Derek loves his daughter. He loves his daughter so much, in fact, that he agreed to take her to a convention of her favorite TV show to see her favorite actors even though he knows absolutely nothing about the show or who the actors are. But, he didn’t want her to go alone (she is only 13), and there was no way he was going to let her go alone seeing as it was in another state.
Derek’s sister had volunteered to take Lia for him because she at least knew who the actors were and wouldn’t mind seeing their behinds up close and in person, but Derek declined. He knew Laura wouldn’t really pay attention to Lia and would get distracted by some guy and let Lia wander off by herself.
Besides, he thought it would be nice to have a father-daughter trip just the two of them. They could go to the convention and then maybe do a little sightseeing in… Dallas, Texas.
Hmmm, he’s sure Dallas has… something else to do. He’ll look it up.
When he told his daughter and gave her the tickets, he felt on top of the world. She was so incredibly happy, and he was so pleased he could do this for her. It might be silly to some, but knowing he could help his daughter have that much joy for something she loved was worth the money it would cost to go on the trip.
Now that he’s here at the con with hundreds of other screaming, crying, giddy fangirls, he’s trying to remember that. He tries to remember that when he pulls out his wallet several more times to buy memorabilia that she stares at longingly and photo ops and autographs she really wants to have.
Derek bought a ticket for himself so that he could be with Lia, but other than making sure she is okay and seeing her excitement, he could care less about actually attending any parts of the convention or seeing the actors.
Which is why he is currently in the lounge/bar of the hotel, taking a much-needed break from the noise and having a drink (non-alcoholic since the day is not over) while Lia waits in line with some friends she made to get a picture with someone from the show.
He’s scrolling through emails on his phone, drink half-empty, when someone comes to sit down at the bar next to him. His gaze travels briefly over to the man, and he notices he looks a bit stressed, but he’s casually dressed and incredibly attractive. The man waves the bartender over, orders an iced latte with a double shot of espresso, and slumps over on the stool his head resting on his arms on the counter.
“Long day?” Derek asks, a small smile playing on his lips. He recognizes the look of exhaustion on the other man. The only reason Derek hasn’t slumped over himself is because of the early morning workout and venti cup of coffee he had a few hours earlier before the convention started.
The other man huffs, and he tilts his head to the side to face Derek. “You could say that,” he says with a smile. The bartender sets his drink down in front of him, and the man sits up straight, muttering a thank you and sliding the server some cash. He lifts the cup up towards Derek before taking a few big gulps.
Derek can’t suppress the smirk at the ridiculous gesture, but he makes sure not to roll his eyes. Now that he has a better view of him, the guy is very handsome and is almost exactly Derek’s type. Derek can’t say he’s really had much of a dating life since being a single father, but he’s begged Laura or his friend Erica to babysit a few times every few months or so, so that he can go out for a drink. He’s never hooked up with anyone; there’s no way he’d bring anyone back to his house, but he has drunkenly made out with a few guys over the years, enough to know that the broad shoulders, lean torso, long fingers, and cupid’s bow lips on the man next to him are just what he likes.
After the man releases a satisfying sigh after downing half of his drink, Derek chuckles a little and asks, “Feel better?”
The man nods. “Much. I woke up late and didn’t have time for my usual coffee, so I’ve been dragging most of the morning. First break I’ve had, so I needed something.”
Derek nods in understanding. “They do tend to jam pack the schedule at these things. There’s not even enough time to go to the bathroom, let alone eat.”
The other man gets an odd look on his face for a brief moment before it resolves to being neutral. “So, you’re here for the convention?” he asks, voice steady.
Derek thinks the man is being a little odd, but maybe it’s how he acts around strangers? “Yeah, I brought my daughter. She’s in line for a photo with some friends.”
The man narrows his eyes slightly at Derek. “Do you watch the show with your daughter?”
At the question, Derek winces slightly. He knows he probably should, more father-daughter bonding he’s missing out on, but he’s never taken an interest in the show. It’s more something Lia watches with Laura than him. Maybe he should have let Laura bring her instead.
“Uh, no. I’ve never seen it. Although, my daughter tells me all about it,” he replies with a small laugh.
The critical face the man had earlier fades, and he smiles. “You’re a good dad to bring her. I’m sure she will love you forever for it.”
“I’ll have you remind her of that in a few years when she’s a teenager and slamming doors in my face yelling at me that she hates me.”
The man throws his head back and laughs, and ever so subtly (although not subtle enough that Derek doesn’t notice), he scoots his chair closer to Derek. “I’m Stiles,” he says, holding his hand out for Derek.
“Derek,” he replies, shaking Stiles’s hand. “Nice to meet you.”
“Likewise.” They both grin and stare at each other for a beat longer than they should but don’t comment on it.
“Is your son or daughter obsessed with the show, too?” Derek asks.
Stiles grimaces slightly, “Oh, no I don’t have any kids. No… I, umm…”
“Oh, so, you’re the one that’s a big fan then,” Derek says teasingly.
Stiles laughs. “Um, yeah, you could say that.” Stiles’s phone buzzes in his pocket, and when he fishes it out to look at it, he frowns.
“Have to go?” Derek guesses, figuring it was time he went back to join his daughter anyway.
“Yeah, unfortunately.” He sets his phone on the counter and looks back at Derek. “I’d love to keep talking with you, though. Would you be free for a drink later tonight maybe? Unless you have plans?”
As badly as Derek wants to say yes, he’s there with Lia, and it wouldn’t be fair to her to leave her while he chatted up some guy he met in a hotel lounge. “I’m here with my daughter, and I wouldn’t want to leave her alone in the room.”
The disappointment washes over Stiles’s face. “Right, of course. I understand.”
“But, uh, if you wouldn’t mind a 13-year-old, you’re welcome to join us for dinner?” Derek adds quickly. He hopes Stiles will be okay with it. As much as he might want to get to know Stiles better, Derek’s life includes his daughter, and if Stiles can’t handle that now, there’s no point in pursuing anything with him.
Luckily, Stiles’s face brightens. “I would love to join you and meet a fellow fan,” he says with a wink.
He stands from his seat, stuffs his phone in his pocket, and pulls out a pen. He gets a hold of Derek’s hand and starts writing numbers on Derek’s palm, then his name and a heart.
“Text me the place, and I’ll meet you at the restaurant. I should be free after about 7pm, but I might be a little late depending,” Stiles says as he finishes writing his number and putting his pen back in his pocket.
“Okay, I’ll… yes, I’ll do that,” Derek says, feeling his cheeks heat.
Stiles grins. “I’ll see you later, Derek.” He gives him another wink and then disappears from the lounge.
Derek stupidly grins down at his palm for a moment before pulling himself together and inputting the number in his phone so he can wash it off. The last thing he needs is to have Lia seeing some random person’s phone number on his hand with a heart. She’d tease and question him just as bad as Laura would; in fact, it’s probably where she gets it.
The rest of the day is spent waiting in line with Lia for her to get a good seat for a panel or for an autograph. He ends up missing most of the panels that day himself because he goes out to get them something to eat or volunteers to wait in line to buy something for Lia while she goes to the panel. He knows he’s spoiling her more than he should, but he can’t seem to say no to her.
He occupies himself in line though by texting with Stiles. He’s sometimes slow to respond, which Derek figures is because he’s distracted by the panel or the various convention events he’s attending, but when Stiles does get a free moment, the onslaught of texts from him is kind of overwhelming.
Stiles is funny and teasing though and flirty, and some of what Stiles texts him makes him blush slightly. He hopes no one around him notices it. The more they text throughout the day, the more Derek is glad he invited Stiles to dinner. The one thing he’s worried about is how Lia will feel about the invitation.
With them running from event to event and line to line, he hasn’t really had time to tell Lia that he’s asked someone else to join them for dinner. So when the convention is finally done for the day and they are back in their hotel room getting changed and resting before dinner, he finally has his chance to break the news.
“Did you have fun today?” Derek asks. He rummages through his bag for the nicest shirt he can find. The place they are going to for dinner isn’t fancy, but he wants to look nice for Stiles.
“It was awesome!” Lia shouts, bouncing up and down on her bed. “Isaac is so cute in person,” she adds, her eyes going dreamy.
Derek frowns, imagining how she’ll be in a few more years when she’s mooning over one of her classmates instead of a celebrity.
“You’re still okay with going to the burger place we looked up, right?”
Lia nods, reaching for the TV remote on the nightstand to turn it on.
“Hey, uh, before you turn on the TV, I need to tell you something,” Derek says, moving around his bed to sit on the end of it across from Lia.
She looks up at him, brows furrowed, curious. “What is it? Is it something bad?” Her voice dips into one of concern mixed with fear.
“Oh, no, honey,” Derek says, placing a hand on her knee. “Nothing like that, I just, um. Well, I might have met someone earlier today, and I invited them to join us for dinner. If that’s okay with you?”
Lia’s eyes narrow. “A boy or a girl?”
Derek chuckles, remembering having that conversation with her several months ago. “A boy. He’s very nice, and he’s excited to meet you.” It’s something Stiles texted him earlier, and he’s grateful Stiles seems so open about meeting Derek’s daughter so early on, especially if this ends up going anywhere.
“Do you like him?”
Man, she doesn’t pull any punches. “Well I only just met him today, but I like him enough to want to get to know him better,” Derek replies. He thinks he might like Stiles more than that, or at least the potential is there, but he’d rather not get his hopes up or admit to something like that to Lia when it could end up disastrous and could affect Lia negatively in some way.
Seemingly accepting of his answer, Lia nods and sits back slightly. “Okay.”
“Okay? So, it’s alright if he joins us for dinner?”
Lia just nods again and goes back to turning on the TV and flipping through the channels.
Derek sighs, accepting it and not wanting to push her. She’s always been odd when meeting other adults, especially ones that are romantically interested in him. It’s why he hasn’t dated much in the last several years.
He sends Stiles a text, letting him know he told Lia and that she seemed okay with him joining, something Stiles insisted Derek double check before he met them. He receives a smiley face and a thumbs up emoji and a reminder that Stiles will be a little late but will be there as soon as he can.
He sets his phone down and goes back to sifting through his suitcase for the one pair of nice jeans he’s positive he packed.
They’re seated in the restaurant, and Derek is decidedly nervous. If Lia doesn’t like him, it’s not going to go well, and he will have to say goodbye to Stiles before things even start. Lia will always come first in his life, and there’s no way he’d choose to date someone she doesn’t get along with.
He knew Stiles was going to be late, so he orders them a sampler appetizer of fried things: pickles, green beans, carrots, onion strings, and fries (Texas sure does like fried things). After the third time of checking his phone and looking up to see Lia glaring at him, he grabs a few pickles and shoves them in his mouth. He asks Lia about the friends she’s met and her favorite parts of the con and lets her voice and excited stories distract him from his nerves.
She’s in the middle of one of her stories when she stops, her mouth hanging open and her eyes wide in shock.
“What? Honey, what’s wrong?” Derek asks, worried. His phone buzzes, and a quick glance down he sees it’s a text from Stiles letting him know he’s here. He’d reply, but he’s more concerned about his daughter at the moment.
“Lia, are you okay? Are you choking?”
She shakes her head, her eyes still wide. She snaps her mouth shut, and she swallows.
“Do we need to leave? Say something,” Derek says, a hand on her arm to break her from whatever trance she seems to be in.
“It’s him,” she mutters, eyes glued at someone behind Derek. Derek turns to look, but Lia practically jumps across the table to pull his face back to hers so he doesn’t look. “Don’t look, Dad!” she hisses.
“Lia, I don’t--”
“Shhh!! Oh my god, don’t look. I can’t believe he’s here!” She’s practically whispering now, ducking low down in her seat in the booth.”
“Who?” Derek whispers, matching her stance by crouching slightly over the table. He feels silly, but there must be some reason his daughter is acting like this and he’s willing to oblige.
“It’s Dylan from the show!” Lia says, excitedly. Her eyes go wide again. “Oh my god, he’s coming this way. Dad! Act normal!” She quickly sits up, and Derek follows suit, biting his lip to keep from grinning at how starstruck his daughter is acting. She’s seen all these actors earlier today at the convention, and she didn’t act this way then. Maybe seeing them some place normal is throwing her off.
“Dylan’s the character, right?” Derek asks, proud that he knows at least that much about the show. He’s mostly paid attention to the summaries his daughter and Laura give him.
She nods slightly, her eyes bouncing from the plate of food in front of them to the man “Dylan,” who is coming closer. She starts to say, “He’s played by--” but stops, her mouth hanging open and staring at the man standing beside their table.
Derek follows her gaze and smiles. “Stiles! You found us.” He goes to move out of the booth, but Stiles waves him over and scooches into the booth next to Derek.
“I did,” Stiles says with a smile to Derek, giving Derek’s knee a small squeeze under the table. “And you must be Lia. Hi, I’m Stiles,” he says and holds out his hand.
Lia, still shellshocked, stares down at the hand in front of her and then up at Stiles.
“Lia,” Derek says, “Don’t be rude. This is the person I met today that I told you would be joining us.” Geez, this is already turning into a disaster, and he’s regretting ever thinking this would work out.
She snaps out of it briefly to shake Stiles’s hand so it’s no longer awkwardly outstretched between them, and she turns piercing eyes to Derek.
“Dad, you didn’t tell me the guy you liked was Stiles Stilinski!” At Derek’s confused expression, she adds, “He plays Dylan! On the show!”
Derek’s eyes widen, and he turns to Stiles, who looks rather sheepish, scratching at a spot on the table.
“Um, yeah, hi. I probably should’ve mentioned that,” Stiles says, rubbing the back of his neck. “Surprise?”
“So, you’re not just a fan of the show?” Derek asks with a frown.
“Well, I am in that I’m on it and I like to keep my job?” Stiles says with a wince. Derek, though, is still frowning, and Stiles clears his throat. “I’m sorry. It was nice not being recognized, and you were kind and very attractive, but ummm…. Maybe I should…. I’m just going to go.” He thumbs over his shoulder and starts to move out of the booth.
“No!” Lia shouts, hand on Stiles’s to keep him from moving. “Just give him a minute; he’ll be fine,” she says, looking over at Derek. “Come on,” she says, scrambling out of the booth and pulling Stiles’s hand to get him to join her. “Dad, we’re going to order our food; we’ll be back.”
Stiles stands at the table, hesitant, but Lia is quite insistent, yanking on Stiles’s hand to follow her to the counter. He finally relents and trails behind Lia, looking back at Derek with concern.
While they order, Derek replays their conversation at the hotel and the texts they’ve exchanged throughout the day in this new light. Stiles never exactly lied to him about being an actor or his job, but he did avoid the subject. Derek will admit that he’s a little hurt at Stiles’s omission, but he looks back behind him at Stiles and Lia in line to see them already getting along, Lia giggling as Stiles tells her some story, his hand gestures large and dramatic.
He knows Stiles had his reasons for keeping his career to himself, and seeing as he knew Derek’s daughter was a huge fan, it wasn’t something that he had planned to keep secret for long; there’s no way he could have.
By the time Stiles and Lia return with their baskets of food and a third for Derek, Derek is more than okay to have Stiles sitting next to him, a warm line of heat along his side.
“You doing okay?” Stiles whispers to him.
Derek nods. “Yeah, I am.”
“I really am sorry; I know that--” Stiles starts, but Derek cuts him off with a shake of his head and a hand on his knee.
“It’s alright. Promise.”
Stiles looks relieved, and he smiles.
“See, told you he needed a minute,” Lia says with a smirk.
Derek mock glares at her. “Okay, you. Go back to eating your food.”
She sticks her tongue out at him, and he throws a fry at her, chuckling when she looks so offended by it. Stiles full out laughs at the exchange.
“Man, I like you already,” Stiles says to her. “You and Lydia would get along so well.”
Lia’s eyes widen. “Lydia Martin?!”
Chuckling, Stiles bobs his head. “That’s the one. Maybe tomorrow I can sneak y’all into the green room, and you can meet her. And whoever else is in there.”
“Isaac?!” she asks, so hopeful.
Stiles smirks at Derek sideways and turns back to Lia. “Maybe. I’ll see what I can do.”
Satisfied with that answer, Lia goes back to her food.
The rest of the dinner goes without a hitch: Stiles tells them some hilarious behind the scenes stories, which Lia soaks up like a sponge, and Derek tells some embarrassing ones of Lia’s childhood, which Lia groans at and buries her face in her arms. The whole time Stiles is pressed against Derek, and every once in awhile he’ll rest his hand on Derek’s knee and leave it there for a few moments before he uses it for some gesture to emphasize his story.
Derek can’t say that he minds, and he finds himself resting his own hand on Stiles’s leg, absently rubbing his thumb along the outer seam of Stiles’s jeans.
After they finish their meals and decide to go around the corner for some frozen yogurt, Lia excuses herself to use the restroom.
As soon as she’s out of sight, Stiles grabs Derek’s hand that’s been on his leg. “You know,” Stiles says, voice low, “the more you keep rubbing my leg, the more difficult it is for me to remain calm in front of your daughter.”
Derek grins and leans closer to Stiles to whisper in his ear, “Maybe I wanted to see how long you could handle it.”
Stiles groans, leaning his head back against the booth. “You’re going to be the death of me, I just know it.”
Derek gives him his most innocent smile. Stiles goes to say something, but Lia appears next to them, so he stops himself.
“Ready?” Lia asks, and both Derek and Stiles nod, shuffling out of the booth and out of the restaurant over to the froyo place across the way.
Dessert goes just as well as dinner. Derek can see that Stiles and Lia get along, especially once her shock and being starstruck had faded. He’s subtle, but he still keeps Derek engaged in the conversation too and continues to flirt and touch when Lia isn’t looking. They end up walking out of the froyo place holding hands, and Derek is far happier about that then he feels he should be.
There’s a car pulled up a few feet away waiting for Stiles, and he tells Lia goodbye as she climbs into the backseat of their rental and tells her he’ll try to work out a meeting with Isaac for her. She thanks him and waves when Derek shuts the door, leaving Stiles and Derek alone outside of it.
“I had fun. Thanks for letting me tag along,” Stiles says.
“Me too. I’m glad you could come.” Derek moves to the back of the car, pulling Stiles along with him. He’s sure his daughter is spying on them, probably texting Laura a play-by-play of it, but he’d rather pretend he’s trying to be private.
“Maybe we can go out again tomorrow night?”
“I’d like that.”
Stiles smiles. “Good. Well, I better go. Early morning and all that.”
“Right, yeah, of course. I don’t want to keep you.”
Stiles bites his lip, as he takes a step back, like he’s walking away, and Derek is slightly disappointed by that. But then, he suddenly has his arms full of Stiles, and Stiles’s lips are pressed against his. It takes a moment for Derek to realize what’s happened, but he gets with the program and kisses Stiles back.
It’s chaste and over quickly (something else Derek is disappointed about), but it makes both Stiles and Derek grin at each other like idiots.
“Thanks again for tonight. I’ll text you,” Stiles says. He kisses Derek on the cheek and walks away over to his car and slips in. Derek stands there a moment, watching it drive off, before he collects himself and gets into his own car.
The drive back to the hotel is mostly silent, Lia clearly tired from the day’s events, but when they are waiting for the elevator to take them up to their room, Lia breaks her silence.
“I like him, Dad.” Then she adds, “And not just because he’s famous and on my favorite TV show. He’s nice. And funny. And he makes you smile. I like him.”
Derek smiles, eyes slightly wet. He pulls Lia in to his side and kisses the top of her head.
“I like him, too.”