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The Hazards (and Benefits) of Channel-Surfing on Friday Nights

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It's really fucking unfortunate channel surfing is what it is. He's Skyping with Scott, watching TV over the edge of his laptop when Scott brings up the fact that he's still a lonely fucking loser without a boyfriend in this third year of college which... Okay. So not cool. Way to be a shitty friend, Scott. He'll remember that next summer when you call looking for a couch to sleep on because Allison kicked you out of your apartment. But, aside from not being cool, it's completely true. It's Friday night and he's having a Skype date with the best friend he's had since he was, like, bite-sized and not out having a good time like his dorm-mate who, Stiles would like to point out, has enough sex for them both on Fridays and Saturdays alone, not to mention all the weekdays when he doesn't roll in until 7 in the morning just to get changed and head to class.

Stiles isn't sure what he's thinking (or if he's fucking thinking at all, let's be real) but he blurts out something about having a boyfriend and how hot he is and how he totally doesn't need Scott to keep him company on Friday nights; the only reason he's lounging in his bed, staring at a muted TV and half-listening to Scott blabber on and on about Allison is because he's just trying to be a good best friend, okay?

And then Scott says, "What's his name?" and Stiles is dumb-struck. Dude, you're not supposed to ask questions like that. What is this, a fucking pop quiz?

There's a Grey's Anatomy rerun on the screen and McDreamy is leaning against the wall, face twisted with emotion or constipation and Stiles blurts "Derek" before he has time to reconsider Scott's eyebrow has time to be raised any higher, already looking like it's prepared to be eaten by his bangs.

"Just Derek? Derek doesn't have a last name?"

Stiles fumbles with the remote, presses the up button so viciously his thumb hurts and then, when he lands on a news report about last year’s hail storm yells, "HAIL!" so loud that Scott actually leans back away from his computer screen, eyes wide and eyebrows being properly digested now by his bangs.

"Like the weather?"

"No." What is with the fucking questions? "Like... H-A-L-E. Like Haley" – or some shit.

Scott's gullible ass, for the very first time, is completely in doubt. "No way. I'm checking Facebook."

"You're really doubting me, dude? Really? Whatever happened to trusting your friends? Why would I lie?"

"Because you don't want to look like a –" but then Scott pauses, face leaning so close to the screen that the pale blue light illuminates his skin. His eyes are wide, mouth hanging open as he mutters, "Shit, dude."

Aww fuck.

"He's real."

"He is? – I mean, of course he is!" Holy mother of God. Stiles is so fucked.

No. No, he's alright. He's a fucking college junior, it's not like people don't break up and rotate boyfriends every two weeks here anyway. Keep up the story for a couple of days, pretend to go through an awkward break-up and BAM!, problem solved.

But, just out of curiosity...

Stiles types in ‘Derek Hale’ in his Facebook search bar, as quietly as possible because Scott is still staring awestruck at the screen and being totally silent to the point that Stiles can practically hear him breathing, and is rewarded with the profile picture Scott must be seeing because... Good God, is this really Facebook? Did he get auto-directed to one of those porn sites? People like this don't exist in real life – not in any real life Stiles has ever dreamed of.

"Dude, how did you manage that?"

The guy on the screen is standing at the bottom of Janss Steps, Royce Hall just barely visible in the background and his smile is practically non-existent. There's a hint of humor at the corner of his lips but nothing more. That doesn't stop Stiles from staring, though. Christ, it should be fucking illegal to be that tall, dark and handsome or should at least come with the requirement of being tied to Stiles' bed three to five nights a week (or Stiles being tied to his – Derek Hale's, holy fuck! – bed). "I have no idea."

So, yeah, it's shitty cable television's fault. He should have been watching Netflix or some shit and not fed into Scott's little comments; he's better than that, right? He knows better. And there's no shame in being single – more unattached sex for him, yes? No breakfast to make in the morning. No awkward breakup conversations that you have to go at really, really gently in hopes of your ex not running around telling everyone about that time she rubbed her foot against your thigh and you came in your pants right there in the middle of dinner at her mom's house because –

Not that he did that or anything! It was just an example; he – Fuck it. Whatever. She had really nice feet.

Scott says, "Nice job, man" before they disconnect, gone when Stiles drops his face into his hands and groans because he's not sure how the hell he's supposed to pull this off but, at this point, he's come to the conclusion that he's pretty much got no choice and –

May the odds be ever in his fucking favor, right?


So, the lie starts off pretty small but... The more people learn, the cooler he seems to be and that's nice, alright? It's nice. Lydia starts to text him first, asking about what part of his personality Derek claims to like most because she’s determined to find his most-likely-nonexistant-twin-that-Stiles-can't-really-say-doesnt-exist-because-he-doesnt-know. Jackson begrudgingly hands over the keys to his Porsche when he's too drunk to drive his wasted ass home himself and says, "treat it like you treat Derek's car" because Derek's new profile picture is him leaning against the door of a sleek black Camaro and, fuck, what's the point of having a fake boyfriend if you can't even drive his car in your imagination and tell the biggest asshole you know all about it?

And then – and then – the fucking spoiled milk on the last bowl of Wheaties is when Allison tells Scott they need to have a relationship like Stiles and Derek's because 'they never argue – ever' and Stiles doesn't say, "that's because we don't even know each other" because, at this point, it'd be fucking social suicide and no one (much less everyone) has ever looked at him and said, "Dude, I want to be like you" before.

He's sure as hell not going back to all of his friends giving him those pity-stares whenever they invite him to dinner because he's the only one without someone to split dessert with or snag his portion of the check with a kiss to the cheek and a low, sexy murmured, "You can pay me back tonight."

That shit is all really sappy but... Whatever, he wants it anyway. No shame.

But then he forgets the part of his plan where he and Derek break up and instead keeps a journal of all the fake things he and Derek have done and fake facts about Derek's life and feelings and plans for their fake future.

By spring break he feels like Nicki Minaj; there's more fake about him than real and that's fine and all until Allison, Scott and Lydia insist on visiting for the week to catch up with him and Jackson.

And to meet Derek which – Yeeeaaahhhh.

He's so fucked.


So, here's the plan: Tell them he talked to Derek and that Derek is going to be meeting them at the party. When Derek doesn't show up, pretend to go outside to call and, when Derek fake-answers, have a fake-fight that ultimately leads to fake-breaking up with Stiles' fake-boyfriend at the party.

Problem: solved.

Of course, like all of Stiles' awesome plans, this one fails.

It starts off alright; he, Allison and Scott manage to get there before Lydia and Jackson which makes lying so much easier. As much as he appreciates them both, Allison and Scott are more trusting (and therefore easier to fool) than Lydia and Jackson will ever be and maybe it's shitty that he takes advantage of that on a regular basis but...Whatever. He can't undo the past and the future of his social rep is at stake so, yeah, he's taking advantage.

They're hardly through the door, pressing past half-naked strangers and further into the shaking house, trembling with every thump of the bass near the door when he taps Allison on the shoulder and yells, "I'm going to go outside and call Derek!"

For a second she looks confused. "He's already here, isn't he?" she yells back, nodding toward the open archway where Derek Hale is most certainly standing, taking a swig from his beer as a blonde leans against his side, looking like she's prepared to hop on his dick any minute. Not that Stiles can blame her, really. He's not even pressed against Derek and he's already imagining what it'd be like to grip the edge of Derek's black t-shirt and tug it over his head, press his fingers against the thick, worn leather of Derek's belt-buckle and – This isn't how this is supposed to go! He wasn't supposed to get caught in his llliiieee.

Derek is an awful fake-boyfriend for being at this party and letting that girl crawl all over him. Fuck.

Scott looks confused as the blonde girl next to Derek slides closer, moves around to press her front against his front and smile teasingly, stroking one finger down Derek's arm in full view of everyone and... Derek isn't pushing her away. When Scott realizes that, he goes from confused to furious before Stiles can even manage to create another lie to explain.

He bumps past Allison to pull Scott back by the edge of his shirt when he starts taking steps toward Derek. His hands finally get a hold of Scott's shoulders, force him still while his eyes take in the way Scott's eyes have gone dark and his lips have pressed together in a hard, angry line. Stiles gives himself a moment to appreciate having such a great best friend. He feels like shit when he says, "It's nothing – girls crawl on him all the time. I mean, can you blame them?" because Scott's fucking first-class and Stiles is still fucking lying to him. "Let me go let him know we're here, alright?"

Stiles' heart feels like it's getting ready to pounce right out of his chest; it's beating so hard his ribs hurt and the closer he gets to Derek and the blonde, the tighter his stomach feels. When he's barely a foot away it's pretty much a guarantee that he's about to lose his lunch all over Derek's shoes because – Yeah, he's in over his head with this one. Derek's lips are curled into something that resembles a smirk before the girl presses her lips against his and slides her hips closer, moans loud enough to be heard over the music.

And then he can't hear her little noises, her pleased moans, anymore. All he can hear is Scott yelling, "Hey, you asshole!" and the way everyone around them is going quiet, their voices cut off mid-sentence as Scott pushes past Stiles, knocking him into the wall beside Derek as he reaches to push the blonde away, replacing the space she was in before with his own body. But Scott isn't kissing Derek, running his hands down his arms or rocking their hips together; Scott is grabbing Derek's shirt in his hand, tugging hard. Derek's not much taller but he's wider and there's something harder about him when he stands next to Scott.

No, seriously, all puns aside, Derek looks scary. Looking between them, Stiles feels the difference between Scott and Derek; the difference in strength deeper than just on a physical level, as though Derek could break Scott by just looking at him. There's aura around him that says he doesn't care, that he has nothing to lose.

Which means that he wouldn't give a fuck if he got a lifetime sentence in jail for killing Scott, he'd do it anyway.

Sooo... not good.

"Hey, hey!" So, yeah, Derek's chest is pretty nice. Stiles knows because he's got one hand on Scott's and one hand on Derek's and if he had to pick which he liked more, it'd be Derek's, hands down – or, actually, not hands down. He'd want hands on. "There's been a bit of a misunderstanding," Stiles starts, putting a little extra effort in keeping Scott away from Derek when he shifts forward and ignores Stiles' "hey! Hey stop." He goes to far as to turn and face him completely, two hands pressed to Scott's chest and pushing enough to feel secure, before he realizes that, in his effort to stop Scott, he's somehow managed to wedge himself between them. Now, his back is pressed to Derek's front and every time Scott shifts, Stiles is forced a little closer, able to feel every breath Derek takes and... He can't think straight now. Like, at all. "It's – Look, so I –"

"Stiles, just –"

"Go away." Stiles has never heard Derek's voice (shocking, considering they've been "dating" for two months) so he almost misses it. But Derek says, low and slow, "go – away" and Stiles gapes at the feeling of his words reverberating from his chest to Stiles' back and straight to his cock which –

Probably not a good time for that, actually.

Scott's going to argue; his mouth is open and his words are right there at the tip of his tongue but Stiles shoves him just a bit anyway and says, "Go ahead, I'll talk to Derek. It's cool, man, seriously."

When Scott's gone, one of Derek's hands is warm and tight around the back of Stiles' neck, the other holding his beer at his side as he guides Stiles toward the door. He realizes somewhere between the kitchen and the porch that Derek's previous partner is gone, lost in a sea of bodies that are slowly getting back into the music, though a few sets of eyes still linger. She hadn't even fought for him and Stiles can't fathom that – can't fathom how anyone just let Derek go.

"I found you on Facebook. Or, well, my best friend did. He – Scott –" Stiles gestures in the general direction of the house as Derek presses him to sit on the top stair of the porch. There are people scattered around over the lawn in the backyard, some smoking and others just looking for a bit of extra space to move to the music or slide their mouths against one another. "Scott found you on Facebook after I made up some random name in my head; you just happen to be the unfortunate illegitimate child of McDreamy and a tragic hail storm in northern California."

"I knew I should have deleted that thing."

"If it's any consolation, I love your car and I've never even seen it in real life," Stiles says.

Derek doesn't look comforted in the slightest. In fact, he doesn't even bother to try to hide his horror, the first real expression Stiles has seen on his face. "That's not a consolation; it makes you seem like a freak."

"Look! You've known me all of ten minutes and you already understand me! It's like we're fucking meant to be, man!" Derek doesn't look amused. Stiles adds, quietly, "Look, my friends think I'm a joke because I'm permanently fucking single so I made up a random name to get them off my back for a week and it just kind of... evolved."


"Yes, evolved." Stiles groans, waving his hands dramatically at the house to remind Derek of exactly what his story turned in to. Scott is in there somewhere promising death and destruction to some poor bastard that Stiles has never even really met (until, like, five minutes ago) because of stupid fucking lie that just... yeah, evolved. "It was only supposed to be for like, a week, but –"

Derek scoffs. "But you like fake-dating me," he says, not even bothering to turn and watch Stiles' nod because yeah, he likes fake-dating Derek. Who wouldn't? Stiles says as much, watches Derek shake his head looking as though he might actually be mildly amused before he takes another sip of his beer, bottle clicking against the worn wood of the porch when he sets it down a moment later and says, "You want me to keep up the story so you don't look like the sorry fucking loser that you are."

"Yes – No. I mean –" Fuck, he's not that much of a loser, is he? He's heard that a little too much lately. "Keep up the story, yes. Sorry loser, not really."

Looking out at the lawn, dark except the low light glowing through the backdoor, Derek sits silently, eyebrows drawn close and lips pressed tight as though he's trying to decide if Stiles is fucking with him or if his ridiculous story is actually real. Stiles thinks he might be considering saying yes; he hasn't said 'no' outright yet and he seems like the kind of guy who, if he really didn't want to, would spit it out and walk away or just leave Stiles sitting on the step like the sorry loser everyone thinks he is... Yeah, this went downhill fast. His knee is bouncing subconsciously and his fingers are bunching in the material of his shorts when he blurts, "I give great head, too; I'm, like, the best you'll ever have."

Derek's eyebrows are drawn close when he turns and stares at Stiles, blatantly baffled. He doesn't let up even after Stiles shrugs and says, "Dude, it's true – loads of practice and shit." Instead, Derek says, "I was going to help you out anyway; you have no patience whatsoever, do you?"

Stiles shakes his head. Nope, none. And, frankly, even if Derek would have said yes, Stiles would have still offered him copious amounts of sex. It wouldn't exactly be the most selfless thing Stiles has ever done, that's for certain. "So, yes?"

"I didn't say yes."

"You said you would do it," argues Stiles. He leans into Derek's space, so close he can smell the hint of beer in Derek's breath and whatever cologne he's wearing – something clean with a hint of warmth, different from the musk he expected someone like Derek would buy. "You just said – Dude, I heard you!"

"Then you offered me the best blowjob I'll ever have and now I'm wondering about your mental capacity." Derek shakes his head. "You don't even know me."

Stiles scoffs and then laughs just enough to make Derek's eyebrows rise again in the way Stiles is leaning means 'you're ridiculous'. "Technically," Stiles explains, "I know you better than you know yourself; I have a notebook of nothing but facts about your life."

"To keep your lies straight."

"Exactly!" Stiles is proud. Derek looks at him, bemused, and replies, "But you're certain you're not a loser."

"The more you talk, the less I believe that. I'm feeling more and more like a loser the longer we sit out here."

"Good, that was what I was going for."

"You're an ass." When Derek doesn't respond to that, Stiles taps his fingers awkwardly against his knees and says, "So, you'll do it? It's the rest of the week, man; I'm not asking for the next thirty years of your life."

Derek pulls his cell free from his pocket, tosses it in Stiles' general direction. He looks moderately surprised when Stiles' uncoordinated hands actually manage to catch it. "Put your number in it," he says simply. "You've got a week."

"You're seriously agreeing to be my boyfriend?"

"A week," Derek stresses.

Stiles thinks he probably sounded a little pathetic before, being as enthusiastic as he was, but...Well, he's saved. He says as much when Derek stands up, adds a 'thank you' to make sure he knows how much Stiles appreciates it but Derek doesn't seem to care, he's already walking away, telling Stiles over his shoulder he'll call him tomorrow.

It's totally unfair that Derek is just as gorgeous walking away as he is when he's standing still, rolling his eyes in a not-so-fond way that actually turns Stiles on a hell of a lot more than it should...


"He just left," Scott says the moment Stiles stumbles back through the door. There's a crowd of people behind him – some are cheering, others are taking shots but Scott is shockingly sober, eyes stern and defensive before Stiles claps him on the shoulder and explains, lies coming easily now that he's legitimately fake-dating his boyfriend, "Big misunderstanding, man! We're gonna try this again tomorrow on a better note, okay? Now, though? Now, we're raiding the jello shots."


Maybe Derek didn't believe him? Why else would he be staring at the 3-subject notebook Stiles just set down between them like it's the scariest thing he's seen since Regan McNeil reverse crab-walked down the stairs in The Exorcist? Stiles told him he kept notes of the finer details of their fake relationship, full disclosure. So... "What?"

Derek flips the cover open, touching it as little as possible as though it might attack him if he gets too close. "You've constructed the entire life story of a person you made up watching Grey's Anatomy?"

"And the news; I have to stay up to date on the Democrats' political agenda."


"They never lie and their fact-checking skills are legendary." A moment later, after Derek's eyes glance to the door in a way Stiles can only assume means he's prepared to run, Stiles adds, "Dude, I'm fucking joking. I'm a bisexual college student who spends ninty-five percent of his time surrounded by women who take their reproductive rights really seriously – who do you think I'm voting for?" Derek raises a brow. Stiles nods, mutters, "Yeah, I guess it wouldn't be the first time someone voted for someone they have nothing in common with."

"Or faked a relationship with someone they didn't even know."

"Way to veer the conversation back into why I'm a loser, dude. Appreciate it."

Derek doesn't look embarrassed. If Stiles had been trying to make him feel like shit, he clearly would have failed. In fact, at this point, Stiles isn't sure there's anything that could make Derek feel anything but blatant annoyance with him. Granted, Derek did agree to Stiles' strange request without laughing at him but that probably has more to do with Derek not knowing how to laugh (like, at all) than him not being amused by Stiles' story. Not to mention, Derek might have agreed but he certainly hasn't made anything easy – Stiles is earning this shit.

Stiles is too busy contemplating the success-to-failure ratio of this plan to notice when Derek tugs the notebook close to him, flips through the first couple of pages until he hits something he doesn't approve of. He says, "This is incredibly detailed" and then, amused, "How do you expect someone studying neuroscience and human behavior to know anything about law?"

"Make it up as you go," Stiles suggests, shrugging. "That's what I do."


"Don't knock it till you try it."

"I don't have much choice, do I?" Derek asks, raising a brow in a way that Stiles is learning all too quickly means he doesn't expect (much less want) an answer.

Rhetorical? That's what they call questions like that, right? Stiles doesn't have much experience in the art of not responding. He tries, sure as hell, to stay quiet while Derek flips through the rest of the book. He bites his nails, taps his feet against the hardwood floor of the Starbucks they're sitting in and when Derek does finally look up to glare, it's because Stiles' knee is knocking against the underside of the table, jostling it while Derek's trying to read.

He finally cracks and says, "sorry" around his thumbnail, jittery a second later when Derek sighs and says, "This isn't going to work. I went to high school in New York, I have an older sister; my Camaro wasn't a birthday presents from my parents. None of the things you have in this damn book are remotely true."

"A sister?"

"Yes." Derek stresses his answer, drawing it out. He even goes as far as to pull out his cell phone, tap the screen a couple of times and then shove it in Stiles' face, forcing him to lean back to view the bar at the top of the screen that says: Laura (1204)

"Jesus, you two text a lot. Do you have co-dependency issues I need to know about? Is she going to put strain on our relationship? I think this might be something we need to talk about –"

There's a growl from Derek's side of the table. A fucking certifiable growl. Stiles is even tempted (irrationally, of course) to ask Derek to do it again because... Fuck, it's weird. And hot.

Yeah, definitely hot. Even now that he knows about Derek's attachment issues, Stiles is still certain he wouldn't turn Derek down (wouldn't even fucking consider it) if he tried to bend Stiles over the table in the middle of Starbucks and fuck him so hard the legs broke out from underneath them.

His dad's a cop; he could probably get the charges dropped. If not, he doesn't have to see Derek's cock to know it would be totally worth it.

"You won't have to worry about her because she's not – going – to – know."

"Are you embarrassed by me?" He doesn't even know why he looks down at his shirt and considers changing because...Well, he and Derek aren't really dating. Why the hell should he care? But, he does care; he genuinely gives a fuck.

It's a good thing Stiles isn't pulling one of those passive aggressive moves to get compliments because Derek doesn't give any. He shakes his head, says, "I'm doing it for your sake, not mine" and then slides Stiles' notebook across the table before he stands. He's half-way out the door before he turns, muscles in his back flexing under the thin black cotton of his shirt (because, yeah, Stiles was totally cool with watching him walk away), and jerks his head in the come-on-you-idiot way that Stiles knows all too well.

He's a professional eye-roll and head-jerk reader after this many years of being surrounded by people who avoid speaking around him when they can.

And Stiles totally doesn't protest when Derek's head jerks in the general direction of the passenger side of his car either because, while he may not be familiar with the get-your-ass-in-my-sexy-car head jerk, he's pretty sure that means Derek is trying to make this work for him and... Yeah. Awesome.


Not many people (if any) have ever managed to create a relationship strong enough to make their friends jealous and destroy that same relationship in a week's time but Stiles is going to do it – he's going to succeed, dammit! – and then find himself a real boyfriend who doesn't look so good that Stiles can't focus and who doesn't aim to avoid every single question Stiles' friends ask him because this double-date shit is miserable and they haven't even put in their order yet.

No one had really planned to meet for lunch. Technically, Derek was gesturing at the Camaro because he was offering Stiles a ride home, not because he was interested in taking part in legitimately meeting Stiles' friends but when Allison calls about going for pizza, her womanly-intuition is on high alert because she says, "You're with Derek, aren't you? Bring him along; Scott didn't get the best impression last night. We should start fresh."

How anyone tells Allison 'no', Stiles isn't sure. Because he can't. Like, at all. And that's how he and Derek end up in the booth across from Scott, who stares at Derek with open dislike that Derek doesn't even seem to give a fuck about, and Allison, who tries, over and over, to force Derek to open up a little and prove Scott wrong.

The I-hate-your-guts vibes are coming off Scott in waves; it's because he thinks Stiles deserves better, he told Stiles as much last night when they fell through the hotel door and landed on top of one another in that way that would totally call for a loud, instant "no homo" if it weren't for the fact that he's probably seen Scott naked more times than Allison has and after all that, there's really nothing that could embarrass them anymore (except maybe when Jackson calls them on how close they are but he's a dick so... Yeah, not even then), but Stiles is still really wishing he would stop because too much glaring and territory-pissing is going to make Derek give up and leave.

Allison, because she's either very determined or not picking up on the really-don't-want-to-be-here vibes Derek is putting out, says, "What's it like post-grad?"


Did Stiles tell them he was anti-social? He hopes he did – or, at the very least, that he never claimed Derek was much of a talker – because Scott is staring at Stiles like he's starting to figure it all out and all Stiles can think is, 'holy fuck, my entire story is spinning out of fucking control right now and I can't do anything about it.’

Scott eventually asks Derek about the Camaro and that makes the conversation a little easier; it's just enough to get them through ordering their food and snacking on bread that Stiles waited for someone else to touch first just in case the restaurant ended up trying to charge them for it. He's not too ashamed to admit that he's a broke college student and that appetizers are not on his approved list of things to buy. That list is pretty much limited to lube, condoms, pens and laundry detergent (in order of importance).

When the pizza comes, Allison asks Derek about what he's currently working on for school; she looks curious – confused, actually – when Derek mentions, without hesitating or bothering to make sure his answer is okay with Stiles (which, yeah, it's not), that neuroscience is difficult to explain to someone with no basic knowledge.

"I thought you were studying law?"

Scott nods beside her, passing a questioningly glance to Stiles. "Me, too."

"I –"

Then Derek's sweeping in, rolling his eyes and interrupting before Stiles can finish his lie. He says, "Stiles was so drunk the night we met; he couldn't even remember what he was studying." Scott and Allison both smile, eating up Derek's story. "It's a miracle he managed to make it home at all that night."

"You probably had to help." Allison's wearing her motherly face, the one that crosses her features when she thinks Scott or Stiles are acting especially immature. It's dangerous. "Stiles tends to get a little over-ambitious with his drinking; he seems to be doing a lot better since you two got together, though."

It's not entirely true, seriously. She makes it sound so much worse than it is – was? – when she uses that low, concerned voice with just that little touch of pride before she shrugs innocently, as though it was a big deal but now it’s done and she has Derek to thank. But, no, Stiles wasn't one of those kids and he doesn't like the way Derek cuts him a look that relays feelings like concern for the kid who lied to his friends, made up some imaginary boyfriend and is probably dependent on getting drunk to help him forget that he's totally lonely because that's not what happened. Getting totally wasted on a Tuesday night by himself and then calling Scott to bitch about how fucking awful it was that Beacon Hills was more exciting than fucking UCLA didn't mean he had a drinking problem or that he was a desolate loser with no friends; just that he was having a really bad night and it'd be nice if everyone would just drop it, like, yesterday.

Stiles slims his thoughts down to: "I'm not an alcoholic, guys" which earns him an "Of course you're not, dude; that's not what she was saying" from Scott and a look that would be relief from Derek if he had feelings (other than that concern which wasn't needed, thanks).

"I think everyone goes through that phase," is what Derek says a moment later, when it gets almost too quiet for comfort and Stiles is starting to feel super antsy because he hates quiet – especially when it follows something relating to him. "Especially on the weekends – it comes with the freedom."

Allison says, "Yeah, probably" and then shifts the conversation over to relationships and how great it is to see Derek and Stiles interact after hearing so much about them, which doesn't help ease the tension any because then Stiles and Derek are both walking on pseudo-eggshells to avoid making the other sound like the liar that they are which, ultimately, turns into learning a lot about Derek. Stiles feeds the topic, Derek responds and then, generally, Scott or Allison jump in with a story about Stiles when he was young. It's a full-circle thing that, by the end of lunch, feels like somewhat of a success – a non-failure, at the very least.

Derek says, "I'm sorry about your mom," before Stiles steps out of the car. It'd been the only real thing that had made Derek's expression shift beside the mention of the drunk-incident-never-to-be-discussed-again; Stiles hadn't given it much thought because, generally, he likes to avoid the topic all together but... For some reason, it feels okay coming from Derek – like he means it, fully. "My parents died when I was younger."

So, yeah, he supposes Derek does mean it; Derek gets it. "We do what we can, right? No changing the past."

Stiles earns himself a nod; he supposes that's all he's going to get in response and, you know, Derek's lack of words are actually starting to grow on him.


For someone who doesn't talk a hell of a lot, Derek does a fucking awesome job of faking his boyfriend role. It’s obviously not on purpose because a) Derek doesn't go out of his way to engage in conversations with Stiles' friends, b) Derek doesn't even try to fit the persona Stiles created for him before they met and c) Derek has told Jackson to his face (twice in one day) that he's a overcompensating little shit but, for the most part, everyone loves him. Scott claims he's "alright" and Allison tells Stiles, around one of those warm, heart-felt smiles that make his stomach clench because he's a lying liar who lies and is undeserving, that she's happy for him – that she's glad he waited and found Derek. Lydia buys Derek shirts in colors other than black the first time she meets him and that's probably the closest thing she'll ever give to approval; it’s enough for Stiles' worried mind, at least. He'd stressed most about her figuring out the truth but it seems they've even managed to fool the genius and that's both exciting and disappointing.

On Wednesday, three successful days in Stiles and Derek's "relationship", after sight-seeing that lasted way too damn long and a trip to the mall that seemed more like a trip to hell in a hand-basket, Stiles somehow ends up leaning back into the cushions of Derek's couch, watching TV and wishing he qualified for off-campus housing because fuck, this shit is so much nicer than what he's got...

"Don't touch anything." And, yeah, now Stiles remembers the rain and Derek running back into the store to get Stiles' phone which was accidentally left on the cologne counter he paused at to sniff the mannequin that wasn't actually a mannequin and how he'd slid into the driver's seat soaking wet afterward and growled, "I'm getting changed and then I'll drop you off" before shoving Stiles' cell into his traitorous hands that really didn't even give a damn about the phone, they were far too interested in the way Derek's sopping wet shirt clung to his shoulders and his arms and his stomach and his – So, rain. Right. And no touching. Got it.


Wait. "I can't even change the channel?"

Derek pauses at the edge of the stairwell, dripping across the carpet and holding his sopping wet shirt away from his chest. "No," he says, "Last time you channel-surfed you ended up with a fake boyfriend."

"Afraid I might replace you with someone else?"

Stiles thinks he might be dreaming for a moment because there's a hint of a smile at the edge of Derek's lips when he says, "In that case, change the channel all you like," but he's disappearing up the stairwell before Stiles' brain can fully comprehend it and... Wow. That was actually kind of nice.

Well, it's nice for the full five seconds Stiles has to think about it before there's a key turning in the lock of the door and a woman is stepping through, dark hair tied in a messy bun on top of her head and eyes blatantly curious when she drops her bags on the floor and says, "Who are you?"

This isn't how it works. Stiles asks the questions around here; he's the resident question-asker. "No, who are you?"

"I'm Laura." She gives him a moment to let it sink in, call up the fact that he remembers that name but he's not quite sure... Yeah, he has no idea who she is but he's pretty sure he should. Oops? It's just – She's hot, definitely. She's got that dark hair, dark eyes and soft skin thing down to an art and she's sexy without being overdone because – Yeah, too much make-up doesn't make anyone attractive, like, at all.

She's the dark-haired version of Lydia... with an extra dash of danger to ensure no man can turn her away because... Well, every dude likes things they know aren't good for them.

"Now," she adds after a second, a coy smile on her lips when Stiles' eye jerk up from where they were previously settled on the dark indigo wash of her jeans wrapped tight around her thighs, "your turn."


"The undergrad?"

"You make it sound really bad when you say it like that," Stiles replies, dropping his voice and adding a hint of the same freakish amusement she'd used when he mocks her, repeating "the undergrad?" as if he might be accusing her of skinning people alive for shits and giggles.

Most people probably would have been annoyed – insulted, even – so, needless to say, he's a little shocked when she laughs and kicks the door shut behind her, stepping fully into Derek's apartment like it's hers. Her bags rustle against her leg as she carries them to the kitchen, setting them on the tiny round table and unloading them item by item, only pausing to glance over her shoulder in Stiles' direction and ask, "You're the one who lives in Sproul Hall, right? Across from the baseball field?"

He doesn't answer right away; he's not sure how, exactly. Yes, he lives in Sproul Hall and, yes, it's across from the baseball field but... Derek doesn't know that. Stiles never really got around to telling him. He'd left with Scott and Allison after lunch the day before and today they'd stopped at Derek's house before going to his dorm and – And Derek had never asked, either. So, how would she know? Weird.

Maybe he's being stalked in return? She could be karma's way of getting him back...

"Oh, look at that face." The grin she gives him looks wolfish on her lips, dangerous and exciting at once. Stiles can't decide if he wants to tuck tail and run or move closer. "No wonder he couldn't get enough of you – all precious and confused. It's cute."

Stiles isn't sure what to say to that (someone, take note of the seriousness of this moment) but Derek steps in right then, towel wrapped around his waist and drops of water balancing precariously along the edge of his shoulders while others run down his chest, catching in the soft-looking, over-sized towel that is keeping Stiles from going into full-on convulsions but doing nothing to prevent the mini ones he seems to be having in his pants when Derek actually steps into view.

Again, Derek Hale should be illegal. Illegal. All those things that made Laura sexy are repeated and perfected on Derek – all of them.

"Don't harass him."

"I wasn't," Laura says, sounding slightly offended; she scoffs, even, but it doesn't do anything to ease the expressly displeased look settled on Derek's face. "We were just chatting."

"I heard you," replies Derek, sounding accusatory. Laura shrugs and smiles, ignoring the angry noise Derek makes in the back of his throat when she sets to storing items from her bag into the refrigerator and tossing out anything she must think doesn't belong.

Stiles should have something to say in all of this, shouldn't he? They're arguing over him, right?

And then – wait. Holy fuck. Two hot people are arguing over him. He knew this day was coming – knew it. He's mostly bi-sexual so, yeah, he wouldn't turn down a threesome –

"I'm pretty sure I'm the older sibling and therefore I have the right to check up on you on a semi-regular basis."

– except when it's, y'know, incestuous because... Laws. And such. Illegal. So much illegal.

Derek says, "I'm getting dressed, you're –" he points to Stiles "– sitting still and not touching anything and you're –" his finger moves to point in Laura's direction where she's bent over in the fridge, yanking glass jars and plastic containers from the back and throwing them away "– going to leave him alone."

"No channel-surfing, understood," Stiles says in unison with Laura's, "Someone's testy today, hm?"

When Derek's up the stairs, shut behind a door everyone on campus heard slam, Laura announces her job in the kitchen complete and falls into the sofa next to Stiles, so close their arms brush and their knees knock. She says, "I lived in Sproul Hall, too – used to love watching the baseball players after practice," and then pauses, watching him carefully as though waiting for a reaction he doesn't give. He's not sure what she's expecting or what he's supposed to say to that so he just nods his head and gives a half-assed smile that says, 'Yeah, sure' and 'I don't have any idea what you're talking about' all at once.

And then she whispers, "ohhhh," drawing it out and keeping it so quiet that Stiles can hardly hear her. "You have no idea."

"What you're talking about? Nope," Stiles confirms soundly, not ashamed in the least. "I mean, it's cool that you lived in Sproul and all but – Yeah, no baseball players for me."

"Derek plays," Laura replies simply. She jerks her head in the direction of the ceiling. "He's played since he was little – loves spending time out on the field; he hangs out around Sproul from time to time with some of the undergrads, giving them tips. You didn't know?"

It's shockingly scary to learn how close Stiles had been to Derek all that time, when he was making up stories about a person he assumed he'd never even meet but who had actually probably been on the main floor, pointing out the weak points of his fellow baseball players while Stiles jerked off imagining what his voice would sound like or what it'd feel like to be pressed against the hood of Derek's Camaro, groaning the name of a person he'd practically created in his own twisted fantasy of what Derek would be.

Laura doesn't really know anything about the e-stalking or the fake boyfriends thing they've got going on so he doesn't feel the need to lie and pretend he knew all along. He says, "I had no idea Derek knew how to talk to people, actually."

"He mainly just growls at them." Laura smacks Stiles' knee in a way he assumes it meant to be friendly but actually kind of hurts... "But, secretly, he likes it. Mostly because –"

"Let's go, Stiles." Derek is looming behind them, lips pressed together angrily and turned down in the corners. He glares balefully at Laura and, for the first time, she actually looks slightly apologetic.

A moment later, as Stiles is standing, Laura says, "Nice to meet you, Stiles; I've never had the honor of meeting Derek's boyfriends," and this time, her expectant look turns into one of pride when Stiles says, "Yeah, nice to meet you."

He thinks it’s because he didn't argue the boyfriend title – and neither did Derek, for that matter – but he can't be sure. What the Hale siblings have in attractiveness, they lack in understanding of what's socially acceptable and... Well, Stiles really shouldn't be mentioning that. He's not so great with understanding it either.

He's fake-dating some guy he accidentally found on the internet – it doesn't really get much worse than that.


Lydia calls them out. She can be a bitch that way and Stiles expected it at some point but – Well, he wishes that, for once, she would have kept her mouth shut. "It's just weird is all I'm saying," she says, shaking the dice in her hand and then dropping them across the board. They land on six and six and she merrily counts the silver dog down the side of the board, pulling all the fake money in the center of the board her way when she lands on free parking.

He loves her, he swears he does. Loves her. Loves her so much he's not going to punch her in the face right now.

Stiles slides a little closer to Derek on the floor, so close that their knees knock before he snags the dice for himself and shakes them in his palm. "Derek's not big on PDA," Stiles replies as he moves his boot four spaces. Connecticut. He'll pass. "Just because we don't bounce around next to one another all the time doesn't mean we're not, like, serious."

Derek stares at board, not bothering to come to Stiles' aid but Allison, bless her, nods. "Scott and I aren't big on PDA either –"

Jackson's laugh is poorly disguised as a cough and Lydia's raised brow says more than words ever could. Allison totally didn't help his case any if her idea of 'not being big on PDA' is kissing in crowded hallways after every single class and swapping spit in every semi-public place in Beacon Hills.

Stiles won't even mention the time he came home and found her and Scott half-dressed in his bed because – Yeah. No.

A little assistance, here? Someone? Anyone? Derek?

Stiles glances to his left; watches Derek take his turn and buy Short Line, all while pointedly ignoring Stiles' silent plea for some kind of help – any kind of help.

No man has ever faced Lydia alone and won. Stiles looks at Jackson, sitting at the edge of the sofa beside Lydia, elbows on his knees and chin cradled in one palm while the other skates over Lydia's back. He's been strangely quiet all week, piping up to make a smart ass remark or to poke fun at Stiles' worn flannel shirts or his messy dorm, littered with half-written essays and embarrassing porn magazines he swore he’d hid better.

Yeah, she's whipped him, too. He probably likes being a semi-kept man. Stiles has always known who the tough one in that relationship is.

In fact, he thinks there was a bet about that at one point... Scott owes him five bucks.

"Well?" Lydia prompts, gesturing in the direction of Stiles' and Derek on the floor. "I mean, have you guys even had sex yet?"

"T-M-I," Scott says quickly, loud over the sound of Allison's laugh, barely muffled by her hand. Jackson is pretending to look disinterested but Stiles totally catches him when his eyes slide from Stiles to Derek and back, as though considering what it might be like. "I don't want to know about Stiles' sex life." Then, to Stiles directly, Scott adds, "No offense, dude. I'm totally cool with you being cool with dudes it's just... Don't kiss and tell, okay?"

"Right," Lydia replies quickly, her eyes dark when they switch focus from Stiles to Scott, "You're okay with him being gay; you just don't want to hear about it."

"Can we not make this a debate for my rights?" Stiles says. "I'm totally cool with not regaling my sexual escapades in front of my friends – straight or otherwise."

"Just answer the question!"


"No, you haven't? Or no, you're not going to answer?"

Stiles, if the situation was turned and it was Lydia and Jackson going back and forth, would have laughed at Allison and Scott's open-mouthed stares, the way their heads swivel back and forth from Lydia to Stiles, watching, amused, as Stiles' entire story begins to crumble around him (again!). "No, I'm not going to answer!"

"Because you haven't or because it's so good it would probably put Scott's sex life to shame?"


Stiles doesn't even have the time to care about Scott's indignant shout, he's too busy wondering what Derek thinks he's doing grabbing his chin like that and why the fuck Derek couldn't have just said, "Look over here" and then –

And then he's experiencing the best kiss of his life cross-legged on the floor of Lydia and Jackson's over-priced hotel room, mind refusing to think about the fact that Scott, Allison, Jackson and Lydia are all watching Derek's lips slide over his, Derek's hands cupping his jaw and, a moment later, Derek's tongue sliding over his lips, over his tongue when Stiles gasps a little at the shock of every nerve in his face catching on fire.

He can totally get used to this. The feel of Derek's stubble under his fingertips, the way his lungs want to collapse on themselves. He's completely okay with facing certain death here so long as he can keep Derek's mouth against his, can continue to press his tongue back and hear Derek's quiet groan, feel it through his fingers where they're pressed against Derek's chest.

"Whoa." It comes out more 'love-struck-schoolgirl' and not nearly enough 'grown-man-doing-this-on-a-regular-basis'. If anyone notices though, Stiles doesn't really care. Derek is still so close that Stiles can feel his breath over his lips, can watch when Derek pulls away, snatches the dice from Lydia's still hand, presses them into Stiles' palm and says, "Roll."

As he's counting his spaces and contemplating if he's going to buy Vernon Avenue, he realizes that Lydia's eyes are focused on Derek and Allison's are focused on him, both watching with consideration that makes his stomach tighten up for a moment and his hands shake while he counts out the money for Scott the Banker.

And then Derek's hand slides over his knee and settles there, heavy and comforting all at once and Stiles thinks, 'Fuck them, let them think it wasn't real' because, strangely enough, it certainly felt that way.


"So, about last night..."

"Do you really want to talk about it?" Derek asks, barely bothering to check both ways before he pulls out onto the street.

"No. Yes?" Stiles isn't sure. Maybe they should because, he's going to be perfectly fucking honest here and admit that he's really confused about the night before, especially after an hour at an expensive restaurant where Derek made a conscious effort to be involved in conversation and did those stupidly romantic things Stiles always kind of wanted like accepting his portion of the check casually and guiding him forward with a hand at his lower back and... Yeah, all that stupid shit that Stiles really can't get enough of. He fucking had it back there and, yeah, maybe he's hoping Derek isn't just a really good actor and that he may have actually meant some of it but... How is he supposed to ask that without sounding stupid? Derek agreed to be give up his spring break to pretend to be the fake boyfriend of someone he didn't even fucking know and... Should he really look a gift horse in the mouth and ask if any of it meant more?

No. He really shouldn't.

Also, he can't believe he just related Derek to a horse. If he'd said any of that out loud, he'd probably be dead in a ditch right now. Derek totally seems like the kind of guy who could (and would) kill someone if they related him to an animal...

Except maybe a wolf because... Well, Derek's sleek and dangerous and – wolf-like.

But Stiles isn't going to say that out loud, either.

Derek raises a brow, probably surprised by Stiles' moment of silence so Stiles' remedies the situation by saying, "No, let's not talk about it. I'll just say you're pretty good with that mouth of yours and call it a night, alright?"

Not saying anything more about it. Not saying another damn –

"And it should be known that I don't get pity make-out sessions often – No, like, at all. Never. That was a first and it was... Well, y'know, good but still a first."

"Stiles –"

"Not my first kiss!" Stiles stresses, recalling his words. Derek looks confused, then frustrated. "Unless you wanted it to be... I mean, if you wanted it to be my first kiss I can totally –"

"Stiles, stop talking." A moment later, after Stiles takes the time to mime zipping his lips shut with his fingers, Derek asks, "Do you want to come over – have a beer?"

"A beer?" Stiles asks. "At your house?"

"I don't do this often, don't make me regret it."

"Of course I want to come to your house and have a beer. It's a fucking dream come true, dude."

"Your sarcasm is noted," Derek says but he can't hold back the hint of a something that might be a smile at the corner of his mouth. It's dark – not too late but late enough for Stiles to know that he's generally curled up in his dorm room by now, not relaxing into the seat of a Camaro and watching the street lights and shop signs as they drive by.

Stiles doesn't tell Derek that he was actually being serious, even after Derek parks and they both step out into the warm air. Other students are making their way to their cars, each on their way to somewhere different but that's perfectly fine with Stiles because he's pretty sure that, as he steps into Derek's apartment, walking backwards to wave at a guy he recognizes from class and finds himself tumbling, there is nowhere else in the world he wants to be more than right there.

He ends up with an ice pack against his tailbone and a grimace he thinks might be permanent because – fuck, it hurts. Stiles says as much when Derek falls into the seat next to him and asks how it's feeling. "It feels like I just busted my ass against concrete, dude. How did you think it was going to feel?"

"Numb," Derek answers, nodding to the ice."It's been on there long enough."

Stiles pulls the ice away just to test the feel and decides that, actually, it is mostly numb now. He can stand to lean back into the cushions and turn his torso left and right without feeling like he's going to pass out so, yeah, it's not terrible.


"Pretty good," Stiles says agreeably. He can't help but grin when Derek gives him a half-smile and shakes his head, playing the role of 'exasperated friend' perfectly.

"Let me see it," Derek says, reaching over to lift the back of Stiles' shirt before he has time to shift away. His fingers are warm, shocking when they touch Stiles' skin and Derek mumbles, "Sorry," when Stiles hisses and pulls just slightly away. Derek doesn't ease up any, though; he presses against the spot again, more tenderly this time, and says, lowly, "That's going to bruise."

"No shit, dude."

"Not everyone is as sensitive as you." Derek pulls away from Stiles' back, turns back to the television.

It's a pretty sound argument but Stiles can't help but blurt, "You have no idea how sensitive I am. It's, like, overload all the time." He means that he feels every scrape a bump, that he's not one of those guys who finds a cut a day later and says, "Where'd that come from?" and he wants to explain when he realizes how else it could be taken but Derek's eyes are meeting his and then Derek's hands are cupping his face and who really cares what he meant, anyway?

Derek's mouth is warm just like his fingers, inviting and demanding all at once. Stiles just kind of goes with the flow for the first couple of minutes – tilts his head when it's needed, presses forward when Derek pulls back and moans into Derek's mouth when Derek's fingers stroke up under his shirt and over his stomach, making him shiver with need-lust-want. But it doesn't take long for Stiles to get tired of waiting and take things into his own hands, tugging his shirt up and over his head before his palms press against Derek's face, slide over his stubble while Stiles' tongue licks open Derek's mouth, coaxing him closer until, unintentionally, Stiles' back hits the arm of the sofa.

He's pinned to the cushions, tailbone throbbing just enough to remind him that something happened but not enough to take away from the feel of Derek's hot, slightly roughened hands grasping at his hips or the hard promise of Derek's cock pressing against Stiles' through both of their jeans, the thick denim currently being the only thing keeping Stiles from coming all over Derek's sofa.

At some point his jeans and boxers come off. Stiles isn't exactly sure when or how – if Derek's thumb pressed the button free or if Stiles himself went after the zipper sometime between Derek's lips trailing from his neck to his collarbone and Derek's teeth and tongue taking turns on his chest, leaving undeniable marks that tell all about the dizzying mix of pain and pleasure Stiles can't get enough of.

Stiles may not remember when his pants and underwear came off but he's certain he'll never forget taking Derek's off. He'll remember the groan Derek makes when Stiles' fingers press against the button, the way Derek's moan vibrates through his chest and Stiles' lips where they're pressed open around Derek's nipple, tongue flicking over the hardened nub before he dares to tease with his teeth. There's also Derek's hands and the fact that they're everywhere – Stiles' shoulders, his back and his neck – and how each time Derek sweeps his palm over new skin, Stiles feels nothing but a fiery, promising bite of pleasure; how is anyone meant to forget that?

And the moment Derek's cock is free, warm and red and so fucking promising that Stiles doesn't even take the time to ask before he musters all of his strength and shoves Derek back, swipes his tongue over the moistened slit and goes for it? Yeah, Stiles is never forgetting that moment. He's never forgetting the loud, breathless groan Derek makes or the shocked, slightly impressed way Derek says his name when Stiles wraps his lips around the head and then takes Derek further, swallowing all that he can manage and wrapping his hand around what's left, making his fist and his mouth work in tandem – up, down, up, down – while his tongue reaches for whatever it can – the thick vein at the underside of Derek's cock or the pre-come that gathers at the slit when Stiles pulls off to breathe.

He's not a pro but if Derek has complaints, he doesn't (or can't? Stiles likes to think that he can't) voice them.

At one point Derek's hands do find Stiles' jaw, his thumbs stroking Stiles' face. Derek thrusts his hips then, the head of his cock pressing against the inside of Stiles' cheek, right where Derek's thumb is and the noise he makes is twice as obscene as anything Stiles has ever heard in porn. It's loud and long and so infinitely delicious that Stiles moans around Derek's cock in response, one hand leaving its place on Derek's hip to reach down for his own cock and stroke eagerly – fast and hard in rhythm with his mouth working over Derek until he feels the surge of heat in his spine, the tightening in his belly and the way his cock jerks, the world stilling for a moment.

Derek's come spurts over his tongue and down his throat when he's still feeling slightly hazy, flooded with the bliss that follows an intense orgasm. Derek doesn't say anything when Stiles swallows but Stiles hears his breath catch, a muffled groan when Stiles' tongue sweeps over Derek's cock to ensure he cleaned up well before he pulls away.

As far as awkward moments go, theirs doesn't come until a few minutes after. Stiles takes a minute to catch his breath, pulling away so Derek can sit up and then stand, stretch his legs and pull his trunks up over his legs. Stiles chooses to stay naked, even if it is a little weird. He's tired and too warm and he doesn't trust himself to move because his legs are a little shaky and he's still thrumming with the fact that he just gave his jerk-off fantasy cum pseudo-boyfriend a blowjob he can only hope was mind-blowing because he's also fairly certain it's never going to happen again.

And, yeah, that ruins the bliss.

Derek's couch is a mess. Stiles' come leaves a wet patch on the fabric and as he's sliding his legs into his jeans, he can't help but stare at the spot next to him and think, 'Someone is going to see that. Someone is going to see that and know.'

Derek is standing in front of him, lips pressed tight together and brows drawn close. He's clearly attempting to think harder than any man who just experienced an orgasm should, so Stiles offers a smile he knows must look cheesy as fuck and says, "Dude, my ass doesn't even hurt anymore. Giving blowjobs is, like, the cure for all ills."

There's a hint of a smile at the corner of Derek's mouth and his eyebrows ease up so Stiles considers it a mission accomplished.

"I should probably take you back," Derek says while Stiles is tugging his shirt back on. Derek's fully dressed, pleasantly disheveled in a way that makes Stiles think that Derek should get blowjobs more often – he looks so much less severe, almost agreeable. "You're going to the hotel early tomorrow, right?"

"Mmhm." Stiles nods, standing. He doesn't feel quite as out of place as he'd expected. There's certainly shock playing around in his chest and there's a dash of happiness he knows he shouldn't have but he can't quite find it in himself to tuck it away, either. He doesn't feel like it was a mistake; he knows he should but he tries to remember that you only live once and... Well, not many people are bestowed the honor of giving Derek Hale a blowjob, so turning down such a rare opportunity would have been stupid.

Overall: good choice.

Of course, none of that means he doesn't stare at the ceiling later that night, wondering what it would have been like to fall asleep in Derek's bed or right there on the couch, face pressed to Derek's chest while the TV mumbled quietly in the background – all the time in the world left for them, not just the few short hours until his friends left and he and Derek went back to their separate, real lives.


It's Lydia who corners him in the hotel room before everyone leaves, waving Jackson off easily enough with her quick, "Just wanted to have a word with Stiles before we left, I'll meet you all downstairs!" while leaving Stiles with undeniable feeling of 'oh shit, this is the end. I am prepared to die.'

Lydia waits until the door shuts behind Jackson, Allison turned around and waving kindly over her shoulder in front of him. Stiles waves back, is still waving when Lydia says, firmly, "Anyone with a brain – which is limited to mostly Allison and I, but Scott and Jackson weren't entirely convinced, either – could recognize that your entire story was bullshit from the beginning."

Yep, this is the end.

"And," she continues brazenly, "It should be noted that it wasn't even your shitty acting that clued everyone in, it was the fact that he's not even your friend on Facebook."

Friend on... Right, yeah, he forgot about that. Fuck. "I'm friends with my dad on Facebook, I couldn't just –"

"Save the bullshit, I already talked to Derek's sister."

Stiles might have felt slightly stupid a moment ago, being called out for making up a fake boyfriend because he wasn't good enough to have a real one but now he's not even feeling silly, he's completely confused and hoping – desperately – that maybe she got it all wrong and there's still some way to save his pride because, fuck, he doesn't want her to remember this. "Laura?"

"Yes," Lydia says, slightly annoyed, "I spoke to Laura and she told me all about you and Derek's wonderful relationship. I'm honestly only bringing this up because I want you to give me the missing pieces – nothing bothers me more than a half-solved puzzle, you know?"

"So," she continues, clearly proud of herself, "I know you told Scott that Derek was your boyfriend before he actually was and that this entire thing probably got thrown together at that party Jackson and I missed. I also know that you clearly knew nothing about Derek except his name when you threw this all together."

Lydia: 3. Stiles: 0.

After a moment of silence, a short break for Stiles' brain to try and figure out some sort of story to make him look less like a complete failure at, like, everything, Lydia sighs and shifts her weight from one hip to another. "Well," she says, "why did you pick him? Did you just catching him looking at you and think, 'Hey, what if?'"

"I'd never even seen Derek before the party," Stiles blurts, just a tiny bit proud when Lydia stills, looks confused. She even opens her mouth, goes to speak and then falls silent, giving Stiles a chance to add: "Seriously, he didn't even know my name until after Scott threatened to disembowel him."

"Scott wouldn't do that."

"For me he would," Stiles says argumentatively, recalling how brazenly Scott had stepped up to Derek to defend his non-existent honor. If Stiles cared half as much about himself as Scott cares about him, he wouldn't be standing stupidly in front of Lydia now, feeling smaller and smaller the longer she stares, eyebrow lifting just a little higher every time he opens his mouth.

Lydia waves her hand in a 'who cares' gesture. "It's inconsequential," she says, "and you're lying again. Laura said Derek has been watching you for weeks; he knew exactly who you were."

Shocked doesn't begin to cover the flood of emotion he feels when Lydia stops talking, stares expectantly at him as though waiting for him to admit he knew that all along but... He didn't. He had no idea. Laura had mentioned Derek hanging around his dorm but she hadn't specified he'd seen Stiles – or knew him, even! How many times had he tripped past Derek and not noticed? How many chances had he been given to, you know, cultivate a relationship normally?

Not that he ever would have dared to approach Derek if he'd caught him watching. He probably would have done just what Lydia thought and created elaborate fantasies that would have never had anything on having Derek for real.

Lydia grips his chin, forces his eyes to meet hers and says, "We won't even mention how stupid it was for you to lie in the first place – like anyone would have cared. You're a loser, Stilinski – it takes a pretty rare and special human being to love someone like you."

It's a compliment, Stiles knows. It took him a couple years to understand Lydia's soft side, generally hidden behind her perfected exterior that would read 'I really don't care' to anyone else. But, there's a hint of amusement in her voice alongside a pinch of both adoration and understanding. She clears her throat, shakes her hair away from her face and says, "Allison and I agreed to not say anything but we think you might want to mention to Scott, as a friend who should trust him, that you weren't entirely upfront about this week. If not, he might really be tempted to disembowel Derek for supposedly breaking your heart which, I assume, was going to be your story two days from now because – "

There's this thrum of appreciation that fills Stiles the longer Lydia speaks, the more annoyed her voice gets, because it reminds him that she cares. He can't help but move forward, wrap his arms around her and say, "I fucking love you, you know that?"

She stills in his arms, tenses just a little at the open display of affection before she gives in and pats him awkwardly on the back, voice muffled in his shoulder when she says, "You're alright, all things considered."


"She totally knew."

"Who?" Derek asks. His voice is somewhat distant through the speaker of Stiles' phone, grainy and gritty in a way that makes Stiles itch to be near him, to hear him without the distance. "Who knew what?"

"Lydia knew we were lying," Stiles explains, given Derek a moment to finish grumbling his order to barista at Starbucks before he adds, "She told me I'm a fucking loser –"

"We already knew that."

"– and that you wanted in my pants for weeks before I even approached you about being my fake boyfriend."

Derek isn't so cocky, now. He's not calling Stiles an idiot or sighing, annoyed, through the phone. He's silent, breath a gentle hush over the background chatter of the people around him when Stiles laughs and says, "That's the reason you agreed, isn't it? It wasn't because you felt sorry for me."

Stiles is remembering the way Derek's eyes had widened just slightly when he'd pushed past Scott at the party, the way Derek had kissed him slow and sweet during Monopoly and how there was a touch of intimacy to the way he'd touched Stiles that night at his apartment – how later, when he'd dropped Stiles back off at his dorm, there hadn't been the awkward coolness that came with one-night stands between casual acquaintances. He has to pause on his way down the hall, press himself against the wall to let a group of others pass but he listens closely to the slightly shaky way Derek mumbles his thanks and the almost immediate jingle of the bell above the door, telling Stiles all he needs to know about how much of a rush Derek is in to get out of the coffee shop.

"Basically," Stiles starts when it's clear Derek isn’t going to be talking anytime soon, "what I'm saying is that it was all for nothing, anyway. We didn't fool Lydia or Allison and I'm being blackmailed into being honest with Scott so thanks and –"

"I'm on my way to your dorm," Derek says, interrupting. "If it was all for nothing, I wouldn't be bringing you coffee."

It almost sounds like it pains Derek to say that aloud. Stiles smiles. "That's a good thing though, right? I'm pretty fucking awesome."

"You're alright."

"I've heard that more than once today," Stiles replies. He presses his cell between his shoulder and his ear, slips his key into the lock on his door and then almost falls through when it pops open. The Camaro's engine is a warm rumble through his ear, Derek's silence both promising and a little worrisome but Stiles smiles and says, "So, does this mean I don't have to come up with an epic break-up story for Scott?"

Derek's attempted huff of annoyance comes out with a hint of a laugh.

"So that's a yes, then?" asks Stiles. "If I don't have to think up a break-up story, I'll have more time to perfect those blowjob techniques you were pretty fond of. Maybe I'll let you be my practice body."



There's fondness – just a bit, but enough to make Stiles smile wide – when Derek grumbles, low and warm, "You can skip the story."