walking into this one, but he supposes it would hardly be any fun if she didn't ever play along.

"Oh. Are we not playing 'Would you rather…?' You should really have said something. Could've avoided all this confusion." He jabs a finger disaffectedly into the buttery peanuts and comes up with a stringy gob of the stuff. He offers her the finger mock-sincerely and shrugs when she only rolls her eyes at him, and then shoves the digit into his mouth while his eyes roll back into his head in exaggerated bliss.

"De-rek, this is serious." She insists, and proceeds to pull a four-year-old-Smarti by beating her feet on the floor in rapid succession, as if this will miraculously make him more willing to discuss this. He looks up in time to catch her biting her lower lip and accidentally tries to take a bite out of his pointer finger.

Peanut butter, he growls disdainfully. In his head.

"Well, in that case, I'm all ears." He flops back into the sofa and allows himself to be enveloped by the queer-smelling plush of the cushions. "If this is serious, Case, then why on earth are ya' here? Have I taught you nothing about how little I care about…well, most things?"

"Excepting Marti, hockey, and food, I know, I know," she begins, sighing exasperatedly, and starts to forge ahead when he cuts her off,

"You're forgetting girls, Spacey. Kinda one of the important ones." She glares at him and his stomach does that tightening thing again. He's really going to have to start checking the dates on his groceries, or at the very least glance at them if the products have managed to collect both dust and cobwebs—

"I didn't forget, you Neanderthal. If you'd let me finish, I was going to say that the only other thing in which you express even remote interest is girls, and then I was going to segue into—"

"Woah, woah, woah. Casey, I left my alien language translator in my other apartment. Try to remember that I don't speak Keener."

"And then I was GOING to transition into asking you some questions about why I'm here." Sometimes she really is impressive, he thinks off-handedly. How she manages to enunciate so clearly when her teeth are grating against each other like that is really a wonder.

"Why are you here, anyway?" She throws her hands up in the air and makes an infuriated noise. One of his favorite tactics is to couple the Circle-Talking with a well-timed Pretending-to Forget-the-Topic, peppered with a bit of Pointless, Provoking Interjections for good measure. Casey is particularly vulnerable to this combo attack.

"I can't BELIEVE I came here tonight, thinking to ask your advice. I keep forgetting that you're totally incapable of acting like a decent human being! Never mind that you're the only one on this entire campus –besides Nick (he tenses at the name and forgets to blame the peanut butter)—I actually know, never mind that I'm having a legitimate CRISIS here, or that I'm feeling a lot of pressure to do this but I'm scared and uncertain and afraid I'm about to make a huge mistake—!" She's cut short by a sob that ruptures the flow of her speech, and his eyes are huge as he stares up at her (he doesn't remember when she stood and started pacing; he is only aware of the way her whole frame sags when she stops to breathe), and he wants to make fun of her for revealing to him –of all people—that she's a virgin (not that he ever thought otherwise), but he's a bit busy being unnerved by the fact that the thought only drudges reluctantly along behind the initial compulsion to jump up, cast the peanut butter uncaringly aside, and…and…and he isn't sure what, but he knows it involves touching, probably hugging, possibly comforting and maybe even a practical demonstration of what to expect, of why there's really no reason to be so anxious—

And then she's spinning away from him with a disappointed, agonized Look on her face, and the tears that usually freeze him in place instead spur him into thoughtless action, because one minute he's sitting on his sofa and the next he's tripping over the damn coffee table in his mad dash to catch up with Casey, who's retrieving her coat from the rack beside the door and making a grab for the knob—

"Case," he says, out of breath by the time he slams into the door to stop her from leaving. "Casey." He has no idea what to say to her. What does she want from him? Why come to him? Even if what she says is true, even if he is the only person she's gotten to know so far (apart from this sketchy-sounding 'Noah' character), in what world does Casey McDonald ever come to Derek Venturi for help?

And then Derek has an epiphany. (Or something. He's not entirely sure. These things don't happen often and it may just as easily be the peanut butter talking.) Clearly, she is here hoping that he'll talk her out of it, tell her that all guys –no exceptions—are your typical, scum-of-the-earth variety, and that Ned (Nate? Norm?), too, probably belongs in the loving-and-leaving category. Or better, she's hoping that he'll meddle and…and sabotage the evening. She's too chicken-shit to just say 'no' to the guy, so she's come to him in the hopes that he'll take his cue and ruin things (as he is, admittedly, wont to doing) so she won't have to. Then later, she can pretend to be angry with him when really it's what she wanted all along.

Really, he thinks. The mind games.

There is no other explanation for it. He cannot imagine any other valid reason she would ever come to him for… assistance. Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to understand that he only screws with her when she doesn't want him messing things up, and he does so on his terms.

The epiphany-part of all this is that he's actually proud of her for trying to be sneaky, for making a halfway impressive attempt to manipulate him into acting on her behalf. Also, while he's reflecting on how delightfully underhanded of her this is, he realizes he's been staring at her (mouth) for Far Too Long now, and he has absolutely no clue what his face has been doing all this time.

"Casey," He says again, careful to keep his voice steady, "that whole Klutzilla thing really is contagious, isn't it? I've lived in this apartment almost two months now without incident, and then the first night you invade without my permission and I almost impale myself on the stiletto popping out of the t.v." She shoots him an incredulous look and another frustrated noise and tries to pull the door open again. He sinks back against it and she stumbles sideways and he wants to let her fall, but it's already too late to take back the hand at her hip, steadying her while she chokes in a breath that staggers and trips and collides with a soft, feminine sound that flavors his epiphany with something vaguely akin to dread.

He's thinking about doing something Very Stupid.

"I'm…I'm leaving now, Derek. Get out of the way." The palm against her hip is moistening. He can't remember that ever happening before. It's just her hip, for cryin' out loud, fully-covered, even.

"Come on now, sis," the moniker pops off his tongue with significant emphasis, and her expression falls to wary. She flinches when the hand not currently still at her waist drags a wayward tear from her cheek before it has the chance to roll off of her face, but she holds her ground and now he's preparing to do something Very Stupid. Because even if he's been kidding himself since the moment he first paid Ralph to pretend to be him so he could put off being forced to endure the batshit crazy, clearly neurotic, painfully uncool, maddeningly attractive company of the girl-who-would-become-his-stepsister, he thinks he's known for a while that this moment would eventually stretch up and out of his eerily vivid and wildly inappropriate fantasies (which he entertains far more frequently than he will ever admit to under anything other than Geneva Convention-infringing torture –and hey, he's learning something in PoliSci after all) and pull them both under. "I suppose I could set aside the antagonism for a few seconds and fulfill my obligations to you as your brother." He watches the caution transpose itself into full-blown, narrow-eyed suspicion.

"You're not my brother, Derek." She snips, and her palm flattens against the door where she had been reaching for the handle. It's the response he wants, the one he knows she'll give, because the Code between them has always and forever (since Day One) agreed on this one thing: that the correct reply to indirect and/or inadvertent allegations that they are related by anything other than ink and paper is to immediately deny, deny, deny. The prompt comes in many shapes and forms, but the answer is invariably the same swift, essentially automatic negation. And that's usually the end of the matter. Wherever the conversation was left hanging before the claim was made is where it picks up again, skipping over the minor hiccup like it had never happened at all.

Derek nudges his epiphany and decides to shake things up a bit.

She knows something's up, and since it's him and it's her he knows she's expecting the worst. He would hate to disappoint her.

So,

"I know." He says, his voice scraping past a whisper and flirting indecently with a growl (it's taken years of careful refinement to get it just right, and he hopes she appreciates the effort). His hand's still at her hip (he doesn't know why, but he hasn't made any plans yet to remove it), so he feels her tense as he says it, knows she's going to take a hesitant step back an instant before she actually does it, and he follows her, invading her space the way she's been invading his since she moved into his house all those many years ago, imperiously, without asking permission and without remorse. "Unluckily for you, Case, Derek Venturi doesn't do things –especially do-goody things—for free. So if I'm gonna be forced to play nice and start dishing trade secrets, then Princess," he says, pausing for effect and then looking pointedly at her in challenge (and she effectively bolsters his resolve when she trades the suspicion for that outraged expression she wears that tells him she's about to rise to the occasion), "you're gonna have to make it worth my while."

Casey looks embarrassed, flustered, outraged, furious, and the flush looks good on her. Derek has no problem admitting that there are few things that make him happier than watching her fly off the handle.

(Without warning, he has a flash of that nightmare Shakespeare project from senior year in high school, and with it comes a crystal-clear image of Casey emerging from the bathroom, clad only in a towel and wielding a hairbrush and a dryer in one hand, an electric toothbrush humming away in her mouth as she marched purposefully toward her room, mumbling something unintelligible that sounded like 'Rawzenfrantch and Gidensteen' and looking for all the world like some battle goddess on a warpath.)

"You," she begins, and then she takes a step into his bubble (and now he knows the reason why he's always been so adamant about keeping her out of it--) "you're such a…such a pig! You're crude and inappropriate and stupid and gross and annoying!" She pokes him in the chest each time she hurls an adjective at him and it's getting irritating (--it's because she has these huge eyes--), "You're insufferable! And shameless! And vile!" (--and this round mouth--) "And irresponsible and lazy and insensitive and selfish and…and bad at hockey! And…" She leans forward just so, the one finger at his chest becomes five, splayed with tips brushing his collarbone, (--and just what the hell is happening anymore, anyway? because Casey surely hadn't come here for this--), and there's a new, just-barely pressure at his thigh, where her thigh is suddenly almost-touching (--and even if he's decided to Be Stupid, it doesn't mean she has any right to encourage this sort of behavior; this is his Temporary Insanity, dammit, she's not supposed to help him commit the crime--), and then her head is tilting up toward him (--and--), "…and…wow, Derek, your breath smells terrible."

(Well.)

They meet in the middle and it's just like every impromptu power struggle they've ever had: malicious (almost savage –he bites her, and her hand tightens in his scalp as she topples him against the door), unrestrained (he wastes no time cinching her legs around his waist, but it's Little Miss Prudey-Innocent who makes the first -violent- thrust), totally chaotic (she's everywhere, all over him, and he cannot believe that he's actually having to keep up with her, instead of the other way around), and immediately, inevitably a battle (he rips the skirt off of her because it seems like an appropriately inconsiderate thing to do –but it's harder than it sounds; he really has to pull—and she sharply fractures his name the instant before she pushes him to the ground). And it would hardly be characteristic of them not to be loud and carelessly destructive, so there's a lot of yelling (Derek discovers that Casey has all sorts of innovative ways to pronounce his name) and an (epic) path of devastation an entire apartment-wide (in the morning he'll probably be upset that they've managed to break all of his lamps. and his Very Expensive stereo. and an arm of the sofa. and the shower curtain. and--), too.

***

Later, when she's retrieving articles of clothing from various places throughout the apartment, and they're Pointedly Avoiding the 'What the Hell Comes Now?' portion of the program, Casey wanders into his room again, eyes darting about to-and-fro for her socks (among the last articles to leave her body), and she's got the jar of peanut butter in one hand, and the broken stem of a plastic spatula dangling conspicuously out of her mouth. And he's really not that tired, after all (even though his clock is insisting that it's eight a.m., one of those hours he swears doesn't actually exist), because it's a matter of principle that Casey's just Not Allowed to eat his food.

So Casey ends up having sex this morning, too.


Oh, man. This one really got away from me (if you think I don't realize how long and rambly it is, think again). I kept trying to tie it all together, and clichés just kept hopping up and smacking me in the face and it simply would not go where I wanted. I just wanted them to have a Sex Chat (served with a healthy portion of UST), but Derek simply would not be talked out of trying to get into Casey's pants.

So Casey's initial problem –the whole 'wanting to sleep with [Convenient-Plot-Device-OC]' thing she'd come over to discuss in the first place kinda just got dropped in favor of Derek having an epiphany which –naturally—culminated in him getting it on with his step-sister. The boy's hormones are really just out of control. I had no way to stop them once they took over.

The point is this: I'd like to apologize for the reckless behavior of this vignette. It started strong, with clear goals and convictions, but it got off track somewhere along the way and fell in with the wrong sort of crowd, and by the time I realized what had happened it was too far gone to be redeemed.

The State recommended Rehabilitation, but I took the easy way out and said 'fuck it,' gave up on it, posted it, and then went to make myself a snack.

Oh, well. Can't win 'em all.