Entitled: For Reasons Unknown
Fandom: Life With Derek
Words: 7,500 words
Setting: Around a year after season four.
Disclaimer: I do not own Life With Derek and etc.
Notes: Alright, this is the racy fic. I did it. I wrote what I have been promising everyone for roughly two years. I am both stupidly proud of myself and horribly embarrassed. Writing this required extensive research and weeks of mental preparation. I don't recommend it.

The phone rang at precisely four thirteen in the morning. Casey threw out an arm blindly, snatching it from the dresser table and mashing the hard plastic against her ear. "Nngh?" she inquired.

"Casey," said a distinctly familiar voice, "You moved your spare key."

Casey hung up. As an after thought, she switched off her phone, got out of bed, and carefully buried it under several layers of socks. One could never be too careful when dealing with Derek.

She had almost fallen asleep again when a hand fell upon her shoulder, and she was forced to scream bloody murder.

"Would you stop hitting me?!" Derek demanded irritably, and swatted at the lamp she was thrusting towards him, "It's just me."

Casey blinked at him. Absently, she reached up a hand to smooth down her hair. She looked around suspiciously. "How did you get into my apartment?"

"Chatted up the manager."

"She's sixty."

"Not bad for her age," Derek noted sarcastically, and Casey shuddered. He dropped what sounded like several bags to the floor, and then made her mattress squeal as he sat on the edge of it, bending down and jerking off his shoes.

Casey sat up, alarmed. "Hey. What."

"You have no idea," Derek said darkly, fumbling with the knots, "How tired I am right now."

"Yeah, but," she kicked at him weakly, "Why are you even here?"

"Because some moron was too lazy to pay for garbage pick-up, has been disposing of his trash by flushing it down the toilet, and today he made the fatal error of actually using his bathroom." Derek shrugged out of his jacket, rolling his shoulders. "Ignition pee, I guess."

"He blew up the plumbing?!" Casey repeated, and then narrowed her eyes suspiciously, "It was you, wasn't it?"

"Of course not, I put all my trash in the neighbor's bins when they aren't looking." He scrambled out of his shirt. Casey watched fuzzily, her eyes already halfway shut.

"Oh. As expected…" she yawned, before remembering that Derek would probably blow up her toilet too, should she give him the chance, "I'm kicking you out."

"No, you aren't, you're too noble for that," he stressed, stretched, and flopped down on the bed. They lay facing one another, Casey blinking furiously. After a moment, Derek frowned, his arms stiffening. "I knew it. Too small."

And with that, she found herself unceremoniously dumped on the floor.

Casey stared at the ceiling for a moment, then finally shirked the last of her sleepiness and leapt upright, "Excuse me?" she snapped, snatching her pillow from beneath his head and hitting him with it, "You wake me up at hour in the morning, break in, scare the crap out of me, don't even ask if you can stay, and then you take over my bed?"

"Casey," Derek raised his head slightly, peeping out from beneath her covers. "You're loud."

"You're a selfish asshole! Of course I'm loud!" Casey shrilled, and hit him again. This backfired slightly, when Derek seized the pillow, wrestled it away from her, and hugged it firmly.

"O-kay," he coached, "Frankly, you are being a really shitty hostess, and—enough with the lamp already!"

He took that too. Casey cast around desperately for another weapon, which proved slightly pointless when he grabbed her wrists, glaring.

"Okay," he said pleasantly, "Look at it this way, you have been asleep for about six hours now, whereas I will be getting about three. Suck it up."

"I went to bed at two," Casey lied shamelessly, "And it's my bed. And I never even said you could stay. And, guess what, I don't want you to."

His jaw tightened for a moment before abruptly swung his legs out and stood, his back to her, painfully silent as he stooped and grabbed his things. Casey crossed her arms and set her jaw. He made his way to the door, fumbling in the dark. The knob rattled. Her resolve crumbled.

"Derek—okay, look, fine. You can stay here." she ran to the door, sticking her head out into the hall, "Derek, you—you baby! I was kidding! Come on, I was just a little cranky! Don't tell mom!"

After several painful hours on the couch, Casey came to the distinct impression that she had been duped. She sat up groggily after several hours of attempted sleep and shuffled into the kitchen, robotically laying out her breakfast, snapping open a new box of cereal and automatically pouring the rest into a salad bowl. She spent several moments contentedly crunching her cereal. And then Derek woke up.

He wandered in with his eyes scrunched so tightly they appeared almost shut, reaching out blindly and clamping onto the nearest available object.

"That's my shoulder," Casey prompted helpfully. He patted it after a moment of consideration and then simply stood there, looking entirely brain-dead. Casey rolled her eyes, and pointed. "Sit."

He fell onto the stool beside her, finally spotting the salad bowl and pulling it towards him. He stared at the dry cereal blankly for several minutes, until Casey finally took pity on him and thrust the milk towards him. He stared at her plaintively. Her lip curled. "You cannot be serious."

He continued looking pathetic. She poured the milk, and looked up in time to see him smirk. Her hands froze. "Why do I keep falling for that?!"

"Like I care. Get me a spoon." Derek ordered cheerfully. Casey totally and completely abandoned him.

"Casey," he whined. She ignored him, focusing firmly on the newspaper before her. She read the sentence 'Today's weather forecast indicates a slight chance of rain,' seven times before Derek's anguished moans shattered her composure.

"Derek! I'm not getting you a spoon, alright? Learn to fend for yourself!"

"Fine." He glared. And then stole her spoon.

Casey sputtered indignantly, "Hey!"

"Don't be such a whiner," he said immediately and without an ounce of shame. Casey gaped at him, and then came upon a sudden realization. She straightened, fixing him with her firmest look. Derek continued eating his cereal. As an afterthought, he took her paper too. She cleared her throat. He seemed blissfully unaware.

"Okay, Derek," she said finally, and ignored the feeling that she was talking to a brick wall, "I get it. I know you just love bugging me, but guess what? That stops now! Because unlike you, I have learned to be an adult! So go ahead!" she stood up, and treated him to her most glowing smile. Derek frowned.

"Whatever. Can't you see I'm reading here?" he tossed her spoon onto the counter, lifted the salad bowl to his lips and took a loud, slurping gulp.

She almost fell for it. Almost. Paul would be so proud of her.

"You're right, sorry," she said sweetly, and then flounced out of the room. The look on his face was worth ten birthday parties. Gently shutting the bathroom door behind her, she faced the mirror.

Her reflection was grinning so hard it looked painful.

"Good work, Casey," she told it, "Be the bigger person."

"Casey!" Derek yelled from the other side of the door, "What the hell is this crap in your living room? Is this supposed to be art? Wait—you did these?"

She popped her head around the door, "Oh, I'm sorry. I guess you'll just have to tolerate them until your plumbing's fixed. I hope that's alright? If it's not, I guess we could take them down."

Derek gaped at her. "Yeah," he said slowly, "I guess." He looked at her long and hard. Casey's grin grew.

Derek scoffed, "Whatever, Casey. I guess you showed me." He beamed back at her. Her stomach clenched.

"I don't know what you mean," she said, her voice dripping with generosity and sincerity, "Really, Derek, I just hope we'll be able to put our past differences behind us. If you'll excuse me now, I have to get into intern mode."

She was halfway through shampooing with the bathroom door burst open. Casey screeched, seizing the shower curtain and drawing it tight around herself. Water sopping into her eyes, and her face flaming, she gaped at Derek. He waved his toothbrush jauntily, eyebrows up.

"Oh, I'm sorry," he said sweetly, "This doesn't bother you, does it?"

Casey swallowed. Her responding smile wobbled a little. "Not at all!" she laughed a little hysterically, and ducked back into the spray. She took a deep breath, and then noisily launched into one of the most popular girl-band songs she knew.

Derek managed to rinse and spit in about half a second.

Norman leaned over her desk, "Cassandra, it has come to my attention that you are wearing burettes today. Such frivolity is entirely not related to your work, and is highly distracting for others. I must request that you remove them immediately." He gave a little sniff upon conclusion, and adjusted his tie self-importantly. Casey reached up to touch her barrettes self-consciously.

"But, Nomran," she wibbled, "They're shiny!"

"Precisely," Norman agreed with a concise nod, "A leading cause in the decline of today's work ethic—rhinestones."

"Norman, shut it," Cameron advised. She continued filling her long, scarlet nails. Norman bristled.

"Miss Razinski! Your feet! They're on your desk!"

"Duh," Cameron dragged out the sound, blinking heavily made up eyelashes. "Jesus, Norman, maybe the reason why work ethic is so low is because you harass women for wearing anything. Nothing is inoffensive. Should we all show up naked? I'm sure it would boost moral!"

"I can just take them out," Casey mumbled in a very small voice, but the storm had already began.

"I," Norman began in a tone of shaking rage, "Am a feminist."

"Sure!" Cameron sneered, her legs sliding off the desk, feet hitting the floor with a plastic skid, "So long as feminism means a total uniform conservatism of everything with breasts!"

"Why, I—!" Norman's shouted rebuttle was lost to Casey, who had made a rather desperate lunge towards the phone the second it started ringing.

"Hello?" she asked breathlessly, with one hand pressed over her other ear.

There was a long silence. "Hello? Anyone there?" Casey repeated pleadingly.

"Are you alright?" Derek asked, sounding like the words were pulled from him along with his teeth. Casey blinked.


"There's someone in the background screaming that you should wear thigh highs and a leather collar."

"Wh—oh. Yes. Well, they aren't referring to me specifically—"

"Are you sure you work at a newspaper company and not a brothel?" Derek asked sweetly. Casey choked.

"Derek!" she snapped, "They—they record all our calls on company phones! Stop it!"

"Do they?" Derek asked slowly, in such a way that Casey could imagine the evil smile. "Well, well. You sound a bit flustered there, Case."

Casey froze. And then, in a movement she had perfected from long years of acting, drew back her composure. Her voice smooth and level, she cleared her throat.

"No, I'm not," she chirped, "I've just—" glancing at the clock, a perfectly valid and in fact truthful excuse popped into her head, "I've just got a meeting in a moment."

"Huh…" Derek trailed off pensively. Casey was almost hyperventilating with terror.

"Why exactly did you call me, again?" she twirled the phone's cord around one of her fingers absently.

"Because," he said after a long pause, and her neck prickled at the slow, sultry tone his voice had dropped to, "I think it's time for our appointment."

"Wh-what?" Casey coughed. "Wait, don't—"

"What are you wearing?" Derek purred.

Casey slammed the phone down, her heart pounding and her breathing erratic.

"—you think, Casey?"

"Chastity belts!" Casey yelled feverishly, haphazardly grabbing and organizing her papers, "Women! We need—chastity belts! For—bad men! Very bad! Bad Casey!"

Cameron stared at the flustered intern, before slowly shaking head and picking up her coat, following Casey into the meeting room. "I wouldn't go that far," Norman said considering at her side.

Casey had all but forgotten the ominous call she'd gotten from Derek, when the receptionist poked his head through the meeting door, nodding towards her. "Call on line two."

The man who had been speaking quickly wrapped up his line of thought, and on that note, her boss nodded towards her, Casey leaned forward and took the call on speaker. "Yes?"

"Hey," Derek's voice said lightly, "I've got my hand down my pants and I'm thinking of you."

She hadn't known it was physically possible to feel yourself go white. The entire meeting room turned to look at her, each some mixture of scandalized and surprised. Casey opened her mouth to say something—and absolutely no sound came out. She swallowed.

"Hey, are you going to talk me through this or not?" Derek purred, "You know what else I've got down here? Your picture."

There was a horrible, horrible pause, and when he spoke again, Derek's voice was notably changed, "Hey Casey, annoyed yet?"

"I think you've got the wrong number," she whispered.

Please, she thought.

"Oh." Derek said suddenly. "Yeah, I do. Sorry."

The line went dead. Casey put her face in her hands and tried not to cry.

"Well, that was exciting." Cameron said into the ringing silence.

"Best meeting ever." Said one of the computer guys.

Derek was spinning in her desk chair when she got back. She didn't bother asking how he'd made it past security. He held out a takeout bag, head cocked. She reached inside, unwrapped her hamburger, and smashed it into his face.

People still filing out of the conference room stopped. A couple of them turned around and went back in.

"I hate mustard," Derek said after a moment, almost cautiously. Casey's face split into a vicious smile.

"You know what Derek?" she picked out a napkin, and dabbed at his face, "It doesn't really bother me."

He squirmed uncomfortably, "Casey, look, I'm—I didn't know you were on speaker—"

"No!" she said again, smacking his head lightly, "I told you! It's fine."

Derek looked at her worriedly, "Uh, it is?"

"Yes," she said sweetly, "Because I'm about to get the recording and send it to every single one of your ex-girlfriends."

Derek stared at her in speechless horror. One of the techie guys nudged his buddy, muttering, "That has got to be like the fastest recovery ever."

Casey strode out of the office purposefully, set and decided upon her goal. Derek ran after her, leaving a trail of French fries behind him. "Casey!"

She didn't so much as turn around, "Fair's fair, right?" she jabbed at the elevator button repeatedly. Derek watched her repeatedly hammer on it, but chose not to comment. "Couldn't you just hit me?"

"No," she said brightly, "Actually, nothing satisfies me as much as the thought of your total humiliation."

Derek stared at her. When the elevator doors opened, he made no move to get on after her. She set her back against the wall and said, just as the doors were closing, "You did surprise me, though. That move back there? That was something Truman would have done, but I didn't think you would."

The doors slid shut. Casey stared at them, polished and metal, her heart beating unnaturally fast. One hand came up to press against her chest, at the space between her breasts. There hadn't been anything fake about the look he'd given her, and she knew that on some base, instinctive level.

Outside, it was raining. She stood between doors, her nose nearly pressed to the glass, as it grew progressively darker outside. She stuck out her lip, anxious. She'd thought she'd only have to wait for a few minutes, not hours. Finally abandoning her post, she stormed back inside, riding the elevator back up. The security guards glanced at her, snickering.

Derek was almost exactly where she'd left him, leaning against the wall. She rolled her eyes, striding closer to him, licking her thumb and angrily wiping the last bit of mustard off his face.

"What're you doing here? Forget something?" he asked, sounding almost hostile. Casey narrowed her eyes at him.

"I changed my mind. I'm not sending that crap out to your ex-girlfriends. I wouldn't want to scar them." She sniffed, and turned partially to the side. The hallway was entirely empty, the offices dark and locked. Derek shrugged.

"I don't care. Go ahead." He said coolly. Casey narrowed her eyes, gripping his arm and pulling.

"Come on. It's raining, and if I'm going to get all wet, then so should you."

"I'm touched," Derek snorted, but allowed her to drag him into the elevator. They broke apart and stood in opposite corners, frowning for different reasons.

The seconds dragged on.

"You hit the button, right?" Derek drawled. Casey scowled at him, then reached forwards and stabbed at the button repeatedly.

Nothing moved.

She tried opening the doors. Derek watched her and then blew out a long, exasperated breath. "Oh, come on."

Tentatively, Casey jabbed the call button. "Hello?"

There was no response.

Very calmly, she set her purse on the floor, shrugged out of her coat, and curled into a ball.

"Uh," she heard Derek say, but as though very distantly, "Case?"

"Shut up," Casey mumbled, and curled up tighter. There came the heavy sound of Derek flopping down beside her. He poked her side.

"Are you claustrophobic or something?"

"A little. I'm doing my breathing exercises." Casey told him importantly. Focusing on her breathing so much was starting to make her dizzy. Derek made an impatient noise, and poked her side again, this time more of a scrape. She tensed, and then scooted away, chewing her lip.

There was a pause.

"Casey," Derek said slowly, "Are you ticklish?"

"No!" Casey denied immediately, but flinched away the second he reached towards her.

She pressed herself against the wall. "Derek," she said as firmly as she could, hoping she didn't look as panicked as she felt, "There's no need to behave childishly."

"You know what's great about elevators?" Derek mused, looking almost predatory, "There's no where to run."

"Derek." She pointed at him firmly, scrambling back from his leisurely advance, "I—this really isn't funny and—and I bet your ticklish too!"

"Want to find out?"

"I—I will!" she threatened. Derek spread his hands insolently.

"Be my guest. Come on over."

Casey eyed him suspiciously. "I am wise to your ways!"

"Well, yeah, Casey. I think a three year old could have figured that one out," he noted dryly, and lunged.

Casey squealed, floundering furiously, "S-Stop it! I'm still mad at you! No—WACK."

"Did you just quack?"

"No!" Casey insisted, grabbing his hands and pushing them back towards him. Derek stroked his chin pensively.

"You look a little annoyed, Casey," he hedged. She spluttered.

"I—! I'm not. I'm just. Thinking about deep and philosophical matters. Philosophical means—"

"I know what it means," Derek interrupted grumpily. It came to her then how closely they were standing, with his lips just at her eye level, and the air was getting strangely hotter—

She stepped suddenly backwards. "Derek! We're suffocating!"

"What?" he repeated, astonished. Casey tugged her coat off impatiently, clawing at the scarf around her neck.

"Us! We're enclosed in a small metal box and our oxygen supply is running out and it's all your fault because you made me laugh so now we're going to die even faster!"

She returned to her ball. Derek made a sound of absolute impatience.

"A small metal box with ventilation, moron," he snarked. She peeked up at him, slouching over her with his hands in his pockets, characteristic smirk in place, and felt herself flush anew. She couldn't seem to stop looking at his forearms.

"No, I really think I'm dying," she said plaintively, "Your brain obviously isn't sensitive enough to register the sensation of all your brain cells imploding, but—"

He squatted down, knees on the floor, leaning slightly towards her, "Why don't you just admit that you're scared?"

She clutched at her elbows, "I'm not!"

"Wimp," Derek sighed, and then sat back, crossing his legs and propping his chin in his hands. Casey stiffened.

"I'm not a wimp!" she protested. Derek tilted his head to the side.

"Okay!" he said cheerfully. Casey leant forwards.

"I'm not!" she blustered. His good-natured smile was very quickly becoming a sneer. Casey caught her breath, oddly dizzy, and abruptly fed up with always being the victim. She leaned forwards, planting her hands on his knees, so close that his bangs brushed against her forehead.

He leaned backwards, "Casey—"

"So, Derek," she asked, her voice unsteady for reasons beyond her comprehension, "Annoyed yet? Scared?"

"No," he said, through his teeth. She refused to look away, pulse slamming against against her throat. She licked her lips nervously, watching him swallow, and then tentatively reached out, brushing his side.

He twitched.

"I knew it," Casey breathed, an enormous grin breaking across her face, eyes sparkling, "I knew it! You are ticklish!"

Derek didn't say anything, and slowly, the light of victory began to drain from her. She observed her step-brother worriedly, noting that he seemed to have gone into shock. "Derek?"

"What the hell," Derek muttered, looking dazed. He blinked twice, and shook his head. "Not funny, Casey."

She stared at him, hands still on his legs, and leaned forwards inquisitively, "Derek, what's—"

He actually fell on his back, holding up his hands defensively, "No touching!"

"Derek!" Casey exclaimed, exasperated, smacking away his hands, "What's your probLAH—" she abruptly lost her balance and fell forwards, chin smacking painfully onto his chest. Derek scooted away from her at a furious pace, but still not fast enough for her to miss the suspicious press against her stomach.

She clambered back onto all fours, her mouth hanging open, staring at him in horror. "Oh, Derek!" she flapped about a bit, at a total loss for words, "Ew!"

"I don't know what you're talking about," he croaked, looking a bit as though someone were strangling him. They again retreated to their respective corners, and silence reigned supreme.

"If you want to—" Casey managed, the words forced, "…take care of that, I could, um, shut my eyes and cover my ears?"

"Don't," Derek growled, staring resolutely at the doors. His knuckles were white. Casey squirmed, pressing her lips together, and then finally edged nearer to him. He glanced at her advance warily.

"Nice weather," she tried. Derek snorted, his head falling back to rest against the elevator wall. After a moment's consideration she reached out and brushed against the side of his stomach as a sort of peace treaty. He flinched.

"Uh, Casey, could you not?"

"Oh, sorry," she flushed, and joined him in staring at the doors.

She stole a glance at him, noting the rather miserable way his shoulders hunched, and cleared her throat.

"Once when I was thirteen," she began, voice horribly loud, "I, uh, I got my period in the middle of a class fieldtrip to the pool."

Derek choked, grinning into one elbow. Casey hugged her knees, feeling encouraged.

"And then before that, when I was twelve, I used to stuff my bra, you know—with tissues and stuff. I did that for this dance reital, right? But one of the tissue wads got loose without my noticing, and slid about halfway down my chest. Everyone called me 'udders' for a month."

"Space Case," Derek snickered, and she shrugged, smiling contentedly, her hands clasped loosely around her legs. He had a nice smile, she thought, a kind one.

It took her a moment to realize that Derek was looking back. She blinked. "What?"

"Yeah…" he trailed off, bit his lip, took a short, deep breath and muttered, "Sorry."

It seemed impossibly slow. His hands settled loosely, one on her shoulder, one of the side of her face, fingers hooking, the press of every digit distinct, blunt and strong, and something about the feel of them sent a shock through her—these were a man's hands. These were Derek's hands.

For a moment he hesitated, and it was only much later that she remembered closing her eyes and leaning in. Her hands were shaking. His were worse.

His final sigh blew across her face, pricking the back of her neck, and he kissed her with his eyes closed. A slow kiss, careful, with both of them blind and reaching, connecting, and behind her eyes there was a steadily building pressure, a blind and reckless force, until she was running her hands through his hair, cradling the back of his neck, and then it simply wasn't enough, with heat pulsing through her body and she wanted something that—suddenly wasn't there.

"Oh, shit," Derek muttered, breaking away from her, his eyes huge and terrified, "Oh, shit."

Casey wobbled, leaning against the wall slightly, her head still spinning. "What?"

"Nothing," Derek said quickly, with shaky smoothness, "Nothing happened. Because you don't want—because. Because in a second you're going to hit me. So that's—it. That's it."

"What if I want to?" she asked, voice small. He shook his head, running a hand back through his hair, brow pinched.

"You don't!" he insisted desperately, chewing the inside of one cheek. Casey swallowed, her gaze dropping down, then back up to his face. Her cheeks flared, but her hands, at least, stayed steady. Fumbling, she reached behind her, tugging her shirt up over her head. She deliberately avoided his gaze, peeling her arms free of the sleeves and letting them lie limp at her sides. Her skin prickled, and she glanced up at him shyly.

Derek had once again resorted to staring sternly at the wall, his back to her. Casey huffed, gritting her teeth. "Derek. Girl getting naked behind you."

"Shh," he waved one hand, "Getting things under control over here."

Made bold by her own aggravation, Casey shuffled forwards, dropping her arms around his shoulders and resting her chin in the crook of his neck. She rubbed at his shoulders, feeling them tense. She braced herself, and then dealt her trump card.

"C'mon, Derek," she whispered, "Please?"

For a moment, nothing happened. And then he was turning and taking her by the small of the back, jerking her close and there was his mouth, hard on her own and kissing her, kissing her more intensely than she knew was possible, running his hands down her bare shoulders, arms, mouth dragging a path from the hollow of her throat and up, back to her mouth.

Her hands fisted, clutching at his shirt, her back arching deliciously, pushing herself forwards, breath hot on his ear. One strap of her bra slid down, and suddenly he was pushing away again, breath hot on her skin, brow resting on her shoulder.

"I can't," he said, though his hands kept trying to pull her in, "I can't."

"Please," she said again, watching him tense, wondering at how easy it was. Cautiously, she reached out, pulling his shirt over his head, his limbs moving with her limply.

"It doesn't—" he looked up, face hard, "It doesn't have to mean anything."

She stopped. The other strap slid down. She felt strangely frozen, shirt gripped hard in her hands. "What?"

"It can just be this once," he said, sounding almost angry, "Just once. And then we stop."

Her eyes narrowed. "Prove it," she snarled, hands on his hips, fingertips slipping under the waistline, "Go on, show me."

Derek was very nearly glaring at her. A muscle in his jaw jumped, hair sticking up wildly. He inched forwards when she pulled her hands away, reaching behind her, and snapping off her bra.

His resolution abruptly jumped out the window. Gaze skidding from her chest to her eyes to the wall and then back to her chest, Derek did his best not to gawk and failed miserably.

Several moments passed. Casey was furiously resisting the urge to cross her arms. "Are you going to touch them, or should I go find someone else?" she hissed grumpily. Derek jerked slightly.

"Say what?"

Casey sighed, then pushed herself forwards and wrapped her arms around his neck.

"I have a no-hugging policy," Derek protested weakly.

"I was cold," Casey grumbled.

"I can tell," he squirmed, "Your boobs are like icicles."

Casey bristled, "Well, they wouldn't be if you'd—!" she broke off again, spine arching, air caught in her throat as his tongue did a slow loop across her chest. Muscles stiff, she let out one long, shuddering sigh, tracing his shoulder blades, dancing down the ridge of his spine.

It was all very educational, really. Well, she'd sort of—but not like this

"You scared?" she asked, her voice thick, at once sleepy and wide awake. She shivered at his laughter.

"Of what, you? Please." His head came back up, their noses bumping. The look in his eyes was strange and unguarded. She couldn't quite look.

"Just don't tell our parents," he added.

She had begun to agree, when they collectively froze. Casey pushed away, dropping her face into her hands, "Oh my god, Derek, the mood. The mood is so dead I don't think even Houdini could bring it back."

"I feel sort of sick," Derek said weakly. She was forced to agree, miserably pulling her shirt back over her head and regarding the door morosely. Derek did the same. She pushed her knees together, cold and aching.

After ten minutes of taut silence, he coughed, "Casey? Don't freak out, but I think I see a camera."

If you didn't count the conniption fit, she didn't freak out at all.

It took the security guards roughly three hours to get the elevators working again, and another fifteen minutes to buy the security tape. By the time they had returned to her home, Casey was in an extremely bad mood, whereas Derek seemed almost chipper.

"So," Derek said casually, once again eating with her spoon, "Who gets the bed?"

"Go for it." Casey said tiredly, tucking some hair behind her ear and pouring over her papers again. When she didn't hear him leave, she looked up, catching his look of extreme exasperation.


"Nothing," he said through his teeth, and stomped out of the kitchen.

"Hey!" Casey yelled indignantly, "Put your bowl in the sink!"

He sent her a supremely nasty look.

Casey was, to say the least, rather taken aback. So much for chipper. Really, what was his problem?

"Oh," she said fifteen minutes later, and set down her pen. She slid off the stool, hitting the light and groping through the darkness for her room.

She sat on the edge of her bed, her voice haughty, "I thought you said it was a one time thing."

Derek sat up, hair tufted. It was almost ridiculously endearing. "Right. But we didn't finish."

Casey swallowed. "I don't think I want it to just be a one-time thing."

She was glad, then, that it was dark and he couldn't see her. He shifted.

"The thing is," he said, still trying for suave, "Sequels are never as good as the original."

"I wasn't asking for a sequel. I want a series."

"Oh," he stemmed. "Oh. Okay. Well, that's—a lot."

Casey pursed her lips, "Good work, Derek. You win. I'm annoyed."

"Good." He said immediately, "Just so long as you know."

She was becoming steadily less attached to the idea of sleeping with him. "I think I'm going to bed." She intoned stiffly, and stood, jerking to a halt when he caught her wrist.

"Do you know?" he asked, softly. Her hand fisted.

"Derek, I don't—"

"Scared?" he asked, just against her lips, and there was just enough light for her to catch the smirk.

Her jaw jutted forward. "Never."

"And you wouldn't start something you couldn't finish, right?" his teeth flashed, a wide smile, and nothing nice about it.

She sneered back. "Don't act like you know everything about me."

"Casey, Casey, Casey," he chided, "I do."

She braced her hands on his chest and shoved him back onto the bed, stood between his legs. "No," she insisted, "You don't. I don't just sleep around with people, okay? I don't do one-night stands. I'm not you."

"I don't want you to be me!" he snapped. Her breathing hitched, and she found herself inexplicably near tears.

"I don't get you!" she yelled straight into his face, "It's like you freak out whenever I try to be nice, and then when I back off you get like—like this!"

Derek was quiet while she panted, his silhouette facing down. He stood, set his hands on her shoulders. "You scared?"

"No," she snapped. His hands tightened.

"I am." He said, so softly she nearly missed it.

She felt very young. "You're never scared."

"I am pretty badass," he agreed cockily, teeth teasing the side of her neck. Casey squirmed, compulsions rising. She gripped his arms, leaning back despite her better judgement and ducked her head down.

"I mean it, Derek, you can't just—"

"See, this is why we don't get along," he said to her collarbone, hands still trailing down, "Because you always think too much."

"We don't get along—" she gasped, "Because you're an jerk who likes to screw with me."

"I do like to screw with you."

"Derek!" she hissed, fumbling to catch and stop his evil, evil hands, "Stop it! I am trying to have an adult conversation with you, and you keep distracting me! So, just—I have morals, you know, I'm one of those commitment people!"

"I've noticed," he said darkly, tugging at her grip, "Princess Casey, always in a relationship. You have stability issues, I have commitment ones. And that," he finished, with her back somehow against the wall, such lovely friction, "Is why we really don't get along."

"I don't have—" she jerked suddenly, as he ducked down to her naval, their legs scraping together, "I just—"

This was horribly unfair.

"So really," he continued, infuriatingly focused, "It's all about if the other one is going to leave or not. So what about it, Casey? Can you honestly say that you'd never pack up and go? We can't even be in the same room together without fighting. How long do you think something like that would last?"

"You left," she blurted, neck aching with her head thrown back, fingers pulling through his hair, reveling in the sensation of it, gripped and then through her fingers, filling the spaces between.

"What?" Derek looked up, and the sudden loss of him, of intoxication, was like running from a sauna into a frozen lake.

"Nothing," she said immediately, horrified and embarrassed and suddenly wanting him gone.

"What?" he repeated, their hands pressed together in the darkness, not quite entwined, just touching. "I never left. I was ten minutes walking distance from here."

She stayed resolutely silent.

"You know," Derek said after a minute, "You never visited. Don't pin all this on me."

"I didn't have a reason to!" she snapped, and then realized how horrible that sounded, fumbled, "I—I mean, I can't just…you wouldn't have wanted me over."

"You didn't want me to visit." He pointed out defensively. Casey bristled.

"Because you broke into my home at four in the morning!" she snapped furiously, "I was mad at you, you stupid moron! I miss you for months, and that was how you showed up?! I can't believe I expected better—"

"You missed me?" he sounded delighted. Casey abruptly made a dash for the doorway, only to collide with him head-on and send them sprawling back into the bed. "Okay. You really missed me."

"That was a mistake!" she floundered, caught up in limbs and blankets and clothes.

"You missed me," he repeated gloatingly in her ear. Casey tensed defensively.

"I did not." She denied immediately, her face burning.

"Aw," he patted her head, "Guess I shouldn't leave, then."

"But you have to leave!" Casey objected in a panic, "I don't have the funds to feed you!"

There was a ringing silence. "I give up," Derek said serenely, his voice sounding oddly far-off. Casey clutched at his wrist, scowling.

And then it hit her, "Oh," she exclaimed, with dramatic, dawning comprehension.

Derek sighed gustily. She hung on to him more tightly. "But. What'll we tell our p—" she gurgled at the hand on her mouth.

"Not talking about them." Derek ordered, sounding strained, "Please, no talking about them."

Casey nodded. His hand dropped away. "So, uh, exactly how much did you miss me?"

"It was a slip of the tongue," Casey ground out. "And I really think you should buy your own food."

"Not the subject at hand," Derek shushed. "Come on, how much. Show me."

"Show yourself." Casey grumbled, clutched her pillow to her chest for self defense, and crawled beneath the covers. Derek stared at her disbelievingly. Not that she could see him, per say, but she could feel it.

"You're going to sleep?!"

"Since I know you aren't going to take the couch," she began primly, "I would really appreciate it if you stayed on your side of the bed."

Derek sat on her.

"Do I need to get the duck tape?!" Casey demanded, struggling for breath.

"Nope," he said cheerfully, systematically disposing of her clothing. Casey protested. Loudly.

"Don't just throw them on the floor! I love those pants! The penguins—"

"Were mocking me," Derek finished, "I displayed initiative and took action."

"But I—Derek! Don't you dare expect me to do all the laundry!" Casey wheezed, and finally fed up with playing damsel, propped herself up on her elbows and tugged at his pants.

"Who am I to deny you your calling in life?"

"I could still get the duck tape."

Derek was about to make a retort of grand and beautiful execution when he abruptly realized just where Casey's hands were headed, and so the best he could come up with was a sort of yelp.

Casey gaped at him innocently. "Are they all this small?"

The look he gave her suggested she had just run a forked pike through his chest. Casey's open mouthed delight transformed into fevered snickers, her face pressed to his shoulder to muffle the sound. "I was—was just—k-kidding."

"…haha," Derek laughed weakly.

"I-It's doing just fine down there," Casey snorted, and gave it a little pat for good measure. Derek abruptly inhaled.

"Please don't tell jokes," he hissed, voice unnaturally high, and then yipped.

Casey backed off immediately, thoroughly alarmed, "What? Did I do something wrong? Ohmigod, I'm sorry, I—I'll call you a hooker? An ambulance? Do you want some cereal?"

Derek latched onto her fleeing arm and dragged her back, "Case, that was a—good—thing…"

"Stop staring at my breasts." Casey grumbled self consciously, trying vainly to reach for the lamp.

"What?" Derek asked distractedly.

Casey hid her face in her hands. "Why couldn't you have a leg fetish?"

"I do have a leg fetish." Derek said immediately, still sounding like he might have misplaced half his brain. Casey brightened immediately.

"Great! Can you look at those instead?"

"I might take a detour," he smiled languidly. "Want to see if I missed you?"

"You did?" she blurted giddily, a goofy smile spreading across her face, "Are you for real?"

"Well," he said considering, a sly, devious look spreading across his face, "I really can't believe you bought that line about the exploding pee."