Hogwarts is the greatest place on earth as far as Stiles is concerned. Though, if there were one thing he could change, it would be the location of the potions classroom. He’d put it somewhere above ground and sunny, with a view of the lake. It’d make his walks to detention more pleasant at least.
The fact that he even has detention is ridiculous; he was in potions class, making potions. Granted, they were assigned draught of living death, but he could make that in his sleep. He was more interested in experimenting; besides, Danny’s hair will grow back.
He hefts his bag up higher on his shoulder and prepares for several hours of cauldron scrubbing and vial sorting. When he enters, there is a big, surly and generally terrifying looking guy leaning against one of the work benches. Stiles doesn’t scream— not much, anyway.
Tall, dark and creepy raises an eyebrow.
“Hey,” Stiles’ hands immediately begin fiddling with the strap on his bag.
“Have you seen Professor Harris?”
Stiles shrugs, “Not since he gave me detention, he’ll show up eventually though. Guy’s surprisingly lax about monitoring delinquents like me.” Stiles sets his bag on a bench and starts washing out the sink.
TD&C just sits there. For like an hour.
“What exactly do you need?” Stiles asks, getting thoroughly unnerved about this random stranger watching him sort herbs. “Maybe I can help?”
“I need a potion.”
“Perfect, I make potions.” Great potions as a matter of fact, but Stiles doesn’t think this guy would tolerate him bragging, even if it is true.
TD&C looks unimpressed.
“Seriously, what potion? Worst case scenario it blows up in my face and you get to laugh.” Though, Stiles can’t imagine this guy laughing at anything that didn’t involve drowning kittens.
Oh. Oh. “Cool.” Stiles says, going over to the bookshelf and definitely not freaking out about the fact that he’s five feet away from a werewolf in a dark dungeon where no one can hear him scream (except the Slytherins maybe, but he doubts they’d come to his rescue). He finds the book he’s looking for and flips to the back. He frowns at the directions, “shouldn’t be too hard.”
TD&C actually looks surprised.
Stiles grabs all the ingredients he needs and gets to work. Half an hour later he gets bombarded with a cloud of thick blue smoke, so he figures it worked.
“Well?” He says, spreading his arms toward the cauldron.
TD&C leans over the cauldron gives the concoction a suspicious sniff, “It smells right, at least.”
Stiles smirks, “What horrible? It must suck drinking this stuff.”
“Even worse if I don’t.” and guess who just made this awkward.
Stiles winces, “My bad, I’m just gonna—” he gestures at the cabinet with the vials in it and tries not to trip as he scrambles toward it.
“Thank you,” the man says, like he doesn’t have to do it often.
“No worries,” Stiles ladles the dark blue liquid into a crystal bottle, “This is only enough for one dose, but I could make you more if you stop by next month. I mean, if you need me to.”
The man takes the potion and nods, “I’ll be around.”
Two days later when the headmaster introduces Derek Hale, the new assistant groundskeeper, Stiles tries to keep his jaw from dropping when a very familiar werewolf stands to the applause of the Great Hall.
One day, Stiles was going to stop getting detention. Granted that would probably be the day he graduated, but still, one day. How can you punish someone for blowing up their cauldron if that was what they were trying to do? Granted it wasn't what had been assigned and the explosion had been much bigger than expected, but seriously, Danny could buy a wig.
And because Professor Harris could somehow see into his soul and realize his deepest fears, he's been assigned to brew Hale's wolfsbane potion for the rest of the year (“to make up for all current and future infractions, Mr. Stilinski”). On the plus side, no more cauldron scrubbing, the downside? Interacting with a guy that looks like he could rip Stiles apart even without the lycanthropy.
That’s how Stiles finds himself trudging down to the small shack Hale calls home to give him the good news.
"Yo, Hale, you here?" He calls out, hoping desperately he doesn't get an answer.
"Back here." And no such luck.
Stiles heads around to the other side of the building where the voice came from. Hale's there chopping wood shirtless, like he's the guy on the paper towels package or something.
"Uh," Stiles does his best not to look directly into Hale's abs, lest he go blind, "Professor Harris told me to tell you that I'd be making your potion for you from now on."
Hale drops his axe, and Stiles is more than a little bit thankful, "Why isn't he making it?" Clearly, manners aren't something they teach you in werewolf school.
"He said it's always given him trouble, and he'd rather not risk it. Also, I may have blown up a cauldron and this is my detention."
"You blew up your cauldron, and he wants you to make it?"
"Hey, I was trying to blow it up."
Derek raises his eyebrows, and really, where did you get eyebrows like that? Was it a werewolf thing?
"So, do I call you Professor Hale or...?"
"Derek." He gives a small smile and okay, it's kind of charming in a stubbley, kittens and sunshine sort of way. If you're into that sort of thing.
When Derek enters the potions room a week before the full moon, Stiles is hovering over a cauldron. The ingredients surrounding him aren’t used for wolfsbane, so Derek decides to keep his distance, remembering Stiles fondness for “experimenting”.
“What are you making?”
Stiles doesn’t look up from where he’s carefully sprinkling peppermint into the cauldron, “Amortentia.” Purple smoke engulfs his face and he steps away covering his nose, “but unless I’m, like, super into sour milk, I don’t think it worked.”
“Why?” Derek looks him over, Stiles is awkward sure, and a bit gangly but he’s far from unattractive. There has to be at least a few fourth years giggling after him. He can’t imagine why he’d need a love potion.
“To see if I can,” Stiles shrugs, “I’ve always had trouble with love potions. I’m awesome at poisons though.”
“Right.” Derek wonders if he should be worried.
“Whatever,” Stiles carries his cauldron over to the sink and empties it. “So, wolfsbane. How’d it work out last time?”
“It was,” Derek frowns, “weak?”
“Dammit,” Stiles chews his lip, “I knew I shouldn’t have trusted that book. My gut was telling me to steep it longer.” He ran a hand through his short hair. “I was thinking, I could try combining the wolfsbane with a draught of peace, you know, to take some of the edge off. I mean, if it’s cool with you?”
“You don’t have to do that.”
Stiles gives him an odd look, “I want to help you out.”
Derek is admittedly, taken aback. Most wizards are adverse to tolerating his kind, let alone going out of their way to help them. “…Thank you.” he manages.
Stiles shakes his head like Derek is somehow hilarious and goes to the cabinet, he starts humming as he gathers ingredients. It’s low and smooth and much softer than he expects from such an energetic person.
“What song is that?” Derek asks when Stiles returns to the bench, “I’ve never heard it before.”
“Huh?” Stiles looks up, “Oh, uh, Lean On Me, it’s a muggle song. I didn’t even realize I was humming it.”
“Yeah, my mom used to sing it to me.” Stiles mumbles, attention no longer on Derek, but the task at hand. His lips purse as he measures out ground moonstone like he’s counting the individual grains. He seems different now, no longer jittery and in constant motion. Each ingredient addition is controlled, each stir, precise.
Derek doesn’t know how long he watches him work, until finally, Stiles looks up with a grin.
“Who’s awesome?” he asks.
“Come one dude, you’re supposed to say ‘you’re awesome Stiles, for figuring out how to kick my anti-wolfy potion up a notch. You’re the Emeril Lagasse of potions’.”
Derek ignores the gruff-voiced impersonation of himself. “Who?”
Stiles rolls his eyes, “Purebloods are so deprived.”
While the potion steeps, he gets another cauldron and tries again with Amortentia. He absently rambles on about cooking and televisions and Derek can’t help but think Stiles is the strangest person he has ever met.
At least he’s interesting.
“What happened?” Derek asks, nodding toward the adhesive bandages littering Stiles’ forearms and hands.
Stiles looks his hands over, “Potions is dirty work.”
“Do you go to the infirmary?”
“Are you kidding?” Stiles chuckles, “Madame McCall kicked me out fourth year after like, my twelfth visit in a month, threw me a pack of bandages and said not to explode anything near her son. I never get hit too bad though, well,” Stiles pulls his sleeve up father, revealing a thick wrapping of gauze, “I was concocting a poison and the steam turned out to be acidic, pretty much melted my skin off, it was crazy.”
Stiles winces, “My bad that was gross, wasn’t it?”
“You should be more careful.”
“Don’t worry; I won’t screw up your potions.”
“I meant for your own sake.”
Stiles falters, but only for a moment, “Aw, are you concerned?”
Derek glowers, “I just don’t want to have to explain any more dead bodies than necessary.”
Stiles swallows, “You’re kidding right?” He actually looks nervous.
Derek manages a straight face just long enough for Stiles to start twitching. He smiles.
“You’re horrible.” Stiles points at him, “you are a horrible man-wizard-wolf-thing, and I hate you.”
Derek gives a quiet laugh.
“Shit!” Stiles jumps from his stool and quickly snuffs the flame beneath the boiling over mix of would-be Amortentia. When the air clears he smiles, “I think I’m getting closer.”
Derek doubts it, all he smells is smoke.
Stiles might be screaming.
He isn’t sure, because he’s more focused on the searing hot pain running across his chest. He blacks out just as he realizes he can’t move.
When he comes to, he’s looking at the white stone ceiling of the hospital wing. His chest doesn’t hurt anymore, but his body feels heavy.
He tries to call out, but his throat burns and aches, and he just ends up coughing.
“Stiles?” Madame McCall is leaning over him now, “For once in your life, don’t talk.” She helps him drink some water.
“What happened?” he asks, because he never listens.
“You were carrying some jars to the potions room while two second years were dueling; you got hit by a runaway stunning spell. There was some sort of explosion, you got burned pretty badly.”
“Story of my life.”
“What I don’t understand is how a stunning spell blows someone up.”
Stiles tries to remember what he was doing, he had gone to Harris’ pantry to get some– “The jars I was carrying? Exploding fluid from an erumpent horn.”
“Stiles!” Huh. That sounded like more than one person yelling at him.
He turns his head to see Scott sitting in a chair. Oh, and Allison’s here too.
“What are you guys doing here?”
“Hoping you didn’t get yourself killed.” Scott says and Stiles thinks it’s a little too loud for a hospital.
“We were worried.” Allison says much more sweetly, Stiles likes Allison.
“And now that you see he’s fine, you can get going before you miss class.” McCall says while checking Stiles’ bandages.
“Class? What time is it?” Stiles asks. How long had he been out?
“It’s almost seven. So, Scott should get going if he doesn’t want to fail anything else.” McCall levels her son with glare.
After Scott leaves Stiles tries to fall back asleep, but his chest keeps itching under the bandages. How it was doing that without, you know, skin was beyond him. He huffs and tries to settle into a comfortable position.
“You can’t even breathe quietly, can you?” A voice grumbles from the bed next him.
“Derek?” Stiles tries to look around the curtain separating them, “What are you doing here?”
“Full moon last night.” Derek reminds him.
Stiles forces himself up and yanks back the curtain, “Are you okay?” He winces as the bandages rub against his chest.
“You’re a complete idiot.” Derek hefts himself up on his elbows, “You got blown up and you’re worried I can’t handle something I’ve been doing my whole life?”
“Your whole life? When did you get– get bitten?”
Derek flops back down on his bed, “I didn’t. Most of my family was werewolves.”
Stiles’ stomach churns at ‘was’ and he sits a little straighter.
“There was… a fire. Fiendfyre, maybe? They couldn’t put it out. My sister and I, we were here, at school. We’re the only ones left.”
“I’d say I’m sorry, but I always hated when people said that.” Stiles looks down at his hands, noticing the slightly bloodied bandages on them for the first time. “She was an auror, my mom. She got ambushed by some dark wizards.” Stiles still misses her, but he’s gotten better at dealing with it.
“My sister Laura, she’s an auror.”
Stiles grins, “She’s a werewolf wizard cop? That’s pretty awesome.”
Derek gives Stiles one of his sunshine and daisies smiles, “Yeah, she is.”
Stiles wants to lay back down but his hands are too raw to put weight on, “Oh yeah, how’d the potion work out?” He twists, trying to get his legs back on the bed.
“I was able to sleep through most of the night, just beat up from the actual changing.” Derek climbs out of his bed, “You can ask for help, moron.” He grabs Stiles’ shoulder and eases him back down onto the bed.
“Your bedside manner’s kinda sucky, dude.”
Derek takes a seat on the bed by Stiles’ legs; he looks over the myriad of bandages covering his torso with a blank expression. “Don’t blow yourself up again, and you won’t have to worry about it.”
Stiles nudges Derek’s hip with his calf, “Hey, in case you didn’t hear, this wasn’t my fault. It was a couple of Slytherins. So not to be trusted.”
“I was in Slytherin.”
Stiles shrugs, “Which proves my point.”
“When you’re not half dead, remind me to hurt you.”
“You gonna huff and puff and blow my dorm down?” Stiles teases because he obviously has a death wish.
“I liked you more when you were afraid of me.”
Stiles raises his eyebrows, “But you admit you like me.”
Derek just rolls his eyes.
The howling winds that whip around the castle grounds cause Stiles to bury his nose deeper into his navy and bronze scarf. He wishes he had remembered how cold it had been getting as the days went on and brought a heavier cloak.
He walks more quickly as he spots his destination. There's a light on in Derek's small shack, which means Stiles didn't wander all this way for nothing. He raps quickly against the door until Derek opens it, looking confused.
"What are you doing here?"
Derek rolls his eyes and ushers him inside. He nods toward a stool by the fireplace which Stiles gladly shuffles toward.
"Why are you out here this late?" Derek asks moving about the room gathering things into a bag.
"I came to bring you your wolfsbane." Stiles fishes the bottle out of his cloak.
Derek turns around to face him, "The full moon's not for two weeks."
"My dorm was, eh, occupied." Stiles wrinkles his nose, "Apparently the Halloween feast makes people more than a little frisky. And Scott was with Allison, so I went down to the dungeons to kill time and brewed this," he swished the dark blue liquid around in the bottle.
"And you just had to give it to me tonight?" Derek crosses his arms.
"Well, you weren't at the feast, I wanted to make sure you were still alive... also I didn't have anyone else to hang out with."
Derek goes back to putting things in his bag, "I've been busy."
Stiles eyes light up, "With what? Do you need help?"
"No," Derek says, sternly, "I have to go in the Forbidden Forest. I saw unicorn blood the other day, I think there's one injured, I can't catch it though."
"Well of course not, you're like, a total predator. No offense." Stiles adds belatedly. "Take me with you, please?" Stiles goes for his best puppy dog eyes.
Derek stands his ground for a few seconds before letting out a resigned sigh, "Fine. With any luck it'll mistake you for a girl and I can treat its wounds." He reaches for something on the end table, but Stiles grabs it first.
"Is this your wand?" He asks, turning it over in his hands. It's pale with sharp edges twisting around the handle and embedding themselves in the wood, almost like claws. "What is this, ash? Eleven inches?"
"Eleven and three quarters, dragon heartstring core."
Stiles twiddles the wand between his fingers and smirks, "Mine's bigger."
"If you're done fondling my wand?" Derek holds out a hand.
"You should be so lucky." Stiles scoffs, handing it back.
"Yeah, you're probably great at stroking wands,” Derek slides his own into a sheath on his wrist, "Your own at least."
Stiles gapes, "Let's just go find your damn pony."
Derek chuckles and tosses him a thicker cloak.
Stiles has never claimed to be a brave man, so he's perfectly fine admitting the Forbidden Forest is scary as all hell. "Couldn't you look for it in the day time?"
"What do you think I was doing all day?"
"Perfecting your scowl?" Stiles quips, because not even fear impedes his sarcasm.
"Shut up. I think I hear something, wait here."
And just like that, Stiles is alone. In a dark forest. Full of horrible things eager to eat him alive.
The bushes to his right rustle. See? Here comes some Stiles-nivorous beast now.
"Holy-" Stiles’ breath catches as the silvery-white creature comes toward him. He reaches a hand out slowly, remembering what his dad taught him about not startling the deer that lived in the woods behind their house. "Hey dude," he says softly, "You hurt?" the unicorn noses his hand and snuffles.
He can see a stream of shimmering blue blood tricking down its front right leg, he goes into cloak for the essence of dittany he starting carrying after getting his palms sliced open by one too many broken vials.
"Hey, I'm just gonna help you out okay?" He pours a few drops into his hand and rubs it against the wound. "There you go."
"You have got to be kidding me." Derek says returning from his adventure in the land of leave-Stiles-to-fend-for-himself.
The unicorn startles at his approach.
"Aw, did the mean old werewolf scare you?" he strokes its muzzle, "Don't worry it's not his fault his face looks like that." He turns toward Derek, "I fixed-" he ducks his head under the horse's stomach, "her right up."
Derek shakes his head, "I don't know why I'm surprised at this point. Let's get back before you befriend any more of the wildlife."
"You're just jealous," Stiles says giving the unicorn a final rub "I don't know why, you'll always be my number one animal friend."
"Will you come on?"
Stiles falls into step beside him, "So, I think I've almost got it, the Amortentia."
"Finally, you with access to the most powerful love potion in existence."
"Shut up, it sort of smelled like coffee."
"You, attracted to coffee? I'm shocked." Derek deadpans.
"You should be more supportive; if you're lucky I'll let you use it on a nice Pomeranian."
"Dog jokes, how original."
"I work with what you give me." Stiles shrugs, "Speaking of coffee, I could seriously go for some."
"I refuse to caffeinate you. How about a nice calming draught instead?"
"You just dragged me through the wilderness, you're making me coffee."
Derek does and they stay up talking about the magical creatures Derek's seen and television shows Stiles watches back home until it's nearly dawn. They fall asleep in front of the dying embers in the fireplace, an empty mug still clutched in Stiles' hand.
Allison climbs from behind the barrels in front of the entrance to the Hufflepuff common room. Stiles is already in the kitchens, chatting excitedly with one of the house elves. He turns and grins when he sees her.
"Hey," Stiles seems— extra Stiles-ish today, he's practically vibrating, "These dudes said it's cool if we use the kitchens. So, let's get started."
She's not sure why he asked for her help, but it's probably because Scott couldn't boil water without setting himself on fire.
"What are we baking?" She asks as she rolls up her sleeves.
Stiles grins, "Cupcakes. Double chocolate cupcakes." He hands her a piece of parchment with the recipe.
She begins carefully measuring out the flour, she could use magic, but some things are more fun when done by hand. "So what's the occasion? Or are these just Friday cupcakes?"
"Birthday ones, actually." Stiles says without looking up from the butter and sugar he's creaming together.
Allison frowns, she's fairly sure it wasn't any of their friends' birthdays; she keeps track of that sort of thing. "Whose birthday?"
Stiles looks up, mouth going like a fish, "Uh, nobody. A friend. Just a friend that you do not know."
Allison raises an eyebrow, "Okay." She starts sifting the dry ingredients and lets it go.
Once the cupcakes are in the ovens she pulls herself up on the counter top and tries again, "So, your friend that I don't know likes cupcakes?"
Stiles sits next to her, "I don't know actually. Cupcakes just seemed like the thing to do."
Allison nods, "Everybody likes chocolate." It's a principle she lives by. If someone doesn't like chocolate, they're probably a dark wizard or something.
Stiles scratches his neck, "I hope so, I didn't know what else would make a good present." He looks a little worried.
She rubs his back, "It'll be fine." The last time she saw him this nervous over something was when he gave Lydia a box of sugared butterfly wings for Valentine’s Day in third year. Lydia had promptly thrown them at his head. On second thought, maybe he should be worried. "If they're your friend, they'll love it."
Stiles rolls his eyes and smiles, "Hufflepuffs and the power of friendship."
She bumps her shoulder into his, "So this friend, is she a cute friend?"
He snickers, "He really isn't."
"Oh," Allison says, trying to not sound surprised, "Well, you like him, so I'm sure he's a great guy."
Stiles chews his lip, "Yeah, he's pretty cool."
"Are you guys," she waves her hand, "you know?"
His eyebrows shoot up, "What? We aren't— I don't even— really?" he stammers.
Her hands fly to her face, "I just thought, what with the cupcakes, that you were, you know."
"I really, really don't." His face is starting to flush.
She smiles, "Merlin, I just made this awkward didn't I?"
Stiles smiles back weakly, "No it's fine, happens all the time." His face scrunches up, "actually, I don't think gay guys find me attractive."
"Well, I'm sure that were he so inclined, your friend would think you were totally smoking."
That gets him blushing again, "I should check on those cupcakes." He hops off the counter and scrambles toward the ovens.
Once they're baked and frosted Stiles gives her a tight hug and runs off, box of cupcakes under his arm.
He doesn't tell her how it goes, but he doesn't show up to dinner that night and won't stop grinning when she sees him at breakfast the next day.
She wonders if there's more you know going on than Stiles is aware of.
Stiles loves Christmas. Snow, presents, cookies, glitter everywhere, it’s the best. Not to mention getting to see his dad. Stiles worries about what he gets up to while he’s away at school.
Extra curly fries probably.
The break from school is peaceful, he and his dad watch Christmas specials and drink hot chocolate. Scott stops by a few times and he gets an owl from Allison. They already exchanged gifts back at school, he got Scott a broomstick servicing kit and Allison some perfume. Stiles even gave Derek some of his comic books, after finding out about his interests in not-so-mythical beasts.
His dad lets him make potions out in the shed, far away from any electrical devices. It’s cold, but it’s better than the thrum that runs through him when he goes too long without getting his hands on a cauldron.
He carefully adds rose thorns to his latest attempt at amortentia. He jerks his head away from a gust of vapor that smells— really good actually. He leans his head back over the cauldron and breathes deeply.
There’s the coffee again, he now realizes it’s hazelnut. He recognizes the smell of the parchment in an old book. The third scent is something warm and earthy and incredibly comforting, but he can’t place it, though he knows he’s smelled it before.
He’s never smelled anything so awesome, but he calls Scott over to make sure it worked.
“Whatcha got?” he asks as Scott leans over the cauldron.
“Uh, the quidditch pitch… butterbeer,” He gets a dopey smile, “the hair potion Allison uses.”
“Well, I can’t think of anything you like more, so I must have gotten it right,”
“Why don’t you test it on someone?”
Stiles smacks him upside the head, “Because dumbass, I don’t have an antidote not to mention love potions are like magical roofies.”
“What’s a roofie?”
He shakes his head, ever thankful for a muggle dad “Don’t worry about it.” He shrugs, “I just wanted to see if I could do it.”
“Why?” Scott looks confused, “If you’re not gonna use it, why bother?”
“For the pursuit of knowledge.” Stiles deadpans, Derek may be rubbing off on him.
“Okay,” Scott says, grabbing his broom, “Well, I gotta go meet Allison, we’re gonna spend New Year’s together.” The dopey grin makes a comeback.
“It’s new Year’s Eve? Wow, I’ve been out here a while.” He rubs a hand across his face, realizing he’s actually pretty tired.
“Did you forget to eat again?”
Stiles scratches his head, “Maybe,” he can’t really remember. “Whatever, go make eyes at your girlfriend, and try not to get spotted by anyone, I think you’re pushing the limit on underage magic, dude.” He slaps Scott on the back and ushers him out of the shed.
After he’s bottled his amortentia and cleaned up, he heads back into the house where his dad is pulling lasagna out of the oven. His stomach growls for proper dramatic effect.
“Have I told you I love you?” Stiles asks, inhaling all the cheesy goodness.
“You have in fact, usually right after I cook, but I’ll take it.” He ruffles Stiles’ short hair.
Stiles fills up on lasagna and apple pie that his dad definitely did not bake himself, they watch TV on the couch and Stiles falls asleep just as it hits midnight.
The next morning Stiles wakes up and yawns into the couch cushion.
He had been dreaming. He was talking to Derek, but he can’t remember what they’d been saying. They were in front of Derek’s fireplace, like that night they found the unicorn. Stiles was laying on that weird furry rug Derek had and rubbing his face against it.
Stiles jumps off the couch and runs out to the shed. He grabs the bottle of amortentia from the table yanks the cork out, holding it under his nose.
Hazelnut coffee, old books and— the worn wood floor of Derek’s shack.
“This is cool. This is totally fine.” Stiles says to no one in particular, “the most powerful love potion in the world is telling me I’m attracted to Derek. Great.”
He re-corks the bottle and rests his head against the wall before sliding to the shed’s cold floor.
He chews his lip and considers it. Derek is kind of awesome in a too-grumpy-for-his-own-good sort of way and Stiles isn’t about to pretend the guy isn’t totally hot. Plus, he seems to more than tolerate Stiles, which is actually a rare quality. He can handle finding out his mancrush on Derek is less than platonic, the amortentia just makes it seem a lot more epic than it feels (which isn’t exactly a small feat, because it feels pretty damn epic right now).
He nods and takes a deep breath. So, he’s attracted to Derek? So, what? Everything will be fine as long as he never ever talks about it. Ever.
When he goes back in the house, his dad is setting breakfast out on the kitchen table. “Little early for potions isn’t it?”
“Uh, yeah, I was just checking on something.” He takes his seat across from his dad. “So, you love me right?”
“What did you break?” His dad asks, not looking up from his eggs.
“Nothing!” Stiles assures him, “Just, hypothetically speaking—”
“Hypothetically,” he repeats, “If there was a sheriff who had a son, who might be like halfway gay, how would the sheriff react?”
His father considers him for a moment, “I imagine that sheriff wouldn’t mind either way, and punch in the teeth of anyone who did.”
Stiles grins, “Thanks.”
“It’s not Scott is it?”
Stiles shudders, “Oh my— no. God no.”
His dad looks relieved, “Good, I know he’s your friend but that boy is dumber than a bag of hammers.”
Stiles chuckles, “No, it’s just, uh, some guy from school.” He decides not to mention the whole staff member thing, His dad’s blood pressure is high enough.
“Well, you got nothing to worry about,” his dad points at him with his fork, “Stilinski men are major catches.”
Stiles scoffs and gestures to himself, “Obviously.”
He stuffs more bacon in his mouth and tries not to think too much about gorgeous, broody werewolves.
Laura Hale doesn’t love Christmas too much anymore, but she does enjoy seeing her brother. She’s especially glad he stopped working in that dragon sanctuary, Romania is seriously not her ideal holiday local. Plus, it’s been a while since she’s been able to see the castle in winter.
She doesn’t bother knocking, it’s been years since she’s been able to surprise Derek. She heads in and hangs up her jacket. He’s sitting on the couch reading. He shows the cover to her before she can ask.
She leans over the back of the couch and gives him a small hug. “What’s Hellboy?”
He flips through pages of reds, blacks and greys before closing it. “A muggle comic book. Someone suggested it.”
Laura tosses her hair from her shoulder, “You take suggestions now? Because I’ve been meaning to do something about those eyebrows.” She pokes affectionately at the offending features on her brother’s face.
Derek just rolls his eyes and gets up to put the kettle on. Laura blinks, normally he’d have at least given her a halfhearted growl for her teasing. Come to think of it, his usual thunder storm of grumpiness seems to have dissipated to just overcast.
She follows him to the stove, “How have you been?”
He turns and leans on the counter, “You know how I’ve been.”
Laura crosses her arms, “Please, all your owls ever say is how the full moon went or that you’re worrying about me.” She rubs his shoulder, “You have to have made some sort of friends.”
“The Care of Magical Creatures professor and I talk sometimes.”
“Is he the one who recommended that book?” she pries, she wouldn’t be a good big sister if she didn’t.
“No that was,” he rolls his eyes almost fondly, “This seventh year, he brews my wolfsbane.”
“They have a student making your potions?”
“He’s good at it.” Derek runs a hand through his hair, “He’s very… odd.”
Laura raises an eyebrow, “Define odd.”
“He made cupcakes on my birthday.” Derek’s brow furrows, “and he caught a unicorn I’d been tracking.”
Laura clears her throat to cover her urge to laugh. Derek has never been a fan of being laughed at, but imagining some hapless 17 year old bringing unicorns and birthday cake into her brother’s life is too much. A smile spreads across her face.
“Shut up,” Derek says crossly.
Laura holds up her hands, “I didn’t say anything.” She smirks, “I just think it’s great you’ve found someone who shares your interests.” She says, a laugh sneaking into her voice.
Derek clenches his jaw right as the kettle starts whistling.
“You gonna get that?”
Their holiday passes quietly, Laura gets Derek three new novels and he gives her a soft emerald green scarf and a box of chocolate cauldrons. They drink coffee and walk through the castle grounds. They stay up late and on New Year’s Eve and Derek kisses her hair at midnight.
That whole ‘not thinking about hot werewolves’ thing? Yeah, not really working out. Scott and Allison have been spending even more time together lately, giving Stiles a lot of extra free time to contemplate his growing hots for Derek.
Stiles hasn’t seen him since before Christmas, which is a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand it keeps him from making a fool of himself; on the other, Derek is really cool and Stiles is fairly sure they’re friends.
A week from the next full moon, Stiles is having even more trouble focusing in class than usual, knowing he’ll be meeting up with Derek to brew his potion that evening. By lunch he’s jittery enough to chew on everything in sight.
“What’s eating you?” Allison asks as she takes a seat across from him and Scott, “Uh, pun not intended.”
“Huh?” He mumbles around a mouthful of apple.
“You’re doing that vibrate-y thing again.”
Stiles licks his lips, he can tell Allison, Allison’s nice, Hufflepuffs have to be nice. Plus, he’s never been all that good at keeping things to himself.
“Remember that thing we were talking about when we made cupcakes?”
Scott looks between them, pouting, “You guys made cupcakes?”
Stiles holds up a hand to silence him, “Eat your sandwich Scott. Remember how you thought something was happening and I said it totally wasn’t?”
“Well, it’s still not you know,” Stiles has no idea how she got him to start calling it that, “But I think I kinda want it to be?” He rubs at the back of his neck.
“Oh! Okay,” She’s grinning at him and Stiles can see why Scott’s so crazy about her, “Have you said anything?”
“I haven’t had a chance, but I don’t really plan on it.”
Scott huffs, “What are you guys talking about?”
Stiles lowers his voice, “I’m sort of… attracted to someone.”
“Is this about Lydia?”
“Lydia Martin, goddess that she is, is not who I am talking about, though my life would be infinitely easier if she was.”
“So who is it?”
Stiles points his fork at Scott, “That is so not necessary information for this conversation.” He sighs, “But it, uh, may be a guy.”
Scott chokes on his pumpkin juice.
Stiles pats him on the back because friends don’t let friends choke to death while that first friend is trying to discuss his sexual crisis.
“You’re gay?” Scott says far, far too loudly for Stiles’ liking.
Stiles, master of improvisation that he is, shouts back “Leave Danny alone!” because hey, the guy already hates him and he’d rather not have lunch turning into a coming out party.
He smacks Scott upside his head, “You’re at ten and this is seriously a conversation to be had a two.”
“Sorry,” Scott mumbles.
“And the word is bisexual. I think.”
“You think the word is bisexual?”
“No, dumbass I think I am bisexual.” Stiles leans his head in his hand.
“Why don’t you just ask him out?” Scott asks.
“Because I don’t want to.”
Allison tilts her head, ”Why not?”
“Well I don’t know if he wants to you know,” and seriously, can they please come up with a better term for gay dating? “and he’s kinda older than me.”
“He can’t be too much older, I mean he’s a seventh year.” Scott says.
“Sure he is.”
Allison raises her eyebrows, “What?”
He jerks his head toward the teachers table.
Allison’s jaw drops, “Stiles!”
“No, no, no!” Stiles mouths ‘second from the left’ while Scott is occupied by his sandwich.
Her eyes go to where Derek is suffering through one of Finstock’s tirades, “The gro— ” Stiles jumps and shoves a hand over her mouth.
“Yes.” He eases back into his seat.
She gives Derek a once over, “Not bad.”
“Huh?” Scott asks.
“Don’t worry about it.” Stiles and Allison say in unison before snickering.
“You guys are weird,” Scott says going back to his meal.
“How exactly did that happen?” Allison leans closer across the table.
“I have to serve detention with him, but we kinda hang out now?”
“How old is he?” she whispers.
Stiles shrugs, “I dunno, like 30?”
“He is not,” Allison scoffs, “You could maybe ask him?”
Stiles hadn’t actually thought of that, “You’re right, at least I’ll know how hard Chris Hansen’s gonna come down on him in the unlikely event anything does happen.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, purebloods man.
Lydia Martin is going to murder Stiles. Normally she doesn’t mind partnering with him for divination. He's smarter than the rest of their house (excluding her) and he usually falls all over himself trying to impress her, but ever since they got back from break, he seems to be mooning over someone else.
“Well?” She asks.
Stiles looks up from the teacup he’d been gazing into dreamily. “Huh?”
Lydia has to remind herself she’s far too pretty for Azkaban, “My tea leaves. What do you see?” She demands, her voice going up an octave.
“Oh. Right. My bad, uh, I dunno, a tree?” Any other time he’d have said roses or butterflies or some other stupid romantic cliché. Today, he gives Lydia a tree.
Stiles shrugs, “You wanna look?”
“Whoever she is Stilinski, she is not worth my grade.”
“Who isn’t?” He actually has the nerve to look confused.
“Whatever girl you’ve been day dreaming about all period.”
“I— I wasn’t day dreaming about a girl.”
Lydia rolls her eyes, “Whatever boy then, I don’t care, just pay attention.”
Stiles is blushing. Stiles is blushing and looking at Lydia like he’s just been petrified.
Well, isn’t that interesting?
Normally she wouldn’t take an interest in Stiles’ love life, but Hogwarts has been low on gossip lately and this is just what she needs. “I’m just kidding Stiles,” she puts on her sweetest voice, “unless it is a boy? Is it Scott?”
Stiles looks rightfully horrified, “God, no. Why does everyone think that? Am I giving off some Scott-sexual vibe?”
“So who is he?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Stiles tries to feign interest in Lydia’s tea leaves, “It’s not anyone, okay?” Stiles chews on his lip.
Lydia lets him slide, for now, she always gets to the bottom of things sooner or later.
The day has been much longer than Stiles anticipated. If he knew he’d be coming out Scott, Allison and possibly Lydia, he wouldn’t have gotten out of bed. He grabs a banana from the great hall before heading to the potions room.
“Good luck.” Allison says, winking at him.
“Like I need it?” Stiles jokes, because he totally does.
He tries to figure out the antidote to amortentia while he waits for Derek, both because it’s a good idea to have on hand and potions always eased him out of his natural (attention deficit) hyperactive state.
He has half a banana in his mouth and is trying to get the concoction to stop its aggressive hissing when Derek arrives.
“Do I want to know?” Derek asks, taking a seat on the opposite side of the work bench.
“Amortentia antidote.” Stiles sighs, dumping the cauldron in the sink.
“You actually got it right?”
“Don’t look so surprised, I actually have talent.” It’s a lot easier to get back into the groove of things with Derek than he had expected.
“He says during his potions detention.”
“Bite me.” He grabs the vial of amortentia off the shelf and hands it to Derek, “What do you smell? Little pigs?” Ulterior motive of finding out what he's attracted to aside, no one insults Stiles’ potion skills.
“That’s good, you’ve at least got the right animal this time.” Derek uncorks the bottle and holds it under his nose, “Leather,” he blinks, as close to surprised as he ever gets, “the forest in Romania.” His nose wrinkles, “Smoke?”
Stiles raises an eyebrow, “So, what, you’re into outdoorsy, Romanian bikers with a nicotine habit?”
Derek hands the bottle back, “Or you got it wrong.”
“Hater.” Stiles mutters as he goes to the cabinet to get the aconite petals. He doesn’t say anything while brewing the wolfsbane, but once it’s steeping he looks up to see Derek staring at him, “So, how was your Christmas? Get a new flea collar? A nice big tub of hair gel? Another vest?” Stiles nods toward the deep purple one Derek’s wearing now under a lavender shirt. The guy has like, an infinite number of chromatically matching outfits, all of them involving a vest.
Stiles wonders if he has OCD, they could be acronyms together.
“My sister visited.”
“Awesome. How is our Werewolf Wonder Witch?”
Derek rolls his eyes, “Fine, still needs to remind me who’s the little brother.”
Stiles laughs, “Sorry, I can’t imagine you being a ‘little’ anything.”
“She’s only two years older,” He crosses his arms, “You’d think it was ten, the way she acts.”
Stiles remembers Allison’s earlier suggestion, “Making her…?”
“Twenty-four.” Derek supplies.
“You’re only twenty-two?” Stiles gapes.
“You’re the one who tried to throw me a birthday party.” Derek leans his arms on the bench.
“Yeah, but I thought you were like, 30 or something.”
“What?” Derek actually looks offended.
“Anyway,” Stiles says, trying desperately to compartmentalize the fact that Derek is only like five years older than him and that that’s fairly in the realm of doable, especially considering his approaching eighteenth birthday.
“How was yours?” Derek asks awkwardly, clearly not used to ‘catching up’ with people.
“Good, it’s always cool to see my dad.” Stiles crosses his arms on the table and rest his head on them. “He’s all by himself, I kinda worry about him you know?”
Derek nods, “Laura and I make a habit of worrying each other.”
Stiles, for once, doesn’t say anything. He just considers Derek, soft green eyes and stubble, secretly hilarious, brave enough to face down dragons. He could definitely do worse.
Derek’s brow furrows, “What?”
Stiles smiles, “Don’t worry about it.”
“What do I do?” Stiles moans into his charms textbook.
“Just point and say aguamenti, dude.” Scotts says.
Stiles thumps his head against the book, “Not that dumbass. What do I do about— erek-day?”
“Who’s Eric Day?” Scott asks, making Allison hide a laugh behind her hand.
“How have you not accidentally killed yourself yet?” Stiles rolls his eyes.
Allison whispers something in Scott’s ear, causing him to give and understanding ‘oh’.
“Yeah. So what’s our plan of attack?” Stiles asks, chewing on his nails
“Just tell him how you feel.” Scott says, because Scott lives in a fantasy world where telling a beautiful girl that the reason you act like a complete dumbass is because you love her actually gets the beautiful girl to love you back.
“Any other not insane ideas?” Stiles asks.
Allison frowns, at a loss because she has the misfortune of being the previously mentioned beautiful girl.
“Oh for the love of—” Lydia huffs and sits down at their table next to Stiles.
“Oh, Lydia’s here. Hi Lydia, welcome to my romantic crisis, which doesn’t actually involve you for once.” Stiles says, resting his chin in his hand.
“Relax Stiles, I’m here to help you get your hands on that gorgeous groundskeeper. Nicely done by the way, way to aim high.”
“You are? Here to help, I mean.” Stiles says, skeptical.
She shrugs, “It’s not like I have anything else to do.”
“Okay, whatcha got?”
“You’re going to take him on a date.” She says breezily as if that weren’t equal parts ridiculous and terrifying.
“I can’t just ask him out.”
Lydia raises an eyebrow, “Did I say anything about asking? Asking for things just gives people a chance to say no. You’re going to take him on a date. Provided he’s not a complete idiot he’ll figure out what’s going on and then the ball’s in his court.” She gives him a considering look, “You seem like the type to want other people to take control.”
Stiles looks to Allison, “Was that an insult?”
“He already likes you enough to hang around all the time,” Lydia continues, “So your chances are already good. With my help, it’ll be a sure thing.”
“If it were anyone else, I’d be sure they were bullshitting me, but I’ve yet to see you fail at anything so I think I believe you.”
Lydia preens, “you’re going to use your weird charm to get him to go to Hogsmeade with you this weekend. I happen to know Jackson’s throwing a party in the dungeons so practically no one will be there to question why you’re getting so friendly with the staff.”
“And we can make sure you dress…” Allison cut herself off, looking embarrassed.
“Better than what you usually throw on.” Lydia finishes for her.
“What’s wrong with what I usually wear?” Stiles asks, tugging on the hem of his t-shirt protectively.
“I have so much work to do.” Lydia sighs.
Stiles catches Derek outside the great hall after dinner one night. Catches him after small deal of running after him down a corridor like a lunatic. It’d probably phase him if he had a decent reputation to uphold.
“Yes?” Derek asks, looking amused at Stiles’ attempts to play off being terribly out of breath.
“We’re going to Hogsmeade this weekend.” Stiles blurts out.
“Good for you.” Derek says and resumes his long strides.
Stiles jogs up next to him and falls into step, “See that’s the funny thing about ‘we’, it’s kind of a first person plural. I’m the first person, you’re my plural.”
Derek frowns and opens his mouth, ready to argue but Stiles holds up a hand to silence him, “Before you say anything, remember who you’re talking to and how unlikely it is that you’ll be able to stop me from doing something once I’ve set my mind to it.”
Derek’s jaw snaps shut and he gives a resigned sigh, “See you Saturday,” he mutters and stalks off.
Saturday decides to both take forever and come far too soon at the same time. Stiles is kind of freaking out about it as Lydia rifles through his trunk to look for something suitable to put on him.
“Merlin, is everything you own plaid?” Lydia asks grimacing at the purple and yellow number in her hand.
“I think there’s some stripes in there somewhere.” Stiles offers lamely.
“Here.” Lydia shoves a black button-up shirt into his hands along with his Spider-man t-shirt, “Red is definitely your color and the black makes you look more mature.”
“Mature? Mature is good, attractive would be preferable but I can work with mature.”
Lydia slaps his cheek just shy of painfully hard, “Confidence, Stiles. If you don’t think you’re hot, no one else will either.”
“Plus, you are hot.” Allison says nudging him.
“Yeah? Then why have I been reduced to dating outside of the student body?” Stiles asks, his nerves starting to get the better of him.
“Because you’re a spaz and people tend to find you off-putting. “ Lydia says, looking at her own reflection in the mirror, “But Derek’s pretty weird too, so I guess it has the opposite effect on him, since he hasn’t turned tail and run yet.”
Allison shrugs, “And if he doesn’t think you’re awesome, then he can go to hell.”
Lydia fluffs her hair, “Or you hex him until he wishes he had.” She says, because she’s both terrifying and kind of good a friend. Which, yeah, not exactly the relationship he’d originally hoped for with her, but probably way better.
Lydia puts her hands on his shoulders, “Now, remember what I’ve taught you and be your obnoxious, charming self and you should have him wrapped around your twitchy little finger in no time.”
Stiles is repeating ‘confidence’ to himself as he shivers from a mixture of nerves and cold outside the castle, it has the side benefit of making him look like enough of a nutcase that all the other students give him a wide berth as he waits for Derek.
“Has all that potion smoke finally gone to your head and destroyed the little remaining sanity you had left or did you just forget to wear a proper cloak again?”
Stiles whips around and grins at Derek, “Hey.”
Derek looks him over, and Stiles realizes he’s still shivering and forces himself to stop. Derek rolls his eyes and yanks his cloak from his shoulders, draping it over Stiles.
“Aren’t you gonna be cold?”
Derek raises an eyebrow and tugs gently at the collar of the long, deep emerald overcoat he’s wearing.
“How are you a smartass without even talking?” Stiles asks as they set off on foot towards the village.
“You’re doing that on purpose aren’t you?”
“That’s cute, that’s very funny, you’re a regular laugh riot, Hale.” Stiles resists the urge to stick his tongue out.
“You’re the one who wanted me here.”
“That’s because I’m secretly a masochist and you’re the only one terrible enough to satisfy my needs.” Stiles bumps his shoulder into Derek’s, “And don’t act like you weren’t happy to get out of your little hut. You must be bored off your ass, seeing as how all those grounds you keep are buried under snow.”
“Well I’m clearly desperate for company.”
“I can leave you to those third years over there, the blonde’s been giving you the eye ever since we left, well, giving your ass the eye.” Stiles nods behind them toward a group of whispering girls.
Derek quickens his pace, tugging Stiles along with him.
“Hey, that reminds me,” Stiles says once they’re out of sight of the girls, “Why don’t I remember you?”
“We should’ve been in school together.” Stiles says.
Derek frowns, “I left school when the fire happened, it was in the middle of your first year. You didn’t hear about it?”
“I was eleven, I was too busy trying not to get lost on the staircases to worry about gossip.”
The corner of Derek’s mouth twitches like he’s considering smiling.
“Those were dark years,” Stiles says, steering the conversation away from horrific familial tragedies. “I had this weird… bowl-cut thing happening and I wasn’t on Adderall yet so I was even more of a spaz.”
“Adderall?” Derek asks.
“It’s uh, muggle medication. Helps me focus.”
Derek gives a considering nod, “Do you like muggle things better?”
“Well, electricity’s awesome, but it doesn’t beat riding a broom, and I’m going to ask that you ignore the possibility for double entendre.”
“I’ll try to restrain myself.” Derek deadpans.
When they get to Hogsmeade, Stiles can’t help but grin, the village always looks best in winter in his opinion. It’s like walking into one of his mom’s snow globes they still have decorating the mantelpiece at home.
He takes Derek by the wrist and drags him toward Madam Puddifoot’s. When they get to the door, Derek looks at him like he’s lost his mind (he should know by now that that no longer has any effect on Stiles).
“Hot chocolate,” Stiles says emphatically and leads Derek inside.
Lydia was right, the small tea shop is practically deserted as they take a doily covered table in the corner.
“There’s a party.” Stiles explains once he’s settled in with hot chocolate.
Derek looks up from his tea and glances around the empty shop. “Is anyone else invited?”
Stiles rolls his eyes, “Back at school. Jackson, this Slytherin in my year, is throwing a party down in the dungeons, everyone always goes.”
Derek tilts his head, “Why didn’t you?”
“This may shock you but, I’m not exactly popular.” Stiles says sarcastically.
Derek’s brow furrows, “you’re not?”
“Have you met me?”
“It’s just,” Derek shrugs, “I always figured the reason I didn’t have friends in school was because I wasn’t more like you.”
“Outgoing.” Derek says, “Funny, nice, not scary looking.”
“Sorry to disappoint you grumpy, I’m just as much of a loser as you. Though I am much more entertaining.”
“Of course,” Derek says.
Once they finish their drinks, Stiles drags Derek into Honeydukes and most certainly doesn’t freak out when Derek bats Stiles’ hand away and pays for his sugar quills. They spend entirely too much time in Tomes and Scrolls, but they’re both equally engrossed in the books so Stiles figures it’s okay.
On the walk back to the castle Stiles tells Derek about the time Scott got stuck under the whomping willow for six hours (Professor Deaton got him out with only a sprained wrist) and Derek gives Stiles his opinions on Hellboy (Liz is his favorite character, even though Abe is clearly the coolest) and they argue about what magical creature would in in a fight (manticore beats acromantula, hands down).
“See? That wasn’t so bad.” Stiles says once they get back to Derek’s cottage.
“I guess.” Derek says, leaning against his doorframe.
“When I asked you to come you looked like I said I wanted to saw your arm off.” Stiles put his hands on his hips, “Admit it, you had fun.”
“I suppose it wasn’t miserable.”
“I’ll take it.” Stiles grins.
Derek pushes himself off the doorframe and leans toward him, “Stiles?”
“Huh?” Stiles responds because wow, Derek’s eyelashes are pretty up close. Have they always been that long?
Derek rests a hand on Stiles’ shoulder and Stiles’ brain proceeds to short circuit and his heart might be exploding inside his chest.
“Can I have my cloak back?”
Stiles feels himself blush all the way to the tips of his ears, “Sure.” His fingers fumble to unfasten it and he hands it over.
“Stiles?” Derek says again.
“Yeah?” Stiles says, desperate to get back to his dorm where he can die of embarrassment with some dignity.
Derek smiles, “It was better than getting my sawn off.”
Stiles isn’t sure if it’s good luck or bad luck that Valentine’s Day falls a week before the full moon, but it’s definitely luck of some sort that has him and Derek in the potions room that evening while literally everyone else Stiles knows is off doing things he doesn’t have to worry about because he’s too busy aggressively pining.
“So are you going to bring it up or should I?” Stiles asks, nodding toward the ridiculous amount of candy spilling out of Derek’s bag.
Derek scoffs, “These are just the ones that weren’t spiked with love potion.”
“Someone’s popular.” Stiles pulls a box from the bag and looks at the tag, “Wow, way to be forward, Danny.”
“Go ahead and eat them, I brought them for you, I’d just throw them out.”
“Are you regifting me several pounds of stalker chocolate?” Stiles clutches his heart, “That is unfortunately the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me—well aside from the time Scott got me out of that well.” Stiles holds up a hand to stop Derek’s oncoming questions, “It’s a long traumatic story involving a goblin and a leg-lock curse and I’d really rather not think about it.”
Derek gets a look that’s eerily similar to the one his father wore the time Stiles told him he’d accidentally turned the neighbor’s cat into a Victrola.
“Do you play chess?” Stiles asks.
Derek blinks at the sudden segue, “yes?”
“Sweet.” Stiles pulls a board out of his bag, thankful Allison had given him one of those enchanted bottomless ones in their fifth year.
Twenty minutes later Stiles is grinning as his knight smashes Derek’s king to pieces.
“I took your queen. I took most of your pieces, how did you win?” Derek’s frowning down at the board like it holds the secrets if the universe.
"Don't sweat it," Stiles reaches across the table to pat Derek's shoulder, "Not even Lydia can beat me, and she's got the highest grades of any student in like, 14 years."
Derek just shakes his head, "Explain to me how you can brew advanced level potions and detail the entire history of centaur mating rituals, but you’re not the top of your class?”
Stiles shrugs, "I don't like boring classes, It's magic, I want to see things happen."
Derek considers him for a moment before standing, "Okay." He pulls his wand from his sleeve, pointing it away from Stiles and squaring his stance. Derek takes a deep breath and Stiles notices he's smiling, "Expecto Patronum."
A bright light shoots out the tip of Derek's wand, wisps of white vapor contorting until they take the shape of a large cat, four powerful legs bounding through the air in the potions room.
"Whoa," Stiles says.
Derek turns back toward him and the cat disperses into the air, "That's a patronus charm."
"That was awesome. I don't even know what it does, but it was awesome."
"It's mostly used against dementors or lethifolds, but Laura's been showing me how to use one to carry messages."
“Dementors? You mean the ring wraith dudes that guard Azkaban?”
Derek doesn’t even stop to question the reference, apparently used to Stiles not making any sense, “Yes. Do you want to learn how to cast it?”
“No, I wanna leave all the ethereal jungle cat conjuring to you.” Stiles turns off the flame under the cauldron of wolfsbane and meets Derek on the other side of the table.
“It’s a cougar.” Derek says, “Everyone’s patronus takes a different form based on their personality.”
“I get a spirit animal?” Stiles pumps a fist in the air, “Yeah, come on, teach me.”
Derek crosses his arms, “It’s not easy. You need to find a happy memory and focus on it.”
“That sounds pretty easy.”
“Would you shut up?” Derek rolls his eyes, “Not just any happy memory, it has to be the happiest thing you can think of. That’s why it works against dementors, they feed off happiness and leave you with nothing but negative emotions. A full bodied patronus is made up only of positive energy so dementors can’t effect it.”
Stiles licks his lips and nods, “Cool. So just get happy, point, and shoot?”
“More or less.”
Stiles closes his eyes and tries to concentrate. He was four when it happened. His mom had taken him down to the basement, he hadn’t wanted to go because it was so dark but she held his hand and promised it would be all right, so he followed. Once they were at the bottom of the stairs she sat cross legged on the ground and pulled him into her lap.
“Ready, pygmy puff?” She’d asked.
“Ready,” he’d replied. He hadn’t know what he was supposed to be ready for, but he knew he was ready because he had her so close and she would handle anything he couldn’t.
She squeezed his shoulder, “Lumos,” she whispered and suddenly they were engulfed in the bright light emanating from the tip of her wand.
He gasped, “How’d you do that?”
Her laugh echoed around the basement, “Magic.”
Stiles grips his wand tightly, “Expecto patronum.”
The white light that shoots from his wand has a kickback that knocks him off his feet and sends him flying into one of the work tables.
“Holy hell.” Derek says, rushing over and helping Stiles into a sitting position.
Stiles rubs the back of his head where it connected with the corner of the table, “Did I do it?”
“It wasn’t full bodied, but it was a patronus.” Derek says, examining the back of Stiles head, “Are you okay?”
Stiles stands and rolls his shoulders, “I’ve been worse.”
“I think you have a concussion.”
Stiles shakes his head and manages not to wince, “I’ve been concussed plenty of times, this isn’t one of them.” He picks up his wand, “Okay, second time’s the charm.”
“Stiles, this is advanced magic, it’s going to take practice.”
Stiles scoffs, “I’m a prodigy, I don’t need practice.”
“You’re a moron and I’m not carrying you to the infirmary when you bust your head open.”
“Then, you should probably teach me better so I don’t bleed out on Harris’ floor.”
Derek sighs, “Well, your form is terrible.”
Stiles smirks, “I dunno, I think I’m in pretty good shape.”
“Seriously. Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to duel?” he steps closer to Stiles and grabs his elbow, maneuvering his arm into a more satisfactory position. “If you’re steady on your feet you’ll get knocked on your ass a lot less.”
“Ahuh,” Stiles says desperate to focus on anything other than the foot and half of air separating him from Derek.
“Try again.” Derek says and when Stiles looks at him he’s smiling.
“Right.” Stiles says, focusing on the memory instead of Derek. The charm still isn’t corporeal but at least Stiles doesn’t get acquainted with the furniture again.
He tries a few more times before Derek covers the hand his wand is in with his own, “I was serious about this being advanced. You aren’t going to get it in one night.”
Stiles smiles, “Can’t blame a guy for trying.”
“You just want another spell to be able to wreak havoc with.” Derek says and Stiles can’t help but notice he hasn’t moved his hand away.
“Are you implying my intentions are less than pure?”
Derek raises an eyebrow, “Oh, I wasn’t implying, I was stating outright. You wreak havoc.”
Stiles licks his lips and watches Derek’s eyes track the movement, “I am a fan of mischief.”
“Clearly,” Derek almost whispers and Stiles decides to hell with it and takes a step forward and kisses him. Derek’s hands come up to cradle either side of Stiles’ head as he leans into the kiss. Stiles drops his wand and pulls Derek closer by the waist. He lets Derek press and lick his way into his mouth as Stiles digs his fingers into his hips.
“Oh my God,” Stiles when they separate.
Derek takes an additional step away, “I shouldn’t have done that.”
“No, you really should. I’m a big fan of that, I’d buy tickets to that.”
“I didn’t mean to do that.” Derek says, looking more unsure than Stiles has ever seen him.
“You didn’t mean to kiss the hell out me just now?” Stiles crosses his arms, “Did you trip and fall on my mouth? Does your tongue just come out on reflex when you’re startled?”
“You’re a student.”
“So what?” Stiles says, “That means you don’t like me?”
“That means I can’t like you, Stiles.” Derek steps closer, “I’m staff, as in I work here. I could get fired and there aren’t that many places willing to hire someone like me.”
Stiles throws his head back and groans, “figures.”
Derek squeezes Stiles’ arm, “Sorry.”
“I know you can’t or whatever,” Stiles says, “but for my sanity’s sake, you do like me right?”
“Stiles, the only reason I stopped kissing you is because I really need this job..”
“Well I like you too,” Stiles says, “And I really don’t want you to be a sad homeless werewolf turning tricks for kibble on Knockturn Alley. So I’m gonna agree that your job is more important than whatever I’m feeling.” He holds out a hand, “Friends?”
Derek takes it and shakes, “Sure.”
“So I’m just gonna go over here,” Stiles walks back over to his cauldron, “and bottle up your wolfsbane and pretend this isn’t severely awkward.” He prepares the potion in silence and hands it to Derek before heading for the door.
Stiles turns, his hand on the knob, “Yeah?”
“I really am sorry.”
Stiles nods and leaves for his dorm.
It’s all right.
More or less, Stiles keeps making potions, Derek keeps being wonderful and unattainable. It’s fine though, it’s not like Stiles doesn’t have tons of practice pining agonizingly over perfect people he can’t have.
“Will you cut it out already?” See? Here’s one now. “You’re upsetting to look at.” Lydia kicks him lightly in the shin.
Stiles buries his face deeper in the grass, “Let me mope in peace.”
“It’s the first nice day we’ve had all year,” She pokes him in the shoulder, “You’re ruining it.”
“I’m not even doing anything,” Stiles says into the grass, the grass gets him.
“Exactly,” Lydia says, “You sitting still is completely unnatural.”
“We’re magic, unnatural is kind of our thing.”
“Don’t get smart with me, I’m better at it.”
She leaves him alone after that, unfortunately, Scott doesn’t get the same memo because he plops down next to Stiles a while later and shakes his shoulder, “Are you asleep?”
“No, I’m moping.”
“Oh.” Scott says, the guy knows a thing or two about moping, Allison dumped him in sixth year and Stiles swears the shoulder of his robes were constantly damp with the products of Scott’s blubbering for at least a month.
Stiles rolls over onto his back, “I think I’m cursed.”
“Really?” Scott says, sounding far too excited about it.
“Oh, you are not.” Lydia huffs.
“How else can you explain my chronic attraction to perfect people I can never date?”
Lydia tosses her hair, “Good taste and poor timing.”
“Time sucks. Rules suck. Dangerous magical creatures suck.”
“Dangerous magical creatures?” Lydia asks.
“You disagree?” Stiles asks, hoping she doesn’t press, he’d like to avoid accidentally outing Derek.
Lydia rolls her eyes, “I’m going to excuse your insanity, considering you’re seeing your not-boyfriend tonight.”
“How kind of you, I’m so overcome with joy I may throw myself at you,” Stiles deadpans.
“Please don’t, you stink.”
Stiles sits up and sniffs under his arm, “No I don’t.”
Scott checks for good measure because best friends stick their noses in each other’s armpits.
“Please, you’ve reeked of potion smoke since third year.” Lydia says scrunching up her tiny perfect nose at them, “You two just don’t notice it anymore.”
Stiles blinks, “Really?”
“You smell like a chain smoker.” Lydia shrugs, “I figured you knew and just didn’t care.”
“Oh my God.” Stiles says, remembering his joke to Derek about Romanian bikers those few months ago.
“Relax,” Lydia says, “I’m sure you can whip up some new potion to get rid of the smell.”
“No,” Stiles says grabbing her arm frantically. She looks between him and his hand scandalized, “I’m taking my hand off,” he says, moving back and taking his hand with him less Lydia hex it off. “What I mean is, remember when I made amortentia?”
Scott nods and Lydia looks mildly impressed.
“I got him to smell it. He said he smelled leather, the forest where he used to work and smoke.”
Lydia’s eyes widen in understanding before she gives him a pitying look.
“Yeah,” Stiles says.
Stiles beats Derek to the potions room. He’s been doing that lately, it’s easier not being around him for so long. He’d feel bad if Derek didn’t always look so grateful when he saw Stiles already had his wolfsbane steeping.
“It’s the flower moon,” Stiles says when Derek enters.
“Native Americans have all these different names for the full moons. May’s the flower moon, or the milk moon. Depends who you ask I guess.” Stiles shrugs. “January’s the wolf moon.”
“You wizards would know this kind of stuff if you had the internet.”
“You’re a wizard too,” Derek points out.
“Half-blood,” Stiles corrects, “I get the best of both worlds, like Hannah Montana whom you’d know about if you had electricity.”
Derek rolls his eyes, “We’ve had this conversation six times, I don’t want a television, Stiles.”
“You’re only saying that because you’ve never seen Firefly.”
Derek’s jaw tightens, “If you start singing the song again, I’m going to beat you.”
“Like you’d risk messing up a face this pretty,” Stiles says, running a hand down his cheek.
“Stiles,” Derek says, a warning tone to his voice.
“What?” Stiles holds his hands up, “I’m just saying you platonically wouldn’t want me to stop being pretty. Super platonic, painfully platonic.”
“Stiles,” Derek says again, only this time it sounds like he’s pleading.
“Sorry,” Stiles says. His eyebrows raise when Derek takes his hand.
“Shut up, I’m platonically holding your hand,” Derek says, sliding his thumb over Stiles’ knuckles.
Stiles smirks, “You wanna platonically make out?”
“Stiles.” Derek says, squeezing his hand.
“Hey, worth a shot.” Stiles squeezes back. “You and I kind of have really horrible luck.”
Derek rolls his eyes, “That’s a bit of an understatement don’t you think?”
Stiles laughs, “You’re telling me? Next year, I have to apprentice under either Harris or some chick in the Philippines if I want to become a potions master.”
Derek gives him a sympathetic frown, “The Philippines are nice.”
“The fact that you are being the optimistic one right now is a sign of how ridiculous my life is.”
“At least you’re not a werewolf.” Derek says.
Stiles looks down at their joined hands, “Makes all the difference.”
Stiles does his best to get through the year without killing anybody or himself and it somehow all works out. The thought crosses his mind that now that he’s graduated he really is done with detention, and spending the night with the same five guys he’s spent almost every night of the last seven years with. He looks down at his black Hogwarts tie, fingers tracing the red, blue, yellow and green stripes streaking across the black silk and he smiles.
He knows it won’t be the last time he sees the castle but there’s a strong air of finality in watching Hogwarts get smaller and smaller as the boats take him back across the lake. It pulls at something in his chest that makes him need to bump a shoulder against Scott’s.
Scott grins an puts an arm around Stiles’ shoulder, “Weird, huh?” Scott’s going pro, Allison too, they’re going to be the most ridiculously talented, ridiculously adorable couple the quidditch world has ever seen.
Stiles is ridiculously proud of them. Lydia too, though that’s no surprise. She’s going on to apprentice under one of the best curse breakers in the world and Stiles knows she won’t be able to do anything but be wonderful at it.
Stiles, well, he has some plans of his own.
They get off the boats and head to Hogsmeade, Madame Rosmerta gives them all a round of butterbeer on the house in celebration. Stiles catches Jackson doling out Firewhiskey from a flask, and thinks a few other people do too, but apparently no one cares now that they’re all upstanding adult members of the wizard community.
It’s a good feeling, if a little bittersweet, Allison and Lydia give him kisses on the cheek and Scott kisses him messily on the mouth because they’re just that close (and Scott may have had more than a few shots of the Firewhiskey). He even gets an awkward hug from Danny, not to mention a few people he didn’t even realize were in his year.
He sneaks away from the party after a couple hours and heads back toward the castle. He cuts across the grounds and goes straight to Derek’s shack. He doesn’t bother knocking and barges right in. He figures if Derek wanted privacy, he’d lock his door.
Derek’s standing over a large pot at his cast iron stove, he doesn’t turn around when Stiles enters, just keeps stirring whatever he’s cooking.
“Congratulations,” he says.
Stiles heads over toward to stove to snoop in Derek’s pot, “Yep, I’m a big grown up wizard now, free to wreak all the havoc I want, aren’t you proud?” He tries to snatch a piece of potato from the stew but Derek whacks his hand with the wooden spoon.
Derek smiles, “I actually am. Now let’s just hope you don’t wind up in Azkaban.”
Stiles leans against the counter, “Nah, I’m saving that for the reunion tour.”
“So,” Derek says, eyes glued to the swirling vegetables in the pot, “Excited about the Philippines?”
Stiles grins, “Didn’t you hear the good news? Professor Harris is a death eater.” Stiles still hasn’t finished counting all the galleons he’s won through bets over this fact.
“How is that good news?”
“Because they’re shipping his crazy ass off to Azkaban for putting poor little half-bloods in detention with big scary werewolves. And you know, he tried to kill a few muggleborn students.”
“You are the only person who would see this as a positive situation.”
“Hey, they’re all alive.” Stiles counters. It’s true, Harris had tried to pick off a quiet Hufflepuff fifth year—something Lahey—and got way more than he bargained for when the kid and his two friends broke out more than a few advanced dueling spells. That’s Hogwarts’ best and brightest for you, ready to kick ass in the name of friendship at the drop of a hat.
“Anyway,” Stiles says, “that means Hogwarts is in need of a new potions master, and that chick from Manila happens to be tight with Professor Deaton and he convinced her to take the position. I’m gonna apprentice under her here.” Stiles beams.
Derek blinks, “So…”
“So, next September I’m going to be here, you’re going to be here, neither of us will be students.” Stiles inches closer along the counter.
Derek nods, “True.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, “Will you just shut up and date me?”
“That can definitely be arranged.” Derek says, turning the stove off.
Stiles tugs at the hem of Derek’s vest, orange today, and pulls him closer. “You’re sure we won’t get in trouble for this?”
“We’ll definitely get some stares,” Derek says wrapping his arms around Stiles and pressing his face into his neck. “Very rude and judgmental stares,” He says against Stiles’ collarbone.
Stiles pulls back so he can smile at Derek, “Dude, I get those already. I’m practically immune at this point.”
“Well, in that case,” Derek slides his fingertips along Stiles’ jaw and presses a kiss to his mouth. Stiles does his best to stop smiling and kiss back, but it’s not a big deal, they’ll have plenty of time for both.
Chapter 9: Epilogue
Stiles is warm.
He is warm and wrapped up in a fluffy cocoon of blankets and situated firmly in that lovely area between sleep and wakefulness where you’re just conscious enough to enjoy how comfortable you are.
Derek is sharing the cocoon of awesomeness and responsible for a great deal of the warmth therein.
“Get up, Laura’s here.”
Stiles is seriously considering evicting him from the cocoon.
“She’s your sister, you get up.”
“I am,” Derek says violating the sanctity of the cocoon and pulling back the blankets.
“Then why do I have to?” Stiles says sliding over to the warm patch of mattress Derek left behind.
Derek rolls his eyes as he grabs his maroon vest and a red shirt, “because you live here too and if you don’t come and greet her, she’ll take back her presents and possibly poison your food.”
Stiles abandons the cocoon.
Laura kicks the snow off her boots and immediately wraps Stiles in a bear hug, “Merlin, you’re even cuter in person.” She gives him a perfect copy of Derek’ sunshine and kittens smile. “What are you doing with this sour wolf?”
Stiles shrugs, “With that kind of raw charisma, how could I resist?”
Derek just looks between them slightly horrified.
“I think we broke him.” Laura stage whispers in his ear.
“If it’s a permanent thing, you think I can keep his broomstick?”
Laura raises an eyebrow, “I’d like to keep my brother in once piece, thank you.”
Stiles grins, “I meant his Nimbus, but that’s not a bad ride either.”
Laura’s eyes widen, “I’m conflicted between cringing at my brother having a personal life and laughing at his expense.”
“I’m a fan of laughing at his expense, personally.”
“How about we talk about something else now?” Derek pleads, putting the kettle on.
Laura grins, “Anything you want DeeDee.”
Derek whirls around, “Laura.”
Laura flops down onto the couch, putting her feet up, “Relax, I’m just teasing you.” She pats the cushion beside her, “Stiles, how have you been?”
Stiles sits beside her, tucking his feet up under him, “Overworked mostly, for someone so small and pretty, Professor Morrell is kind of a ruthless slave driver.”
Laura nods, “I can vouch for the tenacity of tiny, adorable women.” Stiles is more than sure she could do just that.
“But, I’m getting a lot better, fewer accidents,” Stiles says turning over his bandage free hands in front of him, “Derek’s happy about that.”
“I prefer you without third degree burns to your chest, sorry.”
Stiles throws his head back against the couch, “That was one time! And it wasn’t even my fault, if you recall.”
“Right, because the Slytherins were the ones who told you it was a good idea to carry around exploding fluid.” Derek says, bringing three mugs to the coffee table. He situates himself behind Stiles and pulls him to his chest so they’re both facing Laura.
“You’re just mad you weren’t the one who got to carry me to the infirmary.” Stiles says, “Allison took all your knight in shining armor glory.
“I’m sure my chance will come the next time you incapacitate yourself.” Derek says, rubbing a hand across Stiles’ middle.
“Merlin’s beard, I’m gonna gag.” Laura says, but she’s smiling, “Is this all you guys do, sit around being nauseatingly cute all day long?”
Stiles shrugs, “We also knit.”
“Oh, I know, I got the owl with Derek’s pot holder he made me for my birthday.”
“It was a hat.”
Laura nods, “And now it’s a pot holder, be glad I didn’t throw it out.”
“Well, I helped pick out your Christmas present so you don’t have to worry.” Stiles says, reaching behind the couch to hand her a box, “The glitter wrapping paper was my idea.”
Laura rubs her now sparkly finger together, “How thoughtful.” She opens her present and lets out an appreciative gasp, “This is gorgeous, where did you find it?” She asks, running her hands along the soft red leather of the jacket they got her.
Stiles beams, “Internet. I’ve been teaching Derek its wonders.”
They’d had it shipped to his dad’s house and picked it up when they went to visit him for Christmas (Stiles still has hope Derek will one day recover from the violent interrogation his dad had masqueraded as dinner).
Laura gives them their gifts, several silk ties for Derek and a gorgeous set of crystal vials for Stiles. She puts her jacket on and refuses to take it off all night. They sit around joking and telling stories about duels Laura’s had, creatures Derek’s seen and potions Stiles has made.
As the sun rises Stiles is sprawled out on the floor, his legs tangled with Derek’s and Laura dozing on the couch above them. Stiles watches Derek lazily extinguish the fire they had going with his wand and smiles. He nestles his face into the warmth of Derek’s weird furry rug and sleeps.