The thing is, Stiles’ jeep is actually a piece of shit.
At least the first time he goes into Hale’s Mechanics it is (the other times she breaks down are arguably his fault, but that doesn't matter right now).
She’s an older model jeep that Stiles inherited from his father once he turned sixteen–which really shouldn’t have happened, because then his father was stuck driving around his county issued sheriff car, but Stiles is pretty sure that his dad may not have been in the absolute best state of mind that day (it was His dad loves his car as much as Stiles loves his jeep. He can’t really find it in him to give her up, not just yet, not when he can feel the life underneath his legs when he revs her up, not when she has so much life left in her even if she is close to ten years old.
So, when his jeep breaks down fifteen minutes outside of some small town he’s passing through on his way to check out colleges on the east coast, he’s not really surprised. Hell, he was probably even expecting it, because in the three years that he’s had her, she hasn’t broken down once, and there’s just something seriously suspicious about that.
“You’re a piece of shit and I hate you. No, I despise you,” Stiles shouts at her, or more like whines , because of course his jeep would break down so many miles outside of the nearest town, forcing him to walk the rest of the way, and his frail, pathetic little body really can’t handle that amount of pressure. Not even on a cold day. He even kicks her rear end tire before he starts walking down the road to find a mechanic or a towing company number, because cell phone reception sucks out here and there’s no signal.
He’s fifty yards down before he runs back and strokes his jeep’s exterior. “I didn’t mean that, Jessie, I really didn’t. You know how daddy gets when he’s mad. You’re still my favorite girl–well, besides Lydia Martin, but you know, you understand that, right? Dad needs some action too, you know, I can’t just watch you getting busy with the gas nozzle all of the time.”
Stiles waits around until he’s sure she understands, and then takes off down the road again.
He’s wheezing when he walks into Hale’s Mechanics thirty minutes later–it took him an extra fifteen because he twisted his ankle in a pothole of all things, and yeah, walking with a twisted ankle down a huge stretch of road was not the smartest thing he’s ever done.
There’s this man behind the counter, or at least he thinks it’s a man–he can’t really tell because his vision is blurry from all of the sand flying up into his eyes, and he’s about 3.5 seconds away from collapsing.
The man–he’s definitely, 100% a man now–comes toward him with this pinched up expression, and for a second Stiles thinks it’s worry, but–yeah, nope. That’s definitely annoyance.
“Stop wheezing out on my floor,” the guy says, or more like growls . Stiles never knew a man’s growl could so closely resemble that of a dog’s, but hey, Stiles thinks this is a day for many firsts.
“Do you really attract customers this way?” Stiles asks. “Because I’m pretty sure I’m dying and I’m also pretty sure that if you don’t help me you’ll spend an eternity in hell–actually, no, it seems like that sort of information might excite you so–”
The guy makes an exasperated noise in the back of his throat, one that Stiles probably shouldn’t have heard, but did anyways because he’s awesome.
“You know, I could just go across the street to Winchester Auto–”
“ No .”
Stiles blinks. “I’m sure they’re nice–”
“Don’t you dare,” The guy says, because he’s psychotic and obviously a crazy person. Stiles thinks he probably should mind a little, because generally crazy people turn out to be serial killers or panty sniffers, and then there’s the odd (or many) arsonists–like Kate Argent back in Beacon Hills who was fascinated with fire and just as fascinated with burning people, apparently. He doesn’t, though, but admittedly that might be because his head is swimming and the guy’s face is currently blurred out.
“I don’t even–what were we talking about again?”
Stiles isn’t sure, but it looks like the guy’s face softens, like he finally realizes that a teenager dying on the middle of his floor probably isn’t the best thing to happen for business.
Unless he happens to be into that kind of thing.
“You’re not dying,” the guy explains, “you’re dehydrated.”
“Is that like dying?” Stiles asks, even though he knows that it’s not, because he does have some common sense, thank you. But there’s no need for common sense when you’re in air conditioning for the first time in years . Or at least, that’s what he’s telling himself. “Because I’m pretty sure I’m dying.” Stiles reiterates.
The guy doesn’t say anything, just walks over to the water dispenser in the corner (apparently he does care about his customers to some degree) and practically throws the cup in his face. “Drink,” he says– commands.
Stiles does; sore throats are a bitch.
When he’s feeling better, Stiles notices something that he missed in his dehydrated haze.
The guy that works here is painfully good-looking, and not in the ‘I am a boring supermodel’ type of way, but in a ‘I’m mysterious and way out of your league, but hey, I’ll sit here and glare at you anyway’ type of way that makes something twist in Stiles stomach–which is wrong and disturbing on way too many levels, but Stiles has long since accepted that he’s twisted. The guy’s face is still pinched up, like having people in the shop other than himself annoys him beyond belief–which is bad for business, but probably good for his psyche.
This man obviously isn’t good with people. And well, Stiles–Stiles is definitely people .
“Now that I’m feeling better,” Stiles begins, leaning over the counter where the guy is filing away papers. “I actually came here for something.”
The guy doesn’t even turn away from the papers. “So you mean you didn’t just come here to leak out over my shop floor?”
Stiles glares at the back of his head. “I don’t know if you’re trying to be funny, or if this is your way of try to deflect the obvious, but it’s not working.” The guy doesn’t say anything, just offers a grunt, so Stiles continues. “But anyway , I’m here because my baby broke down like fifteen minutes outside of town, and I need the number to a tow truck company or something.”
The man finally turns away from those godforsaken papers, but only to raise his eyebrow in Stiles’ general direction. “Your car broke down fifteen minutes outside of town, and you walk in like you’re dying?”
Stiles flushes, because yeah, that actually does sound kind of pathetic, but not pathetic enough to actually warrant the look that the guy’s giving him right now, one that’s caught between ‘so pitiful I almost care’ and ‘I don’t care because it’s so pitiful’. Whatever. Stiles is a free bitch, baby.
“I had some...unforeseen problems.”
“I don’t–I’m not even going to ask,” the guy says, and then grabs some keys off of a hook that Stiles totally didn’t notice before. “I own a tow truck,” he says over his shoulder, before practically barrelling out the door.
Stiles takes that as his cue to follow.
“So,” Stiles says, “what’s your name?”
The guy raises an eyebrow, but doesn’t say anything, like ‘a mere mortal doesn’t deserve my name’–because Stiles is now thinking that this guy can’t even be human (can real people even glare that much?).
“I’m Stiles,” Stiles introduces, “for the record. Though you will probably learn that later. Through my paperwork. Or something. I don’t really know how these things work–”
“I didn’t notice,” he remarks dryly.
“Rude,” Stiles mutters to himself, but by the barely audible snort that comes from the man beside him, he definitely wasn’t the only one who heard it.
“Derek,” the guy says, when Jessie is finally hooked onto the guy’s tow truck, and Stiles is knocked surprised by it.
“Derek,” is all he says, before he hops back in the tow truck, leaving Stiles no choice but to follow.
He doesn’t allow Derek to see it, but he smirks to himself.
Mission, as always, accomplished.
The ride back isn’t too eventful–by Stiles’ standards anyway. All that really happens is they get stuck in traffic for about 45 minutes, Derek making increasingly annoyed sounds the longer they don’t move. Stiles doesn’t know Derek very well, not very much at all, actually, but it sets Stiles into a panic enough that Stiles starts worrying he might have a hernia. Or four.
“I know we don’t know each other very well,” Stiles says slowly, “But I’m pretty sure I’m not the one you want holding your hand at the hospital, so I suggest you calm the fuck down .”
Derek eyes him like he’s torn between tearing Stiles to shreds with his bare hands–and Stiles doesn’t doubt he can do it, either; he’s sure those muscles he sports aren’t just for show, Derek has that ‘I-munch-on-children’s-dreams-and-I-like-it’ permanent look about him–and throwing him out on the streets. But he’s been there and done that, and it seems terribly redundant now.
Stiles is still not entirely convinced that Derek isn’t some type of creepy, kinky cannibal.
“It’s kind of freaking me out how you never say anything–”
“Isn’t that incentive to shut the fuck up?” Derek asks, but at least he sounds calm, now.
Stiles doesn’t shut up, because he can’t, because he’s sure there’s part of his DNA that has been genetically altered–or was mutated in the womb–that makes it physically impossible for him to close his mouth when he absolutely needs to.
“No, that actually doesn’t sound like a thing I would be in support of. Silence is constricting, I hate being constricted, thus–”
Derek slams a hand down on the dashboard.
“Alriiight,” Stiles mutters, “shutting up–yeah, that sounds brilliant. ”
“It’ going to take a few days to fix,” Derek says, appearing out-of-fucking-nowhere.
Stiles will maintain that he only jumped slightly and didn’t screech in the slightest, because he has an image to keep up, even if there’s no one here he knows, because Derek seems like the type of bastard to keep embarrassing stories on lock down just to hurl them out to people. Sober.
“What?” Stiles asks, because it’s not like he could hear anything over his own heartbeat, Jesus Christ .
“Your car,” Derek grunts, “It’ll take a few days to fix.”
Stiles makes a noise that’s halfway between a whine and a growl. He doesn’t have a few days to spare–okay, really, he actually does , but he doesn’t want to actually be stuck here–in some stupid town that he doesn’t even know the name of. He’s pretty sure he doesn’t even know what state he’s in.
This is just so unbelievably unfair.
“That–look, I can’t do that. I need to be out of here by tomorrow.”
Derek raises an eyebrow, and yet still manages to look uninterested. “Does that usually work for you?”
“Lying,” Derek clarifies.
“You’re a horrible liar,” Derek says, bluntly.
Stiles glowers. “I can’t be stuck here,” he repeats. “I have shit to do, people to see, you know how it goes, I’m sure.”
“Well,” Derek starts, “looks like you’re going to have to be. Because your car is shit and it’s not going anywhere.”
“Gee,” Stiles says, and he has no idea how he manages to make it sound menacing and sarcastic at the same time. “Thank you for your encouragement, Derek. It’s much appreciated.”
Derek doesn’t answer him, but he doesn’t punch Stiles in the face, either, so that’s a win.
When Derek slaps the paperwork down in Stiles’ lap, there’s three brochures to local hotels.
Stiles opens his mouth to say something, but Derek’s fiery glare shuts him up pretty quick.
“Don’t even,” Derek growls.
Stiles huffs. “I was just going to say thank you,” he says, even though he knows that Derek knows that he’s lying.
Derek laughs in his face.
Three hundred dollars and a cheap motel room later, Stiles is flat broke and is lying on a broke ass, dingy bed that crinkles under his weight every time he so much as breathes.
It’s not like he’s complaining or anything, though, because it’s not like he’s stuck in a town that’s barely even considered on the map–seriously, how can a town this small survive?–and it’s not like his car is stuck in some mechanic shop that’s owned by a cannibalistic asshole. Nope, everything in Stiles’ life is a-okay, great, the peachiest, even.
Stiles’ life is perfect.
Until he wakes up in the middle of the night on the floor because the bed actually collapsed in on itself .
The first thing that Stiles does after he wakes up with splinters in his arm is pick those splinters out, because the last thing that Stiles needs right now is an infection. The second thing he does is take a shower, because going over to Derek’s mechanics shop smelling rank, while it would probably prove to be entertaining, is not something he wants to subject himself to. For all he knows, Derek has a strict hygienic policy and might actually rip off his face.
The third thing he does, though, is march his pretty little ass over there to give Derek a piece of his mind. Because Derek? Yeah, he totally gave Stiles that list on purpose, because he’s a twisted dude that has a horrible sense of humor.
When he gets there, Derek isn’t in the front, either because a) he knows that Stiles is here to either annoy him or berate him for the hotel thing or b) he actually is doing work that doesn’t include sulking in the corner pretending to do paperwork–and really, how is this shop even still standing with Derek’s below-negative people skills?
Stiles makes do with snooping around the front. It’s your typical car fix-me-up type of shop, with the severely outdated car magazines littering the table that a bunch of cheap chairs are gathered around. There’s not much other than some art on the walls and a couple of fake plants. Stiles is just about to check behind the desk, because he’s curious and obviously out for his death wish, when Derek comes barrelling–literally barrelling , furious expression and all–through the door.
“I hate you,” Stiles blurts out, because he does, he really does.
Derek raises an eyebrow.
“You did that on purpose!” Stiles screeches.
Derek keeps his expression carefully blank. “Did what on purpose?”
“Oh look, you have a horrible sense of humor but you’re trying to play dumb. That’s cute, Derek. Adorable. ”
Derek doesn’t say anything and makes a move like he’s going to leave, so Stiles says, “Those hotels you listed were crappy . My bed broke in the middle of the night. I had splinters, Derek. Splinters .”
“And this is my fault?”
“It’s not my fault you got a sucky room.”
Stiles glares. “I hate you.”
Derek shrugs, like it doesn’t bother him in the slightest, and Stiles realizes that it probably doesn’t. “I want my money back. I’m going home.”
Derek actually snorts at him. “Good luck with that. Especially when your car is otherwise void of working.”
Stiles just glares at him and then storms out, because, well, he can.
Derek, ever the one to avoid conversation with actual human beings, texts him the day that his car is ready.
your car is ready
And because Stiles can’t help himself–never really can, actually–he replies with, You didn’t take a shit on my seats, did you?
And you should really learn punctuation. Is all Stiles says, because he’s had nineteen long years to know that he was disgusting and vulgar, so, Derek can stick it.
He doesn’t know what to expect when he gets there.
It’s not like he actually hates Derek, because beyond the tactic of intimidation, and jerk-them-until-they-leave routine that Derek’s so settled in, he’s actually a cool dude. Or he’s a cool dude from what Stiles has gathered from stalking his Facebook feed (the guy literally only has 34 friends and most of them are his family–Stiles really needs to take the time to teach him the correct way to use Facebook sometime).
There’s also the thing where Derek is just strikingly attractive, in the way that demands to be acknowledged, but Stiles mainly ignores that part because Derek’s a douche.
He walks in anyway, because Derek aside, he needs his damn jeep. He’s still not completely comfortable with someone else touching his baby, because he has territorial issues.
It may or may not be a thing.
Derek’s there this time, in the front, rustling around papers, either trying to look busy or is actually busy. Stiles throws him a sarcastic smile and slaps down a hand on the counter.
“I’m here to pick up Jessie.”
Derek’s face does the thing it does when he tries not to snort at something, but kind of does anyway.
“This isn’t a prostitution house,” Derek says, and then adds on, “Try next door.”
Stiles raises an eyebrow. “Wait– really ?”
Derek’s eye twitches, so Stiles takes that as a yes.
“How classy,” he murmurs, and tries not to cradle the keys when Derek hands them over.
“Don’t hurt yourself,” Derek remarks dryly, and then disappears behind the desk again.
“Why darling, I didn’t know you cared.”
Derek just hands him his receipt and goes out to the garage again.
When Stiles sits down in his car for the first time since she broke down, he ends up sitting on chocolate.
Hilarious , Stiles texts Derek almost instantly afterwards, because even if he probaby won’t get the stains out of his pants, it was well played.
He doesn’t get a response, but he’s not really bothered.
Stiles can’t stop thinking about Derek.
It’s not like it’s a problem or anything, because he still looks at colleges, and he still writes down information and attends the orientations and the tours, but Derek’s always there, pressing hot and present at the back of Stiles’ skull. He knows it’s kind of pathetic, too, which is the sad part. He barely knows Derek–all he knows is that he’s broody and bristles easy, owns a mechanics shop somewhere outside of Carver Park, Nevada, and has an extreme and possibly deadly allergy to all things social.
That’s not enough to warrant–well, this .
He doesn’t dote on it though, or at least he tries not to, anyway, because he has two months to pick a college to send himself off to, using scholarship money and what little his dad has saved up so he doesn’t, you know, die . There are more important things than Derek’s disgusting face and his even more disgusting personality.
Stiles eventually finds himself back outside Hale Mechanics a week after his ‘I’m going to tour colleges but mostly am going to look at state monuments because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity’ tour. He ignored it all as long as he could, because the fact that he’s so attached already is creepy and unwarranted–he can’t control it, at all.
Stiles–Stiles really hates not having control.
Maybe it’s from having his mother die on him when he was young, too young to comprehend why his mom couldn’t be there when his friends’ mothers could , or maybe it’s because growing up with an asthmatic best friend who could possibly croak on him any moment was stressful.
He’s not so sure.
But Stiles needs control, in the way that Derek needs to munch on human brains and small intestines.
Because when he doesn’t have it, Stiles scrambles for it.
He’s scrambling for it now.
And because he needs an excuse to go in there in the first place–Derek wouldn’t let him in otherwise, Stiles knows–he may or may not bust his air conditioner.
With a hammer.
Stiles can’t really bring himself to regret that, even if Jessie does whine like a little bitch when he turns her on again.
When Stiles walks in, he swears he can hear Derek’s disappointment.
That might be because he can.
“What’re you doing here?” Derek asks.
Stiles rolls his eyes. “No heartwarming hello? Just ‘what are you doing here?’ I expected a ‘nice to see you again, Stiles, how was touring colleges? Pick up any hot babes? Glad you didn’t die on me, bro, etc’ but no. Of course not . ‘What’re you doing here,’ he says.”
“Jessie isn’t breathing properly.”
Derek raises a brow. Which shouldn’t be hot. But it somehow is. Stiles doesn’t know when he started thinking Derek’s eyebrow raises were more hot than infuriating, but his body is actually sort of traitorous, okay?
“Someone broke into my car and shattered my air conditioner,” Stiles lies through his teeth, but Derek doesn’t look unconvinced like he did when Stiles lied to him previously, so that’s a good thing.
Derek sighs, put-upon and dreading and kind of resigned all at once, and throws the rag he was basically fingering onto the counter. “Let’s take a look at her.”
Stiles dances victoriously.
In his head.
His plan was pretty solid until he realized that he left the hammer he did the busting with in the backseat.
Derek picks it up with a snort and throws it in Stiles’ general direction, narrowly missing his face. “Cute.”
Stiles shrugs. “I’m an undercover carpenter for the CIA?”
Derek doesn’t say anything, but there’re papers waiting for Stiles on the counter when he wanders back inside, anyway.
This time, though, this time Stiles is going to make a more conscious effort to talk to Derek. Because sure, there was that one night that they don’t talk about–or that they wouldn’t talk about it if they were the type of people to talk to each other frequently–where Stiles ended up coming over thirty minutes before closing time to bother Derek into letting him stay to help out.
Stiles has a feeling Derek is somewhat anti-social–granted, though, he does treat Stiles a little more dickish than other customers but Stiles doesn’t really think that’s too much of a bad thing.
May it’s some strange act of love? Reluctant acceptance? Idle hatred?
Stiles doesn’t really know.
But the point is that Stiles is going to try, because it’s obvious that this attraction– obsession –isn’t going to go away soon. Possibly ever.
He hopes it does–he doesn’t deal with prolonged attraction well (Lydia Martin, apples, and a naked Stiles don’t go together well, according to Lydia; his father didn’t think it was too cute either, when he was called into arrest him, but that’s neither here nor there. In Stiles’ defense, he was drunk.
It’s one of those things that Stiles refuses to talk about, really.
There are a lot of those, apparently.)
So, this attraction–adoration, maybe–that he feels towards Derek is actually pretty permanent, and he’s going to try, or he’s going to try to try to make an effort. But usually he ends up doing the exact opposite of what he’s trying to do. Or something.
He’s working on it.
“Why did you bust your air?” Derek asks–and wow, he actually sounds more curious than furious. Stiles is proud.
“Random psychotic breakdown?”
Derek doesn’t look convinced.
“Breach in judgment?”
Derek glares at him. Again.
“I saw a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach up in my shit and was like, ‘whoa, no,’ and busted the air vent he crawled into?”
Derek snorts, “Right.”
He doesn’t call him out on the lie, though.
“Can I help?” Stiles asks one day, because he’s sick and deranged and everything in between.
Derek just looks at him and it’s a look that says ‘ you’re an incompetent individual that doesn’t even understand how to use a wrench why would I let you wreck your car even more?’ and while that’s actually sort of true, Stiles, well Stiles is bored .
When Stiles is bored, he might just get a little crazy.
And by might he means he most definitely does.
So, Stiles just looks at him expectantly.
“You want to help?” Derek asks, sounding incredulous.
Stiles nods. “Might as well be useful around here.”
Derek looks thoughtful, and then pulls a mop out of fucking nowhere and pushes it in Stiles’ face.
“So, tell me about yourself, Derek.”
Derek sends Stiles a sharp look from where he’s looking underneath Jessie’s hood. Derek’s shirt is all greased up–and really , why isn’t Derek wearing one of those mechanic uniforms, you know, the ones that are tacky and pinstriped and look like overgrown baby overalls? It would be much easier to ignore how attractive the man is. Stiles thinks it’s because Derek has this plan of ultimate demise that begins with his impeccable ass and ends with his Adonis-like arms.
It’s a pretty well formulated hypothesis.
“Stiles,” Derek warns.
Stiles quirks his mouth up hopefully. “Would you like to proceed to a small intermission before the storytelling, Derek?”
Derek glares, hot and heavy. “ Stiles .”
Derek’s only answer is a grunt, and later on, when they’re sitting around on barstools up by the counter, huddled over greasy sub wrappers and chip bags, Derek mutters, “Chocolate chip cookies are my favorites,” and even if Stiles wasn’t really meant to hear that, he hears it anyway.
It’s a quick fix-me-up job, really.
Stiles isn’t even there for two days before Derek’s texting him like he did the first time, with a simple, your cars fixed , horrible punctuation and all.
The reply is almost immediate.
Stiles doesn’t bother answering, because he knows that Derek knows that Stiles will be there soon, anyway.
He doesn’t want to leave, not exactly. There’s nothing keeping him here, because Derek’s a prick and will possibly always be a prick, even if Stiles thinks that he might not actually be a prick but is something else instead. Something tender and real and human .
Stiles may be wrong, though.
Stiles is usually wrong.
When Stiles finally goes to pick up his jeep, Derek’s behind the counter again–further proving Stiles’ theory that Derek doesn’t actually do anything; though he does, but–and he looks thoughtful, like he’s trying to figure something out or another.
And Stiles is nothing if not indulgent.
“Don’t hurt yourself,” Stiles greets, and at Derek’s glare , adds, “I know thinking and being anything but a jerk’s difficult for you.”
Derek’s glare intensifies, which–Stiles had no idea was possible. “Shut up, Stiles.”
Stiles throws his hands up in mock defense. “Where’re my keys?”
Derek picks them up off the counter and shucks them at him. “There.”
“Obviously,” Stiles snipes, but there’s no real bite.
Derek looks at him, and suddenly, blurts, “Where do you live.”
Stiles gawks at him, because that–that wasn’t even a question . “That doesn’t concern you.”
“What I mean is, why’re you driving all the way out here?”
Stiles flails. “I just so happen to be in the area when Jessie goes to shit.”
Derek snorts like he doesn’t quite believe him, and Stiles doesn’t really blame him. “Right.”
When Stiles sees Derek again, it’s actually not his fault or his shitty (but ultimately lovely–so lovely, Stiles didn’t mean that, baby) jeep’s fault. It’s totally, 100%, a fuck-Stiles-while-running accident.
At first it’s just him and Scott and between Scott rambling about Allison, and how great she is and how awesome her hair is when he runs his hands through it, Stiles can honestly say he’s having a good time. He’s not thinking about Derek, nor is he thinking about how he’s not thinking about Derek.
The trip is pleasantly Derek-free.
It’s something Stiles needs, too, because he’s been thinking about Derek a lot recently. It’s not exactly his fault, either (it’s not like his brain has a filter) but it’s tiring, redundant and pitiful.
He’s pretty sure Derek doesn’t give him a second thought.
It just makes everything worse.
Stiles doesn’t really care (no, really, he doesn’t ).
But at any rate, Scott had dragged him out of bed three days earlier and had said (quite loudly), “We’re going on a roadtrip!” because he was rude and inconsiderate and possibly the worst best friend ever for waking Stiles up at six in the morning. On a Saturday. There was also the whole thing where Stiles couldn’t say no to the kid, and Scott knew that and readily used it to his advantage. Like ambushing Stiles when he’s half asleep to drag him on pointless roadtrips that Stiles doesn’t need to be on. At all.
Now, they’re on the road in Scott’s mom’s green car–which is probably crappier than Stiles’ jeep, but of course Stiles would never actually say that–Scott, Scott is attached –and while it’s nice, too nice, Stiles has no idea where they are.
He’d stop paying attention after his second box of curly fries, really, but Stiles trusts Scott regardless.
Well, he trusts Scott not to get them lost.
So of course Scott gets them lost.
“So,” Scott drawls, and he’s using his “don’t be mad at me, I’m cute and young and clueless” voice that immediately makes Stiles bristle. “We might be–no dude, we’re totally lost.”
Stiles’ curly fries fall out of his mouth gracelessly, even though he was sort of (okay, he knew–he totally knew) expecting it.
“What? Lost? How could we be lost? You have a GPS, dude!”
Scott pales. “It broke about a hundred miles back.”
“ What .”
“I thought you knew?” Scott tries, weakly.
“I didn’t,” Stiles confirms.
“Well, I know that now ,” Scott says, frustrated.
Like he has the right to be frustrated. Right.
“Where are we?” Stiles asks, “Oh–wait. That’s right. You don’t know.”
“ Stiles,” Scott starts, “there was a sign for a diner a few miles back, calm down.”
Stiles glares. “I can’t! I hate being lost,” Stiles whines, because he seriously does. It may or may not stem from the time he got lost in a grocery store when he was little, Mr. Snuggles the bear clutched in his arms and all.
Stiles doesn’t like to pinpoint the exact culprit.
He’s actually sort of repressing it.
Scott smiles, and it’s mostly apologetic. Stiles finds it a little harder to hate him, after that. “I’m sorry,” he says, and he sounds sincere, at least, “I’ll buy you more curly fries.”
Maybe not the worst friend ever, then.
After what feels like hours of driving around–but is probably only minutes; Stiles has this totally bogus and off perception of time, okay–they stop outside of a small diner that Stiles has never seen before.
“Well, this looks promising,” Stiles says, and it’s not even slightly sarcastic.
Scott’s face twists up. “I don’t know about that, man, but I’m starving.”
Stiles snorts, bad mood gone now, because he’s mostly used to Scott’s moronic tactics by now. Even if they do piss him off.
And anyway, if Stiles really got pissed at every idiotic thing that Scott ever did, there’d be a huge possibility of their friendship being terminated permanently, and that’s just something that Stiles is refusing to ever deal with.
“Let’s go get some grub,” Stiles grunts, but he’s not nearly as resigned as he sounds.
Inside, the diner is quaint and sparsely decorated in the minimalistic way that Stiles loves. There’re more booths than tables–which Stiles also loves–and it feels homey and tucked away, like something they would find just on the edge of a clearing in Beacon Hills. The place is as deserted as anything and it makes Stiles relax, makes him drop the extra tension in his shoulders.
Stiles looks at Scott, who has a faint look of disgust on his face, but what does he know–he’s a mongrel, so–and whistles, “Now this is something I can get behind.”
Scott makes an exasperated noise in his throat, but still smiles at the hostess when she approaches them, so he’s probably not too bothered.
“Booth,” Stiles says, before Scott can say otherwise.
And that–that is when he sees him .
Derek’s alone at a booth, staring sourly at a book (probably titled ‘How to be Intimidating and Angry–Even in Front of Adorable Teenagers Edition!’) while sourly eating a cheeseburger, and drinking a cup of coffee–sourly. Stiles just kind of stares at him–openly and completely shameless–so intensely that Derek probably feels eyes on him, but still doesn’t turn around.
Derek’s social skills really are horrible.
Like Stiles’ apparent manners.
Scott elbows him, hard . “Dude. Gross.”
Stiles blinks. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“That dude’s like fifty.”
Stiles snorts. “He’s like, twenty-five, max.”
“Fifty,” Scott says, shaking his head in despair.
Stiles honestly can’t tell if he’s serious, or not.
It’s a thought for another day.
“I have to go over there,” Stiles says.
Scott makes a disappointed noise in his throat. “Stiles–” Scott protests.
“I know him.”
“Right,” Scott drawls, disbelieving.
Derek actually turns around.
He turns around and glares.
Stiles smirks. “Hey, sunshine.”
Derek’s glare turns vicious and suddenly he’s practically bounding over to Stiles, like he’s about to kill him, and that really doesn’t make Stiles feel any better about this entire thing, so he may or may not shrink back against thin air–damn walls and their awful habit of never being close to Stiles when he needs them. He doesn’t think Derek will actually kill him here, because while Derek definitely entertains the idea of spending his afterlife in hell (it’s the only reasonable explanation Stiles can come up with as to why Derek’s a brooding figure all of the time) he’s sure Derek doesn’t want to spend his life in a jail cell. Which is like hell.
Only less hot and with copious amounts of gay sex going on.
Stiles doesn’t want to think about Derek and gay sex and all of the possibilities there are with it.
Scott makes this abortive offended noise in his throat when Derek steps closer, like Derek isn’t allowed to press into Stiles’ personal space (and really buddy, your concern now is not needed, Stiles is totally on board with this string of events, thanks).
“ What are you doing here ,” Derek demands, when he’s close enough to be a little discreet.
Stiles blinks. “Uh, eating?”
“No, why are you here ,” Derek says. Stiles really needs to have a talk with him about what exactly questions are.
Stiles crosses his arms over his chest petulantly. “What, suddenly I can’t eat out places?”
Derek narrows his eyes, again. “Not when you live hundred miles away, and I’m sure you do.”
Derek just raises his eyebrows that says, “ really ? coming from you?” and yeah, Stiles has nothing to say to that.
Stiles shrugs, anyway, because he just can’t not say anything–Stiles is beginning to think that it’s impossible for him to stay quiet, ever, because even though he knows realistically it would be smart to bid goodbye and go and tuck himself in a booth across from Scott while shoving curly fries into his mouth, he can’t seem to do that. He doesn’t know if it’s because of his hardcore, ‘I’m-helplessly-gay’ feelings for Derek or if it’s because Stiles just likes conversation, but he can’t force himself to move.
“Yeah, well–Scott got us lost, because he’s a moronic, dumb–”
“Hey–” Scott cuts in, but he’s smiling at his phone like a dumbass and Stiles knows, knows , he’s talking to Allison, probably about how Stiles is talking to older, angry strangers in diners.
Whatever. It’s not like Derek is exactly a stranger. He’s just strange.
“So we came here–so don’t like, go be assuming that I went here on purpose. Because I didn’t . I don’t even know what town we’re in, but I think it’s probably safe to guess we’re in Carver Park, right? Because that’s where you live-or I assume that’s where you live and I’m just going to shut up now–Jesus christ, stop glaring at me, you crazy puppy!”
Derek raises a perfectly–seriously, fuck him –sculpted eyebrow. “I’m not a dog,” he scowls.
“Really?” Stiles asks, because he’s possibly out for his death wish. Through his broken filter. “Because I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise–”
Derek doesn’t say anything else, just glares at Stiles and then turns on his heel to walk away. Stiles can’t be positive, because the glare from the sun is actually pretty bright, but he’s pretty sure Derek flicks him off.
Totally worth it.
“Who was that?” Scott asks, when they’re far away from where Derek has long since left–he had picked up his shit–sourly, of course–soon after he had left Stiles and Scott standing there, which was fine, because now it was easier to focus without Derek’s constant presence looming around Stiles.
“Who was who?” Stiles asks, trying and failing to sound nonchalant.
Scott doesn’t look impressed–but frankly, Scott doesn’t look impressed about anything that isn’t directly correlated to Allison and lacrosse, so Stiles isn’t too bothered by it. “That guy,” Scott says, and doesn’t elaborate, though he does move his hands spastically in a gesture that is supposed to be Derek, or Derek-shaped at the least.
“He fixed my car once,” Stiles shrugs, and doesn’t–but almost–add on, “ twice” because then Scott would start giving him judgmental looks, and Scott’s judgmental looks are the worst.
It probably has something with him always looking like a defeated baby animal.
Scott nods, but looks like he doesn’t believe Stiles, fully at least. Stiles doesn’t know whether to be chargined that he’s obvious enough for Scott to notice or elated because Scott actually noticed.
It’s maybe the third time around that Stiles not-so-accidentally-but-really visits Derek when he notices that their previous one-sided affectionate, other-sided malicious bickering evolved into something different. Something soft and familiar–not quite the same as what it is with Scott because if he ever started sprouting feelings for Scott he might literally cut his dick off, but something that makes Stiles’ bones ache in the most pleasant way.
It starts when Stiles walks into Hale’s Mechanics, and Derek doesn’t even glare at him–he just kind of smiles, a simple twist of the mouth that has Stiles’ heart beating just that much faster. It’s odd, so very, very odd–and upsetting-definitely upsetting because his smile is gorgeous .
Stiles doesn’t know when things started to change, or maybe there wasn’t anything to change. He’s always sort of thought that Derek played up his hatred for Stiles out of amusement–either Stiles’ or his own–because it’s not like Stiles ever did anything to him. Besides bring him business and make him more money, and Stiles doesn’t see how anyone can hate that.
Well, Derek can hate that, because Stiles is pretty sure Derek can hate anything when he puts his mind to it. Or maybe it’s a default thing. Stiles wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a default thing.
But anyway, Derek doesn’t scoff or glare or do anything like that. He smiles , honest-to-god smiles, and it makes his palms sweat in the comfortable confines of his jeans. He’s seen Derek smile, of course, because there’ve been other costumers and while Derek has always refused to smile at Stiles, he’s never really held that same view for everyone else.
Stiles is thrown so off guard by it that he doesn’t even realize that Derek is staring until he hears Derek’s voice sound off above him.
Stiles looks up, sort of guilty, sort of still in a haze, and says, “what?”
“I’ve been calling your name for the last two minutes,” Derek says, and he sounds vaguely annoyed.
“No,” Stiles says, “I would’ve heard you.”
“Well, you didn’t,”
Stiles scowls, but before he can even get a word in, Derek interrupts with, “what’s wrong now?”
Stiles’ eyes narrow at that, and it seems like Derek has a smug look on his face. “My battery died,” Stiles blurts, because what was wrong with his car again?
Derek raises a dubious eyebrow. “Then how did you get here?”
Fuck him .
Stiles splutters. “Uh–it broke out just outside?”
Damn. That’s not supposed to be a question–
“Right,” Derek says, and he’s using his “ I’m the ultimate being and can sense your lies” voice because Derek’s a dick like that.
Derek just shakes his head, but he smiles instead of glares, so Stiles doesn’t feel so bad, anyway.
“I have a confession to make,” Stiles says.
Derek raises his eyebrows to show he’s listening, but ducks his head back under Stiles’ jeep instead of replying, because apparently Stiles’ battery is fine but his need for an oil change is somewhere between “immediate” and “already permanently destroyed”, which was good, because then it would’ve made this entirely more embarrassing.
“I didn’t really think I had a dead battery.”
Derek huffs. “I know.”
“And I actually did bust in my air conditioner that one time by myself. With the hammer.”
“But my car really did break down the first time,” Stiles says, because it did, and he wants Derek to know that it did, so he doesn’t think Stiles is a complete creep.
“I know that, too.” Derek says, and he doesn’t sound bothered at all.
“That doesn’t bother you?”
“No,” Derek says, and that makes Stiles shut up.
He leaves after that, because nothing is keeping him there, because Derek doesn’t ask him to stay–not that Stiles thought he would, because Derek doesn’t seem like that type of guy, the type of guy to ask someone to say even if he wants them to (and at this point it’s not like Stiles is entirely sure that Derek even wants Stiles around period because the whole being nice thing could’ve been Derek’s way of politely rejecting Stiles’ obvious and pathetically gay feelings for him).
So, he leaves, but he wants to go back–he thinks he will go back–he never left, actually. But he goes home instead, goes home and sits with his dad at the dinner table that feels too large and open for just two people, which is why it’s not really of use anymore–well, for dinners, anyway because it’s not like his father’s paperwork strewn all over it is exactly being subtle or anything.
He talks to Scott about Allison and then doesn’t get to talk about anything else with him for a few hours, which is okay, because at least he doesn’t have to think about Derek, and how much he wants to go back, and how sad the whole thing really is. He still doesn’t know anything about Derek and yet he feels this gravitational pull to him that Stiles can’t ignore, even on his best days. Actually, Stiles thinks about Derek a lot, because it’s not like he can actually help it.
Scott, magically, only has to slap him three times.
Stiles lasts four days before he cracks and ends up hopping in his jeep to go back to Derek’s shop.
It’s not something he’s proud of, because usually Stiles is stronger than this. He’s stronger than some stupid crush on some stupid guy who is just stupid and attractive and way out of his league–in the kind of way that isn’t even cute anymore. But not today, not for Derek.
He’s coming loaded with chocolate chip cookies, because Derek said they were his favorites and it’s not like that’s something Stiles could forget. He also may or may not have a pamphlet in the back, but it’s not like Stiles has to mention that, right?
The drive seems longer this time, maybe it’s because he’s not pretending to have some sort of car trouble, that was actually starting to get ridiculous–with Derek staring at him knowingly and all–and plus he thinks that maybe Jessie doesn’t need to help this time.
He hopes not, at least.
Stiles may also have a few hammers, a crowbar, and a box of nails hidden in his trunk in case things start going south, but hey. Stiles was always taught it’s better to be prepared than to show up sorry.
Though he’s kind of doing both, this time, anyway.
He’s sure it’s forgiven.
Scout’s honor, after all.
Stiles was never a boy scout, was too full of energy even for a seven-year-old, and the lack of concentration saddled on top of that was too much for the leaders to handle. Scott was, though, in his parents’ attempt to try and nip the whole asthma thing in the bud early–obviously, it didn’t work, but at least Scott got to build some fundamental leadership and survival skills instead–neither of them stuck very well, because Scott almost gets killed everyday, but Stiles isn’t holding it against him.
The cookies are soggy and gross by the time he gets out to Derek, and Stiles kind of has a mini panic attack about it, because what if the cookies are the major selling point, here? Stiles is under no impression that he’s not God-like in personality, and he’s pretty adorable for a kid who’s too scrawny and lanky to be of any physical use, but Derek is perfect to a disturbing degree. So disturbing that he’s sure he’d be held under government lockdown if the government was actually made aware of Derek’s physique.
So, Derek, Stiles thinks, must come along with some pretty hefty expectations as far as possible-future-significant others and definite-future-significant others.
Not that Stiles is under any of those, because he’s not sure that he is, but he’d like to think of himself as an optimist. The cookies are still soggy and Stiles is sure he’s five seconds way from a from a full-fledged panic attack, because the dosage of Adderall he took today was seriously below what he’s used to–he sometimes sacrifices clarity for not making an ass of himself.
It’s a known fact that Stiles is an asshole hopped up on Adderall.
“Stiles?” Derek knocks on the window, voice strained with worry–worry about Stiles –
Later on, when Stiles’ heart currently isn’t trying to bounce out of his chest, Stiles will say that he didn’t scream or jump or nearly punch his fist through the window in full, unadulterated terror.
But now? Well...
Derek growls, pissed and another emotion that Stiles can’t quite identify, before yanking open Stiles’ door.
Stiles is pretty sure–absolutely sure, really–that his door was still locked .
“You’re an idiot ,” Derek spits, but he sounds more concerned than mad, and it makes Stiles deflate.
“Ow,” he says, “ow, ow, ow , fuck. Jesus– Christ . That hurt–”
“You punched the window,” Derek starts, “windows are glass. That tends to hurt,” and he’s using his, “I’m surrounded by morons” voice, which Stiles would usually be offended by. If his hand wasn’t currently throbbing .
“Sure,” Stiles comments dryly, “make fun of the guy who is in obscene amounts of pain. ”
“I’m not making fun,” Derek says, “I’m simply pointing it out.”
“Well, thanks,” Stiles says, somewhat angrily, but when Derek smiles he feels it all melt away.
Stiles belatedly shoves the cookies into Derek’s face.
“I brought you cookies,” Stiles says, like it’s not obvious that he did.
“You brought me cookies.” Derek repeats, incredulous, and he’s staring at the Tupperware container like it’s suddenly holding the secrets to the universe and not the secrets of Stiles’ ass.
Because Derek’s totally going to tap that.
If Stiles can convince him.
“I brought you cookies,” Stiles confirms, and then says–because he doesn’t know when to shut up, even off of his medication–“I know you mentioned earlier than chocolate chip cookies were your favorites so I baked you some because I thought you might appreciate that.”
Derek’s eyes narrow at him speculatively. “Why?”
“To thank you for fixing my car?”
“Most people just pay me.” Derek says. “Try again,” he elaborates, like he can tell that Stiles is lying.
It makes his skin crawl, how palpable Stiles is around Derek.
“To thank you for not killing me even though it was apparent that you wanted to?”
“Uhm–” Stiles starts, because how exactly do you tell a man that’s both terrifying and disgustingly attractive that you sort-of-kind-of have a thing for him, a thing that is somehow mercilessly gay, too. “There’s a reason, there really is, like a really good reason but I can’t tell you the reason because I’m sure you’ll cut my balls off–which is something I would totally not appreciate, thanks–or something like that, and I’m not sure my weak psyche can exactly take something like that right now–”
Derek glares, but it’s a good-natured glare, a glare that doesn’t make Stiles feel like throwing up because Derek might kill him, but one that causes gooseflesh to rise all along his arms for a totally different reason.
Stiles didn’t even know glares could be sexy until he met Derek.
“Stiles,” Derek says, “tell me. Or I will kill you.”
Stiles doesn’t want to be dead.
“Derek, that might not be the smartest–”
Stiles sighs uncomfortably and says, “I baked you cookies because I kind of am hopelessly in like with you?” He says, and can’t stop, not even at Derek’s shocked-but-still-not look. “Because it’s not like I love you or anything, because it’s way to early for that–I don’t even know anything about you man, but–”
Derek just keeps staring at him, disbelieving.
“Like all of those times where I pretended to have something wrong with my car, I just really wanted to see you, even though I’m pretty sure you hated me then. You actually might still hate me now, but I’m not really able to tell because you’re “I hate everyone in this bar” and you’re “I’m pleased with your existence” faces are practically the same and that’s okay, really, I’m okay with that–Jesus Christ , why are you still letting me talk ?”
Derek just presses closer, presses Stiles up against one of the walls in his shop, and there’s this lady looking at them like she’s five seconds away from either taping this for future use–which is something he totally doesn’t want to think about, old ladies and porn, porn starring him –or calling the cops. Stiles is sure she’s leaning toward the second one, though, because Derek’s making this noise in his throat that Stiles is sure means that he wants to eat him, like he’s some delicious dish of steak marinade.
“Derek–” He squeaks , because–
Derek is sniffing his throat, is breathing him in and nuzzling his face into Stiles’ neck like he belongs there, like this isn’t all terribly weird and creepy and not totally something that Stiles likes.
Because he doesn’t.
“Derek–” He tries again, and cut himself off at Derek’s glare.
“Stiles,” Derek says, and then adds, “shut up.”
Derek’s kissing him, then, like he’s trying to make sure Stiles actually shuts up, which is pretty stupid. Stiles can practically talk while doing anything, kissing included.
He doesn’t want to talk now, weirdly enough, because he still can’t believe that Derek’s kissing him. Willingly . It takes him awhile to actually get up the nerve to wrap a hand up and around Derek’s neck to pull him closer, to wrap the other around Derek’s waist like a fucking girl , but it’s not like he can bring himself to care. Not when Derek’s pushing against him, all hard lines and smooth, hot skin that Stiles can feel vibrating through his clothes.
Stiles isn’t an expert on kissing or anything, has maybe only kissed three people in his entire life–one of whom was his mother, but he was young and he thought he was pretty damn cool to get kisses from his mom , even though those are different, not the same, nowhere near the same, as this one–but Derek doesn’t seem to mind, with how he’s attacking–literally attacking –Stiles’ mouth.
Like he’s dying.
Stiles hums, low and deep in his throat and pulls Derek closer, because this is what he’s wanted for a while, and he’s not letting it go.
Almost as if Derek hears his thoughts, he feels Derek smile against his lips.
Later, Stiles finds out he actually said it outloud, mumbled against Derek’s lips, but that’s okay, because when Derek pulls Stiles against him later, when they’re tangled up in the sheets, tangled up in each other , Derek’s body against his own feels like a promise.
Stiles doesn’t know how they’re going to work exactly, because Stiles lives in Beacon Hills, and Derek lives all the way out in Carver Park, but Stiles thinks that maybe they can be something.
Stiles thinks that they can probably be something beautiful.
And he holds onto that, when he’s cuddled up in Derek’s personal space, and even when he’s in his jeep, alone, on the way back home.
They'll be alright. Stiles will make sure of it.