You see, he's shooting in Atlanta when he hears about it. And even then he doesn't hear about it so much as get a couple of really weird messages on his phone. He doesn't check his phone until he's finished shooting for the day - he's a professional, thank you very much (and also caught shit one day for accidentally leaving it on when Posey sent him a picture of a cat that looked like it was riding a bike) - and there are messages waiting from Posey and Colton.
dood! coltons already betting sterek one'll win
Which...makes no sense at all.
So, Sterek is actually happening now? y/y? Has Jeff said anything?
Which still makes no sense at all.
He finds the answer on Twitter - like he usually does - and it makes him grin. He loves how interactive they're getting with the fans. Dylan isn't dumb, he knows it's as much about bringing in new fans, thus new viewers, thus more money as it is about gaining genuine fan feedback and interactions, but it makes the fans happy and if the fans are happy, Dylan's pretty much happy with it, too.
The Sterek fanbase had been surprising but pretty pleasing, at first. They really put their heart into it so Dylan had made some effort himself, purposefully checking out a few videos on YouTube. Even the ones that weren't great had obviously been made with great affection and the ones that were good...were really good.
And Dylan isn't gonna lie - he was pretty damn pleased he was being paired with someone as hot as Tyler Hoechlin.
But that was as far as it went. Some mild interest and knowledge that it existed, but it wasn't a huge part of his life or anything. The most that happened as they filmed season two was that every now and then he'd be filming a scene with Tyler and it'd cross his mind that the Sterek fans would really get a kick out of what they were filming.
And then season two actually aired. And - for whatever reason - Sterek exploded. Not literally, and probably not even in real world terms. But in their own little Teen Wolf universe, it suddenly felt like it was everywhere. Most of the cast still didn't get what 'it' was, what shipping meant - but he and Tyler had to figure it all out, and pretty damn fast.
Hoechlin said it was a perfect storm of events. He didn't really known what all those events were, but obviously something had happened - the timing, the time of year, gay interest on the rise, online interests becoming more and more public - and they kept being asked about it. Even played up to it. Dylan didn't care at all - Posey was his best friend but Tyler came a close second. They were comfortable with each other and, hell, part of him got a buzz out of knowing that they were actually being supported in this, in cuddling each other on a boat as if, for once, there was nothing wrong with it.
Shit, Dylan loves his job.
He hasn't gone as far as actually reading any fanfic, though he knows it exists. Colton has taken to texting him really bad 'excerpts' that Dylan half-believes Colton's making up himself. One day Holland had declared she was going to look into it herself and a few hours later they all received a text that read,
ABORT! ABORT! THERE'S KNOTTING!
Which was how Dylan found out that a lot of Sterek fic actually contained knotting.
But when Dylan sees the tweet about a fanfic writing competition, he's suddenly - for some insane reason - hit with the idea to write something himself.
It's stupid. He knows it's stupid. Not to mention completely unprofessional.
His 21st birthday happens, and most of the gang are able to be there with him, as well as new friends from the movie. It's a fantastic night with all of them up on the dance floor and for the first time in his life, Dylan gets drunk legally. He expounds on this in great detail to Hoechlin, who he knows flew in just for his birthday (best other-than-Posey friend in the wooooorld), and mostly Hoechlin just sits there and laughs at basically every single thing Dylan says. He gets hit on, like, 14 million times but just keeps sitting there laughing at Dylan and Dylan kind of loves it and doesn't even care when his new friends accuse his hangovered ass the next day of being a little bit in love with Hoechlin. Who wouldn't be a little bit in love with him? Have they seen him?
In the days after, Colton keeps sending him excerpts - there's a particularly horrifying one involving a throbbing beast that has nothing to do with werewolves (seriously, Colton is just making this shit up) - and all Dylan can think is, I can do better than that.
He sits on the idea for a while, but really, who knows Stiles better than he does? Who's going to get into the character's psyche better than him?
The day before entries are due to be submitted, he finds himself frantically typing on his iPad.
He makes it about Stiles, of course, but about Stiles actually having a good day (Dylan loves where Jeff has taken his character, he does, but it's exhausting). He throws Derek in for good measure because that guy never catches a break. Dylan doesn't think of it like a Sterek fic because it's really not - they just accidentally end up spending the day together, playfully insulting each other like they do on the show. Honestly, it could be a missing scene if he was anywhere close to being the kind of writer that Jeff is.
The moment it's all sent off with a fake name and unrecognisable e-mail address, he immediately regrets it and panics. When he panics, he always contacts Posey.
Just did something REALLY stupid.
Posey's reply is pretty much what he expects and reminds him that he can never remember why he always contacts Posey when he panics.
what was her name lol
Dylan calls him instead, confesses to everything and Posey just laughs at him the way a best friend does.
"Dude," Tyler laughs down the phone, "you're an idiot."
This is not something that Dylan doesn't already know. "What am I gonna do, man?"
"Well, it's either admit what you've done to Jeff," he's still laughing like this is funny, "or take your chance that it won't get picked. 'Tho I'm sure your writing is awesome, bro."
Right. Right. Hundreds - thousands? - of people were probably going to be entering. There was no way his story was going to be picked.
His story totally gets picked.
The first he knows of it is when Hoechlin calls him and says, "We need to talk."
Hoechlin never sounds serious when they talk. Never. One of the things Dylan loves best about Hoechlin is that he's always so happy. Dylan feels a shiver of icy dread run down his spine. He's mostly managed to convince himself that nothing was going to happen, that he was home-free.
He immediately knows that he's not. "Ah, fuck."
"You probably know why I'm calling, then."
"I have an idea," he mutters, trying to hide under the covers of his bed like the layers of cotton will somehow protect him from his own stupidity.
"I met Jeff for lunch today," Tyler clarifies. "Asked me if I wanted to read a couple of the stories they'd narrowed it down to. Imagine my surprise when I happened to see the contact details and...your mom's cell number, Dylan, seriously?"
Yeah. Not his smartest move. "I wasn't thinking!" Dylan whines.
"Obviously," Tyler retorts, but at least he's sounding kind of amused. "I just wish I could've seen your face when your mom called and told you that people from the show were looking for Ernest Thatcher because he'd won a competition but they'd come through to her number and did you know anything about it?"
Dylan is the worst son in the world.
"I told him he should go with one of the other stories," Tyler continues.
Tyler is the best friend in the world.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you." If Tyler were there right now, he'd totally hug him.
"But if I were you, I'd get your mom to change her number, just in case."
Yes. Yes. This is a good plan. A plan he must follow. Why didn't he think of it himself?
"So..." Tyler drawls, definitely sounding amused again. "You have secret dreams of being a writer?"
"Not so secret," he says, because everyone knows he wants to write an actual episode himself where Stiles gets to be a werewolf - even briefly. He's already quietly started working on it. And...maybe that had been the reason behind all of this stupidity.
"It was good," Tyler tells him, voice honest. "Felt like something I could see on screen, you know? Well, apart from Stiles and Derek having a good day - but I appreciated the thought anyway."
Dylan is totally grinning now. "Yeah, it seems we're doomed to a life of gloominess forever."
Tyler is quiet for a while and it almost feels awkward. It never feels awkward with Tyler.
"That might not be the case," he says eventually.
Dylan frowns. "Why's that?"
"Jeff said at lunch that he was seriously thinking about going the Sterek route."
Oh. Huh. "Pretty cool, if he does." He knows it'll mean a lot to a lot of people.
"Yeah," Tyler agreed.
"Although, could you imagine?" Dylan laughs as he thinks it over. "It's Stiles and Derek. They'll probably still be all moody and miserable, just with added kissing."
Tyler laughs about it himself, before spinning out stories about what Ian, JR and Jill have been up to - he'd met up with them not that long ago - and it turns into one of their talkfests, where they discuss anything and everything that comes to mind.
It's only when Dylan yawns that Tyler brings the conversation to a close. They make plans to meet up for bowling, promise to see how many of the gang they can get to come along, figure out who's going to be in which city when (being organised when you're a 'celebrity' is actually kind of exhausting and Dylan totally appreciates it when something gets organised for him).
They say most of their goodbyes, and then Tyler adds,
"And leave the fanfic to the fans, okay? The last thing we need is for you to get fired."
It wasn't likely with Jeff being as cool as he was - but Dylan's screw-up had been very, very unprofessional. "Trust me, I've totally learned my lesson. From now on, no more Sterek fanfic," he laughs, and Tyler laughs with him and all the laughing is actually kind of really weird until Tyler thankfully hangs up.
The next day, he gets another message from Colton.
HAVE DISCOVERED HOBRIEN. SENDING EXAMPLES SHORTLY.
Dylan is not going to look. He is not.
When his phone beeps again, his hand reaches for it anyway.