Stiles is a smart man. Like, really fucking smart. If it wasn’t for Lydia he would confidently and without ego state that he was the smartest person in this room.
And yet it had taken until now - until the day of Scott and Allison’s wedding, when the entirety of the bridal table had gotten up for a couples dance - to realize that he and Derek were the only single ones left in their friend group.
Scott and Allison were the first on the floor, and when the MC called for all the couples in the room to join them then Lydia and Jackson and Kira and Malia happily joined them on the dancefloor. Which left Stiles and Derek, sitting alone at the table while everyone swayed to some overly romantic song that Scott probably picked because that was just like him.
Finally realizing that he and Derek were the only single ones left (Lydia and Jackson were married the year before, while Kira and Malia had a quickie wedding in Vegas mere weeks after they started dating) would be bad enough if Stiles wasn’t so hopelessly in love with Derek. And that just made it all the worse. Because it could be so easy. They could be so great together and their group could stay as it was and everything could be perfect.
Stiles wasn’t romantic by nature. And he definitely didn’t think that everyone in a group of friends needed to be paired off. He read Harry Potter as a kid and frankly that whole OBHWF thing was bullshit and contrived. He’d dated outside the pack, as had Derek and Kira at different points (Malia had only dated Stiles before getting together with Kira, but that was a whole nother story), and it was fine. Admittedly a little weird for the outsider who came into this group so tightly knit together for reasons they could never know or understand, but still, he’d been always open to the possibility of finding someone and hoping the pack approved and maybe, just maybe, letting them in on their little secret one day years in the future.
But it never seemed to work out, and as the years passed his feelings for Derek changed, grew, and now here he was, stupidly in love with the only other single person in their group who also happened to have no romantic or sexual interest in Stiles. Good times.
Stiles was content to sit back and watch his friends sway together on the dancefloor. He wasn’t bitter about the love they’d found, at least, not today. How could anyone feel bitter when sunshine personified finally married his dimpled warrior princess? There was no room today for anything but blinding happiness.
Movement to his left caught his eye, and he turned to see Derek standing beside him. He had his hand out, like he was asking Stiles to dance, and too confused to get his brain to mouth filter under control he blurted, “It’s a couples dance.”
Derek faltered slightly, hand dropping, and Stiles mentally hit himself over the head with his own baseball bat for not taking the opportunity when it presented itself. He rushed to his feet, saying, “I mean, yes, of course, let’s do this thing.”
Derek smiled softly at him, which helped stave off the sheer embarrassment he was feeling for his idiotic behavior. Derek took his hand and let him to the dance floor, which seemed completely unnecessary but Stiles wasn’t going to complain. They kept to the edge of the crowd, and surprisingly there was no hesitation, Stiles placing a hand on Derek’s shoulder as Derek slid a hand around his waist and then they were dancing.
Despite his often overactive imagination Stiles had never thought to imagine this, what it would feel like to dance with Derek, their bodies pressed tightly together, Derek’s stubble brushing his cheek, Derek’s hand pressing into the small of his back as they swayed together. They were in the middle of a crowded room and yet it felt like there was no one in the world outside of the two of them. The low lighting and romantic music made it feel like a dream. And that’s when Stiles realized that it was. This was the dream he’d wanted but could never have and it fucking hurt.
He couldn’t do this.
Stiles stepped back, out of Derek’s arms, and Derek’s face immediately crinkled in concern. “What’s wrong?”
“I -” But Stiles couldn’t tell him. He couldn’t tell Derek how crazy he was about him, how dancing with him was simultaneously the best and worst thing that could happen right now. He didn’t want to ruin what should be one of the best days of his life - his best friend was married to the girl of his dreams, this was something Stiles had been looking forward to long before Scott leant Allison his pen the day they met - by being rejected by Derek. This day was about Scott and Allison, not about him, and he wasn’t about to change that.
“I have to go,” Stiles muttered, before fleeing the room.
He wasn’t proud of it, but it was better than the alternative (having a public breakdown in the middle of his best friend’s wedding reception). He left the ballroom and headed upstairs to his hotel room, pushing the door open and then collapsing back against it, eyes closed and chest heaving. It wasn’t a panic attack, it was just a regular what the fuck is my life I hate everything attack.
The knock on the door a few moments later shouldn’t have been a surprise but it still was. He could ignore it. He really wanted to ignore it. But instead he opened the door to find Derek standing there, looking gorgeous in his tuxedo, green eyes shining with concern.
“There’s something I want to tell you,” Derek said, which, again, surprised Stiles. “I keep promising myself to tell you but always chicken out and I can’t - today when you - I can’t let today pass without telling you.”
Okay, color Stiles confused. “What are you talking about?”
Stiles stepped back to let Derek into the room, only Derek didn’t stop, he kept closing the distance until there was none and then Derek kissed him. Derek’s lips were soft against his, and it took longer than it probably should have for Stiles to respond. But that’s what happened when you surprised Stiles: he froze while his brain rebooted in order to process this new information. And in this instance the shock was so great that by the time Stiles processed the fact that yes the man he was in love with had kissed him Derek was backing away.
But that just wouldn’t do. Derek stepped back and Stiles stepped forward and Stiles kissed him this time, hands cradling Derek’s face in his hands as he poured every ounce of love he felt into the kiss. He could feel Derek smile against his lips, and it was an action Stiles mirrored only for a moment before he deepened the kiss.
When they finally broke apart - and that was a relative term, because their foreheads were pressed together and their arms were still wrapped around each other - Stiles laughed. “Is that what you wanted to tell me?”
“You know those weren’t actual words, right?” Stiles couldn’t stop grinning.
Derek shrugged. “In all the years we’ve known each other we’ve never done too well with words. Actions are better.”
Stiles started undoing Derek’s bowtie. “Words are totally overrated.”
Derek was the one who chuckled this time. “This coming from the man who can’t go an hour without talking.”
“Oooh, that sounds like a challenge to me.” Stiles slid the bowtie out from under Derek’s collar, started working on his shirt buttons. “Wanna try and stop me from talking for the next hour?” he smirked.
Derek gripped Stiles’ hips and started walking him over to the bed. The challenge was accepted, though not in words. Words were overrated anyway.