Having one of the most recognisable faces on the planet is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because Stiles Stilinski, internet mega celebrity, rarely has to ask for a single thing, just a glance and a nod of the head is enough to bring anything or anyone to him. A curse because there is one thing he craves that will never be allowed him - privacy. That is why Halloween is his number one, favourite, day of the year.
"How's that feel?" Asks Erica as she fits the cowl of the Batman costume over Stiles' head.
"That's good", he replies, shaking his head from side to side a little to cement the fit. He reaches across to the vanity, picks up the cat ear headband and gently places it on her head snuggling it into her lustrous curls.
"Ready?" He queries.
"As I'll ever be", she smiles.
It's not that he doesn't look like himself with half his face hidden, the bodysuit doing nothing to hide his lean frame. It's that on this one day, on this night, people don't expect to see him mingling amongst the throngs of holiday revellers, so they don't and he gets this one night a year to pretend that he's normal, that he can just have a casual conversation with a stranger.
This year they happen to be in San Francisco, Stiles has attended a fundraiser thrown by one of the tech glitterati. His blog covering the event has been full of the usual pithy dissection of the couture worn, both successful and tragic. That's the thing about it, he can be a bitch about an ill-chosen dress but when someone gets it right, he can wax lyrical for paragraphs. It turns out that Stiles is not only good with words verbally, he is exceptionally good at the written word as well.
What had started in high school as a tumblr devoted to Lydia Martin's outfits has turned into a global multimedia platform on which an endorsement from Stiles can make a career and a critical word, end one. Much to his surprise, the self-confessed 'dork in plaid' has grown up to become one of the most influential faces in fashion.
He has to lay his success solely at Lydia's door. When she had found out about his blog, after a rather unpleasant conversation, she had taken the time to explain her choices and gradually, under her tutelage, Stiles had honed his 'eye'. And what an eye it is. Stiles innately understands the human body, how it fits together, what flatters and what distracts and most of all, what can be done to make it better - he's never wrong. Six months after he broadened his remit to include major celebrity events, a succinct but sarcastic comment on his Instagram feed went viral, gaining a million and a half views and it never really slowed down from there.
When he realises he is going to be in San Fran a few days before Halloween, he gets Erica to extend their stay. It's not a problem, the tech billionaire comping their accommodation owns the hotel. Erica also adds two things to the extensive agreement between Stiles and Mr dot.com. Stiles calls this kind of thing the M & Ms list.
The two extra items read thus:
One Batman and one Catwoman costume, 60s Adam West era.
Because Stiles is nothing if not a traditionalist in his pop culture tastes.
The techy guy has come good because on their first day in the city, the head of the costume department from a major Hollywood studio came and measured them for their outfits. Stiles is impressed, usually he orders something online at the last minute; these are almost works of art. Stiles' costume looks exactly right for the period but it's made from the latest hi-tech materials and Stiles is glad that Erica nags him constantly about working out. Erica is swathed in the same figure hugging fabric except hers is sparkling with tiny, tiny embedded crystals; she looks exactly like Julie Newmar with blonde hair.
From the minute they step outside the hotel suite Stiles is in anonymous mode. He loves this, the freedom to be himself, the ability to have an opinion and it not matter, not be reposted, retweeted and endlessly discussed. On nights like these, Stiles usually reverts to how he was the last time people didn't care who he was. In other words, a 19 year old student big on snark but short on confidence and experience.
In the first bar, they get talking to a bunch of college seniors dressed as various Guardians of the Galaxy, a lively discussion around the various Batman eras and several rounds of shots ensue. Stiles laughs, gets bested in an argument and quietly pays the tab for the whole group before leaving. He has to pull Erica away from the Chris Pratt lookalike whose tonsils she is trying to extract orally but she goes after a little tussle, having obtained her trophy: a phone number. For Stiles this night is all about engaging with people, for Erica it's all about 'engaging' with people.
The next couple of places are a little disappointing, rammed solid and too loud for all but shouty conversation. Stiles doesn't want to pick up or be picked up by somebody just for a quick fumble. He can do that any day, he can probably do it with names that would make the patrons of these bars gasp. He wants honest to God discussion, an unbiased exchange of views and he wants to hear someone else's opinion of a subject uncoloured by what he may think about it. What he's hoping to find is someone who vehemently disagrees with him.
He nods his head at the door and mouths to Erica, "let's get out of here".
Once outside, he breathes deeply of the fresh air, waiting for Erica to catch up.
"Shall we find somewhere a little off the beaten track?"
Erica agrees and they start to wander through the less busy side streets. After a pint in an Irish pub where, to be honest, the customers are too drunk for anything more cerebrally taxing than a good singalong, they hit what appears to be more of a residential district. Erica's using an app on her phone to try and guide them back to the party zone but Stiles spots what looks like a neighbourhood bar by a couple of shops on the corner of the next block.
"Let's just stop in here and regroup"' he begs.
Unlike the other establishments they've visited, this bar, which appears to be called The Full Moon, is not festooned with orange and black decorations. In fact there's not much in the way of decoration at all. There are a few pictures scattered about which are generally of moonlit landscapes and a wall full of animal photos. Stiles notes that they all seem to be of wolves. Above the bar dangles one solitary flying bat.
There aren't many customers in here and none of them are in costume. There are a few groups tucked into booths and a couple of solitary drinkers on stools up at the bar. Stiles drops onto a stool in front of the dangly bat and tries to engage the barmaid's attention, which you think would be easy under the circumstances. She's leaning on the end of the bar filing her nails with exquisite care. She, at least, has made a token effort and is wearing a pair of ears similar to Erica's except hers are dog-like and some comedy fangs, she has bright yellow contact lenses.
"Hey!" yells Stiles unnecessarily over the rather muted music coming from the house speakers and smiles at her when she looks up.
He points at the solitary decoration and then himself, "Bat. Batman." And grins winningly at her.
She returns his overture with an unimpressed glare and tips her head around to yell in the back, "Derek. Customer!" She goes back to filing her nails.
A few seconds later a man built like an Olympian emerges, he looks around, spots Stiles and Erica and asks in a none too friendly tone, "What can I get you?"
"I'll have a bottle of whatever beer you recommend and my feline friend here will have a JD and coke."
The man glares a little at Stiles, it's obviously a family thing as the resemblance to the wolf girl at the end of the bar is striking but he turns to mix Erica's drink while Stiles unconsciously notes that this family has excellent genes. The glaring is not the only similarity as this man is also wearing an approximation of a wolf face, the difference being his contacts, which are red and the ears which are of the Mr Spock latex type with tufts of fur sprouting from them. For all their seeming ambivalence about the holiday the prosthetics are remarkably well done. Stiles knows this, he has an eye.
The barman, who Stiles has mentally decided to name Mr Bitey owing to his shiny plastic teeth and the fact that Stiles would very much like to have them bite him, slams their drinks on the counter.
"That'll be ten dollars fifty", he lisps slightly through the teeth. Stiles cocks an eyebrow at him which possibly goes unnoticed underneath the Batman cowl.
"Tabs for regular customers only"' he growls back at Stiles.
Stiles is starting to be really pleased at the serendipity of falling into this unknown bar. He rarely finds someone who is unimpressed with him at first meeting and continues to remain unimpressed. This is the kind of thing he is looking for, he takes on challenges like a champ and tonight his challenge is to get Mr Bitey smiling or even laughing.
"How do you know we won't become regular customers?" he enquires brightly.
"Our customers tend to be a certain kind of person", is the response and before Stiles can parse that the door flings open and another large man rushes in.
"Sorry, I'm late, crowds..." he offers.
The wolf girl looks up at him and lifts the flap on the bar for him to come through. He moves to go behind the bar but the girl interrupts him. She jerks her head towards the back room.
"Boyd, costume." She demands.
"Oh, OK." He disappears through and momentarily reappears wearing similar contacts to the girl and similar ears to Mr Bitey, the teeth remain consistently pointy.
Stiles is pondering how someone can insert contact lenses so quickly when tall, dark and toothsome taps on the bar to get his attention.
"Ten fifty", he states again. Stiles fumbles to get some money from a pouch on his utility belt and forgets his quandary immediately.
"So if you're not on the party trail and you're not particularly taken with the holiday, why are you all wearing matching wolf faces?" He asks, leaning forward on the bar.
"My sister insists upon it", the reluctant wolf concedes. "It's more trouble not to do it."
Stiles takes a swig of his beer. "Well you do it very well, those prosthetics were not bought in a costume shop, they look professional to me." He reaches a hand out towards one of the wolf ears, "Can I touch?"
"No", grunts Mr Bitey, pulling back sharply. He turns to the back of the bar and starts reshelving bottles. Erica, meanwhile, has downed her drink rather quickly and is looking for another.
The new barman - Boyd - doesn't miss a trick and bears his fangs endearingly at her. "Another JD and coke?"
Erica pulls herself up from a slouch in an innately feline way. If her tail were animatronic it would be curling around the rungs of the stool, the tip flicking from side to side.
"And your friend...?"
Stiles tips his bottle to show that it's still half full. "I'm good for the moment."
Very good, he reflects to himself. Mr Bitey is tending to the lower shelves requiring him to squat down. Stiles is particularly appreciating the play of his musculature through his tightened jeans as he reaches repeatedly from the crate to the shelf.
From the corner of his eye, he can tell that Erica has gone into 'flirt mode'. That's fine, nothing he's not used to, it gives him time to observe and reflect while sipping at the remnants of his beer.
"Did you enjoy that?" Mr Bitey stands in a fluid motion belying his bulk and turns to Stiles.
"I certainly did", smirks Stiles somewhat.
"Would you like to see our other options?"
"Honey, you can show me your options any time." Stiles outright leers at the barman whose face reddens delightfully as it occurs to Stiles that maybe they're having different conversations. Two bottles of beer are thumped onto the bar in front of him.
Stiles straightens his face. "Beer, yes", he nods seriously, randomly selecting one of the bottles.
Mr Bitey is looking a little perturbed. Stiles can tell this because his eyebrows appear to have joined in the middle. His gloriously thick eyebrows.
Stiles tries an apology. "Uh, sorry, force of habit, it's my profession, kind of hard to switch off..."
"What is?" The eyebrows enquire, the rest of his face settles into a confused grimace, it's still more appealing than 99% of the faces Stiles sees in his daily life and it's not like that's a low bar to set.
"People watching. I'm in fashion", Stiles admits. "And if you don't mind me saying, you look like you could be too, have you ever done any modelling? I could see you walking for Tom Ford or someone like that if you got rid of the stupid holiday gear." Stiles reaches out a hand towards the festive prosthetics and again the man flinches away.
The redness that had dissipated from his face creeps back up slowly. He looks like he's about to say something and Stiles is betting it's not going to be flirtatious but he's preempted.
"Modelling? Derek? With his social skills?" The girl who is apparently Derek's sister has shed her ennui and taken interest in their conversation. She leans on the bar amiably, next to but in complete contrast to her brother who is tense and upright.
"Well you can take it from me that social skills are not a prerequisite for a model. Most of them can only hold a conversation if it's about themselves." Stiles is only too happy to bitch slap the vacuous from a distance, after all it's nothing he hasn't said publicly on any number of social platforms. This pair, however, are not vacuous, he'd bet his best Armani tux on it.
"So what is it exactly in fashion that you do...er..."
"Miecieslaw, but you can call me Batman if it's easier", Stiles offers.
"I'm Cora and this hulking tower of awkwardness is my big brother Derek." She extends her hand to solemnly shake Stiles' and when she lets go he holds his out to Derek as well. Derek grasps it and gives a quick and efficient shake. Stiles tries to hang on to it as long as possible because it is strong and firm and encompasses his with a pleasant warmth but Derek drags it back into the security of his own body.
It's nice to meet you Cora and Derek." Stiles really means this, it is probably the most normal conversation he's had in a while and that's saying something.
Stiles doesn't want to get into a discussion on his line of work so he's hoping that Cora will drop her previous enquiry. He's here on his one night of being incognito for the very purpose of not being 'that guy' but it seems that Cora still has the bit between her teeth.
"Tell me more about this fashion thing, how do you know so many models?" She asks archly. Derek goes back to moving various things around at the back of the bar and then disappears into the back room.
He tries to deflect. "Why? Don't you think I could be in fashion?"
"I find it hard to reconcile cheesy Batman with high fashion", she smirks.
That's like a red rag moment for Stiles, he huffs in indignation. "Adam West era Batman is a cultural phenomenon, it was ahead of its time in conception, in the way it meshed comic culture with pop culture. Breaking the fourth wall was practically unknown beforehand. Anyone can do dark Batman, all you need is a muscle suit and a gruff voice. It takes a certain amount of panache to carry off a character that's both comedic and strong."
Stiles knows he's rambling but he can't help himself, this girl has pushed his buttons. He takes a final swig of his second beer and drops the bottle onto the bar to continue.
"He knows he's an alpha male..." There's a sort of crash from the back as Derek appears to knock over some glasses. "...but he also knows that humour can defuse a situation and when to use that humour and when not to. Stiles recognises that he may have got carried away, he shrugs, "...and besides, Adam West..."
Cora laughs but not in a cruel way, a third bottle materialises in front of him.
"Do you have a vested interest in getting me drunk?" Stiles asks, looking up at the brooding barman coyly. He's shed his prosthetics and contacts and is, if at all possible, even more handsome.
"I have a vested interest in keeping this bar profitable, that's all."
Cora's phone beeps, she checks it and Stiles takes the time to look over at Erica, make sure she's not bored. She's not, she's about three inches from eating Boyd all up. Stiles reckons he's good for a little while longer.
"That was Isaac, I'm going to run out and see him for a bit, okay Der-bear?"
Without waiting for an answer, she stretches up to kiss her brother on the cheek and skips out from behind the bar.
"Good to meet you Batman, I hope I run into you again and play nice, you two" she says with a wink as she exits.
Derek moves away to serve another customer and Stiles is a little worried that he won't come back so he calls across the bar to him.
"How long have you had this bar, it's quite the unique place?"
Derek turns back towards him as if he can't quite believe that Stiles is still talking. He rings up the customer's purchase, looks at Stiles for a long moment and sighs.
"How on earth do you expect me to have a proper conversation with someone wearing a mask, I can't take you seriously?"
Stiles laughs, "You know if I let you see my face I'd have to wipe your memory afterwards. Can't have anyone knowing my secret identity."
Derek looks him square in the eye and Stiles notes that without the lenses his are a mesmerising shimmer of every shade between jade and ochre. One of the aforementioned glorious eyebrows arches wryly.
"That only holds true if you have something to hide. Do you?"
Stiles thinks he sees a glimmer of a smile from Derek, just a quick quirk of the lips. Blink and you'd miss it. The challenge is on.
Leaning in a little coquettishly he says, "Maybe I do, maybe I don't. You, my fine wolf man will just have to find out."
Derek pulls back sharply and the little bubble of intimacy Stiles had just built bursts startlingly.
"I have to go do something...in the back." And he's gone. Stiles has no idea what happened, was he too forward? It happens sometimes, sexuality is a lot more fluid in the fashion world but it wouldn't be the first time Stiles has hit on a zero on the Kinsey scale. He muses their interactions whilst glancing around the place. There's certainly a theme here even if it's not overt but he can't quite put his finger on it. He considers asking Boyd about it but Erica has dragged him to the other end of the bar which is darker and more private so he figures he'll leave them be. No need for both of them to strike out tonight.
Stiles checks the time, it can only be half an hour or so before closing, at least half of the original patrons have now left. There are bound to be clubs open later but Stiles thinks he's done for the night and he doesn't think clubbing is on Erica's agenda at all. It's not been the worst evening he's had by any means, there were some laughs earlier, a bit of singing and dancing and a brief but intense flirtation with a guy who would have to take one of the top ten, no, top five places in Stiles' most perfect faces list. With regret, he realises that after tonight, that face will just be a memory.
"Here." Just as Stiles has hopped off from his bar stool, Derek has silently rematerialised in front of him. He has a pair of shot glasses and a three quarters full bottle of whisky or bourbon that Stiles doesn't recognise. Like the bar it also has 'moon' in its name.
He proceeds to fill up both glasses. "I'm sorry, Cora says I can be a bit unwelcoming to new customers. Will you stay for a nightcap?"
"Well..." Stiles glances across to Erica, she's laughing at something Boyd said but she's still aware enough to give Stiles a quick thumbs up. He isn't sure whether that's for her or for him.
"...I guess it would be churlish to refuse such a heartfelt invitation." He puts a foot on the rung of the bar stool to lever himself back up and praise to the glory of Lycra, that's Derek checking out his ass, he knows it for sure.
Derek pushes one of the shots towards him so he picks it up, they clink the glasses and down them.
"Whoa!" Stiles splutters, the drink is strong. There's a taste to it he can't quite identify. "What's that?"
"Oh, it's a special import, not many places carry it, but we like it."
Stiles grasps the bottle to get a better look. "Moondew", he ponders, "That's unusual."
"Like I said, it's a special import. You asked about this place..." Derek pours out two more equally large shots. "It was my grandparents', Cora and I came down from Northern Cali a few years ago to run it. Family heritage is very important to us."
They knock their shots back and again Stiles almost chokes on the liquor. It's given him a slight sheen of sweat on his face. Derek's fingers twitch slightly, as if he might want to wipe it away.
"So who in the family is the photographer?" Stiles asks, nodding at the wall of wolf pictures. This time there's no mistaking it, a fond smile emerges from the saturnine countenance in front of him. 'Score!' Thinks Stiles.
"My mother took those, we have property on the edge of a preserve up north."
"I didn't think there were any wolves in California now", Stiles observes.
"Oh, there are if you know where to look."
"And you know where to look."
The two shots seem to have relaxed Derek somewhat, he's leaning in a little closer to Stiles now, close enough that Stiles is starting to feel a little warm.
"I know where to look." And he unambiguously casts his eyes down Stiles' body and back up again.
"Why don't you take off that mask, you look a little flushed."
"I told you before, if you see my whole face I'll have to give you the memory zap."
"I think I'll take that chance." Derek leans further in, a hands breadth away
Stiles considers it fully, there are practically no people left in the bar, the chances of anyone, of Derek even, recognising him now are so slight and even if someone did, what's the worst they could do at 2am? He decides to go for the grand reveal but before he can move, Derek's hands have swept up to Stiles' face and his fingers are caressing Stiles' cheekbones just beneath the edges of the cowl.
His fingers are warm and firm on Stiles' slightly moist skin and Stiles presses into the contact a little which just makes it easier for Derek to push the cowl up and off his head, dropping it to the counter.
Stiles grins, he can't help himself, he can feel that his usually bed head-like hair is stuck to his head in an unflattering way. Derek obviously agrees because he reaches up to run a hand through it, ruffling it out.
"Isn't that better?" Derek answers Stiles' grin with a full smile and oh boy, the challenge was so worth it because forget the moon, Derek's smile is like the sun.
"And look, the skies haven't fallen now I can see all of you."
"Not really all of me though is it?" Stiles takes a deep breath, it's now or never. "Would you like to see all of me?"
Derek's hand runs down through Stiles' hair to span his jaw, their noses are almost touching.
"I would very much like that." Stiles reaches up and fits his hand over Derek's much larger one.
"Then what are you waiting for wolf boy?" He stretches forwards to brush his lips against Derek's, just a brief touch, a promise of what's to come.
They part and pause inches away from each other. Derek catches Stiles' hand and holds on to it as he pulls away to lean back and ring the bell calling time. There's a small amount of grumbling from the last remaining patron but he still gets up and leaves the bar.
Erica and Boyd have moved to join them. Boyd has his arm firmly round Erica's waist and she's holding the cat ear headband now instead of wearing it.
"We were thinking of checking out a club", she says, much to Stiles' surprise. "Interested?"
"I don't think so", replies Stiles.
"Yeah, I didn't think you'd want to", she says smirking. "Will you be able to get back to the hotel OK without me?"
"If I need to, I will", Stiles reassures her. It's not like he doesn't have a premium limo service on speed dial but tonight, he doesn't think he's going to need it.
"Alright then, don't forget we have an inter...that thing at eleven tomorrow."
"I won't" promises Stiles but he thinks that Derek may be able to make him forget it.
Erica gives him a quick hug, nods at Derek and says "look after him, he's very precious."
"Boyd just says "Night, boss" and they're gone too, leaving Stiles and Derek finally alone.
"She looks after you", Derek observes.
"She's my personal assistant, it's her job."
"So it's her job to look after you in your job, the details of which we failed to ascertain earlier."
"Yes", agrees Stiles, reluctant to head back into this conversational territory.
"You must be quite important to have a personal assistant."
"Some people think so, yes. It entirely depends on your opinion of what's important. Right now you are what's important to me and I couldn't give a shit about work." Derek leans in to plant a soft kiss on Stiles' lips.
"Let me just lock up."
Stiles realises that they're still holding hands and Derek must realise it too because instead of letting go he pulls Stiles along the length of the bar to the opening, their hands clasped together all the way. When they're stood actually together with no obstructions for the first time that evening, Derek gathers Stiles in his arms, drops his face into the crook of Stiles' neck and just stays there for a moment. Stiles can feel his hot breath huffing across his skin. It's intoxicating.
"Batman, eh? I've always had a soft spot for Adam West's Batman", Derek murmurs.
"No kidding", retorts Stiles.
Reluctantly, Derek moves to the door and shoots all the bolts.
"So I have you until about, what, ten tomorrow?"
"You have me all to yourself until then", Stiles promises.
Derek wraps his arms around Stiles again, running one hand down the clinging Lycra of the bodysuit. "I get the feeling that makes me a very lucky man."
"No", interrupts Stiles, "that makes me the lucky one. Lucky to be doing this." He reaches up to stroke Derek's cheek, testing the texture of the short beard there, finding it soft one way, slightly bristly, the other. Derek leans into his touch and turns so that he can kiss the palm of Stiles hand.
Stiles traces the contours of Derek's face and when he's mapped out the line of his lips with his forefinger, he replaces it with his mouth and sucks Derek's plump lower lip between his own. He hears Derek suck in a breath and he wants to hear that sound again so he delicately runs his tongue along the length of the imprisoned lip.
Derek pulls back. "I don't want to do this here, come with me", he says.
Stiles would go to Kathmandu if he were asked; he'd walk there if he knew Derek was at the end of the journey so he follows Derek around behind the bar and through the door to the back room where there's a staircase leading to what Stiles assumes are the personal quarters or as he'd like to think of them - heaven.
Derek drags Stiles up the stairs, stopping every two or three steps to kiss him somewhere about his face. His nose, his eyebrow, the little dimple at the side of his mouth and finally that spot high on his cheek where Stiles knows he has the most prominent of his trademark moles.
Derek reaches the top with Stiles a step behind him and trips and stumbles over the last tread. Righting himself quickly, he looks back at Stiles slightly mortified but Stiles is just giggling.
"Are you drunk", Stiles asks.
"A little", admits Derek as he opens a door in the small hallway. Stiles pushes him into the room.
"Did you have to get tipsy to allow this to happen?"
"Maybe..." Derek replies hesitantly. Stiles just looks at him, cocking an eyebrow as if to say 'and...'
"Maybe I needed Cora to give me a pep talk too."
"And what did she say?" Stiles has his arms crossed in a serious manner but his face belies that with a mischievous expression.
"She said to stop being such a sourwolf and that you were hot, anybody could tell that despite the bodysuit."
"She gives excellent advice." Stiles is impressed. "So that's what you were doing in the back room when you ran in there with your tail between your legs."
"With my... what?" Derek looks a little shocked, maybe he's not come across the idiom before.
"When you ran away from my rather obvious advances", Stiles clarifies.
"Oh, yes, I phoned her, told her she'd have to come back, I couldn't deal with you any more."
"Because you wanted me but you were being all pussy about it."
"If you must put it that way, yes. I wanted you but I don't often get what I want."
"Well guess what? Tonight you do."
Stiles glances around the small but cosy room, there's a bed against the wall furthest from the window so he goes to sit on it. He's a little taken with Derek's honesty and deep down feels that it's only fair to be equally honest. He wouldn't want to do this, have Derek find out who he is afterwards and be appalled. Not everyone has a positive reaction to him, people can be quite scathing about internet celebrities even though Stiles' career encompasses print and TV media now.
"I have something I should probably tell you before we go any further", he confesses.
"Oh", says Derek, coming to sit next to him, "should I be worried?"
"I don't think so but I'd rather you know now." Stiles takes a deep breath and jumps straight in. "I'm actually quite well known, the mask was there for a reason, a lot of people would recognise me. It gets a bit tiresome and it's not always fun for the folks around me."
Derek looks rather perplexed. As Stiles has surmised, Derek hasn't the foggiest who he is so he continues, "Halloween gives me the chance to go out and just be me, not the persona people think I am. It's like the one day of the year I can drop all the artifice."
"So you go around in a Batman costume for privacy?" Derek can't help but snort at this.
"I can see the irony there but cut me some slack, when any idle conversation you have can make the gossip rags you take care to watch what you say and do all the time. This is the one night I get to just be."
"And you happened to fall into my bar..."
"I did and I'll be forever grateful for that because otherwise we would have been unlikely to ever meet and that would be such a shame."
Stiles reaches across for Derek's hand, entwining their fingers. Derek looks down at the joining and brings their clasped hands up to kiss the inside of Stiles' wrist.
"I still don't know what it is you do that makes going out dressed as a sixties crime fighter such a necessity."
"Oh", Stiles gives an embarrassed laugh, "I'm a fashion blogger, I have five million followers on my Instagram and I have a weekly show on the E! Network."
"That's what Cora meant!" It looks like realisation has dawned on Derek. "She told me to ask you what you thought of my clothes if I needed an icebreaker. I thought she was just being an idiot."
Stiles laughs. "So you don't care?"
Derek sobers a bit. "It seems we were both hiding something", he says seriously. Keeping tight hold of Stiles' hand he turns his head away. When he turns back around, the ears, eyes and teeth from earlier are back.
"Hey!" Exclaims Stiles, shocked, "how did you do that?"
"I'm a werewolf, this is a werewolf bar, we're all wolves here."
Stiles reaches up with his free hand to finally touch the dark silky fur cladding Derek's now pointy ear.
"That's incredible" he sighs in wonder.
"I thought at one point you knew, you made so many references to Wolfy things: alpha male and tail between the legs and whatever..." He looks straight at Stiles, red eyes blazing like fire. "You're not scared by me, not put off by this?" Despite the intensity, Derek's look is one of hope.
"Darling", Stiles drawls, "I work in the fashion industry, that isn't even in the top ten of ridiculous things I've seen!"
And he proves it by pulling the wolf in for a long, slow, deep kiss, being mindful of the fangs though.
One Year Later
The latest game, for those in the know, is to try and guess who it is that shows up frequently in Stiles Stilinski's personal Instagram posts. He's never shown in full. Just a leg here, a glance of a toned back there, a shade of a stubbled jaw maybe. Whoever it is, the constituent parts must add up to a hell of a whole and the oblique references Stiles occasionally makes to a 'Greek god' just add to the tease. Educated guesses have ranged from a member of the European royalty to someone in the high echelons of Hollywood.
Stiles isn't saying who it is though, he'll never say. After all, he values their privacy.