- Scott -
“How do you even get up there?” Scott asks skeptically. Loft beds are tricky enough on their own, he doesn’t know what possessed Derek and Stiles to push theirs together. Why would anybody try to create a king-sized loft bed in a teensy tiny dorm room? Unless... “wait, have you guys finally started, you know, doing it?”
Stiles blinks. Cocks his head to the side. Blinks again. “What? First of all, doing it? Are we in middle school? And second, me and Derek? We’re friends. Roommates. Friendly roommates who are friends.”
“Stiles.” Scott gestures meaningfully at the six foot high marital bed taking up the center of the room.
And Stiles calls him oblivious. “Why do you need this great big bed it you’re not-”
“I fall off my bed!”
“I fall off! You know how I move around when I sleep! Now if I stay in the middle of the bed I’ve got more buffer space! I don’t wake up by hitting the carpet anymore.”
Scott remembers dozens of disastrous childhood sleepovers when he’d been woken by one of Stiles’ flailing feet or adventurous elbows. “I guess that does make sense.”
“Thank you!” Stiles replies smugly. “See, just because two guys are both bi, and roommates, and one of them is really hot, doesn’t mean they’re having sex. Get your mind out of the gutter, Scott.” Stiles pats one of the loft’s legs approvingly. “Megaloft here has saved me some broken bones on more than a few occasions.” And on the rare, rare occasion she doesn’t,” Stiles adds, his focus on straightening one of the overlapping comforters, “well, Derek usually sleeps on top of me, so he stops me from falling over the edge.”
- Isaac -
Isaac’s almost done with a particularly tricky problem set when he hears a rhythmic dinging from the computer on Derek’s desk. Up on Derek and Stiles’ weird combined bed, Stiles starts disentangling himself from the blankets. “Are your parents calling, Derek?”
“Yeah.” Derek presses a button on the laptop. “Hi mom.”
Isaac starts gathering up his notes. “I’ll give you some privacy, I can do my homework somewhere else-”
“Don’t worry about it,” Derek and Stiles say in unison.
“These calls are usually short,” Stiles assures Isaac as he climbs out of the bed and starts rooting around in the piles of clothes on the ground for a pair of pants.
“Can you hear me alright? Is the video working?” asks the laptop.
“You’re coming in fine, mom,” Derek assures her. “How are you?”
“Great! How’s second semester going?”
“Good, just, um, aced my psych midterm.” Derek scratches his head and looks down at the floor in embarrassment.
“Good for you sweetie!” Derek’s mom coos. “And how’s Stiles? Where is he anyway?”
Stiles finishes buttoning up his pants and clatters over to the laptop. “Here I am!”
“Here you are!” exclaims Derek’s mom, her glee apparent even through the cheap laptop speakers. “Did the essay work out?”
Stiles nods, bending double so the camera can see his face. “Thanks for the advice about the conclusion.”
“Anytime dear. Now Stiles texted me and said you guys went across the bay to San Francisco for a day, so how was that?”
“Foggy.” Derek’s eyebrows waggle emphatically.
“We saw a lot of... cool...” Stiles wiggles around behind Derek’s desk chair to find a comfortable spot in front of the camera. “I’m gonna kill my back this way.”
Sighing, Derek spins around in the chair to face Stiles, scoops him onto his lap with one perfunctory arm, then wheels back around to his mother, one arm firmly around Stiles’ waist.
“That’s better,” Stiles sighs, melting back against Derek’s chest.
Stiles and Derek spend the next seven and a half minutes recounting their adventures gallivanting around Ghiradelli Square, Pier 39, and of course, the Castro, all to Derek’s mother’s delight, until Stiles yelps, “wait, class started two minutes ago!”
Derek swears, sets Stiles on the ground, then leaps for his backpack. They disappear in a whirlwind of flying coats and books, and not thirty seconds later, the only sign that they were in the room at all is the faint voice emanating from the laptop, saying: “wait, how do I hang up the call? Hello? Is this the- no, now I’m in fullscreen.”
Isaac approaches the laptop with the caution of a gazelle approaching a wounded lion. He’s not good with strangers. “Hello?”
“Oh!” The dark haired woman on the screen looks up. “Where did you come from?”
“I was-” Isaac waves a hand at the beanbag he was sitting on, out of frame. “Doing homework. Um, you press the little red phone icon-”
“You were here this whole time?” Derek’s mom asks in concern. “Oh dear, I hope you didn’t feel left out.”
“No, no” Isaac assures her quickly. “Stiles and Derek are, um, good hosts?”
The woman smiles broadly. Isaac can see where Derek gets his looks from. “That’s my Derek. And Stiles is such a dear. I’m so glad they found each other.”
“Oh, uh, yeah,” Isaac glances at the door. He’s so bad with parents. “I mean, it was kind of a random match-up from the housing department, but I guess you could say-”
Derek’s mom chuckles. “Oh, don’t worry, I’m hip, we both know what I’m talking about.”
Isaac’s face must look confused, because she goes on to clarify: “You know, how Stiles is Derek’s little boyfriend, or partner, or whatever they’re calling it these days. Derek hasn’t said anything, but I can tell, they aren’t very subtle and I video-talk with them every week.” Her face grows more serious. “Could you maybe hint to Derek that I’d still love him if he came out? He and Stiles are so in love, I don’t want them to feel like they can’t talk about it with me.”
“Er,” Isaac fumbles with the graph paper in his hands. “I don’t think they’re actually dating?”
Derek’s mom squints at him in confusion.
“I, I mean, we all kind of think they should!” Isaac offers encouragingly, “uh, there’s been a, um, pool, kind of, in the dorm since, like, they met, but nothing yet. Sorry?”
Derek’s mom inhales heavily as she takes in this information, nodding to herself. “I see.” She taps a finger against her chin, takes a thoughtful sip of tea, then says, “can I get in on this pool?”
- Allison -
The dining hall is always so noisy and crowded that sometimes Allison can’t stand it, but hey, their whole gang gets together there every night to eat dinner together like a family, so she has a bit of a soft spot for the place.
There’s a rhythm to it: somebody sends out a text to the group thread (“anybody up for dinner?”) they all are, and they march out to the dining hall at 6:30. Allison eats big at lunch, so she has a salad for dinner, skipping all of the lines and saving them a table. Then she sits, fork in hand, and watches first Erica sit down with her pizza and fruit salad, then Isaac with his Meat of the Day and chocolate milk, Scott and his burger, Lydia and her brown rice with veggies, and then. And then.
Stiles and Derek always show up at the same time, two trays in tow, one piled with meat, one with green stuff, and then they sit next to each other and exchange food.
“I grabbed you some chicken.”
“You said you were craving some earlier today, so I thought-”
“No, just surprised you remembered.”
“Surprised I remembered. Ha!”
“Can I steal your-”
“Why do you think I got them?”
“Take some asparagus, you could use the iron. And I stocked up on those red peppers-”
“My favorite! And I braved the desert line for you, I’ll have you know, so here is your moon cake-”
“I forgot it was Moon Cake Monday!”
“That’s what you have me for. Orange juice?”
Satisfied with their meals, Derek and Stiles grab their utensils in unison and tuck in, their elbows brushing occasionally.
Lydia turns to Jackson accusingly. “You never bring me orange juice.”
- Boyd -
Boyd’s showers are his quiet time. Dorm life can be loud and distracting and Boyd was not designed to deal with college freshmen all day long, so he has long showers at odd hours. Nobody else showers at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
Except for today apparently. Those two idiots from room 467 will not stop talking.
“Hang on, did I forget shampoo again? God, I’m a dumbass-”
“Here.” Out of the corner of his eye, Boyd sees a hairy arm rise out of one of the shower stalls offering a bottle of shampoo.
“Don’t call me that.”
“You love it.”
There’s no reply from “Der-Bear’s” stall, but there’s no denial either.
Oh, Boyd thinks, these are the jokers who have people betting good money on them getting together.
The arm rises out of the stall again, holding a bottle of what Boyd assumes is conditioner.
“Thanks. I’m gonna remember to buy more hair stuff eventually, I swear it!”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“You’re a hairy dude, you need that shampoo to deal with your own fur.”
“Not that much. Besides, we- hrmm huh mmhmm mm.”
“What was that?” the other voice asks in confusion. “I couldn’t hear you.”
“We, uh, I like it when we smell the same,” mutters Der-Bear.
Boyd rolls his eyes.
The other voice coos, “awww you big softie! Now wash my back.”
Boyd hears one of the showers shut off, a curtain open, the slap of wet shower sandals against the floor, another curtain open, close, and then “ahh yess. Now there’s the spot I can never reach.”
“You’re hopeless,” Der-Bear says fondly. “Bend over a bit so I can get your lower back?”
Boyd hastily shuts off his water and reaches for his threadbare towel. He needs to get out of here before that loofah gets any lower.
- Lydia -
Lydia prides herself on being able to hold her liquor. She figured out a formula long ago that told her how many ounces of whatever-proof alcohol she should drink in a night, based on what she’d eaten that day, her current weight down to the half-pound, and desired level of drunkenness. As such, she is happily warm and tipsy as their “wolf pack” ––as Scott’s taken to calling their group of friends––wanders back to their dorm from the frat party.
Stiles, on the other hand, is smashed.
He’s clumsy enough sober that he’s a disaster when drunk: staggering around, accidentally smacking strangers they pass on the street, and giggling all the while. Luckily, Lydia notes with amusement, Derek’s taken it upon himself to keep Stiles in check.
“Whooah,” Stiles slurs, stumbling over a crack in the pavement before Derek’s arms catch him around the middle and pull him into his side. “I- whoo, okay. Lots of, uh, cracks! On the ground. You’ve got me though.”
Derek’s cheeks are rosy with alcohol and the 2AM cold, but he sounds otherwise sober when he replies, “I’ve got you.”
“An’ you’re so- grrr,” Stiles makes a bodybuilder pose. “You could jus’ pick me up and carry me home.”
“Grrr,” Derek growls, and swoops down to catch Stiles’ knees and hoist him up into a sudden, stumbling, bridal carry.
Stiles screeches with laughter and throws his arms around Derek’s neck. The whole group has stopped walking now, too distracted by Derek and Stiles’ shenanigans to be concerned with getting back to the dorm. One of Stiles’ hands reaches out and caresses Derek’s cheek, running exploratory fingers over his cheekbones and stubble. He leans in, and the whole group collectively catches their breath. Lydia, with the precision of a girl who was very popular in high school, can hear their thoughts: is this it? Are we about to witness the moment these two have been building up towards for months? Will relationship history be made tonight, and at Derek and Stiles’ wedding, will we be able to say that we were there?
In that hushed moment of apprehension, Stiles’ face drifts closer to Derek’s, a hand still resting on his cheek, electricity in the air, and finally, when there’s barely a millimeter of space between them, Stiles twists his head to the side and scrapes his cheek along Derek’s in one sudden swipe. “You’re scratchy,” he giggles, rubbing his face against Derek’s stubble a few times more before flopping his head onto Derek’s shoulder. “Now come on, take me home, valiant knight!”
Lydia and Erica groan in unison, while the guys all roll their eyes.
By the time they’re around the corner from the dorm, it’s late, and cold, and they’re tired. Nobody talks, they just trudge across the dew damp grass of the quad towards their building. Lydia is near the back of the procession––her heels are proving to be a detriment––and Derek, still carrying Stiles, make up the caboose. The bell starts ringing three in the morning, and Lydia hears, just barely, Stiles’ whisper of “you know I like, love you man, right?”
There’s a pause, so long that Lydia wonders if Derek heard Stiles at all, but then, even quieter than Stiles, she hears “I love you too.”
It’s silent after that, just quiet steps plodding in the darkness.
Derek carries Stiles up all four flights of stairs to their room.
- Stiles -
They should really be sleeping. It’s a school night, they both have 8AM lectures tomorrow, and if they keep talking, they’ll wake up so late tomorrow morning they won’t have time to get coffee together.
But dammit Stiles wants to hear the rest of Derek’s story!
“-Professor Keaton didn’t know what to say to that,” Derek finishes, half speaking to Stiles, half to the pillow. “He just stood up at the front with his toupee on sideways and ended up dismissing us ten minutes early.”
“Most of the class was laughing,” Derek allows.
Stiles scoffs. “You don’t give yourself enough credit, dude. You’re hilarious.”
“It was a hilarious set of circumstances,” Derek amends, pulling the comforter further over his shoulders.
Sighing dramatically, Stiles reaches over to ruffle Derek’s hair. “Alright, you Humble Hubert.”
Chuckling, Derek raises an eyebrow. “Humble Hubert?”
“I’m improvising.” Stiles tucks himself further under Derek’s arm. “Shit, now the blanket’s off my feet. Yuck.”
Derek does a swift sit-up that sets the loft shaking, and flips the bright green blanket back over Stiles’ feet, warm hands tucking the fabric around his toes.
“My hero!” Stiles swoons when Derek lays back down next him.
Derek makes a face, but he lets Stiles burrow into his chest in gratitude. Derek is so warm. Stiles is glad he has a friend like Derek who likes to cuddle. And gets his humor. And cares when he’s upset, and is secretly hilarious, and smart, and handsome.
Derek’s fingers brush lightly over the back of Stiles’ neck; it’s so soothing, sending melty little shivers all down his back. “We should probably go to sleep,” he rumbles.
Stiles murmurs “yeah,” and climbs off of Derek’s chest, turning on his side. “You be the big sp- you’re ahead of me,” he finishes as one of Derek’s big muscly neanderthal arms loops around his waist and his breath puffs into Stiles’ hair.
“Mmm,” Derek agrees. He gets nonverbal when he’s sleepy. It’s adorable. God, Stiles just wants this forever.
“We’re gonna live together next year, right?”
He feels Derek’s ribs expand, then contract behind him. “Of course.” His voice is warm.
Stiles smiles into the dark of their room. Squeezes Derek’s hand. “Good. I really like this. You know. Us two.”
Derek doesn’t say anything, and for a terrifying second, Stiles thinks he’s weirded him out, gone too far, said too much. Then he feels a touch, ever so soft, of lips on the back of his neck.
Something in Stiles’ chest slides into place. It’s a deal, then.
The next morning, Derek climbs out of bed first, like he always does. He tugs on Stiles’ ankle until Stiles wakes up too, like he always does. They get dressed in a fumbling rush like they always do. Stiles steals Derek’s jacket like he always does. They get the same drinks as always at the campus Starbucks. They reach Derek’s lecture hall first, as always, and then Stiles pecks Derek on the lips and says “see you after class.”
Stiles smiles to himself as he turns on his heel and walks towards his own classroom. It’s about time they shook up the routine.
The smile grows broader as he hears rapid footsteps echo down the empty hallway, catching up to him.
As he’s being tackled to the ground in a warm, muscled embrace, Stiles wonders if they’ll be able to get any sort of profit out of the pool.