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It starts when Derek is sitting in study hall and the guy ahead of him–-Stiles something, the Polish kid with all the moles–-mutters, “Ugh, what’s sixty percent of fifty-five?”

“Thirty-three,” Derek says without having to think about it. He’s always been good at math.

“Oh, thanks, dude,” Stiles says. “I forgot my calculator, and Mr. Harris is a dick who won’t let me go get it.”

“No problem,” Derek says.

He assumes that’s it, that’s the end of the conversation, but Stiles catches up to him in the hall after class, scuffs his sneaker against the floor and says,  "Hey, so, you’re really good at math. Like, you solved that in your head, right? No calculator?“

"Yeah,” Derek says, and Stiles bites his lip, asks, “Do you maybe wanna study with me later, in the library?”  

Derek does.

He finds out Stiles’ full name is Stiles Stilinski; he lives to test the school’s dress code with endless ugly combinations of plaid over graphic tees, a lot of them advertising Polish comic books Derek has never heard of; and he’s crazy good at research. It’s like studying with Hermione Granger, if Hermione Granger sucked at math. Derek can’t remember if math was even taught at Hogwarts. Stiles would probably know. He reads Wikipedia for hours on end, for fun, and retains all of it like a sponge.

Derek has friends already, of course–-his little sister, Cora; his roommate, Boyd; and Boyd’s girlfriend, Erica. But he’s never had a friend like Stiles.

Stiles is a lot of things. Excitable, smart, sarcastic, curious… disarming. He breaks down all of Derek’s careful boundaries before Derek even realizes he’s doing it. He sticks his feet in Derek’s lap at the library, falls asleep on the bus on field trips with his head on Derek’s shoulder, shares his space so casually, like he’s got no inkling that Derek would punch anyone else who tried. Somehow he finds out all of Derek’s secret study places, the bell tower and the picnic tables by the lake and the back corner of the library where they keep the dictionaries, and starts showing up everywhere.

Before, Derek always thought he liked to be left alone. And now–-well, he still thinks that, but. Not about Stiles. Not even when he’s at his most obnoxious: plucking food off Derek’s tray at dinner, or borrowing shirts out of Derek’s closet when he drops by his dorm to hang out, or grabbing Derek’s iPod right out of his hand and scrolling idly through all the playlists, even the embarrassing ones Derek would like to pretend don’t exist. Stiles never asks if he can, and Derek, without really knowing why, never tells him he can’t.

He doesn’t exactly get used to Stiles–-he doubts anyone who knows him ever could-–but, inexplicably, and against all odds, he likes Stiles anyway.

*

On the last day of fall term, Stiles’ roommate slash childhood best friend, Scott, goes home early for winter break. There’s some kind of medical reason behind it, Derek thinks. Nothing life-threatening. Asthma, maybe.

A few weeks ago Derek let slip he hadn’t seen any of the Star Wars movies since he was a little kid; Stiles declared this a tragedy and an outrage. So tonight he sneaks Derek into his dorm room to celebrate the end of exams with a junk food and Star Wars marathon. They’re not supposed to be in each other’s rooms, not after lights out, but it’s a stupid rule anyway, and it’s practically the holidays, so Derek doesn’t care. And Stiles just delights in breaking rules period, stupid ones or otherwise, at any time of year. Bonus points if he can do it right under the nose of Jackson, their hall prefect, who dislikes humanity in general but inexplicably hates Stiles the most.  

Halfway through A New Hope, Stiles lies down and rests his head in Derek’s lap, scratching absently at the faint stubble on his jaw. He’s been doing that a lot lately. It’s probably the first time he’s had facial hair. Derek tries not to find it distracting and mostly fails.

A few minutes later, Stiles wiggles around to lie on his back and asks, apparently out of nowhere, “Tell me something about you I don’t know?”

“All right.” Derek thinks a minute. “I took piano lessons for three years, until my mom finally let me quit. I think she’s still a little disappointed I went out for lacrosse instead of the arts.”

“Huh,” Stiles says, and then nothing else. On the screen, the Death Star blows up Alderaan in a flare of orange light.

Derek prods him in the ribs. “Your turn.”

So Stiles hums thoughtfully and then comes out with, “Have I told you yet I have dual citizenship? Polish and American?”

Derek shakes his head.

“Well, then. I do. All my family except my dad is over in Poland, where my mom’s from. She and I used to visit them every summer in Warsaw. I already told you she died when I was eight.”

“Yeah,” Derek says quietly. It was one of the first real conversations they’d had, Stiles telling him about his mom’s dementia and how it was just him and his dad now, and sometimes Scott when Scott’s mom worked late at the hospital.

“Well, after she died,” Stiles goes on, “I stopped going. I still skype with them sometimes, though. On major holidays, mostly. It’s the only time I ever speak Polish anymore.”

Derek feels reluctantly impressed. “I didn’t even know you were bilingual.”

“Yeah, well, maybe not for much longer. I think I might be forgetting it. The other day I was on the phone with my babcia and I forgot how to say ‘water.’ That’s, like, the basics, man. It kind of scares me. I don’t want to lose that.”

“Well, you’re welcome to speak Polish to me all you want,” Derek says, and then, before Stiles can finish being surprised, “I already have no clue what you’re talking about half the time anyway.”

“Asshole,” Stiles grins, “jesteś bardzo zabawny.” It’s lyrical and flows easily off Stiles’ tongue, a whole other side of him that Derek doesn’t know at all. The only familiar bit is the sarcasm.

“You ever going to tell me what that means?” Derek asks.

“Even if I did, there’s a 50/50 chance I wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation to lie, and you’d never know the difference.”

He’s probably right. Derek swipes a hand through Stiles’ artfully messy hair in revenge; Stiles squawks.

*

They’ve just started The Empire Strikes Back when Stiles suddenly sits up, claps a palm to Derek’s mouth, and scrambles to pause the movie on his laptop. A second later Derek hears it too: footsteps in the hall outside.

Maybe it’s just someone shuffling down the hall to the bathroom, but then again, maybe it’s Jackson about to do a random room check and give them both a detention to serve on their first day back after the break. He always checks Stiles’ room twice as often as anybody else’s, and he’s enough of an asshole to spring it on Stiles in the middle of the night. From the way Stiles’ eyes are glued to the door, Derek knows Stiles is thinking so, too.

When it’s quiet again, Derek licks Stiles’ palm, and Stiles jerks his hand back and laughs, “Dude, gross!”

“’S what you deserve,” Derek snorts, settling back cross-legged against the pillows, his knees just barely touching Stiles’. “Why does Jackson hate you so much, anyway? I’m on the lacrosse team with him, and he doesn’t seem like that much of a dick then. Or at least, he seems like an equal opportunity dick.”

Stiles sniggers, and Derek shoves at his shoulder. “Oh, shut up, I didn’t mean it like that. Your mind’s always in the gutter.”

“Your terrible wording puts my mind in the gutter, buddy.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “Seriously, though. You and him?”

It’s dark in the room, the only light coming from the glow of Stiles’ laptop screen, but he thinks Stiles might be blushing. “Uh. Since you’re a transfer, you probably don’t know this, but two years ago… You know Lydia Martin?”

Derek does, of course-–it’d be hard not to when she’s student body president-–but he had no idea she and Stiles had ever had anything to do with each other, and tells Stiles so.

“Well,” Stiles sighs, “we didn’t, really. It was more like, I followed her around all of freshman year trying to, I dunno, woo her or whatever. I’d buy her bouquets of roses bigger than my head, and gourmet chocolates, and all this other ridiculous cliché crap that she didn’t want. It took me all year to accept that she barely even registered my existence and probably never would.”

“I’m amazed she could resist,” Derek says. “You’re so persistent, you’re hard to say no to.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “You obviously don’t know Lydia that well.”

“Not really, no.” He’s never even talked to her, or really felt a desire to. From what little he does know of her, she’s incredibly ambitious. She’s at the top of the popularity ladder, leading a dozen clubs, taking all honors classes, and probably already writing her application to MIT. Even the thought of people like that makes Derek tired.

“Anyway,” Stiles goes on, “long story short, she started going out with Jackson, who totally knew I had a crush on his girlfriend, and, yeah. Perfect recipe for douchebaggery right there.” He sighs theatrically. “It’s not like I had much of a chance with her anyway. I mean, I’m beginning to think no one’s ever going to want to kiss me. I’m a horny teenager, stuck practically 24/7 on a campus full of other horny teenagers, and I’ve still never–-anything.”

Derek lets his eyes wander over Stiles’ face, his perfect Cupid’s bow lips, his delicate bone structure, the sense of playfulness in his features, the beauty mark by his mouth. “I’d be very surprised. If no one ever wants you, that is.”

Stiles looks momentarily hopeful. Then he scowls. “Of course you’re going to be optimistic. You’ve probably never been rejected in your whole life. Girls probably throw themselves at you.”

Derek snorts. “Hardly.”

“Okay, but still… I mean, look at you!” Stiles gestures helplessly. “With the muscles! And the smolder-eyes! And the eyebrows!”

“The smolder-eyes?” Derek echoes, barely holding back a laugh.

“Oh, shut up,” Stiles mumbles. “They’re just–- You’ve got that whole dark and brooding-– Never mind. What I’m getting at is, you’ve probably kissed a girl, right? You’ve probably kissed loads of girls.”

“Just my ex-girlfriend Paige. She went to my old school. But that’s it.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah.” Derek shrugs. “You know I don’t get close to people very easily.”

“Yeah. I know.” Stiles bites his lip. “Can I tell you something else? No judgment?”

Derek nods, expecting another embarrassing Lydia-esque story. Instead, Stiles comes out with, “I keep wondering lately what it’d be like to kiss a guy. Is that weird?”

“Being bisexual is different than being weird,” Derek says automatically, but his mind is still stuck on the mental picture. Stiles kissing another guy. Stiles kissing Scott or Boyd or even Jackson fucking Whittemore… His stomach twists unpleasantly.

“That’s the thing, though. I’m not even sure I’m bi. I’ve never really wanted to do anything with a guy, except-–”

“Except?” Derek prompts.

Stiles runs a hand through his hair, glances up nervously through his eyelashes at Derek. “You’d kill me.”

“Try me.”

“Fine.” Stiles fidgets. “Except, sometimes I catch myself wondering what it would be like to kiss you.”

Derek’s not sure what his face is doing–-freezing in shock? flushing even redder than Stiles is right now?–-but whatever it is, it makes Stiles look down at his lap, biting his lip. He adds, “But at the same time, though, we’re friends, so it feels kind of weird to think about.” He glances back at Derek. “Does it feel weird to you?”

“Yes,” Derek admits. Stiles on top of him, smirking, twisting his long fingers in Derek’s hair, Derek ducking his head to suck a mark into the hollow of his throat–- “I’ve never thought about it before.”

Stiles’ tentative smile quirks downward. “Ah. Right. Well. Anyway, it was just an–-an idea.”

“Yeah,” Derek says. An idea. A thought. A thought he’s never going to be able to unthink.

Stiles leans forward and presses play on the movie.

They watch in stilted silence, and something must be happening in the movie but Derek has no idea what. He’s too aware of what Stiles said and how they’re carefully not touching anymore, a clear several inches of space between them on the bed. Stiles is staring blankly at the screen, all hunched in with his knees pulled up to his chest and his toes curled under, like he’s trying to make himself as small as possible. He looks miserable.

When the credits roll, he glances over at Derek and smiles stiffly. “Up for one more?”

“I’m thinking about it now,” Derek blurts.

“What?” Stiles asks, brow creasing. “Return of the Jedi?”

“No,” Derek says, mouth dry, “before, I’d never thought about it–-kissing guys, kissing you. But now I, um, am. Thinking about it.”

“Really?” Stiles says, perking up. He shifts around so he’s facing Derek. “I mean. Me, too.”

Derek can’t help it; his eyes go to Stiles’ mouth, his slightly parted lips.

Stiles smiles, like a question. “I mean-–look, would you kill me if I…” He leans forward a little, into Derek’s space, hovers over him, looks down lingeringly at Derek’s mouth. “I just–-”

On impulse Derek moves the final distance and their noses brush. Their lips. Derek closes his eyes and Stiles kisses him a little harder, an awkward angle until Derek turns his head just a little and then it’s soft and warm and curious, Stiles’ fingers coming up hesitantly to trace Derek’s jaw. Derek lets out a long breath.

Stiles leans away, slumps back onto his elbows.

Derek blinks, taking in the kissed red of Stiles’ mouth and the ruddy flush on his cheeks, his wide startled eyes, the rapid rise and fall of his chest under the satiny scarlet of his lacrosse jersey-–it’s the one he borrowed from Derek ages ago and never gave back; it hangs loose on him, makes him look even skinnier than he actually is. Draws Derek’s eye to the breadth of his shoulders. Derek’s aware, suddenly, of how quiet it is. With the movie finished, the only sound in the room is the low whir of the laptop and the loudness of their breathing.

Unsurprisingly, Stiles speaks first. “So, that was. Uh.”

“Yeah,” Derek says, and then, “Do you want, um-–”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, “yes, yes to all the things you could possibly-–” so Derek crawls over him and kisses him again, runs his thumb over the prickly stubble on Stiles’ jaw until Stiles opens his mouth on a gasp and lets Derek in, curls his fingers into Derek’s shirt and tugs him closer, presses his hips insistently up against Derek’s. He’s starting to get hard; Derek is already most of the way there.

They kiss for long minutes, basking in it, finding a rhythm, and it’s not so different than Paige, and yet it is. Stiles is just–-more. More movement, more energy, more give and take, bold, his hands restless under Derek’s shirt. There’s a kind of hunger in the way he roams Derek’s skin.

Derek lets himself explore in return. Stiles’ collarbones, pronounced in the ghost-light from the computer. The peach-soft skin of his neck, and his sharp little intake of breath when Derek bites. His ticklish ribs. The shiver when Derek’s knuckles drag over his skin, bunching up his shirt to his armpits. His happy trail, the slight softness of his belly, and the whispered “Oh my god” when Derek takes the flesh teasingly between his teeth. Stiles’ head thrown back and his mouth open, panting. The sound of Derek fumbling Stiles’ belt buckle and unzipping him, loud in the quiet room.

Derek pauses then, sliding his hands under Stiles’ thighs. “Do you want me to?”

Stiles laughs breathlessly. “Are you blind?” And then, when Derek cups him through his underwear, just to feel, “I can’t believe you want to do this. With me. I’m dreaming.”

Derek smirks and pinches him on the thigh.

“Ow! Asshole,” Stiles mutters. He snickers. “Okay. Point made. Literally.”

Derek groans. “And yet I still want to suck you off. I don’t understand it.”

“Okay, I’m done,” Stiles says hastily. “Just–-do it. Touch me.” He shifts his hips restlessly, sinuously, on the bed. It’s very persuasive.

“Okay,” Derek says.

He’s not sure what to do beyond the general idea, so he just follows his instinct, nuzzling into Stiles’ groin, mouthing a little. Stiles is already hard and so worked up he’s leaking a little into his underwear. It’s pretty encouraging. When Derek reaches his balls, he sucks through the fabric, tentative, until Stiles’ hips jolt up off the bed.

“Fuck, that, yeah,” Stiles says, petting Derek’s hair a little. His thighs are trembling under Derek’s hands. “But aren’t you supposed to actually, you know. Touch my dick?”

“Patience, padawan,” Derek says, just to see Stiles grin appreciatively. He tries to discreetly wipe his sweaty palms on Stiles’ comforter. “I’m working up to it.”

He–-stalls a bit. Strokes his hands down Stiles’ sides, thumbs his sharp hipbones, ducks down to kiss a mole. Starts easing Stiles’ waistband down until Stiles gets impatient and does it himself in one quick motion.

He’s a little longer than Derek, slender and cut, flushing delicate pink, bare and vulnerable and Derek wants, abruptly and intensely-–

“Don’t just look at it, moron,” Stiles says, “you’re making me nerv-–”

Derek licks him right across the head. Stiles groans.

He loses track of time a little after that, just licking more, sucking shallowly and retreating, teasing because he’s not sure he could actually fit all of it in his mouth. Stiles lies there and lets him, making these little sounds in his throat, goosebumps rising on his skin. He doesn’t say anything, which is probably the most surreal thing of all. Normally he can’t shut up.

When Derek really starts to suck-–focusing mostly on the head because it turns out he does have a gag reflex, a strong one-–Stiles fists his hands in the sheets and starts jerking his hips up in little aborted thrusts like he can’t help it, it’s just too good. That more than anything has Derek grinding his own hard-on into the mattress, again and again, the heat building, the urgency. He moves faster, sloppier, dares to take him a little deeper, and Stiles tightens his fingers in Derek’s hair and arches his spine and yells; Derek gets come on his fingers and the edge of his mouth, and just like that he’s coming, too, gasping into the skin at Stiles’ hip and shuddering through it, shocked.

“Dude,” Stiles says after a hazy minute. He stretches out a leg and knocks his knee against Derek’s ribs. “Did you just come in your pants from blowing me?”

Derek buries his hot face against Stiles’ stomach, feeling his breathing steadying. “Maybe.”

“Wow,” Stiles says. “That’s–-man. I’m going to be smug about that forever.”

He probably will be. Derek can’t find it in himself to care.

*

“What are you smiling about?” Laura asks suspiciously when she comes to pick him up the next day. Stiles is already gone; he left an hour ago in his dad’s cruiser. “You never smile. You’re always all emo or whatever.”

Derek makes a face at her and swings his duffle bag into the trunk of the Camaro.

“That’s more like it,” Laura says.

*

Halfway back to Beacon Hills, his phone vibrates in his pocket. It’s from Stiles.

>have u ever thought about dating a dude
>by which i mean me. obviously

“Is someone texting you?” Laura asks. “You don’t text anyone ever. You don’t even have friends.”

>No. Never before.

“You’d be surprised,” Derek says, and then, “But I wouldn’t call him my friend, exactly.”

Laura glances over at him. “You know, all this smiling is really starting to freak me out, baby bro.”

“Good,” Derek says.

He closes his eyes. That morning, the sunlight turned Stiles’ eyes gold; in their pocket of warmth under Stiles’ ridiculous mountain of blankets, Stiles whispered into Derek’s ear in Polish, translated just the last few words: “That means ‘I better see you over the holidays.’ No Derek Hale hermitage allowed.”

“Okay,” Derek said, simple as that.

>are u considering it now?

Derek smiles.

>Yes.