Derek doesn't like coffee and he doesn't like coffee shops. They are loud and brash and full of people who think too much of themselves. He prefers tea, thank you, and independently owned bookshops, where people sit in companionable silence and read. But here he is, sitting in a loud, obnoxious coffee shop, trying his damnedest to focus while people drone on mindlessly on all sides of him, drinking cup after cup of low quality tea. And why is he doing this again? Oh right. Because of him.
Him has a name, or at least a nickname. Derek's heard it before, though they've never been introduced. Stiles. Stiles is his name. And Stiles seems to fit him better than any other name could.
Stiles is outgoing and talkative, quick with a smile and a laugh, but not fake about it. The guy seems genuinely interested in everyone he sees.
Everyone but Derek, that is.
Derek has been called a creeper before, and he's sure if his sister got wind of why he had changed up his writing routine, he would be called it again. But Derek just can't help it.
It's not like he's doing anything wrong. Hell, he's not even breaking any social rules, let alone laws. There is nothing at all that says that he can't patronize this particular coffee shop. He’s perfectly free to spend his money there just like everyone else. Never mind the fact that he only set foot in the place because Stiles was there.
Derek hadn't even been stalking him, the way some people might claim he had. Derek just happened to be walking past when Stiles just happened to be sitting outside and Derek just happened to make a mental note of it and made a point of walking past at the same time the next day and, sure enough, there Stiles was, though he was at a table inside this time. The next day Derek came back with his laptop and there he was again, laughing at the counter as he placed his order. The sound of it had shot down Derek's back like a caress and that had been that. So, yes, a perfectly normal chain of events with no stalking involved whatsoever. The same sort of thing could have happened to anyone.
And if maybe Derek had made a point of being there every day that Stiles happened to be there, so what? Lots of other people happened to be there too.
The thing is, Derek is slightly socially awkward. Always has been, always will be. He's just... not a people person. He is friends with who he is friends with and has zero desire to befriend anyone else. Derek likes to consider himself a fairly decent guy, just a little standoffish and unavailable. Still, he's nice enough once you get to know him.
And people always want to know him.
It's annoying, sometimes, but then Derek really can't complain. Being good looking has its downfalls, sure, but it also helps to smooth out a lot of the rough edges caused by his less than stellar personality. And it's not really that hard to get rid of the unwanted attention. Just frown a little or shake his head and they are off like a shot. Besides, it’s not a bad thing, getting noticed. It gets his foot in the door, so to speak, which has come in handy many a time in his life.
So he's not being arrogant when he thinks that all he has to do is sit back and wait for Stiles to come to him. Because that's how this thing works. Derek sees someone that interests him, then puts himself in their direct line of vision and sooner or later they come to him.
Unfortunately, that's not what's happening now.
So far he's spent about two months putting himself in Stiles's way and Stiles still hasn't so much as smiled in Derek's direction-- let alone walked over and said "hello"-- and, well, that's more than a little disheartening.
Because Derek is slightly socially awkward and doesn't know how to make anything happen from his end at all.
"So, what's the deal with you?" the barista asks, her hands on her hips and her eyes narrowed.
Derek blinks at her, his brow lowering in confusion. "Excuse me?"
She blows her bangs out of her eyes and gives him a don't-even-try-it-buddy stare. "Look, everyone is entitled to do what they want in life and you aren't actively hurting anyone, but if you think that no one has notice you and your little pattern, you are wrong."
"My little pattern," Derek repeats slowly, then shakes his head. "I just want my tea. Alright?"
"Yeah, tea. Sure. That's what you want. Tea. And not, you know, Stiles Stilinski, which, by the way, is never going to happen. Not without you making the first move."
"Give. Me. My. Tea," Derek grits out through clenched teeth, ignoring the panicked feeling that's rising up in him because fuck. How did she even know? He's been so careful, making a point of never staring, even though he desperately wants to.
The girl rolls her eyes and flips her long red hair over her shoulder. "Sure, whatever. Just take your damn tea, which you don't even like, yeah, I know you don't like it. Just like you don't like our lemon bars or our patrons and you probably don't like our music either. So what is it that brings you here again?" She widens her eyes and glances meaningfully over his shoulder, towards the table that Stiles is enthroned at. "Oh yeah, now I remember. Five foot eleven, buzzed brown hair, warm amber eyes and a mouth that just won't shut. Sound familiar?" She slams the plate with the lemon bar on it onto the counter and then shoves a cup full of steaming tea in his direction. "He's a local, you know. The sheriff's kid, if you can call a twenty-two year old a kid. He likes jangle pop and b-movies and has a job as a video game developer or something. He’s a sweet guy, really genuinely nice, and has just as much interest in you as you do in him."
Derek snorts at that, snatching his tea. "Yeah, right. Sure he does. That's why he's never so much as said 'hi' to me."
"Yeah," she squints at him meaningfully, "exactly."
Derek isn’t exactly sure how to take that, so he just gives her one final, confused look and then makes his way over to his table. He sets down the plate and cup, then settles himself into the chair that gives him the best view of Stiles, ignoring the way he can feel eyes on the back of his neck.
Stiles is smiling off into space, a dreamy look on his face and his chin resting firmly on his hand. Derek doesn't know what he's thinking about, but odds are good that it's probably not him. Not that Derek thinks that Stiles would ever have any reason be thinking about him or anything. Just, well, it would be nice, wouldn't it? To be the reason that Stiles is sporting that blissed out expression.
A faint blush colors Stiles's cheeks and Derek can't help but frown. It's been his experience that only one sort of thought produces besotted looks and rosey blushes. Derek quickly scans the room in hopes of figuring out who his rival might be, but no one instantly stands out. Derek narrows his eyes, trying to deduce where Stiles's seemingly absent gaze is, in fact, resting, then scowls when he realizes the best bet is that cheeky barista. Derek shifts in his seat, thinking about the way Stiles always seems a little flustered when giving his order. His brow furrows and he jerks his attention away from the other man, forcing himself to focus on nothing but finishing his next scene.
When he next looks up, Stiles is no longer in his seat. He is, instead, lounging against the counter, his head tipped back as he laughs at something the girl said. It's a familiar scene, now that Derek thinks about it.
Derek mutters a curse and then slams his laptop shut without saving his work. He shoves it into his bag and then heads out the door, leaving his half finished tea behind him.
"Sulking won't get you what you want," she says, her eyes dancing and her expression sassy.
Derek just hands over his money, not even bothering to respond. The barista lifts an eyebrow at him, and then shakes her head before readying his order.
"He's not going to be single forever," she calls over her shoulder as she fills up a cup with hot water.
Derek growls, barely resisting the urge to tell her what she can do with her observations. It elicits a laugh from the girl, which isn’t the typical response he gets when he growls. But then, she’s not exactly your typical barista either.
“I’m Lydia,” she says as she hands over his tea.
“Derek,” he grunts out, because it’s only polite.
“Derek,” she repeats, holding out the plate with his lemon bar on it. “We are going to be glorious friends, once you get over yourself enough to get your man. I can tell.”
Derek snorts at that, ignoring the gentle mockery in her laughter.
Five whole months, he’s been sitting here, waiting for Stiles to make his move. Five long, pathetic months.
Derek could go on, but he really doesn't want to. Not when it all adds up to a be fat NO in his column.
Derek sighs and forces himself to admit that Lydia is probably right, he's going to have to be the one to make the first move. He's just... not good at doing that. Derek knows he has perpetual bitchface going on and that even his closest friends sometimes have problems telling if he's pissed off or not as a result. But that's just how his face is, damn it, and there's not really anything he can do about it. He knows that he tends to lurk around, or at least be accused of lurking around, and the words most often associated with him are words like "dour" and "surly" and "angry" and "cold." Not exactly the sort of words that inspire people to want to get to know him better. Point of fact, when they aren't physically attracted to him, most people tend to go out of their way to avoid him. Hell, even when they are physically attracted to him, people still tend to do that. Derek doesn't mind that, he's not exactly eager to be a social butterfly. No, he's more of a lone wolf. Except... Except he wants Stiles like he's never wanted anyone before.
Five months of not-stalking well within hearing range has given Derek a fairly good impression of the sort of guy Stiles is: open, honest, loyal to a fault. Sharp as a tack and possessing a wry sense of humor that's had Derek's lips twisting up on more than a few occasions.
Stiles is proudly geeky, babbling about comics and midnight releases and cons with no shame at all, not that he ought to have any in the first place. His only major flaw, as far as Derek can tell, is that he has absolutely abysmal taste in music. But no one is perfect and Derek thinks that they could get past the unfortunate music issue fairly easily. All in all, Derek knows enough about Stiles to say with a great deal of certainty that they would get on rather nicely.
If only Stiles would, you know, notice him.
In the end Derek makes his move on accident.
Really, he does.
Doing things on accident is not Derek's typical style. He's more of a well-planned-out kind of guy, mainly because he's not the best at thinking on his feet, but still. He typically knows what he is going to do well in advance of his actually doing it. Not this time around, though.
Technically, it has nothing to do with Stiles. Not at first. Derek is in the middle of writing his fourth book and has somehow managed to write himself into a corner. The plot twist that he thought was going to work just... isn't. It seems too convoluted to be realistic but also manages to be trite at the same time and how that is possible, Derek has zero idea, but that it is what it is and there's no changing that. So he's sort of just zoning out, staring off into space in hopes that something brilliant will strike him and solve his plot fail.
Nothing strikes him at all.
Nothing, that is, except for the fact that he seems to have been staring off into the space that is currently occupied by Stiles's face. And that Stiles is sort of staring right back at him, with his lower lip caught between his teeth and a hopeful look on his face. Derek swallows, hard, because this is it. There's never going to be a better moment than this. He licks his lips and clears his throat awkwardly, pushing his chair back from the table. Stiles's eyes go impossibly wide and he lets out an eep that shouldn't be adorable, but somehow is. He flails back in his chair, arms pinwheeling, and knocks his cup over, spilling coffee everywhere.
"Shit, shit shit," he says, popping out of his seat and dashing towards the condiment stand. He grabs a handful of napkins and rushes back, a stricken expression on his face. "Oh, baby, no. Don't do this to me," he pleads as he attempts to soak up the mess.
Derek hesitates for a moment, half-way between standing and sitting, then shakes his head and makes his way to Stiles's side, bemused by the frantic, desperate note that has crept into the other man's tone.
He stands there-- feeling completely out of place-- waiting for Stiles to acknowledge him, frowning as the minutes pass without any sign from the other man that he even notices Derek at all. Finally Derek has to resort to clearing his throat again, which causes Stiles to startle again before spinning around to face Derek. He blinks rapidly for a moment, then he glares at Derek as if Derek is the cause of all the world's troubles, his typically carefree expression replaced with a scowl.
"Um, hi,” he snaps, his tone sarcastic, “can you kind of stop doing that? I've already destroyed one majorly important thing today and having you be all darkly handsome and brooding at my shoulder is only going to end in me damaging something else vital to my life. Like my brain or something. God, what are you even doing with your eyebrows right now?"
He leans close to Derek, face screwed up in confusion as he studies Derek’s eyebrows like they hold the answer to the meaning of life. Derek takes a cautious step back, not knowing what to make of that.
Stiles lets out a prolonged sigh and shakes his head. "Yeah, totally going to end in me damaging myself. So, um, could you go be sinfully attractive somewhere else for a bit? At least until I figure out if this situation is salvageable? Because focusing on anything other than you is going to be pretty much impossible if you don't."
Derek’s still not one hundred percent clear on what is going on in Stiles’s head, but he does know that “darkly handsome” and “sinfully attractive” are not bad things to be called. Not bad at all. So he can’t help but smile when he says, "No, I don't think I will."
Stiles snorts, rolling his eyes dramatically before turning back to his clearly hopeless efforts at saving his laptop.
Derek frowns, because no. Stiles is supposed to be paying attention to him right now, thank you very much, not some coffee soaked machine. "Just, stop already and look at me, Stiles."
Stiles doesn’t look up. "Busy right now." He leans closer to his laptop and starts whispering things to it about how good he’ll be to it if it will just please work already in a low, almost sultry voice. And damn if hearing Stiles talk like that isn’t making Derek’s ears burn and his jeans feel too tight.
Derek can’t help but reach out, putting his hand on top of Stiles's, forcing his attention back to Derek. "I'll buy you a new one," he says, because, honestly, he’d buy a whole shop full of computers if it would get Stiles to talk to him like that. "Just, stop already. I've been trying to get you to notice at me for months. There's no way in hell I'm walking away now that you have."
Stiles gives him an are-you-crazy look, his mouth falling open as his head tilts to the side. “Huh?”
Derek rubs his thumb over the back of Stiles’s hand and is pleased to see the other man’s pupils dilate, to hear him suck in a shaky breath. “I’m Derek,” he says, because he feels like now is a great time to introduce himself.
Stiles swallows and then nods. “I know.”
Derek grins wolfishly at that, because that’s proof positive that Stiles had been paying attention to him after all. Derek slowly brings his other hand up to cup Stiles’s face, giving the other man plenty of time to object. When he doesn’t, Derek decides to go for the kill. There’s no point beating around the bush about something, not when Derek is so very certain about what it is he wants.
Stiles’s lips are soft against his, parting easily, letting Derek inside. He tastes like coffee, almonds and whipped cream, with just the barest hint of something else. Something that is pure Stiles. Derek licks at the inside of Stiles's mouth, chasing down that taste. Stiles's hands come up to fist in the fabric of Derek's jacket, pulling him in close, and yes. That is exactly what Derek was hoping would happen. Stiles's lets out a breathy little moan as Derek rocks against him and the sound of it sends shivers down Derek's spine. Derek wraps a hand around Stiles's hip, tugging him nearer still and Stiles gives a sharp gasp in response that has Derek grinning into his mouth.
A wolf-whistle rends the air and Derek jerks back, breaking the kiss. Lydia, he thinks, but he refuses to look away from Stiles long enough to confirm his suspicions. Not when Stiles is staring up at him with a dazed look on his face. His mouth is still hanging open, his eyes are so wide, and Derek can’t help but smirk.
"Tall, Dark, and Brooding isn't the half of it," he says, one hand relinquishing its grip on Derek’s jacket to touch his bottom lip.
Derek swallows hard, hand tightening on Stiles’s hip. “Shut up,” he murmurs, pushing Stiles's hand aside before angling his head to close the scant distance between their lips.