Some Things Were Meant To Be

o3o

Derek's Business class was actually pretty interesting. He wondered if he managed to get the class back in his time and decided if he hadn't, he was definitely going to get a transfer into it. The teacher was one he'd never had, a Mr. Seater that was fairly young and not as strict as some of the other teachers. He talked a bit about what the course had in mind, how great it was going to look on college resumes and warned them that if they wanted to get anywhere in the business world, they had to have a strong mind for delegating, hard work, numbers, and that it could be a grueling task getting anywhere for the first while. Derek actually took notes! He was a little surprised with himself, but he really wanted to have his own business some day, so he figured learning it all and remembering it was the first step. He chose to sit in the middle row, because he knew what Casey said about the back being for slackers was kind of important for a guy who was in a world where he was smarter than the average Derek Venturi. When nobody looked at him weirdly for not sitting in the back or front, he figured he'd made the right choice. The class size was fairly small, mostly kids that Derek didn't really recognize. A few girls sat in a cluster near the door, whispering when he first walked in and shooting him glances as the teacher talked.

Smirking to himself, he studiously ignored them, though he could feel their eyes watching his every move. He wondered if the alterna-Derek was really all that faithful. It seemed he got a lot of attention from girls. But then, given what Casey said, it did make sense. The untouchable thing. He probably wouldn't have been as attractive if people knew that he wasn't so faithful. He wasn't planning cheating on Casey anyway, even if they were only in a fake relationship. It wasn't like he wasn't benefiting from it. The second time he'd kissed her, he clearly felt her kiss back. Whether she was doing it for show or not, she was good at it. He'd thought about it in the past, when he entertained and admitted to the fact that he had a thing for her. That she was attractive in a strong, confident way. With her opinions never held back and her hands on her slim hips as she had no problem telling him why he was wrong. He was used to the submissive type, the girls that agreed with him because they felt so lucky to be with somebody considered so popular. Sure, Casey got on his nerves. A lot. But she pushed him too; she challenged him like every other girl hadn't. And while he wouldn't come right out and say it, or admit it very often to himself, he admired her to some extent. In both a physical and psychological way. Yeah, there were definitely some upsides to pretending to be her boyfriend. The alterna-Derek had a few perks, even if various parts of his life were dull or stressful.

When the bell rang, Derek slipped out of the classroom behind the girls who were still eyeing him. He could smell their perfume from a few feet back and cleared his throat when it threatened to choke him. Biting back a remark, he walked down the hallway toward his locker, nodding to various hockey buddies and a few girls who greeted him by name and without the wide-eyed gaze he was used to seeing on Emily. Seeing Sam walking toward him, he slowed down, a smirk emerging. "Hey Sammy boy," he said as his best friend got closer.

Sam's eyes thinned, his arms moving to cross over his chest. He sighed, looking irritated and Derek wondered what his problem was. "What now, Derek?" he asked, lifting a brow.

"What do you mean?" he asked, his hands slipping into his jean pockets as he stared up at Sam speculatively. He didn't want to get ahead of himself. He had no idea what the Sam and Derek friendship was like here, though he didn't think that something as non-related as his dad and Nora's marriage could affect him and Sam too.

Sam snorted, glaring at Derek. "Just get the prank over with," he muttered, shaking his head.

"What prank?" Derek asked, lifting a brow, his smirk wavering before he forced it into place. Dude, Sam was being totally unlike what he was used to. Usually he was mellow. Even when they got into little fights here or there, it didn't last long and he'd never been so... annoyed before.

Sneering, Sam rolled his eyes. "Right? That would just ruin the surprise, huh?" He laughed sardonically, his arms tightening against his chest. "Is this where you pretend you think we should start hanging out again. Tell me to meet you at the park or something. I show, you don't. You have a good laugh about it later."

So not cool. Did alterna-Derek do that? "Dude, I wouldn't-"

"Right. Because that's below you. But moving all of my stuff from my locker into the one by the grossest bathroom in the school, totally cool. And replacing my hockey gear with a ballet outfit, not above you at all. Oh, and of course, stealing my girlfriend, that was so okay for you." His face was darkening and Derek stood there, his shoulders tense. All right, so the first two, totally funny. He would've done that even if they weren't fighting, just because it was amusing. The last one though... He wouldn't have done that to Sam, would he? And did he mean Casey, because he assumed in this world they'd never dated. Casey had said they'd been together two years, so didn't that mean that Sam never would have had the chance to date her?

"I didn't-"

"Yeah, right. I didn't believe you then, so why would I believe you now." He shook his head, looking past Derek as if he were inconsequential. "Look, just get your stupid prank over with already."

"Whatever," Derek muttered, moving around him to walk off.

"Should I expect it later?" Sam called after him, still sounding irritated.

"Yeah, sure. If I told you different, you wouldn't believe me anyway," Derek said back, frowning at him as he continued down the hall, turning right at the corner. Heaving a heavy sigh, he ran a hand through his hair. Who the hell were they supposed to talk to about this shit now? And who was his best friend if it wasn't Sam? Nobody had come up to him more than the others. Most of the guys on the team weren't somebody he wanted to hang out with and play basketball or hockey with outside of school.

"Hey," he heard Casey's voice near him. Turning, he found her just a foot or so away. Her brows furrowed and her hand reached out, wrapping around his upper arm. "What's wrong?"

Shaking his head, Derek stopped at his locker, turning the com and opening it. "Guess who's not my best friend?" he asked, scowling.

"Sam?" she said, her voice surprised.

"Ding, ding, ding," he murmured, annoyed. Not really at her but at the situation on a whole. Stuffing his books inside, he crossed his arms and leaned back against the lockers next to his as she put her binders inside and locked it up for them.

"But... Why?" she asked, lifting a brow questioningly. "It doesn't make sense."

"He says I stole his girlfriend," Derek told her, his hand finding hers as they made their way toward the cafeteria for lunch.

"His girlfriend? But... I thought... You didn't date anybody he was with before I showed up, did you?" she asked, turning to him, her face twisted with confusion.

Derek shook his head. "I don't think so. I mean, there were a few girls, but he wasn't with anybody serious as far as I know. He didn't date much until that whole thing with you, but you said we were together for the past two years. Right?" They moved down the middle of the hall, Derek was used to having people move out of the way, but Casey was apologizing and trying to dodge people so she wasn't a hindrance.

"Yeah, Lizzie said this morning that mom's been nagging me about my grades for the last two years. Ever since you became a part of my life. Well... what if we didn't date right away? Like what if I didn't say yes when you first asked or-" She stopped when he smirked disbelievingly at him. "What? You've never been denied?" she asked, looking surprised.

"No," he replied seriously, shaking his head. "Case, I'm the most popular guy at the school and... hello, look around you." He motioned to the girls and guys walking past. Various guys were calling out 'hey' or nodding to him, while the girls were all looking over at him with admiring eyes and small smiles.

Casey rolled her eyes. "Okay, so you have a mini fan base. But really, not every girl could like you that way. There has to be someone!"

"Uh, yeah, that one girl would have been you! At least in our world," he reminded, his brows high for emphasis. "But here you are, holding my hand and completely in love with me." He sighed, looking smug.

Snorting, Casey shook her head. "Don't flatter yourself, Casanova."

Before Derek could reply, he felt a hand grab his arm and yank him to the side. Giving a small yelp, Casey was pulled along with him until they were standing in a dark room, the door shut tight behind them. Derek banged his knee on something when he came to a stop and muttered a curse word. "Okay, really, Casey, if you wanted to make out, you could've just said something."

"Der-ek!" Casey exclaimed and though he couldn't see her, he knew she was rolling her eyes. He wondered if she was blushing and found himself smirking. She was totally blushing! He found himself thinking about how flushed her face got when they argued and didn't realize she was talking to him until she smacked his arm. "Weren't you listening? I said I didn't push us in here, you pulled me in here. So if you didn't purposely pull me, then logically-"

"I get it, somebody else did," he interrupted, sighing. "Well, as overly dramatic as this is, you mind telling us why you pulled us in here. Because seriously, not into a three way. Well unless-" He felt her smack his chest and laughed. "Right, not into a three way. Under any circumstance." Although Angelina Jolie came to mind and he wasn't objecting...

The lights suddenly flickered on and they found themselves staring at Sheldon Schlepper, who was surrounded by electrical devices and various coloured wires that weren't all connected to something but lying useless on the floor in a tangle. Oddly, the rather weird guy wasn't saying anything. He was simply standing, his arms crossed and his eyes thinned as he stared at them. Beeping came from one of the machines and toast popped up. Caught off guard by the sudden movement, Casey jumped and stepped closer to him. She regained her confidence however and cleared her throat impatiently.

"Uh, is there a reason you dragged us in here, Schlepper?" Derek asked, lifting a brow questioningly.

"Don't be rude. We don't know how we treat Sheldon here," Casey whispered to him, tugging on the bottom of his shirt.

"UH HAH!" Sheldon suddenly exclaimed and Casey took a step back, her brows furrowed.

"Okay, no matter what world we're in, he's really unusual."

"I don't have time for this. It's Pizza day in the caf," Derek muttered, rolling his eyes. "What do you want, Schlepper?" he asked, his face becoming bored. "Make it quick. I have things to do. Like eating."

"You, whoever you are, are not Casey MacDonald and Derek Venturi!" he accused, lifting a hand and pointing at them.

"Uh, what?" Casey asked, giving off a shaky laugh.

Derek snorted. "Somebody's been watching too much Star Trek," he accused, his face straight.

Sheldon shook his head quickly, waving his hands around almost frantically. "No, no, I know you're not. I've been watching you and you-"

"You've been watching us?" Derek interrupted. "I think that's called stalking in some places, Schlep." Chuckling stiffly, he wrapped a casual arm around Casey's shoulders, hoping she would calm down, since she looked way too worried. "If you're done, we've gotta head to lunch." He turned, reaching for the door handle.

"Wouldn't you like to know how I figured you out? It could come in handy later while you're still pretending," he offered, smirking back at Derek who stilled.

Turning to him, Derek shook his head. "I don't know if you fell asleep while playing some kind of weird RPG on your computer or if you happened to hit your head today, but whatever you think you've been seeing, you're wrong. Casey and me are the same as we always are and you're just delusional," he told him, his expression mocking.

"Casey and I," he corrected, his mouth turning up in a smirk. "For a guy who gets top marks in English, Derek, you really missed that one." Crossing his arms, he chuckled lightly. "I always knew something like this would happen. From the moment I started watching you two, two years ago, I just knew-"

"You've been watching us for two years?" Casey exclaimed, looking completely shocked and angry. "Do you have any idea how much a breach of privacy that is? I mean, what gives you the right-" She advanced on him, her body taut with indignation. Derek watched, making no move to stop her, amusement written clearly in his expression.

"Whoa!" Sheldon said, backing up a step as she came toward him. He held his hands up defensively and Derek laughed at his lack of courage. "Hold on. I can explain. I wasn't like... like peeking in on you- them- or anything. I was... making a documentary about high school students. The friendships, the hardships, the relationships and drama!" he exclaimed, his eyes lighting up as he turned his head to the side and acted as though he were some big shot director thinking back to his latest film. "It was going to be my breakthrough piece! I learned everything I could about my subjects and I taped their lives as they were here at school. Not everything; just trying to capture certain moments. To learn how they think, what they do, how they feel. About school, about friends, about life in general. See, I know Casey and Derek." He frowned, turning back to them, his eyes hooded. "Which is why I know that you two are not the subjects I've been taping in the past," he accused, shaking his head.

Derek kept his calm exterior going, staring at Schlepper like he was crazy. "And you got permission to do this from..." He shook his head questioningly.

"Well... to tell the subjects would completely diminish the point. The real people would become actors and that would make it null. Choreographed drivel. Nobody would care!" he reminded, his eyes wide.

"Let's say, hypothetically, that you're correct in assuming something so... ludicrous," Casey started and Derek tugged on her hair, frowning down at her, but she ignored him. "What makes you think that we are not who we say and look like who we are?"

Sheldon shook his head, waving a hand. "You two have obvious differences from the real Casey and Derek. They may not seem noticeable to the untrained eye, but those people out there are only little characters in your lives. I see them. I saw Casey and Derek for who they really are. Those people that wave and nod and hug you, they don't know you. If they did, they would have caught on to the fact that this impostor is always holding your hand. But the real Derek hardly ever held Casey's hand. He always wrapped his arm around her waist, hand firmly placed on her lower hip. And Casey always has her hand over Derek's ribs. It's how they always were together. Constantly touching, always holding each other. That and you sat separately during break. Sure you were touching her, saw that hand on the thigh action, but Casey usually sits up close to Derek, leaning into his side, her head on his shoulder. It's behavior that they've perfected over their year and a half relationship," he told them very seriously.

"Year and a half," Derek repeated, his brows coming together as he looked down at her.

Sighing, Casey nodded up at him, her shoulders shrugging as she tried to figure out why she had heard different.

"See. You don't know your facts. Derek would have known that. Wouldn't have had to question that," Sheldon told him, nodding at the justification. "Plus, you smirked at a group of girls this afternoon!" he pointed out, his eyes wide.

"So?" Derek asked, frowning.

"So?" Sheldon laughed at the word. "The real Derek would never smirk at other girls. Smile politely, sure. Wave, nod, but never the infamous Venturi smirk." He shook his head, eyes wide at Derek as if he'd utterly some sort of blasphemy. Guy totally needed a life. One that didn't revolve around him and Casey. Sheldon waved a hand, as if stating the bare facts, no possible alternative. "It is widely known that he is completely monogamous to Casey. Ever since the big choosing match a year and a half ago-"

"Choosing match?" Casey asked, her interest peaked.

"Stop encouraging him," Derek hissed.

Sheldon grinned. "I knew it."

Sighing, Casey shook his head. "Have you ever seen the movie, "The Family Man"?"

Derek rolled his eyes. "Case, he's a guy, why would he-"

"Of course," Sheldon said, nodding. "Who hasn't? Nicholas Cage is a phenomenal actor."

"Okay, I take that back. He's not a guy, he's a total chick," Derek muttered, rolling his eyes.

"Right. So, this is sort of, at least we think, like that movie. See, we woke up this morning and well, everything was completely different. In... our world, Derek and I aren't together. We're... We're just not. We don't really get along, even." She shrugged on shoulder, twisting her hands together. "And our families are completely different too. Here, my mom is with this guy that's a total health freak and she's kind of strict. She has all these problems with me and she doesn't think anything like the mom I'm used to." She shook her head, "And Derek's family is completely the opposite. They're dark and quiet and not at all as insane as they used to be. And well..." Casey sighed, "The point is, no we're not your Derek and Casey, but we are a form of them. We just, we made this like... this wish and when we woke up, it came true. We don't know how long it'll last or why it worked, but... Here we are." She shrugged, letting out a strained chuckle.

Derek frowned, running a hand through his hair and watching Sheldon's shocked expression. He was waiting for him to freak out, run maybe, or just start screaming that they were insane. He was a pretty scrawny guy, Derek decided, he could knock him out if worst came to worst.

"Wow," Sheldon said, his eyes wide. "This is so..."

"Crazy, I know," Casey murmured.

"COOL!" Sheldon told them, giggling in a completely unmanly way.

They looked at each other and then at Sheldon, brows cocked. "Are you done?" he asked as Sheldon continued to laugh to himself almost hysterically while shaking his head in amazement.

"Huh? Oh. Yeah! Sorry, I just... I didn't think you'd admit it," he said, grinning widely. "Okay, so... in your world am I like... Am I devilishly handsome or incredibly cool or anything?"

"Uh.. No... You're exactly like how you are here," Casey replied, shaking her head. Derek laughed, amused that she hadn't realized she had just insulted him.

"Oh..." Sheldon's face fell.

"You're not student body president like you wanted to be, but—"

"I'm not?" he asked, his expression shocked and upset. "But... But I come from a long line of Schlepper presidents!"

"We know," Derek replied, rolling his eyes. "Is there anything else we should try not doing so that nobody else realizes we're not exactly who they think we are? We don't know how long we'll be around and I'd rather not spend it explaining myself or sitting in a psych ward somewhere." Crossing his arms, he leaned against a wall, avoiding the wires and old, dusty projector nearby.

"Oh! Uh, yes, hold on." Turning, he began looking through things. "I have... Somewhere... I made... You can..." He was rifling through a stack of black, marked cases and talking half to himself and half to them. "UH HAH!" he exclaimed, turning to them. "Okay, I have DVD's made up from the very beginning. How you met, the relationships you had before getting together-"

"So, we didn't get together right away?" Casey asked, her brows bunched in confusion.

"No, Casey and Derek were friends for the first half of the year. Best friends, actually. Yeah, they played the biggest pranks and hung out together all the time." He nodded. "That's how she met Sam, who she dated for a couple months. They didn't go out for awhile though. Derek didn't want Sam dating Casey and she wasn't sure if it was right because they were both his best friends. Everybody thought it was really because Casey and Derek liked each other, though. Casey was the only girl to hold Derek's attention for longer than an afternoon. He gave in though, told them they could date." He shook his head and Derek tried to process what Sheldon was telling them. "Problem was, after a month or two, Sam still felt like Derek was getting in the way. Instead of going out for dates with Sam, Casey would go over to Derek's to watch a hockey game or hang out. They'd throw parties at his place that they wouldn't tell Sam about until the night it was happening and play host together instead of hanging out with him. In the end, Sam said Derek was trying to get in between the relationship. That he was purposely blocking Sam so he couldn't really be with Casey. So, one day in the cafeteria, while Casey and Derek were talking and Sam was being left out because he wasn't there for that particular prank or whatever, Sam got fed up. He called Derek out on it and Derek denied it. There was a bit of a fight and eventually Sam told her to choose. She chose Derek and he and Sam weren't friends after that. The semester break happened a week later and when Derek and Casey came back, they were together. Have been ever since."

He nodded, motioning to Derek. "That was another sign. You tried talking to Sam like he was still your best friend and didn't pull a prank. Sam was sure that you'd just pull it later but you looked like you had no idea what he was talking about. The real Derek pulls pranks on Sam every once in awhile. It was supposed to be this big apology thing, I guess. But it didn't turn out that way. Sam didn't get over it and Derek got annoyed that Sam was being such a... well his words were that Sam was being a "girl" about it." He shrugged.

Derek sighed, glancing over at Casey. She picked him over Sam? He wasn't so sure that would've happened in their world, but it was ego boosting all the same. Best friends though, wasn't that a little much? In their world they were almost enemies. They hardly ever got along. Sure they had their moments, but they were few and far between. Was it really only because they were forced into being step-siblings? Maybe it was all just them trying to act out against their feelings. He knew he wanted her. Had for awhile. Sure, he'd been disappointed that a girl who was so obviously attractive ended up living in his house and being labeled off limits, but if she hadn't been would he really have had such a long relationship with her?

"Anyway," Sheldon interrupted his thought process. "I have DVD recordings of everything I've found over the last couple years and I'd be willing to let you borrow them. Only for a little while though. I can't afford to leave them in your care for too long. You could revert back to your world and then I'd have to explain myself to the real Casey and Derek, who obviously wouldn't appreciate my directorial skills." He shrugged, stuffing an armload of DVD's into a backpack and then handing it to them. Casey took it, the bag weighing her arms down until they were drooping by her legs. Snickering, Derek took it out of her hands and put the strap around his shoulder.

"How many hours to you have of us?" Casey asked, her expression displaying barely concealed disgust.

Sheldon cleared his throat. "It was important that I get as much as I possibly could. I've used high tech cameras at some points. They cost a serious penny. Had to get them all off the Internet." His brows rose, emphasizing his point.

"Why were we your subjects?" Derek wondered, half-frowning.

"Well, Casey and Derek are the most popular couple in the school. I figured their interaction with each other was intriguing. Some people wonder if it's just a ranking game," he admitted. Noticing Casey's confused expression, he explained. "They think that they were only together because they were both so popular. They met on her first day and Casey was new, but noticeably attractive," he said, letting out a soft chuckle and blushing slightly. "It surprised everybody when Derek and she didn't start dating right away. Their friendship was interesting, to say the least. Derek's grades picked up and he seemed more approachable to some because his best friend was a girl. So naturally, he was getting a lot of face time with some of the most attractive girls in the school. They saw him as understanding and feeling, even though he hadn't really changed." Sheldon shook his head, laughing to himself. "Then when they started dating, which was something people were expecting, students started wondering if it was more out of keeping up appearance than anything. Girls were jealous, guys were kind of annoyed that Derek got the girl again, and because they were such good friend, some wondered if they'd make it. There were rumors for awhile that they weren't really dating or that they'd been fighting a lot. But honestly, during the entire time I watched them, they were a great couple. They relied on each other, talked about things, had fun whenever they wanted to. They really loved each other."

He shrugged, "You two have a lot of similarities with them. There were times when I doubted whether I was seeing something out of place or not. You have obvious chemistry and you looked exactly like them, so... But, there was just something missing. Something not quite there yet. Maybe it was because the Casey and Derek I know had two years to fall in love and get used to each other, but I could tell you weren't them."

Scratching his neck, he continued. "Anyway, I figured, why not pick the two most popular students? They'd probably have the most drama. They're obviously the most attractive. Plus, they had a certain je ne sais quoi. They were funny, charismatic, personable. People could relate to them because they were real. Notably, they had rather cliché places in the school. Derek, the hockey captain, and Casey the head cheerleader-

"The what?" she asked, her eyes wide.

"Uh, head cheerleader," Sheldon repeated, lifting a brow. "You weren't one in your world?"

Derek couldn't help it, he laughed. "Klutzilla? A cheerleader?"

"Klutzilla?" Sheldon asked, his brow fused.

Casey looked ecstatic. "You don't recognize it? It never happened here?" She clasped her hands together, probably to keep from clapping, and turned a grin on Derek, who rolled his eyes.

"Uh, no. Why? What does it mean?" he asked, shaking his head.

"Nothing!" Casey replied quickly, shaking her head.

"Casey's not the most stable person when walking, running, breathing," Derek replied, smirking.

"OH! You mean like when she first got here?" he asked, his eyes wide.

Casey's face fell.

"Nobody saw it but me," Sheldon told her hastily. "I noticed it on the tapes. She was a little clumsy. Tripped sometimes when coming out of class to meet Derek or just generally in Derek's vicinity. He caught her though. Always put his arm around her or grabbed her before anybody else could notice. People thought they were just really touchy, but when I watched the tapes I could see her feet usually stumbled over each other or she was in such a hurry she wasn't paying much attention to her surroundings."

Derek turned to Casey, his brow furrowed. "Thought that only happened when you had a crush on someone."

"It did," she murmured, biting her lip. "Guess this Casey liked you from the beginning."

Derek's mouth curled in a smirk. He so knew it! No girl could resist him. Coming out of his smug stupor, he returned his attention to Casey and Schlepper who were discussing when the DVD's had to be returned. Finally, they'd agreed that Casey would make sure to return them by the following Monday so that if they were too busy after school, they could sit down and watch them all on the weekend. She had to assure Schlepper that she would mark them to be returned without watching so that if she and Derek did return to their world, the "real" Casey would return the DVD's and there would be nothing to worry about. Schlepper still looked excited about what he found out and Derek worried that he might spill the secret just so he could be the one to tell. Not that anybody would probably believe him, but still. Derek unfortunately got the feeling that it wouldn't be the last time he got trapped in a weird room with Schlepper asking odd questions.

A few minutes later, they were finally on their way out, with Derek grumbling that all the pizza would either be gone or cold. Most of the other students were in the cafeteria or sitting on benches, talking and finishing up with their lunches. Derek took Schlepper's advice and wrapped his arm around Casey, resting his hand on her lower hip. Knowing what he was doing, Casey's hand moved to wrap around his ribs. She seemed rather stiff at first, her body not as relaxed as it usually was when they walked. But after a few steps, she became more comfortable, leaning into him and squeezing his side as they walked down the hallway. Derek couldn't help but wonder if anybody else had noticed any differences. Were they questioning them? Were their eyes trained on them now, keeping with every move they made? He felt like everybody's eyes were following him, like they were talking about how he wasn't really him. Casey's hand ran up and down his side, as if knowing what he was thinking and trying to comfort him.

"He was the only one, Derek. Nobody else noticed anything. Our families maybe. Although I think my mom just thought I was being stubborn," she told him, tilting her head so she could speak quietly.

"How many mistakes have we already made though?" he asked, shaking his head, his jaw tightening. "Could that affect our world, or...?"

"I don't know," she admitted, shifting closer, her hip bumping his. "All we can do is try our best. Tonight, we'll watch the movies and- Shoot, uh... I can't watch them tonight." She bit her lip, shaking her head.

"What? Why?" Derek asked, shaking his head.

"I promised mom that I would be home for dinner tonight. She said not to bring you, because you don't get along with Darrel. I don't want to antagonize them." Sighing, she shrugged her shoulder. "We could watch it tomorrow, after school," she offered, screwing up her face in apology.

"No. No way am I going through this again," he told her, his brows high with emphasis. "I feel like they can all tell we're not who we say we are. I don't know half the people coming up to me, but most of them talk to me like we've been buddies for awhile," he reminded, frowning. "It's gotta be tonight. I need to know who these people are before I start talking to them again. Couldn't you just call and tell her you can't make it?" His hand tightened around her hip, suddenly not wanting to be separated from her. What was he going to do when he got home? He didn't know how to talk to the family there. They weren't who he was used to. And how was he going to act around Kelly? How much did the other Derek hate her? Was it really obvious?

Casey let out a heavy sigh as they walked through the double doors leading to the cafeteria. They made their way to the non-existent line and Derek got a couple pieces of cold pizza, a Pepsi, and a bag of chips, while Casey bought a sandwich and a bottle of juice. They walked over to sit down at their usual table, which was noticeably empty and continued their quiet conversation. Casey sat at an angle so she could wrap her legs around one of Derek's. He half-smirked, rather amused, but didn't say anything. Unwrapping her sandwich, Casey held back her disgusted expression as Derek heartily dug into his pizza, his eyes fluttering with gratitude at how incredibly good it tasted.

"Okay," she said, unscrewing the cap of her juice. "I could come over after dinner. We eat at six, so I could be over at around seven. Can you pick me up or should I get a ride? Bus? What?" she asked, lifting her egg salad sandwich to her mouth and watching him.

With a large gob of pizza sitting inside his mouth, pushing out his cheek, Derek spoke around it. "Yeah. Sounds good. I'll be over at seven to pick you up. We could probably watch one after we pick up Marti, too."

"Have you figured out how we're both getting out of Calculus early yet?" she asked, sipping her strawberry-kiwi drink.

Derek snorted, stuffing a few chips into his mouth. "I know how I'm getting out. Just have to tell the teacher that I'm the only one who can pick up my sister from her school and he'll let me out. You though..." He shook his head, eyes wide. "No idea."

"You're supposed to be the King of Lies, and you're the one who promised I'd come along. So it's your mess, you have to figure a way out of it for me." Casey went back to her lunch and Derek watched as she nibbled at the sandwich, tearing small pieces off instead of just stuffing it into her mouth like he would have. She chewed it carefully, while he would have swallowed it after only a couple chews, just enough to make sure it would go down without choking him. She was sitting with her back straight, her elbows nowhere near the tabletop, while he was hunched over, elbows on either side of his plate. He felt her foot rub his calf and glanced at her, she was looking around the cafeteria, apparently unaware of what she was doing.

Glancing at the clock, he frowned at how little time was left. He searched his mind for a way to get Casey out of class with him. He couldn't begin to imagine Marti's downtrodden expression if he showed up without her. Casey turned to say something to him, but just as her mouth opened the blonde from earlier suddenly showed up at their table. She didn't have any food with her, but her makeup looked like it had been refreshed. She sat down with a bright smile, her eyes straying to Derek for a moment longer than needed and he felt like frowning. Did the other Casey know that her little best friend wanted her boyfriend? The blonde girl was chattering excitedly, her voice rather high pitched and her hand playing with her hair, fake nails threading through the straight blonde strands as she tipped her head and told Casey all about some guy she met in Toronto. Derek got the feeling that Casey, in this world or not, probably didn't like the girl. She seemed too fake, too overdone, and way to giggly. He knew for a fact his Casey didn't, because her smile couldn't get anymore strained.

He spotted Sam across the caf and nearly nodded to him until he remembered they weren't friends. Sam was sitting with a couple guys from the team, they were laughing about something and Derek couldn't help but feel like he was being left out. From what he could tell, the alterna-Derek's life was mostly compiled of Casey. If what Schlepper said was true, then the alterna-them were very close and entirely in love. He couldn't help but wonder what his own life would be like if he had that. That person who was always there, unwaveringly. Somebody to talk to, to understand him, to be there for him when things got to be too overwhelming. He imagined alterna-Derek needed Casey a lot. What with the way his family had turned out and the fact that his best friend was no longer holding the position he'd had since he and Sam were just little kids.

He tried to figure out whose life was better. His or alterna-Derek's. He had the family, that was for sure. A father who was really around, a brother who worshiped him, a little sister with so much spark she could light a fire just by smiling. Sure, they didn't have a Lexus just for him, but he could live without that. And school wasn't half bad either. He didn't get the grades, but he was beyond popular. The guys all wanted to be him and the girls all wanted to make out with him. He had hockey and a great social life, so he wasn't really having any problems in his life. But this Derek, he had great grades, the same level of, if not more popularity, and a girlfriend who was apparently his perfect fit. Would his life really be better if Nora and his dad had never met? There were obvious downsides. Was Casey worth the hardships at home? It had only been one day. Maybe it wasn't as bad as he thought. It was the first day of school, that warranted some bad moods for all parties. Maybe it wasn't a natural occurrence for his brother to be in such a dark mood, his sister to be so sad, and his dad to be such a forgetful jerk. And maybe his step-mom wasn't horrible, and Derek just held a grudge, like he did with Casey and the other MacDonalds. He'd have to wait and see.

The bell rang in the background and the blonde shot up from her chair. He spotted the necklace around her throat, fake jewels shaped to say, "Desiree." She had a few bracelets on, each of them bright colours and shimmering beneath the dull cafeteria lights. She was a toucher, he noticed. Always reaching out to put her hand on Casey's or squeeze her arm when she thought something was funny. After throwing out their garbage, Derek fell into step beside Casey, wrapping his arm around her and finding a familiar comfort as her hand fell on his side. Maybe the other them had the right idea. As they walked, Desiree continued talking to Casey, not appearing to care that she wasn't getting much of a response.

"So, you know, she totally bought the shoes! I kept telling her, Jessie, they make your calves look fat, but she just wouldn't listen." She shook her head, her brows lifting high incredulously. "Hey! We should go shopping sometime soon. Like maybe this weekend, huh?" she suggested, grinning hugely.

Casey's hand dug into his side and she shook her head, trying to look apologetic but really looking more worried than anything. "Uh, not this weekend. I... um... I don't think I can go shopping because..."

"We've got plans. All weekend. Movies, a couch, just us, you know how it is," Derek told her, half-smiling in her direction.

Desiree stared up at him, her eyes wide and her mouth wavering in her cheery smile. She seemed mesmerized for a moment, before she finally cleared her throat and nodded. "Uh, yeah, sure. No prob! I love your top, Casey. Where'd you get it?" she said in a rush.

"Uh, I'm not sure. Can't remember," Casey replied, shrugging her shoulder and looking over at Derek for some way to get rid of her.

"Oh, I have the same problem!" Desiree exclaimed. "I have so many clothes, I just can't remember where they all came from." She laughed, high and grating. "So, like, what class do you have now? I have Foods! I'm so bad at cooking, but it's an easy mark, so..."

"We have Calculus," Casey told her, nodding slowly. "We better get there quickly, too, we've got to talk to the teacher."

Desiree didn't take the hint, she followed them to their locker and hung around as they got their binders together. "I'm surprised you guys haven't gotten in trouble for sharing a locker all this time," she commented, nodding. "Usually, that secretary gets on everybody's case about sharing lockers. I tried sharing with my friend Bren, but we got caught within the week and I was moved to one of the worst lockers in the school!" She rolled her eyes, looking annoyed. 'Two years and still going, though. Lucky or what?" Derek glanced at Casey, who looked visibly relieved that she decided to share a locker with him early on.

Desiree waved at somebody passing by and started walking with them again as they locked it up and continued on their way to Calculus class.

"Aren't you going to be late?" Derek asked, getting annoyed with her presence. He hadn't realized how much he liked his and Casey's quiet time together. Walking to classes had been just them, some conversation, and a kiss goodbye depending on whether they had the class together, but now he had to put up with Desiree's running commentary on everything. He wondered if the other Derek had the same problem.

Desiree simply shrugged off his question and started talking about some of the other students attire, joking about a few of the younger girls and how awful they looked. He was actually happy when they arrived at their class, even though he knew he'd be doing equations for the next hour.

Casey slumped against him as they walked in, looking beyond relieved not to have Desiree hanging around. "I don't how she puts up with her," she muttered, shaking her head.

Derek nodded agreeably and stopped by the teacher's desk. A Mr. Everest sat behind the long, wood desk, reading through a book with his glasses sitting low on his large nose. Derek explained that he needed to pick up his sister after school and since she got out a half hour early, that he would need to leave early. Casey took a deep breath beside him, looking flustered as she got ready to explain that she too needed to go but Mr. Everest cut her off. "Let me guess. You too need to go, for a reason you'll sputter out and I'll finally take pity on you and just let you leave." He half-smiled, shaking his head. "Casey, do I need to remind you how bad you are at lying?" He chuckled. "It's the first day, so I don't need to tell you that I don't want this becoming a regular thing in future. Since both of you are two of my favorite students." He pointed at them with a chubby finger, "I'll deny it if you tell anyone. I'll let you off today. Just make sure you get the homework written down and I don't want any excuses come tomorrow."

"Sounds good," Derek said, grinning as he nodded to the teacher and directed Casey to a seat in the middle row with his hand placed firmly on the small of her back. She sat in front of him again, and while he did pay attention to what was going on, simply because he was sure if he stopped listening for a moment he'd never figure out what he was doing, he also found he enjoyed playing with her hair. It was long, soft and hanging across his desk. When he wasn't writing down notes or listening to Mr. Everest's explanations, he found his fingers wrapping around the dark brown strands, letting it slip through his fingers and over his palm. She sat back farther, letting her hair fall more onto his desk. He didn't know if she did it on purpose, but he enjoyed it all the same. There was a faint floral shampoo scent that wafted up from it, warming his senses.

He glanced around to see if anybody noticed his moment of sappiness, only to find a girl across the aisle watching his hands, a half-smile on her face. She was pretty, with light brown hair, a few freckles, and bright green eyes. She realized he'd caught her and looked up, her cheeks flushing and her eyes widening slightly. She smiled at him, looking more nervous than the flirtatious she was trying for. Instead of a smirk, like he thought would appear, he found a small smile and then turned his attention back to Casey's hair. He tugged on it and she tipped her head enough to look at him, her brow lifting and her mouth quirking. He suddenly felt the urge to kiss her and had to remind himself that he was in class and it was all just a show for everyone. He winked at her, telling himself that he didn't really wish that his world was just a little more like this one. That he didn't really want to hold her like he did when they walked through the halls, or play with her hair like he was now. He assured himself that he preferred the other world, where they hated each other. But as she sat back up and her hair delicately trailed across his palms, he admitted, if only for those three seconds, that his life would be a little better with Casey there to fill it.

oTBCo

A/N Expect an update to "For Marti," very, very soon. I hope you enjoyed this. Sorry for such a late update. Be sure to review, I'd really like to know what you think!

oBDTo