Stiles had obtained terrifying knowledge in the years since he started running with wolves.
He learned to avoid Boyd at all costs if you touched his chocolate, he learned that Lydia’s threats were never to be taken casually, and he had learned that Beacon Hills was in fact a beacon for every supernatural creature known, and unknown, to man.
The most terrifying of all was the knowledge that beneath the chiseled jaw and high cheekbones, Derek Hale had the softest heart he had ever seen.
This knowledge hadn’t come to him intentionally; Derek sharing anything of himself was still mostly unheard of, even if they had been a pack for years, and Stiles had straddled the line between fearful and aroused since they had met. However, when he had moved into Derek’s building after graduating college with his degree in library sciences, Stiles’ worldview dramatically shifted and he started to see Derek as something besides a ferocious Alpha.
The first incident occurred when Mrs. Sanderson was having difficulties with mobility. Stiles had offered to help her, even if halfheartedly because she woke up so early, but she had waved him off, claiming to already have help. Later that day, Stiles saw Derek grabbing her groceries from the trunk of the Camaro from afar, jaw slack as he watched them enter the building. Derek “My Face is Sour” Hale would never help someone as sweet as Mrs. Sanderson willingly.
Or so he thought.
And then it kept happening. Everywhere he went, he began to see signs of Derek’s kind nature. If someone needed help mowing the lawn or gardening, Derek was there, glistening in his tank top as he kindly accepted the lemonade that became payment for his services, given that he outright refused to charge money. He babysat for his tenants if they had emergencies or needed a night off, keeping a stack of games in his loft just in case.
Stiles had resigned himself to the fact that he had grossly misjudged Derek, but it was little comfort when he came into work one afternoon, only to be stopped by one of the assistants.
“Have you seen the guy in the corner? I swear I’ve died and gone to heaven just looking at him,” Nicole burst out, barely concealed lust playing over her features. Curious, Stiles sneakily (he could so be sneaky, Dad) ventured into the stacks to check out their latest patron. When he finally reached the corner, he almost fell over from flailing.
There Derek sat, dressed in his usual uniform of leather jacket and skintight pants, but accompanied by a novel and a massive bag containing yarn. As he read, he pulled the yarn forward until Stiles realized with a shock that he was knitting . Before he flailed more and ultimately caught Derek’s attention, he ran back to the desk.
“Knitting,” Stiles burst out, unable to think beyond what he just saw. Nicole just nodded, having calmed down in the time it took for Stiles to see Derek. “He’s knitting.”
“It’s adorable,” Nicole spoke, sorting books on their reserved shelf while shooting a besotted look over her shoulder. “I asked him about it and he said he knits for the hospital. Apparently they run a charity to provide knitted hats and socks to kids who are cold because of their treatment.”
“I-I’m taking a break,” Stiles said, and dammit he deserved it after the sight he was just subjected to. Even if he had just gotten there.
Derek continued to show up at the library, at first staying in his secluded chair before moving more towards the center of the library. Nicole kept track of his appearances (not that Stiles was doing the same, oh no) and she claimed that he only came in when she was working. Stiles didn’t think that was the case, given that he had definitely seen Derek when he was working alone, but he uncharacteristically left it alone, knowing all too well the crushing feeling after a rejection.
With time, he was able to see Derek in the library and not respond, and he even managed to strike up conversation with him about the books he read. It was the first time since the pack came together that Stiles actually spoke to Derek outside of life threatening circumstances, and Stiles was surprised to find out how smart Derek was, and how much he appreciated his company.
California was cold this time of year, and Stiles felt the chill whip through his body, unable to find his trusty gloves and unwilling to fork over the cash to buy a new one. When he entered the library, he expected to see Derek and for the first time was disappointed when he realized that Derek wasn’t there. He shook it off as a one time occurrence, but when Derek had been gone for the whole week, Stiles started to panic.
Was it possible that Derek had found out about his crush? Scott was oblivious, so there was no way he blurted it out somehow, and the other betas oscillated between finding it amusing and looking bored at the entire affair. Maybe, and Stiles didn’t want this to be true, but maybe Derek had just gotten tired of him.
In the last hour of his shift, Stiles sat forlornly in his chair, contemplating his weekend plans. It was too cold for them to get together and play a pickup game of lacrosse, and knowing his friends, they would want to all stay inside, snuggled up to their significant others. Nothing made you feel worse about being single than being surrounded by couples.
A cough broke him out of his reverie, and when he looked up he saw Derek standing next to the circulation desk, pink coloring his cheeks. He looked down, and Stiles was startled to realize that Derek seemed to look shy .
“Hey man,” he stuttered out, unsure what to do. “Do you need help finding anything?”
“No Stiles, I actually wanted to give you something. Here.” and suddenly Stiles found the most beautiful gloves and hat he had ever seen shoved into his face. When he pulled them away slightly to look at them, he noticed that they were a bright red, obviously handmade and woven with such care that it was mind-boggling.
“Dude, did you make these? This is so cool!” and the pink seemed to grow across Derek’s face at his words.
“I noticed you were cold, so I thought I would make you something,” Derek spoke softly, embarrassment painted along his stance.
Stiles was speechless. While he hadn’t seriously thought Derek was here for Nicole, the niggling doubt in the back of his mind told him it was possible. Now, he started to wonder. How had Derek known he was cold? Or that he had lost his scarf?
“You weren’t, um,” he cleared his throat, hoping that the high sound would go away. “You weren’t here for Nicole, were you?” and when he met Derek’s gaze, he found nothing but fondness, a smile crinkling his eyes.
“No,” Derek answered simply, and really that was all Stiles needed. For now.