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the swap

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“Scott, we’re not in Grease. I’m not Sandy. Derek’s not Danny Zucco,” Stiles ranted, slapping away his best friend’s lightning fast hands away; the very hands that were trying to wrangle him into a letterman jacket. “Dude! Stop trying to Pink Lady me!”

“The comparison doesn’t even make sense! You haven’t said a word to him in, like, forever,” Scott sighed, exasperated. “Bro, you’ve been pining away from afar for years. Just--put the damn jacket on, and let’s go to the party!”

He grumbled for a moment, stuck between a rock and a hard place--or, rather, Scott’s puppy dog eyes--and then raised his arms to be dressed with a sigh of his own. He felt ridiculous, and overdressed, but Scott was right. He’d been pining away for Derek Hale, basketball star of Beacon Hills High, since he’d first laid eyes on him back in middle school. It was senior year now, and Scott was on some carpe diem kick, and had wrangled Stiles into his plans of gripping life by the horns and charging forward.

Meaning: use any means necessary to get Derek to notice him. Which, apparently, meant makeover time. According to the word of Lydia Martin, which was pretty much high school gospel, Derek’s type was jock. And, while Stiles had played lacrosse since freshman year, he wasn’t exactly your typical bro. He turned to the mirror in Scott’s room, plucking at his new duds. He didn’t look bad, exactly, just--not entirely himself. Jeans in place of Dickies, letterman jacket over a henley instead of his t-shirt and hoodie combo.

“So, how do I look?” he asked, meeting Scott’s eyes in the mirror.

He broke out into a grin. “Hot, dude.”

“Think I should bathe in some Axe, or…?”

Scott rolled his eyes. “Come on. I think I see Allison’s car outside.”




The party was in full swing when they arrived. Scott and Allison darted to the bonfire out back immediately, leaving Stiles with a wink and a wish to “go find his man”. There wasn’t much else to do but grab a cup of hunch punch and look for Derek. He drifted through Lydia’s McMansion, taking in the doubletakes and nods he received in each room he traveled. But everywhere he looked, Derek was nowhere to be seen.

Eventually, he parked himself by the far wall and sipped on his punch, alternating between pretending to be on his phone and despairing. What a stupid idea, he texted to Scott, along with a flurry of happy poop emojis. Then, when he was at this lowest point and contemplating just walking all the way home by himself, he looked up and promptly swallowed his own tongue. “Holy mother of god,” he croaked.

It was Derek. But not Derek; beanie, tight black t-shirt, khaki pants, black-rimmed glasses. He hadn’t shaved his beard, either, rocking stubble that no seventeen-year-old should plausibly have. It was like he and Derek had swapped wardrobes for the evening, and he boggled for a moment, wondering if Derek felt as out of place as he did. Stiles polished off his drink, adrenaline and vodka and sugar buzzing in his veins, and made a beeline through the living room. It was now or never.

“Hi,” he said, sidling up next to Derek as smoothly as possible. “I’m Stiles--”

“I know who you are, Stiles,” Derek said.

“You do?” he asked, eyes wide. “Oh. Of course, yeah, I had a project with Cora once. I think I came over one time and you gave me a coke and I--”

“Dropped it and it exploded all over the kitchen,” he finished, but he was smiling faintly like he thought the memory was endearing and not mortifying. “I was washing syrup off the walls for weeks.”

“Sorry.” He rubbed the back of his neck. Yes, good idea, remind him of everything embarrassing you’ve ever done. “Um, so what’s with the outfit change?”

Derek looked down at himself, his body language shifting into something Stiles could only describe as uncomfortable. “I don’t…” he trailed off, the tips of his ears turning bright pink. “It’s actually really stupid.”

Stiles smiled, a weird warm feeling he was 99% sure wasn’t alcohol swimming in his stomach. “Try me.”




Lydia peeked around the corner, smirking as Cora’s frown deepened. “I told you it would work,” she said primly. Not that she’d expected any other outcome. Her plans were flawless.

“I’m still not calling this the ‘Grease maneuver’,” Cora huffed.