“So, uh, I was wondering if you would want to go see that new Marvel movie with me? A-and maybe get dinner after?”
Stiles hated the way his voice sounded. High and uneven, the nerves he’d been feeling since Lydia and Scott talked him into asking Derek out obvious in the tremor of his speech. If even he could hear the rapid beating of his heart, he was sure the ‘evolved’ werewolf master could.
God, this was such a bad idea. Why did Lydia and Scott think he had a chance here? Sure, he and Derek hung out a lot lately since Stiles started college. Sure, Derek seemed to actually tolerate him now, maybe even enjoyed his presence occasionally. Sure, Derek fell asleep next him at the last pack night, his head resting on Stiles shoulder until Liam so rudely woke the beta up. But none of that, absolutely none of it, meant that Derek returned Stiles romantic feelings.
And lord, wasn’t that a surprise. Stiles knew he had a thing for unobtainable gods and goddesses (Lydia was a good enough example of that), but the strength and depth of his emotions for one Derek Hale shocked even him.
It hit him one day, out of the blue. Most of the pack was lounging outside the rebuilt Hale house. The first thing Derek had done when he returned from his trip with Braeden (sans Braeden, by the way) was petition the county for the deed to the land. The pack worked on the house together, turning it into the perfect hangout spot for everyone. Derek had taken to showing the younger pack members some fighting techniques every now and then, which was really just a way of saying that they would playfully roughhouse. It was adorable.
Derek was talking Malia through an evasive maneuver when she caught him by surprise, tackling him to the ground and knocking the wind out of him. Everyone froze, expecting the typical Derek Hale brood and growl. But then he laughed. Full on, roaring, belly laughter. He stood up, grabbed Malia in a headlock to ruffle her hair, told her “good job” in a proud voice, and continued the ‘lesson.’ Stiles heart lurched.
Because of course he was in love with Derek Hale. Derek, who was a snarky asshole that got Stiles humor. Derek, who had been through hell and back but still only wanted to help people. Derek, who put on a tough exterior, but was actually a cuddly teddy bear. It didn’t hurt that he was hotter than the sun. Too bad he would never look at Stiles twice.
And that is exactly what he told Scott and Lydia when they teamed up to confront him about his painfully obvious crush. Did they listen? No! Of course not. Instead, they somehow managed to convince him that he stood a chance in hell. Which brought him here, waiting awkwardly for Derek’s response, shifting from foot to foot as Derek looked up from his phone, face open and eyebrow artfully raised.
Stiles braced himself for the mocking retort.
“I understand wh-wait what?”
Derek looked at Stiles as if he was questioning his association with the human. Stiles understood. He felt like his brain was rebooting.
“I said sure. Did you expect me to say no?” Derek asked, a small, amused smirk playing at his lips.
“Well, maybe. I mean, I just now got you to tolerate being around me,” Stiles joked, turning to humor to calm his nerves.
“Stiles, you have to know I don’t just tolerate you. I enjoy spending time with you.”
And that was another thing. Ever since Derek returned, he had been much more open about his feelings like an actual, stable adult. It made Stiles want to hug him. And lick him. Stiles had weird reactions to emotional stability.
“Yeah, me too,” Stiles said, giving Derek a genuine smile, hoping the blush he felt on his cheeks wasn’t too obvious in the afternoon lighting.
“So, when would you want to go?”
“Oh, right! Friday sound good? Unless you have plans, then we can go some other time. Or we can do a matinee if you can’t do evenings-”
“Stiles,” Derek interrupted, an amused grin on his face. “Friday is fine. I’ll meet you there at seven, yeah?”
Stiles resisted the urge to grin goofily. “Yeah,” he muttered, keeping his breathing even. He was cool, this was fine. “Yeah, see you at seven.”
Stiles arrived fifteen minutes early. Which was probably a terrible idea, since it meant he would spend the extra time sitting in his car while he worked himself into a panic attack. But he couldn’t just sit at the house anymore listening to Scott and Lydia give both helpful and terrible advice – Scott encouraged open communication while Lydia basically suggested that Stiles jump Derek’s bones in the theater.
Besides, if he stayed, he might try to change his outfit again, and Lydia would kill him. He was wearing the only one she approved.
Luckily, just as Stiles was debating if he should go ahead and buy their tickets or if that was too presumptuous, Stiles saw the signature black Camaro pull in next to him. Forcing what he hoped looked like an easy smile and not the nervous grimace he expected it was, Stiles opened the Jeep’s driver door at the same time Derek opened the Camaro’s.
And the same time someone opened the Camaro's passenger door.
Stiles watched with dawning horror as what had to be an Abercrombie model stepped out of Derek’s car, immediately rounding the front to stand close to Derek. The guy was lean, but still muscular, with honey-colored hair and bright blue eyes. He could be a carbon copy of Jackson if it weren’t for the brilliant, kind smile on his face and the way he was huddling up to a werewolf with no regard for personal space.
“What?” was all Stiles could get out in the face of this unexpected trespasser.
“Sorry, I should have texted you,” Derek said, and yeah, Stiles thinks, you should have. Who the hell was this guy and why was he so comfortable with Derek? And why was Derek not glaring him out of his personal bubble?
“This is Shane. Shane, this is Stiles,” Derek continued, oblivious to Stiles internal panic.
The man stuck a hand out at Stiles, his other gripping Derek’s arm possessively. “Hi Stiles, Derek’s told me a lot about you.”
Stiles weakly shook his hand, giving a small grin.
“When I agreed to come with you I forgot I had already promised Shane we’d go see the movie together. I figured the more, the merrier, right?”
Stiles was quickly starting to realize what had happened here. Either Derek didn’t realize this was supposed to be a date and brought along his boyfriend so they could meet, or, and this was the worse and therefore more likely option, Derek realized Stiles had asked him out but decided to let him down gently by not outright rejecting him. Either way, Stiles should have known better than to believe that Derek fucking Hale would go on a date with him.
And fuck, but Derek looked so happy with this guy. They had obviously been together for a while (and Stiles was trying very hard not to be upset about Derek never mentioning a boyfriend before, reminding himself that it takes Derek a while to open up). This was the most comfortable Stiles had ever seen Derek with another person.
“Is there some sort of dress code I missed out on? I feel like we’re not quite on your level,” Shane asked good-naturedly, gesturing to the button down and black skinny jeans Stiles had worn to what he thought was a date.
“Uh,” Stiles started, with no idea what he was going to say. Could he really sit and smile through an entire evening with the man he loved and his boyfriend? If he was a better man, maybe.
“Actually, I’m glad I caught you. I forgot I had to go to this benefit thing with my dad. I would have texted, but uh, my phone died and the theater was on the way so I thought maybe I could just stop in and tell you.”
Stiles could tell from the increasing frown on Derek’s face that the wolf could hear the stuttering beat of his heart giving away his lie, but he honestly couldn’t care less at the moment. He needed to get out of there before he did something dumb like crying in front of Derek.
“Oh, that’s too bad. I was so excited to finally meet you.”
God, Stiles really wanted to hate the guy, but he was just so earnestly sweet, almost like Scott. He was far better for Derek than Stiles could ever hope to be, obviously.
“Yeah, I’m so sorry. I’d love to get to know you better,” Stiles lied.
“Stiles-” Derek began, his frown more prominent and accompanied by concerned eyebrows.
“Well, I better go now or I’ll be late for the thing. Bye Derek, bye Shane. Good to meet you.”
He was out of the parking lot before Derek could lift his hand to wave goodbye.
Stiles made it home what he was sure was record time, but he hardly paid attention to anything the duration of the drive. The same phrase kept repeating in his head. ‘Idiot.’ The mantra continued as he walked up the path to his house, as he walked through the front door, and as he ran into Scott at the foot of the stairs.
“Stiles, man, what’s wrong?” Scott asked, his voice high with alarm.
“Why are you crying?” Lydia asked as she appeared from the kitchen.
“Am I?” Stiles said, reaching up in surprise to feel his wet cheeks.
“What happened?” his friends said in unison.
“N-nothing. Just, Derek brought his boyfriend, so I thought they’d want to watch the movie without a third wheel,” he said, his voice high and strained to his own ears. “I’m gonna go sleep for the next few days.”
Ignoring their protests, Stiles rushed up the stairs to his room, locking the door before Scott could come barging in.
God, how could he be so stupid? Of course Derek wasn’t interested in him. Why would he be? Derek was handsome, kind, and altogether perfect. Stiles couldn’t compare. He was a weak human with questionable morals who could never deserve something as good as Derek.
Derek watched Stiles peel out of the theater like he had a pack of harpies on his tail. He felt a deep, uneasy swirling in the pit of his stomach as the taillights of the blue Jeep disappeared into the distance, the only remnant of Stiles presence the bitter stench of saltwater and embarrassment.
He couldn’t let go of the feeling that something was seriously wrong with his favorite human. He had to admit, his protective instincts when it came to the kid had kicked into overdrive ever since he realized Stiles was his mate when he fully ‘evolved’ or whatever, but there was something more than his wolf instinct. He felt the need to chase the Jeep down Main Street until he could hold the human close to his chest.
“Man, that sucks. I really wanted to hang out with him,” Shane said, bringing Derek back to the present.
“I don’t know what’s going on with him,” Derek muttered, still not shifting his gaze from the road.
“What do you mean? He seemed a little rushed, but that’s because he was running late, right?”
“He was lying,” Derek said, finally turning to face his friend.
“How would you…oh, you heard his heart didn’t you?”
“If you were a better werewolf, you’d have heard it too.”
“Actually, I am the better werewolf because I give people privacy by not listening in on their heartbeat like some creeper,” Shane said, turning his nose up in the way he always did when he thought Derek was behaving like a social reject.
“I was worried about him,” Derek tried to defend himself.
“That doesn’t give you the right to invade his privacy. Laura would smack you silly if she knew you were running around pulling this shit,” Shane admonished.
As much as Derek loved having his friend in to visit from New York, it was painful every time he mentioned Laura. Derek understood, she had been Shane’s girlfriend. But every comment dug the knife in a little bit further. After all, it was Derek’s fault she never returned to them in New York.
“Whatever he was doing, he was sure dressed to impress. You don’t think he had a hot date, do you?” Shane joked, only to be cut off by Derek’s reverberating growl.
“Sheesh, I was just kidding. No jokes about the mate, I got it.”
“He’s been looking forward to this movie for months, he wouldn’t give up seeing it for a date, trust me. Besides, he wouldn’t have asked me to come with him and asked to get dinner later if he had a date.”
Shane’s grin dropped from his face and he stared at Derek with narrowed eyes. “He did what now?”
“He asked me to come with-”
“Oh my god,” Shane interrupted, hitting his face with his palm as he groaned. “Please tell me you are not this stupid. Please, Derek, tell me you are not still this bad with people? I thought you were all evolved and shit now.”
“What are you talking about?” Derek grunted, only mildly offended since he did not, in fact, understand what was going on.
Shane was saved from answering by the shrill ring of Derek’s phone. He picked up quickly, recognizing the tone as one of the pack’s, meaning there could be danger.
“What?” he said gruffly.
“Derek Samuel Hale, what the actual fuck is wrong with you?”
Derek felt himself pale at Lydia’s tone and words. Lydia was a deadly adversary when angered, and she only ever cursed when she was at maximum rage. Never mind the act that her using his full name was eerily reminiscent of Laura.
“How do you know my middle name?” Derek responded, trying not to seem as frightened as he was.
No matter, since she continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “Would you like to tell me why I spent all day helping Stiles prepare for his date with you-” WHAT??? “-a date that he was so nervous about it took Scott and I months to convince him to go for, might I add-” HOLY SHIT, WHAT? “-only for him to return home not even half an hour later, balling his eyes out about you BRINGING YOUR BOYFRIEND on your date?”
“Wha?” Derek managed.
“He locked himself in his room, Derek. He won’t even let Scott in. SCOTT!” Lydia shrieked, her voice getting close to banshee levels.
“So help me, if you aren’t here to fix this within the next fifteen minutes, when I find you I'm going to tear off your testicles with my very blunt, human nails and feed them to you with wolfsbane before you can heal.”
There was a click as the call ended, and Derek felt as if the noise signaled the loss of his sanity.
Date? Stiles had asked him on a date? This was supposed to be a date? But he didn’t clarify, he just…Derek suddenly recalled the clear image of a nervous Stiles asking Derek about this night. He asked for dinner and a movie. Which is only the most basic and obvious date a person could ask for. And Derek had agreed. Stiles had dressed up for him.
“Oh my god, I’m an idiot.”
“You really fucking are,” Shane said, pushing Derek toward the Camaro.
“What am I going to do?”
“You’re going to get in your car and go straighten this shit out. You’re also going to send whoever was on the phone to come watch this dumb movie with me. She sounded feisty.”
“Yeah, yeah I’m going to go talk to Stiles,” Derek muttered as he Shane pushed him into the driver’s seat.
“Try not to screw it up, man.”
Derek, barely turned the car off before rushing up the path to the Stilinski home. Scott opened the door as he got there, his face full of anger that Derek had not seen in years.
“Fix this,” he ordered, eyes flashing alpha red as he shouldered past Derek to the driveway. Lydia followed closely, her narrowed eyes a human green but infinitely more intimidating.
“Wait, Lydia.” He grabbed her wrist as she went to pass him. “Could you go to the theater to pick up my friend?”
Her eyes widened only slightly. “Friend?”
“Yes. Just friend. His name’s Shane.”
She stayed silent a moment, as if deliberating. “Fine, but you better get your shit together, Hale.”
With that, she left him alone in the front doorway. He gave himself a moment to gather his courage before closing the door and heading for Stiles’ room. Sure enough, he was met with a locked door. He knocked cautiously.
Just when he thought they’d given up, there was another knock on his door, fainter this time than it had been.
“For the last time, Scott, I don’t want to talk about it. Why can’t you just leave me to my misery?”
He faceplanted back into his pillow, fully planning on suffocating himself until he passed out, when a familiar voice followed.
“I’m not Scott.”
Shit. Fucking shit. What was he doing here?
“What are you doing here?” his voice echoed his thought, his body shooting up as he stared at the door.
“Lydia called,” came the answer.
Just when Stiles thought he couldn’t feel any worse.
“Shit. I’m sorry man. Whatever, she said, don’t worry about it. Just go back to your date night with Shane.”
“He’s not – Stiles you don’t – would you just open the door, please?” Derek sounded frustrated, but with an underlying tone of worry. Stiles knew that the man wouldn’t leave until he knew what was wrong with his packmate. Condemning himself to utter humiliation, Stiles got up and opened the door.
Derek stood on the other side, his face a mask of worry that Stiles heart was aching to ease.
“I didn’t know you were asking me on a date,” he blurted out before Stiles could speak.
Stiles snorted without amusement. “Yeah, I kind of figured that out when you brought your boyfriend along. It’s fine though. It was my mistake to think you’d go out with me, it won’t happen again.”
He went to close the door again, but Derek caught it.
“Shane’s not my boyfriend,” he blurted again, this time throwing Stiles for a loop.
“He’s not? Are you sure?” Stiles asked.
“Pretty damn sure, considering he’s straight and used to date Laura.”
Stiles eyes widened and he’s pretty sure his mouth dropped open in surprise. “Laura?” he questioned cautiously. Derek rarely talked about his family.
“They were dating, back in New York. Then she came here and…and never went back. Shane’s in town visiting.”
Well, Stiles certainly wasn’t expecting that. “Oh, I…oh.” He was trying to rewire his brain to this new knowledge, his mind still stuck on the image of Derek and Shane so comfortably close.
As if sensing his thoughts, Derek added, “Shane was the closest thing I had to a best friend. He was pack. That’s why we’re kind of close. He was actually hoping to move out here and join us. That’s why I wanted him to meet you.”
Stiles was surprised to find that some hope had been building since moment Derek announced Shane wasn’t his boyfriend. He would think he was too cautious to let any grow, but he knew it had when it was immediately dashed just then.
“Oh,” he said again, this time his tone stilted. “So that’s why you agreed to go with me. So I could help your friend get in the pack.”
Not only did Derek not want to date him, he didn’t even want to hang out with him. He was only around to use Stiles for his connection to Scott. Not that Stiles could really blame him. He was an annoying shit most of the time, and a pathetic, useless human the rest of the time.
“What? No!” Derek protested.
“Derek, it’s fine. Shane seemed really nice, I’ll tell Scott he’s cool.” Stiles was hoping this conversation would be ending soon. He really needed to pass out for a week. He looked to his bed longingly, unable to continue facing Derek.
“Stiles, no that’s not…do you really think you mean that little to me?” Derek asked in a feeble voice.
Stiles closed his eyes, willing himself to keep his tears at bay. “Derek, it’s fine, you don’t have-”
Derek suddenly pushed into the room, crowding Stiles until he was backed up against the bed. “I wanted him to meet you because you’re the most important person in the pack to me.”
Stiles was looking up into Derek’s eyes warily, shocked by the sudden determination in them. “What?”
Derek cupped Stiles’ cheeks gently. “I wanted him to meet you because you’re my favorite person.”
Stiles mind was reeling, unable to make sense of the words Derek was saying. Derek was leaning in, his face incredibly close to Stiles, making it hard for the human to think.
“I wanted my best friend to meet the man I love,” he whispered, before closing the small space between them and sealing his lips over Stiles’.
Stiles would like to say he pushed the wolf away to demand clarification at once, but he was weak. Stiles gave in almost the second their lips touched, opening to Derek with a sigh.
Derek kissed him with a passion Stiles could never have expected, a passion only matched by his own love for the man before him. And Stiles gave back as good as he got.
He reached a hand up to Derek’s hair, gripping the soft strands tightly between his fingers, causing Derek to let out a deep moan. He was so filing that away for later. Which there would be. There would be later tonight, later tomorrow, later this month, later this year. Or, so it seemed. But just to be sure-
“Wait, so to clarify, if you had realized I was asking you out on a date, you would have said yes?” Stiles asked when he managed to pull away from Derek’s lips.
Derek grumbled when Stiles backed away, but only continued to kiss along his mole-covered neck as he grunted out a “yes.”
“And you love me? Like, you’re sure about that? You, the super-hot, amazing, smart, werewolf? You love me? The fragile little human who more often than not does more harm than good?”
At this, Derek halted his ministrations to stare at Stiles with a sad wonder. “No. I love you, the wonderful, brave, strong, intelligent human who’s saved my ass more times than I can count.”
Stiles looked at him in disbelief, before replying, “Well, it’s a good thing I love you too, then, huh?”
Derek grinned before tackling the human to the bed.