Erica announces she’s pregnant, and Derek is torn between great joy for his friend, and absolute panic for himself. They’ve been dance partners for eight years; and no one handles his crap attitude better than she does.
“Don’t worry,” Erica promises, patting his hand when they’ve finished hugging. “I’ll help you find a replacement for the summer.”
“I don’t care about that,” he says quickly, “You shouldn’t be thinking about it at all. You need your rest.”
“I’m three months pregnant, Derek, not about to birth the kid.”
“As I’ve already told Boyd,” she cuts in with a steely glint in her eye, “I won’t be manhandled, or told what to do just because I’m pregnant.”
“I’m sure he was wiser than that.”
“He was; but he still tried to talk me out of going running this morning, and I saw right through it. I’ve never cared about it raining before, and he knew better.”
Derek pretends to grimace, “How dare he try and keep you off your feet.”
“Running is part of my life, and it’s absolutely fine to jog, and even dance until at least six months. Our routine is a little too much, though,” she blows her hair out of her eyes, “I don’t want to start the summer circuit and not be able to finish.”
“Then, I won’t dance, either,” Derek suggests, “It’s not like—”
“I think Finstock would blow a gasket if both his lead entertainers benched themselves, Derek. Besides, don’t be so dramatic, you can dance with someone else.”
Derek pulls a face, “No, I can’t.”
“Yes, you can. You’ll just have to adapt.”
“I hate that plan. Can’t Lydia and Allison lead this year?”
“No, Lydia wants to focus on the guest’s lessons, and Allison’s planning on starting an archery course, you’re stuck dancing, and you know you love it, so quit whining and help me draw up an audition flyer.”
“We’re doing auditions?” Derek frowns, folds his arms, “I’m not watching a bunch of losers all afternoon.”
“They won’t be losers; we’ll only agree to see the best, and we’ll make sure they’re all pretty,” Erica smirks, “Maybe some of them will dance shirtless, oh yeah, mama can bring popcorn.”
Derek glares at her, “Really.”
“Don’t deprive me of this, Derek, I’m already giving up so much,” she pouts (has always known his weakness is her sad eyes, his stupid wonderful best friend knows exactly how to play him). “Please?”
“Fine,” Derek throws his head back, strides across the dance studio to grab his bag, “If we’re not practicing today, can I at least take you out for a celebratory breakfast?”
“Now you’re saying things I love to hear.” Erica hooks her arm through his, and they step out of the old hall, moving into the throngs of hotel workers preparing for the day. “And, seriously, honey, I promise this is going to be great. You need a change.”
“I absolutely do not.”
“Derek! You live here, all year, you go to the same coffee shop, the same book store, eat at the same table when we’re in season and I know you haven’t been on a date since that bitch from three summers ago.”
“Which would be a good thing, considering she tried to burn my cabin down.”
“Rich kids never take no well,” she says with narrowed eyes. “And, I knew her family were trouble—”
“Allison works here, and you get along fine with her. She chose Scott over her family, Erica. They work hard to keep the hotel succeeding every year. She’s been a great addition to the staff.”
“See? Change is good, Derek.”
“How did you manage to turn that around on me?”
“Magic,” she dimples at him, “You want to head off site for breakfast, or stay in?” She flits her eyes over to where the waiters are preparing the outdoor tables for breakfast. Derek follows her gaze, spots Stiles shaking out a tablecloth, laughing at something Danny’s saying as he follows Stiles with gleaming cutlery.
Stiles looks up, catches sight of them and waves, full on beaming.
Derek reprimands the slight jump of his heart, gives a small nod back as he slips on his shades, “Off site,” he says after a moment.
Erica rolls her eyes, “You’re such a martyr.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he insists, striding across the staff parking lot to the Camaro. He can still feel Stiles’ gaze on him, and it makes him nervous, twitchy, willing to do stupid things.
Derek’s been working at The Royal Hotel since he was sixteen. His sister Laura got him a job as a busboy, and although he didn’t really enjoy such close contact with so many snobby, rude guests, the night life was worth it. Every night the hotel staff would squeeze into the tiny barn at the back of the hotel, turn up the music, and let rip on the dance floor. Derek hadn’t been sure he’d take to the dancing, shy and awkward as he was, but that first night, he’d been mesmerized. Everyone moved with such grace, such ease, and so close together; he’d been fascinated, watching from the sidelines and nodding along to the music.
Erica had been on the floor, spinning around with her golden hair flying in all directions, and knocked right into Derek. Laughing, she’d turned and grabbed his hand, not given him a chance to say no, and told him his hips were stiff. Derek had been afraid she was hitting on him for a moment, but she’d waved to Boyd over his shoulder, told him her boyfriend didn’t dance and that Derek would have to do, instead.
They’ve been dancing together ever since. From the first time Erica had insisted he help her out in the ballroom classes, to the first time he’d actually offered to dance with her for hotel performances; Derek was good at something, enjoyed something, he loved to dance. And, he loved dancing with Erica. He was reluctant to be partnered up with anyone else. He knew what he looked like, that people would queue up to dance with him if he let it be known he was looking for a new partner, but he needed more than that. He trusted Erica, and you needed to trust your dance partner more than anything.
Derek only really trusts a handful of people, painful experiences with his parents, guests that led him on and then left him with nothing, Kate, destroying so much of his hard earned life just because she could, no one’s ever really given him a reason to have faith in humanity.
After Kate, he’d been happy sticking to the company of his sisters, Erica and Boyd; that way he knew he was safe, that no one could hurt him.
And then, a year later, Stiles joined the hotel staff. Derek hadn’t met any of the new arrivals for the summer, had been out teaching at another hotel with Erica all day; getting a head start on summer classes; and they’d come in late. The rest of the staff had greeted them both fondly, given Derek a beer, Boyd had kissed Erica hello, shaken Derek’s hand, Derek had been surveying the new crowd, and then he’d seen Stiles.
He’d been on the dancefloor, sinuously swaying his hips as he danced with Lydia, had an easy, languid way to his movements as he kept up with the beat. Lydia looked great on his arm, smiling brightly, her dress swirling as she moved and Stiles himself… Stiles was gorgeous. Derek had surprised himself for noticing, after so many months of avoiding possible romantic interactions. But, Stiles was captivating, and when he’d glanced over at Derek, held his gaze over Lydia’s head, Derek hadn’t been able to look away. Stiles had smirked at him, taken a sip from his beer without breaking eye contact, never pausing from dancing, either. Derek had spent all evening aware of Stiles, almost helpless to avoid looking at him, watching him dance. Derek wanted him, wanted to dance with him, but he couldn’t make himself go over there. He wasn’t ready to put himself out there, and Stiles, with his beautiful dancing, and his easy laughter, Stiles made him nervous.
Stiles spent all day keeping the guests amused, flirting with everyone, and at night he danced with anyone but Derek.
Derek would only ever watch, dance with Erica, Allison, Lydia, always aware of Stiles across the room, or next to him on the dancefloor, holding his gaze steadily as he dipped his dance partner, put his hands on them the way Derek pictured them on him.
They bickered, sometimes, when Derek had to cover for one of the other waiters, or when Stiles came by the studio. Every so often, he’d help Derek out in a class, and he’d charm the guests, always making sure Derek caught his innuendos, saw him when he bent over. It was infuriating, made Derek snap at him, and Stiles was never without a comeback. Their insults were terrible, their arguments over silly, ridiculous things that didn’t matter, but seemed important, if only to keep them talking to one another. Derek held onto their fights for days, bitched about Stiles to Erica until she covered her ears; complained they needed to fuck it out. And… he wanted to, but he knew deep down he didn’t want to go back to that sort of life. He wasn’t willing to be used and abused all over again. He was better than that, and he wanted someone that would give their all to Derek, the way he would for them.
“Absolutely not,” Derek says as the latest audition finishes.
Cora puts her hands on her hips, glares at him, “You’re my brother, you’re supposed to be supportive of me.”
“This is me being supportive,” Derek huffs, stands and comes towards her, “You think you’ll still want to dance with me when I’m yelling at you at three in the morning? That when I tell you your feet are off; your hands are too wide; you can’t even stand straight while we’re talking, now?”
Cora readjusts her stance, looks over his shoulder to where Erica’s still seated.
Erica holds up her hands, “He’s tough, and you’re more likely to take offence from it than learn from it, honey.”
“Fine,” Cora rolls her eyes, storms over to grab her jacket, “I’ll just spend another year giving people false ass smiles and wishing I could tell them to seat themselves!”
“You don’t have to work in the restaurant, anymore, just ask Laura for something new.”
“She was the one that suggested I try dancing.”
“You hate dancing; you didn’t even look happy during the audition, and the first thing an entertainer is supposed to do is smile!”
“You don’t smile.”
“It’s different for me.”
“Cos you’re a guy?”
“Cos the ladies love it when Derek smolders at them from across the floor,” Erica teases.
Derek spins to flip her off, comes back over to the table, “I’m sorry, Cora.”
“You suck,” she snaps, and then she drops her shoulders, pulls a face, “Isn’t there something I can do down here? You guys have all the fun in entertainment, and I hate being on front of house.”
Erica hums, taps her chin thoughtfully, “Maybe you could help Allison out with the archery thing?”
“I do love weaponry,” Cora’s eyes light up, “I could do that.”
“See?” Derek holds his arms out, “Everything’s working out great for you, and I still have no dance partner,” he turns to Erica, “Face it, no one is as good as you.”
“We still have one more,” she sing songs.
Derek peers over to the list, flinches when he sees Stiles’ name, “No.”
“You haven’t even seen me dance, and you’re already dismissing me?” Stiles sails into the room, tossing his bag in the corner as he does so and doing a dramatic spin to face them. “I got moves.”
“You don’t take anything seriously, this is serious,” Derek snaps.
Stiles scowls at him, “You never give me a chance, man.”
“You’re a waiter,” Derek says dismissively, “Do you even have any training?”
Derek opens his mouth wordlessly, and then snaps it shut, glaring across at him.
“That’s what I thought,” Stiles preens, begins stretching his legs as he holds Derek’s gaze, oozing smugness.
“Fine,” Derek moves hastily back behind the table, sits down heavily. “I can’t believe you let him sign up,” he mutters to Erica.
“He’s a good dancer,” Erica whispers back, “I know you know that.”
“There’s a difference between grinding on someone in a barn, to performing a skilled routine twice a day, in front of guests.”
“We both started off the same way, doofus.”
“We trained, studied, put actual effort in.”
“You know I can hear you, right?” Stiles interrupts.
Derek jerks his head up and Stiles is suddenly right in front of the table, leaning over Derek. His eyes are so pretty and sincere close up, and Derek has to lean away, folds his arms.
“I wanted you to,” he manages, glares up at Stiles, “I don’t want to dance with you.”
Stiles’ mouth falls open, and his cheeks blotch with color, “Why the hell not?”
“Because I don’t trust you,” Derek snaps, and then pushes the table towards Stiles, stalks straight out of the room.
An hour later, and he’s sitting at the back of the dance hall, nursing a beer. Erica’s texted him a diatribe of angry messages about not being a grown up, about being an unfair dick to Stiles, and finally, at getting in his own way, and he’s turned his phone off.
Daft Punk’s Lose Yourself To Dance is playing, and Derek wants to join in the early crowd, wants to forget himself and think only of the music, but he’s not willing to get up and lose his brooding spot.
“You’re a douche,” Stiles plants his own beer on Derek’s table, glares down at him.
Derek tilts his head, appraises him, “So I’ve been told, many times.”
“What’s your problem, man? I’m a good dancer, you need a partner, I can be your partner.”
“It takes more than being a good dancer to be a good partner,” Derek retorts.
“Oh, trust me, I’d be a good partner,” Stiles wets his lips, looks him up and down, “Maybe you’re scared.”
Derek arches an eyebrow, “Scared?”
“Yeah, maybe you’re afraid I’d be a better dancer than you.”
Derek chokes back a laugh, lifts both his eyebrows, “Are you kidding?”
“I dunno,” Stiles shrugs, “The only other thing I can think of is that you’ve got an issue dancing with a guy.”
“I’ve danced with plenty of guys,” Derek drawls, spins his bottle on the table before taking another sip.
“So, try me,” Stiles opens his arms wide, cocks an eyebrow at Derek, “Come on, dance with me.”
Derek watches him for a moment, the way he twists his hips enticingly, fucking winks at Derek as he grabs his beer and finishes it in one.
“’M’not fucking scared,” Derek huffs, downs the rest of his own beer before standing. “Fine, let’s dance.”
Drunk In Love kicks in as Derek makes his way onto the dancefloor, turns to face Stiles with what he hopes is a bored, disinterested look.
Stiles moves towards him, eyes never leaving Derek’s, and then he curls an arm around Derek’s waist, pulls him in close.
“You doin’ okay?”
“What, you care?”
Stiles smirks, tugs Derek even closer as he moves their hips together, “A good partner always checks in; makes sure their partner’s having a good time.”
“There you go again,” Derek murmurs, hands sliding up Stiles’ sides before resting against his back. “Dancing is not about sex.”
“Who said anything about sex?”
“You did, you do, all the time, you make it all a big innuendo, and it’s not about that.”
Stiles inhales next to Derek’s ear, presses their chests together, “It is sometimes.”
“Dancing the way I do, with Erica, it’s not about that. The routine is a story, something beautiful and compelling.”
“Man, have you been having bad sex if you don’t think that’s what sex is about.”
“You have to separate the two,” Derek continues, pushing his knee between Stiles’ thighs and dipping him slightly.
Stiles bites his lip, looks Derek in the eye, “Doesn’t seem like you are, right now.”
“You said you thought I was afraid of dancing with guys,” Derek smirks, “I’m just showing you I don’t have an issue with that.”
“I can see that, or,” Stiles quirks an eyebrow, “Feel that?”
Derek rolls his eyes, “Shut up.”
“It happens,” Stiles leans in close, their mouths almost brushing, “Why can’t you just let go for once?”
“I do when I dance, all the time.”
“Yeah, yeah I’ve seen it.”
Crave You comes on, and Derek loses himself, just for a moment, lets his hands roam over Stiles’ back as they grind into one another. Stiles’ hand cups his neck, and he rolls his body into Derek’s, before pulling away again. There’s no denying they fit well together, they move easily, just the way Derek knew they would. It’s what would come after, how he would feel once he’d let Stiles wreck him, that would be his undoing, and he knows Stiles, with all his wild, captivating charm, would totally, completely wreck him.
“Do you know how many times I’ve watched you dance?” Stiles says, lips touching Derek’s ear as he speaks.
“I dance here every night; it’s hard to look away when Erica’s on the floor.”
“Yeah, but I’m not watching Erica.”
Stiles drags his hands down Derek’s back, rests them just above Derek’s ass.
“You should be,” Derek replies, hoping his voice isn’t as breathless as he thinks it sounds.
“I don’t wanna dance with Erica.”
“And, what,” Derek pulls away enough to narrow his eyes at Stiles, “You want to dance with me?”
“I wanna do a lot of things with you,” Stiles steps back, shrugs, “But, yeah, I want a chance to dance with you, properly, officially,” he says with air quotes, “If you need that to be the case, then fine, I’ll put it in writing if you want.”
“What, you’re gonna put it in writing that you’ll stop with the flirtatious comments? Won’t touch me inappropriately when we’re practicing?”
“Okay, that made me sound like a weirdo, thanks.”
Derek fixes him with a look, and Stiles exhales sharply, cheeks going pink.
“Fine! Sure, I won’t touch you inappropriately.”
“And you won’t flirt.”
“You flirt with me, too, man.”
“I— I don’t flirt that much. And, if it happens,” Derek hunches up a shoulder, “I’ll put a stop to it.”
“Great,” Stiles claps his hands, “We can be professional, and super boring, all at the same time.”
“You don’t seem to get how much this means to me,” Derek says crossly, “It’s my life.”
“Yeah, and I’d like for mine to not be being a waiter forever, Derek. I want to do this for my own reasons, too. I can take this seriously, and Iwill work hard, but you have to promise not to be a complete jackass.”
“I’m not a jackass.”
“You literally scared your own sister away this afternoon with threats of being a tool to her.”
“I work hard, I’d work you hard.”
Stiles’ eyebrows shoot up, and Derek checks himself, rolls his eyes, “See, there was no innuendo there; you just took it that way.”
“No, I didn’t,” Stiles says slowly, “You do it on purpose just as much.”
“I don’t mean to.”
“What, I just bring it out in you?”
“Something like that,” Derek grits out, “And, I don’t like it.”
Stiles gives him an appraising look, expression going almost wistful before he shrugs, looks away. “Fine, you can be a nun for all I care. I just want a chance to dance, properly, for the hotel.”
“Okay,” Derek turns away as the song changes, Medicated comes on and Isaac and Scott start lolloping around the dance floor with unsteady knees. Derek thinks he hears Isaac crow something about four twenty and Scott falls around laughing. Stiles is watching his friends with a warm look when Derek chances another glance at him, and it makes his stomach lurch, makes him wish Stiles would look at him like that; not like someone he just wants to fuck around with.
“You have to take this seriously,” he says again.
“I will,” Stiles pinches the bridge of his nose, “Just, cut me slack, man, let me try.”
“Fine,” he turns on his heel, “See you tomorrow at six.”
“Wait, am?! Dude!”
Derek throws Stiles a grin over his shoulder, hurries home to his cabin before he gets himself into more trouble.
To his credit, Stiles is early to their first rehearsal. Derek’s still in his work out gear, pulls out his earbuds as he comes into the studio.
“You’re here, already?”
Stiles shrugs, “I wanted to practice your routine from last year.”
“Erica and I always alter it, tailor it with new moves we’ve seen over the year, to what we think will look good.”
“Alright,” Stiles nods, “What’s the new one?”
Derek smirks, “That’s what we’re doing today.”
“We’re…” Stiles’ eyes go wide, “No way, man, I’m not a choreographer, I just do the dancing.”
“This is part of it,” Derek tosses a list of songs to him; “You got any preferences?”
“Christ, are all of these songs from the eighties?”
“I think one or two of them are from at least ‘nintey one,” Derek replies easily, starts stretching as Stiles reads the list.
“Ooh, Time After Time!” Stiles clutches the list to his chest and pretends to swoon, “Can I be your Fran?”
Derek gives him a flat look, “You don’t wear glasses, or, to my knowledge, speak Spanish.”
“But, I do good pasodoble.”
“Don’t look so surprised,” Stiles stamps his foot on the ground as he throws a hand up; the first step in the pasodoble. “I have depth.”
“Uh huh,” Derek waves his water bottle at Stiles’ arm, “Your frame is terrible.”
“Shut the fuck up; my frame is fine.”
Derek snorts, gets to his feet after stretching out his calves, “So, any thoughts?”
“Yeah,” Stiles points at the third song down, “Eric Carmen; classic.”
“Is it the only other song you know on there?”
“Yep,” Stiles beams, “And, I only know it because of the delightful classic we are literally reenacting.”
Derek pops the list back in his bag and rolls his eyes, “I’m not gonna be the Johnny to your Baby.”
“Offence! What if I wanted to be Johnny?”
“You don’t have a cool enough car.”
“But, I definitely have the angsty stare down, look,” Stiles demonstrates said Patrick Swayze classic angst expression and Derek has to give it to him, he nails it.
“Amazing,” he says drily, “Shall we get started?”
“Yep, where do you want me?”
Derek sets up his iPod, gestures for Stiles to come over to him.
Stiles suddenly looks nervous, drags his feet against the floor, tugs on his thin t-shirt. Derek has already tried and failed not to notice how see through it is.
“What? I don’t bite, Stiles.”
“Wouldn’t be a problem if you did,” Stiles quips.
“Stiles, come on, you said you were gonna take this seriously.”
“I am, I am, jeez,” Stiles darts over to stand in front of him, licks his lips as he eyes Derek warily. “Now what?”
“Now, take my hands,” Derek says slowly, as if talking to an idiot.
Stiles gives him a look like he’s not impressed with Derek’s tone, takes his hands roughly.
“Ecstatic, step towards me.”
“Yes! Look, don’t you know basic footwork for a Foxtrot? Slow, slow, quick quick,” Derek snaps his fingers as he speaks. “Slow, slow, quick quick—”
“I know how to do a Foxtrot, Derek.”
“Then do it with me.”
“Fine,” Stiles steps forward, one hand on Derek’s shoulder and Derek lets him, moves back with him. “See?” Stiles mutters menacingly when they’re halfway around the room. “I can do a damn Foxtrot.”
“Congrats, you can do what all six year old ballroom dancers can.”
“How many six year olds do you know that do ballroom, Derek?”
“There’s a class of them Lydia’s teaching next week, and the week after, actually.”
“And, I taught it with her last year,” Stiles lets go of his arm, waves his hands in the air, “Are you just gonna test my damn dance knowledge all day?”
“No, I was just loosening you up,” Derek rolls his eyes when Stiles sticks his tongue in his cheek. “Cut it out.”
“I thought I wasn’t allowed to make innuendos, I didn’t realize it extended to not being allowed to appreciate it when you make them.”
“It was an accident,” Derek strides over to turn his iPod on, “Now, give me some moves you think should go in the routine.”
“So, how’s the newbie?” Erica dips one of her fries into the ketchup on Derek’s plate, ignores him as he eyeballs her warningly.
“Fine,” he says curtly, glances around the empty hotel restaurant to seek out Stiles, sees him deftly folding napkins into swans with Isaac in the corner. “He’s fine.”
“You’re tellin’ me; I saw him out jogging this morning,” Erica kisses her fingers, “Yes.”
Derek raises his eyes heavenward, “I have spent a whole two days listening to Stiles make comments like that, can you please dial down the horny?”
“Only if you promise to say horny again, just once.”
Derek rolls his eyes at her, “Horny,” he says flatly.
“God, I love you, babe,” she grins at him, waves when Stiles looks over to them. “He’s good, then?”
“Like you knew he would be.”
“I love being right,” she exclaims dramatically, claps her hands together. “So, when can I see the routine?”
Derek grimaces, rubs a hand over his face, “We haven’t… it’s not there, yet.”
“Derek! Your first performance is on Saturday; you know Finstock’ll shit a brick if you guys don’t perform opening weekend.”
“I know that,” Derek huffs defensively, shoving fries around his plate. Erica rescues two of them, pops them in her mouth without permission.
“Do you need another plate of those?”
“Shut up, I’m eating for two, and you shouldn’t even be ordering those.”
“I didn’t, Stiles just brought them out.”
Erica clutches her hands to her chest, “Does he know they’re your weakness?”
“Do you ever get tired of mocking me?”
“Nope,” she falls silent for a minute, watching Stiles and Isaac pack up and leave, Stiles throwing them a wave over his shoulder and winking at Derek.
Derek looks determinedly away.
“You guys looked good together the other night,” Erica muses lightly.
“What? I’m just saying; I love me some sexual tension, but I know you know there’s more to it than that.”
“He just wants what he can’t have.”
“Huh, and you… don’t want him?”
Derek gives a dry laugh, “That isn’t the problem.”
“Then what is?”
“The problem is that I have a dance routine to perfect in three days, and a best friend that’s trying to meddle in my love life when there isn’t anything going on.”
“Only because you won’t let it.”
“Fine, fine,” she holds up her hands, sitting back at the table, “I won’t meddle.”
“But, I will say, you think he wants a notch on his bed post, and I think he wants to impress you so badly he’s spent all year learning ballroom techniques he definitely didn’t know last summer.”
Derek looks down at his plate, thinks back to the Stiles of last year; the way his walk was less composed; his shoulders slightly more slumped; the way his dancing is more refined than Derek’s ever seen it.
“Maybe he has been practicing,” he agrees, “But, that’s good for the routine.”
“You’re so stubborn,” Erica sighs, getting out a nail file, “I don’t even know why I think it’s a good idea you be this kid’s godfather.”
Derek does a double take, looks up at her, “What.”
“You heard me, Derek Hale,” she leans over, takes his hand, and he doesn’t even mind the damn nail file’s sticking into his skin painfully. “Will you be this baby’s godfather?”
Derek swallows, nods slowly, “I’d be honored.”
“Good,” Erica sits back again, wipes her eyes, “Otherwise I’d have had to have asked Isaac, and you know that boy’s way too doped up to look after a watermelon, let alone a kid.”
Derek grins at her, eats the rest of his fries feeling all at once much more joyful and hopeful.
“What are you so smiley about this afternoon?”
Derek startles at the question, looks up from where he’s sitting on the studio floor, drawing out their routine.
“You’re all smiley,” Stiles kicks at his foot, “I’m just amazed your muscles can even handle it for this long.”
“Ha ha, a joke about my lack of smiling, intuitive, really.”
Stiles collapses next to him, throws a random pencil at him, “I was gonna make a joke about your constant frowning, but I thought, hey, freshen up the material a little.”
“Of course, gotta keep your dialogue as witty as possible.”
“Hey, I am witty, dude.”
“I don’t doubt that,” Derek takes a beat, smirks, “In your head you sound great, I’m sure.”
“You don’t know how good I can sound,” Stiles grimaces, “Man, that came out wrong.”
“Everything you say comes out wrong.”
“Your face is wrong! Ha!” Stiles jumps up again, “Come on, let’s try it from the top.”
Derek rolls onto his knees, straightens up and pretends he doesn’t feel a little smug Stiles watched him the whole time. He freespins towards Stiles, holds out his hand.
“When you’re ready.”
Stiles takes his hand, toes Derek’s iPod on and they begin dancing. Derek’s fears of them maybe not meshing, or only being able to grind together, had been quickly put to rest once they had a routine planned out. Stiles is a good dancer, all round, and if he has been practicing it shows; he supports Derek well, can hold his own, too.
“You wanna add something, here?” Stiles pauses the music, “You know in that second shimmer?”
“Shut up, I don’t know the musical term for chimes, asshole.”
Derek hums, “I know which bit you mean.”
“Then why pick on my choice of words?”
“More fun,” he says easily, stretching his arms above his head.
“Oh, so it’s okay for you to tease me, but not the other way around?” Stiles folds his arms, “That’s fair.”
Derek rolls his eyes, pokes at his elbow, “Relax, I’m not teasing you.”
“Sure sounded like it, in fact,” Stiles lifts an eyebrow at him, “If I didn’t know better I’d say it was flirting.”
“Do you need to start a list on the wall, what I can and can’t say, now?”
“I’m just saying it’s not fair if you flirt with me, when I’m not allowed to flirt with you.”
“It’s different, I don’t mean it!”
Stiles’ mouth falls open, “Well shucks, thanks.”
“Not like that,” Derek scowls, folds his own arms, “You’re— you—”
“I, me, what, Derek?”
“You flirt with everyone, it’s easy for you, you sleep with who you want to sleep with and then you move on—”
“Wait, excuse me, I’m sorry, when did you start thinking I was some sort of fucking Lothario?!”
“Around the time you went back to Amelia’s cabin with her the second night you were here.”
Stiles jerks his head back like Derek’s punched him, “Wow, you so don’t know me at all. In fact, I don’t even… She has a cute cat, Derek. I literally went to meet the cat. I like animals, so sue me, or you know, just make assumptions about me and then hold them against me for three years! Besides,” he adds haughtily, “Even if I was flirting with you, who says I want to sleep with you? You think everyone on this damn site wants in your pants, but have I ever, ever put any kind of pressure on you? Ever made you feel uncomfortable?”
“No,” Derek admits grudgingly.
“Exactly,” Stiles huffs, “You might be beautiful, and I might flirt with you, but you are not on my to do list, man. You made it perfectly clear the first time we met, you weren’t into that, and I’ve never even thought about it. Well, except once, or twice, look, that’s not the point; I’m here to dance! I want to go somewhere, with this, Derek. So, either work with me, and stop being so god damn jumpy around me, or find a new partner.”
Derek holds his gaze for a moment, feels deeply repentant (and a little devastated, but stamps down on that, immediately).
“You’re right,” he says finally. “Let’s have a do over.”
“Great,” Stiles claps his hands together, “Now what about a moon walk?”
Derek pretends to shoot himself.
“Come on, you can do this, Stiles, feet together, apart, spin, duck, again, quicker.” Derek claps his hand along to Stiles’ movements, “Together, apart, forward, back, twist—”
“Dammit, Derek, shut up!”
“No, it’s Thursday, we have less than a day and a half to get this right, and you can’t keep up!”
“Bite me, man, you’ve spent eight years doing this dance, and I’ve had five days.”
“You said you were ready!”
“Yeah, well maybe I’m not?” Stiles tugs off his t-shirt impatiently, lobs it at Derek. “I need to take five; I’m exhausted, it’s freaking nine thirty, and we left lunch at one!”
“You’re thinking about your stomach, now?” Derek bats his shirt away, strides towards him and does the step in one fluid, easy movement. “When you can do that? you can eat.”
“Screw you, I’m not your prisoner!”
“I never said you were,” Derek waves a hand at the door, “You’re free to go whenever you want.”
“Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you? Prove you were right about me all along, slacker, no good at anything but making god damn napkin shapes.”
“You’re not that good at that.”
There’s a heavy pause, both of them are breathing heavily, and Derek can’t tell if maybe they’re going to start throwing punches, or kiss; he’s not sure which he’d prefer at this point. Stiles is standing shirtless in front of him, chest rising and falling hard, and skin shiny with sweat; Derek would be okay with it against his.
“We need a break,” he says finally, looking out the window at the overcast sky.
“A break— dude, you literally just said I couldn’t have one of those.”
“No, I mean, we’ve been in here all day, you’re right—”
“I’m sorry, did you just say I was right about something?”
“Don’t let it go to your head,” Derek swipes up his sweater, throws Stiles his shirt back. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”
“And go where? Derek! It’s nearly ten at night!”
“So?” Derek smirks at him, “You got somewhere better to be?”
Stiles looks at him for a moment, eyes narrowed, and then he sighs, throws his head back.
“Okay, fine, god, you could literally talk me into walking on broken glass to get out of this studio, right now, and that’s a feat, I’m really pissed at you.”
“I warned you I’d be tough,” Derek opens the door, lets Stiles pass, and Stiles laughs as he does, shoves at his arm.
“There’s tough, and then there’s dictator like.” He spatters down the wooden steps, turns with a bright smile on his face, and it makes Derek’s breath catch.
“Where we goin’?”
“Somewhere I go when I need to blow off steam.”
Stiles’ eyes light up, and Derek rolls his own back, “Not somewhere like that.”
“I wasn’t thinking anything untoward,” Stiles sniffs loftily, follows Derek as he heads through the lush hotel gardens, out towards the forest at the back.
“You’re not going to murder me, are you?”
Derek barks out a laugh, and Stiles shoots him a funny look.
“Nothing, I just… I don’t think I’ve ever made you laugh before.”
“You make me laugh, all the time.”
“Yeah, I meant in a good, healthy way, not in a laughing at me kind of way.”
“Huh,” Derek smirks again, “You should have specified.”
“Dick,” Stiles stumbles over a root, and Derek catches his arm, straightens him up. Stiles looks across at him, lips parted, and Derek wants nothing more than to lean in, kiss him in the moonlight.
“Thanks,” Stiles murmurs.
Derek nods, turns to lead the way again, “Can’t have you breaking your leg two days before we’re supposed to perform.”
“You’d be known as the cursed dancer,” Stiles laughs to himself, “You could get an eye patch.”
“I’m not sure what that would do for my balance or my general skills as a dancer.”
“Dude, you could be blindfolded and you’d still be an amazing dancer.”
Derek pauses, turns to look over his shoulder, “Uh, thanks.”
Stiles rolls his eyes, shoving his hands in his pockets and traipsing past Derek, “Don’t let it go to your head or anything; you’re still a dick.”
“Well, gee.” Derek elbows him good naturedly, turns off the nature walk path and into the heavy brush.
“Dude, seriously,” Stiles bats away a tree branch, hurries after him. “Where are we going?”
“Somewhere good,” Derek promises, and then, on impulse, grabs his hand and pulls him along.
“Is this so I don’t trip again?” Stiles asks in a tremulous voice.
“Sure,” Derek mutters, refusing to look at him.
“I feel so treasured,” Stiles pretends to simper.
Derek squeezes his knuckles in retaliation, stops short when they’re at his favorite spot. Stiles almost walks into him, pulls up short and gasps excitedly.
“Dude! There’s a freaking waterfall!”
“Uh huh,” Derek lets go of his hand to yank off his shirt, shucks his dance pants and gives Stiles a wicked grin, “See you in there.”
He jumps into the air, plunges down into the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. He can hear Stiles exclaiming above him, and then he’s half tripping into the water himself, comes up laughing next to Derek.
“This is awesome!”
“Perks of having been at the hotel as long as I have,” Derek rolls onto his back, looks up through the trees to where the stars are bright in the sky. “I know all its secrets.”
There’s silence, and when he turns his head it’s to Stiles looking at him thoughtfully.
“Why do you come back here? I mean, don’t you ever want to try something new?”
Derek shrugs, lifts his hands in the water, watches the rivulets run over his arms.
“I like it here, I don’t really leave, I live here off season.”
“Yeah, I noticed that.”
“It’s my home, more than home home ever was,” Derek meets his eye for a second, looks away again quickly. “My parents weren’t exactly supportive of me leaving home at sixteen, or of my preference for both women and men.”
Stiles whistles, lies back next to him, “Man, that’s rough, if my dad hadn’t understood, or didn’t want to know me, I don’t know what I’d do.” Derek gives him a questioning look, and Stiles returns it with a sad smile, “He’s all I got. My mom died when I was eight. I don’t know what I’d do without my dad.”
Derek nods, turns back to the stars, “I didn’t cope very well, to start with. Then Laura got me this job, and… I like seeing the seasons change, here. I like knowing everyone, knowing they’ll come back, I guess.”
“It’s a constant,” Stiles fills in for him, and Derek nods again. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry about your folks.”
Derek hums, “It was a long time ago, my sisters both came here,” he grins to himself, “They picked me, Cora always says. They’re very protective.”
“I know,” Stiles agrees heavily.
“Yeah, after my audition,” Stiles waves air quotes above them, splashes his hands back into the water, “Cora came after me, gave me a lecture.”
“Uh huh, about how if I ever hurt you she’d kill me; hatchet me, actually, I think was her exact weapon of choice.”
“Cora loves her weapons,” Derek muses.
“Tell me about it,” Stiles grins at him, swims towards the rocks and then pushes himself off with a blast of water. “This is awesome! I can’t believe we don’t all come here.”
“No one else knows about it,” Derek replies idly, looks over at Stiles when he doesn’t immediately reply. “What?”
“You brought me to your secret waterfall,” Stiles says slowly, “Because you felt bad about shouting at me.”
“Something like that.”
“Derek,” Stiles swims towards him, makes Derek’s heart start to race as he gets close.
“Stiles,” he manages.
Stiles splashes water at him, “Be serious, here! This is your sacred place, after all.”
Derek rolls his eyes, pushes his hair off his face, “It’s not that big of a deal. I just thought it would help you chill out.”
“I don’t need to chill out,” Stiles retorts, “You’re the one constantly on mega alert for danger, for any sort of threat to your all time highly strung self.”
“I am not highly strung.”
Stiles laughs, holds a hand high out of the water, “Like up here, dude.”
“I don’t think I’m allowed to respond to that,” Stiles swims away, glances cheekily over his shoulder, “Or, are we still on studio rules, here?”
“They’re not rules, Stiles, they’re just…”
“There to keep me in check?”
“Exactly,” Derek swims after him, cages him in against the rocks, “You’re trouble.”
“Hell yeah I am,” Stiles grins at him and when he blinks there are a water droplets on his eyelashes Derek wants to kiss away. Stiles lets out a low breath, arches his eyebrow when Derek doesn’t say anything else. “You scared?”
Derek lets himself sink under the water somewhat, never breaks Stiles’ gaze as he nods.
Stiles swallows, nods himself, “Me too. Come on,” he thumbs at the rocks, “We should get back before we catch cold and neither of us can do the damn routine.”
Derek watches him clamber nimbly up the rocks, hauls himself up after him.
“Thanks,” Stiles tugs on his shirt, smiles at him as Derek’s shaking water out of his hair.
“Bringing me here.”
“Call it penance for being a douche,” Derek says drily.
They start walking back towards the hotel in silence, and Derek’s skin feels as if it’s buzzing, he feels all at once too big for himself, too small. Stiles’ hand brushes his, and he lets his fingers twitch back, lets Stiles tangle their hands together.
“You wanna go dance?” Stiles asks as they near the dance hall, Usher playing loud and clear in the open evening.
Derek looks at him consideringly, and then nods, “Sure.”
Stiles lets their hands drop, and Derek recognizes the gesture; he can still keep this private, just between them; he’s relieved, and also even more on guard than ever.
This is what he was afraid of, letting Stiles in, thinking he can trust him, and then having it all ripped away.
Stiles heads for the make shift bar, gets them both beers, and Derek rolls his eyes when he sees Erica smirking at their wet hair.
“Shut up,” he mouths at her from where she’s preening at her table. “You know nothing.”
“You wanna dance, then?” Stiles looks almost nervous as he asks, and Derek swallows his own nerves, takes a long pull of his beer.
Whitney’s Exhale (Shoop Shoop) starts to play, and Derek recognizes it as one of Boyd’s favorites. It’s also a wind down song, something that makes most of the staff pull each other closer than ever, relax into one another.
Stiles arches an eyebrow at him as they make their way onto the dancefloor, and Derek laughs, rolls his eyes.
“I’m not gonna combust if we slow dance, Stiles.”
“Speak for yourself, I might,” Stiles complains, makes an awkward, aborted gesture with his hands.
Derek laughs again; feels oddly calmer at seeing Stiles be the one to lose his cool for once.
“Stiles,” he widens his eyes teasingly, takes Stiles hand and pulls him in, “Relax.”
Stiles lets out a breath that Derek feels against his cheek.
“Well it’s gotta count for something you haven’t killed me, yet,” he murmurs.
Derek smiles, glances up at the ceiling, “There’s always time for that, later.”
“Oh, I have no doubt there’s a whole bunch of ways you could kill me later.”
“Sorry, sorry, no innuendos,” Stiles lifts one of his hands off Derek’s shoulder in a show of apology.
Derek hums, “I thought you weren’t interested in those sort of ways, anyway.”
Stiles sighs, “You never forget anything, do you?”
“Not things like that.”
“You know if I didn’t know better, I’d say you were a little sore about it.”
“’M’not sore about it,” Derek retorts. “I was just…”
“You are totally sore about me saying I didn’t want to have sex with you.”
“You send a lot of mixed signals.”
“You are the king of mixed signals!”
Treat Me Like Fire by Lion Babe begins, and Stiles starts to move his hips faster against Derek’s, grinding them in tight circles where they stand.
“You’re infuriating,” he continues. “Every time you danced with someone else last year it was like… like you were making me think you were thinking about dancing with me, instead.”
“I probably was,” Derek confesses, slides his hands down to Stiles’ ass and isn’t stopped. “I have thought about it, for years.”
“See, there you go again!” Stiles winds his arms around Derek’s neck, bends into him. “It’s not fair to talk about it, if you don’t mean it.”
“You’re sore about that, then.”
“I get sore about everything shitty you say.”
“Because! I’ve been here three years, three summers, and you’ve never danced with me.”
“I’m dancing with you, now.”
“It wasn’t exactly an easy win,” Stiles huffs, “And, it seemed greatly against your will; hell, Erica had to be pregnant for you to even give me a chance.”
“So, uncomplicate it for me; I’m not going anywhere.”
“But, you will,” Derek shrugs, trails his fingers lightly down Stiles’ back, and Stiles shivers, presses closer into him.
“You gotta give me a chance to stick around, before you write me off, dude.”
“When you tack dude on the end of every sentence, it makes me seriously doubt that.”
Stiles laughs, rears back to look at him, “So serious.”
“I can’t help it,” Derek retorts hotly. “I’m a serious person.”
“I know, I know, Stiles smiles at him, pushes his hair back off his face in a gesture that makes Derek’s breath catch in his throat. “I respect that,” Stiles says finally, still looking at him. “I get that, okay?”
Derek blinks, takes a breath as the song winds down, “You wanna go listen to some very old, eighties music at mine?”
Stiles hesitates, lifts his eyebrows, “You’re not gonna go nuts and kill me?”
“Why do you always resort to that?”
“Because you still might.”
“I don’t want to kill you,” Derek says firmly, takes Stiles’ hand and starts tugging him off the dancefloor.
“I might still die of hyperventilation,” Stiles mutters, loud enough for Derek to hear.
He laughs, catches Erica’s eye as they leave, and he can’t bring himself to be mad Boyd’s handing her money.
It’s raining when they head outside, and they make a run for it, Derek not letting go of Stiles’ hand— for safety purposes, obviously.
“So, this is your cabin,” Stiles nods as he looks around, examines the records on Derek’s shelf, the plant on the window sill, turns to face Derek as he comes out of the bathroom.
Derek huffs a laugh, comes over to hand him a towel, “You’re dripping on my rug.”
“Oh my,” Stiles murmurs, “Heaven forbid.”
“Just dry your hair,” Derek tells him, turning away to choose a record.
“I can’t believe how old school this is,” Stiles shakes his head, grinning to himself, “Straight out of a movie.”
“I don’t need anything else,” Derek shrugs, sits on the bed and looks back at Stiles. “I don’t like having clutter.”
“Seriously,” Stiles grins and holds his hand up again, “Like sky high, man.”
Derek rolls his eyes, “Do you have anything else you want to criticize?”
“Oh, I wasn’t criticizing,” Stiles steps between his legs, puts his hands on Derek’s shoulders, “I like the high maintenance you.”
“You do, huh?”
“Mmm, makes you a good dancer, man, in fact, I bet it makes you good at everything,” he considers the ceiling, glances down at Derek with a sly look in his eye. “Care to test my theory?”
Derek nods, tugs Stiles down into his lap and kisses him fiercely. It’s been building up for so long, he can’t help but let it be passionate, and Stiles responds in kind. He pushes Derek until he has to fall back, stretched across the bed with Stiles on top of him.
“I lied before,” Stiles says against his lips after a minute or two.
Derek freezes, hands going still from where they’ve bunched Stiles’ shirt up.
“Jeez, not about whatever it is you think I’m going to say,” Stiles sits up a little, takes Derek’s hands and Derek lets him put them above his head, tries to stay calm. “I lied about not wanting to have sex with you.”
“Oh,” Derek leans his head back, cocks an eyebrow, “Well, yeah, go figure.”
Stiles laughs, rocks down into him, “I just wanted to be clear, dude, when I said that, I meant it.”
“Here you go with the mixed signals, again.”
“Derek! You’re—” Stiles sweeps down and kisses him, long and intense. When he pulls back they’re both breathless, and he laughs again, clears his throat. “I want to dance. I want to do more than be a waiter at a hotel, you know? And, I didn’t come to that audition to seduce you.”
“I just mean, I have always sort of wanted you, but when you didn’t seem interested, I did try and stop thinking about it. I didn’t want to dance with you to try and get in your pants.”
Derek chokes on a laugh, lifts his eyebrows, “But?”
“But, I do, really, really, want to have sex with you and dance with you. I want to do both. Can we do both?”
“You want your cake.”
“And, I wanna eat it, too, yep, I want it all.”
“How much of it?”
Stiles hums, lets go of Derek’s wrist to rest his hand over Derek’s heart, “As much of it as you’ll let me, I guess.”
Derek nods, takes him for a moment, and then sits up, catches his mouth in a searing kiss. Stiles winds his arms around Derek’s neck, lets him push them over so that he’s on top of Stiles, pressing him into the mattress.
Derek’s been with his fair share of men and women, spent a few reckless years sleeping with staff members, and even guests, even when he knew it was dangerous. Then there was Kate, and he didn’t sleep with anyone for a year, after. He hadn’t even looked at anyone before Stiles came along. Now, he’s glad he waited, glad he was able to admit to himself he wasn’t ready, wanted something more. Every kiss from Stiles, every touch, every noise, it all feels new to him. It feels different as they lose their clothes, like it’s not a race, or a competition, it’s something else, something important. Stiles touches him carefully, kisses him hungrily, like he’s been waiting for Derek, too.
“Do you have a preference?” Stiles asks, one hand on Derek’s cock and the other in his hair.
Derek manages a strangled laugh, “No, not at this particular moment.”
“Oh, are there preferences for later?”
“I’d prefer not to wake up alone.”
Stiles runs his hand through Derek’s hair, curls it around the nape of his neck, “That’s an easy promise to keep.”
“I don’t know, I’ve never tried, either.”
Derek stops moving against him, catches Stiles’ wrist, “What?”
“’S’why I got cross at you, before,” Stiles’ face flushes up and he refuses to look at Derek. “I’ve never… before.”
“Stiles,” Derek says teasingly, “If you can’t say the words, you probably aren’t ready.”
Stiles goes still and then laughs, punches his shoulder, “Asshole, I thought you were gonna laugh at me.”
“What, for not having had sex before, or not being able to say the word sex? Because I’m definitely laughing at you for the latter.”
“You say the sweetest shit.”
“Stiles, come on, look at me,” Derek tugs at Stiles’ chin, waits for him to meet his eye, “It’s not a big deal.”
“It is like… the biggest deal, dude. I’m a virgin.”
“So are lots of people.”
“You are definitely not a virgin.”
“I guess that makes me Johnny, in the end, then,” Derek grins at him, and Stiles starts laughing again, covers his eyes with an arm.
“Oh my god, who said you could make jokes?!”
“I’m just trying to make you comfortable.”
“Do it while you’re jerking me off or something, Jesus, I can’t cope with how seriously you’re taking all this.”
Derek drops his hand to where Stiles’ cock is still hard, leaking against his stomach, even after the conversation had stopped their really quite excellent foreplay.
“I can do both, you deserve for this to be taken seriously.”
“Okay, well, I would literally agree to anything you’re saying, right now, because oh god, that’s good.”
Derek grins, leans up to kiss him again, “Wait until I blow you.”
“Oh my god, I changed my mind, do that, instead, please.”
“Since you asked so nicely.”
Stiles punches him on the shoulder again, grabs his arm as Derek slides down his chest, randomly kissing patches of skin as he goes.
“Man alive, I mean, just, god.”
Derek hums, “Should I tell you just to call me Derek.”
“You should literally, suck my dick, because I can’t bring myself to make up a better insult, when you’re going to suck my dick.”
“And you called me a sweet talker.”
“Derek!” Stiles kicks his heel into Derek’s shoulder, lets his leg fall when Derek takes him into his mouth. “Oh my god.”
Having sex with Stiles is not surprisingly, like dancing with Stiles. He likes to talk, at all times, but he breaks it up with kisses, peppers Derek’s skin with them, moves his hips so beautifully against Derek’s, meets Derek move for move. He’s a quick study, and he makes Derek breathless. Being naked with him isn’t frightening the way Derek thought it would be, he doesn’t feel vulnerable or like Stiles is going to hurt him, he feels excited, happy, safe.
He also comes harder than he ever has in his life, and it’s mostly down to Stiles’ fantastic thighs, and incredible hands, clutching at Derek’s skin like a lifeline and dragging Derek down into an orgasm he feels in his toes.
“That was awesome,” Stiles crows into his shoulder, “Let’s do it again.”
Derek huffs a laugh, kisses his chin, “In a minute.”
“Oh yeah, I totally forgot you’re way older than me,” Stiles wiggles his eyebrows at him. “How long d’you need?”
“Probably not that long,” Derek murmurs, eyeing the hickey blooming on Stiles’ neck.
Stiles catches his gaze, smirks as he touches the mark, “’S’good to know that works for you.”
“Everything about you works for me,” he huffs indignantly, “Like you didn’t know that.”
“I had an inkling when you were doing me, you know like, inside of me, saying things like Stiles, god, you’re so fucking hot, thanks, by the way.”
“Sure,” Derek rolls his eyes fondly. “You’re welcome.”
“You’re hot, too, you know.”
“Yeah, you mentioned that, when I was, as you said, doing you.”
“I just wanted to be clear,” Stiles taps his shoulder. “So I was okay? At sex, I mean, I know I’m okay at other stuff, I just want to check.”
Derek claps a hand to his face, “Oh my god.”
“Dude! Humor me.”
“Yes,” Derek leans in to kiss him, once, twice, again because he can, “You were fantastic, I’m amazed it was your first time.”
“I’ve done other stuff,” Stiles shrugs.
“I don’t need to hear about that.”
“Oh my god,” Stiles’ eyes go wide, “Do you get jealous? Is this gonna be a thing?”
“There’s gonna be a no sex thing in a minute.”
“No, no, don’t take this away from me, I mean, this opens up so many avenues,” Stiles taps his chin, “I wonder if I start flirting with Lydia—”
Derek kisses him again, slides a hand over his mouth when he pulls away, “Do you wanna do me, or talk about Lydia?”
“I wanna do you,” Stiles breathes out, “In the most romantic way possible,” he corrects himself.
Derek grins again, manoeuvres them until Stiles is on top of him, surrounding him.
“Dude,” Stiles complains, rubbing his eyes, “Someone kept me up all night, I have not had enough sleep to do this.”
Derek pirouettes towards him, slaps his ass, “You said you could handle it; you chose to have that fourth round.”
Stiles pretends to dramatically fall to the floor, “Oh no, my ankle…”
Derek leans over him, resting his elbows either side of his face, gracefully pulls his feet up and does a press up. Stiles’ eyes go wide, and Derek smiles, bends in to kiss him.
“I— that is extremely sexy,” Stiles murmurs. “How many can you do like this?”
“Dunno,” Derek tries to shrug, remembers he’s upside down, “A dozen?”
“Keep going,” Stiles looks up at him, tilts his head to one side, “Kiss me again.”
Derek does so, and then drops his legs, stands over Stiles, “Come on, you promised you’d work hard.”
“I worked hard, last night!”
“Fine, but I totally get a reward, like, we go skinny dipping!” His eyes light up excitedly. “In your secret pool, man, having a boyfriend is gonna be awesome.”
“Boyfriend,” Derek echoes.
Stiles straightens up slowly, rubs at his elbow, “I don’t know why I said that, out loud. I mean, it just came out, like, so much of what I say. I’m gonna, take it back?”
“No,” Derek interrupts, “That’s… that’s okay.”
“Huh, I think people that are okay with stuff like that tend to look… more okay with it?”
“It just caught me off guard, I’m more than happy to discuss—”
“Discuss being boyfriends? Are you kidding me?”
“We have to focus on tomorrow, Stiles, the routine—”
“I don’t care about the routine, Derek! If you’re gonna break my heart you should at least do it now, before I get in any deeper.”
“I’m not,” Derek wets his lips, “I don’t want to break your heart, Stiles.”
“Good, okay then,” Stiles stands in front of him for a moment, and then shakes his head, starts backing out of the room, “Nah, I think you might anyway, dude.”
“Stiles,” Derek chases him out of the studio, catches up with him on the steps. “Stiles, wait.”
“Do you want to be with me? Or, are you just gonna wait until the end of the summer and pack me up, let me leave again?”
“I didn’t know that you not leaving was an option! Christ, Stiles I live in a hotel. You said yourself you want more from your life.”
“That doesn’t negate you being in it, Derek. You could go places, see places, be with me and try new things.”
“I’m not…” he wants to say he’s not ready, but he’s not sure what he’s waiting for any more. It's just all escalated so quickly; he wants to trust Stiles, he thinks he does, but what if he's wrong? He needs time to think.
Stiles is looking at him expectantly, and he grabs his hand, squeezes it tightly, “Just, let me catch up with this, please. It’s a lot.”
“And, you think it’s not for me? Dude,” Stiles’ voice breaks and he pulls his hand away. “I feel like I’m over reacting, but I know I’m not. I know you, and I know you’ll spend all summer waiting for the other shoes to drop.”
“Won’t you? What do you even know about me that makes you think I’m worth it? I’m just the dancer everyone fucks and leaves.”
Stiles bites his lip, steps back, “I would never, ever say you were just anything, Derek, you’re everything. I know all the important bits about you, the things that make you, you, and right now, you’re the one letting me leave.”
Derek feels as if he’s been stung by something poisonous, can’t breathe as he watches Stiles hurry away. As if on cue, the clouds open up and the rain pours down on him, this time there's no Stiles next to him keeping him warm as he stumbles alongside Derek, laughing and holding his hand.
He's alone, and he's willing to admit to himself, finally, that's not how he wants to spend his summer, or his life.
He knocks on Scott and Stiles’ shared cabin door for a good ten minutes before Scott answers, squints at him, “You!”
“Hi Scott, is Stiles in?”
“I wouldn’t tell you if he was, man, he has worshipped you for so long, and you, you ruined everything!”
“I don’t really take my advice from potheads, thanks.”
Scott puts a hand to his chest, steps into him, “Dude, I’m Stiles’ best friend before I’m anything else, and I swear to god if you don’t fix this, there won’t be a place in the world you can hide that I won’t find you, sober or not.”
Derek blinks at him, takes his hand and slowly removes it, “I get it, and I’m sorry. I want to fix things.”
“Well then go find him, he’s gone some place only you’d know about anyway, he went on and on about it all this morning.”
“Thanks,” Derek gives him a curt nod, “And, sorry I called you a pothead.”
Scott waves his hand at him, “Fair’s fair and all, just, go make it up to my best friend, in ways I won’t wanna hear about later.”
Derek huffs a laugh, heads off into the rain to where he hopes he’ll find Stiles.
When he gets to the waterfall, Stiles is sitting on a rock, hood up and back hunched.
Derek moves to stand in front of him, tugs out one of Stiles’ earbuds.
“Oh, hey, Derek, I was just listening to my new playlist; I named it A Cliché Summer Heartbreak. You could probably make a dance from it.”
“Stiles listen,” Derek holds up a hand, “You got angry at me for making assumptions once, and you’re doing a shit load of that, right now.”
“I was right, though, you don’t see this having a future.”
“I had never even thought about it being more than dancing together until last week! I haven’t ever let myself.”
“Well why not?!”
“Because the last person I thought I was in love with tried to burn my house down!”
Stiles blinks at him in shock, “What.”
Derek sighs, sits down next to him on the rock, “Her name was Kate, she’s actually… Allison’s aunt.”
“Our Allison, Scott’s Allison?”
“Yeah, her family, they used to be guests here, and Kate… she wanted me, and I was entranced, I gave her everything I had, and it wasn’t enough, I wasn’t enough. She just wanted to screw around for the summer, wasn’t willing to introduce me to her parents, to let me into her world, and I’d been showing her mine… I thought I was important to her, but when I realized I wasn’t… I wouldn’t give her what she wanted so, she set fire to my cabin,” he says dully, staring at a patch of moss opposite, instead of daring to look at Stiles. “Her family said I did it to try and get the hotel to give me a payoff, sent her off to Switzerland to heal, or whatever, and, I almost lost my job. If Boyd and Erica hadn’t vouched for me, hadn’t proven I was with them, I would have, too. I almost lost everything. I didn’t… after Kate I didn’t see anyone, I didn’t want to, until I met you,” he chances a glance at Stiles, gives him a soft smile. “You I saw. I couldn’t help myself. I was entranced, again, and it frightened me. I was scared. I am. But, I want to try, if you’ll let me.”
Stiles sucks in a deep breath, leans over to take his hand, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk so much at once.”
Derek huffs a laugh, “That’s what you’re going with?”
“The rest is a lot, I mean, jeez I had no idea about Kate.”
“Nobody does, outside of Allison, I suppose.”
“She should probably be the one to tell Scott.”
“It’s not her fault,” Derek shrugs, “I’ve never held it against her.”
“Just every potential love interest since?”
“Yeah,” Derek ducks his head “Yeah, I guess so.”
“Until me,” Stiles rubs his thumb against Derek’s knuckles. “Why me?”
“I don’t know,” Derek looks at him again, squeezes his hand, “I guess because you looked at me, too? Like, I was somebody, not just… a body.”
“You are somebody,” Stiles says fiercely, turns into him and takes Derek’s face in his hands. “You are important. And, maybe I won’t stay here forever, but maybe you can come with me. Or, maybe we’ll go travelling, or we’ll break up because you don’t like Star Wars and I can’t look at you the same after the big reveal, or maybe we’ll just dance here till we’re eighty, who knows. You just gotta… say you’ll take the leap with me, dude.”
“For the record, I like the Star Wars movies.”
Stiles breaks into a grin, leans in and presses their foreheads together, “Of course you do; they take themselves so damn seriously.”
Derek huffs a laugh, kisses Stiles’ hand and then kisses Stiles. Stiles pulls him in close, kisses him back and even though it’s raining, and their hands are cold, Derek’s never had a better kiss.
“Okay,” Stiles adjusts Derek’s shirt for him, “How you doin’? You ready? You think you’re ready? I think we’re ready I mean, a whole week of practice? Who doesn’t feel ready after that?”
“Stiles,” Derek takes his hands, holds them between his own, “Chill.”
“You know it never helps people that are freaking out when you say chill; it makes them indignant and even more stressed. Do you want me more stressed, Derek?”
“And you call me highly strung.”
Stiles glowers at him, peeks around the curtain to where Finstock’s been welcoming all the guests.
“What if I trip over?”
“I’ll catch you.”
Stiles sighs, rests his head back against Derek’s shoulder, “That was smooth, dude.”
“I’m here all summer.”
“I sure hope so, I’m not teaching Scotty our routine, it’s ours!”
Derek grins, turns Stiles around to kiss him, “It’ll be fine.”
“Easy for you to say, you’ve done this a million times.”
“But, never with you, this is a first for me, too.”
“You gettin’ deep and subtext—y on me, right before we go on stage?”
“I would never.”
“You’re such a douche.”
“So I’ve been told.”
“You’re also awesome, and I’m very happy we’re doing this,” Stiles wiggles his eyebrows at him, “See how I saved the moment, there?”
“Yes, so subtly, too.”
“Oh, you can’t have it both ways; I’m brash and forward and I’m really good at giving head; you have nothing to complain about.”
“I wasn’t complaining.”
“Good, because we’re going on,” Stiles reaches down and grabs his hand, “Break a leg, only not really, you know.”
“I do,” Derek agrees gravely.
Stiles shoves him in the shoulder, “You’re lucky you’re hot, come on, let’s go tell our story.”
Derek pulls back his shoulders, follows him onto the dance floor, feels a rush of sheer happiness when Stiles looks back at him and his eyes are full of warmth for Derek.