The first thing Stiles' new roommate does is hiss at him from the top bunk, which is not great, as first impressions go.
Then he notices the guy is a felid, which helps a little. Stiles knew felids in high school--not well, they weren't besties or anything--but enough to know that they hiss a lot and like high places. Not to stereotype.
"Where did you come from?" the guy asks, like he genuinely doesn't understand how doors work.
It's an easy question, but Stiles still flounders for a bit. "Um, outside?" he tries, pointing behind him. "I'm Stiles, your roommate? We emailed." The whole felid thing makes him feel better about the emails, honestly. He thought the curt, one-line answers might mean he had already pissed his new roommate off, but from what he's heard, felids don't do email well. "You're Derek, right?"
"Yeah," he says, visibly deflating. His tail and ears relax a little, and the fur on his tail and neck, which had been on end, flattens. "Stiles."
"Stiles," he agrees. "So, I guess you want the top bunk. That's cool. I like being on bottom."
He winces--man, does that sound like a bad pickup--but Derek doesn't seem to notice. He just says, "Leave the door open," and curls up on the bed. It's actually pretty cute.
Maybe this won't be so bad.
Living with Derek Hale is weird. It's hard to tell how much of it is felid stuff and how much of it is Derek stuff. Stiles doesn't have a lot of experience with felids, and he seriously doesn't want to be felid-racist, but he's pretty sure if they were all like Derek, they would have died off due to being unable to take care of themselves.
Derek wants the door open all the time. The first night, Stiles closes it to go to sleep, and Derek wakes him up in the middle of the night kicking it. "Whazz happenin," Stiles slurs, rubbing his face. "Okay?"
"The door is closed," says Derek.
"Yeah iz night," says Stiles. He forces himself to sit up and try to pay attention. "Stop kicking it."
"But it's closed."
"So open it."
Derek frowns, like this solution had never occurred to him.
"Why do you need it open?" Stiles asks.
"I might need to leave."
"So open it when you need to leave."
"But it's closed," says Derek. He glares at the door, like it is the source of every problem he has ever had. "If I needed to leave--"
"Then you'd open it."
Derek does so and steps outside. Then he comes back inside. And then he goes outside again. "I thought there might be something out there," he tells Stiles, glaring.
"Good job checking it out," says Stiles. He hears Derek come back to bed, but the door's still open. "Dude, you know anyone could just come in here in the night, right?"
"If it's closed I won't know what's out there," Derek says shortly.
"It's the hallway," says Stiles, but manages to fall back to sleep.
Stiles is expecting Derek to see the error of his ways the first weekend they're in the dorm, when some drunk guys will inevitably stagger down the hallway and wake them up. Because the door is open. It happens, but instead of seeing the error of his ways, Derek just hisses at them until they go away, and then comes back and headbutts Stiles.
"Uh," says Stiles.
Derek twitches his ears at Stiles, looking supremely smug. Hesitantly, Stiles reaches over and scratches behind his ears, and Derek starts purring and rubbing his head against Stiles' chest. It's disconcerting, but nice, in the sense that it's the first time he's ever gotten the impression Derek enjoys anything he does.
Of course, it's only a few minutes before Derek stiffens, growls, and jumps away, back up to his bed with his tail lashing.
So, maybe not so great after all.
"Good night," he mutters, and isn't at all surprised when he gets no response.
Still, he doesn't think it's going too badly. In fact, he's feeling pretty good about everything when he grabs his shoe on his way to the library and finds there's a mouse in it.
He's glad Derek isn't there, because the noise he lets out is very embarrassing. Then he sees that the mouse is dead and that's--better? He's not sure why a mouse decided to die in his shoe, but at least it's not going to jump on him or bite him or anything. He dumps it in the trash and heads off, pretty much forgetting about it.
But then he gets back and finds the mouse on his pillow. Derek is sitting on his own bed, tail twitching, glaring at Stiles. "The mouse was in the trash," he says.
"Yeaaaaah," says Stiles, looking at his bed. Can he just wash the sheets, or does he need to burn them and start over.
"It was supposed to be in your shoe," says Derek. "I left it for you."
"Oh," says Stiles. That's some weird and new aggression. Where did Derek even find a mouse? "I, uh--wasn't hungry?" He looks around for a t-shirt. "Look, I get it," he says. He can't bring himself to say you don't like me out loud. "But we're roommates, and we just have to live with that." He finds an old t-shirt he really doesn't like and carefully picks up the mouse. "So I'm going to go take this mouse corpse outside, okay?"
Derek is still glaring at him. "Fine. Do whatever you want." He curls up in an angry ball, and Stiles sighs.
It's probably the best he's going to do.
"I don't know what to do!" he rages at Scott, three weeks later. "He's driving me nuts! There was a dead squirrel on my laptop this morning, every time I close the door he just yowls, he coughed up a hairball in my laundry basket! Okay, he was trying to clean it up when I got back, so at least he recognized that wasn't cool, but what the hell!" He clears his throat. "Also, it's weirdly hot when he licks himself? Which just makes me feel like--I don't even know. Pervert? Weird about my sexuality? What do I do with that?"
"You're giving me a lot to process, Stiles," says Scott.
"This can't just be a felid thing, right? They don't just--kill squirrels and leave them around to threaten their roommates! That's fucked up!" He rubs his hand over his face. "I need a break. Can I sleep on your futon this weekend? Watching Derek hiss at frat boys is hilarious but also really, really not restful."
"Sure," says Scott easily. He has a single, the bastard. "But that's not really a long-term solution."
"Moving to your futon is."
"It's a pretty shitty futon, dude."
"I can upgrade it! I can make this work, Scott."
"You just don't want to jerk off thinking about your roommate licking himself again."
"Yeah, shut up."
Stiles tells Derek he's going to crash at his friend Scott's for the weekend, and Derek gives his standard non-reaction, a kind of grunt and then rolling over. Derek spends most of his time asleep; Stiles is a little jealous.
He's expecting a nice, Derek-free couple of days, but just about when he starts worrying that maybe Derek is just sitting on the floor howling or systematically barfing in all of his drawers, someone starts scratching at Scott's door.
Scott raises his eyebrows and goes over to open it. Stiles isn't really surprised when Derek is there--who else was going to be scratching at Scott's door?--but it is weird. He and Scott know each other, but not well or anything. And, well, it's always going to be weird when someone is scratching at your door.
"Hey, Derek," says Scott brightly. Derek headbutts him and leaves his head against Scott's chest until Scott scratches him a little. Then he comes over and flops onto Stiles.
"Hi, buddy," says Stiles, giving Scott a perplexed look. Scott shrugs and goes to close the door, but Stiles manages to flail at him until he stops. "Uh, what's up?" he asks Derek, scratching his ears. Derek starts purring, and then falls asleep. On Stiles' legs.
"What is happening?" he mouths at Scott.
Scott shrugs, but he's smirking too. Asshole.
Derek ends up staying the night, sleeping on the bottom end of the futon, by Stiles' feet. Scott closes the door after he drifts off, and they make it to morning without incident. Derek starts scratching the door around nine, and Stiles throws a pillow at him and tells him to open the goddamn thing himself.
Stiles himself wakes Scott up at ten, mostly so he can complain about Derek.
"All felids can't be like this, right? Or does he just treat me differently? Is he a weirdo? Is he just fixated on making my life hell? I don't get it! How is this my life?"
"I think he just treats you differently," says Scott, glancing up from his laptop. He hands it over to Stiles; it's open to a Yahoo ask page called "my best friend is a felid and keeps leaving dead birds in my bed how do I stop her???" He's pretty disheartened when the first line of the response is You can't, but then it goes on to, This is how felids show affection. Your friend is in love with you. She's trying to prove that she can provide for you.
Stiles looks up at Scott, agog. "Wait, seriously?"
"I don't know, I'm not a felid expert. Do you trust Yahoo answers?"
It's a good point and one worth considering, so Stiles does some more googling, and other sites agree: this is a crush thing. Most of them add that felids also only do this for people they worry can't provide for themselves, and several sites suggest that the best solution would be for Stiles to kill a squirrel himself and bring it home, just to prove that he can.
If you're looking to tell your felid you feel the same way, you should put the animal on their bed or doorstep--wherever you're used to getting your "treats." If not, just make sure to carry it somewhere the felid will see it, so they are aware you don't need any help hunting.
"Oh my god," says Stiles, burying his face in his hands.
Scott claps him on the shoulder. "So it's good you think it's hot when he licks himself."
Stiles spends about five minutes stalking a squirrel before he realizes that, yeah, this is not happening. He doesn't even know how he would kill the squirrel. And it's a squirrel. Squirrels are adorable. But even if he and Derek start dating--or however dating a felid works--he's going to need the guy to cool it with the dead animals.
There's another felid, Jackson, in his econ class, and despite Jackson's overall disdain for him, Stiles still manages to convince him to kill a squirrel for him for twenty bucks. Which seems pretty expensive, for a dead squirrel, but it's not like he really knows what goes into the whole process. And he paid an additional five bucks so that Jackson wouldn't ask any questions, which was totally worth it, because the only thing worse than buying a dead squirrel would be explaining why he needed one.
He puts on a nice shirt and jeans, puts the squirrel on Derek's pillow, and settles in with a book.
Derek gets back, sees the squirrel, and suddenly his entire body is on edge, all of the fur he has on end, tail lashing. "Really, Stiles?"
"Um," says Stiles, because Derek was supposed to be happy about this.
"You couldn't have just said you weren't interested?"
"You left his token on my bed!"
"His what? It's a squirrel! I read--god, this is what I get for trusting wikipedia. I was trying to say I liked you too!"
"With someone else's squirrel?" Derek demands.
"No! I mean, technically, I guess, someone else killed the squirrel, yeah. How was I supposed to kill a squirrel? Have you met me? I don't have anything to use to kill squirrels! And I don't want to! I just wanted you to stop leaving dead animals on my stuff and then maybe we could make out! No one else is killing animals for me. Just you."
Some part of the barrage of word vomit must have worked, because Derek relaxes. Gingerly, he goes over to investigate the squirrel. "Whoever got this for you was not a good hunter."
"Yeah, I'm not shocked the random guy I paid twenty bucks didn't put his all into it."
Derek lifts up the squirrel, opens the window, and throws it outside. Then he stalks back over to Stiles. "Don't pay other guys to kill squirrels for you," he says.
"Can I pay you to not kill squirrels for me?" Stiles asks. "I would really appreciate it if we just dated and you never--" Derek kisses him, and he goes with that for a while. But when they pull back he has to note, "I'm not hearing Stiles, I promise not to leave any more dead animals on your stuff. I eat at the dining hall! You see me eat! I don't eat the dead animals! They just freak me out."
Derek kisses him again, harder, and that turns pretty easily into making out on his bed. It's awesome until someone passing by wolf-whistles and Stiles remembers, right, the door is open. He groans and buries his face against Derek's (now bare and very awesome) chest. "Can we please close the door."
Derek scowls. "Just this once."
"We are closing the door every time we have sex," Stiles says. "That's non-negotiable. And I still haven't heard confirmation on the dead animals thing--"
Derek stalks over and closes the door, and Stiles figures that's good enough for now.
The next morning, Derek kisses him goodbye and then leaves. Stiles basks in afterglow for about fifteen minutes when he has to go to class.
When he gets back there's a candy bar on his pillow--improvement--and a giant hairball on the floor with the note, had to go to class, sry.
Stiles grabs a towel. "This is my life now," he says to himself as he starts cleaning. "This seems doable."