a/n : Beware of exploding brain cells. Might require a re-read and maybe it still won't be clear. In which case, apologies.

DISCLAIMER: Disclaimed.

She'd always thought she'd find a man like her dad and not be foolish enough to let him go like her mom had done. He'd be smart and charming and rich and he'd say things like "My life was a barren land till your love, my love, fertilized it and made the seeds of our union bloom forth." A sort of Edward Cullen. Without the whole vampire thing.

He'd laugh at her jokes and tell her that she was the real reason for global warming. He'd make love to her gently and hold her afterwards. Someone who believed in the best, and thought that if a thing was worth doing, it was worth doing well.

Someone perfect. Exactly like her dad. Without the whole leaving thing.

He finds her in the deserted playground of their old high school. Just as he'd known he would.

She's sitting on a swing, her long white dress trailing the ground, gazing up at the sky with that almost-wonder which makes her look about ten.
He moves slowly across the wet grass. The thick raindrops temporarily rendering him half-blind. His rain-drenched coat just as heavy on him as his fffeelings (for the lack of a better word) had been in the morning.

"Congratulations," he says when he's close enough to be heard over the thunder, "You've officially been inducted into the 'Drama Queen Hall Of Fame'. Can I have an autograph?"

"Do you think," she says slowly, reflectively, "That they're mourning something up there? In heaven, I mean."

"Yeah", he says, "your sanity. When you die of pneumonia don't call me to your funeral, I have a game on Friday. I'll celebrate in private sometime."

She glares at him, the familiar gesture making something in his chest catch hard. And then she smiles radiantly (because 'confusing as a Casey' totally deserves simile status), "We'll celebrate together. You know, when you die with me because you're here instead of there."

"There," he puts a finger to his chin in a model of 'thinking', "Oh there. You mean where they've been looking for you since the afternoon? Don't worry about that too much, nothing important. They just wanted to know whether they should take another appointment with you for a later date. Since you're too busy to come to your wedding today."

"You've found me," she smiles a little, as if at a private joke, "and I don't see you calling anyone."

"It's raining, just in case it escaped your notice in between all that philosophizing", he snaps, because he hasn't even thought of it, "and by some strange oversight death by electrocution hasn't made it to my goals for life list yet."

"You have a goals for life list," she asks, incredulously, "What is it? How to Bang a Girl In Ten Ways?"

"Psychologically speaking, I find it very interesting that your mind immediately jumps to sex when you think of me."

"Biologically speaking," she retorts, "I find it very interesting that you've managed to function without a brain since so long."

For a split second their swings are at the same level and their glances meet across the veil of rain. She stares at him seriously before he's flying up and she's going down. And it's an odd disappointment that settles in the pit of his stomach.

"I had a premonition."

He looks at her, incredulously, "You ran away from your own wedding because you had a premonition? Like what, if you kiss Dan you might turn him into a frog?"

She shakes her head, "No, that you would forever hold your peace."

The stupidest thing here is that he knows what she's saying, "Contrary to what you appear to think, this isn't a movie, Casey. Running away on your wedding day, can we say Princess?"

"And an epiphany," she continues serenely, as if she hasn't heard him. "I had an epiphany too."

"You know you're damn annoying. What did you do, eat a dictionary for breakfast?"

"All the girls you date, they think your favorite team is the Maple Leaves. And that your favorite drink is scotch."

(Edmonton Oilers and milk).

"And..." he says, careful not to say 'so'.

"And they all have blonde hair. Or black. Or green. Or red. Never brown. And their eyes are all shades of the rainbow. But never blue. Never, Derek. "

"Oh," he says, half-irritated at her calling him out, "Just like all your guys have brown hair and brown eyes?"

She seems to be looking through him, "Till I was fourteen I wanted to marry a guy who had fair hair and grey eyes. Kind of like Draco Malfoy."


"…and then I turned fifteen."

She's slipping in and out of his vision with the rain and the thunder is so loud, he doesn't know whether she's speaking at all or whether it's just his deluded mind (the same one which made him dance with her in senior school, and made him hide his college acceptance letter till her final decision).

He's (not) staring at her in full bridal wear, so it takes a moment for him register that her lips are moving. And then he's otherwise occupied so it takes even more time for him to listen to what she's saying.

"...Ever made a really big mistake?" They're obviously not speaking the same language here.

"Like accepting your proposal from your mother's side for my dad? Yeah, I have."

"Well, I'm making one now," she turns back to look at the almost-black sky.

"By marrying Dan?" The knot in his chest loosens a little.

"By not marrying Dan," she clarifies, expertly re-tying the hard knot.

"Because that makes perfect sense," he says blankly.

"I'm making a mistake and I don't care. Do you know what I'm doing?"

He has to think for a moment, to come up with a sane reply because 'not marrying Dan' is the only thing his mind registers. And also the fact that he's out in the rain with his obviously insane stepsister on her wedding day. Just normal, everyday stuff.

"You mean apart from proving the existence of life on other planets? I have no idea."

"Living dangerously."

He breathes deeply, or tries to, except his respiratory system seems to have quit on him without so much as the required two week notice.
She gets out of the swing and stands in front of him, her hair plastered to her face, her lashes wet with the rain, so every time she blinks, it looks a little like she's crying. And without warning she's leaning in closer, pressing her forehead against his, and that blood circulating object which he totally doesn't have, threatens to take a flying leap out of his body.

"Come on, Derek", she whispers, "haven't you ever wanted to live a little dangerously?"

And then he's leaning in too, erasing the memory of the various scotch bottles (which he hates) littered around his apartment, the trashcan lined with the family letter which told him that if he didn't attend his sister's wedding he'd be written out of the will. Memories of Dan touching her like...like she belonged to him. Memories of "...annoying brother." "Step-brother." "Same difference."

And that letter which his sister (his only sister) had pressed into his hands that read,

You're an idiot.
Sincerely- Smarti"

He's smart (debatable, she's against the motion) and charming (manwhore) and rich (which just goes on to prove that life most definitely is not fair). He says things like, "If annoying people was an olympic sport, you'd be going for gold right now."
He tells her she wouldn't know a joke if it offered to go down on her and that she's the real reason Sam's gay. His lovemaking is a lesson in mannerisms ("Say please, Casey") and he goes to sleep afterwards (holdingherlikehe'llneverlethergo). He believes in the best (for himself) and thinks that a thing's worth doing only if it wears sexy lingerie.

He's nothing like her dad and there are times (dark, crazy times), when she almost thinks she (almost) loves him. Not quite.