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Can't Buy Me Love

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Stiles stares at the box on his bed. He walks two steps back and sticks his head out the door. "Scott?" He shouts. "Why's there a box on my bed?"

Scott shouts back from the living room, where he and Isaac are playing Mario Kart. "Because it's addressed to you."

He blinks. He didn't order anything. "It's not a bomb, is it?"

"Open it and find out."

"Dick," Stiles mutters, knowing that Scott can still hear it. He gives the box the side-eye. The likelihood of it being a bomb—or something equally nefarious—is fairly low. He hasn't pissed anyone off lately, at least not enough that they'd try to kill him. If it was a bomb, Scott would have smelled it, right? Bombs have a smell. He hopes bombs have a smell.

Stiles pulls a pocketknife out of his desk drawer. "It's a good day to die."

No one dies. Yet. Inside the box is another box, one with a suspicious logo on it. He frowns as he cuts that one open and stares at the brand-new laptop inside. "Motherfucker." He sets the closed knife on his bedside table and snatches his phone. He hits speed dial number one.

"Hey, son," his dad says on the other end of the line.

"Did you buy me a laptop? I told you not to buy me a laptop."

There's a shuffle of papers on the other end. "No," John draws out the word. "I mean, I would like to, but it's just not in the budget right now. Why?"

"Because someone sent me a laptop." He stares down at the laptop like it's a bomb. He desperately wants to break that baby out of its wrappings and boot it up, but he's pretty sure it was sent to him by mistake.

There's a pause on the other end. "Is there a note?"

He should have thought of that. "Hang on." He puts his phone on speaker and looks through the packaging. There isn't even a receipt. "No note."

"Maybe one of your friends did it."

Stiles snorts and brings the phone back to his ear. "You know none of my friends can afford to buy me a laptop."

"Lydia might."

Stiles bounces as he drops onto the bed, next to the tempting machine. "Lydia's already covering the apartment."

"You mean her dad is," John drawls.

That had been a point of contention between Stiles and his dad but there was no way Stiles was going to room with anyone but Scott and they were going to different universities. Lydia's dad had offered to rent an apartment for her. Said apartment just happened to have three bedrooms. Lydia and Allison shared the largest bedroom, leaving one for Stiles and the other for Scott and Kira. They also had Isaac crashing on their couch more often than not, thanks to Boyd and Erica sexiling him.

"Who am I to stand in the way of a parent trying to buy his child's love?"

John snorts. He hadn't argued too hard against the apartment. Stiles's scholarship covered tuition and fees, but nothing else. "What about Derek?"

Stiles frowns. That's an actual possibility but.... "Derek doesn't even know my laptop broke. I haven't talked to him since the pack Skype call last week." His dad is suspiciously silent. "Dad, what'd you do?"

"Nothing," John says quickly. "I may have mentioned it at brunch, is all. I didn't think he was going to go out and buy you one. It was a passing comment."

Stiles groans. Derek's strange about how he spends his money. He's stupidly frugal about his loft and his food, but anytime one of the pack needs something, he shells out for it without question. Stiles has been very careful to never mention his broken laptop to the pack in case they said something to Derek. He should have known his dad would spill.

"I still find it strange that you have Sunday brunch with Derek."

"What? He's lonely, I'm lonely. It's not like we sit around talking about you kids all day."

Stiles rolls his eyes. "No, you save that for Tuesday dinner with Melissa, Mr. Argent, and the Yukimuras."

"Mrs. Martin's there too, when she can make it."

Stiles falls backward with a loud groan. "I can't even. Goodbye, dad."

"Night, son."

Stiles stares at his phone after the call ends. He pops open a Facebook message to Derek. Did you send me a laptop?

Derek doesn't check his messages often, so it could be hours before he gets a response. He drops his phone on his pillow and rolls over to stare at the shiny new machine. It's probably from Derek. If not, oh well? He pulls it toward him and starts taking it out of the wrapping, careful not to damage anything in case he does have to return it.

He doesn't check Facebook until he's getting ready for bed. After hours of updates, the laptop's finally ready to use. He frowns as Facebook loads. He has a friend request from Peter Hale. He squints at the screen, debating whether someone made a joke profile or if Peter actually uses Facebook. He's not sure which would be stranger.

The profile of Peter Hale is completely locked down. All he gets is a profile icon of a pre-fire Peter. Against his better judgement, he accepts the request. A new message window pops up immediately.

Peter Hale: It was me. Stiles Stilinski: ... Whatever you did, don't tell me. I want plausible deniability. Peter Hale: Brat. I expected a little more gratitude. Stiles Stilinski: For what? ...

Realization hits Stiles like a semi-truck. "Fuck!" He slams the laptop shut and pushes it away. "Shit." He'd touched that. He'd used Peter's pity laptop.

Was it pity? Stiles can't think of any other motive for Peter to send him a brand-new laptop. It certainly wasn't out of the kindness of his heart. Peter must want something.

He groans. He has to touch the thing to respond. Well, he could open the chat on his phone but that seems like too much effort right now. Lydia yells at him through their shared wall, telling him to be quiet. He reluctantly opens the thing back up. Why did it have to be so pretty and shiny and fast? God, he doesn't want to give it up. He really needs a laptop for his classes.

Stiles Stilinski: Why? What do you think you're going to get out of this? Peter Hale: Me? Nothing at all. Consider it a gesture of goodwill. Stiles Stilinski: You don't have goodwill. You don't even have good. Peter Hale: I am aghast. What brought on this attack on my character? Stiles Stilinski: You. You brought this on. By being you.

Peter Hale: I'm hurt. Truly. Stiles Stilinski: I'm returning the laptop. I don't want you... whatever this is. Peter Hale: It's a gift, Stiles. Surely you've heard of those? Stiles Stilinski: ... I hate you. I don't want your gift. Peter Hale: Well, I don't want it back. It's yours. Keep it. You need it for classes, don't you?

 

It's like Peter's reading his mind. Stiles really does need a new laptop. He's lucky he had everything backed up because his old one is a total loss. This is a really nice laptop too. Really, really nice. He's curious if Peter researched what kind of laptop Stiles might need or if he just asked someone to pick out one for him. His fingers tap against the keys, not pressing down. He has no idea what to say. He can't bring himself to say no. He should but he already knows he's not going to.

Stiles Stilinski: Thank you.

He closes his browser and shuts the laptop down before Peter can reply and make Stiles question his life choices.