The thing is, Stiles has no interest whatsoever in going on a TV dating show. Deep down, in his heart of hearts -- and publicly, to anyone who is foolish enough to bring up the topic -- Stiles thinks it's kind of pathetic. Because it's all fake, for starters, like all "reality" TV is fake, but also he thinks the people who go on those shows are more interested in attention than love, so what's the point? It's like narcissistic masturbation with some television exhibitionism thrown in for good measure. And letting the entire nation -- nay, the world -- mock your lack of pick-up prowess? Noooo thank you.
Except. Scott's been friends with Allison on Facebook since eighth grade. Her family only stayed in Beacon Hills for a single semester, and she and Scott only had one class together, and Scott never actually worked up the nerve to talk to her, ever, not even on Facebook, but he's seriously been in love since eighth. Fucking. Grade. So when she posts a status saying she's going to be looking for love on Soul Mates, Stiles knows just what to do.
Step 1: Get Scott to stop hyperventilating and actually fill out the online application to be a contestant.
The other steps are slightly more complicated, but Stiles is confident he can pull this off, because he is a fucking mastermind. And it all works, somehow, Stiles' plan falling together so beautifully it's like the stars are aligning and fate is intervening and not only is Scott going to score, but the world is going to have to invent an award just for Stiles: Best Wingman of Ever. He expects to hold the title until he dies, for this.
His entire plan is ingenious. He starts with Scott's audition video, which he tapes himself. It showcases Scott's incredible adorableness, which Stiles is pretty sure is a superpower that no one will be able to resist. But he also makes Scott confess to his eighth-grade crush. After that's done, Stiles films his own audition video, and his performance is frankly Oscar-worthy. He tells them he's Scott's best friend, and that he knows Scott is sending in a video, and that he knows Scott's been in love with Allison since eighth grade, but that he's got to take his own chance, too, that maybe it'll cost them their friendship but maybe it'll be worth it, to be with Allison.
It's childhood crushes and years of pining and brother against brother shit. The producers eat it up with a goddamned spoon. There's all sorts of stuff they have to do after that, screen tests and contracts and everything else, and Stiles has to give Scott lying lessons so that Scott can pretend to be confused and betrayed, when they film the big reveal at the Soul Mates mansion, when Scott supposedly finds out that his best friend has gone behind his back to pursue the same girl.
After that, it's all jacuzzis and feather beds and shit-disturbing. Stiles was born for this. And sure, it's uncomfortable being on camera at first, and he's kind of awkward and makes a fool of himself every half hour or so, but he gets over it, because Scott and Allison are actually honest to god hitting it off, now that Scott's actually talking to her.
Stiles, meanwhile, is making sure nobody else is getting fair play. He distracts the other contestants by stirring up completely unnecessary drama. He hounds that douchebag Jackson relentlessly because Allison actually seems to find him charming and that is just unacceptable. (He even tells the camera so, solemnly, in one of his interview segments. "Unacceptable," he says. "One million years dungeon.")
He's kind of afraid the crew are going to catch on to what he's doing and kick him off the show, but it never happens. He becomes a one-man cock-block between Allison and anybody who isn't Scott, manages to be entertaining enough on his own "dates" with Allison that he doesn't wind up eliminated early on, and the producers are completely in love with his dedicated drama-producing mission: they assign him his own cameraman, who follows him around everywhere he goes.
Stiles is pretty sure the cameraman is some kind of set-up at first, actually, because the guy is about a million times more attractive than any of the show's actual contestants, and that can't be an accident. He figures it has to be some kind of test, like they're trying to get him to slip up and admit that he's not interested in Allison at all, and they're doing it by placing a fucking Greek god in his vicinity at all hours of the day.
It throws him off his game. He gets preoccupied with watching the way cameraman Derek can just effortlessly hold that heavy camera on one broad shoulder, and thinking about Derek pointing that camera down and filming while Stiles sucks his cock, and if Stiles is really losing his focus it's because he's only human, okay? He starts scheming ways to force the production crew to film underwater sequences in the mansion pool, because he would pay actual cash money to see Derek in a pair of swim trunks. (His best plan involves aggravating Jackson enough that the guy will try to drown him, because they'd definitely want underwater footage of that, but it never quite pans out, mostly because Jackson refuses to stay in any area where Stiles is also existing.)
Stiles makes it into the final three, and he's pretty sure it's because the producers decide it that way and Allison probably has very little to do with it, but by then the only real contenders are Scott and Jackson, and Stiles figures his work is done. He and Scott have been pretending at disappointment and determination (Scott) and resentment and rivalry (Stiles) since the filming started, so they haven't actually seen much of each other, outside of angry glaring across various rooms. It's kind of a relief on the last night, to slip a couple of doors down -- with Derek padding behind him like a silent, voyeuristic shadow -- and knock on Scott's door. Stiles intends to give one last gift to the drama gods of shitty television.
When Scott opens up, Stiles pulls him into a back-thumping hug and says, "Bro! You ready to win that girl's heart tomorrow?"
Scott grins his awesome, lopsided grin, and says, "I was kind of hoping I'd won it already."
Stiles pushes him back inside the room, and he's learned to ignore the way Derek follows him in and fails to shut the door. He doesn't bother to check whether Derek looks surprised by this turn of events, because Derek never looks surprised by anything, really. Derek is the impassive eye of the camera -- the beautiful, million-colored, single hazel eye of the camera -- and he's never really responded to Stiles' anything, which is just depressing.
"You've got it in the bag, dude," Stiles says, and he wraps an arm around Scott's shoulders, because this lack of bro-time has been killing him, they haven't spent this much time not-speaking since fifth grade when Stiles -- well, it's not important what Stiles did, except for the part where he apologized. "I've cleared the field for you. Go forth to victory."
"There's still Jackson," Scott says, and kind of wrings his hands -- ugh, literal hand wringing -- like he's actually worried about that tool.
"Listen, man," Stiles says. "You know I understand your deep and abiding love for Allison Argent, but if she actually goes for Jackson 'I'm More In Love With My Suit Than I Am With You' Whittemore, then she's not worth it."
Scott says, "She's worth it." Of course he says that. He's the male lead of every corny romantic movie that Stiles has absolutely never cried over. Then he adds, "Hey, you never know, she might go for you. I'd be heartbroken, but I'd have to admit she's got good taste, too."
"You flatterer," Stiles says, and scrubs his hand through Scott's hair. He's trying to mess it up so Scott will look stupid on camera -- since Stiles has spent a couple weeks now looking completely stupid on camera, it seems fair -- but Scott's hair just carefully rearranges itself, once he stops. Ugh. "I'm out of the running, man. I'm throwing in the towel. I'm folding my hand. I'm probably getting dragged out of here by burly security guards when they see this footage."
He looks at Derek and winks, and Derek is just... staring back at him, not even through the camera this time, tilting his head to one side to get a look around the viewfinder thingy. It turns out both his eyes are beautiful and fathomless, who knew?
Stiles wishes Scott luck, hugs him again tight enough to crack ribs, and then goes back to his own room and pulls out his suitcase, figures he should probably pack right away, just in case.
Derek follows him in. Closes the door. Flips a switch on the camera that makes the ever-present red light blink out, and then sits it down on a chair. He handles it one-handed like it's light as a feather when Stiles knows it's like super heavy. He's ridiculous.
"You actually came on this show just to be Scott's wingman," Derek says, like he's trying to wrap his head around the idea.
"You didn't realize before?" Stiles says. He spreads his arms out like look at me and all of the foolish things I have done. "I thought I was being pretty blatant toward the end there."
Derek shrugs. "Most of the guys on this show are assholes, trying to knock the other guys out. You were just acting like a really successful contestant."
"God, that's depressing," Stiles says. He drops onto the bed and bounces a little because it really is a high-quality mattress. He's also depressed about the fact that he hasn't gotten to engage in any high-impact athletics with anyone while he has use of it.
Derek clears his throat. "So... you're not actually interested in Allison."
"No," Stiles says. "Scott's been in love with her since... well, I'd say eighth grade, but I think maybe they are actual soul mates, so probably since the womb, or something." He pauses, squints at Derek's confused face -- which is mostly just even frownier than his resting face -- and then says, "Should you be filming this? I mean, aren't these like... confessional questions?"
"You're not interested in Allison," Derek repeats, without the confessional-question-mark. He doesn't go for the camera.
"Nah," Stiles says. "I've kinda had my eye on the cameraman."
(Derek helps him try out the mattress. Repeatedly.)