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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

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“Ugh, why are we watching this again?” Lydia asked as Ryan Reynolds just stood and watched as Sandra Bullock struggled to walk down a wooden ladder in heels.

“Because, it was my night to choose and I wanted fluff, comedy, and a magical romance,” Allison informed her with a raised eyebrow.

“Ok, usually I am all for it, but let’s be realistic here! What is the likelihood of someone actually going from being used in a fake relationship with someone that they don’t like to falling in love with them in just two days?” Lydia demanded as she took another sip from her glass.

“Um, hello?! Have you meet Derek and Stiles? They fell head over heels for eachother in just 6 hours, never mind two whole days!” Eric reminded her from the other end of the couch. Lydia just rolled her eyes as Allison snorted.

“Please, those two don’t count,” Lydia said in a voice and expression that, on a lesser mortal, would be a pout.

“They do so count! And I’m sorry Erica, but you’re wrong. They fell in love in half that time,” Allison informed both of them self-righteously.

“Yeah, yeah... They fell in love the moment they saw each other in tuxedos. When Stiles picked Derek up to be his ‘fake’ date at his Dad and Melissa’s wedding,” Erica dismissively said with a wave of her hand.

“I would agree with falling in lust at that moment, but, no, they fell in love when Derek asked Stiles to be his “fake’ date to Laura’s wedding and Stiles said yes. That was after the Stilinski-McCall wedding,” Lydia argued.

“You’re both wrong,” Allison stated while laughing.
“It happened long before both of those things, remember? Picture this…..

3 years ago at an upper office of Hale Labs..
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“No, I’m busy, yes, really, they are important, no, no, Mom, ok ok , yes, yes, love you too,” was the conversation of one frustrated Derek Hale to his mother as Erica walked into the room.

“Well, that sounded fun,” Erica said as she placed a new pile of folders on his desk. Derek glared at the folders like they were the problem, which in all fairness, they 98% of the time were, but not now.

“My loving Mother has decided that everyone must attend this year’s annual office party,” Derek practically spat out.

“So? Go shake a few hands drink a few freebies then slip out like you always do. I mean, if you wanted to make a scandal...” Erica teased.

“No, Erica,” Derek said in the voice and tone of someone who had said that exact phrase to that exact person many times before.

“Ok, ok... If you want to be a party pooper, go ahead. So, why so frustrated this year? It’s not any different is it?” Erica asked as she sat down and got comfortable on Derek’s desk. Derek had long since given up on winning that battle and only spared a small glare in her direction.

“No, but that’s the problem. Every year I go I get asked the same question. Not, ‘What have you done?’ Not ‘Tell me about your latest discovery/research/innovation,’ not even ‘How is it working in the family business?’ It is always, always, ‘Have you meet someone?’ ‘Are you seeing someone?’ ‘Will we be meeting your special someone soon?’ No! I do not have someone and do not plan to in the foreseeable future!” Derek finished his highly impressive ramble with a frustrated sigh.

“You know... I know someone, in the lab, that would more than willing to go with you as a date. And not because they want to date you or are looking, but because they are tired of those exact questions and can never pass up the opportunity to screw with people,” Erica informed him.

“Really?”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
“What! No! No, you are not blaming their disaster on me!” Erica exclaimed.

“You totally played up the whole ‘neither of you are looking for a real relationship’ thing and they have both been using that as an excuse not to just actually date!” Allison pointed out, rather loudly.

“At the time, they weren’t! I didn’t think they would both be dumb enough to keep up that pretense if they actually felt something!” Erica defended.

“No matter how you look at it, they are both boys and therefore incredibly dumb in the matter of love,” Lydia pointed out and after only a moment's hesitation both Erica and Allison nodded their heads in agreement.

“Which means, if we want our friends to actually share the happiness they have found, we’ll have to...intervene,” Lydia said with a devious smile, one quickly matched by the two other girls.

“Hold on. I’ll go get Cora and Laura on the line,” Erica said as she got up to get the phone. And so the plan was hatched.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Hey, thanks for being my date again, man. You’re a lifesaver,” Stiles said as he fixed his cufflinks in the back of the limo.

“It’s no problem. After all, you saved my skin a few times as well,” Derek pointed out, watching in amusement as Stiles failed to fix his cufflinks.

“God Damn, useless pieces of...” Stiles started to darkly curse.

“Here, let me,” Derek said as he took Stiles’ wrist in hand and turned it, expertly fixing the first cufflink. Gently, he then smoothed out invisible creases before letting Stiles slowly take his wrist back.

“And the other?” Derek asked, hand out in waiting and eyebrow arched.

“Oh, screw you.” Stiles laughed, even as he surrendered his other wrist to Derek’s expert handling.

“You nervous?” Derek gently asked.

“Why would I be nervous? It’s not my wedding,” Stiles told him stiffly, giving himself away.

“True, but it is Scott’s and you are the best man. It’s ok to be nervous, you know,” Derek gently assured him.

“Yeah, yeah... I am, but everything will be fine. Thanks, Derek,” Stiles whispered, giving Derek a rare, sincere smile.

Just then, the limo stopped and they had reached the church.

“Ready to be my pretend boyfriend just one more time?” Stiles asked as he got out and held out a hand for Derek.

“One more time,” Derek agreed as he got out and took Stiles’ hand in a firm grip.

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“Lovely ceremony, wasn’t it?” the Sheriff drawled, catching Derek unaware. Derek swore under his breath. One of these days, the Sheriff was going to scare him right into a heart attack and that would teach him not to go sneaking up on poor unsuspecting….Well, actually, probably not seeing as this was the last time Derek would be seeing the man ever.

“Hey son, you ok?” the Sheriff asked, pulling Derek out of his depressed musing.

“Yes, sorry sir. My mind was elsewhere,” Derek apologized, making the Sheriff chuckle.

“I don’t blame you. First, you catch the bride's bouquet and then Stiles catches the garter, now this. It’s like the universe is saying something,” the Sheriff said with a wink.

“I’m sorry, what?” Derek asked, not sure what the Sheriff was getting at.

“This. I always said it was because he never grew up, but he really is a natural, isn’t he?” The Sheriff asked, waving a hand towards the dance floor where Stiles was dutifully twirling around someone’s daughter, much to her delight. A line of kids seemed to be near them and Derek watched as the song ended and Stiles bowed and swept the next kid right onto the floor.

The scene, Stiles’ wide smile, and the children’s squeals of delight made Derek’s chest tighten. The night itself had already been trying enough, but this, this was a whispered promise and dream made real on the grand ballroom dance floor. At the next twirl that Stiles gave the little boy, the boy seemed to grow darker hair, lighter eyes, and moles seemed to splatter across his skin. There and gone in an instant, but that was all Derek needed.

“Yes it is, isn’t it?” Derek mused, “If you’ll excuse me,” Derek said, giving the confused Sheriff a nod before walking off. The universe was indeed saying something. It was telling Derek to run because, like a fool, he had fallen and now was the time to get away before there was a scene.

“Derek, where are you going?” Erica asked as she seemed to materialize out of the air, purely to stop him.

“Just need some air, I’ll be right back,” Derek said as he tried to sidestep around her. Erica wasn’t having that though.

“Oh no, you don’t. Allison’s about to make an announcement. Your ‘air’ can wait until after it,” Erica informed him as she gripped his elbow and dragged him back to the party.

“Hello everyone! And thank you for coming to our wedding!” Allison yelled drawing everyone’s attention to her and Scott who were now on stage.

“Now, I know this has been an interesting wedding, what with the New Year about ten minutes away, so let’s go all out. If you would, please, I would like all of the adults currently in a relationship to come forward. Come on now, I know who you are, don’t be shy!” Allison instructed. Derek’s eyes immediately found Stiles’. Stiles just shrugged and waved him forward and Derek, well, like usual, Derek followed.

“Any idea what’s going on?” Derek muttered as they walked to where Scott and Allison were.

“No idea. This was not in any of the plans I saw,” Stiles informed him.

“Ok, now that everyone is up here... Here is what we are going to do! Scott and I are going to stay up here on the platform and you all are going to form a half circle below us. When the ball drops and the clock strikes 12, you are all going to give your partner a nice big New Year’s kiss and our photographer is going to take pics! Now, everyone, listen to him and go where he tells you!” Allison informed them all to much laughter from the rest of the room.

“Oh,” Stiles breathed out.

“Oh man... Derek are you ok with this? I can totally talk my way out of this if you need. I can totally fake an ailment of some kind, it won’t be a big deal, Scott will understand and I’m sure eventually Allison will too,”

“Stiles. It’s ok. I’m ok to... to do this if you are comfortable,” Derek told him earnestly.

“Wait, you are?” Stiles asked.

The hall was filled with loud, cheering voices, and people settling into place.

“Yes, I… I would very much like to kiss you,” Derek told him with all the honesty and truth he could infuse into the statement.

“Oh my God,” was Stiles’ eloquent reply.

“But, if you don’t feel that way, I can respect that. We don’t have to kiss and I’ll leave you alone,” Derek started to back track.

“No, shut up, just shut up. I’ve been basically falling for you since you introduced yourself by saying that you were thankful for my help keeping some old traditionalists off your back so you could focus on work. That followed by a night of sly backhanded mocking and more nerdy references then I could count... I would love nothing more than to kiss you senseless in that coat closet over there and not leave for a few hours,” Stiles boldly told him even as the tops of his cheeks turned red.

“I knew I had messed up the plan the moment you leaned towards me and asked, in the worst mobster accent ever, if I ‘Enjoyed working in the family business,’ do you know how long I’ve worked for my family and you were the first... The first to make that obvious joke? The plan could only go downhill from there on,” Derek confessed as he pulled a laughing Stiles closer.

“Wow, we are idiots. I didn’t want to seem like the advantage-seeking underling or the cliche, desperate, dime-a-dozen drooler,” Stiles admitted.

“And I didn’t want to seem like I was, well, taking advantage or abusing my power,” Derek finished.

“What a pair we make,” Stiles whispered.

“But a pair we are,” Derek said, though his voice held a note of questioning, seeking confirmation that, whatever they were, they were together.

“Yes,” Stiles barely breathed before Derek pulled him in and kissed him.

In the background, people were cheering, photos were flashing, and a New Year had just begun, but all that mattered to Stiles and Derek was that they would now be facing all of that together.

Later on, Stiles sent Allison a ‘sorry we got caught hooking up in the coat room at your wedding/ thank you for hooking us up at your wedding’ basket, but that’s another story entirely.