It starts out as a whim, mostly. Stiles is wedged on his hands and knees in that awkward leg space under his desk, long fingers squirming into the crack between the back of the bottom drawer and his wall, and instead of the thumb drive he'd been fishing for he pulled out The Sims 3 disc.
And well, it's not like he has anything better to do today, and the program's apparently still installed on his computer because it starts running a few stuttering moments after he slides the disc into the CD-ROM drive...and why not.
The decision to make the pack is also totally, totally an accident (kind of). The first Sim pops up in the family maker whatever menu and Stiles snorts and giggles cause it kind of looks like Boyd, really, and soon enough he's got the leather triplets and their almighty Alpha and is picking a nice secluded piece of property out in the country next to a waterfall and building a hefty mountain lodge (because cheat codes, please. Who has time for a job when there's such a thing as Motherlode?), complete with a wrap-around porch, customized bedrooms, and a fully stocked gym in the basement.
If there's a slight possibility that Stiles gets a little too into it - well, he's always been a fan of authenticity, not to mention a big believer in going big or going home. Damn right he's going to knit-pick until Erica's got just the right shape for her brown eyes, gonna grouse about the tattoo options being so pathetic when he just wants to give Derek his signature triskelion. Embellishment, too - Stiles can admit there's some definite embellishment going on here. No he has no reason to believe Derek has a life dream of becoming a fire fighter, or that Isaac hides a secret talent for music and art. But hey. It's The Sims, and if he's being completely fair, this whole thing is already beyond the realm of weird. If he wants to make Derek push himself into an eight hour work out because Derek is hoping for a promotion to Fire Captain, then hey, that's his prerogative.
Until, of course, Stiles' commitment to authenticity starts to get the better of him. Because he'd done the best he could with the options the game provided - Derek was a brave and athletic loner with a fondness for the great outdoors and something of a jack-of-all-trades skill set, but there were some key differences. Werewolf thing aside (because that was actually an option, if Stiles was willing to pay $40 for the expansion pack), he didn't think there was any way to program a tragic backstory into a Sim's matrix.
And Derek, without his tragic backstory, was eighteen different kinds of adorable.
Sim!Derek liked to hang out with his pack. Liked to watch football with Boyd and complimented Erica on her cooking endeavors (natural cook Erica liked trying new recipes for her roommates, and they were all too happy to eat them after the first few burnt waffle attempts). He helped Isaac with his homework and, once he'd leveled up enough in their basement gym, trained his pack members one on one til they could all run the treadmill without falling on their faces (this was a particular flaw Stiles would never understand about the game - he'd never in his life seen someone fall flat on their face on a treadmill, let alone once every work out session). He flew up through the ranks at the fire department, brave and quietly friendly with a handyman’s knack for maintaining the fire station in tip top shape.
He was kind of someone that, well, if he looked like real life Derek and acted like Sim Derek...Jesus, he'd be one hell of a catch.
And with that Stiles' slightly-creepy-still-mostly-just-amusing afternoon (and night) came to a dramatic, screeching halt. Because no. Just. No. Absolutely not. This was worse than Sim!Isaac planting a big fat kiss on Sim!Boyd (who'd responded enthusiastically, even when it meant a massive bitch slap from Erica, oy). Worse than the creepy weird lady at the gym who did nothing but oogle Sim!Erica while she was working out (in some admittedly skimpy as shit gym clothes - authenticity, of course). Because no absolutely not NO was Stiles allowed to be attracted to a stupid, pixelated avatar that was slightly influenced by Derek Hale's character. No.
Derek’s bleeding on the worn fabric of his Jeep’s passenger seat while Stiles is driving way too recklessly in a notoriously easy-to-flip truck in an effort to haul ass away from the monster du jour that week. He’s screaming obscenities at the stupid, reckless asshole (mostly to assuage his own guilt for being the reason Derek planted himself firmly in front of Stiles and got a stomach full of claws for his trouble), and has a passing thought of 'this is the exact kind of selfless, moronic thing shit-for-brains Sim!Derek would have done during a fire emergency,' and, well, he takes it upon himself to slam his own head against his steering wheel.
"Jesus fuck," he moans, clutching one hand to his forehead. "Ow." It occurs to him that last time, when Derek had been the one shoving Stiles' face towards the dash, he'd aimed it so Stiles' head hit the back of his own hands, not the hard plastic rim of the wheel. That, of course, just sets off a whole second round of thoughts about Derek being a closet Good Guy, and ugh.
"You need your head examined," Derek says flatly, slapping a hand over Stiles' forehead and forcing him back when he goes for attempt number two. "There's seriously something wrong with you."
"You have no idea," Stiles mumbles back, pawing at Derek's hand until the Alpha let him shove it away from his face. "New plan, leave me outside as bait, it'll kill me, you kill it. Everyone goes home happy."
Derek growls in his face. Obviously Stiles is not so lucky.
The second time he's at Derek's apartment, hunched over the kitchen table with Erica working on the Physics lab they'd been partnered together on. Erica's smart, he doesn't normally mind working with her, but there's just something about this formula she's not wrapping her head around, no matter how many times Stiles tries to explain it, and he's starting to lose his patience.
There's a hand on Stiles' shoulder, huge and strong and squeezing lightly, reassuringly, and Derek's leaning over Stiles' other side so he's between Stiles and Erica.
He twists Stiles' pencil up between the fingers of his free hand and starts drawing quick, sharp sketches across a blank page of Stiles' notebook. It's exactly what Stiles has been saying, just the visual version of it, but Erica's suddenly making a face like the whole world makes sense.
"That's like, stupid easy. Why didn't you just say so, Stilinski?" Erica whines. Stiles bares his teeth at her, a habit he's picked up from the wolves, and the hand still braced on his shoulder squeezes again.
"Stiles learns by talking things out. You're a visual learner. It's not his fault he didn't know how to explain it to you, it made perfect sense to him."
They both stare up at Derek, who releases his grip on Stiles' shoulder and shifts his weight back awkwardly.
"I was just really tired of listening to Stiles explain the same thing over and over," he tries again, defensive this time.
"Well that makes two of us," Erica snorts, "so thanks."
Stiles just keeps staring.
Erica and Isaac want to go to Boyd's first football game, and Stiles still isn't sure how he wound up getting thrown into the mix because he’s pretty sure he’s officially been declared Not A Member Of Derek’s Pack, but somehow here he is, wearing two sweatshirts and a flannel and squished in close next to Erica and the aisle.
That is, until Derek appears and shoves half his ass onto the six inches of bleacher space between Stiles' thigh and the short flight of stairs. He squirms around until Stiles gets shoved all up against Erica's side and scooched along the cold metal seat, and somehow Stiles has wound up as the meat in a werewolf sandwich.
"What are you doing here?" he asks Derek. There's not really enough room for him to fully turn his shoulders and look at the Alpha, but he can at least get an eyeful in his peripheral.
"Boyd's on the team," Derek says, like that's supposed to mean something.
"Sure," Stiles nods, "hence Thing One and Thing Two." The broad heel of Erica's combat boots digs hard into Stiles' ankle, but there's not really enough leverage for it to do much damage. "And you're here..."
"Because Boyd's on the team," Derek repeats slowly. He twists and turns until he can face Stiles completely, even if he has to lean back into the aisle to do it, and Stiles pointedly avoids Derek's patented 'Stiles is a raging idiot' stare.
"Yeah, and Isaac's on the lacrosse team, you gonna start coming to all our lacrosse games?" Stiles snorts, because right. Supportive pack daddy Derek Hale.
"Dude, the only game Derek missed was the one you played in," Isaac says from Erica's other side. "And that one time you two were canoodling in the pool."
"Word ban on canoodling," Erica declares, "particularly when referring to whatever it is Derek and Stiles get up to together.”
Stiles is too busy staring at Derek, who has apparently forgotten how he managed to look back since he's now keeping his eyes firmly glued on the field, to truly appreciate accusations of canoodling.
He has a brief flash of Sim!Derek, though, sitting on the ugly cow-patterned couch Stiles bought them and watching Sports Universe with Sim!Boyd, and totally loses it.
Derek's hand reaches over and tugs at Stiles wrist, effectively stopping himself from repeatedly slapping his own forehead again, and when he lets both their arms fall back down Stiles' lands in the little seam where his and Derek's thighs are smooshed together. His fingers are kind of more on Derek's leg than his own though, frozen digits burning on the ridiculous heat soaking through the werewolf's jeans, and maybe he doesn't quite move them right away. Or at all.
Well. Whatever. At least Stiles isn't so cold anymore.
Derek goes on a date.
Well, wait no. Derek the Sim goes on a date, with some harlot hussy whore who hit on him after he stopped her house from burning down, but that still doesn't make her anything more than a two simoleon hooker. And then she stands him up. She stands him up! Invites him on a date, gets him all gussied up and pretty, and then she doesn't show up to her own damn date!
Stiles retaliates by luring her into the community swimming pool and deleting all the ladders.
And then takes a step back and reconsiders his actions. Decides he doesn't give a fuck, obviously he's just being defensive and protective of the guy who's kind of sort of started feeling like his Alpha. And if he goes a step further and makes a little Sim Stiles Stilinski and sticks him in the town and hopes maybe they run into each other at the gym or Stiles accidentally sets fire to his kitchen or something...
Stiles just feels left out that he doesn't have his own representation in the virtual pack. That's all.
Derek Hale, the real one this time, is talking to Girl Scouts.
There's a little troop of them set up outside Safeway guarding a table of neatly stacked cookie boxes that were definitely arranged by the mothers. The girls themselves, seven-years-old at best and unbearably cute in their little brown sashes, gang up on unsuspecting food shoppers and puppy-dog-eye them into buying a box or twelve.
Stiles himself is now the proud owner of twenty bucks worth of Thin Mints, and that was all well and good for him cause those things are little slices of heaven, but he's halfway across the parking lot when he hears a familiar voice and there's an army of Brownies all up in Derek's face. Stiles hadn't even realized Derek was at the supermarket (because he totally would have bribed them to harass the hell out of Derek), and this is going to be great.
Or...or Derek is going to crouch down so he's eye-level with the squealing horde, studiously listen to an enthusiastic description of each different kind of cookie, and buy two of each. From the girls themselves. While their mothers (and Stiles) coo appreciatively behind their hands because Derek humoring a crowd of seven year olds is the cutest thing anyone has ever borne witness to.
"You are the worst," Stiles mumbles, shoving his cart extra hard into the metal cart return aisle, "the actual worst, I can't even look at you."
And maybe he forgot about werewolf superhearing for a minute there, because Derek's head snaps up and over and those stupid technicolor eyes trip Stiles up even from fifty yards away and oh shit that wasn't supposed to be literal but that Jeep of his is definitely a lot closer to his face than it was three seconds ag-
He wakes up in Derek's bed.
He's never so much as peeked around the doorframe into Derek's room, but there's no doubt in his mind it's Derek's. There's not a damn thing on the walls, for one, a small stack of ratty paperbacks no one else in the pack would be caught dead with, for another, and the downy pillow he's got his face buried in smells like smoke and crisp fall leaves.
"I distinctly remember grocery shopping," he mumbles, because there's no point in raising his voice. "I wasn't even in the woods. It wasn't even nighttime."
"Do you distinctly remember tripping over absolutely nothing and cracking your head on your own bumper?" Isaac yells back, because apparently he can't be bothered to cross the three steps between his room and Derek's.
Stiles sits up and immediately regrets it, reaching his fingers up to press at ground zero of his newfound pounding headache despite years of experience warning him against it. The skin just under his hairline is hot to the touch and slightly raised, and he just knows he's got one hell of a bruise cooking there.
"Ms. McCall said you didn't have a concussion, but she wanted someone to keep an eye on you overnight, and your Dad was working, so we brought you here."
Derek's standing in the doorway, frowning like he's only now just realized Stiles might not be so cool with that plan, but even if he minded (which he so totally doesn't, Derek's pillows are downright decadent and his sheets feel like clouds) he's entirely too distracted by Derek's hands. Or, rather, what's in them, because that might be a cookie sheet (Derek owns a cookie sheet? Derek bakes!?), but it's definitely being used as a breakfast tray. Stiles can distinctly see fluffy yellow eggs and a stack of toast, a mug and a glass of orange juice, like Derek wasn't sure which, and he can for sure smell bacon.
"Oh hell no," he groans, flattening out the hand still raised by his face so he can cover his eyes. "No, absolutely not, Derek Hale, that is the last fucking straw."
"So we were supposed to what, leave you home alone to die in your sleep?" Derek sounds oddly petulant about it, like he's offended Stiles is upset about being here, and if Stiles wasn't so busy trying to forget the sight of Derek Hale bringing him breakfast in bed he might feel bad about that incorrect assumption.
"I can't believe you," Stiles whines, ignoring Derek's defensiveness. "It was one thing when it was just a stupid avatar in a stupid video game but Jesus Christ on a cross you're actually this secretly, stupidly perfect in real life and I just absolutely can not with you anymore, I can't."
Derek's still standing in the doorway, leaning one shoulder against the wooden frame and frowning at Stiles, and he kind of looks like he's maybe reconsidering Melissa's credentials as a nurse, because clearly Stiles has lost his mind. Well. What was left of it. Stiles really lost his mind weeks ago, the second he realized he was attracted to pixels.
"Stiles..." Derek says finally, cautiously, shifting his weight. The glass of orange juice wobbles slightly on the cookie sheet, and Stiles lets out a frustrated sigh before making grabby hands for it.
"There's no way I can possibly explain that without sounding deranged, so how about you just give me my coffee and maybe tell me where my pants are and then I can go find a nice little corner somewhere so I can curl up and die of mortification."
"A video game character?" Derek tries, rearranging himself until he has the tray balanced on the tips of five fingers and his free hand caged over the rim of the coffee mug, holding the handle out towards Stiles. The coffee's black, but there's nothing on the tray to mix into it, meaning Derek totally knows how Stiles takes his coffee.
"Worked as a waiter?" Stiles says weakly, accepting the mug and nodding at Derek's other hand and the easy way he handles the tray. "Bet you were just rolling in tips from teenage girls, weren't you."
"You can change the subject a million times, I'll still keep asking," Derek warns. He uses his now free hand to drag a folding chair out from by the foot of the bed, dropping it within arm's reach of Stiles and deftly placing the tray on the seat. He waits until Stiles swaps out his coffee for a piece of bacon before he sits on the bit of mattress by Stiles' knee, like he's hoping maybe the food will distract Stiles from noticing.
"Ever play The Sims?"
Derek groans like he knows exactly where this is going, burying his face in the palm of one hand and propping his elbow up on his knee.
"Shut up, I was really bored," Stiles says defensively.
"Tell me you didn't make Sim versions of my pack," Derek mumbles, and even though it's muffled by the skin of his palm it's still perfectly audible.
"Tell me you at least made us passably attractive," Isaac shrieks from across the hall. "And that I’m not banging Erica."
"You and Boyd are very happy together," Stiles calls back, "and the first time you two woo hoo'ed I think you might have cried. God knows I did, it was horrifying."
"I'm reconsidering all of my life choices," Derek tells his palm. "All of them, everything that has led me to this moment right here."
"You're ridiculous," Stiles responds, because if he's going down it might as well be in flames. "You're like, freakishly nice and take care of all your little roommates and the whole freaking town to boot, your highest aspiration in life is to be a firefighter superhero, and you're the nerdiest bookworm geek. Everyone loves you cause you're so sweet and it's just absurd. And it was all well and good when you were just this weirdly endearing little Sim but Derek you just can not go and be this adorable for real because I totally am not prepared to have a massive crush on an Alpha werewolf who can smell arousal and might have once literally crushed me under a steel toed-boot for even considering it but now might just slow torture nice guy me to death."
"You," Derek starts, lifting his head up out of his hand and turning to stare at Stiles, "are undeniably the most baffling creature I've ever met in my entire life."
Stiles has every intention of defending himself. He totally does. He swallows his bacon and opens his mouth to do so and everything, but there's an extra pair of lips in the way and a tongue that tastes like the coffee he hasn't actually taken a sip of yet, and then there's a hand on his jaw and soft, thick hair between his fingers and holy sweet mother of pearl he is kissing Derek. Or Derek is kissing him. Or maybe they're kissing each other. The point is they are kissing and Derek's other hand is on his thigh and Stiles is using his free hand to shove blankets out of the way so Derek can clamber up the mattress and into Stiles lap and
"I hope watching me and Boyd have pixelated and badly blurred out sex scarred you for life," Isaac calls through the doorway. There's a slam two seconds later, heavy enough that it's definitely the front door, but it's mostly drowned out by the sound Derek's making in Stiles' ear as his teeth and tongue do work on the Alpha's neck.
Later, so much later that the bacon's gone rubbery and the room's getting dark again, Derek lifts his head high enough off Stiles' bare stomach that he can look him right in the eye.
"Did you make a Stiles?"
"Mmhmm," Stiles nods, waiting until Derek lowers his head again before he continues stroking his fingers through his thick dark hair. "Some bitch stood you up on a date and I just couldn't let that slide."
"And?" Derek prompts, like he has any grounds to mock Stiles' when he's nuzzling into Stiles' hand like a damn kitten.
"He moved in last week," Stiles tells him truthfully. "They've since had sex on every sex-optionable surface in the house."
"Well," Derek says, turning his head further into Stiles' stomach and dragging his tongue in one long swipe across the taut skin, "looks like we have some catching up to do.”
Isaac doesn't look Stiles in the eye for two solid weeks after that. Stiles builds Sim!Isaac and Boyd their own apartment in apology and calls it a win.