This year, Stiles decided he was going to be first line. So he signed up for weight training – hoping he would bulk up. But the freaking universe has to always conspire against him and that’s how he got stuck in Health. Oh, sure, next semester he’ll be able to transfer over, but by then it will be time for lacrosse; so yeah, it’s no longer helpful. As Stiles walked into the class, posters detailing the joys of abstinence and horrors of STDs waved to him. He slunk down in a desk at the back of the room.
He was early. That was obvious, but it was his first class and he was expecting, well not Health, and got here hurriedly. As the class began to file in, Stiles recognized a majority of the sophomores. Danny, Jackson, Lydia – he felt a secret twinge of hope for her to sit next to him when Danny and Jackson had already paired up – and Allison (who sat next to her). Greenburg. Stiles didn’t know their reasons, except that it probably involved an easy credit. And then in walked Hale.
Derek Hale. Derek-freaking-Hale. The kid who could be lacrosse first line, but hated teams. The kid who was the top of the class, yet refused to tutor anyone. Not that Stiles needed it, no, not even in Biology – which he was totally going to ace. Derek strode into the room, and parked himself in the only available desk – the one next to Stiles.
Great. I get to spend a semester sitting next to Derek-freaking-Hale, the socially inept gorgeous sophomore that already had stubble and an angry twitch to his jaw that goes with it. Stiles thought sarcastically.
“Hey,” Stiles offers up. Derek turns to glare at him, and he attempts to smile all cheery. “You know, usually when someone says hi, the common thing is to say hi back to them. At least, that’s what humans do.”
“Hi.” Derek says stiffly, and turns – equally as stiff – away from him.
O-kay. Guess that’s the end of that conversation. Stiles shakes his leg as he waits for Coach to get here. Sometimes he’s late – and no one can ever tell when that sometimes is going to be. He picks up his pencil to run the eraser across his lip absently while memorizing his new – and not so improved – schedule.
“Morning.” Coach comes in, in a flurry. “I hope you like where you’re sitting because that’s going to be your partner for your out-of-class project.” There are a few groans, especially from some seniors who sat unwittingly next to an all-too-eager freshman.
Coach opens up the door next to his desk and wheels out a cart with a box on it. He slams it down on the first desk, which happens to be Greenburg’s.
Oh shit. Stiles thinks as he pulls out a baby. He glances sideways at Hale – who may or may not be reevaluating where he was sitting. And here I thought I was going to have a good year to move up on the food chain. Instead, I’m going to have Derek-freaking-Hale and a baby on my hands for a semester.
Coach begins tossing them to the desks around Greenburg’s while he shouts out instructions. “These dolls have programs that make them act like a real baby – cry and calm down based off what you do. Each partner will be responsible for the three days of watching the child and both are expected to tolerate each other for one day to spend together with this thing. Now, I’m not saying you have to stay the night at each other’s house – don’t look so eager, Greenburg – but you are to spend at least a few hours of that day together. The thing will be able to recognize when both ‘parents’ are in the same room because of these.” He holds up watches, which he went on to explain only turned on when near the doll, not like Stiles was listening. Instead, he was breaking into a cold sweat.
Stiles, somehow, managed to miss when this project would be over.
Hale easily catches the kid as it comes flying their way, holding it almost gingerly. Maybe he wasn’t too upset at his partner choice. The rest of the class passed with Stiles half-listening, half-waiting for Hale to hand him the baby – which would, undoubtedly be Stiles’ complete responsibility, even when the doll was in Hale’s care. It didn’t happen.
The bell rang, quicker than Stiles expected, too quick. “Um,” He fumbled with words – usually having so many that they slipped out easily.
“I can take care of the baby till Thursday. Sunday can be the day we spend together.” Hale said, avoiding looking at Stiles. Stiles nodded his head anyway.
“Uh, yeah, totally dude.” Stiles scrambled to collect his things and shove them into his book bag. Hale cradled the thing carefully in one arm as he packed up the rest of his books. How embarrassing would it be if our doll was the first to cry, Stiles thought absently as Hale began to exit. “Woah, wait up!”
Stiles half-trotted across the room to where Hale waited at the door, an eyebrow raised. Stiles felt proud that he had only clipped his side on one desk on the way over.
“Don’t you, you know, think we should exchange numbers or something? For like, the baby thing, of course. Not that I want your number.” Stiles mouth ran too fast, too long, too much. He shut up as Hale’s other eyebrow climbed to an equal height as the first. “Not that I wouldn’t mind having it. I don’t mean that I don’t want your number or anything – I’m just saying that I kind of need it and this isn’t like some sad attempt --”
Hale cuts him off, mercifully ending his rapidly humiliating rant. “I know what you mean, Stiles. Give me your phone.” It’s more of a command, but less of a bark than his greeting had been so Stiles fishes out his phone for him. His arm freezes halfway in between them. Hale doesn’t notice, and takes the phone from Stiles.
“You know my name.” Stiles says dumbly, because, of course Hale knows his name – it’s not like they both haven’t lived in the same town since they were born. Hale sighs as if Stiles was the most unendurable thing God could have thrown at him. Maybe I am a small voice in Stiles head whispers. Shut the fuck up, the larger part of Stiles conscience shoots back. “Of course you do. Sorry, go ahead.”
“Text me yours later.” And just like that, Hale is gone.
Stiles was attempting to complete homework that same night, unfortunately in Biology – which may have kicked Stiles in the ass rather than the other way around – and trying not to think of when he should send a text to Hale. He didn’t know if Hale wanted him to text him that night or just before Thursday. Later, he says. Text it later, he says. He doesn’t say when later. Stiles was grouchy from trying to decode Hale.
Stiles convinces himself that since it is, after all, seven that it is late. Meaning that it is also later. He fishes through, and sees the contact under D, rather than where he would have placed it. Which would have been under H. Not that he really thought Hale was hell, but.
Stiles: Hey it’s stiles
He waited anxiously then, cursing himself for not picking Home Ed over Health, and for all socially inept students who were too angry looking and intimidating to make friends with. Cursing the students who wandered into class late and sat next to one Stiles Stilinski.
Then his phone buzzed, moving him to swan dive onto the bed and grab at it so quickly that it fell out of his hands and onto the carpet. Which he totally did not bruise his body by falling gracelessly after it.
Derek Hale: Okay, thanks.
A few seconds later another text comes through.
Derek Hale: I can give you the baby before or after school Thursday. Either is fine.
Stiles stared at his phone for a second, stunned. Was Hale actually being nice to him? Or was this so his grade didn’t suffer – oh God, was Hale a secret nerd? It was obvious he was some sort of smart, with his perfect scores. But nerd? Stiles quickly punched back a reply.
Stiles: Either is fine. I guess its up to you
Derek Hale: I’ll give it to you sometime during the day, then.
Hale sounded almost proper, when he was texting. Like he could actually communicate – even in formal terms. Stiles found this discovery extremely intriguing, and decided to push his luck on seeing how talkative he could get Hale. Maybe he’d even be more talkative when they finally had to actually interact again.
Stiles: Yeah maybe during lunch
Derek Hale: Okay, I can do that. What do you want to do about Sunday?
He can’t be serious; he actually agreed. What is he going to do? Give me the doll and then glare at me as he goes to lurk intimidatingly somewhere?
Stiles: Uh idk it doesnt really matter to me
Derek Hale: Then can we spend the time at my house?
He’s going to murder me at his home. I forced him to interact with me and now he’s going to kill me. Stiles panicked, the only people’s homes he had ever been to were Scott’s and Danny’s – and only Danny’s for Chemistry lab work last year. While Stiles mourns over his unfulfilled and short life, a series of rapid texts are sent to him.
Derek Hale: It just makes more sense.
Derek Hale: I get the baby Monday plus Sunday is the day I usually do homework.
Derek Hale: You can bring your homework as well; I can help.
Stiles almost laughs because it’s so unnatural. Hale, offering to help him. Hale, being considerate. Just Hale not being Hale in general.
Stiles: No dude its cool. We can do it at your house
Derek Hale: Thank you. What time?
Stiles: We could do around one til like five
Derek Hale: Okay. Bring your homework.
It’s more of command, which makes Stiles want to roll his eyes. So he does. And then he realizes that, of course, Hale couldn’t see him. Which made him want to roll his eyes again, but this time he managed to have some sense of control.
Derek Hale: What does that even mean?
Stiles: Wow do you ever text people? Like at all?
Maybe that’s why he was so bad at over-all conversation – because no one ever talked to him. Stiles frowned for a second, before deciding he was probably wrong.
Every girl and boy at Beacon High had seen Derek Hale of the model status, and if he wanted to talk to people, he’d have plenty of takers.
Derek Hale: If I want to talk to someone, I usually do it face to face.
Well, geez, that doesn’t smart at all. Stiles chooses to ignore it in favor of actually getting to speak to Hale, because no one does that. Because he doesn’t talk – like, ever.
Stiles: It means of course
Derek Hale: Why don’t you just type it out then?
Stiles: Because im texting
Derek Hale: You’re still writing.
Stiles: No, im texting. Why do you write
Derek Hale: I never said I wrote.
Stiles: Why? Do you write?
Derek Hale: Oh. Yes.
Stiles: What do you write
Maybe he wrote drama. Or he’d probably write murder mystery – with him glowering all the time he definitely could pass himself off as a serial killer. Maybe he killed people and then wrote about it and made it all seem like a story when he actual had killed them. Maybe he wrote porn.
Derek Hale: You don’t need to know that. It doesn’t concern you.
Stiles: Well im curious
Derek Hale: Curiosity killed the cat.
Derek Hale: I’ll see you Wednesday.
The shutdown was quick and effective. There was no room for discussion so Stiles just texted back a quick okay. So the not-so-infamous Hale liked writing. He had a brief flash of the idea of Hale writing comedy (though it was obvious that what he wrote was erotica porn) and he snorted while bending back over his textbook.
All it would be is cut-throat sarcasm, if it was a comedy. That’s for sure.
Wednesday came quicker than Stiles expected. He hadn’t thought of Health, or the conversation with Hale, so he got to Beacon Hill High early. And by he hadn’t thought of it, he meant that he had been carefully walking around that screaming space in his head. So it came as a surprise when he realized he had Health.
Deciding that he didn’t want to idle in his car and destroy the environment, he clambered out and slammed the door behind him. He fully expected to be in the classroom alone for a good twenty minutes.
What he didn’t expect was for Hale to already be there, asleep behind their desk. Stiles nearly jumped out of his skin when he walked in and saw Hale lying on the floor. After regaining his heartbeat, he crept over to Hale, who was cradling the doll to his body. He looked dead beat tired, and since there was a good few minutes before anyone would be coming in, Stiles decided to let him sleep.
And decided that watching him was to make sure that he didn’t actually die.
Hale was stiller in sleep than awake, which Stiles didn’t think was possible. His face looked peaceful, with a slack jaw and smooth forehead. Like he wasn’t the scariest, most intimidating kid in sophomore class. He didn’t snore and the only part of him that ever shifted was the hand holding on to that piece of plastic baby.
After a couple more minutes, Stiles decided it was time for him to rise and shine. He gently hit him on the leg with his foot, expecting Hale to wake up confused. Stiles was caught off guard when Hale’s free hand moved to swipe where his foot had been a second ago.
“Whoa, okay, hey dude class is starting soon.”
Hale looks up at him, breathing hard. He seems almost as surprised as Stiles feels. He stared at Stiles for a minute, and Stiles figured he wasn’t going to get a response. “I mean, I thought you would want to be woken up before people started coming in. At least I thought you did before you tried to take my foot off.”
This appears to get Hale in motion. He rubs his eyes for a second before lumbering up to his feet.
The baby doll stays secure in his grasp the entire time. “Sorry, I’m used to my sisters attempting to prank me.”
Did Hale just apologize?
“You have sisters?” Was the first thing out of Stiles’ mouth, and by the way that Hale looks at him, yeah Stiles is stupid. Stiles knew that he at least had an older sister – Laura Hale, the sweet, social senior. But he thought that was Hale’s only sister. “I mean, plural. Like more than one.”
Hale just rolls his eyes as he sits down in the seat next to Stiles, not bothering to move it away so Stiles could feel his body heat. “Yeah, Laura and Cora. Cora is in middle school and loves to play jokes on everyone. The only people she doesn’t play jokes on is our mom and our Uncle Peter.”
“Oh yeah, you have a huge family, right?”
Hale fixed a strange look on him, like why do you know this? But he answered anyway. “I have a few aunts and my uncle and all of the aunts have kids and we all live together. So I guess you could call it big.” Stiles let that sink in for a moment. “Do you have a big family?” Hale asked a second later. It shocks Stiles, even though it only sounds like a formality from Hale.
“Not really, it’s just me and my dad.”
Hale fully turns to him, interested. The baby is still nestled into the crook of Hale’s arm. “What about your mom?”
Stiles averted his eyes when answering. “She died when I was younger.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” Hale didn’t have pity in his voice, but he acted like he was going to reach out and touch Stiles.
Unfortunately, Stiles – who was still scared of him – jerked back. Before he could embarrass himself further, Greenburg and Danny came in. They were usually the earliest into the classroom, and Danny threw both of them a curious look after realizing Hale and Stiles were already there.
Stiles blushed hard and pulled out a sorry through his teeth, humiliated. Hale looked at him for a few more minutes, before repositioning his chair and body to face the front.
“It’s okay.” He said softly.
The next second Lydia and Jackson came in, bickering about something. Jackson had his and Danny’s doll in his hand. He was holding it hazardously – it was tucked more like a football and less than an infant. Danny got up with a small cry which is enough to stop Lydia’s onslaught of why Jackson was wrong.
“Jackson!” Danny reprimanded while taking the doll from him. The jostling was enough to make the doll cry and Danny’s glare grow.
“That thing cries all the time, man.” Jackson whined.
“Well maybe if you showed a little caring towards it, it wouldn’t.” Lydia fired back. Danny just walked away, attempting to get the doll to respond to his gentle rocking. “Alyssa doesn’t cry with Allison and me.”
“Alyssa?” Jackson’s voice was incredulous. Stiles glanced up at the clock; there’s like five more minutes and he just wanted that doll to stop crying.
“Has our thing cried much?” Stiles turned to Hale, hoping for a ‘no’. Because he definitely did not want a noise maker in his home. His dad didn’t get much sleep anyway.
Hale looked at him strangely for a moment, before shaking his head in the negative. “I’m not an idiot.”
Stiles snorted. “Well, don’t we all know that.”
The class begins to file in, with Coach in the back. At least three babies come in crying, and the partners bickering. “I’m surprised we aren’t one of those couples.” Hale says offhandedly.
Couples. Stiles’ brain short-circuited for a moment, which caused him to say a blank, “What?”
Hale rolled his eyes, and his hand came down heavy on the back of Stile’s neck. Stiles attempted to jump off the cold barstool, but was held down at the base of the head. When he finally stilled, Hale moved him slowly to look at one group of partners that were bickering – it appeared to be a senior and freshman. “Those,” Hale explained oh-so-well.
“Oh,” Stiles said feebly as Hale removed his hand, Stiles instantly started to fidget, which was totally not fear induced. He just didn’t take enough Adderall.
“Can you get those stupid things to shut up!” Coach barked at the nearest group. Which just so happens to be Jackson and Danny. Danny was frantically trying to soothe the doll and glare at Jackson subtly. Jackson slinked lower in his seat. “I’m going to need more coffee than this,” Coach muttered, looking down at his mug.
He cleared his throat, and everyone became silent – well, besides the dolls. “Today, since none of you can seem to be good parentals and silence your dolls, I want you to start working on explaining the harmful effects of drugs on people in a presentation. There’s a bucket up here,” Coach gestured to the shiny pale sitting plainly on his desk, “and one from each group will come up and draw. Whatever drug you draw, I expect an in-depth presentation and paper.”
He called up the names of the groups. When he called up Stiles, he practically launched his thin frame up front to get to the bucket. He pulled out a thin slip of paper – “Ecstasy – the love drug.”
“Which did we get?” Hale asked him, when he returned to the desk. Stiles just held up the paper, and Hale snagged his wrist to pull the slip close enough to read. Stiles just kept attempting to stifle his fearful heartbeat.
“I gotcha. Do you want to just get facts we know down about it right now?” Stiles was about to say they could just go to a computer, when he realized that all the computers had been taken. “I know that it affects serotonin.” Hale offered up.
Stiles found himself nodding, racking his brain for the details on the drug. He researched it once, when there was a rumor going around that Lydia did it at parties. It was completely false, because that would mean Lydia slept around, which was the bigger rumor. So, of course, Stiles had to know how the taboo drug worked.
“Yeah, yeah. It also affects like dopamine levels and changes hormones. It can last up to like five or six hours.”
“It also gives the feeling of companionability – people want to be around each other more.” Stiles whipped out some paper, and begin scrawling on it.
“Which often leads to the whole ‘I want to touch–I want to kiss–I want sex’.” Stiles found himself blurting out the obvious facts of the drug, but Hale just nodded.
“That’s right, it’s because of it serving as a stimulant. It makes people more hyperactive and happy feeling. It can also act as a hallucinogen, which sometimes can cause people to have bad trips and stuff. I’m not sure what type of drug it’s filed under, but it's not as addicting as caffeine or coke. A lot of people mix different things in it, which can make the trip seem different each time.”
Stiles found himself staring up at Hale, impressed. He knew that he was intelligent, but the fact that Hale could pull facts out like that made Stiles want to know what else he knew. Oh, God, Stiles wanted to actually talk to Hale. Heaven help him.
“Uh, what?” Hale looked up from his staring contest with the desk to see Stiles still gazing at him. Stiles jerked back with a shock.
“I was just wondering why you knew so much. I mean, I know a lot but I’m super curious about anything and everything and plus there was this rumor about –” Stiles lowered his voice, “Lydia and like apparently she used the stuff so of course –”
Hale cut him off. “Who’s to say I’m not curious about ‘anything and everything’?”
“You think someone with such curiosity would be more social.” Stiles rolled his eyes, all sarcasm.
“Why be social? With who? Jackson?”
Stiles snorted. “Ow, my pride. Really it can’t take it.”
“I’m talking to you now, aren’t I?” Hale challenged.
“Yeah, but –” Hale looked at him, strangely affronted. As if he hadn’t acted like Stiles was a pariah the first day in this class. The bell rang, causing Hale to move in an agitated flurry. Stiles still didn’t even realize what the sudden mood change was for.
When Hale walked up and practically shoved the baby at Stiles before stalking off during lunch on Thursday, it was more than tense. Stiles tired not to let a bitter feeling get the better of him. It wasn’t like for some stupid reason he thought they’d sit together and eat and talk about anything. Instead, he only had a baby, which he wasn’t completely aware was going to be – quite metaphorically – hell.
Before the end of the day it was just annoying. Couldn’t Hale have told Stiles how to work the damn thing? It just wouldn’t stop crying.
Stiles ended up calling Scott to come over, and in a feeling of hospitality, he even invited Allison over with her baby. It wasn’t like he was hoping Lydia would come as well. Besides, he needed some motherly advice on children.
Allison walked in a little after Scott put on Three Days to Kill. “Hey, sorry I’m late, my dad was making it hard to leave.”
“Babe! You came!” Scott smiled his signature puppy grin. They had gotten together during ninth grade, and it was still something Stiles couldn’t understand.
“Hey, Allison. What took you so long?” It wasn’t like he didn’t like Ally, he loved her. It’s just that he did not like watching her and his best friend force feed each other their tongues. Allison fidgeted uncomfortably for a moment, after Scott released her. “Ah, Dad didn’t want you going over to a gay boy’s house?” Ally nods. It wasn’t even like he was full gay, just half.
It’s not like Stiles wasn’t aware that Allison’s family was homophobic – it had caused a bump in their relationship during freshman year. It wasn’t really her fault for being ignorant on everything. She literally thought that gays worshipped Satan and were trying to – quite literally – spawn the antichrist through unholy sex. Like geez, her family took the whole homo-hating to a new level.
Still, when she started spouting little things – such as gays do have a choice, or that they’re only gay for a reason and once Stiles figured out why he was gay, what went wrong, he could fix it – Stiles became infuriated. He realized she had his best intentions at heart, and that was the only reason why they got through that rough patch.
Just then, the baby doll decided it wanted to break an awkward moment with a wail. It would be the one and only time Stiles thanked that annoying sound for diverting his attention.
“Ugh, Ally do you know how to shut these things up?” Stiles complained.
“Well, I typically hold it, instead of suffocating it with my clothes.” Allison gestured over to where the baby was placed – caringly – on Stiles’ sheets. Scott looked over to him, sympathy displayed on his open face. Not that his sympathy mattered; Scott got to stay in weight training.
“It’s called swaddling, I looked it up.” Stiles defended himself.
Ally tilted her head back to laugh, exposing a pale throat. Well, Scott was out for the conversation. It was gross to see how desperately he liked her. “You really looked up baby care?”
“Not all people are naturals, Ally. I just want to make sure that Hale doesn’t have any more reason to make fun of me for being incompetent.”
“Oh, yeah, you’re working with Derek.” Allison’s face was enough to show that she, like mostly all girls, fell for the face of the brooding beauty. Enough so that Scott cleared his throat.
“How is working with him?” Scott didn’t do a subject change, at least. He was aware it could very well be one of the things that Stiles needed to vent about.
“It’s different than I expected.” Stiles hedged. Different as in, he didn’t expect to want to talk to him, or to learn more about him, or enjoy their conversations, or care about him. “He’s just as smart as everyone thinks he is, and smart enough to make this,” Stiles picked up the baby, “stop crying.”
“Waa,” Ally teased. “Stiles can’t handle a few baby sounds.”
“I don’t want to have to handle them,” Stiles shot back.
“Yeah, but I still bet he sucks being a partner. Sorry, dude, but you got the most standoffish guy in all of the high school.”
“He isn’t standoffish.” Stiles found himself defending Hale. “He just doesn’t feel the need to talk to lots of people – and who would blame him. I mean, I wouldn’t want to talk to jerks like Jackson. Most high schoolers are jerks.” Stiles found himself holding the doll close, a sure arm rested against its back. It stopped crying easily.
“Oh, he told you this, did he?” Ally’s got her wide eyes on, a smirk playing on her lips.
“Uh, yeah, he did. He is a person. You know, more than a pretty – but angry – face to look at. I mean, he’s got a huge family and a trickster of a little sister, and he likes to do things besides just glare. I know it’s hard to believe, but he actually does activities that do not include lurking or glooming. He has, like, these interesting facts about stuff and he has a super quick reflex, dude.” Stiles realized he was rambling, and he promptly shut the fuck up.
They both stared at him like he had lost his head. Or grown a new one by the name of Derek Hale. Which was totally weird to think about, because then they’d have a joint body. And that body would probably be very sore from Hale trying to keep Stiles from fidgeting, and Stiles attempting to cease Hale’s lurking.
Why was Stiles even thinking of this?
“You like him!” Allison finally squealed, coming to a ridiculous – and completely untrue – answer. Stiles could only sputter in return.
Scott's jaw unhinged, and it seemed like it was never going to re-hinge. “I don’t – I mean, like he’s a cool dude, but it’s not like that. He’s interesting. Once you get past the judging eyebrows and angry jaw twitch, he’s an actual human being.”
“You like him.” Scott deadpanned after Ally. It sounded a lot hollower coming from him, like it was gutted out of him. Stiles understood why he might have a problem with Hale – after all, it was when they were in second grade that Scott and Hale got into an argument on the playground. Which resulted in Scott pushing Hale and getting his ass handed to him. Which, hey, if one good thing came out of it, Stiles and Scott got to bond while they waited on their parents to pick them up (Stiles hadn’t taken Adderall that morning, causing him to pitch a fit when the teacher wouldn’t listen to him try and tell her how pineapples ate people).
“I barely know him.” Stiles floundered, while he caught sight of the man on the screen picking up a bike for his teenage daughter. “Damn, guys this is my favorite part, you’re making me miss my favorite part.” His free arm flailed toward the television.
“You like him.” Allison insisted, not letting the subject drop.
Stiles sighed, fed up. “So what if I do? And I’m not saying I do – I’m just implying a hypothetical situation. He’s straighter than a stripper pole. There’s no chance there, so can we just drop the conversation? I would just really like to watch this guy torture the other guy and then ask advice from him.”
The couple finally seemed to realize that all Stiles wanted was company. Not to have a gay crisis. So they left it be, and they all laughed at the TV at the right moments, Stiles especially losing himself in it.
The only bad thing was, the second Stiles was done defending Hale or himself, the doll started to cry.