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a target that I'm probably gonna miss

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When Scott calls Stiles to ask if he wants to come over and hang, it’s pretty much just a formality. They’ve spent every Saturday night together for as long as Scott can remember; it’s not like Stiles is going to have other plans. 

Well… except for last Saturday, when Stiles actually did claim to have other plans. Scott is still a little bothered by that, actually; the Venn diagram of their social lives has always just been one little densly-overlapped circle, and Scott is very uncomfortable with the idea of Stiles going off and getting his own private circle without even telling him first. 

(He doesn’t care if that makes him sound possessive. He’s allowed. There must be something somewhere in the Best Friend code that backs him up on this.)

“Ummm,” Stiles says when Scott asks, and oh, that’s not a good sign. “I kind of already—”

“Okay, what is it,” Scott interrupts before Stiles can weasel his way off the phone. “We’ve hung out every weekend since the first grade, Stiles, what is going on?

“Oh, every weekend except for the weekends you were with Allison,” Stiles says, and Scott flinches.

“I already apologized for that,” he says. He did, too. Several times. He’s made a real effort to keep Stiles a priority, even now that he and Allison are (blissfully but complicatedly) on-again. It’s been more than a year since he blew Stiles off for a date; he didn’t think he was still holding a grudge. “I tried to explain that to you, and it’s not like it’s any excuse, but—the way you feel, when it’s new? It’s hard to focus on anything else. You know?” He winces again, because, no, Scott, Stiles doesn’t know, because he’s never dated anyone, why don’t you just rub salt in every one of his wounds today, you complete jackass. 

“Yeah,” Stiles sighs, his voice all warm and gooey and sweet, what the fuck, and then— “Oh, I mean. No. How would I know that, it’s like, maybe the way I feel when a new version of Assassin’s Creed comes out, is what I—”

“Stiles.” Scott shifts the phone to his other ear and sits down. “You’re doing your… misdirection thing.”

“I thought we had a tacit agreement to always pretend that I’m an excellent liar and not at all completely transparent,” Stiles shoots back, and to his credit he only sounds a tiny bit shaken. “Just like how we never mention your terrible singing voice, or your weird sexual hangups.”

“I said bondage was weird one time, Stiles, jeez, I think maybe you’re a little hung up on—” Scott stops and laughs. “Okay, that one actually almost worked. Props, dude.”

“Worth a try,” Stiles says. “Okay. So there’s no reason to keep this from you. Well, there are a lot of reasons, actually. But not really any that are good enough.”

Scott waits a full sixty seconds in silence. “Are you actually going to say something? Should I guess? Do I get twenty questions?” 

“I’m kind of gay,” Stiles blurts out. “Well, half-gay. At least half.”

When it seems like Stiles is waiting for him to react, Scott says “Oh, uh… really?”

Stiles makes a deeply frustrated noise. “Oh my god, you already knew? How did you already know? I didn’t even know!” 

“You’ve always had a bit of a thing for Danny,” Scott says, shrugging even though Stiles can’t see him. “Also that exchange student from Sweden, back in the 8th grade.”

“Oh my god, Sven,” Stiles groans. “I totally did, you’re right. His eyes. I just told myself I was fascinated by his hilarious accent, at the time. What the fuck.”

“I thought it was just another one of those things we’d never directly talked about but, like, already knew about each other. It’s not a big deal or anything. I mean. Is it a big deal?” 

“I don’t… I mean, not really?” Stiles gives a small, sardonic laugh, which indicates that he’d been prepared for this conversation to go a lot worse than it actually did. “My dad was really chill about it too, actually, which must mean it was massively obvious to absolutely everyone.”

“Pretty much,” Scott says sympathetically. “Everyone except you, I guess.”

“I’ve only known for like, a month,” Stiles says, sounding annoyed. Scott can hear mattress-springs squeak as he throws himself back onto his bed. “That’s when I realized, well… there’s this guy.” 

“I figured. Since you’re suddenly all booked up every weekend. Also, your voice went all melty-marshmallow a second ago, when I mentioned being in love.”

“Ugh, shut up, I’m not in love,” Stiles says. He sounds nervous again, even though the scary part of the confession should be over, and it makes Scott wary. 

(Especially since he’s almost positive Stiles just lied to him, and holy shit, when did Stiles find the time to fall in love without Scott noticing?)

“Stiles, the guy… it’s not someone I know, is it?” The thing is, they don’t know very many people, between the two of them; Danny already has a boyfriend, and the other options aren’t exactly encouraging.

Stiles squeaks, and then coughs. “Maybe.”

Oh god. “Is it… are you dating one of the wolves?” 

“It just happened,” Stiles breathes, muffled like he’s running a hand down over his face. “I thought it was just, you know, a physical thing, and I was just going to wait for it to go away. But it got worse, and so I just thought, one date, right? One date, we’ll see how it goes, I’ll probably hate it and he’ll probably threaten to claw my face off and everything can just go back to normal.”

“Claw your…” Scott slowly slides off the side of his bed onto the floor, staring dully at the wall. “Derek. You’re dating Derek.” 

“Come on, Scott, no. Scott,” Stiles is saying urgently. “No, don’t say it like that, like he’s… You two are cool now, aren’t you? You hardly ever fight anymore! He came to your birthday party!”

“Because you invited him, without asking me,” Scott points out. He’s still a bit dazed. Derek is… okay, it’s not like they’re enemies. Not anymore. Ever since they worked together under a tenuous truce to get rid of the alphas last year, they’ve been cordial with each other, at least. Scott's good friends with Isaac, and he’s even become fairly close with Boyd and Erica—he was directly involved in saving their lives, after all, and they all found it difficult to maintain the animosity after that. But he still can't bring himself to join their pack.

It’s the principle of the thing. Derek is a such a dick

“Derek is such a dick,” Scott says passionately, and then closes his eyes when Stiles responds with a long, ice-cold silence.

“I know you have your issues with each other,” Stiles says after a moment, “but that’s my boyfriend you’re talking about, okay—don’t make that face at me!”

“I’m not—” Scott reaches up and feels that, yes, he actually is making a face. “Sorry. But… really?” 

“Really,” Stiles says firmly. “It’s only been a week, but, man. I’ve never felt—it’s just, it’s… something. Okay?” 

“Okay,” says Scott.

“And another thing—wait, what? Just like that?”

“Just like that,” Scott says. He deeply wants to wrap Stiles up and ship him off to Australia just to get him safely away from Derek, but that’s not exactly his prerogative.

(Plus, he doesn’t think Fed-Ex make boxes big enough. Not in his price range.)

“If you want,” Stiles says, carefully, “you should come over. This afternoon. Derek will be here, and… you two could. You know.”

“Growl threateningly at each other over your head?” Scott suggests, and Stiles laughs.

“Basically, yeah. You in?”

“Sounds fun,” Scott sighs, defeated. If this is his punishment for being a sub-par friend for a few months, he’ll just have to take it like a man. Karma is a bitch


The first thing Scott says when he walks into the Stilinski living room and sees Derek and Stiles setting up a game of Life on the floor is “You let him have the green car?” 

It’s not the most auspicious beginning. Scott wonders if they should all just give up right now.

“I’d rather have the red car, actually,” Derek says, eyeing Scott sideways, and the wolfish part of Scott feels radiantly smug about having successfully defended his territory.

Stiles looks up at the ceiling like he can’t believe this is his life. “Oh my god, Scott, it’s just a pawn, it has no effect whatsoever on gameplay.”

“I think the car is symbolic,” Derek suggests, shuffling the Career cards.

“I’ll symbolically break your jaw,” Scott mumbles under his breath, and Derek shoots him an absolutely infuriating little smirk. 

“Scott can go first!” Stiles says, desperately. “College or career, Scott?”

“College,” Scott says, pointedly. “But then, we’re both going to college in real life, isn’t that right, Stiles? You’ll probably get a great scholarship, with your grades. You could go to any school you wanted. Anywhere in the country. Possibly even very far away.”

Derek rumbles out a distressed-sounding growl, and that’s even more satisfying than getting to play the green car.

“I’m only applying in-state,” Stiles says, brushing the back of his hand against Derek’s elbow, soothing him. “And you know I’ll only consider the schools we both get accepted to, Scott, come on.”

Stiles did always promise that they’d go to the same college; even back in sophomore year, when Scott’s grades were seriously abysmal, Stiles would wax poetical about their exciting future at one of California’s premier slacker schools. 

Stiles is pretty fucking awesome, sometimes.

Derek spins the wheel, chooses “career” (ugh) and ends up as a hairdresser, which makes Stiles whoop like he’s just won the lottery.

“Aw, man,” he crows, thwapping Derek on the shoulder with the fanned-out deck of cards. “What joke do I make first, there are just so many to choose from.

“You’ll get yours when you end up as an accountant,” Derek says, smiling this warm, teasing smile that Scott’s never seen before. “Just sitting in an office. All day. Counting.” 

“Stop, no, oh my god, you’re making my brain twitch just thinking about it.”

“Amortization,” Derek says, gleefully. “Valuation. Subsidiary accounts.”

“All right, all right, Paul Mitchell, I’ve had enough!” Stiles cries, nudging into Derek’s side with his whole body and, jesus, giggling. “I surrender to your razor wit. See what I did there? Razor.”

“Too bad your dazzling wordplay won’t be appreciated down at the auditing firm,” Derek says, full of mock sympathy. He reaches up seemingly without a thought to fix a wrinkle in Stiles’ shirt collar, and for some reason that’s just the last straw.

“I need a soda,” Scott says, and escapes to the kitchen. 


Scott’s been sitting at the kitchen table for ten minutes, staring morosely at a can of Coke Zero, when Derek comes in and drops down onto the chair across from him. 

“I don’t know what you want from me,” Derek says.

(Scott isn’t Derek’s biggest fan, but he has to give him this: at least he’s direct.)

“I want you to back off and let Stiles be with someone better,” Scott says, just as directly. Derek looks down at the table.

“Stiles should be with someone better,” he says softly. “But he chose me. I’m not… I couldn’t say no. Even though I should have.”

“It’s not even legal,” Scott says, pointing accusingly at Derek with his Coke can. 

“We aren’t doing anything wrong,” Derek insists, and Scott snorts, because, please.

Please,” he says. “I know Stiles. I’ve known Stiles since puberty and beyond, dude. Stiles is, like, hypersexual. I’m surprised you still have clothes on right now.”

Derek’s whole neck flushes, and that shocks Scott so much that he almost drops the soda. “We’re taking it slow,” he says. “I’m taking it slow. Stiles is patient. Stiles is trying to be patient,” he amends, when Scott makes a disbelieving noise. 

“I don’t understand why… how can he actually trust you?” Scott pulls at his hair. “Are we in the Twilight Zone? I mean, I know you two had your side projects over the past year, with the bestiary translations and that website he helped you set up, but—”

“You still have to register on that, by the way,” Derek says. “And you should check my name in your Alpha column, for your own safety.”

“I don’t need your bullshit werewolf network, and I don’t need your so-called protection,” Scott seethes, jumping up. “You’ve offered that before, and it’s nearly gotten me plus all of my friends—including Stiles, by the way—killed. More than once. You’ve lied to me and manipulated me and generally fucked me over too often for anything you say to matter now!”

“And what about the times you’ve fucked me over?” Derek rises to his feet, leaning menacingly over the table. “We can’t keep stirring this up forever, Scott. We have to find a way to make peace.”

“Why, so you can mess around with my best friend and not worry about me punching your teeth in when you end up breaking his heart?”

“No, because I fucking love him, and he doesn’t like hurting you,” Derek snaps, and then freezes, glancing guiltily toward the living room. 

“I don’t think he heard you,” Scott offers faintly. From what he can hear, Stiles has been singing a wildly-inaccurate version of ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ to himself for the past four minutes.

“Good. That’s… good.” Derek collapses back into the chair and studies his hands intently, and Scott tilts his head, because his whole entire world has just gone off-kilter.

“You’re actually really scared about all of this,” Scott says carefully, “aren’t you?”

“Terrified,” Derek says, laughing a little. It’s practically identical to Stiles’ self-deprecating oh-don’t-worry-about-me laugh, and Scott’s heart twists in his chest. 

“Does Stiles know you’re, like… freaking out?”

“Stiles has never had a relationship before.” Derek reaches out and fidgets with Scott’s soda can, denting the side with his thumb; Scott narrows his eyes, but refrains from saying anything. “I didn’t want to cause drama.”

“Stiles loves drama, are you kidding? Don’t coddle him. He won’t thank you for that.”

“Yeah,” Derek says, meeting his eyes sheepishly. “I think you’re right. Thank you.”

Scott realizes too late that he’s just accidentally given relationship advice to Derek Hale, and he throws his head back and groans. “Whatever,” he says, and he finds himself returning Derek’s cautious smile. “You can keep Stiles, I guess. But get your own soda.”

“You drive a hard bargain,” Derek says, smiling with all of his teeth.

When they shake hands, Scott only squeezes a little too hard.