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Fate Knew Better

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Stiles is in Harris’s class for detention. Again. It’s maybe the seventh time this month, and the third time this week.

It’s a Wednesday.

It really wasn’t his fault, okay? Aiden had been acting like a douchenozzle and rubbing up against Lydia every time Stiles’s gaze happened to venture in that direction. Harris really can’t expect him to be in a room with some ridiculously volatile chemicals and ridiculously volatile assholes and expect everything to go smoothly.

And while he’s not saying he did set Aiden’s cross country duffle on fire; he isn’t exactly denying it either. It’s all about the street cred.

Plus he’s not even into Lydia anymore. He’s currently about 80% into dicks and 20% into chicks (It may even be 85% to 15% but he can’t really be fussed with the specifics). The fact that Aiden is fucking with him just to fuck with him is what set him off. Not to mention that Aiden is at best a flavor of the month. There’ll be a new hunk in a couple weeks, while Stiles is fairly certain he’ll be Lydia’s second in command when she takes over the world. No matter how far in the future that ends up being. Lydia’s got a lot of things on her bucket list.

Anyway, back to the point. What is he talking about? Oh yeah. Detention. For the third time. With evil fucking Harris who insisted that today, he isn’t going to let Stiles out without a chat with his father first. His father doesn’t get off work till nine.

Luckily he’d had track practice (where he goaded Finstock into making it run late) and it was nearly 6:30 by the time he got to Harris’s classroom but still. He should be at home and elbow deep in some Doritos right about now.

Instead he’s cleaning nasty beakers that don’t look like they’ve been cleaned since the 90s. They actually have some unidentifiable brown substance congealed on the outside. It’s all he can do not to barf. Stiles knows these aren’t the beakers they use in day to day experiments, which means Harris has pulled them out as a special brand of torture just for Stiles. Fucker.

He grabs a dish towel and a beaker, thanking whatever force is out there that he only has to be here till his dad can get here. He wouldn’t put it past Harris to keep him there until the beakers were spotless, knowing full well that that would probably never happen. Like he said: fucker.


His dad walks in two hours later, a whole half an hour before expected, and Stiles almost wants to cry a little out of gratitude. More often than not, his father is late getting off work and for him to be early today is indescribably satisfying. He shoots Stiles an exasperated look, while Stiles throws him one of Bambi-like innocence. He rolls his eyes and turns to face Harris.

Mr. Harris is looking at the Sheriff with utmost respect, and it’s kind of a baffling look in Stiles’s opinion. He sure as hell has never seen that look, or anything like it, grace Harris’s face before.

“Sheriff, thanks for meeting me today. Would you like to take a seat?” Harris shoots Stiles a quick look then, face reverting to disdain and annoyance. Ahh, that’s more like it.

“Well, here’s the thing, Mr. Harris. I’d really like to get out of here as soon as possible. It’s late, and it was Stiles’s night to make dinner, and because of his detention there isn’t any dinner, so can we just make this quick and painless, please?” Stiles hides a gleeful grin at the thoroughly reprimanded look on Harris’ face and silently vows to let his dad have a cheeseburger tonight. Maybe one or two fries.

“Of course, Sheriff. Look, I get it. It’s senior year. Stiles is applying to colleges, and while it seems that high school has become trivial, I can assure the both of you, it has not. He needs to continue to do well for the rest of his year, as do the rest of his peers, and they cannot do so when we are having daily distractions by Mr. Stilinski here. He nearly set a student on fire today.”

“Hey, you have no proof of that!” Oh shit, did he say that out loud? Looks like his brain to mouth filter is currently AWOL. Nothing that hasn’t happened before.

The sheriff turns around then and shoots Stiles a look, ‘Really, Stiles?’ before turning back to Harris.

“I’m sorry Adrian, Stiles must be off his meds or something because I know my son is not that stupid. You can rest assured that nothing of the sort will ever happen again.”

Mr Harris smiles, “I thought you might say as much. I do believe, however, that Mr. Stilinski over here isn’t being challenged enough. He breezes through the coursework, and then just sits around aimlessly, wreaking havoc and disrupting others.”

“Well what do you suggest I do about it? I know my son, and I know he’s taking a pretty heavy course load this year.”

“Well, I’d like you to consider this. Considering Stiles’s propensity for chatter, it shouldn’t be very difficult and I’m sure it would be greatly appreciated.”

Stiles can’t see what Harris has handed his dad, but it makes him anxious nonetheless. Anything Harris comes up with can not bode well for Stiles.

“You know, this seems like a pretty good idea, Mr. Harris. I’ll see to it that it happens.”

“Thank you Sheriff, Stiles is free to go.”

Stiles nearly knocks the desk over in his haste to pick up his pack and track things, and one of the beakers goes flying. It smashes into nearly a million pieces not far from Harris’s desk, and Stiles looks up to see both men with incredulous looks on their faces. Stiles’s dad looks like he’s holding back a laugh or an aneurysm, and it’s really not a good look for him.

Harris sighs, “Just get him out of here Sheriff, I’ll take care of the mess myself,” shooting Stiles one of his patented ‘why the fuck am I a teacher again?’ looks.

His dad just walks out without a word, and Stiles scrambles behind, not wanting to be left alone with Harris.

The Sheriff takes whatever sheet of paper Harris gave him in his own car, so Stiles is left to stew in his own thoughts the entire ride home. What the hell could it be? It can’t be anything too horrible right? His dad had agreed to whatever it was pretty readily. It’s going to bug him to no end but he’s not gonna ask about it till his dad brings it up. Whatever it is will mean more work for him, and that’s never a necessity right?


He lasts all the way through dinner, and even keeps his mouth shut as his dad disappears into his office and Stiles puts on Tosh.0 to have as background noise while he finishes his homework. He has a boatload of worksheets from (who else?) Harris, and a bunch of reading for Finstock’s class. Normally he doesn’t mind reading about economics, and Coach usually manages to make things interesting by throwing in a couple of current event articles, but today he cannot fucking focus. He hates that his curiosity always manages to get the better of him.

It takes him about an hour longer than normal, but he’s finally got all his actual work done. He should probably study for his upcoming Spanish test, but he can’t really bring himself to care. He’s scrolling through channels trying to get the energy to go upstairs to bed when his dad finally emerges from his office, Harris’s paper in hand.

Stiles scrambles up from where he’s sprawled out on the couch, his hint of fatigue disappearing upon his dad’s arrival.

“Stiles, I nearly forgot to give you this. Harris thinks it may be a good idea, and I agree.” He hands the paper over to Stiles and ambles on upstairs to bed.

Stiles glances at the top of the page where it says “Operation Gratitude” in bright red letters and thinks that he really needs to calm his brain down somehow 'cause this is way tamer than anything he’d come up with.

By the next morning, Stiles has googled the hell out of Operation Gratitude, and found out more about it, and is actually really on board with this idea. It seems like something right up his alley,; he has no problems talking to strangers and enjoys meeting new people. Plus, it’ll earn him brownie points with Harris, and, as much as he hates doing things that Harris will approve of, it is his last year, and if he’s going to get into Berkeley, he needs to maintain his good grades.

He’s figured out that he needs to fill out an application about himself and email it to the people at Operation Gratitude and then they’ll match him with a soldier stationed overseas who doesn’t have anyone to write to. Stiles has really only had his dad and Scott and Lydia for most of his life, but he knows that all three of them would write him letters if he were in the military. The fact that there are soldiers out there without anyone to write to, despite wanting someone to write to, strengthens Stiles’s resolve.

He brings the application to lunch with him, snagging an end seat at the table Scott, Lydia and Danny are already seated at and looks over it for the millionth time. He isn’t gonna come out and say what it is, but he’s hoping someone will notice and ask him about it. He wouldn’t mind a second opinion on the app.

Soon enough, Lydia must notice the general lack of nonsensical babble, because she looks over and sees Stiles’s head bent over a stack of papers.

“Stiles! What’re you doing? Danny’s been over here making plans for his 18th, and you haven’t said a single thing!”

Stiles looks up slowly, kind of amazed he managed to miss that entire conversation. Normally he’d be all over birthday plans. He must be more into this than he’d originally thought.

“So I’m doing this thing? It was for Harris, but now I just think I’m doing it 'cause I want to?”

Lydia wrinkles her nose, and Stiles realizes how weird that sounded. “No wait, I’m not doing anything for Harris but it was his idea and I really like it.”

Scott sighs, “What exactly is it, Stiles?”

He straightens fully and hands over the information packet he printed last night,but keeps his application to himself.

“It’s a program where high school students, or hey, anyone really, can write letters to soldiers stationed overseas who don’t have anyone to write to. Harris told my dad it might be a good idea for me to do when I’m bored in class, basically because I can never shut up. Might as well talk to someone who wants to hear it, right?”

Lydia snorts daintily at that (which should be an oxymoron, but Lydia is capable of pulling off anything she fucking wants, okay?) but looks genuinely interested in the info packet.

Danny smiles at him, “I think that’s a great idea, Stiles! It’s actually one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen you do.”

Ah, well. Stiles isn’t sure what to do with that praise. Especially when it comes from Danny. He’s such a fucking ball of sunshine and puppies and dimples that a compliment from all of that is like staring into the sun.

He thinks he blushes, and stammers out some sort of thanks, but then quickly has his attention diverted by Aiden slamming down some notebooks, and shoving Stiles’s chair over a bit to stick one in between Stiles and Lydia. Douchenozzle.

Stiles watches smugly as Aiden tries to get Lydia’s attention, presumably for some sort of cafeteria PDA, and fist pumps in his head when she remains impervious to his attempts. She’s still engrossed in the informational brochures, and when she finally looks up, it's at Stiles-- she’s ignoring Aiden completely.

“I want to do this, too. Stiles, do you have an extra application? Also, let me see yours. I need to make sure that the hieroglyphics you call penmanship isn’t horrific. ” Stiles just grins bashfully, and hands her both his application and the blank one he’d kept, just in case.


Two weeks later, Harris stops Stiles and Lydia as they’re leaving class with a hint of a smile on his face and hands them each a crisp, white, sealed envelope.

“The names are not confidential information, but the addresses are. Do not even share them with each other.” His tone is stern, but his face is soft and open and pleased. Stiles has never experienced this from Harris before. It’s terribly unsettling.

He and Lydia grin at each other, and part ways. Stiles nearly sprints to his car, and once ensconced, he tears open the envelope, eager to see who he got.

He scans the page briefly. The soldier’s name is Derek Hale, he’s a Sergeant and his hometown is Berkeley, California, which isn’t very far from Beacon Hills. It says that he enlisted as soon as he turned 18, which means he’s been on tours for about 5 years, considering he’s nearly 23 years old. There’s no picture, and Stiles can’t help but be disappointed. He didn’t send one in of himself, though, so he doesn’t know why he thought he’d get one from Sgt. Hale. Stiles continues to scan the application and sees that Hale’s favorite food is steak and potatoes, his favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla and his favorite animals are wolves. Hale’s favorite movie is Remember the Titans and his music taste resembles that of Dean from Supernatural (Led Zep, ACDC, Black Sabbath, and Aerosmith are all listed). Looks like Stiles has got himself the epitome of the all-American soldier. He wonders if he can get away with calling Hale ‘Captain America’ at some point in the future.

The very bottom of the page has the mailing address which is a US Army Base mailbox number located in Qatar. Stiles grins, all set to go home, google the shit out of Qatar, and write his first letter.

Chapter Text

It turns out that Qatar is the headquarters of the Al Jazeera, which is all sorts of cool and unexpected. It’s actually ranked in one of the top 20 peaceful countries in the world, and is the third highest in natural gas reserves. Apparently, as of late, Qatar and the United States have had a close relationship and work together to increase security in the Persian Gulf. In 1992, Qatar became the location for the U.S. Central Command’s Forward Headquarters and the Combined Air Operations Center. It is now home to two Military Air bases and one Army base.

Stiles doesn’t even know Hale yet, not really, but he’s incredibly pleased to see that he’s stationed somewhere with good relations with the US. It doesn’t mean he’s out of danger, but still, it doesn’t seem too bad.

He glances at the clock on the corner of his computer screen and is surprised to see it’s already past midnight. He’s spent the last five hours reading about the army and about Qatar in hopes that it would inspire his first letter, but he still has no idea what to say.

Basically, he’s worried about sounding inane. He’s a 17 year old kid in high school in one of the most boring, uneventful towns in America and he’s supposed to write to this 22 year old man who’s seen and done a hell of a lot more than he has.

He’s also worried about boundaries. What can you and can’t you ask a soldier? Stiles wants to know about his training, about what weapons he knows how to use, about whether or not he’s had martial arts lessons. He mostly just wants to know if Hale has killed anybody yet.

But that’s really not anything he can put in the first letter. He isn’t sure he can ever ask that last one.

Also, he wants to know why he got paired with this particular soldier. Was it the people at Operation Grateful that just randomly paired people up? Was there a method to the pairings? Like some sort of compatibility test on which he and Hale had the most similar scores? Or did Hale choose him? Did the soldiers get to look through applications and decide which civilian they wanted? He probably shouldn’t ask that either. Especially if it was just the people at Operation Gratitude and Hale has no idea why they, in particular, got paired up.

Can he ask what Hale eats? As a guy fond of meat and potatoes himself, Stiles is curious as to what kinds of food the soldiers get on the base. He can’t really see Hale being a fan of the local Middle Eastern cuisine, so where do the soldiers get food from? Do they eat gross canned food? Or is it more like school cafeteria food? Stiles shudders at the thought. He really hopes that the men and women fighting for his country aren’t eating shitty cafeteria food. They deserve so much better than that.

Also, what does Hale do everyday? Is he still doing some sort of training? Maybe something more advanced than what they do at home bases? Does he train newbies? Does he ever get to have any fun? What does Hale even consider as fun? What did he consider as being fun before he was a soldier? Are the answers to the previous two questions different?

This is probably the safest place to start. He can ask Hale about his day to day activities on the base and what he does recreationally. It’s something Stiles can ask without feeling too self-conscious, and is possibly something Hale can answer to a minimal extent. Maybe he’ll ask about food next time?

Assuming, that is, that Hale writes back. Oh God, what if he doesn’t write back? Stiles has spent so much time on all of this, the man better do him the decency of replying!

Two hours later, Stiles has written seven letters. Six of them lay various distances from his wastebasket while the seventh is on his desk in front of him. He’s pretty much resigned himself to the fact that Sgt. Hale may not even get this letter, and, if he does, may not even write him back.

He stares at it one last time before slinking into bed. He doesn’t really know how he feels about it, but he can’t look at it any longer. He’ll mail it in the morning.

Dear Sgt. Hale,

Hi! So my name is Stiles. Stiles Stilinski. It’s a nickname. Don’t ask me what my real name is because I won’t tell you. I am a senior in high school and live in Beacon Hills, California, a town where nothing ever happens. I don’t know if you’ve seen my application or not, so I don’t know how much of this is new information. I’ll just say it all again anyways. My favorite movies (no I don’t have just one) are the Star Wars Original Trilogy, my favorite food is pizza, and my favorite music consists of a bunch of bands you’ve probably never heard of. I definitely respect your music taste though, classics all the way! I have to listen to Fool In the Rain everytime it’s actually raining out. It’s a thing I’ve just always done.

You’re in Qatar huh? I guess you already know that it is the headquarters for the Al Jazeera? And that it’s actually a really peaceful country compared to others on the Arabian Peninsula? Have you tried any of the local cuisine? What do you even do day to day? Wow, shit, not to be rude or anything; definitely not trying to imply you have nothing to do! I’m just curious. I’ve never been away from this sleepy little town, so any glimpse of another place would be all sorts of awesome.

Okay, damn, it’s pretty late now and I’ve got school in the morning. I hope you receive this letter. I hope you read it. And I hope you write me back. And hopefully I don’t sound like too big of an idiot.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Stiles Stilinski.


The next morning, Stiles doesn’t bother to re-read the letter. He’s afraid he’ll just want to change it again, all for a man who may or may not even get it. He sneaks into his father’s office for an envelope and a stamp and sticks it in a mailbox on his way to school.

He reaches school relatively early, and is immediately grabbed by Lydia and dragged into an empty classroom. She looks less tired than he feels, but because Lydia Martin is flawless, she probably is just as tired and just knows how to hide it better.

“So did you write your letter already?” She asks, fumbling with the zip on her purse. She looks almost nervous and its honestly downright strange to see Lydia this way.

“Yep, written, sealed and mailed!” Stiles replies. “You?”

She looks up at him, eyes wide. “You sent it already? What if I wanted to read it?”

Stiles snorts, “You can’t. That’s kinda the point.”

She rolls her eyes at him, “I’ve written mine, but haven’t sent it yet.”

Stiles jumps up, “Oooh Lydia, let me see!”

Lydia quirks an eyebrow and just looks at him, “Yeah right, Stiles. Maybe if I’d been able to read yours.”

“Well, at least tell me about your guy then!”

“His name is Jackson Whittemore. He’s a Private and only 21. He likes Hoosiers and lacrosse and French food.”

Stiles snorts. “He sounds perfect for you.”

Lydia blushes a little, just on the top of her cheeks. Stiles isn’t really surprised when she changes the subject. “Aiden is not pleased. I wouldn’t hang out with him last night so I could write this letter.”

Stiles laughs, “Like you even give a fuck about what Aiden thinks.”

Lydia grins. “True. Now tell me about yours.”

“Name’s Derek. He’s a Sergeant and he likes meat and potatoes and the movie Remember the Titans and basically listens to the Top 20 Albums of Dean Winchester.”

She outright laughs at that, “Sounds like you’ve got yourself a good one, too.”

Stiles hums. “Too soon to tell, but this is promising. That is, if he writes back.”

Lydia rolls her eyes again. “He’ll write back Stiles. You just gotta be patient.”

Stiles groans. He’s never been very good at that.


The next couple ofweeks pass in a haze of homework, tests, college applications, and SAT prep. He’s taking the test in a little under a month and really wants to score well. It’s a lot about getting into a good college, and a little about besting Lydia at something. And even though he has a feeling he isn’t actually going to beat Lydia, if he manages to score within 100 points of her, he’ll call it a personal victory.

He thinks about the letter in the back of his mind sometimes, but he’s so busy with schoolwork that he doesn’t dwell too much on it. He has no idea how long it would take for his letter to get all the way to Qatar, get to Sgt. Hale’s hands, have him read it, and then, send one back. He has no idea what sort of time frame he’s even looking at. It’s easy to push thoughts of it away, especially when surrounded by his friends, senior year, and the idea that, after this year, he gets to finally leave Beacon Hills.

Danny’s birthday comes and goes. He and Ethan throw an unbelievably cool blacklight rave in an abandoned loft apartment close to downtown and nearly the whole school shows up. Stiles goes, and even meets a cute girl who kisses him a lot, but ends up leaving early with Lydia since they’re both taking an SAT practice test in the morning.

Track and cross country go on as well, with meets almost every weekend and Finstock constantly on their asses about keeping in shape. The man doesn’t really care about running, but come Spring and lacrosse season, they’re all gonna be happy they kept it up. Stiles and Aiden continue their petty vendettas, pulling pranks left and right, skirting under the teachers’ noses. He somehow manages to stay out of trouble and out of detention, though Harris is back to looking at him like he’s a miscreant. It feels right.

He’s been so good about not obsessing over where his reply is that he realizes he's forgotten about the whole thing until the day Lydia gets a response from Jackson. She’s so pleased over it, and Stiles is happy for her, he really is. But how come he hasn't gotten a letter from Hale? Maybe he should talk to Harris about getting assigned someone else? Multiple someone elses? Maybe Stiles can just send several letters to several soldiers in hopes that someone decides he’s worthy enough to talk to. Lunch is nearly over, but he still has time to run by the teacher’s lounge if he chooses to.

“Stiles. Quit looking like someone kicked your puppy. They’re soldiers. They are busy from morning 'till night, and have very little free time. You’re going to get a letter eventually. You really just need to be patient!”

He turns to Lydia sullenly. It's easy for her to say, she’s gotten a reply!

“So what did Mr. Private say then, anyways?” he asks, somewhat nastily. Luckily, Lydia ignores the tone and answers the question. 

“Not a whole lot about being a soldier actually. He talked a bit about where he was from and his family and a very tiny bit about his childhood. He doesn’t seem to have a very good relationship with his parents, or at least, he doesn’t think very much of them. They’re both lawyers and apparently extremely busy all the time. But he did say he was very pleased to get a letter from me and is hoping this continues to the end of his current tour.”

Stiles smiles weakly, “That’s great, Lyds.”

She rolls her eyes and pulls him into a hug. “Just you wait, Stilinski. When have I ever been wrong about something?”

“Woah," he realizes, "That’s…actually a really good point.”

In the end, he doesn’t go to Harris about more soldier pen pals. Instead he studies, hangs out with Scott and Danny, works towards a perfect score on his SAT and even lets Lydia take him shopping a couple times. He plays Mass Effect for hours on end and wonders if Hale or even Jackson have ever experienced warfare like it. And yes, he realizes Mass Effect is science fiction and role playing, but still. There are some similarities, aren’t there?

Then, he wonders if Hale has ever played video games. He realizes they’re not for everyone. He hopes Hale is the kind of guy who would like to play video games. If they ever met in person that is.

Woah. What is he even thinking? Stiles doesn’t even know the guy, doesn’t even know if he’s ever gonna hear from him. There’s no reason he should be thinking about playing video games with him.

He shuts his Xbox off and switches to MarioKart Wii--his ultimate stress-reliever. There’s nothing as satisfying as throwing turtle shells at the fuckers who are trying to crash into you. Nothing.


The day of the SAT finally comes and it ends up going a lot better than he’d expected. Stiles feels confident about his answers, and hopes he at least got a 2100. He, Lydia, and Danny go for burgers after and Scott joins them there. Since Scott plans on going straight to school to become a vet tech, he doesn’t even need to take the SAT, the lucky fucker.

He gets home by late afternoon, ready to take a fat nap before meeting up with the guys and Lydia to hit Jungle for a celebratory drink (or 10). He swings by the kitchen to grab some water and notices a small pile of papers on the kitchen table. One is a note from his dad, saying that he is on a night shift, and asking Stiles not do anything too stupid in celebration. The second is a reminder postcard from the dentist, saying he has a routine check up soon. The third is an envelope handwritten and addressed to Stiles Stilinski. The return address is simply ‘Derek Hale’.

Chapter Text

Dear Stiles,

I hadn’t seen your application so all of that is new information. The original trilogy is all I’ve seen; I haven’t actually gotten around to seeing the new movies. Are they any good? Pizza is definitely a good choice, even though I cannot remember the last time I had a slice. It’s incredibly hot here, and since I lived primarily in Northern California, the heat was unbearable at first. I’ve gotten pretty used to it now, although some nights I just wish I was back home.
Make sure you are keeping up with your school work and getting enough sleep; don’t write me if you cannot.

Call me Derek.


To be honest, Stiles is a little disappointed in the letter. Yeah, his wasn’t very long but at least he was enthusiastic, asked questions and volunteered information. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re getting to know someone, isn’t it? That really isn’t want Hale did. He actually seems like kind of a grouch. What’s up with those last couple lines? Don’t write me if you cannot. It’s so dismissive and Stiles isn’t sure, but he’s kinda thinking he’s just been insulted. Stiles can manage his time just fine okay. He goes to sleep late and wakes up early but is always taking random naps and he has never fallen asleep at school or gotten behind on his school work. He wouldn’t do that. Does Hale not want Stiles to write back? Or is he just concerned for Stiles’s schoolwork and well-being and that’s why he wrote that last line?

Hale-no wait Derek didn’t mention anything about what he ate there, or how he spent his days, or what his life was like. He didn’t ask any questions, and what kind of 23 year old hasn’t seen the second Star Wars trilogy? That’s got to be some sort of blasphemy hasn’t it? Even Scott’s seen them by now, despite his copious attempts at resistance.

On the other hand, he’d told Stiles to call him Derek and that had to mean good things right? As in generally fond/not-hatred-y feelings? You don’t familiarize yourself to someone without actually liking them first do you?

So maybe he does want Stiles to write him back but is being considerate about it? Or maybe he has terrible self esteem and assumes no one wants to talk to him? Hell, that’s what Stiles had thought when Derek’s letter took forever to get back to him. And now, shit, is he just projecting his own insecurities onto others? This is kind of giving him a headache.

All in all, Stiles really isn’t sure what to think about the letter and decides that he’s going to take that nap, go to Jungle, and figure it out tomorrow.

He’s still in bed when Lydia and Danny knock loudly on his door at 8 pm. He doesn’t know why they’re here so early but it probably doesn’t bode well for him.

Stiles makes his way downstairs slowly, ignoring the insistent pounding on the door and ringing of the doorbell. Those fuckers woke him up, they can wait forever for all he cares. He still only in boxers and a thin T-shirt, and he really doesn’t give a fuck. Danny’s seen it all before and Lydia’s decidedly not interested. And has probably seen it before as well. She manages to dress him far more often than he’d like.

Stiles opens the door and grunts in their general direction, before making his way to the kitchen to put on a cup of coffee. Yeah it’s late, but caffeine really doesn’t affect him as much as other people, probably because of his ADD. It’ll keep him awake till he gets some alcohol in his system and then that should keep him going for the rest of the night.

Lydia and Danny follow him into the kitchen but he kinda forgets about them in his quest to make coffee.

He’s crushed the beans, poured the grinds into the machine, and once the machine is happily in the process of making Stiles’s own personal nectar of the Gods, he leans against the counter and shuts his eyes. A few minutes later, the coffeemaker beeps, and he’s all the way to pouring his own cup and taking a sip before he realizes what’s happening around him. Danny and Lydia are reading the letter he received from Derek.

No scratch that. They’ve finished reading the letter from Derek and are alternating between staring at the piece of paper, giving each other significant looks, and staring incredulously at Stiles, waiting for him to notice what they’ve done. He’s a little surprised at the audacity of the situation, but its Lydia and Danny. Those two do whatever the fuck they want, consequences be damned. And more often that not, manage to turn tables enough that the consequences end up in their favor. It must be a people-with-dimples thing. Stiles sure as hell has never been able to pull off anything of the sort.

He's kind of torn between wanting to yell at them nonsensically and beg them to reveal their secrets so what actually comes out probably isn't even comprehensible.

"What the..why? What? The fuck are you doing? Don't you know that reading people's mail is against the fucking law?"

Nope scratch that. Looks like he's firmly headed down the 'yelling nonsensically' route. Oh well. At least his life has direction.

Danny at least has the decency to blush adorably and look somewhat chastised. Lydia on the other hand, in true Princess-Martin-you-should-just-always-bow-down-and-assume-I’m-right fashion, just looks at him defiantly. Or is it dismissively? He knows that Lydia knows that he's basically incapable of being upset with her. It's tragic really. She gets away with way too fucking much.

And, oh look, now she's rolling her eyes at him. "Oh calm down, Stiles. Like you're capable of keeping anything a secret from us in the first place."

"Not the point Lydia. There could've been things in that letter that you weren't supposed to know!"

"Well, there wasn't..."

That's true. Dammit. But..."You didn't know that when you picked it up, did you? What if there had been some sort of classified information?"

Lydia just purses her lips and picks up the letter again and Stiles can see that she's decided to just dismiss his argument. He fights the urge to stick his tongue out at her. He's a little amazed when he succeeds. 

"He's not very verbose is he? Kinda abrupt and to the point?"

Danny snorts, seemingly over his guilt about reading the letter because he chooses that moment to chime in with, "He's like the exact opposite of you Stiles. You can't really shut up and he seems to want to use as few words as possible. It’s either going to be a perfect combination or a huge failure."

Stiles can too shut up! Case in point--he's standing there, exasperated, with his mouth gaping open unattractively. Or at least what he assumes is unattractively given the way Lydia is currently wrinkling her nose. He needs more coffee.

He takes a large gulp of his drink and uses it to organize his thoughts. A change of subject is in order. “Why are you guys even here already? I thought we were meeting at Jungle at 11. That’s three hours from now.”

“We wanted to dress you,” Lydia smirks terrifyingly, “You keep showing up to Jungle like a blind gorilla dressed you, and that ends tonight. You are not bad looking Stiles, and we are gonna find something to show of your assets.”

Stiles groans. He should’ve known this would happen sooner or later. He’s been putting it off for months and it figures that they would just show up today instead of telling him before hand. Plus, it’s not like he hasn’t managed to get any action when he dresses himself. He is a catch okay, and people have definitely been all up in this before. He doesn’t need Danny or Lydia’s help and he doesn’t really want it either.

“But what about the letter?” He asks finally, wondering what they think he should do. It’s not going to make either them forget why they showed up, but he’s stalling desperately, eager to put off playing dress up for as long as he can.

Lydia looks confused now. “What about it?”

“Do you guys think I should write back?”

Danny looks at him like he’s stupid. “Stiles, why wouldn’t you write back?”

Stiles balks. “Well you read it, didn’t you? It’s so standoffish and a little rude. Like he didn’t actually want to be writing to me.”

Now Lydia’s looking at him like he’s stupid. And her look is way more harsh than Danny’s. Stiles kinda wants to cower under it. “Stiles. If he didn’t want to write to you, he wouldn’t have written to you. No one’s forcing him to do this.” Well, shit. That certainly simplifies things.

Lydia grins at him now, like she knows exactly what he’s thinking and flounces out of the kitchen, with Danny hot on her heels. “You have 2 minutes to finish your coffee Stilinski, and then I need you upstairs with your shirt off.”

Stiles snorts into his cup. “That’s what she said.”


Two hours later, Stiles is grinning triumphantly while Danny stares at him, thoroughly annoyed. He’s managed to get Lydia to agree to a plaid shirt over a tight white V-neck. It’s bright red, which she says looks great against his skin and is a little small in the sleeves, showing off his hands and wrists which apparently is a thing. He pairs the tops with skinny blue jeans and his new navy converse. All in all, it’s not exactly clubwear but he still looks good, and there’s no way he’s ever going to choose style over comfort. He’s eying Danny’s jeans which look like they've been painted on and there’s no way that’s comfortable. He really isn’t sure how Danny is even able to walk, much less dance in them.

Lydia walks in then, having changed in the bathroom and Stiles can’t help but gape at her. She looks punk rock chic in a tight black tank top with a sweetheart neckline, black skinny jeans and black pumps. Her boobs are all up front and center and they’re kinda distracting. It’s times like these where Stiles sometimes thinks he may still be in love with her, but then Danny turns around and Stiles gets a good view of his, uhm, assets and he realizes that he’s just really really appreciative of his hot friends in general. Even if he’s never going to get with either of them (or get with them again in Danny’s case), they’re awfully nice to look at. Danny’s dressed in all black as well, and he just knows they’ve done that on purpose. When he shows up to jungle with them he’s going to stand out like a sore thumb.

“So guys, uhh, what exactly is happening here?” He’s not sure what they’ve got planned but it obviously revolves around him and his current lack of a sex life. It’s been a couple months since he’s hooked up, and he guesses its about time he met someone.

Danny grins then and exchanges and amused look with Lydia, “Nothing at all Stiles, just three friends, hanging out, celebrating!”

Stiles rolls his eyes. There’s no way that’s true, but if they’ve teamed up against him there’s really little he can do. He just sighs and gestures weakly towards the door, “All right let’s go get this over with then.”


He was a little wary about the night when Danny and Lydia first showed up on his doorstep, but they’re at Jungle now, and he’s had a couple shots and he’s feeling loose, and happy, and relaxed. Exactly one drink in Lydia managed to ‘accidentally’ spill her shot all over his plaid shirt, so all he’s left with is the tight white one. Both Danny and Ethan started looking at him appreciatively when that happened, so while he’s sure he looks good, he’s not too sure he’s comfortable with the looks he’s getting. He told Lydia as much, and she just pushed more shots his way.

30 minutes later he’s forgotten all about his uncertainty. He’s dancing with Lydia in front of him, and a random guy is pressed up against his back. He can see Scott and Kira dancing out of the corner of his eye, and he thinks that Ethan and Danny have snuck off somewhere to, uh, get a little more intimate.

He can’t see the guy behind him, but he saw Lydia nod approvingly when he first showed up, so whoever it is can’t be horrendous looking. The guy is slightly taller than him and if the arms that are gripping his waist are any indication, he’s decently buff. The three of them dance a couple songs altogether, but Lydia must see Aiden or someone at the bar behind Stiles because she winks and leaves him in the arms of the man behind him.

The guy gets closer then and wraps his arms around Stiles’s waist and sets his chin on Stiles’s shoulder. He looks over as best as he can, and sees a strong (gorgeous) jaw line and messy looking brown hair. The guy has gorgeous eyes, a bright, mossy, light green and Stiles grins. He loves green eyes. He shuffles a little closer and moves his hips some more, hoping that before the nights over he’ll get some action or the guy’s number. He really would be fine with either.

Two songs later Stiles is facing the guy with not a hint of space between their bodies. What started as some chaste butterfly kisses along Stiles’s jaw and neck has turned into a full blown make out session, arms tangled around each others bodies, and Stiles nearly on top of Green Eyes. Which, crap, he should probably get the guy’s name before this goes any further. He slows the kiss down a little, and Green Eyes must get the hint, cuz he stops the kiss, lightly pecking Stiles on the lips a couple times before opening his eyes and smiling.

“Do you uh, wanna go grab a coffee or something? There’s this diner around the corner…”

Stiles grins. That’s kind of exactly what he wanted. He kisses the guy quickly and grabs his hand, tangling their fingers together. “God, yes! Lemme just let my friends know?” He looks around frantically for Lydia or Scott, wanting to get out of there as soon as possible. He looks to the bar and manages to catch Lydia’s eye. She makes kind of a shooing gesture with her hands as she beams at him, so he figures she knows what’s happening.

“Let’s get outta here.”

Chapter Text

The next morning, Stiles wakes up comfortable and content in his own bed. After he and Ryan had exchanged names and numbers and spent about an hour chatting and drinking coffee, they’d both gone their separate ways (after another hot and heavy make-out session against Stiles’s jeep) with a promise that they’d text each other soon.

He grabs his phone off the nightstand and sees that he has 6 texts. Two are from Lydia, one is from Danny and there are three from Scott. Ryan hasn’t texted him yet, but he isn’t really bothered by it. If it’s meant to happen it will, if not, Stiles will find someone else. He always has in the past.

Lydia and Danny’s texts are all in the group message thing he has going with the two of them, so he opens that first.

Ginger Queen (9:22 am): So how’d it go with Mr. Perfect Jaw Line, Stiles? He was a cuuuutie!

Dimples of Doom (9:34 am): Wait, Stiles met someone? Dammit, I knew I should have convinced Ethan to stay longer! :(

Ginger Queen (9:36 am): A pretty cute someone, actually. We did good.

Stiles snorts and refrains from texting back. He was the reason Ryan was interested. There’s nothing Danny or Lydia could have done that would have changed that.

He goes to the thread with Scott’s messages instead.

Brotha in Crime (12:06 am): hey man you good? you disappeared.

Brotha in Crime (12:08 am): no seriously stiles where are you?????

Brotha in Crime (12:33 am): never mind. lydia told me you met someone. go get some buddy!

Stiles outright laughs at that. Only Scott would be so supportive that any trace of annoyance at being left behind would disappear upon being told his best friend got some. He texts Scott back, mentioning Ryan vaguely and thanking Scott for his concern. He doesn’t get a message back and assumes Scott (in true McCall fashion) is wrapped up with Kira.

Stiles stretches his long limbs, and slowly flails his way out of bed. He’s gonna go make himself a fat breakfast burrito and possibly just veg out for the rest of the day.


After a few hours of Buffy reruns on the TV, Stiles walks back into the kitchen for a coffee refill, where Derek’s letter catches his eye.

Despite what Lydia and Danny said, Stiles really isn’t too sure about Derek’s desire to continue writing to him. Maybe he’s being insecure, but that hadn’t really sounded like a letter from a person who wanted to be writing to him. He didn’t volunteer a whole lot of information, kind of dismissed Stiles’s favorite movies, basically talked politely about the weather and then insulted Stiles’s time management skills.


That stupid Call me Derek at the end was still getting to him. It was familiar and hopeful in the best kind of way. It made him feel like Derek did want to him write back.

So maybe the guy was just super reserved. Stiles would just have to write to him a bunch more, and let Derek to get to know him and he would soon enough realize that Stiles is a damn good person to talk to, okay? He’s just going to do what he does best which is babble at people until they finally realize that he is stupidly endearing and decide that they’re not too worse-off keeping him around. It happened with Scott when they were 4, with Lydia when they were 8 and with Danny when they were 13. Hell, Stiles’s dad even says that he hasn’t trusted a word that has come out of Stiles’s mouth since he learned to talk, but as far as he can tell, his dad is stupidly fond of him.

And soon enough, that’ll be Derek. He’s always been of a mindset to conquer the tasks he sets for himself, and this has officially become one of them. Soon enough, Derek won’t be able to get enough of him and his witty, perfect banter.

He ends up with something short and perfunctory. He mentions that his ex-Cadet chemistry teacher introduced him to this program, and that he tends to ramble on a good day so writing letters is fun for him and that he definitely has time for it. He adds in a quip about how the new Star Wars movies are pretty terrible, but still worth watching because, hey, it’s Star Wars! It’s shorter than his previous letter but not as short as Derek’s was. His goal is to exchange a few letters with the guy and get Derek comfortable with the idea of this random boy who isn’t giving up while still keeping things vague and reserved, because that seems to be the kinda guy Derek is. Stiles isn’t trying to spook him or anything. So he keeps it short, sweet, and only vaguely rambly, mails it, and forgets about it.


October passes normally for life in his teeny little town. He goes on dates with Ryan, exchanges blow jobs with him in the jeep a couple times, but ends up calling it off the week before Halloween. Ryan had brought up the idea of a couples costume, and that felt too serious for Stiles. He’s been in exactly one relationship and while it ended well, he really isn’t looking for a new one right now. Instead, he continues to go to Jungle to meet more people, and just kinda have a good time. He meets a couple other guys and girls that he fools around with but nothing really sticks, and he doesn’t really want it to. He’s happy with the way senior year is progressing, and between spending time with his friends, on school, and on his college apps, Stiles doesn’t really even have time for a relationship.

The day before Halloween is the infamous Mischief Night and by some happy coincidence in Stiles’s life, it’s also the coach’s birthday. He pulls of a spectacularly covert prank, ending in the complete destruction of both of Finstock’s desks-- the one in his office and the one in his classroom. He considers pulling the fire alarm, just to see how far he can push his luck but Danny somehow manages to talk him out of it.

The whole group (Stiles, Scott, Kira, Lydia, Danny, Ethan and Aiden) all go to Jungle on Halloween night. They don’t really dress up, but Scott and Stiles do sport a matching pair of fangs and claim to be vampires to anyone who asks. Staying in character, they drink only bloody Mary’s all night long, much to the chagrin of Lydia and Kira--apparently, it makes their breath smell bad. All the couples leave relatively early, but Stiles stays and fools around with a guy dressed as Wolverine (the Hugh Jackman version). The guy is wearing tight jeans and an even tighter henley, and is even sporting a leather jacket in the hot club. He has delicious stubble, icy blue eyes, and Stiles is fairly certain Logan (nope, he didn't get the guy's name. Oh well) is the hottest guy Stiles has ever hooked up with and it’s not only because the geek in him is flipping out.


The first half of November passes somewhat more frantically than normal, mainly because the University of California application is due at the end of the month. Stiles has to get into UC Berkeley, it’s where his mom went, it’s got amazing programs and it’s basically the only place Stiles has ever considered going to school. This means that his application has to be perfect and his essay needs to be amazing. He stresses over it for two weeks straight before Lydia smacks him upside the head, tells him his paper is perfect and that he should just submit his application so he can’t obsess over what is probably a completely fine application. He shows his essay to his English teacher who loves it, and the entire application to his guidance counselor who says that he’s going to have no problem getting in.

He gets his SAT score one week into November and is absolutely thrilled with his 2350. Not only is that insanely better than he expected, but only 50 points away from Lydia’s perfect 2400. He submits his scores to the application, and then a week later he submits the entire app. He decides last minute to apply to Davis and Santa Cruz as well just in case and basically chose those schools because they were closest to home. He doesn’t really want to be more than a couple hours drive from his father.


Two days after he submits his application he receives his second letter from Derek. It starts out reserved and vague, but then in closing, Derek mentions that one of the guys in his barracks actually has all six Star Wars movies on his laptop and that Derek’s been slowly making his way through the newer trilogy. He mentions being a little surprised that they started out with Anakin so young and that just in general, it hasn’t been what he expected, but he’s totally enjoying it.

To say Stiles is surprised is an understatement. He’s absolutely floored that Derek is showing a mutual interest in Stiles’s likes and he decides that this next letter has to be way better than the last one.

His dad walks in then, while Stiles is still staring at the letter and he must have a strange expression on his face because his dad opens with “Is that your letter from your soldier pen pal? Is everything okay?”

Stiles passes his dad the letter since it doesn’t contain anything about where Derek is, and then just sits fidgeting quietly as his dad reads it.

“So what, you’re excited that this random soldier is watching Star Wars and you have yet another person to geek out to?”

Let it never be said that the Sheriff doesn’t know how his son’s mind works.

Stiles just nods vigorously. “Well yes that, and just the fact that this random man is watching something because I basically told him he had to.”

His dad just shakes his head. “You would be the kid who gives orders to a soldier.”

Stiles just flails a little, because shit, he really hadn’t seen it that way. “I wasn’t giving him an order. I just...I didn’t really know what to say. His previous letter was so lame and vague that I was literally grasping at straws trying to think of something to reply. I had asked him about his days and what activities he does normally, and he’d said nothing. He mentioned something about Star Wars, and so I basically latched on to that given it was the only thing he seemed interested in talking about!”

Stiles’s dad gives him a funny look then, “Stiles, you know that soldiers literally can’t give that much information about where they are or what they do right? For the most part, that’s classified information. I’m guessing that Derek doesn’t have a whole lot of break time which means that there’s not a lot of things he does during the day that he can talk about.”

And well, Stiles never really thought about that. He just thought Derek was being taciturn and reticent, not that Stiles had been asking him for classified information. Well, now he just feels like an idiot.

His dad continues, “You should tell him about your life, son. God knows that you and Scott get into enough mischief. You must have some good stories to tell.”

Stiles grins. That he can so do.


Dear Derek,

I am SO thrilled you are watching the Star Wars have no idea! The Phantom Menace is by far the best one, because in later movies Anakin basically becomes a whiney lovestruck idiot. I have no idea what Padme sees in him. He’s the actual worst.
Also, wow didn’t know that soldiers were allowed to have their own laptops on the base; do you have one too? I can probably send you more movies...or even burn you a CD of some bands you might like? I don’t know how much free time you have or how long it’ll take you to get through Star Wars but you should definitely let me know if you’re interested in more entertainment of the media type!
Anyways, Dad brought it to my attention that maybe you can’t really tell me about what you do day-to-day? So, sorry about that--I had no clue. Maybe you could tell me just more about yourself? How much longer is your current tour? Have you ever left California outside of when you’re on tour? What’s your favorite place to eat in Berkeley?
Personally, I’m a fan of Smart Alec’s. You know, on Telegraph? My dad needs to eat healthy (doctor’s orders) and that place is great for delicious food that’s relatively healthy for you. My friends Ethan, Danny, and I just went a couple weeks ago actually. I can never miss a chance to go to the campus and and just walk around Shattuck and Telegraph. I love that general area; it just feels so collegiate. We stopped by Urban because Danny is a huge hipster and T-shirt Orgy for me because they have the best graphic tees. Not to mention they give you a way better deal than the campus store if you want some Cal swag.
Speaking of which, I just submitted my application to UC Berkeley! It was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done and I once stole a police vehicle can imagine. I pretty much annoyed all my teachers, friends, and counselors in my quest for the perfect application, but things have calmed down now that I’ve turned it in. Now I just gotta keep my grades afloat and wait till acceptances come out in March!
I’m doubting you guys celebrated Halloween on the base, but man, this year was a good one here in Beacon Hills. My best bro Scott and I usually pull a couple pranks on an unsuspecting teacher the day before, and, let me tell you, we have come a long way from smashing the pumpkins in front of people’s houses like we used to do when we were younger. I basically made the coach’s entire office collapse on itself without anyone getting harmed in the process! It was truly a personal victory.
Anyways, that was pretty much your introduction to rambly ADD Stiles. You can be sure that most of the future letters I write will be similar. Hope you don’t mind too much.

Make sure you tell me how you liked the prequel trilogy!


Chapter Text

Stiles sends his third letter to Derek almost immediately after he’s finished writing it. He spends the next couple days burning CDs and DVDs for him. He doesn’t know what Derek will like exactly, so he just decides to start with a bunch of his favorites and go from there. He ends up with DVDs of the LOTR trilogy, all seven Harry Potter movies and the first season of Game of Thrones. CDs-wise, he ends up with the latest Arctic Monkeys album, the debut Imagine Dragons album and a mix CD with basically Stiles’s top 50 off his iTunes. He labels it all meticulously, and wonders if he should just send it all right away or wait for Derek’s next letter.

He hasn’t really figured out what he’s going to do about it when Danny and Scott are over for a Friday evening video games and junk food session and Danny notices the burned discs on a corner of Stiles’s desk.

“Hey Stiles, what’re all these DVDs for?” He’s sorting through them, looking at the labels, and then hands a couple to Scott who is reaching his hand out to look.

“Oh, I made those for Derek?”

Scott squints, and adopts a thinking expression, and it’s so absolutely like a confused puppy face that Stiles actually leans over to pat him on the head a bit.

“Derek is…” he kinda trails off, and Stiles just shakes his head. He loves Scott, but the guy really doesn’t have a very good memory.

“Stiles’s soldier pen pal.” Danny supplies, having finished looking through the discs, and now looking at Stiles curiously.

Scott’s face brightens considerably, and Stiles feels like somewhere in Scott’s brain an actual light bulb must have gone off.

“I was kind of wondering about that, actually.” Stiles says finally. “I replied to a letter I received like a week ago? And so it’s most likely going to be another two or three weeks before I get one back from Derek. Do you guys think I should send him the movies and things right away or wait until I get another letter? I mean, I don’t even know if he really has a means of watching them, just that another guy there with him has a laptop. I don’t know if Derek has one.”

Danny looks like he’s considering things but Scott just blurts out, “You should send them soon! The sooner he gets them to sooner he can start watching them!”

Stiles bites his lip as he considers that. “But what if he doesn’t even have a laptop and I’m just sending him useless things? I mean, I asked him in this letter, but I won’t know the answer for a few weeks. I don’t really want to send him something and then find out it was all for nothing.”

“Well, let’s see. Its mid-November, so let’s say he gets your letter in, like, a week, and then writes back right away, and then you get the letter two weeks after that? So, we’d be about a week into December, right?” Danny says contemplatively.

Stiles figures that’s an accurate timeline, so he just nods and gestures for Danny to continue talking.

“Well, then you’d know whether or not he’d have the means of watching them, and if you send your CDs then, they’d get to Derek about three weeks into December which is…”

“Christmas!!” Scott yells somewhat triumphantly, and with far too much enthusiasm for such an obvious conclusion. Maybe no more soda for Scott. He’s obviously already sugar-high.

Stiles grins. “Danny you’re a genius. I’d kiss you, but I don’t really want Ethan to beat me up.”

Danny simply grins serenely.


The majority of Stiles’s teachers are nice enough that they don’t give the Seniors much homework for Thanksgiving break considering college app deadlines are nearing. Harris, of course, is an exception, so Stiles spends the majority of the first Saturday of break with Ethan, who he’s been paired with this semester, so they can bust out their lab report. Ethan is by far the kinder, smarter, more polite and well-behaved twin and is just as invested in getting the thing over with as Stiles is. Finishing the assignment early for Stiles means tagging along with his dad to the station the rest of the week so he can do some grunt work (which he absolutely, not-so-secretly loves) and of course, for Ethan, it just means spending more time with Danny.

They work for nearly six hours but at the end of it, their lab report is Harris-levels of perfect, so they call it a day with a large Hawaiian pizza and the latest Supernatural episode. Stiles still hasn’t been able to let go of that show, despite Lydia stopping after the fourth season and Danny sometime during the sixth. Ethan, however, also still watches it, so it’s become kind of like their thing they do. God knows they have very little else in common.

Sunday and Monday are spent at the Sheriff’s station with his dad and the other deputies. He sorts paperwork for his father, takes care of ticket fine submissions and even gets a chance to work dispatch for a little bit on Monday. He’s shadowed the dispatcher for ever and his dad is finally letting him take incoming calls. Mostly they’re paranoid citizens or bored housewives. The first he indulges, but the housewives annoy him so much. He gets that half the deputies are hot like fire but that’s no reason for them to be objectified.

Tuesday is spent with another epic video game marathon with just Scott, though they take a break to stock up on food for the next day.

And then, finally, it’s Wednesday, the day Stiles has actually been looking forward to all month. It’s the special Stilinski-McCall pre-Thanksgiving day tradition. Both Melissa and the Sheriff work on the actual Thanksgiving day in order to give other people with bigger families time off, but spend the entire day before at the McCall house with their boys. The tradition started the year after Stiles’s mom died (and two years after Mr. McCall left town) as a mutual need for close friends for all four of them, and it has lasted since then.

The Stilinskis show up at the McCalls at 10am sharp like they do every year and the oven is already pre-heating for the turkey that’s just big enough for the four of them. They spend the day cooking and snacking and chatting, just enjoying each other’s company. Melissa and he are really the only ones doing the actual cooking, but they still manage to get Scott and the Sheriff occupied with tasks such as peeling and mashing potatoes, cutting veggies for the salad and just generally mixing various food items.

They sit down to eat around four, at the McCall table with all of their favorites spread around them; The gorgeous brown turkey that Melissa has cooked to perfection, the roasted sweet potatoes that Stiles loves, the mashed potatoes and gravy that Scott prefers, extra stuffing and cranberry sauce for the Sheriff, and even the brussel sprouts that no one really loves, but they all eat anyways because Stiles’s mom had loved them. There’s a pie in the heating oven, but that’s for later, once their main course has been digested a little and the homemade ice cream Melissa’s making finishes freezing.

Once dinner’s over they all crowd around the living room for their yearly viewing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving which they’re all frankly tired of, but Scott insists they watch anyways. After that it’s time for pie, ice cream, coffee and their second movie tradition of Love Actually. Stiles’s dad makes his usual quip about how technically Thanksgiving hasn’t even started and they’re already watching a Christmas movie, but Melissa tells him to can it and eat his ice cream before Stiles notices just how much he’s taken. It’s warm, and familiar, and basically one of Stiles’s favorite days of the year. He sits comfortably between his dad and Melissa and loves the fondness and contentment in the air. He loves his small family Thanksgiving and really wouldn’t trade it for anything.

In past years the end of Love Actually meant that Stiles and his dad would go home, but since his dad and Melissa started dating two years ago, they just both spend the night instead. Scott and he go up to Scott’s room for some video games before bedtime while the parents have a nightcap (wine for Melissa and bourbon for the Sheriff) and go to bed and fall asleep right away as far as Stiles is concerned.

As he’s falling asleep that night he can’t help but think about how next year he’ll be away at college leaving his dad all alone on most nights. He hopes that maybe falling asleep in the same house as Scott and Melissa next Thanksgiving might mean falling asleep in a room he shares with Scott and that his dad still has someone to come home to after the holiday is over and Stiles is back at school.

The next morning Scott and Stiles sleep in a bit and wake up to find that both their parents have left for work already. There’s a note on the kitchen table about where Melissa left pies for them to take to the Mahealanis’ and after quick showers, they’re off to Danny’s.

Thanksgiving day with the Mahealanis started in ninth grade when Danny and Stiles were together, and continued even after they’d broken up. Danny had found out that Scott and Stiles basically stayed at home eating junk food that day, having already had their special Thanksgiving with their parents and had insisted that they join him and his family. It’s the fourth year they’re doing this, and Stiles still absolutely loves the special Hawaiian-style Thanksgiving dinner Mrs. and Mr. Mahealani make.

Lydia joins them most years, considering her parents often travel during the holidays. She’s gone with them a couple times in the past, but this year she’s in Beacon Hills and already at the Mahealanis’ when Scott and Stiles arrive. Unsurprisingly, Ethan and Aiden are there as well. Stiles doesn’t really know much of their home life, but got the impression from Danny that the twins don’t really like to talk about it, so he just kind of avoids that general topic.

Danny’s sisters are there as usual, one in elementary school and the other in middle school, and give Scott and Stiles huge hugs when they arrive but then promptly go back to where Lydia is holding court about lipstick or nail polish or One Direction or whatever it is that girls talk about these days. Although, given it's Lydia, multivariable calculus and the latest biotech advances are also possible topics. Mr. and Mrs. Mahealani don’t let any of the kids help with cooking, so after putting the pies they brought in the kitchen, Stiles joins the rest of the guys in Danny’s huge backyard for an impromptu game of lacrosse. It ends up being the twins versus Scott and Stiles while Danny goalies for both teams. They’re tied when it’s time to go in for dinner, but Stiles is fairly certain Danny was going easier on Ethan than anybody else. Stupid young love.

Stiles is so excited for the special Mahealani Hawaiian Thanksgiving becuase damn can they cook. The main course includes a Hawaiian-Portuguese Smoked Turkey which comes with special Hawaiian gravy and a Portuguese sausage dressing as stuffing. The side dishes are special Hawaiian Okinawa Sweet Potatoes that are made with potatoes that Danny’s parents actually get shipped over from Hawaii as well as a salad with a papaya-seed dressing. Dessert is comprised of the delicious, sticky Macadamia Nut Tart that Danny’s father makes so well and traditional Hawaiian Haupia which is a coconut based pudding dessert that is out of this fucking world.

Stiles eats more than he would have ever thought possible, and after, the boys all literally collapse in the Mahealani den. Lydia, being the only one with enough energy to move around, sticks in movie after movie of her choosing (with some help from Danny’s sisters) so they sit (and sleep a little in Stiles’s case) through The Wedding Planner, 16 Candles and about 5 Thanksgiving episodes of Friends before Scott and Stiles manage to gather enough energy to thank the Mahealanis for dinner and make their way home.


Stiles seriously loves this time of year. First the entire day with his dad, Scott, and Melissa, then the amazing Mahealani dinner and time with his friends and then. The Grand Finale.

He goes straight home after leaving the Mahealanis’ and dropping Scott off at home and immediately goes to bed. He sets his alarm for about 4 am, thinking that will give him enough time to shower and dress before it starts.

He’s at the station by 5, and, given the look on the exasperated dispatcher’s face, he gets the feeling its already started.

He almost starts answering calls, but first pulls his own personal phone out to keep a tally of the, ah, incidents. Deputy James, who’s on dispatch right now, shoves over a pad of paper which says punches 3, broken bones 1, and stolen goods 12. Stiles grins because of course they started without him.

“Stiles!” He flails up at the bark of his name which already sounds so much like a reprimand that he braces himself for what’s next. His dad looks tired, but stern and determined, and Stiles knows how much he actually hates this day. “Are you seriously here right now to revel in the fact that the nimrods in this town care so much about 50% off televisions that they end up maiming each other over sale items? I cannot believe you willingly get up at 4 in the morning for this idiocy.”

Stiles just shrugs. Because being in the office to receive Black Friday 911 calls? That’s pretty much all he’s lived for since he realized how crazy people get. No one in Beacon Hills has ever gotten seriously injured, and hey, what’s a few broken bones among fellow citizens?

He doesn’t say this to his father though. That’s a surefire way to get sent home. He adopts what he hopes is an innocent look and smiles sheepishly at his dad. “I just figured I’d come down and help answer phones? I know it gets kinda busy round this time.”

His dad just snorts and looks pointedly at where Stiles is doodling on the tally sheet. “Ah well this? This is just...for Scott. He’s very concerned about this town’s upstanding and courteous citizens.”

His dad just shakes his head and lightly smacks Stiles upside the head as he walks out of the precinct. “I’m headed to the mall. Try not to revel in this too much okay?”

Stiles bites back a grin. He will definitely try not to show how much he loves these next few hours.

Chapter Text

Dear Stiles,
I don’t have a laptop of my own unfortunately. Don’t let this deter you though, I would love to receive DVDs and CDs from you (I’m assuming that’s what you meant by media-related entertainment). I can use both the antiquated computers in the small library we have on the base, and the personal laptops of a couple friends. I would love to receive entertainment material from you.
I have finished T he Phantom Menace , which honestly I loved, only to be thoroughly disappointed by Attack of the Clones. The fact that Padme was the one to be disturbed by Obi-wan’s disappearance and not his apprentice Anakin is, frankly, quite insulting. I see what you mean when you say ‘whiney lovestruck idiot’--I don’t think much of Anakin at all. Revenge of the Sith is so alluring, you have no idea, but unfortunately I must adhere to the tasks I have been set, instead of watching more films. I suppose I could be watching a bit right now, but writing to you seemed more important.
Smart Alec’s is definitely an awesome place, but honestly? What I miss most is Chipotle and Blondie’s Pizza. As far as I’m concerned, they are unparalleled. I’ve gone to T-shirt Orgy many times to shop, and my sister Cora is a huge fan of Urban Outfitters. I feel as though she and your friend Danny would get along spectacularly.
UC Berkeley is an excellent choice of school and I commend you on the fact that you’ve gotten so much academic support in your decision to apply there. You must be exceedingly intelligent.
Stiles. What the hell. You can’t tell me you stole a police vehicle and not provide the details! I will expect them in your next letter.
You’re right. Halloween isn’t a big deal on the base but it was my mother’s favorite holiday. I have fond memories of dressing up in elaborate costumes and trick-or-treating with my sisters. I never actually partook in mischief night, but I would love to hear more stories of what you and Scott have done to terrorize those around you.
Honestly, ‘rambly ADD Stiles’ seems to be a breath of fresh air compared to what I’ve experienced on this tour so far. I look forward to more.

As Danny had predicted, Stiles receives his third letter from Derek about a week into December. It’s by far the best (and longest) letter he's received and he can’t help but enjoy the fact that he and Derek are finally on familiar terms. He finishes reading the letter quickly, and reads it a second time, just enjoying everything Derek has said and appreciating the fact that Derek doesn’t find him annoying. To be called refreshing after years of being called ridiculous or annoying is honestly one of the best things to ever happen to him. He knows that at times he’s a lot to handle and the fact that Derek hasn’t realized that? Makes him actually want to punch the air in enthusiasm.

He’s going to write back something awesome, he is! But for now, he’s just going to enjoy the fact that he’s succeeded in making Derek enjoy his company (or rather his writing) and leave it at that.


The day after Stiles receives the letter from Derek it’s a Saturday, and he is rudely awakened by an insistent barrage of texts.

Ginger Queen (9:06 am): Stiles I need to talk to you.

Ginger Queen (9:10 am): Stiles wake up.

Ginger Queen (9:47 am): I’m on my way to your house.

Ginger Queen (10:07 am): You’re fucking lucky I stopped by the store before I came to see you.

Ginger Queen (10:09 am): Wake the fuck up Stilinski.

He notices his phone after the second to last one, and it’s probably the best timing in the world because, not even five minutes later, he hears rapid-fire knocking on his front door, interspersed with his doorbell ringing.

He isn’t sure what Lydia wants, but whatever it is seems annoyingly important so he rolls out of bed, grabs a pair of sweats and a T-shirt and goes to open his front door.

In a move that is ridiculously reminiscent of the last time Lydia was over, he doesn’t really acknowledge her until he’s had about a half a cup of coffee.

In a move extremely different from the last time Lydia was over, she pours herself a mug as well and downs the entire thing before saying a word.

By the time they’re both done, Stiles has noticed that Lydia is dressed in sweatpants and a long sleeved t-shirt instead of her normal designer apparel, and is wearing a pair of Converse on her feet. They’re bright pink but still. Who knew Lydia even owned Converse? Who knew Lydia owned anything but higher-than-4-inch heels?

Anyways. Something must be wrong.

“Aiden broke up with me yesterday.” Yep, there it is.

Stiles doesn’t really know what to say. Lydia doesn’t seem too upset over it, just somewhat distracted; although knowing her as well as he does, he can’t help but think that she should be upset about being the recipient of a break up rather than the initiator. Instead she looks like she’s planning something. As long as the something isn’t Aiden’s body six feet under ground, Stiles is behind her one hundred percent. If it is Aiden’s body six feet under ground, he’s only fifty percent behind her until he hears what the plan is.

“Oookay. Do I need to go beat someone up? By which I mean do I need to wrangle Scott and Danny to go beat someone up? Although, I’m not sure Danny would, considering Ethan. But, hey, Scott and me! That’s still two on one. We’ve got you covered Lyds.” He isn’t completely sure he and Scott can take Aiden on because Scott is kind of asthmatic and Aiden often looks like he’s being fueled by pure rage but they’re sure as hell going to try if that’s what Lydia wants. Like he said earlier, there isn’t a lot he wouldn’t do for Lydia.

Lydia looks at him like he’s certifiable. Which, okay, he gets that look a lot. He isn’t sure if this one is prompted by the fact that Lydia is insulted that Stiles thinks she cares about being broken up with or if it’s because he tried to say he and Scott could take Aiden on.

“You’re an idiot if you think I care about this in the first place. That’s possibly part of my problem. You’re an even bigger idiot if you think you and Scott could take on Aiden.”

He isn’t sure if he should be offended by that statement or pleased that he mostly always knows what Lydia is thinking. It’s probably in his best interest to let both those things go. He thinks over what Lydia has just said.

“So, then what is your problem?”

She huffs frustratedly. Uh oh. He’s never seen Lydia like this. Normally she’s perfect and perpetually poised. This is going to be huge and intense and possibly life changing.

“My problem is that I should be furious. I should be irritated I didn’t do it first, I should be livid that he had the balls to do it in the first place. But... I just… don’t even care. He told me we were over at the fucking lacrosse field and I just turned around, got in my car and went home.”

Wow. That really doesn’t sound like Lydia at all.

“This is all your fault!” Shit, that sounds like Lydia and it sounds terrifyingly accusatory.

My fault? How exactly is it my fault that you don’t care about Aiden breaking up with you?” Huh, that was a weird sentence to say.

She stalks over to him then, pointing a finger in his face, and he scrambles backwards until his butt hits the counter. There’s a fairly large cutting board not far from where he’s standing which he grabs and puts in front of his stomach and crotch. You know, the squishy parts.

You’re the one who brought my attention to ‘Operation Gratitude’ and you’re the reason I started talking to Jackson and that’s why Aiden broke up with me!” She huffs again and paces away, so Stiles lowers the cutting board.

“Oh my God, you like him!” She whips around then, and he brings the cutting board back up. He wishes his face wasn’t so far from his dick ‘cause he really thinks both those things need to be covered right now. That was another really weird thing to say. Has he had his Adderall today?

“You take that back!”

She looks furious at what he assumes is a downright gleeful look on his face. It doesn’t deter him one bit. “You like Jackson. You like him a lot. And Lydia Martin has never actually cared about anyone before. Not like this. Oh my god.”

He’s a little amazed, and he really wants to start Googling this Jackson guy. He’s got to have some sort of Facebook or web page or something right? Holy shit, what if Derek has one? Why is this the first time he’s thinking of this!?

He notices Lydia again, after that momentary reprieve into his head and she’s sitting at his kitchen table with her knees bent and feet propped up on the chair with her arms around them. She looks so small and vulnerable and he immediately feels bad.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen you know. This was supposed to be an additional distraction. Just a distraction. But it’s become too much. I’m constantly worried about him and constantly wondering what he’s doing and if he’s safe and happy and warm and he’s in fucking Qatar-not Russia during World War II, he’s definitely warm enough. I don’t know how to handle this. I never wanted to have to handle something like this.”

He’s leaning on the floor next her now, one hand patting her arm, and the other around her shoulders. He doesn’t know if he should speak or if he should just wait it out.

“And god the last few times I was even with Aiden and we were kissing or whatever all I could picture were his green eyes and perfect cheekbones and amazing lips. I was cheating without actually cheating.”

And wow, yeah, he should have said something. That’s way more information he wants about Lydia’s life. Ever.

But. Wait…”You have a picture of the guy? How do you know what he looks like? How come you haven’t shown me??”

Lydia laughs then, which is a damn good thing because she looked almost on the verge of tears.

“We exchanged pictures weeks ago. Go get my bag.”

Stiles refrains from saying something about her making him fetch things for her and refrains from making some sort of quip embarrassing her over carrying around the guy’s picture. Neither will get him what he wants. He hands her the bag, and she pulls out her wallet (man does she have it bad) and hands him a picture.

Stiles feels his jaw dropping. He wants to yell out at the unfairness of it all, the absolute, blatant injustice of everything holy in the universe. He should refrain

“What the fucking hell, Lydia.” Oh, wait, there goes his filter again. Guess he is gonna bring it up.

She looks at him worriedly, and its no wonder. He sounded really upset even to his own ears.


You fucking got Captain America! I mean this guy is SO Steve Rodgers that Chris Evans is probably crying somewhere over the fact that he is only second best! I was supposed to get Captain America. This whole thing was my idea why don’t I get the gorgeous, perfect, looks-like-a-goddamn-Calvin-Klein-model soldier?”

Lydia’s outright frowning at him now and snatches the picture (albeit, very carefully) out of his hands. She places it carefully in her wallet and goes over to the tote she had brought in with her. She starts pulling out various things while Stiles just stares at her for a bit, thinking that if someone had to get the perfect, gorgeous, athletic soldier, he can’t really begrudge that it was Lydia. This is going to be a good thing for her whether she knows it now or not.

“Stiles, get over here.”

He notices what she’s pulled out then; condensed milk, vanilla extract, marshmallow cream, and several pounds of chocolate.

“Oh my god. Lydia Martin. Are we baking? Have we been transported to the 19-fucking-50s?”

She blushes then and Stiles realizes what’s happening. It’s really not far from the thought process he was originally headed in, although now it’s real instead of him just teasing her.

We’re making fudge and I’m going to send some to Jackson, and so I feel less ridiculous about myself you’re sending some to Derek.”

“Oh jesus. We’re the housewives cooking for our men away at war. What is my life?”

He’s still staring at the table with baking ingredients, and he can hear Lydia rooting around in his kitchen for baking supplies. He isn’t really sure how she’s managed to find everything because she’s never baked at his house before but she manages to not only find the bowls and mixing spoons, but also the measuring cups, popcorn, almonds and whipping cream. She’s even managed to pull out the behemoth mixer his mom used to use and even he hasn’t seen that thing since she was alive.

Lydia notices the way he’s looking at the thing though, and kind of shoves it out of the way. She hasn’t put it away but it’s obvious she no longer intends to use it and it’s moments like these he’s so damn happy she knows him so well.

She’s rifling through her purse again and pulls out what looks like four different recipes. He eyes the first one warily and starts gathering ingredients. There’s probably no getting out of this, and right now, he doesn’t really even want to try.


A few hours later they have three kinds of fudge on the table and probably a million different ingredients on their clothes and faces. He can see why Lydia chose that day to wear sweatpants.

After a lot of arguing, they finally ended up with white chocolate fudge, nutty popcorn fudge, and classic creamy milk chocolate fudge. He’s kind of amazed that there’s anything in front of them by the time they’re done because not only had they snacked while they baked, but Stiles’s dad and Mrs. McCall had stopped by for a bit and stolen some as well. Stiles practically had to shove his father out of the kitchen. The man had had at least ten pieces.

They’ve even set up little kits for homemade ice cream to go with the fudge. They’ve included all the ingredients plus the appropriate ziploc bags; all Derek and Jackson need to do is add some sort of milk or cream and ice cubes. It’s so painfully domestic that Stiles really can’t believe that he or Lydia have done this.

Lydia’s packing her half of the goodies in tupperware she brought (damn was she prepared) and is giving him hesitant looks. He just raises one eyebrow at her (something she pulls off crazy well, and he isn’t sure he does it justice) and she runs over to him and squeezes him around the waist.

Her voice is a little muffled, but he hears the quiet ‘thank you’ anyways. He hugs her back and thinks that, after this, Jackson better worship the ground Lydia walks on. No one deserves it more.

Chapter Text

Stiles kind of just stares at his (there’s really no other word for it) care package for Derek. It’s got fudge and the mixings for ice cream and CDs and DVDs and he can’t really help but think its a little too much.

Lydia made all this stuff for Jackson because she likes him. Romantically. And yeah, Stiles likes Derek. But. Platonically. Because, he still barely knows the guy. He doesn’t even know what he looks like. And call him shallow, but Stiles really thinks that you need to be attracted to someone to like them. At least at first? Whatever; maybe he’s just superficial.

Anyways, back to his point. Lydia made things for Jackson with romantic intent. Stiles does not have a romantic intent. Is it too much? It’s probably too much.

But then he remembers the initial form he got where Derek had talked about his favorite things. His favorite food was steak and potatoes and vanilla ice cream. And Stiles can’t really send Derek steak and potatoes. Not successfully.

But he can send him the fudge and the ice cream and the music and movies. Plus, Derek had asked for movies so that’s not really a gift.

Also, it’s Christmas. And if Derek doesn’t have someone to write letters to him, he probably doesn’t have anyone sending him a Christmas gift.

Which, frankly, sucks.

Stiles doesn’t have a lot of people in his life, but the people he does have love him. His dad, Melissa, Lydia, Scott and even Danny and Kira these days make him feel wanted and loved and appreciated.

And if Derek doesn’t have any of that? If he’s just all alone in a foreign country with just Stiles to write to? He deserves more than fudge and ice cream and a few burned DVDs.

He doesn’t know how it happens, but suddenly he’s thinking about what his mom would have said to him if she were here. It must be the damn mixer he can still see out of the corner of his eye. He should probably put that away before his dad notices. He wonders if she’d think he was being silly or if she’d talk him through his debate and help him come up with an answer.

Either way, he can pretty much safely assume that his mom would be firmly of the position to send sweets to soldiers. Always. She was always doing things for their neighbors or townspeople or just strangers at the precinct who his father mentioned probably needed some extra help. Well that settles it. Derek is getting all the things and if he thinks it’s too much, well, it’ll be awkward but Stiles will just steamroll on through. He’s pretty good at that.

Then, when Stiles is re-reading Derek’s letter one more time, his eye catches something that could be potentially crazy-important. It was my mom’s favorite holiday. WAS. As in, either Derek’s mom doesn’t like Halloween anymore, or she’s dead. Just like Stiles’s mom. And shit. Does he bring that up?

Plus, Stiles can’t really help but notice the dismissive nature of that particular paragraph. Derek is a little reserved and detached until the last sentence where he circles around and makes it about Stiles again.

Like, yeah, it’s potentially a bonding experience but it’s also The Dead Mom’s Club. Who wants to commiserate over that?

Except, maybe, Stiles does. A little bit. He looks at Scott who dotes on his mom, and Lydia and her mom who snark but still love each other so much, and Danny’s perfect, beautiful, dimpled family, and sometimes he just feels alone.

So maybe he does wanna bring it up.


Dear Derek,

Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer: Unwrap prezzies before reading letter.

So as you can see this letter comes with all sorts of crazy goodies for you. The tupperware has different kinds of fudge in it and I attached the recipes just in case you’re allergic to something and the ziploc bags contain already mixed ingredients for homemade ice cream. I don’t know if you’ve ever made that before but basically the ingredients minus salt go in the smaller bag and salt and ice cubes go in the bigger one and you just kinda shake it until it solidifies? We did it at school when I was younger, and I used to do it with my mom all the time before she died. I’ve attached that recipe as well. Hopefully you can score some cream or milk on the base to make it work. Also, hopefully you have ice cubes? I know its basically a desert out there, and I really don’t know anything about your amenities but I hope to God you have some ice and cream otherwise this is a really stupid gift.
Or at least half a gift. The second half is the DVDs and CDs. They’re all labelled and hopefully you have the means of listening to/watching them and hopefully you like them? You’ve probably seen Home Alone 1 and 2 already but I stuck them in there, cuz as far as I’m concerned, they’re Christmas must-watches, so I wanted you to have that opportunity. I have a lot more blank discs so just tell me what you like and I can send you more of the same? I basically have hard drive after hard drive of most TV shows/movies and a huge music library so. Just lemme know.
Talking about Menace; I KNOW. Fucking Anakin.
Oh god, yeah. Chipotle is a MUST. Fucking love that place. I’m a little bummed by the crazy salt content in most of their meats so I have to keep it away from my dad, but bros’ night out (or in) often includes some Chipotle burritos. Scott dared me to eat two full size steak burritos once for $50 bucks, plus the cost of the burritos. I couldn’t move afterward but I did it! And then my douchebag, not-really-friend Aiden punched me in the stomach and I threw up on his lap. Scott laughed so hard at that I’m pretty sure milk came shooting out of his nose. Not the most glamorous story, but still. It’s gonna go down as a classic.
Blondie’s is okay. It’s got nothing on Fat Slice though. That place I think is one of the only places I’ve ever been satisfied with only one slice of pizza. Man their pepperoni slice is like a piece of heaven. Sometimes I think I want to get into UCB as much as I do just for the adjacent restaurants.
Oh. The police van story. Honestly, the fact that we stole a police van is basically the most epic part of the story. The rest of it was just your run of the mill stealing-another-school’s-mascot cliche that I didn’t even want to do because it’s LAME and played out, but I went down in BH High history as the guy that stole a police van and basically got away with it, so. You win some, you lose some, I guess.
So sisters, huh? Scott is basically my brother in every way except DNA, and Lydia seems to think she’s my older sister if her propensity for dressing me is any indication but I don’t have any actual blood siblings. I’m kinda jealous. Dad works a lot and Scott has always been there, but I feel like I’d have been less lonely with a brother or sister.
So that was rambly, ADD Stiles part two. Hope it’s still stupidly endearing. My dad thinks it is anyways.

Merry Christmas again, and Happy New Year too!



One more week of school, one week of finals, and then Stiles is officially done with his first semester as a Senior. As far as he’s concerned, next semester is going to be filled with ditching classes to fuck around in the preserve, getting college acceptances, and letting Lydia tell him what to do about planning for Prom.

That is, of course, once he gets through the next two weeks.

Harris’s grudging acceptance of all things Stiles has just about evaporated and he’s back to looking at Stiles like he’s personally responsible for everything that’s wrong in the world. He has detention the whole week leading up to finals, and it’s like Harris is hoping he doesn’t make it to college, because the man refuses to let Stiles study during his detentions. The whole week. There’s got to be some sort of rule somewhere preventing this.

There isn’t.

As a result, the weekend before finals, he’s scrambling to review all his material, three books open at once on his kitchen table and six different colored highlighters missing their caps strewn about. It looks chaotic, but it’s organized chaos okay, and it works for him.

He barely sleeps all weekend, and even less during the shortened three day week that is their finals week of the semester. He gets home Wednesday afternoon at six because of course Finstock had insisted on one last track practice before break, and just crashes.

He sleeps through the night and for nearly 16 hours before his alarm wakes him the next day. He and Lydia have plans to go shopping and she will actually cut him if he bails on her.

Lydia is throwing a huge, end of semester bash the next day, and naturally, Stiles got roped into party shopping with her. Which basically means that he will be carrying shopping bags for her all day and chauffeuring her from store to store to make sure she has everything she needs.

Due to some quick-fingered work on Stiles’s part at the Sheriff’s station, Stiles actually has a false ID that stands the test of even the most stringent scanners so their first stop is to the liquor store a couple towns over. Considering Lydia’s paying for it all and Stiles is helping her, Stiles surreptitiously sneaks some extra whiskey into the cart for himself for other parties.

From there, they head to the closest wholesale store so they can stock up on soda, water bottles and juice for mixers. Stiles is actually ridiculously happy to see Ethan and Danny waiting outside the store. He was dreading all the heavy lifting that was bound to happen. In addition to drinks, they buy a couple bags of chips and pretzels, some frozen pizzas and various salsas and dips.

They load it all up in Stiles’s jeep and, much to his chagrin, Lydia demands he hand over his keys to Danny. Apparently Danny drove Lydia’s car over and they’re switching so Danny and Ethan can go to Lydia’s and unload everything. On the one hand, Stiles is ecstatic that he doesn’t have to deal with any more lifting and carrying. On the other hand, no one usually drives his baby Roscoe but him. Unless he’s drunk.

Or, apparently, unless Lydia Martin glares at him until he gives in.

The minute they reach the department store, however, Stiles realizes he should have seen this whole car-switching maneuver for the horribly obvious trap that it is.

He blames sleep deprivation.

“Seriously, Lydia?” he mumbles as she grabs his sleeve and drags him behind her from the car to the store entrance, like he’s some sort of devil-spawn three year old who’s going to run away.

“I swear to God we better be headed to pick something up you have on layaway Lydia, because I do not have the energy for this right now.”

She actually just tuts at him and continues dragging him till the are firmly surrounded by the men’s section.


Twenty minutes later, Lydia has got at least twelve shirts, four pants, a couple of cardigans (like Stiles is ever going to wear one of those) and what can only be classified as a blazer in their little ‘for convenient shopping’ bag and Stiles just really, really wants to be somewhere else before she finds a fitting room.

She’s headed to a corner of the department that, as far as he can tell, only has suits and, oh, hell no.

“Lydia, look! Fitting room! Let’s go this way!” He grabs the bag from her hands and somehow snags her purse in the process. However it happened, he’s succeeded and she’s following him to the fitting room now instead of towards the suits.

The next hour can only be classified as a private Stiles Stilinski Fashion Show. He tries on everything once, and then gets sent back in to try things on in different combinations.

Lydia ends up pleased with all the pants, six of what turned out to actually be fourteen shirts, two of the cardigans and the blazer. Stiles picks three shirts and two pairs of jeans from her approved piled and buys those. Lydia buys the two remaining pants, one shirt, and both cardigans despite Stiles’s protests that he’s never going to wear it. He really doesn’t like the glint in Lydia’s eye when he says that.

She hands him what she bought outside and tells him to consider it an early Christmas gift. Even if he’s never gonna wear the cardigans and the jeans make him feel like there are vises around his thighs, he thanks her. It’s the polite thing to do.

She drives him home then, and he breathes a sigh of relief when he sees Roscoe sitting in his driveway looking no worse for wear than he normally does.

He hugs Lydia goodbye, grabs his things, and then goes to his room for a nap. Shopping is exhausting okay?

The next day, Stiles shows up to Lydia’s early, because he knows she’s going to want help setting up. He also knows that no matter what he wears, she’s going to disapprove, so he wears what he feels most comfortable in and brings all three bags of clothes they bought yesterday. Lydia will be so pleased that he’s letting her dress him that maybe he’ll get out of most of the work.

She grins approvingly at him when he shows up with the new clothing in tow, and shoos him up to her room. Stiles can see Kira setting out bowls of snacks and Danny going around and putting away the valuables. He can hear Scott chatting excitedly, so assumes that Scott and probably Ethan are setting things up in the backyard. If he stalls enough, he may actually be able to get out of the majority of the work.

He ends up in a tight grey T-shirt that looks like it cost ten dollars but was actually one of the most expensive shirts he’d had to buy and one of his new pairs of jeans. The pants Lydia chooses are black, tight, and pretty uncomfortable. Lydia is looking at his shoulders and legs appreciatively though, and he’s never seen that look on her face directed at him so he doesn’t complain about any of it, just follows her back downstairs.

A couple hours later, Stiles had had a few beers and instead of having a relaxing effect, he just feels kind of anxious. Lydia had brought out cartons of ice cream for root beer floats and the minute he’d seen them, he couldn’t help but think of the things he’d sent Derek.

He’s kind of afraid its too much too soon. Derek had just barely stopped talking like this was the last thing he wanted to be doing and then Stiles had to go and send him a bunch of silly gifts and then drop something heavy like his dead mom on the guy. They had just barely gotten on to familiar terms and it seemed like maybe this would come off as Stiles trying too hard or being overeager. He’s all of a sudden really self conscious and uncomfortable about it, and looks around to see if there’s anyone he can talk to about it.

Ethan and Danny are curled around each other and swaying adorably on the makeshift dance floor as are Scott and Kira who look a lot more chaste, but just as in love. Lydia is in the corner surrounded by a bunch of college guys, and normally Stiles would be all over that, but he isn’t really feeling it tonight. He glances over at where Aiden is dancing with some girl and throwing jealous looks Lydia’s way, and decides that he can’t really be here anymore. He just feels horribly alone and out of place so he grabs his keys from Lydia’s room and leaves.

Chapter Text

Stiles spends the majority of Christmas break with only Scott, his dad and Melissa. Lydia is in St. Barts with her parents and sister, Danny’s family went to Hawaii like they do every year and even Kira is out of town, visiting family in Japan with her parents. For once, his father isn’t working every single day, thanks to some new deputies on the force and so they get to spend a lot of time together. It mostly consists of bickering over food and watching cop dramas on TV, but still, it’s nice. Scott spends the night nearly every day of their break and even Melissa is over most of the time that she’s not at work. It’s homey and familiar, and should be just what Stiles needs right now. But, he can’t really stop thinking about Derek and the package he sent, and wondering when and if he’s going to get a response.

More than that though, he’s wondering what Derek is doing. He still wants to know what Derek does day to day. Does it consist of jumping-jacks and driving tanks around or is there something more involved? Does he interact with the locals in Qatar?

Also, what about now? Does he get time off for the holiday season? Is he going to visit his family or is he still on the base? If he is visiting family, that might mean he won’t get Stiles’s letter ‘till much later which, frankly, as far as Stiles is concerned, sucks. Not that Derek's visiting family of course, just that it'll take longer for Stiles to receive a letter. There’s already too much time that passes in between letters.

He thinks about how Lydia has already exchanged pictures with Jackson, and he wonders if he could do the same with Derek?. Maybe in the next letter he can conveniently mention something about his holiday or about break, and then stick in a holiday related picture? Maybe one of all of them at Lydia’s party or a family shot from Christmas? And then maybe Derek will reciprocate and send Stiles a picture too? Yeah, it’s kind of a roundabout way of doing it, but it could still work. Given, of course, that Derek sends a picture back.

It’s actually a pretty stupid idea. Who even knows how Derek will respond to the picture, much less if his response will be to send a reciprocal pic.

He hasn’t really talked to anyone about what he was thinking at the party. Scott had texted him about it a few times that night after he’d left and in the days since, but he’d just played it off as being tired from finals week and, luckily, Scott had let it go.

He had gotten home that night to his dad and Melissa sitting on the couch watching old X-Files reruns. On the one hand it was reassuring to see how happy and relaxed they both looked. On the other, it was just yet another reminder of the gaping hole his mom had left in his and his father’s life. A hole that his dad had somehow managed, maybe not  to fill, but at least cover up; and he wonders when it’s going to happen for him.


Christmas Eve is filled with another amazing dinner, just simple steak and potatoes this time but it’s the only occasion he lets his dad have steak all year so it’s a good night all around. Melissa and Scott are at the Stilinski’s this time and, as per tradition, they all open one gift before grabbing some dessert.

He saves Scott’s, Melissa’s, and his dad’s gifts for him till he next morning, choosing to open one he got from Danny instead and Scott does the same. Stiles snorts lightly to himself when he sees that Danny had gotten him and Scott matching Armani cologne and after-shave sets, knowing full well that neither of them are probably ever going to use them. He has an errant thought about whether Danny gets a discount on the perfumes, and makes a note to save the set to give it back to Danny on his birthday. He mentions it to Scott who grins evilly and agrees to save his set to give to Ethan.

His dad and Melissa opt to open gifts from each other, Melissa having received a pashmina scarf (his dad must have consulted Lydia on that one) and his dad receives some soft looking sweaters.

After gifts, they grab a slice of apple pie and a scoop of ice cream and go to the living room to bicker over holiday movies. It’s ridiculous but it’s family, and it’s pretty close to perfect.

The next morning Scott and Stiles wake up early, like (dare he say it) little kids on Christmas morning. They’re both kind of wary about knocking on their parents’ door, trying really hard not to come across something that could very well possibly scar them for life. Instead, they decide to head downstairs to whip up some bacon, eggs and toast, knowing full well that the smell of bacon in the air will rouse the Sheriff no matter what. Stiles can’t remember the last time he cooked bacon for his father, so unless he’s managed to bribe the deputies into buying some for him, he hasn’t had any in months.

The food’s not even done before Stiles can hear the sounds of stirring and his dad walking across his creaky bedroom floor. He smiles smugly as he and Scott finish up the eggs, and starts scooping everything onto four plates.

They grab the plates and a jug of orange juice, taking it all to the den so they can crowd around the tree while they have breakfast. Stiles and Scott actually manage to finish their meal before the parents come downstairs and have successfully made individual piles of gifts for all four of them by the time Melissa and the Sheriff walk into the den with their cups of coffee.

The minute they get there Scott and Stiles both start tearing into the first gift they can grab; Scott, the one from Stiles and Stiles, the one from Melissa. Scott groans at the blu-ray edition of Man of Steel that he pulls out first. Stiles makes it a point to gift Scott movies that he will probably never watch but that Stiles loves so no matter where Scott is, he’ll have movies that Stiles will want to watch. It started when they were ten and Scott groaned at the DVD of Star Wars: The Original Trilogy and has continued since. Stiles finishes unwrapping his gift from Melissa and is pleased to see a new external hard drive, a gift card to buy music online and some new graphic tees. Melissa still hasn’t really forgiven him for the ‘I Support Single Moms’ shirt he used to wear all the time when he was fifteen, and constantly attempts to replace his (according to her) shoddy wardrobe.

Scott opens the second half of his gift from Stiles, which turns out to be several books on veterinary care and bright blue scrubs with golden retrievers on them. He looks intrigued by the books, but makes another unamused face when he unearths the (pretty hideous) scrubs.

Melissa opens her gift from Stiles which is another lurid, somewhat hideous pair of scrubs, this one a bright orange with pink and purple bows on it. She rolls her eyes at it; but sets it aside carefully. Stiles has given her a set of terrible scrubs on Christmas every year for the last four, and she always wears them, no matter how terrible. The second gift is a couple records that he spent hours scouring local music stores for. They’re mostly old jazz records from the forties and fifties with some more famous albums by Chuck Berry thrown in the mix.

The Sheriff also opens up his gift from Stiles then, and shoots him a truly ridiculous look. Stiles got him a toilet golf game, kind of as a joke, but more because he just saw it and couldn’t not. He’s also gotten his dad a new watch, one that is a little more durable than the one his dad currently has.

Scott has moved on to opening his own gift from the Sheriff which turns out to be a leather wallet with a couple of gift cards inside of it to Scott’s favorite food places. Stiles opens his present from his dad to see a similar wallet (brown to Scott’s black) and is pleased to see he has a bunch of gift cards as well.

They’re all on their last gifts now; the Sheriff, Melissa, and Stiles holding gifts from Scott and Scott holding the one from his mom.

Scott tears into his right away, and looks pleased by the new laptop his mom had gotten him. Scott’s had a huge clunky thing for years, so this really couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Sheriff and Melissa both get (somewhat matching) pajama/robe/slipper sets in green and light blue, respectively. They’re all chuckling a little at Scott’s lack of creativity when Stiles opens his gift to see quite possible the most ugly twin duvet and sheet set he’s ever seen. It’s of the Amazing Spiderman and should be everything Stiles has ever wanted but it was obviously made by a color-blind five year old because there’s so much clashing of colors, logos, and Spiderman himself. Stiles can’t look at it for too long, but also can’t seem to look away from it. It’s obviously for Stiles for when he goes to college, but he really cannot see himself sleeping in it without some terrible nightmares. The sheet set is accompanied by a Spiderman toothbrush, a Spiderman eye mask, a set of Spiderman wall decals, and out of the blue, a Batman pencil case and water bottle. Stiles’s future roommate is going to think he’s such a nerd.

All in all, they all received some pretty cheesy gifts, but nothing could beat the all of them sitting there together, chatting, laughing and teasing each other. A couple hours later, they’re all wearing something they received from someone else, with Man of Steel playing on low on the television while Melissa and the Sheriff attempt to listen to one of Melissa’s new Chuck Berry records, and Stiles wonders when the two of them are going to get their act together so they can all just live together already.


Lydia and Danny are both back before New Year’s, which, of course, means another party at Lydia’s. Stiles stays for the entire thing this time, winning one beer pong game after another with Scott, (seriously, the two of them together are unbeatable) and rings in the New Year very drunk, but only a little nauseous, which is a plus.

Lydia had somehow managed to get the older college guys from before to come back, and graciously introduces Stiles to one of them. Apparently the guy had noticed Stiles at Lydia’s last party, but hadn’t actually had an opportunity to talk. Stiles kisses him at midnight, but is dragged away by Scott shortly after for a team game of flip cup. He doesn’t get the guy’s number, and frankly, isn’t too bummed by it.


Second semester starts with a bang--all his teachers (especially the AP ones) are seemingly trying to get as much work out of their students before acceptance letters come out; predictably because they know no one will give a shit once they get their acceptances. For once it’s not only Harris on everyone’s ass; Finstock is going around giving exams nearly every other week, and Stiles’s normally mild-mannered English teacher is assigning paper after paper. Lacrosse season starts about a month after the semester begins so Stiles works frantically, trying to not only do all the work assigned to him currently, but also attempting (unsuccessfully) to read ahead in some of his classes so his load will be lighter once lacrosse practice starts.

He’s so busy with everything that when he gets a letter from Derek, three weeks into January, he’s completely taken aback.

Immediately all his neurosies come back; and then, he’s kind of dreading opening the letter. What if Derek felt the gifts were weird? What will Derek have said about Stiles’s mentioning his dead mother?

He can’t believe he even put Derek in that position. Especially if he was suffering from the same kind of loss.

Oh god. What if all the letter had done was dredge up all sorts of feelings about Derek’s family that he’d rather not think about?

He can be such an idiot sometimes.



Dear Stiles,

Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy (probably belated) New Year!

So, the funniest thing happened to me last month. I got a (very thoughtful and much appreciated) gift of fudge and ice cream for Christmas only to find out that one of my troops got one as well. I’m guessing your (proxy) sister Lydia is the same Lydia writing to Private Jackson Whittemore? Imagine his surprise after bragging for days about receiving delicious fudge from his pen-pal only to see me receive the same gift from mine! Both of us managed to procure cream and ice cubes, and the sweets you sent were quite possibly the best thing I’ve tasted in years. Stiles, truly, thank you!

I have finished Revenge of the Sith since I last wrote you, and while I loved it, I cannot help but agree with you that the original trilogy by far surpasses the new movies.

Thank you so much for the new movies you sent. We had some down time over the holidays so I managed to watch not only both Home Alone movies but also the entirety of what you’ve sent me of Game of Thrones. Home Alone was a favorite of my father and my sister Cora’s, so it was nice to be able to reminisce over the holiday a little bit.

I am completely enthralled by season 1 of Game of Thrones. The characters are incredibly dynamic; the scenery is gorgeous and the detail by the directors, writers and set designers is amazing. I hate to ask, but would you mind sending me some more? I’m told that there are two more seasons out currently? I have to know what’s next for Arya, not to mention what the hell King’s Landing is going to descend into now that Joffrey is king.

I am finding it pretty hard to believe that you are capable of eating two entire Chipotle burritos; I often have trouble finishing just one. However, on my Uncle Peter’s request, we always end up with far too many bags of chips; so that may have something to do with it.

Tell me something though; how does one gain a ‘douchebag, not-really-friend’? It sounds pretty ridiculous, to be quite honest. Why spend time with people you obviously don’t like?

I hardly believe that stealing a police van in order to steal another school’s mascot qualifies as run of the mill.  Was the mascot a live creature? Why’d you do it? Do you play a school sport? Also, how exactly does one get away with stealing a police van? How are you not locked up in a juvenile detention center somewhere? I can’t imaging cops looking the other way on something like that, unless you have some seriously deep pockets.

Not sisters anymore. Cora lives in Berkeley, but that’s all the family I have left although, I haven’t even spoken to her since I turned 18. My a big somber story for another time.

On that note, I’ll leave you. I look forward to your next letter.



Stiles spends the next couple days with a copy of Derek’s letter in his pocket, pulling it out every now and then to stare at Derek’s words. He can’t decide if he’s ashamed of himself for bringing up bad memories for Derek or relieved that Derek is actually telling him personal things about his life, about his family. Even despite the fact that it’s worse than he’d expected. Derek only has one family member left and doesn’t even speak to her? How does one even live their life without any family to help them through it? Especially with something as huge and scary and daunting as being in the army?

He especially feels bad about the fact that Derek bringing up his family doesn’t sate Stiles’s curiosity at all. All he has are more questions. What happened to Derek’s family? His mom, his dad, his other sister? Stiles definitely noticed the past tense related to Derek talking about his father in this letter the first time around. Why don’t he and Cora talk? What’s the big somber story? Derek obviously didn’t want to talk about it in this letter, yet hinted that he will? Someday? Stiles isn’t sure he has the patience for something open-ended like that.

He reads over the words I look forward to your next letter over and over and literally feels a thrill in his abdomen every time. It truly does seem like Derek really doesn’t find him too pushy and annoying; that writing Stiles is enjoyable and reading letters from Stiles is something Derek actually looks forward to.

Too bad has no idea how he’s supposed to respond.

Chapter Text

In what seems like it’s going to become a fucking tradition, Lydia is over at his house again. Baking. This time she shows up armed with Rice Krispies cereal, frightening amounts of sugar, chocolate chips and M&Ms, as well as regular and mini marshmallows. He’s somehow been roped into making regular, chocolate chip, and M&M Rice Krispie treats as he continues to speculate how Lydia manages to make him do these things.

Apparently, this is just something he does for her. He’s stopped questioning it. Although, considering this is the second time Lydia has shown up to his house with raw materials for sugary baked goods, he really shouldn’t be as surprised as he is.

Especially when she mentions that this whole thing is happening because Valentine’s Day is coming up. It’s ridiculous but once Lydia mentions how much Jackson expressed his love for the Christmas treats he’d gotten, Stiles can’t really help helping her out.

He really, really should’ve known.

More than that, he should’ve expected something like this. Expected that Lydia would do something, expected that he’d be roped into it, just been generally aware that something embarrassing was on the horizon.

Especially (and even more so than before) when Lydia pulls out those nasty heart shaped sugar candies and insists on sticking one heart in the middle of each Rice Krispie treat.

He doesn’t want to do this.

There’s no way Derek would be into this. He needs to put his foot down and just, for once in his life, tell Lydia no, dammit. Why can’t he do that?

What actually ends up happening is that he hides the more platonic heart candies, the ones that say things like TTYL or u r kind or you rock for himself while he takes the ones that say more romantic things like be mine or cutie or xoxo and somewhat covertly slides them towards Lydia. He briefly wonders just what the hell Lydia and Jackson have been talking about this whole time that they’re already at a romantic stage as he does so, and figures that he’ll get the story sooner or later.

He takes the supremely romantic ones, the ones that say i <3 u or kiss me or true love and makes two piles of those. One will be for his dad to give to Mama McCall, and the second will be for Scottie to give to Kira. He feels like such a sap but at the same time it feels cute and absolutely worth it.

Plus he’s sorting through the candies anyways. Can’t really hurt to help out his dad and his best bro with their game.

Lydia either doesn’t notice his sorting, or just pretends not to notice his not-so-covert shuffling, and everything runs smoothly with Lydia boxing up the semi-romantic Rice Krispie treats and Stiles boxing up the more platonic-reading treats. He checks and double checks all the tupperware--he doesn’t want to end up sending Derek something that says ‘luv ya’ by accident.

Jesus. How embarrassing would that be?

Unlike last time, when she’d packed her tupperware and left right away, Lydia fiddles with her purse clasp and fidgets with her keys, staying firmly in the middle of the Stilinski kitchen and making no move whatsoever towards the exit.

“What’s up Lyd?” Stiles asks finally, not wanting to wait until Lydia breaks the ice.

“Jackson sent me another picture with his last letter. He talked a lot about his friends and the other guys he’s with over there and so I asked, and well, here.”

She rummages through her purse a bit, and finally surfaces with a picture.

All of the people in the picture are wearing combat uniforms and Stiles takes in the sight eagerly. After all, these are all people that Derek at the very least, knows. At most, he commands them. There are six people in the photo; five men and one woman. The woman is blonde haired, with her hair tied up in a bun, and is grinning widely. She looks as though there is no place she’d rather be. Her arms are wrapped tightly around another soldier; the largest of the lot. He’s a huge African American man with a wide smile, white teeth, and an adoring gaze towards the blonde woman in his arms. Next to him is an equally good looking man with ivory skin and curly, golden hair. His arm is bent and propped up on another man, a dark angel of sorts. This soldier has brown, possibly black hair, beautiful green eyes and the best cheekbones Stiles has ever seen in real life. His cheeks are framed by blue-black stubble and Stiles wonders if he’s ever seen someone that good-looking in real life. He doubts it. This man has his arm around a fourth man, one with striking green eyes and blonde hair--a man Stiles recognizes as Private Jackson Whittemore. Jackson is standing between the dark angel and the fifth man, an older looking one with dirty blonde hair and piercing blue eyes.

Stiles can’t really believe it. Each person in the photo is better looking than the one before. How is that even possible? The people here look like they belong on a fucking CW show.

It’s not like the US Army selects people based on looks.


It can’t. There’s no way that’s sustainable. Or reasonable.

It’s quite possible Stiles needs more sleep.

Yep, that’s the problem here. Stiles needs more sleep.

“They’re all gorgeous, huh?” Stiles is broken out of his reverie by Lydia’s voice, thank Gods.

Unfortunately, what she says is what he’s been thinking all along. That every single one of the creatures in this picture is gorgeous and Stiles doesn’t really know what to do about it.

Scratch that. Yes he does. He should join the Army. It’s obviously where all the beautiful people are.

Although, who even knows if he’d even get in. There’s no way he’s even half as good looking as the people in this picture.

He’s kind of annoyed that he doesn’t even have a description of what Derek looks like, and as a result of that fact, he has no clue if any of the angel-like creatures in Jackson’s photo are his Derek.

“Oh my god Lydia. What the fuck is in the water in Qatar?” he responds finally.

She snorts daintily (something he’s convinced only Lydia is capable of doing) and shakes her head at him.

“Well I don’t know about that, but guess what?”

He makes a face at her. “Chicken butt.”

She just rolls her eyes. And then arches an eyebrow. And waits.

“Jeez, okay, what?”

She smiles dangerously, like she knows that what is going to come out of her mouth next is going to be life changing.

“One of those guys is Derek.”



She laughs, “Oh man, the look on your face right now! Dammit, why didn’t I have my camera out for this?”

“Lydia, are you serious? One of these beautiful people is who I’ve been writing to?” That’s kind of insane.

“Apparently so! I don’t know which one though, but Jackson did mention that Derek’s basically his best friend over there so I’m assuming he’s one of them. I mean it makes sense.”

No it doesn’t. “Wait, Lydia, he didn’t actually say that Derek is one of these guys?”

She purses her lips and looks at him disapprovingly, “Well, no, not technically But it’s very likely. ”

He slumps down on the table and stares at the photo. It’s not the girl obviously, and probably not the African American man either since Derek’s never mentioned having a girlfriend, much less one there with him. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s obviously not Jackson in all his Steve Rodgers perfection, and it also can’t be the man at the end. His gray hair and wrinkles don’t exactly seem like they’d be on a twenty three year old.

That leaves the intense green eyed dark haired one and the cherubic curly haired one.

He needs to figure out how to ask Derek for a picture. It’d be really nice to have a face he could attribute to the growing collection of Derek-facts in his brain.


Hey Derek!

That’s crazy that you and Jackson know each other! I mean, I knew he was in Qatar, but didn’t know you guys would know each other. I guess that doesn’t make sense, because how many American soldiers would even be there, right? And this is probably veering into territory you can’t talk about soooo I’ll stop.

I’m so glad you liked the fudge and ice cream; I wasn’t sure what you’d think of it. In what is turning out to be a tradition, Lydia and I made Valentine’s day Rice Krispies for you guys, so as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now are in the tupperware you received with this letter! There’s a few different kinds, so go crazy haha!

Revenge of the Sith is the worst. It’s probably my least favorite of all the movies because of how frustrating the characters are. You need to go ahead and watch the original series next. You can’t let Revenge of the Sith be your latest Star Wars memory. It’s not humane. Plus how can you say no to watching Han Solo?? Pretty sure he was a major contributor to me redefining my sexual orientation.

Oh God, Game of Thrones! I’m so incredibly pleased you liked it! Yeah the season one finale is pretty damn good isn’t it? Daenerys’s huge scene at the end always makes me really happy. And kinda makes me want a dragon. And, dude, just you wait. Season two for Arya is a good one. I totally love Gendry too. That guy became such a fan favorite it’s crazy. They’re such a good pair; their scenes are probably my favorite in season two.

And, man, if you thought Joffrey was a little shit in season one, you have no idea. He’s such a terrible person, I can’t even believe he’s real. Well, I guess he isn’t real. But shit, George R. R. Martin is really fucked up to even write some of those things. Anyways, included with the tupperware are more DVDs that have season two and three of Game of Thrones on them. When season four starts in a couple months I’ll be sure to download them so I can send them to you. Who knows if you’ll even be done with these ones by then though; they take a pretty long time to get through.

Oh Derek, you really have no idea. People are daily amazed by my eating capabilities. You should see the incredulous looks my dad or Lydia make when I eat. I’ve eaten entire large pizzas in one sitting before. Two Chipotle burritos really wasn’t that big a challenge. The chips are awesome! Your Uncle Peter is a smart man; you have to have chips!

I guess one gains a ‘douchebag not-really-friend’ when said douchebag is twins with one of the sweetest guys you know. Aiden’s twin Ethan is dating my really good friend (and ex-boyfriend, I guess) Danny. So he always ends up at group things; it’s kind of the worst. He and Lydia even dated for awhile; but thank the Gods, she’s gotten over that little lapse in judgement. Shit, don’t EVER let her know I said that. She doesn’t like be told she’s wrong. Not that you would, since I guess you have no way to, but don’t mention anything to Jackson. Lydia will actually castrate me!

OH! I play lacrosse. Along with Scott and Danny and Ethan and Aiden actually. Lacrosse is pretty huge in our teeny little neck of the woods . We actually stole a wolf? Which sounds pretty ridiculous and dangerous, I know but this wolf was crazy domesticated. It might have even just been a Husky. Either way, my buddy Scott is freaky good with animals since he works at an animal hospital and managed to get it to follow him with just a few treats and we managed to lure it into the van.

As for the cops, well, my dad’s kinda the Sheriff? I have gotten away with far too much. Pretty sure if my dad wasn’t the Sheriff, I’d absolutely be in juvie right now. I’m always popping up at crime scenes and kinda managing to look incriminating. It’s not my best quality.

So, just Cora huh? I’m not gonna ask what happened, because I can totally understand how that might be a sore subject. Family is definitely a sore subject around here. My mom died when I was eight, and I don’t think I will ever get over it. She had type of dementia that hits younger people, and so my dad and I literally had to watch her lose her mind slowly. She lost her memories, her personality, everything that made her who she was. It was devastating to watch, and I know my dad hasn’t recovered from it either.

We don’t talk about her. Ever. My dad’s mentioned her a couple of times when he was really, really drunk and each time it was like a punch to the gut. I don’t talk about her with anyone else either. Scott knows the story because his mom had just become a nurse at the hospital when my mom was committed, and it’s so damn nice that I didn’t actually have to tell him about it.

Honestly those first few years I don’t know that we’d have survived without Melissa and Scott. He was the first person to make me laugh again, about a year after my mom’s death and Melissa kept us from getting take out every night because neither of us knew how to cook at the time. She made sure I went to the doctor for check-ups, and had the right school supplies and finished my homework most nights.

Her and dad started dating a couple years ago and it stung at first, but I’d rather it was her than anyone else. She’d been my Mama McCall for years, and I guess they just fit together. She makes him happy at least, and vice versa I think, so I’m happy for them.

You’re the first person I’ve actually told all this too; everyone else in my life either doesn’t know or found out from someone else. I’m wondering if it’s easier for me to tell you because I think you might be able to relate, or if it’s simply the fact that I’m writing about this instead of talking about it. Probably both.

Lydia showed me a picture Jackson sent her of a group of him and his friends (co-privates?) and supposedly you’re one of them? I can’t believe for so long I haven’t known what you look like and despite having a picture it’s STILL eluding me.
Help a guy out wouldja?

By the way, I don’t know if Jackson picked the most beautiful, photogenic people to be friends with, but god damn are you all amazing looking. I felt like I was staring at a TV show picture instead of an actual picture of actual army-men (and woman). You guys are ridiculous.

Anyways, this letter turned more into a short story, and I’m sure you’re eager to go watch season two of Game of Thrones, so I shall stop my rambles now.

Until next time!


Chapter Text

Stiles isn't sure how he had managed to keep from bawling his eyes out after writing that last letter. It was probably one of the hardest things he'd ever done; and the most he had ever thought about his mom and how her sickness had affected him and his father.

The point is, however, that he didn't cry himself to sleep and he's actually really proud of himself for that.

On the other hand, he nearly ripped up and re-wrote that letter. Several times. He must've spent an hour just staring at it, and then, while doing his homework, his gaze must have fallen on it at least every thirty seconds.

Finally, after a voice in his head (which sounded suspiciously like Lydia) told him he was being extremely stupid, he sealed the letter and dropped it in the mail box at the end of his block.

That didn't mean he'd stopped thinking about it though.

He couldn't help but wonder at the fact that he'd spoken about his mom to no one ever. Not to Scott, not to his dad, not even to Danny when they'd been dating.

They'd dated for an entire year and Danny had sweetly held his hand and been a shoulder to cry on both his mom's birthday and the anniversary of her death.

They hadn't talked about it though. Being the perfect, amazing person that he is, Danny hadn't asked, and Stiles just hadn't been able to volunteer the information.

So now he’s wondering how he'd managed to tell Derek so easily? Maybe because it didn’t feel like he was actually telling another person. Instead, it was almost like he was writing the words down on paper so he could make sense of them for himself. Not to mention, writing something down was extremely different than staring someone in the face and telling them your sob story.

He probably wouldn't have been able to tell Derek anything had they been face to face.

Or would he have?

It was obvious from Derek's letters that he knew what it was like to lose family, to lose the closest people in the world from you and then attempt to move on after that. Based on what Derek had written, it was pretty safe to say that not only had Derek lost both his parents, but one of his sisters, and possibly even his Uncle Peter. Of the five people he mentioned in his letters, the only one he seems to talk about in present tense is Cora.

Who he doesn't even actually talk to. That would be like Stiles's mom and dad being dead and Scott being dead and possibly even Melissa being dead and just having Lydia left, and then not even talking to her. There's no way he'd have been able to handle something like that. No wonder Derek started off as grumpy and unforthcoming in his first few letters. After everyone around you is taken away from you, how do you even begin to let new people in?

Anyways, back to his point. Maybe it was easier telling Derek this stuff than it was telling Danny because Derek would have a frame of reference. Derek would understand. He would know that the "I'm sorry”s and "That's terrible”s from the people who just don't understand actually mean nothing and that there's absolutely nothing anyone can do to help. Nothing people can say will make anything stop hurting, nothing will make you miss someone less.

Danny would have never understood that. He’s never lost anyone important. Derek probably will. And as unhappy as that makes him for Derek, he's selfishly glad that he has someone he can talk to who will understand. Not someone who will say they're sorry, or try to make him feel better, but just someone who will listen (or read, rather) and let him know that what he's feeling is okay, that it's normal, and that other people have gone through this, too.

That's really all he needs.


February passes pretty uneventfully. Valentine's day is actually fun for once, since for the first time in years Lydia is single which means Stiles has someone to hang out with. Stiles hasn’t had a Valentine’s date since Danny, and nor has he wanted one. It is nice to have someone else who’s single to hang out with though.

Although, he doesn't know what she and Jackson have been saying to each other so he doesn't know if she's single per say, or if she's just without a significant other who is close by.

Either way, Scott and Kira, Danny and Ethan, and his dad and Melissa are all out on their special days.

This leaves Stiles and Lydia in Lydia's home theater with three bottles of wine, bags of chocolate, the comfiest couches in the world and a line-up of movies.

He sits through the Nicholas Sparks "classics" (A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, and Dear John) for Lydia and she watches Man of Steel, Captain America and The Amazing Spiderman for him. Between the wine and the chocolate and the abundance of romance on the screen, he’s wondering if one of them will start bawling at some point during the night.

The both do.

Interestingly enough, the movie Lydia ends up crying to isn't Dear John like he thought it would be. I mean, a boy and girl who are in love, with the boy in the army overseas so they spend their time apart writing letters to each other? He thought for sure Lydia would be bawling by the end of it. She had been fairly teary eyed during the end, but no tears had actually fallen until they'd put in Captain America.

More specifically, no actual tears until the end of Captain America. Given, this point was several hours into the night, and about two and a half bottles in. Just between the two of them.

While Stiles had gone to the player to switch out Captain America for The Amazing Spiderman, Lydia just sat there in a semi-drunken stupor, with tears rolling down her face repeating over and over, "But...but Stiles, HE NEVER MADE HIS DATE! He never made his date!!"

It continued on for nearly the entire first half hour of Spiderman.

It was a little heartbreaking and a lot hilarious.

All his attempts at comforting her fell flat. Especially when he tried to explain to her that Steve had Tony waiting for him in the 21st century. That just got him a supremely dirty look. If he was being honest though, he really wasn't trying too hard. The whole situation was way too funny, and he was too pleasantly drunk to take anything seriously.

Lydia insisted on finishing the last bottle of wine during Spiderman and ended up crying again when both when Uncle Ben died, and then again when Gwen's dad died.

If he's being perfectly honest, Stiles has never been able to keep from tearing up when Uncle Ben dies. It get's him every time.

Lydia makes them each drink two full bottles of water before they go to bed, and while it was annoying as fuck, Stiles can’t help but marvel at Lydia’s inherent sense of responsibility even when she’s plastered.

It’s pretty damn impressive.


Since the lacrosse season is going to officially start in March; Stiles, Scott, Danny, Ethan and (barf) Aiden spend a couple of the dry weekends in February playing a two on two game, like the one they’d played during Thanksgiving.

They play like they always have, with the twins on one team against Scott and Stiles and Danny playing goal for both teams. Sometimes they do it at Danny’s, sometimes at Stiles’s and sometimes at the lacrosse pitch. Stiles likes playing at Danny’s best because his mom has the best snacks. They’re mostly always homemade and sometimes it seems like she’s always baking. Last time he was over there, she’d actually made homemade pizza rolls. They were the most amazing thing he’d ever tasted.

This time however, they’re at the lacrosse field. They played a quick game to start off but then decided it was unreasonably hot for late February so instead they’re laying sprawled on the grass (Ethan has his head on Danny’s stomach and it’s terribly cute) and chatting. If Lydia were to see them, she’d say they were gossiping, but they aren’t. They’re just...chatting about their lives and about the lives of other people they know. Stiles feels relatively calm and relaxed, just completely enjoying spending time with his friends--until the topic switches to life after senior year.

It starts with Ethan and Aiden talking about how they’re planning on taking over their uncle’s garage after graduation. He’s planning on opening a new one somewhere else, and wants Ethan to take over the financial aspect of it while Aiden manages the actual garage. Scott’s talking about the various programs in the area where he’s applied to to take classes in order to get his Veterinary Technician’s license. The cheapest option is Beacon Hills Community College, but they’re extremely selective, and Scott’s really hoping he’ll get in.

Stiles isn’t too worried for his friend though. He’s read Deaton’s letter of recommendation for Scott’s application and it is damn impressive. Scott’s a shoo-in.

What Stiles is worried about is his own admittance into an institution of higher learning. Well, more so, his admittance into one particular institution.

Berkeley has been all he’s thought about for years and it’s the perfect school for him. It’s only a couple hours from Beacon Hills which means he can visit often, and there’s ample off campus student housing so that he can live with someone of his choosing (or just someone he finds on Craigslist) and he’d be able to take his Jeep to school the very first year. There’s no way he’s leaving Roscoe behind, plus, how would he get home to visit his dad without his car?

He looks over at Danny, and sees a conflicted look on his friend’s face. Stiles knows that thanks to his Danny’s goalkeeping skills, he has been offered scholarships to both UC Berkeley and the University of Hawaii already. He also knows that Danny is conflicted because he wants to stay close to BH to be near his family and Ethan but also desperately wants a chance to go to Hawaii to learn more about his roots from his grandmother and other relatives who live there. Not to mention all the surfing he could do there that just isn’t conducive in Northern California. He knows that Danny hadn’t wanted to move from Hawaii to California with his parents when he was younger, and had been waiting for an opportunity to go back. Ethan, unfortunately, complicates things. He’s not going to go anywhere without his brother because they’re all the family each other has, and Aiden is far too attached to that stupid garage to ever leave it.

He checks back into the conversation to hear, somewhat to his surprise, that Kira is staying in Beacon Hills after graduation, too. She’s going to start teaching a few classes at her mother’s self defense studio and take classes part time at the community college. According to Scott, it’s partly because she loves teaching self defense, and partly because she doesn’t know if she even wants a college degree or what she would even major in. He’s both happy for and a little jealous of Scott. Scott gets to stay in BH with their parents and with his girlfriend and gets to pursue the career he’s always wanted. It’s a pretty perfect picture.

On the other hand, Stiles cannot stay in Beacon Hills after school ends, not even for Scott and his dad. He’s not going to go far, but he needs to get out. Out of the town that knows every little detail about his life to somewhere bigger. More crowded. Somewhere where he can walk down the street surrounded by strangers and walk into a coffee shop where he doesn’t know all the workers and regulars. He wants to meet new people, different people. Maybe he’ll travel for a couple months, and spend a semester or two overseas. He has every intention of living close to (or even in) Beacon Hills once he settles down, but before that happens, he needs more. He needs to be somewhere where not everyone sees him as the boy who lost his mother and never quite knew how to recover. He hopes it’ll help him heal.

Danny and Ethan are up now, tossing a ball back and forth so he gets up too, nudging Scott’s shoulder with his lacrosse stick. If these few months are all they have for all of them to be in the same place every weekend, they’re going to take advantage of it.


Two weeks later, Stiles comes home from lacrosse practice to letters from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and Derek on his kitchen table. His dad has laid them all out side by side; presumably so Stiles wouldn’t lose the other three after fixating on the one most important one.

What he can’t decide however, is if he wants to open the one from Berkeley first, or the one from Derek.

He grabs UC Santa Cruz. It’s his second choice school given it’s proximity to both Beacon Hills and an actual beach and hopefully contains good news.

It does. He’s officially been accepted to Santa Cruz.

He doesn’t really need to open the letter from Davis anymore, considering he’s never going to go there but does anyways so he doesn’t have to choose between the Berkeley letter and the Derek letter.

He’s gotten in there, too.

He leaves those two letter on the kitchen table for his dad to see, and feel proud over and grabs the other two, along with his backpack and makes his way upstairs.

Once he gets there, he (lightly) tosses both letters onto his bed, while he rummages around, putting his backpack under his desk, turning his laptop on, tidying up his room a little bit, and just generally stalling.

He knows that he hit Derek with some heavy things last time, but the fact that Derek wrote back means that he took it in stride at least. Given Derek’s last two letters, this one is bound to put a smile on his face, probably no matter what. Especially if he took Stiles’s hint and included a picture of himself.

He grabs the letter from UC Berkeley. If it’s bad news, hopefully Derek’s letter will be enough to somewhat cheer him up. If it’s good news, then Derek’s letter can be the icing on his UCB cake.

He tears the letter open much slower and more precise than he had the other two. If this letter is an acceptance, it’s going into the keepsake box that he has under his bed that contains his favorite pictures of his mom, her old UCB sweatshirt and a couple of her favorite books.

He opens the letter slowly, and tries to ignore how he can literally hear his heartbeat in his ears. He skims over the first paragraph, holding his breathe.

He’s in. He’s been accepted to his mother’s alma mater and he’s even been offered a partial scholarship. He doesn’t know whether to scream or cry or jump up and down on his bed like a crazy person.

He shoots a quick text to Scott, Danny, and Lydia, figuring that he’ll stop by the station after reading Derek’s letter to tell his father the news in person. This isn’t the kind of thing he’d be happy to read in a text. Not to mention that he’d probably just make Stiles come down to the station anyway so he could hug and congratulate him in person.

He grabs the box from under his bed then, and pulls out his mom’s old college sweatshirt. He breathes it in, and can almost get a whiff of the perfume she used to wear still lingering on the fabric. She would be so proud of him.

He just sits there for a minute, letting it all sink in.


Hi Stiles,

Don’t worry about the questions you ask. If I can’t answer them, I’ll just ignore them. Don’t let it stop you from asking me things you want to know. Jackson and I do indeed know each other, we were in the same troop three years ago when I was a private and he’d just been sent on his first tour. He’s probably the closest person in my life right now (besides you). I can’t tell you how many of us there are in total, but I can say that I, as a Sergeant, lead a troop of twenty Privates. Jackson isn’t actually directly under my supervision, though.

The Rice Krispies were delicious! Please don’t think for a second that I was bothered by anything you’ve sent me. It’s all been terribly nice of you and I don’t know how I got so lucky.

THANK YOU even more for the Game of Thrones DVDs! I won’t be able to get through them as quickly as I’d watched season one, but I will definitely try my hardest! You’re absolutely right about that scene in the end one season one with Daenerys. I knew that she was going to survive the fire, but I was not expecting the dragons! That was amazing!

I watched the first two episodes of season two so I would have something to tell you about them, and you were right. I do love Gendry. The “I should be calling you m’lady” line was perfect, and I might have re-watched that scene after I’d finished the episode. I’m actually also really interested in Shae’s character. Is she supposed to be a good character, or is she just there for the money? Her scenes with Tyrion were definitely intriguing.

Seriously, thank you for these DVDs. A couple of guys who watch with me thank you as well! We’re all very invested in this show and it’s characters.

Ahh, okay, I guess it’s possible that I may have forgotten how big an appetite I had as a teenager. I definitely remember Cora getting mad at me once for eating an entire large pizza on my own. Maybe I do believe you, after all.

I guess that twin thing makes sense. Sometimes we have to put up with people we don’t want to. Hazards of society, I guess. And don’t worry, I won’t tell Lydia OR Jackson anything you confide to me. Promise.

I never understood lacrosse. I don’t even know the rules. It wasn’t a very popular sport when I was in high school, or maybe it just wasn’t popular at my particular high school. The game all the jocks at Berkeley High played was basketball. We were all so obsessed, especially given our proximity to the Warriors stadium. I played freshman and sophomore year, but stopped just before my junior year.

You stole a WOLF? An actual living, breathing, howling wolf!? I’m amazed and only a little disapproving. You guys could have gotten seriously hurt! If it was just a Husky that’s a little different, a lot less dangerous. Still, luring a strange dog into a police van? You and your friends may have more guts than half the guys here.

Your dad being the Sheriff explains so much! No wonder you get away with all the things you do! Also, not gonna lie, I laughed to myself when I read that you would keep popping up at crime scenes. I’m pretty sure that if she’d had the resources, my older sister Laura would have done the exact same thing. Sometimes, the things you do remind me of her. She probably would have liked you a lot.

As I’m sure you’ve deduced, being a Sheriff’s son and all, that except for Cora and my Uncle Peter, my entire family is dead. Uncle Peter and I used to be really close but after Laura died we stopped talking for a few years. Recently, when I’ve been on break from my tours we’ve begun talking again, but it’s strained. I don’t know if we will ever have the same close relationship that we did all those years ago.

As for Cora, she hates that I’m in the army. She fought with me for days once she found out I’d enlisted. At this point it was just me, her and estranged Uncle Peter, so I guess it felt to her like I was abandoning her? I wasn’t. I swear I wasn’t. I just needed to get out, get away from things that reminded me of Laura and our parents. She was one of those things. It was hard looking at her everyday and instead of seeing her, just seeing everything that we lost. So I was selfish, and I ran away, and she hasn’t spoken to me since I left Berkeley for my first tour. She and Peter talk sometimes, I think based on things he’s said, but I haven’t spoken to or seen her in five years. I want to desperately, but I don’t know how. I don’t know if she ever wants to see my face again.

I am sorry about your mother. I know how little that means, and how it doesn’t change one bit of the pain and anguish you went through, are still going though, but, still. I’m sorry you lost someone so important to you at such a small age, and I’m sorry you had to go through the pain that followed. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see someone just become something completely different before your eyes. It sounds like the hardest, most painful thing in the world.

I’m glad you have Melissa and Scott in your life. I’m glad they were able to help you and your father during an impossible time. I wonder, if there’d been someone there for Cora and myself after Laura, if things would have turned out differently between us. I guess that’s impossible to know. I’m glad your dad is happy now, and it takes immense selflessness on your part to be happy for him. You’re an amazing person and he’s lucky to have you.

I’m honored that you are confiding in me, and not sure what I did to deserve it. Please, feel free to tell me whatever you wish, no matter how difficult or nerve-wracking. I want to hear about anything you’re willing to tell me.

A happier topic is very welcome at this point. Jackson is actually very picky when it comes to friends, though I hadn’t thought that good looks had anything to do with it. I assure you he is in no way a shallow person. I can also assure you that we are in fact “actual army-men (and women)” and not the cast of some show. I swear.

I wonder which picture Jackson sent, I rarely get my picture taken, so I don’t know if I am in it or not. I really prefer to be the one to take the pictures. I will try to find one I like and include it in my next letter; I am not currently writing from the base so I cannot send you one in this letter.

I, too, have been trying to put a face and voice to your letters. For some reason, I keep hearing them in Peter’s voice and trust me, the phrase “I’m pretty sure milk came shooting out of Scott’s nose” sounds really weird that way. I don’t really know what to do about the hearing your voice thing, but maybe if I had a face to attribute to the letters, at least the Peter thing would go away?

Looking forward to your response.


Chapter Text

He really had meant to leave for the station right after reading Derek’s letter. He was going to go tell his father (and the rest of the deputies that had basically watched him grow up) about his acceptance. There would have been no end to the celebration and congratulations.

That doesn’t really end up happening.

Instead, he’s stuck reading and rereading the letter Derek sent him, in a surprising revisal of the last letter he’d received. Somehow, Derek manages to go from hesitant to fond to eager to devastating all in the span of one letter and this last one is no different. It’s almost too much to handle, the whir of emotions Derek puts out, and Stiles can only assume that this isn’t how he normally is, that this isn’t how he normally talks.

He runs his fingers over the words of the letter and feels the indents they make. They start shallow, like Derek is relaxed, comfortable and happy. As the paragraphs go on however, the words become more insistent; indentation on the pages become deeper, and the slant of the letters becomes more pronounced. Maybe he’s crazy for noticing this, but when Derek is talking about his parents, Laura and Cora, Stiles can actually feel the words on the back of the page. He can literally feel just how hard this was for Derek to write.

It’s heartbreaking.

The indents become shallow once again in the end, when Derek is talking about Jackson and the others, and Stiles is so pleased that Derek has someone there, with him, who he can trust and confide in. He’s said it a million times before, but talking to Derek just brings it to the forefront of his mind over and over again: just how truly impossible it would it be to have no one to confide in.

Speaking of which.

He goes back to the first paragraph where Derek’s written that Jackson is the closest person to him, “besides you”, and nearly loses it again. He still barely knows Derek. Yes he probably knows more than what Derek’s peers know but still. He’s received a grand total of five letters, two of which were minimal in their content. Derek probably knows about as much about him as fucking Aiden does.


If he’s being honest, that’s really not entirely true. Derek knows a whole lot more about his feelings towards his dad, Melissa, Scott and infinitely more about his mom than Aiden could ever hope to.

So maybe the truth is, Aiden knows more of the stupid, superfluous stuff while Derek managed to cut straight to the important stuff.

Which he supposes is reassuring given the fact that Derek seems willing to cut straight to the important things in his own life in return.

And when he thinks about that, he feels an immense sense of connection and responsibility. He is the only person in the world who knows this much about Derek, his family, and his demons.

Not to mention Derek is the only person in the world who Stiles was able to talk to about his mom, about the aftermath of her death, and about how far he’s come (or rather, how far he's failed to come) since then.

And that’s pretty fucking heavy.

So, no, he doesn’t go to the station right away. Because, despite this immense gift he’s just been given, this opportunity to study where his mom studied, thrive in a place his mom loved, and live where his parents met, despite all of that, there’s a sense of reluctant emptiness pervading his thoughts.

So, instead, he grabs Derek’s letter, his mom’s sweatshirt, and his acceptance letter and drives to the cemetery. He doesn’t think his dad will begrudge his mom for knowing first.

As he does so, he wonders what Derek would think of his acceptance, and how much it means to him, not only given that Berkeley is one of the best institutions of higher learning in the country, but also given how much personal history is involved for him.

Derek would understand.

He was right when he said before that Derek would understand things that Danny never could. He knew Derek would have the right words, had been through the right experiences to be able to talk to Stiles about this.

He sits against his mother’s headstone and reads and rereads the words from Derek about his father, about Stiles’s supposed “immense selflessness” and can’t stop the tears from flowing. He hopes to God that Derek is right, that he’s not betraying his mom every time he smiles at the sight of his dad and Melissa happy together. Sitting there, with her so close by, he can’t help but think that Derek is right. Of course his mom would want him to be as selfless and loving as possible, even if it meant someone else occupying the role in their lives that she had left behind.

He sits there, by his mom’s grave, clutching Derek’s letter and his acceptance letter, feeling closer to the both of them than he’d ever thought possible. Almost like they’re both there with him.

It’s comforting.

Maybe he’ll draft a letter to Derek before he goes to see his dad.




This means so much to me, and I just found out, and you are number five on the list of people I needed to tell after my dad, Scott, Lydia and Melissa. I guess you’ve become one of the closest people in my life as well.

Oh my god, why did you say that, I think you’ve just opened a can of worms. You very well may end up regretting giving me free reign. What’s it like living on a base? Do your superiors tell you to ‘drop and give them twenty’? Harris (the teacher that got me into this writing thing) has tried that a couple of times. It doesn’t always work. Greenberg is really the only one who falls for it.

Do you vote? How do they get the ballot to you? Do you even watch the debates and things? Of course you don’t, no one here even watches those things. Do you pay taxes? What happens if you don’t like the privates assigned to you? I’ve been watching this new show on TV called Enlisted about soldiers in a Rear Detachment unit in Miami, and while it’s pretty ridiculous, I’m wondering if that’s something you have the option of doing? Like at what point do your superiors say, ‘oh you’ve served us well, you can go home now if you wanna’? Also, why the army? Why not the navy or air force? Please feel free to ignore any (or all) of these questions. Answer not only what you’re allowed to, but also only what you actually WANT to. I don’t care if you answer all of them, or none of them. Seriously.

Game of Thrones is actually the best show ever. I still don’t understand how there are people who have the means of watching it who don’t actually. I will never understand that. I’m sorry, you only re-watched that Gendry scene ONCE? I must’ve watched that scene at least ten times right after it aired, and probably about twenty more since then. He’s perfect, Arya’s perfect, it’s all just heartbreakingly-claw-your-eyes out perfect. Until of course, they get SEPARATED and you want to curse everything and everyone in your sight. Namely, Maisie Williams and Joe Dempsie (the actors) for daring to agree to being separated. Sorry, they make me kind of emotional.

Shae is...Shae. There’s been significantly more character development for her that what you’ve seen and I still don’t know whether I trust her. Verdicts out on that one I suppose. She is hot though, I can see the appeal.

One thing I will tell you though (and you should pass on to the guys you watch with) is that YOU CANNOT GET ATTACHED TO ANY OF THE CHARACTERS. George R. R. Martin is a fucker who will kill anyone anytime. Nothing is sacred and NO ONE is safe. Enjoy the plot, don’t care for the characters. I swear, you’re gonna regret it if you do. I am telling you this in your best interest Derek; LISTEN TO ME.

Ah, sweet victory. Even my dad has forgotten what it’s like to be a growing boy, so I don’t blame you. It’s like once you’re past twenty, everything from fourteen to eighteen is a big fat blur.

Hazards of society. What an articulate fucking way to put it. Basically, what you mean is that people suck and it sucks that you have to put up with so many of them. I completely agree. If I could, I would just hole up with my dad, Scott, and Melissa. Lydia would only get bi-weekly visitation rights. She takes far too much advantage of me to be granted daily access.

You don’t know the rules of lacrosse?! I’m shocked and dismayed, Derek Hale. I realize your internet may be shoddy, and I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve PROPERLY explored a computer so let me tell you about this newfangled thing called Wikipedia. It’s lovely and informative and despite what silly teachers say, absolutely a legitimate source of information. I have printed for you the entirety of the Lacrosse Wikipedia page (wasted paper you say? Sorry, not sorry) and included it this letter for your perusal. By which I mean you better memorize it word for fucking word.

I mean it, Hale. THERE WILL BE A QUIZ LATER so you better read up. Learn the diagrams, learn the charts, learn the DATES. Not. Even. Kidding.

Basketball is alright. To be honest, it looks to me like a human tennis game with ten players running back and forth across the court with the ball, instead of just the ball bouncing back and forth. But hey, millions of Americans love it, so I can see how you might as well. Also, I’m not asking you why you quit per say, I am just pointing out that that was a hell of a teaser, so if you feel like mentioning a reason, I’d be receptive. If you want to. No pressure.

We DID steal a wolf. Or a Husky. Or a wolf-Husky hybrid. We just don’t know. We may never know. Regardless, it happened, we did it, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Let it be forever shrouded in mystery.

Laura sounds fucking awesome. I’m sure I would’ve like her a lot as well. Anyone willing to skulk around crime scenes is A-OK in my book. You have no idea how LONG it took for me to get Scott to come along. It was one of my more exhausting run-arounds--he’s the sweetest, but really not the smartest. It’s okay though; Kira doesn’t seem to mind. Melissa and I have come to the conclusion that he just (unfortunately) has a bit too much of his dad in him. We’ve learned to live with it.

Can I just please say how much I appreciated everything you said about my mom? I can’t really even put into words how much it meant to me that you related and understood and empathized. Your words were beautiful and touching and I can, in no way, respond as eloquently.

All I can say is that, while it literally warms my heart that you are someone I can confide in who understands, it also breaks my heart a little bit that you even have the capacity for understanding. No one deserves that pain. I confided in you because I felt that you would understand in a way no one else in my life is able to, and as much as it sucks, I was right. You know the devastating loneliness that comes from losing the people closest to you in a way that I’ve never known anyone else to possess.

I, too, am so unbelievably sorry for all the pain you’ve felt, the need to run away from your surroundings, the need to alienate yourself from whoever WAS left, just in case they left you first. You have no idea how much I understand looking at someone and seeing only what has been lost. My dad wore his wedding ring until a couple months after he started dating Melissa, and every glimpse of it was like a piece of glass cutting into my gut. I know too well what you saw when you looked at Cora and understand one hundred percent why you wanted to leave. Sometimes, you just need to get through the grief on your own before you can express it to someone else.

I think you should contact Cora. Write her a letter if you know where she lives; send her an email, hire a plane to write it in the sky, do SOMETHING. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes. Rip the band-aid off and just do it now before it gets harder, before even more time passes. Then, maybe, next time you have time off, it can be her AND Peter that you meet up with and reconcile with. You can get a new semblance of family. I never knew how much I needed that until Melissa and Scott practically forced their way into our lives. You’ll see. It’s not the same, but it’s pretty damn awesome.

God, I’m so glad these letters end with something light. And I’m glad to know you’re a legit army-man and not some gorgeous, unattainable actor. If Jackson is picky in his friendships, he just sounds all the more compatible with Lydia. I’ve never known another person to be so critical of the people they choose to include in their lives. If Jackson is anything like Lydia, you and I should both consider ourselves terribly lucky to be graced with their presence. (God, if Lydia were to read this, I’d never hear the fucking end of it. I’m holding you to that confidentiality. You are allowed to tell Lydia NOTHING.)

I’ve attached a picture for you in hopes that the terribly awkward (and kind of amusing on my part) ‘Peter thing’ goes away. It’s one that Scott took, so it’s a little blurry (like I said earlier, too much of his oaf of a dad in him and not enough of the angel that is Melissa). Hope that’s okay. Unless Lydia’s around, we don’t really take all that many photos either, so I didn’t have a whole lot to choose from. Most of her pictures end up being her face with a random other person’s body part in the corner. She takes the whole ‘selfie game’ thing a bit too far.

Anyways. This letter may have been rambly-er than normal given that I can’t remember the last time I took my Adderall, not to mention OMFGBERKELEY. Hope it wasn’t too long or difficult to get through.

Talk to ya soon, I hope.



Stiles finishes his reply letter a few days later, on a Saturday morning when he was supposed to be studying. Despite the nonchalant way it came off in the letter he wrote, picking a picture to send to Derek had been downright nerve-wracking:

After the cemetery, he’d made his way to the station where (like he’d expected) his dad had been overjoyed. Not to mention, every single deputy on site had congratulated him sincerely. It had almost been like he’d been some sort of celebrity for the day. Needless to say, he’d thoroughly enjoyed the congratulations and praise.

Once that was over though, he was stuck trying to figure out exactly how he was going to reply to Derek, as well as what sort of picture he was going to send him.

Now, Stiles isn’t exactly naive to how he looks. He knows that people have found him cute in the past (see: all his previous hook-ups. Which include Danny. Which is fucking impressive, okay?), and that people will most likely find him cute in the future.

But that group picture from Jackson is severely affecting his opinion of himself, not to mention making him doubt his well-established sense of self esteem. If those are the people Derek is associating with day to day, he’s sad to say he really doesn’t compare. Especially when compared to the curly haired, Cupid-faced soldier and the stubbly, dark-haired, gorgeous one. Derek mentioned he was probably not in that picture, but still. He associates every day with the people in that picture. It was a pretty daunting comparison in Stiles’s mind.

He had started out by taking picture after picture of himself immediately after reading the letter Derek had sent. The first few had been him posing in front of his webcam, followed by some selfie shots taken on his cell phone. He had alternated between sitting and standing, clothed and shirtless. When he realized that the shirtless pose had made him look like a douchey frat boy, he’d pursed his lips in a ‘duck face’ only to be horrified by the image that made. It just made him look even more douchey and frat boy-y. Instead, he tries to smile innocently and sweetly, like he was pleasantly surprised by Derek’s request for a picture. Unfortunately, that just came off as silly. It also looked nothing like him.

He sat there, going between his computer and his cell phone, taking pictures for a good hour before realizing he had about seventy photos of his face on his computer and another forty on his cell phone: none of which were good enough. All of them looked incredibly fake and nothing like him. He hated them all, and deleted all one hundred and ten of them before going to bed.

Over the next week, he enlisted Scott and Danny in his endeavor to send a picture to Derek. He told them to randomly take pictures of him during the day, hoping that he would end up with something he could send Derek, and soon. He wants to send his letter as soon as possible because the sooner he sends his, the sooner he gets a reply from Derek. And replies from Derek are basically the only thing he wants these days.

Not to mention there’s the potential of a Derek picture which is something he’s been hoping for since day one of this whole soldier pen pal thing.

Both Scott and Danny deliver and he’s actually stuck deciding between two images that manage to catch him in his natural habitat. One is of him with his eyebrows raised, sporting a thoroughly exasperated but still somewhat indulging look. He’s pretty sure it’s from when he was listening to Lydia talk about Senior Prom and realizing that, while she wasn’t planning on going with Aiden, she was planning on actually having date and that her date would most likely end up being him. Given their general fondness of each other and general putting up with the other and all. Fuck, he was going to have to figure out how to (memorably) ask her to Prom. There was no doubt in his mind she was absolutely expecting it.

The second picture, taken by Danny, is from a day his beloved Roscoe was in the shop and he’d had to take the bus to and from school for a couple days. He’s sitting sideways in a bus seat, laughing at something Ethan had said, with one of his hands tangled in his hair and his eyes bright and amused.

Not even Lydia could decide which of the two pictures he should send. According to her, they’re both great, and they’re both lacking. She says that in the more flattering photo he isn’t smiling, while the one he is smiling in is a weird angle.

At the end of it all, he ended up choosing to send the one Scott took, the one of him listening to Lydia talk, and as he sticks the letter in a mailbox, he finds himself praying to all the Gods that he isn’t making a fool of himself and that despite his scrawny-ness, Derek will find his face somewhat flattering.


To say Stiles’s didn’t spend the first few days after sending a picture of his face to Derek freaking out would be an absolute lie. Because he was flipping the fuck out. He doesn’t want to know what Derek’s going to think of him, and almost doesn’t even want to know what Derek looks like anymore.

They’ve been doing so well connecting, and empathizing and relating to one another without knowing what the other looks like that he’s afraid that this will change everything. It’s possible he’s being insecure and ridiculous but still. He likes what he’s got going on with Derek. He likes how well they manage to relate to one another and he likes that they have so much in common and he’s afraid that exchanging pictures and putting an actual face to the beautiful and poignant letters he’s received is going to change everything.

Basically, he’s worried that it’s going to mar this thing that they have and make it superficial-- make it less important that it really is. Because, no matter what, to Stiles, this whole thing is pretty damn important. He doesn’t just spill his guts about his mom to just anyone. Derek is important to him, no matter the fact that they’ve never met, and he’d like to think he’s important to Derek. This could change things though, and that scares the fuck out of him.

He tries not to dwell on it though, because, despite the immensity of it, he has got other things going on in his life. He’s got AP tests coming up, and he’s got lacrosse which is back in full swing now that it’s officially Spring, and possibly, most importantly of all (if he wants to keep his balls intact), he’s got to figure out how, exactly, he’s going to ask Lydia to Senior Prom.

Which, honestly, is almost scarier than the whole Derek/picture thing. If he doesn’t do this perfectly, Lydia will never forgive him.


With Senior Prom a little over a month away, the seniors at Beacon Hills High School are, unsurprisingly, all terribly excited and trying to outdo one another in their prom asks. Stiles needs to figure out soon how he’s going to ask Lydia. She’s been dropping hints left and right about flowers and dresses and suit cuts and he knows that he better get to it sooner rather than later or she will have his head.

Kira shows up to lunch one day to see Scott already leaning against their normal table with a tentative smile and a huge, colorful poster in his hands that’s got fish and seaweed and bubbles with actual glitter on them which says ‘Out of all the fish in the sea, will you please go to Prom with me?’ Not to mention, after Kira has finished reading the words on the poster, Scott removes his hand from behind his back to reveal a clear plastic baggy with actual goldfish in it, the sort that you would get at a carnival or something. There are two of them, circling each other adorably, and Stiles is willing to bet good money that Scott’s already named them Scott Jr. and Kira Jr. or something equally ridiculous.

He literally has to cover his ears to protect them from the pleased squeal Kira lets out as she nearly attacks Scott with a hug and vehement “Yes!!!!”. It’s a little disgusting (in the sappiest way possible) the way Scott’s eyes light up, like he was actually afraid for a second that she might say no. The two of them spend the rest of the lunch period happily cooing over the fish, and Stiles sits there and tries to keep from cooing at them. They’re fucking adorable okay?

Then, later, upon receiving Ethan’s not so covert signal (which consisted of flailing arms and Ethan mouthing 'GO NOW') during lacrosse practice, Stiles manages to sneak away to the room on the side of the gym that controls the speakers at the lacrosse field. He sticks in the CD Ethan gave him grabs a bag from the corner, and then sprints back to the field.

He reaches there just as Ethan, Aiden, Scott and a couple of the other players stop what they’re doing and line up close to where Danny’s standing in front of the goal. He manages to covertly hand Ethan the bag he’d grabbed and this time Ethan smiles sweetly at him and mouths a ‘Thank you!’. The CD he’d put in starts playing Heath Ledger’s rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” from the 10 Things I Hate About You (which, incidentally is the movie Ethan and Danny had watched on their first date). He notices the coach whip around to stare confusedly at the speakers, as though wondering how they’ve spontaneously started playing music. Danny is staring at the players lined up in front of him, gaze going from Ethan to Aiden to Stiles asking silently just what the fuck is happening.

Aiden takes his shirt off to reveal a large red P on his bare chest, and Danny sucks in a deep breath, and his eyes go wide. The rest of the players lined up take off their shirts as well and the letters R O M and a ? are revealed. Ethan’s just standing at the end of the row, staring intensely at Danny, mouthing along to the words as Heath Ledger reaches the chorus and pulls out a perfect, deep red long stemmed rose from the bag Stiles had handed him.

Danny’s just gaping open mouthed and goes from looking at the chiseled bodies saying PROM? and Ethan’s hopeful face. Finally, as song finishes with the croon of “let me love youuuuuu” in Heath’s dulcet tones, Danny manages to pull himself together enough to pull his lips up into a lazy grin. He throws his crosse to the side and takes his helmet off, shaking his head as he walks slowly over to Ethan.

“I can’t believe you asked me to prom in a way that actually required me to look at the extremely fit torsos of all our friends.” he says when he finally reaches Ethan, and Stiles barks out a laugh. Scott looks promptly embarrassed, and starts to pull his shirt back on, stopping only when he catches Kira eyeing him appreciatively from where she’s sitting on the bleachers. Aiden just looks smugly at where Lydia is eyeing him approvingly, seemingly pleased that Aiden had been willing to help Ethan ask Danny to prom. He makes no move at all to put a shirt back on and Stiles just rolls his eyes.

“Yeah, well, wanted to do something you’d remember.” Ethan mutters then, clutching the rose tightly, and looking at Danny in a manner that can only be described as fond, and adoring, and a little nervous. Stiles realizes that Danny hasn’t actually said if he’d go with Ethan yet.

Not that he isn’t going to. Stiles doesn’t really know what he’s waiting for.

He’s about to say something, when, before he can, Coach Finstock makes a weird sputtering noise and goes over to where Danny and Ethan are still just staring at each other, Ethan looking adorable and nervous, and Danny’s soft smile becoming wider and wider as the minutes go by.

“What the heck are you waiting for Mahealani? Say yes already!” Stiles starts laughing out loud at Finstock’s words, and then starts laughing even harder as both Ethan and Danny both promptly blush. He catches Aiden’s eye when he realizes he’s laughing at the situation as well and promptly stops, shooting Aiden a nasty look. No way are he and Aiden every going to agree about anything.

Including embarrassing their very self conscious friends.

“Well coach,” Danny finally manages to get over his embarrassment and slowly reaches over to take the rose from Ethan, “he hasn’t actually asked me yet.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. Ethan rolls his eyes. The coach throws his arms up in the air and when he brings them back down, smacks both Ethan and Danny upside the head.

“Well will you two girls get the hell on with it? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to run a lacrosse practice here?”

Danny just looks at Ethan and waits.

Ethan sighs, “Danny Mahealani, will you provide me with the honor of being graced by your presence and accompany me to the Prom?”

Danny grins wide then, dimples and sparkling brown eyes out in full force. He leans forward to peck Ethan on the lip, laughing when Ethan kind of growls a little bit, obviously still waiting for an answer.

“Yes, of course, Ethan. I would love to.”

“Jesus, thank god that’s over. Hooray for young freaking love. Now, the lot of you go run laps. One for making me look at your hairless chests and another for embarrassing yourselves."



Chapter Text

Hey Beautiful,

Things are pretty much the same as they always are here. There’s been nothing out of the ordinary, nor have there been any major surprises. I know I should probably be thankful, but I’m just kinda bored. Chris says that I need to bite my tongue and count my blessings that things have been uneventful. He says that he just wants to finish this tour as unobtrusively and as soon as possible so he can go back home for good. It’s his last one!

I’d never thought about a last tour, or even about going back to the civilian life. If someone had asked me when I had enlisted, I would have told then that I planned to do this for life, despite what they said, despite what my parents (and I use that term very loosely) had planned for me.

I don’t know how I feel about that anymore. On the one hand, nothing's changed. I feel useful here in a way I never did back home. It feels like I have direction, purpose, and that I’m doing something unbelievably rewarding. I’d been forced to start thinking about people other than myself since my first day, and now, I feel lucky to be surrounded by people who think the same as me and who I would defend until my last breath.

On the other hand, meeting/talking to you has changed things for me. I know what you said about not dating for now and being happy with your last year in your hometown, just spending time with your friends and concentrating on your last year at school, but, Lydia, you deserve so much more. And I want to be the one to give it to you.

I want to buy you presents and flowers, and walk up to your door and make polite conversation with your family, and then take you out on a date. I want to dress up and see you dressed up and hold your hand over dinner. I want to curl up with you in sweats on the weekends and watch stupid TV shows and cook for you when you don’t feel like going out. I never thought I was going to want more than this life I’ve set up here, thousands of miles away from home, but you make me want more. You make me want to be more.  

I know I told you that I don’t get along with my parents, and that we don’t speak except for the occasional dinner in between tours. I want to tell you why.

When I was fourteen, my parents told me I was adopted. To say I was distraught might be an understatement. I was definitely re-thinking everything I had ever known about myself, about my parents, about who I was. On the one hand, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t need to compare myself to them anymore because I wasn’t like them. On the other, it made me want to prove that I could be just as good as them, be better than them.

I grew up all those years watching my parents and seeing them excel at whatever they did. They were successful in their jobs, they were so good to each other, and so impressive to me that I nearly always ended up feeling like I wasn’t good enough. I worked so hard at everything I set out to do, but it never really felt like anything I did was adequate. I was always being told I needed to exceed expectations instead of merely meet them, and I just didn’t know how.

When I turned sixteen, I started looking into who my birth parents were. I don’t know why I thought it would help, but I became obsessed, tracking down names of pregnant women from local hospitals who’d been admitted around the date of my birth and going from there. Turned out, my biological father was in the US army. The year my mother was pregnant with me, my father was stationed in Somalia as an effort by the US government to combat starvation in the country. In October of 1993, around a month before I was born, he was killed in his efforts to help the people of Somalia along with over a dozen other soldiers. I don’t know the details surrounding my mother’s death, only that she never made it out of the hospital after my birth. Her death certificate has the same date as my birth certificate.

While I hadn’t really known what I was looking for when I started searching, it turned out that learning about my biological parents was exactly what I needed. I considered what my adopted parents did at their cushy corporate office jobs, helping the rich get richer and compared it to my biological father and what he was working towards and how he died, and it wasn’t even a debate. I never told them what I was planning in the days leading up to my eighteenth birthday, but the day of, I enlisted. Apparently, doing so threw a wrench in their plans to have me study politics and law and follow in their footsteps, and our relationship since has been polite at best.

I don’t regret a thing.

Moving on. At your request (which, honestly, is just a nice word I’m using instead of ‘insistence’), I finally sat down during a free shift a few days ago, and managed to watch the entirety of The Notebook. Some of the other guys joined me, and of course, Erica (the blonde from the photo I sent earlier) was up front and center. I was teased pretty heavily at first, for being convinced to watch such a romantic movie, but I think, as it went on and Noah and Allie were separated, and as the story switched from one of an easy summer romance to one of war and loss, most of the men were more affected than they would ever let on. The idea of being away from the person you love for so long and never giving up on them, but at the same time, wondering if they’ve given up on you, and for some men here, worrying that their loved ones might give up on them at some point in the future? I think it all hit just a little too close to home. No one could decide if they were depressed by the ending, or happy that Noah and Allie got to spend their last moments curled around one another. There wasn’t a single dry eye in the house once we hit that last scene in the hospital.

I think of how their story ended in the movie, and forgive me if I’m being presumptuous, but it made me think that maybe, if you and I were to grow to have the kind of relationship that Noah and Allie did, that one day, if something happens to me, you will have these letters to remember me by. It’s a comforting thought.

That being said, I want to know more about you. I want to talk to you more often, I want to be able to see your face. I’ve attached information to this letter detailing where you could send me e-mail, and if you are willing to get over the impersonal aspect of it, I would really love it if we could talk that way, in addition of course, to writing letters.

I’m going to stop here, and just say that probably the best thing to happen to me after joining the army is the first letter I received from you. I eagerly await a response from you, no matter what the medium.


Your not-so-secret admirer.  


The first thing Lydia does after reading the letter is pull out her phone and send a ‘testing’ email to the address Jackson sent her. Like hell is she going to give up the opportunity to talk to him at a quicker pace. She absolutely lives for Jackson’s letters. As cliche as it sounds, she feels as though she’s found someone who can really relate to her in a way that no one’s been able to before. Sure, she and Stiles talk about fucking everything, but with Jackson, she feels a sort of deeper bond and an intimacy that she’s never experienced before. It nearly feels like she’s living a Nicholas Sparks movie.

She goes through so many different emotions as she reads this latest letter, each one hitting her with a sort of intensity she didn’t know she was capable of feeling for another person. At first, she feels terribly disapproving at the nonchalant way that Jackson basically says he’s bored at the base. He should be counting his blessings every day that he things are uneventful, that he hadn’t been given a more dangerous assignment.

She's not surprised when he mentions never having considered going back to a civilian lifestyle; he'd made that much obvious in the first few letters he'd sent her. She remembers him writing about how this was his entire life, and that once he'd gone on his first tour, he'd never considered any other direction his life could take. She remembers how she thought it was so incredibly selfless, so unbelievably admirable of him to chose to live his life this way.

And it still is. Just, now, she reads over how he talks about the two of them dating, and spending time together, and she wants that. She wants that for herself, but she wants it even more for him. As much as she wants to be that person for him, she knows she would never begrudge him if it turned he was happier with someone else. She just wants him to be happy first and foremost, something thats a novelty in her life. Seems that he makes her want to be more too.

She doesn't tear up when he talks about his parents, even though when the story starts she absolutely expects to. Instead, she's just so fiercely proud of him, of what he's worked through, of the man he is today. She feels like through these letters, through the stories he's told her, she's been able to see him grow in to this incredible man he is today, and that takes her breath away.

She'd always prided herself on trying her damned hardest at everything she sets her mind to as well, and can't believe how much of what Jackson says she can relate to. She remembers thinking, back when her parents were getting divorced, if she had anything to do with it. If she'd been different, smarter, said something or done something that would've helped, if they might still be together. It's a really powerful emotion, feeling as though you've let down your parents and she thinks she knows exactly where Jackson is coming from.

For her, it had just been a matter of realizing that there was nothing she could have done, that her parents at their very best were just incompatible and that was just something they all needed to live with. She wonders how Jackson must have felt when he found out that his biological parents were dead. Did he feel pleased, a little bit, to know that he hadn't willingly been given away? Or was he just be disappointed by the transient glimpse of two people he could never know?

She does, however, tear up when he starts talking about The Notebook. It's silly and she knows that, but to hear him talk about his interpretation of the story, of how it related to the men and women he knows there with him, she can't help but think of how lucky she truly is, and thank everything that Stiles had come to her with this idea to write to soldiers.

Jackson said that probably the second best thing that happened to him was her, and maybe that's true, but he is absolutely, one hundred percent the best thing that has ever happened to her.There's such a big world out there beyond Beacon Hills, and she'd never even bothered to consider it before.

She stares at her email inbox impatiently then, wondering how she’s going to manage spending any time at school being or able to concentrate on anything at all now that there’s a near constant possibility of her receiving some sort of message from Jackson.


She’s nearly done getting dressed the next morning when she hears the doorbell ring. It rings only once and she hears some sort of car drive off afterwards. It’s a little weird for them to get an packages this early in the day but she doesn’t think too much about it.

Until, that is, she hears her mom calling out to her. She sighs heavily, looking in the mirror one last time to make sure she looks perfect and leisurely walks down the stairs.

She finds her mom standing at the doorstep, looking quizzically at something she can’t see that must be sitting on the stoop. Lydia goes to stand just beside her and sees a huge gift wrapped present labeled ‘To: Lydia’ sitting on her doorstep. It nearly comes up to her waist (and she’s wearing four inch heels today) and whatever it is is wrapped in the most garish bright yellow and pink wrapping paper. She has a feeling she knows exactly who its from; there’s really only one person in her life who would think that particular paper looked good.

She rolls her eyes a little and shooes her mom away. It takes a little bit of maneuvering to get the present inside the door, but once it’s inside, she doesn’t hesitate to rip apart the horrendous paper. Once the paper is all gone, she’s left with a run of the mill medium sized cardboard box. It hasn’t got any sort of writing or anything that would indicate what’s inside. It’s just the sort of box you might get from a packing store or a moving van rental place. It’s not even taped shut; the only thing keeping the box closed is the way the tabs are layered over one another, each subsequent one preventing the one before it from lifting up. She opens the box only to be met with an Urban Outfitters canvas bag; the extra large kind they pack your things in after you’ve bought a lot of things.

She loves those bags; loves all the canvas shopping bags Urban has to offer. They’re free when you buy things, and the two larger sizes are perfect for grocery shopping, or just toting things around and the smallest ones are extremely convenient for putting shoes in when traveling.

Inside the bag is yet another box, wrapped in the same horrendous paper as the larger box before. In it is yet a third box, still wrapped in the same paper. If she hadn’t been sure it was Stiles to begin with, this little set-up resembling Matryoshka dolls would’ve confirmed it. She wonders idly how many rolls of this horrible paper Stiles had bought. He probably got it on sale or something and she rolls her eyes at the silliness of the entire thing. This third box opens to one of the smaller Urban canvas bags and she rolls her eyes impatiently before tossing the bag away to unearth an even smaller box, this one about the size of a jewelry box.

This box is different; it has its own design on it and is kind of like a novelty box that you could find at a stationery store. She could easily see herself using this as a jewelry box for rings or somewhere to put hair bands or something. Its light pink and green design fits really well with the decor in her room. She wonders if Stiles had picked it out on his own, or if Kira had helped him.

She opens the box, hoping to hell there isn’t much more to this because school starts in about a half hour and she’d really like to make it on time. Luckily, there isn’t.

Inside the box is a scrambled Rubik’s cube, and she can tell that some of the small squares have black lines running across them. Unless she’s mistaken, the cube as a whole will say something when she unscrambles it.

As she’s solving the cube, she flashes back to seventh grade when Stiles had gotten it into his head that he needed to learn every possible way to solve a Rubik’s cube as well as practice incessantly until he’d been able to solve the simplest scrambles in under sixty seconds. Of course, Lydia hadn’t been able to resist when he’d challenged her so she’d learned all the tricks as well.

It takes her about a minute and a half to solve this one; she must be losing her touch. Once it’s all unscrambled though, she smiles softly at the words ‘Will you go to prom with...’ written with one word on each of the six sides. She snorts lightly, puts all the various bags and boxes away, slips the cube in her purse and finishes getting ready, eager to see what more Stiles has planned.

She reaches school a little early and is pleased to see that Stiles’s Jeep is already in the lot-- she’s too impatient to see what's going to happen to be able wait for Stiles’s typical tardiness. She walks towards her lockers like she does first thing every morning to put away her bag and grab just the books she needs. When she rounds the corner to the hallway her locker is in, she can see Stiles fumbling around with the door to her locker open, with Scott standing next to him, holding a huge bag that looks like it’s from her favorite bakery. She grins, suddenly a lot excited about this day.

She gets to her locker and pokes Stiles’s side, laughing when he flails so hard his shoulder hits her locker door shut with a loud slam. He spins around then, and she tosses the Rubik’s cube over to him. His hands are behind his back for some reason, though, and he fails to catch it, and they both watch as it bounces off his stomach and it falls to the floor, making a loud noise as it skids away a little to bang against the bottom of the lockers.

She looks over at him, one eyebrow raised, “What’s going on, Stiles?”

She keeps her voice innocent and curious, wondering if it comes off like she doesn’t already know. Stiles’s brief eye-roll tells her he’s not buying it.

Stiles looks at Scott then, clearing his throat significantly and Scott seems to wake up a little. He pulls out a cake box from the bag he’s holding then, and she’s surprised to see it’s more square shaped than rectangular shaped like a normal cake box would be. Even more than that, she’s amused to see it’s been colored on the outside to look exactly like a giant Rubik’s cube. The words ‘will you go to prom with...’ are written on the outside of this box imitating the way they looked on the Rubik’s cube she’d solved that morning. Scott hands the box to Lydia, bypassing Stiles completely, who still, weirdly enough, has his hands behind his back.

She opens the box then, to see a huge cupcake with light pink frosting with a light spattering of pastel sprinkles. She’s willing to bet anything that it’s supposed to be an Easter cake, but she doesn’t really care right now. It’s lovely.

The cake’s got a couple flowers decorating it and has ME? written in thick letters with green icing on the top. She lifts up onto her toes and kisses Stiles on the cheek. It’s all very sweet, no pun intended.

She turns to him then, and he finally opens his mouth, “So, you wanna go to prom with me?”

She smiles at him, and says, “Yes, Stiles of course!” pleased by how many people are staring at them now and looking enviously at her cake. She preens a little bit, only to be happily surprised when Stiles pulls out what he’s been hiding behind his back.

It’s an absolutely stunning bouquet of Asiatic White Lilies which are her favorite flowers, and she outright squeals at the sight, not bothering with who might hear her. She dumps the box with the cake back in Scott’s hands (who almost drops it) and grabs the flowers, breathing in their subtle smell. She can’t even care about the cake right now because lilies! Stiles did so good.

He grins then, almost like he heard what she was thinking. “You and me Lyds, the perfect power couple. Not to mention, we’re gonna be the best dressed couple there!” He winks and her and she hugs him, taking care not to crush her flowers.

They most definitely are.


Later, during lunch, she’s doubly pleased with him when he tells Danny and the twins off for attacking her cake. He literally grabs the spoon headed for Aiden’s mouth and hands it to her instead, asking them how dare they try to have any before she’s gotten a chance too. She wonders for a moment what the hell she was thinking even dating Aiden for as long as she did, but all thoughts of him vanish upon a bite of the cake. It’s delicious.

She makes faces at the twins when they complain about her sharing only with Stiles, and then with Scott and Kira when they join them in the cafeteria. She thanks Scott for whatever his part in the whole thing was, and he tells her that literally all he did was help bring everything in from the Jeep that morning, that it was all Stiles. She still gives both Scott and Kira hugs before lunch is over, and thanks Stiles again as he walks with her to her car after school. He places her beautiful bouquet with the utmost care and uncharacteristic grace on her passenger seat and she laughs when he attempts to shut the door lightly as though he’s afraid the flowers would be harmed by loud noises.

As she drives home, she can’t help but think that all the effort she’s put in over the last two months for Stiles’s upcoming eighteenth birthday has been completely and absolutely worth it. Stiles deserves something amazing for his birthday after all of this; and she’s happy to say that this time, she’s gonna be the one to deliver.

Chapter Text

Stiles is really pleased the entire drive home as he remembers the soft, pleased look on Lydia’s face that stayed on the for whole day after he had asked her to prom. He hadn't really been sure how the whole Rubik’s cube thing would have played out, but he knew that the cake and flowers would go over well. He knows Lydia’s partial to lilies of all types, especially the ones he'd picked out, and knows that her parents give some to her every year on her birthday. Not to mention Lydia has a huge sweet tooth which only a few people know about. 

He gets home to an empty house, which isn’t too strange since his dad has had pretty normal work-day shifts these days, going into the station around the time Stiles goes to school and coming home close to dinner time. Stiles really likes that his dad isn’t doing too many night shifts anymore; those just used to stress him out so much. Everything feels more nefarious at night.

He pulls up to his driveway, ecstatic it’s Friday and that tomorrow is his birthday. He’s going to do nothing for the next thirty-six hours, just revel in his special day and enjoy the fact that he’s turning eighteen.

He grabs the mail on his way in, sorting through mostly catalogues they never look at or junk coupon-y things. He dumps the lot of it on the kitchen table as he makes his way to the fridge to grab a soda when a stiff white envelope peeking out of one of the magazines catches his eye. He grabs the envelope and skims the return label before he realizes it’s from Derek.

It’s bigger than normal, just by a little, and stiff to touch, not easily bendable, like it’s got a picture in it.

Holy shit.

Derek sent him a picture.


Not to mention, this letter means that Derek has seen his picture. God, what the fuck must Derek be thinking?

Despite his paranoia, Stiles can’t really wait to see what Derek’s sent so he tears open the envelope and out slides the picture.


Holy God. 

What even.

This is who Stiles has been writing to?

This is the guy Stiles has spilled his deepest secrets to, this is the man who’s had possibly the hardest life ever? This is the man who’s understood Stiles in a way no one else in the world has ever been able to and who Stiles had been able to connect with with on such a personal level? This man is so far out of his league, he's pretty sure if not for the anonymity of letter writing, this guy wouldn't have given him the time of day. 

It’s the fucking dark angel from Jackson’s photo, but...

But he’s not really dark here. There's no intense gaze or glower-y demeanor. 

Not at all.

Not even a little bit. Instead, Derek is smiling and he has a hint of a five o’clock shadow and ridiculous fingers and even more ridiculous bunny teeth and the most gorgeous arms known to man on fucking display and he’s tan and pale at the same time and it makes no sense and it shouldn’t be indecent, but it is. The man is wearing jeans and sneakers and a white T-shirt but is still completely obscene. It’s kind of really hard to look at. He’s fucking gorgeous. And, he thinks, Derek is way hotter than Jackson. 

The fact that this is the guy who has given him the time of day, not to mention written pages and pages worth of letters, emotions, and deeply personal information to him is insane. It’s completely fucking insane and Stiles has no fucking idea what to make of it.



Congratulations! I am so proud of you. I’m sure your father is ecstatic, and I know that your mom, wherever she is, is feeling the exact same sense of pride and joy that all your hard work so far has paid off. This is an accomplishment, and I hope you celebrate it as such. I am honored to be someone you share your best news with. It’s been so long since I’ve had someone like that in my life.

Living on the base is, to be concise, something I’ve pretty much gotten used to by now. We wake up at six am, report for duty by seven am, and then pretty much do what we’re told until around seven pm. Being told to ‘drop and give me twenty’ is more of a cadet/school thing than an actual active duty thing. I’ve never said it, nor have I been told it. You said Harris was a cadet, right? That’s probably why he tries it on you guys.

We do vote. It’s just your run of the mill absentee ballot, we all fill them out a bit ahead of time and send them over to the States. The debates do show here, we have televisions in the rec rooms and and some other common areas. Some of the guys watch them religiously; I myself have caught them once or twice, but have never really made it a point to watch them in their entirety. Soldiers deployed overseas do not have to pay taxes, but once I’m back to civilian life in the US, I will have to.  I don’t have any choice if I don’t like any of the men assigned to me. Really, it doesn’t matter to me one way or another if they like me or if I like them. We work together because we need to, because it's life and death, because there's literally no other option and then  spend our free time with people we would rather be with.

I know of Rear D, yes, but I don’t really know and details of what the soldiers there do. It’s only one of many options soldiers have for when they decide to move back home after deployment. I don’t really know if that’s for me. The way it works, as far as I know, is that basically, once you enlist in the army, you commit to a certain number of years, and once they’re done, you can chose to re-enlist or not. I figure at some point I’ll be done overseas, but I don’t really know when that’s going to be as of right now. I've never given it much thought. 

My father loved ships and Laura loved planes. He used to build model ships in his free time and Laura would actually go to a field by the airport and watch planes take off, often dragging me or Cora along with her. Sometimes she'd even bring picnic lunches. Choosing to enlist in the Army was just easier than having to deal with either the Navy or the Air Force. Maybe it would’ve made me feel closer to them, but at the same time, how would I have even chosen between something like that? Chosen between Laura and my father? It was just easier to avoid everything that reminded me of my family and start with a completely clean slate.

I only watched one more episode of Game of Thrones since the last time I wrote to you, and it seemed like a pretty bland episode to me. I was glad to see Renly again, though; I don’t know what it is, but I really like him. My interest in Shae is more because of Tyrion than Shae herself. If I had to pick who I thought was the most good looking on that show, it would be Robb Stark hands down.

I’ll try to keep that in mind. It’s going to be hard, considering I’m already attached to some of the characters, but I’ll try to look at it more objectively.

People do suck sometimes, don’t they? On the one hand, I see people of immense wealth drive past people actually starving on the streets here and want to punch something. Then, I see my fellow soldiers, guys I’ve come to know and respect immensely, do everything they can to help out the less fortunate and I’m an optimist again. 

Well, tentatively at least. I don’t think I’ll ever really be a complete optimist. I guess having your parents killed by a drunk driver when you’re fifteen will do that to you. It used to be so hard for me, in the months following, to see the good in anything or anyone. If I hadn’t had Luara, I probably wouldn’t have survived it.

Stiles, I know what Wikipedia is. It’s been around long enough. I, uh, perused the reading you sent me. It seems easy enough to follow. Ten players, two teams, crosses and a ball that basically resembles a tennis ball? Seems easy enough to understand. Bring on the quiz.

Basketball is just alright? It’s way more interesting and varied than lacrosse or tennis! It’s fast paced and fun and easy to play no matter how many people you have. It’s a great game to play just anywhere. I don’t know if you put together what I said earlier about my parent’s death and my stopping basketball, but that’s the reason there. I stopped after their death. Things like that just hadn't seemed all that important in the years immediately after.

Laura was awesome. She was loud and lively and literally everybody loved her. Teachers, other parents, our parents. She was one of those head cheerleader, school president, could do nothing wrong types. She was nineteen when our parents died and was already working at my mother’s restaurant. She took the thing over, provided for me and Cora, and never let us feel like we lacked anything. Other than our parents, obviously. She became such a crutch for me and Cora, and I wonder sometimes if we were there for her as much as she was always, unfailingly, there for us.

Everything you said, Stiles, I feel the same. While it’s nice to have someone to talk to who understands, this kind of loss really isn’t something I would ever wish on anyone. We must have been fated to meet.

I want to talk to Cora. You’re right, the more time that goes by, it’s just going to get harder. I may write her a letter. Or write one to Peter and include something for her in it? Peter and I have been talking more lately, he’s sent me a couple letters in the last few months. I can’t remember if I’ve gone into everything that happened there, but basically two years after our parents died, when I was seventeen and Cora was sixteen, Laura got into a car crash as well. She was dead on impact.

Peter was the one driving. He was in a coma for a couple months afterward, but somehow, and the doctors still don’t know, he came out of it. His speech was impaired for a little while, and I still don’t think he has all his motor function in his left arm back, but he’s alive and fine, for the most part.

Cora and I had a hard time speaking to him after that. We knew he wasn’t to blame, not really, but I think the both of us, well, me definitely, I don’t know about Cora...I think we both wished it had been him and not Laura. It's horrible I know, and that made me feel so guilty, it was part of why I just had to get away. I left Cora with Peter (who she could barely look at) once he got better, and, as you know, enlisted when I turned 18.

Peter’s managed to forgive me. I think he knows what I was thinking, and I also think that he was feeling more guilt over the whole thing that Cora or I realized at the time. We reconnected a year ago when I was on a short leave in London; Peter travels there for work a lot and so I looked him up when I was there. We’ve been in contact, though it's been sparse. I think I may ask him if he thinks Cora will talk to me. 

It’s nice to hear that Lydia and Jackson seem so compatible. I haven’t known Jackson for a long time, but I think I know him better than almost anyone else, and I’m fairly sure he’s falling in love with your friend. I only hope she feels the same way. Jackson needs someone to take care of, and someone to take care of him in return. I hope Lydia is up for the challenge.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I included a picture of myself with this letter. It’s actually one that Laura took of me the week before she died. We were at the high school waiting for Cora to come out after one her school plays. I think that one was The Wizard of Oz? Cora played the Cowardly Lion. It was a great night. I was really happy to see one from you too, you definitely weren’t what I was expecting. I can say, though, that it definitely helped with the whole ‘Peter thing’.

You asked me a bunch of questions in your last letter, now it’s my turn. What’s your favorite color? Mine’s red. If you could travel to anywhere in the world for a week, where would you go? I’ve always wanted to visit Bali. My parents honeymooned there and would never shut up about it. Do you have a job? In high school I used to work at the local gym, cleaning equipment and doing other odd jobs. The pay was shit, but I got a free membership for myself and Laura. What are your plans for this summer? Are you going to move to Berkeley right away or do you have plans in Beacon Hills? I can’t imagine you wanting to leave Scott, Melissa, and your father before you absolutely had to. Did you take a language course in high school? Cora teased me about it for years, but I took both Spanish and French. Something about other languages has always been really appealing to me. I’d like to learn as many as possible.

That’s enough for now I think.

Looking forward to your reply!



Stiles wakes up on his birthday morning to the smell of his dad’s legendary strawberry-chocolate-chip pancakes. It’s their tradition, and as far as Stiles is concerned, it’s never gonna get old. He lays in bed for a bit, just soaking in the idea that he’s eighteen now. He can vote, and buy cigarettes, and sleep with Misha fucking Collins if he wants to. He’s legal.

On the other hand, if he’s caught at anymore crime scenes, this will most likely work against him.


Scott barges into his room then, as per usual. All the Stilinski special occasions in the last few years have heavily featured the McCalls, and this one is no different.

“Dude, let’s go! It’s the afternoon already! Your birthday is half over!” Scott actually jumps on top of his bed, on top of him, and continues to bounce on it on his knees for a bit. He narrowly misses hitting Stiles in the solar plexus.

Stiles grins. This too, is tradition. Scott has always been the one to get him out of bed and down to the kitchen.

He was born at 4:37 am in the morning and for the last few years, Scott and he have stayed up till then playing various video games so they could celebrate Stiles’s birthday on his actual time of birth. Needless to say, it’s led to some pretty late morning afters.

“Okay, dude, hold up. I’ll be down in ten.”

Scott stands up and jumps a couple more times before landing gracelessly on the floor next to Stiles’s bed. Somehow, though, he managed to land on his feet, and just continues to bounce his way out of Stiles’s room.

Stiles is downstairs not even seven minutes later, and everyone is already seated around the table in the kitchen. His spot is decorated with confetti (shiny birthday cakes and the number 18) on the placemat and his pancakes have a single, lit, rainbow candle in them.

The pancakes were always something his dad had done. Melissa had added the candle, and after Stiles had come out to Scott (just before his fifteenth birthday), Scott had basically always made sure to switch out Melissa’s boring candle for a rainbow one. It was silly, but it was also typical Scott.

His dad, mama McCall, and Scott all sing to him before he’s allowed to dig in (or even blow the candle out) and Stiles just basks in their undivided attention. It just feels really, really good. He has to figure out a way to be home for his birthday next year. Nothing tops this.

After wishes are given and Stiles has blown out his candle, they all dig in. Papa Stilinski Pancakes are the best for miles around, and they’re best eaten hot.

Scott and Stiles keep asking for seconds, thirds, and fourths before they’re finally full, grinning impishly when Melissa scolds them and the Sheriff laughs and obliges.

It’s nearly two by the time they’re done eating and cleaning, and Scott and Stiles scramble to get dressed. They have IMAX Captain America tickets at four in the next town over, and it’s nearly a forty minute drive. Not to mention they should probably get there a little early so they can get good seats.


Stiles lets Scott drive back from the movie because he’s still a little stunned. The movie was amazing and Chris Evans quite possibly has the best shoulders known to man and he doesn’t know where Anthony Mackie came from, but that guy is fucking awesome and Stiles needs to go look him up right away. He’s already looking up movie times for later that week, maybe he can convince his dad to go see the movie so he can see it in the theater again.

Once Scott’s parked and Stiles finally takes a look around, he realizes that they’re not at his house, or Scott’s, but at Lydia’s. He hears Scott mumble something about having to pick something up, so he gets out of the car as well. He might as well go in and say hi.

He notices Scott’s car parked across the street and a police cruiser a parked in front of the house next door but none of that really registers.

Scott doesn’t bother waiting after he rings the doorbell, but just walks right in, pulling Stiles along with him. Stiles realizes what the cars are doing there when Lydia, Mrs. Martin, his dad, Melissa, Ethan, Aiden, Danny, Kira, and some of the deputies from the station he’s known since he was a baby all yell 'Surprise!' and then just stand there grinning at him as he flails and falls, bringing Scott down with him.

When he’s standing again, he sees an exchange of money--from Aiden to Ethan, Danny to Kira, and Melissa to his dad. He looks at Lydia questioningly.

“They bet whether or not you would fall when we surprised you. Your dad and Aiden were 100% sure it was gonna happen, but the rest of us not so much.”

Stiles clutches his chest then, all mock outrage and just the least bit offended. Scott just looks up at him from where he’s still sprawled on the floor and smacks the only bit of Stiles he can reach-his left ankle.

“Come on dude, that one really shouldn’t surprise you.”

He looks around then, and sees the house has been (not very tastefully) decorated in various superhero, sci-fi/fantasy, and pop culture paraphernalia, none of which match but it all somehow looks like it belongs. There are red and black streamers on the ceiling, patterned presumably after Spiderman, with a Yoda pinata hanging from the center. There are Harry Potter-esque goblets on the refreshment table nearby, alongside a huge ornate bowl, seemingly containing some sort of punch. The tablecloth has got the Batman symbol on it, the paper plates plates are Finding Nemo, the paper bowls are Cars, and the napkins are Winnie-the-Pooh. There’s an actual Storm Trooper cut-out in the corner next to the table, and it seems to be a humungous, combined birthday card. There are a bunch of notes in different colors all over the thing, surrounding the words ‘Happy 18th Birthday, Stiles!’ written in big block letters in red in the middle. The cake is sitting in the middle of everything else on the table and is of Thomas & Friends. Stiles has no idea who put this all together (although, it can really only be Lydia and/or his dad) but it’s such a mix of everything (and everyone) that he’s ever loved in his eighteen years and it’s all so silly, but all so very him that he’s a little overcome by just the idea of all the effort that was put into this.

He makes the rounds, hugging everyone from his dad, to Mrs. Martin to Aiden, cuz even if the guy's a fucker, he’s here to celebrate with Stiles and that means something. He thanks each of the deputies that are there, and promises that he’ll cut the cake right away so they don’t miss any in case they get called to duty. His dad is sitting comfortably next to Melissa and is in normal clothes (which Stiles feels he doesn’t see on his dad nearly enough these days) and assumes that his dad has the entire day off.

Two hours later, the cake is cut, everyone’s had pizza, and Stiles is sitting comfortably on the couch with his slice of cake (the one with Thomas on it, of course) and is trying desperately to talk over his dad’s attempts to tell baby stories. The twins and Lydia though, are giving him their undivided attention, so Stiles has to figure out a way to stop this. He turns to Scott pleadingly, who jumps up and yells “PRESENTS!” before running out of the room.

Lydia looks around a little startled, but sees the annoyed look on Stiles’s face and acquiesces, getting up and leaving the room, presumably to go help Scott with the presents.

She brings back laundry basket filled with things and Stiles is so excited. She tells everyone to grab their gift so they can each give it to him individually and so Stiles will know whose is whose.

Melissa goes first, handing him a huge present that kind of looks like the box he made for Lydia. He tears through the paper to see a plastic container nearly the size of lacrosse bag with the words ‘Stiles’s Personal College First Aid Kit’ written on it. He grins at Melissa’s knowing look as he rifles through it to see everything from Batman bandaids to aspirin to Red Bull, laundry detergent and dryer sheets, sunblock, ace bandages, wrist and ankle braces, cream for bruises, ice packs, batteries, a flashlight, anti-fungal foot cream (of all things), the numbers for the local police and fire departments in Berkeley, and even towels, sheets, and embarrassingly enough, at the very bottom, condoms, dental dams and lube.

He looks at her incredulously then, but she just winks at him and mouths, ‘Just in case,’ as she curls under his father’s arm.

Danny and Ethan are next, handing him something very heavy, very skinny, and very tall. The paper is ripping a little at the edges from where some sort of pointy edge is sticking through so even though it’s really nice paper, he rips it all up anyways. He can hear Lydia in the background muttering about all the mess, but he couldn’t really care less. Danny and Ethan got him framed original movie posters of the Star Wars Original trilogy. They’re beautiful and he doesn’t know how they managed to find them and how much that must have cost because there’s no way this was cheap. He kind of just gapes open mouthed at them until Danny punches him on the shoulder.

“Dude, seriously, this is fucking beautiful. And probably cost way too much!”

Danny just grins at him, “Don’t worry about it, Stilinski. It was kind of a selfish purchase.”

Stiles looks between him and the posters, not really sure how that’s the case.

“I just sent in my statement of intent to Berkeley yesterday. Guess I’m staying on the mainland for college. How do you feel about rooming with someone you already know?”

Stiles jumps up and high fives Danny, already thinking excitedly about all the various game consoles and video games they've got between them. These next four years are going to be the best of his life, he just knows it.

Aiden goes next, handing him a box similar to Melissa’s but a lot smaller. It’s some sort of ‘I dare you to try this’ gift basket and it honestly looks disgusting. He turns to Aiden with an evil grin though, challenging him wordlessly to do them all as well. Aiden just tips his head down and grins, accepting the challenge and Stiles is all ready to tear into the basket right away when Lydia plucks it out of his hands.

She replaces it with a gift bag of her own, and he opens it to see a bouquet of bacon roses. He’s completely amazed that that’s a thing that exists and tries immediately to eat one. It's not very good. It might just be because the bacon isn't hot. 

Lydia just rolls her eyes at his antics, “You got me the most perfect flowers in the world, I had to figure out how to reciprocate.”

Stiles puts the bouquet down very carefully (after all, it’s probably the most perfect bouquet of anything he will ever receive in his life) and looks at the bottom of the gift bag to see the Cards Against Humanity game, as well as all the add-on card sets. He’s wanted this game forever.

Scott and Kira are next, and they too hand him a gift bag with two boxes in them. He pulls out the first box to see a really lovely black and red Sake set. The second box has a set of Marvel shot glasses and a Beer hard hat. It’s not very difficult to figure out what Scott picked out and what Kira picked out. He grins at the both of them and they all pretend not to hear the Sheriff mumbling about alcohol poisoning. Danny immediately claims the Silver Surfer shot glass for himself, saying that when they’re partying in Berkeley, only he’s allowed to use that particular glass. This leads to an all out discussion of whose glass is whose. They end up with Stiles as Captain America, Scott as Dead Pool, Lydia (much to her disapproval) as The Hulk (she’s smart and terrifying, it fits), Aiden gets The Thing, Ethan gets Thor, and Kira's is Iron Man. Melissa decides she likes the beer hat best, Stiles jokingly claims The Punisher for his father, and then decides to leave the Wolverine unclaimed. He’s sure he’ll find someone who fits that particular shot glass one day.

The only one left to give him something then is his father, and he's looking a little hesitant. Melissa and Lydia (goddesses that they are) seem to pick up on his discomfort right away, and start recruiting everyone to different tasks to clean up the leftover food, the smashed pinata, and the gifts' wrapping paper. The room is clear except for Stiles and his dad in under five minutes.

The Sheriff reaches into the breast pocket of his jacket and pulls out an envelope. It’s very official looking and he hands it to Stiles, but stops him before Stiles can open it.

“This is...This is a fund your mother set up when you were born.” Stiles stops fumbling with the envelope and looks up at his father. This is actually the first time in years they’ve talked about her. He continues, “She used to be such a fantastic artist, and when she was pregnant with you, I think she drew more than she had since college. An art collector from the city saw her work in a local gallery one day, and offered to buy the lot. Your mom put all the money from that sale, and any subsequent sale of her work until she died into this account.”

Stiles is staring wide eyed at his father now. He knows that his mom was an amazing artist, and they still have some of her work in the attic. They used to be on the walls, but became really hard to look at after her death. He’s been thinking a lot about taking a couple pieces to college with him. It’ll be like she’s there with him.

“Dad, I don’t even know what to say. I had no idea.”

His dad smiles. “She loved you so much Stiles, she just wanted you to have the entire world.”

Stiles refrains from saying that he would give up the entire world to just have his mom back; he doesn’t really know how his dad would react to a statement like that.

“I’ve added to this since your birth, bits of my paycheck here and there when I could. And it’s all yours to use on whatever you want. If you want to use it to travel the world, or for Berekely, or grad school, anything at all, it’s absolutely up to you. Just make sure you use it for something that makes you happy, something that makes you remember her.”

They’re both crying then, and Stiles is frantically scrubbing at his face. This is a happy day and his mom would want them to be laughing and smiling, not reminiscing and being sad about the past.

His dad pulls him into a hug, and he allows himself to have a moment to remember her and feel sad that she’s not there sharing this day with him, before he squeezes his dad in typical Stilinski bear-hug style and lets go. He sticks the envelope in one of his gift bags, and figures he’ll look at it later.

Lydia walks in then, and he’s wondering if she was eavesdropping or just has really good timing, and she's holding one last gift. His dad walks out then, presumably at some sort of signal by Melissa or Lydia, and Stiles looks and Lydia questioningly.

“So, about two months ago, in early February, I got a letter from Jackson, saying that Derek wanted an idea of some way he could reciprocate the gifts you’d sent him.” Lydia looks like she’s reminiscing approvingly, and whether it has to do with Derek or Jackson he has no idea. He’s stuck on the idea of Derek, that perfect, beautiful, kind man wanting to get him something when he's pretty much lacking for nothing and adds ‘generous’ to the list in his head. “I told them that your birthday was in early April and that I’d be happy to pass along anything Derek wanted to give you at the party I was planning. So about a month ago I received these things in the mail; I’m guessing Derek ordered them online? So yeah, Happy Birthday from Derek!”

He doesn’t know if he wants to kiss her or open the gift first and is left just staring once again. Lydia looks torn between wanting to watch him open the gift and giving him some space, and finally, when he makes no move one way or another, reluctantly gets up to leave.

“Your dad, the deputies and Melissa are leaving now. Make sure you say bye to them. Ethan and Scott are setting up the beer pong tables outside and the rest of the school is going to be here for the real party in about forty minutes. Please be done by then!” 

Stiles sets the gift down because he cannot deal with that just yet, and goes to say bye to his dad and Melissa. Melissa gives him a hug and a smirk and returns his beer helmet which has a small ziploc bag with a few aspirin and alka seltzer in it, much to the chagrin of his father. He thanks all the deputies for coming and celebrating with him and reassures his dad that he isn’t going to go too crazy at whatever Lydia's got planned next.

They leave, and Stiles heads back into the room where Derek’s gift is. He's glad to see it's still empty. He opens the envelope on the top and in it is a single page with a short note in Derek's handwriting.

Happy 18th Stiles!
This is partly a birthday gift, and partly a token of appreciation for everything you’ve given to me. The snacks, the movies, the music, the insight, advice and camaraderie...I don’t think you have any idea of how much I've appreciated all it. I hope that this gift provides you with a fraction of the entertainment and happiness you’ve given to me.

He puts the letter aside and unwraps the gift that Lydia so carefully put together. Taped to the box he discloses are four tickets to this year's San Diego Comic Con.

He’s stunned.

First of all, these are way too fucking expensive and second, these tickets are supposed to be, for all intents and purposes, literally impossible to procure.

He has no idea how Derek managed it.

How Derek knew how mud this would mean to him, how much he's always wanted to go to Comic Con. 

Except for his dad’s, it’s possibly the best present he’s ever received and he really can’t believe this is real.

He places the tickets aside carefully and opens the box they were taped to, amazed that there's even more. He has no idea how he's going to be able to adequately thank Derek for all of this. 

In the box are adorable as fuck little stuffed animal direwolves like the ones in Game of Thrones. Taped to Ghost's head is the note ‘something to warm up a new home; congratulations once again on UCB’.

He packs it all up carefully, putting everything back in the bags they came in and putting all of it in the basket Lydia had originally brought all the presents out in. He carries it all upstairs to stick in the room he normally crashes at when he’s at Lydia’s and locks them in. He knows he’s going to obsess a ton over all of this before he replies to Derek’s letter, but for now?

For now he’s gonna go relax and play some beer pong with Scott, make mixed drinks with Lydia, just enjoy the time he has left in his hometown with his fucking amazing friends.

He has no idea how he got this lucky.

Chapter Text

He’d be lying if he said he’d spent the majority of the party not thinking about Derek.

He thinks he played a couple beer pong games with Scott and half-assed his way through a King’s Cup round with Lydia and some of the other party guests. The guy who he kissed at New Year’s was was hanging around and had tried talking to him at some point but he doesn’t really remember actually having any sort of coherent conversation. He doesn’t think he had any sort of coherent conversation with anyone really, beyond them wishing him a happy birthday and him expressing a perfunctory ‘thank you’.

He was aware, however, of his rising level of intoxication as the night went on. Maybe if he’d paid more attention to the drinks Lydia was placing in his hands every so often, he’d be less fuzzy about the whole evening.

Although, if he’s being honest, that might not have really mattered. Some of those drinks were definitely just water and he had started out the night breaking in his new shot glass set with Scott, Danny and the twins. Kira had even joined them for every other shot.

Lydia shooes everyone out of her house around one am, all except for himself, Scott and Danny. Ethan had refrained from drinking and had been able to drive himself and Aiden home after promising Scott that they would see Kira home safely.

They’re all sprawled out in the den, spare mattresses and extra blankets everywhere. Stiles is sitting on the couch, upside down, with his legs over the back and head hanging off the edge. All the blood is rushing to his head, but he can’t really bring himself to care. Or move.

Scott is somewhere off to the side, star-fished on one of the mattresses. Stiles is pretty sure he’s asleep, or at least pretty damn close.

Scott and he have always done the post-birthday sleepover thing, and eventually Lydia had just invited herself.  This is only the second time they’ve done a Stiles's birthday post party sleepover at her place though. They should do it more often; she’s got the best snacks and drinks and makeshift beds.

Currently, she and Danny are sitting on one of the mattresses, backs against the couch Stiles is on, Lydia tucked under Danny’s arm. They’re both drinking out of a shared wine bottle and giggling to themselves.  Stiles is assuming Danny’s there in his capacity as Lydia’s best friend, but he’s not really too sure. Maybe he just didn’t want to go home just yet.

It doesn’t really matter either way though, Danny and his dimples are always fine by Stiles.

He hears Lydia giggle extra loudly then, and realizes he said that out loud.

Danny’s looking at him too, pleased but apprehensive, and Stiles doesn’t know if he should apologize; if he made things weird for a second.

Scott mumbles something then, something that sounds an awful lot like “Danny’s dimples are the best dimples,” and just like that the tension dissipates. Danny and Lydia start outright laughing and Stiles grins in the direction of Scott’s voice.

“Yes they are, buddy.” He loves how Scott, albeit sometimes unknowingly, manages to say exactly the right thing in all sorts of situations.

He stops straining his neck when he realizes all he can see is Lydia and Danny though, Danny looking at him smugly.

“Okay boys, I’m flattered and all that, but I’m also taken.” Danny looks so pleased by that fact, and Stiles is really happy he and Ethan managed to work the whole college thing out.

He smirks right back  in Danny’s direction, “So you’re going to UCB to stay close to your boo, huh, Danny-boy?”

Danny blushes a little but doesn’t lower his gaze.

“Hey, why spoil a good thing right?” He says finally, looking every bit sure of his decision, “My parents never really wanted me to go so far anyways. This, this is good. This is the best decision for me, I think.”

Stiles grins, “And for me, too! Now I don’t have to be stuck with a roommate that I’m going to be worried about hating.”

Scott chooses that moment to chime in again, “‘Cause n’one could hate Danny, tha’s just silly!”  

Stiles smiles indulgently craning his head back, trying to catch a glimpse of Scott, “You’re absolutely right, Scottie.”

He doesn’t manage to though, and brings his gaze back to Danny and Lydia. They’re both looking at a spot past Stiles’s head and smiling softly and maybe if he--nope, his neck does not turn that way.

“So Danny, how do you feel about off campus housing?” He says finally, giving up all his attempts to locate Scott. He supposes he could just get up; there is something digging into the small of his back, but he still just doesn’t want to.

Danny looks at him consideringly, “Do you think we could find one with two bedrooms for a decent price?”

Stiles grimaces, “We better! I don’t want to be sexiled everytime Ethan comes to visit!”

Danny’s eyes glaze over a little bit then, presumably imagining exactly what would go down were Ethan to visit, and Stiles looks away. He does not need to see that lovesick yet dirty look on Danny’s face. He hears a thud, though, and an ‘Ow!’ and looks over to see Lydia removing her elbow from where it had been lodged into Danny’s side. He grins. Lydia is the fiercest.

“And don’t you forget it, Stilinski!” Shit, did he say that bit out loud, too? Oh well.

He does a backwards somersault off the couch then, all set to sprawl out on one of the Martins’ super comfy spare mattresses and actually manages to complete the flip without kicking anybody. He claims a purple squashy blanket for his own and finds the pillow from his bed that his dad must have brought over earlier. It’s a total encumbrance, but Stiles cannot sleep without his pillow.

He thinks back to what they were talking about once he’s firmly ensconced under multiple blankets and stretches his foot out to nudge against Danny’s thigh.

“We should probably start looking soon, before the good places are taken, but I’m sure we can find something decent. There’s loads of student housing in Berkeley.”

He feels something flick against his toes, and assumes it’s Danny. “As long as it’s in my budget and has two rooms, we’re all good. It’s not like I want to walk in on you during Stiles time either!”

Stiles peaks his head out of the blankets then, and makes a face at Danny. “Hey, just because you have someone to share Danny time with doesn’t mean you always do, do you?”

Lydia wrinkles her nose then, “Okay boys, as scintillating as this conversation is, I’m afraid I’m going call for a slight change in subject.”

Maybe it’s the remnants of alcohol, or maybe it’s the lingering euphoria of his birthday, but Sitles can’t resist sticking his tongue out at Danny before he squirms back into his comfy spot under the blankets.

Danny doesn’t dignify Stiles with a response, and once Stiles is under the blanket, he hears, “Okay, Lyds, what should we talk about?”

He feels a hand on his foot again, but this time it’s smaller, more insistent. It’s not until the blankets start to get dragged down from over his head that he absolutely knows it’s Lydia. No one else would be that cruel.

“Okay, so maybe I’m cruel,” she says, and dammit why is Stiles still saying these things out loud? “But I’m not the only one.”

He sits up then, pouting slightly because he while has no idea what Lydia’s on about, he does know that he’s not going to get his blanket back till he sits this out. He crosses his legs, elementary school circle time style and continues to pout in her general direction.

“What?” he says finally, when it’s clear she’s not going to go on without some sort of input on his end.

“That boy Stiles. The one who would’ve loved to get in on some Stiles time.”

“Stiles time, what, no, Lydia stop!” He hears then, and turns around to smack Scott on the calf.

“Go to bed, Scottie,” he mumbles, before turning back to Lydia and Danny.

“What?” He says again, directed at Lydia even though he knows exactly who she’s talking about. The college kid, his name was Jake or Jay or something, and the guy was a little all over Stiles earlier. He had finally backed down when Stiles mumbled something about already seeing someone.

Lydia rolls her eyes like she knows Stiles is being dense on purpose. Which, she probably does. She’s scary perceptive when it comes to that kind of thing.

“I want you to tell me why you told James you had a boyfriend instead of letting him birthday sex you up like he obviously wanted to?”

And dear Lord, Lydia is spending way too much time with him if she’s using phrases like ‘birthday sex you up’.

“Don’t I know it, Stiles.” And he’s accidentally talking out loud again. Great. Lydia continues, “Now, answer the question.”

He exhales slowly, knowing exactly why he told James he had a boyfriend. Knowing exactly who came to mind when he’d said the word ‘boyfriend’.

He’s biting his lip and avoiding her gaze, so when she sighs softly and crawls over to him, he knows she probably knows exactly what’s going on in his head.

Hell, she probably knows what he’s thinking better than he does.

He knows he mumbled part of that last bit out loud, and feels validated when Lydia puts her arm around his waist and leans her head on his shoulder.

“It’s Derek, huh?”

He leans his head down on top of hers and looks over to Danny. “I’m so stupid, aren’t I?”

Danny smiles sadly at him, almost in agreement, but Lydia whips her head up and grabs his chin, forcing him to look at her. “Now, why would you say that, Stiles?”

Stiles gapes. There is no reason for him to be crushing on Derek. He doesn’t even know if Derek is into guys, or what Derek thinks about him. He only just learned what Derek looked like too, what if he’s being completely superficial?

“How about the fact that I’ve never even met the guy? I still feel like I know next to nothing about him Lydia! He’s probably straight!”

Lydia scoffs, “Stiles, I’m pretty sure I’m in love with Jackson, and I’ve never even met him. I’m also pretty sure that guys don’t give other guys stuffed animals on the regular. That’s a pretty intimate present, no matter what the other circumstances.”

Something blooms warm and fierce in his chest at Lydia’s words. Something like hope. He’s been thinking about this all night, about Derek all night and he’s been berating himself because of how ridiculous he’s being.

“Can you really be in love with someone you’ve never met? Someone whose voice you’ve never heard, someone you’ve never held in your arms, someone you’ve never even kissed?” he asks then, voice trembling and even breaking a little bit over the word ‘love’.

“It may not be love, yet, Stiles,” Lydia begins, but then falters as if she doesn’t know what to say next. And that in itself is a little amazing. Lydia is never at a loss for words.

Luckily, Danny’s there to pick up where she left off. “Stiles, it may not be love yet, that’s a pretty damn strong emotion, but there’s definitely room for affection there? Did he really get you stuffed animals?”  

Stiles grins a little then, “Yup, three direwolf plushies and tickets to Comic Con!”

Danny whistles low at that, and then there’s a crashing noise behind Stiles. They all flip around to look at Scott who’s standing up all of a sudden, eyes blinking rapidly and staring at a  knocked over lamp. Scott looks from the lamp to Stiles for a moment, but then decides Stiles is more important.

“Stiles! He got you Comic Con tickets?” Scott asks slowly, drawing out the words ‘Comic Con’ like they’re sacred, all whispered and hushed, with wide, puppy dog eyes and mouth a little gaping.

Stiles grins, “He sure did, Scottie.”

Scott looks at him, wide eyed, puppy dog eyes going crazy. He continues speaking in the same reverent, hushed tone, “How many?”

Stiles starts laughing. Two minutes ago Scott was dead to the world, and now he’s wide awake and using his most powerful weapon.

“He got me four, Scott.”

Scott shuts his eyes and breathes in deeply and exhales before speaking. Stiles recognizes it as a method to prevent himself from getting over excited and having an asthma attack because he can’t breathe.

“So one for you…”

Stiles grins, deciding to torture him a little, “And one for Lydia if she wants it, and I think one for Danny, and…”

Scott’s eyes get even wider then, “Anddddd????”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “Like you don’t know, Scott.”

Scott grabs his shoulders then, a little too roughly and probably leaving a bruise but Stiles chalks it up to excitement and lets it go. “Stiles, I need you to stop fucking around and say it.”

He almost wants to drag this out a little longer, but he’s afraid Scott’s eyes are actually going to pop out of his skull at this point so he acquiesces. “And you Scottie.”

Scott’s hands leave his shoulders then, only to have him throw his arms around Stiles knocking them both to the floor. Luckily, soft and squishy mattresses and blankets cover every inch of it, preventing from any more bruises. Scott is ecstatic, wriggling around like an over excited puppy, talking about all the things they’re going to see and all the people they might meet. Stiles shoves him off eventually, and Scott just stares into space for a good five minutes.

Once Stiles makes his way over to his pillow, Scott turns to him very seriously and oh this is gonna be good.

“It doesn’t really matter if you love him or not Stiles, because I think I just fell in love with him enough for the both of us!”


By the time Stiles gets up and lets Ms. Martin feed them all breakfast and actually makes his way back home, it’s already mid afternoon. He sees a note from his dad saying that he’s going to be at the station until nine, so Stiles raids the fridge for something to make the two of them for dinner. He gets out the fixings for lasagna (lean turkey, not beef) and figures things can thaw while he sorts through his goodies.

First thing he does when he’s up in his room is stick the envelope from his dad in his backpack so he can take it to the bank right after school on Monday. He peeked at it earlier, and its more than enough to cover four years at Berkeley. He thinks that if he spends his money wisely, he might even have enough left over after to do some traveling after he graduates. He’s pretty sure his mom would approve.

Next he sorts through his (now christened) shot glasses, putting them all carefully back in the box they came in for safe storage until he leaves for school. He’s pretty sure that they, along with the sake set, will end up on display in his new kitchen somewhere.

He’s torn about what he wants to do with the posters. He could put them up, but that would be a lot of effort for only about five months since he’d have to take them down so he could take them to Berkeley. In the end, he just leans them against the wall by his desk. That way he can look at them without actually having to put them up.

Melissa’s and Aiden’s gifts go in a pile in the corner of his closet that’s unofficially labeled his ‘to take to college’ pile. The only other thing there are the toiletries and sheet set that Scott got him for Christmas.

Lydia’s bacon roses did not survive the party; he’d re-fried and eaten those things as soon as possible. He has a picture somewhere though, and figures maybe he’ll blow it up print it out one of these days as an additional decorative piece for his new place. He can’t really decide what to do with the card set (which they’d also broken in last night; who knew Cards Against Humanity was a fun as fuck drinking game?), but eventually also sticks it in the ‘to take to college’ pile.

Finally, he’s left staring at his new Direwolf plushies, Derek’s birthday letters and Derek’s previous actual letter. The Comic Con tickets are safely pinned  up on the tack board above his desk, and his gaze constantly goes to the way the glossy, shiny paper catches the dwindling daylight through his window.

The note on Ghost is still there, so he plucks it off and sticks it to the birthday letter from Derek instead and places two of the plushies on the chair next to his bed. He puts Ghost (who is totally his favorite on the show, by the way) and his pillow at the head of his bed.

He pulls out the picture of Derek again, eyes lingering on the bunny teeth, slight stubble, the curve of his Adam’s apple and the bulge of his right bicep. God damn Derek is hot. More than that, he’s beautiful. Plus he looks happy. Stiles wonders if a smile that large has appeared on his face since Laura died. He’s guessing not.

Derek’s nose looks a little sunburnt and it’s really cute, and also really terrifying how much Stiles wants to kiss it. He’s just feeling all these feelings and he doesn’t really know what to do about it.

Doesn’t know how to handle something like this, something so delicate and uncertain and nerve-wracking. He’s never had to deal with something like this before, never found someone he could talk to like this, with no self consciousness or hesitancy or desire to hide a part of his past. He’s been in relationships before, transient as they were, but he’s never talked to someone like this, not even Scott or Lydia. No one knows about these things the way Derek does and that feels as liberating as it is disconcerting.

What it comes down to now, is how does he broach the topic with Derek?

It’s just really hard thinking about it, all right?



Oh my god. Just, I can’t even BELIEVE you right now. I don’t know how you got tickets to Comic Con, and I’m tempted to ask, but it’s got to be some sort of black magic that I’m not allowed to know about, so I’ll just not put you in that position.

But God, THANK YOU. I could thank you every minute of every day for the rest of my life and it really wouldn’t be enough. Not to mention, Scott would be there right next to me. So seriously, I know you probably have no idea how much this means to me, I think it’s one of the best presents I have ever received.

ALSO, the plushies! They’re the cutest little fuckers I have ever seen (as I desperately cling to my masculinity while I sit here cooing at them). They’re on my bed/bedside table for now, but as soon as I’m moved into my new place, they’re getting some sort of extra special spot, I promise.

In conclusion, you are a perfect, magical human being and I DEMAND to know your birthday so I can reciprocate in a fashion that won’t ever really compare, but might come close.

Okay, moving on to your actual letter now:

My dad was super proud, and, yeah, I think my mom would be, too. My dad actually gave me this fund she started for me for my birthday? It’s enough that I don’t have to worry about paying my way through undergrad. I can enjoy these next few years, just soaking in all the knowledge and experience that Berkeley has to offer.

Derek, of course I share my best news with you, I’ve shared things with you that I haven’t talked to Scott or Lydia or even my dad about. You’re absolutely one of the most important people in my life.

I think that voting absentee is terribly convenient. I think I may just always register absentee. You don’t get a sticker, but you also don’t have to leave your house to go stand in line at the polls. I guess I should’ve known about the ‘working with people you don’t like’ stuff. That was a stupid question; my dad does it every day, it’s probably just more intense where you are.

Man, the more I hear about Laura, the more I think she could’ve been my older sister instead of yours. I LOVE planes. We have an In-N-Out here that’s right by the San Jose International Airport, and Scott and I will drive over, get burgers and things in the drive-through and park in a spot with a view of the runway. It’s one of my favorite things to do. We’re actually probably gonna go later today; Scott always buys me an In-N-Out milkshake around my birthday.

DEREK THE NEW GAME OF THRONES SEASON HAS STARTED and I officially have a new favorite character. You need to hurry your ass up and catch up so you can see the amazing-ness that is Oberyn Martell. Not to mention SHIT WENT DOWN in the second episode. I’m not gonna say anymore, cuz, duh, spoilers, but seriously. Catch up. That’s an order soldier ;).

Also, yes, Robb Stark is God among men. Watch some more episodes and you’ll get a glimpse of his ASSets if you know what I mean.

And, shit.

Wow. Derek, things turned kind of bleak after that. I’m sorry about your parents. I mean yes, my mom died and it was horrible, but I got to say goodbye, you know? I don’t know what it would’ve been like for her to just be one day, all of a sudden, just gone. I got to hear her stories and say goodbye, and have a last moment with her. I know I’ve said this too much, and it probably means nothing anymore, but I’m sorry you went through that.

I think you’re right about us being fated to meet. I’m pretty sure you helped me sort through feelings I’ve never been able to face before and I really appreciate that. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express how much.

I think that it’s awesome that you and Peter are back in touch and that you should absolutely use that to help you get back in touch with Cora. I know you said that Laura became your rock after your parents died, but maybe now, the two of you have healed enough that now, maybe you can be each other’s rock?

All I know is, coming for a pretty small family myself, you have to keep the people you have left close by. And then, you build a new sort of family, kind of the way Scott, Melissa and Lydia are now absolutely a part of mine and my dad’s. I think you need that Derek, you absolutely deserve it.

Okay back to the fun stuff.

Derek, perused is not the same as ‘memorizing word for fucking word’ which I believe is what I said. But I’ll let it go for now. Perfect birthday gifts tend to put me in a generous mood. I’ll even go so far to say that basketball is a decent sport. I’m sure I wouldn’t mind watching if you were playing.

And, oh man, Lydia and Jackson. I’m so glad you said that, because as far as I can tell, Lydia feels the exact same way. They’re totally gonna have a good story for their grandkids; kinda makes you jealous, huh?

I’m glad your little problem was taken care of? (Is it weird that everytime I see the words ‘Peter thing’ I think of Peter Pettigrew instead of your Uncle Peter? I honestly have no idea where that’s coming from.) But, seriously, what kind of response is ‘you definitely weren’t what I was expecting’?

It makes me really happy to see how happy you look in yours. Looks like your guard is down and I can really tell that it was a good night for you. I think I might’ve had a dream about your smile.

Questions!!! I love it. My favorite color is blue. I want to travel to Europe-Venice, Barcelona, Berlin and Amsterdam are all a must, though I wouldn’t say no to Bali. I suppose if I only had a week though, I’d say Venice. Something about a beautiful city that might not be around for much longer makes me anxious to visit as soon as possible. I do sort of have a job? I tend to research every topic under the sun, and more often than not write papers about topics I don’t actually need to be writing about (once I wrote about male circumcision during an Econ test; Finstock actually gave me full points for that one). As a result, I have tons and tons of essays just sitting in my hard drive, so a couple years ago I started taking requests via Craigslist? Someone will tell me what they need a paper written on and depending on how research heavy and how many pages, I charge them anywhere from one hundred to five hundred bucks. And it’s amazing, people actually pay my prices. I know it’s cheating because they’re turning in work they didn’t do, but technically I’M not doing anything wrong. Also, I can’t be picky. My baby (aka my Jeep, Roscoe) isn’t cheap.

My plans for the summer are to relax, hang out with Dad, relax, party with Scott and oh yeah, relax some more. Oh yeah, and GO TO COMIC CON apparently. Honestly, nothing else will ever compare. I thought the summer when I was eleven and dad let Scott and me run around the preserve for the first time was awesome. This is going to be SO MUCH better. Berkeley’s first semester starts on August 21st and I think Freshman orientation is the week before that, so I’ll probably be moving not long after Comic Con. You’re right though, I don’t really want to leave Beacon Hills before I need to.

I took Spanish in high school, but it didn’t really stick? Much to Melissa’s chagrin. Both she and Scott are fluent and spoke it around me to help, but I was hopeless. Lydia thinks I’m too attached to English to ever be able to learn another language. Spanish AND French huh? Too bad you don’t know Italian or I might’ve invited you to Venice with me!

Man this letter is so long already, but I have some questions back for you. Some of its kinda more personal, so feel free to refrain from answering any, seriously. I won’t mind.

What’s your favorite childhood memory? Mine like I said, is running around the preserve with Scott. Don’t laugh, but sometimes we pretended to be tigers or lions or bears.

What was your first car? I drive a Jeep CJ and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. Dad hates the thing, says it’s not safe enough, but I bought it with money I earned myself, and no one will dare take my baby away from me. Have you ever smoked pot? I, uh, partake sometimes. The deputies ‘round here are pretty chill about it, as long as you’re not flaunting it.

Okay, last question, and it’s kind of an important one. I know we’ve been writing letters to one another and it’s been so great, but do you think maybe you’d want something more? Like maybe talking on the phone, if possible or even video chatting? You said the base has computers right? Do they come with cameras? Do you think we could set up a time to talk face to face?

We’d both finally have a voice to our letters.

Think about it okay?



Stiles sends that letter with butterflies in his stomach. He didn’t outright say anything, but he definitely suggested things and alluded to things, and God, what if it was too much? What if Derek just sent Stiles plushies because Derek thought he would like them and not because of--

How did Lydia put it?

Oh yeah, that it was an intimate present.

There’s no way of knowing that’s true.

Just like there’s no way of knowing how Derek is going to respond to his letter. He sent it a week ago, it’s gone, he needs to stop obsessing.

He really should just try and put it out of his mind and concentrate at the task at hand.

Which is prom shopping.

Because prom is less than a month away and Scott asked his help of all people to pick out a good suit so that he could impress Kira and well, Stiles needs a suit too.

So now, he and Scott are in the middle of the Macy’s suit department staring at a shit ton of different suits with absolutely no idea where to start.

“Dude maybe we should’ve asked my dad to come?” Stiles says finally, lifting the sleeve of a bottle green suit and bringing it up to his cheek. Like that’s going to help him any.

Scott’s standing by rows and rows of ties, some skinny, some extra wide, a few extra long, there are actually so many, looking a little scared and wide eyed.

“I asked Danny to come.” Yes Danny, good. Danny will know what to do. “He said he was busy.” No, bad Danny. Scott brushes past Stiles to go to the shirts section. “He’s sending someone to help.”

What does that mean? Stiles turns to follow Scott, and hopefully get some sort of clarification.

“Uh, buddy, elaborate, please?” Scott stops in the middle of the cashmere sweaters, completely bypassing the dress shirts and shrugs.

“I don’t really know what he meant by that.” Scott says finally and goes back to looking at sweaters of all things. Stiles might not know how to pick out a suit or a tie for that matter, but he knows they probably don’t need to be in the sweater section. He makes his way slowly back to the suits, thinking that maybe he should get his suit first, and then find a shirt and tie that match?

“Well, hello there, boys.” Stiles jumps because he knows that voice. It’s very familiar, and very, very pissed. He whips around to see Lydia standing behind him, arm on her hip, and Kira dragging Scott over, looking pissed also, but nowhere near Lydia levels.

Scott looks at Lydia bravely, and shoots her a small smile.

“Hey, Lydia, what’re you doing here?”

Lydia is shooting daggers with her eyes at Scott right now, while Stiles thinks about how Scott is either very, very gutsy, or very stupid. When Lydia Martin is mad, you avoid her gaze. It’s like challenging jungle cat; you meet it’s gaze, it takes it as a challenge and eviscerates you.

“Tell me something Scott,” she says then, all honey sweet with just a bit of an edge to it, “What do you know about Prom shopping?”

Scott wrinkles his brow at her, and Stiles would do just about anything to stop time right then and warn Scott not to answer that question, but it’s like looking at a train wreck. There’s really nothing he can do but watch it all unfold.

“Well, Lydia, you pick out a few suits? And then buy the one that fits and looks good?” His eyebrows straighten then, and his face brightens. “Just like buying jeans!”

Lydia turns to Kira then, and arches an eyebrow.

Kira grins and winks at her. “You can’t even be mad at him, can you?”

Lydia rolls her eyes, “You can’t be mad at the pathetic.”

She turns to the both of them then, and unclenches her fists.

“Okay this is how it goes. When you go prom shopping, boys coordinate with the girl’s dress. Your ties should be the exact same shade as our dress, paired with a white shirt and a black suit. That is the only option. I’ve had my dress for weeks, and Kira and I got hers a couple weeks ago, and we’re both familiar with one another’s.” She turns to Kira then, who nods and shakes her phone in Lydia’s direction. “To keep some semblance of a surprise, I will be helping Scott choose a tie and suit, and Kira’s going with Stiles.” She levels the two of them with a look then, and it shakes Stiles down to his toes. “If you two ever pull a stunt like this again, you’re dead to me.”

She doesn’t even wait for a response, grabbing Scott by the forearm and stalking away to somewhere in the middle of tie-land.

Stiles turns to Kira, who’s smiling sweetly at him.

She starts browsing through the tie racks closest to them, giggling a little. After about a moment, she turns back to him to ask, “Can you imagine your life if you were dating her?”

Stiles will never admit it out loud, but he might have a newfound respect for Aiden.


Stiles gets home later annoyed as all hell and exhausted. Kira might be a worse shopping dictator that even Lydia. It probably had to do with the fact that Lydia seemed to instinctively know what would look good together while Kira had to actually see it on Stiles.

Which, for Stiles, had meant trying on every suit and shirt combination possible. Why are there even different types of white dress shirt? Who needs that many options?

Regardless, he’s tired and spent the last god knows how many hours trying on stiff, starchy foreign clothing so all he wants is a shower, a pizza, and to veg out in front of some mindless TV.

Which, fuck, he won’t even be able to do because AP tests are less than a month away and he needs to do well on them if he wants to keep his spot at Berkeley.

He can take a relaxing shower however, so after calling the pizza place with his order and then calling his dad with the information to pick up the pizza, he dumps his new suit on his bed and jumps in the shower.

The hot water streaming down his back and relaxing his muscles is exactly what he needed and he can feel the tension leaving his body. Soon enough, it’s like all the stiffness from his muscles travel to one place in particular.

He ignores it at first though, and finishes soaping and shampooing, fingers lingering on spots he knows are sensitive. His hands ghost over his nipples, and just under his ribs on his left side and then he strokes the soft skin between his belly button and his navel for a moment, and by the time he’s done, he’s fully hard.

He loosely wraps his hand around his dick then, stroking slowly as he fills his head with fleeting images of blonde hair and broad shoulders and defined pecs, (so he has a Captain America kink, who’s surprised?) not really concentrating on any one thing in particular.

He runs his thumb just under the head of his dick then and speeds up his movements a little as the images in his head change to stubble and slighter, more rounded shoulders and tan forearms. He sees smiling pink lips, and a pointed nose, and thick, dark hair.

His eyes shoot open then, hand freezing on his now even harder dick, because that’s Derek that came to his head, and God he’s a horrible person, Derek is in the army, and is risking his life and here Stiles is, getting off to thoughts of him in the shower?

He looks down at his traitorous dick that hasn’t gone down one bit in his freak out and can’t keep the images of Derek in army fatigues instead of that white shirt from flooding his head. Stiles groans and grabs his dick again, more insistently this time. If he’s going to hell anyways, he might as well enjoy it right?

He strokes harder as the images switch from Derek in fatigues with a smudge of dirt on his cheeks, or on his fore arms or the hollow of his throat to Derek just sweaty and shirtless to Derek in his bed sweaty and shirtless.

He moves his hand back then, to circle around his rim and suddenly he’s picturing Derek touching him there, Derek’s hands around his cock, Derek in the shower with him, backing him against the cool tile and working him over till he’s so hard and close he can’t breathe.

He slides one finger inside himself slowly, the stretch of it driving him crazy before bringing his other hand down to stroke once more and he’s coming all over the shower tiles, knees buckling as he frantically takes the hand off his dick and leans it against the wall to keep his balance.

He rinses off a couple moments later, resolutely not thinking about what just happened as he finishes, turns the shower off and wraps a towel around his waist.

He goes to his room to see the picture of Derek peek out from under a couple papers on his desk and averts his gaze only to see Ghost staring at him from his bed. He can’t help but feel a weird tug in his heart as his stomach rolls in knots. He’s completely into Derek, that much is obvious.

Too bad he's also completely at a loss for what to do about it. 


Chapter Text

The rest of April was spent studying for APs, working towards the playoffs in lacrosse, and oh yeah, thinking about Derek.

It pretty much seemed like that was all he did following his birthday. Study, think about Derek; go to a lacrosse game, wonder what Derek was doing; hang out with friends, freak about what Derek would think of his latest letter.

It wasn’t affecting his studying per say, but it definitely was always in the background of his head. Luckily, having ADHD meant he could think about multiple things at once.

In theory at least.

In reality, what he had was Finstock reaming him out for being distracted during practice on several occasions, and everyone had noticed. Scott had tried to talk to him about what was bothering him but he couldn’t really go into in. No more than he’d gone into it the night of his birthday.

He also hadn’t told anyone about the letter he wrote in reply or what it contained. How many suggestions it contained.

That's something Stiles just isn't going to think about until he absolutely has to.

Which means, until he gets a reply.

So he's going to avoid the whole Derek thing for the foreseeable future.

Instead he studies. AP tests are only a couple weeks away, after all.

He not only reads the required Othello and Hamlet on his Shakespeare Reading List, but also A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night. And yes, maybe he is taking the easy way out by opting to read onlythe comedies, but they were good okay? At the end of it all, he was all but ready to write the next great female manifesto; he was incensed on Viola and Hero and Kat’s behalf. He could have written page after page about Shakespeare’s portrayal of woman vs the expected behavior of Renaissance woman and not even broken a sweat.

Between Shakespeare’s best works (in his opinion at least) and his English teacher’s insistence on reading nearly all of Dickens’ works for class participation credit, Stiles felt more than prepared for his upcoming AP Literature test. There was no way he wasn’t going to receive a perfect five on that test.

AP Physics was a different story entirely.

It doesn’t help that the only reason he took that class to begin with was because of Lydia. She had claimed that she absolutely had to take it, and that she couldn’t possibly deal with the other ‘imbeciles that go to this school with us’ and that she just absolutely needed Stiles to be there with her as a study buddy and lab partner.

He’s got a fucking eighty nine percent in that class. It’s the only thing keeping him from a perfect four-oh his senior year and it’s all Lydia’s fault. She knows that 1) science isn’t his strong suit and 2) he’s incapable of saying no to her. Yet she’d pushed and prodded, and he’d agreed and now he’s scrambling to get his shit together in time to both pass the AP test as well as swing at least an A minus in the course.

What he has been able to do is force Lydia and Danny (who for some reason decided to torture himself for no good reason and voluntarily signed up for AP Physics) to meet with him for a few hours every couple of days and force him to review his material. Not that he wouldn’t do it without them there-it’s just that it’s a hell of a lot easier for him to have someone to turn to the second he gets confused by a concept or practice question.

Luckily, Lydia is a supernatural whiz at Physics and Danny somehow has unending patience when it comes to explaining things to Stiles. Between the two of them, he manages to spend the weeks leading up to the test extremely productively and actually feels pretty good about himself in the days leading up to the test.

Last but not least is AP Human Geography. He and Scott had in part, taken it because it had sounded fairly interesting, but mostly because they heard it was one of the easier classes seniors could take. It was basically a history of humanity’s impact on the earth and the consequences of different actions they’d taken. Their teacher had actually made it really interesting and allowed them to debate the implications of different human actions and discuss what other courses of action should have been taken.

The tests are during the first two weeks of May, and Stiles is lucky enough that he’s got them fairly spread apart. He takes AP Human Geo first, on Tuesday afternoon and then AP Lit that same week, on Friday morning. That gives him the entire weekend to study Physics (one day with Lydia, and then the next day on his own) before that test on Wednesday afternoon.

And then he’s done. Done with tests, done studying. Until actual finals that is.

Which is not for weeks, so it’s time to relax a little.

By some weird coincidence, the weekend after all the AP tests are over is hot. Crazy hot. Too hot for Northern California.

So, naturally, Danny decides that they’re all going to the beach.

Which is easy enough for him, and Scott and the twins and even Kira because they have actual pigments in their skin, which means that when they go in the sun, they tan.

Stiles does not tan.

Instead he burns and it hurts, and then he peels, and that also hurts and at the end of it all, he doesn’t even get a tan out of it.


It’s the fucking worst.

Luckily, Lydia has the same problem (to a slightly lesser degree) and forces the boys (the ones with actual muscles, so thankfully not Stiles) to take along her collapsible canvas canopy that would result in actual shade and as a result, Stiles could probably come out of the trip not looking like a tomato.

This is exactly why he keeps Lydia around.

The seven of them all pile into Danny’s mom’s SUV early Saturday morning and miraculously manage to not lose the canopy (that is precariously tied to the roof of the car) during the trip. They drive down to Santa Cruz, which is further away from Beacon Hills than the beaches in San Francisco, but much warmer.

Plus Santa Cruz has the boardwalk. Which means roller coasters and carnival games and cotton candy and deep fried Twinkies. It's not everyday that you can eat something as horrendously delicious as a deep fried Twinkie.

They set up the canopy at the beach by the boardwalk to begin with, and Scott and Stiles opt to go on a few rides before the the sun gets too hot. Danny and the twins opt to start the day surfing and Lydia and Kira want to go shopping all morning, so they all decide to meet up at the burger place  located between the stores and the rides later to eat the best garlic fries on the West Coast.

They go on the old rickety wooden coaster multiple times because it’s Stiles’s favorite, and even ride the carousel because Scott loves the ring toss that’s a part of the ride. They’ve never been able to get the ring into the clown’s mouth like they’re supposed to, but they never stop trying.

After lunch, Danny, Ethan and Aiden are back in the water while Stiles takes a nap under the canopy and Lydia alternates between sun tanning and laying next to him. Scott and Kira disappear somewhere under the pier and Stiles absolutely never wants to know what they did there.

After about two hours, they drive the short distance over to the Natural Bridges State Park, a state beach with tide pools and a tiny bit of natural rock climbing. Luckily the shadows from the cliffs shade them from the sun and Stiles can go see tide pools with the rest of them.

They spend some time staring at anemones and starfish in the pools and it should be boring but it’s not. Especially not when the tide comes in early, soaking all of them. Lydia’s screech of displeasure at that is something none of them will ever forget.

They lay on the beach after, watching the sunset, drying off and chatting about school and TV shows and their impending futures while watching the pink and golden hues of the sky fade into black.

Their last stop is a Santa Cruz must: Saturn Diner for (honestly delicious) fake chicken burgers and sweet potato fries. Aiden complains about the fact that it’s an all vegetarian diner, but thankfully shuts up when he gets his “fakin’ bacon’” BLT(or FLT as the diner calls it). Even he can’t deny how good it is.

Stiles gets home tired but happy; being able to spend the day with all his friends after months of being too busy putting him in a really good mood.

A mood that only gets better when he walks into the kitchen and sees a letter from Derek on his kitchen table.


Dear Stiles,

I’m so happy you liked the gifts I picked out. The tickets to Comic Con were actually something Peter had been able to get for you. He works in publicity for many different firms and a couple of them happen to be the kind that present at Comic Con. He’s been able to get tickets for as long as I can remember. I sent him a letter around the same time I mentioned to Jackson that I wanted to get you a gift and he came through. I’ve never really wished I could go before; I’m not a fan of huge crowds or lines but I think maybe if I were able to go this year it might not be so bad.

Tell Scott he’s very welcome as well.

I saw the plushies on a website one time when I was browsing on Jackson’s computer and I knew I had to get them. I’m glad you like them as much as I do.

My birthday is on December 25th. It’s a while away but honestly, if I’m still getting letters from you then, that would be more than enough of a gift.

I think Laura would have loved you. You guys would have spent so much time talking about TV shows and actors and actresses and video games, and just things in general that would go completely over my head. She’d especially love your San Jose In-N-Out tradition. That place was definitely a family favorite. It’s been years since I’ve been and I would give my right arm for a four by four right now.

Progress as far as Game of Thrones is concerned has been sort of slow. It’ll probably be a while before I’m even close to being caught up. Sorry. :(

I do like Robb though. I may have to find time just so I can see that scene you’re talking about.

We both do have a way turning things bleak, don’t we? We should work on that.

I don’t think either way is easier; on the one hand, watching someone suffer but getting to say goodbye and on the other, having them be taken away suddenly but not being able to get closure. They’re both terrible prospects.

I sent Peter a thank you letter for the Comic Con tickets and included a letter that I requested he pass on to Cora. Peter wrote back and said he mailed it to her current address, and I don’t know what to think about the fact that it’s been just a little over a month and I haven’t heard from her.

I’m not giving up though. Promise.

You want to watch me play basketball? Well, I want to see you play lacrosse. School is coming to a close soon, isn’t it? Are lacrosse finals coming up? Have they finished already?

Jackson was never one to take long breaks from active duty, but I can tell that he’s absolutely itching to have one and come meet Lydia. He’s even considering applying for a transfer back home.

I didn’t say anything more about your picture because I wasn’t sure how much I should say. You’ve definitely been a feature in my dreams, except I’d rather not say what happens to you in them.

I can’t believe you write papers for money. I hated writing papers in school, I wish I’d known you back then. If you’re smart enough to get into Berkeley, you definitely would have been smart enough to be able to write something I could’ve passed on as mine.

Your plans for the summer sound exactly like what I was expecting. I hope you guys all have an amazing time at Comic Con and at all the other things you have planned.

Languages aren’t for everyone, I suppose. Despite not knowing Italian, I have been to Venice before. It’s lovely. I wouldn’t mind going again with the right company. I’d even learn Italian if asked really nicely.

I don’t mind personal questions from you Stiles. Not at all.

My favorite childhood memory is going to Stinson Beach in San Francisco with my parents. They always let Laura, Cora and me bring a friend along and I have great memories of summer BBQs at the beach. I remember thinking the Point Reyes Lighthouse was the coolest ‘house’ I’d ever seen and I’m pretty sure I wanted to live there as a kid. Laura would always want to race me down the walkway to the Lighthouse, and she used to win for years and years until I turned thirteen and was the same height as her. She stopped challenging me after that.

My first car was a hand-me-down Camaro from my dad. It was old; he’d bought it before I was even born but I loved that thing. I think Peter might still have it in a storage garage somewhere. I helped my dad restore it and put in a new engine the summer before I turned sixteen and it was the best time I’d ever spent with him. It’s also one of my last memories of him before he died.

That’s pretty impressive you managed to buy yourself a car at sixteen. Your paper business must have started earlier (or been more lucrative) than I’d originally thought.

I’ve tried pot before, of course (you can’t live in Berkeley and not), but, I never really enjoyed it? I don’t know what it was, it really just made me insatiably hungry and not much else. Cora, though, smoked on occasion. I wonder if she still does.  

Of course I want more. I’d love to hear your voice or talk to you face to face, even if it is through a computer screen. The base library doesn’t have any cameras, but Jackson’s laptop (which he has been kind enough to let me use far too often) does. I haven’t offered you my email address before because I enjoy our actual paper and pen letters too much, but I’m writing it on the back of this page. Qatar and California have a ten hour time difference, so we would probably need to arrange something either first thing in the morning for you or late evening. Maybe you can send me an email and we can go from there?

I’m looking forward to it,



Stiles is fucking over the moon when he reads Derek’s letter. It’s him talking about his family, his dad and his sister, and just him opening up to Stiles and it’s amazing.

It’s lighter, sweeter, flirtier than any previous letter and it gives him hope.

Especially the part where Derek says he wants to talk face to face.

That gives him butterflies and a little anxiety, but still, hope.

Hope that Derek might like him back, that he might feel the way that Stiles feels, that maybe Stiles’s thoughts about Derek aren’t completely unfounded or ridiculous.

Even if he was a little confused when Derek said You’ve definitely been a feature in my dreams, except I’d rather not say what happens to you in them.

Because, what the fuck does that mean? The only thing he can think of besides Derek dirty dreaming of him, is something horrible like Derek murdering Stiles in his dreams.

Which, yes, is a little disturbing that Stiles would think that, but it’s not his fault. He’s been marathoning Spartacus non stop for the last few days and that show is messy. Not to mention incredibly violent.

Anyways, Stiles is about eighty seven percent sure that Derek’s dreaming positive things. Not violent ones.

And that makes him happy.

And also makes him feel like maybe he should run it by Lydia real quick before he drafts any sort of reply, just to make sure.


The last Saturday in May is Senior Prom, conveniently placed two weeks after AP tests ended and a few weeks before finals and graduation.

The dance is masquerade themed, and since Lydia hadn’t instructed him one way or another as far as a mask is concerned, he’d opted for a masquerade influenced classic Phantom mask. He’d found it at the costume store downtown and since it was plain white and definitely matched his outfit, he figured Lydia couldn’t really fault him for it. Plus she was a huge fan of the musical, so he was hoping she would appreciate the effort.

Especially since there was also a bomb Batman mask that he really wanted to get instead. Lydia better recognize the self control that took.

Stiles is putting the finishing touches on his hair when the doorbell rings. He’s already wearing the classic black suit that Kira had helped him pick out with the skinny red tie she had chosen and had styled his hair the way she had warned him he better. All that’s really left besides putting his shoes on is putting the mask on, but he figures that he can do that right before the dance.

A couple minutes later Scott shows up in his room, dressed in a dark grey tux with a striking royal blue tie, and comes to stand next to Stiles in front of the mirror.

Stiles grins, and lets out a low wolf whistle at the sight, “Damn, don’t we look good?”

Scott bumps shoulders with him and beams. “Of course we do.” He pauses then and his smile drops a little, “But enough preening. We have to leave right now though so we can get to Lydia’s a little early. That way she can’t get mad at us for being late.”

Stiles snorts, “She’s still mad at you for the tux thing, huh?”

Scott grimaces as he grabs Stiles’s tux jacket and tries to drag him out the door. “Yes she is, and it’s really scary.” He draws his lips down in a frown, and Stiles starts to feel a little bad for him. “Plus, I don’t like it when people are mad at me. So can we go now?”

Stiles nods, making a quick detour to his closet so he can grab his nicer black dress shoes and then to his desk to pick up the mask and his keys. He and Scott are driving over to Lydia’s with their parents which is where everyone is meeting up to take pictures and leave in the limo.

“Where’s your mask bro?” he asks Scott then, noticing that he hasn’t got anything on him and there’s no way a mask would fit in any of his tux pockets.

“I told Kira she could pick something out for me. She’s going to bring it to Lydia’s.”

Stiles shakes his head. It’s so like Scott to just do whatever Kira asks him to so he doesn’t have to think about it himself.

They head downstairs and let the Sheriff and Melissa fawn over how their boys are “all grown up” and Melissa actually has tears in her eyes when she tells them how handsome and adult they both look. Stiles and Melissa both drive over to Lydia’s so that the Sheriff and Melissa have a ride home after pictures and Stiles and Scott would still have a way of going home the next morning since they were planning on staying over at Lydia’s again.

The limo is already there when they arrive and Scott turns to him with wide eyes and swears, “Fucking hell, Stiles, are we late? We were supposed to get here at 5:30 right?” He looks around frantically before catching the time on the car stereo. “It’s only 5:15! The limo shouldn’t be here already, right? Stiles, tell me we’re not late.”

He rolls his eyes, pushing Scott out the door and stumbling his way out as well. “Scott, calm down. We’re way early.” He pats his pockets down, making sure that he’s got the prom tickets, his wallet, and his car keys and slams the door shut when he makes sure they’re all there. “Lydia probably made the driver come early so we could take pictures with the limo.”

Scott nods, seemingly reassured but Stiles can tell he’s still nervous given the way he’s bouncing up and down as they make their way to Lydia’s front door.

Kira opens the door in a bright blue dress and Stiles doen’t know much about Prom dresses but she looks beautiful.

Scott seems to think so too, given the way he just stops dead in his tracks and stares.

Stiles leaves them to have their moment, stepping around Kira to go find Lydia. When he does, he stops dead in his tracks.

Lydia is wearing an actual red with black webbing Spiderman mask. Or is it Spider-woman? Either way, t’s shiny, and amazing and has Stiles mentioned how much he really does love Lydia Martin?

“Okay, honey, close your mouth now, before you catch flies.” Lydia says snarkily, but he can hear the fondness in her tone.

“I can’t believe you’re wearing a Spiderman mask,” he says, finally, when words come back to him.

She rolls her eyes, “You’re just lucky it matched my dress.”

Well, all he really sees is that they’re both red, and so he guesses they match? That’s pretty much the extent of his fashion abilities.

Kira and Scott have joined them now, wearing matching royal blue masks that matched Kira’s dress and Scott’s tie perfectly.

“Stiles you look great!” Kira says enthusiastically, “But where’s your mask?”

Oh right. He must’ve left it in the car. He runs back to get it before anyone can say anything and puts it on before he enters the house again.

Lydia nods and him approvingly when she sees it, green eyes sparkling and Stiles cheers internally.

Danny and Ethan show up not long after, both wearing Game of Thrones inspired masks; Danny in a dragon mask and Ethan wearing a direwolf mask. They’re wearing matching light grey tuxedos with Ethan wearing a red tie and Danny wearing a charcoal one. Lydia and Kira coo over their complimentary outfits and even Stiles thinks that their masks are great and Stiles is a little jealous of the obvious theme.

Kira asks about Aiden and Ethan says something about him going to the dance separately with some woman he met at the garage. Stiles is glad, he doesn’t really care to be in a limousine with Aiden anyways.

Ms. Martin herds them all to the stairway then, a huge sweeping thing and perfect for taking pictures. The parents (and Lydia) arrange the six of them in various poses along the staircase, some pictures with masks, some without, as well as individual couple pictures both with and without masks.

He was about ready to walk away when Lydia claimed they needed individual photos.

“No, Lydia, we don’t. There is no need to take individual photos; people can just look at our couple ones. I am done with photos.”

Lydia smiled evilly, side-eying the Sheriff before turning back to him, “That’s where you’re wrong Stiles. We do need individual photos. I need one to send to Jackson, and…” She paused, and Stiles froze. She would not bring this up now, would she? He hasn’t told his dad anything about Derek, or rather, anything regarding his feelings about Derek. But of course she kept going, “You need one to send to Derek.”

Stiles glanced at his father then, who was looking at him like he’d finally gotten the last piece of some sort of puzzled and groaned. They would probably be having a conversation about this in the next couple of days.

He let Lydia manhandle him into the poses she wanted (he did kind of want one to send to Derek after all), stewing internally and vowing to have words with her as soon as they had a moment alone.

When Lydia claimed she was satisfied with all of their photos, Stiles’s cheeks were actually sore at the end of it all, from fake smiling for so damn long. Kira was smiling placidly and cooing over photos with Lydia, and Scott was just happy that Lydia didn’t seem upset with him anymore.


It was almost 7 by the time they got organized enough to leave--Kira and Lydia leaving for a bit to refresh their make-up and re-spray their hair while the boys try to sit as still as possible, attempting not to wrinkle their still perfect suits. Prom technically started at 7:30 and the golf club the dance was being held at was over forty minutes away.

Prom was pretty much everything Stiles had expected it to be. The drank some punch, took even more pictures, danced a little now and again and then Lydia won Prom Queen. Everyone had known she would and as a result no one had even run against her. She and Danny (Prom King and another shoo-in given his unofficial title as General All Around BHHS Sweetheart) did a quick dance to Here’s to the Night by Eve 6 and their whole group left right after.

Aiden (in a fucking Bane mask of all things, and no Stiles isn’t jealous) and his fierce, exotic looking date get caught having sex in the coat closet.

All in all, it was exactly what Stiles expected from a high school dance.

The real party is at Lydia’s afterwards.

By which he means that they have a Sean Connery James Bond marathon.

Well, they attempt to at least.  In reality, they only end up watching Dr. No and then follow up with From Russia With Love.

It’s probably a good thing though because halfway through the first movie Danny and Ethan had disappeared, followed by Scott and Kira twenty minutes into the second one to what Stiles hopes are different Martin guest bedrooms. Lydia had just smirked at them when they claimed to be ‘tired’ and told all four of them that no matter what happened that night, they absolutely had to replace the sheets in the morning and clean the dirty ones.

Lydia tosses Goldfinger at him to put into the DVD player that he’s (not so conveniently) closest to. He doesn’t make a move, waiting instead for the credits of the previous movie to finish and the sound system to go silent before he turns to Lydia with a stern scowl on his face.

She turns to him sleepily, and raises an eyebrow and the expression on his face, “This is about the picture thing, isn’t it?”

He sighs, and slumps down on the sofa so he can’t see her face, “I really wish you hadn’t done that Lydia.” He picks at the fraying hem of his T-shirt (they’d all changed into pajamas once they’d all gotten back to Lydia’s) and looks up at the ceiling. “I haven’t told Dad much about Derek. All he knows is that I’m trying to get into Harris’s good graces by writing to a sergeant in the army. I’m really not ready for him to know any more than that just yet.”

Lydia puts a hand on his arm and tugs a little bit before he angles his head down to look at her through his lashes. “I am sorry about the timing of that? I am. But you have to send a picture of you in your tux to Derek.” Her rueful expression turns slowly into an amused smile, “Make him think all the dirty thoughts I just know you’ve been thinking.”

Stiles can feel his cheeks heat up in a blush as he splutters. “What--I don’t even--how did you know that?”

Lydia winks at him, “I didn’t. You just confirmed it.”

Damn it, she’s good.

He side eyes her then, groaning at the smug as fuck look on her face. “If you were a guy, I’d hit you.”

Lydia shoves him lightly in response, “I could take you.”

Stiles pouts.

That’s probably true.

Not that he’s going to say that out loud.

“I got a reply from him the other day. After Santa Cruz.” Apparently he’s going to completely change the subject instead.

Lydia sits up on her knees on the couch then, and actually punches him in the same arm she shoved earlier. “Stiles! It’s been a week. I know you wrote something heavy in your last letter, you’ve been distracted all month. So spill.”

“Tell me you’re sorry for spilling a secret that wasn’t yours to spill in front of my dad, and I can do you one better.”

She rolls her eyes for what must be the hundredth time that night and recites word for word, “I’m sorry for spilling a secret that wasn’t mine to spill in front of your dad. Now do me one better.”

Stiles decides to accept it. That’s probably the best he’s going to get and bends over the arm of the couch to reach for the overnight backpack he brought with him, pulling out a set of stapled papers.

Lydia eyes them hungrily, and he thinks she probably has an idea of what they are.

“Are those--”

“Our letters? Yup. Now help me overanalyze them.”

The look in Lydia’s eyes when he hands her the letters (like Christmas had come early) is better than any he’d gotten on from her on any of her birthdays.

This time he definitely preens a little bit.

Okay, maybe a lot.

Chapter Text

Once Stiles gave her the letters, he had expected Lydia to roll her eyes, look at him like he was an imbecile, and possibly punch him again when he asked her about Derek’s dreams.

More specifically, if Derek was dreaming about murdering Stiles or, ah, doing other things to him. Sexy time things.

He really expected her to tell him he was being ridiculous and dramatic.

She didn’t.

Instead, she got a faraway, sad look in her eyes before focusing and eyeing him consideringly.

“While I don’t think it’s exactly what you’re thinking,” she’d said finally, noticing the freaked look on Stiles’s face, “I don’t really think you’re that far off?”

Stiles had just gaped at her wordlessly.

She continued, “Think about it, Stiles.” She was eyeing him intensely and quite frankly, making him feel a little afraid of the next words to come out of her mouth.

When she doesn’t say anything, Stiles flaps a hand at her, “Elaborate please?”

Lydia looks at him, and he isn’t sure what expression he’s seeing in her eyes. He thinks it might be pity, but that’s not one he’s seen from her in a very long time.

“Stiles, from what you’ve told me,” she begins slowly, and Stiles wants to pull his hair out and force her to just spit it out already. “Derek doesn’t have much family.”

Stiles nods, “Yes…”

Lydia stares at him, as though willing him wordlessly to get on the same page. “Because Derek’s family is dead.” She says finally, and Stiles cringes because of the sheer bluntness in that statement. “Which means that the majority of people Derek has ever really cared about are dead.”

Oh. Stiles is starting to see where she’s going with this.

Lydia continues though, “And it’s obvious Derek cares about you.” Yeah, he definitely knows where she’s going with this. “So while the whole ‘you dying in his dreams thing’ could possibly be less him murdering you,” (she rolls her eyes here, yes, that was what Stiles had been expecting) “and more Derek being afraid of losing yet another person he cares about. Personally, I don’t blame him.”

That had been last night (this morning?) when they were alone after prom after all the other couples had run off to do couple-y things.

Now, it’s about eight hours later, and Stiles is pulling up into his driveway, right next to his dad’s cruiser.

Which means that his dad is home.

Which means that he’s probably going to want to talk to Stiles about Lydia’s comment last night.

He sighs as he turns the engine off, gritting his teeth as he grabs his pack and makes his way to the front door. Might as well get this over with.

He grits his teeth as he opens the door; he can smell bacon frying and if there’s one thing his dad loves to do during breakfast is chat.

Stiles heads to the kitchen to help out, but mostly to make sure his dad isn’t sneaking any extra bacon.

He sets the table once he gets there and sees that his dad is nearly done with breakfast. He gets out some orange juice and pours a couple mugs of coffee, adding sugar and milk to them before bring them to the table.

It’s not till they’re both seated and eating that his dad starts talking.

“So how was the dance?”

Stiles nods, swallowing quickly to respond, “It was fine. We danced and chatted a bit.” He stops and rolls his eyes dramatically, “Took even more pictures.”

His dad’s eyes sharpen at the word pictures and Stiles waits. He’s not going to bring anything up. That’s all his dad.

“Well,” he sighs, “That sounds about right.”

Stiles holds his breath, wondering what’s coming next.

“So, you, uh, have anything else you need to tell me?” Right, well, he should have expected that.

“Okay, well, you know Derek right?” Stiles starts, not sure how much he really wants to tell his dad. There’s no way he’s going to approve of this.

The Sheriff narrows his eyes, setting his fork down before leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms.

“I know of Derek, yes.”

Stiles sighs. His dad is not going to make this easy for him.

Stiles closes his eyes, “Right, so, I think I’m in love with him?”

He peeks one eye open after thirty seconds of silence. His dad is staring at him with the most blank-faced expression on his face.

“I feel like I should be more surprised than I am.”

Stiles opens his eyes then, shocked and pleasantly surprised to see his dad looking at him with an exasperated but fond expression.


“Let me guess.” He leans forward, leaning his crossed arms on the table, and pins Stiles with an all-too-knowing look. “He’s opinionated and good looking, and he’s impressed you somehow.”

Stiles stares.

“Son, I might be the Sheriff of a tiny town, but I am a Sheriff. Not to mention your father. I know you. You like a challenge and you’re attracted to damaged people. It’s why you and Danny never worked out.” He sighs, “Derek is both of those, I’m guessing.”

Stiles knows he probably looks so confused, but he manages somehow to get his thoughts in order.

“I thought you were going to tell me this is a terrible idea.” He says finally, weakly.

“Well, I don’t think you’re in love with this boy.” Stiles widens his eyes. That was blunt. “I don’t think you know him well enough. You’ve never met this boy, Stiles. How much could you possibly know from a couple of letters?”

Stiles huffs. He wants to cross his arms and snark that it’s been more that ‘a couple’ letters, but he doubts that would go over very well.

His dad continues, “You haven’t spoken to him in person, have you? All you have are the letters, am I right?”

Stiles nods reluctantly, “Yes, and a couple pictures.”

The Sheriff looks surprised. “He sent pictures of himself?”

Stiles nods, “Well, technically only one?” His dad raises an eyebrow. “I actually saw another one before Derek sent me one because the soldier Lydia is writing to is stationed where Derek is and sent Lydia a picture of Derek and his other friends.”  

He looks up to see his dad looking at him with a scrutinizing look on his face. “I suppose you sent him a picture as well?”

Damn it. “Yeah, uh. I did.”

He’s not looking at him, but he can hear his dad rub his face and take a deep breath, blowing it out slowly.

“Well, I can’t say I’m to happy about that, son.”

Stiles winces, “Would it make you feel better if we have plans to video chat soon?”

His dad snorts, “No, son. I really can’t say that makes me feel any better.” Stiles deflates a little, hunching his shoulders. His dad has to approve of Derek. It’s really the only thing he needs in life. “What will make me feel better is if I could catch a glimpse of this kid during your video session.”

Stiles stares at his dad incredulously. “That’s not happening. Not the first time at least.”

The sheriff rolls his eyes, “Whatever you say, son. I do trust your judgment.” He levels Stiles with an assessing look, “I’m just not entirely sure I trust your heart.”


After the chat with his dad, the one that ended on a depressingly somber note, Stiles types in Derek’s email address into a ‘new mail’ window on his computer and stares at it for a good six hours.

Obviously, that’s not all he does. He surfs the internet for random cat videos and plays a couple rounds of Halo in the process.


He always comes back to Derek’s email address.

Derek had said that he liked the letters. It seemed as though he had been somewhat reluctant to move their correspondence to emails, and Stiles disagrees.

Emails are faster. There’s like instant gratification with email--something that regular snail mail just doesn’t possess.

Letters are antiquated right?

They represent past times; times before phones and computers and the fucking Industrial Revolution.

So why is Stiles finding himself with not only a blank email page on his computer but also a blank piece of binder paper in front of him?

Oh yeah, because he’s in fucking love.

And the person he’s in love with likes the letters.

So of fucking course he’s going to do both.



Of fucking course I liked the gifts. Please thank Peter PROFUSELY for me. No matter how much gratitude I express, I assure you it isn’t enough. Ask him if he wants cookies or brownies or literally any other baked good. I will deliver to the very freaking best of my ability.

I don’t even CARE about lines right now. Do you know what exists at comic con? Writers. CREATORS. JOSS FUCKING WHEDON. Not mention, the actors and actresses that I have only dreamt about meeting. Lines are nothing in the face of that.

Your birthday is Christmas day? We were talking/writing back then! Why didn’t you tell me? I would have sent you much more than some silly burnt DVDs and lame homemade fudge. I hope you know I will never forgive you for this. :P

It is my intention to write to you forever Derek Hale (or at least as long as you’ll put up with me), so don’t you worry. I just hope that you don’t tire of my endless babbles about nothing in particular.

Laura and I would have been best friends, obviously. She sounds amazing and I’m glad I remind you of her. I’m glad that I can bring a piece of her back into your life.

DEREK I swear, if I could send you a four by four without it making a huge fucking mess, that would be a thing that you would be experiencing right now. Unfortunately, I fear you will just have to wait until the day you are back on California soil for that particular luxury.

Lacrosse finals are finished. We came in second in West Coast Regionals, so we didn’t do too bad, actually. Finstock was simultaneously shocked and at the same time, yelled at us for not making it to first.

Jackson’s thinking of transferring back home? Have you ever considered that? To re-connect with Cora, maybe, at least for a little while?

Derek, you can’t say something like that without expanding. If I told you my dream, would you tell me yours?

Man, writing papers is so easy for me these days! With the right amount of Red Bull, I can bust one of those out in an hour or two.

I am asking nicely. I think you should learn Italian. I know you have all sorts of free time. ;)

Stinson Beach is awesome! We don’t really go up to the city all that often--Danny and the twins prefer Santa Cruz for the surfing spots, but I can totally see how it would be a great family day. I’ll have to go check out the lighthouse sometimes though, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it.

A vintage Camaro! That sounds amazing. Bet all the girls (and some/a lot of the guys) loved you. I really hope Peter kept it, for your sake.

As I’m sure you know by now, (and maybe we’ve actually video chatted already, I don’t know) but I’m about to write you an email! So that’s about to happen! Stay tuned.



Hi Derek!

So this is new :D. Lydia thought that you might appreciate the attached link? It’s of our lacrosse final--I actually had a decent amount of play time, and you wanted to see me play so...this is probably the best way to make that happen?

I’m down for whatever works for you! If it’s early morning, I’ll probably just stay up all night until we talk. I’d probably be too excited to sleep anyways ;).

So yeah, my info to Skype is on the bottom of this email...and maybe you could email/message/chat me back until we figure out when we’re both online? If I’m at home--my computer’s on and logged in, so seriously, just message me anytime!




Please tell Lydia ‘thank you very much’ because I did very much enjoy that link. Like I’ve said before, I don’t know all that much about lacrosse, but even I can tell that you (and your team, of course) are very good! It was awesome seeing you guys in action!

Unfortunately I’ve got a series of off-base assignments coming up in the next couple weeks--it’ll be a week (two at the most) before I’ll have regular, uninterrupted computer access. So I guess keep some time open for me around then?

Let me know!



Stiles can’t help but preen at Derek’s appreciation for his lacrosse skills. Derek impresses him every day, and Stiles is glad that he was able to do something to impress Derek instead.

Hopefully everything he’s managed to accomplish isn’t immediately lost when he attempts to video chat Derek and ends up making a complete fool of himself when he can’t get out a coherent sentence.

He tries not to dwell on that though, pushing thoughts of video chats and Derek to the back of his mind as he hangs out with his friends, enjoying their company before they all go in their separate directions.

Senior ditch day falls a couple days after prom on a bright and sunny Wednesday, and when Kira brings up the suggestion that they go paintballing, it’s something no one has a problem with.

The teams end up being Danny and the twins against Kira, Scott, Stiles and Lydia.

Danny, Ethan and Aiden get eviscerated. It doesn’t even take more than twenty minutes. Stiles isn’t really surprised (though Aiden seems to be)--they did have the mastermind Lydia on their team after all.

They switch teams every now and again, just to keep things fair, but end up giving up soon after Ethan realizes that whichever team Lydia is on never loses.

After a quick lunch at the Greek deli by the sheriff’s station, they all end up back at Lydia’s for a relaxing evening by the pool.

Scott and Danny play the twins in a quick two-against-two game of water polo while Kira referees, Lydia sunbathes, and Stiles hides his pale skin from the sun.

Well, until Scott shows up suddenly, dripping water and looking at Stiles with a near manic look on his face. “Stiles. The school year is almost over.”

He hears a snort behind him and looks over to see Aiden rolling his eyes, “And you’re just now realizing this, McCall?”

Stiles reaches over to smack Aiden across the back of his head but Ethan gets there first, punching his brother in the abs.

Like that would even hurt. Stupid ab-having douchebags.

Aiden dunks Ethan in retaliation and Stiles doesn’t know if Ethan gets his brother back before Scott grabs his shoulder and forces him to turn around.

“Stiles. Focus. Senior year.” Crap. One word sentences. This means Scott is overly determined about doing something or he’s having an asthma attack.

And Stiles can tell it’s not the latter. “Yes, Scott, I know.”

Scott rolls his eyes. “Stiles, what are we supposed to do in the last month of our senior year?”

The answer hits him like a bolt of lightning and he kind of wants to smack himself for not realizing earlier.

He meets Scott’s wide-eyed gaze with one of his own.

Senior. Fucking. Prank.


Two days before finals, Scott and Stiles are sitting in detention with Finstock, thoroughly chastised but unable to keep huge grins off their faces.

Because just the horrified look on his face when he saw the school indoor pool dyed red with a hundred tampons floating in it?

Literally made the every-Friday-until-the-end-of-the-school-year detention they received so worth it.

And then his face when he realized that all they did was put clean tampons and red Kool-Aid in the pool?

Well, let’s just say Finstock made it very clear that he was happy Scott and Stiles were graduating in a month.


The weekend after finals finish (and the weekend before Stiles’s last week of high school) is the weekend that Derek is supposed to be back at base camp and Stiles is freaking out because their video chat could literally happen at any time.

And okay, he knows logically that because of the time difference and Stiles and Derek’s natural tendencies, it’s going to happen Saturday evening for him (Sunday morning for Derek). They’ve been emailing about it since the first two emails they exchanged earlier that month, though it’s been at least a few days since he’s gotten a reply from Derek. He doesn’t know if that’s just lack of access to a computer or Derek just being busy.

He knows though, that Derek is looking forward to this video chat. He said it multiple emails, and as Danny so logically pointed out, ‘what would anyone gain from him lying to you?’

He knows for sure that he should expect a call from Derek around nine pm California time and knowing Derek, it’s probably not going to happen a minute before or after that. It doesn’t stop him from freaking out the entire day.

He barely eats, illogically scared that Derek will initiate a call while he’s stuffing his face, and no way is he going to let that be Derek’s first impression of him.

He also barely leaves his room, checking every five minutes to see that he is still logged on to Skype and checking his email every ten minutes in case Derek has sent him something.

Besides some stupid emails from the local radio station and one from Berkeley about the upcoming Freshman orientation, he receives nothing.

Which makes sense really. He doesn’t know what he’s expecting. It’s the middle of the night in Qatar, Derek is probably dead asleep.

He spends the time in between checking his emails opening about twenty wikipedia pages, everything from the Assassination of Julius Caesar to the invention of the bicycle (don’t ask him how that trail happened, he has no idea), though he doesn’t retain a single thing he reads.

After his six sprints downstairs for something from the kitchen, he decides to bring the coffee maker, the toaster, a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread up to his room, setting everything up on the top of his bookshelf, a safe space where he won’t be at risk of spilling anything on his laptop.

Of course, then, every time he eats, he runs to the bathroom to make sure he has no stains on his shirt or food stuck in his teeth.

He brushes his teeth three times in the span of two hours before he decides maybe to just not eat anymore.

Finally, around about four o'clock, he calms himself down enough to watch some FRIENDS reruns and google how to crochet.

He really needs something methodical he can do with his hands when he gets too anxious.

And maybe this way he can even make something for his dad, his friends, and (a voice that sounds suspiciously like Lydia says) even Derek.

At about eight thirty, Stiles closes all the windows on his laptop except for Skype, minimizing his email window and pulls out the outfit Lydia told him to wear during the call--a tight red t-shirt that apparently “makes his shoulders look obscene” and an old, worn pair of BHPD sweatpants. She told him that it would make him look both “ridiculously hot and adorably cuddle-able” and that it would probably render Derek speechless.

Stiles doesn’t know how true that is, but he also knows not to question Lydia’s direct orders. Without them, he’d be at a loss for what to wear anyways.

He slides on the sweats (sans boxers, because why bother--the point is for him to be comfortable) and takes the shirt with him to the bathroom so he can wash his face (and hopefully wash away some of his nerves as well) before putting it on.

He’s lounging in his desk chair by eight forty-five, and loses ten straight games of flappy bird because he can’t help looking up at the screen.

He puts his phone down at eight fifty-seven and alternates his gaze between his skype window and the digital clock on the top right corner of his laptop, counting down the minutes in his head.

Nothing happens when the clock clicks to nine o'clock, and Stiles can’t help but bite his lip anxiously.

He thought for sure that Derek would call him at nine on the dot. If anything, he figured that Derek would be likely to call early.

At nine o’ seven, Derek’s username is still in the unbolded ‘offline’ status and Stiles starts really feeling anxious.

Maybe the lack of emails from the last few days is not Derek being busy but something being wrong with Derek. He could be injured, or captured or (and Stiles bites his lip hard enough to draw blood at the thought) dead.

He works himself into a proper frenzy over the next few minutes, convinced that something wrong, that Derek’s hurt and then he has the most startling revelation of all.

No one knows about him.

If Derek were hurt or worse, there’s no one to tell his superiors or his doctors or what’s left of his family that Stiles exists, that Stiles cares about Derek, that he very much needs to know that Derek is okay.

He’s totally in love with Derek Hale.

It’s so clear in that moment, just like he knows he would be destroyed if something happened to his dad, was destroyed for far too long when his mom died.

He loves Derek and that’s not going to change.


Stiles ends up staring at his Skype and email window for the next three hours in somewhat of a daze, hoping that something will change, that Derek will log on, even if its just to tell Stiles he doesn’t want this.

Even if that’s all that happens, Stiles will know that Derek is alive, that he’s just fine, and that’s enough for him. He can live with that.

The more time that passes though, he knows that if Derek were going to let him down easy, he would’ve done it already. He’s had too much heartbreak in his life to be the source of it to someone else.

He’s not sure how he manages it, but he falls asleep on clasped hands in front of his monitor at about one am, and is still in that position when he feels his father shaking him awake not even an hour later.

Stiles avoids his dad’s gaze, pretending he just fell asleep amidst some homework (it’s happened before), and makes like he’s headed to bed.

He can’t help but check his email one more time before he goes to bed though, and is not sure what to expect when the bold ‘From’ of an unread mail message says Jackson Whittemore.



This is going to be brief but I don’t have a lot of time. Derek was hurt in the line of duty three days ago. It’s bad, but he’s alive and was airlifted to a hospital. I don’t actually know where he is. I don’t know when (or if) I’ll be able to get more information but if I hear anything, I will try to pass it on as soon as possible.

I know he was looking forward to today, and I know it had something to do with you. Derek and I exchanged yours and Lydia’s information awhile ago in case the worst happened, and I know he would want you to know this.



The first thing he remembers feeling after reading the email is relief. Relieved that Derek’s alive, relieved that someone knows to contact him, relieved that Jackson cares enough to contact him.

But then, not even a minute later, he’s just angry. Angry at the tears that were apparently falling down his face as he read and reread Jackson’s email. Angry at the Universe for bringing him to Derek (and bringing Derek to him) only to do this. Angry at himself for building this day up and getting his hopes so high that he feels like he’s free falling and not in a good way.

Haven’t they both suffered enough?

This was supposed to be the best week of his life. He was supposed to start it talking to Derek face to face and end it as a high school graduate.

He cries himself to sleep for the first time since his mother died and is angry about that too.


Jackson doesn’t email him again.

No matter how much he reads, how much he looks up veteran’s hospitals both in the US and overseas, Stiles can find absolutely nothing about where Derek could be. About who he could even ask about finding out where Derek could be. There’s no information anywhere.

The week passes by slow and sluggish, like Stiles is in a dream. He tries to act normal around his friends, around his dad, but it doesn’t take long for them to see something’s wrong.

He knows they know something is up.

Stiles spends the night before graduation crying into Lydia’s shoulder, telling her everything while Scott sits next to them, listening intently and looking downright enraged that he can do literally nothing to erase Stiles’s unhappiness.

Lydia waits for him to finish, finish talking, finish crying, finish sniffling after he’s done crying before she grabs his chin and makes him look her straight in the eye.

“That’s it. You’re done now.” She taps his cheek, just under his right eye, and continues. “For the next twenty four hours, you are going to pretend like nothing is wrong. I know this is scary, but you have to remember, at least for the next day, that what you are scared of right now is the lack of information. Derek could be perfectly fine by now, we just don’t know.”

Stiles tries to avert his eyes at that, afraid that the tears are just going to start again, but Lydia doesn’t let him. “You owe this to yourself, to your dad, Stiles. You deserve to be happy tomorrow. It’s what your mom would want, it’s what Derek would want. One day, Stiles, and then I swear I will help you hack into any government database you want, even if we end up incarcerated for it.”

Has Stiles mentioned how much he loves Lydia fucking Martin?

She allows him a single pint of Phish Food before sending him off to sleep, because apparently “guy are more prone to dark circles then girls are and he needs to look perfect tomorrow.”

Graduation day is sunny and perfect. It’s the kind of weather California boasts, perfectly clear skies with just the hint of a cool breeze. In other words, it’s exactly the kind of weather you need when you’re sitting outdoors for a graduation ceremony.

It automatically puts Stiles in a better mood than he’s been in for the last couple days, and he wonders for a fleeting moment if the Universe is trying to make something up to him.

He somehow manages to get through the wait for the ceremony and the lining up process with a genuine smile on his face. He can tells his friends are being extra loud and boisterous in an attempt to prevent him from getting caught up in his thoughts, and he can’t believe he would get so lucky to find people who care about him this much.

The graduation ceremony itself is a breeze.

Stiles and Scott wear obnoxious black Ray-bans the entire time and laugh, cheer, and sigh appropriately during Lydia’s bad ass Valedictorian speech.

They cackle when Aiden takes a selfie with the Principal as he gets handed his diploma and cheer at the top of their lungs first for Danny and then for Lydia as they walk across the stage.

Stiles claps so hard he thinks he’s going to bruise his hands when Scott walks bashfully across the stage, noticing first Kira’s adoring gaze and then Melissa’s proud one.

Stiles’s gaze meets his dad’s as he gets handed his diploma, and can see the unshed tears in the Sheriff’s eyes as he claps and yells along with Melissa and half the deputies from the station. Stiles takes an exaggerated bow before being chased off the stage by Finstock, skipping gleefully down the steps once he manages to escape. He pretends his mom is watching this moment from wherever she is and imagines that she would be crying and clapping and hollering at the top of her lungs for her baby boy.

Stiles yells extra loud for Kira, the last person to cross the stage, and immediately seeks out Lydia and Scott when she joins them in the grass. They throw their hats in the air in the time old tradition, and Kira pulls out contraband party poppers from underneath her gown and they throw those up in the air as well.

Then they take pictures. So. Many. Pictures. Stiles is pretty sure Lydia and Melissa are trying to top how many pictures were taken at Prom. There are family photos and group photos and individual photos. And then there are both individual and group holding-the-diploma photos.

It’s getting dark by the time they finish and the Sheriff waves everyone to the parking lot, telling them to come back to the house to continue the celebration.

Stiles gets home to find his jeep not in the driveway and freaks out until his dad ushers him inside and hands him a stack of papers.

The Sheriff guides him into the living room and sits down next to Melissa before explaining to Stiles what exactly he’s reading. “Your car is at the twins’ shop. In two days its going to have a new engine, transmission, battery and stereo. Aiden gave me a deal.”

Melissa takes advantage of his frozen, speechless state by handing him a sleek white box with an apple logo that can only contain the MacBook he’s been drooling over on his current piece-of-shit laptop for months.

“This is…” Stiles can’t even make sense of what he’s being given right now. “This is way too much.”

He turns to his dad, fully expecting this to be some sort of joke. “Your birthday money isn’t all your mom and I saved.” The Sheriff says, side-eying Melissa before continuing. “And don’t worry, once you hear Scott’s gift, you won’t think you’re getting too much anymore.”

Stiles manages a week giggle when Scott makes his way over to them at the sound of ‘gift’ and moves over on the couch so there’s space for him.

Stiles looks at them puzzled while Melissa tells him, somewhat awkwardly, that she was planning on moving into the Stilinski house at the end of the summer when Stiles leaves for Berkeley. “And I was going give Scott my house as his graduation gift. For him and Kira. If that’s all okay with you, Stiles.” She glances worriedly at the Sheriff when Stiles just stares at her, speechless until she puts a hand on his arm, “We would never dream of doing anything that would make you uncomfortable, and nothing is going to happen until all four,” she looks at Scott then, “agree.”

Stiles has no problems with this plan. He wasn’t planning on coming back to Beacon Hills after college anyways, and he’s only been waiting forever for his Dad and Melissa to make them a family.

He tells them as much, almost immediately gets tackled into a bear hug by Scott, who assures him that if he wants to visit during summers and breaks, that he will not only have a room at the Sheriff's house, but at the McCall one as well.

Yeah, Stiles is pretty good with this situation.


Stiles excuses himself from the festivities later that evening when he gets a call from an unknown number. Logically, he knows that nearly everyone he knows is in the house celebrating with him, but the Berkeley area code and his curiosity compel him to answer the phone.

He steps outside into the still warm weather and takes a moment to take a pleased, deep breath before answering the call.

“This is Stiles.”

He hears a sharp intake of breath, and then, “Hey Stiles. This is Cora Hale.”

Chapter Text

Like so many other things he ends up doing, signing up for a pen pal program is not Derek’s idea.

He didn’t even know something like that existed; much less know how or when to sign up for it. The only reason he actually learns anything about it is because he sees the pamphlets and application forms on Jackson’s bed one evening when the rest of his bunkmates are still messing around in the break room.  

He grabs the pamphlets on a whim, figuring that they are good enough for pre-bedtime reading material. It’s certainly better than re-reading any of the three books he has with him for what would possibly be the hundredth time.

And that’s how Jackson finds him twenty minutes later--eyebrows supposedly hunched over a pamphlet, the application forms on his lap. Of course.

And, of course, the next thing Jackson did was gush about how they could finally have someone other than soldiers to talk to, someone who they didn’t have to see everyday or even ever so what did it matter what they said to them?

It would be cathartic, according to Jackson.

He thinks about it for a bit after everyone else passes out and he has a quiet moment to himself. He’s not really sure how he feels about talking to a perfect stranger, about telling them about his life and about learning about their life in turn.

He did the therapist thing after his parents died, Laura had insisted. And then he did it again after Laura.

This doesn’t have to be like that, he supposes. This could be different, but still helpful. And, like Jackson said, this person would be someone he would never have to see or personally interact with. That could definitely work to his advantage.

He decides to sleep on it.

The next morning though, he wakes up to a partially filled out form on his behalf in Jackson’s tiny chicken scratch. He snorts as he looks it over, taking in the cliché responses of ‘meat and potatoes’, ‘vanilla ice cream’ and the generic list of 70s bands under his favorite music.

He takes a minute after getting dressed to look into his bottom drawer where he keeps his personal items, taking in the Led Zeppelin CDs, the battered copy of American Gods and the worn picture of him and Peter at a Dodgers-Giants game.

He thinks about how long it has been since he’d had his favorite homemade vanilla ice cream and how much he would kill for a well-grilled steak.

And then he just wonders when exactly Jackson became the person that knew him better than anyone else in the world.

He doesn’t end up make any changes to anything Jackson had written down, just adds his age and hometown and on a whim, writes down Remember the Titans as his favorite movie. He saw that one for the first time in a theater with his dad and Peter and it’s probably one of the best memories he has of the three of them together.

He tries not to think about that as he gives Jackson the application to take over to the post room, and then just tries to forget about the whole thing altogether.

After all, you can’t be disappointed when you aren’t expecting anything.


Neither he nor Jackson receive a reply for months after that, and Derek has actually forgotten about the whole thing by the time Boyd drops a thin white envelope onto his lap during dinner one evening.

He’s a little confused at first--Peter only corresponds with him through email, and he hasn’t talked to Cora in years. When he notices the California area code on the outgoing post office, though, he dares to hope that maybe, finally, she’s reaching out.

It’s not Cora. Of course it’s not. It’s some high schooler with a ridiculous name who sounds completely bored with his life. Derek’s not sure what this kid is expecting from him but it sure isn’t going to be any sort of adventure or intrigue. He stuffs the letter harshly back into the envelope after he finishes it and in that moment, honestly doesn’t know if he’s going to ever respond.

He ignores the letter of the next few days as he tries to get over his disappointment. He isn’t sure why he would get his hopes up over Cora when she’s made it pretty clear that she’s moved on. Made it clear what she thinks of him and his decisions.

Derek actually feels a little stupid for even thinking for a second it would be her.

He can’t help but feel like he’s being unfair to the kid, though.


He knows that, most likely, the kid is as lonely as he is and could use someone to talk to.

Too bad for Stiles though, because Derek has no idea how to be that person.

When Jackson gets a letter of his own a little over a week later, he’s downright insufferable. Turns out his pen pal is also a high school senior, but a girl. There’s even a picture included.

She’s gorgeous, even Derek can admit that.

Isaac just scoffs and tells Jackson the picture probably fake.

In a stunning display of maturity, Jackson doesn’t even bother to reply, just disappears into their bunk room. Derek assumes it’s to write the girl back. He tries not to think about any other possibilities.

In the end, it takes a couple weeks for Derek to pull out his letter and even consider replying. He really only does it because he can see how excited Jackson gets over his first letter, and then how pleased he is when his response gets a response.

In the end, it’s Stiles’s I hope you write me back that really gets him putting pen to paper again.

Derek figures he could use something to look forward to.

He keeps his letter short and sweet (well not so much sweet as distantly polite) and sends it the very next day. He mentions to Stiles that he doesn’t need to be a priority and to call him Derek.

He leaves out any talk about his daily life because honestly, its probably better off that Stiles thinks he’s doing more interesting things than he actually is. It’ll probably keep the kid’s interest longer.


Before long, Derek finds himself actually looking forward to letters from Stiles, though he’s nowhere near Jackson’s level of adoration and glee.

They initially bond over small things like junk food and TV shows, and it should be mundane but it’s not. He realizes that after the first letter, Stiles doesn’t really ask him about his day-to-day activities and that makes him happy because Stiles is definitely more intelligent that Derek first assumed.

He and Jackson watch some of the Star Wars movies one Sunday they’re on the base and Derek’s first instinct is to tell Stiles about it. He mentions in the letter how much he was thrown off by how it started and how much he’s actually enjoying it now that he’s gotten back into it.

Stiles’s letter after he mentions that is long. He starts offering to send Derek CDs and DVDs and Derek is overwhelmed by the effort this perfect stranger is willing to go through. The most Peter ever sent him was a couple pairs of socks and the odd book or two.

Even more than that, suddenly Derek is learning about Stiles’s life. Stiles mentions an Ethan, a Danny and a Scott and talks about his latest visit to Berkeley and about his Halloween plans. The distraction from his own life and work is actually more soothing than he could have ever imagined.

As much as Derek loves what he’s reading though, he can’t help but feel a little punched-in-the-gut when he reads the stuff about Berkeley. His dad and Peter both loved Smart Alec’s and he can’t even remember how many times Laura had dragged him to Urban Outfitter’s and made him sit on the couches by the changing rooms while she made several rounds of the store.

A couple days, later, the hurt begins to thaw and it’s replaced by just general warmth when he rereads Stiles’s letter.

Hearing Stiles’s high school antics and talks of applying to college have Derek reminiscing in the best ways. He remembers days on and around the Berkeley campus with his dad, just taking in the ridiculous sights that are college students, nutty professors, and the eccentric locals unique to the area.

He remembers going with Laura and sneaking into college classes and pretending to be just one of the students the summer before Laura actually started college.

He even remembers T-shirt Orgy, and the way that Cora had dragged him in that store despite his flaming red face because she had to find the perfect shirt to give to her best friend at the time.

He writes his replies right away now; telling Stiles (somewhat shamelessly, he thinks) that he would loved some DVDs and CDs from him. He justifies that Stiles did offer, and it’s been so long since he’s watched something without subtitles.

He tells Stiles about his favorite Berkeley haunts, going to so far as to open up to him about Cora. He can’t bring himself to talk about Laura just yet. He means every word when he tells Stiles that he’s proud and impressed that Stiles is applying to Berkeley and basically demands Stiles tell him more about his juvenile delinquent ways.

He sends the letter the morning after he writes it, and for the first time feels a glimmer of anticipation about the future. He wants to hear more about Stiles’s life, about the city he left behind, about the life he left behind.

It hits him like a truck when he thinks about how Stiles is giving him a piece of his old life back.

It hits even harder when he realizes that it doesn’t really bother him.


If Derek thought he was floored before, it doesn’t even come close to how he feels when he receives a package (it’s a huge box, there’s no other word for it) from Stiles.

He opens it to see a letter placed delicately on the top of several wrapped packages in lurid Christmas wrapping paper, with a small post-it on the top: Disclaimer: unwrap prezzies before reading letter.

He follows the order (he is a soldier after all) and unearths tupperware container after container of what looks like different kinds of fudge. Wrapped in between tupperware containers are blank CDs with cramped chicken scrawl on them saying everything from pop-punk 00s to GoT S1. He has no idea what any of that even means, but he really cannot wait to figure it out. The weirdest part though, is when he unwraps two ziploc bags of different sizes with a smaller ziploc of salt and a bottle of vanilla extract inside.

Derek pulls out the letter then, reading it through as fast as he can without missing anything and he’s gotta say, by the end of it he’s reeling. Not even the incredulous look on Jackson's face registers to him right now.

Stiles said a lot in that letter, and there seemed to be a lot that went unsaid as well. Derek knew that Stiles had an undercurrent of melancholy in his letters, and he finally knows why. It doesn’t really surprise him one bit that Stiles is obsessive about his father’s eating habits given what he’s seen of Stiles’s empathy towards him.

He wants to reply, right away, he does. But he stops himself. If he takes some time to sort through everything Stiles has sent him, maybe even get through a couple of the DVDs, he knows that the reply he sends will be much, much better.

He just has to figure out a way now, to give Stiles even a fraction of what’s he’s given to Derek.

In the end, he ends up writing a reply to not only Stiles, but asks Jackson if he can include in Jackson’s latest email, a quick note from him to Lydia.

He’s going to need her help if he’s ever going to be able to give back to Stiles.


Lydia gets back to him alarmingly fast, and with her help, a couple emails sent back and forth, and a little strings pulled by Peter, he's able to put together a pretty decent package back to Stiles. It'll be a while yet before Stiles receives any of it, however, so he concentrates on the letters they exchange in the meantime.

He sends a letter telling Stiles how much he enjoyed his presents, especially the fudge and mentions how, as it turns out, Stiles and Lydia are writing to two soldiers in the same place. He throws in a line about his problems with Cora as a nod to Stiles's comment about his mother and leaves it at that.

He can't wait for Stiles's reply. He even writes it down in the letter.

He spends weeks after that thinking a lot about Cora and his family. He wonders what Cora’s up to now and if she would want to hear from him.

The next letter comes, not in an envelope, but as another huge cardboard box package. Derek and Jackson receive their packages at the same time this time and have the hardest time keeping the unearthed candy and treats from their bunkmates. Isaac, in particular, tries his hardest to steal the rice krispie treats.

After his treats are properly secured and hidden amongst his stuff, Derek settles back in bed with the latest letter, anxious and excited about how long it is and how heavy it feels in his hands. He learns that Stiles plays lacrosse, that his dad is the Sheriff, and that his mom died when Stiles was only eight to dementia.

He nearly stops reading for a bit when Stiles mentions not having recovered from that incident because it hits too close to home. Losing his family, and then Laura, and then abandoning Cora is something he has thought about every day, and everyday he knows that he made bad decisions. He hasn’t recovered from his own demons.

Derek’s relieved when he sees Stiles’s ‘SWITCHING TO A HAPPIER TOPIC’ note and is startled to see that Stiles knows what he looks like. He knows exactly what picture Stiles is talking about and can’t believe Jackson would send that without asking Derek’s permission.

Who is he kidding? Jackson would do exactly that.

Derek’s eyes linger over the words ‘beautiful’ and ‘photogenic’ and he’s overcome with the need for reciprocity.

He needs to know what Stiles looks like too.


Derek stews over what to write back to Stiles for so long that he ends up finishing it at a camp a three day’s walk from base, having taken paper and an envelope with him on his latest assignment. The reply ends up being almost nearly as long as Stiles’s letter. Uncharacteristically, he tells Stiles to ask as many questions as he wants and that he will answer as many as he is able to. He keeps things light at first, talking about Game of Thrones and the coincidence that is Lydia and Jackson, and even a throwaway paragraph where he somewhat baits Stiles by telling him that Derek has no idea what lacrosse entails. He does (Peter played it when he was younger), but he’s more curious to see how Stiles will respond to his feigned ignorance.

Then, to keep with the pattern of give and take they’ve set up in their letters, Derek decides to tell Stiles everything that happened with his family and then subsequently, how things went wrong with Cora.

Derek offers condolences to Stiles about his mother, and tells him sincerely about how glad he is that Stiles had people like Scott and Melissa in his life. He doesn’t lie one bit when he says that having people like that might have prevented things going the way they did between him and Cora.

And then comes sort of a sneaky move on his part. He can either send his letter ahead with some of his troop who are leaving for base early, or he can wait and send it himself (with an added picture of himself) in another week. He decides to go ahead and send the letter, with a request for a picture from Stiles, and tells Stiles that he will send a picture of himself in the next letter.

It’s only fair, even if Stiles doesn’t know it, he has seen what Derek looks like and Derek really can’t bring himself to delay seeing what Stiles looks like now that he’s got that idea in his head. He not only mentions wanting to put a face to Stiles’s letters, but a voice too, and once the letter is gone, waits anxiously to see how Stiles will choose to respond.


Derek spends the next few weeks carrying Stiles’s letter around with him, pulling it out on days where he feels frustrated and reading and re-reading Stiles’s words about his mom, Scott, Melissa, and his dad when he feels especially down. He uses Stiles’s comments of ‘beautiful photogenic friends’ to get him through the harder days, and constantly goes over the fond way Stiles talks about lacrosse to cheer him up. He likes to think about Stiles taking time out of his busy schedule just so he can write a pages long letter to Derek. It’s the first time since Laura that he’s felt like someone has done something for him just because they wanted to.

He doesn’t regret it at all that he told Stiles that he was the closest person Derek had to a friend besides Jackson.

When Derek gets a reply, he almost can’t handle the anticipation of seeing what Stiles looks like. He has nothing to go off of, besides knowing that the kid plays lacrosse on a nationally ranked team, so Derek assumes he has to be somewhat fit. In a strange burst of patience, Derek actually opts to read the letter first, leaving the picture in the envelope while he pulls out the multiple handwritten pages from Stiles.

The first thing he reads is about how Stiles has been accepted into UC Berkeley like he had always wanted, and Derek feels so proud of this passionate stranger that he can’t help but succumb to the huge grin that breaks out across his face.

The next thing he reads is that he, Derek my middle name might as well be antisocial Hale, is fifth on Stiles’s list of ‘people to tell important news to’ and he feels like his heart is about to beat out of his chest. Stiles has so many people around him who love him and care for him that it feels insane that Derek would be a part of Stiles’s inner circle.

Not even the solid block of questions that follow can dampen his mood.

When he sees Stiles’s response to Derek not knowing about lacrosse, how exaggeratedly annoyed Stiles seems to be, Derek actually lets out an amused snort. He peeks back into the envelope and sees that there actually is a stapled set of wikipedia articles that have everything from ‘Origins of Lacrosse’ to ‘Lacrosse list of teams’ to ‘High School Lacrosse’. Derek figures that that’s one quiz he might not mind studying for, especially if it’ll make Stiles happy.

What comes next threatens to bring Derek to tears. Stiles says he is incapable of eloquence, but that is not what he sees written here. His words are written hurriedly, but Derek can read the emotion and sincerity behind every single one. It feels like Stiles knows him and knows his pain and not only sympathizes, but actually feels it too.

He ignores the part about Cora, knowing that he’ll come back to it at a later date and jumps to where Stiles starts talking about the picture he’s sent. He’s glad to see the return of rambly Stiles and wonders if that’s a result of Stiles being nervous about sending a picture.

Derek pulls out the picture then, and can’t help but feel extremely surprised by what he sees.

He’s not sure why he was expecting Stiles to look younger, but he was definitely picturing someone like Cora and her friends back when he saw them last, despite the fact that they were fifteen years old at the time.

Stiles doesn’t look fifteen years old. He doesn’t even look like the seventeen years that he actually is. If Stiles had told him that he was in college already, Derek would have had no time believing it.

He doesn’t have any problem believing that the man (and it’s definitely a man, not a boy) in the picture is Stiles though. He feels like the match of that slightly mischievous face and the snarky words of the letters he’s received fit extremely well. He can see that face darkened in sympathy in his head as easily as he can see it amused and challenging in the photograph.

He stares for probably too long at Stiles’s upturned nose, the bow of his lip, and the planes of his cheekbones before moving to the slope of his neck, the curve of his jaw and the beautiful broadness of his shoulders. He has gotten as far as daydreaming about curling his fingers through Stiles’s soft looking chocolate brown hair before he catches himself.

He’s totally, 100% attracted to Stiles.