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Would it Have Been Worth While

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“So anyways, now Isaac owes me 20 bucks and I can’t go volunteer at the humane society anymore,” Stiles says, beaming at Derek as he finishes his story.

Derek is unimpressed.

“Are you telling me that Isaac bet you money that you couldn’t get a dalmatian to stand on four stacked paint cans, you proved him wrong, and managed to get yourself banned from an animal shelter because the receptionist filmed you doing it and sent it to her boss instead of putting it on YouTube for you?”

Well, when Derek puts it like that, it sounds ridiculous.

“Yup,” Stiles says. A cheeky smile is on his face as he sips his coffee. Derek cringes as Stiles gulps down hot black coffee, but Stiles isn’t the heathen who likes caramel flavored drinks, so there’s a clear loser in this situation.

“I don’t know why I tolerate you,” Derek says, shaking his head. Stiles chuckles and kicks Derek’s shin with the toes of his sneakers, breaking into full on giggles when Derek’s scowl deepens to hilarious proportions.

“You love me,” Stiles mocks, and Derek opens his mouth to say something, when Stiles’ perfectly nice day is ruined by his arch nemesis.

Three years ago, Stiles never would have thought he was capable of having such feelings of revulsion towards someone. But heading into his fourth and final year of university, Stiles knows that he is capable of them. He gets these feelings on a daily basis.

Prudence is probably a perfectly nice girl to most people, but Stiles can’t stand her.

She’s everywhere.

They met in Stiles’ history class his freshman year, back when he was trying to get all his basics out of the way. She was nice enough, and sat by him on the first day of class. Stiles smiled when she sat down, and politely introduced himself when she offered out her hand.

Stiles, she had remarked, what an interesting name.

Yeah, it’s a nickname, he’d explained. His real name is a jumble of consonants and misfortune, and even he can’t say it right.

She had laughed and nodded her head, and then he ignored her when class started. Stiles figured they would be classroom friends, the kind that text each other for assignments and maybe a question or two about lectures or tests.

Stiles quickly learned, however, that this wasn’t the case with Prudence.

Suddenly, she was everywhere. She was only in his history class that first semester, and she texted him every day. Stiles stopped answering after the third day, but it continued after that for months. The next semester, she was in three of his classes, the semester after that she changed her major from chemistry to criminal justice. And the semester after that, she was in all of his classes and was always in the library when he was.

Every semester it’s gotten worse, and Stiles is at a point where he’s millimeters away from snapping and doing something drastic.

Anyways, Derek. He’s having a rare outing with Derek at the campus coffee shop to celebrate the new sculpture Derek made, which is honestly wonderful and intensely beautiful. Stiles hasn’t seen Derek in like 3 days, despite them being roommates.

And then, like clockwork, Prudence walks in and ruins Stiles’ day.

Despite her name making her sound like she’s a librarian, Prudence has hair dyed an unnatural raspberry red, wears thick rimmed glasses, and has an oversized faded green canvas jacket that she wears literally fucking everywhere. Stiles has grown to hate the color, and it reminds him of vomit every time he looks at her.

She’s everything he’s not interested in. Her hair isn’t the captivating and ethereal red that Lydia’s is, her glasses are fake and the lenses are cheap plastic with no prescription in them. She wears overalls and big shirts and says hella and Stiles can’t take it. It’s like tumblr shit on her and then twitter gave her a golden shower to clean her off.

Also she’s a girl, but she doesn’t seem to grasp the whole ‘not really into females’ thing Stiles has going on.

She even gave herself a nickname, which Stiles assumes is an attempt to relate to him. She insists on being called Zilla, a nickname of her last name Zillner. And isn’t that so coincidentally similar to Stiles and his nickname?

Just because he’s a piece of shit, Stiles calls her Prudence out of spite.

“Stiles!” Prudence squeals, and Derek’s eyebrows shoot up and Stiles blatantly slams his head on the table.

Think. THINK. What is the quickest way to get her to leave?

“Stiles, it’s me! I haven’t seen you in forever! How are you doing?” She asks, flocking to him like a moth to the light. Derek’s staring at Stiles and obviously trying not to laugh, the piece of shit.

“Hi, Prudence,” Stiles mutters, a frown on his face as Derek’s eyes glimmer in humorous understanding. Derek has heard all of the long and winding tales about how fucking much Stiles hates Prudence, about how he’s had to change his number twice, and they even moved in together last fall because she found his address and wouldn’t stop showing up at his studio apartment.

(That one may have been a blessing in disguise, because moving in with Derek was the best decision he ever made, and the rent is so much cheaper split two ways. Besides, Derek can’t cook for shit, and someone needs to prevent him from getting scurvy, and the burden falls on Stiles since Laura moved back to Beacon Hills last year. And no , Derek, you can’t eat ramen every day. It’s not healthy, even with the dehydrated pieces of cardboard they try to pass off as vegetables.)

Thankfully Derek has always been removed enough from Stiles’ school life that she hasn’t managed to find where he lives now, and hasn’t met Derek before. Well, that’s all gone to shit now.

“Stiles, I told you that it’s okay to call me Zilla! And I’ve been doing great! Who’s your friend?” Prudence asks. There’s a smile on her face, but Stiles knows the real reason she’s asking the question, because she’s a crazy jealous person who literally started crying when she found out he was (briefly) dating some guy named Lucas during his sophomore year.

And then Stiles has an idea. A brilliant, terrible, wonderfully self-destructive idea. Because despite his bravado, most of Stiles’ ideas are terrible.

“This is Derek,” Stiles says, looking at Derek with big, pleading eyes. “He’s my boyfriend.”

Derek stares at him for a second as Stiles smiles at Prudence, who seems to have frozen. Derek kind of zones out for half a second and then snaps out of it, beaming and reaching over the table to grab Stiles’ hand.

“I think you mean I’m the luckiest man on Earth,” Derek teases. Stiles almost chokes on air, disbelieving but so incredibly grateful that Derek will go along with this, and smiles back shyly, his stomach doing an unwanted little flip-flop.

“You’re so cheesy, I don’t know why I tolerate you,” Stiles says teasingly, rolling his eyes.

“It’s because I give great head,” Derek says seriously, nodding at Prudence, who is staring at Derek like she’s trying to melt him with her eyes, yet somehow still smiling. It’s actually pretty weird, and Stiles wonders if this is what a stroke looks like.

“I, um.. I didn’t know you were dating someone Stiles, that’s wonderful. Congratulations,” Prudence says, her teeth slightly clenched.

Oh, look at that. Her eye is definitely twitching.

“Thanks,” Stiles says, beaming at Derek. He’s trying to barely acknowledge her, and it kind of seems to be working.

“Okay, well I’ll let you guys get back to your date, see you around,” Prudence says, running a hand down Stiles’ arm from his shoulder to his elbow. Stiles flinches away from her, pulling his arm out of her reach and looking away. It’s the easiest way to make her leave without making a scene, Stiles has learned that the hard way.

“Bye,” Derek says, his voice harsher than it usually is, even when he’s mad at Stiles it isn’t harsh like this, and Stiles feels some weight lift off his shoulders that she also freaks Derek out.

Prudence leaves, not even ordering anything, and Derek looks at Stiles, eyes wide and shocked.

“God, I thought you’ve been over exaggerating, but she’s way too intense,” Derek says, leaning forward in shock. He tries to pull his hand away, but Stiles holds on.

“Sometimes she comes back twice, we should just go to be safe. My appetite has been ruined by her anyways,” Stiles says, and Derek snorts, pulling himself out of the chair and grabbing Stiles’ backpack for him. Stiles pets Derek’s stubble in faux sweetness. Derek rolls his eyes but takes Stiles’ hand to drag him out of the coffee shop.

“Oh, Mr. Darcy!” Stiles cries, and Derek ‘accidentally’ runs Stiles into a lightpost. Stiles shuts up after that.

-

Stiles and Derek have been living together since Laura moved out, heading back to California to open up her own law firm in Sacramento. Derek doesn’t work well with silence, and Stiles needed a new place anyways, since Prudence showed up four times a week with the offer of a picnic (no), or a walk through The Village (no), or a netflix and chill session (hell no).

The Hales and Stiles weren’t super close before Stiles moved to New York, but they’ve been family friends since Stiles was a kid, and they saw each other once a week when Stiles’ mom was alive, and often, albeit less frequently, after she passed.

The friendship Stiles formed with Laura when he first got the the city was a bond that grew over time as Stiles and her grew into their mutual sharp tongued sense of humor and love of irony. Stiles and Derek did not get along when they first met, and Derek remained a mystery for all of Stiles’ first semester.

Things do change, though, in college. Stiles felt the aching hole in his side that Scott can’t exactly fill all the way across the country, and the empty spot over his shoulder that is Lydia quietly but aggressively judging his life choices. Derek, however, doesn’t fill either of those places in Stiles’ life, he carves one for himself, over time. It builds when Stiles shows up to the Hale’s apartment because his studio on East 3rd didn’t have a heater or any insulation, and the Hale’s had both, when Derek tentatively invites him to gallery openings, and when Stiles encourages and even helps him write proposals for exhibitions and grants to further his work.

It took time, but by Stiles’ junior year, he found himself calling Derek when he had news first, and then either his dad or Scott, depending on the news. Them becoming roommates was just the next logical step in their friendship, and it made sense, and it worked.

There was one small problem, however.

Namely being that Stiles is so fucking head over heels for Derek he thinks he might actually die from it.

It’s not like a huge deal or anything.

Okay, so maybe it’s a huge deal, but Stiles is great at compartmentalizing.

He’s thinking about it though, when they’re making dinner that night.

Stiles is making his mom’s grilled chicken, and Derek is making spanish rice that he claims is a family secret but Stiles is 100% sure Derek stole from Food Network.

“Are you sure you don’t mind?” Stiles asks, keeping his eyes on the chicken, like if he looks away the chicken will get up and make a break for it.

“The Prudence thing? I don’t mind, she needs to back off. Plus, it’s kind of fun making you turn red,” Derek says, a smirk sneaking up on his face. Stiles gapes at him but rolls his eyes good naturedly.

Stiles feels weird about it, still. Maybe it’s because he’s pretending to be in a relationship with the man he’s ridiculously in love with. That could potentially cause problems.

However, Stiles quickly wraps himself up in a daydream about Derek letting Stiles use his ridiculous biceps as pillows, and he sort of forgets to be logical.

-

If Stiles is being honest, he sort of forgot he was fake dating Derek over the weekend. In Stiles’ defense, he only has classes Monday through Thursday, and he spent a significant amount of his weekend getting lost on the internet and sleeping.

He remembers, however, the second he enters his Cybersecurity Law class on Monday. Prudence isn’t in the room yet, but Stiles has no doubt she’ll show her face in the next few minutes, and will somehow find a way to sit by him.

Stiles takes a seat between Erica and some random girl, two girls who probably can’t be talked out of their seats. Erica is fast asleep and the other girl is engrossed in A Song of Ice and Fire, so Stiles feels like he’s good for the class.

He takes out his phone and flicks through his email, deleting most of the new ones, and then raises an eyebrow when he gets a text from Derek. Usually Derek sleeps until 10 or so, since he stays up late sculpting or brooding or whatever it is he does in the wee hours of the morning. Stiles would usually be right there with him, but this semester’s unfortunate 8:30 class really puts a damper on his late night google roamings.

Derek: Remember that Call for Entry I applied to a few months ago? The one for The Whitney?

Stiles: yessssss?

Derek: You can just say no.

Derek: Anyways, guess who’s got a piece in The Whitney Biennial?

Stiles: DEREK HOLY SHIT

Stiles: i am so fucking proud of you what the fuck you’re awesome!

Stiles: we’re going out to lunch today, no excuses

Stiles: im calling everyone today to brag about you

Derek: I’d say I regret telling you, but I’m too excited to pretend to be irritated with you right now

Stiles: i knew you loved me deep down

Derek: Tell anyone and I’ll deny it

Stiles: rude

“Hi, Stiles,” A voice says from behind his ear.

Stiles jumps, banging his leg on the bottom of the desk, and yelps. The girls on either side of him glare, but Stiles is too busy hyperventilating to feel guilty. Erica turns her glare to Prudence, who takes a step back.

“Prudence, that’s not cool,” Stiles says, angry at his morning being ruined.

“I’m sorry, I just wanted to see what you were up to. And it’s cool if you call me Zilla,” Prudence says, eyes flicking to his cell phone again. Stiles turns the screen off and pockets his phone, turning away from her to stare at the front of the classroom.

“Come on, Stiles, you know I didn’t mean to scare you,” Prudence says, playfully batting his shoulder. Stiles cringes away from her, but doesn’t turn back to look at her.

Prudence seems to take the hint, walking away. Stiles breathes a sigh of relief, but thunks his head down on the table a minute later when Prudence takes a seat in front of him.

She turns around immediately, giving him a broad grin.

“It’s so great that you’re dating, Stiles. I’m very happy for you,” Prudence says.

“Thanks,” Stiles grumbles, staring at his hands.

“Derek seems very nice.”

Erica’s head whips up, looking at Stiles with the biggest shit eating grin. Stiles kicks her under the table.

“Did you finally meet Derek?” Erica asks Prudence, leaning too far into Stiles’ personal space.

“Do you know him?” Prudence asks, giving a decidedly fake smile.

“Oh, yeah. I go way back with his younger sister, I’ve known him for years,” Erica says, predatory grin and all.

“Oh, that’s great,” Prudence says with false enthusiasm.

“Yeah, it is. I’ve gotten to watch all the love drama with Derek and Stiles over the years, it’s truly a beautiful story,” Erica says, dramatically putting a hand over her heart.

“You have? I’d love to hear it,” Prudence says.

“Oh, I think it’s best when Stiles tells it,” Erica says, turning to Stiles.

Damn her.

“It’s more of a personal story, Erica, I think you know that, so how about we change the subject?” Stiles asks.

“You’re right, Stiles. It’s definitely not appropriate for a classroom setting,” Erica says, nodding. She leans into Prudence and stage whispers, “it’s pretty R-rated, if ya know what I mean.” She wiggles her brows suggestively.

Prudence gives a full body twitch, and Stiles and Erica both lean back, startled by her jerky movements.

“Jesus,” Erica whispers, and leans away from him as the professor walks in the class. Stiles can feel Prudence brooding pretty heavily from in front him, but he doesn’t even care. Well, he’s a little scared, but that’s different from caring.

-

That night, Stiles and Scott finally set some time apart to actually skype for the first time in a couple weeks. Scott answers beaming and babbling about delivering baby goats today, and goes into unfortunate detail about the whole ordeal.

“Scott, Scott, that’s wonderful, please stop using the word placenta, though. I beg of you,” Stiles says, cringing and waving his hands around in an attempt to visually silence Scott.

Scott gives him a huge grin like he knew Stiles would react the way he did. What a dick.

“Anyways, that’s all I’ve been up to lately. How have you been doing? Oh, and before I forget, don’t forget Allison, Danny, Cora and I are all coming up to see you on the 23rd, and we’re picking Lydia up from MIT on the way,” Scott says, his picture sort of pixelated and freezing. The wifi at the clinic is terrible.

“Well, I’m not dead yet, so that’s a plus. And no, I haven’t forgotten, don’t worry,” Stiles says, smiling.

“Stiles, that’s your way of saying you’ve done something stupid,” Scott says, but there’s a smile on his face, like he can’t wait to hear what stupid thing Stiles has done today.

“Well, you know how that girl has been kind of obsessed with me for years?”

“Yeah, I’ve noticed, what with you having to change your number multiple times and move apartments,” Scott deadpans.

“Ha ha, so funny. Anyways, it’s kind of possible I’ve worked myself into a pickle,” Stiles says, trailing off.

“A pickle,” Scott mutters, rolling his eyes.

“... and I sort of told her that I’m dating Derek.”

“Dude! You and Derek finally got together? That’s awesome!” Scott beams.

“Well, not exactly. We’re sort of just pretending to date so she’ll leave me alone…” Stiles says, trailing off.

“Stiles,” Scott starts, exasperated, but he just cuts himself off, shaking his head.

“Scott, I know, okay? I know I’m in over my head here. What else would you expect of me here?” Stiles asks, putting his head in his hands.

“Just, be careful, okay? I know how you feel about Derek, and I don’t want you to get hurt,” Scott says, looking at Stiles with his patented Puppy Dog Eyes.

“I’m used to getting hurt, Scott. This is only going to end badly, I knew that from the beginning. There’s no way Derek will ever feel the same way about me that I do him, and I’ve always known that. But this sick part of me wants to know what it could be like, you know? Just let me have this for a little bit. I just want to have a taste of it before everything goes to shit,” Stiles says in a rush, pulling at his hair and rubbing his face in frustration.

“Stiles, you don’t know that things will end badly,” Scott says. Stiles rolls his eyes.

He’s about to respond when there’s a loud shout from across the apartment. Stiles tells Scott he has to go and runs out of the room, heading towards the area the shout came from.

Derek is huddled over the sink in the kitchen, his arm under running water. He’s muttering a litany of swears that make even Stiles blush, and his brain helpfully supplies that it would be really hot to hear some of those words whispered in his ear while Derek fucks him.

Wait, what?

Stiles shakes his head and runs up to Derek, hissing when he sees the already bright red skin that’s being put under cold water.

“Shit, Derek! What did you do?”

“I was trying to weld, and now I’m watching my skin melt off,” Derek grumbles, eyebrows scrunched and a grimace on his face.

‘Hang on,” Stiles says, running to the fridge and throwing the door open. He finds the mustard, pulls it out triumphantly, and takes it over to the sink.

“Stiles, is now really the time for a hot dog?” Derek hisses in bewilderment.

“Would you just shut up and trust me?” He snaps, taking a hand towel to blot Derek’s arm dry gently, then pops the cap off of the mustard and pours an excessive amount onto Derek’s skin.

“Stiles, shit! That bur- oh,” Derek says, the anger leaving his face as the pain in the burn recedes. Stiles smirks in satisfaction as Derek looks up at him in shock.

“How on earth?”

“Scott’s mom and Tia have all these weird tricks for pain, she taught them to me when we were kids. If you ever have a cold you should put vapor rub on the bottom of your feet, then wear socks and go to sleep. Shit really works,” Stiles says.

Derek’s kind of staring at him, wide eyes and his mouth open slightly, and maybe it’s the pain but Stiles feel like he’s missing something in Derek’s look, but isn’t sure what.

-

Stiles comes home from class the next night to Derek laying face down on the floor in the living room.

“Hey Sourwolf, I know that the carpet is very soft, but why not try and melt into the couch instead?” Stiles says, nudging Derek with the toe of his shoe.

“Laura’s coming to stay with us,” Derek mumbles into the carpet.

“Oh shit, no way! Are you serious? Holy crap we have no food that she’ll eat,” Stiles says, already making a mental grocery list of things that Laura will eat. She went on a raw diet two years ago and enjoyed it so much that probably ⅔ of everything she eats is just raw celery and dirt at this point.

“She’ll be here in two hours. She called me from the tarmac,” Derek says, and Stiles freezes.

“Two hours? Oh my god, she’s gonna kill us when she sees the table,” Stiles says, hazarding a careful glance at the dining room table in the corner of the room.

When Laura moved out to go back to California, she left some things at the apartment. A few of them were weird but cool mirrors, that are still hung up on the wall. She also left a bunch of mugs that Stiles uses and hoards.

And then there’s the table.

Laura bought this dining room table made from some imported kind of wood two years ago at an estate sale, and she is in love with it. She had it stained and varnished and wouldn’t let either of them touch it.

However, when she moved to Sacramento she didn’t have room for it in her apartment, so she left it with Derek and Stiles, under strict instructions to not touch it, use it, breathe on it, or even look at it.

So naturally, the next day they ruined it accidentally.

Long story short, Derek and Stiles were trying to test out Derek’s new heat gun, and they accidentally scorched about half of the table and all of the staining is of the charred variety now.

“Yeah, she’s gonna kill us,” Derek agrees miserably into the carpet.

-

Laura loves making a scene, if nothing else.

“Der-Bear!”

Wait, scratch that. Laura loves embarrassing Derek, if nothing else.

She waves obnoxiously from across the airport as she heads over to them, and Derek groans quietly. Stiles beams, because he loves Laura, and he hasn’t seen her in at least two months.

“Hi Laura,” Derek greets, hugging his sister. There’s a smile on his face though, and Stiles knows he’s missed Laura, even if he denies it.

“Stiles, look at you! You actually showered for me and everything,” She beams.

Stiles rolls his eyes good naturedly. “Thanks Laura, you always know how to make me feel great about myself.”

“So tell me what you guys have been up to,” Laura insists, rolling her suitcase towards the parking lot, Derek and Stiles trailing behind like they’re on a leash.

Derek and Stiles glance at each other, and say nothing. She’ll find out soon enough, anyways.

-

They’ve cleaned up so well that it almost looks like no one lives there, and they managed to scoot the table into Stiles’ room, so Laura maybe won’t see it while she’s here.

“What have you idiots done?” Laura breathes the second she steps into the apartment.

“We cleaned for you!” Stiles says, cheerfully taking her bags from her and smiling way too wide. Derek rolls his eyes from behind Laura, but steers her away from the spot that the table used to be in and into the kitchen.

“We also got a french press, let me show you how it works,” Derek says, but Laura stops, turns, and glares at Stiles.

“I know you guys ruined my table,” She says, her eye contact with Stiles so intense Stiles feels himself break out into a sweat.

“Table? What table? I’ve never seen any table in my life! In fact, I don’t even know what a table is! Do you mean tableau? As in the tableau vivant? The motionless french expression of other works of art?”

Derek slaps his hand on his face, and Laura crowds him in, staring directly into his soul.

“I want to see it,” Laura says.

“We donated it to a family of raccoons. It’s long gone, bye-bye table. Catch ya’ when we catch ya’.”

“You are the worst liar in the entire history of the universe, Stiles,” Laura says, and yeah maybe she has a point, because he’s just pouring water into his and Derek’s sinking ship at this point.

“That’s not true, you don’t know that, I bet I can find one, I’ll go look!” Stiles says, taking off for the front door, but Derek stops him with a bicep that feels like solid steel. And hey, normally Stiles would love to be touching Derek’s arms, but right now he just wants to live.

“Let’s just show her and get it over with,” Derek sighs, shaking his head and Stiles look at him with wide eyes full of betrayal.

“Who are you? Where am I? I’ve never met you people before! I must get back to my homeland!” Stiles fights to get out of Derek’s arms again, but Derek picks Stiles up and throws him over his shoulder.

Stiles thinks about resisting, but Derek is already walking towards Stiles’ room, so Stiles takes the opportunity of a lifetime and pinches Derek’s butt cheek.

Derek jumps, and accidentally knocks Stiles into the wall. Stiles yelps in protest as Laura breaks her furious façade to snort a laugh at them.

Derek opens Stiles’ bedroom door, and Laura is silent as she stares at the table.

“How did you guys even manage this?” Laura asks, sounding resigned.

“It’s all Derek’s fault he bought a heat gun-”

“Stiles is the one who left the heat gun on the table-”

“You asshole don’t drag me into this!”

“Shut up, you’re the one who caused it!”

“That’s a filthy lie and you know it you lying liar who lies.”

“GUYS!”

Derek and Stiles stop mid-bicker, turning to look at Laura with wide eyes full of fear. Stiles lifting himself up to see what he could from his position over Derek’s shoulder.

“I honestly was kind of expecting this, but this is easier to fix than if you had burned the whole thing, don’t worry,” Laura says, ruffling them both on the head

“So you’re not mad?” Stiles asks, smiling at her.

“Oh, no I’m fucking furious, you guys are going to be kissing my ass for the next six months,” Laura says, cheerful and chipper. She kisses them both on the cheek and skips out of the room.

Derek and Stiles let out a breath of air. At least she didn’t hit them?

-

As it turns out, kissing Laura’s ass means taking her to a fancy Japanese edo restaurant off of Union Square and paying for her to have a spa day tomorrow.

They’ve just gotten a seat in the back of the restaurant, Derek and Stiles on one side of the table and Laura on the other.

And then, because Stiles can’t ever have nice things, Prudence comes up to the table.

“Stiles!” Prudence squeals.

“What the fuck is that noise?” Laura mutters, setting her drink down.

Derek shakes his head. “Bad.”

Prudence comes right up to them, and Derek grabs Stiles hand, lacing their fingers together. Laura’s eyes bug out of her head when she sees that, and she’s about to open her mouth to freak out over it, when Stiles cuts her off.

“Prudence, hi. It’s really not a good time right now,” Stiles says, politely but also firm. Derek’s thumb swipes over Stiles’ hand, and Stiles’ mouth goes dry

Prudence seems to ignore the second half of what he said, because she turns to Laura and continues talking.

“Hi, I’m Zilla! I’m one of Stiles’ best friends,” Stiles shakes his head violently at that. “Who are you?”

“I’m Derek’s sister. Not that it isn’t nice to meet an acquaintance of Stiles, but we’re sort of in the middle of having dinner, so would you mind leaving us to it?” Laura says, her firm-but-still-technically polite, attorney-at-law, courtroom voice.

“Oh, no problem, I just thought I’d come and say hi since it’s such a crazy coincidence that we’ve run into each other here,” Prudence says.

“Crazy is definitely the word I would use,” Derek agrees, leaning towards Stiles, letting go of his hand to sling an arm around his shoulder. Stiles feels infinitely less terrified with Derek’s arm around him, and even though his stomach is doing somersaults, he suddenly feels so at ease.

“You’re so charming,” Prudence giggles. Laura makes a face that screams ‘what the fuck is wrong with this chick?’, and smiles the fakest smile ever.

“Well, take care,” Laura says, forcefully, and that seems to do the trick. Prudence’s smile falters when she looks at Laura again, and she waves as she walks away.

She sits down across the restaurant, still clearly able to see them, and Stiles finally relaxes, giving in and leaning into the heat of Derek’s chest.

“So,” Laura says, trailing off as she stares meaningfully at them.

Stiles raises an eyebrow at her, waiting for her to continue.

“When did you two pull your heads out of you asses? I would have made a bet with Cora and Peter before I left if this is what I knew I’d find!”

“What are you talking about, Laura?” Derek says, putting a lot of stress on her name as he glares at her. Laura and Derek have this silent conversation for a minute, and then Laura seems to back off.

“Well, anyways. I guess paying for dinner tonight and sending me to the spa tomorrow is enough of an apology for the table, I wouldn’t want to ruin your honeymoon,” Laura says, smirking as she teases them.

Stiles and Derek both roll their eyes at her, and Laura mercifully doesn’t mention the way that Stiles and Derek spend the rest of dinner leaning into each other. Derek’s arm stays around him as they take the metro back to the apartment, and is still around him when they curl up on the couch to watch a movie afterwards.

Derek’s arm is around Stiles’ waist as they’re both fast asleep on the couch that night, Stiles face shoved in Derek’s neck and their legs tangled together.

Laura takes an abundance of pictures and send them to Derek’s family, Stiles’ Dad and Melissa, and all of their friends.

-

A week later, Laura has gone back to Sacramento, and Stiles and Derek are walking around Stiles’ campus with Isaac, Erica, and Boyd. Every year the campus hosts a Blues festival, and this year Stiles and Derek decided to go. They’re sitting on a blanket that Erica laid out, but she ran off with Boyd and Isaac half an hour ago to get nachos and none of them have come back yet.

Stiles and Derek take advantage of their absence and spread out. Some guy with a crazy cool beard is about 10 minutes into what is definitely an improvised, but still super cool song. Stiles has his head resting on Derek’s stomach, Derek is propped up on one elbow, reading a book that Stiles had recommended to him.

It’s the most relaxed they’ve been in weeks. Stiles has been stressed out with his classes, and Derek has been scrambling to get his shit together for installing his work at The Whitney, even though the installation date is a couple months away still. There’s so much shit that goes into it, and Stiles feels terrible that Derek’s been losing so much sleep over it.

“Stiles!”

God. Damnit.

“I swear to god, one of these days I’m going to kill you,” Derek mutters, looking down at Stiles. Stiles cracks open an eye to glare at them.

“Me? I didn’t do anything!” Stiles whines.

“She’s following you, she’s the reason I can’t finish my chapter, thus, this is your fault,” Derek says, but he’s got a little smile on the corner of his mouth, so Stiles isn’t taking him too seriously.

“If anything she’ll kill me first,” Stiles mutters back.

“It’s so weird to see you guys here,” Prudence says, coming to stand over them.

Stiles nods, but says nothing. He scoots up to lay his head on Derek’s shoulder, and Prudence stares at Stiles waiting for him to say something.

“We’re sort of on a date, Prudence,” Stiles says after a while.

“It’s Zilla, and that sounds fun. Are you guys having a good time?” She asks, completely ignoring Stiles’ dismissal of her.

“We were,” Derek mutters, grabbing Stiles’ shoulders to shift him upward, and Stiles leans in to Derek, partly because he is hoping Prudence will get the hint, partly because Derek smells amazing.

“That’s great! It’s such a great day, and you both look so cozy!”

“You know what, we are,” Derek agrees, and then his hands are on Stiles’ chin, and Derek is kissing him.

Stiles brain shuts down.

When his brain reboots, his hand is on Derek’s neck and he’s swiping his tongue across Derek’s bottom lip. Derek’s making this sound, it’s somewhere between a whimper and a moan, and it goes straight to Stiles’ cock. Derek’s hand is on Stiles’ jaw, holding him like if he doesn’t, Stiles will run away. As if Stiles would want to be anywhere but where he is right now

Derek pulls apart like it’s the last thing in the world that he wants to do, and Stiles feels the same sentiment. He pushes himself a little closer and rubs the tip of his nose against Derek’s jaw.

“Oh,” Prudence says, quietly.

Derek and Stiles freeze, having completely forgotten she was even there, and look up at her. She’s got this look on her face that Stiles hasn’t seen before.

“I’ll just… go.”

Stiles kind of dismisses her, too busy curling into Derek. It’s a little selfish, but Stiles can’t help it. He’ll take what he can get while he can get it.

-

The next morning, Stiles is running late. He promised he’d meet his advisor at 8:00 and it’s currently 8:02.

Stiles is hauling ass around the apartment, and has just shoved a still frozen toaster waffle in his mouth when Derek holds up a hand, stopping him.

“Hold it.”

“Derek, I’m so late, my advisor is gonna skin me alive and make me into his luggage!”

“I seriously doubt that’ll happen,” Derek says, smiling. He holds up a cup of coffee in a paper cup, and Stiles feels himself sag in relief and absolute affection.

“Derek, you’re the best, holy shit,” Stiles says, leaning over the counter to hug him. Derek huffs a laugh and pats Stiles’ shoulder affectionately.

Without even thinking, Stiles leans over and presses a soft, dry kiss to Derek’s cheek.

Derek freezes, looking at Stiles with wide eyes, his mouth open.

“I- uh…” Stiles says, but there’s no reasoning for doing what he did. It just felt like the most natural thing in the world.

“I’ll see you tonight, okay? We’re still going to watch a movie, right?” Stiles asks, changing the subject.

“Right, of course we are,” Derek mumbles, but he’s still staring at Stiles like he’s an alien.

“Okay great, tonight is my pick!” Stiles says. He definitely runs out the door immediately after, and definitely spends the day torturing himself over it.

-

Maybe it’s because Stiles has been off his game all day, but for some reason today is the day that Stiles has reached his limit with Prudence.

She’s trailing behind him after their Cybersecurity Law class, babbling about how her favorite musician did some charity thing and saved a baby quokka, whatever the hell that means. And Stiles just… snaps.

“Prudence, we need to talk.”

Prudence stops mid sentence, and looks at him with an unreadable expression.

Stiles sighs.

“Look, I need you to stay away from me. Do you understand that?” Stiles asks. He knows his tone is harsh and that he’s being a dick, and he just doesn’t care anymore.

“But, Stiles…” Her smile is fading and being replaced by maybe the first genuine expression that’s ever graced her face.

“No, I need you to listen to me. I know you’re into me, but I am not into you. Get it? I’m gay. I do not feel any attraction to girls. I will never return your feelings, so you need to move on. Stop following me, and stop bothering me. If you don’t, my Dad is a cop and I will file a restraining order.”

“Stiles, I just want to be your friend,” Prudence says, and Stiles can already see her warping what he said in her mind.

“No. We can’t be friends. I don’t want to be your friend, and I don’t want anything to do with you. I need you to leave me alone from now on. Can you do that?” Stiles asks.

Prudence flinches, and then nods. Her eyes fill with tears, and Stiles feels nothing. Well, that’s a lie, he feels bad that he doesn’t feel bad, but that’s about it. At this point he just wants it to be over with.

“I understand, Stiles,” Prudence says, her eyes downcast.

“Good. I’m serious, if you can’t leave me alone, I’ll go to the police. Enough is enough.” Stiles says, and then turns and leaves.

“That was cold,” Erica says, walking up to him as he leaves the building.

“I don’t care anymore, she needs to get a clue.”

“Hey, I never said it wasn’t necessary or fucking awesome. That’s probably the only approach that would have worked, honestly. I’m just surprised that today is the day you decided to metaphorically cut her loose,” Erica says, and grabs his inner elbow to keep him from walking away.

Prudence brushes past them, but doesn’t look in their direction, and if she can do that for the rest of the semester, Stiles will throw a party in celebration.

“Yeah, I know. I don’t even feel bad, I’m just tired,” Stiles says, and Erica nods.

“Let’s go get some coffee, and I’ll tell you about the time in high school where Boyd and I broke into the roller rink while we were stoned,” Erica says, throwing an arm over his shoulder and leading him towards the student union.

-

Stiles has been distracted the whole day. He’s pretty sure he filled out his Ethics in Criminal Justice test with direct quotes from Law & Order.

Erica’s coffee break helped take his mind off of everything except for the thought that his friends are all terrible people. Afterwards, however, when she’d gone to meet Isaac, Stiles was left to wander campus, and had nothing but time on his hands.

So he’s just thinking, and thinking. Definitely not working himself into a pit of anxiety.

Nope.

-

By that night, Stiles has definitely worked himself into a frenzy.

He’s gotten himself in too deep.

Way too deep.

His feelings for Derek have made this entire situation too muddy, too confusing for Stiles, this morning is proof of that. He can’t tell the difference between their fake relationship and their real one, and as much as he wants them to mix and cohabitate, they can’t. And now that Prudence is going to leave him alone, there’s no reason for them to even continue this whole thing. Continuing it would just be painful.

Because Derek doesn’t love Stiles, not the way that Stiles loves Derek.

And it sucks.

It sucks during his classes. It sucks during the rides on the metro. It sucks during movie night, when Stiles is curled up next to Derek, crying over Princess Mononoke.

“I don’t understand why this movie makes you cry so much,” Derek says, smiling at Stiles as he wipes his eyes.

“It’s so beautiful, how can you not cry?” Stiles retorts, and looks up at Derek.

They sort of stare at each other, Stiles feels his heartbeat pick up, it’s going wild, and he realizes how close they actually are.

Derek stares at him right back, and then they’re kissing.

Stiles doesn’t know who started it, but the next thing he knows he’s kissing Derek, slinging a leg over his hips and moaning into Derek’s mouth. Derek’s hands are brands as they hold Stiles, and his mouth is insistent and needy. Stiles rakes a hand through Derek’s hair and pulls, loving the noise Derek makes.

Stiles breaks the kiss to breathe and works his way down Derek’s neck.

Stiles grinds his hips, and the noise Derek makes sounds like it was punched out of him. Derek’s hands are on his hips, slotting him so that they fit together perfectly, and then they’re grinding on each other, desperate and needy.

Stiles’ heart is beating so fast, his brain numbly shouting at him but he’s so caught up in the heady way Derek’s lips move along his jaw and nip at his neck, so interested in pulling Derek’s hair and making him moan.

Stiles shifts, rolling Derek so he’s on his back, and Stiles sits up, breathing heavily as he puts his hands on Derek’s chest, grinding them together as he watches Derek fall apart. It’s like the hottest thing that’s ever happened to him, he can’t believe Derek would tolerate him enough to do this with him.

Derek puts a hand on Stiles’ abdomen, stilling his movements, and Stiles thinks he’s going to tell him to stop, that it was fun while it lasted but he’s not feeling it anymore.

Instead, Derek’s fingers play with the button on Stiles’ jeans, and he breathes a quiet “Can I?”.

Stiles nods so hard he thinks his neck might break, and reaches for Derek’s zipper in return, pulling his cock out. It’s heavy in his hands and uncircumcised, and Stiles is fascinated.

Stiles scoots away from Derek’s hands, and ignores his whines as he settles down, mouth hovering over his cock.

“Stiles you don’t have to,” Derek says, his hand cupping Stiles’ jaw, and Stiles ignores him, leaning down to rub his bottom lip on the head.

Derek keens, and Stiles takes that as the green light to have at it. He alternates between licking and sucking, running the tip of his tongue along the slit, brushing the underside of the head with the tip of his thumb, until Derek is whining and sweaty with the effort of holding his hips down. And as kind as that is, Stiles kind of wants something a little rougher.

“You can, you know,” Stiles says, looking up at Derek through his eyelashes.

“What?” Derek asks, kind of breathless.

“You should fuck my mouth,” Stiles says, looking up at him fully now, enjoying the way Derek’s mouth falls open as he drops his head back onto the arm of the couch.

“I’ll pull off if it’s too much, Derek. Fucking do it,” Stiles says, and sucks Derek back down, cutting off any protests he might have had.

Derek loses control little by little, and it's so good. Derek holds onto the base of Stiles’ skull, and slowly rolls his hips up into Stiles’ mouth, moaning louder and louder and Stiles takes more of him each time.

It isn’t long before Derek’s thrusting almost recklessly into the heat of Stiles’ mouth, and he pulls his hips back, shaking his head.

“Stiles- I’m going to- I’m-”

Stiles pushes his head down, ignoring Derek’s polite warning, sucking hard as Derek loses it and comes in his mouth, and it’s hot and salty and kind of gross but it’s also not because it’s Derek and Stiles made him feel good and he’s so hard he thinks he’s gonna die.

Derek lays there for a few seconds, catching his breath, and Stiles breathes, scoots so he’s sitting on Derek’s thighs, and stares at Derek, so beautiful it hurts.

“Stiles, can I? Let me-” Derek says, reaching for Stiles’ pants, and Derek doesn’t even need to ask, because he can always, always jerk him off.

“Yes,” Stiles says nodding, yanking his zipper down and pulling himself out of his restricting jeans. Derek’s cock is thicker than his, but Stiles’ is slightly longer, and Derek’s hands look fucking perfect as they take hold of him.

“Oh, oh fuck, Derek,” Stiles says, and Derek yanks down his shoulder, pulling Stiles’ face down so he can kiss him.

“Stiles, you’re so wonderful. You look so good sucking me, fucking made for it, aren’t you? You fucking loved it, didn’t you? You love my cock in your throat. I bet you’d love it if I fucked you like that,” Derek says, his lips right against Stiles ear as Stiles looks down to watch the head of his cock disappear and then reappear again in Derek’s tanned fist. The calluses on his knuckles feel like heaven, and all it takes is Derek swiping his thumb over the head for Stiles to crack and break.

Stiles knots his fingers in Derek’s shoulder, shaking almost violently as he comes in Derek’s shirt and on his shirt, and Derek’s free hand is spread out on Stiles’ lower back, keeping him from floating away into space forever. Stiles think he’s gonna die, he feels so good, so amazing and earth-shattering.

Stiles lays on Derek, nipping lightly on his neck as Derek runs a hand up and down Derek’s back, and Stiles feels so light and happy.

“Stiles,” Derek breathes, and Stiles kisses his jaw lightly in response, running a hand through Derek’s hair. Derek’s hand tightens on his lower back. Derek hold Stiles like he’s precious and important, and kisses Stiles like he loves him.

Stiles pulls back, a hand on Derek’s chest. Derek smiles and nips at Stiles’ bottom lip. Derek tucks them both back into their pants and runs a hand up Stiles’ back, cupping his neck. Stiles feels like he’s in a burrito of warmth and safety. Stiles feels his eyelids droop, and Derek is so warm.

Stiles can’t be blamed for falling asleep between the breaths he takes, the sound of Studio Ghibli playing in the background.

-

Stiles wakes up suddenly, Derek’s arms pinning Stiles to his chest. He hears an odd, shaking sound, before he realizes it’s the sound of someone fiddling with their front door knob.

Stiles spazzes, falling out of Derek’s arms and onto the floor.

“Stiles, wha-”

“Shh!” Stiles slaps a hand out to cover Derek’s mouth, and he’s about to protest, when there’s a distinct grunt on the other side of the door, and then a loud slam, like someone has kicked the door in anger.

Derek stares at him, pulls Stiles’ hand off of his mouth.

“Call 911, now!” Derek hisses, and Stiles doesn’t think twice. Growing up as a Sheriff’s kid drilled certain instincts into him. The first thing Dad taught him about safety was to call 911 if he felt unsafe before anything else.

Stiles fumbles for his cellphone, and Derek runs out of the room. Stiles stares after him in shock, but snaps out of it when the phone is answered.

“911, what is your emergency?”

“There’s someone trying to break into my apartment. I live at 27 West 15th Street, apartment 32,” Stiles says, trying to keep his voice quiet, but also loud enough for the operator to hear.

Derek runs back into the room, his aluminum baseball bat in his hand.

“Okay sir, Are you alone? Can you hide somewhere safe?”

“I’m not alone my- my uh- roommate is with me. We can try to hide in a closet or something,” Stiles says, looking at Derek with frantic eyes. The doorknob rattles loudly, and it’s obvious that whoever is at the door is picking the lock at this point.

“What is your name, sir?”

“My name is Stiles Stilinski, and my roommate’s name is Derek Hale.”

“Okay. Can you stay on the line with me until the authorities arrive?”

“I don’t know, I’m not sure-”

The door swings open, and Derek is suddenly in front of Stiles, bat held out to defend them from whoever is breaking in. If Stiles wasn’t shaking so much, he probably would have been touched that Derek would be so stupid and stand in the line of fire for him.

He ends the call, not wanting whoever broke in to know that Stiles called the cops.

They squint into the light spilling in from the hallway, but Stiles would recognize that fucking jacket anywhere.

“Prudence?” Stiles asks, stepping out from behind Derek.

Prudence freezes in their doorway, and then reaches to her left, hand searching for a light switch. She finds one after a few moments of searching, and seems to freeze when she sees the state Stiles and Derek are in.

The menu screen for Princess Mononoke is still on the TV, and there are bottles of water and a half eaten bowl of popcorn on the table.

Stiles notices that Derek’s jeans are unzipped still, his hair is a mess and his lips are red and swollen. He decides to not even think about the state he’s probably in.

“Oh,” Prudence says, and her eyebrows scrunch together.

“Wait, Prudence, it’s not what it looks like,” Stiles says, stepping around Derek. His brain is running through scenarios, thinking of ways to stall her, create enough of a distraction that the authorities can get here in time.

“It’s not? Because it looks like I walked in on you two having sex,” Prudence says, and she sort of looks… unhinged. She’s got a manic, wild look in her eyes and she’s stomping her feet. Her movements are jerky and uncoordinated and very out of character.

“Of course you didn’t. Because… To you, that would be cheating on you, wouldn’t it?” Stiles asks, holding a hand out to steady himself on Derek’s shoulder. Derek’s head whips over to stare at Stiles like he’s crazy.

Prudence’s face goes through some complicated order of emotions that Stiles can’t follow, and then she’s smiling at him, her shoulders relaxing.

“I was starting to think you’d never get it, Stiles. Do you finally see that we’re meant to be together?” She asks, and steps closer to Stiles. Derek steps between them, glaring at her and tightening his grip on the bat. Prudence takes a step back, which is probably a smart move.

“It’s kinda hard to miss all the hints you’ve been leaving, Prudence. You haven’t left me alone in three years,” Stiles says, and his super cool powers of defusing a situation have no bounds. His superpower is a boon .

“I just wanted you to know that I care, and I’m always here for you Stiles. I’ve been here for everything. And I know you being with Derek was just a fluke,” Prudence says, smiling serenely.

This is getting out of hand. Stiles probably needs to start lacing some truth in here.

“Prudence, I know you care for me, I really do, but I am gay, and we’re not dating.”

Prudence’s smile falls.

“No, I know you aren’t gay, Stiles. I know you’re not, because you love me. You’ve always loved me. I know it, I see it in the way you look at me. We’re meant to be together,” She says, and there’s an unreadable expression on her face. Stiles steps a little closer to Derek, and puts a hand on the middle of his back, where Prudence can’t see. Derek’s shoulders relax slightly.

“But we’re not, Prudence. I don’t love you the way you love me. I can’t,” Stiles says, and that is most definitely the wrong thing to say, because Prudence gets angry.

“No! No! That’s not true! I know it’s not true!” She shouts, taking steps towards them. And Derek, bless his dedication to upper body strength and six years of minor league baseball, uses the side of the bat to push her away from them. Her back touches the wall as she stumbles backwards, and she stares at them in shock.

“You need to stay back,” Derek says, and the steadiness in his tone is almost frightening.

“Stiles,” Prudence says, but doesn’t move from the wall.

“I think you should listen to him, Prudence,” Stiles says. Of course, that’s when the police run through their still open front door, and see Stiles and Derek huddles across the room defensively, Prudence standing against the wall next to the front door.

“What’s going on, here?” One of the officers asks, and Stiles steps forward.

“She broke into our apartment,” Stiles says, looking at Prudence. Prudence says nothing, and leaves with the officer who pulls her out into the hallway.

“I’m gonna need to take both of your statements,” A different officer says, and leads Stiles and Derek to the couch.

It’s late when the police leave, so late that the sun is rising. They both gave statements, and decided to press charges. They’re going to file a court hearing date to get a restraining order tomorrow, and are going to buy better locks for their front door as soon as possible.

None of this stops Stiles from shaking as the police leave. Derek takes one look at him and leads him back to the couch. Stiles curls up into Derek, greedily soaking up his body heat.

“I don’t think I can go back to pretending everything is normal after this,” Stiles says, and he’s not shaking anymore, but he kind of feels like he can’t breathe.

“What does that mean, Stiles?” Derek asks, not loosening his hold on Stiles.

Stiles opens his mouth to answer, but can’t manage to say anything. He thinks about Derek kissing him this morning, about how he feels when Derek looks at him and holds him and…

Does… Does Derek love him too?

“I love you,” Stiles whispers. Derek’s eyes snap down to meet Stiles gaze, and Stiles feels like he’s ripping off a bandaid, but he kind of gets some weird adrenaline rush from it.

“What?” Derek asks, so quiet Stiles almost doesn’t hear it.

“I am so fucking in love with you, Derek.”

Derek continues to stare at Stiles like he doesn’t understand, and Stiles starts to panic, because he’s just laid it all on the line and Derek isn’t responding and-

Derek’s kissing him.

Stiles kisses back like he’ll die if he doesn’t, and somehow it’s perfect even though Derek’s holding him so tight he can’t do much more than hang on for the ride. Derek’s got Stiles pressed to his chest, holding Stiles like he’s afraid he’ll lose him if he doesn’t. Like Stiles would ever leave him.

“Derek, I need to tell you so much-” Stiles says, when he pulls away to breathe, and Derek’s eyes are on him, even if they’re kind of cloudy.

“You love me?” Derek asks, voice quiet.

“Of course I love you, you fucking lunatic, how could I not? I think I’ve been in love with you since I met you when I was six, and you pushed me into the sand box because I called you a butt hole.”

“This is a lot to digest in ten seconds. But, you love me?” Derek asks, his hand sliding up to Stiles’ neck to hold him like he’s beautiful and special.

“Derek, I love you so much it scares me,” Stiles says, and Derek kisses him again, gentle and wonderful and right.

“I love you too,” Derek says, repeats it as he runs his lips over Stiles’ and holds him.

-

Stiles and Derek walk to the diner three blocks over that weekend, where Stiles and Derek are meeting their friends.

“You look good,” Stiles says, nudging Derek. “I’d like to take you home later.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “I don’t know why I tolerate you.”

“Well, I’d like to venture a guess and say it’s my sweet ass,” Stiles says, laughing at the face Derek makes.

“Oh, my god,” Derek says, a grimace on his face. They bicker until they reach the diner.

Their whole gang of friends, including Derek’s sister Cora (who is apparently dating Lydia now?). Derek and Stiles take the two empty seats at the end of the long table, across from Scott and Allison. They’re all throwing sugar packets at each other and bickering over what sounds like a TV show that Stiles knows Derek has never heard of.

“Hey guys, great to see you all!” Stiles says, and obligingly waits for each one of them to crawl out of their seats and hug him.

“I can’t believe I missed you assholes,” Stiles says, sitting down next to Derek and taking his hand.

“Yeah, but you love us,” Scott says, dimpling at the table. Stiles can’t help but laugh and nod, because yeah, he did. Derek rolls his eyes; Stiles smiles at him and blushes when Derek kisses his cheek.

“Hey, I have a question,” Cora says.

“Yes, you were adopted,” Derek says, and Cora throws an ice cube at him.

“Shut up, I was going to ask what happened with your whole stalker situation.”

“Oh, well it kind of worked out pretty well, all things considered. A judge gave us the restraining order, and Prudence didn’t even try to fight it. I think her parents put her in therapy, last I heard. One of the conditions of the order is that she has to transfer schools. It’s kind of intense, but at this point there was nothing else to do,” Stiles says, shrugging.

“We’re also definitely moving,” Derek says, and everyone laughs. They are, though. They’ve already started looking, and they’re probably going to sublet the rest of their lease.

Allison nods and reaches over to pat Stiles and Derek’s joined hands. “You guys did the right thing.”

Stiles smiles at her, and nods, and Derek smiles at Stiles. Stiles might be having a heart attack because the way Derek is looking at him makes him feel like he’s dying.

“Oh, that reminds me! Everyone owes me and Lydia twenty bucks,” Erica says, and everyone aside from Stiles and Derek groan, taking their wallets out.

Erica preens and Lydia dimples in sadistic delight as everyone hands them cash. Danny looks particularly put out by it, and it’s kind of hilarious.

“Wait, what? What did you guys bet on?” Derek asks, looking confused.

“We’ve been placing bets for the last year on how you two would get together,” Allison says, signing as she hands Lydia a twenty.

“You guys bet on us?” Derek asks, shocked.

“And you didn’t even let us get in on it?” Stiles asks, pretending to look upset, even as Derek leans into his shoulder.

“We could have made some serious cash,” Stiles pouts, and Scott rolls his eyes.

“Please, we never thought you idiots would actually do anything about your undying love for each other. Most of us bet you’d both die with a bunch of cats in an empty apartment,” Boyd says, and Stiles tries to be mad, but that’s kind of fucking hilarious, and he’s laughing with everyone else, even as he tries to act offended.

The lunch goes about as well as expected, so by the end of it Jackson has taken a break from holding Danny’s hand to fling food at Stiles, Isaac is making puppy eyes at Allison and Scott, and Danny and Boyd have formed an unexpected bond over CSI. Derek holds his hand through lunch, and afterwards, when they all split ways, until tonight when they’re going to come over for movies, Derek takes him home and systematically makes him forget his name with toe-curling orgasms and sexy showers.

Everything’s pretty great, to be honest.

 

- 2 months later -

Stiles and Derek are tired. They’ve been on their feet all day, looking at the exhibit, which spans 6 floors; they’re both really tired of meeting and greeting people. The Whitney’s Biennial is massive. Stiles is even more impressed that Derek got his work in, because the shit that’s up is insanely good. Not to say that Derek’s work isn’t also insanely good. But, still.

Stiles let Lydia, who was in town from Boston for the week, corral him into some fancy loafer shoes, which are pinching his heels and making him grumpy. Derek’s tie is definitely too tight, but Stiles isn’t touching it because if he starts touching Derek’s neck they’re inevitably going to end up fucking in the bathroom, and that can’t happen tonight. It’s not happening tonight.

“Stiles! Derek!”

“Mom? Dad? Laura?” Derek asks, eyebrows pushing together as he opens his arms and hugs Laura and his mother. He casts a look at Stiles, who fakes shock.

Laura runs up to them, the entire Hale family falling in line behind her. Cora and Lydia are holding hands and taking their sweet time getting across the room. Lydia seems to be torn between talking to them and complementing some woman on her shoes.

Derek’s smile is blinding, and it was totally worth the month and a half of planning to get Derek’s parents, Talia and Mark, his uncle Peter, and his sisters to get to New York at the same time. He also got Cora and Lydia to take time off from their plans of world domination to grace them with their presence for the week.

“Congratulations, honey,” Talia says, pulling Derek in to kiss him on the cheek. She grabs Stiles next, kissing him on the temple and pulling him into a big hug.

“Thanks for getting us all out here, Stiles. We’re so glad you and Derek finally got your act together,” Talia says to Stiles, squeezing him tight before letting go.

“Stiles, you did this?” Derek asks, a soft look creeping onto his face.

“I knew how bummed you were about your family not being here. Plus I really missed your mom and Peter’s cooking, I can’t lie,” Stiles says, laughing when Derek rolls his eyes and kisses him.

“Well, we’ll have time to eat, give Stiles the shovel talk, and possibly hide his body after the reception,” Peter says, a sarcastic smile on his face as he claps his hands together.

“As long as you let me eat before you kill me, I’m fine with that,” Stiles snarks back, taking Derek’s hand and pulling him along as the group makes their way around the 6th floor. Derek’s sculpture is on the third floor, so they figured they would make their way down so they could all meet in the lobby when they’re finished.

“I love you. Thank you for doing all this,” Derek says, kissing Stiles. Stiles puts a gentle hand on Derek’s cheek and smiles.

“I’d do anything for you, including bringing your entire family into the same city on blind impulse and the duties of boyfriend-hood.”

“Stiles, that makes no sense,” Derek says, but he looks like he’s trying not to laugh.

“Shut up, it totally does. Stop asking questions and enjoy your special day, asshole,” Stiles says, and Derek laughs and drags him along, and Stiles is just really, really happy.