Before this very moment, it'd been quite awhile since Derek Hale had seen Stiles Stilinski. Years. But he'd heard plenty. It was hard to avoid news about the boy who had changed his life and gone on to become... well.
Derek is staring, Stiles is smoking. The cigarette’s glow intensifies and dims with each breath, illuminating his sharp features. He reaches up to pluck it from his lips, flicks the ashes onto the porch and replaces it.
"You gonna let me in or what?" he asks, voice rough.
"Put out the cigarette and I'll consider it."
He drops it and crushes it under his heel. "How about now?"
"Why are you here?"
"Had a gig in San Francisco yesterday, have a show in Sacramento tomorrow. Figured I'd drop in."
"So what's the difference between a gig and a show?"
Stiles smiles for the first time since Derek opened his door. "One makes me sound like a musician; the other makes me sound like a successful musician."
"They both make you sound like an asshole."
"C'mon, let me in, it's cold out here." And he flashes that same smile, full of conspiracy and promises. And Derek relents.
Looking at him now, Derek can still see the boy who led him astray. Amber eyes, pale skin, dark hair. The strange air of sophistication. The moody depths of his moody heart. The thrill of suggestion, the promise of debauchery, the sexual allure. His thin frame carries it all. Hell, if the island of misfit toys Derek had crash landed on in high school hadn’t been ruled by him, Derek would have stuck to lacrosse and pretty blonde cheerleaders. The girls in the audience might love the music, but if it weren’t for their charismatic front man…
Derek leans against the door frame and stares at Stiles as he makes himself at home at the kitchen table. “Can an old friend get a drink?” he asks.
Derek opens the fridge and fishes out a beer.
“Didn’t have to be alcoholic, but I like where this is going,” Stiles says when Derek sets it down in front of him.
Sex. That’s what Stiles embodies. The slow smirk, the soulful eyes, the predatory gaze. Derek fell so hard for it then, but he wouldn’t now.
“Which way are you swinging these days?” Stiles asks. Stiles’ ability to access Derek’s thoughts is just as unsettling as ever.
“For the fences,” Derek responds.
“Baseball joke, cute.”
“Does it matter?”
“You don’t have to be so damn cagey. Here, I’ll show you: I fuck anything pretty that wants me to fuck them. Your turn.”
“So the band is doing well, I take it,” Derek asks.
“Don’t be coy and don’t change the subject,” Stiles answers.
“It’s not every day I have to endure small talk with a successful rock star such as yourself, forgive me.” Derek hopes there’s a nice balance of malice and laughter dripping from his words.
“You are forgiven,” Stiles counters.
And god, he is cool. Long legs, tight black pants, scuffed boots, flannel under a tight black jacket, fingerless gloves. It’s so calculated, but it works. His hair is longer now than it was, disheveled and fashionable. Derek looks at him and even though he’s older, he is the exact same person down to the very posture and energy as he was all those years ago.
“Oh fuck off,” Derek says when he remembers to speak. “Why are you here?”
“I told you already—“
“Why are you here and not at your father’s?”
“Because I wanted to see you.”
Stiles tilts his beer bottle back and drinks, amber eyes trained on Derek, and then sets it down and nudges it toward him. “Drink.”
“Why did you want to see me?”
“I wanted to see if you still had that James Dean thing going for you,” he answers after a pause. He smirks, eyes twinkling, and nudges the beer bottle even closer. “Drink. You’re on edge.”
“Of course I’m on edge, after two years of radio silence, you just show up—“
“Yes, after two years, I can no longer keep away from your doorstep, Der. Take a fucking drink, cool your jets and let me fucking collect myself.”
“I know you hate me for what I did,” Stiles mutters, façade crumbling.
Derek offers no input.
“Listen, it was wrong. I know. But the label—“
“Stiles, I’m in law school, I don’t want to be in your little boy band, life is working out just fine for me. Let it go.”
“MY little boy band? Excuse me?”
Derek smiles. Stiles splutters, his face flashing between angry and shocked. He finally settles on amused. “You son of a bitch.”
“I’m not mad about the song, I’m mad that you disappeared.”
Stiles takes the beer back and takes another long drink. “Blame that one on the label too.”
“I mean it. You know I loved you.”
“So you said.”
“Thunder and lightning, fire and smoke, your hand is the one I’m reaching for, whoa-oh,” Stiles quotes lifelessly. “That one is about you, you know.”
“Even the part after that? “Oh sweetheart, kiss me before you go, you’re the girl worth fighting for”?”
“Well, well, how about that boy band now, Hale?”
“Hard to miss it considering how many times they play it on the radio. I really like that you guys rhymed “for” with “for.” Very smart.”
“Oh, fuck off.”
“I mean, what’s the difference, right? NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco, One Direction, and now Smokes for Harris. You’re just the new thing the girls are screaming about.”
Stiles just shrugs. “Fair enough. But anyway, that song is still about you.”
“So I’m the girl worth fighting for?”
“Apparently, you’re the big bitch baby worth fighting for. The label wanted us to go for sexual ambiguity on stage, so you’ll be pleased to know that I tell Scott he’s the guy worth fighting for every night on tour.”
“Remember when you told me I sold out…?”
“Shut up, okay? Just shut up.”
He steals the beer back from Derek and takes another drink. When he sets the bottle back on the table, he has carefully arranged his face to a perfect level of haughtiness.
"Don't forget that you used to be one of us."
"One of us, one of us," Stiles chants.
"Used to be, used to be," Derek chants back.
Stiles used to play at being an outcast, but he was just as desired at school as Derek had been at the top of his game. Sometimes even more desired. Everyone’s eyes followed Stiles down the hall and he had known it. He grinned flirtatiously at the jocks in the hall, eye-fucked the pretty girls with a maddening half-smirk, slipped innuendo into class discussions that implied he’d sleep with the teacher if they’d just ask already… people’s eyes swept up his body from his skinny jeans to his head phones and watched him strut down the hallway and they wanted to be him. Every single person, deep down, wanted to be Stiles Stilinski. And they still did. They had all wanted to sleep with him, and even Derek had fought tooth and nail to gain that sole privilege. He had been untouchable, unobtainable and utterly devastatingly dangerous.
And now this godlike creature was sitting at his dining room table. Stinking of nicotine and sweat and leather and stale coffee. Dark circles under his eyes. The silence stretches between them, eyes glued to one another.
Stiles had gotten Derek into a lot of trouble. He’d been a bad influence. And that was just before the first album dropped. He’d reshaped Derek’s life into something a little bit more spectacular and then when things went wrong… when things started to change… when Stiles and the band moved to LA to record a second album and Derek didn’t want to be a part of it and Stiles didn’t fight for him… well, Derek was left behind, confused and utterly lost in his wake.