Stiles doesn’t buy the whole magical, transcendent soulmate reveal story, snickers at all those movies where the couple touches each others marks for the first time, eyes glimmering over in emotion when they feel the bond surge through their bodies (who comes up with this stuff?), shakes his head at all those dreamy-eyed people willing to shell out money to track down their other half.
It’s absolutely ridiculous; he knows plenty of people who fall in love with people with different marks from their own, and it’s not a perfect system--even if all the statistics show that bonded soulmates live longer and healthier lives, with practically no divorce rate to speak of, and generally just have incredibly fulfilling relationships, you never know if the person who shares the exact mirror of your own mark lives in your country or even is on the same side of the planet.
Stiles is just really ambivalent about the whole thing. He meets his other half in his lifetime? Cool. If not? It’s just fine; he’s happy where he is.
At least that’s what he keeps telling himself.
It’s not bad, it’s just in a weird time in his life. Allison and Scott just got engaged last week, and then Erica happened to meet Vernon Milton Boyd IV two days ago. “Just call me Boyd,” he said with a dry grin, that night when Erica introduced him to everyone. “My soulmate, everyone look, here he is, mine forever,” Erica had said the whole night, overflowing with happiness.
Stiles stretches, feeling restless. It’s probably because it’s been awhile since he’s gotten laid. He doesn’t blame Heather for putting an end to their friends-with-benefits situation, he was happy for her, but still.
“You’re moving to Portland just to meet this girl? What are you going to do, just introduce yourself and say ‘Hey, I’m your soulmate, let’s live happily ever after?’” Stiles had asked when she came over to say goodbye.
Heather had nodded. “Yeah,” she said, without any doubt or hesitation in her voice whatsoever.
Stiles stared at her. “You’re just gonna up and leave Beacon Hills, quit your job, and go to another state where you don’t know anyone? What if it doesn’t work out?”
Heather shrugged. “Lots of people do it, Stiles. I just know if I don’t at least try, I’ll regret it forever, and one day I’ll be old and think, oh, I wonder what would have happened if I had gone to that city to see that ballerina I saw in that magazine that one time?”
“Right,” Stiles had said, and Heather just sighed, wrapping her arms around him in a close hug. She kissed his forehead affectionately and smiled.
“You’ll understand, Stiles,” she said.
Stiles snorts now, leaning against the counter. That had been what, two months ago? Man, he misses Heather. Well, he misses her more as a friend, but the sex and cuddling had been nice too. Maybe Stiles just needs to get laid and he’ll get out of this miserable funk. He stares at the rows and rows of slightly different wedding invitation samples. How many different types of paper were there possible? He’s just doing his part because he loves Scott and he’ll be always there for him, but seriously, when Scott had texted him earlier with hey can you help Allison in an emergency and gave him an address, Stiles hadn’t expected this at all.
“Stiles? What do you think of these?”
“What?” Stiles jerks himself out of the stupor he’s fallen into, turning to face Allison, who is holding up what looks like two identical cards.
Allison dances the cards in front of his face. “Hm?”
“They’re both the same, Allison,” Stiles says.
“This one is heavier, which I like, but the other one smells nicer. Here.” Allison pushes the card towards Stiles, who takes a reluctant sniff. There’s a faint floral scent from both of them that also is really similar. Stiles has to smell both of them a few times, with Allison tapping her foot impatiently, to figure out one of them smells slightly spicier. Kinda woodsy.
“This one,” Stiles says, pointing at the one on the right. Allison smiles, dimpling, and Stiles feels pleased he made the right decision. At least he’s helping out, kind of. Scott would be happy, he said Allison’s been really stressed out lately.
“Isn’t it exciting about Erica and Boyd?” Allison says, humming to herself and she looks over-- what is that, fonts? They’re going to be here forever, aren’t they.
“Yeah, super exciting,” Stiles says dryly. He is happy for Erica, and Boyd seems like a nice guy, but it’s not like he’s any more excited for her than when she was dating anyone else. People make such a fuss about soulmates, it’s ridiculous. Scott and Allison aren’t soulmates, but they are the cutest couple to ever cute, and Stiles will fight anyone who says they can’t be happy together.
One of the shop workers is pretty cute, the one leaning against the counter, shining his nametag with one hand and flicking through the channels on a remote with the other. Stiles is trying to catch his eye, but the guy is too fascinated with whatever’s on TV.
“Oh my God, that’s terrible, people can be so rude,” Allison says, looking up at the screen.
There’s the gaudy TMZ logo and a reporter talking next to a huge blown-up photo of-- “Derek Hale, he’s so dreamy,” the shop worker is saying, sighing listlessly. “I can’t believe he didn’t win that Oscar this year for Best Supporting Actor.”
Stiles shakes his head. He doesn’t really care about celebrities and their shenanigans, and whatever Derek Hale’s gotten himself into it Stiles is pretty sure he couldn’t care less. He’s seen a few of the guy’s movies, and yeah, they were pretty good and he’s hot stuff, but this country pays way too much attention to these famous people anyway.
But it isn’t a lame photo of who he’s dating or what groceries he’s buying, it is--
“I can’t believe someone would do something like that, they have no right, soulmarks are so personal, no one has the right to photograph one without the owner’s permission,” Allison is saying, but Stiles isn’t paying attention. His mouth has dropped open and he’s frozen, standing still, gazing at the screen.
It’s a photo of Derek Hale surrounded by fans, and one enthusiastic guy is yanking down the front of Derek’s shirt, exposing his collarbone. And a soulmark.
It’s exactly same as the raven etched onto Stiles hip, the same slight raise of wing, that beak tilted just so.
Stiles has a soulmate. He knows his name.
“Stiles? Are you okay?” Allison asks in concern.
Stiles is shaking and he laughs, a little hysterically. “Give me a second,” he says, and he darts off to the back of the store, barricading himself in the bathroom.
His heartbeat is rabbiting quickly and Stiles stares at the door in shock. He takes a deep breath, trying to calm himself before this turns into an actual panic attack. Yeah, the information is a bit overwhelming, but really? That guy?
All Stiles really knows about the actor is that he’s a jerk, well, at least according to all the gossip magazines Erica reads, and that he was apparently implicated in the death of Hollywood darling Paige Everhart six years ago, but he was never charged with anything. No one really knows what happened, but Derek definitely played up that elusive mysterious bad boy act and went on to successfully star in a series of action series as the brooding anti-hero and then some period dramas.
Stiles’ phone buzzes in his pocket. He pulls it out to find a text from Scott.
hey r u ok allison says ur freaking out at the paper place
Stiles is trying to tap out a response when the phone buzzes, and then once more.
she says she thinks u might have just figured out who ur soulmate is?!?!
stiles omg :D :D :D
Stiles takes a deep breath and types out its derek hale wtf and sends it to Scott. He presses his forehead against the wall, feeling the blood churning underneath his skin.
Even if he wanted to do something about it, what could he do?