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The First Rule of Online Dating

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So hey, Danny types into his chat window. I'm gonna be in San Diego this weekend. Lacrosse tournament.

so no quest? Stelina replies. oh well :(

That too, but I was actually thinking we could meet up. That's where you live, right?

There's no reply for so long that Danny actually worries something happened. Like, maybe Stelina died or something.

i don't think that's a good idea she finally says, almost ten minutes later.

Why not?

just isn't There's another pause, and then, oops, gotta go

She goes offline, and Danny blinks a few times and frowns.

That didn't go like he hoped it would.

*

Danny started playing Realms of Praetor over Christmas break. Which was a bad idea, because he was a total addict by the time spring semester started. He hasn't dropped out or anything yet, but, well--he is a total addict, his friends make fun of him, but he doesn't really give a shit. He's having an awesome time.

He met Stelina when they were both low-level n00bs; she's a rogue and he's a barbarian, and they work really well together. They hit it off OOC too--she's funny and smart and he feels comfortable with her like he hasn't felt comfortable with anyone he's met at college. It's not that he dislikes the guys he knows, he's just not sure how to be around them. His roommate's roommate's idea of a good time is chugging a beer, crushing the can on his forehead, and repeating this process until he finds a girl who thinks it's impressive and decides to sleep with him. The lacrosse team is nice enough, but he can tell that not all of them are comfortable with him being gay, and it makes everything awkward.

So, yeah, Stelina really helps. She's easy to talk to, smart and enthusiastic, and she's happy to gush over cute boys and talk sci-fi long into the night.

He thought it would be great to hang out in person, but apparently he's the only one.

The next time she's online, she starts the conversation. so, uh, i was weird about meeting up

Super weird, Danny agrees.

yeah yeah. idk, me and rl just arent friends

Have you met a lot of people?

a couple. they were pissed i didn't look like my avatar

Uh, you know I am not an eight-foot tall orc barbarian IRL, right? Why would I judge you?

you'd be disappointed, and then you'd be pissed, and then we'd stop being friends! we should just keep being friends and no one gets upset. live in harmony, harmony, always etc.

Danny pauses, not sure what he's supposed to say. He assumes that Stelina is probably--well, maybe she's not very pretty in real life, or something? But it's not like Danny gives a shit. She's awesome, and he's gay. He's not looking for a love connection.

I was really looking forward to meeting you, he says, finally.

sorry, Stelina says, after a long pause of her own. maybe next time? once i stop being a total dumbass

Danny has to smile. Like that'll ever happen ;)

stfu

*

San Diego is a lot less exciting without the prospect of hanging out with Stelina. After their Saturday game, the rest of the team goes out, but while drinking his funk away is tempting, Danny begs off and goes to hang out at the coffee shop around the corner instead. He's not a computer addict or anything, but there might have been something very important posted on the forums.

And he's not planning to see if Stelina's online, he's really not, but there's this hot guy sneaking glances at him, clearly checking him out, and he doesn't have anyone else to brag to.

Hey, I am a sex god, he tells her, once he's logged in.

hey! i thought you weren't gonna be around

I'm not, really. Just hanging out at some coffee shop near UCSD, scoping out this hot guy. He glances up; hot dude's got his own laptop out, and he's typing, with his pen in his mouth. Danny's never picked anyone up at a coffee shop before, but he is willing to start.

oh yeah? which one?

Coffee shop or hot guy? :P Harper's Beans.

There's a sudden noise, and Danny jerks his head up. Hot guy has squeaked and half-fallen out of his chair. He gets up and looks around, like he's trying to judge if anyone noticed. It reminds Danny of when his cat fails at a jump. He almost expects the guy to lick his tail and slink off.

They lock eyes when his gaze hits Danny, and Danny raises his eyebrows. Hot guy flushes and sits back down at his laptop. It might be the human equivalent of licking his tail.

that's a weird name for a hot guy says Stelina.

Funny. He just fell over. I'm hoping it's because I'm so hot. I have that effect on people.

Hot guy squeaks again and jerks his head up, staring at Danny. It's--weird. Really, really weird.

Then hot guy closes his laptop and shoves it in his bag, and, at pretty much that exact moment, Stelina goes offline.

Danny frowns; he can handle one or two coincidences, but this is going a little far. He closes his own laptop and packs it up, following the guy out of the coffee shop.

"Are you following me?" the guy asks, still a little squeaky. "Because I have a rape whistle."

Danny frowns. "You do?" He's never actually met anyone who carries a rape whistle.

"Okay, no," says the guy. "But I could. Why are you following me?"

"Because you are like the least subtle person ever, oh my god, will you stop running away, I know it's you."

"That does not even make sense," says the guy, weakly, but he stops and turns to face Danny.

"You really don't look like your avatar," Danny finally says, and the guy just wilts.

"When did you figure it out?" he asks. "Before you even got there? Did you find me on Facebook?"

"Uh, no," says Danny. "You closed your laptop and ran at the same time you logged off without saying anything. And you go here. It's not rocket science."

The guy--Stelina? It feels kind of weird to call him Stelina--frowns. "What?"

"We're staying in a hotel a few blocks away," says Danny. "But I would have had to pay for wi-fi, so I went to the coffee shop. I wasn't stalking you or anything."

"But you said I was hot!"

"Yeah," says Danny. He runs his hand through his hair. "Can we do this somewhere else? This is kind of weird."

"This is going to be weird anywhere," Stelina mutters. "Come on, my dorm's across the street."

*

"So," says Danny. Stelina has a small single; there's a Firefly poster on the wall and a bunch of Warhammer miniatures on the desk. It's how he figured her room would be, just--she would have been a girl. "I'm Danny, by the way." He offers his hand.

"Stiles," says the guy, shaking it.

"So--why didn't you just tell me?" Danny asks. "That you were a guy. It's not like I wanted to sleep with your hot rogue avatar."

"Yeah, but you wouldn't want to sleep with me either," says Stiles, flopping down on his bed with a groan. "You assumed and I didn't want to correct you because if you thought I was a girl you wouldn't be like, yeah, I'm gay, but you're not my type, you're too geeky and awkward, I think we should just be friends, blah blah blah."

"You're my type," says Danny. "I got online to tell you how hot you were. Or--tell Stelina. And then I was going to get your number."

Stiles looks over at him warily. "I thought that was part of an elaborate prank."

Danny rolls his eyes and lies down next to Stiles, leaning in and kissing him. He wouldn't ordinarily move this quickly, but--it's Stelina, except Stelina is a hot, dorky guy who can't keep his mouth shut, and it's making Danny's whole year.

Stiles squeaks and flails, but Danny keeps kissing him, and it's only a few seconds before he relaxes and kisses back, and then they're really kissing, making out like they'll never get another chance.

When Danny finally pulls back, Stiles keeps his eyes closed for a long minute, lips parted, and it's seriously, unfairly hot. He's about to go back in for another kiss when Stiles says, "Really?"

"You should have told me," Danny says.

"Clearly!" says Stiles. "Dude! We just made out! This is awesome! You're in LA, right? That is not far. I have a car. We can go on quests and do raids and are you into LARPing? I kind of want to try LARPing, but not alone. Dude!"

Danny laughs softly. "See, this is why I wanted to meet you. So you could talk me into LARPing."

"Yeah, but you didn't think there would be kissing, right?" asks Stiles. "Because you're gay."

"No, that's a bonus," Danny says, smiling, and kisses Stiles again. "And you didn't think there would be kissing because you're an idiot, right?"

Stiles glares at him. "I have had bad experiences, okay!"

"Straight guys thought you were a girl and wanted to get in your pants," says Danny.

"it was a lesbian, actually," Stiles says, sulkily. "Shut up!" he adds, when Danny starts laughing. "Apparently my," he waves his hands, "me-ness is very charming online and very unpopular in the real world. I don't know how to turn like a thousand people reblogging my tumblr post about feelings into getting laid."

"Say, hey Danny, I want to get laid," says Danny.

Stiles gapes at him, mouth opening and shutting a few times before he says, "Hey Danny, I want to get laid."

Danny grins. "I thought you'd never ask."