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There is a Brotherhood

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So far, college has taught Stiles three things:

1) Eight am classes are cruel and unusual and should be avoided at all costs, even if it means having to enroll in something truly hideous instead, like Econ 101.

2) Dorm security is just as tight as Stiles’ orientation leader had promised it would be, and the dude guarding Scott’s dorm in particular does not respond well to bribes.

3) Mrs. McCall clearly had no clue what she was talking about when she’d insisted that Scott and Stiles needed to branch out and room with strangers, so it’s all her fault that Scott ended up with a total dick of a roommate and Stiles got stuck all the way across campus with some guy who has a girlfriend two towns over and is thus never around.

Which means it is also her fault that Stiles has resorted to climbing his way up the back of Scott’s dorm building in order to knock on his window.

He’s on his third round of taps when the window suddenly flies open and there’s Scott, wielding a baseball bat. Stiles yelps, lets go of the window sill, and plummets.

Granted, it’s only ten feet, give or take, but still. Ow.

“Stiles!” Scott hisses, leaning out of the window to frown down at him. “What are you doing?”

“You weren’t answering your phone!” Stiles says, wincing as he sets up. God damn it, ow, ow, that is going to leave a bruise. “It’s 11:30, why the hell are you in your pajamas? And why do you have a bat?”

“I was tired,” Scott says defensively, totally ignoring the question of the baseball bat. “And... Jackson wanted an early lights out.”

Stiles snorts. “You mean he was worried about getting his beauty sleep,” he mutters. Scott has no response for that, either, which means Stiles is totally right.

“Okay, come on,” he says, getting to his feet and dusting himself off. “Get dressed, meet me out front in five minutes.”

“For what?” Scott asks, trying and mostly failing to keep his voice to a whisper.

“Frat party,” Stiles grins. “Totally informal rush thing, I hear - it’s in the middle of the woods. How cool is that?”

“It’s a Tuesday night,” Scott protests. “I have class!”

Stiles shuts him down with a look. “We’re going,” he says, then offers Scott a jaunty wave before taking off for the front of the dorm.

*

When Scott appears, he’s got a clearly pissed off Jackson in tow, and Stiles groans.

“Are you kidding me?” he asks. “Tell me I’m seeing things, Scott, tell me I’m hallucinating here.”

“He woke up when I tripped over my shoes,” Scott says sheepishly. “And then he wanted to come.”

“How did you even hear about this?” Jackson asks, shooting Stiles a look filled with that special brand of disdain only he seems able to manage. “You sure some upperclassman isn’t sending you on a snipe hunt?”

“Hilarious,” Stiles snaps. “A guy on my floor has an older brother in one of the frats, and he passed the invite along to the rest of us. It’s legit, okay? A chance for everyone to scope each other out.”

“We’ll see about that,” Jackson mutters, then pulls out his phone and starts texting, a clear demonstration of his intent to ignore Stiles and Scott the rest of the way to the party, which is just fine by Stiles.

Scott still looks vaguely sheepish and apologetic, but Stiles just bumps his shoulder with his own.

“This’ll be fun, yeah?” he says cheerfully. “Get excited, Scott, this is step one in our pursuit of the true college experience!”

“I have a nine am lecture tomorrow,” Scott says mournfully.

Stiles slings an arm around his shoulder and marches him determinedly in the direction of the woods that surround campus. “Guys in fraternities?” he says. “Get invited to the parties that the sorority girls throw.”

“Well,” Scott says, obviously perking up. “I don’t think my professor really takes attendance, anyway.”

“That’s my boy,” Stiles says, giving his shoulder a squeeze. “Now let’s go get irresponsibly drunk on a school night!”

*

The party’s a good one. Stiles had spent maybe five minutes worried that it was all some epic hazing ritual in disguise, but all it turns out to be is a few kegs, and a bunch of frat brothers milling around, mingling with the mostly freshmen and sophomores who are interested in rushing. It’s chill, and it’s fun, and strangely enough, Stiles feels kind of grown up about the whole thing.

“Talked to anyone good yet?” Stiles asks as Scott meanders back over to him, a silly grin plastered on his face. Scott’s already four solo cups in, and Stiles would be worried about him making a terrible impression, except that Scott tends to get exponentially more adorable with each drink he has. The dude is fucking charming, so Stiles has been letting him roam free, in the hopes that some frat brother will decide he wants to take him home to keep. Like a puppy.

“Most of ‘em sound kinda lame,” Scott sighs, flopping down next to Stiles, his beer sloshing dangerously close to the edge of his cup. “The two main ones though - those sound better. I was talkin’ to Boyd - he’s the President of Omega Delta Pi? He’s nice. And I met Isaac, too, who’s the VP - he says they’re supposed to call themselves the Omegas, like, the lone wolves, I think? But he personally prefers Order of Megatron. Get it? ‘Cause Order starts with ‘O,’ and then Megatron - ”

“Megatron is evil,” Stiles says, sounding horrified. “Oh my God, are you trying to get us to rush a fraternity of future supervillains-in-training?”

Scott chuckles, the sound slow and slurry with alcohol. “Dude, no,” he says. “Isaac’s totally cool, you should meet him! An’ Boyd, too. Anyway, they’re better than Derek. Derek’s a dick.”

“Who’s Derek?” Stiles asks, looking around curiously. Scott leans way into his personal space, like he’s trying to get a feel for Stiles’ exact line of vision before he lifts his arm and points an obvious finger toward the guy who appears to be overseeing the kegs. Stiles squints, trying to get a better look at him, which is easier said than done considering he’s standing at the very edge of the admittedly not-very-good lighting the frat brothers have managed to hook up in the middle of the freakin’ woods.

He’s tall, though by the looks of it, he only has an inch or two on Stiles. It’s just that he’s broad and built enough to make himself appear larger. He’s frowning, too, which probably doesn’t help, and his arms - God, Stiles can see the muscle definition from here, even through the henley he’s wearing - are crossed imposingly in front of his chest, mimicking the pose of a bouncer. He’s stupidly good-looking, even with the frown, and Stiles is pretty sure the only word for his stubble is ‘unfair.’ Or maybe it’s ‘perfect.’ It’s a toss up.

“He’s President of the Alphas,” Scott supplies helpfully. “S’what Jackson said. I think that’s the frat he’s going for.”

“Okay, well, then we are definitely doing the opposite of that,” Stiles says immediately. “It’s bad enough I have to deal with Jackson every time I come over to your room, no way in hell am I getting stuck with him for the next four years. The Omegas it is.”

“Order of Megatron!” Scott crows, falling into Stiles’ side with a silly grin. Stiles returns it with one of his own and makes a mental note to introduce himself to Boyd before they head out.

Somehow, he ends up talking to Derek instead. Well, it’s not like it’s a mystery how that goes down; Stiles wants another drink, and Derek is still brooding over by the kegs.

“So, are you standing guard?” Stiles asks as he approaches the keg.

Derek shoots him a look that seems to imply that Stiles is barely worthy of his notice, which, rude.

“Or - hey, are you trying to be one of those British guards?” Stiles asks, suddenly struck by the thought. Not that he’s ever seen a picture of a British guard who looks quite so dashing and stubble-y, but hey, you never know.

“No,” Derek says, the word clipped.

“Are you sure?” Stiles presses. “Because you’re actually doing a stellar impression of one. Like, I haven’t seen you crack a smile all night.”

“You’ve been watching me all night?” Derek asks, and this time he lifts a single eyebrow, and wow, his eyebrows are kind of magnificent. Stiles resists the urge to reach out and touch one, if only because he thinks Derek might actually bite his fingers off if he gets too close.

“Not in a creepy stalker way!” Stiles says. “But my Dad’s a sheriff, I’ve been taught to be aware of threatening-looking people who hide out in shadows.”

“I’m not hiding out anywhere,” Derek says with an eye roll. “I’m making sure no stupid freshmen get plastered and wander off to do dangerous things that would get us all into trouble.”

“But does that require the shadows?” Stiles asks, scrunching up his face, because Derek is not the only one who can make skeptical expressions, hah. “Really?”

“Do you want a drink or not?” Derek snaps.

Stiles just grins this time and holds out his cup, which Derek fills with a huffy sigh.

“Cheerio,” Stiles chirps in a terrible British accent, lifting his cup in a salute. “Thanks, mate!”

He’s pretty sure the look Derek gives him could actually bore through solid metal, and he kind of hates the way it makes him feel flush and hot, the way his stomach gives a horrible, interested lurch.

He makes his way back to Scott, glancing quickly over his shoulder once, only to find that Derek isn’t even looking at him anymore.

Well, fine. It’s not like he and Scott want to be Alphas anyway. But somebody who is not Stiles should really tell Derek that he needs to work on his recruitment skills.

*

The rush process goes by quickly. There are a few more formal events, during which Scott and Stiles make the rounds with various Omegas, doing their best to seem like perfect candidates for recruitment. They’re both hanging out in the student union when Isaac shows up with their bids, a big grin on his face.

“Yessss,” Scott says gleefully, signing his name with a flourish. “This is awesome!”

“Totally,” Stiles agrees, scribbling down his own signature and kind of beaming up at Isaac. Whatever, he’s happy, he is allowed.

“Congratulations to the both of you,” Isaac says as he collects their bids. He’s still grinning, warm and genuine. “We’ll be in touch soon. Glad to have you guys pledging.”

Stiles settles back into his chair once Isaac leaves, humming happily to himself. They’re not in quite yet, but this is step one, and Stiles is determined to make it through whatever else is coming their way.

*

“The first thing you have to know,” Isaac says conspiratorially, “is that the Alphas are dicks.”

“Oh, we already knew that,” Stiles replies. “Seriously, they gave Scott’s roommate a bid, and he is king of the dicks. Well, no, Derek’s the king of the dicks, I’m pretty sure. Jackson can be the queen. Of the dicks.”

“He’s not that bad,” Scott says.

“He is exactly that bad, and as soon as I dig up some good dirt on him, I am blackmailing him until he agrees to switch roommates with me,” Stiles says.

“Anyway,” Isaac breaks in, “Alphas. Dicks. There’s a longstanding rivalry between the Alphas and the Omegas. It is this rivalry which dictates our initiation rituals.”

The pause he takes lasts way too long for Stiles’ attention span, so he prompts Isaac with a, “...rituals?”

“Essentially, you’re tasked with pranking the hell out of them,” Isaac says cheerfully.

Stiles and Scott exchange a look.

“...That’s it?” Scott asks. “Just... pranks?”

“That’s it,” Isaac agrees.

“No stupid, dangerous drinking games?” Stiles asks, like he just needs to clarify. “No torturous demonstrations of physical fitness? No totally disgusting, demeaning, humiliating demands made by the brothers?”

“Nope,” Isaac says. “The university cracked down on hazing, like, fifteen years ago. And everyone’s pretty much stuck to it, so. Make their lives as miserable as possible, so long as there’s nothing dangerous or dehumanizing involved.”

“That we can do,” Stiles says, a slow grin spreading across his face.

*

They start with Derek.

More specifically, they start with Derek’s car.

It seems like a good idea to aim high, to start off with a bang, and Derek drives the flashiest Camaro Stiles has ever seen. Which, as far as Stiles is concerned, makes it the perfect target.

“You sure this is a good idea?” Scott asks.

“I’m sure this is a great idea,” Stiles assures him.

Five rolls of saran wrap later, Derek’s car is tightly wrapped up in dozens of layers. Nothing permanently damaging, but it’s going to take some serious patience to rip away all of the plastic without scratching the paint job.

Scott snaps a few pictures on his camera phone, while Stiles places a miniature Megatron on the windshield, which he thinks makes for a nice personal touch.

*

“All right,” Jackson spits out as he storms into his and Scott’s room the next morning, looking furious. “Which one of you shitheads did it?”

“Did what?” Scott asks, and man, Stiles will forever be appreciative of his best friend’s ability to play dumb.

“Wrapped Derek’s car in saran wrap!” Jackson explodes. “He had me and three other pledges out there for two hours unwrapping it!”

“I have literally no idea what you’re talking about,” Stiles says, even though he is dying of laughter on the inside.

“There was a megatron on the windshield!” Jackson says. His eyes are going a little bit bulging, even, and Stiles wonders if he’s about to pop, which would most definitely be an added bonus to their prank.

“Probably some kids, then,” Scott says with a shrug.

“That’s a good one though,” Stiles adds. “Saran wrap. I’ll have to remember that.”

Jackson growls, practically gnashes his teeth before he stomps right back out, the door slamming behind him, which leaves Stiles and Scott free to fall all over each other, shaking with silent laughter.

*

They get an actual standing ovation at that night’s frat meeting.

College is fucking awesome.

*

In retrospect, Stiles thinks Isaac probably could have done more to warn them about the swift and terrible retribution they should have expected.

It’s been five days since they plastic-wrapped Derek’s car, and Stiles is starting to think retaliation just isn’t coming.

“It’s suspicious though,” he muses to Scott. “The Saran Wrap - there was nothing really epic about it. Like - that’s pretty clearly an opening salvo in a prank war. They should be getting us back with something by now.”

“Dude, you’re going to jinx us!” Scott explains.

Stiles scoffs, but that’s when his phone buzzes in his pocket, and he slides it open to a text from Isaac.

might wanna check ur car bro :(

“Oh no,” Stiles says, his heart leaping into his throat. “Ohhhhh no, shit, if they did anything to my Jeep, I swear to God - ”

He doesn’t finish the thought before he’s taking off for the campus parking lot, where his Jeep’s been sitting for the past three days. Most people don’t use their cars during the week that much, since campus isn’t really that big, and Stiles stupidly hasn’t thought to check on it. He has visions of dented hoods, smashed in windows, of slashed tires and keyed paint jobs, and it spurs him on even faster, running flat out until he’s gasping for air.

Scott’s right on his heels, and the two of them skid to a stop once they reach Stiles’ parking spot. His Jeep looks... fine. It looks perfectly normal, and Stiles frowns, then digs his phone out again.

“Check my car,” he mutters, stepping forward to he can tug the door open. “What the hell was he - oh my God - ”

He nearly retches as he’s hit by the most overwhelmingly godawful stench he has ever had the misfortune to sniff. Scott actually does gag, stumbling away with a choked cry of, “Holy shit, what’d they do?”

“I don’t know,” Stiles gasps; the stench is so awful his eyes are almost watering, and he might actually be sick.

His phone buzzes vibrates again, and he opens the new message from Isaac immediately.

fish under the drivers seat it reads. they got almost all of us

“That is low,” Stiles says, eyes flashing as he shows the text to Scott. “Oh, this is war - THIS IS WAR,” he shouts, uncaring of the stares he gets for it.

Scott’s too busy gagging to join in the war cry, but Stiles is pissed enough for both of them, so that’s okay.

*

Sneaking into the Alpha house (the Den, the Alphas call it, which is the most ludicrous thing Stiles has ever heard) turns out to be ridiculously easy. They do it in the middle of the night - Scott, Stiles, and the rest of their pledge class - easing silently in through a downstairs window that someone neglected to close, each of them armed with a tub of butter, plastic gloves, and a jar of vaseline.

They send Matt on ahead to make sure everyone in the frat is at sleep, or at the very least, tucked away in their rooms, and as soon as Matt gives them the okay, they get to work.

The downstairs of the Alpha house (Stiles refuses to call it the Den) is like a freaking rabbit warren - a maze of hallways and doors. It’s a rabbit warren for the rich, however, because every inch of it is comprised of hardwood floors.

Nice hardwood floors. Slick and shiny hardwood floors that get even slicker when you’ve rubbed them down with butter.

They start at the edges and work their way in, making sure to leave an escape path to the window, which they can fill in as they go. While they work, Stiles goes around and slathers the vaseline onto every door and cabinet handle he can find; he makes sure to hit the faucets, too.

Their initial plan is to stick to the ground floor, but it’s going quicker than Stiles thought, like maybe they’re going to be out of here in under half an hour, as opposed to the original hour they had allotted.

A half an hour is a blip, their odds of getting caught are way down if they’re going to be in and out that quickly, which makes Stiles think that maybe they can take this a little further. He motions to Scott to keep everyone quiet, then carefully picks his way up the stairs - which have thoughtfully not been buttered, as they are not in the business of attempted maiming.

He’s faced with more hallways, lined with doorways, and he quickly gets to work, buttering a splotch of floor in front of each, then adding the vaseline as a finishing touch. He works quickly and silently, resisting the urge to hum along to the rhythm of his work.

He has two more doors to hit when the handle he’s currently vaselining yanks him forward as the door its attached to is opened wide. Stiles flails for a moment, fighting for his balance, and when he finally looks up, it’s into the eyes of a sleep-mussed, deeply grumpy Derek Hale.

Stiles gapes for a beat, then calls out, “WE’VE BEEN COMPROMISED. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. SAVE YOURSELVES.”

“What the hell?” Derek growls, and he grabs Stiles’ shirt, yanks him up off the floor. “It’s three thirty in the morning, what are you - “

He never gets to finish that question though, because he takes a step forward, right into his buttery welcome mat, and completely wipes out. He goes down like a ton of bricks, dragging Stiles with him, and Stiles ends up sprawled on his chest, which sort of feels like a goddamn brick well, Jesus, and Stiles shifts away hurriedly, just in case his body decides to have an inappropriate reaction while he’s on top of the hottest, grumpiest guy on campus.

“Surprise!” Stiles says cheerfully, while Derek is still blinking dazedly, the wind clearly knocked out of him. Stiles takes advantage of his momentary confusion to scramble off him and take off for the stairs.

“Go, go, go!” he yelps when he sees a few guys lurking near the window, clearly waiting to see whether Stiles is coming or not.

They get out with just seconds to spare; Stiles can already hear thuds and shouts coming from upstairs, ranging from surprised to pissed.

They race across campus, aiming for the safety of the Omega house, but there’s no one behind them; the Alphas are probably sprawled in various states of dishevelment all over the hallways, and they’re in for another nasty surprise once they make it downstairs.

Scott reaches the Omega house first, and he pulls the door open, ushers everyone in.

“Dude, what happened?” he asks, grabbing Stiles by the arm. “Did you get caught?”

“Derek must have, like, ninja hearing,” Stiles says. “I guess I woke him up or something, I don’t know, but I was greasing up his doorknob when the door flies open and there he is, glaring at me.”

Scott’s face goes all funny for a second, like he’s holding in a hysterical burst of laughter, and Stiles frowns. “What,” he demands. “What’s so funny?”

“You were greasing his knob?” Scott chokes out. “Really?”

For that, Stiles is forced to grab him in a headlock and give him a noogie, but they’re both laughing as they stumble inside.

“Man,” Stiles hears Danny sigh. “It just sucks that we can’t watch them fall all over themselves. Isn’t that kind of the whole point of a prank?”

“Oh, I’ve got that covered,” Matt grins, and he pulls out his laptop, explains how he left a small camera on the mantel, located conveniently across from the staircase. A camera that has been transmitting video to his laptop, which they can now rewind and play again at their convenience.

It is, hands down, the best video Stiles has ever seen.

*

Scott is panicking. Like, the kind of panicking that leads to hyperventilating, that leads to hysterics, and Stiles has been trying to calm him down for the past ten minutes.

“Hey, we'll fix it, we'll dye it back - and anyway, it could be worse!” Stiles soothes.

“How could this be worse,” Scott moans, staring at his bright pink hair. Stiles still isn’t sure how the Alphas even did it, except that he knows Scott is the world’s deepest sleeper, and Jackson is a rotten snake of a roommate.

“Well, it could be me, too?” Stiles supplies, and Scott tackles him, yelling all sorts of abuse.

*

The best thing about stinkbombs, Stiles thinks, is that they’re so very easy to lob through windows that have been carelessly left open, while carefully maintaining a safe distance.

You’d think certain fraternities would have learned their lesson by now about the importance of keeping windows shut and locked.

You would, however, be wrong, and the shouting, gagging, and “Oh Gods” are music to Stiles’ ears.

*

It’s mid-October, and they’re about six weeks into the pledge process, when two beautiful girls show up at the Omegas’ front door.

It’s just Scott and Stiles holding down the fort; the full-fledged brothers are all tailgating, and the rest of the pledge class all seems to be pre-med and are thus at an exam review session their TA is leading, even though it’s a Saturday morning. It had been agreed upon at the last pledge meeting that leaving the Omega house unattended was just asking for trouble. They’ve successfully attacked the Alpha house twice now, after all, and Stiles can practically smell Jackson’s rampaging desire for revenge every time he comes within ten feet of the guy.

So Scott and Stiles are on Alpha duty. It’s not terrible; they’ve got a wealth of snacks at their fingertips, and they’ve been playing Call of Duty for something like three hours now. There’s homework to be done, sure, but that’s what Sunday is for, as far as Stiles is concerned.

Stiles has just blown Scott up (yet again, because Call of Duty is not Scott’s game) when a knock at the door interrupts them. Scott exchanges a glance with Stiles, before getting up to look out through the peephole. Stiles gets to his feet, too, just in case, but Scott doesn’t bother to confer before he’s grinning hugely and flinging the door open.

“Hello!” he says enthusiastically, his beaming, puppy dog smile blinding on his face. Stiles peeks over his shoulder and sees two girls - a tall, leggy brunette, standing with a gorgeous strawberry-blonde with sparkling brown eyes and a wickedly superior expression on her face.

Stiles thinks he might be a little bit smitten.

“Hi, we’re so sorry to bother you,” the brunette says. “I’m Allison, and this is Lydia. Is there any chance we could come in and raid your refrigerator? We’re supposed to be putting on this dinner tonight, and we’re out of some major staples.”

“We hear you might have some butter to spare,” Lydia chimes in, and Stiles and Scott share the smuggest of smug looks, because yeah, their butter-tastic prank is gaining some serious recognition. It totally helps that they posted Matt’s video on youtube, where it racked up four thousand hits in, like, three days.

“Totally, yeah, come on in,” Scott says, his gaze still locked on Allison. If Stiles might be a little bit smitten with Lydia, well, Scott looks like somebody dropped an entire pile of bricks on his head.

“Dude, close your mouth, you’re drooling,” Stiles mutters as the girls step in past them. Scott shuts his mouth so hard it clicks, then swipes his sleeve across his chin.

“Oh my - figuratively, Scott,” Stiles says, clapping him on the back. “Figuratively.”

Scott shoots him a look before following the girls into the kitchen.

“Soooo,” Stiles says, leaning one hand casually against the banister. The Omega house might not be quite so fancy as the Alpha house, but it’s got this wicked wrought-iron staircase that curls its way through the center of the house, ending near the kitchen. It’s pretty impressive, and Stiles actually kind of feels like a real frat brother while he’s propped up against it. “What’re you guys throwing a dinner for?”

“A sorority thing,” Lydia says, inspecting her nails as Allison digs through the fridge. “We’ve got to make some, like, five-course meal for the sisters.”

“Oh, you’re pledging a sorority?” Scott asks, his ears practically perking up. Allison smiles at him though, looking charmed, which earns her a bonus point. Stiles hates it when people don’t recognize the fact that Scott is basically pure sunshine wrapped up in a puppy exterior. “I haven’t seen you guys before - which one?”

“Delta Alpha Kappa,” Allison replies, and in the moment it takes for that name to sink in - the name of the Alphas’ freaking sister sorority - Lydia already has Stiles’ wrist handcuffed to the staircase, while Allison’s pulled some sort of freaking ninja move and done the same to Scott, only he’s cuffed to the radiator on the opposite wall.

“Hey!” Stiles splutters, yanking at his cuffs, completely ineffectually. “Hey! Are you - what - you liars!”

“Well, we didn’t lie about the dinner,” Lydia grins, twirling a key between her red-lacquered nails.

“We did lie about being out of the staples though,” Allison adds thoughtfully.

Scott isn’t even trying to escape, he’s just staring at Allison slackjawed. He doesn’t even look mad - just awed. Impressed. Stiles is seriously thinking about investing in a new best friend, sunshine and puppies be damned.

“Okay, so what is the point of this, exactly?” Stiles asks, rattling his handcuff.

“A favor,” Allison says.

“For Derek,” adds Lydia.

“Thank you, ladies,” a voice from around the corner says, and Stiles groans as Derek steps into view.

“You are an actual caricature of a real human being, do you know that?” Stiles asks. “Seriously, dude, you’re like the big bad British wolf or something, always lurking in corners and glowering - “

Derek chooses that moment to send Stiles a grin full of glittering, white teeth, and Stiles swallows back a noise. Not always, glowering then, but that smile isn’t any less intimidating.

“My, what big canines you have,” he mutters, because he can’t help himself, and no one has ever claimed that his sense of self-preservation is as honed as it should be.

“Allison, Lydia,” Derek says, his gaze still sharply fixed on Stiles, “if you would be so kind as to show the pledges in?”

Lydia hands Derek the key, then flounces off to do just that; Allison offers Scott a waggle of her fingers, and Scott grins the dopiest smile Stiles has ever seen in return.

“Quit fraternizing with the enemy,” Stiles hisses. “She handcuffed you to a radiator!”

“I’m surprisingly okay with that,” Scott sighs happily.

Derek examines the key for a moment, then moves forward and, much to Stiles’ astonishment, abruptly unlocks the handcuff that’s wrapped around the banister.

“Is this a joke?” Stiles asks.

“Nope,” Derek says, then promptly clicks the handcuff back into place, albeit this time much higher up - enough that Stiles has to stand on his toes so as not to yank his arm out of place.

“Oh, dude,” he protests. “This is just mean. This constitutes bodily harm, I’m pretty sure - I could dislocate my shoulder here! Easily!”

“Don’t worry,” Derek says, with a grin that is downright wolfish, and Stiles hates everything. “You won’t be like that for long.”

He disappears again, and Stiles and Scott have to spend the next two hours watching all of the Alpha pledges carefully covering the kitchen floor with plastic cups that are filled to their brims with water. The cups are perfectly in line; it’s a huge mess just waiting to happen. The placing of the cups is generously interspersed with much mocking, and the next time Jackson gets too close, Stiles is going to bite him, dislocated shoulder or not.

“Stiles, Stiles, Stiles,” Derek sighs, coming to stand next to him. He’s holding a roll of duct tape, which Stiles is eyeing very warily.

“How do you know my name?” Stiles demands, and Derek rolls his eyes like he’s being stupid.

“You don’t think I’d take the time to find out exactly who’s been masterminding all these ridiculous pranks?”

“Masterminding!” Stiles exclaims. “That is false - completely off base - I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about - “

“Oh, I know an instigator when I see one,” Derek says.

He starts to unroll the duct tape. It’s shockingly threatening.

“Okay, seriously, man, what is that for?” Stiles asks.

Derek’s eyes gleam. “Why don’t I just show you?” he says.

*

Thirty minutes later, Stiles is completely duct taped to the banister. It is highly uncomfortable, made worse by the fact that the entire time Derek had been manhandling him, he’d been fighting off a hard on.

His life is terrible, everything is terrible, and now he is stuck here, gazing out across an expanse of filled-to-the-brim plastic cups.

“I hate everything,” he mutters.

“God, Allison’s beautiful,” Scott sighs.

“I hate you, too.”

“Do you think she likes me?”

“Loathe.”

“I think maybe she likes me - she waved to me, when she left!”

“Abhor.”

“I think I’m going to try to get her number.”

“You disgust me.”

*

Scott and Stiles try to call out when they hear voices on the other side of the door, but it’s too late; the door swings open, cutting a swathe through the cups nearest to the entryway and creating a mini tidal wave across the living room floor.

“What the hell - “ Stiles hears Boyd exclaim, and he winces. Ugh, this is so not going to be good. He desperately hopes the Alphas don’t have a technological genius on their side who captured Scott and Stiles’ miserable humiliation on video.

“Hey, guys?” Stiles calls out, straining against the banister. He supposes it was nice of Derek to not hang him upside down or something, but he’s getting a definite crick in his neck. “Little help here?”

*

It takes them all day to get rid of all the cups and to cut Stiles out of his duct tape prison.

And an hour later, of course, there’s a youtube video making the rounds.

That’s pretty much when Stiles decide it’s his mission to take Derek Hale down.

Chapter Text

Operation: Make Derek Hale’s Head Spectacularly Explode begins with waiting. It’s important, Stiles knows, to build up the anticipation, to keep Derek and all of his little Alphas-in-training in suspense. They’ll know something epic is coming, but they won’t have any idea as to when, and Stiles will be able to wait until they’re going out of their minds with anticipation before he unleashes his mad genius.

Of course, he still has to come up with a new prank, one that is acceptable levels of awesome. It’s already been a week, and he hasn’t been able to think of anything good enough.

“What about TPing their frat house?” Scott suggests, for the third time in an hour. “Nobody’s tried that yet.”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, “because it’s lame. I’m starting to think that the word ‘epic’ doesn’t mean what you think it means, Scott. I need grandiose, unparalleled, a fucking masterpiece of a prank.”

“So... gluing a quarter to their front porch is out?”

Stiles groans, letting his head drop to his arms. “It’s over,” he says dramatically. “I’m all tapped out, I can’t think of anything big enough. It’s all been done before, Scott. All of it.”

“Okay, well... how about instead of doing one big prank, you do a bunch of smaller ones?”

“Blitz ‘em,” Stiles says abruptly, snapping back up to a sitting position. “One every day - maybe even two - they won’t be expecting that. Not after all this waiting.”

“See, there you go!” Scott says, sounding a lot more cheerful than he did a minute ago, when Stiles was mid-despair. Probably because now he thinks Stiles will let him go back to waxing poetic about Alison. “Problem solved!”

“You, I love,” Stiles says, giving Scott a clap on the back, before turning to his laptop to compile the most comprehensive list of classic pranks to ever exist.

*

Opportunity the first falls into Stiles’ lap when he shows up at Scott’s dorm to pick him up for dinner. Scott’s door isn’t usually locked (unless, of course, Jackson’s having one of his hissy fits, but Jackson’s been at the Alpha house more and more recently), so Stiles just throws it open like he usually does, except that the door refuses to open more than three inches.

“Scott?” he calls through the crack, trying to peek through to see what’s going on.

“Oh, one second!” Scott calls, and Stiles hears the sounds of scrambling, a few muffled thuds, and finally Scott grabs whatever’s blocking the door and shoves it out of the way, allowing Stiles to step inside.

“Holy shit,” Stiles breathes, once he gets a look at the inside of the room. “It looks like a Gap exploded in here, what the hell, man?”

Scott shrugs his shoulders, glancing around at the mounds of clothes that are covering every available surface, and the laundry baskets that are lined up edge-to-edge on the floor. “I guess the pledges have to do the Alphas’ laundry during the pledge process,” he explains, “and Jackson’s been, uh... avoiding his turn.”

“So... this laundry belongs to Derek and the other brothers,” Stiles says slowly.

“Yup,” Scott nods. “Everything in the baskets is clean, the stuff on the beds and on the floor still needs washed.”

“Oh my God,” Stiles says. “Oh my God, how could you not tell me about this? Scott!”

Scott looks at him in bewilderment, and Stiles rolls his eyes.

“Come on,” he says, grabbing Scott by the hand and yanking him toward the door. “Emergency shopping trip, let’s go.”

*

It takes some searching, but Stiles finally manages to track down a couple bottles of itching powder at a local party store. Their timing is perfect, because just as they’re coming back into the lobby of Scott’s dorm, Stiles spots Jackson carrying yet another basket of clothes toward the staircase that leads down to the laundry room.

“That gives us, what, at least five minutes?” Stiles asks as he and Scott head back to Scott’s room, taking the stairs two at a time.

“At least ten,” Scott replies. “He has to sort the loads into lights and darks and everything - he was complaining about it earlier.”

Stiles resists the urge to cackle, but it’s a near thing. “Perfect,” he says. “Perfect.”

They’ve been gone long enough that nearly all of the laundry is neatly folded into the laundry baskets. Stiles sends Scott to stand guard at the end of the hallway and sets to work liberally applying the itching powder to every article of clothing he can get his hands on. It’s trickier than he thought it would be, making sure he’s got enough that it’ll be felt, but not so much that it’ll be noticed before the brothers actually get dressed.

Stiles has a feeling, though, that most of this stuff won’t be looked at too carefully before it’s thrown on.

He’s just folding the last t-shirt back into place on top of the final laundry basket when Scott bursts in.

“You done?” he asks. “I heard a door slam down the hall - it’s got to be him.”

“All set,” Stiles grins. “I think I’ll just head out the window. Dude’s way more suspicious of me than he is of you.”

He offers Scott a fist bump, but as he’s heading for the window, something catches his eye.

“Is that... Jackson’s phone?” he asks, eyes going wide.

“Uh... yeah?” says Scott.

Stiles doesn’t take the time to scold him on withholding this information in addition to the laundry tip, but he does scoop up the cell (an iphone, of course, though stupidly left unlocked) then pulls up the contacts list.

“Bingo,” he mutters, whipping out his own phone to snap a picture of Derek’s contact info - his phone number, his email address, even his mailing address. He doesn’t know exactly what he wants to do with all that yet, but he’s sure something will come to him.

He sets Jackson’s phone back exactly where it was, then carefully crawls out of Scott’s window. The drop to the ground hurts way less when he’s anticipating it, it turns out. He waves to Scott, then heads to the on campus store to pick up a sandwich or something for dinner.

*

A day later, Stiles gets a series of texts from Scott.

jacksons getting yelled at over the phone - can hear it all the way across the room

he keeps looking at me

oh shit

im spending the night in your room

*

“You didn’t bring anything?” Stiles asks when Scott walks in, without even a change of clothes or a toothbrush.

“I had to run for my life,” Scott says. “He growled and then lunged at me; I barely made it out!”

Stiles falls all over himself laughing at that particular mental image. “Well, he’s not entirely stupid,” he finally wheezes. “All evidence to the contrary.”

“Still,” Scott says, “no way am I going back there tonight. I think he might try to kill me in my sleep.”

“Yeah, yeah, you can sleep in Mike’s bed. He is, once again, at his girlfriend’s,” Stiles says. “I’ll even loan you a pair of sweatpants to sleep in.”

“Thanks, dude,” Scott says.

It’s a good night. They play video games, eat some chips and salsa, and then sack out sometime around midnight.

“Wish every night was like this,” Stiles mumbles. “Should’ve been roommates, no matter what your mom said.”

“Yeah,” Scott agrees. “Next year though, right?”

“Next year,” Stiles says, and it’s not long after Scott begins to snore softly that he falls asleep, too.

*

Stiles knows he needs to hit hard and fast with another prank. Luckily, when he wakes up the next morning, he’s got the perfect idea already in mind.

“Are you sure this is legal?” Scott asks, sounding worried. “I mean... it feels like it might not be totally legal.”

“Have you seen their frat house?” Stiles demands. “Or, for that matter, Jackson’s car? Derek’s car? They can afford it. And I can follow up with the restaurants tomorrow; if the Alphas decide to be dicks and refuse to pay, I’ll figure out a way to cover the costs. But I’m betting on them not being total dicks.”

“I thought that was rule one of our initiation - the Alphas are dicks,” Scott mutters.

“Dude, shut up and give me that list,” Stiles says, and Scott obediently hands him the list of local delivery places they’d decided on. They’d tracked down the number of pretty much every delivery place in town, then narrowed it down to twenty from there. Most of the restaurants have a ten dollar delivery minimum, which only amounts to two hundred dollars. That’s a crapload of money if it’s just you, but with as many brothers as there are in Derek’s frat, Stiles knows they could easily have everyone pony up five bucks and be covered. Really, trying to force them to pay for the food isn’t even the point of the prank; what Stiles is way more excited about is the prospect of a new delivery person showing up every ten minutes for a straight three hours. It’s a Sunday afternoon, too, which means everyone is probably either sleeping off a hangover or trying to finish their homework.

It’s the perfect sort of day, really, to annoy the hell out of everyone and wreak general havoc. Stiles is looking forward to it.

He and Scott are camped out at a payphone around the side of the library, while Danny and Matt are holed up in the coffee shop across the street from the Alpha house, where they can relay the house’s reaction to the never-ending deliveries.

“Thanks for calling Pete’s Pizza, what can we do for you?” a bored-sounding guy rattles off after Stiles has dialed the first number.

“Hey, my name’s Derek Hale,” Stiles says, pitching his voice deeper than it normally is, “and I’d like to order a large pepperoni pizza.”

He rattles off Derek’s address and phone number, and the guy promises the pizza will be there in fifteen minutes.

Stiles is beaming by the time he hangs up. “This is going to be so good,” he promises, already digging out another quarter to make their next call. Danny was the one who’d suggested the payphone, since a call from Stiles’ cell phone might show up on the caller ID.

“If you say so,” Scott says, though he still sounds wary.

*

It’s good. It’s so good.

Matt calls an hour later in near hysterics.

“Delivery guy number five just got here,” Matt wheezes through his laughter, “but delivery guy six showed up right after him, so Derek’s yelling at both of them at the same time. But he’s - oh shit, yes, he’s reaching for his wallet! Good call, Stilinski, I think he feels too bad to send them away without paying them.”

Stiles does a little victory pump, looking at Scott smugly. “Told you,” he says. “Damn it, I wish I could be there to see it. You’re taking a video, right?”

“Yup,” Danny says, in that steady drawl of his that never really gives anything away, but Stiles is 99.9% sure he can detect some amusement there. “Got a perfect angle, the Omegas are gonna love it.”

“Perfect,” Stiles says. “We’re gonna make another call, let me know if anything changes.”

“You wanna try a Chinese place this time?” Scott asks. “Maybe they could swing by here after - I could go for some egg rolls.”

Stiles gives him an exasperated look. “Dude, no,” he says. “We can’t give them our location - they might tell Derek! We’ll get something after we’re finished with this.”

“But I’m hungry now,” Scott whines.

“Oh, for - fine,” Stiles says. “Go get some food, but you’ll have to bring it back here. I’m not risking getting anything delivered.”

“Yesss,” Scott says, leaping to his feet and already jogging toward the front gates.

“Get me some General Tso’s chicken!” Stiles yells after him, then turns back to his list to make call number eight.

*

He’s on call number twelve, and Scott still isn’t back, when his phone rings.

“H’lo?” he says, crossing off number eleven, so he doesn’t make the mistake of calling them a second time.

“Hey,” Danny says. “You should know - Derek just threw on his jacket and stormed off. It looks like he’s headed towards campus.”

“Hmmm,” Stiles says. “He probably just wanted to get away from the delivery guys for awhile.”

“I don’t know,” Danny says. He sounds wary. “He looked kind of like a man on a mission.”

“You really think he’s figured us out?” Stiles asks. Danny doesn’t answer, but his silence speaks volumes. “Okay. I’m gonna make one more call while I’m here, then I’ll maybe head off campus and find a different payphone.”

He’s halfway through said call when he glances up and sees Derek marching purposefully toward him.

“Oh, shit,” he breathes and doesn’t even pause to hang the phone up, just grabs his jacket and runs.

Stiles!” he hears Derek bark behind him, but there’s no way he’s stopping for anything right now, because Derek might actually kill him, and that would be terrible. In retrospect, the payphone by the library was way too obvious. He definitely should’ve opted for the one up by the freaking observatory - nobody ever thinks to go there.

Stiles can hear Derek gaining on him, and he’s cursing his decision to quit cross country back in high school. Still, even with Derek closing in, he can’t resist yelling back over his shoulder, “You should be thanking me! I very thoughtfully provided your whole frat with lunch!”

It’s a mistake. Derek practically snarls and puts on a burst of speed that brings him close enough to Stiles that he can lunge forward and tackle him, right down into the dirt. Stiles makes a surprised noise, already scrabbling through the patchy grass in an attempt to get away, but Derek’s a solid weight on his back, pressing him inexorably down.

“Ow, fuck, get off,” Stiles gasps. “You weigh a metric fuckton, God, do you eat bricks for breakfast?”

“Now, why would I do that, when I have five pizzas, three orders of lo mein, two subs, and a huge-ass order of chicken wings filling up my fridge back at the frat house,” Derek growls. “How did you even get my number, Stilinski?”

“How do you think?” Stiles snipes right back, but Derek knees him rudely in the kidney, so Stiles decides to go with that self-preservation instinct for once and bites out, “Jackson, obviously.”

“He gave it to you?” Derek demands, like he honestly thinks Jackson might be a freaking mole or something. Stiles can’t even help it, he snorts again, and this time he gets a flick to the back of his head.

“Of course he didn’t give it to me,” Stiles says. “He left his phone on his desk while I was visiting Scott. Just like he left your laundry all over the place.”

“That was you, too?” Derek asks, and then he’s moving off Stiles, just long enough to flip him over. “We thought everyone was just having an allergic reaction to whatever cheap, shitty detergent he bought!”

Stiles stares at him for a few long moments, then bursts into laughter.

“Oh my God,” he gasps. “You didn’t even know? Holy crap, dude, that’s - I mean, it was obvious - ”

“Shut up,” Derek says, pressing his shoulders down even harder. “You - you are the biggest pain in my ass, Stilinski.”

“Hey, now,” Stiles says, beaming up at Derek. “If you want to go ahead and make a public declaration of the Omegas’ victory of your crappy Alphas, feel free. That might be enough to convince me to call a cease fire.”

“Not on your life,” Derek snaps. He looks furious, but unfortunately, furious works for him, and Stiles shifts uncomfortably beneath him, determinedly holding his grin in place. He is most certainly not noticing the sharp angle of Derek’s jaw, or the way his stubble is so perfect it looks almost painted on.

“Well, in that case, I can’t wait for you to see my next trick,” Stiles says. “It’s a doozy.”

Derek stares at him for long enough that Stiles starts to get fidgety again, trying and failing once more to wriggle out from underneath Derek’s hold.

“Okay,” Stiles finally bursts out. “Are you just going to keep me here? Because as far as pranks go, I don’t think that ranks even one star, man.”

“Jackson’s going to switch rooms with you,” Derek says. “I don’t care how you clear it with housing, just do it.”

Stiles tries hard not to let Derek know that this is basically the best news he’s ever heard, but he’s pretty sure his expression gives him away, because Derek’s eyes narrow.

“I can do that,” Stiles says. “Is that it? Are we done here?”

“Give me your pants,” Derek orders.

Stiles blinks up at him, fairly certain he’s heard Derek incorrectly over the sudden buzzing in his ears. “I... what?” he asks.

“Take off your pants,” Derek says again, “and give them to me.”

“Uh, no?” Stiles says, ignoring the heat that’s coiling low in his stomach.

“And your shirt,” Derek continues. “Socks and shoes, too.”

“Dude, no way,” Stiles splutters, renewing his struggles to get Derek the hell off of him, but it’s useless. Derek’s too big, and too strong, and at this rate, Stiles is just going to embarrass himself.

“Stiles,” Derek says, and this time he sounds wicked. He’s smiling, even, a devilish curve to his mouth, and Stiles hates that there is a part of him - a large part, at least a 75% part - that kind of wants to lean up and kiss it. “Either you take off your clothes, or I’ll do it for you.”

Stiles knows that Derek is perfectly capable of manhandling everything he’s wearing off of him, is the thing. And not only is he pretty sure he’d die of shame forever if he let that happen, he’s thinking his body will probably react in a completely mortifying way if he actually lets Derek put his stupid, huge hands all over him.

“You suck,” Stiles mutters, but this time when he shoves at Derek’s chest, Derek actually moves off of him. Probably because he knows he’s already won. Stiles briefly considers running for it again, but he knows Derek would just catch him, and if he makes Derek chase after him, no way is Derek allowing him the dignity of doing this himself.

He gets to his feet and starts to peel off his clothes. For the first time ever, maybe, he’s regretting his penchant for layers, because it feels like it takes him an eternity to get everything off, and Derek watches him the whole time. He makes a pile of his hoodie, his flannel overshirt, and the t-shirt he was wearing, shivering once the afternoon’s cool breeze finally makes contact with his bare skin.

“The pants, too,” Derek says smugly, scooping up the pile of clothes and holding them securely against his broad, muscled chest.

“Just so you know, that’s my favorite hoodie,” Stiles warns, fighting to keep a blush off his face as he unbuckles his belt and undoes the zip of his jeans. “If anything happens to it - all bets are off, dude.”

Derek just rolls his eyes and makes a motion for Stiles to hurry up. Stiles kicks off his shoes, peels off his socks, then finally shucks his jeans off, leaving him in nothing but his boxer briefs.

In retrospect, today would have been a good day for boxers. Something less... clingy than what he’s currently wearing.

“There, happy?” he asks, crossing his arms in front of his chest, another shiver working its way through him.

“Ecstatic,” Derek drawls, grabbing the rest of the clothes, as well as his shoes. His gaze takes a long, meandering look down the line of Stiles’ body, and Stiles chokes, because that almost looked like Derek was checking him out. Which is absurd, obviously, in no universe is that ever going to be the case.

“Enjoy your walk across campus,” Derek adds, then turns to leave, and Stiles sticks his tongue out at Derek’s retreating figure.

“Yeah, well, enjoy the bill for your super-size order of moo goo gai pan,” he calls after him. Derek just ignores him, because he’s a dick, but even though Stiles is the one standing here in nothing but his underwear, with a fifteen-minute walk back to the dorms ahead of him, he’s pretty sure he’s still the winner here.

Mostly pretty sure.

*

To make himself feel better later that night, he signs Derek’s email address up for every newsletter he can think of.

*

“Hold it - dude, hold it!”

“I am holding it! Drill faster!”

“I can’t actually make the drill go any faster, Scott, and the screw isn’t going to stay anyway if you don’t hold the freaking thing still!”

“Do you even realize how heavy this is, Stiles? I thought you said Danny was supposed to come help!”

Stiles glares at his best friend, who, admittedly, is looking a little bit red in the face. “He had a study group thing,” he says. “Last minute. Chill out, he’ll be here in time to help with the bed.”

“I’d rather have him here now to help with this stupid desk,” Scott says with a grunt.

Stiles finishes drilling the first leg into the ceiling, then quickly moves on to the second one. Once that’s finished, he signals Scott, who should be able to ease up a little bit, now that two heavy-duty screws are holding the desk in place.

“You know,” Scott says, panting as he speaks, “I recognize your genius and all, but why is it always me who has to help you with these things?”

“Because you’re my best friend!” Stiles exclaims, stepping over onto Mike’s desk so he can start on leg number three. “My partner in crime! The Watson to my Sherlock Holmes, the Robin to my Batman!”

Scott snorts. “On no planet are you Batman,” he says.

“I could be Batman,” Stiles says, working some ire into his voice. Scott just scoffs again, so Stiles ignores him until he’s finished with the desk. He hops back down to the floor to admire his handiwork, feeling mightily pleased with himself as he takes in the sight of the nightstand, the desk, and the trashcan, all currently hanging upside down from the ceiling. They did the closet this morning, and Stiles found a couple thrift store t-shirts to stick in it, just to add to the illusion. All that’s left now is the bed and the dresser, but they’ll need an extra pair of hands for those.

“C’mon, admit it,” Stiles grins, nudging Scott with his elbow. “This is awesome. Jackson’s gonna flip.”

“He is gonna flip,” Scott says, but he’s smiling as he looks around the room. “I just wish you’d find some additional muscle to do all your grunt work.”

“I’ll make it up to you, buddy,” Stiles says. “Burgers are on me.”

Scott turns to him suddenly though, his eyes all lit up. “I know how you can make it up to me,” he says, and Stiles falters, looks at him a little warily.

“Yeah?” he asks. “And how’s that?”

“By sneaking in with me to the Delta Alpha Kappa Halloween party,” Scott says promptly.

“No,” Stiles says. “No way. That’s a party they throw with the Alphas, we’re just asking to get our asses kicked!”

“It’s a Halloween party, we’ll be in disguise!” Scott says. “And Allison will be there - I need to see her again!”

“Dude!” Stiles says. He loves Scott and everything, but sometimes, Scott is the worst. “She lied to us - she handcuffed you to a radiator!”

“She’s amazing,” Scott says dreamily. “Come on Stiles, I’ve been helping you with these pranks all semester, the least you could do is help me get in to see her!”

Stiles groans, mostly because he knows Scott has a point. Damn it. “If we get caught, it’s all your fault,” he grumbles, but he can’t stay irritated, not when Scott lets out a whoop and tackles him with a hug.

“It’s gonna be awesome,” Scott says, eyes still bright and happy. “It’s this Friday, okay? Ten o’clock.”

“Soooo gonna get our asses kicked,” Stiles mutters, but he reaches for his drill again instead of arguing anymore with Scott, because that’s a losing battle if he’s ever seen one.

*

When Stiles climbs into his bed that night, formerly Jackson’s bed, he feels the entire frame sway dangerously.

“Scott?” he says, the instant before the thing breaks apart, sending him to the floor with a thump.

“Huh,” Scott says, then adds, “Yours was better.”

Stiles goes to sleep smiling smugly; a mattress on the floor is still better than one on the ceiling, after all.

*

By the time Friday rolls around, Stiles has spent at least two hours of his life trying to talk Scott out of this party, but Scott has remained stubborn as hell. The last time Stiles saw him dig his feet in like this was when they were nine years old, and Scott refused to go on the monster roller coaster at Six Flags. That was probably for the best though, because Stiles did go on it, and as it turns out, cotton candy, soda, and roller coasters might actually be the world’s worst combination of anything.

“What are you even supposed to be?” Stiles asks, eyeing Scott’s bare torso and the ridiculous, plastic-y wolf mask he’s pulled on.

“A werewolf,” Scott says. “Allison likes them - I heard her tell Lydia she’s Team Edward.”

“Are you actually stalking her now?” Stiles asks, aghast. “And, dude - Edward is the sparkly vampire!”

“What? No! Are you sure?” Scott demands. “How do you even know that?”

“Uh, because it’s common knowledge? Oh my God, I can’t believe you backed out of going as a superhero with me to go as a furry wolfman, and you don’t even know who the wolf is.”

“Well, at least I’m not wearing tights,” Scott grumbles, but when he pushes his mask up, he’s looking decidedly self-conscious. Stiles sighs, a small measure of remorse stealing over him.

“She’ll be too distracted by your general shirtlessness to even pay attention to the mask,” Stiles predicts. “I mean, that’s why you’ve been doing sit ups for a year, right? It’s totally paid off, dude.”

That gets him a smile, and then Scott drops the mask back over his face. It’s a horrible, cheap thing, from the children’s section of a department store, but the masks were kind of non-negotiable. If an Alpha catches wind of either of them being at the party, they’re dead, and Stiles has no interest in being dead. Scott’s mask is a ridiculous, plastic abomination, but it does the trick. Besides, Stiles is pretty sure that most of the party goers looking Scott’s way will be too distracted by his abs to wonder much about his face.

Not that Stiles’ costume is much better. He’s not half-naked, but his Spider-Man suit is from a couple years ago, and it’s tight. It’s spandex, though, so he’s making it work, and he even sometimes works out now, so he’s pretty sure that the picture he presents is not altogether unappealing.

That fact that he’s thinking about that at all is just another reminder that he hasn’t gotten laid once since he’s been at college. Hell, he hasn’t gotten laid since the guy Danny had kindly hooked him up with last June, after things with his first (and, to date, only) boyfriend had imploded in spectacular fashion.

He’s been so obsessed with planning pranks, he muses, that he really hasn’t had time for anything else. It’d be good to just have some fun, and if he’s going to get dragged along to this Halloween party, well, maybe it’s just as good a place to have fun as anywhere else, even if he and Scott do run the risk of being tarred and feathered if anyone realizes who they are.

“You ready to go?” Scott asks, and Stiles nods as he pulls on his mask.

*

The party is at the Delta Alpha Kappa house. It’s loud and crowded and the entire place reeks of beer. It’s basically every college stereotype Stiles has ever seen rolled into a seething mass of horny twenty-somethings, and it’s kind of stupidly awesome.

The Spider-Man mask Stiles is wearing isn’t ideal for drinking, and it’s not like he’s going to take it off, so he’s mainly been sticking to downing quick shots with Scott at the makeshift bar that’s been set up in the kitchen.

As a result, he is well on his way to pretty freaking drunk. It’s a life decision he feels decidedly awesome about.

Scott, on the other hand, is moping, because they have yet to see Allison.

“Where is she?” he whines, leaning into Stiles’ side. “She’s supposed to be here!”

“First off, it’s only, like, eleven thirty,” Stiles reassures him. “Second, it’s a costume party. Maybe you just haven’t recognized her yet.”

“And she can’t recognize me,” Scott says, like the thought has just occurred to him. “Maybe I should take off my mask - “

“No,” Stiles breaks in, grabbing Scott’s hands away from where they’re already creeping up toward the mask in question. “No, you should under no circumstances remove your mask. The mask stays on.”

“But I need to find her,” Scott says miserably. “I don’t think you understand, Stiles. I think - I think she might be my soul mate. My soul mate, Stiles.”

Stiles resists the urge to roll his eyes, then remembers that Scott can’t see him, and does it anyway. “Come on, big guy,” he says, patting Scott on the chest. “Let’s take another look - it’s been awhile since we passed through the living room.”

They’re barely three steps in when Stiles spots Allison, chatting happily with a group of girls, a drink in her hand. She’s dressed as a truly adorable Robin Hood, complete with a short skirt and a quiver of arrows. Stiles elbows Scott to catch his attention, and he can feel the moment Scott spots her in the way Scott’s whole body perks up; it’s like actual delight is rolling off of him.

“Go get her, Tiger,” Stiles instructs, and Scott offers him a shoulder punch in place of a grin before making a beeline for her.

Stiles lingers for a moment, watching as Scott reaches her, then leans in to whisper something in her ear. Her whole face lights up, and she wraps him up in the biggest hug.

Stiles is happy for Scott, he is, and he lets himself smile, even as his stomach sinks a little. Without Scott, he doesn’t have anyone to talk to, but he doesn’t want to leave quite yet.

With that thought foremost in his mind, he heads back to the kitchen for another drink.

*

Stiles and Scott probably should have had some sort of discussion about what their plan was for leaving the party. Stiles is thinking it’s probably time to go, but he doesn’t want to just ditch Scott. He hasn’t seen him in over thirty minutes though, and Scott isn’t answering his phone.

He’s checked everywhere downstairs, but then it hits him that Scott and Allison might have disappeared upstairs.

If they’re upstairs, they’re probably in a bedroom somewhere, and Stiles should probably keep his nose out of it and just go home, except that it seems like it wouldn’t hurt to check. Just real quick, he can poke his head up and see if Scott’s anywhere to be seen, and if he’s not, then he’ll leave.

Lydia started a mosh pit in the living room ten minutes ago, and that’s where the majority of the party has moved. Luckily, the bottom of the staircase is in the kitchen, so Stiles squeezes his way back there, shrugging off the reaching, groping hands he encounters along the way. As his hand settles on the railing, he feels someone grab his shoulder and yank him back.

“Hey!” he splutters, arms wheeling wildly, because that yank was not only rude, but it was forceful enough to knock him off balance.

“Nobody’s allowed upstairs,” a gruff voice says, and Stiles turns to find himself looking at a guy in a mask, jeans, and a leather jacket.

“Who are you even supposed to be?” Stiles frowns.

The guy smirks, and with a flick of his wrist, three long knives come shooting out of his hands, stopping just inches from Stiles’ face.

Stiles, of course, yells and stumbles back onto the staircase, going down with a hard thump.

“Holy shit!” he exclaims, point a shaking finger at the guy - Wolverine, he guesses, although Stiles would have way more respect for him if he were wearing Wolverine’s actual uniform, as opposed to the Hugh Jackman version, which is a total cop-out. “You could’ve taken my eye out.”

The guy’s wearing a mask, but Stiles can just tell he’s rolling his eyes. “They’re plastic,” he says. “Calm down.”

“Oh,” Stiles says, glad for the fact that the mask hides his blush. He pushes himself to his feet, sways a little bit closer to Wolverine and says, “in that case,” then flicks his own wrist, triggering the can of silly string he’d rigged up underneath his sleeve.

It catches Wolverine right in his chest, and Stiles bursts out laughing at the horrified sound he makes. His laughter dies abruptly when Wolverine surges forward, pinning him to the banister.

“No one’s allowed upstairs,” he repeats sternly, and Stiles catches his breath at the feel of his body pressed against his own. The guy has to be made of pure muscle; Stiles can feel how solid he is, how much strength is coiled underneath that jacket.

“M’just looking for a friend,” Stiles says. “Seriously, dude, I’ll be in and out, that’s all.”

“No.”

It’s such a sharp refusal, and Stiles feels a frown forming. “What are you, the unofficial bouncer?” he asks. “It’ll take me two seconds!”

“Not without an escort,” the guy says. “Either one of the sorority sisters, or an Alpha.”

Stiles makes the worst face, even though the guy can’t see it. “So why don’t you escort me upstairs?” he asks.

That makes the guy grin, a devastating, wolfish smiles that leaves Stiles shivering. “I don’t sneak upstairs at parties unless I’m going to be putting one of the beds up there to good use.”

It’s not precisely a come-on; Stiles doesn’t even think the guy is speaking with him in mind, necessarily, but the fact of the matter is, Stiles is half-hard already, with a clearly gorgeous guy pressed up against him.

“I, uh,” Stiles says, licking his lips, his mouth feeling suddenly dry. “I could be persuaded.”

It takes a minute for that to sink in, and then the guy goes very, very still. Stiles wishes he could see his whole face, his eyes, but it feels like it would be presumptuous to pull off his mask. Besides, then he might want to take Stiles’ mask off, but the odds are pretty good this guy is an Alpha, and there’s no way that ends well for Stiles.

“You want to?” Stiles croaks, fidgeting slightly. For an answer, the guy grabs him by the wrist and practically drags him up the staircase, Stiles almost jogging to keep up with him.

There are a few doors on the first landing, including one that’s still open, but the guy bypasses those and heads up the second flight of stairs. It’s so much quieter up here on the third floor, and they head for a room at the end of the hall, one that’s empty except for a bed and a dresser.

“Erica’s studying abroad this semester,” the guy murmurs, closing the door behind them, then flipping the lock. “Nobody’ll come kick us out here.”

“Good thinking,” Stiles says, falling back against the door with a thump. His head feels like it’s spinning; he’s not entirely sure how he got here, but as the guy’s hands settle on his hips, he can’t say he has any real complaints.

“You gonna take that mask off?” the guy asks, and Stiles freezes for a moment, before finally reaching up and peeling just enough of the mask up to reveal his mouth and his nose.

“No way in hell I’m hot enough for you,” he jokes. “Besides - I feel like it would be terrible of us to squander this opportunity to do it as Spider-Man and Wolverine.”

The guy actually grins, which Stiles is going to take as a good sign. “If you say so,” he says, raising his hand to cup Stiles’ jaw, his thumb pressing at his bottom lip.

“I’m, uh, I’m gonna call you Logan,” Stiles murmurs. “Because it’s weird if I keep calling you ‘that guy’ in my head.”

“Sure thing, Parker,” Logan says, and Stiles’ laugh is cut off by Logan’s mouth pressing to his own.

It’s a good kiss, hot and slow and all the dirtier for it. Stiles moans, his hands curling into that leather jacket, tugging him even closer. He makes a sound that’s embarrassingly like a squeak when Logan palms his ass, then picks him up, as if Stiles weighs nothing. Stiles’ legs wrap around him automatically, and Logan goes straight for the bed, kissing Stiles all the while. They tumble down onto it together, and Stiles makes another muffled sound as Logan finds the line of his costume, shoving the top up with one hand, while his other slides into the leggings, tugging them down as well.

It’s so fast it’s dizzying, but Stiles isn’t complaining. Instead of thinking about how he’s quite suddenly half-naked, he gets to work tugging the leather jacket off of Logan, grabbing the t-shirt, too, for good measure. He’s only derailed when Logan wraps a hand around his dick, giving it a few experimental tugs.

“Oh, fuck,” Stiles gasps. “Fuck, wait - I want - not yet, okay? M’gonna come too fast if you touch me right now.”

“Could just make you come again, later,” Logan says, and Stiles basically turns into a shivery puddle at just the thought of that, of this going more than one round.

Logan seems to take it for permission, because he ducks down to suck Stiles’ dick into his mouth, and Stiles keens. His hips would no doubt be thrusting up, if not for the arm that Logan throws across his hips, holding him in place.

It’s a fast, sloppy blowjob, but Stiles doesn’t need finesse, not with how close he already is. He comes with a shout, the only warning he manages a quick tug to Logan’s hair, but Logan seems content to swallow it all down, finally pulling off with an obscene-sounding ‘pop’.

“Holy shit,” Stiles breathes. Logan smirks, looking terribly pleased with himself, then shifts back up Stiles’ body to bite as his neck.

“Would you let me fuck you?” he murmurs, sucking hard on the spot right below Stiles’ ear. “S’fine if you don’t want it, that’s totally okay. Just - your ass in that costume - ”

“Yeah,” Stiles bursts out. “Yes, totally, you can fuck me. Absolutely, yes.”

Logan just grins that wolfish grin again, like he wants to eat Stiles up, but Stiles doesn’t feel anything but turned on at the sight of it. He hasn’t gotten laid in months, and there’s no way he’s going to pass up the chance to get it on with some guy who is ridiculously out of his league.

He props himself up on his elbows, watching as Logan slips a condom and a small bottle of lube out of his pocket, before standing up to shove his jeans down.

“Came prepared, I see,” Stiles drawls, taking this opportunity to peel the top of his costume the rest of the way off, carefully maneuvering it over his head so as to keep his mask in place, then fiddling with his silly string contraption until that drops to the floor, too..

“With good reason,” Logan shoots back, and when he crawls back on the bed, he’s fully naked, and Stiles thinks he could spend forever and a day just looking at him. He’s perfectly ripped, every muscle defined and rock solid, and his dick is hard and flushed between his legs.

“You want fingers first?” he asks, dropping his mouth to Stiles’ chest, starting in on what’s sure to be another mark.

“Yeah,” Stiles says, spreading his legs so Logan can get between them. “A couple. It’s been awhile, so... yeah.”

Logan makes an agreeable noise, and he doesn’t even take his mouth off of Stiles as he reaches for the lube and gets his fingers wet.

The first one slides in easily enough, that blunt pressure that Stiles remembers from his boyfriend, from the one other guy he’s slept with. Logan knows what he’s doing, sliding back in with two fingers after a moment, curling them deftly in a way that makes Stiles’ whole body shake.

He keeps at it for a few more long minutes, until Stiles’ dick starts to harden once more.

“Ready?” he asks, and Stiles nods frantically. Logan doesn’t ask again, like he trusts that Stiles is telling him the truth, and Stiles likes that, likes the confidence there, the mutual respect that Stiles is into this, that he isn’t having second thoughts. Because God, Stiles isn’t, he is more than ready for that second round, and his breathing gets shallower as he watches Logan roll the condom on, slick up, and press forward.

He slides in slow, but steady, and Stiles’ eyes roll up at the feel of all that fantastic pressure. He’s tight, and the press of Logan’s dick is just a little bit achy, but it’s the good kind of hurt, the kind that’s going to turn into something pretty spectacular soon.

Logan finally stills once he’s all the way inside, pressing down to kiss and bite at Stiles’ slack mouth.

“You can move,” Stiles finally says, one leg curling tighter around Logan’s waist, urging him forward. “C’mon, fuck me.”

“Shit, you feel good,” Logan grits out as his hips start to work. “I noticed you, when you first came in - don’t think you have any idea how that costume looks on you.”

“So goin’ all scary bouncer on me - was that part of your master plan to get into my tights?” Stiles asks, managing a grin that disappears in his subsequent gasp when Logan finds a particularly good angle.

“No,” Logan grins, leaning down to bite at the corner of Stiles’ jaw. He’s going to have hickeys everywhere. “You’re really not s’posed to be upstairs. But I guess you could say you made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

“See, I would’ve been more impressed if it were all a master plan,” Stiles grins.

“Oh, I think I can still impress you,” Logan says. It’s a promise, and when he thrusts forward, Stiles has every confidence that he’ll deliver.

*

Stiles is panting by the time they’ve both come, feeling completely and utterly wrung out. “I should go,” he mumbles, groaning when Logan rolls them over, so that Stiles is pressed on top of him. “Gotta - should find my friend, head back home...”

“Not yet,” Logan murmurs, his fingers tracing idle circles along Stiles’ back. It feels good, the kind of comforting touch that could easily lull Stiles to sleep. “Stay. Just f’r now.”

“For a little bit,” Stiles says with a sigh, nuzzling into Logan’s neck. “Just a little.”

*

He doesn’t remember falling asleep, but he must have, because the next thing he registers is sunlight spilling into the room, and the feeling of the body next to him shifting. The sunshine’s still weak, so it's probably early, though it’s just strong enough that it has him squeezing his eyes shut once again. He can’t have been asleep too long, because his mouth still tastes like tequila. His head isn’t even pounding too badly, which means his hangover must be a ways off yet.

“Mmmph,” he groans, letting his eyes blink open slowly, squinting into the early morning light. There’s a broad, naked back facing him, and Stiles drags in a sharp breath as he remembers how last night ended. That’s - God, that’s right, he’d had sex with - with Wolverine, and then he’d fallen asleep, which he is 95% sure is not appropriate hook up behavior.

In his defense though, it had been really good sex. The kind that short circuits your brain a little, and makes you do things like fall asleep with a complete and utter stranger.

Stiles winces as he sits up, yawns, and runs a hand through his hair. His hair... shit, his mask must have come off during the night. He casts around for it a little bit wildly, because there is no way he’s walking through this house without his face covered, even if it is really early.

His movement must wake the guy sleeping next to him though, because suddenly he’s rolling over onto his back, and his eyes are fluttering open, and Stiles finds himself face-to-face with Derek Hale, who has also lost his mask during the night.

Stiles gives an actual yell and jerks away from him so hard he falls right out of the bed, reaching frantically for his Spider-Man costume to cover himself up.

Derek’s eyes are wide, too, but that could just be the fact that he essentially woke up to a shout.

“You!” Stiles exclaims, and he’s starting to feel what he’s pretty sure is a panic attack creeping up on him. “You were Wolverine?”

“Stiles,” Derek says, shifting closer to the edge of the bed, and that’s when a horrible thought occurs to Stiles.

“Was this a prank?” he asks, his voice hoarse, and Derek goes perfectly still. “Was this - is this some completely fucked up plan where you get back at me by - by fucking me - ”

“Stiles - “

“Shit, did you film this? Is everyone in on it - am I gonna open the door and find your whole frat out there, waiting - “

Stiles!” Derek snaps, and Stiles shuts up, even though he can’t get his breathing to slow, not even a little. He watches with wide eyes as Derek gets out of bed and crosses over to him, seemingly uncaring that he’s totally naked.

“I didn’t know it was you,” Derek says, almost sternly, but it’s a tone that Stiles kind of needs to hear right now, if he’s going to believe him. “I’d never do something that shitty, okay?”

“I mean, I put itching powder in your underwear,” Stiles says. “I buttered your whole house - “

“Yeah, you’ve been an annoying little shit,” Derek agrees; it almost looks like there’s a smile playing at the corner of his mouth, but Stiles can’t quite tell. “But there isn’t anything you could do that would make me pull something like what you’re thinking, all right? I had no idea who you were until I woke up to you screaming like a girl.”

“Wasn’t screaming like a girl,” Stiles mutters, but he’s already feeling a little less tense, and that panic that was threatening to overwhelm him just a moment ago is slowly receding. “Sorry. I didn’t - it’s not that I think you would do something like that, just - it kind of seemed like the only explanation.”

“The only explanation?” Derek asks, his glorious eyebrows pulled together in a frown.

“For, uh. Sleeping with me,” Stiles supplies. “I mean, you’re you, and I’m, um.” He gestures half-heartedly to himself.

Derek makes a sound, almost like a growl, that has Stiles jerking to attention. “I think you underestimate just how well you filled out that costume,” he says roughly, and unless Stiles is much mistaken, his gaze is lingering over Stiles’ chest and throat, traveling slowly up to his jaw, his mouth, and finally his eyes.

Stiles takes a deep, shaky breath, and that’s when Derek reaches out and presses his thumb to the curve of his neck; the spot he touches hurts, a sharp burst of blooming pain, and Stiles gasps.

“Sorry,” Derek murmurs. “Hickeys. I kind of have a thing.”

“I don’t mind hickeys,” Stiles says unthinkingly, and before he knows what’s even happening, Derek’s mouth is on his own, pressing him back down to the carpet.

They don’t fuck again, because Derek doesn’t have another condom, but he does get three fingers into Stiles, then brings him off with his mouth. Stiles offers to reciprocate, but Derek just puts him on his back and rubs off against his hip, some extra lube slicking the way.

Stiles is a mess afterward, but he isn’t tired this time; his head is buzzing, heart rabbiting, and he grabs for the sheet, wiping himself off as best he can. The panic’s back, although he doesn’t really have an explanation for it. It’s just there, lurking underneath his skin, and with it comes a desperate need to get out, to escape from this room that reeks of sex and the two of them, to get back to the safety of his own room.

“I - I should go,” he mumbles. It’s just too much to take in, the fact that he and Derek Hale have now had sex twice. Stiles doesn’t even know where to start with that.

Derek politely turns away as Stiles gets dressed, no doubt pulling his own clothes on. Stiles is kind of ridiculously jealous of the fact that he gets to put on jeans and a real shirt, as opposed to the Spider-Man costume Stiles is going to have to wear home. If he’s lucky though, he won’t actually run into anyone out and about quite this early.

“So, uh, I guess I’ll see you around,” he says awkwardly, once they’re both fully clothed. Derek just kind of nods, his mouth tight in a way it wasn’t just ten minutes ago, but Stiles doesn’t know what to do about that, either. He has a sinking suspicion it’s probably a tightness composed of regrets and second thoughts, and that makes him feel kind of sick to his own stomach.

He doesn’t hang around, on the off chance things find a way to get even more awkward. He just pulls his mask on - one layer of extra protection against the outside world - and flees.

*

It’s noon by the time Scott bursts in, face wreathed in smiles, looking positively ecstatic.

“We fell asleep on the back porch, looking at stars,” he announces. “And she let me take her to breakfast this morning.”

Stiles stares back at him, mouth dropping open a little. “You - you didn’t go upstairs?” he asks.

“What? No,” Scott says. “We spent the whole night talking. It was amazing, she’s amazing.”

“Oh,” Stiles says, a little bit dully. “That’s... that’s great, man. That’s awesome.”

“Yeah,” Scott says happily, flopping down onto his own bed. “Was your night okay? Sorry I kind of ditched you.”

“No problem,” Stiles says quickly. “My night - yeah, my night was fine, good. Nothing exciting to report. All very ordinary, boring.”

His response isn’t at all up to his usual standard of lying, but Scott’s too happily oblivious to even suspect a lie.

It’s for the best. Stiles won’t tell anyone, and he’s pretty sure Derek won’t tell anyone, and then they can just forget this ever happened and go back to being members of rival frats and nothing more.

It’s a good plan, it’s a great plan. But as he listens to Scott going on and on about how great Allison’s hair smells, he only wishes his stomach didn’t feel quite so twisted up in knots over it.

Chapter Text

The Coase theorem, first formulated by Ronald Coase, gives us a lens by which to examine the economic efficiency of an outcome when externalities are at play. The theorem maintains that bargaining will produce an efficient outcome provided the situation contains an externality and is without transaction costs.

Econ 101 is, without a doubt, the worst thing to ever happen to Stiles. He’s been staring at the same paragraph for what feels like half an hour now, but it’s slipping through his brain as easily as sand slips through fingers.

Scott isn’t helping.

The Coase theorem, first formulated by Ronald Coase, gives us a lens by which...

“Stiles!” Scott says, for the sixth time in less than a minute, and that is it, Stiles is at a breaking point, because it would appear that Scott actively wants him to fail Economics.

“What?” he snaps, glaring at Scott from over the top of his brick of a textbook.

“You weren’t answering me!” Scott says. He’s wearing his bewildered puppy dog face, which isn’t even playing fair. “I said your name like five times!”

“Six,” Stiles corrects. “And did it not occur to you that maybe I was ignoring you on purpose?”

Scott’s expression collapses even further. “Why?” he asks, voice plaintive. “Are you mad at me?”

“No,” Stiles says, scrubbing a hand through his hair, pushing it away from his face. He huffs a sigh, then slams his book shut and flops back onto his bed. “No, of course I’m not mad at you. I’m not ignoring you specifically. I am just... shutting out the world for today, okay?”

He doesn’t have to be looking at Scott to know exactly what his best friend looks like right now; still bewildered, but that expression will be layered with genuine concern.

“Okay, seriously, man, what’s going on? You’ve been weird lately.”

“Nothing’s going on, I’m fine,” Stiles says automatically, closing his eyes and inhaling deeply. Maybe he should try a nap. A nap might help him focus.

Scott makes a disdainful noise - which, rude - then says, “You’ve been acting funny since the day after that Halloween party. Did something happen?”

Stiles can’t help the way he goes tense. It’s not that he’s upset or regretful or anything like that. He doesn’t, precisely, feel shitty. He just...

Okay, no, he feels kind of shitty. And weird. The whole situation is both shitty and weird, and Stiles doesn’t know how to make himself feel better about any of it. He hasn’t seen Derek since that morning, although he’s mostly grateful for that, because he’s pretty sure seeing Derek would just make everything ten times more awkward. He’s been failing both at planning pranks and getting homework done, too distracted for the focus either one would require.

Mostly, he’s been jerking off a lot. Like, a lot. Like, whenever Scott disappears to go see Allison, which has basically been all the time, Stiles ends up jerking off and thinking about how things might have gone if he’d stayed, if he’d gotten back into bed with Derek. If maybe they would have gone again, if maybe this time Stiles could have gotten his mouth on Derek, gotten a chance to see what he tasted like.

He’s also been moping. There has been a fairly unreasonable amount of moping, which, now that he thinks about it, was a side effect the last time he had a one night stand. He’s not very good at them, apparently.

It’s a problem, but it’s not one he’s about to share with anyone - not even Scott.

“Nothing happened,” Stiles mumbles, keeping his eyes firmly shut. “I’m just not... I need a little break from the pranks, all right? And also, I have done more than my share, the other pledges need to step it up. Really, I’m doing, like, community service for them. Giving ‘em a chance to shine.”

“Uh huh,” Scott says, unconvinced. Stiles has heard that tone before; it’s the one Scott uses when he’s going to be a stubborn ass and not let something go.

Except then Scott’s phone goes off, and Elvis Costello’s ‘Alison’ fills their room. Stiles contents himself with one quiet gagging noise, but he’s mostly grateful for the way Scott lunges for his cell, sliding it open with a gleeful, “Allison, hey!”

Five minutes later, Stiles hears him hang up and grab his backpack off the floor.

“I’m meeting Allison to study,” he announces happily. “But you are not off the hook yet, understand? We’re talking when I get back.”

Stiles gives him a thumbs up - it’s meant to be sarcastic, but he’s thinking it’s probably completely lost on Scott - then flops over onto his stomach as soon as he hears the door slam shut. It is, most definitely, one hundred percent naptime.

Maybe everything will suck less when he wakes up.

*

Stiles never thought he would be grateful for someone taking up every minute of Scott’s time, but at this particular moment, he is totally cool with it. It’s been a full five days since the Halloween party, and through a combination of dates with Allison and Stiles’ own (excellent) decision to camp out in various campus coffee shops, Scott has yet to instigate that conversation he’s been threatening Stiles with.

There’s been an added bonus to Stiles’ avoidance tactics, even; he’s actually starting to make a dent in his coursework. He’s plowed through the novel his English professor assigned, outlined his history paper, and he’s currently making some flashcards for his upcoming Econ test.

He’s halfway through writing out the definition of the Gini coeefficient when someone sets down a mug of coffee and a steaming scone in front of him.

“Oh, I didn’t order that,” Stiles starts to say, except when he looks up, there’s Derek Hale, standing right in front of him. “Uh,” he adds blankly, his brain stalling as he takes in Derek’s... everything. The broad shoulders and the perfect stubble and the way his gaze is fixed directly on Stiles.

“Obviously,” Derek says, sounding just as impressed as he ever does, which is to say, not at all. “I ordered it. For you.”

“Okay,” Stiles says slowly. His heart’s pounding in his own ears, loud enough that it feels like Derek should be able to hear it. “Can I ask why?”

Derek, of course, simply ignores him and drops into the armchair beside him, propping his feet up on the coffee table where Stiles has his many textbooks spread out, dropping a beat-up messenger bag to the floor.

“There haven’t been any pranks for awhile,” Derek says lightly.

“Uh, yeah, I guess not,” Stiles says. He’s not sure what’s happening here. Why Derek’s bringing up pranks, when the last time Stiles saw him, they were having sex. “I’ve been - we’ve been - busy. I guess.”

Derek smiles at that response, and while Stiles is pretty sure it’s supposed to be something approaching friendly, he stills finds it vaguely terrifying. And hot. And damn it, it’s not even a little bit fair how confusing his life has become.

“It’s been a nice break,” Derek says. “So thanks.”

“Uh, sure,” Stiles says slowly. “No problem. So... that’s what the coffee’s for?”

He’s pretty sure Derek hesitates for just a moment in his reply: a barely noticeable hitch in his breathing before he says, “Yeah. It’s a thank you. And just... you looked like you could use it.” Stiles isn’t going to think too hard about the tiny blip though, or what it might mean. He just nods toward Derek and manages a small, wan smile.

“Cool,” he says. “And , uh, good instincts, I guess. I’ve got an Econ test coming up... I’m contemplating heading over to the library and just setting up camp for the next three days.”

“Econ,” Derek says, then fixes Stiles with a casual look. “Finstock?”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, surprise coloring his voice. He reaches for the mug Derek set down in front of him, his fingers curving around the warm ceramic. “Oh God, have you taken him before? He’s... I don’t even know, man. Is his exam impossible? I’ve heard... terrible, terrible things.”

“You’ll do fine,” Derek says, digging into his messenger bag for what turns out to be a book. “You’re smart.”

Stiles freezes, his coffee, which smells heavenly, halfway to his mouth. “I’m sorry, what?” he says blankly. “How are you qualified to make that statement? You don’t even know me.”

Derek rolls his eyes, and Stiles would like the record to show that it is also unfair how he can make an action that irritating look attractive. Derek Hale is just one big collection of injustices.

“I don’t have to know you to know something that obvious,” Derek says.

Stiles sends him a narrow-eyed look, full of suspicion, but Derek completely ignores him in favor of opening his book; it’s a physics textbook, and it looks awful, but Derek’s as relaxed as if he were reading for pleasure. Hell, maybe he is reading for pleasure, the gigantic weirdo. Stiles would not be surprised; it’s not like anything else about the past five minutes has made actual sense.

He goes to finally take a sip of his coffee, but stills once more, the rim almost to his lip. “Did you put something in this?” he asks, though it’s a half-hearted question at best. “Salt? Hot sauce? Ants?”

Derek’s face does a funny waver when Stiles says ‘ants,’ and Stiles can’t tell if it’s a look that says ‘what the hell is wrong with you’ or one of amusement. Regardless, Derek keeps his eyes on his book and says, “Shut up and drink your coffee, Stiles.”

Stiles does, and it’s every bit as delicious as it smelled. It’s got pumpkin in it, and Stiles sighs happily as he takes a slightly bigger sip. It’s even the perfect temperature: warm and almost hot, but not enough to burn his tongue.

When he glances over, he can see that Derek’s mouth is curled up in the barest hint of a smile. It’s not at all noticeable unless you’re looking for it.

Stiles drinks his coffee, eats his scone, and gets back to work on his flashcards. The whole time, Derek sits in the armchair next to him, silently reading his book. When Stiles comes to the end of his stack of notecards, he gathers up all of his things, gets to his feet, then hovers awkwardly.

“So, thanks,” he says, after it’s been a few seconds, and Derek still hasn’t acknowledged the fact that he’s now standing. “For the coffee and the scone. They were really good. I’m, uh... heading out. To the library, I think.”

Derek does glance up from his book, then; if Stiles had to assign a name to his expression, he would probably say ‘smug,’ except it’s the nicest smug expression Stiles has ever seen. There’s something warm in it, something that sends a shiver up his spine.

“You’re welcome,” Derek says, then adds, “You should check out the fourth floor of the library. There are some really nice chairs in the back left corner - nice and quiet.”

And that’s that. Derek goes back to his book, and Stiles heads over to the library, where he’s far more successful at overanalyzing the past hour than he is at learning any Econ.

*

The Econ Test of Doom, as Stiles has taken to calling it in his head, is two days after his awkward, but wonderfully-coffee-filled afternoon with Derek. He wakes up in plenty of time (since Econ isn’t until ten thirty, as opposed to the horror that is Scott’s 8am biology lab), but he’s too jittery to eat, so instead of stopping by the cafeteria he just heads straight to the Econ building to get in some last-minute cramming.

It’s a little after nine, so the quad is still fairly empty - devoid of students, but full of heavy, cool air, the kind that holds the promise of a truly miserable rainstorm later. Autumn rainstorms are the worst, Stiles thinks. Rain shouldn’t even be allowed after September. October should be sunny and clear, and from November on, it needs to be snow or nothing.

Still, it isn’t raining yet, and it should hold off long enough for Stiles to finish his exam and hightail it back to his dorm room, where he might even opt for a nap to make up for all of the sleep he hasn’t been getting this week.

There’s a coffee stand in the lobby of the Econ building, and Stiles decides to treat himself. It’s early, he’s been a model student these past few days, and as far as he’s concerned, he deserves a nice, steaming latte. Also, he might even require it, so as to avoid falling asleep mid-exam.

As he approaches the stand, he spots a familiar figure in line, and his steps begin to slow. Leather jacket, artfully mussed hair, and - yes, a flash of stubble when he turns his head...

“Derek?” Stiles hears himself ask, the name falling out of his mouth without his permission. Derek turns, and when he sees Stiles, he actually cracks a smile. Stiles’ feet carry him closer, also without permission, finally coming to a stop right in front of him.

“Morning,” Derek says calmly, even though Stiles, personally, feels like his own eyes might be close to bugging out of his head.

“Are you following me?” he demands.

“Well, seeing as I was here first, no,” Derek says, raising a dark, imperious eyebrow. “And second - paranoid much?”

“I don’t think I can be blamed for that!” Stiles exclaims. “You’re, like, everywhere lately, what is up with that?”

“Next,” the barista calls out, and Stiles watches, speechless, as Derek orders two medium coffees - one black, one pumpkin - and then hands the latter to Stiles.

“You - what - ” Stiles splutters, and then chokes a little when Derek says, “You want a bagel or something?”

“No,” he manages. “No thank you. I - no. No bagels.”

Derek shrugs, then hands over a five, telling the barista to keep the change. “You should eat something,” he tells Stiles as he starts to walk away. Stiles, for reasons unknown even to himself, stumbles after him. “You have that Econ test today, right?”

“Okay, creepy,” Stiles says. “How do you even know that?”

“Greenberg has that class with you, he’s been studying for that exam all week,” Derek says. Stiles just stares at him blankly, and Derek rolls his eyes. “Greenberg? He’s one of our pledges. He says he sits behind you nearly every class.”

That, of course, just begs a thousand more questions, because why the hell does Derek know any of this, but Stiles can’t quite seem to voice any of them.

“I... have to go,” Stiles says faintly, turning abruptly away from Derek and heading for the second floor.

“Good luck!” Derek calls after him.

*

Stiles is pretty sure he aces his exam, even though he spends most of the period pointedly not sneaking looks at the kid sitting behind him - the one who must be Greenberg. Now that he’s gotten a look at him, he recognizes him as the guy Professor Finstock is always harping at. Still, he has no idea why Derek, of all people, knows that they share a class. He can’t help but wonder if the guy’s actually some sort of spy for Derek, keeping an eye out for any possibility of a new prank from Stiles.

Except his epic prank war has sort of fallen by the wayside. Which... could have been Derek’s purpose in sleeping with him, Stiles supposes. He’d definitely seemed pleased when he mentioned the lack of recent pranks. But that would have taken planning, and he doesn’t think the sex was premeditated; Derek had been just as shocked to find out he’d been fucking Stiles as Stiles had been upon seeing who was behind that Wolverine mask.

If he could just figure out what the hell Derek’s angle is, he would feel so much better about how nice he’s being. Up until now, Stiles has been pretty confident in his knowledge that Derek is a Dick. The way Derek’s behaving now is seriously throwing that into question, not to mention making everything weird.

Not that the weirdness is keeping him from drinking the pumpkin lattes Derek keeps giving to him. Those are too freaking delicious to even think about letting go to waste.

Stiles hands his exam in just after Greenberg, and after about thirty seconds of deliberation, he jogs forward a few steps to catch up with the guy.

“Hey,” Stiles says, coming to a stop directly beside him. Greenberg visibly startles. He’s not a bad-looking kid, with sandy blonde hair and brown eyes. He’s average height and an average weight, nothing really striking about him: nondescript might actually be the best word.

“Uh, hi,” Greenberg says warily. His voice is deeper than Stiles would have expected.

“Greenberg, right?” Stiles asks, just to make sure. The guy nods, and Stiles clears his throat. “Stiles Stilinski,” he says.

“Yeah, I know,” Greenberg says. He winces a little when Stiles fixes him with a very stern look.

“Oh, I know you know,” Stiles says. Greenberg looks trapped; it gives Stiles a heady rush of power, and if this is how Derek feels on a daily basis, well, Stiles isn’t totally sure he can blame the guy for all the vaguely threatening looming he does.

“So,” Stiles continues, “yes or no - have you been spying on me for the benefit of one Derek Hale?”

Greenberg makes a strangled noise, and his expression goes vaguely embarrassed. “Spying is... too strong a word,” he finally says. “Derek just... wanted to know about you. Partly in the hopes of hearing about your next prank before it actually happened, I think? He was... I don’t know... kind of obsessed with you, for awhile.”

“Well, that’s... just as creepy as I thought it would be,” Stiles mutters.

“No - creepy’s also too strong a word,” Greenberg says. “He wasn’t obsessed like some sort of stalker. He was just interested.” He sighs, looking resigned, in a way that would just look grumpy on someone else. “Jackson even heard him complaining to his sister how the Omegas scooped up the best freshman our class had to offer, right under his nose. I think he would’ve been trying to recruit you if you weren’t so devoted to the Omegas.”

“Yeah, well, the Omegas are awesome,” Stiles says staunchly, ignoring the way his whole body flushes warm at that thought, of Derek speaking so highly of him. Of course, there’s an obvious enough reason for that - something a thousand times more likely than the idea that Derek might be kind of into him. Recruitment.

It actually sort of makes sense. Derek’s behaviors of late have had a very definite ‘wooing’ vibe, but the idea that Derek’s just trying to get him to switch fraternities makes a whole lot more sense than. You know. Actual wooing.

“Well,” Stiles says after that’s had a moment to sink in. “This has been... enlightening, Greenberg, thank you.”

“We’re done with the pranking now, right?” Greenberg asks hopefully. “Because those stink bombs were foul, man.”

“No promises,” Stiles says immediately, but it’s mostly to keep the guy on his toes. Serves him right for reporting back to Derek on all of Stiles’ movements. Not that Stiles was making any moves in Econ class, but still. That is annoying and invasive on so many levels.

Greenberg looks like he figured as much though, and he even lifts a hand in goodbye as Stiles peels away from him, heading in the opposite direction.

The sky’s darker than it was earlier, and the coffee Derek had bought for him is entirely worn off. Stiles can feel exhaustion creeping over him, settling on his shoulders, and by the time he gets back to his dorm, he doesn’t have any brain power left to think any more thoughts about the Derek situation. All he wants is to crawl into bed and sleep the afternoon away.

He meets Scott halfway down the staircase; he’s yanking a sweatshirt on, clearly in a hurry, and he almost bowls Stiles over before he realizes who it is.

“Oh, sorry - hey!” he says happily. “Stiles! I’ve been texting you, dude, you weren’t answering!”

“My phone was off, I had an exam,” Stiles says, fighting a yawn.

“Oh, right, that Econ one, yeah? Did it go okay? You can tell me later. Listen, I just heard from Danny, and the guys in the frat - ”

“No,” Stiles says firmly, cutting Scott off before he can get any further. “No, no frat stuff right now. The only thing I am interested in at the moment is my mattress.”

“But,” Scott protests, fixing Stiles with pleading eyes, “we’re all going to - ”

“No,” Stiles says again, resuming his trek up the stairs. “Dude, I got all of three hours of sleep last night, my pillow is calling to me. I’ll shoot you a text when I get up, okay?”

“Okay,” Scott grumbles, looking as pouty as a kindergartener who’s being denied a cookie, but Stiles refuses to be swayed.

Once he gets into his room, he doesn’t even stop to change into pajamas, just tosses his bag and coat on the floor, strips to his boxers and snuggles down deep into his covers, shutting his eyes with a content sigh.

Outside, thunder rumbles across the sky, a promise that rain is on its way.

*

His room is dark when a loud slam jolts him out of sleep some indeterminate amount of time later. It’s not nighttime dark - he hasn’t slept that long - but middle-of-the-afternoon-storm dark, where everything in the room ends up taking on a shadowy appearance. Now that he’s (mostly) awake, he can hear the steady drumming of rain against his window.

“Whassat?” Stiles croaks, and he presses up onto his elbows, blinking blearily into the dim light. It takes him a good five seconds to zero in on the cause of the slam.

Standing just inside his room, arms crossed in front of his chest and leaning up against his closed door, is Derek.

“Th’hell?” Stiles manages, rubbing firmly at his eyes, because there is every possibility that he’s hallucinating right now. There’s really no other explanation for why Derek seems to be in his actual room, glowering at him.

“I thought we were done with the pranks,” Derek says, and his voice is doing that growly thing again, where he sounds inordinately pissed off - at Stiles, specifically.

“Pranks?” Stiles echoes, forcing himself to sit up. After a moment, he thinks better of it and stands, because lounging in bed seems like a stupid idea in the face of an angry intruder. “What are you even talking about? I haven’t done anything in over a week.”

“Then why don’t you explain to me,” Derek says, and his voice is still dangerous, “why the Alpha house is currently covered in soggy, mostly disintegrated toilet paper.”

Stiles blinks at him, and then out of the corner of his eye, he notices his phone blinking. He grabs for it, and there’s a notification - a new picture from Scott. He opens it to find a snapshot of the Alpha house, absolutely covered in toilet paper.

“Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” he groans, realization hitting him all at once. This, undoubtedly, is what Scott had wanted to discuss on the staircase. “They went with the TPing? Really? Really?”

“What do you mean, ‘they’?” Derek demands.

“You think I had anything to do with this?” Stiles asks. He’s almost offended, really - Derek should be giving him more credit than this. “Come on, this isn’t even any good. TPing someone’s place is totally lame!”

Derek’s glaring at him, eyes narrowed, but Stiles catches the moment his gaze shifts, dropping down to Stiles’ chest - which, it suddenly occurs to Stiles, is decidedly lacking a shirt. He shuffles his feet, resisting the urge to cross his arms, which would be way too obvious an attempt to cover himself up.

“Seriously, that was not me,” Stiles says. “That was the other members of my pledge class finally taking some initiative. Lame, unoriginal initiative, but still.”

“Fine,” Derek mutters, still looking grumpy, but not nearly as grumpy as before. Which seems kind of unfair, if you ask Stiles. Because why is it so much worse if Stiles is the one behind the prank?

“How are you even here?” Stiles asks. “Our doors lock automatically, and the window is closed! And the wall outside is not particularly conducive to climbing - believe me, I have tried.”

“I have a key,” Derek says, holding it up.

“You - what?” Stiles splutters. “How?”

“Jackson kept it,” Derek says with a shrug. “He claimed he lost his copy, and then just paid for a replacement.”

“Okay, that is ridiculously against the rules!” Stiles says, although he’s mostly just irritated he didn’t think of that himself. Oh, the possibilities of unlimited access to Jackson’s dorm room.

Derek smirks, like he knows exactly why Stiles is upset about that, then slides the key back into his own pocket. His gaze catches on Stiles’ chest again, then wanders slowly down to his boxers.

Stiles can feel his cheeks heating up, and he notices for the first time that Derek’s wet - not soaked, but damp, like maybe he got caught in some of the rain just before he made it to Stiles’ building, where he then apparently ninja’d his way up to the second floor.

It’s a good look for him, Stiles decides, mostly against his will.

“Okay,” Stiles says quickly, before Derek can catch him looking. “Well, now that we’ve cleared that up, feel free to be on your way.”

Derek ignores him; in fact, he does just the opposite, taking a few steps closer, his heavy black boots muffled against the carpet.

“You still have a mark,” he murmurs, and he’s just near enough to reach out and brush his fingertips against the remnants of one of the hickeys he left, low on Stiles’ neck.

“Yeah, well,” Stiles says, shivering. Derek’s hands are cold, is all. “You are a vampire, congratulations.”

He’s half-expecting one of Derek’s wolfish grins in response to that, but Derek’s entire focus is narrowed to Stiles’ neck, to the hint of a bruise, the only mark that’s lingered. Stiles had passed it off as a burn from a tragic encounter with the panini machine in the cafeteria. Scott, bless his heart, hadn’t questioned it.

“Derek?” Stiles manages, once Derek’s touch turns more deliberate, his fingers smoothing over the mark, his thumb coming to rest against Stiles’ pulse. Stiles swallows, and his heartbeat kicks up a notch. “What’s... what is this? What are we doing here?”

“I don’t know,” Derek mutters. “You - you’re interesting.” He sounds almost frustrated by it. “You interest me, and people usually don’t.”

It sounds like it should be a compliment of the backhanded variety, but Stiles can’t muster up any indignation. Of course he can’t, not when Derek interests him in the same way. From this side of that hook up, after all, Stiles can’t help but wonder if the incessant pranking reads more as a juvenile display of affection, a college-age version of pigtail-pulling.

“I interest you,” Stiles repeats. “That is... shocking, frankly. I would’ve gone with irritating or infuriating way before interesting.”

“Oh, you’re those, too,” Derek says, and, possibly to keep Stiles from demonstrating the truth of that statement, he closes the rest of the distance between them and seals his mouth over Stiles’ in a searing kiss.

Stiles is pretty sure his mouth is sleep-stale, but Derek’s tastes overwhelmingly of coffee, and Stiles lets out a soft moan, surging forward to get closer to him. Derek’s mouth might be warm and heady, but the rest of him isn’t, and Stiles lets out an undignified yelp when Derek’s other hand settles on the small of his back, his ice-cold fingers digging into Stiles’ skin.

“Jesus, fuck,” Stiles hisses. “You’re cold.”

“Clothes’re wet, can’t help it,” Derek says, his voice a rumble so low in his chest that Stiles can feel the vibrations of it. He breaks away from Stiles though, just long enough to shrug out of his leather jacket and peel off his clinging, wet t-shirt.

Stiles makes a quiet noise, eyes glued to the play of Derek’s muscles as he starts undoing his jeans. It still goes against all reason, the apparent fact that Derek wants to do this with him - that he’s choosing to get naked with Stiles, of all people. And Stiles still isn’t sure what this part of it - the sex part - has to do with Derek wanting to recruit him, but he knows now isn’t the time for thinking about such complicated matters. Now is definitely not that time.

It’s a matter of a few seconds before Derek’s kicked off his shoes and stripped down to his boxer briefs, and then he goes right back to kissing Stiles. His skin is still cool and clammy, but it’s a lot better than wet clothes, and Stiles has a feeling it won’t be long before he warms up.

“Here, c’mon,” he mumbles into Derek’s mouth, walking backwards toward his bed, tugging Derek along with him. “My bed’s warm - an’ I have an excellent comforter.”

“Sold,” Derek grins, taking a moment to tug down their respective boxers before tumbling the both of them down to the mattress. Stiles tugs the blanket up over Derek’s back, and then it’s just the feel of skin on and skin as Derek stretches out on top of him. He moves his mouth down to Stiles’ neck, starts sucking what’s sure to be a horrendously visible hickey just below his ear, but Stiles can’t find it in himself to complain, especially when Derek curves his palm to Stiles’ thigh and nudges his leg up around Derek’s waist. Stiles takes the hint and curls his leg tighter, until they’re grinding together, dicks rubbing against each other in a tantalizing drag.

“Have you got anything?” Derek asks, apparently deciding he’s had enough of that particular patch of skin for now, ducking down to one of Stiles’ nipples instead. The not-so-gentle scrape of his teeth is enough to make Stiles arch, a sharp gasp spilling out of him as he flings a hand out and fumbles for his bedside drawer.

“I - here,” he says, flicking open the lid on the small bottle of lotion he keeps there, then squeezing some into the hand Derek holds out. It’s another shock of cold when Derek wraps his hand around the both of them, but it fades away quickly.

“I was - I wanted to blow you,” Stiles mumbles, wrapping his arms tight around Derek’s broad shoulders. Derek thrusts down harder, and Stiles’ own hips jerk up in return. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, this is good, too, just,” Stiles continues. “I - I just - ”

“Next time,” Derek says roughly. “Next time, okay?”

Stiles groans as Derek gives an expert flick of his wrist, his thumb sliding teasingly over the head of Stiles’ cock. He might not know what this is, what they’re doing, but this feels fantastic. In this moment, it’s amazing, even if he might feel shitty about it afterward, and he drags Derek down into another kiss instead of worrying about it.

They rock together, their movements growing a little less coordinated as the seconds tick past. The room is quiet, and Stiles’ ears are filled with nothing but the ragged pant of Derek’s breaths, the slick slide of his hand as he strokes them to completion.

“Fuck, c’mon,” Stiles moans, his fingers digging in hard against Derek’s shoulder muscles. “Almost - so close - ”

Derek makes a noise a lot like a growl, and he tightens his fist, strokes him harder and faster until Stiles’ body tips over the edge, a muffled groan escaping past his lips. Derek’s right after him, his come spilling right onto Stiles’ stomach, leaving him wet and sticky and gross.

Stiles doesn’t care - not even when Derek slumps down on top of him, not making any move whatsoever to clean either of them up. Stiles’ breathing starts to even out after a few moments, and as nice as it feels to have Derek sprawled on top of him, it occurs to Stiles that he’s also heavy.

“Okay, enough smushing,” Stiles says, nudging Derek off to the side. They’re still squeezed tightly together - Stiles’ bed might be an extra-long twin, but it doesn’t have any extra width - but Derek just wraps an arm around Stiles’ waist and pulls him close.

It’s kind of nice, actually, and while the whole situation remains deeply strange and unexpected, Stiles isn’t panicking like he was last time. He’s not sure why - maybe it’s just that this feels almost familiar now. He does catch a glimpse of his stomach though, which is still covered in tacky, drying come, and he makes a face.

“Ugh, God, this was stupid,” he mutters, and Derek stiffens against him, his arm going rigid. When Stiles cranes his head up to look at him, he sees that Derek’s mouth is that same, tight line it had been when Stiles ran out on him after the second time they had sex.

“I - I just mean,” Stiles fumbles, “that I don’t have a bathroom or anything? To wash up. It’s communal - there’s one down the hall, but that’s it.”

“Oh,” Derek says, and Stiles can feel his body relax, just that easily. Derek reaches an arm behind him to the floor, then, grabs Stiles’ discarded shirt and starts to wipe the both of them up.

“Hey!” Stiles says. “Dude - that’s my - ugh, forget it, you asshole.” The insult comes out kind of disgustingly fond, and Derek just bares his teeth in a grin before he tosses the shirt back down to the floor and leans in for another kiss.

They make out for just long enough that Stiles starts thinking longingly of a second round, when Derek breaks away from his mouth, nosing against Stiles’ cheek instead.

“You going to let me feed you this time?” he murmurs, one hand smoothing possessively down Stiles’ chest, coming to settle at his hip.

“Uh, feed me?” Stiles echoes dumbly. “Wait, what do you mean, this time?”

“Well, last time we did this - I was going to ask if you wanted to get breakfast. But you ran away,” Derek says. His thumb is rubbing circles against Stiles’ skin, a slow, teasing touch that’s proving to be hellishly distracting. Stiles’ brain is mostly firing on all cylinders again, though not in panic this time, just confusion.

“You... wanted to get me breakfast,” Stiles says blankly. Derek makes an assenting noise, pressing his mouth to Stiles’ throat, and nope, no, Derek isn’t allowed to say things like that and then distract Stiles with his mouth, so Stiles wiggles away from him, fixing Derek with a stern look.

“Are you trying to recruit me?” he says.

“What?” Derek asks, looking just as confused as Stiles feels.

“With the - you know, the coffee!” Stiles exclaims. “And the scones, and the stalking me, and - okay, I mean, sex would be an extreme measure, I don’t see how you could want me in your frat that badly - ”

“I don’t want you in my frat,” Derek says bluntly, and Stiles gapes at him.

“Well, geez, thanks - ”

Derek cuts him off with an annoyed clearing of his throat. “That isn’t - that’s not what I meant. I - “ He makes another annoyed sound, this one more of a growl, and then he rolls over on top of Stiles again, looming, a little.

“You’re a menace,” he mutters, his head dipping just low enough to catch Stiles’ mouth in a brief kiss. “And you’ve been driving me and my entire frat crazy all semester. But you’re smart, and fascinating and so fucking sharp, and if you ever decided to switch your pledge, I’d take you up on it in a heartbeat.”

He takes Stiles’ mouth again, in short, almost aggressive kisses, and in the space between one and the next, Stiles manages to prompt, “But?” because he knows there’s one lurking nearby, hiding somewhere underneath all of Derek’s relatively complimentary words.

“But,” Derek says, “that’s not what the coffee was for. Or the bagels. Or the sex. I told you - you interest me. And I want to take you out for breakfast. Or... dinner now, I guess,” he adds, glancing at the window, making note of the time.

“So,” Stiles says, very slowly, “you mean, like, a date? You want to take me out on a date.”

Derek gives him a look that heavily implies he thinks Stiles is being an idiot, but also yes, that is exactly what he wants to do.

“Holy shit,” Stiles breathes. “You - what? Really?”

“Are you seriously going to make me keep repeating it?” Derek demands, and Stiles laughs, a happy, bright sound that just spills out of him, before he drags him down into another kiss.

“You need to learn to use your words,” he mumbles against Derek’s mouth.

“I didn’t have time, you ran away,” Derek retorts, sliding his hand down to palm Stiles’ ass, giving it a friendly sort of grope.

It’s a fair enough statement, but Stiles ignores it in favor of rolling Derek over, so that Stiles can straddle his hips.

“I know where Scott keeps his condoms,” he says, waggling his eyebrows suggestively. “You wanna?”

Derek’s eyes go dark, and his hands tighten possessively on Stiles’ hips. “I want,” he agrees, although it’s another ten minutes before he lets go of Stiles long enough to actually get the condoms.

It’s okay though; Stiles doesn’t mind.

*

“Hey,” Stiles says, after, from where he’s sprawled on top of Derek; it’s better this way, far less smushing involved.

“Mmm?” Derek hums, more of a sigh, really. His eyes are closed, and Stiles thinks it might be the most relaxed he’s ever seen him.

“Is this going to be a thing we tell people about?” Stiles asks quietly. Derek makes another sleepy noise and skates his hand up Stiles’ back. “I mean, it’s not like this is serious yet, we could go on that date and it might be awful, and, okay, I am not at all trying to have the labels conversation yet, because it is way too soon for that - ”

“Are the Omegas going to kick you out if they find out we're dating?” Derek murmurs.

“Uh, no, I don’t think so,” Stiles says after a moment. “I mean, I’m not officially in yet, but that’d be a pretty dick move on their part, right? And they’re not dicks. The Alphas, on the other hand - ”

Derek cuts him off with a sharp smack to his ass, all noise and no hurt, though Stiles lets out a muffled yelp anyway. “You should tell anyone you want,” Derek says.”Everyone, I don’t care. I’m not planning on keeping you a secret.”

He says it so easily, like it never even occurred to him to tuck Stiles away in the shadows somewhere, and Stiles pretty much has to kiss him then, sweet and slow.

“M’texting Scott,” he says, as he pulls away. “Right now.”

Derek doesn’t protest, just winds his arms securely around his waist as Stiles reaches for his phone.

dont come back to the room for at least 2 hrs he writes. ive got a gentleman caller

He presses send, but immediately fires off a second text.

the gentleman caller is derek hale. srsly dont come back. u will see his ass and probably be traumatized.

also, we’re dating now, but don’t freak out. its awesome. and im not joking

“There, done,” Stiles says smugly, turning his phone off because if he doesn’t, it will no doubt be blowing up with a constant stream of increasingly hysterical texts from Scott, and Stiles is not in the mood. He settles more comfortably against Derek, liking the way their bodies fit so well together. He sneaks a peek at Derek, noting the way his face is still so open and relaxed, how his eyes have stayed shut this entire time.

“Sleep?” Stiles asks, and Derek hums.

“Sleep,” he agrees.

*

Scott, predictably, bursts into their room just as Stiles and Derek have woken up from their doze and are getting started on round three. He makes a terribly undignified noise, then immediately shuts his eyes and proceeds to trip all over himself on his way back out.

“I warned you!” Stiles shouts after him.

“I hate you!” Scott calls back, the instant before he slams the door.

“He loves me,” Stiles tells Derek, grinning widely. “I keep his life exciting.”

Derek rolls his eyes, but his smile is fond, and he immediately sets to work on kissing Stiles until he’s nothing more than a puddle on top of him.

“Let’s not go out,” Stiles murmurs. “Let’s stay in, order something instead. Chinese.”

“‘Kay,” Derek agrees easily, then sets about kissing his way down Stiles’ neck.

Stiles smiles, containing as best he can the way it wants to sunburst out of him. “Great, because I know some really excellent delivery places - ”

That’s as far as he gets before Derek lets out a growl and flips him, pinning him to the mattress. Stiles just throws his head back and laughs, happy and free.