The thing about high school is that everyone is trying to find themselves, while trying to keep up with a bunch of stereotypes and labels.
Looking at Derek you think he would escape it unscathed. He’s a good looking dude, captain of the basketball team, has great friends and a supportive family and no pimples.
In theory he has everything a teenager could wish.
But the thing is, what Derek wants the most he can’t have.
What Derek wants the most is five feet ten, has lush brown hair, soft looking lips and eyes that defined forever the concept of amber. Who he wants most of all is also the most infuriatingly person Derek had ever met.
“I don’t care what stupid prank you think you’re pulling, I’m not falling for it, Derek. We kind of grow up together remember, I know you and this is bullshit.” Stiles tell Derek for the tenth time this week.
“Stiles, I’m not, I told you, I am actually asking you-”
“As if Derek Hale, Jock Senior Royalty in Beacon Hills High would ask me, Stiles no one Stilinski to be his-” Stiles finished with a humorless laugh and shaked his head. “Look man, I know you’re probably dared by Jackson or something, and you have to do this but I really, really rather not let you or anyone trample on my feelings, okay?.” He turned in his heels and walked out of the cafeteria, letting Derek staring after him.
“Stop moping already Derek!”
“I’m not moping!”
“No? Then why you’re doing such a pretty good impression of it?” Erica asked, pushing his arm.
“I’m bummed okay, and I’m allowed to be.”
“Yes babe, you are indeed allowed to your feelings, but you shouldn’t look so glum cause you were refused by Stiles.”
“It’s not that at all ! I wouldn’t care if it was anyone else, but I really do like Stiles, okay? And he just, he just doesn’t believe me. I tried everything, I sent him Valentine’s Day cards, I sent him choco-”
“You sent the wrong brand, dude,” Boyd mumbled from where he was carding his fingers through Erica’s hair. Why did they have to be so disgustingly cute beside Derek when he was so sad?
“Thanks Boyd, that’s very helpful.”
“Now, now, who found out he likes Reese’s and not Twizzlers? Send him the right brand now, do something else, write him a poem, a song.”
“Send him flowers now! Stiles totally looks like the kind of guy who would love a fuck heteronormativity kind of gesture.”
That’s how Derek ended with a flower bouquet being thrown in his face.
Stiles kept the Reese’s. Still gave Derek the middle finger though.
“I don’t know what to do anymore Laura. I’ve tried everything, everything you can think of, I sent him flowers, chocolates, a bunch of Valentines with songs I know he likes. but nothing, literally nothing works! What I’m doing wrong? He likes me, at least he used to!”
Derek was pacing around his room pulling his own hair while talking with Laura.
Being apart from his sister took a big toll on Derek. He and Laura have always been very close, she was his best friend, and he was hers.
“Okay baby brother, I’ll ask you to do a few things okay? First, sit the fuck down, I’m all the way here in Berkeley and I’m dizzy from how much pacing you are doing. Also stop pulling your hair, you won’t sure as hell don’t look cute bald.”
That got a laugh of him, trust Laura to always lift his mood doesn't matter the situation.
“Now I’m gonna ask you something and I need you to really think about your answer first, okay?”
“Did you tell Stiles the truth?”
“Of course I-”
“No, Derek, listen to me. Did you once, at least once, got to talk with Stiles only you and him for five minutes and told him about your feelings? Did you told him that you like liked him since that day you helped him when he fell in his face in second grade? Did you tell him you still keep that stupid paper heart that he gave you a year later cause he said you were his savior? Or the paper crown when he called you his king? Did you?”
For a second all air in Derek’s room were gone. All the overwhelming emotions that he fought so hard all those years to keep locked in a box, were out, and he had nowhere to hide.
He loved Stiles since before he was aware of what love meant, and Laura has been there for the whole journey. His sister knew and kept his secret all those years and remember that was what make he find air again.
“No Laur, I didn’t. You know I don’t tell those things to anyone.”
“Look bear, I know you’re scared of being hurt again okay? I know how Paige leaving hurt you, but it also showed you some truths, you were never really in love with her, we both know that she was just a friend that you liked to kiss sometimes. I mean you like that nerd since both of you were tiny little shits. I know that, dad knows that, Mom probably schemed behind your back with Claudia to get you too together.”
“What, you’re saying they-”
“Not the point Derek, focus at the matter on hand okay? You have to tell Stiles, how do you really feel about him. Because knowing that kid the way I know, he probably thinks you know he likes you and thinks you’re just making a game of it. I mean, I can’t blame the guy, low self esteem sucks.”
Derek groaned and threw himself in bed. How a guy like Stiles could be self conscious?
“He has literally nothing to be anxious about, he’s amazing. I mean, he’s the most handsome guy in the whole school, the nose, the hands, his broad shoulders, his lips. Even the glasses look amazing on him, it’s so unfair Laur. Stiles also has the second best GPA in the whole school, and he only loses to Lydia Martin because she is in all the possible extra activities in Beacon Hills High, I mean the girl just got into mathletes because she noticed his GPA would go up because he made the lacrosse team.”
“You’re forgetting that you see him that way because you like him, he doesn’t see himself like that. Love gives us pink lenses to see the world Der. Promise me you’ll find a way of telling him, I know you can do it. If you can’t actually tell it to his face, write a letter, show him the things you keep, but please do it. None of you should suffer just because labels put you as the jock and him as the nerd, it’s not fair to any of you.”
“I know it isn’t, I’m gonna do something, and I think you gave me the best way of doing it.”
“Yeah? Tell me everything!”
Two days later Stiles walked out of practice to find Derek Fucking Hale seated waiting for him by his jeep. He says goodbye to Scott and assures him that no, he doesn’t need him to punch Derek, his dad put him in all defensive classes, he can take Derek alone. He waits until Scott gets on his bike, takes a deep breath and walks to face the music.
Derek looks mouthwatering as ever, which is actually the worst part of all this. He’s wearing his marrom sweater with thumbholes, and his battered old jeans. And Stiles could bet his money that someone told Derek that those are Stiles’ favorite clothes on him. He’s also holding a box of what probably are chocolates, again.
When Stiles reaches him, he push the box in his hands with a coy smile in his lips.
“Look, you can buy me all the chocolate’s in the world, I still won’t go out with you.”
“Open the box.”
“What, are you reset to caveman mode now? Not a hey Stiles I’m here to make your life a hell again?” Stiles says bristling trying to walk past Derek and reach the door of the Jeep, but Derek just takes his bag, throws in the motorist side and leans against the door.
“Please Stiles, just open the box.” He says again in a careful and almost afraid tone.
Stiles almost decided to throw the damn box in the pavement and drive his Jeep over it, but he makes the mistake of looking into Derek’s eyes, and he sees so much hope and sincerity there that he takes the box, put it on the hood of the Jeep and opens it.
Inside the box years of memorabilia peers up to him. There’s at least two different rocks, a cardboard cup, three band aids, a paper heart and two valentine cards. There’s also two pictures of the Stilinski and the Hales together in their family barbecues. One of them is from the first one in Derek’s backyard. Stiles is missing a tooth in the picture, he is also looking at Derek with adoring eyes. The second picture is from the last one, before Laura left for Berkeley. This time around Derek is the one looking at Stiles with longing eyes.
Stiles looks from the picture to Derek and he’s looking back at him with the same eyes, full of love and hope.
“I am really bad with words, and I’m sorry that took me so much time to figure the right way of doing this, but I needed you to know that this isn’t some kind of stupid He’s all that that I’m pulling on you okay? I like you, I like since we were kids, and there’s no stupid convention, or stereotype that’s gonna get between us, if you have me.”
“But I’m a junior and you’re a senior and you’re you and I’m-”
“Amazing. You can ask any of my friends, hell you can probably ask your mom, and she will tell you that I think you’re awesome. Always have, and always will.” Derek closed Stiles open mouth, and asked again. “Will you be my valentine?”
Stiles likes to think that tackling him with a kiss was the best yes that he could provide.