----- Stiles - 9 / Derek - 16 -----
"Stiles! Stiles, wait up!"
Stiles internally winces at Scott's slightly fatigue voice calling for him. As soon as the school bell had signal the end of the school day he'd bolted from his seat heading for the school parking lot. He had plans today. Important plans.
"I gotta hurry Scotty! What's up?"
Scott took a long breath while he patted the front left pocket of his jeans, a habit he picked up ever since he lost his first inhaler and his mother scolded him by reminding him that they cost 80 bucks a pop, he most likely ran after Stiles trying to keep up with him. It always makes Stiles feel awful that he sometimes forgets to keep stride with his best bud, but his endless energy betrays him.
"I was gonna ask you if you wanted to come over to my house today. My dad sent me this totally awesome video game!"
"Oh man, that's great! But..."
Scott looks confuse as he asks, "But what?"
"Derek is supposed to pick me up today and he's gotta be waiting for me already. He's got a car now! He's practically an adult, Scotty!"
"So, can't he drive you over to mine?"
Stiles looks between his friend and the exit doors at the end of the hall sheepishly, "Yeah, but today we're going to the library and then we gotta head to the diner."
"You can't go!" Scott's sudden outburst shocks and equally confuses him.
"What do you mean I can't go? Dad and Mom said it was okay as long as he drops me off at Dad's station before eight so we can go pick up Mom."
Scott's eyes bug out like a cartoon as he exclaims, "Your parents are letting you date a high schooler?"
"What? DATE!?" Now it's Stiles turn to look like a cartoon.
"That sounded just like what Isaac told me his big brother and his girlfriend do all the time. Go out someplace fun, get food and do other stuff." Scott starts flailing his hands around as he speaks very much like Stiles often does, but suddenly goes still and a blush starts staining his cheeks. "I'm not sure what stuff and I don't wanna know either."
Stiles drags his hands all over his face exasperated at his best friend's antics and over imagination.
"Oh my God, Scotty. No. That's so not what this is. Jeez."
At Scott's complete and utter doubtful look Stiles decides to elaborate knowing Derek won't mind that he's running a bit late. He steps forward and puts his hands on top of Scott's shoulder and makes sure the other boy sees his talking business here.
"Okay, first of all, his sister's are with him. You don't go on dates with your sisters, dude. Second, my parents are paying him to pick me up because they're working right now. Someone as cool as Derek wouldn't hang with me for free, you know. I know I'm cool too, but not like Derek type cool, ok?"
Scott rolls his eyes dramatically and shakes his head at him. Stiles gets nudge a step back by Scott.
"Ugh fine, whatever. Tomorrow then?"
Stiles nods and says, "I'll ask my folks and let you know. Plus, you gotta help me pick out a theme for my tenth birthday party next month!"
Finally, he heads outside and starts peering at the line of cars waiting to pick up students. Not even four cars away does Stiles spot the sleek black car with a familiar figure leaning by the passenger door.
Laura Hale, Derek's older sister, waves at him when she spots him amongst all the other students.
"Hey, pipsqueak!" She ruffles the mop of brown hair on top of his head once he's close enough. He really needs to get a haircut, maybe just buzz it all off.
"Laura! I'm not that short, you're just freakishly tall."
Stiles is known for exaggerating things, what kid isn't really? But, this is not the case. Laura is a senior in high school reaching 5'11. Stiles is barely 4'7. Of course, he's gonna look like a munchkin besides her, jeez.
"I prefer the term Amazonian." She laughs loudly and opens up the passenger door for him to squeeze in the backseat.
He settles down and nods at Cora who's sitting beside him completely ignoring him, like always, with a notebook in her lap.
"Cora." His mother taught him manners, ok?
She doesn't look up from her notebook as she flatly greets him, "Stiles."
He decides to ignore her too and turn to look at the drivers seat, "Hi, Derek!"
"Hey, buddy." Stiles can make out his smile in the rearview mirror. "Buckle up, please."
"Are we still going to the library?" Stiles asks after they leave the school premises and start getting close to the town center.
Surprisingly, is Cora who answers, "I need to get some books for school projects, so yes."
"Remember not to lose yourself amongst the stacks, baby sis. I need to be at the diner for my six o'clock shift."
Laura works in the town diner as a waitress since she was a freshman. Stiles suspects she hasn't tried another place since she gets free food out of it. How she maintains her figure must be thanks to her being the girl's volleyball captain.
Cora rolls her eyes at her and mutters an a, "I know, I know."
"Also, baby bro, I need the car tomorrow night." Laura stares straight at Derek as if daring him to object.
Derek scoffs at her but keeps his eyes on the road as he says to her, "Laura, this is my week with the car. Didn't Jordan fixed his already?"
"He's taking me to a very classy restaurant tomorrow. With valet parking, Derek. Why would we go in his beastly Toyota when we can go in this beauty?" She starts stroking the dash adoringly and cooing.
"Is your fault for insisting on a Camaro and having to split the cost with Laura to get it. Now you're forever stuck with her, loser." Cora says in sing-songy voice mockingly.
"True." I add quietly.
Derek groans, "Not you too, Stiles."
"Wasn't Stiles the one who--" Derek interrupts Laura before she could finish talking.
"You know what, whatever. Is not like I had plans tomorrow night that include the car anyway. Boyd and Erica are coming over the house for movies."
Stiles sits up a bit and addresses Laura when he asks, "What were yo--", but Derek interrupts yet again.
"Stiles! Have you ever been to the town library before?"
"Yeah, but I lost interest after I realized there's a comic book store across the street."
On his mom's day's off she likes to visit the library, get a book and find a comfy spot in the park to read. If Stiles is also free he goes with her, but he gets a comic book instead. It's a nice tradition they started about two years ago.
"Wanna go there while Cora picks up the books she needs?" Derek parks the car on the side of the street closest to the library entrance.
"Sure!" Cora scoffs at his excitement. "I can always bug you while you look for them." He smiles at her kindly, but he knows she'll see right how fake it is.
"God, no. You're Derek's pest, not mine." She picks up her bag while glaring and pushes the seat in front of her till Derek get up and out.
The comment stung more than he thought it would, it's not like he hasn't noticed how odd their friendship is. What high schooler is friends with a fifth grader? But, technically, he guesses they're not friends, just friendly. There's a difference. Just like he told Scott earlier, Derek gets paid to watch him. Otherwise, there's no reason why they'd ever talk at all.
"Cora." Laura chides her, once they're all standing outside the car, then turns to look at Stiles fondly. "Ignore her, Stiles. Come on, Cora. It'll be faster if I help you."
The girls head inside the library and Derek herds him across the street to the familiar comic book store.
Stiles quickly heads for the Marvel area and starts browsing quietly. About fifteen minutes passed and Stiles still hasn't found anything that catches his interest. To be fair, he's not really paying much attention at the stack in front of him.
Derek's voice startles him and jumps surprise only to school his features as fast as he can and avoids staring at the older boy in favor of pretending to read a random comic.
"Hey, buddy, you okay?" Stiles nods his head and keeps flipping pages, but Derek doesn't buy it. "Come on, talk to me. You're unusually quiet and it freaks me out a bit."
"Just trying to be less of a pest, I guess." Stiles mutters unintentionally. Derek grabs him by the shoulder and softly moves him to faces him.
"What? No, Stiles. I don't think that about you and neither does Cora. She's just being....Cora."
"That doesn't make sense." He looks up confused.
"Exactly." Derek releases a quick laugh then looks at Stiles seriously and harden his grip on Stiles' shoulder. "Look, Cora just likes to tease me 'cause I like hanging out with you more than I do with her. You're only a year younger than her and it makes her feel like I don't appreciate that she's my little sister. It's nothing against you, I'll just have to make it up to her."
He smiles and pretends he's alright. He doesn't want to make Derek feel bad or worried. He's done nothing wrong, after all. Derek's posture relaxes then brings up two comic books up to eye level and grins.
"Now, seriously, who do you think is faster The Flash or Quicksilver?"
"Oh, man. You ready for this?"
It's sad that their not really friends, but he might as well enjoy these moments they share.
"What do you mean you can't come?"
He knew he sounded whiny and young, but it's his birthday and this is horrible.
"I'm really, really sorry Stiles. I promise I'm gonna make it up to you but I can't go." Derek's voice sounded pained through the phone.
"It's my birthday, Derek! What could make you miss it? Are you dying?"
Thankfully, Derek doesn't laugh at his overdramatic ramblings. He never does.
"Technically, no." Derek sighs. "My cousins were over this morning and completely destroyed my English assignment that counts for half my grade and now I gotta do it all over again. Good thing Paige is awesome and already finished hers, with her help I'll be able to finish it by tonight and hand it in tomorrow morning."
Stiles has met Derek's cousins on two occasions and does not wish for a third. They're demons and their father, Peter, was the Head Creepy Demon. He figures Derek's lucky to have Eri--wait, who?
"Ah, well." Derek's voice took a hesitant tone. "I hadn't mentioned it you 'cause is kind of new. She's my girlfriend."
"How come you never told me?"
"Is not really something we talk about Stiles, that's more Boyd territory, you know."
Right, because they're not friends. Why did Stiles think he'd want to come to a dumb tenth birthday party when he can go out with his friends. With his girlfriend.
"Yeah, of course. Well, um, okay. I hope everything turns out alright, dude."
"Have fun at your party, Stiles. We'll do something later in the week, yeah?"
"Happy birthday, buddy. Talk later."
Stiles was still sitting on the floor of his closet, he'd figure the noise of the party wouldn't be heard here, clutching in his hand the cellphone his Dad got him for emergencies long after the call ended.
He didn't react to Scott's booming footsteps coming up the stairs and into his room until after he was standing right in front of the closet door.
"Dude! I've looking for you. What are you doing in your closet? What's wrong?"
He stood up from the floor shrugging his shoulder and threw the phone over his shoulder to land somewhere on his bed.
"Derek's not coming."
"That's too bad, bro." Scott looked guilty for a sec but then plaster on a wide smile and threw his arm over Stiles' shoulders. "Forget about it. Everybody is downstairs, including Lydia, and you totally missed Isaac getting his butt kicked in Mario Kart against Allison. She's awesome, dude. Her reflexes are scarily good."
"Yeah, let's go back downstairs. I think Mom made more pizza bagels."
----- Stiles - 11 / Derek - 17 -----
Stiles stretched the burn in his arms and legs and looked over at his red-faced best bud trying to breathe too quickly.
"Bro, you alright? You got your inhaler with you, right?"
Scott nods and pats his knee high socks where there is an inhaler-shaped bulge sticking out. Scott takes it out and pumps once breathing deeply.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm good. I didn't know Danny and Jackson were that good, you know." He points over to the fields they just came from to where their classmates were still practicing.
"That's why we need to practice more. No way am I gonna lose to Whittemore."
He already lost Lydia's attention to him, but he might get it back. The guy was all brawn and no brain while Stiles could be both. He'll never understand why Lydia hides her smarts behind her perfect strawberry blond hair and Stiles is gonna show her that she shouldn't.
"Yeah, dude. Just give my lungs a sec." Scott plummets to the grown and chugs several swigs of water from his bottle.
"We're not gonna start again just yet, sit down and breathe." He joins Scott on the grass takes a sip from his own bottle.
Scott shoves his arm lightly and points away from the field and towards the path that leads to the high school building.
"Hey, isn't that Derek?"
"Huh?" He follows his friends gaze to a pair of students hand holding as they walk. Even at this distance, he'd recognize that figure anywhere. "Oh, yeah. That must be Paige with him."
"The girlfriend?" Scott asks hesitantly. "She's not as pretty as Lydia."
His best friend has never understood Stiles fascination with the older boy. How can he when he himself doesn't? Stiles has figured that he had a sort of hero complex with Derek, but at the same time, it's not like that. He doesn't wish to be like Derek at all. He admires him, yeah. But, is more than that?
The girl is question was a short brunette with sheets of papers in her free hand. Her skin was a porcelain white, just as pale as Stiles own. On Derek's free hand he carries a large case, one you'd used to store an instrument. He then remembers Derek mentioning he sometimes snuck into the music room during free period. He guesses now he knows why.
He shrugs off the uneasy feeling growing in the pit of his stomach and turns his attention away from the couple smiling and whispering to each other closely. Instead, he focuses on his friend and how he's breathing easier but it's looking at him questionably. Who knows what his face looked like a second ago?
"No girl is prettier than Lydia, though, I bet you'd say Allison is."
He shoves Scott in the arm accidently making him spill water on himself.
"Dude!" Scott exclaims annoyingly while dabbing the water droplets in his shirt away, but Stiles can see the blush staining his cheeks.
"Admit it, Scotty. You've got it bad for Ally."
Scott's blush resides, but his mood sours as he says, "It doesn't matter anyway. I think she likes Isaac, so."
Stiles has noticed her looks towards Isaac, yes, but she looks at Scott the same way.
"So? Isaac's got nothing on you, bro. I mean, he looks like an adorable cherub baby only skinny as a twig. At least, you look exotic with your natural tan and crooked jaw."
"Aw, thanks, man." Scott beamed at the praise.
Stiles had focused so much on his best friend that he hadn't heard the approaching footsteps until he heard a very familiar voice call out his name.
It's been months since he heard that voice directed at him. Stiles' mom got her shift change to daytime hours after they hired more nurses. Thus, she and his dad's hours complemented each other better and no longer needed an extra hand with taking care of Stiles. Derek was no longer his sitter, as in no more movie marathons, eating pizza or even simply talking about the most random topics. Their only interactions lately have been waves or nods in greeting if they happen to bump each other in the store or at the park. Just like now in high school's lacrosse field.
"Stiles!" Stiles waves at the approaching couple, at Derek's wide bunny-toothed smiles and his shy looking girlfriend.
"Hey, buddy." The familiar greeting once made him feel special, but now it just feels odd. Derek turns his attention at his friend beside him. "Scott, how's it going? You guys playing lacrosse?" He motions to their sports gear laying at their feet and Stiles hold himself back from saying something childish like 'duh!'.
Thankfully, Scott pipes in for him.
"Yeah, we wanna join the middle school team next year."
"That's awesome." Derek smiles encouragingly. "I'm more into basketball myself. Stiles has gone to some of my games."
Four to be exact, always with the Hale family. One time Laura painted his face the school colors and he cheered so loudly his voice was gone for the next few days. His father still reminds him how peaceful those days were.
Stiles was just about to mentioned that when Derek's eyes suddenly widen and he turns to his girlfriends with a fond smile then back to Stiles and Scott.
"Oh, right. Paige, this is Stiles and his best friend Scott. Guys, this is Paige, my girlfriend."
"Stiles? Wow, Derek's told me so much about you. I thought you were younger, though. I mean he did babysit you for two years, right?"
Stiles thinks that if it had been another person who'd said that it might've sound condescending, but he can now see what Derek sees in her. The girl resonates kindness all around her. From the soft brown of her eyes to the dimpled smile that reminds him of his mother.
He nods at her with an actual smile and says, "Yup, until my Mom finally got her hours changed to daytime shifts a couple of months ago."
"His mom's a nurse and BH Medical Hospital and his dad's the Sheriff, so they're schedules often didn't match up." Derek explains to her.
"Oh, that's must been hard, but you must be so proud of them."
"Loads." He gets distracted when he heats hoots and hollers coming from the field and remember Scott and him are supposed to be practicing.
"Sorry to cut this short, but our friends are waiting for us to finish up practice." He points over his shoulder to where Jackson and Danny are completely ignoring his and Scott's glances of 'we heard you, idiots!'.
Derek laughs and bends over to pick up the big case he was carrying earlier.
"Of course, good luck with everything. I'll make sure to see you play when you make the team."
The couple waved their goodbyes and turns to go, but Stiles can barely make out their conversation.
"You were right, Stiles is so nice. Most kids his age are kind of bratty."
"Nah, Stiles is great. I miss him sometimes."
"Aw, you're adorable."
Derek may have never truly been his friend like Scott is, but, at least, he knows he cares. That's enough. Right?