Stiles has accepted that today is going to be the worst day of his life. Well, maybe not the worst, but, like, definitely top three.
It’s going to be worse than the day that Jackson pantsed him in the cafeteria and a lunch lady made a derogatory comment about luncheon meat.
Worse than that day last year when he ate a jumbo bag of Cheetos right before lacrosse practice, because when you’re sixteen stomach trumps brain (and dick trumps stomach but whatever), and then Finstock had made them do a full half hour of suicides and he’d ended up puking in front of the entire team and quite a few of their girlfriends.
Worse than the day Derek tried to break him on his own steering wheel, although in some ways it’ll be comparable, it’s just not going to be Stiles’ nose that Derek breaks today.
He huffs out a long-suffering sigh as he approaches Derek from across the street. Derek is perched on the back of a bench outside the ice cream parlor, his feet on the seat of it, and he’s eating the last couple of bites of a cone. His jeans are stretched tightly over his thighs, and he’s foregone his leather jacket in the heat. He licks a few errant drops of ice cream from his fingers, which causes three or four nearby women to actually swoon, but Derek aggressively ignores them, as always. Stiles isn’t going to swoon. Nuh uh. He has self-control, thank you very much. And a helpful ball of icy nerves, churning jaggedly in his stomach, making him feel decidedly opposed to swooning. So there’s that.
‘Hey.’ His arm spasms in a rough approximation of a wave as he reaches Derek, who grins back despite Stiles’ continued lack of motor control.
Well, he sort of quirks up the corners of his mouth, which is major emoting, for Derek.
Stiles sits on the bench and debates getting an ice cream. He knows he should make small talk but his brain can only come up with one thing, the same thing he’s been thinking about non-stop for twenty-one hours and seventeen minutes, the same thing he’d had in mind when he’d texted Derek to meet up today.
In the end he blurts it out, in true bull-in-a-china-shop Stiles fashion.
‘So, um, you and Danny, huh?’ He works to keep his voice neutral but isn’t sure he’s succeeded, and his cheeks are so red he can probably be seen from space, and oh god this is already the most awkward conversation in the history of awkward conversations. It could win actual trophies. He shoots a sideways glance at Derek who has scrunched his nose up a tiny bit, which is unfairly adorable. The tips of Derek's ears turn pink.
‘Me and Danny.’ Derek’s voice is flat, and as inscrutable as his blank expression. Stiles can’t tell if it’s a question or a confirmation.
‘Um, yeah. I sort of saw you yesterday. Um, together. So.’ Stiles cringes because there’s really no way to broach this without coming across like a total stalker, but he’s decided his need to know outweighs the significant risk of finally losing what little dignity he has left.
‘Together?’ Derek arches an eyebrow at him, and damn, Stiles wishes that wasn’t as attractive as it is because it is not helping the overall awkward factor.
‘At Mojo? You were getting coffee.’ You were all over each other and I wanted to die. ‘I was passing and I saw you. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to cross any lines, I just wanted to say, you know, congratulations.’ Stiles plasters on what is supposed to be a winning smile, but he fears it comes across as more of a rictus grin judging by the faint alarm that creeps into the posture of the people closest to them.
Derek’s flush spreads over his cheeks and down his neck, and Stiles has to avert his eyes quickly to try and stop thinking about how much further it might spread below the perfectly distressed neckline of his impossibly soft-looking heather colored Henley.
‘You wanted to say congratulations…’ Derek repeats, faintly, hunching his shoulders.
Stiles laughs, easing the tension slightly. ‘Are you going to say anything other than repeating my own words back to me?’
Derek shakes his head a little, exhaling sharply. He shoots a ‘why me?’ sort of look up to the sky which, rude, but Stiles isn't sure what else he was expecting. He gets up and is about to wander back to the parking lot, mid-protest that he’s not the only one who thinks Derek’s more than old enough to be using his words in conversations, when Derek suddenly reaches out and grabs him gently by the wrist. The solid weight of a Derek suddenly attached to the end of his arm turns Stiles back in to stand between Derek's legs, so they're face-to-face.
Stiles wishes he hadn’t stumbled like a baby deer in the process, but hey, he’s come to accept that his own personal brand of suave isn’t necessarily going to include co-ordinated locomotion. Whatever.
More pressing is the issue of Derek’s long fingers encircling his wrist, lighting him up with adrenaline and this really fucking annoying sense of rightness, because apparently his central nervous system hasn’t read the memo about Derek and Danny Doing The Do. And wow that’s a lot of ‘D’s, when there isn’t a single ‘D’ in Stiles, and then he realises how hilariously, depressingly true that is and he lets out this embarrassing, miserable squawk of a laugh that has Derek looking at him like he’s insane. And he’s not insane, okay, not, like, certifiably, he’s at least eighty percent sure about that. Well. Maybe seventy-five.
His blood rushes hot under the thin skin of his wrist, right where Derek’s fingertips now lie, and Stiles knows that Derek must be able to hear his thunderous, traitorous heart, and smell all of the messy, painful emotions that Stiles is failing utterly to hide.
He raises his eyes to meet Derek’s, which are very blue and very green and very earnest in this light.
‘Danny and I aren’t together. Yesterday he was…’ Derek raises his eyes to the sky again, wincing in embarrassment. ‘He was teaching me, uh… how to flirt. Flirting one-oh-one, I guess.’
Stiles is… dumbfounded. As in, struck dumb. Which has possibly never happened to him in his life before. Because… what?
He swallows thickly. ‘Oh. I… Oh… How to flirt? But you’re… you… um… why?’
Derek ducks his head, a smile turning up the corners of his mouth. ‘Well, see, there’s this guy that I’ve had a massive crush on for a while now, and I thought I’d been flirting and making my interest clear all along. But it turns out, not so much.’
‘Oh.’ Stiles stares at the fingers Derek still has clasped around his wrist, and his stomach does a strange swoopy lurch that’s on the line between painful and pleasant. Is it me? He wants to ask, but it turns out that while he’s bad-ass enough to plunge into battle against all sorts of horrifying creatures - many of which ooze unspeakable bodily fluids and are unnecessarily judgemental on the issue of virginity - armed with nothing but his wits, his gumption and his google-fu, when it comes to this… to Derek… he’s a massive chicken. He can practically hear Scott clucking at him mockingly from inside his conscience somewhere. Honestly, it’s a little disturbing.
Derek meets Stiles’ gaze again and his eyebrows seem to be trying to convey to Stiles that Derek is about to say Significant Things. Either that or that he really wants nachos. Stiles is still not completely fluent in eyebrow-speak, but god he’s willing to learn.
Derek takes a breath and says, ‘See, I messed up in the beginning, when I met him. I was rude and made assumptions. But I figured out pretty quickly that this guy is… perfect, actually. I mean he’s stubborn and a little bit ridiculous and he has an uncanny ability to get himself into trouble,’ he smiles at Stiles who gazes back, wide-eyed, because evidently the eyebrows were foretelling Significant Things after all, ‘but he’s sweet and funny and kind, and stupidly brave, and he calls me out on my bullshit.’ He leans in towards Stiles and lowers his voice as he murmurs the words into the shell of his ear, ‘And he’s gorgeous, too.’
Stiles’ head is swimming, a bubble of excitement and hope rising up in his chest. Derek smells really good, like rainwater and citrus and earth, and oh, his mouth is so close to his ear, if Stiles turned just a little bit he could climb into it. It wouldn’t be weird. It would be wonderful.
‘Oh.’ Stiles says, cleverly, and seriously what the fuck, words?
‘So,’ Derek breathes, ‘I’m really hoping he can forgive me for being an ass, and would consider possibly going on a date with me. But as I said, I’ve messed up a lot. So I asked Danny to help me work on my flirting. I didn’t want to mess it up again. How do you think I’m doing?’ He turned his head slightly so that his eyelashes brush the skin of Stiles’ cheek, and Stiles can feel his breath, hot and damp on his neck.
Stiles works his jaw, trying to get sounds out. ‘Derek…’ he finally manages, breathless and low, because Derek has to know that he has Stiles half-hard in his pants from just an eyelash brush, thanks a bunch teenage libido, and it’s really not fair if Derek doesn’t intend to do anything about it.
‘Mmm?’ Derek blinks again, his eyelashes ghosting over the bridge of Stiles’ nose, like a wisp of silk.
Stiles’ voice is hoarse but he manages to form actual words, so he considers it a win. ‘Derek, we’ve had a lot of… crossed wires, and, uh… confusion…’
‘That’s true…’ Derek draws back minutely, his shoulders tensing.
No, Stiles thinks. Don’t go. So he boldly reaches out to graze his fingers over Derek’s shoulder, because he’s brave, okay, he’s a fucking hero.
‘It’s just that I can be a bit, uh, oblivious, about this sort of stuff, and…’ Stiles swallows around the lump in his throat that he suspects is his heart, ‘I don’t want to mess up either. So I’m going to need you to be beyond clear about, uh, who, uh...’ He squeezes his eyes shut, overwhelmed by mortification. He knows his face will be unattractively splotchy and his knees are literally knocking and he’s a hot mess right now, so he can’t imagine why Derek’s hitherto oblivious love interest would possibly be him, but. But what if it is?
‘About the boy?’ Derek sounds amused. Stiles can’t make himself open his eyes, can’t even begin to brace his poor, battered heart for the rejection he’s scared will be written all over Derek’s face.
Stiles nods. A cool finger tips his chin up. ‘Stiles… Look at me.’
He squares his shoulders and opens his eyes to find Derek’s, close and crinkled with affection. ‘Oblivious, huh?’
Stiles makes a rueful face, thinking of Erica, and of the guy in the library that one time who Stiles had thought was having a conniption but had actually been trying to convey his interest to a Stiles who was unfortunately fully engrossed in a book about Russian forestry. He sighs. ‘Yeah.’
Derek smiles in a slow way that makes heat shiver through Stiles' limbs. ‘Oh… Well in the interest of being beyond clear…’ he ducks his head and then looks up at Stiles through his eyelashes, and really, who knew Derek would be so fucking breathtakingly irresistible once he tapped into his inner Prince Charming (Stiles, actually. Stiles totally knew).
‘Stiles…’ he says Stiles’ name like it’s something precious, which is ridiculous because it’s a stupid name, but whatever, Stiles suddenly fucking loves it because he’s never heard it said that way before. ‘Stiles,’ says Derek, ‘It’s always been you.’
Stiles has time to wonder briefly, hysterically, if he’s possibly been hexed or cursed and he’s going to wake up soon, if Derek’s been possessed by something evil that happens to have a romantic streak and a penchant for fucking with Stiles, or if Stiles is possibly actually dead and this is his heavenly reward for trying to kick all those oozy, judgey bad-guys in the nuts all those times, but then Derek leans in to kiss him and Stiles’ brain goes quiet.
It's probably a full minute before Stiles’ mind starts to re-boot and get back online, but even then all he can think is ‘Derek...’ and his senses are full of the taste of him, of how solid and safe Derek feels wrapped around him, of the rasp of his stubble on his skin (is it possible to come just from stubble scraping against your skin? Stiles thinks probably yes.). The kiss is tender and exciting and is making his head muzzy with lust. It's everything Stiles ever thought it could be, when he'd dared to fantasise about it.
Derek bites down lightly on Stiles’ lower lip, making Stiles gasp, and then Derek takes advantage of the exhalation to lick into Stiles’ mouth and explore it. He’s holding Stiles like he’s made of glass, licking around his mouth so, so gently, and it’s good, it’s amazing, but fuck it, Stiles wants more. He winds his fingers into Derek’s hair and tugs a little, tilting his head enough that Stiles can dive back into the kiss with more ferocity, unashamedly showing Derek his need.
He should be scared to show him, he thinks, but he’s not any more. Now he’s assured of Derek’s interest, he can fall back on his deep, deep trust in Derek to always be there, to always take care of him. Derek eventually pulls away, chest heaving, lips slick and kiss-swollen, and god he’s never looked better. He stares at Stiles for a second, like he’s worried Stiles will change his mind.
Then he smiles and it’s the freest Stiles has ever seen him, like he’s lit up from the inside, and it’s glorious, and Stiles is the smuggest bastard in the world right now because he goddamn did that.
‘So,’ Derek says, gratifyingly breathless, ‘this is working faster than I thought it would…’
Stiles leans back in and laughs against his lips. ‘Mmm. I would give it a solid B plus. Danny should write an e-pamphlet or something.'
Derek huffs, so sweetly sexy that Stiles can’t not kiss him again, just a little. Derek allows it, but pouts as Stiles pulls away. ‘B plus…’ He mutters, shooting Stiles one of his patented glowers.
‘Dude, anything higher would require orgasms.’ He grins as Derek’s eyebrows shoot up into his hairline. ‘For all parties. Which I sincerely hope you did not practice with Danny.'
Derek does a truly stupendous 'bitch, please' face, because he's nothing if not insanely loyal and apparently he's been into Stiles this whole time. Stiles wonders if it would be overly obnoxious to literally pat himself on the back. On balance it probably would be, he concludes. Derek's quiet for a moment, chewing on the inside of his cheek as he thinks. ‘Well,’ he says, face serious, ‘I was always a straight A student.’
Stiles quirks a brow back at him. ‘How straight?’ He challenges, pressing himself further into the solid warmth of the V of Derek’s legs.
Derek snorts and gets to his feet. ‘Let’s find out. Aren’t you the king of research?’
Stiles grins widely. ‘You are so right, dude.’ He takes Derek’s stupidly perfect face in his hands, because apparently he can do that now because Derek thinks his face is stupidly perfect, too. ‘First question…’
Derek inclines his head. Maybe he’s reached his word quota for the day. Stiles would be cool with that. After all, he used them wisely.
‘What are we, now? Are we… dating? Boyfriends? Beaus? Uh… mates? In the end?’ He bites his lower lip, suddenly nervous he’s gone too far when Derek looks at him, eyebrows drawn together.
‘Yes,’ is all he says, but the way he says it, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world, makes Stiles’ heart soar.
‘Okay,’ he says back. ‘Okay. Good.’ He presses a kiss to Derek’s mouth. Derek tastes like hazelnut gelato. He’s delicious. ‘Wanna come back to mine and do, uh, research?’ He waggles his eyebrows salaciously and Derek laughs, which is the best thing ever.
Stiles grabs his hand happily and leads him towards the door, heart stuttering when Derek says, ‘Wait…’
He raises his eyebrows apprehensively, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
‘I don’t have to climb in the window, do I?’ Is all Derek says, poutily.
Stiles laughs and kisses the pout away. ‘Of course you do. Haven’t you read Twilight at all?’
Derek's blush gives him away, and Stiles laughs so much his sides hurt because his big bad wolf of a boyfriend reads Twilight, as if he wasn't already adorable enough.
Derek huffs as Stiles tells him of course he’s using the front door, he’s got to officially meet Stiles’ dad, and then Stiles worries he’s killed Derek when Derek appears to have a minor cardiac event, but then Stiles kisses him back to life magically up against the camaro (no judging, okay, that car is sex on wheels), it turns out that Stiles’ day really isn’t going to be that bad after all.