Stiles was more of a sprinter than a jogger. There was a distinction, just ask the Wikipedia entry he read on the subject. His problem was that he had a lot of energy to burn, but he didn’t like to take a lot of time doing it. He had better things to do, like die in a hail of bullets and fire while trying to rescue Scott from those douches from Arkansas who kept changing the name of their guild, confusing Scott into challenging them about twice a month.
So no, Stiles didn’t have much time for jogging. He actually had a full time job that had nothing to do with logging into an online MMORPG with buddies from high school. He had stupid adult responsibilities, and if it wasn’t for the fact that lopping his way through Central Park allowed him to keep his exercise pact with his dad, Stiles would have given it up the first time he rounded a corner and almost got clipped by a bike messenger, or the first time he got tripped up in a dog walker’s bajillion leashes, or the first time his sneakers skidded on loose gravel and he took a header down an embankment of geese.
Who was he kidding? He would have given it up the first time (full stop), but so long as Stiles ran twenty miles a week, his dad ran twenty miles a week, and when his dad kept healthy it helped loosen a bit of the worry that clawed at Stiles’ chest at inconvenient times, like in the middle of the night when he awoke from a dream of his father twirling his mother around the kitchen, the skirt of her nightgown swirling around her legs. He’d stare at the pattern lights of his ceiling, breath trapped in his throat at the sound of laughter, the ghostly rustle of material, and the scent of her perfume. Panic welled like a vise around his heart, clawed fingers through his chest, and tore into the organ as he thought about loss, loneliness and death, his mother dragging his father into the ground with her, and his father allowing it, a passive acknowledgement of the worth of his life without her. Those nights were almost worse now than they were when he was a child and the sensation had been new. At least back then he would wake to the sound of his dad’s snoring, or with the knowledge that he could browbeat him into eating healthy the next day until Stiles was satisfied that he was keeping death at bay the best he could.
Jogging and guilt were his greatest tools from 3,000 miles away.
Since Stiles didn’t really consider himself a runner, he never really bothered investing in aerodynamic running suits that looked like a cross between wetsuits and the most unflatteringly boring superhero costumes ever (and he had watched the Adam West version of Batman as a child). He was fine without the reflector jackets, the reflector leggings, and the fannypacks with attached water bottles around the circumference like goddamn jogging ballast, as if runner’s high was literal and pandemic. No, Stiles considered himself a sane jogger in his hoodie and track pants (or t-shirt and shorts in the summer) with multiple pockets for a few dollar bills in case he needed to buy a bottle of water or a danish along his path (strategized for proximity to pastries, ice cream, and water) (in that order of priority).
Stiles was sitting on a bench in the park, winded and regretting wearing a hoodie despite the cooler temperatures of the autumn air when he first stepped out of his apartment that morning. Like every morning, he berated himself for stepping into the park and immediately wasting all his energy through the gate like he was in a race for his life.
No sprinting. Jogging. He was a jogger now.
He was still panting, breath harsh and with a slight metallic rawness as he tried to force air into his poor abused lungs, when Godly Jogger came into sight. Stiles had seen Godly Jogger a few times at a distance, and admired his stride, the smoothness of shifting muscles and strength at a speed Stiles himself could only maintain for about the first mile before collapsing into a bag of bones and sweat oozing out of a red hoodie sack. Godly Jogger was like... words could not describe his epic hotness. Stiles knew, because unfortunately Stiles had a bad habit of veering off his path so he could follow Godly Jogger over and under Central Park landmarks until it either became weird for one bro to be chasing another bro, or Stiles had to stop unless he really did die. Godly Jogger’s ass didn’t need a marble statue to commemorate it because his ass had already been chiselled in marble in the Parthenon or whatever.
Or maybe that was just Godly Jogger’s dedication to the golden ratio, because daaaaamn dat ass.
Stiles secretly thought Godly Jogger was Superman.
Buns of steel.
Stiles had never really gotten a good look at Godly Jogger’s face, but he had caught glimpses of strong eyebrows, and he was sure there was some kind of Sandy Cohen, Bert from Sesame Street level of eyebrow going on there. Fixable, of course, but Godly Jogger couldn’t possibly be as attractive as his ass denoted. Stiles was expecting some kind of butterface deformity to kill the perpetual boner Stiles had for Godly Jogger’s ass.
Hey, he could be as shallow as he wanted in his fantasies, ok? He should be able to objectify the hot runner in the park with minimum guilt – it wasn’t like he was asking the guy to go get coffee with him, in which case Stiles had a whole lot more criteria than the man being a prettier runner than Ridiculously Photogenic Guy.
... and he was being defensive in his own head. Stiles was the worst perv ever. It was almost as though he’d turned and watched Godly Jogger enough times that he wasn’t allowed to be objective, because the first five times were free but the sixth came with a heavy dosage of I-want-to-know-everything-about-you-what-movies-do-you-like-and-will-you-give-me-the-third-Reese’s-Pieces-in-the-3pack? crushing.
That morning he was sitting on a bench right in front of the gate he used to enter and exit the park, the quickest way to get back to his apartment, and Godly Jogger approached, all abs and thigh muscles and everything. Stiles looked away quickly, because he didn’t really want to see Godly Jogger’s face, because that would make him real, and it was bad enough having his heart speed up after sitting for three minutes trying to breathe, he didn’t need to actually confront the fact he liiiked Godly Jogger. Stiles spent his teenage years crushing someone stratospherically out of his league, he didn’t need to do the same in his early twenties.
As though the universe spent it’s time directly conspiring against him, Godly Jogger slowed the nearer he got to the entrance until he stopped at the bench next to Stiles, foot braced against the seat and calf muscles flexing in the periphery of Stiles’ gaze. He raised the hem of his black t-shirt, wiping his face with the already damp material, abs on display. Stiles had never seen anything as gorgeous, so mouth-watering, sink his teeth into and roll around in amazing as Godly Jogger’s abs, and last week he’d gotten up early enough to see the pastries from the bakery across the street come out of the oven, and the week before that he assisted with a Calvin Klein underwear ad shoot.
With Jamie Dornan.
Jamie Fucking Dornan, okay? He was comparing Godly Jogger to Jamie Dornan and Godly Jogger was coming out ahead.
Godly Jogger started to lower his shirt and Stiles’ eyes darted away. It was one thing to ogle, and yet another thing entirely to do something as intimate as looking at someone’s face.
Don’t look, he coached himself, but if Stiles was really bad at one thing it was convincing himself not to do something. He couldn’t stop himself from sprinting and he couldn’t stop himself from turning his head to stare at the Adonis next to him.
Worst coach ever.
He tried to do it all casual-like too, raising his bottle of water to his lips and turning his head at the same time.
He’d been right, Godly Jogger’s face was truly unfortunate. Strong jaw, dark stubble that did nothing to detract from lush but downturned lips, cheekbones and a masculinely attractive nose, and dark, compelling eyes.
Stiles choked on his water, spraying it all down his front. It was mortifying considering how goddamn gorgeous his benchmate was, because Godly Jogger’s face was unfortunate only to Stiles and his hope that it would kill his attraction. He should have known better, really, but a guy could hope for a Voldemort nose or a thumb chin to quell budding love for a stranger’s form, couldn’t he?
“I’ve been, uh, working on my stamina... longevity, you know, less wham bam and more slow and steady wins the race.”
It took Stiles about two seconds to hear the innuendo, and his mortification was complete.
Godly Jogger turned to glare at him, and holy shit.
Dark compelling eyes.
And nope, Stiles noted as Demonic Overlord Jogger left the park with a withering gaze, that did absolutely nothing to discourage Stiles. He was absolutely and terrifyingly turned on, wheezing on a bench and considering himself lucky he hadn’t gotten mugged by Buns of Steel.
Stiles to Scott: Dude I now know how you felt that time you had an asthma attack when Allison was giving you a striptease and her dad came in with his gun.
Scott to Stiles: ??? u promised never 2 bring that up after ur best man speech.