Stiles and Scott had settled nicely into their post college routine as roommates. Scott was working at the clinic with Deaton and Stiles had stumbled into the world of graphic novels without intent, sketching rough panels of he and his friends that had turned into a couple of volumes loosely based on the unbelievable but factual events of their lives since they had collided with the supernatural world.
Isaac, too, had joined them in their crappy apartment. Stiles hadn’t envisioned him as being a part of the plan but had accepted Isaac’s despairing presence on their couch, scouring through the classifieds, as easily as he had the temperamental state of their shower. After all, he reasoned, there were only so many close calls with death and the supernatural that a group of people could go through without becoming bonded to one degree or another.
The most surprising bond that had formed in their group was not the unlikely camaraderie between Isaac and Stiles though, Scott insisted. Once he had cottoned on to Stiles and Derek’s relationship he declared that they, easily, were the most unusual.
“Although,” Scott conceded, after having managed to lure the truth from both of them. “The two of you do make sense in this weird way and I always suspected that Stiles had a thing for you when we were in high school.”
To his left Stiles smacked him reflexively, exclaiming a rather outraged, ‘Dude!’ while Derek smirked from across the counter.
Scott claimed that what had tipped him off was the one time they had attempted to sneak away for the weekend together. Derek had informed everyone he was going to visit his sister in New York one moment and then the next Stiles had come out and announced he had been invited to a panel at a comic book convention, also in New York.
Suspecting something Scott had commented calmly, “How weird,” looking at Stiles with a smile. “Derek was just saying he was going to visit his sister in New York this weekend.”
“Really?” Stiles had asked, glancing between Scott and Derek with forced nonchalance. “What are the odds?”
“Indeed” Derek had agreed. “It seems to me that your convention could have been in L.A or, I don’t know, Boston or Connecticut.”
After that Scott had been pretty certain. It had only taken a couple of early arrivals home and mis-ventured calls to the Sheriff for his suspicions to be confirmed. Telling Stiles and Derek this only prompted Stiles to defensively quip, “I stand by what I said. It is entirely believable that a comic convention would be held in New York. Spiderman is set in New York, Captain America, The Avengers, Batman-“
“Isn’t Batman based in Gotham City?” Scott interjected cautiously, his brows knitting together.
Stiles gaped at him, fingers flying to the bridge of his nose in a display of exasperation. “Serious-Seriously?” Stiles heaved a sigh, “Scott, you realize Gotham City is based on-You know what” he segued, waving his hands, “It doesn’t matter, it’s all semantics. The point is that a comic book convention in New York is totally believable until your werewolf boyfriend goes and discredits your fictional convention in front of all of the friends that you’re trying to lie to.”
“And” Stiles added irritably, rounding on Derek with a fierce look in his eyes. “I realize I called you my boyfriend and I know that we haven’t had that conversation yet, so I’m sorry if you don’t think we’re there but you outed us to Scott so deal with it.”
Derek rolled his eyes. “Stiles, do you see me panicking?”
Having Scott in the know Stiles hoped would make the situation easier. It had been hard enough keeping a secret from a pack of human lie detectors for two months. Lying to his best friend had been a trial in patience and restraint of its own, one that Stiles had been struggling with. Even Derek had been wary about keeping their relationship from Scott, citing his position as Stiles’ best friend and as his Alpha as reason enough to let him in on things.
They’d both breathed a sigh of relief when Scott had intercepted their ongoing debate on the matter and declared he already knew.
In that same vein Scott being in the know provided the two of them with an edge, an insight to their cover up, one that could help in masking their relationship with the same indifference they had regarded one another with in the past.
It especially came in handy when through sheer force of habit Stiles, sitting at the kitchen table in amongst everyone, leaned across the table and kissed Derek goodbye.
He hadn’t needed the heightened senses of the werewolves in the room to register the surprise echoing around him as his lips pressed to Derek’s in a way a bit too familiar. Derek, for his part, looked appropriately astonished when Stiles regained the frame of mind to withdraw, feeling the weight of several surprised glances boring into his back.
He couldn’t decide if it was the panic that seized him or complete insanity that turned him toward Scott but there was a note of desperation in his voice when he sang out Scott’s name, his hands thrown out casually as he swept forward. Scott, already smiling incredulously at Stiles’ indiscretion, barely had the opportunity to protest before Stiles’ mouth was on his.
Unlike Allison, once Stiles reached her, Scott didn’t freeze beneath him. He, admittedly, looked a little caught off guard after the fact, but remarked objectively, “Dude, you’ve totally gotten better;” alluding to an adolescent need for practice that he realized too late they had agreed not to share with the group.
Allison had peered at Stiles curiously, her brows knitting together in a way that mirrored the perplexed yet endearing nature of her smile. It was Lydia, firm and cool, her eyes trained on the glossy pages of the magazine she was reading that stopped his kissing tirade before it reached truly absurd proportions.
“Don’t even think about it” she challenged, holding up a stern finger. Her gaze slid scarcely from the pages of Vogue to regard him in scrutiny. “I don’t want any part of whatever it is you’re doing.”
Once Stiles had vacated the apartment, Isaac sidestepping him in an attempt to avoid a potential lip lock, Allison expressed the curiosity of the majority of them with a nuance of scandal lacing her tone. “What was that all about?”
Derek looked at Scott, alarmed and unable to answer, while Scott simply quipped, “Well, you can’t tell him I told you this but Stiles decided that he needed practice kissing. I guess he’s been having trouble finding someone to help him.”
From the sofa Lydia rolled her eyes. Allison looked at him suspiciously. “Certainly didn’t feel inexperienced to me.”
“You should tell him that,” Scott beamed. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.”
Stiles didn’t appreciate it. At least, he didn’t appreciate being painted as the insecure component of their group who lacked any serious experience with either the same or opposite sex. Scott’s attempts to console him with the reality of the situation weren’t completely wasted however and Derek had done a rather surmountable job of reminding him just how experienced he was becoming.
Rationally he applauded Scott’s quick thinking; irrationally he felt a lot better when he got his own back.
Lydia had been making herself comfortable on the couch one day when Stiles entered the living room to find her gingerly holding out a pair of Derek’s boxers. Stiles recalled them from a few nights ago and further to that, recalled the lewd comments he had made about Derek going commando beneath his jeans when he’d left later on that night.
Seeing them in Lydia’s grasp didn’t quite rejuvenate Stiles’ previously experienced glee. On the contrary he initially felt a little sick seeing them in her grasp. He wasn’t sure of how to talk his way around the situation when Lydia asked in a very exaggerated calm, “Stiles, what are these?” Her mouth set in an unimpressed line, her nose bunched in clear distaste.
“Those?” Stiles stammered, scrambling for an excuse. He gesticulated wildly with his hands, latching onto the first idea that came to mind. “Those are Scott’s, Derek’s technically. Scott’s been, you know, memorizing our scents in case of an emergency and he swiped those from the loft the last time we were there. He’s not as familiar with Derek’s scent as he is with the rest of ours.”
(Scott didn’t think all that much of his on the spot lie. In fact he had literally groaned in despair, hissing Stiles’ name. “I can’t believe you told her that!” he exclaimed, “Now she’s going to tell Allison and Allison is going to think I’m some kind of pervert who goes around smelling people’s underwear.”)
When word got around about Scott’s supposed foray into kleptomania for the sake of being a better Alpha the nagging feeling Isaac had been experiencing for the last few weeks began to grow, taking up the forefront of his mind.
He had always known Scott and Stiles to be skittish and beforehand had never thought much of it. It was only recently that he had noticed that the two were behaving as if they truly had something to hide and not just an embarrassing slew of behaviours that stemmed from their childhood together.
The problem with his suspicion was that Isaac wasn’t sure what to do with it. On the one hand he felt distinctly intrusive attempting to spy on Scott. On the other he was continuously agitated with Stiles’ proficiency when it came to evasive actions. Stiles could construe a lie so comfortably that his heartbeat gave away nothing. Despite his intermittent efforts Isaac hadn’t found any success in trying to discover what Scott and Stiles were up to.
It wasn’t until he and Scott mistakenly adopted one another’s phones into their pockets that any light was shed on the situation. None the wiser he had reached into his pocket, thumbing open the message he had just received and the truth was suddenly staring him in the face.
Staying at Dereks tonight. If Isaac asks just say Im at my dads.
Isaac returned to the lock screen and was granted a picture of Allison.
All things considered, (Isaac didn’t know how long Stiles and Derek had been sneaking around, nor how long Scott had known,) he thought two weeks was ample time for one of them to fill him in.
Unsurprisingly none of them had said anything and Isaac had decided that if none of them were going to tell him the truth he would simply go about securing it for himself.
He’d picked his moment wisely, cornering Scott in the kitchen late one afternoon. Scott was hunched over, peering in the fridge hopelessly when Isaac leant casually against the doorway.
“Stiles is having dinner with his dad tonight, isn’t he?”
Scott fixed Isaac with an acknowledging glance over his shoulder before returning to his fruitless task. Distractedly he nodded his head, saying, “Yeah, that’s what he said. Why?”
“Oh” Isaac shook his head. “No reason.”
He stepped into the kitchen and slid into a seat on the counter. “I was thinking of stopping by Derek’s place and seeing if he wanted to try out the new Mexican restaurant downtown, you wanna come?” he asked, listening for any tells or glitches in Scott’s pulse. “I know how you like Mexican food.”
Scott swung the refrigerator door closed and made a disagreeable face. “Nah,” he replied. “I mean, Stiles really likes Mexican too. We should just leave it until we can all go.”
Isaac disagreed; “We can always bring some back for him” he suggested instead. “Besides” he segued purposefully, giving a wave of his hand. His light eyes took diligent inventory of Scott’s expression, watching as it fell in and out of suspicion and complacency and Isaac concluded, “Things have been a little weird between those two lately. I prefer not to be in the middle of it.”
Scott opened his mouth to protest but found no viable excuse providing itself to the tip of his tongue. He could see the scrutiny in Isaac’s eyes, challenging him. Any attempts to lie were entirely out of the question. Isaac knew something was going on.
Warily Scott took a few steps back until his spine pressed softly into the edge of the kitchen counter and conceded his upper hand. “You know something, don’t you?” he asked. His brows had fallen low over soft eyes and Isaac felt a pang of guilt in his stomach.
“I don’t know” Isaac replied, “Is there something I should know?”
Scott’s fingers curled loosely into fists before releasing and he shrugged a shoulder. “I don’t know” he commented shiftily. “There are a lot of things I know that I wish I didn’t know. Like I really could have done without knowing that Stiles once had a wet dream about Captain America, you know?” His lips quirked into the smallest hint of a smirk and Isaac’s did the same. He wiped his smile away with a rub of his fingers.
“A lot of the time,” Scott said, “you’re better off not knowing what I know.”
Still, Scott’s advice didn’t stop Isaac from perching forward in his seat and asserting, “But you admit you know something.”
“Sure” Scott confirmed vaguely. “But that doesn’t mean I know what you think I know.”
Isaac nodded succinctly and launched himself off the counter, reaching for his scarf. “Well” he intoned, “If you don’t know what I think you know then we can just go to Derek’s and I won’t find out anything I’m not supposed to, right?”
“Right” Scott agreed, hastily amending, “But we can’t go to Derek’s.”
Lamely he replied, “Because he hates it when we show up unannounced.”
“And this has nothing to do with the thing neither of us know being true?” Isaac pressed. “You’re not trying to stop me from knowing for certain what I’m fairly certain I already know?”
“That depends on what you’re fairly certain you already know” Scott answered evasively.
“Lydia found Derek’s underwear between our couch cushions” Isaac all but cried. “I know it wasn’t because you were familiarizing yourself with his scent.” He used air quotes around the words and Scott pulled in a sharp breath.
“Oh my god” he yelled. His eyes widened before narrowing suspiciously as his finger shot out. He pointed at Isaac accusingly. “You know!” Scott exclaimed.
He rushed forward with unbidden momentum, coercing Isaac into a seat at the kitchen table. “I can’t believe you know” he said. He was almost blissful at the revelation, slumping into his own seat with a sag of relief. “You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to talk to someone about this” Scott stressed emphatically. His palms smoothed across the table, further emphasizing his point, and Scott looked across at Isaac with abrupt conspiracy.
“How do you know?” he asked.
Isaac, looking serenely pleased with himself, sobered his expression and drummed his long fingers on the table top, splaying them out in a nonchalant gesture. He explained, “I saw the text Stiles sent you a couple of weeks ago. When our phones got switched.” Crossing his legs and leaning back in his seat he quipped, “It doesn’t matter. Stiles and Derek are totally doing it.”
Lydia found out next.
Originally when she and Allison had happened upon an available apartment across the road from Derek’s Lydia considered the location advantageous. This wasn’t just because Derek’s loft had become their supernatural home base but because from the living room window of her and Allison’s apartment she was regularly chanced the opportunity to see Derek wandering around scarcely dressed. The view had brought Stiles over a few times, during which he had attempted to thinly veil his attempts to get an eyeful of Derek as he engaged in his regular morning workout before Lydia dragged him out to breakfast.
Baring that thought in mind it wasn’t entirely surprising to Lydia when she caught the two of them groping at one another in front of Derek’s window.
The weight of keeping Stiles and Derek’s secret had barely had the opportunity to wear Isaac thin before he learnt that Lydia, too, was in the know. Scott had been equally pleased and displeased to learn of Lydia’s enlightenment.
“You,” he looked at Isaac, “Said you wouldn’t tell.”
“No,” Lydia quipped flippantly, reapplying her lipstick with her compact in hand. “It’s true. He didn’t. I saw the two of them making out like teenagers.”
Sheepishly Scott shot Isaac an apologetic smile and relaxed in his seat. It was Isaac who inadvertently set the chaos in motion, musing, “Okay, so let’s get this straight, they know that you know, but they don’t know that Lydia and I know?”
Lydia rubbed her lips together with a pop and Scott processed the question carefully before confirming, “Right,” only to have Lydia snap her lipstick shut and interject, “Wrong. Allison knows too.”
“Allison knows?” Scott exasperated. “How does Allison know?”
Breezily Lydia proclaimed that she had told her, “A courtesy they should have extended to us themselves,” she pointed out.
“That really doesn’t matter” Scott argued, “Now enough of us know that we can just tell them we know and be done with it.”
“That’s one option” Lydia remarked in concession, sharing a look with Scott and Isaac. “But, like Isaac said, they don’t know that we know.”
“-So,” Isaac arched an eyebrow, “we could have a little fun of our own.”
“No, no, you guys,” Scott whined earnestly, desperate as he implored “think of how fun it would be to tell!”
Scott refused to have anything to do with Isaac and Lydia’s plans.
He had touted himself Switzerland before they’d so much as begun plotting and begrudgingly accepted his role as unofficial keeper of secrets, a title he was denouncing at his earliest convenience. If it weren’t for the fact that Allison had been sent in to secure his silence Scott was of half the persuasion that he would have used whatever veto power being the Alpha gave him in order to drag everything out into the open.
As it were he had spent a majority of the day avoiding everyone and damning his own sense of loyalty.
It was Stiles and Derek he ran into first, lazing on the couch together and extricating themselves from one another when Scott shuffled through the door. Once they saw it was him Stiles had instantly relaxed, settling against Derek’s side once more with what looked like notes from his editor strewn about his person. Derek was flicking through channels on the television, muted Scott realized, but mostly combing his fingers idly through Stiles’ hair.
“Hey Scotty,” Stiles greeted. Derek’s gaze strayed over to direct him an acknowledging twist of his lips as Stiles asked him how work was.
Scott replied in distracted tones and hung his jacket up on one of the free coat hooks, slumping into a seat. “Don’t wanna talk about it” he provided. “What did you guys get up to?”
Although Stiles’ shot him a cautious look he let the matter slide and prompted, “Actually,” with a smirk, going on to explain “I was just telling Derek about the interesting run in I had with Isaac this afternoon. He doesn’t believe Isaac was hitting on me.”
His fingers pressed the frame of his glasses further up the slope of his nose and Stiles almost giggled. “He offered to dress up as Steve Rogers for me” he revealed.
Scott covered his face with his hands while Derek argued, “Isaac’s a smartass. He’s probably just making fun of you because he found out about your crush.”
“Whatever,” Stiles retorted. “For starters, I’m not even remotely embarrassed about that. Chris Evans is a god. And secondly, I’m a little offended that you find the idea of someone else finding me attractive so hard to believe.”
Later on that night Isaac sent Stiles a picture of him wearing Cap’s boxing get up. Lydia had pointedly dragged Isaac to the gym to take the picture and made sure to do so from behind, ensuring that her attention to detail in the outfit was clearly emphasized by the breadth of Isaac’s shoulders and the rather snug fit of his sweats. Stiles had cackled when he saw it and shoved the picture in Derek’s face, screaming, “See! See!”
The stern expression on Derek wore hadn’t quite been what Stiles was hoping for as a reaction. Then again, he knew that jealousy was an unreasonable expectation. The fact that Derek stared at the picture in scrutiny and then with weighted realization and announced, “He knows about us,” was vastly more fitting than the possessive and intimidating standoff he’d begun entertaining.
They barely shared a look before Stiles sprang from the couch and threw himself into Scott’s room, Derek a more paced shadow behind him.
“Isaac knows about us” Stiles announced.
Scott looked guilty for a split second before his expression quickly schooled itself into exasperation and he proclaimed mildly, “I didn’t tell them!”
Derek placed a restraining hand on Stiles’ shoulder. “Them?” he queried.
No one had expected Stiles to reply to the message. Isaac had thought that would be that and Allison and Lydia had been in agreement. They both reasoned that Stiles would sooner grow suspicious of Isaac’s intentions and confront him in person before he’d risk engaging in a slew of flirtatious text messages.
But Stiles had replied, effectively surprising them all.
The thing is, he said, you can dress up like Steve all you want but it just makes me want to undress you
To be perfectly honest Stiles was a little shocked.
“I can’t believe you sent that” he whispered, still reeling scandalously at the content in his outbox.
Derek looked a little smug. “Technically,” he specified, “you sent it.”
When Isaac’s phone buzzed with Stiles’ reply Lydia was immediately suspicious. Her suspicion had only grown after reading it.
The three of them were huddled together in a booth at their favourite bar. Scott, having offered to buy the next round, was currently absent and Allison was pouring over the reply while Isaac sipped at a beer.
“It does seem unlike him” she agreed, tapping the screen before it could time out and continuing to study the message. No matter how many times she read it she was still stumped.
Scott returned just in time to hear Allison saying, “I just can’t believe he would do this to Derek.”
Where Isaac shrugged and Scott handed their drinks out accordingly Lydia looked calculating. “You’re right,” she breathed out absently. She turned to Scott, waiting until he had settled comfortably in his seat before she addressed him. Her voice was laden in exaggerated sweetness when she intoned, “Hey Scott,” with a smile a bit too coy to be trustworthy.
Scott glanced up with an arched brow, immediately averting his gaze when he saw the cunning in her eyes.
“Scott,” Lydia repeated sternly, “Do they know we know?”
He made a face.
“They know you know.”
Lydia held her hand out. “Give me that phone.”
Things had escalated quickly, snowballing into the kind of absurd high stakes situation that could only result as the product of four stubborn heads charging right on.
Derek had remarked upon the absurdity more than once and Scott would have been in complete agreement if he hadn’t been ordered to stay within Lydia’s immediate vicinity. She claimed he couldn’t be trusted, that if Scott went anywhere near Stiles and Derek they would find out that she, Isaac and Allison were well aware that Stiles and Derek knew that they knew. Scott didn’t bother pointing out that with things being as they were he wasn’t sure he’d have been able to regale the current status of the situation even if he’d tried.
By now though they were all at the bar. Stiles had agreed to come under the guise of a few drinks as Lydia had suggested on Isaac’s behalf. Derek had made himself scarce, tucked away in a dark corner while Scott sat sulkily between Allison and Lydia, begrudgingly providing commentary every few seconds.
Though they were all within Stiles and Isaac’s line of sight, able to see precisely what was going on for themselves (from the brushing hands to what Lydia noted were rather well executed bedroom eyes from Isaac) they were at a loss for the rather cringe worthy banter that Isaac and Stiles were tossing back and forth. Scott wasn’t sure he had ever been more uncomfortable in his life than he was when he repeated the words ‘Oh, don’t you worry about that big guy, I would wreck you.’
Similarly Derek wasn’t entirely comfortable listening to Stiles flirt with his former beta.
Eventually, once Allison and Lydia had determined the line of commentary could afford to evolve into a more need to know run Scott had relaxed some and managed to ignore a majority of what was being said. It wasn’t until Stiles excused himself to use the bathroom that Scott breathed out a sigh of relief and Isaac ambled over to them looking a little concerned.
The first thing he said when he reached the table was, “He’s not backing down.”
“Let’s just stop, it was a good run” he tried.
“No way” Lydia cut in. “We cannot just let them win. They’ve been lying to us for months and I won’t let Isaac stop until Stiles breaks down and confesses. Let’s be real” she opined, “He’s dating someone obviously out of his league, the instinct to brag must be more than he’s ever had to battle before, Japanese trickster spirits aside.”
Allison smiled at Scott sympathetically, opting to implore, “think of it this way: the sooner Stiles caves the sooner everything is out in the open.”
A little petulantly Scott huffed out a ‘fine,’ continuing that, “You’re not going to get him to crack if you keep playing passive though.”
Derek twisted their fingers together loosely. “Its fine” he said, “Why don’t we just tell them?”
Stiles pulled his fingers from Derek’s and countered, “I’m sorry, do you remember who you’re dealing with here?” he arched his brows impatiently and stated, “I am not going to just let them win. They think they’re so slick, messing with us.”
Derek rolled his eyes, correcting, “Messing with you.”
In the end it was Scott’s advice that secured them the overall victory. Isaac had done exactly as Scott had suggested and Stiles had cracked. It had been as simple as pinning Stiles with an intensity to his gaze that Isaac reserved for genuine companions, boxing him in against the bar and leaning in just close enough.
His thumb had brushed against the inside of Stiles’ wrist, preluding the ever nearing ghost of their mouths together and Stiles had jerked away instinctively, his pulse drumming frantically.
“Stop, okay, stop!” he cried. “Fine, I give, you win. I can’t sleep with you.”
From their respective and recently relocated hiding places the rest of the group emerged, closing in on the scene as Isaac backed up.
Lydia looked triumphant as she demanded, “And why not?”
Scowling petulantly Stiles spat out, “Because I’m in love with Derek, okay? Are you happy?! I love Derek, I am an in love with him, you win.” He threw his hands about in an aggressive gesture of defeat, prepared to fold his arms across his chest sulkily when Derek’s voice reached him.
He called Stiles’ name quietly, and Stiles stumbled into a more alert position, abandoning his full body sulk to look at him guiltily. “We can just ignore that” Stiles spluttered, jerking his thumb back as he said, “just erase the last, like, fifteen seconds of my life, scratch it from the record. That definitely does not have to be a thing.”
Derek ignored him, persisting, “You’re in love with me?”
Stiles scoffed. “No, I’m not.”
As Derek walked towards him Stiles backed away, insisting, “I’m not. I am not in love with you. I said ‘Because I am with Derek,’ and that is it. That is all I said. There was nothing about love. I said ‘I am with Derek’ and then I just stopped.” And stop he did, his body backed into a nook of the bar that he couldn’t escape fast enough.
Derek only shook his head fondly. It was with his voice dangerous and low that he repeated Stiles’ name and immersed himself in Stiles’ space, fingers circling around his wrists. His gaze was earnest and imploring and Stiles reluctantly met it with a stubborn one of his own.
“Fine,” Stiles sighed. “Fine. I love you. I hadn’t exactly pictured telling you while I stank of Isaac and cheap beer but there it is, satisfied?”
Derek said nothing at first, choosing to slip a hand over his cheekbone and draw him into a kiss. His mouth settled over Stiles’ heavily, coaxing Stiles’ mouth open with his own as their hips pressed tightly together. Derek swallowed the muffled groan of approval that sounded in the back of Stiles’ throat and Stiles, grasping at Derek’s shoulders, was left a little dazed when Derek eventually pulled back, murmuring a far more sensible iteration of his own ‘I love you too,’ against Stiles’ lips.
Their closed off moment didn’t last long before eventually reality came crashing back in, Isaac interjecting to pointing out: “I was only under the impression you were sleeping together. If I’d known you were about to go all movie moment on us I wouldn’t have implicated myself like that.”
Lydia however held no such qualms about their behaviour. With a bored roll of her eyes she commented an emphatic, “Please. We were only doing what had to be done. You two obviously weren’t going to tell us anytime soon.”
“But” Scott looked around the group, settling on Stiles and Derek. “Everybody knows now, right? So things can just go back to normal.”
Stiles shifted his weight from one foot the other, looking a little guilty.
“Actually,” he confessed, “my dad doesn’t know and it would be really awesome if you didn’t tell him yet.”