Derek hated carrots. Derek hated a lot of things Stiles liked. But none of that stopped Mr. Popularity from asking Stiles out.
Stiles had originally thought it was a joke, becoming another punch line of another joke for the popular crowd to laugh at. So, Stiles may have panicked and practically ran away from Derek when he approached him in the hallway while Scott was invested in staring longingly at Kira as she spoke with Allison and Lydia.
Derek was left in the hallway to stare after Stiles, a slightly confused and bewildered look falling over his features. He looked at Scott for a helpful hint, getting nothing more than a confused look before Scott realized what happened and ran after Stiles. However, he didn’t give up.
Derek had always been a bit of an attention whore when it came to showing off. He did backflips to the cheers of the crowd when warming up before a basketball game. He flashed a charming smile when running for class president, beating Lydia Martin by only a few votes—which didn’t matter because Derek and Lydia entered into a pact to being each other’s vice president, despite the results. He helped to arrange a drive for charity by having rallying the basketball team into posing for a calendar—all classy photos, PG enough for the PTA and school board to not petition.
In short, sitting down next to Stiles at lunch wasn’t that big of a deal to Derek. Derek offered a nod to the others, registering that he wasn’t a threat.
Stiles stared at Derek, not knowing what to say. He was certain Derek was out of it, completely unaware of his location. “Are you lost?” He asked in confusion.
“No,” Derek partially laughed, a small furrow drawing his eyebrows together in slight agitation. “I wanted to talk to you, but you kind of ran away earlier,” he added in explanation.
“Sorry about that, but I … um, I had to–” Stiles felt the blush spreading across his skin as he tried to think of an excuse.
“Bathroom,” Scott offered.
Stiles closed his eyes, wanting to punch Scott in the head. If he wasn’t going to die of embarrassment, he was definitely going to die of embarrassment now that Derek Hale thought he ran like the devil was after him because he needed a toilet.
“Uh huh,” Derek answered, his voice not at all convinced.
Stiles sighed before he looked at Derek. “Look, whatever I did, I’m sorry about it, okay? It’s not worth having you pissed at me about it.”
“Do I … Do I really come off as being pissed at you?” Derek asked, his voice shrinking with almost every word. He suddenly felt awkward with the whole table looking at them both.
Which was weird because Stiles has never heard Derek Hale sound apologetic for sounding or looking angry. To be fair, Derek was only ever sounding or looking angry when Stiles was near him. He sometimes glared at Stiles from across the hallway, or he would release a heavy sigh or groan if Stiles had to pass by him in Harris’ class.
“You kind of have a resting bitch face whenever you look at Stiles,” Erica stated as she plopped down next to Derek.
Derek looked horrified before he managed to turn and glower at Erica. “Shut up,” he quickly said. “And no one told you to come over here,” he growled out.
“I wanted to make sure you managed to get it out,” Erica replied.
“Erica!” Derek snapped, his glare telling Erica to leave before she ruined everything.
But Stiles was already ahead of Erica in ruining everything. He quickly left before Derek could even look back at him. Whatever it was Derek was going to ask him, it seemed important to Erica, too. Maybe they wanted help with tutoring. Tutoring he could handle—he just hoped it didn’t involve his connections with the Sheriff’s department.
It was the next day at school when Stiles opened his locker and found a letter fluttering out of it. He opened it up, recognizing the penmanship as Derek’s. He wasn’t a stalker, he just happened to remember that Derek had impeccable penmanship whenever writing on the board—sometimes writing in cursive if he wrote fast enough.
The entire letter was in sharp, looped cursive.
I’m sorry about Erica. And about your locker yesterday. And about my resting bitch face — I don’t mean to stare at you. And sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m doing it, my eyes tend to just wander.
I was determined to ask you in person, hoping to get an answer right away. But perhaps by letter will be easier for both of us.
Will you go out on a date with me?
I’m not particular in how you get back to me – letter, conversation. Or if you just ignore me until graduation, I’ll know your answer is no.
Stiles stared at the letter in his hand. Derek Hale was asking him out. Derek Hale was asking Stiles Stilinski out.
And because Stiles didn’t believe himself to be good enough for the class president to be asking him out, he panicked. Someone must have told Derek that he had a crush on him—that he’s had one since 3rd grade, when Derek punched Jackson in the face for picking on Stiles and Scott. Someone must have told Derek and now it was time for the joke to play out.
Stiles rational side of his brain told him that Derek never did anything like that—nor did he allow that to happen to anyone if he could help it. But Stiles wasn’t thinking rationally. Instead, he was thinking that every illogical way to proceed was in fact the correct way to proceed. Which, according to Stiles, was to march into Derek’s homeroom and practically slam the letter down on his desk.
Derek didn’t startle so much as look up at Stiles in surprise. Erica practically fell off of Boyd’s desk and into his lap, as Isaac stared at Stiles with slightly panicked eyes.
“This is a really sick joke,” Stiles practically mumbled. “And I don’t appreciate it.”
Derek’s eyes hesitantly looked down at the letter, confirming that it was his before looking up at Stiles. “… Joke?”
“Toying with someone else’s emotions isn’t nice, Derek,” Stiles seethed, fighting back the way his voice threatened to crack.
“Stop parroting me,” Stiles stated.
“Stiles, that letter isn’t a joke,” Derek finally stated. “I wrote it because I was sick of getting interrupted.”
Stiles blinked several times at Derek, his eyes drifting to Erica, Boyd, and Isaac. When he saw that they were sitting in edged silence, waiting for his response, he looked back at Derek. “You … You want to go on a date with me?” His voice was small, a dash of confusion mixed in with his disbelief.
“Yes,” Derek stated, not liking that the entire homeroom was staring at them now.
“But – you’re Derek Hale.” Stiles shook his head. “You’re class president, captain of the basketball team. You were Homecoming King!” He stated them as if they were all reasons why Derek couldn’t want to date Stiles.
“You say all that like they’re bad things,” Derek sheepishly stated, his ears burning pink.
Holy shit. Stiles was making Derek blush—and damn it, Derek was even more attractive when he blushed. Which explained why it didn’t take long for Stiles to put his foot in his mouth.
“They are,” Stiles quickly stated. “I mean, no, they’re not bad. Not like being those things could ever be bad. You’re not bad— you’re great. It’s just that you’re you and I’m so much less than that.”
Derek’s blushed died, his features turning into a disappointed frown at Stiles’ words.
“You are great,” Stiles repeated, unsure why Derek suddenly looked like Stiles had just kicked his puppy.
“You shouldn’t talk about yourself like that,” Derek stated.
Stiles nibbled his bottom lip, uncertain how to proceed. He wanted to counter Derek, to tell him that it was something he was just used to—internalized devaluing was easier to handle than a second party doing the devaluing.
“I’m free this Friday,” Stiles finally stated, hoping to distract Derek.
Derek smiled at Stiles’ words, and Stiles knew that it was hopeless—Derek Hale could have his everything.
And that was how Stiles discovered that Derek hated carrots. It wasn’t until they started dating, Derek moving to sit with Stiles and his friends at lunch, that Stiles figured it out.
So, carrots. Derek hated them, but Stiles loved them. Which was why Derek didn’t tell his mom that he disliked the carrot sticks she insisted on packing in his lunch, more than pleased to give them to Stiles. And Stiles was more than pleased to eat them.
Derek did little things like that with Stiles. He acted like a provider, constantly giving Stiles whatever he wanted that was in his possession to give. He offered to drive Stiles to school when his Jeep finally crapped out and needed a way too expensive exhaust. He started hanging out with Stiles’ friends, Erica, Boyd and Isaac following after him, forging new friendships along the way.
Stiles liked it. Being with Derek was fantastic, but having a mismatched band of friends added to how great a social life Stiles started having. They were like a family of choice—all of them having their individual relationships with the others.
Stiles still couldn’t get over being able to wear Derek’s away jersey at the pep rallies and home games. There was a wave of initial shock that went through the different cliques when Stiles walked into the gym with Scott and Kira for the first game with him officially being Derek’s boyfriend. He sighed when he felt eyes lingering on him—on the ironed on ‘HALE’ on the back of his jersey.
Derek had been awkward when shyly asking Stiles if he felt like wearing it—that it was some kind of tradition that the basketball team did with their significant others. When Stiles didn’t answer at first, he had turned into a backpedaling attempt to say that it wasn’t a big deal if Stiles said no.
Stiles had tried—shamefully failing—to contain his eagerness in accepting. He felt a wave of smug satisfaction, recalling how Kate Argent didn’t even get to wear Derek’s jersey when she had dated Derek his freshman year—her senior year, (and Stiles, for all eternity, will call her a cougar).
“Hey,” Derek greeted Stiles, breaking from warming up. He caught the ball Aiden threw at him, easily catching it without looking. He partially smiled when Stiles flinched, thinking the ball might hit them. “I won’t let any balls hit you.”
Stiles snorted. “Well, where is the fun in that?”
Derek partially groaned, turning his head away from Stiles in an unsuccessful attempt to hide his blush from him. “You’re awful.”
“You love it,” Stiles stated with a smile.
“I do,” Derek slyly answered as he took at step forward, moving in to kiss Stiles.
Stiles’ eyes honed in on Derek’s lips, his breath catching. They weren’t a couple that liked to make out in public, but the idea of being able to kiss Derek whenever he wanted was still new to Stiles.
“Hale!” Coach yelled, ruining the moment and causing both Stiles and Derek to tense. “Stop making out with Bilinski and finish warming up!”
Derek turned a questioning brow to Stiles. “Bilinski?”
“He can’t read his own handwriting,” Stiles shrugged. He smiled as he moved to make his way across the court. He paused before turning back, placing a kiss in the corner of Derek’s lips. “Shoot me a 3-pointer.”
Derek shot four 3-pointers by the time the clock ran out.
Stiles worried his bottom lip as he stared at the clock in homeroom. He flicked his pencil back and forth between his fingers, anxious to see Derek before their weekend officially began. He needed to talk to him about the party. More importantly, he needed to talk to him about how he was unlikely to attend said party.
Normally, Stiles didn’t care for parties. It was exciting thinking he was going to hook up with someone when he was single. But now that he had Derek—able to see each other whenever they wanted—which rendered his desire level for partying to a zero.
“You like my parties,” Lydia gently sang after the bell rang, knowing what Stiles was nervous about.
“I liked your parties because I had a hopeless crush on you for about 10 years,” Stiles remarked.
“Are you saying my parties aren’t fun?” Lydia questioned, arching her eyebrow.
“No,” Stiles immediately answered. “Your parties are the best. Better than the best,” he nodded.
Lydia nodded in mocking agreement.
“I learned I was bisexual at one of your parties,” Stiles pointed out.
“And that he didn’t have a crush on you anymore, and that it no longer rivaled his crush on Derek,” Scott stated.
“Shut up, Scott,” Stiles harshly snapped as he looked at him.
“Why don’t you just tell Derek that you don’t want to go to the party?” Allison questioned as she sat down on Lydia’s desk, waiting for the strawberry blonde to finish packing her books away.
“You didn’t see his face when he asked me,” Stiles countered.
Derek didn’t mean to make the face—he just made it when he hoped Stiles would do something with him. They were laying in Derek’s bed watching Netflix, Cora having just been kicked out of the room by a bitching Derek and a scolding Talia, when Derek brought it up.
“So, the annual party is coming up,” Derek nonchalantly stated as they watched another episode of Psych.
“Huh?” Stiles asked as he turned to look at Derek, resting his chin in his hands. He was trying to stop himself from climbing into Derek’s lap and unabashedly making out with him. “It’ll be the final one—well until Cora finally starts throwing them,” he smiled as he looked at Derek.
“Yeah, I guess it’s become a thing,” Derek replied. “I wanted to know if you were thinking about coming.”
Stiles parted his lips to reply, conflicted in confessing his desire to sit this one out.
Derek’s eyebrows drew up into a furrow when he saw Stiles’ hesitation. “You know you don’t have to if you don’t want to,” he honestly offered.
“No, it’s just— Well, when is it?” Stiles asked, somewhat curious.
“That’s the thing,” Derek started, a guilty look falling over him. “It’s Valentine’s Day weekend.”
“Oh,” Stiles sighed, understanding now why Derek felt guilty about it. “If you want to have the party instead of—”
“No!” Derek hurriedly stated, almost knocking his laptop off the edge of the bed in the process. “No, that’s not it,” he calmly added. “I just didn’t know what you wanted to do for Valentine’s Day. If you wanted an all weekend thing, or the day, or … something.”
A smile pulled at Stiles lips. “You want to spend a whole weekend with me?”
Derek’s eyes widened when he realized Stiles now knew that he did want to spend the weekend with him. “I know it’s a lot, and we’ve only been together for a few months, and I’m totally not expecting anything—”
Stiles pressed somewhat fumbling kiss to Derek’s lips, stopping him from his rant. He loved that Derek had a secret rambling side—like Stiles. It made Stiles more comfortable in knowing that they were more alike than he first initially thought, yet still wonderfully different. “You want to spend a weekend with me,” he smugly stated against Derek’s lips.
“I thought that was obvious,” Derek answered, allowing Stiles to crawl over him and pin him into the bed. He smiled as Stiles showered his face and neck in kisses.
“I’d love to spend time with you,” Stiles stated against Derek’s Adam’s apple. “Anytime, anywhere.”
“You turned it into a make out session, didn’t you?” Lydia’s question broke through Stiles’ thoughts.
“I told him I love spending time with him, no matter where it is,” Stiles corrected her.
“Then if that’s true, go to the party,” Lydia countered, hooking her arm around Allison’s, walking out with her.
Stiles turned to Scott, only to receive a small shrug.
Stiles was confused to arrive at Derek’s house only to find it empty the day of the party.
There weren’t cars ridiculously parked on the lawn in attempts to find room. There weren’t crowds of people drinking and loudly talking. There wasn’t any music.
There was just Derek standing on the porch, smiling at Stiles as he approached him.
“I’m glad you came,” Derek stated as he moved to take Stiles’ hand, greeting him with a chaste kiss.
“Did you make it later?” Stiles asked, a quizzical look taking over his features.
“I actually cancelled it,” Derek stated, a small smiling pulling at his lips when he saw Stiles’ eyes widen in surprise.
“You cancelled the party,” Stiles parroted.
“Yup,” Derek answered as he led Stiles into the house. “Just me and you tonight.”
“But Derek, everyone was looking forward to tonight,” Stiles started, immediate panic that people would blame Stiles—assuming he put Derek up to it.
“I wasn’t,” Derek honestly answered. “I don’t like hosting parties, Stiles,” he confessed as he turned to look at Stiles when he realized that he wasn’t going to follow him into the house. “I throw them because people just expect it of me—captain of the basketball team means that I need to know how to host the best parties.” He shook his head. “It’s stupid.”
“But you were excited,” Stiles sheepishly argued.
“I was excited because you were coming,” Derek explained. “But then I thought about it and realized that I only care if we spend time together.” He offered a hesitant shrug when Stiles looked up at him, a pink blush creeping up his cheeks. “So, I cancelled the party to spend the weekend with you.”
Stiles smiled, rushing in for a kiss, overjoyed to be able to spend the weekend with Derek. He knew that he was gone on Derek the minute he had continued to bring those stupid carrots to school. He knew that he loved him as they curled up by the Hale home fireplace, Stiles snuggly tucked away in Derek’s arms. It was the start of the best Valentine’s Days either of them would have—Stiles accredited it to watching Star Wars on Derek’s laptop while dressed in matching R2-D2 and C3PO pajama pants.
Because that’s love.