”Heeey, so. Derek.”
The voice makes Derek close his eyes and count to ten, because, god, never a moment’s peace. ”Stiles,” he greets dully, refusing to even look at him. Derek is not about to give him the satisfaction.
”There’s this party at the Eta Zeta sorority tonight. Wanna come?” Stiles asks, splaying out obnoxiously in his chair, and Derek is about to sneer at him to stop man-spreading all over the place before he remembers that he’s not supposed to be looking at Stiles. Dammit.
”No. I’m not really a fan of parties.”
Stiles starts jiggling his leg, and consequently the entire library table Derek is studying on. Ugh. Jocks.
”Oh. Well. Uh. Standing offer, you know. In case you change your mind.” Stiles leaves after that, and Derek breathes a sigh of relief. He’s never really figured out what Stiles wants from him, but it can’t be good. Fratboy jocks never want anything good from nerds. So far Stiles hasn’t even asked for (or demanded) help with assignments, but still. It’s probably only a matter of time until he reveals what it is he wants from Derek. Because he must want something.
True enough, less than a week later Stiles plops into that same chair in the library again. Derek may or may not have a favorite table. It’s one of the few that don’t wobble, but with the way Stiles’ leg jiggles again it’s probably inevitable that it will at some point.
Derek winces, because why on Earth does he have to drawl it out like that? It sounds exactly the same as one of his frat brothers hitting on some girl while being way too deep in the drink. Ugh. ”Hi.”
”So, uh, I’m playing tonight. I mean, my team is playing, and I’m first line, so I was wondering if maybe you’d wanna come watch the game?”
Completely forgetting he’s still not looking at Stiles, Derek’s head jerks up. ”What?”
Stiles looks weirdly apprehensive, and it makes all of Derek’s alarm bells go off. He’s not sure what’s going on, but there’s definitely some ulterior motive here, and Derek has only had bad experiences with those.
”Uhm. It was just… an invitation,” Stiles says weakly, and Derek stares at him.
”I just… I’d really like it if you were there.”
There’s a long suspended moment of silence between them while Derek tries to work out what the angle is, and coming up short. But it can’t be good, it never is. Vague scenarios involving mocking and/or humiliation float through his mind, and, yeah, he’s not gonna take the bait.
”Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m not that into sports.” He does play basketball but it’s mostly for the exercise, and not on any school team. And maybe he likes to keep up with national baseball, but that’s it. He certainly has no interest in college lacrosse, so it’s only a half lie.
”Oh. Okay then. I guess I’ll just… go.”
”That would probably be best,” he says coldly, pissed off that Stiles is still trying whatever it is he’s trying with Derek.
”Okay, then,” Stiles says again, and gets up to leave. Half way to the door a very pretty girl sidles up to him and Derek has to roll his eyes at her simpering. Some people are just shameless.
”I’d love to come to your game,” she purrs, more than loud enough for Derek to hear, and he fully expects Stiles to start the traditional fratboy posturing game. But instead he eases away from her slightly and sends her an apologetic smile.
”Ah, haha, well, uh, sorry,” he says awkwardly. ”But I’m kinda into someone else right now.” He sends Derek a weird look before turning around to leave, and oh god, Derek really hopes Stiles isn’t trying to buddy up to him to get a date with Erica. Or Cora, ew. Derek is not about to be some dudebro’s wingman. And frankly the women in his life deserve better.
It’s another few weeks before Stiles pops up again. This time he’s at least not interrupting Derek’s studying, sitting down quietly next to him where he’s reading in the shade of a tree in the quad.
”Hey, Derek,” he greets, and Derek can’t help but look at him, because he sounds almost normal for once. This must be serious.
”Hey. What’s up?”
Stiles brightens up significantly, and Derek immediately regrets reaching out. Give a pinky and these asshole will take an arm. Ugh.
”Well, uh. I was told by a few people that I might have been going about this wrong, and I’m… well, I’m hoping you’ll give me another shot at this.”
”At what?” Derek asks, narrowing his eyes. On the one hand he’s dreading what’s coming, but on the other it’s also kind of a relief that something is finally gonna happen.
Stiles fidgets and jiggles his goddamn leg, and Derek can feel his eye starting to twitch. ”Seriously, what?”
”There’s a tech fair this weekend that I think you might like, and I was hoping you’d go with me,” Stiles says in a rush, holding out a piece of paper. Derek takes it very gingerly, and frowns when he sees it’s a print-out of two e-tickets to said tech fair. Bought and paid for. ”But…” Stiles continues, ”if you’d rather not go with me, I’ll respect that, and I want you to take those tickets and bring someone you do wanna go with.”
Derek feels his jaw drop, and stares at Stiles. ”What?”
”What what?” Stiles asks, obviously confused. Which makes two of them.
”What’s… what are you trying to do here?”
Stiles stares back. ”Uhh. Ask you out?”
”Because… I like you?” Stiles stares at him some more, and then suddenly goes red and squirmy. ”Unless of course you don’t swing that way at all, in which case I’m gonna go crawl under a rock for a while, and dude, I am so sorry if I made you uncomfortable!”
The fact that Stiles did kinda make Derek uncomfortable seems like the least of it at the moment, considering Derek feels like his brain is turning itself inside out trying to make sense of everything. He thinks back to all the times Stiles has invaded his space or bugged him for apparently no reason except to be annoying, and now the recent attempts to hang out. No… to ask out. What the hell is happening?
”I do, though. Swing that way,” Derek clarifies mostly on automatic, and Stiles whooshes out a breath of relief.
”Jeez, okay, good. Didn’t get that much wrong then, at least.”
There’s a very awkward silence between them for a while, but Stiles just stays there, still jiggling his leg, and apparently waiting for Derek’s response.
”You’ve seriously been trying to ask me out on a date all this time?”
Stiles winces. ”No need to rub it in, I’ve already gotten my ass handed to me by Lydia for only asking you to stuff I like, I’m aware I fucked up, thanks.”
Derek knows Lydia. They’re in a few courses together. She’s probably the smartest person he knows, except for how she obviously has a fratboy kink. Or maybe he got her a little wrong too if she and Stiles are only friends.
In fact, come to think of it, Derek doesn’t actually know Stiles. He’s assumed he knows him, but considering he’s gone to some lengths to avoid Stiles, Derek has to admit he does in fact not know anything about Stiles. But he does know Lydia, and if there’s one thing she has zero patience for it’s stupid people, even when she’s sleeping with them. So if she’s friends with Stiles, Derek’s impression of dumb jock is definitely wrong. And if Stiles is willing to admit he made a mistake and change his approach accordingly, he’s obviously not some obnoxious dudebro with a god complex.
And if it’s true that he really likes Derek, then he can’t have a problem with nerds. Maybe it’s a kink, but frankly, Derek could live with that, considering his college dry spell and the fact that Stiles is actually really hot.
”Okay,” Derek says after what probably felt like an eternity to someone who wasn’t spending the time having a small revelation.
”…okay?” Stiles asks, a cautious smile growing on his face.
”Yeah. Okay. I’ll go with you to the tech fair.”
Stiles jumps to his feet suddenly, bouncing excitedly on his feet like he can’t help it. It’s actually kinda cute. ”Yes, okay, awesome, this is gonna be awesome,” he babbles, and his goofy excitement is probably what makes Derek feel wicked suddenly.
”Yeah, I think it might be. And if you take me out for pizza afterwards I’ll totally put out.”
Stiles almost falls on his ass from surprise, and points accusingly at Derek. ”Don’t play with a guy’s feelings like that, Derek, it’s not nice!”
”Who says I’m playing?”
This time Stiles does stumble, and Derek grins into his book as Stiles gets back up, only to jog backwards across the grass to not lose sight of Derek, only turning around when he nearly steps on someone. Derek tries not to laugh, but he totally loses his resolve when he hears Stiles yelling from across the quad.
”Scotty! He said yes!”
Yeah. This is really gonna be awesome.